Thursday, August 28, 2008

We've spent far less time in Cork than in Dublin, and are due to back on the road tomorrow. So this report is far briefer than the last. There is a branch of the WSM here, but we made no contact. Other than that there is no specific anarchist group, though there once was in the recent past. Cork is a city of between 125,000 to 200,000 people depending on how you define the "city". There is a 7,000 student University here, but one local comrade assured me that it has quite a conservative tradition. It does, however, give something of an artsy fartsy feel to sections of the city.
What we did visit was the Cork Autonomous Zone- Barracka Books (sorry no website available). Like most such infoshops across the world it is small and tucked away on a rather inconspicuous side street. Like all the projects here it is plagued with a lack of money and is in constant talk of moving. The fact that it exists at all is a great tribute to the dedication of the comrades who keep it going. On the way to BB we stopped by at the offices of Sinn Fein, and I may say with deep pleasure that BB had a wider selection of literature than Sinn Fein did. I was given to understand that SF makes most of their trade in Republican bric-a-brac. Not that I didn't contribute myself by buying one of their pins. Ah well, I never claimed purity.
But another great and deep pleasure awaited us at BB. Not a single piece of the anarcho-nut literature on the shelves. Not a single one. It gets better. I start to question the staffer, someone who was obviously not new to the movement. Good stuff on the shelves. Their biggest items were local history and anti-globalization material. "Have you ever heard of 'Anarchy Magazine' ?" He had-vaguely, but had never seen a physical copy. It just doesn't register with what people over here are concerned about. My shit eating grin extends from ear to ear. I pick the worst example I can think of, someone that the anarcho-nuts do their best to promote, even sending the bastard to Spain at one point. "Ever heard of John Zerzan ?". Nope he doesn't know him from Adam. The two sides of my shit eating grin cross at the back of my head and come down on opposite shoulders.
This is one place on Earth where all the efforts of the Americans who have done so much to damage anarchism in their own country haven't reached with their exported "anarchist" version of Coca Cola and McDonalds.
The conversation drifts off into what people here are more concerned about. I assure the fellow that Republican politics are hardly a major topic of conversation in Canada. To say the least. Cork has indeed seen some rather significant campaigns, anti-war, ecological (very big here), anti-Bin tax, etc., and it has a lively if small radical community. Quite a pleasant place. Too bad we won't be staying longer.



The following comes from the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Clean Clothes Campaign.


Support Thai workers: stop Triumph's union busting‏:

Support Thai women workers: stop Triumph’s union busting.

Triumph International fires union leader for wearing a political T-shirt; 3,000 workers strike back.

On July 30, 2008, a Thai subsidiary of Triumph International, one of the world’s largest makers of intimate apparel, fired union president Jitra Kotchadej for wearing an unfashionable t-shirt.

She wasn’t wearing the t-shirt at work, and it wasn’t the colour or the design of the t-shirt that caused offence. It was the message on the shirt: ‘Those who do not stand are not criminals. Thinking differently is not a crime’ -- a reference to the right of people not to stand when the Thai royal anthem is played and to the abuse of Thailand’s lèse-majesté legislation to suppress political opposition.

Ms. Kotchadej was participating in a late night TV debate on women’s reproductive rights. Despite the fact that she was speaking in her private time and not in her capacity as a union leader or worker at Triumph’s Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd. Factory, she was fired. Since then, 3,000 of her co-workers have walked out of the factory in a show of solidarity, demanding the reinstatement of their union president.

Since its inception in 1991, the Triumph Workers’ Union has been an important example of successful union organizing in the apparel sector in Thailand, representing 70 percent of workers at the company. The majority of members are women. The union views the dismissal of their president as an attack on the union, which successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement this summer.

Support their fight for freedom of expression and trade union rights! Click here to write to Triumph today.

More information:

* * * * *


Triumph International/Spiesshofer & Braun Leonardo Innocenzi Global Head of Supply Chain E-mail: cc: Prasad Ramakrishnan, Triumph International Corporate Head of Production - Global Supply Chain E-mail:

Dear Leonardo Innocenzi,

I want to express my serious concern about the recent dismissal of Jitra Kotchadej, union president at your subsidiary Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd.

Freedom of expression is a basic human right, and guaranteed within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. I am shocked to hear that your company does not respect this basic right, and has dismissed Jitra Kotchadej for expressing her personal opinion.

I call upon Triumph International and your subsidiary Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd. to:

1) Immediately reinstate union president Jitra Kotshadej at her previous position and without conditions;
2) Take back the union members who have laid down their work in support of Jitra Kotshadej, without conditions or disciplinary actions, and with a compensation for their lost income;
3) Engage in a dialogue with the union regarding the reported anti-union activities of BFT management.
I look forward to hearing from you.



Maquila Solidarity Network / Ethical Trading Action Group

606 Shaw Street,




M6G 3L6

416-532-8584 (phone)

416-532-7688 (fax)

The following is from the Common Cause/Linchpin organization in Toronto. Some of it, the fifth issue of their magazine, has already been reported here, but the results of their recent conference have not.'s the magazine in their own words rather than mine, and the tidbits of the conference as well. Enjoy. As I've said repeatedly here, practical organized anarchism is growing while the less savoury aspects are declining. If anarchism doesn't take the concerns of ordinary people seriously- as the Common Cause people DO- then it is not anarchism, merely some sort of fashion trend, and a declining one at that. But now for the more serious folks and their works...
1.. Linchpin #5 OUT NOW!
This is the August / Sept 2008 issue of the Linchpin paper, published by Common Cause. We publish articles written by our members as well as by others involved in action / movements. Please contact us if you would like to contribute or have any feedback.
We make copies of this paper available in the Ontario communities in which we have a presence, and are always looking to expand. If you'd like to get involved in helping in our distribution efforts, please contact us.
Please contact us if you would like to contribute or have any feedback at
Copies are available at a number of locations, including:
HAMILTON - The Skydragon Centre, 27 King William St.
OTTAWA - Exile Infoshop, 256 Bank St.;
Oneness Grassroots Promotions,430 Rideau St.
TORONTO - Toronto Women's Bookstore, 73 Harbord St.
PDF of Linchpin issue 5 to download -
In this issue;
Autoworkers – Nothing to Lose
According to the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW), the Canadian auto industry including both assembly and parts has lost a total of nearly30,000 jobs since 2001. If autoworkers do not respond strongly, even radically, to this blatant attack on their livelihoods, it is likely that these trends will continue in both Canada and the USA, writes Mick S.
Residential School Apology: An Anarchist View
Residential schools were a project to spread capitalism. Residential schools were meant to turn Indigenous peoples into settlers and make them workers and peasants for the capitalist system. Harper will never apologize for the real goals of the residential schools, writes Rev.
It's the Stupid Economy
Hard as it is to ignore when people walk away from their homes en masse, cannot manage their debts en masse, cannot afford to heat their homes, or drive their cars en masse – and when whole economies contract around the cost of supplying the fuel necessary to bring the goods to market, it would seem inevitable that tough times are ahead,writes Big B.
Against the State and Capital on the High Seas
Thanks to the work of a rare breed of historians (see below) we now know that the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, rather than violent thieves, were in fact rebels against the oppression of the young modern state and of a still-emerging capitalism, writes MarleyB.
Practicing Anarchism
There is a widespread belief that anarchism means chaos and disorganization instead of its true meaning: direct democratic control over all aspects of society including the economy, social and economic equality and liberty. However, at least for one night in Hamilton,those 20 or so people who attended Kim Keyser's talk, "The Prefigurative Organization," got a glimpse of what anarchism really means, reports Marley B.
Hamilton's Anarchist Book Fair and Monthly Discussion Groups
Read a brief report on Common Cause Hamilton's successful Anarchist Book Fair held in June and join us for our monthly anarchist discussion groups.
Toronto Bad Books Club
If you are in the Toronto area, join Common Cause Toronto's book club held the first Saturday of every month.
Ottawa Anarchist Discussion Group and Fall Conference
Common Cause Ottawa is keeping busy re-starting Ottawa's long running monthly Anarchist Discussion Group and putting together the Organizing for Justice conference for late fall.
You can read all of the articles at
2. Report from the 2008 Ontario Conference of Common Cause.
On August 16 and 17, 2008 Common Cause, an Ontario Anarchist-Communist organization, held it's second annual Ontario-wide conference in Hamilton, Ontario. In attendance were members from Common Cause Branches in Hamilton, Ottawa, and Toronto as well as observers from the Four Star Anarchist Organization based in Chicago.
We started with reports from Ontario Officers and local Branches,which gave us a good overall view of the organization in our rookie year. We were generally pleased with the progress we have made as an organization since our founding Conference in 2007 though we recognize that we still have a long way to go before we represent a significant revolutionary organization. In 2007/ 2008 significant activities included organizing the 1st annual Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair, which was a smashing success;Publishing five issues of the free Linchpin Newspaper which currently has a print run of 1700 copies with many more downloaded off our popular website; Regular public anarchist discussion groups in Hamilton, Ottawa, and a book club in Toronto.
Much of the first day was spent working on proposals on our internal democratic structures, and in the end we passed significant amendments to our constitution. The second day was split between political discussions on subjects such as a proposed Equity Policy, Gender and Women's oppression, and Nationalism and anti-imperialism. In the end no papers were adopted. However, some of them were sent to working groups and an proposal was passed that we we hold a yearly day-school to work on policy development and building our member's skills.
We also discussed our activities and strategies in relation to the Labour movement; Indigenous struggles; The G8 summit in 2010; Our publications such as the Linchpin Newspaper; and working with other Anarchists and organizations on the Left.
We also held elections for our officer positions, which saw a significant rotation of officer positions with only the Ontario Secretary and Treasurer returning for a second term in 2009. At the end of the conference we felt that we had made real progress moving forward our democratic structures; discussions on political positions; and future activities.
We're going into our second year as a stronger maturing organization and will continue to work steadily towards building anarchist social revolution in Ontario and internationally. This conference made it clear that Common Cause is here to stay.
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with Common Cause please contact us at:
Common Cause
P.O. Box 347,
Station E772 Dovercourt Rd.
Toronto, ON, Canada,
M6H 4E3

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As is usual when the wife and I travel we try and drop in on the local anarchists, if this is at all possible. Here in Ireland we had the privilege of meeting with and socializing with some of the members of the WSM in Dublin. Here are some preliminary impressions.
1)As in most countries the anarchist movement here is small, smaller in fact than what I expected it to be viewing its activities from the perspective of Canada. This small size is belied by the considerable influence it has through the activities and organizational principles of the WSM. The WSM itself is small, but, if I was to try and "stage it up" to a country the size of Canada, it would mean that we had somewhere between 350 and 410 well organized and dedicated anarchists who were actually active in matters that meant something to ordinary people, not just "fashionistas" more content with a "scene" than with building something relevant to what anarchism actually strives for. We have no such numbers in Canada, and it is a pity. There are certainly thousands, perhaps over 10,000 "anarchists" in Canada, but they are chronically disorganized, and especially as we live right next door to the fulminating heart of all that is crazy in the world, the USA, many are not just unconcerned with "public outreach" but actually do all they can to drive as wide a wedge as possible between anarchism and "the public". Ireland seems mercifully free of this sort of foolishness, or maybe that's just the impression of a brief visitor.
2)Unlike say Spain and Greece, but like most other countries that we have visited, including our own, an ordinary person could easily arrive, stay for years, and never come in contact with anything that might say there was indeed an anarchist movement here in Ireland. But the comparison is unfair. Something like "Infoshops" give a slight visibility (I understand there is one here in Cork that we hope to visit before we leave) as well as in Galway. Brief mini-riots at gatherings of the international ruling class also, despite the illusions of the participants, give even less "visibility". Ordinary people are far less likely to pay any attention to such things than they are to the most minor sporting event. They simply don't touch the average person's concerns and anyways, you always know who will win the game in the end. Police 2200; Black Bloc 0.
But where this is unfair is that the WSM is involved in activities that actually matter and have long term effects on people's lives. Whether these be the unions, community struggles or whatever they are neither flashy "protests" staged more for 10 seconds of TV time nor building a cozy little in group. The WSM was one of the major forces behind the recent rejection of the 'Lisbon Treaty' for instance, and they have long term activity in the campaign to legalize abortion here in Ireland- something that actually matters , unlike say bullshitting about "ending civilization" as is so popular in the USA.
This sort of "visibility" here is indeed more profound than in places such as Canada (even though we're not exactly outstanding there either) where there is a more prominent "scene".
3)One of the most pithy comments that I have heard from a local anarchist here relates to the lack of a long term anarchist tradition in Ireland. It's probable that we "started" earlier in Canada than they did here, especially as anarchist groups were already "well" established when I first became active circa about 1971. Still, as the guy said, (or a paraphrase of it), "when you start from nothing you can build something better because you are building from the ground up". The WSM is incredibly active in popular campaigns here and have a correspondingly larger influence than we do back in Canada. It all goes to show what a difference organization means.
4)I guess I'd better take the time to point the reader to the WSM's website, , though I emphasize that the WSM is hardly the internet equivalent of a "paper organization". Go there to learn more about their activities.
5)Having seen them at action here in their homeland I can see why their "traveling apostles"to the USA and Canada have been so inspiring of anarchist organization on the North American continent. Unlike many other anarchist or libertarian outfits in NA, some of which I might approve of and some of which I despise, the WSM is not a one man show (or three "theorist" show). The skills that are developed by proper organization are widely diffused amongst the members of their groups, and they are well equipped to develop them elsewhere, even in brief visits.
6)The wife and I had the privilege of sitting in one one of the WSM's meetings as observers. The contrast to far too many "anarchist" meetings in NA is stark. As the wife put it, "they stuck to the point". This was even when matters came up that obviously couldn't be resolved in the time allotted. Tabling the matter was resorted to. The meeting began on time and ended on time. There was a clear agenda.There was a chair who facilitated discussion. It was orderly. They even voted on matters. No bullshit about letting the person with the biggest mouth and the strongest bladder dominate by "consensus" or any other cultish "process" that makes too many meetings in NA such an unendurable pain. The horrible struggle to reinvent the wheel via navel gazing about "process" wasn't visible there. There is a way to make meetings democratic , fair and as productive as possible. It is the "rules of order", Robert's and otherwise, that have been worked out through generations and as just as applicable to anarchist groups as they are to gardening clubs. Not that they have to be slavishly adhered to, but they are a practical model to follow. In the voting there was quite often dissent, and the minority was allowed to exist. This is an important point as consensus and other forms of cultism are actually much more oppressive than the supposed rules of order that they hope to replace by something "better". They attempt to force agreement where no such thing exists by social pressure.
7)Finally, before I close for the evening, I'd like to thank the WSM for the hospitality that they extended to us. This is especially notable as I have been on record for years as merely a "sympathizer" of what has come to be known as "platformism", and my differences have been made very plain. The WSM has 8 points of agreement that you can find at their website. They are certainly not the rigid ideologues that their "anarchist" opponents try to picture them as.
But, of course, I knew that already. It's nice, however, to see it confirmed in front of my own eyes. As to the opponents of such outfits as the WSM on my own continent, well all that I can say is that telling a lie is certainly more of a necessity to someone like a "post-leftist" or a "primitivist" than having a bowel movement is. It's more like having a drink of water. They may be able to get by on one shit a day, but, like water consumption, they usually have to tell several lies a day just to keep their spirits up. Here the spirits are kept up by actually doing something practical.
More on the WSM and anarchism in Ireland later. Time to sign off.

The following is from the website of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). P3s (public, private partnerships) are usually touted as a way that the public can save money via the supposed efficiency of private enterprise. In actual fact whatever efficiencies "may" exist (the situation varies from case to case) is almost always balanced out by the incentive to "loot" the public purse in such instances. Sometimes the "loot" is minor and is called something like "profit"- think about it for awhile and you'll see what I mean. At other times the looting approaches truly massive proportions, particularly when construction is involved. Here's an example from Montreal. Also a petition(especially if you live in Quebec) about further investment in truly public facilities.

Police probe Montreal university P3 deal:

August 26, 2008 03:17 PM

Police are probing a public-private real estate development that has driven the Université du Québec à Montréal to the brink of bankruptcy.

The Sûreté du Québec’s criminal investigation comes on the heels of a provincial auditor’s report detailing how senior university officials mismanaged the Îlot Voyageur development and kept others overseeing the project in the dark about the deal’s growing costs.

The original plan to redevelop a downtown Montreal bus terminal included an office building, two university residence towers, a university pavilion, and a large underground parking lot. The untendered contract was awarded to the Busac Real Estate corporation, which is reported to have links with the ruling Liberal party.

Three years into the contract, the redevelopment is incomplete, and costs have risen from $333 million in March 2005 to $529 million. Together with cost overruns for a UQAM science complex, the university is facing a $500 million debt in the coming years.

Quebec Auditor General Renaud Lachance didn’t mince words in his June report, saying the former rector of the university and two senior managers “showed a lack of transparency and provided incomplete and often inaccurate information” to UQAM, the Université du Québec and the provincial education ministry. His report lists a host of problems with the public-private project’s structure and oversight.

Lachance points out that rising costs meant bigger profits for Busac, since payments to the corporation were in large part based on project costs.

UQAM’s board of directors, the province’s education ministry and the Université du Québec don’t escape blame in the auditor’s report either. The unions representing UQAM workers, including CUPE, are equally clear that the three university administrators aren’t the lone fall guys for the bungled project.

In a joint statement issued as the university’s financial problems deepened last fall, the unions pointed to the provincial government’s promotion of P3s as a factor contributing to the crisis. The unions continue to demand that the province deliver on its promise to take responsibility for the Îlot Voyageur costs.

The unions are also campaigning for a major public reinvestment in the university. More than 11,000 people have signed a petition to the province’s education minister, and the list is growing. You can add your name here.

It's amazing what you learn simply by chance. Father Theobald Mathew (1790-1856) was basically the founder of the Temperance Movement here in Ireland. He also played a major role in its development in the USA during travels to that country. There are two statues to him, one on O'Connell St. in Dublin and another here in Cork near St. Patrick's Bridge. The Irish group that he founded in 1838 was the Teetotal Abstinence Society. The word "teetotal" comes from the work of an English anti-alcohol crusader, John Turner, but Mathew's unique contribution to the English language was the term "the pledge". People who signed up to the Irish group, and others that he influenced in the USA, took "the Total Abstinence Pledge", swearing never again to drink. An unexpected side effect was a great influence in the consumption of ether!!!!, far more harmful than alcohol.
Mathew's dedication to sobriety had its darker side as well. During his trips to the USA he was promoted variously by pro-slavery and by Abolitionist groups. While his personal views were anti-slavery the pro-slavery promoters basically could contribute more to his campaign. The end result- he refused to publicly commit himself to Abolitionism, and thereby alienated his Abolitionist allies.
My first thought upon viewing his statue here in Cork was that maybe one day the Church will declare him a saint. In such a case he would be first in line to replace St. Jude as the patron saint of the impossible (though government action has massively changed the drinking patterns here in Ireland recently-but more on that later).
But his record of choosing support for the impossible given by unethical people over support for the possible (Abolition was, after all, achieved) from less prominent but more ethical people may qualify him for another position in the Calender of Saints- the patron saint of fools.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So much to say, and so little time. We leave Dublin tomorrow for 'The
Rebel City' Cork. It's amazing to be in a country where I don't have to automatically spell my last name every time I say it. Dublin is full of monuments, most of them to literary figures. My favourite so far is the Oscar Wilde monument. The "political monuments" in this city are all to enemies of the previous world empire, that of the British. But, as I have said, every monument in this city has its nickname. The monument to writer James Joyce off O'Connell Street pictured here has been affectionately dubbed "the prick with the stick".
Much more later,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Molly just received the following notice from Ken Knabb and his excellent website, the Bureau of Public Secrets. Well worth reading the link for the comments of the usefulness or not of the internet.Happy tenth from Molly.


The "Bureau of Public Secrets" website is 10 years old!

Inaugurated 22 August 1998, the site now includes over 600 webpages in 13
languages, and has received over 5,000,000 visits from people in more than
220 countries.

For this 10th anniversary, Ken Knabb has posted a brief account of the
development of the site, along with a few remarks on the radical
potentials and limits of the Internet --


P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA


Molly's visit to the city of Dublin would, of course, not have been complete without seeing the famous statue of her namesake, 'Molly Malone', the heroine of eponymous ballad. The statue was designed by Jeanne Rynhart and erected in 1987 as part of the 1988 millennium of the founding of the City of Dublin. It lays at the top of Grafton Street, near Trinity College.
Whether there actually ever was an historical Molly Malone, let alone the details of her life is an unknown. Many are the legends that have grown up. Some say she was a fish monger by day and a prostitute by night. If so many of her nocturnal customers would have been students from the notoriously ill behaved students of same. Others say that she was one of the few chaste female street vendors of the day (the 17th century). Many have claimed to have found records of her birth and death, but none of these have been verified.
The song Molly Malone has become sort of an unofficial anthem for the City of Dublin. It is sung by sports teams and their fans at sporting events.
The statue itself is a life size bronze with quite a prominent bust, earning it various nicknames such as "the tart with the cart", "the dish with the fish" and "the trollop with the scallops". But really, most of the monuments in Dublin have some sort of rather earthy nickname as well.
A good treatment of the legend, its basis or lack thereof, can be found HERE at Irish Historical Mysteries:Molly Malone. There is a downloadable MP3 of the song HERE. at Raccoons. And, of course, here are the lyrics:..............
In Dublin's fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

She was a fishmonger,
And sure 'twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they each wheeled their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"


She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
Now her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Seems that Canada has scored a first- the first successful unionization of a Wal-Mart in Gatineau, Quebec. It may be possible that two others will follow soon. Considering the difficulty involved this may be better than an Olympic gold medal.Here's the item below from the website of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada. (UFCW).
Gatineau Wal-Mart goes union as UFCW Canada wins first contract

GATINEAU, QC - August 15,2008 - UFCW Canada members at a Wal-Mart location in Gatineau, Quebec have made history by becoming the only Wal-Mart workers in North America to have a union contract, after a Quebec arbitrator imposed a collective agreement on Friday.

The contract raises average wages of the Gatineau Wal-Mart members by more than 30%. Improved vacation provisions are also part of the three-year agreement. The terms of the collective agreement are effective immediately.

"Wal-Mart should now act as a good Canadian corporate citizen," said UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley," and live up to the terms of the contract."

The UFCW Canada Local 486 bargaining unit at the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express was certified in 2005. The collective agreement was the result of binding arbitration, following almost three years of legal delays and stalled negotiations with the company.

"We believe the arbitrator did a good job and that it is a fair contract, in line with similar workplaces in Quebec," said Hanley.

"It shows that even after three years, workers at Wal-Mart, like all Canadian workers, can exercise their Freedom of Association rights and get a decent collective agreement."

Two more Wal-Mart collective agreements are expected in Quebec before the end of the year, when binding arbitration is complete for bargaining units at a Wal-Mart in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.

Molly has reported on the plans of Air Canada to close their Winnipeg and Halifax bases for flight attendants, and also on the opposition to this scheme. Here's an update from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) on the present state of negotiations about this.

Air Canada discussions to go to arbitration

Air Canada flight attendants and management were unable to reach agreement last week on how to handle the company’s proposed lay offs and base closures.

The Union met with the Company from August 11th to 14th in Calgary. Under Division IX of the Canada Labour Code, a Joint Planning Committee (JPC) was established, but discussions were unable to find a common ground on which to proceed. The objective of the JPC was to develop an adjustment program to eliminate the necessity for the termination of employment; or to minimize the impact of the terminations on the flight attendants.

According to Lesley Swann, president of the CUPE Air Canada Component representing the flight attendants, “Unfortunately, we were not able to complete an adjustment program that was fair for our members. We’ll now be proceeding with the Dispute Resolution Process as outlined in Division IX.”

The process now goes to the Minister of Labour for arbitration to help the parties involved to develop an adjustment program and to resolve any matters in dispute. “We expect that the arbitration will proceed in early September and we should get a decision by mid September,” she added.

Air Canada has agreed, subject to the arbitrator making his decision, that it will not implement its proposed cuts and closures before all the elements of the adjustment program are in place.

- 30 -

Lesley Swann, President of CUPE Air Canada Component, (416) 809-2577
Humberto da Silva, CUPE National Representative, (416) 839-9550
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications, (204) 942-0343

Molly has reported on this solidarity campaign in support of imprisoned Iranian union activists before, but the situation is more serious than originally reported. Here is the original report from the Labour Start online solidarity site.


Act NOW!
Iran: Protest intensified repression against labour activists - No to whippings and executions!

Repression against labour activists in Iran is intensifying. In recent weeks, there have been numerous cases of arrests and jailings. Most shocking perhaps was the sentencing of two women labour activists (Sousan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi, pictured) to 15 lashes and four months in prison -- for the "crime" of participating in a May Day celebration.

Additional cases which concern us include:

Mr. Abdullah Khani, 40 lashes and 91 days in prison
Mr. Seyed Qaleb Hosseini, 50 lashes and 6 months in prison
Mr. Khaled Hosseini, 30 lashes and suspended prison sentence
Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher, sentenced to death
Mr. Afshin Shams, arrested
Mr. Mansour Osanloo, leader of Tehran's bus workers, in prison since July 2007

We call on the Iranian government to immediately release these prisoners and to cease all repression of labour activists.
Here is the update along with the contact page for this campaign.

A few days ago I wrote to tell you about the increased repression
directed against Iranian labour activists.

I told you about the case of two women in particular, Sousan Razani
and Shiva Kheirabadi, who have been sentenced to jail terms and
whipping for the "crime" of having participated in a May Day
demonstration this year.

I told you that Sousan was sentenced to receive 15 lashes and 4
months in prison.

We have now received the shocking news that it is actually worse than

Sousan has been ordered to receive 9 months in prison and 70 lashes.

In the last few days we have received photographs of Sousan and
Shiva. I wish that every trade unionist, every person who cares about
human rights, could look at those photographs today. You can see them
on our campaign page:

The campaign that we launched is now running in an unprecedented ten
languages, with more to come. And so far, 3,448 people have sent off
messages to the Iranian government.

This is not enough.

We must all redouble our efforts in the next few days to prevent this
barbaric sentence from being carried out, to prevent the execution of
the teacher Farzad Kamangar, and to push for the release of all
jailed worker activists in Iran.

I know that there are 50,000 of you reading this message who have not
yet sent off your protests. Please do not wait - go here now:

For those of you who already did send off your message, thank you --
but please do more.

Please pass this message on. Help us mobilize thousands more trade
unionists in support of our sisters and brothers in Iranian jails.

If you are on Facebook, make sure to sign up to our cause - and sign
up your Facebook friends, here:

August is a very difficult time to mobilize people. Many who would
ordinarily be supporting this campaign are away on holiday. That's
why it's so important that if you are reading this message, you act

Sousan and Shiva need our help. Let's not fail them.

Thank you.

Eric Lee

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's the dog days of summer, and Sneaky Stevie and his Conservative government hope to pass yet another of their "structural reforms" without input from the Canadian public nor even with ant information as to what they propose. Here is a news release from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on what is happening.

Strategic Review of Canada Post:‏

Did you know the federal government is conducting a Strategic Review of our post office? The Conservatives are making another attempt to deregulate Canada Post.

But this time it’s the summer’s best-kept secret. No public hearings, No national advertising campaign. No debate in parliament because it’s in recess and the deadline for public submissions is only three weeks away – Tuesday September 2nd. This is not good for democracy.

This Strategic Review could affect everyone in Canada, especially small businesses, people in rural and northern communities, and people on fixed incomes.

Deregulation of the Post Office would give big price breaks to the 200 big corporations the Conservatives see as the Post Office’s favoured customers.

It would give away the best source of postal income – big city mail service – to multinational companies, leaving Canada Post to deliver to everyone else at much higher rates.

This time around, the Conservatives are determined to succeed in getting the post office deregulated. Their previous attempts to deregulate or privatize Canada Post have been stopped in their tracks by outcries from the public.

This time the Conservatives are trying secrecy. They have also hand-picked the Strategic Review Committee and appointed a chairperson who is on record as calling for the deregulation of Canada Post.

It is up to all of us as ordinary Canadians to stop this attempt to convert the public post office into a delivery agency for big corporations.

Send a submission to: Canada Post Strategic Review, 330 Sparks Street (HCCR), Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5. FAX 613-990-9033. Or email

Sign the on-line petition by following the link to:

Make a YouTube video. Contact your MP. Send a postcard to Stephen Harper.

Tell your family, your friends and neighbours, your business contacts what’s up with our public post office. Pass on this email to people who care across the country.

And do it before it’s too late. Do it before September 2nd.

You can check out to get more information,
YouTube tips, a downloadable postcard, or ideas for submissions.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers Winnipeg Local
Strategic Review/Organizing Committee

Brian Boru (Brian Borumha) (c 941 to April 23, 1014) was originally King of Munster. He became High King of Ireland by overthrowing the power of the Ui Neill's, and later defeating the Vikings at their Dublin settlement on Good Friday, April 23, 1014. He, and a huge number of the nobility on both sides were killed in the battle, but he became legend after his death.
The reputed "Harp of Brian Boru" became the national symbol of Ireland and is housed in the 'Old Library' at Trinity College which we visited a couple of days ago. More on Trinity College, the Old Library and The Book of Kells later. The problem with 'Brian Boru's Harp isn't Brian Boru's Harp, despite all the legends that grew up about this item over the centuries. Ah, yet another illusion shattered. The harp, however, is the oldest harp extant in Ireland, dating from the 15th century. It certainly is of fine craftsmanship, and has recently been restored. It makes a beautiful sight in its display case.

While wending our way back to the hotel last night with a comrade from the WSM (more on our enjoyable meeting with these people later) one of my long standing illusions was shattered. The venerable Guinness has a history as dark as the colour of their stout. It turns out that they were basically responsible for destroying the in-house brewing that used to be characteristic of pubs here in Ireland. They enforced their monopoly by various methods. Like in the Czech Republic where a bar serves only a very limited selection of beers from one company only they put supply pressure on the pubs, saying "no Guinness if you sell from the competition". They also used some more strong arm tactics at times, if you get the drift. Not that there aren't a number of microbrewery-like places here where you can get a much wider selection, but most of the pubs have a far smaller selection of Irish beers than you might imagine. Thanks to "Pepe" for this enlightenment.

The following item is from the website of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), about recent statements about how the federal government is using public forums to denounce Vancouver's Insite safe injection site and also about how the past and present heads of the Canadian Medical Association are using their position to speak out against our medicare system, despite the wishes of many Canadian doctors..

CMA ignores evidence in privatization push:

The head of the Canadian Medical Association was right to criticize federal health minister Tony Clement for sidestepping the facts about safe injection sites for drug users.

But Dr. Brian Day is equally guilty of ignoring the evidence as he and his successor continue to push for more health care privatization.

Outgoing CMA president Day was indignant when Clement used his speech to the association’s recent annual meeting to question the ethics of doctors who support Vancouver’s safe injection site for drug users.

Responding to Clement, Day told the media the CMA had a position “based on scientific evidence.” If only the CMA leadership would pursue evidence-based policies and practices for health care delivery and funding.

Instead, Dr. Day and incoming president Dr. Robert Ouellet are aggressively promoting health care privatization, calling for more privately-delivered services and a funding formula that forces public hospitals to compete with each other.

Day couches his pursuit of public-private partnerships, private clinics and performance-based funding in the language of health care “transformation”, dismissing public health care defenders for their “tedious and tiresome propaganda.”

Newly-elected president Ouellet made it clear the privatization torch will pass seamlessly from Day. He told the media it was “time Canada accepted [the] reality” of private, for-profit delivery of health care.

Ouellet operates a string of Montreal-area private diagnostic clinics, including the country’s first private diagnostic clinic, which opened in 1987. Not surprisingly, he supported more privately-delivered care as recent president of the Quebec Medical Association.

CMA leadership is also promoting ‘patient-focused funding', a formula that paves the way for commercialization and competition. This funding formula, also known as ‘payment by results’, ‘activity-based funding’ and ‘volume-based funding’, is a ruse for privatization. In most countries where it’s been introduced, and certainly in Canada, it comes with competition and commercialization, forcing hospitals to compete for patients and the public dollars they will bring with them.

Canadian Doctors for Medicare founding chair Dr. Danielle Martin says the formula will mean “lower quality, reduced accessibility, reduced efficiency and higher costs; particularly where it is linked to increase private for profit delivery.” Martin and other doctors went public before the CMA meeting, criticizing the organization’s prescription for privatization.

British doctors also have serious concerns about ‘payment by results’ (PBR) as it’s known in their country. In Britain, PBR has driven up administrative and overall costs, and increased hospital admission rates. The British Medical Association has said PBR leads to ‘fragmenting care into saleable bits on which profits can be made.’

At their recent annual meeting, BMA president Dr. Hamish Meldrum called on the Labour government to get rid of the market in health care. “Let’s stop pretending that healing the sick is like trading a commodity. Let’s stop diverting doctors’ energies into unholy bidding wars for jobs they already do,” said Meldrum, who attended the CMA meeting.

The BMA position is backed by a recent study finding patients are no better off in an national health care system that's riddled with competition.

The CMA strategy session on ‘transforming’ health care was hosted by Claude Castonguay, author of a report recommending sweeping privatization of Quebec health care.

But the CMA doesn’t speak for all doctors. In fact, many doctors want to protect and expand public health care, explicitly rejecting the CMA’s push to privatize.

On the eve of the CMA meeting Canadian Doctors for Medicare and their Quebec allies, Médecins québécois pour le régime public, released a declaration signed by prominent doctors.

The declaration says more privately-funded and delivered health care is a ‘deadly’ treatment based on the wrong diagnosis, debunking the myth that public health care is unsustainable.

With a federal election looming and the ongoing absenteeism of the Conservative (and previous Liberal) government when it comes to enforcing the Canada Health Act, CUPE will continue to mobilize members and work with its coalition partners to stop the spread of health care privatization.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The following is a correction from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) about the time of a demonstration they plan to hold this Wednesday.
CORRECTION: Stop The Deaths - Wednesday 1pm- 15 Grosvenor St:‏

We just learned that Frank Julian's funeral will be Wednesday at 10am so
we have moved the time back.


Wednesday August 20 - 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

Frank Julian, Carolyn Connolly, Dennis Bowen, Robert Maurice, Biniyam

In the last month, two more people in our community have died. We don’t
want to have to bury another person from the neighbourhood. People are
dying on the street and in shelters. People are dying in their apartments
alone in the far corners of the city, with only a few dollars left a month
after their rent is paid because they were shipped out of the
neighbourhood by Streets to Homes. No more people should have to die
because the City has abandoned them to struggle and suffer in poverty.
The City has to stop telling the public everything is okay. How can
everything be okay when we have already lost four people this summer?!
Why does the mayor and the City remain silent on our deaths?

We Need:
Decent Housing
Adequate Income
Food and Shelter

We must demand that the City take action to address these deaths and the
daily hell and conditions people are experiencing.

Come out:
Wednesday August 20 - 1pm
Outside the Coroner’s Office
15 Grosvenor Street
(West of Yonge, North of College)

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

Well we made it here to Dublin, at the beginning of our visit to Ireland. This is something like hour 30 without any sleep, so things are rather buzzing. I'm presently cruising the Temple Bar section of town looking for a pint of Guinness that costs less than 4 euros (the cheapest I've found so far). Seems like a really hopping scene, and I understand there's a lot more to the nightlife in other sections of town as well. so much to see. So little time to see it in. This area of town is purulating with internet cafes, and it isn't even the University area.
Dublin is now a city of about 1 1/2 million people, and it seems fairly cosmopolitan, though not to the extent of many Canadian cities. I hope to meet with some of the people from the WSM later this week. More on that, and anarchism in Ireland, as time goes on. Love the cobblestone streets. Have yet to get into the whiskey. As I said, too buzzed.
The trip here was long and tiring, including a seven hour stop over in Minneapolis airport, and a too brief one in Amsterdam.
More later,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

vos propositions/your proposals ??? presentations et ateliers/presentations and workshops (Bloc-AMP/Centre Social Autogere)‏:
[English below; please post and distribute widely][SVP diffuser largement]
Chers amies et alliées
-- Comme vous le savez probablement tous et toutes, le comité ÉducationPopulaire du Centre Social Autogéré et le Bloc de l'Action Mondiale des Peuples (Bloc-AMP) ont débuté la présentation d'une série d'ateliers et deprésentations sur l'éducation populaire cet été. L'envoi pour la série estivale se trouve ci-dessous. Les ateliers se sont bien déroulés jusqu'à maintenant: environ 20 personnes par session, incluant des gens du quartier,des membres du Carrefour d'éducation populaire, des activistes et des organisateurs/trices, ainsi que quelques curieux et curieuses. Nous aimerions continuer la série d'ateliers cet automne en gardant le mêmeformat: des ateliers accessibles et gratuits les lundi soir (à chaque 2 ou 3 semaines) au Carrefour d'éducation populaire dans Pointe St-Charles. Nous encourageons les présentations multimédia et le partage de matériel d'éducation populaire.
*--> Si vous ou votre groupe souhaitez présenter un atelier ou une présentation cet automne, entrez en contact avec nous AVANT LE 20 AOUT. Sivous êtes intéressées à présenter un atelier, donnez-nous le titre de votre atelier avec un paragraphe descriptif selon les modèles ci-bas, et indiquez nous en quelle langue il sera présenté. Aussi, n'oubliez pas de joindre vos coordonnées (téléphone et courriel) et vos besoins audio-visuels. Si vous avez des préférences quant aux dates (un lundi soir de Septembre à Décembre), veuillez nous en informer également. SVP envoyer vos propositions à
Merci d'avance pour vos contributions.
Nous espérons que nos efforts continueront au delà de nos espérances, dans le but de non seulement contribuer au Centre Social Autogéré, mais aussi d'offrir un endroit pour les activistes et les organisateurs/trices en justice sociale de Montréal pour partager nos recherches, informations et points de vue avec d'autres organisateurs/trices et membres de la communauté. Solidairement votre,
Genevieve & Jaggi
Dear friends and allies
-- As you probably know, the popular education committee of the Autonomous Social Center and the People's Global Action Bloc (PGA-Bloc) have been presenting a popular education workshop and presentation series this summer.The callout for the summer series is below. The workshops have been good so far, with about 20 participants at each session, representing a mix of people from the neighbourhood, regulars at the Carrefour d'education populaire, activists and organizers, and random curious folks. We would like the workshop series to continue this fall, in much the same format: workshops every few weeks on a Monday evening at the Carrefour d'education populaire in Pointe-St-Charles, presented in an accessible format; we encourage multi-media presentations and encourage people to share popular education materials. *
--> If you or your group would like to present a workshop or presentation this fall, please get in touch BEFORE AUGUST 20. Please provide a title and a simple one-paragraph description on the model of the descriptions below.Indicate which language your workshop will be in. Also, please provide both telephone and e-mail contact info, and let us know about any audio-visual needs. If you have a preferred date (a Monday night in September, October,November or early December), please let us know as well. Please send your proposals to <-
* Thanks in advance for contributing to this workshop and presentation series.We're hoping it will be an ongoing series, that not only builds towards anAutonomous Social Center next summer, but also provides a space for Montreal social justice organizers and activists to share their research, information and insights with other organizers, and members of the community. In solidarity,
Genevieve & Jaggi.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

That's right folks, Molly is off on one of her jaunts for the next three weeks or so. I've tied up all the loose ends on previous debates on this blog, and I hope to get in a couple more notices here before I head off tomorrow.
I'll only be dropping by this blog occasionally in the next little while, but come sometime in September I promise to be back with a vengeance. Even though this will likely kill what was looking like my beating my previous monthly record for hits (set last August) it's still a welcome break. Every blogger should take one.
Til then, take care readers and I'll try and send as many postcards from far away as I can.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The foillowing appeal is from the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international support group for workers in the textile industry.

Pakistani Police Attack Peaceful Demonstration at Naveena Textile - Send a Letter Today!‏:
Three hundred workers have been locked out and six face charges for participating in a peaceful demonstration protesting illegally low wages at Naveena Textile Mills in Lahore, Pakistan
On July 30 workers, labour officials and activists gathered outside the Naveena factory to demand that management stop paying wages below the legal minimum of RS. 6000 and abide by Pakistan’s labour law and international labour standards. In response, police reportedly attacked the peaceful demonstrators with batons, used tear gas in an attempt to disperse them, and arrested and detained six people including CMKP Punjab President Taimur Rehman, Rafaqat Ali Azad, Muhammad Ilyas from the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), CMKP Lahore District Committee (DC) member Muhammad Ali Jan and Adam Shah and Bilal, workers from the Naveena Textile Mills. The six have since been released, but charges have been filed against them.
Take action now to demand that the charges are withdrawn and Naveena workers receive the wages they are legally entitled to!
The Constitution of Pakistan, in addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ILO Conventions, recognise the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly. The ability of workers to collectively express their grievances and their right to consult and engage in a dialogue with employers is a fundamental part of a just and democratic society and essential for harmonious industrial relations.
Send a message to Pakistani officials demanding they protect the human rights of their citizens. Help ensure that the unfair charges against the peaceful protesters are dropped, and that workers are reinstated and receive the minimum wage in accordance with the law