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(en) Canada, common cause, Linchpin #17 - Community picket line held at Hamilton school by DEVIN K.

Date Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:22:44 +0200


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. ---- Wednesday January 16th had been slated for a one day strike by the Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation (OSSTF). The action had been called by the union as a result of a rank-and-file petition demanding the leadership respond to the imposition of Bill 115.

Following the announcement of a similar action
by elementary teachers for January 11th, the
provincial government went to the Labour Relations
Board to have both declared illegal. Unfortunately the
unwillingness of labour leadership to openly defy such
a ruling meant that both unions backed down from the
threatened job action.

The complicity of the state and the official channels
meant to mediate labour conflict in acting against
workers is a defining feature of our current era of
austerity. Bill 115 and other such legislation have
implications beyond the workers which they target, and
therefor are in the interests of our entire class to find
creative and militant ways to defy. The pickets at Sir
John A McDonald exemplified an effective and easily
reproducible tactic capable of, if they are to spread
geographically and transcend particular workplaces or
struggles, seriously throwing a wrench in this process.

The picket line on the 16th was met with an
overwhelmingly positive response from teachers as
they made their way into work. Police had one unit
stationed keeping watch on the situation, but the
picket line continued uninterrupted until they were
voluntarily taken down shortly after 9:00AM.

Struggle Changes Everything

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

Anarchists support striking refuelers at Toronto Island Airport
PAUL M, Toronto

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.
â
Working with COPE (Canadian Office and
Professional Employees Union), a largely white collar
union, refuelers have shown tremendous initiative
in escalating disruption at the airport in their fight
to win a first contract. The initiative shown by these
workers has been a refreshing change from other
recent labour disputes. Disruptive action has been
consistently hobbled in recent labour disputes in
Ontario. Teachers, librarians, postal workers, and
many others have been hemmed in by a bureaucratic
union machinery adhering to a rigid set of passive
tactics in a failing strategy to broker labour peace.
Unlike in these larger disputes, the recently unionized
Porter workers have shown a willingness to escalate
tactics and to collaborate closely with other militant
workers, including anarchists.

The Porter dispute has presented a unique
opportunity for anarchists to build real relationships
with a large number of workers on the ground, and to
have a voice in the direction of the strike and its tactics.
A recent 4:30am picket on Tuesday, January 22 saw
around a dozen IWW and Common Cause members
come down to the lines in the bitter -18 degree cold.
While at the lines, some wobblies there for the third
time, we witnessed workers stopping some cars going
into staff parking lots for over 10 minutes with very
little encouragement from our group. This type of
delay is rare on picket lines today, with standard
delays being a mere 2 to 3 minutes. Even still, these
exceptional tactics did not satisfy the confrontational
attitude of some workers. As we exchanged names and
numbers we felt heartened that we could collectively
develop new strategies for increased disruption.

On Saturday, January 26, after the sluggish
and demoralizing labour parade organized by the OFL
to the Liberal leadership convention, a large number
of anarchists and other unionists headed to the Island
Airport with the help of the CUPE 966 flying squad
bus. This time, with encouragement from the Porter
workers, we fully blocked the only road into the
airport causing serious disruption. The picket line
was entirely anarchist, with workers wishing to avoid
the legal ramification they might face, but cheering
us on from the sidelines, many itching to join us. We
were able to hold the line for nearly an hour until cops
finally removed us without arrests. Though this one
off event was clearly effective in slowing things down
at the airport it was still a far cry from whatâs necessary
to bring Porter to the table.

It remains to be seen if or when Porter will
come to the table but what is clear is that when they
do anarchists will have a real voice with the workers to
help ensure that a strong contract is demanded. Our
concrete and ongoing support of workers struggle
at the point of production is crucial to developing
militant class consciousness, and what weâve seen at
Porter is that this type of militancy is often latent in
some sectors of the embattled working class. It is now
up to us to tap the latent desires of the workers to hobble
the smooth working of the airport against a growing
uneasiness by COPE. Though we may eventually burn
our bridges with the COPE higher-ups our goal is to
use a strategy that wins and not be cowed by a labour
movement too sheepish to be remotely effective. After
this fight we hope the connections weâve built with
the workers, and not COPE, can carry forward into
ongoing work, but it is up to us to make the space
in our organizations necessary to carry the memory
of past fights into new ones. If this is accomplished,
and we donât lose the connections built in the Porter
dispute, this could be a precedent setting struggle for
Toronto anarchists.

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

London Prisoner Justice Film Festival

London Prisoner Justice Film Festival
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.

The next session that begins at 4:30, will be
on Women and Mental Health issues, with a
focus on the death of Ashley Smith. There will
be a film detailing the issues surrounding the
process which led up to her death, a discussion
on the inquiry, as well as two written pieces
from women who are currently detained within
the prison system.

The final presentation on Saturday will begin
at 7pm, and will shift its attention to Political
Prisoners and the criminization of dissent
within Canada. The films shown will be about G20
resistance activists who were pre-emptively arrested
before the summit in Toronto.

On Sunday, February 10th, the festival continues at
Old East Studios, starting at 1pm. The films shown will
be focused on the struggles of political prisoners from
Columbia and Cuba. Currently there are over 10,000
political prisoners in Columbia, and this segment will
describe efforts of people who worked to create a better
situation for their community, only to be thrown in jail
for doing such.

The final event of the weekend is a panel discussion
on Resisting the Prison Industrial Complex: From
Reform to Abolition. This panel will begin at 5pm,
and will feature speakers who presented various topics
during the festival.

For more information, please find the website
which includes more in depth content on all of the
films and speakers at prisonjusticefilm.wordpress.com

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

COMMON CAUSE //
anarchist organization

COMMON CAUSE is an Ontario-wide
anarchist organization with branches active
in Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo,
and London. We publish Linchpin monthly,
along with additional content online. To
find out more about our work get in touch
with a local branch in your area:

Toronto
commoncausetoronto@gmail.com

Kitchener-Waterloo
commoncausekw@gmail.com

Hamilton
commoncausehamilton@gmail.com

London
commoncauselondon@gmail.com
Struggle Changes Everything

A publication of the anarchist common cause // www.linchpin.ca
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