Archive for March, 2016

“On March 21st, members of Sanctuary Health, a network of healthcare workers and organizers, met for a vigil in front of the Fraser Health Authority Offices, one of BC’s largest health-care providers, in Surrey. They were there to honour the victims of a practice which puts migrants without permanent residency status at risk within the healthcare system.

Undocumented immigrants are often afraid to access services, like healthcare, because they’re likely to be referred to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and deported. A Freedom of Information request made by the community group revealed that between January of 2014 to October 2015, staff at Fraser Health’s facilities made 558 referrals to the Canada Border Services Agency. Fraser Health says they contact CBSA to determine billing rates since nonresidents are charged more. But doing so keeps many people away.

The FOI also showed that Fraser Health’s policy was to have staff – physicians, nurses, and social workers – work with the financial department in facilitating deportations of undocumented patients.

Knowing this, many avoid getting care. There are reports of people with expired tourist visas being visited at their hospital bedside by CBSA officials.

“We started to get phone calls from construction workers,” says Byron Cruz, a member of Sanctuary Health in an interview with Rankandfile.ca: “They say “I had this situation with my arm and I don’t want to go to the hospital because they’ll call immigration.””

Sanctuary Health was formed to deal with such situations.

“With some clients, we give direct nursing care such as dressing changes, wound care, assessment or just comforting them through a difficult time,” Sarah Reaburn, a nurse volunteering with Sanctuary Health said. The volunteers do this work while depending on free clinic space and supplies. Sanctuary Health volunteers also let people know about other places they can receive care, continuously connecting patients with trusted healthcare workers.

“We send a message to our network explaining the situation, then any of the nurses or healthcare workers can respond and say they can see the patient at the clinic, outside of the system,” says Cruz. “We had a construction guy with an eye injury who we arranged to meet a doctor at the corner of a street. We had another situation with a guy who needed stitches. We sent a message to the network and the first person who answered was a veterinarian.””

– Daniel Tseghay, “Hospitals are not border checkpoints,Rankandfile.ca. March 30, 2016.

Read Full Post »

“An Ottawa man is being told to pay more than $190,000 in back taxes despite an arrangement through an outsourcing company that he and thousands of other indigenous employees believed made them exempt from paying personal income tax on income earned off-reserve.

Miche Jette received a notice from the Canada Revenue Agency last week informing him he owes $191,471.97 in income tax for work in Ottawa that began more than a decade ago.

“It’s urgent. It eats at me. I can’t sleep. I’m miserable. I’m depressed. I cry a lot. I’m angry. I’m sad. And I want it dealt with,” he said.

Jette was hired through the outsourcing company, Native Leasing Services, to work at the now-defunct advocacy group Aboriginal Healing Foundation in 1999.

As part of the O.I. Group of Companies, the outsourcing company’s head office is based in Six Nations of the Grand River, a First Nation near Brantford, Ont.

Off-reserve tax exemption

Because status Indians are exempt under Section 87 of the Indian Act from taxation on income earned on-reserve, the company’s objective was to offer First Nations people the same incentive to work for indigenous organizations off-reserve.

It seemed like an ideal situation to Jette, who grew up in Ottawa and is a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation in southern Ontario.

The Canada Revenue Agency notified Miche Jette that his wages would be garnisheed to pay more than $190,000 in back taxes.

“If it’s all aboriginal, then it’s tax-free,” he said. “So was I down for it? Yeah.”

But after a series of court challenges in the early 2000s, CRA started targeting individuals like Jette, demanding taxes on income earned off-reserve, even if they were working for aboriginal organizations.

He learned that his current wages as a receptionist and front-line worker at the Centretown Community Health Centre would be garnisheed until the debt is paid off. He makes roughly $2,000 a month.”

– Waubgeshig Rice, “CRA orders First Nations man to pay $190K in back taxes,” CBC NewsMarch 29, 2016

Read Full Post »

The plastic we discard into the ocean often makes its way into the mouths and stomachs of sea creatures.

A post-mortem of the creatures, found ashore near the town of Toenning in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, showed their stomachs were full of plastic.

This plastic included a 13-metre-long (43-foot-long) fisherman’s net and a 70-centimetre (28-inch) piece of plastic from a car.

The sperm whales probably didn’t die by being poisoned by plastic, however.

Scientists thought it was likely they perished from heart failure due to starvation.“

These findings show us the results of our plastic orientated society,” Schleswig-Holstein environment Minister Robert Habeck told the Daily Mail.

“Animals inadvertently consume plastic and plastic waste which causes them to suffer and at worst, causes them to starve with full stomachs.”

– Helena Horton, “Post-mortem on thirteen dead sperm whales finds their stomachs full of plastic,” The Telegraph. March 29, 2016.

Read Full Post »

“Pikangikum — which has one fire truck, but no water to make it useful — is in a state of shock, said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, and “trying to come to grips with the magnitude of the tragedy” that occurred Tuesday night in the fly-in reserve about 500 miles northwest of Thunder Bay.

While police have not released the exact number of victims, Robert Nault, a local member of parliament, told the media the death toll on one family had reached nine. Three of the victims were children.

The deaths are devastating for the already embattled community, which has made headlines over the past few years because of its high youth suicide rate.

Politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, offered their condolences to the community on Wednesday.”

– Tamara Khandaker, “A Fire Killed Nine People on a Canadian Reserve With One Fire Truck, But No Water,” Vice News, March 30, 2016

Read Full Post »

“On the morrow of the putsch, the Ruhr stood in the van of the armed struggle
and the organisation of workers’ power. In a number of places, a network of
workers’ councils and action committees had taken power. The action
committee in Hagen was a genuine revolutionary military leadership which
could call on 100,000 armed workers. The workers’ units went on the attack
on 18 March, and the Reichswehr pulled back its scattered forces, one of
which left behind for the workers of Düsseldorf 4,000 rifles, 1,000 machine-
guns, cannon, mortars and ammunition. Although the workers in the Ruhr
appeared to be the masters during the following week, they were so far ahead
of their comrades in the rest of the country that they were dangerously isolated.
Social Democrats, Independents and even Communists everywhere else had
willingly or unwillingly accepted the situation created by the return to work
and the breakdown of the discussions about forming a workers’ government.
The delegates from the Ruhr, Wilhelm Düwell on 21 March, and Graul on
the 23rd, described to the Berlin strike committee the situation in their region
and the danger created by the shortage of food. On 23 March, the Zentrale
sent Wilhelm Pieck to the scene. 

Political divisions ran deep. The committee
in Hagen was formed of Majority Social Democrats, Independents and two
Communists, Triebel and Charpentier. However, their party had just disavowed
them, because they agreed to open negotiations without being mandated to
do so. In Essen the executive committee, which was under Communist
influence, reacted to Hagen’s support for negotiations by considering how
to outflank its committee.
On 18 March, the action committee in Hagen called on workers who were
not armed to return to work. On 20 March, it made known its demands in
respect of the Reichswehr to General von Watter, who had waited until 16
March to dissociate himself from von Lüttwitz: these were that the Reichswehr
be disarmed and withdrawn from the whole industrial region, and that a
militia be formed under the control of the workers’ organisations. In the
meantime, ‘public order would be ensured by armed formations of workers’. Bauer replied by telegraph that these conditions were not acceptable, because
von Watter and his forces had not taken the side of the putsch. The Ministers
Giesberts and Braun came to the support of Severing, the Reich’s Commissioner,
in negotiations aimed at an agreement based on the ‘nine points of the trade

The talks opened in Bielefeld on 23 March in the presence of a vast
gathering of representatives of the councils in the principal cities, several
mayors and the representatives of the workers’ parties and trade unions,
including Charpentier and Triebel, the two Communist members on the Hagen
action committee. A small commission drew up a statement which all the
participants finally approved on 24 March. The representatives of the
government confirmed in it that they agreed with the programme of the trade
unions, and that they accepted a temporary collaboration between the military
authorities and the workers’ representatives whilst the terms of the agreement
were fulfilled. Josef Ernst was attached to Severing and General von Watter. It was expected that, in a first stage, the workers would retain under arms a
limited number of men whom the authorities would control, and who would
be recognised as auxiliary police. Most of the workers’ arms would be handed
in, and fighting was to stop immediately. 

These agreements were not respected in practice. Nonetheless, Wilhelm
Pieck, who learned that they had been signed when he arrived in Essen,
insisted that an armistice must be enforced which would enable the workers
to retain their arms, and to organise solidly the militia which had provisionally
been conceded to them. But he failed to convince the members of the
executive council in Essen, who did not regard themselves as bound by an
agreement in which they had had no say. Moreover, the men from Duisburg
and Mülheim, on the Left of this committee which the KPD(S) controlled and
under the influence of the opposition Communists, together with the members
of the powerful local new ‘unions’, amongst whom anarchists had real influence,
denounced the ‘traitors’ who had signed, and called for the struggle to be
continued. There was a crowd of rival revolutionary authorities, six or seven
‘military leaderships’, and each was trying to outflank the others.

On 24 March, the Essen executive council met in the presence of Josef Ernst
and of a ‘front-line’ delegate from Wesel, where the workers were attacking
the barracks. The representatives from Mülheim condemned any armistice
in advance, but admitted that they were short of ammunition. The council
refused to recognise the agreements, at which point the Hagen committee
declared that it was dissolved, and repeated its order that fighting must end.
This decision was ineffectual. On the next day, 25 March, a meeting was
held, again in Essen, of delegates of seventy workers’ councils in the Ruhr,
with the principal leaders of the ‘Red Army’. Pieck spoke to emphasise that
the agreements offered no guarantees, and he suggested that the workers
should retain their arms in the meantime, although he warned against
provoking fights. The assembly elected a central committee formed of ten
Independents, one Majority Social Democrat and four Communists. Pieck
said: ‘We have not succeeded in convincing the front-line comrades that it
would be better to stop fighting.’ 

Two days later, however, the central council in Essen decided, against the
opinion of its military leaders but in the light of the general situation, to
demand that the government open armistice negotiations.  The next day,
there was a conference in Hagen of delegates of the three workers’ parties.
Pieck spoke there to the effect that the situation was not ripe for a conciliar
republic, but that they should fight to arm the proletariat, to disarm the
bourgeoisie, and to reorganise and re-elect the workers’ councils.  The decision
was taken to negotiate, but also to prepare to resume the general strike in
the event of an attack from the Reichswehr. A second meeting of the councils,
which was called for the 28th by the Essen central council and at which Levi
was present, confirmed this position.  But on the same day, Hermann Müller
told the central council that he demanded as a precondition for any negotiations
that the illegal authorities be wound up and the arms be handed in. 

Fighting continued during these days, and the central council did not
succeed in imposing throughout the industrial region sufficient authority to
make its policies effective. In Wesel, the barracks had been under siege for
several days, and the ‘Red Army’ chiefs in Wesel issued fiery summonses
to battle which the central council criticised as ‘adventurist’. In Duisburg
and Mülheim, ‘unionist’ elements threatened to sabotage the industrial
installations and to ‘destroy the plant’ in the event of an advance by troops. 

A revolutionary executive committee, installed in Duisburg under the
authority of the ultra-leftist Wild, decided to seize bank accounts and all
foodstuffs, and called for the workers’ councils to be elected exclusively by
workers ‘who stand for the dictatorship of the proletariat’. Incidents began
to break out between workers of opposed tendencies, supporters or adversaries
of the armistice, and partisans or opponents of sabotage. A member of the
opposition, Gottfried Karrusseit, issued inflammatory proclamations, and
signed them as ‘Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army’. Pieck treated him
as a ‘crazed petty bourgeois’. 

The central council in Essen was in no better position to guarantee a cease-fire than the Hagen action committee had been a few days earlier. General
von Watter took advantage of this disunity and the internal differences in the
workers’ camp. He demanded from the Essen leaders that within 24 hours
they hand in to him four heavy guns, 10 light guns, 200 machine-guns, 16
mortars, 20,000 rifles, 400 boxes of artillery shells, 600 mortar bombs and
100,000 cartridges. If the arms and ammunition were not handed over to him
within the time limit, he would regard the workers’ leaders as having refused o disarm their forces, and having broken the agreement. The Essen council
replied to this provocative ultimatum by calling for a general strike. 

On 30 March, delegates from the Essen council were in Berlin, where they
took part in a meeting which included the leaders of all the trade unions and
workers’ parties, including Pieck and Levi. They unanimously decided to
demand from the Müller government that it take measures to ensure that the
Bielefeld agreement was respected, and that the military authorities were
rendered harmless. Five representatives, including Levi, were received by
Chancellor Müller, and demanded from him that General von Watter be
recalled.129 Their effort was in vain. The Chancellor replied that the agreement
had been one-sidedly broken, and he used the robberies, seizures of bank
accounts and threats of sabotage to justify ‘the maintenance of order’.

When Pieck returned to Essen, he found a state of extreme confusion. A
majority of the members of the central council had gone to Münster to negotiate
with Severing, and nearly all of them had been arrested by the army on the
way. Nonetheless, another general assembly of the councils for the industrial
region was held in Essen on 1 April, with 259 representatives from 94 councils. Pieck, an Independent, Oettinghaus, and the representative from Mülheim,
Nickel, reported on the events in Berlin, and the assembly adopted a position
on the armistice conditions. It issued an appeal to defend and develop the
network of workers’ councils. 

On 3 April, von Watter’s troops began their advance. They met only sporadic
resistance because the confusion and disagreement between different leaders
paralysed every slight attempt at coordinating the defence. The behaviour
of the soldiery when they were reoccupying the coalfield was such as to provoke the anger even of Severing himself. Soon, military courts were
passing heavy prison sentences on militant workers accused of crimes or
misdemeanours which were really requisitions or measures of struggle. A
month after the putsch had been crushed by the general strike, the accomplices
of the putschists took ample revenge in the Ruhr. 

The events of March 1920 were to have far-reaching effects. The Reichswehr
had restored order, and the crisis in the workers’ movement seemed to be
reaching its peak. The Zentrale’s vacillations, its evasions and its turns had
prevented the KPD(S) from reaping the rewards it might have expected from
the event. However, it was to try to deepen the crisis which surged up again
in the Social-Democratic Parties.”

– Pierre Broue, The German Revolution, 1917-1923. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006, pp. 372-377.

Photographs all show the ‘Red Army’ of the Rhineland during the March 1920 fighting. Sources are, from top to bottom: 1) The Rhineland during the World War. 2) RF News. 3) South German Photo Archive. 4) Getty. 5) Otto Dix, “Streetfighting.” Photo of destroyed 1920 art. Art for a Change.

Read Full Post »

“Marie Henein’s brother and Justice William Horkins’ son work at the same firm, Cassels Brock, CANADALAND has learned. To our knowledge, this relationship was not publicly disclosed before the Ghomeshi trial began.

Lawyer Peter Henein is a partner at Cassels Brock and is a part of the firm’s Advocacy Group. Lawyer Chris Horkins is an associate in the same group. The firm itself has “more than 200 lawyers based in Toronto and Vancouver,” according to its website.

According to a senior partner at Cassels Brock, Chris works “with and for Peter.” He said the Advocacy Group includes 39 or 40 lawyers.“I guess we prefer to say ‘with him,’ but he works with and for him,” the partner said.

As a Cassels Brock partner, Peter Henein assumedly has influence over the future of Chris Horkins’s career at their firm, as any of the firm’s partners would.  

Some don’t think this is an issue. “This relationship is too tenuous to require acknowledgement or to create any problems,” said Clayton Ruby, a lawyer who deals with criminal law. Others we spoke to echoed this sentiment, and said entanglements like this are very common in Toronto’s small and interconnected legal community.

David Tanovich, a law professor at the University of Windsor who writes about ethics said, “No person looking at these facts realistically and practically would conclude that there is the slightest chance the judge would be unable to decide the case fairly simply because his son works in the same large law firm as defence counsel’s brother.” He added that in his opinion to publish a story that would inform the public about this relationship would be “irresponsible.”

But a Toronto lawyer, who asked that his name not be used, said these common overlaps between lawyers and judges is themselves a problem. He is concerned about the optics of the relationship. He feels it should have been disclosed.

“I don’t actually think this affected Justice Horkins’ view of the case, his judgement, or the way he decided on the case, but I do think lawyers and judges have an obligation to the public for there to be an appearance that justice is being done and there’s an appearance justice can be done in a neutral and fair way,” he said.

He also said “every time the judge allowed Henein to pick away at complainants a little bit over Crown objection, someone could have been wondering, ‘why is he letting her do that?’ I think the victims would have like to know.”

He recognized conflicts are an issue lawyers have to deal with all the time but said especially in a high-profile case like Ghomeshi’s, “When you have a situation that puts a justice in a potential conflict or a potential apprehension of a conflict, that’s a problem.”

– Jane Lytvynenko, “Ghomeshi Judge’s Son Works for Marie Henein’s Brother,CANADALAND. March 30, 2016.

Read Full Post »

The Liberals have no plans to make Canada’s employment insurance fund independent of the federal government, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Thursday.

“I think the current system works,” he said in a round-table interview with The Canadian Press.

Morneau said new measures to help the unemployed are included in his recently tabled budget.

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois, however, have long wanted the fund to be independent to prevent governments from using surpluses to reduce budget deficits or pay down debt.

Employment insurance surpluses were $3.5 billion in 2014 and $2.2 billion in 2015, with the money going directly into government coffers.

The government predicts an EI surplus of $1.2 billion in 2016 and a deficit in 2017 when the Liberals plan to introduce a reduction in premiums.

Contributions to the EI fund will be lowered that year to $1.61 per $100 earned from $1.88 — a sharper decrease than the Liberals promised during the election campaign.“

– The Canadian Press, “Bill Morneau rejects making employment insurance fund independent,” CBC News, March 24, 2016

My pal Doug Nesbitt’s comment:

“Liberals and Tories continue to plunder our EI program for their pet projects. The EI surplus was $3.5 billion in 2014 and $2.2 billion in 2015. Only 40 percent of unemployed are now eligible for EI benefits compared to about 80 percent before the Liberals gutted eligibility in the early/mid 1990s. Those E surpluses are being cycled into general government revenues and are now financing Trudeau’s “middle class” tax cuts: the income bracket benefiting is higher than about 63% of Canadian workers’ incomes.”

Read Full Post »

“13 arrested for blocking entry to timber mill / Dioxin discharges cloud mill’s expansion plans,” The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon. March 27, 1989. Pages 19 & 20

Read Full Post »

March 26, 2016: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM (cfrcradio). Music by Coil, Minimal Man, Blanka, liefhall, Eyeballs, The (Hypothetical) Prophets, Dreamboy, Clock DVA, Taylor Rouss, and more. Tune in at 101.9 FM, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or download the finished show at cfrc.ca.

Thanks to algebradebaldor for the John Maus suggestion

Willis Earl Beal – “This Way” Through The Dark
Blood Music – “Speak Like Violence” Blood Music (2013)
Minimal Man – “Loneliness” The Shroud Of (1981)
John Maus – “Night of the World (2008)” unreleased
Petra Schelm – “Stagger Into” Split with //Zoo (2013)
Coil – “Dream Photography” Unnatural History (1990)
Blanka – “Maxim” Yasuda

Clock DVA – “Alien Tapes” Black Words on White Paper (1992)
Lief Hall – “Rivers” Voices (2014)
Heather Leigh – “The Return” I Abused Animal
Dreamboy – “Negative Feelings” Negative Feelings (2014)
Eyeballs – “Body” Bad Art
The (Hypothetical) Prophets – “Back To The Burner” Around The World (1982)
Taylor Rouss – “Wires to the Inmates” 44 (2015)

Read Full Post »

“So what happened to the promise of equality in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic read out on Easter Monday 1916 by the poet and rebel leader Patrick Pearse, and addressed to “Irishmen and Irishwomen”? The proclamation declared an end to British rule but it also guaranteed religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens. It made a commitment to universal suffrage, extraordinary for the time, and two years before women in Britain won the vote.

So how did the document’s message become stifled by a conservative culture obsessed with female chastity and purity, and so terrified of glimpsing the outlines of a woman’s body that in the 1950s we were still condemned to conceal ourselves in voluminous cardigans? How did that dream of a radical, free Ireland give way in the succeeding years to Holy Ireland, where generations of women felt they had to hide themselves away?

Historians now tell us that there was a tussle to have women included so pointedly in the proclamation. It was a struggle won by James Connolly – socialist, trade union leader and head of the Irish Citizen Army – and by Constance Markievicz, the prominent feminist and socialist. But even two years later in the general election of 1918, when Sinn Féin swept the boards, it was clear that socialists and feminists had been pushed aside. Most of the dreamers and visionaries had been shot in 1916, and a more pragmatic and conservative leadership concentrated totally on the nationalist goal of separation from the UK. The Irish Labour movement decided to stand aside in 1918 so as not to split the nationalist vote, and the only woman elected was Markievicz.

However, the real change that occurred between 1916 and 1918 was that the Roman Catholic church had finally come on board to back the rebel cause. The church didn’t like radical movements, and individual senior church men actually condemned the 1916 Easter Rising. But anger at the execution of the rising’s leaders swung public opinion firmly behind the rebels, and the Catholic church, ever pragmatic, quietly changed its stance.

The church was by far the largest and most powerful institution in the new Irish state that would emerge six years after the rebellion, and was determined to shape it. The first Free State government tried in its first constitution to reflect a pluralist state, but in Eamon de Valera’s 1937 constitution the church was given a special position, and its social teachings were enshrined. Contraception and divorce were expressly banned – and women were told to stay at home.”

– Olivia O’Leary, “Why, 100 years after the Easter Rising, are Irish women still fighting?Guardian. Opinion, March 25, 2016.

Read Full Post »

“Views Taken During The Enlargement of the Iroquois and Morrisburg Canals.” from J. Smyth Carter, The Story of Dundas: Being A History of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904. Iroquois: The St. Lawrence News Publishing Company, 1905.

“Leaving the various roads, we now come to river navigation, with which
Dundas county is also favored. The grand old St. Lawrence river marks the
southern boundary of Dundas county; a truly magnificent sheet of fresh
water, 700 miles long, and from one to two miles in width, and navigable for
vessels of fourteen feet draught its entire length. Rafting was an early
means of navigation employed by the early settlers to convey their produce,
principally grain and potash, to Montreal. Batteau and Durham boats were
crafts of a later period. A batteau was a flat-bottomed boat about thirty
feet long, with a sail and movable mast. It was propelled by means of iron-shod poles used by the members of the crew. It was customary for several
batteaux to go in company and if a very strong current was met with a number of the men would go ashore and by means of ropes would assist in pulling
the boats along, while the captain of each remained in the stern and by means
of a large paddle piloted the craft. A Durham boat, with rounded bow and
square stern, was larger than a batteau and was steered by a rudder. On each side of the boat was a gangway from which the men directed operations, as its
the case of the batteau. With one end of a stout pole under his arm and the
other on the river bed, the boatmen walked from stem to stern pushing the
craft along in this laborious fashion. An extensive carrying trade was done
by means of batteaux and Durham boats, as steamboats, railroads and even
good wagon roads did not then exist. A trip up the river from Montreal to
Kingston required several days, and Mr. Pringle, referring to the voyage,
says: “Each night the boat’s crew bivouacked on the bank of the river,
cooked and ate their peaspea-soupoup and pork, and slept in the open air.” The run
down the St. Lawrence was both speedy and pleasant, and the happy crews,
chiefly French-Canadian, enlivened the journey with song. A good cargo
was generally aboard, principally of grain and potash. Keen vigilance was
required and some skill in running the rapids, but the river men had become
so schooled in this work that few accidents occurred.

 While the transportation of goods was attended with some success, it was
the traveller who suffered most during the river voyage. A trip on a batteau
was not without its dangers, which is borne out by the testimony of travellers. A voyager writing from abroad, after noting the beauty and grandeur
of the great river, remarked : “Tis a sad waste of life to ascend the St, Lawrence on a batteau.” In order to get on board a small boat was run out to
meet the batteau, which received the voyager with his food and blankets, as
none of these conveniences were provided, but otherwise everything possible
was done by the crew to promote the traveller’s comfort.

 The appearance of steamboats on the St. Lawrence was gladly hailed, as
it ensured quicker travel, safety, and more comfort. The “Accommodation,’
a small craft built by Hon, George Molson, of Montreal, was possibly the first
steamboat to ply Canadian waters. She plied between Montreal and Quebec.
On the upper St, Lawrence the "Ontario” was among the first ; but as early as
1820 the “Dalhousie” was running between Prescott and Kingston. About
1828 the “Neptune” ran between Cornwall and Coteau, and later the “High-
lander” covered the trip. The first steamer, we understand, doing service
along our local frontier was the “Iroquois,” which appeared about 1830. This
boat was strongly built, but was unable to stem the strong currents. At
Rapid du Plat and other points posts were sunken on the bank and as the
“Iroquois” proceeded she was from time to time made fast until enough steam
could be raised to enable her to reach the next post. After a couple of seasons she was replaced by the “Dolphin,” a larger boat, constructed by the
Americans, and by them called the “Black Hawk.” Speaking of the “Dolphin”
Mr. Croil tells us of her descending the St. Lawrence during the fall of ‘38,
having on board a number of rebel prisoners. Ascending the river the following spring she encountered great difficulty in passing the Long Sault, and it was only after much labor and with the aid of twenty yoke of oxen that the
task was accomplished. The “Jack Downing,” with headquarters at Waddington, was another steamer of those days ; but perhaps the most peculiar
craft of all was the “Rapid,” constructed about 1835 through the enterprise of
some of the front farmers. The hull of this boat consisted of two hollow
cigar-shaped cylinders, between which a large wheel operated* She was
fitted up with the engines of the “Jack Downing,” but she proved a failure,
her first trip down the river being her last* The “(Hldersleeve,” the “Kingston” and the “Brockville,” were other early boats which figured prominently.
About the year 1866-7 a boat, named the “Experiment,” was constructed at
Weaver’s Point by Dr. Oasselman without the aid of a ship carpenter. While
lying at the Point it attracted considerable attention.

 Before the construction of the St. Lawrence canals boats had to be towed at
certain points by horses and oxen . At Rapid du Plaut, Pine Tree Point and
at Point Iroquois the current is particularly strong. Many of the farmers
often earned four dollars or more per day when thus employed. Considerable
rivalry existed in this work, and great haste was often made from the harvest
fields when the boats were observed ascending the river. Favor with the
‘captain was a condition eagerly courted by those seeking employment.

The present system of St. Lawrence navigation is superb. Beautiful steamers grace our river, possessed of every convenience and comfort, making
travel a luxury. The Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company’s palace
steamers run tri-weekly between Montreal and Hamilton, from May till November, calling at intervening ports, including Morrisburg and Iroquois. Other
lines of boats also make regular trips and calls during the season. Some idea of the gross tonnage and popularity of the St. Lawrence route may be had
from the fact that 1,700 vessels passed through the Long Lock at Iroquois
during the season of 1903, exclusive of many vessels which passed nap the river
outside , Millions of dollars have been expended by the Dominion Government in canal and other improvements of the St. Lawrence river route, and
millions more could be profitably expended in further dredging, deepening
and widening the canals so that ocean going vessels might load at Port Arthur
and unload at Liverpool without breaking cargo. Until this has been accomplished the great problem of Canadian transportation can never he
properly solved.”

– J. Smyth Carter, The Story of Dundas: Being A History of the County of Dundas from 1784 to 1904. Iroquois: The St. Lawrence News Publishing Company, 1905. pp. 69-70

Read Full Post »

“The mother of a 28-year-old woman found naked and crying for help late one night in Thunder Bay, Ont., says police are ignoring a crime because her daughter is a First Nations woman and an addict.

Robin Sutherland, 31, said he and another man responded to a woman’s calls for help on Clavet Street around 12:15 a.m. on March 10.

“We saw a naked lady approaching us and she was quite distressed, screaming for help, and so she came up to us and I gave her my sweater to warm her up,” Sutherland said.

He stuck around after police arrived, waiting to get his sweater back. He said he heard the woman tell police she had been paid for sex that night and the transaction had gone horribly wrong.

“She started off by saying that he tried to kill her and drown her in the lake,” Sutherland said.”

– Jody Porter, “Thunder Bay police criticized for response to indigenous woman found naked on city street.” CBC News, March 22, 2016.


Read Full Post »


Ambrose, “All Through The Night,” single. Self-released / Visage Music, 2016,

Read Full Post »

The problem of the workers’ government. 

The political consequences of the putsch ran very deep, even in the regions
where neither workers’ councils nor workers’ militias were formed, even
where the working people were content to follow the order to strike without
taking up arms. For millions of Germans, the main lesson of the putsch was
its demonstration of the bankruptcy of the Social-Democratic leadership.
Noske, ‘the generals’ socialist’, whom they discarded as soon as his job was
done, was completely discredited, and his political career was at an end. 

Moreover, it was the workers who had defeated the putschists, by a general
strike which was started without the knowledge of the Majority Social-
Democratic government, and in a certain sense in spite of it. During the
struggle, activists of the different parties, who until that time had been opposing
each other, drew closer together. For the first time since before the War they
had fought side by side against the class enemy. The prestige of the trade-
union leadership rose; Legien had issued the order for the general strike when
Noske and Ebert ran away. From that point, the trade-union leaders were
expected to take on political responsibilities.
There was deep confusion in the ranks of the SPD. The President, Otto
Wels, posed the problem on 30 March in these terms: ‘How are we going to
get the Party out of the chaos into which it has been plunged by the common
fight against reaction?’ In very many localities, the Social-Democratic activists
and even their organisations had marched with the Communists and the
Independents with slogans contrary to those of their national leadership. For
example, in Elberfeld, a leader of the SPD had gone so far as to sign with
the representatives of the Independents and the KPD(S) a call for struggle
‘for the dictatorship of the proletariat’  Vorwärts expressed the sentiment of
nearly every German worker when it wrote on 18 March: ‘The government
must be rebuilt. Not to its right but to its left. We need a government which
makes up its mind unreservedly to fight against the militarist, nationalist
reaction, and which knows how to win the confidence of the workers as far
as possible to its left.’ 

It was clear before Kapp’s flight that the bourgeoisie was trying to assemble
a front of the Reichswehr and the governmental parties against the reawakening of the working class. Vice-Chancellor Schiffer and General von Seeckt together
issued in the name of the government an appeal for a return to calm, for
national unity ‘against Bolshevism’. The SPD was torn between opposing
tendencies. But this also happened in the USPD to some extent, particularly
in places where its right-wing leaders had lined up with the Majority’s
capitulatory approach. The USPD’s activists expressed the united pressure
of the working class, shoulder to shoulder in the strike, and the demand for
guarantees at the level of government; the Party’s press broadly reflected this

The Party apparatus and the parliamentary group, however, were
inclined to favour restoring the parliamentary coalition. The latter issued an
appeal in which it declared that the continuation of ‘the people’s strike’ after
the leaders of the putsch had fled was a threat to the unity of the ‘republican
front’. At the same time, a proclamation signed jointly by Schiffer and the
Prussian Minister of the Interior, the Social Democrat Hirsch, assured everyone
that the police and the Reichswehr had done their duty throughout, and had
at no time been accomplices in the putsch. This ‘amnesty’ was evidently
necessary for order to be restored, and the government proclaimed a state of
extreme emergency on 19 March. 

The government had been saved by the general strike. But would it use
against the workers the generals who had refused to resist the putschists?
Were Ebert and Noske to retain power? Had the workers fought for nothing
else but to keep them there? The reply to these political questions depended
largely on the leaders of the workers’ parties and trade unions. 

The workers had a very powerful weapon at their disposal: the general
strike. Legien was aware of this. On 17 March, he called on the USPD Executive
to send representatives to a meeting of the General Commission of the trade
unions. The Executive delegated Hilferding and Koenen, and Legien proposed
to them that a ‘workers’ government’ be formed, made up of representatives
of the workers’ parties and the trade unions. He justified his proposal by
explaining that from now on, no government could rule in Germany against
the trade unions, and that in an exceptional situation the latter were ready
to take on their responsibilities.
Clearly, neither the representatives of the Independents nor the railway
worker Geschke, who had also been invited to the meeting, where he
represented the KPD(S), could give a reply before they had consulted the
responsible bodies in their parties, which they then did. 

During the meeting
of the Executive of the Independents, Koenen and Hilferding spoke in favour
of accepting Legien’s proposal, and of opening negotiations with a view to
forming a workers’ government. Crispien, who was Chairman of the Party
and the leader of its right wing, protested that he could not possibly sit at
the same table with people who ‘had murdered workers’, and that no discussion
was possible with ‘betrayers of the working class’ such as the members of
the General Commission. Däumig, the leader of the left wing, supported him,
and said that he was ready to resign his function and even to leave the Party
if the Executive engaged in such negotiations. Koenen and Hilferding did
not find much support amongst their comrades. Stoecker and Rosenfeld, other
leaders of the Left, expressed surprise at Koenen’s views, and demanded
simply that the Executive should not brusquely reject them, for fear of not
being understood by the millions of striking workers. When the vote was
taken, the categorical refusal which Crispien and Däumig proposed was
carried by a large majority.

But Legien did not withdraw from the game. On the next day, 18 March,
despite the pressure on him from Social-Democratic elements close to the
apparatus who urged him to call off the strike now that the putsch had been
defeated, he prevailed upon the General Council to prolong it until the working
class had received sufficient guarantees about the composition and the policies
of the government. Laborious discussions began between the leaders of the
trade unions and the representatives of the government. Legien warned his
questioners that he would not hesitate, if he thought it necessary, to form a
‘workers’ government’ himself, which would use force to prevent the return of the Bauer government in Berlin, even if this initiative were to lead to civil
war, as he knew it might.

Legien put forward a number of non-negotiable conditions. Noske must
resign from the government of the Reich, as must two ministers, Heine and
Oeser, from that of Prussia; trade-union delegates must have key posts in the
government; the putschists and their accomplices must be severely punished,
and the army and the police must be thoroughly purged. He repeated that
there existed an immediate possibility of forming a workers’ government
with representatives of the trade unions and the two Social-Democratic Parties.
The trade-union leadership opened an unprecedented crisis in the SPD by
its call for a general strike, and by its open opposition to the Party’s leaders.
This shook the Party to the very top of its apparatus, the Executive and the
parliamentary group. But the attitude of the Independents was decisive. The
problem was not simple for them. The Left was divided, with Däumig opposing
Koenen. One section of the Right, including Crispien himself, went back on
its first response on the evening of 17 March, when a new delegation from
the Executive sought out Legien to tell him that they wanted to continue the
discussions. Däumig, however, stood completely firm; he declared that he
could not agree to the Party approving any ‘workers’’, government unless it
called for the dictatorship of the proletariat and the régime of workers’

Despite the opposition of his comrades of the same tendency who
controlled the trade unions in Berlin, he carried the day. The majority of the
Left agreed with him that the workers’ government which Legien proposed
would amount to nothing but a fresh version of ‘the Noske régime’, a new
edition of the Ebert-Haase government of 1918. As for the right wing, it
finally reached its decision in the light of the risks involved in forming such
a government under the fire of criticism from the Left and the threat of a
split, in a situation in which it would become nothing more than a fragile
left cover for the government. Legien had to drop his proposal. 

However, Legien still had to present to the government his conditions for
resumption of work. On the morning of the 19th, after long negotiations, the representatives of the government solemnly undertook to fulfil the conditions
which Legien dictated, and which were called ‘the nine points of the trade
unions’. These were: 

Recognition by the future government of the role of the trade-union
organisations in the economic and social reconstruction of the country. 

Disarming and immediate punishment of the rebels and their accomplices. 

Immediate purge of all counter-revolutionaries from the state
administration and state undertakings, and immediate reinstatement of
all workers dismissed for trade-union or political activity. 

Reform of the state on a democratic basis, in agreement and cooperation
with the trade unions. 

Full application of existing social legislation and adoption of new, more
progressive laws. 

Immediate resumption of measures to prepare for the socialisation of
the economy, convocation of the socialisation commission, and immediate
socialisation of the coal and potash mines. 

Requisition of foodstuffs to control the food supply. 

Dissolution of all counter-revolutionary armed formations. 

of defence leagues on the basis of the trade-union organisations, with
the units of the Reichswehr and the police which remained loyal at the
time of the putsch to be unaffected. 

Sacking of Noske and Heine.

On this basis, the ADGB and the AFA decided to call for a return to work, and most of the ministers and the parliamentarians made their way back to
Berlin. But neither the Independents nor the Greater Berlin strike committee
had given their agreement, and the decision remained on paper awaiting the
meetings of the strikers, which were generally called for Sunday, 21 March.

Indeed, the agreement of the strikers was far from having been won. Many
of the meetings decided to reject the decision of the trade-union confederations,
believing that the government had given nothing but promises for which the
workers had no guarantee, and that to endorse the decision would effectively
be giving the government a blank cheque. Furthermore, when ‘government’ troops had entered the suburbs of Berlin, there had been several violent
confrontations with armed workers, exchanges of shots, and arrests.

 A messenger presented himself at the Greater Berlin strike committee
bearing an appeal for help from the workers in the Ruhr who were under
pressure from the Reichswehr. The representatives of the KPD(S), followed
by many Independent workers, opposed ending the strike. Pieck and Walcher
argued that they should protect the Ruhr workers and continue the movement
until their security was ensured, that is, until the proletariat was armed. 

the question of the workers’ government was raised publicly for the first
time. Däumig denounced what he considered to be the manoeuvres of Legien
and his ‘government operation’, the sole purpose of which was to pull the
Independents into the parliamentary game and to provide a left-wing cover
for the enfeebled coalition. The Communists had no mandate on this question.
They said that they were only learning about Legien’s proposals in the meeting
itself, and that they could speak only as individuals.

Walcher emphasised that the sort of workers’ government that the trade
unions proposed would be a ‘socialist government against Ebert and Haase’,
and that it did not need, contrary to what Däumig demanded, to announce
formally that it recognised the dictatorship of the proletariat, in order to be,
by its very existence, a step forward and a victory for the workers’ movement.
He turned to the trade-union delegates and said:

If you take your undertakings seriously, if you really want to arm the workers
and to disarm the counter-revolution, if you really want to purge the
administration of all the counter-revolutionary elements, then that means
civil war. In which case, it is not only obvious that we support the government,
but still more that we shall be at the forefront of the struggle. If, on the
contrary, you betray your programme and stab the workers in the back,
then we – and we very much hope that we shall be supported by people
coming from your ranks – we shall undertake the most resolute struggle,
without reserve and with all the means at our disposal.

At the end of a stormy session, it was finally decided, with the support of
the KPD(S) delegates, to demand that the strike be continued until guarantees
had been obtained, especially about the eighth point, the integration of workers
in the forces of ‘republican defence’. At the end of the meeting, negotiations
opened between the delegates of the two Social-Democratic Parties and the
trade unions. The Majority Social-Democratic delegates had a vital interest
in driving a wedge between the Communists and the Independents, and in
ending the general strike. In the name of the Social-Democratic fraction, Bauer
undertook to respect these four conditions: withdrawal of the Berlin troops
to the line of the Spree; lifting of the state of siege; undertaking to take no
offensive action against the armed workers, especially in the Ruhr; and
enrolment in Prussia of working people in ‘defence groups’ under
trade-union control.”

– Pierre Broue, The German Revolution, 1917-1923. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006, pp. 361-367.

Photographs are: Top: Berlin, U-Bahn Bülowstraße, März 1920 Generalstreik Kapp-Putsch.  Above, left: Postcard showing women fetching water during the General Strik in Berlin. Source. Above, right: Funeral procession in Solingen, Rhineland, of fallen militants, who died at Hahnerberg ( Wuppertal ), 1920. Source. Bottom: Portrait of Carl Legien.

Read Full Post »

March 19, 2016: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM @cfrcradio). Getting shot through a wormhole…again! Music by ZONES, Square/Sine, Prins Thomas, Tarquin Manek, Imaginary Forces, Mike Smith & Jonathan Adjemian, Fatima Al Qadiri, and more. Tune in at 101.9 FM, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or download the finished show at cfrc.ca. 

ZONES – “Heats (2)”
After Image
– “C” Principe
Del Norte

de maïs / Délivrez-nous du mal I” La cave de L’immonde
Al Qadiri
– “Blows”
– “Tomorrow We
Will Kill You” Animals
– “Make Ends
Meet (London Something Version)” And What? 

Geddes Gengras
– “Glass
Dance” Collected Works Vol. 2: Process Music (2014)
Smith & Jonathan Adjemian

– “Third” Transcombobulation
– “Sassafras
Gesundheit” Tarquin Magnet

“Syncope sévère” Square/Sine

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »