On Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Village Muse Bookstore in Cumberland (centrally located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia) will be hosting the first ever Comox Valley Anarchist Book Fair at The Abbey, featuring a May Day feast of subversive ideas and creative resistance possibilities. As a black and green event, it is bathed in both the radical legacy of the Cumberland mine wars and the soaring Beltane spirit of the Merry Month of May, and has absolutely nothing to do with Queen Victoria’s birthday. This anarchist festival of the book has been fomented in the cooperative spirit of mutual aid that unites Cumberland and Denman Island co-conspirators. While we anticipate that lots of anarchists and anarchist-friendly folks will converge on Cumberland that weekend, you don’t have to be a self-described anarchist to attend the Book Fair. All you need is an open mind and an anti-authoritarian sense of curiosity.
In The Abbey on this day, you will find rows of tables peopled by individuals, distros, and bookstores that feature a wide array of anarchist and anarchist-related books, zines, publications, and crafts. Participating bookstores and distros, in alphabetical order, so far include: BC Blackout (Vancouver/Denman Island), Black Banner Distro (Vancouver), Black Sheep Collective (Calgary), Camas Books (Victoria), One Way Ticket (Victoria), Red Lion Press (Nanaimo), Spartacus Books (Vancouver), Village Muse Bookstore ( Cumberland), and Warrior Publications (Vancouver). At this point, individual book authors who will be at tables include: Gord Hill, Grant Schilling, Jeff Shantz, Larry Gambone, Matta, Matt Rader, Miles Olson, Ron Sakolsky, Sean Woods, and Tom Swanky. (Van Isle IWW will have a table) Only a limited number of tables are still available, so please apply asap.There will be free food all day and a potluck at the Abbey between 6 and 7 PM. The Abbey will provide space for an “art wall”and an acoustic open-mic event starting at 7:30 PM, dubbed The Creative Mayhem Anarchist Cabaret.
Across the street from the Abbey, at the OAP Hall, there will be a series of free direct action, skill-sharing and radical history workshops at the top of every hour all day. They will feature such topics as: combating the Raven and Bear coal mines/anti-pipeline solidarity; street theatre; rewilding; Cortes Island forest defense; the BC government’s historical use of biological warfare against indigenous people through the spread of smallpox on Vancouver Island and in the Comox Valley; grand jury resistance in the Pacific Northwest,decolonization; and Cumberland’s radical roots. Outdoors, there will be a medicinal plant walk and a blacksmithing workshop. As we get closer to the Book Fair date, we will provide more detailed info on titles, facilitators and scheduling, as well as billeting possibilities for out-of-towners.
On the occasion of this 2013 May Day event, we recognize the 127th anniversary of the judicial murder of the Haymarket anarchists in their fight against wage slavery back in 1886, and we remember Ginger Goodwin, who was shot in the back by the law at Comox Lake for militant union organizing activities among his fellow Cumberland mine workers and for his principled refusal of conscription during the First World War.
In turn, we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of local resistance to the military invasion and occupation of Cumberland by order of BC Attorney General Bowser in 1913. His kilted dragoons were stationed in the village at the behest of the coal barons to protect their financial empire by breaking the Vancouver Island miners’ strike of 1912-1914 and restoring order through the imposition of martial law. Today, anarchists, along with many others, are engaged in an effort to prevent Cumberland from once again becoming a mining town under the thumb of the coal bosses should the Compliance Energy Corporation’s proposal for a Raven coal mine project get approved, which would then open the door for the proposed open-pit Bear coal mine to be precariously perched over Comox Lake, threatening the village’s water supply.
Finally, we respectfully acknowledge that we are holding this event on K’ómoks’ territory, and we express our solidarity with their ongoing struggle for their land and against colonization.
Contacts: Cathy Stoyko (250-218-0704)
Ron Sakolsky (250-335-0843)
In Nanaimo FW’s DJ and Larry arrived at 10 AM sharp. No one else showed up (UFCW or Occupy or ??) Mall security did show up in 11 minutes flat and the Walmart manager a few minutes later. Security didn’t ask us to leave after he was told that Yes we could be there. He was going to tell mall management what was happening and “they would call my boss”.
We told the Walmart manager that Walmart was organizing and we could stand in front of the store to distribute lit. Passed out 150 or so leaflets. Several Walmart workers took info and we saw one later,leaflet in hand, discussing it with one of his co workers
In Victoria, our solidarity picket in support of Walmart workers took place this morning at Uptown Shopping Centre. Rayne along with FW Art and FW Jon, as well as our workin’ brother from TAPS (name escapes me), leafleted passers-by and a number of Walmart workers who we came in contact with. Many folks stopped to chat and expressed support for the workers.
Of course Uptown security presented themselves within 10 minutes and gave us a notice to leave the property immediately, to which we promptly made them aware that we were well within the legal right to organize in a publicly accessible space. They attempted to tell us we could not hand out the leaflets detailing some of the struggles Walmart workers are facing, to which we replied that of course we would continue to hand out the leaflets. We ended up handing out a couple hundred or so leaflets. I believe ’twas a success!
Close to fifty people came out on Thursday Sept 27 to learn about the Quebec student movement. Jerome, a militant of CLASSE and the UCL gave a very thorough explanation of the development of student syndicalism in Quebec. The movement actually began in France in 1946. Before that time, students tended to be upper class reactionaries, even fascistic. Student syndicalism oriented students toward the working class, seeing themselves as workers in training, solidarity and direct action. At this time, Quebec was very backward, dominated by the dictatorial Duplessis and an anti-modern, even pro-fascist, Church. With the coming of the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, and the casting off of these burdens, students began to become militant.
The first student general strike was in 1968. From this time on, right up until 2005, attempts were made to create a national student federation along student syndicalist lines. These radical unions were invariably undermined by liberal nationalist so-called moderate student organizations. Thus, an ebb and flow of student militance and organizing efforts. The “moderates” rejected direct action favoring, “negotiations” with the education authorities. Of course, they got nowhere and ended up cutting deals, which shut out the militant organizations. This back-stabbing earned them a bad name among many students and the “moderates” began to lose support.
They lost support to such an extent that today the student syndicalist organization CLASSE is in the drivers seat and the “moderates” are forced to follow along, out of fear of losing even more members.
CLASSE not only emphasizes direct action, but also direct democracy through the use of student assemblies. Representative democracy is rejected, for no one can represent the students better than the students themselves in an assembly.
One weakness of the present student struggle was the tepid support from labour. While rank and file workers were supportive, the labour brass was not. They were sometimes willing to make the right noises, but not much action. It would be best in the future that the student movement ignored the labour bosses and appealed directly to the workers themselves.
The Tour was a great success. This is the first Canada-wide action of the most militant section of the workers movement. Organizations like the UCL, Common Cause , Prairie Struggle and the IWW worked hand-in-hand. A big thank to Fellow Worker Jerome for spending his vacation to inform us about the student struggle. And also a big thank you to all the volunteers who made this tour possible. Larry Gambone
Van Isle GMB has a Facebook page click
There is an interview with FW Gambone about “They Died For You” on Montreal’s CKUT community station -