Thursday, September 30, 2010

I have to admit that the last item on this blog made me feel sort of "creepy". Perhaps it is merely my personal distance from the true believers in veganism. Thus I feel the need to clear the air and my own gut pains via another announcement from here in Winnipeg about a social for the North West Slo Pitch League that Molly has recently received. Now Molly has little interest in baseball. I consider it a great contender for the title of 'Most Boring Game On Earth', (football yeah !) but I have to say that I have infinitely more interest in it than I do in the "ethical purity" of vegans. At least these people hold a social that I might consider attending.

I probably shouldn't make a great political argument out of this, but it dredges up memories of one statement that I read here on the internet "complaining" that there is no more "working class culture". Of course there is, but it is very much defined by things that the average leftist has been trained to hate by their academic conditioning which says that only the exotic has any value. Such things as baseball leagues are one such example of what leftists are trained to hate. There are undoubtedly hundreds more.

Anyways here is the announcement, and Molly hopes to receive many more.
NWSPL social Sat Nov 6th at Glenwood cc
Time Saturday, November 6 at 8:00pm - November 7 at 1:00am


Location Glenwood cc
27 Overton st
Winnipeg, MB

More Info
Hey there NWSPL nation ! The ball season isnt over just yet! We are having our windup social & awards night on Sat Nov 6th at Glenwood cc 27 Overton street from 8pm-1am.Tickets are only $10.00 so come out& enjoy a great night of fun , friends, great silent auction prizes,awards,food & drinks along with a few games & surprises! Come cheer on the winning teams & mvps as they receive all their hardware. All team captain have tickets but if you or someone you know need more then let me know asap! We also have a donation letter on the league website if you are able to help out with some silent auction prizes. Hope to see everyone out for a crazy party to wind down the 2010 season! Lets all have a blast & blow the roof off the club!

Thanks Jamie 223 9118

Molly has to admit that the following strikes me as more than slightly strange, but it was sent my way so here goes. Aren't "vegan" and "fashion" redundant if they appear in the same sentence ? To each their own.
2010 Montreal World Vegan Day Fashion Show
Time Monday, November 1 · 7:00pm - 11:00pm

Location Theatre Corona
2490 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest,
Montreal, QC

Created By CARA Concordia Animal Rights Association


More Info
Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA) in association with La Vegan En Rose is proud to present the 2010 Montreal World Vegan Day Fashion Show!

On November 1st join us at Theatre Corona for an evening of cutting edge and cruelty-free couture, musical entertainment, silent auctions and gourmet vegan catering. All proceeds go directly to help animals.

Hosted by: Georges Laraque
Special Guest: Whale Wars star/Sea Shepherd member, Laurens de Groot

visit for more info

Click on the graphic for better viewing.


Yet more news from Toronto, this time from the libertarian socialist magazine Upping The Anti. Book launches and announcing their new issue.
Toronto Book Launch‏
Dear Friends:

On Wednesday October 6th join UPPING THE ANTI as we celebrate the launch of two new books by UTA editors.

Come and check out:

David Hugill's “Missing Women, Missing News: Covering Crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside


AK Thompson’s “Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent”

Both books will be on sale for a special launch price. Refreshments will be served.

Mark your calendars:

Wednesday, October 6 at 7PM - All are welcome
The Imperial Pub
54 Dundas St. E.
Toronto, ON

998 Bloor St. West
P.O. Box 10571
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6H 4H9
Here also is the announcement of the latest issue of their journal.
Issue 11 Coming Soon!‏

Upping the Anti is about to release its 11th issue!

This exciting issue features:

*Raj Patel on the politics of starving*

*Ladelle McWhorter on normalization and its discontents*

*James Scott on the art of not being governed*

*Lesley Wood on Anti-G20 Mobilization*

*John Clarke on opposing austerity today*

*Stacy Douglas on the queering of colonization*

*Roundtable on the 20th anniversary of OKA*

*Roundtable on No One Is Illegal's fight for Solidarity City*

*Book Reviews and more!*

Subscribe or become a monthly sustainer today to make sure that issue 11 hits your mailbox!

Subscribers and sustainers also get access to all our content online!

Are you already a subscriber but have moved? Send your new address to

998 Bloor St. West
P.O. Box 10571
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6H 4H9


Coming up this weekend in Toronto...a street party as part of a campaign for free and accessible public transit in Toronto. Not a bad idea. Sponsored by the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.
Free and Accessible Transit Street Party!
Time Saturday, October 2 · 1:00pm - 4:00pm


Location Christie Pits Park


Created By Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly

More Info
No Fare Is Fair!

Come to the park to celebrate the campaign to win free and accessible transit for the GTA

Food, music, puppets, entertainment and more.

Sat. Oct. 2
In Christie Pits Park off of Bloor St.. Across the street from the Christie subway stop

More information or to get involved contact:

A project of the GTWA:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The first general strike in Spain since 2002 was much larger than previously expected. Union sources claimed up to 10 million strikers or over 70% of the workforce, making this strike far more 'general' than previous ones held in France. While such estimates have to be taken with a grain of salt, particularly as one of the claimants is the CCOO led by "ex" communists with a very touchy relation with such a thing as truth, there is little doubt that Spanish workers turned out in numbers far exceeding anything that anyone expected. The government was reduced to mumbling about "partial and minimal disruption" instead of doing the usual thing and offering its own (far lower) numbers. This turnout occurred despite persistent scepticism about the efficacy of the strike in forcing the government to retreat and also widespread cynicism about the connections of the two larger union federations, the UGT and the CCOO, with the politicians who have concocted the austerity measures.

It is possible that a large number of Spaniards went out on strike despite rather than because of the call of the UGT and CCOO. There were clashes with the police in both Barcelona and Madrid. 38 people were arrested in Madrid and 43 in Barcelona. 58 people were injured in clashes in Barcelona, and by some miracle of balance 30 of those were police officers. One thing that struck me in viewing television coverage of the events in Madrid was that those who clashed with the police and tried to 'enforce' the strike on non-strikers seemed to be all CCOO members. NO CCOO bureaucrat were ever endorse such a thing in public, and it is highly doubtful they would even encourage such a thing in private, even by the old "wink, wink, nudge, nudge". It is entirely possible that the membership of the CCOO has at least partially escaped the control of the union bureaucrats.

Here is an article from the Irish Times that gives a fair assessment of the strike.

Spain's unions claim 70% support for strike

SPANISH TRADE unions claimed 70 per cent of workers had supported the general strike yesterday and while the action had some impact, it failed to bring the country to a total standstill.

With a 20 per cent unemployment rate, many of those who had jobs were reluctant to jeopardise them by supporting the strike. Others had been warned they would have their pay docked if they failed to report for work.

One of the worst affected sectors with cancellations and delays was transport. Minimum services, previously agreed with the unions, kept major cities moving. Half of Madrid’s metro and local commuter trains ran during peak hours, but violent picketing forced many buses off the roads and long-distance train services were severely restricted.

Airlines cancelled many flights to and from Spain, although fewer than had been feared. But dozens of disappointed Manchester United fans were unable to travel to see their team face Valencia in the Champions League match on last night.

Madrileños were left in no doubt about the strike when they left home in the morning and were greeted by piles garbage and overflowing rubbish bins on the streets. The Spanish capital is fortunate in that it enjoys rubbish collection seven nights a week. But on the stroke of midnight the garbage collectors downed brooms and left their trucks in their depots to join the protesters.

Wholesale food markets around the country were closed, leaving many local shops without fresh supplies. Moreover, much of the country’s industrial sector, including motor manufacturing, shipbuilding and factories were at a standstill.

The day passed peacefully although there were clashes with police in some parts of the country. Red-shirted and flagwaving pickets persuaded many smaller shops, bars and restaurants around the country to remain closed but a heavy police presence enabled department stores and other shops to open their doors. “We voted for a left-wing government, but we are facing a government of the right,” said one angry protester.

Most hospitals and medical centres worked as normal although staff said they said patient numbers were down. The majority of schools opened although in some there were more teachers than pupils because school bus services had been cancelled.

The strike was called to protest against the government’s austerity measures, approved by the parliament, which cut the wages of public sector workers by 5 per cent, froze state pensions and introduced new labour laws which will make it easier and cheaper to fire workers and raise retirement age from 65 to 67.

On Friday prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will present his budget to the parliament when he is expected to announce even more draconian cuts and tax increases. But Spain’s economic crisis is so grave that he has little room for manoeuvre. He is trying to reduce the 11 per cent budget deficit to 6 per cent in 2011.

“It is well known that I didn’t want this strike, but I respect the right to strike and also the right to work,” he said yesterday, adding that he was ready to meet the unions whenever they wanted but could not go back on the austerity measures.

There were, of course, demonstrations across Europe on September 29, the most notable being that held in Brussels and supported by the mainstream European unions. Estimates for the crowd there range at about 100,000. There were also clashes with the police who attacked demonstrators in Brussels, but these were minor.

The Spanish CGT considers the general strike very successful, and I hope to present their assessment tomorrow. The difference between what is happening in Spain and elsewhere is that only in Spain does the libertarian left "have a serious dog in the fight". The libertarian cohort in Barcelona numbered about 10,000 people. Even in Vallodolid it was 5,000. In Madrid Solidaridad Obrera, the CGT and various libertarian social organizations brought out about 15,000 people. In the Basque countries even the isolationist CNT-AIT joined the CGT and the local Basque union the ESK in marches separate from those of the UGT and CCOO. The number at demonstrations actually underestimates the CGT's effect as many of their members were involved in dispersed picket duties. Whether the Spanish libertarians can translate the militancy of the Spanish workers and their distrust of the major union federations into something still bigger and more sustained is still an open question, but the beginning looks good.

Every weekend the Vancouver No One Is Illegal is holding a 'noise demonstration' outside the detention centre in Burnaby BC where the women and children of the 'Tamil boat people' are being held. They demand their release and that they be granted refugee status. Here's the callout for this weekend.
Release Detained Tamil Refugees:
Let Them Free, Let Them Stay!


Sunday Oct 3 at 1:30 pm
Saturday Oct 9 at 1:30 pm
Shuttles Leaving Edmonds station starting at 12:45 until 1:15

Burnaby Youth Custody Services Centre where mothers and children who arrived aboard MV Sun Sea are being detained.

LOCATION: 7900 Fraser Park Dr, Burnaby


For the past three weeks we have gathered in front of the Burnaby Youth Custody prison where approximately 90 Tamil refugee mothers and children are being incarcerated. Supporters banged on pots and pans and blew whistles and horns to the beats of Tamil music. A large Tamil banner reading "We welcome you, we support you" was held towards the two detention units where children could be seen waving and smiling, peering through prison bars.

Join No One is Illegal-Vancouver over the next two weeks at the Burnaby detention facility to continue to express our love, support, and solidarity with those still being held inside and to call for the immediate release of detained Tamil asylum seekers.

* Bring noise! We want to be visible and be heard from inside so please bring pots, pans, horns, drums, noisemakers (please be aware of noises which may be triggering or traumatizing)


Meet at Edmonds station for rides at 12:45. Last shuttle leaves at 1:15pm. If you have a vehicle and can offer carpool, please contact us at noii-van at; or 778 885 0040.

Surviving a dangerous journey, 492 Tamil refugees, including women and children, arrived in BC after fleeing war and persecution in Sri Lanka. When the ship first neared Esquimault, territories of the Songhees First Nation, it was immediately boarded by the Armed Forces, Border Services, and RCMP. The refugees are now in jails, facing endless hearings that have revealed the clear incompetency, deliberate negligence, and racism of the system.

In the context of the never-ending "War on Terror" refugees, migrants, and racialized people are increasingly being racially targeted, dehumanized as security threats, and criminalized through unprecedented police and state powers. Despite its rhetoric of 'liberating' and 'protecting' women globally and locally, the Canadian state is detaining an increasing numbers of women and children that cross these borders. In light of increasing repression and exclusionary policies and ideologies, we demand "Justice, Freedom, and Status for All!"


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The general strike in Spain began with the stroke of midnight in that part of the world, and preliminary reports from the anarchosyndicalist CGT seem to indicate a high turnout in those sectors where they have influence. The CGT strike info source site that Molly spoke about earlier has unfortunately crashed due to too high a volume of traffic. Updated information is, however, available from the CGT website and from that of their paper Rojo Y Negro from which the following report is taken.

Preliminary public opinion polls indicated a high degree of support for the goals of the strike but a generally dismal number of people who said they would take part in it ( anywhere from 9% to 20% ). This was coupled with a disbelief that the strike would change the government's plans and a high degree of dissatisfaction with the larger CCOO and UGT union federations who were seen as being half hearted in their efforts and under political (government) influence. Should the present strike repeat the pattern of that in early summer one can once more expect a large turnout amongst sectors influenced by the anarchosyndicalism of the CGT and Solidaridad Obrera and a poor turnout in most other places. The CGT has already begun the criticism of the majority unions, but whether this will result in a generalized radicalization of Spain's workers has yet to be seen.

Here's the story from the night shift in Barcelona. The Spanish original (and much more reportage) can be found at Roja Y Negro. The original article has numerous photos of the CGT pickets of the bus service on the night shift. The photo above is from this collection.
Barcelona: successful general strike on the night shifts
CGT Barcelona 09/29/2010 00:28:11
Today at 22 hours the strike began on the night shift in companies with a strong presence CGT in Barcelona: Post Office , Renfe (Train ), Metro, etc., have largely supported the strike .

The following percentages were:
Post CTA : 100 %
Renfe : 100 % of the trains had to leave after 00 hours .
Metro Maintenance : 85 %

The CGT highly values this monitoring and as well as the support we have transmitted to the workers by our call to the general strike and the criticism of the CCOO and UGT for waiting so long to call the General Strike.

The CGT criticizes the minimum services enacted in several companies such as Natural Gas , Atento ( directory services ) ,and in the subway in Barcelona where two or three workers were forced to work where there should only be one worker and in this way a long list where the CGT believes that this infringes the right to strike and we have reported so many to the Labour Inspectorate , the Government and the court .



RALLY TO 17 HOURS IN Jardinets with Diagonal ( route: Jardinets de Gracia / Diagonal / Via Laietana / Avda . Catedral)

CGT Barcelona

The anarchist publisher PM Press has soared above the 100 titles mark. Here's their announcement and their request to help them to the next 100.
Time Today at 9:00pm - December 31 at 12:00am


Location wherever you read, listen, or view


Created By PM Press


More Info In July we celebrated our 100th PM Press release, and we are inviting you to join the Friends of PM to help us usher in the next 100 releases.

We launched PM Press as a means to impact, amplify, and revitalize the discourse and actions of radical writers, filmmakers, and artists. The Friends of PM program provides us with a stable foundation from which we can build upon our early successes and provides a much-needed subsidy for the materials that can't necessarily pay their own way. You can help make that happen -- and receive every new title automatically delivered to your door once a month-by joining as a Friend of PM Press.

Check out the link below for tons more info and photos:

Coming up in October...a benefit concert for the Spence neighbourhood Association. Here's the promo....
The Spence Neighbourhood Association's 10th Anniversary Benefit Concert
Time Saturday, October 23 · 8:00pm - 10:30pm

Location West End Cultural Centre - 586 Ellice Avenue


More Info
The Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) will be hosting a 10th Anniversary Benefit Concert at the West End Cultural Centre on Saturday, October 23, 2010. The doors will open at 7:15 pm and the show will run from 8:00 - 10:30 pm. Tickets are $15 or $7 low-income and will be sold at both SNA locations: 615 Ellice Avenue and 430 Langside Street and at the West End Cultural Centre. All of the funds raised from this event will be used to support SNA's work in the Spence community.

There will be live music by Ingrid D. Johnson & "The Funky Fresh Crew", Scott Nolan, and the Bokononists. Live art by Nereo Eugenio and special guests Ace Burpee & Wab Kinew! There will also be a door prize, a silent auction, SNA schwagg, beverages, and Cake!

If you are not able to attend but would like to make a contribution, donation Tickets can be purchased for $10!

For more information call 783-5000 or email:

Monday, September 27, 2010



Last week's national elections in Sweden returned the present right wing government to power and, most disturbingly, the extreme right made unprecedented gains. The following report from the Swedish anarchosyndicalist website Anarkisterna says it all, and it raises some important points.

Molly would add her two cents worth by noting the following. Despite the antique Marxist fantasy followed by all too many anarchists and non-Marxist socialists the advent of 'hard times' seems to have not led to any resurgence of left wing class based movements that fundamentally challenge the present social order anywhere in at least the developed world. If anything the right seems to be 'on the march' worldwide. Where left wing social movements opposed to further tightening of the screws have arisen the main thrust seems to have been an attempt to hold on to what little the lower classes already have, and a more or less implicit (sometimes quite explicit) endorsement of social democratic policies and parties. This despite the fact that in many countries, Spain and Greece come to mind, it is actually "socialist" parties that are doing the dirty work.

Meanwhile the general electorate remains quite cynical, perhaps rightfully so, and opts to vote in many cases for parties whose desire to shift wealth from the lower classes is explicit rather than implicit. This goes hand in hand with an increase in what may best described as the "political superstition" that somehow "immigrants" are responsible for the difficulties that ordinary people face in these hard times. How this can possibly be true is best left to the fevered imaginations of conspiracy theorists. Even if minorities are not "blamed" it may at least feel satisfying to work up a hate for something that can be so easily identified. The left, in general, offers no such easy fantasy. Its social democratic wing has long since abandoned any pretence to having so crude a thing as "enemies". Its orthodox communist wing has not only been disgraced by its history of being worse than the old order. Its idea of the enemy as the 'top-hatted capitalists' ( excluding government bureaucrats of course ) rings hollow in the modern world.

Too much of the rest of the left beyond the social democrats and commies spends its time tilting at the windmills of "isms" having abandoned all hope of a rational road to a better society. It takes a developed taste for either masochism or the 'one downmanship' of identity politics to find this sort of "politics" satisfying...especially as "the enemy" can easily be defined as something approaching 98% of the population. This is not politics. It is psychology gone cancerous.

The Swedish comrades end their article with some questions rather than with assertions. This is undoubtedly the best way to proceed. As an anarchist I am convinced that the anarchist tradition contains many of the ideas that are necessary to oppose the rightward drift of most of the developed world. I am not, however, so unrealistic as to suppose that either I or any wing of the anarchist movement today have a magic pocketful of 'solutions". What is sure is that the main opposition to the right has no practical plan. For anarchists the balancing act is an age old one, one of walking the fine line between collaboration (leftism under an anarchist name) and irrelevancy( either 'purism' or defining away the concerns of ordinary people to focus on 'psychoboo' ). Where the tightrope is depends upon both time and place. Let's hope there are enough political acrobats in our ranks.

Here's the article from Sweden.
Where do we go from here?
On how to challenge rightwing racist class politics
Lördag 25 September

The elections of September 19th in many ways mark a sad turning point in Swedish history. Since of that date, Sweden joins the growing number of EU member states run by rightwing governments with the participation of the extreme right.

For the first time, a rightwing government was re-elected in Sweden. For the first time, a populist racist party, Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) – with roots in the extreme right scene – entered the Parliament. And for the first time a Nazi party gained entrance into a municipality. The leader of Svenskarnas Parti (Party of the Swedes) – formerly Nationalsocialistisk Front – got a chair in the small town of Grästorp.

The reaction to the election was swift: demonstrations in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm the following day gathered thousands of people, in Stockholm up to ten thousand. Numerous demonstrations have since taken place in different places and many more actions are planned for the coming weeks and especially for the grand opening of the Parliament.

Many people are appalled and outraged at the results of the elections. Bit by bit, the right wing government has been dismantling the welfare state, labour laws and social security systems, replacing them with the freedom of the individual consumer – thereby paving the way for the extreme right. But so have the Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens: By not challenging the politics of the government and putting forward a concrete red and green vision, the stage was set for the racists, posing as the sole alternative to the status quo.

The Sweden Democrats have rather successfully spread the myth of immigration as the one political issue none but them dares to address. This being far from true (quite the opposite, by being tough on immigration any politician comes across as determined and energetic), it nevertheless gained them a lot of attention. And even though being false, it still was a simple answer to a number of important questions: Why is society not as solidaristic as it used to be? Why are so many – especially young – people unemployed? Why is all this downsizing occurring?

Everything was played out to be the fault of “mass immigration”.

These questions are relevant to a lot of people in everyday life today, and so is addressing them. The anxiety is real, it is the result of precarious labour, money that is never enough, climate change that is being neglected, insecurity, frustration, violence and welfare cuts – in other words the results of political decisions. The question radical social movements have to ask themselves is how to address these issues and challenge these politics?

How do we turn protests against the Sweden Democrats into resistance against the racist class politics of the right wing government? And how do we transform our resistance into a constructive force – self organizing local communities and building strong popular movements?

Where do we go from here? Share your experiences with us!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


On Thursday, September 29, there will be a general strike in Spain protesting the Spanish government's austerity measures, mislabelled "reforms". All of Spain's labour federations are supporting this action, some more than others. As Molly has mentioned before on this blog there is some suspicion that the major union groups (CCOO- controlled by more or less "ex" communists and the Socialist Party UGT) deliberately set the date far enough into the future to allow for backroom political maneuvers after a less than stellar turnout for the previous public sector general strike earlier in the year.

The months have come and gone, and the government seems even less willing to compromise than it did earlier in the year. While the CCOO and the UGT have been rather tepid in their promotion of this strike Spain's third largest union federation the anarchosyndicalist CGT has thrown a tremendous amount of work into promoting the general strike. The smaller anarchosyndicalist unions such as Solidaridad Obrera, the CNT Joaquin Costa (aka the CNT-Catalunya) and the CNT-AIT have also been prominent in their support. The first two unions have entered into an informal alliance with the CGT so as to present an unified libertarian front. The CNT-AIT has decided to go it on their own.

Whether it is politically wise to put such emphasis on what, given the still solid control of the CCOO and UGT over the majority of Spains unionists, may be a potentially embarrassing show of weakness rather than strength is an open question. The anarchosyndicalist unions have all emphasized that this one day general strike can be only a beginning. The ability to go forward, however, depends upon just how popular or unpopular the work stoppage turns out to be, and just how much the ordinary workers feel that the policies of the CCOO and UGT, limited and cowardly as they are, are the only realistic course. in my mind the prospects aren't bright. In a preliminary libertarian demonstration in Barcelona on September 18 held by the alliance of the CGT, Solidaridad Obrera and the CNT Catalunya the turnout was only about 1,000 people. The CNT-AIT which didn't participate would probably have been only able to add another 100 or so people to the crowd.

Put this in context of the Barcelona demonstration for increased Catalan autonomy last July where the turnout was about 1.1 million. What is probably happening is that many average Spaniards have adopted an attitude of resigned fatalism to the severe economic crisis that Spain faces. The libertarian unions have a hard row to hoe if they hope to push this general strike beyond a token gesture of (weak) opposition.

The Spanish general strike is supposed to be part of an Europe wide 'Day of Action' on the 29th. This event has been called by the European Trade Union Confederation, and its main event will be a demonstration in Brussels, the seat of most of the activities of the European Parliament. Despite some rather cocky chest thumping at the Facebook site of the event (ahem- "towards the 1st European General Strike or even the World General Strike") the "action" proposed by the ETUC consists of little more than a series of demonstrations which national unions may or may not support with whatever attention they may or may not think it deserves. The only country in which there may have been another general strike ie Greece will be a no show this time around. One doesn't have to invoke treachery to explain this. After 6 (or is it 7 ?) one day general strikes this year with no results in terms of modifying government plans the main union federations in Greece are pretty well down to the last dime of their political capital.

Outside of the mainstream unions, however, there is a growing libertarian labour movement. While Spain may be most prominent in this regard this movement is not restricted to the land of Don Quixote. In response to the CGT's efforts towards the Spanish strike numerous groups have sent messages of solidarity with the Spanish workers. The following statement with signatories attached was recently published in an English translation at the Anarkismo site. Since then many others have added their names to the statement. You can see an updated list of the signatories (now over 80) here at the Huelga General event site by the Spanish CGT. This Spanish language site also has a wealth of information and will allow you to follow the strike as it happens.
International support for the General Strike in Spain on 29 September

Of all the European Union countries, the Spanish State is facing one of the most difficult economic situations of all, with 20% of the potential workforce unemployed. The measures proposed by the government to fill the State's coffers and stimulate the economy place all the burden on the popular classes in the form of lower wages, consumer taxes, pensions cuts, cuts in unemployment benefits, more privatization and the introduction of more obstacles to workers organizing (such as making it easier for employers to lay off workers and more restrictions on collective agreements).

Ever since the crisis broke, the more militant sectors of the trade union movement [including the CGT, CNT, SO, etc.] have been demanding that a general strike be called to oppose these unpopular measures, but because they were confined only to certain sectors and geographic areas, they were unable to achieve it alone, until a general strike for 29th September was eventually - and reluctantly - called by the big unions, the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT).

It is very important for the General Strike to be a success and for the 29th September to see as many people as possible opposing the policies of the Zapatero government, outside the workplace and on the streets. If the strike should fail, it be not only a failure on the part of those that most of the public considers to be the unions that called the strike - the CCOO and UGT. It will be a failure on the part of the entire working class. On the other hand, the more successful the strike, the greater the success of the workers, as it will provide a clear demonstration of the strength that lies in our unity and will therefore be a step forward in our consciousness and in our levels of organization.

There follows the text of an international statement produced by the CGT and signed by various organizations of a libertarian nature.

International statement of support

We, the signatories to this statement, wish to demonstrate our support for the general strike called by the CGT on 29th September 2010 in the Spanish State.
The widespread crisis is affecting the working class badly, in particular the most precarious sectors of the class. And though the Spanish State is particularly badly affected, this situation is shared by many different countries.

We agree with the reasons why our comrades in the CGT have called this strike, that is to say in order to defend the labour, social, economic and environmental freedoms and rights of all workers and all sectors of the working class in the face of the attacks from the multinationals and financial institutions.

We believe that Zapatero's attempt to force this new labour reform package on the workers, together with his plans for reducing the deficit and reforming the pension system, are completely unacceptable. These measures are extremely unjust, since they shift the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the masses and not the real culprits of the crisis. It is unacceptable that the very institutions that generated the crisis are those who are forcing their proposals to get out of it on everyone else, as it involves a reduction in the rights of the working class and an increase in profits for the capitalist system in general.

We also support the theme chosen by the CGT for this General Strike: "For the distribution of work and wealth". Distributing work means that everyone works less so that everyone can work, by reducing the working day (without a loss of wages) and the retirement age, preventing massive unfair layoffs, as well as overtime, piecework, etc. We understand the distribution of wealth not as a dividend or as shares amongst the population, but using that money on welfare and wage benefits for all the unemployed and a redistribution of resources on the basis of solidarity.

The crisis is affecting everyone, so our militant organizations will continue to work so that the mobilizations will continue everywhere.

Signatories to date:
1.USI - Unione Sindacale Italiana (Italy)
2.IP - Inicjatywa Pracownicza (Poland)
3.CNT-f - Confédération nationale du travail (France)
4.IWW - Industrial Workers of the World (UK)
5.ESE - Sindicato Libertario Griego (Greece)
6.SAC - Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation (Sweden)
7."La Voz de los Zapotecos Xiches en Prisión", part of the Otra Campaña (Mexico)
8.Colectivo 20 de Junio (Zaachila Oaxaca) (Mexico)
9.María Antonieta Robles Barja, Trabajadora Social, Baja California (Mexico)
10.Julio Cesar Rincón, (Mexico)
11.Coordinadora Valle de Chalco (Mexico)
12.LA KARAKOLA, Espacio social y kultural (Mexico)
13.La Otra ciudad de Chihuahua, (Mexico)
14.Nicte- Dzib Soto, Niñas y Niños en La Otra Campaña-DF (Mexico)
15.Edilberto Bautista Dìaz, Gen. Sec. of the Sindicato Democrático de Trabajadores de la Procuraduría Social del Distrito Federal (Mexico)
16.La Red vs la Represión en Chiapas (Mexico)
17.Frente Popular Darío Santillán (Argentina)
18.SNAPAP Sindicato Nacional Autónomo del Personal de la Administración Pública (Algeria)
19.Asel Luzarraga (Chile)
20.Frente Popular Francisco Villa Independiente-UNOPII (Mexico)
21.Colectivo Radio Zapatista (Mexico)
22.Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
23.Hombre y Sociedad (Chile)
24.Colectivo Socialista Libertario (Uruguay)
25.Periódico Rojo y Negro (Uruguay)
26.Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
27.Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
28.Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
29.Grupo Antorcha Libertaria (Colombia)
30.Union Communiste Libertaire (Canada)
31.Red Libertaria de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
32.Organización Revolucionaria Anarquista - Voz Negra (Chile)
33.Estrategia Libertaria (Chile)
34.Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
35.Alternative Libertaire (France)
36.Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
37.Federação Anarquista de São Paulo (Brazil)
38.Miami Solidarity & Autonomy (USA)
39.Organización Anarquista por la Revolución Social (Bolivia)
40.Frente Autentico del Trabajo (Mexico)
41.Moez Jemai, journalist-syndicalist (Tunisia)
42.Fédération SUD service public, Vaud canton (Switzerland)
43.CUB, Confederazione Unitaria di Base (Italy)
44.Votán Zapata (Mexico)
45.UNICOBAS (Italy)
46.Instituto Nacional Sindical (Colombia)
47.Columna Libertaria Joaquin Penina (Argentina)
48.Libertære Socialister (Denmark)
49.Centro Internacional de Estudios Sociales (Uruguay)
50.Red Libertaria Popular Mateo Kramer (Colombia)
51.Centro de Estudios Sociales Manuel González Prada, Huancayo (Perú)
52.Tendencia Estudiantil Libertaria (Perú)
53.Movimiento Manuel González Prada (Perú)
54.Sociedad de Resistencia - Santiago (Chile)
55.Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)

For more information on the strike, see:

Related Link:


Even though new and not yet duly registered the Jimmy Johns Workers Union in Minneapolis has already demonstrated the value of a good union to the general public. Here's from the Jimmy Johns Workers website the story of one worker who thinks public health is more important than corporate profits.

Jimmy Johns Employee on the Chopping Block for Refusing to Serve Rotten Meat
Sandwich Workers and Customers Unite in Support of Working Class Hero

Press Conference and Delegation: 1pm Sunday September 26, Calhoun Square Jimmy Johns, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S.

MINNEAPOLIS– When Shift Supervisor Margaret Brickely began her morning prep work at Jimmy John's last Monday, she noticed that all of the meat and produce she pulled out of the cooler was warm and beginning to rot. The coolers had broken, leaving the meat at room temperature overnight. Margaret refused to serve the meat. Now, Jimmy John's is threatening her job in retaliation.

“The vegetables were shriveled, the meat hot, and the bread dough semi-cooked. This is not something I was willing to serve” says Margaret. “I called my District Manager Jason Effertz to inform him that the meat was rotten, and he ordered me to slice it and serve it. When I refused, Effertz came in and sliced the meat himself, preparing to sell it to customers.”

With the support of the newly-organized Jimmy Johns Workers Union, Margaret and her coworkers called the City of Minneapolis Health Department. A City Health Inspector came to the store, condemned the meat as unfit for human consumption, and forced management to throw it all away.

Had Margaret not taken a stand for proper sanitation, hundreds of customers would have been served rotten meat.

Jimmy Johns workers and customers from across the city are organizing a public delegation to the store on Sunday at 1pm to thank Margaret for her courage and demand an end to Jimmy John's rotten business practices of retaliating against employees who put sanitation and safety first.

“Margaret is a working class hero. She did the right thing by refusing to sell spoiled meat and we’re backing her up. No one should have to worry about getting fired for preventing customers from being served rotten food. We formed a union to protect ourselves in exactly these kinds of situations,” says Jaimee Bolte an employee at the Ninth Street Jimmy John's Location.

Jimmy John’s Workers at the Minneapolis franchise recently filed for a National Labor Relations board union election, the first at the growing sandwich chain and a rare move in an industry with a union density of 1.8%. The demands of the union include paid sick days, minimum shift lengths and fair scheduling, job security, tip jars, fair raises and wages, an end to sexual harassment and a voice on the job.

The Jimmy Johns Workers Union, open to employees at the company nationwide, is affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World labor union. Gaining prominence in recent years for organizing Starbucks workers, the IWW is a global union founded over a century ago for all working people.

This all reminds of one incident when I was young and had a part time job delivering pizza. One evening I was waiting in the restaurant for the next order to go out, and I espied a plate of spagetti sitting up on the shelf. The thing was that the pile looked grey, and you naturally assume that it's a plate put aside and forgotten. Curiousity is this cat's second name so naturally I poked at it. "Oh, it's warm", I say as I pull back. From a little bit behind me I hear the word "good", and the waitress comes and takes the plate out to a customer. Myself I just sit there being stunned at this. Needless to say the plate came back uneaten and with a complaint. Believe me it happens more often than you might think, and having a union means that it happens far less.


Hot of the press the Winnipeg Wobbly Issue #5. Here's the story from the Winnipeg Wobbly Blog, the local organ of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
Winnipeg Wobbly Newsletter #5

Fresh for the Radical Bookfair, check out the newest edition of our newsletter, the Winnipeg Wobbly! Included in this edition:

•The Coming Insurrection at the University of Manitoba
•Winnipeg Municipal Elections: "If voting changed anything it would be illegal"
•Jimmy Johns Workers Join IWW in Increase Minimum wage pay
IWW Convention 2010 Report
•No to Bill94

Click Here For The Winnipeg Wobbly Vol. 1 Issue 5


Workers in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are operating at a disadvantage compared to other Canadian workers as if they are turned down for EI because there is no territorial appeals board. This despite the fact that they pay EI premiums at the same rate as southerners. The Northern Territories Federation of Labour wants to see that changed. Here's the story from the Northern News Service.
Terrence McEachern
Northern News Services
Published Friday, September 24, 2010
SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The Northern Territories Federation of Labour says Northerners are being discriminated against because they are being denied a Northern-based Employment Insurance appeal board.
"Based on our place of residence, we're being discriminated against by not having our own EI board of referees," said Mary Lou Cherwaty, president of the federation of labour.

"And that being said, there's lots of money there to do it. Northern workers and employers both jointly pay into the EI fund at a federal level, (so) why aren't we getting the same services?"

Under the present system, residents in either Nunavut or the Northwest Territories wanting to appeal an EI decision must have their case heard via teleconference by an EI appeal board in Edmonton. Cherwaty said the main reason why the current system is flawed is the board of referees in Edmonton doesn't understand the "geographical, cultural and language" differences that exist in the North compared to the rest of Canada.

"For instance, an employee that's working for an employer who ends up having to 'go out on the land.' It's part of their culture. The employer lays him off because he's taken up too much time or he fires him and the person tries to get EI because he's been let go. Someone in Edmonton doesn't understand what 'going out on the land' means," she said.

"So they think he abandoned his job, of course he doesn't get EI, whereas here, somebody would reasonably know that was to provide food and sustenance for his family."

Cherwaty's goal is to establish an appeal board in Yellowknife comprised of members that understand Northern issues. Similar to the 83 other appeal boards across Canada, establishing one in the city would require six board members - two employer representatives, two employee representatives and two chair persons.

She estimates the cost of establishing an appeals board would be $63,256. This figure doesn't include board members' salaries, but does include travel and training costs for the board members at one of the other EI boards in Canada, as well as the costs associated with the Yellowknife office set-up.

Cherwaty has been trying to establish an appeal board in Yellowknife since 2008. Over this time, she's contacted several politicians and government officials about the issue, including Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington. Bevington said he's limited in what he can do because the proposal has a financial obligation and a private member's bill cannot impose any financial obligations on the government.

He also said raising the issue in the House of Commons is difficult because the NDP is limited to four questions during question period, and national issues tend to take precedence.

But Bevington did write a letter to Diane Finley, minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, about the need for an EI appeal board in Yellowknife. In a written response to Bevington dated June 2, 2009, Finley wrote the department hasn't received "any negative feedback" with the current system of conducting hearings via teleconference with Edmonton. The letter also states that neither the NWT nor Nunavut meet the criteria for having an EI appeal board because the number of appeals in these areas falls below the six per month average that is needed.

From 2007 to 2009, the department calculated the number of appeals per month averages 1.8 for Nunavut and 4.2 for the NWT.

Whitehorse has an EI appeal board, and during this same period received 6.1 appeals per month. Cherwaty said if EI applicants considering an appeal weren't discouraged and deterred from doing so under the current system, the numbers of appeals in the NWT and Nunavut would be higher.

Finley was not available for comment.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Molly loves hot foods ie heavily spiced. Back when I was younger I used to eat hot peppers by the jar. There is, however, a limit that it seems I passed today. It's the day of the Winnipeg Radical Bookfair, and as is her habit Molly is down there flogging the pamphlets and distributing the balloons (A-loons) to the kids and the occasional kid at heart. It's just about closing time, and many are packing up their tables. Molly likewise, but I dip into the lunch bag for a final glug of orange juice. My mistake.

Understand that the event was being held outside at a time of year when wasps replace mosquitoes as the major insect pest in Winnipeg. They are also particularly angry this time of year as they are in full hunt mode for food for the upcoming winter. My experience has usually been that you should leave them alone, but even if you swat them away they won't attack as they have better things to do. The evil little critters were swarming all afternoon, and especially bugged the people at the table next to mine. I opened my mouth and bragged that wasps never bite me. Said mouth was soon to be my downfall.

In the time it took me from opening the bottle and getting it to my mouth a wasp zeroes in on what must have looked like the Horn of Plenty. I don't know if other people have enough danger sense to pull a bottle back because there is some moving blur in front of their face. It's impossible to focus that close unless you are so nearsighted that you can use coke bottles as an acceptable substitute for your glasses.

Down it Out it goes very fast as I get direct first hand experience with what a lot of my canine patients experience. But I didn't try to eat the wasp deliberately. In any case the wasp went into survival mode and started chewing on my lower lip. Phhhheeewww, out it goes with the unswallowed orange juice all over some of the pamphlets. Now that drink has kick. The spit stream hasn't touched down when I am already letting loose with the profanity.

Needles to say I kill the struggling bastard there on the table, and then continue cursing and killing a few more for good measure. OK, now it's really time to pack up. Hustle, hustle, back and forth, back and forth. A few people want to get a gander at my rapidly developing egg sized lower lip, and one woman in particular is concerned. One person suggests ice packs. Now where am I going to find icepacks outside a community centre ? I pack it all in, and find a lingering kid and her mama. Said kid gets five balloons that I have already inflated.

Off I go to the nearest pharmacy on the way home which just so happens to be Safeway, the edema developing all the way. All the way the lower lip keeps expanding until it is the size of an extra-large egg. Grab the nicotine lozenges (much more important than possible death from anaphylaxis- I ran out shortly before the end of the sale) and also a large bottle of Benadrl. Head to the "express" checkout where I have the misfortune of being in a line of five people. At least I wasn't behind grannie counting out payment one penny at a time and taking more time with each one than I would take running half a city block. Even so I'm tempted to push in and talk my way to the head of the line with some story about "right now" and "keel over right here in the store".

Back in the car. 100 milligrams Benadrl are under my belt. I get home and sleep off the antihistamine. Now what's interesting is the following. Statistics say that only 50 to 150 people die of insect bite anaphylaxis in the USA per year (about 7 in Canada). What I had was not general anaphylaxis, the sort of condition that these deaths are usually attributed to. It was localized anaphylaxis, and you can't die from that...unless. The swelling on the lower lip was quite large by the time I reached pharmacy. I do not, however, use my lower lip to breath.

Suppose that I would have 'half-swallowed' the "orangejacket". Those who die from insect bites are generally classified as "anaphylaxis". If, however, you get a large egg near the entrance of the trachea you will just as surely die as if you had real anaphylaxis. I really wonder if when the corpse or soon to be corpse was delivered to the emerg that there would have been a resident there with the smarts to recognize the difference. If he did he would undoubtedly be able to publish a paper on an unique manner of mortality. So I would have died from one of the freakier accidents in the world.

To sum up Molly missed her opportunity today to make medical history as one of the co-authors of 'A unique non-immunological mortality connected to an insect bite' by Drs W. Upp, Troy Age, T. U. Late and I. M. A. Corpse. It's an interesting possibility.

All of which goes to show:
1)Never search for fifteen minutes of fame. It may very well be posthumous and more than 15 minutes.
2)In connection with the above...never try this at home.
3)Some orange juice has a better kick than others.
4)Develop a sense of near object paranoia.
5)Look before you spew.