A Poetic Tribute to the Spirit of Canada-Nicaragua Solidarity: Tools for Peace


  • Lori Hanson University of Saskatchewan
  • Jonah Walters




International solidarity, Nicaraguan revolution, poetic transcription, Canadian social movements



 Tools for Peace (T4P) was a grassroots campaign in the 1980s that mobilized Canadians in every province and territory from diverse walks of life and extended large quantities of material support to Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution. Despite having been recognized by the Nicaraguan state as one of the most important international solidarity efforts of the Sandinista era, T4P has received strikingly little scholarly attention. The paper analyzes 27 interviews with Tools for Peace participants that were conducted in the mid-1980s for an anthology that was never published, the transcripts of which are now found in the public archives at McMaster University. The interviewees’ words evoke the moods, sentiments, and dispositions that animated T4P. Weaving scholar-activism with arts-informed inquiry, this paper presents those sentiments in a series of found poems that seek to both engage and inspire their readers. Through these poems, the paper evokes the experiential and affective dimensions of international solidarity as it was enacted through this novel historical experience. We suggest that T4P was exemplary of the spirit of solidarity in the global movement in support of the Sandinista revolution, but also unique in its Canadian-ness, leading us to advocate a definition of international solidarity that emphasizes its situatedness, together with its experiential and affective dimensions. 

Author Biographies

Lori Hanson, University of Saskatchewan

Lori Hanson is a Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Guided by an ethic of social solidarity and appreciation for diverse knowledges as well as an action orientation, her scholarship includes: political economy of global health, activism, drug decriminalization, and Nicaraguan political movements.

Jonah Walters

Jonah Walters is the Postdoctoral Scholar in the BioCritical Studies Lab at UCLA's (University of California, Los Angeles) Institute for Society and Genetics, where he studies the U.S. coroner-medical examiner system. His previous research focused on the social reproduction of the “popular economy” in Nicaragua. He has a Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 


Agreda Portero, J.M., & Helm. C. (2016). Solidaridad con la Revolucion Sandinista: Comparativa de redes transnacionales: los casos de la República Federal de Alemania y España. Naveg@mérica, Revista electronica, (17). https://revistas.um.es/navegamerica/article/view/271921/198661

Belli, G. (2000). El país bajo mi piel. Plaza & Janés Ediciones.

Brown, L. (ca. 1989). Lorne Brown Central America Solidarity Activists collection. Box 1 and 2, [Textual records]. Reference code RC0057. McMaster University. Hamilton, ON.

Bretlinger, J. (1995). The best of what we are: Reflections on the Nicaraguan revolution. University of Massachusetts Press.

Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. (November, 2015). Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research Principles for Global Health Research. https://cagh-acsm.org/sites/default/files/principles-ghr-companion-doc.pdf

Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2022, December). Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. https://ethics.gc.ca/eng/policy-politique_tcps2-eptc2_2022.html

Christiaens, K. (2014). Between diplomacy and solidarity: Western European support networks for Sandinista Nicaragua. European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire, 21(4), 617-634. https://doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2014.933184

Cox, L. (2015). Scholarship and activism: A social movements perspective. Studies in social justice, 9(1), 34-53.

Faulkner, S. (2019). Poetic Inquiry as Social Justice and Political Response. Vernon Press.

Fernández, P.D. (2015). Fora o imperialism da America Central. El Caso de la solidaridad brasileña con la revolución Sandinista. Revista de la Red de Intercátedras de Historia de América Latina Contemporánea. 2(2), 93-114.

Glesne, C. (1997). That rare feeling: Re-presenting research through poetic transcription. Qualitative inquiry 3(2), 202-221.

Gonzalez, M. (1990). Nicaragua: What went wrong? Bookmarks.

Gosse, V. (1995). Active engagement: The legacy of Central America solidarity. NACLA Report on the Americas, 58 (5), 22-29.

Hale, C. R. (Ed.). (2008). Engaging contradictions: Theory, politics, and methods of activist scholarship. University of California Press.

Hanson, L. (2007). Women Activists: Lives of Commitment and Transformation. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Saskatchewan.

Hanson, L. (2020). Fuck Ghomeshi. In S. Goyette (Ed.) Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #Metoo. (pp. 74-75). University of Regina Press.

Hanson, L. (forthcoming, anticipated 2023). Radical subjects: Responsiveness to inequities through activist scholarship. In Bisung, E., Plamondon, K. (Eds.). Centering Equity in Global Health Research. Routledge.

Helm, C. (2014). Booming solidarity: Sandinista Nicaragua and the West German solidarity movement in the 1980s. European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire, 21(4). 519-615. https://doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2014.933179

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2011). Arts-based research as social justice activism. International Journal of Qualitative Research 4(1), 3-20.

Knowles, J.G., & Cole, A. (2008). Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research. Sage Publications.

La Botz, D. (2018). What Went Wrong? The Nicaraguan Revolution: A Marxist Analysis. Brill.

Lovato, R. (2020). Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas. Harper Collins.

Marx, K. (1965). Le capital. In Karl Marx, Oeuvres: Économie (Vol. 1) (p. 995). Gallimard.

Miller, K.C. (2008). Frente Sandalista: The relationship between U.S. activists and the revolutionary vanguard in El Salvador, 1979-1989. Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC). http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/etext/llilas/ilassa/2008/miller-kristin.pdf

NACLA (1995) Reinventing Solidarity, NACLA Report on the Americas, 28(5), 15.

Pendergrast, M. (2009). “Poem is what?” Poetic inquiry in qualitative social science research. International Review of Qualitative Research 1(4), 541-568.

Pendergrast, M., & Belliveau, G. (2012). Poetics and Performance. In A. Traynor & E. Graue (Eds.), Reviewing qualitative research in the social sciences. (pp. 197-210) Routledge.

Perla, H. (2013). Central American counterpublic mobilization: Transnational social movement opposition to Reagan’s foreign policy toward Central America. Latino Studies 11(1), 167–189. https://doi.org/10.1057/lst.2013.3

Power, M. Charlip, J. (2009). Introduction: On solidarity. Latin American Perspectives 36(6), 3-9.

Ramirez, S. (2012). Adios Muchachos: A Memoir of the Sandinista Revolution. Duke University Press.

Rich, A. (1986). Notes towards a politics of location. In Blood, bread, and poetry: selected prose 1979-1985 (pp. 210-231), W.W. Norton.

Robinson, W. (2021, August 19). Crisis in Nicaragua: Is the Ortega-Murillo regime leftist? Part I. NACLA Report on the Americas. https://nacla.org/news/2021/08/17/crisis-nicaragua-ortega-left

Sanford, V., Angel-Ajani, A. Eds. (2008) Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy and Activism. Rutgers, New York.

Searle, M. & Shulha, L. Capturing the imagination: Arts-informed inquiry as a method in program evaluation. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 31(1), 34-60.

Taylor, A., & Hunt-Hendrix, L. (2019, August 26). One for all. The New Republic. https://newrepublic.com/article/154623/green-new-deal-solidarity-solution-climate-changeglobal-


Tools for Peace National Office (Canada). (c. 1982-1991). Tools for Peace National Office Canada fonds. [Textual Records]. Reference Code RC0194. McMaster University. Hamilton, ON.

Tools for Peace. (c. 1982-1990). Tools for Peace fonds. [Textual Records]. Series S1-S9. Reference Code AM 1072. City of Vancouver Archives. Vancouver, B.C.

Walters, J. (2021, March 5). The end of the road. Full Stop. https://www.full-stop.net/2021/03/05/




How to Cite

Hanson, L., & Walters, J. (2023). A Poetic Tribute to the Spirit of Canada-Nicaragua Solidarity: Tools for Peace. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 9(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v9i1.70821

Similar Articles

<< < > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.