Every Prisoner is a Political Prisoner: A Memoir

By Kelly Pflug-Back

Editor's Note: On July 19, Kelly Pflug-Back was sentenced to 11 months, plus time served, for her participation in the Toronto G20 counter-summit demonstrations. Kelly is an amazing organizer, writer, ]poet, musician and comrade.

Please write to Kelly at:

Kelly Pflug-Back
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O. Box 1040
655 Martin Street
Milton, Ontario
L9T 5E6 Canada


June 27, 2010, was uncharacteristically overcast for mid-summer Toronto. My head pounded from the humidity as I walked alone down Queen Street, through a cityscape teeming with riot police, and still dusted with shards of broken glass from the day before. Construction crews had already set to work repairing the trail of wreckage, attempting to get everything back to normal before anyone noticed.

When I reached Jimmie Simpson Park, where people were meeting for the day’s scheduled prison solidarity rally, I saw only a small crowd of friends standing under the drooping honey locust trees: some debriefing or consoling one another, others speaking with the reporters who swarmed like gnats around the gathering. This sparse group of about thirty was all that remained after the preemptive kidnappings and mass arrests. I can’t remember if I felt any particular sense of foreboding—any eerie apprehension of why I too hadn’t been taken away.

As our diminished group walked from the park to the detention center where our friends were being held, I hoped to be able to find some news of what had happened to my partner, or to anyone for that matter.

A small village about to be demolished: a glimpse into occupation

By Smadar Carmon

The small village of Susiya in the Israeli Occupied Territories is about to be demolished yet again. Most Canadians have never even heard about the first, second, third and fourth times - but we should, because Canada is heavily implicated in these human rights abuses as a result of our government's unconditional support for Israel.

A few years ago some fellow Israelis introduced me to Susiya and its determined and resolute residents. These Israelis have made it their business to work with and support the Palestinians living in the villages of the South Hebron hills.

The elements are harsh in these hills; the scorching heat envelopes you and all you can see is arid land dotted here and there with patches of green. The only lush areas are next to the illegal but fully water-supplied Israeli settlements - while the Palestinians must import and pay dearly for water arriving by truck. Energy is connected for the Jewish settlements, but Palestinian villages have nothing. Recently, my Israeli friends and some local Palestinians came up with a way to get power by installing a few small wind turbines and some solar panels. Now at night the residents can read and even use a refrigerator – quite an achievement in the 21st century!

Pro-Choice Demonstration Interrupts "New Abortion Caravan" in Toronto

By Kat Parlor

[url=http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/]The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform[/url] stopped by Vincent de Paul church on June 28 for the Toronto stop of its cross-country New Abortion Caravan [url=http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/about/schedule]speaking tour[/url]. A new spin on the original Abortion Caravan-which promoted reproductive freedom in the 1970's—the tour began in Vancouver on May 29 and will wrap up on July 1 on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa. Utilizing graphic images of aborted fetuses in an attempt to shock Canadians into opposing abortion, the CCBR's stated goal is “to end abortion in their lifetime.”

It's no coincidence that the campaign closely follows the February introduction of [url=http://www.stephenwoodworth.ca/canadas-400-year-old-definition-of-human-... 312[/url] by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. This private members bill requests a special Parliamentary Committee be struck to investigate whether or not the Criminal Code's definition of “human being” should be expanded to grant personhood to fetuses. The House of Commons will vote on the matter on September 19; the New Abortion Caravan intends to garner public support for a motion that could ultimately lead to the re-criminalization of abortions in Canada.

In Toronto the CCBR met with resistance, however, when a number of pro-choice activists, joined by members of the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics, showed up to protest their event.

For nearly three hours dozens of protesters picketed and petitioned on the sidewalk in front of the church. Their pro-choice presence dwarfed the abysmal attendance of the CCBR event, at several points swelling to at least four times its attendance.

CLC Sells out Students!

Recent correspondence from Ken Georgetti (President of the Canada Labour Congress) and Michel Arsenault of the FTQ (Provincial Labour Central of Quebec) and various officers in the broader Anglophone Labour Movement sends a clear message: labour jurisdiction trumps labour solidarity. Georgetti and Arsenault believe that this is the time to “facilitate a settlement instead of fueling fires”.

Aresenault wrote to Georgetti on May 28th, saying that the “radical wings” are not to be “promoted” in order to facilitate an agreement. It seem that to him, an agreement in itself is more important than a victory for the students and workers of Quebec. The message is clear, class peace at all costs. He says the students are tired and have been fighting a long time as a reason why they should not be supported. This is pathetic.

Georgetti wrote to the CLC Canadian Council on May 28th, responding to “rumours” that some of the CLC “national affiliates plan to organize potential illegal actions in Quebec” in solidarity with the student strike. Georgetti points out that “matters in the province of Quebec are the jurisdiction of the FTQ” and so “it will be the decision of the FTQ to request external support actions through the CLC.” Until then, CLC affiliates are supposed to avoid support actions. He closes his letter saying “I know that all affiliates and federations respect the jurisdiction of the FTQ in their province and hope that such rumours are simply rumours and not fact.” [url=http://zinelibrary.info/files/FTQ-Protocol-2012-05-28-EN.pdf]See the original letter here.[/url]

Review: Disability Politics and Theory

Disability Politics and Theory
By AJ Withers
Fernwood Publishing

Review by Karine Wehlm

"(D)isability falls somewhere in a constellation. Like the constellation in the sky, disability is in constant flux and appears different depending on the positioning of the onlooker."(p.99)

Disability Politics and Theory is an excellent new book that critically examines the key models of disability that have shaped how disability and disabled people have been viewed in North America throughout the capitalist era and to this current day. The book's author, AJ Withers applies an intersectional and anti-capitalist analysis on these models and suggests an alternative model, the radical model of disability, as a analytical tool to move the disabled people’s movement forward. Withers' arguments stem from an understanding that multiple oppressions are intertwined with one another and cannot be dealt with separately. The author also argues that capitalism is inherently problematic since, among other things, it assigns individual self-worth and value based on whether one can work for a wage (and so produce profits for someone else). Withers ends with a call for both non-disabled people’s movements and the disabled people’s movement to organize inclusively for social justice and radical access.

The Popular Roots of the Quebec Student Strike

By Peter Marin

Early on the student strike in Quebec adopted the slogan “it is a student strike, and a popular struggle” (in French, “la grève est étudiante, la lutte est populaire"). Over the course of this unprecedented strike, the slogan has become a reality, as people from all sectors of society have joined the students in opposition to the neoliberal government of Jean Charest and his Liberal party.

As this is written, neighbourhood committees are forming in Montreal and daily protests, including the now famous casseroles (pots and pans) protests, are occurring across Quebec – including in small towns and regions not known for their militancy. The legitimacy of the government and its police force is being called into question as tens of thousands defy its “special law 78”, which criminalizes spontaneous protests among other measures. The student strike has indeed become a popular struggle. While no one could have predicted that the student strike would spill across society, this development is not entirely without a foundation in recent struggles. And this foundation is best exemplified by the Coalition Opposée a la Tarification et Privatisation des Services Publics (in English, the Coalition Against User Fees and the Privatization of Public Services).

Founded in the spring of 2010 in response to the austerity budget of the Charest government, the Coalition consists of 137 member-groups, including community organizations (e.g. anti-poverty, health, housing), student unions, feminist groups and various union locals and district labour councils. The community groups are one of the two driving forces of the Coalition. These groups, whose members are most sharply affected by austerity, have a history of militancy unlike anywhere else in Canada. Nicolas Phebus, who works for the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), a housing group and member of the Coalition, described it as “Quebec having dozens of OCAPs”.

Free Julio

Republished from Ideas and Action

Julio Rodriguez, a stalwart comrade of ours from Los Angeles, has been held in prison since Saturday under threat of immediate deportation. We will not let another one of our brothers be kidnapped from us by the racist state!

Julio is an anarchist youth organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition and RiseUp LA, radical groups that run out of Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood, CA. He is a student at Free LA High School at Chuco’s where he is studying to get his GED. Julio is prominent in the LA punk scene, organizing and promoting DIY shows, and encouraging the politicization and education of kids in the scene.

This past Saturday, Julio was hosting a Cinco de Mayo party at his house. When he noticed that someone had stolen his laptop, he shut down the party and told everyone they needed to leave, but a group of them refused. Julio knocked on the side of their car to get them to leave, but rather than drive away, the group called 911. The Sherriff’s deputies arrived and arrested Julio for vandalism. He was taken to Men’s Central Jail where he is currently detained. Julio’s family posted bail for him on Sunday, but ICE put an immigration hold on him and will not allow him to be released until the hold is resolved. If the immigration hold is not dropped, Julio will be transferred to an ICE detention facility and then be deported to Mexico, where he has not lived since his infancy.

May Day in Montreal: Il Pleut Des Etudiants

In this excellent May Day report from Montreal, video journalist Zach Ruiter comes away with some great footage (and great bruises) from his recent trip to Quebec. As the historic student strike stretches on into its third month, the police repression is intensifying.

Republished from The Dominion.

Towards A Social Strike

[i]It’s a Student Strike, a People’s Struggle[/i]

Statement by CLASSE
Translated by [url=http://lifeonleft.blogspot.ca/]Richard Fidler
Hike in tuition fees is part of “the cultural revolution”

For several weeks now a student revolt has shaken the neoliberal consensus imposed for many years by the Quebec and Canadian governments. It was sparked by the announcement of a new, 75 per cent increase in university tuition fees.

Since its announcement in the 2010 Quebec budget, the media lackeys of the Liberal government have attempted to present this measure as inevitable. But behind this claimed inevitability we find an eminently political decision expressed in what the finance minister terms a “cultural revolution,” and the international economic authorities refer to as an “austerity budget.” Whatever the name given to it by governments, it clearly and definitively involves the dismantling of public services aimed at privatizing what remains of the commons.

The student movement has focused on the issue of tuition fees and the commodification of the universities. However, it is not unaware that this measure is integrally linked to a larger project affecting elementary and secondary education, the healthcare sector and the unfettered development of natural resources. Our resistance to the Quebec government's neoliberal measures has to take into account all of these sectors, establishing a social link that enables us to speak of a community.

Quebec student union CLASSE plans week-long actions to disrupt economy, Quebec government

The following is a translation of the lead story in the Ultimatum, the newspaper of the Quebec student union CLASSE, the 80,000 strong and leading student union behind the current student strike in Quebec. In response to a Quebec government that continues to ignore the strike, it calls for a week of direct actions aimed at disrupting economic and government activity.

The original article in French was written by Julien Royal and can be read [url=http://www.bloquonslahausse.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Ultimatum-exp...

Translated by Linchpin.ca

[b]March 22, the beginning of a long fight[/b]

March 22nd is often seen as the climax of our strike. With more than 300,000 strikers and a massive demonstration, we can for sure say that March 22 is of crucial importance. Nevertheless this day is not the last chapter in our struggle. On the contrary, March 22 is the catalyst of a long fight against the government.

If the government continues to ignore us after this day in the face of the largest student strike in the history of Quebec, we will not have any other choice but to significantly step up the pressure. This is why CLASSE is calling for a week of actions disrupting the economy and the State from March 26 to March 30. The March 22 protest shows a general and significant support for our struggle. Now we have to show that each day that the government refuses to listen to us will be a day in hell for it. Across the province we will block the State's administrative centres, we will paralyze key points of the economy; we will disrupt, where ever we are, the interests of the political and economic elite. We will force the Charet government to back down by disrupting its ministries, its crown corporations and by disrupting the economic activity of major corporations and the movement of goods in the economy.