Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Molly has mentioned the long struggle between the United Farm Workers in the USA and Ruby Ridge Dairies several times before on this blog. I believe that this issue might be the one where an extremely aggressive reply from what I presume is either the owner or one of his managers was received at one time on this site. That little bit of verbal aggression, however, is nothing compared to what the workers at Ruby Ridge have to face, as the following item and appeal from the United Farm Workers (UFW) makes plain. They are asking for your support in cutting off the financial iv line that allows Ruby Ridge to keep up its anti-worker policies.

This Boss Brings a Rifle to Work

Workers will hand petition in on January 11.
Sign the petition today!

We've written to you before about the unbearable situation workers face at WA's Ruby Ridge dairy. The dairy is being sued for violation of Washington wage and hour laws, unlawful discharge by firing 1/3 of the workforce and even assault. The workers who haven't yet been fired are afraid they're next.

Owner Dick Bengen often carries a rifle with him on his large dairy farm. To Dick Bengen, that rifle is his anti-union rifle that he uses to scare the workers into line. Mr. Bengen made a point of explaining the special purpose of this rifle to Miguel Cuevas, when he told him, "This rifle is for those people with the union."

Workers, members of the faith community and most recently, thousands of UFW supporters, contacted Northwest Farm Credit Services, the bank that loaned $13 million to Ruby Ridge. They demand the bank use its influence to resolve the issues at the dairy. The bank's mortgage language specifically prohibits illegal behavior such as the workers say is happening at Ruby Ridge.

The bank continues to ignore our calls. According to Margarito Martinez, who was fired from Ruby Ridge for supporting the union and fighting for his rights, "When workers and supporters tried to reach out to the bank to intervene in this matter, they turned us down, saying they did not want to be involved."

On January 11, right after the Christmas holidays, Ruby Ridge workers and their supporters will gather in front of the bank's headquarters. They will demand that the bank enforce their lending language.

We know that not everyone can join the workers in Spokane, WA, but you and your friends and family can join virtually by signing the petition that we'll present to the bank that day.
Please go to this link to add your name to the following petition


Northwest Farm Credit Services should use its influence to resolve the dispute at Ruby Ridge Dairy. This bank has lent Ruby Ridge $13 million and has failed to hold the dairy accountable for its actions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010






Saturday, December 25, 2010


A happy holiday season to one and all, my friends and my detractors. May the New Year bring all the best.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010


A little while ago I mentioned how a so-called "bomb" found on the Rome Metro lacked a detonator and how this easily have been a 'plant' by the Italian government itself. More recent news has revealed that the "bomb" not only lacked a detonator but it even lacked explosive material, being made up of concrete dust.

Now it seems that whomever planted such a devise is getting a little more bold, as two letter bombs have recently gone off at the Chilean and Swiss Embassies in Rome. These actually contained explosives and actually injured people. News media immediately jumped on a supposed claim by a shadowy "anarchist" group supposedly named the 'Informal Anarchist Federation', (FAI, named with perhaps deliberate intent to create confusion with the aboveground Federazione Anarchica Italiana FAI who vehemently oppose such terrorist actions).

Now I won't discount the remote possibility that the authors of these actions were anarchists. After years of experience I know that there a few anarchists stupid enough to think that such things are a good idea. Mercifully they constitute a tiny minority of anarchists in most countries. But the so-called 'Informal Anarchist Federation' has an interesting history in Italy as the following article from The Nihilist makes more than plain. This history is intimately connected with the "strategy of tension" that has long been a favourite of the Italian state and its fascist co-conspirators.

Read what is printed below and then ask yourself the question, "Why the Chilean and especially Swiss embassies ?". Could it be that other more likely targets such as the US Embassy (or even the French, German or British embassies) would be far more likely to get "disturbed" over a black-ops operation and actually be able to do something about it ? Why the Embassy of Switzerland for God's sake ? Here is the story of the 'Informal Anarchist Federation' who have been barely heard of (let alone ever arrested) since 2006 (except for one incident last year).

Beware of the State’s Anarchists
In the end of December 2003, various European Union (EU) institutions received a number of letter bombs. One of them is said to have exploded in the hands of the president of the EU Commission, Romani Prodi, but without causing any injuries. The press was quick to announce that this was the work of anarchists. The proof of this was a letter sent to the paper La Repubblica, where a so far unknown group with the name Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for two earlier bombs left near Prodi's home in Italy. Italian anarchists, however, take a very different view of whom are to blame: This was a provocation, they are convinced, meant to put Italy's anarchist in disrepute, and to give an excuse for increased repression against the country's strong extra-parliamentary left.

While no one had heard about the Federazione Anarchica Informale before the mysterious letter surfaced, there exists in Italy an established anarchist group with a similar name: Federazione Anarchica Italiana (FAI). FAI was established in 1968, and is active in above ground activities such as organizing public meetings and demonstrations, and publishing newspapers and journals. In a statement, the organization's coordinating committee states that FAI "asserts once more its condemnation of bombs, exploding parcels and such devices, that may strike without discrimination, and in any way look - at best - to be functional to logic of provocation and criminalization of dissent through the media, in a moment in which anarchists are among the protagonists of social conflicts - from strikes, to initiatives against war, etc."

In its statement FAI also points to the contradiction in speaking of an "informal federation," and claims that an organization must always be formal in order to guarantee "a libertarian and egalitarian method of assuming decisions." Other parts of the anarchist movement in Italy believe in informal organizing, but these groups do not use the word federation. The name therefore seems picked for its similarity to FAI's, and thereby associate this organization with bombs and terror. And FAI believes that "whoever points out a group of comrades to repression is a police or one that cooperates with them." (1)

If these letter bombs actually were sent by provocateurs, this would not be the first time in Italy's history. On the 12th of December 1969, a bomb exploded at Piazza Fontana in Milan, which killed 16 people and wounded more than a hundred. Then too, the anarchists were blamed, and several local anarchists were arrested. Three days after the explosion, one of the arrested, Giuseppe Pinelli, died from falling from a window of the fifth floor of the city's police headquarters - while five police officers were present in the room. The police first announced that it was a suicide, then quickly changed their story and claimed it was an accident. This event was later immortalized in Nobel laureate Dario Fo's burlesque theater play, Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

Another anarchist, Pietro Valpreda, was convicted of the bombing, and sat several years in prison before his conviction was overturned in a new trial. It has been proven that it wasn't Milan's anarchists who were responsible for the bomb plot, but a group of neo-fascists. The bomb plot was the beginning of the so-called "strategy of tension" put into action by Italian fascists in consort with the CIA and Italy's intelligence services. At the end of the 60's, it looked as if the Italian Communist Party might be admitted into the government for the first time. At the same time, a new and more radical left emerged, who rejected the whole parliamentary game. A campaign of destabilization was therefore started, where fascists conducted terrorist acts, which were then blamed on the left. In the span of 15 years, 150 individuals were killed in eight bomb explosions; the worst of which was the massacre at the railway station in Bologna in August 1980, where 85 was killed and 200 wounded. Fascists and intelligence agents also infiltrated small communist and anarchist groups where they tried to incite violent acts, at the same time as they were helpful in procuring weapons and explosives. During this time, there were hatched several plots where the fascists, together with their allies in the military and police, would take power in a coup d'etat. It was assumed that the Italian people would accept a "state of emergency," in order to save the country from chaos and to "reestablish law and order." However, as the political situation in the country stabilized during the 70's, a fascist coup ceased to be an option.

Not until 2001 was a group of fascists brought to trial for the bombing in Milan over 30 years ago. In this trial, a former chief in the Italian military intelligence agency SID gave testimony. General Gianadelio Maletti explained that SID had discovered that right wing terrorists in the 70s had been equipped with military explosives from Germany, possibly with the help of American intelligence agents. "The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left and, for this purpose, it may have made use of right-wing terrorism," Maletti explained. (2) Maletti himself needed a temporary court amnesty in order to testify, as he for the last 20 years have been living in South Africa as a fugitive from Italian justice. He had been convicted in absentia for obstructing the investigation of an attack on the Italian Minister of the Interior in 1973. Four people were killed and 45 injured when the "anarchist" Gianfranco Bertoli threw a bomb at group of people outside the police headquarters in Milan. Bertoli actually had right-wing sympathies, and was a long time informer for SID. SID supposedly knew about the plot against the minister in advance, but did nothing to warn him, and neglected to tell investigators what they knew after the crime was committed.

Before the protests against the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001, Dario Fo published an article called Beware of the State's Anarchists, where he warned that the strategy of tension was about to be revived. In the article he wrote: "What we are witnessing is an incredible repetition of what happened back then. In the face of the growth of a deeply peaceful world protest movement, the system replies by trying to drag it into a spiral of violence. Therefore we get bombs, and people look for excuses to beat up and arrest demonstrators, hoping that some young people will engage in violent confrontations. And to make sure that this happens, you can bet your bottom dollar that agents provocateurs are already at work." (3)

Fo was to see his dark premonitions come true, and during the summit protests, one could find extensive evidence of both provocations and excessive police violence. The most tragic event was when the young activist Carlo Giuliani died after first being shot and then run over by an armed police vehicle. The next night, the police raided a school that was used to house some of the demonstrators. Dozens of sleeping activists were brutally beaten by the police, and several of them needed to be sent to the hospital. It has later been proved that the cops themselves planted the Molotov cocktails they showed to the press to justify raiding the school.

There were also several instances of homemade bombs going off in Italy in the days before the Genoa summit. One of these was claimed by a group calling themselves Cooperativa Artigiana Fuoco e Affini (Occasionalmente Spettacolare). This is one of the groups who, according to the anonymous letter to La Repubblica, have joined together to form the Informal Anarchist Federation. Another of the four groups mentioned in the letter, Brigata XX luglio, claimed responsibility for two explosive devices set off in the vicinity of the police headquarters in Genoa in December 2002. Again, many Italian anarchists and leftists are convinced that all these incidents were the work of agents provocateurs.

Whoever is behind these letter bombs: fascists, intelligence services, anarchists, or perhaps lone individuals - one thing is sure: The Italian police and prosecutors are itching to use these events as an opportunity to crack down on a troublesome oppositional element. While the rest of Italy have never heard of the mysterious Informal Anarchist Federation, and are even questioning whether it actually exists, the Italian prosecutors claim to have full knowledge of the organization's structure and ideology. The city prosecutor of Bologna, Enrico Di Nicola, has told the press that this is an "insurrectionist anarchist organization" which consists of "individualists who don't accept any type of organization, structure or centralization of decision-making." Di Nicola further claimed that membership of the organization "may be about 350 in all of Italy." (4) The question that naturally arises, is why these shady individuals would establish a federation, considering that they don't accept any type of organization?

To be fair, there actually does exist an insurrectional anarchist milieu in Italy. In issue one of The Nihilist, we wrote about the last time Italian prosecutors tried to crack down on this milieu. This was in the late 90s, after some anarchists were caught robbing a bank. 58 anarchists were then accused of being members of a subversive, paramilitary organization, a group called ORAI (Organizzazione Rivoluzionaria Anarchica Insurrezionalista). However, there was no evidence that this organization actually existed, and after a long and farce like court case, these accusations had to be dropped. (Although a number of the accused anarchists were convicted of other criminal offenses.)

There are signs that a new crackdown on the insurrectionalists is being planed. This time it seems that the authorities are trying to link the insurrectional anarchists with the remnants of the Marxist-Leninist armed groups of the 70's, such as the Red Brigades. The latest example of this came in August 2004 when someone placed a bomb in a Sardinian village, near a villa where the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi were entertaining his British counterpart Tony Blair. An anonymous caller who claimed to represent the Proletarian Nuclei for Communism, a local Marxist separatist group, warned the police about the device. Despite this, interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu did his best to implicate anarchists, claiming that "the Sardinian terrorist milieu has now brought together remnants of the Red Brigades, separatists and anarchist-insurrectionists." (5)


1: The statement can be found on FAI’s website:

2: The Guardian, 26 March 2001

3: Quoted in Socialist Worker, 4 August 2001

4: The Guardian, 9 January 2004

5: Associated Press, 18 August 2004

Another hit from Kirktoons. Don't forget that the 'improved road' that can carry trucks now can carry tanks as well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chris Christie is the Republican Governor of the state of New Jersey, and it seems he is angling for a run at the Presidency next time around. In his role as Governor he has proven to be one of the most anti-worker politicians in the USA. Here's a story and appeal from the AFL-CIO blog about his latest trip to TV land.

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers
by Mike Hall, Dec 20, 2010

Last night’s “60 Minutes” report on the budget crises and shortfalls many state and local governments face could have been written by anti-worker, anti-union New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who used his airtime to slam public employees and their unions as the root cause for the huge budget gaps. Yet 60 Minutes did not give one second of airtime to a public employee or union spokesperson.

Throughout the report, writes Media Matters’ Jamison Foser:

CBS allows Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics… If Christie didn’t get a producer credit on the 60 Minutes segment, he should have.

BTW, “60 Minutes” producers never even contacted the AFL-CIO for input or comments. AFSCME President Gerald McEntee says Christie “is more interested in scoring political points than solving state and local budget challenges and getting the economy moving.”
The fact is, hundreds of thousands of public employees, just like private-sector employees, have been laid off and taken pay and benefit cuts—even as Wall Street executives lined their pockets with taxpayer money and took home huge bonuses. And as [the report] noted, much of the pension problem stems from the fact that politicians did not contribute to their pension funds.

While politicians like Christie rail against the pensions public employees have secured through collective bargaining—painting them as overly generous golden parachutes, McEntee notes the average annual pension for an AFSCME member is $19,000, and the workers contribute 80 percent during their lifetime on the job.

[Take action: Write a comment on the "60 Minutes" Facebook wall here and if you're on Twitter, retweet: RT @AFLCIO #60minutes Why did you do segment on public wkrs in state w/ Christie/Wall St, but didn't contact the workers? @60minutes #p2 ]

The long term solution to state and local fiscal challenges, says McEntee, is “a robust economy, one that is creating jobs and replenishing tax revenue.”

Public employees stand ready to help state and local governments get through the economic storm. But to suggest that they have not sacrificed is a lie, and we will not allow politicians like Chris Christie to blame the economic crisis on working and middle class Americans.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Molly continues with more from Kirktoons on what TV reality actually means.



All across Europe, from Ireland in the west to Greece in the east students are rising up against the austerity programs of their respective governments. Like the European workers they see no reason why they should have to pay for a crisis not of their making. In Italy students have been protesting against so-called "reforms" in education ie cutbacks since October. This struggle has merged with intermittent general strikes on the part of the larger unions and with a widespread disgust that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government survived a vote of confidence (by a mere three votes mind you). This vote led to street battles in Rome as many ordinary Italians expressed their disgust with a politician whose level of corruption surpasses even the ordinary expected of an Italian politician. Berlusconi is actually a classic piece of work. From a Canadian point of view he makes our late unlamented Brian Mulroney look like a monk who has taken a vow of poverty and stuck to it. Also, to my knowledge, no other elected politician has ever made a major part of his program out of passing laws that would retroactively legalize his previous crimes. Truly impressive !!!

The student movement in Italy has refused to accept defeat, and tomorrow they plan yet another round of demonstrations that will no doubt end in conflict when the police attack. The Italian government, meanwhile, has been playing a strategy of alternating conciliation with threat. As the Financial Times reports while they have released previous arrested demonstrators a senior government minister has floated the idea of "preventative detention", one step short of a police state. Also, almost farcically, the same report tells about how a bomb was found on the Rome Metro "without a detonator". To say the least this is reminiscent of the long history in Europe of 'provocations' carried out either by the police themselves or by their fascist agents. See the wikipedia article on Operation Gladio. At least this time the provocateurs minimized the potential for injury even if they (obviously) sacrificed what little credibility they might have.

What follows is an analysis of what is happening in the Italian student movement written for Molly's Blog by the independent Italian commentator Sabrino Sollazzo. As he points out the idea promoted by the government that the student demonstrations are "infiltrated" by "militant elements" is a lie. Authoritarians have a hard time imagining that people can actually think for themselves, and in the Italian case they are so conspiratorial themselves that they cannot imagine people thinking independently and coming to a conclusion in opposition to their plans.

What's going on in Italy?

A free opinion on the student's movement

What's on in Italy? The first time, it was called "The Wave", a free movement created by the collective intelligence of the students. After two years, somebody would call it "The Wave II", but this is different, totally free: no political parties are involved in it; no unions is beside the students: this is a free and independent protest against the education cut provided by the minister of Pubblica Istruzione Gelmini, which follows a scheduled privatization of all the welfare state, piece by piece.

The boys and the girls are free from anybody, no infiltrations, no terrorists, no black bloc, but autonomy of thoughts, another view of the public school and the university system.

Many high schools are occupied by the movement, which want to reach strongly the deaf ears of politicians, who are over and over authoritarians, post fascists, not only conservatives , that is the Italian government, since its way of thinking is:"We order, we speak, you keep silent, or you can protest, but without disturbing the driver!"

The independence of university is at risk; many teachers of the high schools, and not only them, refused to put in practice what is the law intent: impossible! Schools are not a farm, or something resembling a private corporation, as it is meant by those guys in Rome.

Knowledge is research, which must be free, and the possibility of instruction, till the last degree, should remain the same, as intended by the Constitution: free and for everybody.

So the students move actively: they want independence, to sum up.

The streets are the theatre of heavy battles against the guardians of the sick system which is bringing all the world to collapse.

Banks, preferring an egg today instead of a chicken tomorrow, can't properly provide a long term plan: it is tautological; but they want to rule states, to say what must be done, even if they are the problem, even if they don't think about the collective wealth, but their stockholders' (and we saw what has happened in the U.S.A. and Europe!).

The students, teachers, researchers, and so on are on he street, they shout their anger against all this, and they point out that they want pay for the crisis produced by capitalism, an economical and social Darwinist theory of the world.

Monday, December 20, 2010


As with so many other astronomical events the first total lunar eclipse to coincide with the winter solstice since 1638 isn't visible tonight in Winnipeg as yet more snow drifts gently down to move us to the wettest year in history. Here in the Central Time Zone the umbral phase is due to begin at 12:32 am, and totality at 1:40 am. Totality will last until 2:53 am, making this one of the longer eclipses. There are two lunar eclipses due next year, so better luck next time.

For the curious you can read all about this eclipse in a wikipedia article now on the web. The full eclipse will be basically a North American event this time around with the old world and much of South America missing large parts of the event. For places other than here in the Great Canadian Snowdrift the wikipedia article gives a chart of the phases for various time zones. A good source for viewing conditions in your locale is the Clear Dark Sky website. Much better and more detailed than the average weather report. For those diehards who just have to see something NASA will host a webcam real time version of the eclipse here. Seems like a very poor substitute to me, but to each their own. There will also be a chat room at the NASA site so you can either praise or howl about viewing conditions where you live.

All I can say is better luck next year.

Another good one from Kirktoons.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

There's something I've noticed over the past few months given that Molly's Blog is a 'contact site' for anarchists across the world. As I gradually go through my editing process I find that not only are the majority of sites that I add 'Facebook sites', but that I am either deleting or sending to the Zombie listing a lot of others who were on the internet via other internet providers (blogspot/wordpress,etc).
That's fine, but a few cautions should be given here. First of all, as anyone who has followed this blog for long enough should be aware I am utterly and completely opposed to conspiracy to commit illegal acts. Not that I am opposed to "illegal acts" of civil disobedience, but I am completely opposed to the idea of trying to make them "secret". SECRET ???? I am completely astonished by the wishful thinking that a radical organization's plans could be kept "private" whenever it is communicated via the internet. I have debated this up and down with many people who are under the delusion that their "encryption" is sufficient to guard their plans. All that I can say here is that they are either wrong or actual state agents.
That, however, is something quite different from what is presently bothering me. What I have noticed is a gradual shift of anarchists to Facebook sites, and NOT always as simply a mirror of their main site. What does this mean besides the fact that, whether it is admitted or not, that their sites are continually monitored by US intelligence ? What it means is that unlike a blog post on website post whatever they say is eternally lost once a few days (hours, minutes,seconds ????) passes. THAT is what posting on Facebook means. It is lost forever. It is "etherbuzz".
I, of course, intend to maintain Molly's Blog as a main site while also using Facebook, but I would ask people to recognize the limitations of the latter. I would also ask others to consider the limitations of Facebook.


Well, this would have been the greatest 'novelty gift' for the holidays that one could think of, but given the "efficiency" of our statist postal system if you ordered it today it would be unlikely to arrive anywhere outside of Japan before Ukrainian Christmas. And probably well after that. Something could be said here about the "need" for a government.

In any case here's a neat offer from the Japanese comrades at CIRA-Japana (the Japanese branch of the international anarchist documentation network). I'm thinking of ordering one myself.

CIRA-Japana 2011 Calendar for fundraiser‏

Anarchists Who Lived Through the War: Vol. 1

CIRA-JAPANA presents the 2011 calendar with the theme of anarchists who lived through the War (WWII).
Among anarchist collectives in the post-war Japan, “Japan Anarchist Federation” whose members had mostly been active since the pre-war era and “Japan Anarchist Club” which diverged from the former were prominent ones. You will see old and rare pictures of eleven anarchists and one anarchist newspaper for each month. Those who are featured in the calendar are such as Ishikawa Sansirô, Iwasa Sakutarô, and Kondô Kenji, who played an important role along these collectives. It also highlights Yagi Akiko who pursued her freedom.
A4 size, 28 pages, with a time-line chart, English summary for each month.
Price: 1500 yen include postage.
Purchase at:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Which leads to the there evidence that one, just one single one, terrorist attack has been prevented by the American use of torture on their detainees ? Another incisive item from Kirktoons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union of Canada has just won an important court victory against the Walmart giant. For 18 months a suit on the part of Walmart that attempted to shut down Walmart Workers website has wound its tortuous way through the courts. Two days ago the Québec Superior Court settled the lawsuit. Here's the story from Marketwire. This is important not just for the UFCW and Walmart employees but for all Canadians who value free speech.

Union Declares Victory Over Walmart in Free Speech Battle
A Settlement Reached at the Quebec Superior Court Upholds , the Labour Rights Website Dedicated to Helping Walmart Associates Know and Exercise Their Rights as Workers in Canada

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2010) - The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is declaring victory in an 18-month free speech battle with Walmart that concentrated on the labour rights website In June 2009, the world's largest retailer filed a motion with the Quebec Superior Court for an injunction against the popular and long-standing website maintained by UFCW Canada citing trade-mark infringement.

On Dec. 15 a confidential settlement was achieved that does not affect the continued existence of and its long-established commitment to communicating with Walmart workers in Canada about their rights.

"This is a huge victory for Walmart workers and their ability to freely communicate on the internet," said UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley from the Superior Court house within moments of the settlement win for , which will continue to be dedicated to helping Walmart workers to empower themselves and improve their lives through collective bargaining.

"Despite the best efforts of the world's largest corporation to dictate the terms of online communication, will remain an excellent labour rights resource, and will proudly continue a seven year tradition of serving Walmart Associates as a place where they can learn about their rights, and how to exercise those rights as workers in Canada," added Hanley. "Today's victory also ensures that will remain a safe and familiar place for Walmart workers to freely share their experiences with other Associates across the country without any fear of reprisal."

UFCW Canada has been leading the campaign to help Walmart Associates exercise their rights as workers in Canada for over a decade.

For more information, please contact

UFCW Canada
Michael Forman
National Representative
416.675.1104 x2249

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yet another great one from Kirktoons (I wonder whatever happened to him?).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The government of Cambodia has continued with its anti-labour practices despite international pressure. Here is an appeal from the Clean Clothes Campaign for support of a union leader arrested on false charges and for 379 workers illegally dismissed for union activities.
Cambodian Trade Union Leader Arrested
Tuesday, 14 December 2010 17:36

The Clean Clothes Campaign is deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of union- and worker leaders in Cambodia. On November 18th Sous Chantha, a trade union leader of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Unions (C.CAWDU) was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. This arrest is believed to be a frame-up in order to disturb his union activities, and he risks 2 to 5 years in jail.

C.CAWDU organized a nation-wide strike for higher wages last September which led to mass dismissals of union members and dozens of legal cases filed against union leaders. Today, 379 workers from 18 companies are still dismissed from their workplaces. Their families are without income. They cannot pay for food nor for house rent and risk being thrown out of house.

Please take action today and call upon the Cambodian government to immediately and unconditionally release Sous Chantha, and upon the employers and the Garment Manufacturer Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to immediately reinstate all suspended and dismissed workers and their leaders with average back-wages paid and to start good faith negotiations about the workers’ benefits proposal at once.

Framed for joining C.CAWDU
Sous Chantha has been working for the United Apparel Garment (formerly Lotus Garment) factory in Phnom Penh for the last four years. United Apparel Garment is mainly producing for GAP. Sous Chantha has been a union leader since 2008, representing roughly 1000 members who initially were affiliated with Independent Democratic Union Federation (IDUF). Last November 17 they changed from IDUF and decided to affiliate with C.CAWDU.

On November 18 the necessary paperwork to affiliate with C.CAWDU was thumb-printed by union leaders. A little over 2 hours later after he left from the factory at over 6.00 pm, Sous Chanta was stopped and searched by the military police who claim they discovered packages of illegal pills squeezed in between the seat and the chassis of his motorbike. Since then he has been held in pre-trial detention.

C.CAWDU believes this arrest to be a frame-up in order to disturb his union activities. Sous Chanta risks 2 to 5 years in jail. According to the Cambodia League for the Protection and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) there are contradictory reports from the police about his arrest and there is insufficient legal basis for this detention, the report can be downloaded here.

379 still waiting to be reinstated
The strike lasted from September 13 until September 16 and received massive support from workers: on the last day alone over 200,000 workers from around 90 factories joined the protest. It was called to an end by union leaders after the Ministry of Social Affairs requested a meeting with union leaders to discuss their demands and workers decided to return to their factories. However, when they arrived for work two days later more nearly 800 union members and worker leaders were dismissed, and dozens of legal cases filed against union leaders because of their involvement in the strike.

The actions of the employers are in direct contravention of the Cambodian constitution and labour law. They also violate the International Labour Organisation conventions on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. The Cambodia government responded by issuing a sub-degree urging employers to drop the court cases and calling on them to return to the negotiating table. It also stated it would not allow workers to be dismissed. At the beginning of October, the courts issued a warrant ordering employers to reinstate the dismissed and suspended workers within 48 hours. The employers have so far refused to abide by the government or court calls and with a few exceptions have not allowed workers to return to their jobs.

Since the dismissals CCC has been calling on the global buyers from the affected factories to demand that workers are reinstated immediately and unconditionally and that the owners enter into good faith negotiations with the trade unions. Some brands have taken steps towards this, but still over 379 workers from 18 companies are waiting for their reinstatement. CCC continues to pressure key brands to take further action and to call upon the powerful Garment Manufacturer Association in Cambodia (GMAC) to to immediately reinstate all suspended and dismissed workers and their leaders with average back-wages paid and to start good faith negotiations about the workers’ benefits proposal at once.

Take action now:
Sous Chantha and Cambodian Workers need your help.
Send a letter to the Cambodian authorities and to the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia
Please go to this link to send the following letter to Cambodian authorities and the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia.

Letter to
•His Excellency Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Council
•His Excellency Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister, Minister of Ministry of Commerce
•His Excellency Vong Sauth, Minister of Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT)
•His Excellency Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans & Youth and Rehabilitation (MOSAVY)
•His Excellency Ang Vong Vathana, Minister of Ministry of Justice (MOJ)
•His Excellency Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Ministry of Interior (MOI)
Your Excellency,

Please allow me to express my concern about Sous Chantha, a trade union leader of the independent union federation C.CAWDU. He was arrested on November 18th and charged with drug trafficking. I believe this to be a frameup in order to disturb his union activities.

I understand that his arrest followed only hours after his union affiliated with C.CAWDU, and that there are contradictory statements from the authorities. I also understand according to the investigation results of Human Rights Organization LICADHO there is no evidence against Sous Chantha.

I therefore call on you to carry out a swift, full and impartial investigation into the charges against trade union leader Sous Chantha, and if no clear evidence is found to provide for his release immediately.

I also call on you to adopt a policy to ensure that frameups against trade union leaders are not used to undermine the freedom of association and right to form or join a union.

I look forward to hearing that this issue is resolved at the earliest opportunity,


And to Mr. Van Souieng, President of GMAC
Garment Manufacturer Association in Cambodia:
Dear Mr. Van Souieng

I am writing in regard to the 379 Cambodian workers who are still waiting for reinstatement more then two months after they were dismissed following the national strike for decent wages in September. A number of trade union leaders are still facing spurious legal charges resulting from their participation in this strike. This is despite from the government of Cambodia issuing a statement opposing the dismissals and a warrant urging these cases to be dropped.

I understand that some of your members have recently reinstated part of the dismissed and suspended workers, but that many others are still refusing to do so. As the organisation representing the garment employers of Cambodia I believe you have a responsibility to ensure that all of your members reinstate these workers immediately and unconditionally, with back pay calculated on average monthly incomes.

I look forward to hearing that this issue is resolved at the earliest opportunity and that freedom of association is respected and supported in Cambodia,


Here's another winner from the Kirktoons site.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010



Coming up this Friday at the Lo-Pub, 330 Kennedy St....DJ Dryhump and Mama Cutsworth in 'Ain't No Sunshine' concert. Hey, and as a little extra incentive 'Ain't No Sunshine' is now the "after-concert party" for the performance of Winnipeg's The Weakerthans at the Pyramid Cafe on Friday. The Weakerthans are the authors of what seems to have become this city's unofficial anthem 'One Great City', also know as "I hate Winnipeg' from its chorus. Do check out their website.



with DJ Dryhump and Mama Cutsworth

Friday at 9:00pm - December 18 at 2:00am


The Lo Pub
330 Kennedy Street
Winnipeg, MB


More Info

Shed your winter shivers and dance to Bill Withers!

Dancing through the long winter night with

Friday, December 17
The Lo Pub, 330 Kennedy St
Doors 9, party 10
Just $5
Sponsored by UMFM

Yet another winner from the Kirktoons collection.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tonight the annual Geminid meteor shower peaks, with the most likely time of maximum intensity being after midnight. The first quarter Moon will set shortly after midnight so there will be little interference from its light. Gemini itself will be rising in the east at about 9pm. Over the past few years the intensity of this shower has been increasing, and it is likely that it will put on a better show than the summer Perseids .
The Geminid shower was first seen only 150 years ago, and it is thought that they are the only meteor shower whose parent body is an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon, rather than a comet. Under good viewing conditions it might be possible to see 120- 160 meteors per minute. For more on this event see this article from wikipedia or, for the more technically minded see the International Meteor Organization Calender. The Astronomy Calender also has a multi-year listing for important sky events. Don't miss the upcoming lunar eclipse on the 21st, the longest night of the year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Molly has recently found a great treasure trove of cartoons at the Kirtktoons site. Some of these may be dated, and I'm not sure that the artist is still drawing, but this is the first in a selection of what he has done.


The following holiday appeal came in the other day from the International Labour Rights Forum. The ILRF has identified five of the world's top Scrooges for their anti-union and exploitative work practices. So how about we all put on our holiday ghost costumes and pay them a little visit. Here's the appeal....

Stop Scrooge! Protect the Right to Organize!‏

Stop Scrooge! Protect the Right to Organize!
Today, December 10th, is International Human Rights Day and the International Labor Rights Forum just released our annual report, Working for Scrooge: Worst Companies of 2010 for the Right to Associate. This report highlights five corporations and business associations that violated the right of workers to organize around the world this year -- and you can TAKE ACTION now to stop these Scrooges!

Among other rights related to workers, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests" (Article 23, Section 4). The companies on ILRF's list use intimidation and even violence to violate their workers' internationally recognized right to organize.

The worst offenders this year are:

◙Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
◙Del Monte
◙R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
You can view the full Working for Scrooge report online here.

Most importantly, you can TAKE ACTION to tell these companies to stop their Scrooge-like behavior online here.


This message is brought to you by the International Labor Rights Forum.
Please go to this link to send the following message to the 'five Scrooges'.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests."

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the International Labor Rights Forum released its annual report, “Working for Scrooge: Worst Companies of 2010 for the Right to Associate.” This report ( highlights five global corporations and business associations that violated their workers’ right to organize in the workplace through the use of intimidation and violence.

I am disappointed to learn from the International Labor Rights Forum that workers in your global supply chain have seen their right to organize violated.

In the coming year, I encourage you to take stronger action to ensure that your workers’ rights are protected. I will be watching closely to see the improvements you will make recognizing your workers' right to organize as described in ILO Conventions 87 and 98. I am committed to showing my solidarity with your workers around the world to ensure that their conditions improve and their rights are respected.

Thank you for your time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The following appeal is from the UK branch of Amnesty International, It came to Molly's attention via the online labour solidarity site Labour Start, though many other unions across the world have also featured this case. The person in question was one of the organizers of the Tehran Bus Drivers' Union, and in the theocracy that governs the country of Iran independent unions are a big no-no. The individual in question has been in detention since last summer, and he has now begun a hunger strike demanding his release as he is innocent of any real "crime". Here's the story....

Imprisoned trade unionist on hunger strike

Imprisoned trade union leader, Reza Shahabi, has been on hunger strike since 4 December in protest at his continuing detention. We are calling on the authorities in Iran to release him immediately.

Reza Shahabi is the treasurer of the independent and unrecognised trade union, Sherkat-e Vahed. He was arrested on 12 June 2010, three days after the arrest of Saeed Torabian, the unions spokesperson.

Union members arrested
Saeed Torabian has since been release but there are six other members of Sherkat-e Vahed (the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company) in prison.

Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Morteza Komsari and Ali Akbar Nazari have all been arrested since the beginning of November and we believe they are all prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their peaceful trade union activities.

Prisoners of conscience
Mansour Ossanlu, the head of the union and his deputy, Ebrahim Maddadi, are already serving prison sentences. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Sherkat-e Vahed was banned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but workers resumed the union's activities in 2004, although it is not legally recognised.

History of harassment
On 22 December 2005, police arrested 12 of the unions leaders at their homes but quickly released four of them. Other members were arrested three days later after they went on strike to call for the release of their colleagues. Saeed Torabian was among those arrested and spent a month in custody. Hundreds more were arrested during a further strike in January 2006.

Along with Reza Shahabi, Saeed Torabian was suspended from work, without pay, for approximately four years following the strikes. They were eventually reinstated only after the Court of Administrative Justice investigated their case.

Leadership imprisoned
Mansour Ossanlu was already serving a five year sentence in Rejai Shahr Prison, in Karaj near Tehran, when he was convicted on fresh charges in August 2010 and given an extra year behind bars.

Ebrahim Madadi is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence and has been held in Evin prison since 2008.

Trade unionists targeted
Other trade unionists have also been arrested or harassed recently, including members of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Trade Union. The unions Leader, Reza Rakhshan, was recently sentenced to six months in prison for spreading lies, apparently in connection with an article he wrote entitle We are One Family, condemning arrests and harassment of his fellow workers.

Imprisoned trade union leader, Reza Shahabi, has been on hunger strike since 4 December in protest at his continuing detention. We are calling on the authorities in Iran to release him immediately.
Reza Shahabi is the treasurer of the independent and unrecognised trade union, Sherkat-e Vahed. He was arrested on 12 June 2010, three days after the arrest of Saeed Torabian, the unions spokesperson.

Union members arrestedSaeed Torabian has since been release but there are six other members of Sherkat-e Vahed (the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company) in prison.
Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Morteza Komsari and Ali Akbar Nazari have all been arrested since the beginning of November and we believe they are all prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their peaceful trade union activities.

Prisoners of conscience Mansour Ossanlu, the head of the union and his deputy, Ebrahim Maddadi, are already serving prison sentences. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Please call on the Iranian authorities to release Reza Shahabi and all the other jailed trade unionists in Iran

Please go to this link to send the following letter to the Iranian authorities about this case.
I urge you to immediately release Reza Shahabi the Treasurer of Sherkat-e Vahed and union members Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Morteza Komsari and Ali Akbar Nazari, who have been recently arrested.

They must be released if, as appears, they are being held solely for their peaceful trade union activities. Otherwise I call on you to bring them to trial promptly and fairly on recognisable criminal charges.

I call on you to ensure that those held are protected from torture or other ill-treatment and are granted immediate access to their families, to lawyers of their choice, and to adequate medical care.

I further urge you to release prisoners of conscience Mansour Ossanlu and Ebrahim Maddadi immediately and unconditionally.

I remind you of Iran’s obligations under International Labour Organisation Conventions and the ICCPR to allow the right to form and join independent trade unions and I call on you to cease the harassment of members of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company (HTSCC) Trade Union and of teacher trade unionists and to release those detained immediately and unconditionally.