1-day gen.strike London,Canada

Jim Jaszewski jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Thu Dec 7 03:33:27 MST 1995

	Sorry -- due to mysterious glitches and crashes at our Freenet,
the below got sent out before I was finished composing it. 

On Tue, 5 Dec 1995, Spoon Collective wrote:
> A one-day General Strike in the city of London, Ontario is planned
> for Monday December 11, 1995.  This move is led by Canadian Auto 
> Workers union, as the most powerful private sector union in Ontario,
> and is said to be well supported by public service unions and by the
> rank and file generally.
> It is said that there are 65,000 union members in London, which is
> a city of about half a million population (I'm guessing).  At least
> 100 busloads of union members and supporters from other parts of the 
> province are planning to be there for the rallies and mass pickets.
> This London strike is planned as the first in a series of rotating
> one-day strikes in different cities.  Support actions will occur
> in other places.
	People are going from Hamilton, Ontario -- London is in Southern
Ontario too -- but our group will be staying here and picketing a local
Tory MPP office -- and it's leading to disagreements already, which I'll
cover below: 

> These rotating strikes are supported by most of the union leadership
> in the province,  as a means to protest government anti-labor laws,
> layoffs, and undermining of wages by cutting of social programs.
> The urban general strikes are the strongest action seen here in 
> many years by trade unions.
> It is said that the leadership of United Steelworkers and United
> Food and Commercial Workers are opposed to general strikes, and 
> are focusing on the next election (1998?) and the NDP party as 
> the solution.  

 	The stupid reformist crap is starting already.  Our group has ALREADY
been criticized by some of these reformist types for `undermining' the
effort in London Ont., by having our sympathy picket here in Hamilton at
the same time (we're expected to only hop on a bus and do as we're told)
-- a TOTAL misreading of the situation (so _early_ on too! :)
 	We've ALSO been accused of undermining the QUITE successful rally
against the bastard Premier of Ontario, when he came to Hamilton 2 
weeks ago...  Not a Tory I saw at the fundraiser wasn't shitting their
pants/panties..!  :> The reformists almost blew the rally by calling it
too early and at City Hall, instead of in front of the hotel where the
cocktail event was being held. 

	The `almost blowing it' part was the lukewarm leadership and their
attempt at every turn to keep everything within safe bourgeois bounds... 
Because the event was called too early, and the weather was inclement,
most people left BEFORE the event was over, and we thus lost a bit (but
JUST a bit, thankfully) of the psychological edge... Some of us stayed
until the bitter end, and got to see the riot squad loading their gear
into the backs of their vans from the back entrance of the hotel...  :>

	The pigs were happy (relieved) because there was little violence
(some Kraft dinner was thrown at a few of the more asshole-ish Tories),
but they were quite taken-aback, all-in-all...  :>

	Luckily, there was a great turnout! -- over 1000 people, though of
course it was estimated at half that size and taken for Truth by the media
(which, of course, underplayed its significance) -- even by the student
media (oh well -- gotta call and talk to them...) -- and the people mostly
ignored the rather ridiculous efforts of the reformists to `peacefully'
channel our movements in the march down the main drag to the hotel...

	Instead of leaving 2 lanes open for traffic on THE main artery in
Hamilton -- the people took it completely over!  :> Instead of marching
around to a sidestreet by the hotel as the pigs had gotten these
reformists to agree to -- the people marched around the more natural way
-- and took over ANOTHER main artery!!  It was GREAT! (and no thanks to
the reformists -- who looked ridiculous in their florescent vests, and
were generally and rightfully ignored by all the people who'd showed up to
`greet' the Premier... :)

	Many THOUSANDS of motorists saw it all, and HUNDREDS honked their
horns..!  Our show of force in taking over the streets _completely_ was a
valuable object lesson to _many_ people: the real power they possess while
united in action. 
> Health and daycare workers unions, facing large cuts, are mobilizing
> with large public support. 
> Meanwhile, rank and file union members and supporters are growing
> a movement for a larger provincial or national general strike
> with larger demands.
> Several thousand signs, buttons and leaflets have been distributed
> in Ontario in recent weeks calling for an indefinite shut down to 
> roll back the cuts to social programs and improve benefits for 
> workers.  Activists are spreading the campaign to other union 
> members, student activists are also involved as well as unemployed.
> The campaign is mostly self-financed as picket signs and buttons
> are sold for $1 each,  indicating the widespread support for the
> idea.

	I gotta get more buttons...  :>

> The trade union leaders, however, are not yet supporting the call
> for a larger general strike.  A CUPE Health union local in Ottawa 
> has endorsed it  (CUPE has more autonomy for local groups than 
> most trade unions.)  Ottawa IWW branch is supporting the campaign.

	This is what worries me -- but we'll see which way the wind blows
come December 11th..!!

|                    stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal                   |
|             if you agree copy these 3 sentences in your own sig            |
|         more info: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm          |
| Jim Jaszewski <jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>     PGP Public Key available. |
| http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html                      |

     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list