Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three Issues, Three Paragraphs

Sudbury Steelworkers who have been on strike since July '09 are kicking some direct action into gear as we speak. Toronto cops have murdered a young Black man. And a musical welcome to David Cameron.

First the strike here in Sudbury. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of details. For months now, protocol at the picket lines has been governed by an injunction that has limited the effectiveness of picketing and allowed some limited resumption of production, though the strike has still been costing Vale Inco buckets of money. The company has been taking steps to develop a sufficient labour force of scabs to, they claim, return to full production. While it is doubtful they could manage full production, the mere threat of bringing in scabs in a major way is -- well, since union recognition in the mines in 1944, that has never happened in Sudbury. Negotiations recently broke down again, and apparently the workers decided that they don't want it to happen now either. So they have been blockading Coleman Mine and Clarabelle Mill. The cops have made it clear that they see it as their job to reopen both sites for the company, but how and when the cops are going to make their (pro-company) move is still up in the air. The protesters need people at both sites, and they will probably need them from now until -- well, it's not clear until when or what. And they need both people who are willing to risk arrest as well as supporters who are not quite ready to take that step. If you are here, if you can go, then GO! (And if you learn anything interesting, send me an email...)

Next is the murder of Alexander Manon, a young Black man who was beaten to death by Toronto police. Mainstream media have apparently been widely reporting that he died of cardiac arrest, with the Toronto Star even claiming that "Paramedics arrived at the scene to find the man with no visible injuries...." But witnesses report that when the young man attempted to run from police, multiple officers severely beat him. He ended up dying at the scene. There was a pool of blood at the scene and his family has since reported that his face showed signs of a serious beating. There is a petition demanding justice, so sign it.

And, finally, the post-election confusion in Britain has been resolved, and the Liberal Democrats have (according to one commentator) decided to guarantee that they will not make significant inroads into core Labour seats for at least another generation by entering into a coalition with the Tories and ensuring David Cameron becomes Prime Minister. Of course, Labour under Blair and Brown was awful. Also, it was likely that whoever won in Britain, Labour included, was going to begin attacking the public sector on a scale far beyond what Margaret Thatcher accomplished -- something that has started in some countries already and will reach the rest in the not too distant future -- but it will be deeper and nastier under the Tories. So here are a couple of punk classics the Thatcher era to welcome David Cameron to office...and even though the outcome of the civil war on the Canadian right in the late 20th century means the label "Tory" no longer quite applies, if Stephen Harper wants to give them a listen, he's welcome to as well. Here are Riot Squad and Oi Polloi:

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