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.
Book Review of Black Flame: The revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism. Oakland, CA: AK Press. By Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt.
by Deric Shannon
At the outset, after reading Black Flame, it's impossible not to reflect on the massive amount of research that such a work must have entailed. The book is a narrative about anarchism and, with interest in anarchism on the rise worldwide, it could not have come at a better time. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, we need new narratives of the anarchist tradition to understand where we've been. Secondly, Black Flame contains critiques of the ways that "radical" circles contemporarily have too often turned away from the radical class politics that have always defined the socialist movement.
Ironically enough, this is both a major strength of the book, but also, in my opinion, one of its weaknesses. As Schmidt and van der Walt state their case early in the book, "'(c)lass struggle' anarchism, sometimes called revolutionary or communist anarchism, is not a type of anarchism; in our view, it is the only anarchism" (19--emphasis theirs). This essentially leads to the authors deciding throughout the beginning of the book who the "real" anarchists are and who gets defined out.
Again, there are strengths and weaknesses with this approach.
Queer is many things. It’s a critique of identity– critiquing/questioning the boxes and categories we are given to cage ourselves with. Example, we can be gay, straight, or bi. These are the choices we have. But they don’t describe reality and they do more to contain us than to liberate us. (Although, I have to note that people do find empowerment and community within these identities and I don’t mean to downplay that.) It’s a critique of the construction of sexuality– formed by the ideas we have to conceive of it. If who you fuck is what you are (i.e., “gay”) — then that’s a sexual identity. Or we can do sexuality differently– it’s not who we are but what we do– our acts.
by Wayne Price
PART I: How Capitalism has created an Ecological, Energy, and Economic Crisis
The post-WWII boom was based on cheap oil. But oil is nonrenewable, polluting, and causes global warming. It was "cheap" because the capitalists did not pay to prepare for the day when it would be harder to access oil. We have reached that day, which is one aspect of the worldwide crisis of the return to the epoch of capitalist decay.
Building democratic mass movements in our workplaces and communities should be the strategy for combating the capitalist economic crisis and advancing revolutionary struggle. An alternative economic sector does not have the capacity to win short-term reforms or fundamentally transform society.
Wayne Price and Eric Larsen at the New York Anarchist Bookfair, 4/11/2009