New Podcast: Your Everyday Anarchist

An unassuming public servant by day and a boisterous activist by night – he’s Your Everyday Anarchist.
In what we hope to be a regular podcast feature, Fellow Workers of the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW will be reading op-eds written on our member’s behalf. Whether it be politics, economics, activism, or anything in between, Your Everyday Anarchist has something to say about it… and he’s not one to mince words. 
You’ll laugh, you’ll nod your head, you’ll clench your fists… and you just might learn something along the way.
Our flagship episode covers issues of self-defence and resistance tactics in general. It’s aptly entitled “Be a Lover and a Fighter”, and Your Everyday Anarchist isn’t pulling any punches.

Your Everyday Anarchist Episode 1 – Be a Lover and a Fighter

During COVID-19, IWW Offers Wage Theft Support to Non-Members

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Ottawa-Outaouais IWW has opened up wage theft support to all non-members in the region. The decision has come after multiple years of dealing with employers who have become comfortable withholding holiday, overtime, termination and severance pay, or outright not paying employees for their work. While we have seen this prevalent prior to an international public health crisis, we know now is a critical time for working people to be properly compensated.

Learn more about what wage theft is and how to get involved with the IWW with wage recovery here.

An Ottawa-Outaouais IWW member hands out leaflets during a 2014 wage theft picket.

Statement of Endorsement of Keep Your Rent Ottawa

Tenants, Workers: Same Struggle

The Ottawa-Outaouais General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) hereby endorses Keep Your Rent Ottawa in solidarity with all tenants unable to pay rent or are participating in a rent strike for the duration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

As many are aware, the unemployment rates across Ottawa have increased from roughly 4.3% in January 2020 to 6.3% in April. The financial support options available to unemployed and underemployed Canadians in this unprecedented disaster is limited to either a paltry $2000/month payment by the Federal Government—the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB)—or Employment Insurance (EI), which is paid at approximately 55% of a workers’ income, though applicable only if the worker is determined to be eligible.

The Ottawa-Outaouais IWW would like to take this moment to emphasize that landlords are not our fellow working class. Landlords exploit the hardship of working-class people in a predatory for-profit housing market, on land that they inherited from the theft of unceded territories of the Algonquin Nation. 

Despite Ottawa’s growing vacancy rates, landlords have callously hiked rental rates and living costs that continue to push many low-wage workers out of adequate and affordable housing. This bleak situation forces the working class to either choose between buying food, medicine, or saving their hard-earned money for paying off debt or ensuring emergency funds are available in times of crisis such as these times we live in.

Furthermore, we have heard of rent strike organizers successfully taking action against landlords engaging in unsafe practices, such as entering tenants’ units to harass or intimidate them, showing their units to potential renters, and increasing rent prices during the pandemic in the hopes of forcing out their tenants in favour of more profitable clients. We applaud these actions and we anticipate that these stories will spark organized resistance to tenants’ inadequate living conditions.

The IWW is a labour union, and our union internationally has been a leader in organizing fellow workers against the injustices of capitalism, whether it is on the job or in our communities. We encourage renters in the city to talk to their fellow tenants, to support each other day-to-day, and to create a union that fights for rental freezes or reductions and for better living conditions, and that includes keeping rent from parasitic landlords.

When we build a strong and vocal union of tenants, we can collectively take appropriate and effective action and give all Canadians access to the most fundamental of all human rights—the right to shelter.

“An Injury to One is an Injury to All.”

To contact the COVID-19 Ottawa Rent Strike:

KeepYourRent.com
(343) 883-5608
OttawaKeepYourRent@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ottawarentstrike
https://twitter.com/covidrent

Book Review: A Brief History of Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is the intensification of the influence and dominance of capital; it seeks to transfer power in the workplace from the forces of labour to the holders of capital, trying to strengthen, and restore the power of economic elites. As David Harvey notes: neoliberalism and the neoliberal state have been able to reverse the various political and economic gains made under welfare state policies and institutions. Progressively, the neoliberal regimes will erode institutions of political democracy since “the freedom of the masses would be restricted in favour of the freedom of the few“. Nicos Poulantzas believed that neoliberals do not support the return to laissez-faire capitalism, since the state continues to play a major role in the reproduction of capital. What they want to achieve is the collapse of welfare state which was the most important people’s victory in the 20th century.

The first historical instance of this “revolution from above“, according to Harvey, is Pinochet’s Chile. The infamous general overthrew Salvador Allende’s socialist Chilean government in a coup d’état in 1973 with CIA involvement and US government officials’ support. As Henry Kissinger remarked: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” The coup was followed by a massive neoliberalism of the state. Chilean economy was deregulated and privatized including the breakdown of state-controlled pension systems, state industries, and state banks. Even though Inflation was reduced and GDP growth spiked, massive inequalities emerged.

Noam Chomsky supports that the crucial principle of neoliberalism is the undermining mechanisms of social solidarity, mutual support and popular engagement in determining policy. As aforementioned, in the 1970s, welfare state, an achievement of the working class in the post war world, was becoming the target of economic elites, who were trying to re-establish the conditions of capital accumulation and to restore their power. According to Harvey, this revolution from above required a change in the political culture and social landscape that would spawn a widespread support for the new political project. Individual rights, property rights, a culture of individualism and consumerism arose first in Thatcher’s UK. Thatcher success in the, as Harvey notes “construction of consent“, turned her aphorism “there is no society, only individuals” into a reality.

His book is one of the best efforts for unmasking the rhetoric of neoliberalism and trying to spawn criticism against this barbarism. Harvey hopes that social movements will form a “broad-based oppositional program” that would gain political support and move society toward a social and economic change.

Book Review: Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian

Let’s mention some facts:

In 1598 Juan de Onate and his troops killed over eight hundred Acoma in what is now New Mexico. By 1630 the Puritan settlers were launching attacks against the Pequot tribe in 1637, massacring six to seven hundred men, women and children. For two hundred years, merciless wars frequently broke out throughout North America. In 1832 one hundred and fifty Sauk and Meskwaki (Fox tribe) in Wisconsin were killed. In 1863 there was the Bear River massacre where two hundred and fifty Shoshoni were killed. In 1864 there was the Sand Creek massacre and in 1890 the infamous Wounded Knee, where over two hundred Lakota were slaughtered.

Michael Parenti, in his book Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies, describes the sobering devastation: “Estimates of the native population of America prior to the European conquest vary from 12 million to 18 million… but after four centuries of warfare, massacre, disease and dispossession, the original population was reduced by over 90 percent…whole tribes were completely exterminated or whittled down to scattered numbers.”

Why did this unmatched and largely unrecognized holocaust happen? Thomas King is clear: “Native history in North America as writ has never really been about Native people. It’s about Whites and their needs and desires… the Lakota didn’t want Europeans in the Black Hill, but Whites wanted the gold that was there. The Cherokee didn’t want to move from Georgia to Oklahoma, but Whites wanted the land. The Cree of Quebec weren’t at all keen on vacating their homes to make way for the Great Whale project, but there’s excellent money in hydroelectric power”. Native people were in the way of what the Whites coveted, and so the Whites needed them to disappear. In other words, the native peoples were slaughtered with merciless deliberation so that their land might be taken for the use of Whites.

Colonialism and its consequences in the lives of North America’s native peoples is the core of this astonishing book. Policies, treaties, agreements, government’s decisions and tribal reactions comprise the rest. The Inconvenient Indian is a book we all must read.