By a Common Cause Toronto member
On the eve of International Women’s Day, so-called men’s rights advocates at the University of Toronto hosted an event confronting women’s studies and academic feminism. This was a follow-up to their event in November featuring self-proclaimed ex-feminist Warren Farrell, author of the book the Myth of Male Power. Warren Farrell is best known for his statements about women making false accusations of rape and his argument that incest can be a positive experience, if only women were not socialized to be victims. Though figures like this, who have written that, “before we called this date rape and date fraud, we called it exciting”, make it tempting to point to these inflammatory quotes to justify our outrage at these groups, it is their fundamental discourse that we must contend with.
By Richard R
It has been over a month since the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) held their one-day protest of the provincial Liberal Party leadership convention, mobilizing some 15,000 people on the streets of Toronto and then sending them all home again around 4:00 PM. The protest was part of the trade union response to Bill 115, which enabled the provincial government to circumvent collective bargaining and mandate the terms of new “collective agreements”. Within the bill were draconian provisions for any attempt to challenge the legislation, through the courts or in the workplace. It is worth noting that while the union leadership were pushing for this day of action, they were also cynically hedging their bets in the form of thousands of dollars in union dues being funnelled into contributions to Liberal leadership candidates. In one case $10,000 was donated to Eric Hoskins, a leadership contender who had in fact voted in favour of Bill 115.
By Tammy Lee
On the early evening of January 28th protestors gathered outside of the Grand Valley Institution for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, ON. Approximately 30 people came out to show their support for the women inside, and to draw attention to the ongoing abuse at the institution, which in recent months has garnered substantial media attention in the wake of a drugs-for-sex scandal.
By Paul M
The IWW and members of Common Cause Toronto have been hitting the picket lines in support of striking refuelers employed by Porter Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at the Toronto Island airport. The strike has been bravely fought by a mere 22 workers fed up with unsafe working conditions and low wages. Injuries due to poor training and heavy turnover have not been uncommon, and the workers currently earn an abysmally low 12 dollars an hour. As the workers continue their fight against their bosses at Porter, anarchists must keep up the support until the dispute is won.
On the weekend of February 8th, London, Ontario is hosting a Prisoners Justice Film Festival. The wide ranging festival features short films and presentations on topics that are problematic with how humans are treated when they are forced into government detention.
On Friday, February 8th, the focus is on Queer, Trans, and 2 Spirit perspectives. This evening will have 5 films shown, and also will contain presentations from speakers who work with people who face discrimination within the Prison Industrial Complex. The event will be held at the Central Library (251 Dundas) starting at 7pm.
On Saturday, February 9th, the location shifts to Old East Studios (755 Dundas), and will begin at 1pm. There will be 3 different series presented on this day, starting with films based on Immigration and Indigenous people, and the state violence that is perpetuated against them. 5 films will be shown in this segment, which is hosted by No One Is Illegal London.
Around 30 people walked the picket lines at Sir John A. McDonald highschool in Hamilton Wednesday morning. Rather than representing an official union on strike, the picket was organized by an assortment of community members acting autonomously. Cars were held for 2 minutes each, snarling morning rush hour traffic on Cannon Street, and created a line up which lasted into first period that day. The action served to demonstrate the potential for acting outside of official bodies meant to represent workers, and the laws that inhibit them.
On Saturday, February 16th the 1st annual Kitchener-Waterloo Anarchist Bookfair will be held at the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work. Taking place on Six Nations of the Grand River territory, the bookfair will welcome anarchists and non-anarchists alike- from seasoned organizers and activists, to those simply curious about anarchism for a day of workshops, presentations, film screenings, info tables, and social events. The bookfair will introduce anarchist ideas, histories and practices, as well as provide a space for more in-depth conversations about the ongoing relevance of anarchism, and its implication for on-the-ground organizing and everyday struggles.
a pamphlet from Common Cause Hamilton
You have most likely heard of the Idle No More movement that has sprung up across Canada recently. The most publicized element is that Chief Theresa Spence (of the Attawapiskat Nation) is on a hunger strike until Stephen Harper meets with her and other Indigenous leaders. What gets lost in the news cycle is that this meeting is supposed to be a real discussion and not just a symbolic gesture.
This movement is not just about getting individual leaders into a room and talking: the demands for autonomy for all Indigenous nations are what this movement is about, and this movement is resisting corporate destruction of the environment, at the same time. These issues affect white workers and immigrants (old and new), so supporting the Idle No More (INM) movement is also supporting all communities and future generations.
By: Shannon Balla & Ian Stumpf of the We Remember Ashley Smith Campaign
October 19th marked the 5th anniversary of the death of Ashley Smith. She died at age 19 in a segregation cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. In the days leading up to her death, despite being on ‘suicide watch’, Ashley’s request for transfer to a psychiatric facility was denied, as was access to her family, lawyer or advocates. On the day she died, Ashley tied a ligature around her neck and, while staff watched from outside her cell, asphyxiated to death.
By: Devin K
With the recent resignation of Dalton McGuinty and the decision to prorogue the Ontario legislature, the future of the Ontario Liberals fight with the teachers’ union may be uncertain. The Premier's decision comes amidst the ongoing dispute with elementary school teachers and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), which has lead to the imposition of Bill 115. Cynically named the “Putting Students First Act”, Bill 115 bypasses the collective bargaining process forcing a 2-year wage freeze and ban on strikes, along with a host of other concessions from on the teachers’ union. In the current context of austerity measures being imposed by all levels of government, Bill 115 is part of the now routine use of anti-strike legislation in both the private and public sector.