The Connexions Directory is being updated and revamped to become
an online-only directory. Published previously in print as the Connexions
Annual, the directory will now be an electronic resource available
on the Connexions Web site here
and in database form via CD-ROM or E-mail. Organizations listed
will be able to preview their listings online. For an example, see
The current listings in the Connexions Directory are supplemented
by an archive that includes listings for organizations no longer
in existence, made available to help researchers into the history
on non-profit organizations in Canada. The archival index, including
the defunct organizations, is here.
The purpose of the Connexions directory was summarized in Ulli
Diemer's Introduction to the last print edition,
"A coal miner who took part in the wave of strikes which shook
the former Soviet Union summed up the problems facing his local
strike committee as follows: "`We have to answer two simple
questions: `How are we going to live?' and `What do we do now?'"
"Those are questions we all have to answer. We live in a world
in crisis. Governments, corporations, and institutions assure us
they have everything under control, and that better times are just
around the corner, but all around us we see poverty, violence, injustice,
environmental disasters, and wars.
"For more than a decade, they have imposed a new-right agenda
on our societies, telling us we have no choice but to adapt to a
`new world order' based on `free markets' and privatization. Instead
of experiencing the promised benefits, however, most of us find
ourselves worse off, economically, socially, and spiritually.
Most of us are not living the lives we would choose to live, but
the existing order insists there are no
alternatives to itself, and most of us are sufficiently convinced
or pre-occupied or discouraged to keep society from coming unglued.
Many, many people wish there were alternatives, or think there ought
to be, but are resigned to the conclusion that it is utopian to
entertain any hopes for real change. The `system' is too big, too
powerful, and we are too weak and too few in numbers.
"`What do we do now?' `How do we live?' All too often, we mind
our own problems and don't think about the rest.
"Yet despite the pervasive feeling that `nothing can be done',
people do join together to act in common when they feel threatened
or wronged, or when they have a goal in sight which they desire
passionately enough. Sometimes they organize quietly and gradually.
At other times a mass movement explodes into being, seemingly out
of nothing, despite the risks and the odds.
"This Annual is dedicated to the idea that change is
both necessary and possible. Its main intent is practical:
to provide information about groups across Canada who are working
at society's grassroots to create positive solutions to social,
environmental, economic, and international problems.
"We hope that by providing this information we will be making
it easier for those already active to find out about and contact
each other and to do their work more effectively and co-operatively.
We hope that those individuals who are thinking about or looking
for ways to become active will be able to use the information to
find like-minded people to work with.
"We hope, too, that this book will help to get out the message
that there are viable alternatives to destructive and exploitative
institutions and structures, and that there are people organizing
to build those alternatives.
"It is also a goal of this Annual to stimulate thinking
about how we can work more effectively together toward our mutual
goals, and how we can reach out to broaden our movements. If we
can learn to do this well enough, we have the potential to create
a much more powerful social movement, not only national but international
in its scope, one that goes beyond single-issue organizing to work
toward an integrated vision of a more just and caring world.
"This does not necessarily mean that individual groups should
be dissolving themselves into a large movement. But often the best
thing we can do to help ourselves is to helpsomeone else. By offering
and extending solidarity to others, we establish bonds between us
that give us strength too. Feelings and actions of solidarity can
be a fruitful source of understanding, trust, and power, and that
power is something that we too can draw on too.
"Empowerment is a critical dimension of the process of change.
We are seeking the power to create alternatives, and simultaneously
we are seeking to dissolve the power structures that prevent us
from doing so. We hope that this Annual will help to empower
those working to create the alternatives."
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