Letter: People’s Potato Responds to Empower Concordia

The People’s Potato Collective has noticed over last week’s campaign period that one of the slates—_Empower Concordia_—has named us in their platform, and we thought it was important for us to outline our position.

We’ve not followed the campaign too closely but we feel it necessary to respond. Namely, we’re not affiliated with either slate, and we never endorse candidates for council or executive positions.

Regardless of who is elected, the People’s Potato will strive to work in coordination with the Concordia Student Union, in the interest of reducing student poverty and increasing access to healthy food on campus. We’ll continue working towards other key aspects of our mandate.

Empower Concordia has included our organization, along with the Frigo Vert and the Hive Co-op, as those fee levy groups who warrant financial support, and we agree with this proposition. Yet we question why these groups were singled out, and whether Empower Concordia would pledge their support to fee-levy groups such as the Concordia Greenhouse, QPIRG Concordia, the Co-op Bookstore, and the Centre for Gender Advocacy, to name a few.

We would like to stress that we oppose politics of division and austerity, and we actively fight against these when we encounter them in our organizing efforts at a grassroots level. The dynamic at play—intentional or not—acts to divide the community and indicate certain groups as less worthwhile, or as lesser contributors.

Many of our sister organizations have strengthened and enriched the Concordia community for years, by diversifying the services and programs offered under the umbrella of the CSU. These programs have required tireless efforts, and that in turn requires financial support.

We stand with other fee levy groups, and would like to remind all candidates that the CSU is a community project that we have all built together. Many students, grassroots organizers and paid staff have put their energy and time into making this community great, but this work needs to be done in solidarity and cooperation—in admiration of difference, and by finding strength in our numbers to resist the language and politics of neoliberalism.

Finally, we would like to wish good luck to all aspiring councillors, senators and executives in the coming election, and we look forward to working with those seated in the coming months.

—Jamiey Kelly, on behalf of the Collective