NEFAC Activity Update, Late 2003

General

Two new collectives recently joined the federation, The Cipriano Mera Anarchist Collective in Ottawa, and the Mobarezeh Collective in Boston. This brings us to 15 collectives in 12 cities. For a full listing of collectives and contact information please see our webpage at http://nefac.net

NEFAC continues to participate as a member of the International Libertarian Solidarity network: http://www.ils-sil.org

NEFAC raised funds for a modest travel fund for the Anarchist People Of Color (APOC) conference and sent a member to the conference. The conference was considered an unqualified success with many participants, including our member, describing it as "historic". Plans for regional conferences and 2nd North American conference in 2004 are already underway. Please see http://www.illegalvoices.org/apoc for more information.

We also remember and mourn the loss of Jordan Feder of Anti-Racist Action (ARA) New Jersey whom we had the privilege of knowing and working with. Jordan died suddenly of meningitis following the protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Miami. To read a tribute to Jordan by his ARA comrades please see our website. Jorden Mathew Feder, Presente!

Jersey and Baltimore NEFAC traveled to Miami to protest the FTAA summit. NEFAC members helped organize in the weeks prior, and participated in most events and actions during the convergence. Following the repression of activists, which specifically targeted anarchists, people of color, transgendered, and queer activists, NEFAC members on the ground helped coordinate jail support, and publicize the awful treatment of arrested activists. Specifically, NEFAC worked closely with comrades from APOC, who had been targeted during the action. NEFAC sent money from our defense fund and raised a considerable amount as well. NEFAC sent a statement of solidarity with the people arrested in Miami, as well as everyone involved in the fight against Neo-liberalism. Jersey NEFAC co-organized a well-attended report-back following the summit, with speakers from APOC, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), NJ ARA, and Jersey NEFAC.

Theoretical Development

Theoretical development has been occurring through our various publications as well as public talks in that have been held in Montreal, Boston and Somerville.

Bete Noire (NEFAC-Montreal) gave a talk at Cegep du Vieux-Montreal in mid-October on Quebec's 1996 student strike that several collective members were involved in. The students were happy to learn from our experiences and they were hoping to apply them to this year's strike movement.

Bete Noire also organized a speaking event in late September called 'Fire Your Boss' as part of the local Anarchy at Work speaking event series. Speakers were Mat from BxN on 'the workplace today', Evelyne from BxN on 'Solidarity with labor struggles', telemarketing workers on their unionization drive, and locked-out Old Port workers on their summer of struggle.

In Somerville, the Sargassum Collective organized a talk on Anarchism From Red And Green Perspectives. Which was a panel debate between Stas from Class Against Class (NEFAC-Boston), 'Rotten' from Green Anarchy Collective, and DeeDee from Feral Forager.

Also in Somerville, four members of Sargassum took part in a talk at a local high school about anarchism and anarchist organizing. It was fairly well attended and received. We hope to continue to do talks like these on a somewhat regular basis as part of a focus on bringing youth into serious anarchist organizing.

A member of Moberezeh (NEFAC-Boston) organized speaking events for Danielle Shenendoah of the Oneida wolf clan, of the Six Nation Iroquois confederacy, at the Lucy Parsons bookstore and Tufts university, as well as organizing a food and monetary drive for her family.

In Boston, members of Class Against Class and Sabate are currently putting together an "Introduction to Anarcho-Communism and Revolutionary Organization" workshop with plans to hold public talks in various cities around New England.

Federally we are working on a position paper on workplace struggles.

Agitation and Propaganda

Federally, we're preparing to launch an inexpensive English-language newspaper to sell at picket lines, demonstrations, events, and through street-sales. This will bring NEFAC to an impressive four federal publications (2 newspapers and 2 magazines in both French and English) as well as local publications such as GMAC's 'Catamount Tavern News' and 'the Grind' by NEFAC Philadelphia.

The fall/winter issue of the Northeastern Anarchist has been published. The theme this issue is 'Anarchists in the Workplace' with essays focusing on class war strategies and analysis for anarchists that go beyond orthodox syndicalism. Anarcho-communist approaches to labor organizing, strike solidarity, workers autonomy, base unionism, flying squads, and much more! http://nefac.nethttp://nefac.net/node/110

Le Trouble, an established anarchist newspaper in Quebec, continues to be published monthly with NEFAC members participating in the writing, production, and selling it successfully in the streets of Montreal and Quebec City as well as stocking it at many newsstands across the province. http://www.tao.ca/~letrouble/

The NEFAC website http://nefac.net is updated almost daily with news and analysis from NEFAC, social movements we're involved in, and anarchist-communist organizations internationally.

Jersey NEFAC is involved in a free-speech fight regarding the right to poster in New Brunswick. On September 18th, a new ordinance went into effect in New Brunswick banning the posting of signs and fliers on public property. In response, Jersey NEFAC organized a two rallies and marches to City Hall, posting fliers to every surface along the march route and the City Hall building itself. Two members of the Jersey collective were arrested for violating the flyer ban and will be challenging the law in the courts this month.

Members are heavily involved in local radical infoshops and bookstores in Boston (Lucy Parsons), Baltimore (Black Planet), and Quebec City (La Page Noire). In Montreal NEFAC members are involved in an anarchist distribution that holds regular 'Kiosks' in local cafes and bars.

La Nuit, our Quebec City collective, is active with poster and graffiti campaigns around such issues as supporting same-sex marriage, anti-nationalism, and against pawn-shops, and muggers in their working class neighborhoods.

Participation in the Class Struggle

Workers' Movement

Probably the biggest social movement NEFAC is participating in is the fight back against the neo-liberal structural adjustments in Quebec. The Quebec section of NEFAC has been writing articles on the fight back and distributing them to workers on picket lines and demonstrations agitating for a community-labour alliance in the fight back as well as a general strike.

NEFAC members have also been quite active in the fight back with one member participating in a one-day strike with all of her fellow day-care co-workers in the province (a big issue is raising Quebec's universal childcare rates) and other NEFAC members participating in the 'day of disruption' by the three main union confederations.

NEFAC Montreal organized a demonstration of unemployed and precarious workers. With a crowd of about 30 people, we delivered rotten food to a local employment office, to show our opposition to the new labour laws being put in place. Our message was: more and more people will have to come to the employment office then go to the food bank to get rotten jobs and rotten food. It was a success!

NEFAC produced 2300 posters that oppose the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich helped by Liberal government policies. It also opposes cutbacks in social programs, denies the social democratic Parti Quebecois as an alternative, calls for the abolishment of the Liberal government and proposes a self-managed society as a revolutionary alternative! Go to this site to download a pdf file of the poster: http://nefac.net/usermedia/application/poster_Charest.pdf

While far from certain, a general strike is a very real possibility in Quebec with leaders of large union confederations hinting that it may happen as soon as February. The day of disruption saw over 1700 workplaces disrupted, the ports of Montreal, Quebec City, and Trois-Rivieres shut down by mass pickets of workers, and major highways blockaded by unionists.

In Boston, members of Class Against Class formed a workplace resistance group ('Pissed Off Projectionists'), and successfully organized Somerville Theater projectionists through IATSE Local 182: http://nefac.net/feature/display/773

Building an Anarchist Workers Network

The Anarchist Workers Network we envision would be active simultaneously within and outside of the mainstream unions. Rank and file workers could use it as a rallying point to gain power in their locals as well as a tool to build cross-union solidarity.

As of yet, the network has been fairly quiet despite having over 100 people sign up for it during NEFAC's 'Anarchy at Work' speaking tour last May in Quebec and Ontario. A similar speaking tour should be held in New England and the Mid-Atlantic in the coming months, hopefully interest for the network will manifest itself there.

An internet information list on workplace struggles has been set up to help circulate local information throughout the network. If you would like to be on this list, send an email to mtl@nefac.net with the mention 'Sign me up for At Work'. If the internet isn't your cup of tea, contact the local NEFAC collective in your city to find out how you can get active. For too long anarchism has been divorced from the labor movement in North America, it's time to organize as anarchists and more importantly, as workers, to fight the bosses.

We walk the line

NEFAC members are regulars on picket lines. Some strikes we've recently supported are workers at the Centre for Spanish Speaking people (Toronto), a Goodyear tire plant (Toronto), and grocery stores (Quebec City).

Boston NEFAC is participating in Jobs with Justice http://www.jwj.org as part of the 'solidarity committee'.

Members of Boston NEFAC and GMAC (NEFAC-Vermont) participated in national Human Rights Day labor march in Boston; Roundhouse and Bad Apple participated in Washington DC march.

Boston NEFAC will be producing agitational posters supporting the public employee unions fight against the city's refusal to negotiate new contracts (many are expired), and will be participating in an upcoming union protest at the mayor's State of The City address.

Punching Out (NEFAC-Toronto) is creating an independent, rank and file, flying squad consisting of union, non-union and unemployed workers.

Open City in New York City are active in US Labour Against the War.

In Vermont, the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (GMAC) is playing an important role in the Montpellier city-wide union drive with the Vermont Workers Center http://www.workerscenter.org/ and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America http://www.ranknfile-ue.org

In addition to collective interventions many NEFAC members are active organizing in their workplace and unions in individual capacities.

Anti-Fascism

NEFAC is participating in anti-fascist organizing in Montreal and Boston with both cities trying to build a larger social movement type of antifa organization. New Jersey, NYC, and Baltimore collectives continue to work with local ARA chapters http://www.antiracistaction.us

Boston NEFAC produced a pamphlet entitled "What is Fascism? What is Anti-Fascism?" and distributed hundreds of copies locally.

Dual members of La Nuit/RASH helped organize a number of highly political concerts drawing as many as 200 people. Their activity is polarizing (and politicizing) the local skinhead and punk scene. They've also been involved in a number of lectures and workshops.

Reproductive freedom

The Sargassum, Sabate, Bad Apple, and Roundhouse collectives have started doing defense work with local abortion clinics in the Boston and Baltimore area.

Immigration

Federally NEFAC helped organize a demonstration outside the jail in York PA where many immigrants, Moslems, and South Asians are detained. The turn-out was small due to the first large winter storm of the year and an overwhelming police presence.

Punching Out is a member of the Project Threadbare coalition http://threadbare.tyo.ca

Bete Noire participates with various Comites of refugees (Algerian http://www.tao.ca/~sans-statut/, Palestinian, Pakistani, and Columbian)

Jersey NEFAC are supporting Farouk Abdel-Muhti who is imprisoned in a New Jersey jail on a 1995 deportation order http://www.freefarouk.org/

Community

Involvement in tenant unions and community groups in Quebec City, Boston, and New Jersey continues.

The New Brunswick Housing Rights Coalition, which Jersey NEFAC participates in, recently won a victory establishing vacancy and rent control in their city!

Boston NEFAC launched the Boston Angry Tenants Union last year; publishing the second issue of 'The Angry Tenant' (English/Portugese) and are currently organizing against the largest landlord in Boston. Plans for forming eviction defense squads in the future.

Firefly Collective participates in a grassroots committee for affordable housing, based in Malden, MA (just north of Boston).

Punching Out members participate in the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) http://www.ocap.ca and are looking to help form a labour working group to co-ordinate and expand the support that OCAP gives to unionized and non-union workers be it on picket lines or through direct action casework. A recent example was the delivering of an ultimatum and picketing of the Metropolitan hotel in conjunction with rank and file hotel workers who were harassed by management.

GMAC participates in the Round Table Organizing Committee, which is working to develop a left wing alternative economic and social vision for the Green Mountain region. This organization officially represents 40,000 Vermonters, mostly union workers, and some citizen's organizations.

To contact NEFAC:

Open City Anarchist Collective
opencity@nefac.net
(English-speaking Secretariat)

La Bete Noire
c/o C.P. St.-Andre, B.P. 32018
Montreal, Quebec,
H2L 4Y5,
Canada
betenoire@nefac.net
(Secretariat Francophone)

La Nuit
a/s E. H.
C.P. 55051
138 St-Valliers Ouest
Quebec (Quebec)
G1K 1J0
Canada
nefacquebec@yahoo.ca
(International Secretariat / Secretariat International)