Balloons are a threat to civil order. The police must protect themselves from you with riot gear. You are a bad person.
You. You enemy of the state. You radical environmentalist. Or worker rights advocate. Or whatever cause you are promoting.
You. You are a threat to order. When you gather, you are a threat to civil order. You may escalate your activities to the criminality you harbour in your mind.
You. You are a threat to unquestioned profitability for the 1%.
Why? Because you think Walmart is a bad employer. And maybe even bad for the planet.
So this (Read more…)
Values, discrimination, the Swedish way: all these ideas are in the mix as stakeholders of IKEA’s treatment of workers express how they feel about IKEA’s plan to break its union in Richmond, BC.
We’ve been writing about this new front line in Canada’s war against workers for months now. But the members of Teamsters Local 213 have been living it.
This is the Christmas season. If you intend to buy anything IKEA-ish in Richmond, Coquitlam, elsewhere in Canada or around the world, spend some time finding another vendor then tweet or Facebook IKEA letting them know you’re part of the (Read more…)
Greed is a powerful thing. It motivates the greedy to convince workers that they should hate any efforts to make their work better and reduce the level of abuse and oppression they suffer.
If you’d like a list of why they want us to hate our unions, click through to enjoy this brilliant cartoon.
And while you enjoy this light, graphic representation, remember that the list isn’t exclusive. We can also add in this idea that non-union workers are trained to hate unionized workers who make more money than them. The goal, apparently, is that if you’re suffering with pay (Read more…)
The finance minister and his tax evasion buddy.
The latest nonsense of the hyper-rich 1% and their political compradors has reminded us once again, that the rich hide their money from government to avoid paying taxes…because they’re rich and can get their way.
Part of how they do that is by using language against us to spin how we even think of community building, on a local or national level. Here’s how:
Firstly, as the brilliant Trish Hennessy puts it:
Tax havens: wrong term.
It’s tax evasion.
Tax havens make tax evasion sound like a temporary holiday, whereas for many (Read more…)
The Prime Minister’s slow clap.
It could be racism.
It could be concern that over time too many first nations citizens may get too educated and start demanding more in terms of inter-national justice.
It could be just that he thinks keeping government spending down is good for his neoliberal agenda and that first nations will likely just roll over and take it when he sends his dismissive, condescending unilateral funding fiats.
But sometimes I wonder about Harper’s soul. How do you sleep at night knowing that a certain race/culture of people get 1/3 to 1/2 less education funding. (Read more…)
British Columbia’s Child Support Clawback for Children of Parents on Government Assistance Hurts Kids
When I bring up the issue of the child support clawback in British Columbia affecting single parents on temporary or disability assistance through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, most people are completely unaware of this mean-spirited policy. It requires that all single parents receiving assistance report the child support they bring in on a monthly basis so the Ministry can then deduct it, 100%, dollar-for-dollar, off of their next monthly cheque.
This is problematic for so many reasons. The most obvious is (Read more…)
Banks as predators? Surely, no!
Temporary foreign workers have become a lightning-rod topic in Canadian labour in recent months with the high-profile news of the Royal Bank of Canada replacing staff with TFWs. But the issue is not about RBC, which is merely the latest flashpoint. The temporary foreign worker issue is wrapped up in a number of intersecting topics, including minimum and living wages, the role of the market in setting wages, immigration and job training.
Despite some of the spin we are seeing, the TFW controversy is not an issue of jobs for Canadians versus foreigners, and it (Read more…)
” It’s the Economy, Stupid.” [Or oil, or gas, or energy...]
If you think you know why Syria is happening [and happening NOW], you’re probably missing a number of the elements at play. Don’t expect western governments or the corporate media to enumerate these.
Sure, chemical weapons are horrible, but so are cluster bombs [called weapons of mass destruction in slow motion], which the USA has not abandoned. So we need to pay some mind to that hypocrisy.
Wars aren’t usually wars for better human rights, ideals and democracy. They’re always or almost always about power [even the (Read more…)
What should military service actually be for?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Canada were Canada again?
Wouldn’t it be even better if Canada would step up and be a better Canada than we had ever been in the past?
Wouldn’t it be just spectacular if we could step up and be a world moral leader instead of an economically rapacious war-mongering imperialist?
Here’s a bit about how that could happen: choosing peace, diplomacy and negotiation over death and destruction. First we need to imagine what that would look like:
From Jillian Skeet
Date Tue 5:35 pm
(hypothetical press release) September (Read more…)
Workers in Canada and around the world have been under assault for decades, but most of our recent tactics to stop the bleeding have been ineffective. Are we lazy, complacent, overworked, obedient, compliant, subdued, afraid, docile, or fully tamed and intimidated by the one per cent?
If we don’t get a lot more of our boots on the pavement, and soon, our union density will continue to decline to an impotent level. Just look at the United States. Union density does not have to be zero for workers there to consistently lose against employers and anti-worker legislators. Density just has (Read more…)
Sweatshops ‘R Us!
Ripping off employees by paying them less than a living wage [the Metro Vancouver 2013 living wage is $19,64], all to pad shareholder profits, is the glory of exploitative capitalism!
Long live capitalism!
Oh wait, what happens when your own employees can’t afford to shop at your own store?
That’s what sweatshops are like.
And that’s what The Bay has become. Sign the petition below and let The Bay and its new American owners that living wages matter!
According to its employment website, Hudson’s Bay wants to hire only sales associates with at least two (Read more…)
Well, a new school year is about to begin, so it’s time to analyze just how much destruction the 1% will visit upon public education this year. Defunding, corporatization of curriculum, standardization of curriculum and experience, high-stakes testing, homogenization of experience…you know, the same old nonsense that drove me from teaching high school about a decade ago.
And it’s getting worse.
But who is is this vague 1%? Neoliberal governments and their “apostles,” which includes the BC NDP of the 1990s with some of their “reforms” as well as the usual suspects of the global power elite.
If the right-wing (Read more…)
MexAmeriCanada doesn’t have to be our future.
I think I’m guilty of being a bit slow and uncreative. The bogeyman of deep integration, North American Union, the United States-ification of Canada, the United States OF Canada, and Canada becoming states #51-60 plus three more protectorates is just too simplistic.
We just have an inherent Canadian urge to be colonized. Maybe because it’s all we really know.
It’s not about someone stealing our sovereignty, or losing our sovereignty, we just seem to feel more comfortable as a nation, being someone’s colony. Like we can’t grow up and make our own decisions, (Read more…)
Workplace justice: a pipe dream, or something to build solidarity to fight for?
I had the distinct, and creepy, pleasure of sitting in front of a group of fellows yesterday in, ironically, the cheap seats at the Seattle Mariners game. They were discussing business.
One fellow, who of course may have been speaking out of his butt, detailed a list of business exploits, while the other fellows basked in his glow:
Helping a fellow buy a company from someone later to do time for sideways business practices. That company making a tidy sum through that company from the US Treasury, (Read more…)
You aren’t middle class if you own a cottage. Remember that.
If I need to single-handedly reboot the Occupy Movement for this one, I’ll do it, I tell ya [emphasis is mine]:
A month ago, I had a conversation with Deb Hutton, wife of PC leader Tim Hudak, who said the chances of the Conservatives picking up any of the five seats up for grabs on byelection night were pretty remote.
“They’re all Liberal seats,” she said. “It’s summer time when our most loyal supporters are away at the cottage. We’re obviously going to give it our best, but….” (Read more…)
If we were harmless, the riot cops would stay home.
It’s Friday. It’s been a long week. Like most weeks. We are taught to fit in and obey.
We are told that individuality and the search for social justice will get us in trouble, either by government surveillance or social ostracism.
We speak out, still. We put on our Guy Fawkes masks, or not. We endure trolls online.
But this one’s for you.
If the Occupy Movement were no threat, there wouldn’t have been a massive, coordinated, international effort among the elites, their media and their governments to squash it (Read more…)
Which tax haven is right for you?
Class war is alive and well.
I have this rose-coloured, nostalgic dream of history. Once upon a time we emerged from feudalism with a democratic revolution. All were equal. Well, most.
But the hope of democracy was to rid the world of the despot rule of aristocracy. But then we got corporations. Many of the aristocratic elite ended up entrenching their power through these fake humans. And we still have the aristocrats today. And for centuries, the rest of the elite have wielded power through corporations.
So this year when data was leaked (Read more…)
What continent is this, anyway? And why does it matter?
The arctic ice cap will be fully melting in the next few summers, likely.
There is a lake on top of the ice at the North Pole. Santa is getting worried.
“On August 26, 2012, the Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest value observed during the satellite record.” We know this because scientist, real actual scientists, are studying this, using the Scientific Method[tm] that has been used for hundreds of years.
And as Antarctic ice shelves continue to break apart and slide into the ocean, ice that (Read more…)
The new iconic photo of post-crash Detroit. Listen, can you hear the footsteps of Robocop?
We can’t really blame just the Red Wings. We have to blame the Tigers and the Lions too, but really the 1% who own them.
Detroit is bankrupt. Services will be privatized to privateer leeches. Human beings will lose pension supports, jobs, wages and benefits. The 2008 crash could have been a catalyst for a manufacturing transition to a post-carbon energy infrastructure, but that was squandered.
But amidst all this, we have: stadia! Glorious stadia!
And who put up hundreds of millions for these glorious (Read more…)
A blissful infographic of imaginative paradigm mechanics!
Probably. That’s why really creative paradigm mechanics are thinking outside the box-y sedans to figure out how we could reorient cities and movement in cities with a changed premise: no cars.
Imagine how much parking space we’d free up for human pursuits?
Imagine how much climate change aggravation we could minimize?
Imagine if we had enough transit to make cars in cities unnecessary?
Shuffle City looks at the new possibilities that could arise from cities transitioning away from cars with drivers to cars without drivers.
If cars were put into some constant flow (Read more…)
Things are bad under Prime Minister Harper. They’re getting worse, even since the last time I wrote about Harper’s soft fascism. But how do we measure it? It’s so…subjective, unless you have some kind of benchmark for totalitarian political behaviour.
Luckily we do, at least these three:
This powerful graphic comes from Fascism Anyone?, a Laurence W. Britt piece pasted below. You can find the link here, along with some very thoughtful critiques of the piece. The other piece comes from that eternal credit to humanity, Umberto Eco, Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt, (Read more…)
Solidarity means an attack on one is an offense to all!
So if you have sent your letter to IKEA explaining why you are boycotting them for locking out their Richmond workers for 10 weeks, you may have received this precious reply from the corporation, below. I will re-spin it down there, but first I need to talk about words.
For IKEA, “strike” is Swedish for “lockout.”
It thinks it’s being clever disputing the word, but it has locked out its employees for 10 weeks now. It started as a one-hour lockout after which the workers were invited back, (Read more…)
$3.85 billion in profit is just not enough. Union busting and global greed now!
Gratitude, then and now. It used to include a t-shirt and more, for all employees around the world. Now, union busting.
The best part of the Teamster Local 213 rally in Richmond on Saturday was the humanity: the stage was largely filled with Teamsters telling their stories, showing everyone how this 10 week lockout is affecting them as people, and the “humanity” that IKEA markets itself with around the world.
IKEA made $3.85 billion in profits in 2011. Its founder is worth $52 billion. (Read more…)
Mourning the senseless tragedy.
Today I was very impressed when Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, broke with his almost long-held position of not visiting Lac Megantic.
While he and his wife took the opportunity to participate in staged political photo ops helping out with the Calgary floods, he has avoided Quebec.
Perhaps it was because his party does poorly there.
Perhaps it was because he didn’t want to talk about his addiction to carbon energy production, or how much he has deregulated oil transportation in Canada, or how much oil transport by rail has increased since he’s become prime (Read more…)