Monday, March 28, 2011

CANADIAN POLITICS ONTARIO: MARCH ON MCGUINTY: This Friday, April 1, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) along with sections of the Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE are planning a mass demonstration to protest the McGuinty government's attack on poor people in that province. Here's the callout. Rather appropriate that this is being held on international politician day ;). TOTOTOTOTO **Please forward far and wide! All Out April 1st! March on the McGuinty Government RAISE WELFARE AND DISABILITY RATES, RESTORE THE SPECIAL DIET! /////////////////////// Friday April 1st Assemble at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto 12 Noon *Free Meal ////////////////////// New Promo Trailer: On Facebook:!/event.php?eid=178670685510930 Download the Poster here: Below is important information about the day of action this coming Friday, including meeting points for Toronto locations, buses coming from Hamilton and Ottawa, and a call from CUPE locals to members to join us on the day. **If you would like to organize a contingent/meeting point from your neighborhood, organization, union local, etc – Let us know! ---------------------------- Toronto meeting points: • Jane-Finch: BUS meeting @ 10:30 am at Yorkgate Mall (North-West corner of Jane -Finch) in the parking lot closest to No Frills-Return: 2:30 • Sistering - 962 Bloor Street West - 11:15am *TTC Tokens available • Parkdale: 11:15am @ PARC drop-in (1499 Queen St.W) *Tokens available • Davenport-Perth Area: 11 am meeting at the drop-in at the The Stop (1884Davenport Rd). *Tokens available • Lawrence-Weston Area: 11 am at the Weston/King Neighbourhood centre,2017 Weston Rd. *Tokens available • Downtown-East: 11:30 @ North-East corner of Dundas/Sherbourne *Tokens available From Out-of-town: • Hamilton: 10:30 at 50 Dundurn St. South -Fortino's Plaza (corner of Dundurn and King St. W)-Return is 2:30-Contact Carol @ CUPE local 5167: 289-253-4789 to reserve a seat! • Ottawa: Contact Under Pressure to arrange with rides ( ) • Solidarity Action in Kingston - Join Kingston Coalition Against Poverty:-Rally at 12 NOON in Skeleton Park, Kingston-March to M.P.P. Gerretson's downtown office-Contact: Calling All CUPE Locals, Activists & District Councils - Solidarity Needed April 1st Day of Action - Raise the Rates Campaign 12 noon - Nathan Philips Square - City Hall - Toronto At our last CUPE Ontario Convention we took an important stand for solidarity with people living in poverty and to fight poverty with our resolution to support the Raise the Rates Campaign. This vital work continues and we are asking for CUPE locals and district councils to endorse the April 1st Day of Action being organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and to get the word out to their members about this important event. People living in poverty struggle every day to survive. Since 1995 when Mike Harris cut welfare and froze disability rates the cost of living has sky rocketed, yet the McGunity Liberals have only made it worse since that time by gutting the Special Diet which enabled people to access funds for healthy food. Not only have they made the Special Diet cut, the Liberal's have refused to reverse the Harris cuts and raise welfare rates. It would now take an increase of 55% just to bring benefits up to pre-Harris levels. As CUPE members we need to continue to show our solidarity with poor people. Here is what you or your local can do: • endorse this event • send the info out to your members to get involved • join the CUPE Contingent on April 1st at 100 Queen St., West - 12 noon in Toronto - bring your banners, flags, whistles and noisemakers. Other actions and solidarity events are happening outside of Toronto, please contact us at to get info for your area or to get further updates on the campaign. If you need more info and are in the Toronto area, please call 416-529-9600. An Injury to One is An Injury to All - All out April 1 - 12 noon - Raise the Rates Day of Action Raise the Rates Day of Action Endorsed by: CUPE Toronto District Council, CUPE 3393 Executive, CUPE 3903, CUPE 3906, CUPE 4308, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE ----------------- March on the McGuinty Government RAISE WELFARE AND DISABILITY RATES, RESTORE THE SPECIAL DIET! ////////////////////// Friday April 1st Assemble at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto 12 Noon ////////////////////// It has been 16 long years since Mike Harris cut welfare and froze disability. McGuinty's Liberals have been in power for half that time and done nothing to deal with poverty. In fact people are worse off today. It would take a 55% increase to bring benefits to pre-Harris levels. If benefit levels were restored to the same level of spending power as they had in 1994, a single person on Ontario Works would now be receiving $904 a month instead of the miserable $593 now being issued. Now as the economy continues to slump and the need is greater than ever, this Government is destroying the vital Special Diet Allowance that has enabled people to survive. The new system they have proposed will provide benefits for fewer conditions and applicants will have to release medical information and face other intrusive measures designed to prevent access to the benefit. Within the Liberals’ own statement about this measure, they refer to the fact that ‘many will not be eligible’, and this is a move to ‘respect taxpayers’. The new Special Diet comes in to affect on April 1st, 2011 and all those who are not eligible under the new program will be cut off by July 31st. (See here for OCAP’s factsheet about the new Special Diet: With no intention of dealing with the crisis of poverty they have created,the Liberals are setting up an 18 month long review of the welfare system to divert us from taking action to challenge them. We don't need a review to tell us we're hungry. What we need is decent income and a 55% increase in the rates now! UNITED WE EAT, DIVIDED WE STARVE March on the McGuinty Government April 1st! For More information contact the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) (416) 925-6939 / ________________ ocap mailing list

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Since the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 the Sendai Yomawari Group of anarchists has shifted its focus to disaster relief in their city. Sendai City is located on the northeastern coast of the main Japanese island of Honshu, very near to the epicentre of the quake. It suffered major damage from both the earthquake and the resulting tsunami which apparently reached 8km inland in parts of the area. About 1 million people live(d) in Sendai which is located north of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster. The following is an appeal transmitted via the Asian Anarchist Network for assistance in the humanitarian work of the Yomawari group.

@@@@@@@@@@ [AAN-Global] call for donation for people affected in the earthquake (esp. Sendai region)‏ Hi friends, We are surviving in Tokyo. While deeply concerning about Nukes radiation accident, We would like to introduce one way of overseas friends to help out the earthquake affected people. The Sendai Yomawari Group has been working on homeless people in Sendai City since 2000. In this time of emergency, they extend their daily activity for the earthquake affected people. Some Tokyo and Osaka comrades are joining them with tons relief materials. We need more materials to supply people. Please support Sendai Yomawari Group with your donation. In solidarity, Risa For Circulation ==================

Call for Donations 18th March 2011 We appeal for donation: *Postal order: - Account: 02240-5-66005 - Name: Sendai Yomawari Group (仙台夜まわりグループ) *Bank transfer (1): Bank and blanch: 77 Bank (0125) Hachihonmatsu Blanch (275) Street Address of the Bank: 1-15-25, Hachihon-Matsu, Taihaku-Ku, 982-0001 Sendai-City Miyagi-Prefecture BIC (SWIFT): BOSSJPJT Account number: 5214271 (Saving Account) Name: Tokutei Hieiri Katudou Houjin Sendai Yomawari Group Street Address of Sendai Yomawari Group: 17-25, Bunka-Machi, Taihaku-Ku 984-0815 Sendai-City, Miyagi-Prefecture *Bank transfer (2): - Bank and blanch: Miyagi Daiichi Shin’yo Kinko Hosyun’in Mae Blanch - Account number: 1014823 (Saving Account) - Tokutei Hieiri Katudou Houjin Sendai Yomawari Group (特定非営利活動法人仙台夜まわりグループ) *PayPal account

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Unlike the Chinese proverb says I don't think it is a curse to be "living in interesting times". I've seen two before, one the worldwide revolts of the late 60s/early 70s and the other the wave of revolutions that toppled communist dictatorships in the late 80s. In both these cases the waves of revolt that passed from country to country were, to all intents, totally unpredictable. Now the Arab world has risen in revolt, and none of the talking heads of any political persuasion predicted such a thing. This is because such things are by their very nature too complex for any ideological viewpoint to understand. No doubt I've "endured" more than 40 years of the pseudo-science of Marxism predicting the imminent end of capitalism, and in that they hold to an old and hoary tradition first started in the 1850s by their founders who laid their bets on an abstract schemata that was too far removed from reality to take account of actual facts.

It's simple actually. NO so-called revolutionary group has EVER predicted a revolution accurately in the last 200 years. That's fine and good, but there is a corollary to this. NO revolutionary group has actually produced a revolution either, if you exclude the armies disguised as parties of 60 (Cuba) to 80 (China) years ago. I suppose Vietnam deserves mention in this category. I'm not speaking here of the seemingly endless nationalist "revolutions" which are an ever present factor in human history and which the three aforementioned revolutions were very much a part of. I'm speaking of actual "social revolutions" that change the class system of a country, and I certainly don't mean only "libertarian" revolutions, merely ones that resulted in socioeconomic change.

Let's take some obvious objection to this view. Did Solidarnosc actually carry out the Polish revolution that overthrew communism ? Of course not. It certainly prepared the ground, but the actual revolution depended upon external events in the Soviet Union. Did the "conspiracy of mullahs" produce the Iranian revolution of 1979 ? Of course not. They merely were the most skillful in the resulting faction fights. Was there even a 'Bolshevik Revolution' or was the establishment of the first communist dictatorship merely the result, like Iran, of the seizure of power by a disciplined party during a revolutionary process that had been going on for 8 months before ? A process that the "scientific socialism" of the Bolsheviks led them to believe couldn't happen.

There are many other examples. Some of them are from the anarchist tradition where a continuing series of insurrectionary attempts by Italian anarchists always failed. This was magnified by perhaps a factor of magnitude in Spain where localized insurrections meant to inspire the masses of people always failed. The result was similar, if you descend closer to the level of comedy, in modern urban guerrilla actions that were either Maoist (mostly) or anarchist and were closer to comedy than anything else. They always failed, they fal now and they will always fail. Risings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria resulted in exactly the same result. It CAN'T BE DONE.

There is a reason for this, and leftists have expressed it at least vaguely in saying that revolutions occur with "a certain conjunction of objective and subjective factors". Marxists are particularity poor at taking subjective factors into account. Anarchists are particularly poor at taking objective factors into account. In any case even the "greatest theoretician" could never predict the occurrence of revolution simply because the factors are so complex. Don't depend on a computer program to do it either. It's the old "garbage in, garbage out".

The risings in the Arab world depended on a lot of things, of which demographic factors were quite high on the list of causes as were modern methods of communication. Still, all the countries involved have had long standing Islamist and Communist groups, none of whom had any part in initiating the risings. Not that either couldn't take advantage of them as the Bolsheviks did in Russia and the Islamists did in Iran. Whether they will succeed in this is a very open question, and personally I doubt it.

What does this mean to the people I identify with, the anarchists ? What it should mean is abandoning any hope of actually "creating a revolution" even if our own small groups were 1000 times more powerful than they are today. What it should mean is that we should make the maximum efforts to diffuse "libertarian ways of acting organizing" amongst the people who are not anarchists today so that these people will act accordingly in whatever unpredictable revolutionary situation that may occur.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I write these words in the context of what may be a "low point" of the uprising of Arab people for the sort of "democracy" that most of us in the western world take for granted. As I write this Saudi Arabian troops are commiting murder on protesters in Bahrain and the Gadaffi forces seem to be winning in Libya. One will have to see how the very belated "no fly zone" voted for by the UN Security Council actually plays out at this late date in the struggle. Certain pundits have expressed the opinion that Gadaffi expects that western powers will eventually come to terms with his possible victory because "they are whores for his oil". Very possible. In the case of Bahrain this is even more so as NO western power would be willing to challenge Saudi Arabia's actions.
Will the Arab revolutions lead to any essential change in the class structures of the countries involved ? I think that has pretty well be answered by the results of the "successful" revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. In the first case a lot of the original kleptocracy supported by a newly invigorated police force (raises in pay ?) continues to rule and attacks a diminished opposition. In the second case efforts by the Egyptian working class have been met by repression on the part of the new government- a coalition of military officers who have financial interests in maintaining the present class system in Egypt MINUS Mubarak.
I most certainly intend to write more on this because it bears on very important questions that both proponents and opponents of "revolution" in the modern world rarely think about. So....more later.

Regular readers of this of this blog may have noticed a lack of content recently. I've explained this before as I have transfered a lot of my activity over the my Facebook account. I've been contemplating this for some time, and have posted on it before. I MOST certainly don't intend to abandon Molly's Blog because it reaches a larger audience that even the 2100 + "friends" I have on Facebook. It also a fact that most of the people that I am connected to on Facebook are those who I already agree with in one way or another, ie they are anarchists, union activists or people involved in such things as "time banks" or social justice efforts. THIS blog, however, has the potential for a larger outreach given the way the internet operates. So...don't despair; there will be things here that I couldn't express on facebook or are better expressed here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's been a long standing policy of Canada Post to remove actual post offices and place outlets in such places as 7-11s and pharmacies. This, of course, reduces costs, as the employees in such places work for minimum wage and have no benefits. Those of us who use the postal service, however, know that the level of service to the public is considerably reduced. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), however, has had a long standing campaign to organize the employees in pharmacies so that they can achieve wages beyond the minimum. A side effect of such organization would be that service to the public would be improved. Here's a press release from CUPW about their campaign..
CUPW fights Canada Post's "cheap labour strategy" by organizing its postal employees in pharmacies
MONTREAL, March 1 /CNW/ - Over 2000 Canada Post counters are now open for business in pharmacies. That number is growing as Canada Post continues to open more counters in pharmacies across the country.

That's why the union representing postal workers has been busy persuading employees working at postal counters in Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, Familiprix and Uniprix stores to join its 55,000-strong ranks.

So far, the organizing drive has resulted in 211 employees in Montreal and Saskatoon joining the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. On February 28, CUPW's Quebec region filed an application on behalf of 25 more workers at Familiprix. If the application is successful, this will raise the number of unionized postal counters in pharmacies to 51 and counting.

"Although they handle mail and do the same work we do, the people working in these outlets earn the minimum wage and have precarious jobs," pointed out Jacques Valiquette, National Director for the Montreal region of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. "As negotiations between Canada Post and CUPW continue, we want labour standards to improve for all postal workers."

In response to the organizing drive, Canada Post and the major pharmacy chains have hired a small army of lawyers to argue that the Crown Corporation has nothing to do with employing these postal clerks. But CUPW vows to keep on signing them up.

"Organizing is a win-win situation," said Valiquette. "Postal workers at these counters will be able to make improvements in their working lives and Canada Post will not be able to use a cheap labour strategy to undermine our collective agreements."

For further information:
contact Aalya Ahmad, 613-327-1177

Sunday, March 06, 2011


The following appeal is from the American United Farm Workers, and it's about the excessively lenient sentence for the contractor responsible for the death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez. This case has been mentioned before here at Molly's Blog. The basic fact is that this young woman was killed by the heat while forced to work in adverse conditions as an agricultural labourer in California. Reports say that the contractor responsible will be let go with a suspended sentence and a minimal fine. The UFW feels that this is totally out of line with the magnitude of the crime. It certainly is as the penalty for a traffic accident causing death would be far harsher in almost every jurisdiction. And this was not an "accident". Here's the story and appeal.
DA plea deal reduces manslaughter to community service
Less than 5 days left to fight this travesty

Time is running out and we need you to take action. March 9th is the hearing for the sentencing of the two people responsible for the heat death of 17-year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez. Maria died of heat stroke in 2008 while laboring in the scorching grape vineyards near Stockton. Her body temperature reached 108.

News reports state the district attorney is going with a plea deal that would let the accused go without even jail time, possibly with just community service. Can you believe it?

3 years probation and 40 hours community service for the owner of the labor contractor company and 400 hours of community service and a $1000 file for the company's "Safety Coordinator," instead of the original involuntary manslaughter charge?

The family and the UFW have met with the DA to no avail. The DA has told the family he is proud of setting precedent in California by convicting a labor contractor of a felony .

Is that an even exchange for the life of a young girl? What does it matter if the system calls it a "felony," if justice is not served?

I'm sure you will join us in saying “No. That is not enough!” There were laws in place to protect farm workers from heat stroke and the labor contractor and her safety supervisor had the responsibility to ensure they were followed. It's simple. They didn't. Not even the most basic heat laws were followed.

This was not a one time occurrence for this employer. In 2006, Merced Farm Labor was fined for failure to have a written heat stress prevention plan and heat stress training for workers, as required by law. But they did not care. They never even paid the fine.

Please send an e-mail immediately and tell the District Attorney, James Willett, not to set a precedent that farm workers' lives are unimportant. There must be serious consequences. Tell him that jail time is a must and nothing short of that will satisfy the family or the public.
Please go to the highlighted link above to send the following letter to the Disrict Attorney in charge of this case.

Please do not go ahead with your planned plea bargain in the tragic heat death of 17-year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez.

California’s 650,000 farm workers face a daily risk of death and illness from toiling in stifling summer heat. They are at the mercy of agricultural employers and farm labor contractors who many times fail to live up to their constitutional and statutory duties to protect the safety of farm workers. Farm workers are literally dying because of the state’s broken system, which is designed in a way that ensures inadequate enforcement of the law. The laws in the books are not the laws in the fields. You have the opportunity to change this and ensure there a real consequences for breaking the law.

You have the unique opportunity to set a precedent that will make agricultural employers think twice about not following the laws of California and putting at risk the life of a human being. This will only happen if there are real consequences to farm employers breaking the law. The word "felony" is not enough.

The case of Maria Isabel Vazquez Jimenez is hard to accept, because it didn't need to happen. There is no difference between a driver killing someone while breaking our traffic laws and a labor contractor breaking the law and killing this beautiful young woman.

Maria's family and the public ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that these farm labor contractors are sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. Fines and community service hours aren't enough. Anything less than jail time is a desecration of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez' death.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Yet another item from the pen of Stephanie McMillan.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

As the revolution in Libya seems set to extend into a brutal civil war Gaddafi seems intent on an unparalleled series of brutal attacks on his own people. The use of foreign mercenaries is part of this as is his use of the Libyan airforce to attack rebel held areas. One of the more hopeful developments is that many Libyan soldiers are refusing to participate in these massacres. This includes two Libyan airmen who flew their planes to Malta rather than participate in the massacres. To date they have not been granted asylum by the Maltese government. There is a petition on the site urging that the Maltese authorities grant their request. Here is the story.

How to stop the bombing of civilians in Libya‏
Ask Malta to grant asylum to Libyan pilots who refused to murder protesters.

While the situation in Libya may seem out of control, there is a very real opportunity for us to make a difference and protect civilian lives.

Here’s how: last week, two Libyan pilots were ordered to bomb civilian protesters by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They faced an unimaginable choice: bomb their countrymen or face likely execution if they returned without carrying out the attacks. Instead, they found a third option - flying their planes out of Libya and defecting to the nearby island nation of Malta. In doing so, they saved the lives of untold numbers of their fellow Libyans.

But now Malta's Refugee Commissioner Mario Guido Friggieri and President George Abela have refused to say whether they will give these pilots asylum. If the pilots are sent back to Libya, they will likely be executed. That outcome would also prevent military pilots and ship captains who receive similar orders from trying to save their own lives and the lives of their fellow Libyans.

A grassroots Libyan group called ENOUGH! has started a petition on to pressure the Maltese government to grant asylum to these two pilots, which will mean saving their lives and possibly preventing future attacks on civilians.

Tell Malta's government to grant asylum to the Libyan pilots who risked their own lives to save the lives of strangers:

We believe we can win this campaign and save the lives of these two pilots –– and perhaps many other Libyans if this helps to encourage more pilots and ship captains to refuse to attack civilians. If we succeed, we’ll work to spread the word in Libya that no one needs to die when soldiers are ordered to kill civilians.

Malta’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, so public international opinion will mean more to its government than it does to most countries. But winning will take a massive outcry -- and with Gaddafi's violent attacks increasing in a desperate attempt to maintain power, every hour matters. Please sign the petition now:

Thank you for taking action,