Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

September 10, 2015

The Labour Day Issue

We mark Labour Day with two articles examining the relentless pressure put on workers to work ever longer hours, at the cost of their health and family life. Another article reviews the equally relentless assault by Canada’s Harper government on labour unions and on the rights of working people. Rounding out the labour focus is an article on workplace organizing; films from the Labor Films Database; our website of the week, The International Institute of Social History, and our Topic of the Week – Labour History.

We’ve also got articles how the role of global warming in driving refugees from their homes, Zapatista popular education, and John Pilger on the Greek crisis.

As always, we invite you to share this newsletter with your friends. You can forward this email, or send them the link to the Other Voices home page on the Connexions website at /Media/CxNewsletter.htm.

40 years of Connexions!

Connexions was founded in 1975 to connect activists and organizers with information, ideas, and each other. Entering our fifth decade, we’re still sharing “information to change the world”. We also maintain an archive/library where documents about the history of grassroots movements for justice are preserved and digitized.

Connexions relies on donations from people who like what we do. If you’d like to make a one-time or regular donation, or leave a bequest, please visit the Donate page.

Guess the date of Harper’s next ‘terrorist plot’

With the polls suggesting that the Conservatives might be headed for defeat in the next election, Stephen Harper and his inner circle are undoubtedly searching their bag of dirty tricks for something that will turn things around. In the 2006 election, the turning point came when the RCMP Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli announced, in the middle of the campaign, that the RCMP was ‘investigating’ senior Liberals on corruption allegations. The allegations turned out to have no substance, but by then it was too late: thanks to the RCMP’s intervention, Stephen Harper won a minority and became Prime Minister.

This time around, what are the odds that a ‘terrorist plot’ will be ‘uncovered’ in the late stages of the election campaign, so that Harper can spend the final days of the campaign talking about terrorism, terrorism, and more terrorism?

Here at Connexions, we’re sponsoring a contest to guess the date the next ‘terrorist plot’ will be ‘uncovered’. Send your entry to mailroom@connexions.org. Bonus points will be awarded for guessing what exactly the plot will be. No bonus points will be given for predicting the uncritical media reaction.

The prize? Your very own ‘Stop Harper’ button, sent to everyone who guesses the correct date. (Sorry, that’s all we can afford in the way of prizes.)

Topic of the Week: Labour History

Labour history – the history of working people – is not merely the history of workers organized in unions, but more broadly the history of most of the human race: the people who have done the work, and continue to do the work, that makes economic life and social life possible. The Connexions subject index features a rich collection of resources on labour history, as well as on related topics such as women’s history, black history, economic history,immigrant history and workers history.

This Week on Connexions.org

Work Overload: Time for a Union Strategy

Talk to workers in any sector, in any workplace and sooner or later they’ll get to their frustrations with their ever-increasing workloads: ‘I’m struggling’, they’ll lament to fellow workers or anyone ready to listen, ‘to just do the job, never mind do it well’. And yet even though few work-related issues seem to generate more passion, the relentless intensification of every-day work life rarely surfaces as a union priority. Why? Read more

Keywords: Labour Issues - Overwork

Forced to Love the Grind: Passion is the new workplace requirement — and one that should be resisted

In the corporate world, the person to admire is one who puts work ahead of everything else: health, relationships, children, any kind of life. We should reject and fight against this pressure. Read more

Keywords: Overwork - Work

Tracking Harper’s 9-year-long assault on unions

Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister of Canada for almost a decade. In that time, the system of protections that were put in place by decades of advocacy by labour organizations and unions has been partly dismantled. The attacks have been extremely strategic. Ground Zero for these attacks has been the House of Commons, where piece after piece of legislation has taken aim at unions and collective bargaining. Read more

Keywords: Anti-Labour - Union-busting

Harper’s Worst Offense against Refugees May Be His Climate Record

The Middle East drought between 2006 and 2011 was without precedent since modern record keeping, killing over 80 per cent of livestock and driving up local food prices. Already poor populations had to contend with higher temperatures that dried soil and failed rains during the normally wet season due to weaker winds from the Mediterranean. A key long-term driver of this unfolding humanitarian catastrophe is climate change. And on that front, Canada’s record of contributing to this crisis is far more significant than our wretched record so far in resettling Syrian refugees. Read more

Keywords: Global Climate Change - Refugees

The problem of Greece is not only a tragedy. It is a lie.

According to John Pilger, the leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind - but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel. Like the Labour Party in Britain and its equivalents among former social democratic parties such as the Labor Party in Australia, still describing themselves as “liberal” or even “left”, Syriza is the product of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, schooled in postmodernism. Read more

Keywords: Greece - Syriza

A Zapatista ‘Seminar’ in Chiapas

While the front pages and TV news reports in Mexico are full of accounts of ghastly levels of corruption and violence that would have boggled the imagination of the most jaded pulp fiction writer, in every corner of the country there are spaces where “you breathe a different air,” as the saying is here. Read more

Keywords: Popular Education - Zapatistas


Turning an issue into a campaign

As an organizer, your goal is not just to help members solve their workplace problems but to help them build collective self-confidence and power. A campaign is just a series of steps that help people focus on a common issue, identify a solution, and build pressure on the person with the power to solve the problem. Read More

Keywords: Labour Organizing - Workplace Organizing

People’s History

Niagara-on-the-Lake, September 12, 1837

Hundreds of black Canadians confront British troops attempting to deport Solomon Moseby, an escaped slave from Kentucky, back to the United States. Slavery is illegal in the British Empire, so slaves who reach Upper Canada are supposed to be safe, but U.S. authorities have demanded that Moseby be deported back to the U.S. because he stole a horse from the slaveowner in order to escape. When news of the planned deportation becomes known in late August, blacks encircle the jail in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Upper Canada in order to prevent his removal. When the authorities make their move on September 12, the crowd attacks the troops guarding Moseby and enable him to escape. Two people are killed by the soldiers in the melee, and 40 are arrested.

Keywords: Black History - Ontario History

From the Archives

Salvador Allende: Last Words to the Nation – September 11, 1973

The speech broadcast by Chilean President Salvador Allende at 9:10 am on September 11, 1973, in the midst of the US-sponsored coup d’etat against Chile’s democratically-elected government. Barricaded inside La Moneda, the presidential palace, President Allende died defending Chilean democracy. Read the speech here

See also: Eyewitness Chile: After 30 years

Keywords: Chile - Coups

Waffle Manifesto – September 1969

The founding statement of the Waffle group in the New Democratic Party, launched in 1969. Read more

Keywords: Waffle Movement - Manifestos

Website of the Week: International Institute of Social History

An extensive collection of labour history and social history materials, both physical and online. Includes 128 different labour history journals, extensive women’s history and gender issues collections, image and sound collections including 120,000 posters and 250,000 photographs, and a large collection of audio and video materials. Well-indexed and searchable.

Keywords: Libraries/Archives - People's History

Book of the Week: Rebels, Reds, Radicals: Rethinking Canada’s Left History

Historian Ian McKay looks at the history of the left in Canada as a series of experiments in “living otherwise” -- efforts to work out ways of life and thought strategically opposed to the prevailing liberal-capitalist order. He writes of those who have struggled for a better world and invites us to go forward to make this a reality - the possibility of a post-liberal, post-capitalist democratic society.

Keywords: Canadian History - Left-Wing Politics

Film(s) of the Week: The Labor Films Database

Featuring more than 1,700 films, videos, and film festivals that focus on work, workers, and workers’ issues. Searchable by title, director, actors and/or keywords.

Official website: http://laborfilms.com/

Keywords: Film - Work

Song of the week: Harperman

Harperman is a song [http://harperman.ca] written and performed by Ottawa scientist and folk singer Tony Turner. Singing the song got him suspended from his job as a habitat planning scientist with Environment Canada. A Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along event is taking place on Thursday, September 17th. There will be public “Harperman” sing-alongs in every province on that day, and there will be opportunities for people to participate online from anywhere in Canada. More info:

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Connexions Calendar

September 10, 2015 to September 12, 2015: Ending Mass Incarceration And School-To-Prison Pipeline

September 17, 2015: Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along

A Cross-Canada Harperman Sing-Along – A cross-Canada event taking place on Thursday, September 17th will include a “Harperman” sing-along on Parliament Hill at 2:00 pm Eastern. There will be public “Harperman” sing-alongs in every province on that day, and there will be opportunities for people to participate online from anywhere in Canada. Here is the list of locations: http://harperman.ca/index.php/sing-along-locations/

September 17, 2015 to September 20, 2015: Natural Health Food & Products Conference: CHFA 2015

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We'll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

Sept 8, 1965

Delano Grape Strike: Start of the Delano Grape Strike, a strike, boycott, and secondary boycott led by the United Farm Workers (UFW) against growers of table grapes in California.

Sept 9, 1911

Birth of Paul Goodman: writer, social critic, anarchist, poet. Goodman wrote about a broad range of topics – urban planning, Gestalt therapy, education, militarism, technology, sexuality, and literary criticism. He once commented that “I might seem to have a number of divergent interests – community planning, psychotherapy, education, politics – but they are all one concern: how to make it possible to grow up as a human being into a culture without losing nature. I simply refuse to acknowledge that a sensible and honorable community does not exist.”

September 10, 1897

Latimer massacre: In the Latimer massacre in Pennsylvania, 19 striking coalminers are murdered by sheriff’s deputies, and many others are wounded. Some of the murdered men had originally been brought in as strikebreakers but had subsequently joined the striking workers. Most of those killed were shot in the back.

September 11,1973

Coup in Chile: Chilean President Salvador Allende is overthrown and killed in a bloody coup orchestrated by the U.S. government through the CIA, and carried out by General Augusto Pinochet. Thousands are murdered, tortured, and ‘disappeared’ in the ensuing reign of terror.


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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here

Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Yawching Rickwood for their work on this newsletter.


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