Ryan Rainville's Statement to the Courts

Following the June 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, a wave of repression came down on anarchists and anti-authoritarians in Southern Ontario. Ryan Rainville was one of those arrested and held in jail for three months before being released into house arrest at a Native men's residence in Toronto called Sagatay.

Throughout his court proceedings, Ryan proudly proclaimed his anarchist values and defended the use of property destruction during anti-capitalist protests that weekend to disrupt the economy.

Ryan eventually plead guilty to three counts of Mischief Over $5000 and Breach of Peace. On October 31st, 2011 with at least a dozen supporters present, Ryan made the following statement to the court.

- Guelph Anarchist Black Cross (http://guelphprisonersolidarity.wordpress.com)

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In my statement to the court I am going to address what I consider to be the three most important issues that have been raised in relation to my sentencing. The first concerns my character and attitude toward society. The second relates to my connection to the First Nations and my legal father's Native heritage, and includes questions about my reasons for being at Sagatay and my attitude toward Native culture and spirituality. The third concerns the reasons and circumstances which have led to my being in court today.

Statement of Solidarity with the G20 Defendants

Common Cause wishes to extend our solidarity to the six defendants of the so-called “G20 Main Conspiracy Group” who made the difficult decision to plead guilty to trumped up counseling charges in an effort to see the charges of eleven of their co-defendants dropped, and in order to help bring their shared year and a half-long judicial farce to a close. These eleven community organizers now join the ranks of the dozens of individuals who have already seen their bogus G20 conspiracy charges dropped. They will once again be able to associate with one another, and will once again be granted the right to plan and attend public demonstrations. This is a welcome and long over-due occasion for celebration – though their exoneration has come at a heavy price.

The security operation carried out in the years leading up to the G20, and during the summit itself was unprecedented in Canadian history, both in terms of scope and coordination. The Toronto G20 Summit owes much of its public notoriety to the rampant police-state tactics employed by the Canadian security apparatus, and the over 1000 individuals arrested during the course of the summit weekend. Less widely understood is the fact that the broader security operation was focused primarily on the disruption of anarchist networks, and the ties anarchists had forged with other marginalized and oppressed groups through years of shared struggle. Millions of dollars was spent infiltrating groups and activist communities in Ontario. Anarchists in these communities were the target of a nearly two-year Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) operation, coordinated between the OPP, RCMP, CSIS and the local police departments of several cities.

International Libertarian Statement of Solidarity with the Egyptian popular Struggle

On the weekend 19-20th a new wave of mass protest all over Egypt broke out because of the systematic violence of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) against the Egyptian masses. People are tired of its dictatorial behaviour, the use of extreme force against protesters, the military trials that in 10 months have ended up with 12,000 comrades rotting in jail, their censorship, the torture, kidnappings and selective murder of activists. People are tired of the military council hijacking the banners of our revolution to continue the same old dictatorship through other means. People are tired of the sectarianism they promote to divert us from our real fight for justice, equality and freedom.

Imperialism has dictated an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt. The military have shown themselves obedient in implementing this design. The people in Egypt demand an end to dictatorship and the uprooting of all the remnants of the hated Mubarak regime. People in Egypt want to feel, at last, that they have a country run by themselves for themselves.

The anarchists in Egypt, and the international solidarity movement with the libertarian revolutionaries, wholeheartedly support the just struggle of the Egyptian people to continue their revolution and deplore the massacre of protesters that shows that the SCAF is no different to Mubarak.

Unlike other sectors that hold illusions about bourgeois democracy, we believe that democracy and the State are irreconcilable. Real democracy was put into practice by the Egyptian people when they formed their popular committees and ran their own communities, their own towns, their own affairs from the bottom up. We call to strengthen these popular committees, we call to decentralise the country, to make every single political position recallable by the committees if they fail the popular mandate.

Consenting to Consensus?

By Owen Sheppard [i][Republished from the Dominion][/i]

Interviews with Occupy Toronto participants have revealed a wide range of opinion on the effectiveness of the movement’s process for making group decisions.

According to Brandon Gray of Occupy Toronto, decisions are made through a consensus system where possible, with a 90% “supermajority” vote if consensus proves impossible.

Some participants highlighted the constructive aspects of the current meeting procedure. Danielle, visiting from Occupy Guelph, observed that GAs help people to get “a grounding in how to speak to each other effectively, how to problem solve, and how to use different models of communication like consensus.” Another activist visiting Toronto from Mujeres Libres, an women’s anarchist group in Spain, drew parallels between the Occupy assemblies and similar forums on the streets of her native Barcelona. Despite imperfections, she encouraged Occupy Toronto to persevere in consensus-based decision-making.

But Alex Balch noted that structures for revising and resubmitting proposals to general assemblies (GAs) have not been established, and that GAs have simply ignored some proposals - most notably, a request to stop using the 'People's Mic' so that people with autism can better participate in meetings. The People’s Mic, a communication system which involves assembly members repeating statements in a chorus, was popularized in New York due to the local illegality of amplification systems. It has since been eagerly hailed as a participatory practice, and widely adopted.

"Class war on the Work floor” and the 99%

By Samson
[i][Republished from the Toronto Media Co-op][/i]

Postal workers, sometimes known as 'posties' have been at the forefront of labour struggles this year. In addition to the well-publicized lockout this summer, rank-and-file Edmonton postal workers organized and won a victory in the fight against ‘forceback’ overtime. Rachel Stafford, a postal worker letter carrier organized with CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers), is on a speaking tour to share her experience in direct action and this struggle to end compulsory overtime. She spoke at the Steelworkers hall, 25 Cecil St. on Sunday. Approximately 30 people attended the talk hosted by Common Cause, some were postal workers looking for strategies n their own workplace, others were Occupiers who realise this was a fight that could provide examples for their own struggle.

Stafford stressed throughout her talk that it was important to have confidence, and to build relationships. Talking about experiences in the workplace is the first step. She stresses that one-on-one conversations with people are a good place to start getting them engaged and organized to do something about their situation. She talks about how its best to start off with little actions like petitions and then build up to larger things like workplace refusals.

Report from Occupy Hamilton

By Connor Crawford

Recent weeks have seen ‘Occupy Hamilton’ rallies take over Gore Park. The group, made up of local activists from various backgrounds, gathers every Saturday at noon to make noise and show solidarity with the global ‘Occupation’ movement.
This past week’s rally (Oct 22) drew a crowd of about 40 people. A range of groups and individuals were present, from the Mohawk Social Justice Society, to the Hamilton Young Communist League, to Zeitgeist activists. Copwatch Hamilton was also present, and were effective in blocking police interference with the protest.

Around 1pm the microphone was opened up to the crowd and some speeches and announcements were made by attendees. Afterwards, a short picket/noise demonstration took place throughout the park; signs were attached to poles and fences, and sidewalk chalk flooded the park with socially-conscious slogans and thoughts. Upon noticing the chalk, three police officers entered the park and attempted to intimidate protesters with threats of mischief charges; Copwatch promptly sorted this issue out. A short discussion followed the protest, and agendas were drafted for the upcoming group meetings.

All in all, the protests seem to be already gathering speed and creating a buzz in Hamilton. Occupy Hamilton has been successful in creating a safe space for people to voice their concerns about the current state, and now must look to further engage the public in that discussion. Occupy Hamilton, alongside the rest of the ‘Occupy’ movement, will surely face many roadblocks as it grows. However, regardless of any issues that may arise, there is no question these wider protests are a solid first step towards building a true, global, anti-capitalist movement.

CLASS WAR ON THE WORKFLOOR SPEAKING TOUR

On strike, locked out, and legislated back to work, postal workers have experienced first hand the bosses’ agenda of taking away rights workers fought for decades ago. Because postal workers are not alone in facing cutbacks, exploitation, greedy bosses, and the like, we have a lot in common with other workers, and we stand to learn a lot from each others’ struggles. The rules of the game are changing, and workers will have to start taking matters into our own hands instead of relying on elected officials in our unions or governments to make wise decisions for us.

This talk will outline a perspective on workplace organizing that is not dependent on union executives but rather on empowering workers to fight their own battles. It will suggest why it’s important to deal with issues as they arise on the floor with direct action rather than relying on formal grievances or legal complaints. It will draw from experiences with boots to the ground organizing that is directed from the rank and file and prioritizes direct action, worker education, and participatory decision making to build the kind of struggle that can aim for the whole pie, not just a bigger piece.

RACHEL STAFFORD:

A postal worker, anarchist, and rank and file trouble maker, Rachel Stafford has been organizing to build worker power within and outside of the post office. Applying skills and perspectives developed as a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), she has organized for direct action at her job and supported others as a trainer in the IWW’s Organizer Training program. Rachel writes about and reflects on her experiences as a member of the editorial collective of the Recomposition blog.

Tour Dates:

Hamilton
Saturday, October 22, 7pm
Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid St.

Toronto
Sunday, October 23, 7pm
Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street

Occupy Ottawa: Day One

On October 15, Ottawa joined with 1700 cities across the globe as part of an international day of action in solidarity with the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

This is a montage of footage from Occupy Ottawa, with a musical performance from DOA!

Expect more footage from Occupy movements across Canada, including those currently underway in Toronto and Vancouver, in the days to come.

Orange Isn't Red: On the Logic of Radicalizing Reformist Organizations

By Hao Di

On September 3 2011, the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) rescinded the candidacy of Barry Weisleder, who had won the provincial nomination for the riding of Thornhill.

This action generated ripples of controversy amongst left-leaning New Democrats. Weisleder, a party member for over forty years and current chair of the self-styled NDP “Socialist Caucus” has a long and storied reputation as an agitator for state-socialist policies within the NDP, and has often served as a thorn in the side of the party's increasingly centrist leadership.

This is not the first time the NDP leadership has intervened to quash gains made by radicals working within the party's rank-and-file; in October 2010, attendants of the Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY) convention in Hamilton voted the “Slate for a Democratic and Activist ONDY” – comprised of a number of Trotskyist and Democratic Socialist activists, largely connected to the Toronto Young New Democrats – into nearly every executive position standing for election. A couple of weeks later the NDP establishment rescinded the results of the convention. New elections, held in Toronto in November 2010, resulted in the activist slate’s defeat. Leftist activists at the Toronto convention noted that the makeup of the audience was heavily weighted towards bureaucratic elements of the NDP and CFS. This second convention produced mixed results; while the NDP establishment conceded TYND’s right to exist, they also ensured that the ONDY executive would be composed of loyalists firmly within the influence of the party's bureaucracy.

Fighting to win: Steel City Solidarity and Solidarity Networks

by Peter Marin

It is late morning in Hamilton and an unusual scene is unfolding in a quiet residential neighbourhood. I am with a group of 25 or so people, and we are gathered outside a house. We are from Steel City Solidarity, a solidarity network run out of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 3906–a union representing teaching assistants and other precarious academic workers at McMaster University. We are here with Dorian, who is owed hundreds of dollars in unpaid wages and unreturned deposits.

Some ten feet away is his landlord, sitting inside a black Mercedes with its engine on and windows rolled up. We wait outside his house to present our written demands. A few times we approach his car to attempt to hand him our letter. Each time we get close, he drives off a short distance. The letter lists a set of grievances and gives the landlord a week to address them in full, or else face further action (a “do not rent here” campaign... though we do not tell him this at the time).

Finally he rolls down his window and accepts our letter. As he reads the letter several times over, three police cars roll up. Neighbours and other tenants are now in the street. It is becoming quite a spectacle.

Scenes such as this one are becoming increasingly common in North American cities with active anarchist communities. Steel City Solidarity, and more recently the London, Ontario-based Forest City Solidarity, are the latest groups to spring up in southern Ontario. Common Cause members are organizers with both groups.

Much of this organizing is inspired by the very successful and well-promoted Seattle Solidarity Network, a loose affiliate of the revolutionary union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). SeaSol, as it is known, has been active and winning victories against bosses, landlords and developers since 2007.

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