Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Union Voice organization has sent out their nomination papers a little bit late this year, something like Molly's Christmas cards(yet to be sent out) which will hopefully arrive by February. This is the is an annual event that hopes to name the 'Grinchiest Boss' in the USA. Nominations will close tomorrow, November 30th. Include a few sentences as to why you think your nominee is "deserving". To place your nomination go to . To see previous years' winners go to .

Three days ago on the evening of the 26th Molly was struck by an intriguing sight that she had forgotten was coming. I'm speaking of the conjunction of Mars with the waning gibbous Moon in the constellation Gemini. Molly tends to shut down her stargazing in the winter months, even though these are perhaps the best of times because Molly hates cold beyond all other things. Thus it was that I was surprised by the sight that I saw. On that evening mars came within 1.5 degree of the Moon, just to the southeast (yes, the photo presented above is from the last conjunction in the spring of this year, so don't berate me too much).
Last Monday's view of Mars was perhaps one of the most striking, but for those with a specific interest in the planet itself it is hardly the best that will occur this year. About every 26 months Mars makes its closest approach to Earth, and this is the time when amateur astronomers have the best view of the red planet. Mars is actually the only planet on which one can see surface detail in the usual backyard scope, though this detail may be obscured this year due to recent dust storms on the planet. This year Mars will rise higher in the sky than it will for any time until 2022. The point of closest approach will be on December 19th. The apparent size of Mars on that date will be about 15.9 arc seconds, far lower than the close approach of 2003 when it had an apparent diameter of 25.1 arc seconds. The best times of viewing will be in the middle of the night. If the dust in the atmosphere has cleared you may be able to see the gradual turning of Mars from night to night because Mars' rotation period is 24 hours and 37 minutes. Thus each night you will see about 1/40th more of the Martian surface towards the East side. As Mars reaches its maximum size in December the northern hemisphere spring will have begun (Martian Equinox is on December 9th). The northern polar icecap will be prominently visible.
The closest approach of Mars to the Earth(88 million kms) will not be exceeded until 2016, and thus this is the best time to observe the surface for another 7 years. On the evening of December 23rd there will be an occultation of Mars by the Moon visible on the west coast and points west of Lloydminster on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Further east, such as here in Winnipeg, there will be merely another close approach such as what Molly saw three nights ago.

On the 20th of November workers at the Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk (St. Petersburg Region) started an indefinite strike. This is a rare event in Russia where strikes are usually of only limited duration. About 1.500 out of a total of 2,100 employed at the plant downed tools, stopping assembly of the Ford Focus. The union demand is to raise wages at the plant by over 30% starting march 1, 2008. Management has refused to negotiate until workers resume production. The last strike in Vsevolozhsk lasted just 19 hours and was stopped due to a court decision. this February after the one day strike workers in Vsevolozhsk won a collective bargaining agreement. Very little was agreed to then, and this time workers are determined to fight until they win. The strike is of huge importance in Russia, where in all factories managements refuse to negotiate wages collectively, pretending that this right is not granted by national legislation. Ford workers are therefore at the forefront of the fight for true negotiations. Management at the plant have escalated the conflict, leading to the injury of one worker by police. In many other countries Ford workers are represented by unions, and it is important that such democratic rights become universal. Please help us to break through management ignorance and win not only a decent contract for the Ford workers, but the basic rights for the whole Russian nation. The workers at Ford have called for international support via an email campaign. To read more and join this campaign go to

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The online solidarity campaign by CUPE local 4823 reported earlier here at Molly's Blog has come to an end as the workers involved have come to a tentative agreement with management. The agreement reached earlier today, and the details will remain confidential until ratification by CUPE members in Ottawa and Toronto early next week. CUPE has sent a heartfelt "thank you" to all their supporters. in Molly's view this is a great victory simply because it opens the door to unionization in this sector of the workforce.



Lots of things are always happening across Canada anarchy-wise. Here's a medley of some of the latest announcements. events and appeals:


As previously reported here at Molly's Blog No One is Illegal-Montreal held a picket at Les Plais de Congres in Montreal yesterday. Just as the demonstration was breaking up the police attacked. NOII-Montreal is calling for even more people to join them for tomorrow night's picket to demonstrate that the police cannot intimidate dissent. This is their statement:

"Police attacked at the end of the anti-racist picket and speak-out against the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Tuesday night, organized by No One Is Illegal-Montreal. Four people were arrested; three were released but one person still faces charges. We call on all friends and allies to attend the second scheduled picket and speak-out against the Commission this Thursday, November 29, at 6:30 pm (please note the new time) at the Palais des Congres (corner of Viger and de Bleury, near Metro Place D'Armes). We encourage you to attend in large numbers, to show that we will not be intimidated by police violence, and to continue to denounce the racist, xenophobic and sexist basis of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission."



Call for Financial Solidarity: Annual Appeal for Supporters of Tadmon:

"Throughout the past year Tadamon ! , a volunteer-run collective of social justice organizers based in Montreal, has maintained an unique and important presence on the forefront of political organizing in North America in solidarity with struggles for social and economic justice in Lebanon and the Middle East. Today, Tadamon ! is calling for your financial solidarity in order to sustain our important work by becoming an annual supporter. Concretely we are asking for individuals, groups and organizations to commit an annual donation of between $20-$100 dollars which will be directed towards our ongoing work. Tadamon!'s current fund raising goal is to confirm $2,000 in donations by January 1st, 2008. Please help us reach this goal by contacting us to become a financial supporter and passing the word on to others.

Tadamon! calls for your financial support in order to cover the growing overhead costs related to our political campaigns, events and actions. Your financial support will be directly funneled into our organizational expenses which include printing costs, office materials. website, telephone messaging service, event advertising,etc..

Tadamon! has organized multiple ground-breaking events including politically-charged lectures, dynamic cultural nights, front-line political actions and grassroots popular education efforts in the Montreal area. Tadamon!'s work has successfully pushed the boundaries of political debate in Canada concerning the Middle East while fueling grassroots organizing in Montreal and throughout Canada in support of social justice and human rights in the region.

In response to the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, Tadamon! played a central role in organizing multiple demonstrations, political actions and events in direct collaboration with multiple Lebanese community organizations and social justice groups in Montreal, with the aim to build popular opposition to the Conservative government of Canada's implicit support for the deadly Israeli attack on Lebanon.

Your donation will benefit Tadamon! Montreal's ongoing work and campaign directed at building solidarity between movements for social and economic justice from Montreal to the Middle East. Tadamon!'s ongoing political campaigns operating in Canada, including the campaign for boycott, sanctions and divestment of the apartheid Israeli state and the campaign to challenge the listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government.

In order to become a supporter of Tadamon! please fill out the details requested below. In becoming a supporter of Tadamon! you will automatically receive postal updates concerning our ongoing work, while ensuring that our important work continues in a sustainable and long-term fashion. Please send us the following details: *full name,*telephone contact. *email contact, *mailing address, *committed amount for annual donation to Tadamon!...

You can send written checks to the following address. Be certain to include the important contact information above in the mailing:

Tadamon! Montreal

c/o QPIRG McGill

3647 University St.

Montreal, Quebec

H3A 2B3




The following is an announcement of a new anarchist website servicing the area of Kingston, Ontario:

"A new website ( ) focusing on anarchist and anti-authoritarian relevant groups, campaigns, projects, institutions and media in the Kingston area has been created. there are also regional links. if we haven't included something that ought to be on that site (ie are in harmony with the points of unity) please send an email to .

This is an initiative of the Revolutionary Ontario Anarchist Development (ROAD) Network collective in Kingston. The points of unity of the ROAD Network are posted on the website. The purpose of ROAD Kingston is to help facilitate anarchist communications and networking through the website and coordinating encounters between anarchists in the area. More on this in the future. Check out the page and feel free to register as a subscriber and/or contributor. once approved you can add content to the blog as well.

ROAD Kingston

Molly Note: Molly really has to interject here. The ROAD has certainly developed considerably since it was the "Rural" Ontario Anarchist Development Network. A couple of years back it allowed itself to be used as a cat's paw by one of the Maoist sects/cults who wanted to draw people here to Winnipeg to oppose some urban military training exercises being held here. Molly went ballistic on that one, trying to discourage any and all from following such a "call". Not that it isn't worthwhile to oppose militarism, but a simple rule of thumb should apply. NEVER be seen in association with any Leninist organization that isn't willing to cover its presence with enough bullshit to leave it undetectable. That eliminates EVERY Maoist organization on Earth. It lets a few Trots and the "real commies" past the screen. THESE people don't try and cover an essentially religious impulse with political window-dressing. To put it plainly, allying with commies is EQUAL in the public eye to allying with Nazis. The only real difference is that the general public assumes that the death toll was the same while, in fact, communist governments have murdered close to ten times as many victims in the last century as fascist ones have. Being seen with as being buddy-buddy with Leninist cultists should be seen as being the equivalent of soiling your pants in public, and the only thing that you should be thankful for is that the general public doesn't realize that your friends are worse than Nazis. They merely think they-and you- are the same. As it was a few members of the travelling rent-a-riot did show up, totally oblivious to how silly they looked "in costume" on streets that they would risk their lives in walking about in the dark. Nothing much happened. They got herded by the commies(mooooo!), and some actually participated in real anarchist events here. In any case ROAD has matured considerably since that time, and I doubt that they'd be so naive today. Anyways, back to more pleasant matters.


What follows is a report of an event held out in the "dreaming west" last weekend. this certainly was a much happier event than drawing naive young people to a political tourist event in Winnipeg, and it will probably have much more long term benefit.

"This weekend 14 people gathered at Ron and Sheila's on Denman Island for the first meeting of the BC Anarchist Writers; Group. This is not the "official name"-Black Ink has also been suggested. We ranged in age from mid-twenties to mid-sixties. We hailed from various places on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands as well as Vancouver and the Kootenays. As well as BC, our backgrounds and experiences ranged from Illinois, Alberta, Newfoundland, Toronto and Montreal. We were poets, essayists, journalists, historians, song-writers, playwrights, performance artists, zinesters, film-makers, Surrealists, chapbook publishers and radio pirates.

Most of us had never met before, so much of our time was spent in getting acquainted, sharing ideas, zines, and other publications. There was a lot of preliminary discussion about interests, directions and ideas. People wanted to stay in touch and share projects, not just by email, but to mail out our writings for comment and support. We had a really enjoyable time together, much laughter, sharing of fine food and wine. We planned our first public event- an evening of reading, film, music and performance in the Denman Island Community Centre. About 35 people showed up-usual for such a small place- and it went on for four hours. Afterwards, we all agreed that the evening had been a great success and plan to have more of these in other parts of the province.

After a leisurely Sunday breakfast we headed over to Tree Frog radio, and a number of us went on air. Hugging everyone goodbye we headed back to our respective homes in anticipation of the next gathering.

In Solidarity,


Molly's usual last word: The other day I was reading an exchange on the LibCom site about "deghettoizing anarchism". A lot of the posts were really and truly "despairing", but I think that the posters approached the whole matter from a rather limited historical perspective. I am almost certain that the really pessimistic posts originated from people who came out of "subcultural anarchism" and are reacting, like a reformed alcoholic, to same. Not that anarchism shouldn't aim to be "popular" and escape all identification with "purchasable identity". Both Larry and I, however, come from a different generation. Over 35 years ago we became anarchists, and we have seen the movement expand and diversify in way that younger people may not appreciate. Today it is possible to form a "writers' group" in a tiny segment of one province. Thirty five years ago this might have been a project for the whole bloody country. What I don't think younger people appreciate is just how much anarchism has grown over the last few decades and how diversified it is now. One wag on LibCom stated that there "is no anarchist movement". He was wrong. There is ! It is not restricted to a travelling freak-show that responds mindlessly to Maoist manipulation. As Molly has emphasized over and over on this blog, younger anarchists are becoming increasingly practical and are creating real institutions that go far beyond a juvenile,empty and fruitless "post-leftist temper tantrum". The anarchist movement today exists ! , and it is far more diverse than some pessimists might think. There will be no "revolution" in the little time left to Molly on this Earth, but I think that it is entirely possible that I may live to see the situation in Spain today replicated across most of the developed world (and some of the developing countries), where up to 5% of the population is influenced by anarchist ideas. This may seem "tiny", but it is actually real political power to advance the cause of freedom. It all depends upon the skill of anarchists and how they approach their work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Janitors at malls across the USA owned by General Growth Properties(GGP) are organizing to win decent wages, health insurance for themselves and their families and respect and dignity on the job. GGP, the second largest mall owner in the nation with more than 200 malls, and their janitorial contractors, Millard and SMS, have responded with a campaign of threats and intimidation, forcing janitors to file more than 60 Unfair Labor Practice charges with the federal government.
Then, on Thursday, November 1, during a peaceful march at General Growth's Southland Mall in Haywood, California, janitors were veaten and pepper sprayed by security officers of Valor Security, which GGP hires to guard its malls. Three janitors had to be taken to hospital following the attacks.
GGP must immediately instruct its security contractors to stop efforts to squash janitors' attempts to better their lives. Janitors deserve just treatment and shouldn't have to put their safety on the line to get it. To learn more and to join the campaign to pressure GGP to treat its janitors fairly go to

Monday, November 26, 2007

Molly has blogged at least briefly about the Bouchard-Taylor Commission. This travelling circus is now holding hearings in Montreal, and the comrades of No-One-Is-Illegal Montreal plan to be there to greet them. Here is the call-out from NOII-Montreal:
"On One Is Illegal- Montreal and allies are organizing pickets and speak-outs outside the Bouchard-Taylor Commission's public forums in Montreal on November 27th and 29th. We encourage you to join us in large numbers. The Bouchard-Taylor Commission has been a forum for racists and bigots for the last several weeks. The Commission itself is based on a fundamentally racist premise, which is to stand in judgement over immigrant communities. The Commission, sanctioned by the state, is a process of submission, whereby minority populations are forced to justify their very existence in Quebec.
Join us for a speak-out and picket outside the Commission, as we share our struggles of resistance to poverty, precarity, racial profiling, police brutality, war, capitalism and gender oppression. Instead of "reasonable accommodation" we will share our perspective of organizing against borders, for free movement and status for all.
INFO: 514-848-7583 or
If you plan on attending the pickets get in touch for more info. Endorse the No One Is Illegal statement om reasonable accommodation which is linked here:

On Monday, November 19 a book on the history of anarchism in New Zealand was launched at the Auckland anarchist social centre where one of last month's Urewera 17 was arrested, says author Toby Boraman. The book has the subtitle 'A History of Anarchism in Aotearoa/New Zealand From the Mid-1950s to the Early 1980s'. Monday, November 19th, 2007 was also the 25th anniversary of the death of anarchist punk rocker Neil Roberts who died while placing a bomb outside the Wanganui Police Computer on November 18th, 1982 in a protest against the creeping fascism and police state of Muldoon.
But Boraman says that the launch was not going to be a celebration of Roberts' protest act- which harmed no-one else- and that the book clearly argues that Roberts' act of property destruction was completely ineffective in challenging the system. "Anarchists are not terrorists, but instead aim for a society organized without coercion", he said. "Anarchists in New Zealand have never purposely maimed, injured and killed people to create a climate of fear and far from the mythology of the mad bomber anarchists have played constructive roles in a number of protest movements."
Boraman says anarchists were prominent in the anti-nuclear, ant-Vietnam War, anti-US military bases, commune, unemployed and peace movements in the 1960s and 1970s. The book captures some of the imagination, audacity, laughs and wildness that animated may of the social movements of the time, he says. During this times, particularly from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, an astonishingly broad-based revolt occurred throughout the country. Thousands of workers, Maori, Pacific people, women, youth, lesbians, gays, students, environmentalists and others rebelled against authority. Innovative news styles and anarchistic methods of political dissent became popular.
Boraman says that it will interest not only anarchists and richly-details a much neglected anti-authoritarian leftist current in New Zealand history. The book is a paperback, 154 pages and retails for $30-$35 RRP. ISBN 978-0473-122-997. It is illustrated with historical photographs, posters and leaflets. To read the introduction to the book and to order go to or go to Katipo Books. A portion of the book sales will go to the defense fund for those arrested in the recent "anti-terror" raids in New Zealand.

Following on their recent highly successful protest at the Fort Benning headquarters of the 'School of the Americas' the School of the Americas Watch has decided to put their newspaper Presente ! online. About 25,000 people attended the vigil and direct actions held last November 15th to 18th. Eleven activists were arrested for penetrating the military base while three others face charges because they refused to relinquish crosses that city officials said violated their size regulations (I'm not kidding-Molly). Simultaneous protests took place in Santiago, Chile, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Monterery, California and Toronto, Ontario. Three people were arrested for attempting to invade the Fort Huachuca military base. This is the home of the U.S. Army intelligence and a school for interrogation.
The new website for their newspaper contains news on these and other actions that SOAW has undertaken and will undertake in the future. Also videos of the various actions. Look there to keep informed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007



Jonathan Culp, aka Satan MacNuggit, a radical Toronto filmmaker, has finally put together his new website. Satan MacNuggit features archives of all the zines, video and music projects that S. has been involved with over the years. Also an online store where you can buy his thought provoking DVDs, zines and CDs.

Also Culp is taking his show on the road this fall with a prairie mini-tour. This will feature showings of two of his works, 'It Can Happen Here' and 'Grilled Cheese Sandwich', as well as a workshop on video for activists. It Can Happen Here centres around Culp's explorations of Weyburn, Saskatchewan where the Weyburn Mental Hospital held his great-grandfather Russell Aubrey Carman from 1936 to 1962. from this now-closed landmark it swirls outward via a mural of the 1935 'On to Ottawa Trek' and the ensuing 'Regina Riots' through a trek around the present-day sites of the riots, an enquiry about the artist James Eadie, a tape=recorded memoir of Carman's daughter Sheila Currier, the Third Testament opus 'The Son of Joy', footage of several protests happening at the same time as filming in Weyburn, Ottawa and Toronto, the Weyburn church of Tommy Douglas, and Culp himself, stoned in a bathrobe and trying to make sense of it all and pull himself through the edit. many interviews and music by Culp, Picastro, Holzkopf and Matt Dolmage.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a 90 minute comedy about the "revolution of everyday lunch" in the deadly rural suburb of Grimsville, Ontario. A bunch of wayward youth take on Grimsville High, the Moose Meat Ladies and Squirrely's Pizza with their revolutionary underground grilled cheese sandwich club. It's the next best thing to getting the hell out ! Starring Amanda Brooks, Chris Mills and Leslie Walters. Music by Bob Wiseman. Written and directed by Jonathan Culp.

The Dates and Places:
Friday, November 23
12 Noon
University of Regina
Education Bldg 137
Regina, SK
"It Can Happen Here', plus lecture/discussion on "art, activism and madness"
Tuesday, November 27
7 pm
Little Pictures Art Preserve
202 Avenue B South
Saskatoon, SK
'It Can Happen Here'
Wednesday, November 28
6 pm
Paved Arts/La Troupe du Jour
430 20th Street West
Saskatoon, SK
Workshop:Creative Video for Activists
Saturday December 1
Grilled Cheese Sandwich 7 pm
It can Happen Here 9 pm
Metro Cinema
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square NW
Edmonton, AB

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christie Books, an online provider of free downloadable anarchist films and video, from documentaries, to shorts, to animation to feature film, has added yet more titles to their list. Check out the hundreds of items available at or at . Here's a list of some recently added items:
*7 dias de enero(1979-Juan Antonio Bardem)
*Genova Libera (Daniel Hernandez Torrado)
*Mujeres del 36
*La estrategia del caracol (1993-Sergio Cabreral)
*La Cuidad Quemada (1976- Feature)
*Las Ilusiones perdidas-La Actividad Guerrillera (E. Monsema)
*Les Miserables Part 1(1995-Claude Lalouch)
*Les Miserables Part 2(1995-Claude Lalouch)
*Los Anarquistas (1983-Munoz, Pedroche, Eduardo de Guzman)
*O Thiasos Part 1- The Travelling Players (1975-Theo Angelopoulos)
*O Thiasos Part 2-The Travelling Players (1975- Theo Angelopoulos)
*O Thiasos Part 3-The Travelling Players (1075-Theo Angelopoulos)
*Presas de Franco - Del olvido a la memoria (M. Vidal, A Sangues)
*Punishment Park- Introduction (1971- Peter Watkins)
*Punishment Park (1971-Peter Watkins)
*The Forgotten Faces (1961- Peter Watkins)
*The Gladiators (1968- Peter Watkins)

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a farmworker-led organization based in southwest Florida, together with its youth and student allies, has successfully won binding agreements with Yum Brands (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, etc.) and McDonald's to help increase wages and improve working conditions for tomato pickers in Florida.
Today, in the wake of these agreements, we stand on the threshold of a more modern, more humane agricultural industry in Florida. Yet, faced with this historic opportunity to take responsibility for the human rights crisis in the tomato supply chain- a crisis that its high-volume tomato purchasing practices directly contribute to- Burger King has instead chosen to lie, stall, and give comfort to tomato growers in Florida that are trying to resist these urgently needed changes.
Please email and fax decision-makers at Burger King and Goldman, Sachs &Co (an investment firm that owns a sizable chunk of BK stocks) today to demand that BK stop encouraging the growers' resistance and instead use their influence. as Yum and McDonald's have, to stand with Florida tomato pickers in their fight for fundamental human rights in the fields.
To read more and join this campaign go to

The Harper Index, a site devoted to keeping close and careful attention on the wheelings and dealings of Canada's Conservative Prime Minister, has a recent article on Steven Harper's push to put a free trade agreement in place with the country of Columbia, despite the latter's abysmal human rights record. While Harper claims that "trade must no trump human rights" in reference to China (while, of course, doing little of any substance beyond the noise-making) he sings a different tune in regard to Columbia, putting trade negotiations with its government on a fast track. Agreements could be signed as early as this Monday, despite the fact that opposition parties plan to introduce a resolution to the parliamentary committee on international trade calling for a halt to negotiations unless human rights issues are addressed.
The Canadian Labour Congress is coordinating rallies across Canada against the proposed deal because "it condones the violent repression of dissent and because almost all of the thousands of murders of trade unionists there have gone unpunished". In this case the Harper government is even more reactionary than that of the USA, which rejected a similar trade pact because of human rights concerns. In the past 5 years there have been 955 illegal executions of civilians by the Colombian military and paramilitary forces. So far this year 27 trade unionists have been murdered.
The present negotiations are being carried out very much behind closed doors. The Canadian government has even gone so far as to ask their Colombian partners to not share the labour related texts of the agreement with Canadian unions and non-governmental organizations, a request that you can be sure the Colombians will be happy to comply with. There has been no citizen input nor parliamentary oversight at all about the proposed pact. details are actually kept quite secret.
The actions of Harper's government are being used as supporting arguments by George Bush's administration in the USA to try and ensure passage of a new and similar initiative down there. With enough such service it is possible that Harper may one day be allowed to kiss both cheeks when he kneels behind his master.
To read more about this issue go to the article in the Harper Index.

As reported way back when here at Molly's Blog workers at the Australian brewer Foster's Yatala plant just south of Brisbane have been struggling for union rights since last July. Management at the plant stubbornly refuses to recognize or engage in negotiations with the union despite the fact that on September 3 workers voted overwhelmingly to reject management's proposed non-union contract. The workers at this brewery have begun a series of rotating 4 hour work stoppages to press their point home. management has retaliated by offers bribes (sign-on bonuses) to those who will sign the non-union contract and by hiring new employees in an attempt to dilute the union support. The Foster's workers have asked for international email support before, and they are doing it again. Tell Foster's to respect the Yatala workers' choice for a union agreement and start good faith collective bargaining negotiations with their union representatives. To join this campaign go to or

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Put pressure on the state.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
We simply shouldn't wait" ....another effort from the ol' songstress Mollymew>
Christmas time is coming, and hopefully you will remember the people of OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, on your Christmas list. Here are a couple of recent appeals that Molly is happy to reproduce:
"Low income tenants and homeless people are being driven from central Toronto to make way for an oversupply of high income housing. Public housing is being replaced by condos. The homeless are having their services and shelters closed. Forced onto the streets to beg, they are being hounded under the so-called 'Safe Streets' Act and criminalized for trying to survive.
On December 12th we are going into the largest underground complex of retail outlets in the world, the Path underground system, to panhandle on a scale the City has never seen. Usually when poor people go in there to escape the cold and ask for money they are rapidly dealt with by mall security. On December 12th they'll have their work cut out. The ugly, covert operation to push out the homeless will now have to deal with the fact that people are standing up and resisting.
In order to pull off this action we need to do a huge job of outreach- we want to put up posters all over downtown and hand out thousands of leaflets. We also plan to put on a very decent meal for all those who come out to participate that day and will need to book space in the downtown core. Moving around the PATH will require TTC tokens and we want to provide materials to help people panhandle. It will be an expensive undertaking, and we are asking everyone to pitch in to make this day a success. Please send donations to help us meet these costs. mail cheques to:
10 Britain St.
Toronto, ON
M5A 1R6
"This Holiday Season buy the 'History is What We Make It' perpetual OCAP calender as a gift for someone you care about or for yourself. Full of beautiful artwork and historical information about the fight for justice in Ontario; it is designed to be used year after year. Whether you use it to log and remember important dates, including events, birthdays and anniversaries or as a eye catching art piece on your wall, you will enjoy this calender for years.
The artwork in this calender is presented as a part of an ongoing portrait of the popular resistance that exists and grows against the individuals and institutions that rely on and benefit from our oppression and our poverty. The calender commemorates the Queen's Park Police Riot, the Raise the Rates Campaign, the struggle at Six nations, the life of Otto Vass and other important people and events and includes artwork by Pete Collins, Nahed Mansour, Shannon Muegge, Stefan Phillips and more.
All revenue from this calender goes back into the daily work of the organization, ffrom case-work and advocacy to large scale mobilizations for dignity, housing and economic justice for poor and oppressed people. History is What We make It is on sale now through our office or through some local bookstores or Common front organizations.
To buy the calender in Toronto call 416-925-6939, email or send a cheque payable to OCAP for $18 per calendar (this includes postage) and include the address it is to be sent to along with your name and phone number. Send cheques to:
10 Britain St.
Toronto, ON
M5A 1R6
Contact us for bulk orders.
Molly Note: The website of OCAP is

"Oh you'd better watch out.
You'd better not sneer
Be ready to flout
And drink up the beer....Santarchy is coming to town, yes Santarchy is coming to town." -that ol' songstress Mollymew.
This may seem to fall under the heading of "and now for something totally different", but it is not really so. For 14 years now, since beginning in San Francisco in 1994, cities across the world have witnessed an annual "Santa swarm" each year. From its humble beginnings the annual Santarchy invasions of anywhere from dozens to hundreds of Santa impersonators (what do you mean "impersonators"?; if you don the costume you are Santa) mobbing the streets and malls of the city have dissipated the grim business of the "holidays". Wanna know more about this delightful custom ? Check out the Santarchy and Santacon website to find out what it's all about. What can I say here ? The simple explanation is that the "Santacons" are the type of more or less spontaneous gatherings such as the annual "zombie walks" on Halloween, organized via the internet and following few preconceived rules, aside from the fact that participation in the festivities requires that you wear a Santa costume. What's the point of all this ? Very little except to have fun, and that may be all the point that is required.
The "official" site, insofar as such a thing can have an "official" site, says that these Santaswarms are not a protest against Christmas nor against its commercialization. What they are is an unsanctioned occasion to gather as a crowd to have collective fun. In an age of deadly seriousness when the whole idea of "fun", especially minimally organized, spontaneous, "not-good-for-you-in building-character fun, is under attack from both left and right the very act of such gatherings is more of a protest that anything that could be concocted by either dismal leftists or dismal fundamentalists. This is because such events are the precise opposite of "control", something that ideologues of both the left and right get orgasms just thinking about. Molly has reviewed Barbara Ehrenreich's book 'Dancing in the Streets' before on this blog. Ehrenreich is no anarchist, but she is an example of the best of the independent left. Her point is that the whole concept of "collective joy" as embodied in such events as the traditional Carnival, is becoming a rarity in our modern societies. Events such as these Santaswarms are actually direct action by ordinary people to recover this lost experience. Like traditional Carnival they provide joy for both the participants and the onlookers. Unlike most indoctrinated leftists Ehrenreich is not afraid to examine facts rather than abstractions about them, and she is not afraid to advance theories that invoke biology to explain this facts. The need for collective joy is a natural need for pack animals such as humans, and the uncovering of how this need has been denied does more service for anarchism, even if it is done by a non-anarchist, that all the dreary whiny abstractions of primitivist ideologues. Also, unlike them but very much like Molly, Ehrenreich sees and approves of the efforts of ordinary people to recover this natural source of happiness. She doesn't look down a snotty nose at such things. She approves as I do. These things are great, and in the end they may be much more important than the usual protest spectacles.
Few today, and of those mostly the young-who have perhaps the best emotions of us all-, participate in these spontaneous gatherings. But still they are a beacon of the opportunity to recreate community that has been given us by the advance of technology. Most of us come to such collective joy only around sporting events. Here in Winnipeg as I write the whole last week has been consumed with increasing "Bomber fever" as the day of the Grey Cup draws closer and loser. Is this a bad thing ? No !!!!! What it offers is something like the traditional festival of Carnival. It allows people to get outside themselves and their daily social roles, to feel themselves as part of a larger collectivity and to behave in ways that they would be very much afraid to under normal circumstances. Some of this may seem "forced", particularly the photo-ops of the politicians or the somewhat pathetic attempts of the good leftists at the CBC to appear populist. The general feeling that Molly gets from listening to such on her radio as she drives along through the day is the same feeling that she would get from seeing a 55 year old woman trying to dress like a "tweenie". The more popular mass media and their presentations appear considerably less hypocritical and patronizing. Not that self mockery isn't part of, and should be part of such events. It just that some sources find self-mockery as difficult as passing a concrete enema.
But anyhow, I'm getting too serious myself here. This year Santarchy will appear in a great number of cities worldwide. Check the website for a complete listing. Here in Canada Montreal will be swarmed on November 30th. On December 8th the Santa sleigh will touch down in Victoria and Calgary, and once Santa has recovered from that hangover he/she/them will show up in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa on December 15th. More events may be added. Keep checking the website for new additions/announcements.By the way, check out the Cacophony Society for other collective events unconnected to Christmas. While the slogan of Santarchy is "No Force on Earth can Stop One Hundred Santas", that of the Cacophony Society is "experiences outside the mainstream".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An introduction is necessary, especially for those readers who are not Canadian (and to a large extent those who are not Quebecois). Marc Cardinal Ouellet is the Archbishop of Quebec City and the Primate of Canada. No monkey business with this primate. As the ranking Catholic cleric in Canada, and a known ultra-conservative, Cardinal Ouellet was considered for the papacy on the death of John Paul II. Over the past few weeks Quebec has been going though a travelling circus, the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, known by the shorthand of the "Reasonable Accommodation Commission". This set of hearings set up by Premier Jean Charest has been going from location to location hearing submissions from the public about what sort of "reasonable accommodation" Quebec should make to religious and ethnic minorities and to recent immigrants. The results have been an embarrassment for almost all political parties on the Quebec scene, and the majority of Quebecers as well, as the usual crowd of bigots have crawled out of their holes to acquire their 15 minutes of fame. One "witness", for instance, complained vigorously that 3 out of 9 of the justices on Canada's Supreme Court were Jewish. Not that extreme right wing opinions are more common in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada. It's probable that they are less so, but this commission has given them a forum that they lack on the ROC (Rest of Canada).
Just to compound the carnival atmosphere of the hearings it isn't just the tinfoil hat brigade that seem to be doing their best to do embarrassing pratfalls. Regular politicians, and so-called moderates, are lining up to make fools of themselves as well. Cardinal Ouellet was one of these when he testified at the Commission that what Quebec needed was "a renewal of its spiritual identity" ie to return to the bosom of Holy Mother Church. By some alchemy known only to clerics this would promote tolerance for Muslims and Jews- all history of the Catholic Church to the contrary. The Archbishop was particularly opposed to a proposed law that would remove the religious indoctrination, Catholic of course, that still exists in Quebec public schools and replace it with a neutral study of world religions. Molly was actually visiting Montreal when this affair took place, and the public reaction was hardly what the Cardinal might have wished. There was the usual and expected reaction from liberals and leftists who reacted with horror at the idea of dragging Quebec back to what is known as the Grande noirceur, the "Great darkness". What was worse for Ouellet was that he was far more mocked than attacked. He became a laughing stock. To add insult to injury his own attempt to steal the comedy spotlight was shot down on the very same day by a comment from a lawyer who lamented the fact that the Captain of the Montreal Canadians, Saku Koivu, barely spoke French at all after living many years in Quebec. This got far more play in the press, and it must have been rather disconcerting for the good Primate to find out that Quebecois care much more for hockey than for his opinions.
Never one to give up easily Ouellet, like a good Machiavellian, has decided to fire back recently with an 'open-letter' to the Quebec press asking for forgiveness for the past sins of the Church in Quebec. The full text of the letter can be read HERE in English. Cynics have noted that the Cardinal doesn't apologize for any sins that may have occurred after 1960, and that he reiterates his call for a return to the power of the Church in Quebec society. A half-apology at best. Here is the response of the Montreal NEFAC (North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists) on their blog. The original French version can be viewed there.
Cardinal Ouellet Asks for Forgiveness ?
"This morning in the mainstream press the archbishop, cardinal, primate of the Canadian Church (etc...) Mgr. Ouellet, has written a letter in order to ask forgiveness for the past mistakes of the Catholic Church in Quebec. In a letter marked by hypocrisy and false remorse Mr Turcotte (Molly Note: This reference was puzzling. I think it refers to an axe-murderer in BC in 2000. This man, Turcotte, hacked three men to death. Under questioning by the police he told them where to go to find the bodies and even volunteered the information that one of them was still alive when he left them, saying to send an ambulance too. The case became a "point of law" in the Supreme Court over whether "post-offence behavior" was admissible as evidence in a criminal case. The court decided that it was. The reference is probably to the idea that Ouellet's behavior is similar "post-offense behavior") excuses himself for all the horrors committed by the Church before 1960.
""As Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada I recognize that the narrow attitudes of certain Catholics before 1960 favoured anti-Semitism, racism, indifference toward First Nations (Another Molly Note: This is the first time that I have ever heard what the Catholic Church did to the natives described as "indifference". Time to run for the Gravol.) and discrimination against women and homosexuals. The behavior of Catholics and certain episcopal authorities with regards to the right to vote, access to work and promotion of women hasn't always been up to par with society's needs or conformed to the social doctrine of the Church.""
And carrying on further:
""I also recognize that the abuses of power and cover-ups have, for many, tarnished the image of the clergy and its moral authority;mothers have been rebuffed by priests without concern for their family obligations (Yet another Molly Note: This an euphemistic way of referring to the practice of threatening women with hellfire unless they had more and more children. This little piece of "Christian charity" was hardly confined to Quebec. It was once a very conscious and deliberate plan on the part of the Catholic clergy to increase their power by force of demographics. Outbreed them damn Prots basically) , youngsters were subjected to sexual aggression by priests and religious figures, causing great injury and trauma which have broken their lives. these scandals have shaken popular confidence towards religious authorities, and we understand this. Forgive us for all this pain.""
NEFAC then goes on to say:
"The attitude of the clergy concerning the rights of women, homosexuals, the rights of indigenous people, sexuality, immigration,etc. have changed after 1960 ? It is the same institution, but it now utilizes the mass media , of necessity, to give themselves a false good conscience. Moreover, he ended his letter by reiterating his demand for the government to restore religion in the schools. So much hypocrisy in one letter for a simple maneuver of clerical lobbying ? And you believe that we will give him permission again to destroy the brains of new generations with his lies ? 400 years of crime and horror by your institution in Quebec cannot be erased by one letter in the press as well powerful Cardinal...
Ni Dieu, Ni Maitre
After his first public embarrassment Ouellet is even being recognized as something of a loose cannon by other Catholic bishops. His title of "Primate" (Marc of the Jungle ?) of Canada is purely honourary, given because Quebec City is Canada's oldest diocese (the reference to 400 years in NEFAC's statement is to the fact that next year is the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec). Both the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the association of Quebec Bishops issued statements last Wednesday saying that they refused to stand behind Ouellet's opinions. they also refused further comment. Ouellet himself promptly decamped to Rome upon the release of his letter. To lobby against his fellow bishops ? To get his ear twisted about continually making a fool of himself ? Did he plan the trip or was he called to the head office ? Ah, to be a fly on the wall at the Vatican. Ouellet himself undoubtedly feels himself to be a brilliant and masterful politician even as he digs his own hole deeper and deeper. There are many in the hierarchy who will be outraged that he has admitted anything at all. "Deny everything" is still a popular opinion amongst some clerics. Others who are more liberal will be embarrassed by his evasions, lies that are far too obvious for public consumption. In the internal politics of the world's oldest and largest transnational corporation Ouellet has placed himself brilliantly in a position to offend all sides at once. Look for an appointment to the Curia in Rome in his future. They will promote him to a position where he can do no harm by opening his mouth in private, and he will reach his level of incompetence.
Now, Molly is all in favour of those in the Catholic Church who want to truly see a proper reform of their faith. Good luck to them. One thing,however, can be said for sure. The very basis of such reform can be judged by how thoroughly such reformists renounce any and all pretensions to recover lost power for their Church. The political term is "revanchism", whereby nationalists harbour age-old grudges and dream of recovering lost territory for their country. Those who blatantly lobby for privileges for their denomination are not true reformists no matter how much they may bleat of contrition and speak in ways fashionable today of issues now in the public's eye. Their sincerity can be simply judged by their lust for power,and Ouellet is blatantly obvious. As Primate of Canada one can perhaps make a Biblical Canadian joke (bless you-eh) about him and say that he has the whole softwood lumber production in his eyes when he tries to preach morality.
For those of Molly's readers with a touch for the gruesome I urge you to consult the Wikipedia article on the 'Duplessis Orphans'. The basic story is simple. The children of unwed mothers were stolen from them by the Church, but the amount of money to be made from running a simple orphanage was insufficient, particularly as many might be adopted and thereby cease to be a cash-cow for the Church. In connivance with the Quebec provincial government of Maurice Duplessis the Catholic Church succeeded in defining large numbers of these children as "mentally ill" or "mentally retarded" thereby freeing up large amounts of money that flowed to the Church's coffers for their "treatment". The children subjected to extreme abuse, used as slave labour and were even the subject of far too many "medical experiments". Further money flowed to the Church via the latter. This story is, of course, familiar to those who have followed the outing of the Church sponsored residential schools for natives, minus the experiments part. What is most gruesome is the fate of those who died under such "care". The Church even made money off their corpses by selling them to medical schools. This thing continued into the 1960s, ie after the 1960 "cutoff date" cited by Ouellet. Have a look if you want to be grossed.
One final point before I sign off. How much of this is "in the past"? Can I suggest that imperial psychiatry and, much more emphatically imperial social work is doing today what the Catholic Church did in the past ? The object of the game is to expand the entrepreneurial opportunities, to make more and more money off more and more people. Think of the present fad of naming so-called "diseases" with an adjective called "spectrum". This is nothing more than a mendacious fudge that justifies the application of a poultice of government money. At least one of these attempts to psychiatrize the population may be even more absurd than the nonsensical fad of "satanic abuse" (now carefully consigned to the memory hole by social workers) that swept through the so-called helpers a couple of decades ago. Think FASD. The propaganda says that any woman who has a drink of two or ten when she is pregnant will produce babies that need the tender loving care of the state. Time for a common sense observation here. If this nonsense was true then the social workers of North America could quickly become millionaires by relocating to southern Europe where they could "save" the vast majority of the population. Are the social workers of today as violent and vicious as their forebears in the Churches were ? No, they are much too efficient for that. Kill your so-called "client" and you can't make any more money off that one. How much do our social welfare bureaucracies resemble the unlamented powerful Churches that some of us still remember ?