This week we round up some news from International Workers’ Day, or May Day. We also share news from the struggle against Coastal Gaslink.
A mining company headquartered in Vancouver, BC, has left 8 workers stranded underground in their zinc mine in Burkina Faso for more than 20 days after a flood-related collapse. Trevali Mining Corporation is one of over 800 mining companies headquartered in Vancouver. The incident is but one example of destructive and often deadly mining practices conducted in the global south, and in Africa particularly, by countless Canadian mining companies.
This Canadian mine is Vancouver-based Trevali Mining Corporation.
BC is home to more mining exploration companies than anywhere else on earth, and Vancouver (“world’s greenest city”) is actually world’s mining capital with over 800 mining companies headquartered in the city. https://t.co/P7AbWxX9An
— Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) May 7, 2022
A shoutout this week to the launch of a new text and project against the expansion of prisons in Ontario. An introduction to the text reads:
Escaping Tomorrow’s Cages is written in absolute opposition to the existence of prisons. The Province of Ontario is in the midst of an initiative to expand the provincial prison system in eastern and northern Ontario, and our hope is for this text to contribute to a struggle capable of stopping it. …
This is an invitation to get familiar with the projects and to start dreaming of ways to oppose them. We also invite readers to look at this wave of expansion less as local construction projects and more as part of a province-wide struggle. Regardless of where you live in (or near) Ontario, all of these expansion projects affect you.
Finally, a reminder that we welcome news and tips at [email protected]. In particular this week, we acknowledge our May Day news is a bit skewed to central eastern Canada – if interesting things are happening where you live that you’d like to see covered, we want to hear from you!
May Day Roundup
In Montreal, multiple May Day demos took place, as is the custom. The annual IWW event featured a picnic and demonstration. In their words:
Another pandemic year during which we suffered the devastation of the capitalist system. Another year during which the economic interests of the business class crushed the well being of the working class. That’s why the Industrial Workers of the World – Montréal still demand: a significant minimum wage raise to 22$/hour and better working conditions, rent control measures and social housing, and a status for all!
The other annual May Day event in Montreal was an annual demonstration called by the Convergence of Anticapitalist Struggles (CLAC). Close to 500 people took the streets. There was a sizeable black bloc and the many riot police and bike cops present were prevented from flanking the demo on the sides. This tactical success resulted in the crowd leaving behind a trail of smashed windows: including those of the Google building, banks, and the Palais de Congrès (a Montreal convention center). The demo was dispersed with multiple rounds of tear gas.
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) May 1, 2022
In the Greater Toronto Area, members of the Naujawan Support Network distributed thousands of flyers on workers’ rights and getting organized. In particular, they focused on labour issues faced by international students.
6,000 flyers distributed by NSN members at Malton-Rexdale Nagar Kirtan 2022 🙏🏽
— Naujawan Support Network (@NSNPeel) May 2, 2022
In St. Catharines, ON, migrant farmworkers led the May Day march.
Migrant farmworker members led the #MayDay2022 march in St Catharines today and talked with citizen workers about conditions on the farms and why #StatusForAll is the solution. We refuse to be divided!
— Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (@MWACCanada) May 1, 2022
In Toronto, union and grassroots groups came together for a march through the city.
We marched yesterday asking the Govt. to do the right thing, include PGWP between NOV27’21-Jan30’22#PGWP @CitImmCanada @SeanFraserMP @JustinTrudeau @MWACCanada #pgwp extn #StatusForAll #PGWP pic.twitter.com/PgpEdYBu30
— Rishi K Reddy (@rishikreddyp) May 2, 2022
Today, on May Day, gig workers came together to decline orders and march for an end to misclassification and full employment rights! We took action together and with our comrades from around the province to push for change and demand a government that truly stands with workers! pic.twitter.com/Rv7eg4EXUL
— Gig Workers United (@GigWorkersUnite) May 1, 2022
In Kingston, folks reignited a long-running tradition of holding an anti-capitalist May Day march.
Wet’suwet’en: January RCMP Raid Thwarted by Leaks, More Actions Against the Royal Bank of Canada in Montreal and Toronto
They try to break our spirits, we come back stronger—because we are Wet’suwet’en! They can’t kill that in us.#AllOutForWedzinKwa
— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) May 8, 2022
In news from the struggle against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory, a journalist has reported that the raid RCMP planned to conduct against Coyote Camp in January 2022 was called off as a result of an information leak. Following the militarized raids on Coyote Camp and KM 44 camp in November which saw upwards of 30 people arrested, land defenders retook Coyote Camp in December, evicting CGL and private security. However, in early January they learned that police were accumulating in the nearby town of Houston thanks to information that spread through the town and on social media. This information allowed the land defenders to make a strategic retreat from the site, avoiding arrests, and forcing the RCMP to cancel their enforcement plans and start from scratch.
Further east, another solidarity action took place recently against RBC near Montreal on May 4th. In an escalation of the pressure on the bank funding CGL, the luxury car of Michael Fortier, vice-chairman of capital markets at RBC, was burned in his driveway. From a communique:
Late in the night, on May 4th, individuals acting in the spirit of vengeance visited the home of Michael Fortier on Chester Avenue. Mr. Fortier was a federal cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Today, he is the vice-chairman of capital markets at the Royal Bank of Canada. Tucked away in his big house in the Town of Mount-Royal (a wealthy Montreal neighborhood separated by a long wall from the poor and exploited), Mr. Fortier no doubt feels at ease with his employer’s decision to continue funding the Coastal GasLink pipeline (or any other disgusting project financed by RBC).
As glaciers melt and drought, fire and famine spread, Mr. Fortier may think that his money and connections will protect him, his children and his grandchildren. But the ecologically dispossessed will know the names of those responsible. He must understand that no one is safe amid this storm.
On the night in question, flames spread from an incendiary device to the engine block of his Jaguar, parked in front of his home.
This act is in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders and all those who fight the extractive industry.
Toronto also recently saw RBC targeted in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders:
In “Toronto” on the morning of May 1st, we attacked an RBC branch in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders. We left a spray-painted message, a damaged lock, and a mess of red paint.
As we walked away into a beautiful May Day sunrise, we left a trail of messages through the city.
We were left wanting more, but we know that there are many more days ahead.
The time is now, the task is simple! Attack!