Saturday, July 31, 2010



While the Vale Inco strike in Ontario has ended with, whatever the claims of the union, essentially a defeat the strike of the USW in Newfoundland continues. Perhaps people in Newfoundland are under less of an illusion that the white knight of a politician will ride to their aid and so depend more upon themselves and find political generosity as a surprise. Something that it should always be taken as. Here's an item from the St. John's Telegram about the 1 year anniversary of the strike in Voisey's Bay.
by Lana Payne
365 days of defiance. Three hundred and sixty-five days of standing their ground against the second biggest mining corporation on the planet.
365 days of resistance as that employer — Brazilian mining giant, Vale — seeks concessions and holds up its Newfoundland and Labrador employees as an example to temper the expectations of its workers around the globe. After all, if they can beat back the Canadians, imagine what can be done to those workers in Brazil, South Africa and Peru who do not have the same labour rights that we have in Canada.

While Vale speaks of transforming mineral resources into wealth, the question raised by the strike with its workers at Voisey’s Bay, Labrador is wealth for whom? While attacking profit-sharing with its employees, Vale’s dividends to shareholders in the past year have exceeded the company’s worldwide labour costs.

Despite stunning profits, including $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, Vale still seeks concessions from its Newfoundland and Labrador workers. Offended by the profit-sharing nickel bonus Inco had negotiated with the steelworkers in the days when nickel prices were in the basement and no bonus was paid out, Vale has demanded the profit-sharing formula be slashed. It managed to do just that in Sudbury, but wanted even more from its Newfoundland and Labrador workers.

The Brazilian company bought out Canadian Inco in 2006 for $18.9 billion. Voisey’s Bay nickel was part of that deal. The Canadian government allowed the sale after the Brazilian company signed a “secret Investment Canada agreement” that has never been made public.

For the members of the United Steelworkers at Voisey’s Bay, it has been 365 days of staring down the boss’s security cameras as every move and action, taken on what has been an incredibly peaceful picket line, is recorded.

365 days of explaining to their families and looking into the faces of their kids and hoping they understand why mommy or daddy hasn’t had a paycheque in 52 weeks.

365 days of highs and lows, of hope and despair.

365 days of unbearable stress, wondering if they and their union have the fortitude to be one day stronger.

365 days of listening to the spin-doctoring coming out of Vale’s high-paid mouthpieces, and to the naysayers who question their rationale for striking against a global giant that is so much bigger than they are, that has extremely deep pockets and that would like nothing better than to break the union and bring the workers to their knees.

365 days of swallowing and swallowing hard as scab labour is flown into their worksite, carrying out their jobs and being paid extremely well to do so.

While Vale speaks of transforming mineral resources into wealth, the question raised by the strike with its workers at Voisey’s Bay, Labrador is wealth for whom?
365 days of listening to the company’s threats and intentions to resume full production and being allowed to do so because no law prevents the erosion of the right to strike — one of the few tools workers have in the huge imbalance of power with their employers.

365 days of not just fighting for themselves and a better standard of living, but for all of us who believe that corporations are too powerful and need to be taken down a notch.

365 days of defiance; of not settling for whatever the boss decides they deserve.

365 days of being punished for daring to dream of a better life for themselves and their kids, of daring to dream to be respected for the work they do, and daring to stand up for a world of work that they have a say in, for daring to say democracy in our workplace matters.

365 days of reading the nasty comments from those who anonymously post to media sites and who fail to understand that it is struggles exactly like this one being waged by these workers and their union that have built Canada’s middle class; that have forced a sharing of the wealth generated from our economy, especially from the natural resources of our province and nation. It is struggles like these that push health and safety standards to a higher level.

365 days of wondering, when push comes to shove, if their government will be there for them. Or will their government, like so many others, including the Ontario government, cave under the pressure from big capital and big mining? They wonder if a premier who so dislikes being pushed around, especially by big corporations, will join them and push back.

365 of reading the business pages and knowing that as they struggle to feed the kids their bosses rake in millions and millions in salaries and billions in profits.

365 days of defending against a company that has been breeding discontent in many northern communities, pitting neighbour against neighbour.

365 days when solidarity has been tested, but is given new life because the company pushed one inch too far. 365 days, 8,760 hours, of incredible resolve. The time has come. The time for the provincial government to stand with the workers is now. No more counting days.

Lana Payne is president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour. She can be reached by e-mail at .


Here's an upcoming public forum to be held here in Winnipeg on August 4. I have to say that this sort of thing makes me somewhat "itchy" and not just because its sponsors such as the 'Council of Canadians' are in most other circumstances advocates of centralization in the Canadian federation. It's also because their presumed "strategy" of reducing carbon emissions via delegation of responsibility to the provinces would only get 'self-interested support' in an unequivocal manner in two Canadian provinces - Québec and Manitoba. Their invocation of Ontario is, in my mind doubtful even with Ontario's commitment to nuclear power thrown in for good measure, and as for the other provinces..forget it. I could go on and on about the "political illusion" here, but I'll leave that to the readers' imagination. I also think that arguments about provincial/federal responsibilities in terms of power generation are very much beside the point as the real argument is local/municipal versus all other levels of government. The old anarchist argument about localism versus statism. All that aside here's the promo for the meeting.
Public forum on Trade threats to provincial leadership on climate change


Location Buchwald room, Millenium Library .
251 Donald St.
Winnipeg, MB

Wednesday, August 4

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Buchwald Room, Millennium Library ( 251 Donald Street )

Faced with federal impotence on the climate file, Canada 's provinces are taking independent steps to reduce their carbon consumption. At the same time, new international trade agreements, such as the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), that the provinces are actively negotiating alongside the Harper government threaten to undermine these new provincial efforts to mitigate climate change.

The Ontario Green Energy Act, which prioritizes locally produced renewable energy, is one example of the kind of forward-looking policy the provinces should be adopting. But European trade negotiators are putting enormous pressure on federal and provincial governments to get rid of local content or sustainable sourcing requirements that are necessary to help Canadian communities and companies transition away from dirty energy, and create good, green jobs. Efforts to phase-out tar sands production are also compromised by these trade agreements.

On the eve of the 2010 meeting of the Council of the Federation in Winnipeg, come learn more about this provincial contradiction -- between a need to move further and faster than the Harper government on climate change and a willingness to compromise environmental policy in trade deals -- and why the provincial governments need to reject any trade deals with Europe or other countries that threaten their shift toward sustainability.

Steve Guilbeault, Co - Founder and Deputy Director, Equiterre
Brendan Reimer, Prairies & Northern Territories Coordinator, CCEDNet
Stuart Trew, National Trade Campaigner, Council of Canadians

Presented by the Council of Candians Winnipeg Chapter and Climate Action Network Canada - Reseau action climat Canada


There's an ongoing struggle in Turkey to unionize employees of the multinational UPS. Here's an appeal from the ITF via the online labour solidarity site Labour Start for solidarity with these workers.
Turkey: Support sacked UPS workers
UPS workers in Turkey need your support.

The ITF-affiliated TÜMTIS has been taking steps in the recent months to unionise this company and its sub-contractors. As a result, 120 employees in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir have been dismissed without any application of the procedures stipulated by Turkish law. UPS is a global company which says publicly in its corporate social responsibility report that it supports the rights of its workers to become members of a union. The reality in Turkey, however, is very different.

All of the 120 dismissed workers are union members or sympathetic to TÜMTIS. Others are constantly harassed not to join the union. Some were taken by force to a notary to resign from the union. On 2 July, the conflict escalated in Izmir when a manager of a sub-contractor pulled out his gun and started shooting in front of a notary. More recently, a new company brought in replacement workers in Istanbul. Such action contradicts with the claim by the management that they are reducing the workforce due to economic reasons. After these recent incidents, the ITF has written to the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to raise its concern.

The ITF and its affiliates are firmly backing TÜMTIS in their struggle against UPS. Unions from around the world have sent their messages.
Trade union delegations have been visiting the picket-line on a regular basis to show global solidarity.

However, there has been no response from the company to TÜMTIS or to the ITF. Add your concern by sending a protest letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey now. Copies of the letter will also be sent to UPS representatives including CEO Scott Davis and local management in Turkey. We want all these workers to be reinstated and all intimidations to be ceased.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the Turkish Prime Minister (and also to the Turkish division of UPS).
Dear Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan,

I am writing to you to express my grave concern over the serious violations of trade union rights at UPS in Turkey.

I have reason to believe that 120 workers who work for UPS and its sub-contractors in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have been dismissed because they support the union, TÜMTIS. Other workers are constantly harassed by the management not to join the union. There was a shooting incident in Izmir which was caused by a senior manager of the company's sub-contractor.

These recent events violate the fundamental workers' rights as enshrined in the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization. It also goes without saying that accession to the European Union will require some fundamental changes to the current climate of industrial relations in Turkey. Actions taken by the UPS Turkish management and its subcontractors are also damaging the reputation of this global company, which enshrines in its Code of Conduct the promotion of a sound relationship between trade unions and the management.

I urge your immediate intervention to resolve this situation so that all the sacked workers are reinstated unconditionally and steps are taken to ensure that no further victimisation takes place at UPS and its subsidiaries.

Yours sincerely

Friday, July 30, 2010


When that sumyr with his showers soote
The drute of March hath pierced to the roote
and bathed every vein in swich lickoor
Of which virtu engendred is the flur.

Then longen folke to go on pilgramage
Molly's poetry corner for to seeke
To bringen smyle onto the face
And cure the souls that are fair saike.

-With apologies to Geofrey.

Yes folks, it's that time again. Our author for the day is Voltairine de Cleyre, and we begin with her poem 'Mary Wollstonecraft'.


The American anarchist Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912) oddly enough was the product of a Catholic convent school in Sarnia Ontario. Like many others this inspired a lifelong aversion to religion, and De Cleyre's first efforts after graduation were in the freethought movement. She became an anarchist because of the hanging of the Haymarket martyrs in 1887. From 1889 to 1910 she lived in Philadephia where she taught English and music to Jewish immigrants. She began as an "individualist anarchist", but her views evolved during her lifetime to embrace more of the socialist anarchism. Her final position was of an "anarchism without adjectives". While not as widely known as her contemporary Emma Goldman she was certainly the better writer. Her most famous essay was the 1912 'Direct Action'. You can read more about De Cleyre and read much of her works at the Voltairine de Cleyre website. There is also an extensive selection in the de Cletre section of the Molineri Institute online library.


One of the formative influences on the young de Cleyre was the British writer, philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). To read of Wollstonecraft's life is like reading a mini history of the intellectual life of the late 18th century. Names such as Thomas Paine, William Wordsworth, William Godwin, Jane Arden and, of course, her daughter Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame appear and reappear. Wollstonecraft was very much the polymath, and her writings include novels, political tracts, travel books and a children's book. She first came to attention with her 'Vindication of the Rights of Men', published as a riposte to Edmund Burke's conservative 'Reflections on the Revolution in France'. This work was published in 1790, one year before Thomas Paine's similarly titled 'The Rights of Man'. The work for which she is most famous today is her 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' published in 1792. This established her as perhaps the founding feminist philosopher, and her influence has percolated through the various waves of feminism, and each generation of feminists has rediscovered Wollstonecraft in their own way just as de Cleyre did..

The following poem about Wollstonecraft by de Cleyre was first published in 1893.

Mary Wollstonecraft
The dust of a hundred years
Is on thy breast,
And thy day and thy night of tears
Are centurine rest.
Thou to whom joy was dumb,
Life a broken rhyme,
Lo, thy smiling time is come,
And our weeping time.
Thou who hadst sponge and myrrh
And a bitter cross,
Smile, for the day is here
That we know our loss;—
Loss of thine undone deed,
Thy unfinished song,
Th' unspoken word for our need,
Th' unrighted wrong;
Smile, for we weep, we weep,
For the unsoothed pain,
The unbound wound burned deep,
That we might gain.
Mother of sorrowful eyes
In the dead old days,
Mother of many sighs,
Of pain-shod ways;
Mother of resolute feet
Through all the thorns,
Mother soul-strong, soul-sweet,—
Lo, after storms
Have broken and beat thy dust
For a hundred years,
Thy memory is made just,
And the just man hears.

Thy children kneel and repeat:
"Though dust be dust,
Though sod and coffin and sheet
And moth and rust
Have folded and molded and pressed,
Yet they cannot kill;
In the heart of the world at rest
She liveth still."

— Philadelphia, 27th April 1893

A good source for de Cleyre's poetry is the 'Collected Poems by Voltairine de Cleyre' at the online 'Anarchist Library'. Here's another example of her work.
Life or Death
A Soul, half through the Gate, said unto Life:
“What dos thou offer me?” And Life replied:
“Sorrow, unceasing struggle, disappointment;
after these
Darkness and silence.” The Soul said unto Death:
“What dos thou offer me?” And Death replied:
“In the beginning what Life gives at last.”
Turning to Life: “And if I live and struggle?”
“Others shall live and struggle after thee
Counting it easier where thou hast passed.”
“And by their struggles?” “Easier place shall be
For others, still to rise to keener pain
Of conquering Agony!” “and what have I
To do with all these others? Who are they?”
“Yourself!” “And all who went before?” “Yourself.”
“The darkness and the silence, too, have end?”
“They end in light and sound; peace ends in pain,
Death ends in Me, and thou must glide from
To Self, as light to shade and shade to light again.
Choose!” The Soul, sighing, answered: “I will live.”

Philadelphia, May 1892


Finally here is de Cleyre's last poem written shortly before her death. A tribute to the heroes of the Mexican Revolution, many of them anarchists.

Written — in — Red
To Our Living Dead
in Mexico's Struggle

Written in red their protest stands,
For the gods of the World to see;
On the dooming wall their bodiless hands
have blazoned “Upharsin,” and flaring brands
Illumine the message: “Seize the lands!
Open the prisons and make men free!”
Flame out the living words of the dead
Written — in — red.

gods of the World! Their mouths are dumb!
Your guns have spoken and they are dust.
But the shrouded Living, whose hearts were numb,
have felt the beat of a wakening drum
Within them sounding-the Dead men's tongue —
Calling: “Smite off the ancient rust!”
Have beheld “Resurrexit,” the word of the Dead,
Written — in — red.

Bear it aloft, O roaring, flame!
Skyward aloft, where all may see.
Slaves of the World! Our caose is the same;
One is the immemorial shame;
One is the struggle, and in One name —
Manhood — we battle to set men free.
Uncurse us the Land!” burn the words of the
Written — in — red.

Voltairine deCleyre's last poem.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Molly has just become aware of a new Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW) in Halifax Nova Scotia, and she has duly added their links under the IWW Canada section in this blog. Personally I think that this is quite important for many reasons.

First of all it is the only time in at least my memory (stretching back to the early 70s) that there has been an IWW group in Atlantic Canada. I stand to be duly corrected on this matter as my memory is not infallible. What this shows is the gradual spread of a rational anarchism in my own country whereby people want to work on a project that at least has a semblance of practicality rather than eternally "protesting". Yes, anarchism is spreading geographically, but it is also gradually improving itself qualitatively. There is a reason why so much of Molly's Links section is taken up by listings for anarchosyndicalist organizations. Anarchism has to enter the practical world of the everyday struggles of ordinary people. No doubt this may be hard to do at times. The "alternative", however, is definitely no alternative ie the idea that you can build an effective movement for social change by appealing to the emotions of various social groups under the cover of a tsunami of "isms". It hasn't worked and it cannot work.

Anarchosyndicalism is still, just as it was over 100 years ago, the major practical forum where anarchists can act in a way that is not "sect building". I emphasize that the "sects" are not simply organizations. At least in North America the sects more closely resemble an acepaphalic religious cult with the leadership disguising itself under multiple layers of bullshit.

What anarchosyndicalism presents is the stark question ie "how to you get people to come together despite their differences". It is a practice of unity as opposed to the practice of disunity that so much of the left is today as people struggle as to what "ism" demands the greatest deference in the cultish social circles. And God Damn those who rationally !!! don't want to enter into such a sick world.

So that's my limited opinion. Signing up for a syndicalist union may not seem like much, but it refers to a whole change of perspective. From "showing off" to actually working towards the goals. It has been many years since I was a member of the IWW, but I still retain a great amount of sympathy for them, and I think that any growth they may experience is a positive. Hence my welcome to the Halifax group.
Here's a couple of references to the Halifax IWW that I have recently added to the Links section.



The following appeal for online solidarity with workers at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario comes from the Canadian Union Of Public Employees (CUPE).

Fight to stop the casualization of work at McMaster University

Sessional faculty at McMaster University (CUPE 3906) are fighting management’s plan to casualize their work. We have been in contract talks with the university administration for the last three months to achieve a fair contract, but management filed for a ‘no board’ report triggering a strike/lockout deadline of August 11.

Management wants to casualize sessional faculty by dividing courses into smaller sub-units taught by different instructors. For example, a one-semester course could potentially be turned into three sub-unit courses taught by three different instructors. If management gets their way, the quality of education will suffer at McMaster and sessional faculty could become one-month employees.

In addition, McMaster management wants to continue to keep sessional faculty at the lower end of the wage scale by offering no increases to wages or benefits for two full years.

Send a message to McMaster University’s management

Help us stop the casualization of sessional faculty. Please take a moment to send an email to McMaster administration and tell them you support CUPE 3906 members’ fight to stop casualization of their work.

It’s time the administration showed them the respect they deserve.

Take action now!

Please go to this link to send the following letter to the Administration at McMasters University.
I support McMaster University’s sessional faculty and sessional music faculty’s fight to stop management from casualizing their work.

I am appalled the University wants to turn sessional faculty into one-month employees and continue to keep them at the lower end of the wage scale by offering no increases for two full years.

Sessional faculty make McMaster University work.

It’s time the administration showed them the respect they deserve.

I urge you to drop your concession demands and offer sessional faculty and sessional music faculty a fair contract to prevent a strike or a lockout that will hurt the very students McMaster educates.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When one thinks of migrant labour in Canada one usually thinks of Mexico, but there are large numbers of workers from other Central American nations presently in Canada, and they perhaps have even less protection than the Mexicans whose situation is already a national scandal. Here's a news item and appeal from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union about this situation.
New campaign calls for action on Guatemalan migrant abuse

UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) are spearheading a new campaign to denounce the systematic abuse and violation of the rights of Guatemalan farm workers who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).

The campaign, called No More Injustice and Oppression against Migrants!, calls attention to the illegal treatment of Guatemalan workers and the degrading terms of a contract imposed on them by FERME, an employer association, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – an intergovernmental agency mandated to “promote humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all,” according to its website.

“Over 4,000 Guatemalan workers come to Canada every year to harvest our food and make one our most important industries possible,” says Andrea Galvez, coordinator of the AWA Centre in Saint-Remi, Quebec, where many Guatemalan migrants work. “But we repeatedly hear from Guatemalan migrants who are degraded and demoralized by the individuals and organizations who cash-in on the temporary foreign workers program.”

Workers are recruited in Guatemala by the IOM and must ante up a $400.00 deposit – a huge amount of money for the average Guatemalan – before they’re allowed to work in Canadian fields. If the worker refuses to obey the outrageous terms listed in the contact, he or she can be terminated and the deposit is not returned, which is a terrifying prospect for workers because they generally borrow from friends and family to get the cash.

Although the TFWP is administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the contract imposed on migrants does not allow the ministry to intervene in the terms of work. Once the contract is signed, the worker is brought in and left to the mercy of employers.

UFCW Canada and the AWA are strongly urging Canadian authorities to open an official investigation into FERME and the IOM’s management of the project, and are calling for immediate and substantive reforms to the TFWP.

All activists are encouraged to join this fight by sending messages and by using their social networks to help spread the word by posting links to the campaign page.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to (shudder) Prime Minister Steven Harper in support of Guatemalan migrant workers in Canada.
Dear Prime Minister:

Approximately 4,000 Guatemalan men and women come to work in the Canadian agriculture industry every year. As you know, they enter Canada through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which has been widely criticized since it was introduced over seven years ago because it offers even less protection for migrants who come to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).

Workers are recruited in Guatemala by the IOM and have to accept a series of inhumane conditions to come to Canada. Although the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training is administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the contract imposed on migrants does not allow the ministry to intervene in the terms of work. Once the contract is signed, the worker is brought in and left to the mercy of employers. I am writing to strongly request a complete review of the pilot project and the dehumanizing contract it imposes on workers.

I am asking Canadian authorities to open an official investigation into FERME and IOM’s management of the pilot project. I also want to make sure that those workers willing to come forward and file complaints will be heard without fear of deportation, and that workers already fired for voicing their concerns are given the opportunity to be heard as well.

Moreover, I am asking for the creation of a neutral body that will regulate the program and ensure acceptable working conditions and fair treatment.

We all have an interest in creating a strong Canadian agriculture industry. However, we cannot allow this to be done at the expense of workers’ rights and Canada’s well earned international reputation for decency and fairness. I strongly urge you to demonstrate leadership on this issue by doing the right thing.



Tbis is almost close enough to count as 'local news' even if it is in a different country. The Twin Cities IWW (Minneapolis/St Paul) will be sponsoring a benefit for the Industrial Workers of The World (IWW) this coming September 24. Even though Minneapolis is nothing but a "short" drive south of Winnipeg I have to admit that my experience of it is limited to a stopover at its airport when flying from one civilized country to another. Still Minneapolis is "accessible" in the same sense for Winnipegers as Brandon is. Here's the promo.
David Rovics Benefit Concert
Location Walker Community Church
3104 16th Ave South
Minneapolis, MN

A benefit concert for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW): "The
Wobblies," in the Twin Cities.

Rovics has been traveling the world for decades now, singing his songs
of resistance, peace, and democracy for unions, peace activists, and justice everywhere he travels. In the middle of his current
Prairie Fire Tour, he is performing a benefit concert for the local
branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, the most democratic
union in North America since 1905. While David travels the world
singing about corporate greed and political injustice, the IWW is
actively organizing workplaces - like Starbucks at the Mall of
America! - near you. We are a perfect match, but there's one thing
missing: you.

Openers: TBA
Walker Community Church
No one turned away for lack of funds, doors, performance time.




The G20 summit is over and done, and the media pays hardly any attention anymore as it moves on to newer and brighter spectacles. this is despite the events of the "police riot" and their mass arrests, events that were simply unprecedented in Canadian politics. What follows is a statement from the Toronto Community Mobilization Network about how they feel about what happened. I emphasize the word "feel" as much of what follows is subjective, and my own subjective feeling is unease that such things are taken are criteria of success. For myself I would hardly be so optimistic, no matter how much I wish the people in Toronto well. Time will tell.
Statement from the Toronto Community Mobilization Network


(July 26, One month after the G20 summit)

Since September 2009, we’ve worked to challenge, disrupt and abolish the G8/G20. We used the fleeting moment of the G8/G20 summit to further organize Toronto’s community struggles against the impact of colonial, capitalist policies that seek to weaken us everyday.

And we succeeded.

From June 21 to 27, 2010, nearly 40,000 people took to the streets, gathered in discussion, watched movies, set up a tent city, danced and fought. This in itself is a victory.

For the first time, an economic summit saw a march of thousands against colonization and for Indigenous sovereignty (on June 24). This in itself is a victory.

Instead of simplifying our diverse struggles in to one issue, we supported
actions for Queer and Trans Rights, for Environmental Justice, for Income
Equity and Community Control Over Resources, for Gender Justice and Disability Rights, for Migrant Justice and an End to War and Occupation. We created the conditions for over 100 grassroots organizations to come together, to build relations, to grow stronger together. This in itself is a victory.

For the first time at a G8/G20 Summit (on June 25), we saw communities in ongoing resistance, people of color, poor people, Indigenous people, women, disabled folk, queer folk and others leading the Days of Action. This in itself is a victory.

Knowing that our freedom will rise from an attack at all fronts, respectful of the traditions and needs of safety and efficacy of all our friends; we ensured that actions with conflicting tactics took place separately. There is not a single instance of people caught up in actions not of their making. This in itself is a victory.

For months, we were followed, intimidated, arrested, our meetings infiltrated by state thugs. Many of us were snatched in pre-dawn and early morning raids on the day of the G20 meeting, yet we were not swayed. We came together, gathered strength and continued to support the demonstrations. This in itself is a victory.

So while 1,090 people have been arrested, thousands beaten, illegally detained, searched, harassed and abused. While over 300 people face criminal prosecutions for their ideological and political actions, and while multiple instances of so-called conspiracy trials and politically motivated targeting continues, we insist, this June 2010, on the streets of Toronto, the people won.

One phase of our work is complete. A new one must begin. Many of us are organizers in community groups and will be returning to them, we urge you to join us.

Many of us are activists inspired by our collective power these last few months, we intend to form new spaces and organizations for justice, we urge you to do the same.

Many of us will continue to fight for freedom for our friends facing repression, we urge you to support us.

The organized resistance in Toronto has emerged stronger, unified, connected. We take this moment to send our solidarity to the organizations and groups across the world to continue their struggles. Take action in your communities. Build lasting movements for justice free of state violence.

Have an inspiring story, picture or video, email them to . It is imperative that we remember the joys
with the pain.

Some reports on Abolish the G8/G20 Convergence 2010; +; +; +; +; +; +;
To continue to support the defence fund, visit;

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Molly has a confession to make. I was a murderous little kid. Of course a lot of my detractors knew this all along. Back where I grew up in rural Saskatchewan it was considered something of a patriotic duty to wage perpetual and unrelenting war against the gophers and crows. I did my part, though I have to admit that other kids outdid me in sadistic ways to dispose of the cs and gs. What I specialized in was the eternal war against the insects. Well the crawling ones anyways. Most of the flying ones were exempt. I actually liked them.

One of the residues of my childhood is what may be an unreasonable attachment to spiders. To this day, even as I enter into the first stage of my dotage, I get upset when I see someone kill a spider, and I do my best to plead for their lives. If I find a spider in an less than advantageous place I carry him or her to a place where it is likely to find prey. We were always on the same side after all.

This is a meandering way of explaining why I don't set up this blog so that commentators have to sign in via a code to post here. My "liberalism" here means that Molly's Blog gets more than its fair share of spam comments. Well....I love them. Every once in awhile I sweep through the old posts and amuse myself by killing these bugs ie deleting them. The fools usually make my task quite easy by "building nests" ie they will post dozens of comments on one blog post. To an unreformed insect killer this is like stumbling on the pot of gold. Kill, kill, kill with minimal effort.

Thank you spammers. You help me relive the "innocence" of childhood.


Bangladesh...a country whose main claim to "fame" is flooding and death during ever recurrent typhoons. Bangladesh...a country much of which may become unlivable in the not too distant future due to rising sea levels. Bangladesh...a country born out of a brutal civil war and the locus of what may be the most naked class struggle in the world.

The heart of this struggle is the garment industry which employs about 1.8 million people and accounts for about 80% of the country's export value. Everybody and his dog's socks have signed up with Bangladeshi factories for clothing supplies. From the highest fashion outfits to the bottom of the Walmart discount aisles (and even lower if you can imagine it). Interesting thought that the so-called "quality" products come from exactly the same sources as the dollar store deals.

The Bangladeshi garment industry is "famed" for having the lowest minimum wage for this type of work of any country in the world. Yes folks garment workers in China would be paid multiples of what Bangladeshi workers earn. Hence the gathering of vultures (excuse me "entrepreneurs") who head there to buy their goods to peddle across the world. Just today, after months of violent street protests the Bangladeshi government has agreed to raise the minimum wage in their country by 80% to a world shattering level of about $40 per month. Some unions in Bangladesh have agreed to this "compromise" while others such as the National Garment Workers Federation of Bangladesh consider it totally inadequate. The last raise in the minimum wage was won in 2006 after the usual street clashes with government forces, just as this one was. That's "collective bargaining" in that country, the only way that workers can advance their interests.

Just as a sidebar to this the agreement depends not just on agreement between the government and the unions. It also depends on the agreement of the employers' associations !!! Now that is indicative of the general deference to the ruling class that the Bangladeshi state shows. I can't think of any other country in the world where the state would have to go to the "capitalists in congress" to raise the minimum wage. Or at least do it openly.

One of the victims of the Bangladeshi state's perpetual war against its workers has been the 'Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity'. The following appeal from Sweatfree Communities asks you to protest the repression that the Bangladeshi state visits upon this organization while, at the same time, pretending to give concessions to its workers. First of all a little background.



Where's the Freedom for Workers in Bangladesh?
On June 3, 2010, the government of Bangladesh cancelled the legal status of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, one of the most respected non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh working in the area of labor rights, and ordered the confiscation of its property and the freezing of its bank account. On June 16, a member of the BCWS staff was detained by National Security Intelligence officers who coerced him to sign an incriminating statement against himself, alleging he was inciting worker unrest and illegal activities. He was severely beaten before he managed to escape. The timing of events suggests that this crackdown against BCWS may be taking place at the behest of a garment factory where workers are attempting to form an independent union. In blaming BCWS of “fomenting unrest and agitation in the garment sector,” the government is also signaling that they are not taking seriously the struggles of garment workers who subsist on starvation wages and are taking to the streets demand a tripling of the minimum wage to the still appallingly low wage of 35 cents per hour. BCWS and garment workers are now appealing for your help to protect their rights and ensure a dignified wage.

Who is the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity?
The Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) was founded in 2001 by two former child garment workers in Bangladesh in order to promote worker rights and “establish a congenial atmosphere in the working place to increase productivity and contribute to the national economy.” A non-political non-governmental organization, BCWS is widely known for its credible research on labor rights compliance in the ready-made-garment factories and is committed to lawful means of redressing labor rights violations. BCWS maintains programs on labor rights awareness raising, leadership training, and conflict resolution. In addition, it provides mid-level management workshops, and runs a night school as well as a model daycare center for children of garment workers. Thanks to the work of BCWS many workers can enjoy their legal benefits, including maternity leave, and exercise their right to form and join workers’ associations.

Harassment, beatings, and extortions
The Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) has long had to contend with Bangladeshi government repression and surveillance as security forces tap their phone lines, monitor their emails, and sometimes search their offices. However, the current crackdown is harsher than before, threatening BCWS’s existence and putting staff and organizational leaders in serious physical danger.

On June 3, 2010, the NGO Affairs Bureau (NAB) of the government of Bangladesh cancelled the non-governmental (NGO) registration of BCWS, depriving it of its legal right to exist and operate. At the same time, the Director General of NAB ordered government officials to seize the BCWS office and property and also instructed their bank manager to close their foreign donations bank account. A daily newspaper reported that the government was to “prepare a list of cash foreign donations and the movable /immovable properties procured through foreign donations and take them under government control/possession.”

On June 16, 2010, at 1:50 pm Bangladesh time, BCWS staff member Aminul Islam was detained at the offices of the Director of Labor as he was arriving for a scheduled meeting with the Chief Inspector of Factories to discuss worker unrest at garment factories owned by the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Also invited to the meeting were 30 garment workers, four other staff members of BCWS, and two representatives of the BGMEA. The Chief Inspector of Factories reportedly had received special permission from the Labor Minister to hold the meeting despite the fact that the government no longer recognized BCWS as a legal entity. As Mr. Islam and the workers ascended the staircase to the Labor Director’s office, 30-35 National Security Intelligence (NSI) police arrived from a back entrance and detained Mr. Islam along with three workers.

According to Mr. Islam’s testimony, he managed to escape custody late at night the same day while being transported to another district. Mr. Islam reports that the NSI officers blindfolded him, and beat him and threatened to kill him in an attempt to extort false testimony against BCWS.

“Why did you stop work at the garment factories?” NSI officers demanded of Mr. Islam. “If you just say Babul and Kalpona (leaders of BCWS) asked you to stop the work at the factory then we will set you free.” When Mr. Islam responded that BCWS never told workers to stop working and that Babul and Kalpona would “never support any illegal task or unlawful demand” he was beaten unconscious. “They were hurting me at the joints of bones of my body. My arm, knee, joints, ball-joints were their targets.” Mr. Islam’s testimony continues in excruciating detail, describing the beatings and threats to kill him and orphan his children, and covering up his killing in a so called “cross-fire” incident.

Mr. Islam is exhausted as he ends his testimony. “Now I’m living in extreme anxiety,” he says. “I don’t even know what I should do now. I can’t walk. I can’t even move because of the pain that I got from the beating. I can’t sleep. Nightmares of torture won’t let me sleep.

Continued repression
Mr. Islam’s escape from the NSI officers on June 16 was not the end of this crisis for BCWS. As his testimony reveals, the real targets of the security forces are the leaders of BCWS who have worked tirelessly to support workers’ rights in recent years. On July 2, BCWS reported that their staff was scared but still coming to the office despite harassment from security police. Because of the trouble their landlord increased rent by 60%. Mr. Islam still had not returned home, but was finally able to see his wife and children.

On July 22, BCWS reported that “our phone is still tapped, and we are being followed, getting many visits and phone calls from security intelligence.” BCWS staff and leaders remain at risk of unlawful detention and possible inhumane and degrading treatment at the hand of the authorities. As of this writing, BCWS legal status has not been restored though the government has not ceased their offices and properties.

Why is BCWS targeted?
Is one factory responsible?

The immediate cause of the cancellation of BCWS’s legal status appear to be related to BCWS supporting workers in their effort to form an independent trade union at one particular garment factory, Nassa Global Wear. After management beat and harassed union leaders, Nassa workers contacted BCWS in April, 2010, to receive support and help with conflict resolution. The company owners are retired military officers, who may have used their political influence to have BCWS's non-governmental organization registration revoked. While NAB did not officially notify BCWS of the cancellation of their legal status until June 10, one week after the fact, Nassa knew about it earlier, and informed its workers on June 6—four days before BCWS received notification—that they expected BCWS to be closed down.

On June 19, three days after Mr. Islam was detained and beaten by national security police, Nassa reportedly filed criminal charges against two members of the BCWS staff, including Mr. Islam, and 57 workers, claiming they had beaten managers, vandalized the factory, and stolen property. As of this writing, BCWS is reporting continued unrest at Nassa, including workers beaten by “local goons” both inside and outside the factory. On July 22, an estimated 40 workers were injured at Nassa, breaking news on Bangladeshi television.

Depriving workers’ demands for higher wages of legitimacy and credibility

Targeting BCWS serves to trivialize workers’ demands for better working conditions and higher wages. The legal minimum wage in Bangladesh is the lowest in the world at about $24 per month (1,662.50 Bangladeshi takas), forcing garment workers to subsist on starvation wages. According to a Bangladeshi non-governmental research organization, the “minimum requirement for basic living” in cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong is 1,805 calories per day. In 2006, when the $24 per month minimum wage was adopted, they estimated the cost per month, per person, for food sufficient to meet this calorie intake was $20. Since 2006, the prices of almost all essential food items have doubled, and in some cases tripled. That means garment workers who earn the minimum wage today do not even earn enough to feed themselves, let alone pay for other basic necessities for themselves and their children. That is why workers are now taking to the streets in the tens of thousands, shutting down factories, and demanding a tripling of the minimum wage to the still very modest $72 per month (5,000 Bangladeshi takas). If they were to win their demands, garment workers would still only be paid 35 cents an hour and subsist on just more than $2 per day.

It is no wonder that garment workers struggling for their survival are demanding more money. But the government is blaming BCWS, implying that workers’ demands somehow are not genuine but manipulated. In its official NGO cancellation notification to BCWS, the government accuses BCWS of “inciting to create riotous situation and assisting in creating labor unrest in the ready made garment sector, and in anti-state and social activities” as though garment workers needed any provocation to demand their right to survival. An official government brief accuses two BCWS leaders of “fomenting unrest and agitation in the garments sector.” Instead of recognizing workers’ real human needs and basic right for a dignified wage, the government reportedly is considering adding to its apparatus of repression by forming a new “industrial police” specifically for the ready-made-garments sector. According to a Bangladeshi daily newspaper this new police force would use an “iron hand” to deal with worker unrest, a chilling message indeed.

Workers need your help

While BCWS has kept us apprised of developments over the last month and a half they have waited to appeal for your help until now, seeking first to exhaust every possible local remedy. Now they have reached the point where they are appealing to people of conscience the world over to support them in their struggles for garment workers’ basic rights and survival.

Please go to this link to send the following letter to the authorities in Bangladesh.
Having been alerted by the International Labor Rights Forum, I write to express grave concern regarding the unjust detention of Aminul Islam, who was held in NSI (National Security Intelligence) custody without any formal complaint on June 16, 2010, in apparent retaliation against his work to protect the rights of laborers in Bangladesh. I am also writing to urge your government to restore the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity’s (BCWS) status as a non-governmental organization by allowing it to keep its registration with the NGO Affairs Bureau (NAB).

It is my understanding that BCWS and Mr. Islam have been accused of inciting worker unrest. However, BCWS is an internationally known and well respected advocate for workers’ rights with a strong record in credible research and professionalism. As you are well aware, workers are demanding that the minimum wage be raised to 5,000 taka. It is essential that the Minimum Wage Board do the right thing and raise workers’ wages to a dignified level before the deadline at the end of July, 2010. While this issue may have caused some stress to the Bangladeshi government, it is unacceptable for you to target organizations like BCWS. The actions against BCWS call to question the sincerity of the Bangladeshi government to follow through on its commitments to improve labor rights.

I respectfully call upon your government to:

1. Immediately withdraw the cancellation letter of June 3, 2010, and restore BCWS’s NGO registration.
2. Investigate Mr. Islam’s detention and torture and hold those individuals responsible accountable and ensure they pay appropriate reparation.
3. Ensure Mr. Islam receives the medical treatment he needs.
4. Provide Mr. Islam and all other BCWS staff members with assurances of their safety.
5. Instruct the Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka to desist from seizing the office and property of BCWS.
6. Instruct the Manager of the Mercantile Bank to desist from freezing the BCWS bank account.

BCWS is a vital voice for labor rights in Bangladesh. I am disturbed to see that local efforts to improve conditions for workers are being met with intimidation and repression by the government. I hope that you will resolve this situation immediately and recommit yourself to allowing labor rights organizations to operate freely without fear of reprisal.


Monday, July 26, 2010



The latest edition of Workers' Solidarity, the journal of the Irish Workers' Solidarity Movement is now online and ready for a pdf printout. As usual it's a winner. Here's the promo. @@@@@@@@

Workers Solidarity 116 now online

The July August edition of Workers Solidarity is now available to read online or download as a PDF. 10.000 copies are being distributed for free around Ireland by WSM members and friends. If you live in Ireland and would like to help with that work contact the WSM.

July - August 2010 Edition of the Workers Solidarity freesheet.

PDF of Workers Solidarity 116 Web Edition 2.92 Mb

There is Another Way
The Hidden Struggle Behind the World Cup
Anarchists Take Over Liberty Hall Once Again!
Letters: In Defence of the Rich / In Defence of the Vast Majority
Don't Hate, Create: Radio Solidarity
Sinn Féin - DUP Add to Armoury

That's Capitalism
Thinking About Anarchism: Storming the Dáil

Anarchism and the WSM
The past couple of months have been active ones for the WSM. We attended a number of protests around the country following the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, which resulted in the murders of nine aid workers. We also organised two anti-capitalist marches that fed into the Right to Work campaign series of Tuesday night protests outside Leinster House. We supported a picket of Anglo Irish bank that took place following a police attack on supporters of a number of Eirigi members arrested following an occupation of the Anglo premises. We attended other Right to Work campaign protests and endorsed and participated in a demonstration in Dublin as part of a Europe-wide week of protest and solidarity against austerity measures being imposed across the continent. We also had our usual presence at the Cork and Dublin celebrations of May day. Finally, our street activity culminated with our participation in the annual Pride celebrations in both Cork and Dublin.

Our six-monthly national conference was held in May, where we passed a number of motions aimed at increasing our output of alternative news and opinions, with an increased focus on developing our internet presence. A week later, we successfully hosted the fifth annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair in Liberty Hall (see article for more details). Following two weekends of meetings, many of our members took the opportunity for a well-earned break by attending the Rossport Solidarity Camp annual gathering on the June bank holiday weekend. A combination of workshops, swimming, socialising and beautiful weather ensured that a good weekend was had by all. Our Cork branch capped off this busy period with a public meeting outlining the problems intrinsic to capitalism and advocating the revolutionary alternative. If this goal is to be achieved we will need your help so if you have enjoyed what you have read here please feel free to get in touch with us to find out more!
In This Issue
There is Another Way

Does the system we live under, capitalism, offer enough scope for achieving lasting solutions to all the problems it causes? Of course, some improvements are made and some problems are alleviated. Yet new kinds of problem also arise in a society which is changing rapidly, constantly seeking new ways to make a profit.

The Hidden Struggle Behind the World Cup

The World Cup is over, the TV crews have departed, and the South African government must be happy. The world’s media portrayed it as the crowning achievement of sixteen years of post-apartheid development. With the African continent’s largest economy and one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, South Africa is considered by most to be a model middle-income developing country. Many in Ireland will look on with pride, happy that they helped play a part in the anti-apartheid boycott movement which helped to bring that terrible racist system to an end.

Anarchists Take Over Liberty Hall Once Again!

Saturday the 29th of May saw the return of the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair to Liberty Hall. It is the 5th Bookfair to be held in the city and what started out as a small event in a community hall in the Liberties is now one of the landmark events in the calendar of the Irish left, organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement.

Letters: In Defence of the Rich / In Defence of the Vast Majority
Dear Sir,

In the … brazenly condescending column ‘That’s Capitalism’ (WS114) I read a very short but very puzzling piece on Aidan Heavey (Founder and CEO of Tullow Oil). You feel it newsworthy to mention that his total remuneration for the year amounted to €25,962,983. By the general theme of your paper and this column in particular I can derive a clear negative slant on any business issues you report on.

Don't Hate, Create: Radio Solidarity

The WSM now has its own monthly radio show on Dublin’s Near FM. Radio Solidarity is broadcast on the first Tuesday of every month on at 15.30hrs and is also available online. We caught up with one of the show’s producers, Dermot Sreenan.

Sinn Féin - DUP Add to Armoury

Any public protest of more than 49 people will have to apply for permission at least 37 days in advance. Otherwise it will be illegal. While emergency protests are allowed, the Bill says it has to be an “extreme emergency” and permission must be applied for three days in advance.

That's Capitalism

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary received a cheque for nearly €30,000 from the European Union last year to “help” him maintain his Mullingar farm. In 2008 the ‘Squire of Gigginstown’, who has a prize herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle on his 200-acre farm, received €55,821 under the Cap scheme, but he only received €28,746 last year. Other well-known beneficiaries of the Common Agricultural Policy last year were Fianna Fáil senator Francie O’Brien, who was given €80,849, the cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Pat Moylan from Banagher, Co Offaly, who was awarded €11,069, while Clare TD Pat Breen pocketed €23,834.

Thinking About Anarchism: Storming the Dáil

If you’ve been following the news or listening to Liveline over the last few weeks, you’ll have seen a few references to protesters trying to “storm” the Dáil or to the Guards’ attempt to prevent an anti-capitalist march from, well, marching.