Sunday, May 31, 2009

Like many of my generation I was an avid comic collector when I was young, and, also like many of my generation, I have the regret of having sold my collection (three different ones actually) far too soon. Twenty five years ago I could have purchased a house with what they would have brought at that time. Today it would have been retirement city. Oh, the folly, the folly, the folly !

Like every true comic collector at that time I hated Archie Comics, not just for its inherently imbecilic "quality", but also for what we perceived as its destructive corporate role in the institution of the 'Comics Code Authority'. This Cold War example of 'American Stalinism' (1954) essentially destroyed the gradually developing trend of 'intelligent comics', and relegated the industry to almost a decade of sterility and stupidity.
The primary victim of this censorship was EC Comics. From a thriving multititle publisher they were eventually reduced to a sole magazine- Mad Magazine. They were later to get their "artistic revenge", as will be described below.
At the time we tended to "blame" Archie Comics and its publishers for the Comics Code. there was at least a small amount of truth in this as Archie Comics certainly campaigned heavily for the CCA, and there was little doubt that its actions were not without self interest as its products were, at the time, bland beyond all human imagination ie they would never be censored under pretty well any regime, while those of its more adult and intelligent competitors would bear the burden. We(comic collectors) not only despised Archie Comics for its idiocy (not juvenality as there were other titles that appealed to a younger audience that were not as idiotic- think Richie Rich, the "Duck titles', Caspar the Friendy Ghost or many others) but also for its role in suppressing what we, as a self appointed 'intelligentsia' of comics thought was worth our reading and consideration. The censorship extended not just to the writing but also to the artwork as well. The CCA had a chilling effect not just on subject matter, but via some mysterious process of osmosis on experimentation with visual technique as well. There may be reasons for this, but they are the subject of another post. For now think how similar "socialist realism" was to Norman Rockwell and other mainstream American art of the period.
Our attitude was, of course, an oversimplification. It is always tempting to personify an obnoxious social trend rather than seeing it for the social phenomenon that it is. This childishness lives on to our day in the subculture of "conspiracy theory". No doubt Archie Comics conspired with various figures to institute the Comics Code Authority because it was very much in their self interest and was a direct attack on their competition. The "Zeitgeist" of the times, however, was such that all sorts of political forces in the USA (note that by this time there was no longer a Canadian comics industry) found common cause in imposing statist control over what they conceived of as a major influence on children. The trigger for this attack on free speech came from the left via mindworm (psychologist) Frederick Wertham's 'Seduction of the Innocent'. This was hardly the first-nor the last as the alliances continue to our day- example of where the practical proposals of a so-called "left" and right wing forces have coincided in an attempt at state repression. It is merely an exemplar of the process. The so-called "caring" (I wish that there was a simple emoticon for me to express the hypocrisy of this social class) of what was then a neonatal ruling class of social controllers of a "leftist" (sic) persuasion coincided with the interests of what are today called 'the American Taliban' along with the generally repressive apparatus of the American state and its politicians.
EC publisher William Gaines later got his cold served revenge via the Archie spoof 'Starchie' published in what remained of his outfit- Mad Magazine. The graphic above is from this story where everything in the Archie series is 'detourné" in a way that shows the Situationists as amateurs. Amazingly enough Mad magazine was not sued over their parody. Perhaps this was good legal advise as Mad published parody after parody and always got away with it. Perhaps it was merely a less litigious time. Nobody knows for sure because the 'Carrot Top Conglomerate' was hardly a shrinking violet about suing others in later years. In later years Archie Comics did sue a wide variety of people including 'Help ! Magazine' (see the Wikipedia article on Archie Comics on how the company got shitty legal advise and how this series is now freely printable), a music group 'The Veronicas', a fan site called '', a theatre company in Georgia and a punk rock group called 'Jughead's Revenge'. Archie Comics has hardly been as lawsuit prone as good old 'Adolf Mouse'(you know who I mean), but they have definitely established a "criminal pattern"of such action.
So...let's go back to one of Molly's admittedly faulty memories. I have my doubts as to the timeline of this story because 'Spire Christian Comics' didn't initiate publication until 1972 when I think 1) The "Regina Book Exchange' on South Railway Ave. had already closed, to be replaced later by the 'Purple Dragon on Dewdney Ave. and 2)I had taken a temporary hiatus from hanging around such places. It such a case the "Christian Comics" of the following likely refers to the Catholic Church's efforts in 'Treasure Chest' (admittedly several layers of civilization above the American Holy Roller productions of 'Spire Christian Comics'. The anti-evolutionist stand of the American Taliban may actually be right in this case. They obviously didn't "evolve from monkeys". They quite obviously "descended' from them in a less than flattering interpretation of the word "descend".
Anyways, here we (serious "geeks" who would hang around an used book store from morning opening to closing time waiting for people to come in to sell comics that we might be interested in) were, slouching around the 'Regina Book Exchange', situated on "beautiful" South Railway Avenue (a part of Regina's skid row since demolished and rebuilt in Regina's pathetic attempt to develop and pretend that it is something other than what it is). In walks Frau Uberkomandanta Helga Von Whippen, trailing what is either a grandson or a nephew in tow. To say the very least the poor kid is mortified. All of sleazy, ill fed degenerates lurk in the background giggling. Helga, in her best Prussian command language says to the guy at the desk..."Ve vant some 'Christian Comics'". the guy at the desk looks at her like she is insane, which she actually is outside of her concrete enema social circle. He says nothing, just tries to figure out what she wants. The kid say..."I want Superman" in a plaintiff voice. Helga ignores this, and she barks out her order again..."Ve vant Christian Comics". By this time the guy behind the desk has regained his composure, even though the giggling from the gathering of us geek degenerates is growing and growing. He says to Frau Whippendiejudden that ..."you'll have to go back there and look through the bins". The kid makes his second plea..."I want Superman", even whinier than before.
Helga glances our way and tries out her best 'Aryan Stare' on us. We respond with a Tasmanian Devil stare that says...come within 5 feet and see how many digits you can lose. Helga turns back to issue commands to the guy behind the desk, but he is gone. In what little mercy such a thug can muster Helga drives her charge out of the store, yapping at the top of her lungs because the sales clerk wouldn't go back and select her own propaganda from the 10,000 comics randomly shoved into bins (That was the way it was then). No doubt she is both 1)dead by now-I personally hope via the cause of death formerly registered as 'apoplexy" 2)A life long believer in both her own personal holiness and her right to make anybody else's life unpleasant by demanding that they serve her.
For some reason I connect this with "Spire Christian Comics' where the Archie characters were used to make crude propaganda for the cause of American fundamentalism. Maybe I was still hanging around the Regina Book Exchange in the early 70s, though, by that time I was also hanging around sleazy bars where people were occasionally killed. Us geeks continued our interests well into our 20s. It would have been a short walk anyways. Maybe Helga Von Fascistgruppen was Austrian or south German, and the Catholic 'Treasure Chest' was the poison more appropriate to her taste.What I remember was the utter torture the kid was going through. As a kid who, at the age of 15, put his foot down to his parents and said, "I don't care if you kill me, I will never go to Mass Again" I wish him well. This went over not too badly with my parents who, as socialists, were only vaguely loyal to the Church of Rome at best. In later years I had to be the "the voice of reasons" when one Jesuit priest beat the living shit out of me and my old man wanted to go and deal with him in a greater way. My old man, by the way, was boxing champion of Quebec in his weight class. The sucker who landed so many punches on me was a young boy ass grabbing thug priest (never my ass to be sure) who was only a provincial boxer. To the credit of my old man I remembered what he had taught me and after the first (probably 10) punches fell I got up my guard so he couldn't get through with a single one.
My face was a mess. On the other hand when fuckface John Toth- who is probably dead by now and beyond prosecution for when he "scored" with the young boys" (sue me fuckers of the Jesuit Order and see what happens)- saw that I was a far better boxer than he was even if I was too stunned to fight back he drew back. Later the local intelligent fascist principal of the school, Father Boyle, got wind of what had happened. The guy was an "intelligent fascist" without any of the quirks that defined so many of his underlings. As the old man and the old lady are "discussing" the retaliation for my busted up face (an Irishman versus a Russian woman) the phone rings. I answer it because they are too busy yelling. It is Toth "apologizing" for what he did. After I hear his bullshit I turn the phone over to them. One by one they heard his bullshit, obviously coerced by Boyle and said yeah, yeah, yeah. When the phone was finally returned to its cradle we broke out in the sort of "family moment" that Christian fascists dream of. All three of us could barely stand for laughing.
I've obviously strayed far beyond the subject at hand- Archie's marriage. My own excuse...Archie Comics always was and is today an organ of propaganda. Their sick idea of "family values" were and are totally different from the very much closer families such as I grew up in. It is a culturally specific set of "values" that has little to do with me, nor with the vast majority of the world's population. To us it is anathema.
But much more on this later. This is KP to King 3 in this game.

In the sands of the Sahara workers toil under horrendous conditions to satisfy the insatiable demands of empires and would-be empires. Despite the savage nature of the Algerian state workers in this situation try to improve their conditions as best they can by organizing. Quite often they are victimized for their efforts. The following from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start asks for your solidarity with one such worker.
Tell Compass Group: To injure one of us is to injure all of us!:
In Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, an oil fortress located in the dunes, 850 kilometers south east of Algiers, Eurest Support Services, a subsidiary of Compass Group, sub-contracts catering and hospitality services to a score of multinationals like Schlumberger, Halliburton, Repsol, BP, Ciepsa, Burlington. Hundreds of miles away in prospecting camps, their employees live in air-conditioned temporary constructions, with telephone and distractions. ESS employees live in tents; under desert temperatures, and suffer difficult hygiene and living conditions. Shifts last 6 weeks without a day off. Monthly salary is on average 18.000 dinars (185 Euros). In December 2006, ESS workers decided to create a union to defend their dignity and to improve their working conditions. But an expatriate manager intervened to prevent them from doing so. The union's legitimacy was disputed; the constitutional meeting was refused on ESS property, local authority inspectors were ignored. In spite of an impressive initial support of 1,400 employees out of 1,800, the pressures, the intimidations, the constant renewal of personnel as well as the distance from the "civilized world" and organizational difficulties, allowed ESS management to get its wish. Compass then decided "to make an example" by suspending Yassin Zaid, elected General Secretary of the union, who refused to disavow his engagement. A former employee of the day, receiving bonuses for merit, his work contract was suspended. It still is. Compass Group and ESS pressed charges against him for "slander on the Internet". In support of the company, certain managers made complaints on unsupported grounds of "death threats by e-mail". For the last 18 months, his life destroyed, Yassin Zaid has lived in fear of further reprisals by Compass Group. The independent Algerian union SNAPAP denounces the anti-union practices of multinationals operating in their country. It has recently created a special section to support trade union initiatives in these companies. SNAPAP is requesting international solidarity to put pressure on Compass Group to abandon all legal proceedings against Yassin Zaid and negotiate his reinstatement in professional and union functions.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following message to management at Compass Group.
To Mr. Richard Cousins, CEO Group Compass
Dear Mr. Cousins,
In December 2006, the direction of your subsidiary company, Eurest Support Services, in Algeria, denied its employees the right to constitute a union to defend and negotiate their collective interests. Your company chose to support management in its error and to make an individual, Yassin Zaid, shoulder the blame by suspending his work contract and by pressing various charges of slander, in particular on the Internet.

Your local management could have recognized the union and negotiated peacefully with its representatives for the better of all concerned. Instead of that, your actions have drawn the attention of the independent trade unions of Algeria to your anti-union policies and practices. The Algerian press is featuring articles on the same. From now on, the international trade union movement is alerted. Instead of crushing an incipient trade union, as your representatives thought they could, you have drawn the attention of the whole world to your anti-union practices. Workers, your customers, in all countries and on all continents are aware that your trademark is tarnished.I highly encourage you to abandon all legal proceedings against Mr. Yassin Zaid, elected Secretary of the union at ESS, Algeria, and to negotiate the conditions of his reinstatement in his professional and union functions.Lastly, I urge you to adopt on a planetary scale, not just declarations of intent, but a real policy of recognition of trade unions and of collective bargaining backed up by training for your local managers.
Yours Faithfully,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The following is gambit # 1 in an experiment in "meme manipulation". The publishers of Archie Comics have hit a goldmine in their own latest gambit of Archie finally proposing to one of his perpetual girlfriends- Veronica. It has gathered them publicity across the world, publicity to die for. Even if you have a sneaking suspicion that issue # 600 will carry a 'jack in the box' that goes against the carefully constructed leaks that AC has devised you have to admire the intelligence behind this campaign. To say the least this has revitalized their brand. Maybe they will pull a total surprise later this summer. Maybe it will be nothing more than the usual comic book tactic of a "what-if" story. Still...look for sales of issue # 600 to go through the roof.
Molly is beginning her own little experiment in "meme manipulation" here. Is it possible for a single individual to turn such a mass marketing initiative on its head ? Please go to our sister site Molly's Polls to register your vote as to "Who Should Archie Marry ?' More on this game as it develops. Pawn to Q 4.

It's all in line with a certain misperception all to common in our society. The illusion is that workers in what are called the "caring professions" have to endure atrocious work conditions and low remuneration because they are "caring". To say the least this is hypocritical, and actually quite "predatory" if you look at it from the "oh, what about you Jack, point of view. From a "Martian" point of view it reeks of pure manipulation. Somehow you surrender your rights to self interest when you are "caring" for people where the paymasters are others who think you should "care" more than they do. Here's an example from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) asking for your solidarity with workers at the Hellenic Care Homes in Toronto who have been struggling for three years for a collective agreement. The management, of course, "cares", but they think that others ie their employees should "care more". The workers involved are calling for your public support.
Help Hellenic Homes for the Aged workers settle a first collective agreement:
Members of CUPE 4829 and CUPE 4830 were certified in 2006 and are still without a first collective agreement. The members work at two Hellenic Homes for the Aged in Toronto. The negotiations have been long and drawn out with an employer who shows no respect for CUPE members and the union in general. There are a number of issues with this employer including multiple disciplines, terminations and suspensions. Please e-mail the management team with this message, or create your own.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to the management of Hellenic Homes.
Please settle a first collective agreement with CUPE 4829 and CUPE 4830. These workers deserve a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely manner, the time is NOW. Stop intimidating CUPE members, stop making faces at CUPE members, stop telling CUPE members they don’t have a union. They do, the biggest union in the country is CUPE and CUPE is behind them all the way.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The proposed Canada/Colombia Free Trade Deal has been mentioned several times before here at Molly's Blog. The idea of opening a free trade deal with a country such as Colombia where human rights are basically a non-issue due to the tacit support of the regime for right wing thugs is problematic to say the least. The Harper government has now, according to this report from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) , been removed from the order paper for this session of Parliament. Some of this, of course, is due to the Harperites wishing to avoid any controversial legislation, especially when they are trailing in the polls, even legislation that could not conceivably be a confidence motion. The movement of protest against this deal can claim credit for convincing the Conservatives that such legislation would indeed be controversial. It mus be admitted, however, that the Canadian government decision to delay such a deal also owes a lot to the opposition in the USA to a similar deal. Harper is nothing if not a good poodle to his American masters, and in the end it is irrelevant whether they are right of centre or (barely) left of centre. In any case here is the story from CUPE, with, of course, much self-congratulation. (Molly Note- I don't want to appear to be too cynical. The public protest against the deal did indeed have at least some influence on the government decision, and it was admirable in its own right)


Activists block Canada Colombia free trade deal - for now:
For months now thousands of activists have raised concerns about the Canada Colombia free trade agreement. CUPE members, concerned Canadians and members of other unions have campaigned to stop the implementation of the Canada Colombia FTA.

We have held rallies, written letters, signed petitions and have brought Colombians to Canada to testify to parliamentarians about the horrific abuses of human and trade union rights. Canadians have said loud and clear that there must be an independent human rights assessment of the situation in Colombia before this government proceeds with any new trade deal.

This week the Harper government blinked and took the Canada Colombia free trade agreement legislation off the order paper. The proposed legislation has been removed from debate however the government has not withdrawn it.

“I want to thank every CUPE member that signed a petition or wrote a letter, said CUPE national president Paul Moist. But the fight isn’t over and we must keep up the pressure. If you haven’t yet signed a petition or written a letter please do and ask your co-workers, family and friends to do the same.”

There is division within the Liberal party about a future trade deal with Colombia. This division can only help us in our struggle to stop this terrible deal. The Colombian government in collaboration with large corporations has set out to privatize the public sector and to open up indigenous lands to corporate exploitation.

Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists and it is the worst human rights violator of the Americas. In the last 23 years 2,694 trade unionists have been assassinated. In 2008 under the current leadership of President Uribe 46 people have been assassinated , 157 threatened, 17 arbitrarily detained, 13 taken hostage and 4 disappeared.

CUPE members should be proud of the solidarity actions they have taken for Colombia. When we unite and take political action we can make a difference.

Une announce de le salon du livre anarchiste de Montréal. An announcement from the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair.
(Vendredi) Le Festival de l'anarchie se termine, le Centre social autogere commence! The Festival of Anarchy ends, the Autonomous Social Center begins! (Friday):‏
[English below]
Installation du CSA
Grande Manifestation d'appui
29 mai 2009 - 17h30
au Parc St-Gabriel, à deux pas du MÉTRO CHARLEVOIX
Le CSA s'installe enfin dans un bâtiment abandonné de Pointe-Saint-Charles afin de poursuivre et d'étendre ses activités sociales, culturelles et politiques. Toutes les personnes concernées par la création d'espaces enfin libérés du rouleau compresseur de la mise en chantier de condos dans nos quartiers sont conviées à une grande manifestation festive, familiale et éclatante. Pour des fins de sécurité, le CSA demeurera fermé pour la première nuit, mais la rue devra vibrer de notre présence. L'heure est cruciale, et seul un rapport de force significatif en assurera le succès.

Au programme de la soirée : Cirque, fanfare, feu, animation de rue, investissement massif et joyeux d'un lieu déserté par ses propriétaires afin d'y installer un des premiers CSA près de chez nous.
Activité au campement extérieur le 29 mai
*Musique et animation de rue
*Conférence de presse
*Spectacle de Feu avec accordéon et percussions
*Projection de films :
*Zone d'autonomie CSA
*historique des occupations
*Le CSA un projet ancré dans le quartier
*Stratégie médiatique du Centre Social Autogéré
*Activité au campement extérieur le 30 mai
*Animation de rue durant la journée
*Activité pour les enfants (à confirmer)
Horaire :
8h00 Déjeuner
9h30 Point de presse
10h00 Assemblée générale
12h00 Dîner
13h00 Atelier sur l'auto défense contre des charges criminelles pour avoir squatter
15h00 Tournée anti-olympiques au Québec
18h00 Souper
20h00 Spectacle d'ouverture
Visite du Centre Social Autogéré
Chorale libertaire de Pointe-St-Charles
Musique acoustique
spectacle de feu
4 DJ
(( English version ))
Installing of the ASC
Great support demonstration
May 29th, 2009 – 5:30 pm
In the St-Gabriel Park, next to CHARLEVOIX metro station
The ASC is finally moving into an abandoned building in Point-St-Charles in order to pursue and extend its social, cultural and political activities. Anyone concerned with the creation of spaces liberated at last from the road roller of colonizing condo construction projects in our neighbourhoods is invited to this great festive, family-friendly and blazing demonstration. For security reasons, the ASC will remain closed for the first night, but the street will have to vibe with our presence. This is a crucial hour, and only a significant balance of forces in our favour will ensure its success!
Program for the night: Circus, brass band, choral songs, street animation… The massive and joyous take-over of a space deserted by its owners, and setting up one of the first ASCs around here.


Salon du livre anarchiste/Montreal Anarchist Bookfair


Molly est confusé. Je pensais que le Centre Social Autogéré déjà eu un lieu. Est-il possible que un des lecteurs de Montréal peut m'éclairer?/Molly is confused. I thought that the Centre Social Autogéré already had a location. Can any of the readers from Montreal enlighten me ?

Arnie, Arnie, Arnie, how could you ? Seems that Governor Schwarzenegger of California wants to cut the wages of home care workers in that state down to $8/hour. This is less or equal to the minimum wage in many Canadian provinces. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is protesting these cuts, and they are asking you to add their voice to theirs. Here's the story and the appeal. Look out Arnie. "They'll be back".

What happened when Gov. Schwarzenegger drove by?:‏
Earlier this week, thousands gathered outside the Capitol in Sacramento, California to protest the pending home care cuts.
As they listened to passionate pleas from pastors, workers and those who depend on their care, a limo drove by.
The car slowed and a backseat window rolled down ... A smug, cigar-chomping failed Governor peered out at the crowd.And when Governor Schwarzenegger looked, he was immediately met by chants of "stop the cuts! stop the cuts!"
Check out pictures from the 48-hour vigil in Sacramento and send your personal message to Gov. Schwarzengger telling him not to cut home care for the most fragile among us
When he heard the chants, the governor's limo sped away.
But he can't run from the fact that his misguided priorities have propelled California to the edge of insolvency.
Now, the Governor wants to cut the pay of the workers who help seniors and people with disabilities stay in their homes down to $8 an hour. That could force thousands out of their own homes and into nursing homes, costing the state four times as much as in-home care!
Send a message to the Governor telling him his short-sighted policies will send California deeper into fiscal abyss.
We can win this fight, but it will take you lending a voice to the effort today.
Rock the boat,
Tim Tagaris
New Media Director,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's up and coming this June 13, a lecture on the connections between the labour movement and aboriginal issues. Here's the blurb...

The Labour Movement, Indigenous Workers and Indigenous Solidarity:
Presented by the IWW and sponsored by the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre
IWW Canada
Saturday, June 13, 2009
11:00am - 1:00pm
Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre (3rd floor, above Mondragon)
91 Albert Street
Winnipeg, MB
This event is part of the Industrial Workers of the World North of 49 Conference, and is graciously sponsored by the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre.
This panel will develop ideas about how to specifically organize with Indigenous workers in our unions. How unions ought to change to accommodate Indigenous workers and how the struggle for industrial democracy is linked to struggles against colonization and for Indigenous Self-determination.
Part of this talk is about the experience and realities of Aboriginal workers, aiming to spark discussion about the direction Aboriginal participation will take to effectively make fundamental change and the assistance unions can give. Revolutionary change and socialist transformation will fail without the successful solution of Aboriginal issues; they are of strategic, necessary importance.
Cheryl-Anne Carr was born in Moosejaw, SK in a Métis family, moving to Winnipeg in 1962. Growing up in a single family with her Mother, a Catholic school teacher, and two brothers, she spent her childhood in the library, gaining an appreciation of storytelling and culture in the process of social change. A mother of six children, she has degrees in education and theatre and certificates in Social Work, psychology, mediation and Anti-Racism Training. After teaching at Nelson House First Nation and The Pas, she worked for thirteen years in community development in Winnipeg’s inner city where she was a strong advocate for Aboriginal rights and did original research used to create Metis Child and Family Services. Cheryl-Anne promotes Métis culture and has worked on family, immigrant rights, anti-war and arts issues. Cheryl-Anne helped develop the first Métis Pavilion at Winnipeg’s Folklorama and the first Aboriginal Village at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. She was an organizer of the 1991 World Health Organization’s Pan American Health Organisation Conference for Indigenous Peoples and was the hemisphere’s Métis representative. She spoke on behalf of the Métis National Council at the First Minister’s Conference with Aboriginal People on the Charlottetown Accord, the only woman to speak at the Conference. She was the first Winnipeg rep for the Metis Women of Manitoba. Through these endeavors she promoted the once forbidden wearing of the sash for women over the shoulder as a sign of nationality. Begun in 1985 it is now considered "traditional". Known as “Auntie” to many in the community, Cheryl-Anne is a drum carrier, story teller, artist and writer. She is particularly pleased with the friendships and bridges she has been able to make in the Muslim community and with activists and youth. “I have never wanted to be anything else but a revolutionary deeply in love with humanity.” She has made dozens of banners for groups and directs and creates art work for Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Catholic Church. Cheryl-Anne is a member of the Winnipeg Labour Defence League and is a former member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Alex Paterson is a Gichi-Mookomaanag member of the IWW who comes from colonially granted Haudenosaunee territory on the North Shore of the Great Lakes. His Grandmother grew up on the Prairies. Alex just arrived here in the autumn from the eastern portion of Anishinaabe Akiing . He currently resides in the West-End of Winnipeg. Alex is a Masters student and teaching assistant in Aboriginal Governance at the University of Winnipeg. Alex is also a member of Winnipeg Copwatch a group dedicated to fighting the criminalization of the working class and oppressed groups such as Indigenous peoples, sex workers and the homeless.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's amazing where reports of anarchists will turn up, often quite unexpectedly. For some years now Molly has been a subscriber to 'The Economist'. However much I might disagree with their politics The Economist is rightly famed for good news and commentary. The Greek anarchists have been mentioned before in its pages, without the customary tirades that one would usually expect from a "right wing" publication, but also with the usual, probably fully justified, comment that they lack any sort of visible plan or strategy.
So, here I am, reading the May 16th edition when I come across a brief article entitled 'Fear and Loathing in Athens. The article is basically about the recent (May 9) attack on an abandoned court building in Athens(squatted by immigrants) by members of the neo-fascist organization 'Golden Dawn'. As per usual there were accusations that the police involved in "controlling" the mob did little to protect the people inside the building. There were, however, those who did. Here's a excerpt from the article:
"One resident, Moncef. a mechanic from Morocco, says, "The police stood there and did nothing". It took a group of Greek anarchists to come to the rescue"
This sort of thing is good publicity that no amount of money could buy. There is some peripheral comment in the English language section of the Athens Indymedia site ( see ) by an American apparently visiting in Greece. The comment, however, misses a point that is quite obvious to me. The author seems quite thrilled with the level of militancy in Greece, but he misses the glaring fact that a lot of it is "useless"(to put it kindly). The defence os the immigrants squatters, however, is far from useless. It is the sort of productive way that bravado of street fighting should direct its energies to- rather than pointless, endlessly repeating ritual combat with the police with no imaginable goal besides...more confrontations.
I know that there are some floating about the anarchist milieu to whom the word "effective" might as well be spoken in some sort of obscure dialect of a tiny tribe in Mongolia for all the effect it has. There are, however, many others to whom it makes a good sense as it would to any person possessed of common sense. The action described above actually had a point to it- the defence of the immigrants- and the fact that it can elicit favourable comment even from The Economist might give some pause for thought as to why it should be imitated rather than pointless ritual street dances with the police. I like it a lot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's the bizarre statist equivalent of a farmers' market. CANSEC, Canada's largest military trade show, will be opening this Wednesday on the Ottawa fair grounds. Instead of cauliflower, potatoes and corn the wares on display will be the newest and best ways of slaughtering people. If there was a God this sort of thing would be a prime tornado target. The fair grounds none the less. I am having a vision of a carnival barker yelling out, "Step right up, step right up, bomb the wedding party and win this cute stuffed bear. Three tries for only a million dollars. Step right up now." Yup.

This Dantesque carnival will not, however, be without its opposition. Here's the press release from the Ottawa based Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT).


Please distribute this very widely, thanks!
Ottawa Arms Show will face Show of Peace, Next Wed. May 27!:
CANSEC 2009, Canada's largest military trade show, is not going unnoticed or unchallenged. Next Wednesday, May 27, when two hundred of Canada's top military exporters descend upon Ottawa's fair grounds for their war show, they will face a formidable show of peace.
Activists from dozens of peace and religious groups have been meeting for months to counter the CANSEC arms show. Efforts include preparing for a vote at a City Council Committee on June 2, collecting thousands of names on paper and online petitions, sparking discussions in countless grassroots organizations, provoking newspaper articles, doing radio interviews and churning out detailed reports exposing CANSEC's role in fueling wars.
All-day VIGIL May 27:
There will be a day-long VIGIL (starting at 7:30 am) near CANSEC's Bank St. entrance to Lansdowne Park. Between 4:30-6:30 pm (while arms dealers, war fighters, government bureaucrats and foreign military attachés gather for a gala black tie celebration) there will be speakers, poetry and music outside the gates. (Click for details)
Peace RALLY May 27, 7 pm
(followed by Candlelight Vigil):
Join us for a large Peace Rally at 7 pm on the evening of May 27, just across the Bank St. bridge from CANSEC at Southminster United Church (15 Aylmer Ave). The program includes music, poetry and speakers from various faiths: Buddhist, Christian (Catholic, Quaker, United Church), Jewish, Moslem and Unitarian Universalist. Following this indoor peace rally we will have a candlelight procession across the Bank St. bridge to Lansdowne Park. (Click for details)
Honour Ottawa's 20-year Ban on Arms Shows:
CANSEC will be the first arms bazaar held at a City facility in exactly two decades. All such war industry exhibitions were banned by City Council in 1989. Weapons dealers and users can thank unelected City of Ottawa Staff, who claim to have found a convenient legal loophole large enough to drive a battalion of tanks through to get to the arms show at Lansdowne Park! Lansdowne is Ottawa's biggest municipal facility. It resides in a peaceful downtown residential neighbourhood. It will host this country's largest war show despite the 20-year ban that was passed 11 to 1 by City Councillors in 1989. Peace activists intend to stop this from ever happening again. Anti-war activists do not want CANSEC held anywhere. The first step is to remove CANSEC from publicly-funded facilities. Your help is needed to ban Ottawa's arms shows, for good!
CANSEC Exhibitors, Weapons Exports and War:
Canada is the world's 7th largest military exporter and CANSEC is the biggest event in Canada helping to facilitate this international trade in military equipment. Corporations exhibiting at CANSEC manufacture everything from ammunition, automatic weapons, armed battle vehicles, warheads, rockets and missiles, to sophisticated electronic components embedded in virtually all major U.S. weapons systems, such as warplanes, warships and main battle tanks.
In recent years, 90% of the total value of Canada's military exports was sold to 39 countries that had troops engaged in wars and armed conflicts now raging around the world, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars, that have claimed the lives of more than a million innocent civilians, are fueled by Canadian military exports and facilitated by CANSEC
CANSEC is run by Canada's top lobby group for military industries. In recent years it has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government to promote exports and international marketing opportunities for this country's war-related manufacturers.
Please distribute this widely and link to the URL:
For more information on CANSEC, the campaign exposing it and how you can help, please visit the website of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT).
Want more information about Canada's arms trade. Here's another item from COAT.
CANSEC 2009 Exhibitors and Where they Export:
By Richard Sanders, coordinator,
CLICK HERE for a new DATA TABLE produced by COAT in support of the campaign by various peace and religious groups to oppose CANSEC 2009 in Ottawa. Click here for PEACE EVENTS in Ottawa on May 27.
Ninety percent of the CANSEC 2009 military trade show exhibitors, for which data is available from Industry Canada, report that they do export their products. Of these companies, we have some detailed information on their exports including lists of countries to which these companies are exporting. We also have lists of countries to which CANSEC exhibitors say they are "actively pursuing" exports.
CANSEC 2009 is Canada's largest military industry trade show. It will be held in Ottawa, May 27-28. The corporations exhibiting at CANSEC are among Canada's leading exporters of military products and services. CANSEC is organized by a lobby group representing the vested commercial interests of 700 of Canada’s largest military exporters. In recent years, it has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). These federal government grants from DFAIT are part of the government's "Program for Export Marketing Development" and were specifically designed to assist this military industry association in its efforts to promote "international trade," and the "international business development activities" of its member corporations. (Read more here.) CANSEC is the main event organized by this military industry association.
The export data in this table comes from an online Industry Canada (IC) source called " Canadian Company Capabilities" (CCC). All of the information in this government database is entered, maintained and updated by the companies themselves.
Of the 216 CANSEC exhibitors, a handful are either government departments, foreign companies or associations. Of the remaining 209 Canadian military-related industries, 178 (i.e., 85% of them) have entries in IC's CCC database. Of these 178 companies, 158 (i.e., just over 90%) report that they do indeed export their products.
Ninety two of the CANSEC exhibitors with entries in the CCC database provide detailed lists of the countries to which they export their products. To view the lists of countries receiving military exports from each of these 92 companies, click on the links called "Export details (list of countries)" in the table below.
Note that many of these CANSEC 2009 exhibitors produce military as well as civilian products.For more information on CANSEC exhibitors and their exports of specific weapons-related products click here.
For more information on Canadian military exports to countries at war, click here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This one probably falls under the "unintentional comedy" heading. Here, from the website of the Ontario platformist organization Linchpin is their response to a recently released Hamilton police report. There is much more on this subject over at the Ontario section of the Anarchist Black Cat discussion board(see our Links section).

Now there is a lot to be said about anarchist bookfairs, some good and some bad. At least here in Canada the descriptive adjective would mostly be good. Down USA way, which actually has a far higher population of loons than we do of our national bird up here, the worst insult that could be directed -to a minority of the events- would be weird. But a "hate crimes" connection ? You gotta be kidding. No doubt occasional nutters of the fascist persuasion to sometimes try and exploit the overgrown tolerance of anarchists, but they are pretty well always rapidly shown the door, often in a less than gentle fashion. In any case they are inevitably outnumbered by about 50 to one by other people with strange hobby horses. Be an anarchist for say 10 years, and it is doubtful that you would meet any fascist trying to fish in the anarchist pool. Be an anarchist for one months, however, and you will inevitably meet several bizarros who want to "abolish civilization", amongst other strange ideas. That God that they don't constitute the majority.

The police report actually has all the earmarks of a police "anti-hate" project that has too little to do in the city of Hamilton. Ah, the Devil and idle hands. One gets a picture of some guy behind a desk waiting for months on end for a bit of graffiti on a wall or a knocked down tombstone. Waiting and waiting and waiting. In order to avoid their activities being seen as useless (with the frightening prospect of being assigned back to patrol duty in mind) this collection of officers has tried to assume everything that used to be the province of the 'Red Squad' under their aegis. Who knows maybe Red Squads have been deemed to be a piece of bad PR, and it may become a trend to rename them as "anti-hate" divisions while forgetting about what "hate crimes" are actually supposed to be.

Yup, some of my "comrades" can be right strange, but this little "learned report" from the Hamilton police shows that such weirdness can be exceeded by others. On to Linchpin's comments.
Anarchists call Police report comparing activism to hate crime "chilling":
HAMILTON- Local members of the provincial anarchist organization Common Cause fear Hamilton police are seeking to criminalize local organizers after a Hamilton police report identified the 2nd annual Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair as a potential source of hate crime.

While presenting the Year-End Hate Crime report (available online)to the Hamilton Police Board on May 19, acting sergeant Michael Gochstated police would be “actively monitoring” the book fair scheduled to take place on June 6.

Alex Diceanu, Ontario Treasurer of Common Cause responded, "As the organizers of the annual book fair, and as local anarchists and activists, Common Cause is deeply disturbed by these statements.

"This is a manipulation of hate crime laws to criminalize activism. At this time of economic and environmental crisis, alongside increasing political disengagement, activism and educational events such as the book fair should be encouraged, not chilled with surveillance."

The report also identifies the 2010 G8 summit (Huntsville, ON), the 2010 Olympics, “local native land reclamation issues”, “the anarchist movement” and “anti-government and anti-establishment reaction of economic crisis and job losses” as trends and events that “may have significant impacts and repercussions on the Hamilton community in terms of hate/bias related incidents.”

For the first time the report also includes incidents of graffiti aimed at police even though this contradicts the report's own definition of a hate crime.

Diceanu commented, "We are concerned that public resources meant to investigate hate crimes are being focused upon people trying to improve this community."

The Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair is not a threat to the community.

It is open to the public and family-friendly, featuring free child care and a kid's workshop.
Over 300 people attended last year's book fair. Activists will gather again this year to exchange literature and other forms of information.

Workshops at the book fair attempt to address issues faced by marginalized groups named in hate crimes legislation, including indigenous peoples, racialized groups, people facing disability barriers and others. Other workshops address the economic crisis, environmental justice and workplace organizing.

"Common Cause's Basic Policy states clearly that, and I quote, 'we actively oppose all manifestations of oppression such as racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia and we struggle against them.'

Indeed, anarchists have always sought to understand and end all forms of oppression in our struggle to create a world marked by true equality, freedom, peace, and harmony with the natural environment" says Diceanu

The full police report is available here (look for the May 19 Hamilton Police Services Board Public Agenda package at the top of the page).
For more information please contact:
But about the Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair itself, coming up soon, here, also from Linchpin, is the callout.
2nd annual Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair, June 6:

For the second year in a row, Hamilton will be home to Ontario's only Anarchist Book Fair, happening June 6, from 10am to 4pm at Westdale Collegiate, 700 Main St. West . Over 300 people from all over southern Ontario took part in Hamilton's first anarchist book fair, held last June.

For those not familiar with anarchist book fairs you can expect a couple dozen or so publishers and book stores to be on hand offering literature in various forms (as well as the occasional t-shirt) at affordable prices. You can expect to find just about every social justice issue covered from the environment, to women's struggles to radical history and theory. Many local activist groups will also be on hand to share information about important struggles happening in our community and beyond.

You will also be able to attend a series of talks and workshops as you take a break from browsing books. Workshop topics include environmental justice, workplace organizing, Palestinian and First Nations struggles against colonialism, disability politics and more. A kids' workshop, organized by and for children, will also be held so parents are encouraged to bring along their little ones. Wayne Price, author of “The Abolition of the State: Anarchist and Marxist Perspectives” will feature as the key note speaker. He will be speaking on the current global economic crisis. For full details including a list of vendors and workshop descriptions please see the book fair's website at

Admission is free. Lunch and child care will also be provided free of cost. The building is wheelchair accessible from the back parking lot.

The book fair is organized by the Hamilton branch of Ontario anarchist group, Common Cause. They can be contacted for more info at

The following appeal is from the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada/Syndicat Canadiene des communications, de l'énergie et du papier (CEP/SCEP).
June 2nd National Day of Protest - 2 juin, journée nationale de manifestation:‏

We need your help to pressure Prime Minister Stephen Harper to hold a meeting with a CEP forest workers' delegation in Ottawa on June 2nd. On that day, thousands of CEP forest workers from across Canada will be demanding that the federal government take action to help workers, their families, and their communities. Please take a few moments to read the attached and send it to Mr. Harper.
In solidarity,
Dave Coles
CEP President
Nous avons besoin de votre aide pour faire pression sur le Premier ministre Stephen Harper afin qu’il rencontre une délégation de travailleurs forestiers du SCEP, à Ottawa, le 2 juin. Lors de cette journée, des milliers de travailleuses et travailleurs forestiers partout au Canada demanderont que le gouvernement fédéral agisse pour aider les travailleurs, leur famille et leur communauté. Veuillez prendre quelques instants pour lire la lettre et l’envoyer à M. Harper.
En toute solidarité,
Dave Coles
Président du SCEP
Cliquez un des liens ci-dessus pour envoyer cette lettre à M. Harper. Click one of the links above to send this letter to Mr. Harper.
Mr. Prime Minister,
I request that you meet a delegation of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union on June 2nd regarding the crisis in the forestry industry and solutions to help workers, their families and their communities. On that day, forestry workers from across Canada will be coming to Ottawa to express their concerns regarding the loss of over 55,000 jobs in the last two years alone as well as the threat to their pensions.
Forest industry workers played no role in the financial crisis. Yet, they are the direct victims of a crisis that has been ongoing for over five years. They need help that only the federal government can provide.
I hope you will engage in a productive exchange with CEP on June 2nd.

Here, from the Olympics Resistance Network is more of what will be happening in the next little while out Vancouver way as the protests against the 2010 Winter Olympics gather steam.
Upcoming ORN general meetings: (Every 2nd Sunday)
Sunday, May 24, 6pm @ Spartacus Books, 684 E. Hastings
(The first meeting of each month includes time for new member orientation and Olympic issues background.)
Sunday, June 7, 6pm @ Spartacus Books, 684 E. Hastings
** If you are interested in ORN, but unable to attend Sunday meetings,consider getting involved in one of the subcommittees planning popular education/outreach, legal defense, fundraising, communications, etc. and contact for more information.
---------- Upcoming events in Vancouver -----------
Saturday, June 6
Queering the Resistance
Saturday, June 6th, 8pm
@ 524 Main Street (upstairs through the red door)
$7 door (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Pink resistance! Fundraising Dance Dance Party to support queer resistance to the Olympics. DJs, dancing and direct action! Organize to oppose the transphobic, homophobic, sexist, impoverishing, and gentrifying Games. Help build the Pink Resistance for the 2010 convergence.
Pink Resistance will be a fund to support queer actions, campaigns, and the 2010 convergence. The Pink Resistance group will be having events and organizing meetings, so look out for our events and meeting times. This event is a fundraiser for Olympic resistance groups: Olympic Resistance Network, Pink Resistance and the Anti-Poverty Committee.
Saturday, June 13
Saturday, June 13 @ 1:30 pm
Starts outside Downtown Eastside Women Centre(302 Columbia - corner Cordova, just west of Main)
On Saturday June 13 at 1:30 pm, join women in the Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group in the 3rd Annual March for Women's Housing and March Against Poverty!
Everyone welcome!
We are marching for:
- Social Housing, Childcare, and Healthcare for all!
- No more Evictions and No more Condos in the DTES!
- People Before Olympic Profits!
- Stop Criminalizing the Poor!
Although we are still suffering in shelters and on the streets, we are not yet defeated. We are making our voices heard, we are bringing empowerment into our lives, we are fighting for positive change, and we are expressing the humanity of our neighbourhood. We hope all of you will join us.
The Power of Women Group is a group at the Downtown Eastside (DTES) Women's Centre, located in the DTES of Vancouver (the poorest off-reserve postal code in Canada). We are a group of women from all walks of life who are either on social assistance, working poor, or homeless; but we are all living in extreme poverty. Our aim is to empower ourselves through our experiences and to raise awareness from our own perspectives about the social issues affecting the neighbourhood. Many of us are single mothers or have had our children apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental health issues for example HIV and Hepatitis C; many have drug or alcohol addictions; and a majority have experienced and survived sexual violence and mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse. For indigenous women, we are affected by a legacy of the effects of residential schools and a history of colonization and racism.
For more information contact project at or call 604-681-8480 x234.
We are also seeking endorsements, please contact us if you would are interested in being added to a list of supporters.
On facebook:
* Video:
Sunday, June 14
Car-Free Day in Vancouver
Sunday, June 14th, 12-6pm
@ The Drive, Main Street, Kitsilano & the West End
~ ORN will be at the Drive Car-Free Day and we hope to see you there!
~ "In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community-driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver. The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street. After that, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day.
Clearly, car-free days were an idea whose time had come. The first annual Car-Free Vancouver Day, on Sunday June 15, 2008 ushered in the next phase in this bold experiment that had been gradually happening in Vancouver for many years. It took the car-free meme to the whole city, and represented the next level in our evolution toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. On that day, FOUR communities presented their own Car-Free Festivals: Kitsilano, West End, Main Street, and Commercial Drive. Each Festival was envisioned and organized by the local core organizers, and each had a unique flavour. This year we’re doing it all again, and adding even more communities to the list!"
---------- Upcoming events in Victoria/Vancouver Island ----------
Thursday, May 21
Thursday, May 21, 7 pm
Camas Books and Infoshop (2590 Quadra @ Kings)
It’s time to start planning for the October 30th-31st Convergence in opposition to the Olympic Torch Relay. Come share food and ideas!
May 21 - 23
RBC Promotional Torch Relay May 21 - 23 @ various spots in Victoria (details below)
"Another exciting Olympic opportunity for social justice advocates in Victoria! The Torch arrives in Victoria this Thursday as part of the Royal Bank-sponsored tour. As a major investor in the destructive Alberta tarsands, Royal Bank has been named one of Canada's biggest corporate climate offenders. The Torch is rumoured to be making an official relay stop at Bear Mountain resort on Halloween - a big fat gift to Vancouver Island's most racist developer, Len Barrie.
We're planning to meet the Torch on its first stop, 9:30 am this Thursday, May 21 at the corner of Fort and Douglas. Seeking musicians, drums, noise makers, banners, singers, and more! Here is the tour schedule for this week.
The Torch will make five stopsover three days in Victoria.
Thurs, May 21 – 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
RBC Victoria main branch,
1079 Douglas St.
Thurs, May 21 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
RBC Oak Bay branch,
2255 Oak Bay Ave.
Fri, May 22 – 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
RBC Broadmead Village branch,
777 RoyalOak Dr.
Fri, May 22 – 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
RBC Sidney branch,
2464 Beacon Ave.
Sat, May 23 – 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
RBC Shelbourne Plaza branch,
3970 Shelbourne St."
July 1 - 7 11th Annual Wild Earth! Gathering
July 1 - 7 (on Vancouver Island)
"We're pleased to announce an outstanding lineup of presenters and workshops. It's a thrill to work with such talented folks who are volunteering to share their activism skills, experience and wisdom. Big cheers!
Wild Earth is the only activism training camp on the coast, and this year's focus is media and legal support for social and environmental justice advocates who are speaking out against the 2010 Olympics and the Torch Relay. Possible locations include a couple forest sites on the beaches of southern Vancouver Island. Please register today!"
More info, registration, and volunteer/donation info at:
The Vancouver Renters At Risk group want to collect stories and interviews about some of the housing impacts of the Games; anyone with contacts, personal stories, ideas, etc., please send to: "Renters At Risk Campaign - Subject: renters on video.
I'm looking for BC renters who have been affected/experienced evictions, renovictions, and/or huge rent increases in the lead up to the Olympics. If that's you, are you willing to allow me to film you in a short 15-45sec segment ? If you're interested in hearing more, please" Olympic Resistance Network: contact -
The Olympic Resistance Network is primarily based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories and exists as a space to coordinate anti-2010 Olympics efforts. In doing so, we act in solidarity with other communities across 'BC' - particularly indigenous communities who have been defending their land against the onslaught of the Olympics since the bid itself. Our organizing is largely being done under the slogan of "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land," while creating an opportunity for all anti-capitalist, indigenous, anti-poverty, labour, migrant justice, environmental justice, anti-war, and anti-colonial activists to come together to confront this two-week circus and the oppression it represents.