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(en) Canada, Ontario, Strike! Vol.1, Issue #5 November 2005 anarchist news and commentary

Date Mon, 21 Nov 2005 00:09:24 +0200


Contents:
Liberals Gut Welfare Diet Program
81 Reasons to Oppose the New Youth Super Jail!
Defying the Rule of Law: Lessons Learned from the BC Teachers Strike
Crap Boss of the Month
CUPE 3903 Cracks Open York U.
Stop The Extradition! Of Gary Freeman
Anarchy on the air: Revolt Radio / Anti-Poverty Report
Help distribute and write for Strike!

Liberals Gut Welfare Diet Program

by PJ Lilley, Punching Out Collective (with files from
Sam Kuhn of TAG & John Clarke of OCAP)

Somewhere, Mike Harris must be pretty proud of Dalton McGuinty this week.
In the worst tradition of the poor-bashing ‘Common Sense Revolution’, the
Liberals have quietly slashed the Special Diet supplement, which was just
starting to be put to good use in feeding thousands of families on welfare
and disability across the province. (They also quietly signed an agreement
with Ottawa that allows the province to seize tax refunds to recover
welfare payments made to sponsored immigrants. This claw-back, like the
one Harris brought in to cut the baby bonus for parents on welfare, is
most threatening to women in abusive relationships who may now feel forced
to stay.)

The revised diet supplement forces people to disclose their medical
conditions, including HIV/AIDS, to justify getting any type of special
diet. Even those with the most serious diseases will only qualify for
paltry sums such as $10/month for liver disease, $10/ month for
cardiovascular disease and up to $240/ month for cancer or HIV - but only
if you've already lost at least 10% of your body weight.

Over the past few months, "Hunger Clinics" had sprouted up across Ontario
whereby sympathetic healthcare practitioners have been signing up social
assistance recipients en masse by the thousands; effectively squatting the
provincial legislation. Ontario Common Front groups like Ottawa's Under
Pressure Collective, the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Guelph Union
of Tenants & Supporters, Kingston's Coalition Against Poverty, the Tenant
Action Group (Belleville), Kitchener/Waterloo Youth Collective, and the
Peterborough Coalition against Poverty have taken OCAP's idea and run
with it. This year, before they gutted it, the Special Diet Policy put an
extra $40 million into the hands of poor people. As heartwarming as that
is, it is a tiny amount relative to the transfer of wealth to the already
wealthy that took place under Harris and continues under McGuinty.

Just as the 21.6% cut to welfare was introduced then in 1995, research
done by a City Councilor’s office revealed that, if you compared the tax
cut for the rich with the reduction in welfare payments, it worked out to
$1 million a month being taken from Regent Park and given to Rosedale. In
ten years, $120 million has changed hands between these two Toronto
communities. Research by the CAW showed that the tax break a $1
million/year CEO would get in Ontario was the same as the cut in income
that 17 single parent families on welfare had experienced. When you
consider the money ripped from poor communities Ontario-wide flowing
directly into these few wealthy enclaves, the enormity of this
exploitation is stunning.

In Sudbury, disgust and outrage at the slashing of the special dietary
supplement is being directed towards Liberal Cabinet Minister Bartulucci's
office, with a militant rally and march on November 14. TAG in Belleville
says that they and their Common Front allies will not stand for this and
plan to attack the government forthwith with a big action in Toronto on
November 26th.

Having won millions for poor people, having tasted victory, and having now
the strength and numbers to fight; we hope to carry the struggle for
economic justice and dignity as far as we can. And–we won't be quiet until
we get our special diet!

ALL OUT TO RAISE THE RATES!
REVERSE THE SPECIAL DIET CUTS!
Saturday, November 26, 1pm ~ Nathan Phillips Square
(Bay & Queen, Northwest corner, Toronto)

------------------------------------------------------------------

81 Reasons to Oppose the New Youth Super Jail!
by Marika, Prisoner's Justice Action Committee

The new Super Jail for Youth in Brampton – the Greater Toronto Youth
Centre - will cost Ontario taxpayers 81.1 Million dollars to build, and we
can easily think of 81 reasons why we don't need this super- jail, and 81
ways that this funding could be used to help make communities genuinely
safer and healthier.

The 81 Reasons Campaign was launched last January by Toronto's Prisoner's
Justice Action Committee, a grassroots prison abolitionist group. PJAC
coordinates annual Prisoner's Justice Day Events, hosts an annual prison
justice film festival, carries out popular education on the prison
industrial complex, and works with allies inside to help raise issues on
the outside.

The work of the 81 Reasons campaign is now being carried out by an
always-growing, broad coalition made up of young people from across the
GTA, representatives of prominent Black social justice organizations,
prison abolitionists, teachers, artists, youth workers and others.

Young people need good schools, recreation centres, family support and
good social services – not more jails. Incarceration further marginalizes
disadvantaged youth, traumatizes young women, discriminates against queer
youth, aboriginal youth and black youth and channels youth into adult
prisons.

Large jails far from family increase the problems that lead youth into
conflict with the law, while community programs reduce re-offending and
help young people rebuild their lives. According to the Canadian
Department of Justice statistics, less than 50% of available beds for
youth in custody in Ontario are now occupied - based on the numbers alone,
it is impossible to justify a new 192-bed jail. Since the passing of the
Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003, the rate of youth incarceration has
steadily decreased. This jail is a waste of essential public funds, and
will only bring about more violence and oppression directed at poor youth,
Black youth, and young people from First Nations.

Jail construction is set to begin before the new year, and now is an
essential time to be pressuring the Ministry of Child and Family services
to withdraw this scheme. You can help by joining the 81 Reasons campaign.

We need your skills, and no previous organizing or committee experience is
necessary. Members are currently active in sub-committees focusing on
research, lobbying, movement building, media, and arts & culture.

Please contact us for more information or if you'd like to get the details
for our next meeting: <81reasons@gmail.com> or 416-324-5078. Check us out
online at www.pjac.org

------------------------------------------------------------------

Defying the Rule of Law: Lessons Learned from the BC Teachers Strike
by Chris, Northwest Anarchist Federation

For two weeks, over 42,000 teachers in BC engaged in an illegal strike,
defying back to work legislation imposed by the provincial government.
Their struggle marks an important milestone in the resurgence of militant
rank-and-file struggles across the province. While the provincial
government has legislated public sector employees back to work seven times
over the past 4 years, this is the first time that the government has been
forced to return to the bargaining table. The strength of workers in
collectively withdrawing their labour power is being quickly remembered.

While public sector workers have defied previous attempts to legislate
them back to work, their attempts to escalate job action have been
consistently undermined by a conservative trade union bureaucracy with the
backing of the provincial NDP. As the teachers chose to undertake illegal
job action, they were roundly condemned by NDP leader Carole James who
argued that they should respect the "rule of law". The court decision to
freeze the BCTF's strike funds was lauded by the NDP opposition critic on
education as an opportunity for "cooler heads to prevail".

Building on the lessons learned by striking health care workers in April
2004 workers are coming to understand the need to build power from the
base.

Measures were taken by the teachers that would ensure that their actions
would not be sabotaged. This time around it was decided that the
rank-and-file would have to vote on any negotiated settlement before it
was agreed upon to return to work. While over 600,000 elementary and
secondary school students were out of class, the strike maintained a large
degree of public support. On Monday, October 17 a general strike was
organized in the city of Victoria, bringing together over 35,000 public
and private sector workers. Public transit, post offices, construction
sites, and liquor stores were all shut down as workers converged in a
large rally at the legislature. This was just the beginning of a series of
coordinated public sector strikes that rolled across the province in the
days that followed.

As the provincial government came to realize that these actions were
building in strength, they quickly reversed their position, opening the
doors to a mediated settlement. While the settlement did not offer any
conclusive or substantive gains, simply redistributing a few million
dollars to harmonize wages and lower class sizes, teacher’s voted by a 77
percent margin to accept the agreement. Nevertheless, the actions of the
BC teachers sets an important precedent, showing the power of workers who
choose to defy the law in order to assert their collective bargaining
rights. As an enormous number of public sector workers in province move
into a bargaining position in the spring, the force of these actions will
not be forgotten.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Crap Boss of the Month Award goes to ...
Last month, 241 Pizza driver Asim Shah was robbed at gunpoint in the
Lawrence and Weston area of Toronto. To add insult to injury, the $300
stolen was taken out of his paycheque! The local franchise owner says
their theft insurance doesn’t cover the drivers, only the store, and that
it’s just 241 Pizza's policy to hold the drivers responsible when they’re
held up. 241 is a subsidiary of Afton Food Groups, in Burlington, traded
on the TSX.
Boycott 241 & write them at
<complaints@241pizza.com>
or else phone Afton Foods (905) 681-8448 to tell them to quit thieving
from their own workers!

------------------------------------------------------------------

CUPE 3903 Cracks Open
York U.
by Jeff Shantz, Punching Out Collective

On November 1 the general membership of CUPE 3903 (teaching assistants,
contract faculty and graduate assistants at York University) turned down
the administration’s contract offer following a heated six hour discussion
where rank-and-file members raised numerous objections and planned strike
action to follow two days later. The next day York finally brought forward
a significantly improved offer that, as of this writing was being put to a
ratification vote, and the strike was averted.

Rejecting the unsatisfactory contract, which had been recommended for
approval by the union executive and bargaining team, offered not only a
rebuke to the boss but to the practice of ‘closed bargaining’ which is so
favoured by employers and, unfortunately, consented to by most unions.
CUPE 3903 has a winning ‚best practice: open bargaining. The membership
directs the bargaining team and executive throughout the bargaining
process and can have input on whether an offer should be brought for
ratification.

It’s a model for rank-and-file control and participatory democracy that
many say should be spread more broadly throughout the labour movement.
This is only part of a broader mobilization within the local, including
the largest strike vote numerically in 3903 history. Even before the
ratification vote a “More Committee” has formed, which is dedicated, not
only to winning a better contract, but to organizing ongoing rank-and-file
activity in workplace and community struggles.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Remember the ugly state of race relations in Chicago in the late 1960s...
and STOP THE EXTRADITION!
of Gary Freeman (aka. Joseph Pannell)

Court will reconvene on Friday, November 25, at 9:30am, to hear Justice
Watt render his decisions on the various submissions made by Gary
Freeman's lawyers on October 6th. This will be a very important court
appearance for Gary. A strong showing by supporters in the courtroom will
have a positive impact both on his spirit and on our fight against his
extradition to the United States.

Family and Friends of Gary Freeman hopes to see you on November 25th at
the Courthouse, 361 University Avenue (north of Queen Street West).

http://www.freemandrum.org

------------------------------------------------------------------

REVOLT RADIO / ANTI-POVERTY REPORT:
News & Analysis
every Thursday
@ Noon-12:30
Listen !
in Hamilton on CFMU 93.3 FM
in TORONTO on CHRY 105.5 FM

------------------------------------------------------------------

Strike!
anarchist news and commentary
vol.1, issue 4
[ http://strike.revolt.org ]
a publication of:
Punching Out, an autonomous member collective of NEFAC (Northeastern
Federation of Anarchist-Communists): “an organization of revolutionaries
coming from different movements of resistance who identify with the
communist tradition within anarchism. The federation's activities are
organized around theoretical development, anarchist propaganda, and
intervention in the struggle of our class, be it autonomously or by direct
involvement in social movements.

For more info, or to contribute(!), get events listed, etc. ...
please contact:
<punchingout@nefac.net>
P.O. Box 79538
1995 Weston Rd
Toronto, ON
M9N 3W9

Labour donated.


-------------------------------------

Help distribute and write for Strike!

Strike! is distributed in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Guelph, Belleville,
Sudbury, Peterbourgh, and other parts of Ontario.

We want to expand where the newsletter is distributed, as well as gain
anarchist writers from across of Ontario to write on local, provincial,
and national issues.

If you're interested in helping distribute Strike! please contact us.

We try to focus our coverage on Labour, Community, and anti-border
struggles from an anarchist-communist perspective. We print both hard news
reports as well as opinion pieces.

For length we're looking for articles of roughly 250 words or less.

Please contact us in advance if you're interested in writing an article as
space in the newsletter is limited.

We are also seeking artists who would be able to draw topical editorial
cartoons for publication.

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to be able to pay our
contributors.

For distribution, we produce and upload Strike! as a 4-page pdf file which
can be downloaded, printed out, and photocopied for distribution. Due to
our limited time and funds this is the best method to help distribute
Strike!

That said, we are willing to ship small quantities of the newsletter to
people to distribute - just send us your mailing address and we'll send
off a small bundle for you.

Any donations to help cover the cost of postage and printing would be
appreciated but not required.

We seek to have Strike! widely distributed in working class neighborhoods,
as well as on picket lines, at demonstrations, and among labor, community,
and other activists. We want Strike! to have as broad of an appeal and
distribution as possible.

Please contact us if you are interested,

Punching Out (Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists, Toronto)
P.O. Box 79538
1995 Weston Rd
Toronto, ON
M9N 3W9

email: punchingout@nefac.net
web: http://www.nefac.net
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