Toronto Community Mobilization Network Call for immediate support and solidarity

July 1, 2010

From June 25-27, elites from the world’s most powerful economies met in Huntsville and Toronto to draft policies to further exploit the environment and people, bolstering the systems that sustain colonialism, wars and displacement.

With global attention on Toronto, tens of thousands of people mobilized in a historic week-long convergence in opposition to these policies. Daily demonstrations highlighted struggles for Indigenous sovereignty; environmental justice; migrant justice; an end to war and occupation; community control over resources; gender justice; and queer and disAbility rights.

Also unprecedented was the over $1.2 billion spent on security, the most in G20 summit history, which paid for a dizzying array of weaponry and nearly 20,000 police—plus a security fence that turned Toronto into a fortress to host a select few and a police state to terrorize the rest of us.

Nearly 1,000 people, protesters and bystanders alike, were detained—the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. They were held for long periods in makeshift cages in deplorable conditions, most without timely access to legal counsel. Many had been simply caught up in massive police sweeps of public areas. There are also documented cases of harassment and abuse of journalists as well as widespread racial profiling.

Some are still in custody. Twenty face serious charges. These prisoners are long-time community organizers. They were targeted for their unapologetically vocal and defiant roles in resisting all forms of oppression and exploitation.

As the police and media try to divide us, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network makes no distinction between “good protesters” and “bad protesters.” All deserve our solidarity.

The fight back is on! Solidarity with the Toronto 900 rallies organized across the country

Everyone out against police brutality and in solidarity with the Toronto 900! A protest outside police headquarters in every city!

[b][url=http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/events/4089]Saturday July 17, 2010[/url] Protest in Quebec City, Montreal and in many Canadian cities
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The events of the past week in Toronto have been unprecedented in Canadian history. Over 900 people were arrested, the biggest mass arrests ever in Canada, for daring to protest against the destructive policies of the G20.

Protesters and local residents were subjected to violent baton attacks, snatch squads, tear gas and rubber bullets. Sleeping people have been pulled from their homes at gunpoint in the middle of the night. Many have been beaten. People who have been arrested have been strip-searched and held in cages, facing long delays in obtaining legal support. We have heard numerous accounts of sexual abuse by police from women who were arrested. Journalists have been punched, arrested and had their equipment broken.

This is what a police state looks like!

Editorial
June 27, 2010

We live in a political and economic system based on constant violence; exploitation of workers, destruction of the environment, war, racist police killings, hunger and homelessness in an environment of plenty, denial of land and self-government to indigenous peoples, plundering of the resources of the Third World and the arming of repressive regimes. This weekend, this quiet violence continued within the G8 and G20 summits. G20 leaders agreed to halve national deficits by 2013; The expected cuts to educational, social services and healthcare programmes will no doubt continue to be carried out on the backs of workers and poor people.

On the streets of Toronto, the police reminded us of the state's willingness to use blatant violence. Protesters sitting in the streets this morning at a jail solidarity rally were subjected to violent baton attacks, snatch squads and rubber bullets by the Police. Others were boxed in by riot cops and arrested, while being told they had to leave. Sleeping people have been pulled from their homes at gunpoint in the middle of the night.

As of today, well over 900 people have been arrested. Many have been beaten. People who have been arrested have been strip-searched and held in cages, facing long delays in obtaining legal support, including one deaf man who was denied an ASL interpreter. People arrested have included both corporate and independent journalists as well as approximately 200 people, many local residents, who were surrounded by police and held in the pouring rain over four hours. This is how the state responds to anyone who shows dissent.

Free the Toronto 500!

[i]Breaking news: CP24 now reports the total number of G20 arrests is 604. 253 today alone according to police.[/i]

[url=http://movementdefence.org/G20appeal]Appeal for broad political support for the G20 arrestees[/url]
By The Movement Defence Committee

June 27, 2010, 3:00pm

The MDC’s Summit Legal Support Project is appealing to the movements it supports to mobilize a show of political strength and solidarity for the nearly 500 people arrested in the last four days. The Toronto Police and the ISU appear to have lost control of their ‘prisoner processing center’, denying arrestees meaningful and timely access to counsel while beating and arresting those peacefully protesting their detention outside.

Despite assurances to the contrary, only a handful of people have been released, including those held for many hours without charge. Arrestees are given incorrect information about the bail process they will be subjected to, and friends and family members gather hours early at the courthouse, located far from the city center and inaccessible via transit. Our lawyers call in and are told that there is no one available to make decisions or wait for hours at the detention centre, only to be denied access to their clients. Almost 500 people are in custody and we know from experience that the vast majority of those charges will disappear and yet the cell doors remain shut.

We need to step it up and build a political response. We need many more voices – especially prominent ones – to say that the abuse and incompetence at 629 Eastern Avenue must stop. We must demand that all levels of government take control of the police forces under their command. We need to ensure that courts and crown attorneys act to enforce constitutional rights rather than collude in their violation.

Free the Toronto 500!

[url=http://movementdefence.org]The Movement Defence Committee[/url]

Build the General Strike!

[b]EDITORIAL[/b]

The rich play and the rest pay. That should be the motto of the G20 meetings being held in downtown Toronto this month as the political and business leaders of the 20 largest national economies discuss a range of issues with one underlying question; How are they going to make the workers of the world pay for the international financial crisis?

Dubbed “Austerity programs” by their creators these programs are clearly aimed at ensuring “austerity” for working people while leaving the capitalists whose system created the crisis free to accumulate and destroy wealth at will.

Ontario workers are told to “tighten our belts”, wages are frozen or cut, strikes and lockouts are being provoked in both the public and private sectors, a wide range of social programs are being slashed and public assets are being sold off at fire-sale prices.

Such a widespread attack on the entire working class can only be successfully responded to by all working class people standing together and using our collective power as workers to withdraw our labour in a general strike.

G20 prompts expanded police power... permanently

By Paul M.

The global protectors of capitalism will descend on Toronto this June to discuss how to best increase corporate profit rates while simultaneously selling belt tightening measures to societies already ravaged by a global recession. Imperialist wars, global poverty, and environmental destruction are massive problems that affect billions of people across the globe. How can we be sure that such important people as the leaders of the G20 will be protected from the vindictive mob of labor activists, environmentalists, immigration rights and anti-poverty organizations who will seek to hold them accountable?

Well, apparently the recession hasn’t put a dent in the security budget - now pushing $1 billion - needed to protect our vaunted leadership from the baser instincts of the public at large. Security fences, á la Quebec circa 2001, have beeen erected. RCMP, OPP, and Toronto Police, have been supplemented by thousands of officers from forces across Canada as well as the military. Together they form the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) in a spectacle of state power meant to effectively manage and/or crush all dissenting voices. A fenced-off film studio ostensibly geared towards mass detentions lends credence to a police strategy bent on enforcing a ludicrous free speech zone few will likely obey.

Building solidarity with Six Nations: An interview with Tom Keefer

Tom Keefer is a founding member of [url=http://uppingtheanti.org]Upping the Anti[/url] (UTA), a semiannual Canadian publication that describes itself as “a journal of theory and action.” He is a well-known organizer and an enthusiastic advocate for indigenous rights who has written extensively on the ongoing land claims in Six Nations and the reactionary anti-native campaigning of Gary McHale in Caledonia. His most recent article, available in UTA # 10, is entitled: [i]Marxism, Indigenous Struggles, and the Tragedy of “Stagism”. [/i]

[i]Note: An edited version of this interview appears in the print edition of Linchpin[/i]

[b]Could you briefly explain the history of the current land dispute taking place in Caledonia/Six Nations?[/b]

The history of the dispute goes back to 1784 when Governor General Frederick Haldimand, acting on the authority of the British Crown, granted the Haudenosaunee [Six Nations] people the land on 6 miles on each side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source in perpetuity. This constituted almost 1,000,000 acres of land, but under the pressure of increased European migration to Southern Ontario, in the first half of the 19th century this land was whittled down (by a combination of shady business deals, government mismanagement, and outright theft of land by white squatters and the Crown) to the 46,000 acres which form the basis of the Six Nations reserve today. The people of the Six Nations territory of the Grand River have been fighting to reclaim their land ever since.

Greening the Province, Capitalist Style

By Ashanti Cabral

The province is abuzz with the build-up to the G-8 and G-20 meetings in June, occurring in Huntsville and Toronto respectively. Government leaders and officials from the world's wealthiest countries are preparing to discuss the global financial crisis, while crafting economic strategies without any transparency or input from the vast majority of people most affected by their plans. Submerged under talk of recession, recovery and “New Beginnings” (Stephen Harper’s theme for the G-20 conference) is any substantial mention of another devastating crisis impacting the globe, the ecological crisis. The G-20 pays lip service to the concept of sustainable development and the G-8 speaks of “greening” their summit, yet their talks in Copenhagen revealed no practical results.

However, in Ontario, things are happening a bit differently. In the last year the provincial government has taken some concrete steps to tackle both the economic and ecological crisis concurrently in the form of the 2009 Green Energy Act (GEA). A most interesting aspect of the GEA is the commitment to building up Ontario’s solar power production capacity. Solar power is the process in which sunlight is converted into electricity by a photovoltaic cell (often in the form of a solar panel) by employing the phenomenon of photoelectric effect. The Government of Ontario hopes to popularize this method of renewable energy production through a concept called Feed-In-Tariff (FIT). Eric Cosmos, a Toronto based designer and installer of solar systems explains FIT, the GEA and how this all fits into a supposedly greener capitalist future.

Becoming the media in Sudbury

By [url=http://linchpin.ca/category/Tags/Scott-Neigh]Scott Neigh[/url]
Northern Ontario Correspondent

One useful insight that emerged from the upsurge in struggle that became visible in North America at the end of the 1990s can be summarized by a maxim often attributed to Jello Biafra, "Don't criticize the media, become the media."

The spirit captured by this statement was the same that informed the rise of hundreds of Independent Media Centres around the world in the years after the powerful challenge to the World Trade Organization mounted in Seattle in 1999. Yet more than a decade later, many questions remain about how those of us who are trying to transform the world can most usefully follow the instruction to "become the media." I am particularly interested in answering those questions in ways that are useful to those of us who live in the many smaller communities around North America where the media landscape, at least at first glance, appears to be an uninterrupted corporate desert.

Toronto Hotel Workers Plan Strike

Work Action and Community Rally Planned for June 24th
by Kevin O'Toole
[url=http://toronto.mediacoop.ca]Toronto Media Coop[/url]

TORONTO - The International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) is planning a global day of action on June 24th in defense of workers’ right to organize unions, the Toronto Media Co-op has learned.

The union is targeting Paris-based Accor, one of the largest hotel companies in the world. In Toronto, workers with UNITE HERE Local 75 (UH 75) are planning a one-day strike action at the Novotel Hotel at 45 The Esplanade, one of several brands of hotels owned and operated by Accor. IUF and UH 75 say that Accor is violating its commitment with IUF “not to oppose efforts to unionize its employees.”

According to UH 75, workers organizing at Novotel hotels in Canada have faced “multifaceted” forms of management opposition. The union claims that in Mississauga, management has urged its employees verbally and in writing to “vote no” in a union election and have stopped providing shifts to server Rekha Sharma shortly after she spoke at a union rally outside her hotel over a year ago. In Ottawa, cook and union organizer Jeff Segat was fired prior to a union vote, despite having had a positive performance evaluation.

As a result, UH 75 is calling on Accor to: respect the Trade Union Rights agreement signed with IUF, “in particular the commitment not to oppose efforts by its workers to unionise,” to publicly affirm its neutrality and voluntarily grant union recognition where there is evidence of majority support and to reinstate organizers who have been terminated or lost shifts and hours since their campaign went public in November 2008.

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