Friday, February 29, 2008

The reach and "establishment" of anarchism continues to grow across the world. as the movement grows and matures it lays down roots for the long term of practical organization. Nowhere is this more true than in Montreal, long a strong centre of anarchism in Canada. Here is a press release about the planned opening of yet another anarchist centre in that metropolis...
[A message from Marco and Ianis ...]
As you probably know, local activists are organizing to open an "*Autonomous Social Center*" (Centre Social autogéré, CSA: on the former lands of CN in Pointe-Saint-Charles.
We are going to begin the project with a neighborhood party on June 7-8(date to be confirmed). We would like autonomous projects that will give life to the Autonomous Social Center to be up-and-running by that date: food projects; rooftop gardens, alternative media, bar and show space, bike workshops, free community bikes, and popular education.
To follow-up, we will sustain the pre-Social Center thanks to the autonomous projects that will operate in community spaces until the opening of the Autonomous Social Centre in the spring of 2009.
We would like to get in touch with anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups,in order to know if you can support our project in the following ways:
- sharing of your skills and knowledge;
- material resources (photocopier, server, tools, etc).
- human resources
- promoting the Social Center on your lists.
Getting involved begins now, for the neighborhood party of June 7-8, for the autonomous projects, and for the opening of the Social Center in the spring of 2009.
If you want to meet us in order to get more information or to discuss the project, get in touch!
*First Fundraising Party for the Autonomous Social Center*
Saturday March 1st
At la coop sur Généreux
4518 Papineau
We are inviting you to a fundraising party where you can learn more about the Autonomous Social Center project on the CN lands in Pointe St-Charles,to familiarize with its different self-managed projects under development(food and gardens, alternatives medias, bikes, popular school, bar and shows), to meet people and have fun !
Pot-Luck from 6pm!
Painting on canvas
Information on the Social Center
following by Djs and good homebrew :-)
:: spread the word, it's together that we shall rebuild the world, to reclaim our spaces, and take back what's ours!
:: For more information, you can visit our web site :
How to get there?
The Coop is approximately ten blocs east from the Mont-Royal metro station(in direction of the Olympic Stadium). It takes about 10 to 15 minutes by walk. You can also take bus 97 from Mont-Royal metro station or bus 45 from Papineau metro station. It's the first back street (Généreux) to the north of Mont-Royal on the left side of Papineau. At the second white door to your right, you'll find 4518, it will be la Coop sur généreux!

The second annual New York City Anarchist Bookfair will be held again this year on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12. Here is their press release...
* Press Release:"New York Is Anarchist Country":
2008 NYC Anarchist Bookfair
Scheduled for Sat., April 12 NEW YORK
Following up its very successful debut last year, the 2nd Annual NYC Anarchist Bookfair is scheduled to be held on Sat., April 12, again at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Last year's Bookfair attracted over 1,500 visitors and featured 60 independent publishers, booksellers, infoshops, zines, record labels, media creators, and labor and other activist groups, plus an art show, live performance, and 12 panels, presentations, and workshops over two days.
This year's Bookfair will be an even bigger event, with more panels,workshops, and skillshares extending over both Saturday and Sunday at Judson Memorial Church and a second venue to be announced shortly. Topics willinclude the ABCs of anarchist theory and practice, anarcha-feminism,anarchist publishing, anarchist education, urban and indigenous social movements, and anarchist/queer activism.
Alongside Saturday's exhibitors will be an expanded show of Anarchist Art.An Anarchist Film Festival and an Anarchist Cabaret are planned for theafternoon and evening of Fri., April 11.
"Anarchism is at the core of so much of today's activism, from opposition tothe 'war on terror' to support for communities under siege like the peopleof New Orleans post-Katrina," says Pat Trinidad, a Bookfair organizer. "It's also part of the fabric of New York, going back to the time when Emma Goldman made Greenwich Village her home. Last year we introduced this revolutionary and creative movement to hundreds of people who had never heard of anarchism before except as an insult or an accusation. This year's Bookfair will provide a way for the anarcho-curious to find out more about us, and for anarchists from across the Northeast area to organize, learn,and share their skills."
The 2008 Anarchist Bookfair is organized by The Bookfair Collective. Foodand free childcare will be available. To arrange interviews and for more information on the Bookfair and related events as they develop, please email media or visit our Website at :
---> Saturday, April 12, 2008, 11am-8pm
---> Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Manhattan
New York City, a center of anarchist life, culture, struggle, and ideas for 150 years, hosted its first Anarchist Bookfair last year with great success.Given this success, we are pleased to announce that we will host the 2nd Anarchist Bookfair in New York City again! We are organizing a whole weekend long event with an Anarchist Film Festival, Bookfair, Radical and Anarchist Art, Talks and Panel discussions, Workshops, Skill-shares and a lot more!
The 1st Annual NYC Anarchist Book fair featured over 55 groups exhibiting anarchist books, zines, Cd's, film/video, as well as information on organizing and other activities relating to anarchism. There were over 12 panels, presentations and skill-shares, such as 'Anarchism and Its Aspirations', 'What Would Emma Do? An Anarchy-Feminist Round table','Remembering Spain, Remembering Heroes!' among many others. With an estimated 1800+ people throughout the weekend, it was a great start!
We are looking forward to making this event a success, again, with your help! -The Bookfair Collective



While browsing my links earlier today I came across a sad item on the Commie Curmudgeon blog. It seems that one of my old favourites, Steve Gerber, who created the immortal 'Howard the Duck' character for Marvel Comics way back when passed away on February 10th. he died in a Las Vegas hospital of complications due to pulmonary fibrosis. The author of the Commie Curmudgeon blog pays Steve a tribute by describing how much of an influence he was on him at the time. Read the item to see how Gerber, the Ramones, Patti Smith and Harlan Ellison are all connected.

Gerber was born in 1947 in St. Louis and received a bachelor's degree from St. Louis University before joining Marvel as an assistant editor in 1972. His most famous character was created in 1973 by Gerber and Val Mayerik as a secondary character to the Man-Thing in Adventure into Fear. He graduated into his own back-up feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing in which he starred in a number of horror-parodies such as fighting a vampire cow called Bessie the Hell Cow.

In 1976 due to Howard's immense popularity he was awarded his own book, and Gerber wrote 27 issues of the series. Gerber used this platform to present a great number of subversive and radical ideas, and in 1976 he also launched his 'Howard the Duck for President Campaign'. Howard's plight as a duck "trapped in a world he never made", a world populated by what Howard called "hairless apes" , nonetheless was a premier platform for both satire and political comment. In between fighting the 'Kidney-Lady' and turnips from outer space Howard would find himself in story lines that mocked the American political system of the time.

Howard entered the 1976 American presidential race when he was hired as a security guard for the New York convention of the 'All-Night Party'. When he prevents an assassination attempt on the party's candidate he is, in turn, nominated by popular acclaim. He accepts the nomination because "he has nothin' planned between now and November". Howard's speech writers, whom he never gets to meet, create all of his so-called platform, and when his campaign manager tells Howard the "facts of life", that politicians don't have programs but merely repeat sound bites Howard's response is to bite him in the nose. Howard's campaign, unfortunately, ends in scandal as he is caught in bathtub photos with his side-kick Beverley "Thunder-Thighs" Switzer. From here he and Beverley flee to Canada where he defeats the supervillian 'Le Beaver'. The pair had linked up in the "tropical paradise" of Cleveland where poor Howard was first deposited from his parallel universe when "the cosmic axis shifted".

The 'Howard the Duck for President' campaign took off. This was, after all, a time when farce candidates for elections were all the rage. The grand-daddy of them all was probably the Yippies' 'Pigasus', a pig running for president, but there is little doubt that Howard's campaign appealed to a much wider demographic than that 1960s effort did. This was also when Molly had some brief contact with Gerber. I had been a comic collector for many years and often liked to write to their letter pages (yes even occasionally defending anarchism in same, though that was hardly the subject of the vast majority of my letters). Because my name was known down at Marvel I managed to make contact with Gerber himself. At the time our anarchist group had its own farce candidate, Tom Turkey (a real turkey) whom we ran for every office under the Sun, from Prime Minister to head of the local Teamsters' Union and many others besides. While we were Canadians, and therefore not entitled to participate in American elections The Friends of Tom Turkey were still appointed as the "official outside agitators committee" for Howard's campaign. I guess we were about as "outside" as you could get. Those were fun days...
In 1978 Gerber and Marvel clashed over creative control of the series, and Gerber was suddenly removed from the series. This was the first major "creator's rights"case in American comics, and many in the industry rushed to Gerber's defense to create protest/parody stories, such as Destroyer Duck ,created along with Jack Kirby. Seems that Gerber's freewheeling and experimental style had become a little bit too much for the Marvel bureaucracy to handle. This was also the time when the 'Evil Mouse' entered the picture as Disney began to threaten copyright lawsuits over the character, forcing Howard to actually !!! put on pants to distance himself from the Evil Mouse ducks. I'm not kidding ! The Howard the Duck series didn't last long after Gerber's departure. It was cancelled with issue # 31 in May, 1979.
Marvel then tried to relaunch the series as a bimonthly, but without Gerber's input this project fizzled after only 9 issues. Gerber later became reconciled to Marvel, and Howard continued to appear fitfully as a secondary character in many of its comics. In 2001 Marvel launched its "mature readers" MAX series, and Gerber wrote a six issue Howard the Duck miniseries with considerably stronger language and sexual content than what was considered popular back in the 1970s. In the last few years Howard has occasionally popped up as a side character in She-Hulk. If you want to read the full history of Howard and his times check out the Wikipedia article on same.
Goodbye Steve. You'll be sorely missed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

True to the decades old convergence of South American "caudillismo" with both fascism and leftism the would-be dictator of Venezuela, Chavez, has seen fit to denounce some of his more enthusiastic followers who have the illusion that his revolution is a real revolution. Here's a little news item that shows must how closely Chavez is following in the footsteps of Juan Peron...
Chavez Says Activists May Trigger Backfire Against `Revolution'
By Matthew Walter
Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez criticized activists who occupied the archbishop's palace in Caracas and held protests in front of a private television network in the name of his Bolivarian revolution, saying the acts may lead to violence.

Chavez said social activist Lina Ron, who led a group of about 20 Chavez supporters in yesterday's occupation of the archbishop's palace, acted irresponsibly.

``Lina Ron, I adore her, but I have to criticize her, because this is a big display of a lack of discipline,'' Chavez said in comments broadcast by state television. ``What it leads you to believe is that these groups, which say they are revolutionary, have been infiltrated, so that through these actions they can erase the government's successes, and cause violent reactions.''

The ``anarchist'' groups that claim to be part of his political movement are overshadowing progress being made by the government in eliminating food shortages and improving healthcare, Chavez said.

Since voters rejected the president's proposal to rewrite the constitution in December, handing him his first electoral defeat in nine years, he has focused on fixing problems that affect his poor base of supporters.

The president said that last night's protest at Globovision was ``risky,'' saying it could cause the same kind of damage that the ``ultra-left'' in Chile did to President Salvador Allende in 1973, when he was overthrown in a bloody coup.

``Some of these so-called Bolivarian circles, nobody knows what their plan is,'' Chavez said. ``I've met with some of them, and I was very concerned. They seem more like anarchistic groups.''
To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Walter in Caracas at .
So remember kiddies..."Eff ve do not haf discipline eet vill be anarchy. Za revolution must haf discipline or it vill be anarchy. Seig Heil. Unt eef I am overthrown zen all hope has perished because ve must have zee leader principle.

Many public policies depend, especially nowadays, on public perception rather than reality. The continuing Canadian participation in the American occupation of Afghanistan is one such instance. the following article from the Harper Index (keeping track of Stevie's manipulations) describes how our present government has manipulated public perception of this war. Make sure to subscribe toi this site for the latest on sneaky Stevie.
Mission vs. war – How Afghanistan conflict is framed
Canada's military involvement has been marketed as a noble cause, with help from Hillier, Horton's and hockey.

OTTAWA, February 28, 2008:
With the exception of the United States, Canada is isolated in its active involvement in the war against Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan. Despite this isolation, and 78 Canadian deaths to date, the war enjoys enough public support that Canada's two biggest political parties are on the verge of a compromise motion supporting it. Canada will be committed to stay in Afghanistan longer than the Soviets did, with little evidence that six years of NATO involvement has advanced its cause more than the Soviets managed for themselves earlier.

Why do Canadians support this war enough for such a compromise while Dutch, French, Italians, and others opt to stay out? The answer lies in the way this war was sold to Canadians by the Harper government and its allies and by what it is called.

In part it may be the government has succeeded in framing the war against insurgents in Afghanistan as a "mission", which is how it is almost always now described. "George W. Bush proclaimed a War on Terror to confuse the legal authorities," and military historian and author Desmond Morton told in an email interview from his McGill University office. "There was no identifiable enemy. There were no treaty-binding rules for such a conflict... The word mission is even more frightening to me since it speaks to a kind of colonial arrogance deeply imbedded in our Afghan presence. Are we on a mission to convert the Afghans to our values? What if the Afghan National Army took up residence in Canada to teach us the proper way to handle gay marriage or the rights of women. We would want them out - quite desperately but not necessarily unanimously. Canadians have been sold on the notion that it is our mission to reform Afghanistan - chase the National Police out of corruption, eliminate the drug trade, require higher ethical standards from Afghan officials."

Political scientist Nelson Wiseman, interviewed by phone from his University of Toronto office, agreed that calling the war a mission "...paints the picture that it's much more than a war. But I think that's a legitimate claim," he said, in view of Canada's development efforts there.

Wiseman says, however, "It is dangerous for Harper to ally himself too closely to Bush in Afghanistan. That's why he's not using the same kind of phrases as Bush. He's not using 'cut-and-run', for instance. He's trying to immunize himself on it by co-opting the Liberals." The main danger for Harper, Wiseman says, "is if an election occurs during 'a bad downward spiral' in the conflict 'with large numbers of Canadian troops injured in high-profile incidents'."

Morton believes Canada's top solider, Rick Hillier, is largely responsible for Canadians becoming "sold" on the Afghanistan conflict and says Hillier "is a product of my own advice to the Canadian military at my annual Staff College briefing. If you want to win resource battles in Ottawa, treat it as Battle Space Ottawa and learn the same rules as other winners. Publicity is power. Learn the rules of engagement and find the guts to fight."

"Hillier's predecessors were driven by ambition and acute nervousness," Morton says. "Canadians prefer his frankness and his no-nonsense wisdom to that of politicians. He appeals to the kind of political reporters who appeal to sports page readers. That includes a lot of NDP voters. The Left has to handle the guilt which rises in anyone accused of not 'Backing Our Boys'..."

War or mission, public opinion polls indicate Canadians are split in their support for what Canada is doing in Afghanistan, but Morton feels it would be a difficult issue to campaign against. He says the Liberals' compromised this week because they feel the same. "I suspect that Harper has a fairly popular issue in Afghanistan, particularly with people who reflect his conservative values and so long as Canadians feel indifferent to the costs - 78 lives and who knows how much specific aid money."

Wiseman says, "people become inured to the casualties" over time, explaining why soldiers' deaths get less media coverage as time passes.

As the debate shifts, in the wake of the Manley report, to troop contributions from other countries rather than the appropriateness of the war, support for the war hardens. "Canadians I talk to are aggressively hostile to NATO members who have opted for safer service in Afghanistan," says Morton. "Frankly, I think that Harper succeeds because he has a more coherent message on Afghanistan."

That message is driven home repeatedly through the "Support our Troops" campaign, the efforts of companies like Tim Horton's, which prominently promote it, and promotion related to hockey. From Don Cherry endorsements, to politicians at hockey games, to Canadian Forces recruiting ads running at saturation level on hockey broadcasts, the war is heavily promoted to a broad target group of middle Canadians - hockey fans.

Those who oppose the war might begin by framing it as a war, rather than a mission. Most Canadians probably support development assistance for Afghanistan, which the government increased in the budget this week. Opponents are safer to talk about the idea of building democracy and peace through diplomacy rather than the American-style notion of doing it through a war, which despite six years of effort, has shown decidedly mixed results. Canadians will feel less supportive of a "mission" to which local resistance may well be growing due to the warlord governments, corruption and ongoing severe human rights violations it appears to support. Referring to a "hockey goon" approach, however, will only invoke Harper's frame of hockey as a metaphor.

Harper Index ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

Over the past few weeks the online campaign generated by Labour Start in support of jailed Iranian trade unionists has gathered 3,300 messages of protest to the Iranian government. In recent days 11 workers whose only crime was to participate in a may day event were sentenced to huge monetary fines and ten lashes each. Labour Start is asking for all of you to redouble your efforts to support union activists in Iran. March 6, two weeks prior to the Iranian New Year, is the international day of action called to support the workers of Iran. Send off your message of protest today. To join this campaign go to
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an organization of farm workers and supporters in the southeastern USA who are attempting to improve the slave labour conditions of workers in those fields. They have initiated a national petition campaign to demand that Burger King and other food industry giants work with them to improve farm labour conditions. Here is their appeal...

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has launched a National Petition Campaign to end modern-day slavery and sweatshops in the fields! The CIW is launching a national petition drive to demand that Burger King and other food industry leaders work with the CIW to improve the wages and working conditions of the workers who pick their tomatoes, and join with the CIW in an industry-wide effort to eliminate modern-day slavery and human rights abuses from Florida's fields. The petitions will serve as notice that those who sign are "prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so."

The campaign comes on the 200th anniversary of the US ban against the importation of slaves, and echoes key strategies of the early abolitionist movement that helped hasten the end of slavery in the 19th century.

Much more than an e-campaign, this petition is a living,tangible organizing movement that we encourage our allies to bring to life in their own communities. We are calling on Fair Food activists across the country to collect signatures in schools, on campuses, and at community gatherings. We will turnin the petitions in a creative mass procession at Burger King headquarters in Miami later this spring.

Take Action on this Issue:

- Visit to read the petition and sign electronically today; -

Visit to learn more about the campaign and how to bring it to your campus and community!


WHEREAS, there is an ongoing human rights crisis in Florida's fields, including:

* poverty wages, rooted in an antiquated piece-rate pay system that hasn't changed significantly in nearly 30 years;

* long hours without overtime pay when work is available,unemployment and transience when it is not;

* physical abuse and wage fraud by crew leaders, supervisors,and growers;

* damage to body and soul from back-breaking labor, with no employment benefits such as sick days, paid leave, health insurance, or pensions;

* retaliation against workers who protest or organize to alleviate these inhuman conditions;

* and, most shamefully, modern-day slavery, with six successful federal prosecutions of farm labor operations for servitude in Florida over the past decade, and a seventh just initiated, involving well over 1,000 workers and more than a dozen farm employers;

WHEREAS, by leveraging their high-volume purchasing power to extract the lowest prices possible, Burger King and other food industry leaders profit from and play an active role in creating the miserable conditions in Florida's fields;

WHEREAS, Burger King and other food industry leaders have not only refused to join Yum! Brands and McDonald's in working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve farm labor conditions, but have actually sought to reverse gains made by workers in agreements with those corporations;

WHEREAS, private equity firms including Goldman Sachs, Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and others, which are principal shareholders in Burger King and other food industry leaders,have made significant investments in the restaurant industry over the past decade, and have ignored calls by farm workers and consumers for farm labor reform, while continuing to draw billions of dollars in private profits from their investments;

THEREFORE, I add my name and voice to those of countless consumers calling upon Burger King and other food industry leaders to immediately join with the CIW in efforts to end exploitation in the fields and modern-day slavery in the 21st century. I am also prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now,and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so. Specifically, I call on Burger King and other food industry leaders to:

1. Pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes and ensure that the increase is passed on to tomato pickers in the form of increased wages; and

2. Work with the CIW to establish and enforce a human rights-based code of conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor, to ensure fair and safe working conditions.

The following is an appeal from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) for solidarity and participation in a public forum to be held at McMaster University tomorrow. The issue is the banning of the term 'Israeli Apartheid' from use by student groups at that institution. The term is actually quite apt, but Molly has a few reservations about the whole climate in which this situation has developed. Please see the 'Molly Comments' at the end of this article.
Defend the Right to Organize on Campus!
Two weeks ago, the McMaster Provost office, second in authority to that of the President's office, announced that student clubs were banned from using the term "Israeli Apartheid" (see statement from McMaster students below). On Friday, 29th February, students at McMaster are holding a public forum to protest this unprecedented attack on the right to, academic freedom and the right to organize.
They need your support!
Free buses will be leaving to McMaster from University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University to attend this important meeting. The forum will begin at 10am with a rally immediately afterwards, and buses will return to Toronto around 2pm.
All are welcome (you don't need to be a university student) and transportation is free. Please RSVP as below.
Two buses courtesy of CUPE 3903, OPIRG U of T and the University of Toronto Students Union (UTSU)
Buses Leaving: 8:30am
Place: Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle University of Toronto
Bus courtesy of York Federation of Students
Buses Leaving: 8:30am
Place: Meet at Vari Hall
Bus courtesy of Ryerson Student Union,Local 24 Canadian Federation of Students
Buses Leaving: 8:30am sharp
Place: Student Centre, 55 Gould street
*** To send a message of support to the students at Mac, email:
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid statement available at
We request that you send letters to the following persons who are responsible for this infringement on the basic democratic rights of McMaster students,faculty and community members:
McMaster University Provost, Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac:
McMaster University President, Dr. Peter George:
McMaster Student Union President, Ryan Moran:
Human Rights and Equity Services:
17 February 2008 United for Student Rights (U4SR) is holding a Public Forum to discuss the recent shocking decision by McMaster Student Union (MSU) and administration to unequivocally ban on campus the usage of the phrase "Israeli Apartheid".This decision was first passed by the McMaster Provost office, which is second in authority only to that of the President's office. It has been accepted by McMaster Human Rights & Equity Services (HRES) and, in turn, the MSU. This information was communicated to Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights(SPHR)and McMaster Muslims for Peace & Justice (MMPJ) early in February 2008 by the MSU and HRES.
Due to this decision, these MSU approved clubs have not been able to get approval for various initiatives related to Israeli Apartheid. It is the MSU that is directly enforcing this decision, as it is the only campus body with jurisdiction over student clubs. MSU President, Ryan Moran, explained that though the MSU is not bound by this decision, it has chosen to implement it none the less. U4SR is calling on the MSU to rescind this decision immediately as part of opening up the discussion for all to decide.
Statement of Human Rights & Equity Services: "The university has taken the position that literature which refers to "Israeli apartheid" and activities promoted under the banner, "Israeli Apartheid Week" are unacceptable. The university takes the position that this phrase is in violation of the university's efforts to ensure that all people will be treated with dignity and tolerance."
According to the statement of HRES, banning Israeli Apartheid organizing is a matter of dignity and tolerance. In the view of those who use the term,opposing Israeli Apartheid is a matter of dignity and tolerance for the peoples of the Middle East and world over who are fighting for justice and for human rights. Clearly, there is a contradiction of a political nature between these two views. U4SR considers this decision unacceptable especially given that the recent decision of the Provost is in keeping with consistent efforts by the McMaster administration, MSU and even Hamilton Police to repress Palestinian solidarity work over the last six years. At every point, Palestinian solidarity views have been presented as anti-Semitic and a matter of hate crimes. The most recent decision by the Provost is a ramping up of longstanding attempts to criminalize the views of students who oppose Zionist violations of the human and national rights of Palestinians. Such efforts overlook the importance of political engagement and discussion on university campuses, while making political issues a matter of policy and decisions taken behind closed doors by various offices of the university.
This history provides an important context for understanding that the banning of terms diverts from the violation of the political and human rights of students attempting to defend a just peace for Palestine. These are not simple matters to be decided arbitrarily and in private. They are related to profound questions of rights and responsibilities on campus and in society at large. It is unjust to require that the students most affected should submit to this decision or simply engage in an unequal private dialogue with the administration.
A Matter for All to Decide
It is important to note that the administration has an obligation to society to respect the basic legal and moral rights of the university community.Despite all its efforts to claim that the university can act like a private corporation, McMaster is a public institution that plays a central role in the development of youth and intellectual thought. In turn, Human Rights &Equity Services is mandated to defend and elaborate issues of human rights on campus, and this function has ramifications for all of society. Similarly, the MSU plays an important role in supporting and intervening in society, as the organized front of students. In sum, the functioning of all these parts of the McMaster University and their recent decision are a matter that concerns all students, faculty, and the general Hamilton and Canadian society. For this reason, U4SR is holding a public forum so that everyone's views can be heard. We are inviting the administration and MSU to be part of this discussion and no longer use their positions of power to impose their views on the conscience of students. We are also calling on all students, faculty, staff and members of the Hamilton community to join the discussion. Organisers will ensure that everyone's participation and comments are respected. We, as Canadian students, are taking up our responsibility to society. We are working to end the marginalization of the McMaster community and Canadian polity at large from the decision-making processes that affect their lives and the political orientation of our society. This struggle at one university campus is a converging point for all those who believe that Canadian society should decide political matters in a public and transparent way.
Join us!
United for Student Rights is an ad-hoc committee of McMaster University and Hamilton community members that was formed to facilitate public involvement in this issue.
For information please contact:
Molly Comments:
I have always had a certain amount of reservations about "solidarity work" where the issue is one of "nationalism" rather than class or community. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the classic case of this. The way in which such campaigns develop is that one side is demonized and the other is glorified. Even anarchists, who should obviously know better, get swept up in the dynamics of such "solidarity" and deny the obvious fact that both sides are bad. That's rather abstract as, despite the illusions and magical thinking of the participants, such solidarity campaigns have little or no effect on the reality on the ground of the part of the world that they complain about. What I object to is that the process of picking good guys (whose faults you studiously ignore) and bad guys (who never are justified in anything they do) spills over into the more immediate and vastly more important ways in which people organize themselves in the countries where they live.
Student movements in eastern Canada have a long and disgraceful history of attempting to prevent free speech on their campuses where the speaker is one who is "pro-Israel". No doubt the general public is usually rather forgiving, or at least forgetful, but the way in which the activists who are pro-Palestinian are presently being censored is a mere imitation of how such activists acted in the past. The very existence of a 'Human Rights and Equity Service' bureaucracy on an university campus is living testimony to the efforts of previous activists to enforce a "politically correct" silence on their institutions. In other words, your previous actions created the very tools that are now being used against you. It's not surprising to me.
Now I know how futile it is to argue with most in the "activist frame of mind" and try to suggest that maybe the side they choose is not all good and the "enemy" is not all evil. But from pure practicality this is merely one instance out of dozens where the tactics of over-enthusiastic campaigners have come back to haunt them. Maybe you should think about it before you try to disrupt any more lectures.
I hardly expect that the average "activist" should be firmly grounded enough in the thought of anarchism that they would realize that freedom of opinion is a value far in excess of the average fashionable issue of the hour. I would, however, urge them to consider how they are cutting their own throats by actions against such freedom, and how it may come back to haunt them in cases such as these. It would also be nice, but perhaps unrealistic, for such activists to be anarchic enough to refuse to try and score so-called "free money" off the putrid rotten boroughs that almost all student unions are. The lure of free money can overwhelm many ethical considerations.
Anarchism has many disadvantages in the struggle for public acceptance, some of them implicit in the ideology itself and some of them thrown gratuitously in by its crazier practitioners. It does, however, have one great advantage if properly practiced. Its standard of morality is far superior to that of any other political philosophy. Anarchists should think good and hard before they abandon this advantage for the lure of temporary "issues".
To sign off...the term "Israeli apartheid" is actually quite an accurate historical comparison, and one hopes that its use cannot be forbidden in a so-called institution of higher learning. But those who are presently on the sharp end of the stick should see how previous actions have sharpened the stick and not repeat previous mistakes.

The jobs of about 70 workers at Melbourne, Australia's 'Qantas Valet Parking' are in jeopardy as a new contractor is due to take over this coming Saturday, March 1. The workers have been given a deadline as of that date to accept major cuts to their wages and work conditions as well as to each sign an 'Australian Work Agreement'. The latter is a devise under Australian law whereby collective agreements with the union of the workers' choice can be subverted by forcing employees to individually sign contracts of employment. The workers involved have called for support, both local and international. You can read more about this issue and join an email campaign at the Union Solidarity website.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The following is a translation of an announcement of a book launch coming up this March 14. Les originals français sont à Voix de Faits (Québec) et La Commune (Montréal).
The fruit of long and detailed research , this work presents a living and fertile image of the influence of anarchist ideas in Quebec history. In this way it reveals the existence of this current of thought long before the cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s. From the refugees of the Paris Commune, to the painters and poets of the autonomist movement passing through anti-clerical militants of the Workers' University and the Jewish revolutionaries of Montreal's "Yiddishland", Matthieu Houle-Courcelles reanimates different people and experiences of anarchism and offers an original contribution to the present debate on the collective memory of French Canada.
When: Friday, March 14 2008 from 5 to 8 pm.
Where: L'AgitéE (251 boul. Dorchester in Quebec City. Further launch in Montreal on March 20).
MOLLY COMMENT: This sounds like a very valuable book. I'll probably end up ordering a copy from the publisher 'Lux'. One hopes there is an English translation in the future. To my knowledge this is the first book length treatment of anarchism in Canada. There have certainly been articles about the movement in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. before. The contributions of Federico Arcos for Toronto and NEFAC and Larry Gambone for Quebec stand out. There have also been book length histories of both the IWW and the OBU, but this is probably the first that treats anarchism as a distinct subject separate from syndicalism. Here's to great success for the book !




Molly has blogged previously on the case of Robert Latimer, convicted in the October 1993 mercy killing of his severely disabled daughter Tracy Latimer(see our archives for Dec. 7, 2007 and Jan. 26, 2008). His "crime" was that he wished to spare her further pain. Despite the recommendation of the jury in the case that he be granted parole after only a year in jail he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 10 years. He was the only person in canada to ever serve time for a mercy killing. While he is not eligible for full parole for another 3 years he was eligible to apply for "day parole". Last December the National Parole Board refused his application, mainly because he didn't grovel and engage in psychobabble at his hearing- like every person who has full intent to commit the same crimes again always does- psychobabble is the present language of authority and you can get away with murder if you speak their language. Mr. Latimer still fully believes that what he did what the right thing. On appeal, however, the Appeal Division of the National Parole Board found today that the Board that heard Mr. Latimer's case erred because it was obvious that their main mandate, to ascertain whether an inmate will re-offend, was not the basis of their decision. As most people familiar with the case know Latimer has pretty well a zero chance of ever doing the same thing again. The decision to not grant Latimer day parole offended a large segment of the Canadian population, used as they are to seeing actual vicious killers, ones that have every likelihood of re-offending on release, serve far less time than Latimer already has. The only people who seem disappointed on Mr. Latimer's release are a small number of unelected "representatives of the disabled" who make their living from being such. Others who presumable might feel threatened by the decision, such as religious fundamentalists and mindworms (so-called "counsellors", and others who make their living by manipulation) have been relatively silent about the case. Read the full story of today's decision HERE (amongst many other sources).

Robert Latimer was given two conditions for his day parole. One is that he have no responsibility for any severely disabled person (quite reasonable). The other is that the Appeal Board made an attempt at saving face by "sentencing him to counselling" (yes the same now quite old joke that has become pretty well a public laughing stock. One can but imagine the room when the mindworm tries to bullshit Latimer. One can only hope that the close proximity of an honest man with the courage of his convictions will cause the manipulator to burst into flames like Dracula sprinkled with holy water.
Latimer has applied to serve his day parole in a half-way house in Ottawa. So-called "disabled advocates" are disturbed by this fact because it is likely that he will spend his time productively in lobbying efforts on the subject of euthanasia.
For more on the case see the Robert Latimer website and especially the online forum Justice in Canada (for the latest news and comment).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, now in its 9th year, is the largest anarchist event in North America. Coming soon, on May 17 to 18 , it is the one anarchist event that you don't want to miss. The bookfair is part of a one month long 'Festival of Anarchy'. Here is the update of what's happening with the show so far...
[Second callout; Updates about posters and deadlines below; Please post and forward widely]
Montreal's 9th Anarchist Bookfair & Festival of Anarchy (MAY 2008) :::
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday, May 17, 2008;the Bookfair will be followed by a full day of workshops on May 18. Reserve these dates!
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair is for anarchists, allies, and those who are interested or curious about anarchism.
Welcome to all!
MONTREAL'S 9th ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR Saturday, MAY 17, 10am to 6pmCEDA, 2515 rue Delisle(near the Lionel-Groulx metro)
The largest anarchist event in North America.--> Part of the month-long Festival of Anarchy (May 2008).--> Followed by a full day of Anarchist Presentations and Workshops (May 18,2008).--> Bring your kids! Kids activities and free childcare on-site. [The main space is wheelchair accessible. For more information or to inquire about other accessibility needs, see our accessibility policy -- or contact the collective.]
DEADLINE REMINDERS* Reminder: Deadline for workshop and presentation proposals for the Bookfair(May 17) and the Day of Workshop and Presentations (May 18) is this coming MARCH 3, 2008! More info about workshop proposals below or at :
For other proposals – art exhibits, films, festival of anarchy events, and to reserve a table at the bookfair, please get in touch BEFORE April 1st.
POSTER AND FLYERS ARE READY!* This year's Bookfair poster and flyer, designed by CX, are now ready fordistribution! You can view the Bookfair poster at:
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair is for anarchists, but also anyone interested or curious about anarchist ideas and practice; that means that the posters and flyers will be WIDELY distributed around Montreal, and WE NEED YOUR HELP! Indoor postering and flyering is starting NOW. If you are from the Montreal-area and can help with the distribution offlyers and posters, please e-mail or phone 514-848-7583.
PHOTOS* Check out the PHOTOS from the 2006 edition of the Montreal AnarchistBookfair and Day of Workshops, to give you an idea of what the Bookfair weekend is all about:
More info below about:
*a) Workshops (deadline for proposals is March 3, 2008)
*b) Tabling at the bookfair (deadline April 1)
*c) Art Exhibits and Films (deadline April 1)
*d) Festival of Anarchy Events (deadline April 1)
*e) Volunteers, Supporters, Postering and Publicity
*f) Contact Information
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair and Festival of Anarchy is the largest anarchist event in North America, and an important exchange of anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas. The Bookfair is for anarchists and non-anarchists alike, in French and English (and other languages too), with participants from all of North America and beyond. Founded in May 2000, the Bookfair is now entering its ninth year. Anarchist Bookfair events include book and information tables, workshops, readings, films, presentations, walking tours and much more.
Once again, the Anarchist Bookfair will be followed - on Sunday, May 18 - by a full day dedicated to anarchist-themed workshops and presentations. As in the past, the "Festival of Anarchy" will take place in May, with diverse events organized by anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups.
* a) Workshop Proposals :::::* Proposals for the Day of Workshops (Sunday) should address ananarchist-themed topic in some depth, and should be intended for people who are already familiar with anarchism, or might identify as anarchists. The collective will accept between 10 to 15 workshops. Workshop proposals for the Bookfair day (Saturday) should be introductory workshops to anarchism, or an aspect of anarchism, and should be aimed at people who are curious about, or new to, anarchist ideas. These workshops should be accessible to non-anarchists. The collective will accept up to 6 introductory workshops. More detailed information about workshop proposals, including guidelines and previous workshops, is linked at: *--> The deadline for workshop proposals is MARCH 3, 2008
* b) Tabling at the Bookfair : The heart of the Bookfair is the main auditorium on May 17, 2008 (10am-6pm)which will include booksellers, distributors, independent presses and political groups from all over Montreal, Quebec and North America, and abroad. Please make sure to read our principles . Contact us at to request table space. If you haven't tabled at the Bookfair before, please include a short description ofyour group and the material you intend to distribute at the Bookfair. The deadline to request a table is APRIL 1, 2008.
* c) Art Exhibits and Films :::::* The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will again be displaying artwork relating to anarchism and anti-authoritarian, autonomous or anarchist-supported struggles. Please consider proposing an exhibit of photos, posters, original art, repros - anything within the parameters of the Bookfair that can be mounted on a wall or placed in a corner! The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will also have a film room running all day,showing films related to anarchism or anarchist-supported struggles, that fall within the principles of the Anarchist Bookfair. --> The deadline for art exhibit and film proposals is APRIL 1, 2008.
*d) Festival of Anarchy Events :::::* In addition to the Bookfair and Day of Workshops, the entire month of May ispart of a Festival of Anarchy, with diverse anarchist-themed eventsoccurring at different venues in Montreal. The Bookfair collective compilesa Festival of Anarchy calendar, but we count on you to organize the actualFestival of Anarchy events. Get in touch to reserve a date for your event in May (calendar dates are "first come first served"). --> The deadline to submit Festival of Anarchy events, to be included in our public calendar, is APRIL 1, 2008.
* e) Volunteers, Supporters, Postering and Publicity --> If you would like to receive Bookfair publicity -- flyers or posters --by regular mail or electronic mail, to distribute in your community get in touch. Also, please specify whether you want publicity materials in English,French or both. --> If you are from the Montreal area, and would like to help with local postering and flyering efforts, please pass on your email and/or phone number and specify what areas you can poster. --> If you would like to support the Bookfair collective in general, with organizing tasks between now and the Bookfair, get in touch!
* f) Contact Information--> If you have other ideas for the Bookfair or Festival of Anarchy, don't hesitate to get in touch with a proposal!
Contact us to receive regular updates and announcements by e-mail. post: Montreal Anarchist Bookfairc/o QPIRG Concordia 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest Montréal, Québec, H3G 1M8 CANADUH, e-mail: , phone: 514-435-2385, web:
Nous parlons français.
Se habla español.

After over a year in development the Encyclopedia of Life portal is now open for your enjoyment. What is it ? It is the beginning of a journey to document all species of life on Earth in a single accessible website. Its goals are...
* To create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike.
*To transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating virtually all known data about every living species.
*To engage a wide audience of schoolchildren, educators, citizen scientists, academics and those who are just curious about Earth's species.
*To increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity.
In the first edition of the portal you will find:
*About 25 exemplar species pages. These pages show the kind of rich environment, with extensive information, to which all the species pages will eventually grow. These pages have been authenticated by practicing scientists.
*Tens of thousands of additional species pages. These pages are authenticated but do not contain the rich array of information found on the exemplar pages.
*About one million minimal species pages contain the scientific and common names for a species and often have a distribution map, but lack other authenticated information.
A fascinating and growing resource. Drop on over to the Encyclopedia of Life and watch it grow. Sign up for their quarterly newsletter. take the online questionnaire. View videos and participate in the blogs. There is also an online forum, and profiles of the research institutions and scientists participating.



Last January 23 long-time OCAP activist "Marcel" lost everything in a house fire. He, his wife and children, however, escaped. Now they need help to get back on their feet. His letter follows. You can find out how to donate by contacting OCAP through their website or at OCAP, 10 Britain St., Toronto, ON M5A 1R6, phone #416-925-6939, email . The letter...

Please take a moment to read this appeal from long-time activist and OCAP member Marcel, who recently lost almost everything in a fire.

Dear comrades and friends,

On the morning of January 23, 2008 sometime just after 7:00 AM my wife and I awoke and immediately realized something was wrong. It was only a few seconds before we realized that not only was it a fire,but that it was bad. The smoke was so thick we couldn't see anything. We ran to the basement stairs and shouted for our children to wake up and get out of the house. Luckily, they heard and ran up the stairs. By this time the house was filled with thick smoke, and we were all coughing up soot outside. I did not even have time to put clothing on and had to run out in my undies, and got frost bite on my feet.

The Fire Dept. was able to save one of our cats, Tommy, but unfortunately our other two cats - Katyusha and Kalinka - perished in the fire and will be missed by us.

At this time we have no evidence that someone caused the fire. I don't think any fascists found out where I live and set the fire, and though the current owner benefits from the fire and had the motive (he now gets to renovate the whole building free of charge thanks to insurance payoff, plus he got rid of defiant tenants) we are pretty sure it was simply electrical.

The current owner bought the place as of November, and the first thing he did was come around and ask for the rent to be raised. He made all kinds of promises about fixing our unit, and it was clear there was major disrepair. We also informed him at that time that electrical problems was the number one priority, having lost electrical functions in about 50% of the unit on both levels.

Instead, he spent $30,000 or so on the empty unit upstairs so that he could rent it out for $1,700 or $1,800 per month.

We defied him every time he wanted to raise the rent, and lucky for us we have a good idea of what the current "Residential Tenancies Act"says, and were able to use that against him. In any case, we had plans to go much further and force this guy through the board to make the repairs. This guy is a professional landlord, real estate agent, and makes serious money on it. Since this guy makes a living on people's need for shelter, we were not prepared to let him off.

I guess I want to tell comrades that they should be hard on their landlords, use the tenant hotline, call the landlord tenant board for help, use the legal clinics, etc. and force your landlord to fix things, especially any serious repairs like furnaces and electrical work.

And also make sure your landlord installs smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers. This is a mistake we will never make again. You should have one on each floor of your unit at the very least. If your landlord won't do it, do it yourself and make him pay later by applying to the board, save your receipts. We didn't have any of these installed and were lucky to have awoke and got out.

As well, you should be careful of illegal apartments with rooms that have no escape during a fire, such as an apartment that includes an attic space or basement. There was a total of 3 exits in our unit but for some bizarre reason our previous landlord decided to seal off 2 of them. Especially basement and second level apartments should have a second way out, as often windows are not an option for escape. I think it was estimated that something like 70% of all apartments in Toronto wouldn't pass inspection. I can't back up this number because I can't remember where I saw it, but from our experience as tenants and having half a dozen different landlords I don't doubt it.

We were able to recover some of our belongings, and luckily much of our collectibles and most books are OK. We still need clothes, as we lost a lot of that in the fire.

We also need:

Food vouchers/Gift Cards


Beds (1 bunk bed for kids, 1 double or queen size for us)

Bedding (pillow cases, sheets, etc)


Ethernet cables

Computer desks

Computer mice

PS/2 or USB Keyboards

We would like for comrades to donate us either ca$h or gift cards or whatever to go towards clothing/shoes. I know it sounds a bit snooty,but people have given us so much clothes over the past few weeks that we simply ended up dropping off 70% of it or so at the thrift because it doesn't fit. As well, stuff like socks and underwear you don't want used and kind of like to select yourself.

We got some temporary stuff from the Red Cross, and some vouchers, as well my wife's mother got a collection of furniture and vouchers from the hospital where she works. OCAP hooked us up with $260 in cash which was collected at a general meeting and very helpful,considering we had almost no cash after paying first and last months rent.

We want to also thank Shane for quickly getting in touch with OCAP and as well giving us the comradely support we need. We don't want comrades to break their own bank to help out, so if you're tight don't worry. But if you can spare something it would be greatly appreciated. If you have stuff, vouchers/gift cards, and/or ca$h to donate us, get in touch. As well we can receive email money transfers as we finally got internet.

Thanks everyone for their help, it's greatly appreciated.Your comrades, Marcel and family