Monday, August 31, 2009

One has to say that Magma Holdings have hardly been slowed down by our present recession. One acquisition after another, some of them bargain hunting amongst the corporate terminal ward and others financed by what are actually some rather unstable financial arrangements. Some might call these acquisition tactics the "business of buzzards".
It now seems that one of Magma's branches, Magma Energy' is looking to acquire a major stake in geothermal energy development in the country of Iceland. Now most of us here in Canada when we think of geothermal energy envision the rather decentralized forms being built into many news homes and some business enterprises. This is the sort of small scale and highly competitive situation where prices move towards what might be termed fair and no one player is likely to acquire a monopoly position. Iceland, as a land of volcanoes and hotsprings, however, offers opportunity for development of this energy form on an industrial scale. In such a case large government-backed contracts take away the correcting hand of the market, and pricing (as well as sources of financing) become mere administrative fiats governed only by how much the players think they can get away with. It wouldn't take much to supply the home heating needs of Iceland, and the excess power generated by proposed large scale projects begs for the government to subsidized other large industry that might be potential customers for the energy excess.
Here from the Saving Iceland website is the down and dirty details about magma's proposal.
Iceland’s Geothermal Energy to be Privatized? - Canadian Company Wants to Take Over H.S. Orka:
Magma Energy, a Canadian company, wants to buy a majority share in H.S. Orka, a geothermal energy company based on the Reykjanes peninsula. In July this year Magma Energy bought a 11% share in H.S. Orka from Geysir Green Energy (GGE) and therefor became the first foreign shareholder in an Icelandic energy company. The purchase was a part of a bigger agreement between Reykjanesbær and GGE, which resulted in GGE owning a little more than 50% of H.S. Orka. Around the purchase, Ross Beaty, Magma’s director stated that the company did not plan to become predominant in H.S. Orka or meddle with the management of the company’s power plants.

In the middle of August, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (O.R. - e. Reykjavík Energy) decided to start discussion with Magma Energy about the latter’s purchase of O.R.’s share in H.S. Orka, which is 32% and would therefor give Magma 43% share in the company and the possibility of increasing it 5%. Magma has bought the very small shares of the communities of Sandgerði and Hafnarfjörður, amd has been discussing with communities like Vogar and Grindavík about buying their shares as well. If everything goes like planned, H.S. Orka, which e.g. is the biggest energy provider for the Century Aluminium’s planned smelter in Helguvík, will mostly be owned by to private companies; Magma and GGE, which will own c.a. half of the shares each.

Magma Energy was established in 2008 by Ross Beaty, an geologist and businessman. For decades, Beaty has been building up and operating mining companies, e.g. Pan American Silver Corp, a silver mining company that owns eight silver mines in Central and South America. Magma Energy has since its foundation bought 21 geothermal energy projects and over 200 hectares of lands in the U.S. and in Latin America, and officially plans to be the biggest and the best geothermal energy companies world wide.
Critique and opposition - No unity in government
Many critical voices have been raised in consideration of this issue. More then 100 people showed up to a public meeting in Grindavík last Tuesday evening, where the possible purchase was discussed. An unanimous assumption was sent out after the meeting, encouraging the state and municipalities to prevent the purchase from taking place. The government is adjured to mount guard around the country’s common resources, bearing in mind the long term benefits of people living here. The assumption also includes worries about GGE’s financial ability to take part in such a big commerce, since the company is heavily indebted and some of its major owners are on the tables of the former privatized banks’ resolution committees.

Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, minister of finance and the head of the Left Green party, agreed on meeting up with the public meeting’s representatives the day after. Sigfússon said that his opinions fit to the meeting’s assumption and that he would do what ever he can to stop the complete privatization of H.S. Orka from taking place. There is a huge opposition amongst Left Greens towards the privatization and members of the party have proposed that the state buys the share of Reykjavík Energy. Magma Energy’s director, Ross Beaty, has been meeting with Sigfússon to try to get him to relinquish that idea.

But there is not a united opinion about this between the two parties of the government; the Left Greens and Samfylkingin, the social democratic alliance. Many members of the latter one believe that the state is not capable of buying O.R.’s share in H.S. Orka, and the same opinion goes in the majority of Reykjavík City Council. According to the newspaper Fréttablaðið, there is a widespread opinion inside Samfylkingin about this impossibility, as well as worries about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remarking on the idea of the state’s possible purchase
Who will be responsible?
In a commentary on Smugan, a left wing newspaper on the web, Björg Eva Erlendsdóttir, the page’s former editor, criticizes the privatization of Iceland’s natural resources. She says:

"Despite the privatization of the energy company it is pointed out that the resource is still the property of the public. Still, that does not concern the public at all if the right of utilization has been endorsed like was done with the fish in the ocean. Moreover, the fee for the utilization right is so low that revenues from the resource do not concern the public at all. The resource rent will go to the owner of H.S. Orka but not the public. The question about what it changes to keep the resource in the hands of the official has not been answered. Is it possible that the Icelandic nation will have to be responsible for the resource, just like it was for the privatized banks? If the resource will be overused or destroyed, who is then responsible for that? An energy company in public interest can obviously not become broke. It will be the Icelandic states role to take on the slam if things go badly."

And she continues, now comparing the situation to what Naomi Klein talks about in her book, The Shock Doctrine:

"Klein sets out a theory about that when societies come across huge shocks, big corporations and other power blocks use the opportunity to put into practice a systematic strategy where the property of the public is given to private parties on a silver plate for a embarrassing price. Much indicates that just now, the energy companies’ bad position after the economic collapse is being used and outsmarted in the shadow of the attention that has been put on the Icesave-contracts alone, to quickly finish the precess of privatizing H.S. Orka."
IMF’s leash on Iceland
Shortly after the collapse of the Icelandic economy in October/November last year, some people started to announce the death of capitalism; the theory and the practice. Others, e.g. local anarchists, pointed out the opposite: Now capitalism is developing and the best possible position for unchecked capitalism is being created. On a flier distributed by anarchists in one of the big weekly demonstrations against the government, the 1. of November 2008, this was e.g. stated:

"Iceland is a paradise for the International Monetary Fund. Here are unharnessed natural resources and a weak and impotent government on crutches - a puppet government for other governments. In addition to that, Icelandic resistance has always been little and attended by few. IMF’s menu for Iceland includes ungovernable destruction of glacial rivers and geothermal areas, and the privatization of social service and natural resources, including energy and drinking water."

Many others warned about IMF’s intervention here in Iceland. Many articles were written, telling the bloody story of IMF around the globe but the common idea here seemed to be that since Iceland did not count as a third world country, IMF’s behavior would be different here then elsewhere. The recent news about the privatization of H.S. Orka and the IMF’s intervention with the idea of the state’s purchase, are most likely only the first proves for these worries.
Incorporation and PR stunt

The most recent news are that the incorporation of Magma and GGE is likely to take place, which means that one foreign private company would own H.S. Orka completely. The companies’ representatives say that this idea has been lying on the table since the beginning of the two companies’ discussion. Riss Beaty says that he does not rule out the possibility of Magma owning a minority share in H.S. Orka if official parties would own the majority. But he says that it is far from being a preferable outcome; if Magma is not a majority owner, there would be a lack of interest and energy inside the company.

Beaty was interviewed in Kastljós, a news report show on the national TV station, yesterday night. He talked about how much of an “environmentalist” he is, how clean and renewable Iceland’s energy is, how he admired the Icelandic nation and that he would even want to learn Icelandic. What a stunt! When asked if he understood the public's mistrustfulness towards privatization after the collapse of the banks, he said he did but mentioned that the Icelandic people would have to understand what kind of company Magma is.

He repeated himself in an interview with Fréttablaðið, where he said: “We are not a scary company, we want to work with H.S. Orka in building up a stronger company, for the good of Icelanders, ourselves, and actually the whole world.” And he denied that Magma is getting itself into a group of companies who see an opportunity for an easy and shortly gotten growth by buying the ruins of Icelandic companies after the collapse.

Well, we have heard this kind of nonsense before, especially when it comes to the energy and aluminium industries. One can only hope that after the bank collapse and the parallel political, economical and media scandals that were discovered, people do not believe a single word from a rotten CEO like Ross Beaty.
More information about the issue later.

After two years without a contract blue collar employees of the city of Montréal have staged a one day walkout today. Like other civic employees across the country the Montréal workers are facing increasingly intransigent city management. Here`s the story from the Montréal CTV outlet.
Montreal blue-collars staging one-day strike:
Montreal's blue-collar workers walked off the job at midnight for a 24-hour strike.
The 5,000 workers have not had a contract since August 2007. The main issues are salaries and subcontracting.

Union president Michel Parent says they have been waiting for the city to make its latest offer since last June.

The city says it will wait until the union makes all its demands before making a counter-offer.
Monday's one-day strike will affect garbage and recycling collection, road repair, and other construction projects, although a skeleton crew will be on call in case urgent repairs are needed for sewers or roads.

Employees will return to work, and resume their normal duties, at the stroke of midnight on Monday night.

The majority of boroughs won't be affected by the strike because the garbage collection and recycling pickup will be carried out by private contractors as usual.

However, services will be affected in the following boroughs:
*Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Plateau-Mont-Royal Southwest: recycling will be picked up on Sept. 7
*Villeray-Saint-Michel-Park-Extension: recycling will be picked up on Sept. 1
*Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie: garbage collection will be delayed until Sept. 2
*Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Rivière-des-Praires-Pointe-aux-Trembles: garbage will not be collected on Aug. 31, and residents should put out garbage later in the week, for the usual second pickup
For more details, check out the city of Montreal's official, French-only notice.
The Montréal workers in question are represented by Local 301 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Here is the way that CUPE describes the situation.
Montreal "cols bleus" on 24-hour strike:
Montreal's blue collar city workers, members of CUPE 301, have laid down their tools for a 24-hour strike. They are not launching a full-scale strike, and do not want the people of Montreal to have to pay for failed negotiations - and are making sure that all essential services continue to be provided.
However, two years of negotiations have failed to reach a settlement. And over those years, while the number of workers on the Island of Montreal have been decreasing, the number of layers of management and organizational structures has exploded - resulting in poor coordination of services, disorganization, and poorer public services.
This round of negotiations provides an opportunity to improve Montreal's infrastructure by committing strongly to quality public services, rather than allowing those services to be sold off piecemeal to the private sector.
This short work stoppage is a warning cry, drawing attention to the failure of elected officials to take their responsibility to the City of Montreal seriously.

The following story and appeal is from the website of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) to which the Starbucks Union is affiliated.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Aizze was the best barista at the Snelling & Selby Starbucks in St. Paul, MN. She knew every regular's drink and could make a latte in 28 seconds. She has 20 MUG awards for her job performance, and was never written up in her two years of service, nor was her till ever ‘over’ or ‘short.’ Her coworkers and customers loved her; they called her 'Aizze' (pronounced 'Ozzie'), short for Azmera. This description is in the past tense because Starbucks wrongfully fired Aizze on July 8, 2009. Starbucks management accused her of theft, although they themselves ADMIT that they have no video or other evidence to support their accusation.
Adding insult to injury, Saint Paul District Manager Claire Gallagher took advantage of Aizze’s limited English abilities and bullied and manipulated her into signing a promissory note saying she would pay Starbucks the arbitrarily- determined amount of $1200. Acting through the notoriously anti-worker law firm Olonoff, Asen & Serebro,. LLP, Starbucks has since sent Aizze a letter threatening to send their baseless claim to a collections agency.
Azmera is not a thief. An immigrant from Ethiopia, Azmera has been a citizen of the U.S. for the past ten years. She has worked at Starbucks for the past two years. Together with her husband, a Taxi driver, Azmera is the proud mother of three young children. Aizze is an honest, deeply religious woman who loves her job and works hard to care for her family.
How did this happen?
On July 8, 2009, Aizze was told to sit in the back room at the end of her shift, alone with St. Paul District Manager Claire Gallagher. For almost two hours, she was not allowed to leave, and no other workers were allowed to enter. The DM made a conference call with “Partner & Asset Protection” Manager Chris Vanderhoof and together they began to interrogate Aizze. When Aizze informed her interrogators that she did not understand what they were saying, they just repeated the same words over and over. Aizze was not offered an interpreter. She was told that if she didn't sign the promissory note, they would call the police and have her arrested. Thinking of her children, she signed the paper. Her interrogators told her flatly that they had no proof or video of her stealing money, yet they accused her of theft. Aizze never stole. If there was change someone didn’t want from a transaction, Aizze put it in the tip jar, but she never, ever stole.
Why Aizze?
We can only speculate on why Aizze was targeted, but one thing is clear: Starbucks thinks they can get away with victimizing her because she is an immigrant and a non-native English speaker.
What You Can Do To Help
We all have a responsibility to stand up for the most vulnerable amongst us. We will not sit idly by while Starbucks management victimizes one who has come to this country seeking a better life. We demand immediate reinstatement, the immediate nullification of the promissory note, and an apology to Aizze. Justice must be done for Aizze and all workers.
Regional Vice President SUMI GOSH at 312-342-8701
Regional Director DIMITRI HATZIGEORGIOU at 312-731-8909
St. Paul District Manager CLAIRE GALLAGHER at 651-260-5079
And here's the latest update on this case.
Hello Fellow Workers, Customers and Friends of Aizze!

Thank you so much for your support for Azmera. By signing the petition, calling-in to Starbucks management, and coming out for a hugely successful picket of the Snelling & Selby store last Saturday, we have sent a strong message to Starbucks that Aizze is not alone and that we will not stand for discrimination. The picket was covered by several media outlets, including the Star Tribune <> and Pioneer Press <>. According to workers at Snelling & Selby, sales dropped by over 50% during the hour and a half that we picketed the store.

After the picket, Aizze had a brief phone conversation with Becky Critch, Starbucks Human Resources Manager. We had hoped that Starbucks would present an offer, but instead, Critch attempted to dominate the conversation, asking probing questions about Aizze's work history.
Critch refused to allow Aizze to answer questions in writing. After the traumatic experience of her interrogation in the back room of the store, it is highly insulting for management to expect Aizze to submit to further oral questioning.

With no offer from Starbucks on the table, it's time to increase the pressure.
What's Next?
1. Please continue to call Starbucks Area Director DIMITRI HATZIGEORGIOU at 312-731-8909 to tell him you support Aizze's demands.
2. We have invited fellow workers, customers and community members to come and meet Aizze on SUNDAY, AUGUST 30 at 1PM at Coffee con Amore, 917 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul. This will be an opportunity to hear from Aizze, discuss the next steps in the campaign, and learn more about the Starbucks Workers Union. Join us!
3. During this tough time for Aizze and her family, you may consider making a donation to help Aizze while she is unemployed. A customer of Aizze's established a fund through PayPal for supporters to make donation directly to Aizze. You can donate at

Again, thank you all so much for your support and solidarity with us in this struggle.
-The Justice for Aizze Team
Contact info.:
Anja Witek: ahwitek [at], (651) 587-9593
justiceforaizze [at]

This just in from the website of the Ontario platformist organization Common Cause.
Report: 2009 Common Cause Conference:

On August 1 and 2, 2009, in the city of Toronto, Common Cause, an Ontario anarchist organization, held its third annual Ontario-wide conference. In attendance were members from our Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton branches and several new members from London.

The first day began with reports from Ontario officers and local branches giving us a good overview of our second year as an organization. The 2008/2009 year saw us focus on both internal and public education. Internally, highlights included holding our first internal Day School in Hamilton in late June, a big step in developing a common vision and strategy across the organization. We also continued to be active in the international anarchist movement, sending a delegate to and to the organizing committee for the North American Class Struggle Anarchist Conference.

Externally, branches successfully organized the second Hamilton Anarchist Book Fair, (June, 2009), the first Organizing4Justice conference (Ottawa, October 2008) and participated in the first Toronto Anarchist Gathering (April, 2009). The Hamilton branch continued to host well-attended monthly anarchist discussion groups while the Toronto branch laid the groundwork to begin organizing public discussion groups in that city. We also developed a presentation, titled “The Role of the Anarchist Organization” which was presented in three cities. (Anyone interested in hosting the talk in their city should contact the Ontario secretary. Contact information is listed below).

Common Cause members also continued to be active in a wide range of struggles including queer and women's groups, indigenous solidarity, unions, anti-war, prisoner support work, anti-security certificates organizing and anti-racism work. Members were part of two important victories this year: the release of the last person held on national security certificates and the organizing of the first ever post-doctoral fellows union in Canada.

Following reports we discussed and voted on a number of resolutions. Key resolutions that were passed included: empowering Delegate Council to pass strategy papers in between annual conferences, upping the share of members' dues sent to the Ontario treasurer from 50% to 60% percent in order to fix the imbalance between local accounts and the provincial treasury, and creating a literature working group. Importantly we passed a new publishing plan and format for our newspaper, Linchpin. It will now be published bi-annually, but with more content and in greater numbers. It was hoped that this will set the newspaper on a more sustainable and effective path after publishing was put on hold over the summer as funds ran out.

The day ended with Ontario officer elections. With the exception of the Out of Province Secretary, all positions were rotated repeating a similar pattern as last year. We were encouraged to see newer members take on some of the positions.

After an evening of socializing, the second day of the Conference was taken up with a set of strategy sessions. The 5 topics were: building Common Cause, collective campaigns, the labour movement and community organizing, political education/developing our ideas and media, journalism, outreach. The sessions included both break outs into small groups as well as a closing plenary.

By the end of the conference we felt that a lot has been accomplished this year both internally and externally for what still remains a small political organization. However it was recognized that we still have a long way to go before we can play the kind of role that we envision for an anarchist organization in Ontario. Specifically, members expressed the desire to see us organize campaigns at the Ontario level, doing a better job of popularizing anarchist ideas via our newspaper and website, and making more progress on developing strategy for specific areas of organizing. It was the common feeling of the members that taking these steps will depend on our ability to attract new members as well as increase the skills and knowledge of current ones.
A lot of work awaits us in what is likely to be a key year for Common Cause. With a well-organized and productive conference we begin the year with a good start.

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with Common Cause please contact us at: commoncauseontario[at]gmail[dot]com, or use the contact form on our website at or write to us at P.O. Box 347, Station E, 772 Dovercourt Rd., Toronto, ON, Canada, M6H 4E3

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's been tried twice before, and twice before Conan has refused to sign. Now, having passed both houses in California, the California Employee Free Choice Act is on the Gubernator's desk once more. The United Farm Workers are asking that you add your voice to those calling for Arnie to finally sign the bill. Only union organization, not rarely enforced government regulations, will end the unnecessary deaths in the fields of California. Does your lettuce have blood on it ? Make it clean. Join the demand to make California's fields union. From the UFW...
BREAKING NEWS: UFW bill reaches Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Take action today:
We've just received word that our bill, SB789 "CA Employee Free Choice Act for Farm Workers" has reached the Governor’s desk. Please drop everything and immediately contact the Governor today.

We've sent this bill to the Governor twice before. We've made and heard all the arguments. The facts are simple. We all understand that California does not have the resources to enforce the laws on the books. They can't protect the more than 500,000 farm workers on 80,000 farms.

Farm workers are literally dying in the fields because they have no water to drink or shade to rest under. California's inability to enforce the laws has led to pesticide poisonings and sexual harassment on a massive scale.

No heat deaths have ever occurred on any farm where farm workers have a union contract.
End result, this bill will make it easier for farm workers to organize a union and protect themselves. It's time for the Governor to sign it. The Governor has protected agribusiness at the workers' expense for long enough.

Democratic Party Chairman John Burton says, "Before considering any state water deal, lawmakers and the governor must ensure that farm workers have access to clean, cool drinking water and shade. Current laws guaranteeing drinking water for farm workers are not being enforced, therefore the only recourse for farm workers to protect themselves would be through the collective bargaining process as provided for in SB789."
Please send the Governor an e-mail today.
Please go to one of the links above to send the following letter to Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger.
The UFW's bill, SB789 "CA Employee Free Choice Act for Farm Workers" has just reached your desk. You have repeatedly written to bill supporters that you would not consider the bill until it's on your desk. It now is and we beg you to take action and sign this vital piece of legislation. This bill has been sent to you twice before. We've made and heard all the arguments. The facts are simple. We all understand that California does not have the resources to enforce the laws on the books. They can't protect the more than 500,000 farm workers on 80,000 farms.

Farm workers are literally dying in the fields because they have no water to drink or shade to rest under. California's inability to enforce the laws has led to pesticide poisonings and sexual harassment on a massive scale. Even your administrations' workers standard board admitted that its regulations do not adequately protect farm workers from the heat and Len Welsh, the head of Cal-OSHA, has said himself that Cal-OSHA is "maxed out."

It is simply unacceptable that 15 farm workers have died due to heat since you became governor. We need your help to do more to prevent unnecessary deaths. Having laws on the books that are often unenforced is not enough.

No heat deaths have ever occurred on any farm where farm workers have a union contract.

End result, this bill will make it easier for farm workers to organize a union and protect themselves. It's time for you to sign it. You have protected agribusiness at the workers' expense for long enough.

Democratic Party Chairman John Burton says, "Before considering any state water deal, lawmakers and the governor must ensure that farm workers have access to clean, cool drinking water and shade. Current laws guaranteeing drinking water for farm workers are not being enforced, therefore the only recourse for farm workers to protect themselves would be through the collective bargaining process as provided for in SB 789."
Please sign this vital bill today.

Here's more from the No2010 Victoria group and the Olympic Resistance Network about upcoming events against the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics.
Upcoming Meetings and Events:‏
Upcoming ORN general meetings: (Every 2nd Sunday)
Sunday, Aug. 30, 6pm @ Spartacus Books, 684 E. Hastings (The first meeting of each month includes time for new member orientation and Olympic issues background.)
Sunday, Sept. 13, 6pm and Sunday, Sept. 27, 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, indy media, etc. and contact for more information.
Upcoming Events (Vancouver Island):
HALLOWEEN Convergence
- October 30-31, Victoria BC Olympic Torch Relay - Coast Salish Territory
Get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the spotlight with the world's biggest circus of misspent public resources!
Deliver a message to the world for justice and equality in Canada!
Exercise our right to free speech and free association in the face of a police clampdown and come PARTY on Halloween!
Ninjas, zombies, pirates, and superheroes welcome! (What no cats ?????-Molly)
Plan your own surprise party!
The official 2010 Olympic Torch Relay begins Friday morning, October 30, in downtown Victoria. On October 31, the relay goes through Sooke, Metchosin, Langford and beyond. Stay tuned for event announcements. Media convergence organizing is underway. Everyone welcome!
Canada is a Free Speech Zone!
View the relay route on an interactive map here:
for more info:
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 15-45 sec segment? If you're interested in hearing more, please write: "
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.

The following from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) tells of how they have withdrawn picket lines from outside group homes managed by the Lanark County Community Living Association. No doubt the bad public image generated by these pickets pretty well required CUPE to pull the picket lines. This, however, leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Strikes at public service workplaces are not like strikes at factories. There is an inevitable third party involved- that part of the public affected by the service that is being delivered. If anything such stokes require a multitude of creative new tactics if they are to succeed. Community outreach is of the utmost importance in such situations, and traditional picket lines are often very much beside the point in whether such strikes are won or lost. This is a humble suggestion, being as the particular situation of certain strikes may make it unrealistic, but the idea of an actual "take-over" of a workplace (once sufficient community links were developed of course) might be an option that would put the onus of continued care on government and management rather than on striking workers. It would depend, of course, and what is happening in Lanark County at the very least points to the need to go beyond "tried and untrue" traditional union tactics. Whatever else one may say it is sure that once one has to depend on politicians that a strike is indeed lost. Here's the story.
CUPE responds to picket concerns, Hillier pushes for settlement - CUPE to withdraw picket lines from group homes but will keep watch for safety ;
Carleton Place, Ont. – The Canadian Union of Public Employees will withdraw picket lines outside Community Living Association-Lanark County group homes in response to community concerns, said Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario, at a joint news conference today with MPP Randy Hillier, who called for a settlement to the strike.

“We are withdrawing our picket lines in response to the concerns of families and advocates because we feel it’s crucial to be responsive to our community,” Ryan said. “We remain alarmed, however, at the number of questionable incidents we have either witnessed directly or have heard about, so we will continue to keep a watchful eye.”

CUPE has recorded a number of safety concerns since “replacement workers” started doing union members’ jobs in early July. CUPE 1521.02, the union representing 90 striking developmental services workers in Lanark County, has reported these incidents to the agency’s executive director, Rick Tutt, who just dismissed them. CUPE has now brought its concerns directly to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Member of Provincial Parliament Randy Hillier said he appreciated the union’s move.

“When reasonable people work together, they can find reasonable solutions, and I commend CUPE for leading the way,” Hillier said. “I look forward to seeing the agency following suit, getting back to table and negotiating a settlement. This dispute needs to get settled.”

CUPE thanked Hillier for working to find a solution to the current impasse, and urged the employer to get back to the table for genuine negotiations.

“We thank MPP Hillier for his help getting the two sides back to the table,” Ryan said. “Our priority is making sure the people we support get the care they deserve. Community Living Lanark has to join us now and meet us halfway.”

Members of CUPE 1521.02 have been on strike since early July in an effort to stop the erosion of working conditions and the quality of service delivered to Lanark residents with intellectual disabilities.
David Robbins, CUPE Communications
David Shostal, Executive Assistant to Randy Hillier

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The following translation was published in nine parts at Molly's Blog. What follows is the complete article from the Spring 2009 issue of Ruptures, the journal of the Québecois platformist journal 'Ruptures'. The original French article can be seen at the Anarkismo site HERE. This article, written by a militant of the Québec City anarchist group La Nuit, attempts to give an history of the development of the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) in his city and in the province of Québec prior to its dissolution and its reformation as the Union Communiste Libertarire (UCL), a more regional organization of the province of Québec.

The original excerpts of this translation contained various editorial comments which I have endeavored to remove in this final version. If any comments have inadvertently snuck in I apologize. Those who are interested in the comments can refer to the various postings on Molly's Blog (do the appropriate search). Many thanks for help in this translation to 'Nicolas' and 'Phebus", both from Québec, who have seen fit to give this western Canadian anglophone assistance on certain points of both translation and local (Québec) references. Any errors in what follows are mine and not theirs.

My own opinion....I have long admired our Québecois comrades, actually long before the rise of what goes as the present incarnation of organized anarchism known as "platformism". To my point of view they have always embodied a more 'European' sensibility plunked down in North America. This means many things. First of all it means a common sense adherence to what anarchism has actually meant in its history ie a commitment to ordinary people (known as the "working class" for those who like to use such terms), an understanding that organization is necessary and is part and parcel of what anarchism has always meant and an avoidance of cultish fads. No doubt cultish fads have risen in Québec, but I have been impressed by how much they have been confined to the anglophones of Montréal and how much the francophone anarchists have stayed true to what anarchism actually means. I suspect that bullshit doesn't translate very well into French.

But beyond the Canadian divide of francophone/anglophone what follows is instructive as to the efforts of anarchists to make the IDEA popular in a mid-sized city- Québec City-, their successes and failures. All that Molly can say is that readers should take what follows to heart in all its implications. Anarchism is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a small ideological current. This does NOT mean that it cannot have influence, as NEFAC has had in Québec. It does, however, mean that we should be realistic about our prospects. The following is both inspiring and sobering. Here's the story.
Summing up My Involvement
I have been involved in the anarchist movement for the past ten years. Before coming to anarchism, I worked for 5 or 6 years in the radical movement of the early 1990s, a mixture of Trotskyism, antifascism and students' struggles. After several years of involvement at UQAM with MDE (Movement for the Right to Education) and with the PAC (Political Action Committee), I participated in the creation of the libertarian Frayhayt group in September 1999, and the the CLAC in March of 2000.

I learned about NEFAC a few months before the Summit of the Americas during the summer of 2000, if I recall correctly. I admit to have been rather skeptical about its chances of success. How could there be anarcho-communists in Quebec? A dozen? No, really, it could not work. It must be said that the experience in which I was plunged in the CLAC was-to say the least- promising. What we wanted, a mass anti-capitalist movement, was taking shape before our eyes, driven by the anti-globalization wave. We were able to mobilize thousands of people, not only on vague slogans denouncing the effects of neoliberalism (as was the case for several years), but on a clear rejection of the foundations of the capitalist system. Better still, the principles of direct democracy, self-organizing and popular education were central to this approach. If the months preceding the Summit could be exhilarating (and stressful), the Summit itself was up to my expectations. I was hardly aware of the participation of NEFAC (1) in these events as the streets of Quebec abounded with anarchists and revolutionaries of all kinds.

After the Summit I was quickly disenchanted. By the month of June, I joined with those who, in Quebec, had re-grouped under the acronym CASA (Committee to Welcome the Summit of the Americas) for a weekend of reflection near Valcartier. About thirty people, mostly students at Laval University, participated in the orientation assembly . Despite interesting debates, no clear perspective could be deduced from the meeting. The Summit was now over, and with it, several of those present would gradually abandon activism. This perspective-or lack of perspective-hardly attracted me. I was working more and more regularly at the newspaper "Rebelles." I thought I could continue the momentum on my return to Québec. Unfortunately, the collective that published "Rebelles" also ceased its activities during the summer. I turned then to the only organization capable of bringing about a long-term involvement, for which a common project - libertarian-communism- was not a "taboo", but something fully assumed.

I become a supporter of NEFAC in July 2001. A few days later, on July 23, I spoke on behalf of the anarchist group Émile Henry in a demonstration to denounce the murder of Carlo Giuliani, at the Italian consulate in Limoilou. I become a member of the federation shortly thereafter . Despite some flaws in the platform of NEFAC, it seemed more important to join a group wishing to develop an organized anarchist movement than to go from summit to summit, from one season to another, without a revolutionary perspective .
All-out activism:
My first year as a member of NEFAC was at least as loaded! By the end of summer, we produced the first issue of a newsletter of the Local NEFAC Union called "La Nuit" (in homage to the anarchist newspaper of the same name produced in Montreal from 1976 to 1986). This bulletin prefigured the "Cause Commun" of a few years later : a newsletter that appears on a regular basis and which is distributed in demonstrations and in public places. "The Local Union "group replaced the Émile Henry collective of NEFAC in Quebec, following the departure of several people and the arrival of others. The first issue of "La Nuit" addressed the issue of patriarchy and wage slavery , two themes that will recur periodically in our publications.

As with almost all the radical left, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 took us by surprise. The Local Union, nevertheless, issued a NEFAC communique, written by our comrades in the United States, during a protest in Quebec City at the end of September. We took this opportunity to announce a series of upcoming events, including the upcoming release of a new NEFAC publication ... in French. On the 13th of October the first number of Ruptures finally came out. Published in 1000 copies, it was produced entirely in Quebec, thanks to the collaboration of a few supporters and sympathizers. The launch took place in the basement of the Church of St. John the Baptist, in the presence of a hundred people.
Ruptures has not gone unnoticed, especially the text "We are platformists," which raised many reactions and taunts on the part of the anarchist "mileau". Among "exs" of CASA, many turned their backs on the NEFAC and some unhealthy competition developed between the "organized" (that's us) and the "unorganized" (the others) militants and activists . It was also a time of schism with two friends who soon increased (for a time) the ranks of the "ultra-left" in Montreal, with various texts and pamphlets denouncing their former comrades.

The Fall was marked by several other public activities, some organized under the People's University of the Popular Committee of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, others independently. On the weekend of November 23, we presented not one but two public lectures: on Friday with Gaetan Heroux, of the OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty), and Sunday with Nivardo Juan Rodriguez, of Juventudes Libertarias (Bolivia) , at Lucien-Borne. Despite a limited mobilization, the room was full! The Summit of the Americas is making itself felt ...

On the 1st and 2nd of December 2001, NEFAC organized a weekend of reflection on patriarchy in Montreal on the Loyola campus, west of the city. This was the first public event jointly organized by various groups since the Quebec Summit of the Americas. The program, somewhat loaded, was developed by groups in Québec City and Montréal. Several former members of CASA were present, and present also, were a large number of supporters and sympathizers from the Montréal region and the United States. Despite numerous logistical problems and a lack of political preparation, the event was a success in terms of participation. It prepared the ground for the second issue of Ruptures which came out in April 2002.

In the winter, the NEFAC began the first tour "of the region." The invitation was launched for anarchists living outside Montréal and Québec City to organize events with us in their corner of the country. Members of the Local Union of Québec went to Sorel on 25 March 2002 for a conference to present an introduction to anarchism at the Café-Bistro Le Cinoche. On 24 April, we went to Saint-Georges-de-Beauce at the invitation of students of the college to conduct a workshop on globalization. Nearly forty people were present. On 6 May, I went to Sherbrooke to present a conference on education to a small libertarian group of cégépiens and cégépiennes(CGEP students-Molly).

These activities did not prevent us from holding more public events in Quebec. On 2 April, we were mobilizing a caravan to the G8 meeting in Kananaskis (Alberta). A large crowd rushed to listen to various speakers and presenters, including Jaggi Singh. Three weeks later, on 20 and 21 April, the NEFAC held another weekend of debate in Québec this time on social class and class struggle. People from everywhere attended this meeting, including a group of students from St. Jerome. On 5 May, we returned with an "internationalist" conference in Québec. Chekov Feeney of the Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland), Laurent Scapin of Alternative Libertaire (France) and Phoebus (for our group) presented the different realities of the anarchist movement and the different horizons that were opening for organization. It was during this period that the Local Union of Québec became the anarchist La Nuit Collectif . The name change reflected a desire to clarify our method of organization and our goals and to break the vicious "activist" circle" into which we had plunged . The idea of "closed" affinity groups (such as Émile-Henry) was set aside. From the moment a person shared our political views, a formal process of integration was set in motion, leading to the membership (or not) of the person after three meetings. The group's objective was to participate and create a libertarian "pole" in Quebec, to develop a strategy to implement in our living, work and study and to support social struggles. The collective's action was based on an analysis of the situation in the short, medium and long term. We also wanted to alternate the meetings between theoretical ones and ones of more technical stuff.
The Summer of the Squat:
On the 17th of May, about 200 people, mobilized by the Popular Committee of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and other members of FRAPRU demonstrated in the streets of Quebec to demand social housing. The event finished in front of 920 de la Chevrotière a small triplex abandoned three years ago that belonged to the City of Québec. Fifteen militants and activists (including two members of NEFAC) barricaded themselves on the inside. Thus began the Chevrotière squat. The occupation, which was supposed to last 48 hours, continued for almost four months. The "920" becomes the focus of struggles in Québec throughout the summer. This was going to emerge as the La Page Noire, the self managed bookstore, in which several members of NEFAC were involved from the start (2). Our collective went on to organize two activities. On 8 June, during the Congress FRAPRU in Quebec, we launched, at the squat, a pamphlet on the housing issue written by Phoebus. Many of the delegates participating in the FRAPRU took part in the discussion. On 10 August, we showed a film with two members of the Anarchist Federation (France) passing through Québec on self management experiences in Senegal.

From 13 to 15 of September, the NEFAC met in convention in Montreal. This was the first time I met face to face my friends from the United States and Ontario. The meeting was very rough, but ended with the adoption of a common strategy. For now on, the NEFAC collectives members would work on three areas of intervention, either anti-racism / anti-fascism, the struggles in our communities and in workplaces.

Less than a week after this congress, the squatters of 920 de la Chevrotière were evicted by the police. In retrospect, we can say that the squat was vitally important in the journey of many activists in Québec. Two new groups formed themselves in its premises: the Lower Town Collective and Dada is Hungry. Both were composed mostly of former members of the CASA, especially women. As for La Nuit, the collective was weakened by this adventure. We were unable to develop a collective vision of what our response should be within the occupation. We thoroughly involved ourselves, but in an uncoordinated and individual manner . Several members, and sympathizers left our collective in the coming months to join Dada is Hungry or the Lower Town Collective. The last year had siphoned a lot of time and energy. If the number of members had increased rapidly, the group was now reduced to its simplest expression. There were only a few active members, all guys. We revolved around a core of supporters and sympathizers that we had difficulty in maintaining.
Struggle on Three Fronts:
The new orientation taken up by NEFAC was to mark the activity of the collective in its second year. While we continued to participate in the mobilizations of the political left (3) or the libertarian left (4), our action would take place mainly in the field of anti-fascist struggle and solidarity with workers.

Towards the end of the summer of 2002, a new section of RASH (5) would appear in Quebec, involving several members of La Nuit. We were aware of the Nazification of part of the punk scene of Quebec and decided to intervene in our own way. Meanwhile, increasing evidence suggested that groups of boneheads were active in the western suburbs. Our group was contacted by a group of students from the CEGEP F.X. Garneau. The activists invited us to present a conference on 2 December 2002 on the issue of racism and extreme right within the institution (6). As written by Red Roady a few years later in the pages of Ruptures: "What was our surprise to see arriving at the gates of the conference a dozen neo-Nazis who were obviously going to harm the good running of the event. After a battle, the young racists went stuttering back in their bourgeois suburb. " This was the beginning of a long series of altercations that continued for more than 5 years with different groups of extreme right (Quebec Radical MLNQ, boneheads, NSBM, nationalist skins ...). Such a climate did not favour new members ... The debates with most of the libertarian left who simply could not see the necessity of the anti-fascist fight "in the streets" and/or disapproved of some of the means used were sometimes lively. That which these militants refused to see was that was that we also did popular education in settings where the left was absent (7). But in retrospect, I think we fell several times into a certain machismo, notably during debates about tactics to be used to fight against the fascists.

On 24 January 2003, our group began one of the largest campaigns of its short history. For some weeks weeks, nearly 800 workers of car dealers in the region of Québec were locked out. Their employers wanted to break the union and impose significant new rollbacks in working conditions. This conflict occurred in a climate of general indifference, partly because of the union affiliation to the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD). We decided to go to the picket lines, and then wrote a text explaining the causes of conflict and calling for solidarity with those locked out. A worker also contacted our group to obtain copies of the text for distribution to clients and customers of the garages (which remained open despite the conflict). On 15 February 2003, we are organized a libertarian contingent, along with other collectives, in a demonstration against war. Rather than distribute a text on our opposition to imperialist intervention, we choose to distribute our newsletter "La Nuit" with the text on the lockout. Throughout the conflict, we increased our visits to the picket lines. We contributed within our means to publicize the issues of the conflict to the people of Quebec.

The third issue of Ruptures came out in March 2003. In particular it had a history of social class and a debate on revolutionary strategy with Maxim "Tony" Fortin, a Quebec libertarian who a few months earlier published a pamphlet criticizing the analysis and the strategy of NEFAC. The content and tone of this issue of Ruptures reflected the mindset of NEFAC at this time: a certain "siege mentality " in terms of the rest of the anarchist movement and a strong penchant for quite incantatory formulas . A little awkwardly, we tried to emphasize the importance for anarchists of leaving the activist "ghetto" and militant popularizing anarchism within the working class. But we were often the only ones who thought that way and criticisms of our so-called "Workerism" were numerous. The relative success of our campaign with workers in their struggles seemed to confirm the correctness of our positions. Over the next two years, we would try again with new experiments in developing other solidarity campaigns (groceries, daycare, etc..) with variable results.

In May, our group organized two events for which we produced a magnificent "colour poster", a first for the NEFAC. On May 1, we held a "red and black" demonstration in which about forty people took part in a pouring rain. A dozen anarchists from Saint-Georges, members of Uraba (Union of self-resistance of the Beauce) walked with us, as well as members of the local Communist Party of Quebec . Two days later, we were organizing a conference on the premises of the CSN with two syndicalist NEFAC members from the United States as part of the tour "Anarchy at work" coordinated by our colleagues in Montréal. Barely a dozen people participated in the encounter ... which was a failure. It was far from our successful crowds of the previous year. One fact became obvious: the new direction taken by the NEFAC was not "taking" as easily as topics related to globalization or the mobilizations against the summits.
The election of Jean Charest:
On 14 April 2003, Jean Charest won the provincial election. The Liberal Party took up this momentum to announce a series of measures designed to "modernize" the state (the famous "re engineering") and make the Québec economy more "competitive". Throughout the fall, we would be on the front lines in the many demonstrations against the government. The culmination of this mobilization would be the Day of Action on 11 December 2003. That day, tens of thousands of people went out on the streets and paralyzed Québec. We were involved in blocking the Port of Québec where one of our comrades worked along with the the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Something unexpected was happening before our eyes: as if the labor movement finally woke from its sleep? Unfortunately, the general strike promised after the holidays by the union leadership did not materialize, killing in the bud the movement which was radicalizing.
However, this upsurge of fighting unionism vividly demonstrated that the working class has the power to undermine the state and the capitalist system .. Of course if it wants to and decides to act against the advice of its leaders. Also in December, the 21st issue of the anarchist newspaper "Le Trouble" came out. Produced entirely in Quebec, it was the culmination of a long process that aimed to merge this journal with the NEFAC newspaper. For several months, we wrote texts and distributed the newspaper in Quebec (up to 500 copies per issue). Members of La Nuit were also involved in the editorial committee. A little anecdote: at a demonstration of the popular movement, a "progressive" priest with whom we were discussing on the occasion pulled $50 out of his pocket for so that we could give out copies of Le Trouble to demonstrators ...The merger process was going to fail for various reasons. There were several people in the " Le Trouble" collective who disagree with the merger. The arrival of a group of former NEFAC activists in the collective definitively ended the process. NEFAC needed a newspaper to fulfill a role that Ruptures could not play : making agit-prop on a regular basis. In March of 2004, NEFAC launched its own newspaper, a 4-page publication entitled Cause Commune . The launch of the first issue took place in Quebec in "Le Lieu" gallery on the rue du Pont. We took the opportunity to show a film on the participation of anarchists in the Algerian resistance and anti-colonial struggles. Some forty people were present, including a small group of Maoists from Montreal and some anars from Saint-Georges-de-Beauce who had organized a new NEFAC collective during the summer of 2004. The federation was now present in four cities in Québec (Montréal, Sherbrooke, St-Georges and Québec). South of the border, NEFAC developed rapidly, as well as in Ontario. In Quebec, the collective remained the same: the question of our single sex membership had remained entirely the same for nearly two years, and we failed to break out of this impasse.
Joint mobilizations:
In the spring of 2004, La Nuit organized several actions with other Québec libertarian collectives . After two years during which tensions with other anarchists had sometimes been strong , our group made its "self criticism" and changed its attitude. We launched the idea of holding regular meetings bringing together members of different groups to develop common action. An internet list ("Intercollectif ") was set up for members of the "Assembly of Québec Libertarians". On 14 April, on the first anniversary of the coming to power of Jean Charest, we broadcast a call to mobilization ( "generalize the resistance") along with La Rixe, Dada is Hungry and other "Québec libertarians". " We announced our participation in the "Block Charest " action organized by the REPAC at the corner of Charest (No, it's an old name; the bugger doesn't yet have streets named after him-Molly) and Langelier streets. The appeal was also signed by a half-dozen groups in Montréal. The Assembly of Québec Libertarians also mobilized for the mass demonstration on 1 May 2004 in Montréal, which brought tens of thousands of workers (close to 100,000) against the anti-social Charest governement . At the initiative of the CLAC (including the NEFAC-Montréal) and the Assembly of Québec Libertarians, an anarchist contingent of several hundred people formed the tail of the event. Without waiting for the union march to begin (which was nearly four hours late!), we took to the streets, preceded by a PCR contingent, to assemble at Parc Jarry . On that site, the riot squad charged the anarchists and Maoists, but we had to retreat because of pressure from protesters . In parallel, we continued to develop our contacts in the 'region' by participating in lectures on anarchism in Joliette and sending, on a regular basis, the journal Common Cause to a contact in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, who distributed them in Rivière-du-Loup and Cabano. On the 28th of June 2004, the 4th issue of Ruptures (a special issue on nationalism and the extreme right) was launched at the Dorchester Tavern on the evening of the federal election. The article on the extreme right in Québec aroused many reactions. The PCR reacted strongly to the fact that its members were associated ,in the article, with a National-Bolshevik group and with the MLNQ, which was nevertheless the case. A few months after the release of this issue of Ruptures, it was the turn of Pierre Falardeau to attack us in the pages of Québecers and Du Couac. Falardeau claimed that NEFAC was being paid by the RCMP, especially because we were associated with collectives in the United States and Ontario and that we were against nationalism. This charge was so outrageous that many people took it upon themselves to shut him up without our being obliged to do it ourselves!
In the fall of 2004, the movement for housing rights in Québec mobilized. The FRAPRU and the RCLALQ decided to organize a major joint action; for two days, dozens of militants would "camp" in downtown Québec City to demand a major construction of social housing and mandatory rent control. For some years, members of NEFAC were involved in various popular groups in the fight for the right to housing. We proposed to the Regional Union of NEFAC (which included the collectives in Québec) to mobilize for the "Camp of the badly-housed ". In Montréal, the NEFAC succeeded in securing the support of the CLAC. Some members of Québec, Montréal and St George participated in the camp. At the closing event (which brought nearly 1,000 people together on 30 October), a "red and black"contingent was formed, distributing a pamphlet on the housing issue and sticking up posters along the march.

On 19 November 2004, the employees' union of SAQ launched a general strike across the province. The timing (one month before Christmas) was not insignificant: the goal was to create a balance of power at the time of year when the SAQ realized its best sales. Unfortunately, the conflict was harder than expected. Solidarity was not always met with from the customers, and thousands of consumers visited branches that remained open. The various groups of NEFAC organized several actions in support of the strikers. In Québec, we went to one of the branches operated by scabs took action to "slow down" the tills" (ie having several grocery baskets full of bottles and refusing to pay the bill in solidarity with the strikers ). La Nuit also produced a poster that was massively glued to the stores (open and closed). One afternoon, we went to the store on Boulevard Charest to distribute a leaflet to customers and visit the few pickets who braved the temperature and the bad mood of the consumers.

When the strike at the SAQ ended, we began an extensive tour of conferences with Ashanti Alston, a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army who had become an anarchist. From the 9th to the 15th of February 2005, we went to Montréal, Sherbrooke, Québec, Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Joliette, Chicoutimi ... This tour, developed during a retreat of NEFAC in the summer of 2004 in the region of the Eastern Townships, was a success across the board.

A week later, on the 21st of February 2005, the longest strike in the history of the student movement began. Some comrades of the student collective at Laval University were fully involved in their association. Other non-student members participated in direct actions at their side. The NEFAC published several texts during the conflict and produced an assessment of the involvement of its members in Cause Commune (No. 6, May-June 2005). At the end of the student strike , La Nuit along with some Québec libertarians co-organized a day against patriarchy and masculinism on the 10th of April 2005 at the Lucien-Borne Centre. Dozens of people took part in the event, which enrolled itself in the mobilization against the "Man Talk" Congress ", an international masculinist international meeting being held in Montréal from the 21st to the 24th of April.

On May 6 2005, came the launch of the fifth issue of Ruptures. It was a dossier on counter-power and the social movements which were written down as a continuation of the Ashanti Alston tour, but also the struggles in which we are involved in the last year. At the end of May we benefited from the visit to Québec of two activists of the French libertarian organization No Pasaran to organize a conference on anti-fascism at la Page Noir. Some twenty people were there.

On 1 July 2005, we were moving from words to action by organizing a small counter demonstration to the action that the MLNQ organizes each year to the Hotel de Ville de Québec. To the amazement of the fifty ultra-nationalists present on the scene, we shared with everyone a tract entitled "fascist pigs out of our streets!" denouncing the positions of their leader, Raymond Villeneuve. This presence made us worthy of a report (unsolicited) on the RDI and criticisms on the part of the Montréal revolutionary left (which never understood the threat posed by right-wing extremism ...). Without doubt, we can say that NEFAC's campaign against the MLNQ (initiated by our colleagues in Montréal in 2002) greatly contributed to the marginalization of this organization and its supporters until its clinical death in 2007.

We ended our summer activities by hosting two anarchists from Mexico City on August 23 2005 as part of the "Spreading Utopia" tour , lectures on free radio and the anarchist movement in Mexico that aimed to raise funds for various projects such as Biblioteca Social Reconstruir, the libertarian radio of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Carlo Giuliani Caravan.
The fight against the right:
In the month of December 2005, our collective produced two anti-electoral propaganda posters ("Politicians expect nothing from them only struggle pays." "Our power is in the street, not in the ballot box ") in anticipation of the federal election of 23 January 2006. Hundreds were put up in downtown Québec. The campaign was backed up elsewhere in Québec by other groups of the federation. Unsurprisingly, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party took power at the head of a minority government. The Québec region elected a majority of Conservative MPs . A few months before this, Andrée Boucher had managed to win the municipal elections, without even campaigning. The least we could say is that the populist right had the wind in their sails. Reflection began within our group on the social and political conditions and the rise of right in the Québec region. New people were joining the group and, quietly, we constructed a theoretical and tactical unity on the subject.

In the month of May 2006, the 6th edition of Ruptures came out. It contained a dossier on the involvement of anarchists in the popular movements, as well as articles on the status of the student movement one year after the strike and a review of the SRTT (Workers Solidarity Network ). On May 16, 2006, we welcomed an anarchist former member of the International Brigades George Sossenko. The conference took place at the premises of the CSN. Forty people were present in a strange atmosphere, where admiration was mixed with some discomfort (when George`s answers were completely off the subject on some questions ). In the spring, we decided to get involved in organizing the 4th Self-Management Day which took place on June 4, 2006 in the Youth Park in the Saint-Roch quarter. The Self-Management Day , as its name indicates, is an annual event dedicated to exploring the concept and practice of self-management. Each year, members of La Nuit delivered workshops and hosted a literature table.
But before the predicted demise of the Self-Management Day (because of exhaustion on the part of the organizing committee members), we choose to invest more in planning and organizing the event. Ultimately, the experience was not really conclusive. Workshops and debates attracted relatively few people. A certain feeling of déja vu settled in . There was to be no sequel in 2007.

In fall of 2006, La Nuit took charge of the production of Cause Commune. A new layout and new sections changed the appearance and content of the newspaper. We also organized several public events. On the 23rd of September two members of the collective traveled to the Regional Social Forum 02 (in Métabetchouan, Lac-St-Jean) to present workshops on self management and anarchist ideas at the invitation of a friend who had recently returned to live in the region. We believed we could help form a new collective, without, however, succeeding. On November 4, La Nuit held a conference with two members of the CIPO-RFM (8) at L'Agitée as part of a tour through Québec coordinated by our Montreal comrades. This public event would serve as an impetus to a coalition which, a few weeks later, organized a demonstration in Québec City in solidarity with the insurgents in Oaxaca. Due to lack of time, we did not participate in its activities, nor with those of other coalitions which would develop later (Guerre à la Guerre, L'Autre 400).

In the winter of 2007, La Nuit took part in the "We won't vote for anybody"campaign . Despite some hiccups, we managed to paste hundreds of posters and stickers in the downtown. In contrast , links with the RAME (9) remained non-existent before, during and after the campaign. Unlike what happened in Montreal the RAME remained in an embryonic state in the region of Québec. Its dissolution didn't affect our group. In May, we organized two public events that gained a certain success. A comrade with whom we had been in contact with since the month of September 2006 invited us to present a lecture on anarchism in Trois-Rivieres on the premises of the UQTR. More than 40 people came out. A group took shape in that city. On May 29 we hosted a launch for the 7th edition of Ruptures at the Agitée. We took this opportunity to present a panel with two members of No Pasaran on the rise of the right in Quebec and France.
The objective was to publicly present the conclusions we had arrived at on the political situation and bring libertarians to debate these issues. About 25 people took part in the discussions. On June 22, we participated in the NEFAC contingent in the demonstration of the anti-militarist coalition Guerre à la Guerre. The visibility obtained by the contingent was excellent. We took the opportunity of the demonstration to distribute hundreds of copies of Cause Commune to bystanders and passersby along the route. Some months later, la Nuit attempted to stage another anti-militarist protest in conjunction with Guerre à la Guerre. Substantial differences with some activists of the coalition led us to a cul de sac. We decided to hold the event on our own on March 28, 2008, inviting various "progressive" groups to support our approach. About 300 people answered the call and demonstrated in the downtown to mark the 90th anniversary of the riots against conscription and their opposition to military intervention in Afghanistan. We drew a very positive review by this.

Since the early fall of 2007, our collective had more and more confidence in its abilities. Several projects were relatively successful and resulted in the arrival of new members. In September, we officially launched a blog and a radio program entitled "Voix de faits" (10). In early October 2007, we took the initiative to organize a demonstration for abortion rights in conjunction with the libertarian feminist collective "Ainsi squattent-elles". We came to raise five times more people than the "pro-lifers". We repeated the experiment in October 2008 with better results. These initiatives were part of our "permanent" campaign against the populist right in Québec.
A balance sheet?
While it is too early to draw a comprehensive balance sheet of NEFAC (in Québec City, and in the province of Québec), one can nevertheless find some items that are food for thought. In the first place , the presence of an anarchist group active for almost ten years is perhaps not spectacular, but it is in itself an important achievement, at least in our political context. The present libertarian current is not the first in Quebec, but it suffers from a flagrant lack of continuity through time. Through its various mutations, NEFAC has managed to grow and renew itself before, during and after several moments of important social struggle in which we participated, from the Québec Summit and Youth through the Summit of the Americas to student , trade union and popular struggles in recent years. This continuity has allowed the group and its members to develop, and to gain experience and political maturity. The commitment of many libertarians, including members of NEFAC, in social movements has acted to demystify anarchism to many activists, particularly in popular groups in the region of Québec.
The production of a weekly radio broadcast and website activity, the distribution of tens of thousands of leaflets, newspapers, posters, books and brochures, as well as holding dozens of conferences and workshops have certainly helped raise awareness of anarchism and libertarian principles significantly in different mileaux. Several campaigns took off, like that on the issue of theft in the popular neighborhoods or those on the elections (which were particularly numerous!). But we must face the obvious: such activity is not sufficient to gain the support of many people for a political organization like ours. The "turnover" remains important, even on our (small) scale. Various factors may explain this phenomenon. What is requested of members is rather demanding, we thus plunge into a vicious circle: the less we are numerous the more each and every individual must compensate to achieve the goals we set ourselves. Moreover, our current structure does not facilitate the involvement of many people. The quasi-clandestine and affinity group nature of some of our activities that has characterized our operations for several years is an example. For the rest, reading the texts of Phoebus and Julie will bring out more relevant answers.
And Afterwards?
The least we can say is that the process of refounding NEFAC Québec aroused great interest and curiosity. We can not fail! We must therefore take the time to do things right, especially since the "failure" of NEFAC has affected the functioning of the regional union in Québec. After ten years of agitation, propaganda and organization, our current has taken an important place in the landscape of the anti-capitalist left. But these achievements are fragile. The potential is there to us to seize opportunities when they arise!
1) The process that led to the creation of the NEFAC dates back to 1999. The group Émile Henry (Québec), founded the previous year, was involved. NEFAC was officially founded at a congress held in Boston in 2000 where two delegations from Québec (one from Québec, the other from Montréal) were present.
2) The idea of an infokiosque was not born "spontaneously". Creating a space like that had germinated in the minds of some members of NEFAC for several months before. It lacked a space - free - and a good dose of organization to make it a reality.
3) As for example in the demonstration against American intervention in Iraq on November 17, 2002, we set ourselves apart by an internationalist position which rejected the "pacifism" of the official organizing committee. Our leaflet entitled "Quelle connerie que la paix sociale" (Social peace is a con game -?????Molly)was decorated with a beautiful dove clutching a molotov cocktail in its claws...
4) We relayed the word of a general strike against the FTAA in Québec on 32 October 2002 alongside Dada à Faim and the Collectif des Bas-Quartiers.
5) Red and Anarchist Skinheads
6) We returned three more times to the CEGEP Garneau to give lectures on libertarian education, "masculinism" and the Zapatista uprising.
7) We were thus approached by people from the Jacques-Cartier Community Center to organize a workshop on racism and the extreme right with the trainees. The RASH also published a fanzine ( "class against class") and organized many concerts where music and politics made a good mixture.
8) Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores-Magon"
9) Anarchist Student Network
10) Before "La Voix de Faits", members of la Nuit had hosted several radio programs on CKIA and CKRL (Level with the Daisies, Free Zone ...). But this was the first time a show was "officially" produced and presented by the collective.
== A text excerpted from the special edition of the journal Ruptures (May 2009)