An Evening with GUTS

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Written by Victoria Brunet

This Saturday night at 9pm Guelph Union of Tenants & Supporters (GUTS) held a fund raiser at the Salsateriaís new location on the second floor of 33 Macdonell st.

GUTS is a grassroots anti-poverty group that has been active in Guelph for four years. They were raising money & support for their varied community services, including; free weekly picnics, tenant and human rights casework, harm reduction initiatives, a ëknow your rightsí campaign, and Ontario Common Fronts Raise the Rates campaign.

The Salsateria quickly filled up with around 70 supporters. Many of the attendees have joined forces with GUTS through their services, events, or political ideals. HÈlËne Munk, a international development student, spoke about the weekly suppers offered at five oíclock every Sunday on the corner of Wyndham and MacDonnell; ì[At dinners] I like the fact that we serve ourselves, it breaks down boundaries between people of different economic backgrounds.î She has been a volunteer previously with GUTS and says it is easy to get involved due to a lack of hierarchy.

Another supporter identifies with GUTS anti-police work, saying; ìGUTS is advancing a fundamental critique of the legitimacy of the police force, who they recognize, does more to maintain an oppressive status quo by fear and brute force, than to actually make our lives safer.î

The benefit show began with Fellow Worker whose music is preformed with the intent to inspire organizing around issues of poverty and workers rights. She was happy to play at the fundraiser, noting that; ìThese volunteers work out of love and solidarity, these things are in line with the music I playÖI am paid in the energy I get back from the people here.î

Fellow Worker was followed by Joey Only, a self described outlaw folk singer based in Vancouver. He highlighted diverse subjects, including the Olympics in 2010 and the killing of Dudley George in Ipperwash Provincial Park (1995). After Joey Only, a band created specifically for the fundraiser, called Rebel Girl, played turn of the 20th century pro-union and human rights songs. The audience members were encouraged to sing along with lyrics printed in red songbooks.

The final act of the night was Ill-Logik, a political hip-hop artist from Toronto who was happy to support a group engaged in resistance and community building. Once the live performers had finished DJís kept people dancing till closing time.

In the upcoming months GUTS is working on a campaign to keep tasers out of the hands of the Guelph Police force. They are also organizing panel discussions on tasers and harm reduction in prisons. A spokesperson, enthusiastic about the community turn out for the event, invited people interested in volunteering to contact GUTS and/or attend their biweekly meetings.

or 519-830-8743

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  1. Posted by: j_ on Sep 18, 2007 @ 1:21am

    I don't understand the opposition to Taser use. Sure, in certain situations, it could quite possibly be fatal, but would GUTS prefer that the Police shoot people who are a threat?

    This is pretty typical of GUTS; criticize something, but don't offer a practical solution! Just bitch and moan and look like idiots.

  2. Posted by: Chris E on Sep 18, 2007 @ 3:55pm

    GUTS-less strikes again.

    Whine and moan about non issues and overexaggerate what 'issues' they do 'work on' to make them seem more important.

    I take it none of those people have ever had to deal with a doped up/drunk kid fighting back on a Saturday night. Tasers end the situation quickly with no harm to either side and are a darn sight better then guns for those situation (although sometimes a 9mm dose of chlorine for the gene pool is whats needed, but hey, thats just me).

    Seriously, get a life.

  3. Posted by: Becky on Sep 18, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    Definition of Eugenics: the self-direction of human evolution.

    I'm sorry Chris E, no one can take the argument of someone who believes in eugenics seriously. What you wrote is disgusting. I'm a lot more frightened of you than a kid who had too much to drink on a Saturday night.

  4. Posted by: j on Sep 19, 2007 @ 11:30am

    I think you took that comment a little too seriously. Calling him an advocate of eugenics is a pretty flagrant misrepresentation of what eugenics actually is. Not to mention an insult to those who survived regimes that actually practiced it, such as the Nazis.

    Holding the idea that some people are simply drains on society, based on their detrimental activities, isn't exactly an extreme position held by a few. Perhaps you should try broadening your horizons.

  5. Posted by: andrea on Sep 19, 2007 @ 11:40am

    Tasers are meant to be used in desperate situations, instead of using firearms. The problem is, as this Amnesty Report explains (http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGAMR200022007), Canadian police officers use Tasers far too often, and in situations where the use of a Taser is absolutely not appropriate: for crowd control, for "waking up" a homeless person, to immobilize someone is severe distress (when drug use, alcohol consumption, or mental illness is suspected, Tasers are not to be used because the chance of serious injury or death of the person in question skyrockets). Amnesty has called for an immediate suspension of all Taser use until an independent, rigorous, and impartial inquiry into their use and effects.

  6. Posted by: andrea on Sep 19, 2007 @ 11:41am

    Here's the practical solution: fund programs that assist in community-building vs. pumping millions of dollars into the police force to deal with 'social problems.' Acknowledge that police brutality is a problem in our community. Come up with solutions where the use of force is the last choice on a chain of options. Stop policing things like homelessness because it's simply the wrong approach.

  7. Posted by: andrea on Sep 19, 2007 @ 11:43am

    "Broadening your horizons"!?!?

    You're advocating that Becky do that, and not Chris "chlorine in the gene pool" E?

    I have to go find my life now. I've been thrown into an existential crisis.

  8. Posted by: j on Sep 19, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Hell, I think everyone should broaden their horizons. I just suggested it to Becky, because she seemed so angered by what came off as something that wasn't really all that offensive or uncommon.

    As for what you said, Andrea. The concept of building communities as opposed to having to crack down on one is something I'd certainly be behind. The problem is just simply not lack of money though, there are a lot of cultural factors at play. We live in a society that extols the virtues of crime and violence (see: TV, Movies, Popular Music) and while I do agree that Socio-Economic Status (SES) is a large factor, it simply isn't the only one. You cannot just throw money at programs, communities and expect a drastic reduction in crime.

    Crime will continue to exist until our society changes in such a way that idiots like 50 Cent stop having people throw money at them for preaching violence and crime as the only way to do things. Until then, it is in our best interest to have a strong police force that can deal appropriately with crime.

  9. Posted by: j on Sep 19, 2007 @ 12:20pm

    Also, yes, I concur that there are issues of Police Brutality, but such is the nature of power in humans. To use a tired cliche; It's not a perfect system, but it is the best that we have.

  10. Posted by: Becky on Sep 19, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    Perhaps I do take comments a little too seriously that suggest (or joke even) killing someone is okay because they're homeless. Thanks for the suggestion j. Could you please clarify how I should broaden my horizons?

  11. Posted by: Chris E on Sep 19, 2007 @ 8:40pm

    Someone give me one concrete example (with evidence) of REAL police brutality in Guelph. Just one. And I mean real police brutality not your idea of it (tasering someone or having to wrestle with them when they resist arrest ain't brutality...sorry sweethearts). Betcha you can't.

    Oh Becky, my comment wasn't just at homeless people. It was also at rapists, murderers, thugs, spoiled drunk rich kids, suburban wannabes with Che shirts...the list goes on.

    Just kidding.

    To badly quote someone on my top ten 'don't like' list..."there are just too many bleeding hearts out there who don't like to see men with guns on the street". Waa waa.

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