Document Sample
             W W W. L I N C H P I N . C A

STRUGGLE CHANGES EVERYTHING                                                    a publication of common cause - dec 2010                         FREE

rights in Canada
            pg. 4

                                Steelworkers join a protest march, part of widespread strikes in France
                                             ALEX BALCH

                                           t the G20 Summit               Central to the “decade of austerity”            Effectively, this amounts to
                                           held this past June in      prescribed by the IMF – and zealously            the largest transfer of wealth in
                                                                       promoted by the meeting’s host, Stephen          modern history – and a particularly
                                           Toronto, the heads
                                of the world’s most advanced           Harper – are massive cuts to public              audacious act of class warfare,
political                       capitalist economies met with          spending, aimed at curbing the national
                                                                       deficits that resulted from injecting
                                                                                                                        waged by the rich against the poor.

                                their counterparts from the IMF
                                and World Bank to hammer out a         trillions of dollars into the international
          pg. 3                 savagely coordinated attack on the     banking system in the wake of the 2008
                                                                                                                               >> continued on page 2
                                international working class.           economic crisis.

The G20 in context: reformism in
retreat, anarchism in action                                                                                            about
        BRANDON GRAY                  to serve, anarchists of various
         he resiliency of the anti-   ideological stripes at least managed
         capitalist movement was      to demonstrate some oppositional
         clearly      demonstrated    force to the summit; this conflict
on the streets of Toronto during      was merely one example of the
the G20 conference this past          many important confrontations that                                                 Common Cause is an Ontario
summer, in which a virtual torrent    will continue to break out around the                                              wide anarchist organization
of criminal state repression failed   globe as the ruling class struggles to                                             with branches active in Toronto,
                                      force working people to pay for their                                              Hamilton, London and Ottawa.
to stop thousands from showing
                                      crisis.                                                                            Our goal is to build a strong voice
up to oppose the brutal austerity                                                                                        for anarchism within community
measures the ruling class is now                                                                                         and labour struggles. We believe
struggling to implement.                 Action was needed in the face
                                                                                                                         that the anarchist principles
                                      of police-state tactics and the
                                                                                                                         of self organization, direct
  Although the trade union            reformists’ symbolically appropriate                                               democracy and direct action are
bureaucrats of the CLC predictably    march-in-a-circle protest; the state                                               the tools needed to defeat the
betrayed the very workers that        lackeys of the richest national                                                    attacks and obstacles facing our
they are ostensibly supposed          centres were holding yet another                                                   class and provide building blocks
                                      meeting to plan our collective defeat    to constructively discuss how to          for creating a new society. To find
                                      in the next chapter of class war,        sharpen our tactics and refine our        out more about us please get in
                                      and this in and of itself demanded a     strategies for winning.                   touch:
                                      militant response. This singular clash
                                      must be considered in proportion                                                                Toronto
                                                                                 In Toronto the state used a
                                      to the broader struggle to abolish       special body of armed agents –the                     Hamilton
                                      capitalism and the authoritarian         Integrated Security Unit (ISU) – to
                                      structures that enshrine and defend      render the city’s downtown core into                   London
                                      it. As always, within anarchism and      a temporary police state. Activists
                                      the workers’ movement, we must           operated in a geographical area in                     Ottawa
                                      be willing to engage in constructive     which their basic democratic rights,
                                      debates and self-criticism if we are
                                                                               generally used to morally justify the
                                      to win this larger struggle. Only        brutal dictatorship of capital, became
                                      by placing such methods as those
                                      employed by the black bloc in their
                                                                               a laughable fiction. Over a billion
                                                                               dollars was ironically spent securing                  linchpin
                                      appropriate context can we begin
                                                                                         >>continued on page 5                              ca
        CA USE                                                                                                                                                   Certain Days: Freedom
COM MON                                                                                                                                                          for political prisoners!

    BO OKS
                                                                                                                                                                        SARA FALCONER                     “conspiracy” model pioneered in

                                                                                                                                                                                                          the SHAC 7 and RNC 8 cases in
                                                                                                                                                                        n many ways, the Certain
                                                                                                                                                                                                          the U.S. to terrorize dissidents in-
                                                                                                                                                                        Days: Freedom for Political
                                                                                                                                                                                                          volved in laying the framework for
                                                                                                                                                                        Prisoners Calendar is an at-
                                                                                                                                                                 tempt to reshape the dominant nar-
                                                                                                                                                                 rative of history. Instead of mark-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            So it was a fitting time to go
                                                                                                                                                                 ing the fourth of July as a time to
                                                                                                                                                                                                          “back to basics,” bringing the fo-
                                                                                                                                  FOR FULL LIST OF               celebrate Independence Day, it
                                                                                                                                                                                                          cus back to the theme of political
                                                                                                                                  TITLES AVAILABLE               invites us to observe that on that
                                                                                                                                                                                                          prisoners: their voices and per-
                                                                                                                                  AND ORDERING IN-               date in 1977: “Washington: George
                                                                                                                                                                                                          spectives, their contributions and
                                                                                                                                  FORMATON PLEASE                Jackson Brigade plants a bomb in
                                                                                                                                                                                                          the particular issues they face in-
                                                                                                                                  CONTACT:                       main power substation in state cap-
                                                                                                                                                                                                          side prison. Political prisoners are
                                                                                                                                                                 itol in support of striking segrega-
                                                                                                                                                                                                          still in the struggle: as organizers,
                                                                                                                                                                 tion prisoners.” More than merely
  WE ARE AN IMAGE                                                                                                                                                                                         as mentors, and as comrades in
                                                                                                                                   COMMONCAUSEBOOKS              a calendar, it is a detailed resource,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          need of our solidarity to win their
  FROM THE FUTURE:                                                                     WE THE                                             @                      a constant reminder, and a true col-
  THE GREEK REVOLT                         VISION ON FIRE:                                                                            GMAIL.COM                  laboration. Published by a collec-
  OF DECEMBER 2008                         EMMA GOLDMAN ON                                                                                                       tive based in Toronto and Montreal,
                                                                                       A STUDY OF THE                                                            the project was suggested by Black
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Of course, the very existence
                                           THE SPANISH REVO-                           IBERIAN ANARCHISM                          COMMON CAUSE BOOKS                                                      of political prisoners belies the
                                                                                                                                   PO BOX 347 STATION E          Panther Party (BPP) political pris-
  BY AG SHWARZ,                            LUTION                                                                                                                                                         state’s true purpose for prisons
                                                                                       FEDERATION (FAI)                            772 DOVERCOURT RD             oner Herman Bell, who helps shape
  VOID NETWORK,                                                                                                                                                                                           themselves: not public safety or
                                                                                                                                       TORONTO ON                it with political prisoners Robert
                                                                                                                                                                                                          crime reduction, but social control.    most current euphemisms describe it.         analysis than can be found outside.
  AND TASOS SAGRIS                         BY DAVID PORTER                             BY STUART CHRISTIE
                                                                                                                                         CANADA                  Seth Hayes and David Gilbert.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a clear motive behind the
                                                                                                                                         M6H 4E3                                                                                                  Political organizing is labeled “gang”       For us, the prison struggle involves
  (EDITORS)                                (EDITOR)                                                                                                                                                       Harper government’s recent so-
                                                                                                                                                                   With the 2011 edition, we are                                                  or “terrorist” behavior, and many po-        integrating these prisoners’ voices
                                                                                                                                                                                                          called “tough on crime” legisla-        litical prisoners languish in solitary.      in our everyday work - around all
                                                                                                                                                                 proud to celebrate our tenth anniver-
  $8.50                                    $18.95                                      $17.95                                                                                                             tion, announced in spite of the fact    These labels—“gang member,” “ter-            issues, not just those pertaining to
                                                                                                                                                                 sary by offering 42 colour pages of
                                                                                                                                                                                                          that crime rates have been steadily     rorist” and “criminal,” among oth-           prisoners.
                                                                                                                                                                 art and insight from some of North
                                                                                                                                                                                                          decreasing in Canada for the past
>>AUSTERITY continued from page 1                                                                                                                                America’s longest-held political
                                                                                                                                                                                                          25 years. The fact that political
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ers—are part of a system of language
                                                                                                                                                                 prisoners, including Leonard Pel-                                                that seeks to exert control through def-       Involving prisoners in our every-
  This past October, workers             Faced with the reformist demands         Writing in Counterpunch, Slavoj      politicians, who are already widely                                                prisoners generally get harsher         initions.                                    day struggles can also help us con-
                                                                                Žižek diagnosed the real source        understood to be the mere puppets         tier, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez,
in Europe responded to this            of trade union bureaucrats, European                                                                                                                               treatment in terms of sentencing,                                                    nect with the history of the strug-
                                                                                of the problem: an identity crisis     of international capital, the time        Herman Wallace, Sundiata Acoli,
provocative act through a series       governments have opted to call their                                                                                                                               parole, and day-to-day harassment          It is therefore vitally important to      gles we are currently involved in.
                                                                                within the left itself:                has come for the working class to         Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jaan Laaman,
of massive and highly coordinated      bluff, pushing through cuts in the                                                                                                                                 within the “correctional” system        give prisoners a chance to tell their        One of the goals of imprisoning
                                                                                                                       begin to exert ourselves physically to    Daniel McGowan, Alvaro Luna
strikes that paralyzed entire          face of massive popular discontent.                                                                                                                                underscores the purpose of the en-      own stories in their own
                                                                                  “The best indicator of the left’s    bring about the changes that we both      Hernandez and Marilyn Buck (who
industries and struck fear into the    Wrapping their decisions in the                                                                                                                                    tire Prison Industrial Complex as a
hearts of the European elite.          rhetoric of inevitability, politicians   lack of trust in itself today is its   ardently desire and rightly deserve. It   passed away in August just weeks
                                                                                                                                                                                                          tool of repression.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  words, and to create new—al-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ternative—definitions through           “one of the goals
                                       have framed the crisis in terms of       fear of crisis. A true left takes a    is not a matter of merely convincing      after being released from prison).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  their own media. Helping raise          of imprisoning
  In the great cities of Spain,        neoliberal market adjustments and        crisis seriously, without illusions.   our governments to do the right thing     It also features contributions from
                                                                                                                                                                 supporters around the world.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Once you recognize these con-         these voices also combats our           revolutionaries
Belgium,       Finland,  Sweden,       economic scaremongering; they            Its basic insight is that, although
                                                                                crises are painful and dangerous,
                                                                                                                       through acts of moral persuasion:
                                                                                                                       they understand the present situation
                                                                                                                                                                                                          ditions, the need for projects like     society’s “out of sight, out of         is to erase this
Poland, Great Britain, Greece,
Portugal, Germany, Ireland, Italy
                                       have ignored the workers’ demand
                                       to reduce national deficits by taxing    they are inevitable, and that they     all too well.                               As we explain in our introduc-
                                                                                                                                                                                                          the calendar becomes evident. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                          issue at stake is the right to com-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mind attitude” towards prison-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          people’s history
and France, workers poured out         the wealthiest members of society,       are the terrain on which battles                                                 tion, during the early years of the
                                                                                                                                                                 calendar, the events of September
                                                                                                                                                                                                          municate. Prisons are a form of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ers. The calendar, for example,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  literally aims to make political        - and we have a
onto the streets with a single         and have shut this perfectly rational    have to be waged and won.”               Instead, it is vital that we, the
                                                                                                                                                                 11, 2001 transformed the political
                                                                                                                                                                                                          censorship, silencing the voices of     prisoners more visible, on a         collective responsibility
unified message: We, the workers       solution to the crisis out of the                                               workers of the world, begin to realize                                             millions.                               daily basis.                         to resist these efforts”
                                                                                  Žižek goes further, addressing       our collective potential – and start to   landscape in ways we were still
of your capitalist economies, will     discourse of the corporate and state
                                                                                the root of the current dilemma        dismantle the oppressive economic         coming to understand: new impe-
not be made to pay for a crisis        media.                                                                                                                                                               The challenges in communicat-           Those voices can in turn have
                                                                                by noting that it is the widespread    systems that seek to frame us as          rialist wars had begun, and here at
created entirely by you – the                                                                                                                                                                             ing with prisoners are formidable.       a tremendous impact on the individu-        revolutionaries is to erase this peo-
                                                                                acceptance        of   “‘democratic    mere spectators in our own lives.         home the state was using the post-
capitalist class.                        These governments view these                                                                                                                                     Even for those who work, prison          als and movements in “free” – or as         ple’s history, and we have a collec-
                                                                                mechanisms’ as the ultimate            Ultimately, this means an unlimited       9/11 climate as a carte-blanche to
                                       strikes with caution and alarm, but                                                                                                                                labour wages are so low that many        prisoners often call it – “minimum-         tive responsibility to resist these
                                                                                frame [of conflict resolution] that    general strike, with no set demands       step up repression and retract hard
  In France – a country with a         do not yet see them as a genuine                                                                                                                                   prisoners have difficulty obtaining      security” society. Imprisoned black         efforts.
long and storied history of popular    threat to their continued rule. And      prevents a radical transformation of   – save the long overdue demise                                                                           stamps, pa-        liberation leaders, including Malcolm
struggle – workers ratcheted up        who can blame them?                      capitalist relations.”                 of international capitalism, and               “we are proud to celebrate                                per and other      X, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale,            As a new generation of activ-
the impact of these strikes by
                                                                                 Rather than appealing to our
                                                                                                                       “representative democracy” itself.
                                                                                                                                                                      our tenth anniversary by                                  basic neces-       wrote some of their most important          ists finds themselves increasingly
barricading the country’s twelve
major oil refineries and shutting                                                                                                                                     offering 42 pages of art                                  sities. Cen-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sorship of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   works from prison. George Jack-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   son wrote his pivotal book, Soledad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               targeted for repression, is it more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               crucial than ever that we support
down the country’s shipyards                                                                                                                                          and insight from some of                                  both incom-        Brother, as a series of letters to fam-     our movement’s political prison-
to incoming oil tankers. French           Rethinking the                          An Unprivileged                       Toronto Hotel                                 North America’s longest-                                  ing and out-       ily, friends and supporters, sparking a     ers. Start by listening to what they
workers were soon joined in the
streets by tens of thousands of
                                          Role of Race in the                     Combatant                             Workers Win New                               held political prisoners”                                 going mail is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                rampant and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   passionate movement among prison-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ers and supporters, and riots when he
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               have to say.

students, leading to clashes with         Modern Tea Party                        Brandon Gray                          Contract                                 won social gains. As the calendar        arbitrary. Even then, because pris-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   was killed in 1971.                           Funds raised from the sale of
police and widespread rioting that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             this calendar will be divided be-
evoked cherished memories of the
                                          Movement                                                                      Will Dean and Peter Marin                went to print, in July 2010, the dust    oners are usually forbidden from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In the case of political prisoners,      tween the New York State Task
rebellion of 1968.                        Khalil Tian Shahyd                      A look at the tragic case of                                                   was still settling from the largest      writing to each other or anyone on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   especially, those of us on the outside      Force on Political Prisoners, the
                                                                                  Omar Khadr, the youngest              Delta workers celebrate                  mass arrest in Canadian history.         parole, they are isolated from many
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   have much to learn from their vast po-      Palestinian NGO Addameer, and
                                                                                  “war criminal” ever                   the granting of new                      Over 1000 people were detained or        of their comrades, sometimes for
  Though the actions across Europe        Analyzing the rise of the                                                                                                                                                                                litical study and years of experience       the G20 Legal Defense Fund.
                                                                                                                                                                 arrested in connection to the pro-       decades. Phone calls, often costing
have indeed been impressive in            Tea Party Movement in the               prosecuted in the United              contract, following two                                                                                                    – all of which should not be deval-         Order now at www.certaindays.
                                                                                                                                                                 tests against the G20 meeting in         more than a dollar per minute, are
terms of their scope, coordination        United States                           States                                weeks of strikes                                                                                                           ued by their present circumstances.         org. Join us on Facebook (http://
                                                                                                                                                                 Toronto. Of these, over 250 were         difficult and infrequent between
and the general militancy of their                                                                                                                                                                                                                 All prisoners are more than prison- and
                                                                                                                                                                 released facing pending charges,         prisoners, their families and other
participants, they have also utterly                                                                                                                                                                                                               ers, and know about much more than          help spread the word.
                                                                                                                                                                 while a few outspoken communi-           outside supporters. The situation

                                        on the web
failed to achieve their (rather                                                                                                                                                                                                                    prisons. Their first-hand experience
                                                                                                                                                                 ty activists remain in jail or under     is even more stressful for those in
limited) objectives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               of the lengths the state is willing to go
                                                                                                                                                                 house arrest, facing even more seri-     solitary confinement - or “admin-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   to in order to exert power often leads

                                                                                                                                                                 ous charges. The Canadian govern-        istrative segregation,” “special
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   to much sharper and more valuable
                                                                                                                                                                 ment is clearly hoping to utilize the    housing,” or “control units,” as the
40 Days of Harassment:
                                                                                                                                                                      We also recently organized a             gumentative and rancorous badgering or         sis for a hate crime in Canada.           choice includes having the
                                                                                                                                                                   Nov 1 fundraiser for Canadians for          importunity”. It was introduced in April                                                 right to choose which birth

the battle for reproductive rights in Canada
                                                                                                                                                                   Choice’s abortion access fund, called       by the chair of the Parliamentary Pro-            Another man walked by, quickly         control option works best for
                                                                                                                                                                   “Bodies of Dissent: a panel on build-       Life Caucus, Conservative MP Rod Bru-          interrupting the conversation to state    you (if any), which methods
                                                                                                                                                                   ing radical support for our sexual          inooge of Winnipeg South.                      that he came from “a family of nine       you wish to use to practice
                                                                                                                                                                   justice movements.” When abortion                                                          children”, as if to say that being pro-   safer sex, who you wish to
     MELANIE STAFFORD                         ing at court to uphold Canada’s       and secure access to abortion care.     expression are trumped by rights       services are only offered in 15.9%            This bill promotes abortion stigma, pa-                                                include in making decisions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              choice implies that we are pro-abor-
                                              harmful prostitution laws, cut-       By attempting to prevent access to      to access to health care.

                                                                                                                                                                   of all Canadian hospitals, and half         ternalizes women, and puts providers at        tion. While there are many feminists      about your sexual and repro-
        40 Days for Life” has once            ting funds to women’s groups,         abortion services, these groups are                                            of those hospitals only provide abor-       risk. The bill is both redundant and mis-                                                ductive health, how you wish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that identify as pro-abortion as a po-
        again set itself up on Bank           and interfering at the United Na-     launching a direct attack against         Despite this being highly inap-      tion services up to thirteen weeks          guided. It patronizes women by implying                                                  to express your sexuality,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              litical stance, they certainly do not
        Street in Ottawa, across the          tions to curtail human rights for     women’s reproductive freedoms.          propriate, considering the prec-       gestation with wait times of up to six      that they are frequently coerced into abor-                                              choosing to come out or not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              impose abortion as the sole option for
street from the Morgentaler abor-             women everywhere.                                                             edents set all over the country,       weeks and judgemental gatekeepers           tion, despite the fact that the vast major-                                              and choosing whether or not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              people facing unintended pregnancy.
tion clinic. Anti-choice protesters are                                               Anti-abortion protesters, with        the city of Ottawa has sanctioned      who actively impose their own mor-          ity of women make their own decision to                                                  to label your sexual orienta-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That would be anti-choice.
carrying signs that read things I’d             With their “I regret my abor-       their gruesome photos and their         harassment of women for far too        alistic, misinformed ideas, abortion        have an abortion and take responsibility                                                 tion or gender identity with-
rather not burden readers with. Suf-          tion” signs, the Silent No More       rhetoric of blood and murder, dis-      long by granting the 40 Days for       is most certainly not as accessible as      for it, and abortion clinics already ensure                                              out fear of discrimination.
                                              Campaign also maintains a fre-        turb the peace, offend public decen-    Life campaign a permit to protest.
fice to say, it’s sensationalistic, sexist,
                                              quent presence on Bank Street.        cy, and inflict psychological dam-
                                                                                                                                                                   it should be.                               that their clients are making an uncoerced       “The City of Ottawa                     Pro-choice information is ev-
shame-based bullshit. For 40 straight
                                              A project of the male-led An-         age. Their manipulative methods           Public health and pro-choice or-
                                                                                                                                                                                                               choice of their own free will. If coercion      must immediately                         idence-based, legal, inclusive
days on Bank Street, an empty baby
                                              glicans for Life and the Priests      can shock, unnecessarily upset, and     ganizations are under-funded and
                                                                                                                                                                     We are frustrated with constantly         is present, it’s usually in the context of      revoke this permit                       and shared in an unbiased and
carriage is symbolically bungeed to
                                              for Life intended to help support     even traVumatize women who have         overtaxed already. Organizations
                                                                                                                                                                   having to act in reaction to well-fund-     domestic violence. If the intent is really      in order to respect                      factual manner. Pro-choice
a post. Pamphlets are distributed that
                                              various anti-choice “awareness”       had an abortion, are about to have      in Ottawa don’t currently have the
                                                                                                                                                                   ed and well-established anti-choice         to protect women from abusive partners,         the dignity, privacy,                    means allowing for all of the
spew out misinformation already de-
                                              efforts, Silent No More solicits      one, or may consider one in the         capacity to offer a viable counter
                                                                                                                                                                   organizations. While we are spend-          we need better and more comprehensive           and legal rights of                      above to remain safe and ac-
bunked by countless reputable health
                                              tearful testimonies from guilt-       future. Their attempts to block ac-     to this campaign of misinforma-
                                                                                                                                                                   ing so much energy trying to sup-           solutions for supporting women living in        women to unimped-                        cessible. Lastly, being pro-
organizations. Street counselors sent
                                              ridden religious women who            cess to abortion clinics are against    tion, harassment, and intimidation;
                                                                                                                                                                   port those traumatized by sexist and        abusive situations, perhaps with funding        ed access to health                      choice means respecting the
by the Helpers of Gods Precious
                                              regret their abortions. Women         the law and a violation of privacy.     they are too busy supporting their
                                                                                                                                                                   intimidation-based campaigns like           for women’s equity seeking groups.                   services”                           decisions others make with
Children intimidate, harass, and bul-                                                                                                                              40 Days, most of us in the pro-choice                                                                                                regards to their sexual and
ly women as they enter the building.          experience all sorts of emotions      Most alarmingly, many Ottawa            current clients. Under a Conserva-     movement would rather invest our               When it was confirmed that the 40                                                     reproductive health, and trust-
Catholic school groups travel from            following their abortions, relief     anti-choice activists have engaged      tive government, pro-choice orga-      energies in tackling issues of pov-         Days campaign would still be allowed to          What does it mean to be pro-            ing them to be the expert in
                                              being the most common one,                                                                                                                                                                                      choice? It means having the liberty
Peterborough to visit the “ground
zero” site.                                   and few women suffer long-term             “By attempting to prevent access to abor-                                 erty, racism, classism, homophobia,
                                                                                                                                                                   and ableism. Instead, we are stuck
                                                                                                                                                                                                               happen in Ottawa this fall, the pro-choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                               community came together to organize            and ability to make your own choic-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        their own sexual well-being.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For some people, pro-choice
                                              negative psychological effects           tion services, these groups are launching                                   battling against harassing anti-choic-      volunteers who would stand outside in          es, uncoerced, regarding your sexual      extends beyond the realm
                                              because of their abortion. While                                                                                                                                                                                and reproductive health, and having
  40 Days for Life is an anti-choice
campaign aimed at “saving the un-             I would agree that women need            a direct attack against women’s reproduc-                                   ers, uninformed health care workers,
                                                                                                                                                                   indifferent municipal employees, an
                                                                                                                                                                                                               front of the clinic, symbolizing a pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                                               choice presence for passerby’s and clinic      control over your own body. The Pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of sexual and reproductive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        health and each person’s defi-
born”, where “the most visible com-           more safe spaces to discuss all
                                              of their emotions following an
                                                                                                     tive freedoms. “                                              organized “pro-life” caucus in gov-         patients. When I participated in my first      Choice Coalition of Ottawa affirms        nition becomes personalized
ponent is the prayer vigil outside                                                                                                                                 ernment and well-funded anti-choice         2-hour shift at the Morgentaler Clinic,        a definition of pro-choice that is in-    for them.
                                              abortion, it is worth noting that     in overt violence against provid-       nizations are justifiably concerned                                                                                               clusive of all aspects of sexual and
the Abortion Mills in every partici-                                                                                                                               lobbyists.                                  about sixteen people came up to our
                                              there are no organizations out        ers and clinic staff, most of which     with their funding and charity sta-                                                                                               reproductive health and honours the
pating city throughout the 40 days, 7                                                                                                                                                                          group to thank us. One woman just want-                                                    The Pro-Choice Coali-
                                              there with ready-made sandwich        is caused or encouraged by protests     tuses, leaving the task of providing                                                                                              right to bodily integrity and privacy.
days a week, 24 hours a day.” While                                                                                                                                  Along with fighting the anti-choice       ed to talk, and another got off the bus just                                             tion of Ottawa envisions a
                                              boards “I regret choosing to par-     outside abortion clinics. As a pro-     meaningful pro-choice activism to                                                                                                 This can include whether or when
the measures of success are question-                                                                                                                              activists on Bank Street, we’re also        to come and thank us (which led to a lon-                                                community that celebrates
                                              ent” and it is completely unfair      choice sexual health educator, I’ve     be filled by grassroots organizers.                                                                                               to have children, how to respond to
able, the organizers claim that “the                                                                                                                               fighting them in Parliament. Bill           ger conversation on sexual justice). One                                                 healthy sexuality, its diver-
                                              to suggest that one person’s          received death threats, and my ve-                                                                                                                                        pregnancy (whether with abortion,
results of the 40 Day campaigns have                                                                                                                               C510 is a private member’s bill that        man also stopped, presenting himself as a                                                sity of expression and re-
                                              experience will be the same as        hicle was vandalized with the words       Here’s where the Pro-Choice                                                                                                     making an adoption plan or becom-
been outstanding, with hundreds of                                                                                                                                 would amend the Criminal Code to            lawyer and asking why we didn’t already                                                  productive choice as fun-
                                              someone else’s.                       “there is a bomb inside” as well as     Coalition of Ottawa - a small and                                                                                                 ing a parent), whether to have sexual
mothers and their babies being res-                                                                                                                                prohibit coercing a woman into an           have a bubble zone in Ottawa. He asked                                                   damental human rights for
                                                                                    “murderer”.                             dedicated group of sexual justice                                                                                                 relationships, when to have them and
cued from despair and death.”                                                                                                                                      abortion via physical or financial          if we could call the hate crimes unit, and                                               individuals throughout life.
                                                40 Days for Life has an im-                                                 activists – comes in. In response                                                                                                 with whom, and choosing how to
                                                                                                                                                                   threats, illegal acts, or through “ar-      I reminded him that gender wasn’t a ba-
                                              pressive level of organization,         To comply with the Canada Health      to the 40 days of harassment and                                                                                                  best configure our relationships. Pro-
  While this particular form of ha-
                                              including coordinators, a user-       Act, as well as the Canadian Char-      intimidation, PCCO-CPCO has
rassment and intimidation primarily
                                              friendly website, and many par-       ter of Human Rights and Freedoms,       organized an online petition and       >>G20 continued
targets cisgendered women, the same
groups organizing and participating           ticipating churches and Catholic      abortion clinics are required to pro-   letter writing campaign demand-        from page 1                                 more distinctly emphasizes the
                                              schools – each responsible for        vide an accessible, safe and private    ing that the city revoke the anti-                                                 division between the organized
in the 40 days of harassment and in-                                                                                                                               a summit whose stated purpose was           rank and file workers and the top
                                              one day of harassment. This           environment for women seeking           choicers’ permit. We believe that
timidation campaign have also target-                                                                                                                              to coordinate the cutting back of           layer of bureaucratized leaders
                                              ensures city-wide participation,      their Medicare-funded procedures.       women should not have to run a
ed the queer community, sex workers,                                                                                                                               state expenditures. On the ground,          that have consistently betrayed
                                              meaning the organizers are able                                               gauntlet of anti-choice activists in
and young people wanting compre-                                                                                                                                   this translated into kidnappings using      their interests and sided with the
                                              to produce a consistently high          The province of BC (through its       order to access legal health servic-
hensive sexual health education.                                                                                                                                   unmarked vans, violent beatings,            bosses. Continuing in the tradition
                                              number of volunteers.                 Access to Abortion Services Act),       es. The City of Ottawa must im-
                                                                                                                                                                   mass searches, seizures and arrests,        of Buzz Hargrove, the trade union
                                                                                    clinics in Calgary, Toronto, and        mediately revoke this permit in or-
   40 Days for Life is promoted by the                                                                                                                             degrading and crowded detention             tops have proven themselves again
                                                Anti-Choice groups protesting       Hull, to name a few, have complied      der to respect the dignity, privacy,
haters at Campaign Life Coalition.                                                                                                                                 cages with little food or water,            and again to be hucksters that
                                              in front of abortion clinics have a   and enforced bubble zones - protest-    and legal rights of women to un-
This group runs many hate-promotion                                                                                                                                sexual assault and the harassment of        peddle in the most pernicious form
                                              significant detrimental effect on     free zones around abortion clinics.     impeded access to health services
campaigns, including a current cam-                                                                                                                                women, and plenty of overt racism           of reformism afflicting the labour
                                              society’s efforts to maintain safe    Consistently, rights to freedom of      at the Morgentaler Clinic.
paign against comprehensive sexual                                                                                                                                 and psychological intimidation. The         movement, subordinating workers
health education, and another that                                                                                                                                 violent criminality reigned down on         to the logic of global capital in the
opposes policies such as the Liberal                                                                                                                               activists before, during, and after         name of business unionism and false        Ken Georgetti issued a public         arrest anarchists. As we continue
government’s Equity and Inclusive                                                                                                                                  the summit has created a long and           promises about saving jobs. As a           letter condemning “vandals”           to scrounge for donations to the
Education Strategy, claiming that this                                                                                                                             continuing string of court support,         taste of things to come, the Canadian      without even mentioning police        G20 Legal Defense Fund, we must
initiative “will lead to the normaliza-                                                                                                                            legal defense, and solidarity actions.      Labour Congress worked with the            actions. Proving he does not          not lose sight of the true scale of
tion of homosexuality”. I sure hope                                                                                                                                Dedicated activists have been               violent thugs of the ISU to plan a         speak for them, about 250             wealth we already produce for
it does.                                                                                                                                                           targeted for illegal imprisonment           protest route that not only facilitated    stewards, retirees, and rank and      our exploiters. We, the working
                                                                                                                                                                   and granted unconstitutional bail           the planned tactical deployment of         file members sharply responded        class, do not need to “cut back” on
  R.E.A.L. Women of Canada rein-                                                                                                                                   conditions. Anarchists of all shades        riot troops and equipment, but also        with their own letter condemning      anything; instead, we need to cut
forces their supposed “pro-family”                                                                                                                                 must defend them against the state.         stayed blocks away from the outer          Georgetti.                            out the capitalist class and their
stance by endorsing the 40 Days for                                                                                                                                In doing so, the fanciful fairy tales       security perimeter. During the main                                              archaic modes of production and
Life campaign. This group promotes                                                                                                                                 of the inherent rights, liberty, and        trade union-led march on June 26,             In light of such state violence,   exchange, and win back control
a traditional wife-and-mother role for                                                                                                                             democracy of capitalism must be             the CLC marshals formed lines in           it is beyond hypocritical to decry    over the wealth we currently
women and is stridently anti-feminist                                                                                                                              exposed for the frauds they are; our        front of riot police, directing the        the breaking of a window at a         produce. If this indeed remains
and anti-gay. R.E.A.L Women is a                                                                                                                                   resistance must unveil the criminal         crowd away from the summit site to         bank like CIBC – an institution       our primary goal, we anarchists
strong cheerleader for social conser-                                                                                                                              reality of bourgeois rule for all to see.   help the police isolate protesters who     that posted profits of $640 million   should be able to put our heads
vative causes and has been at the fore-                                                                                                                                                                        refused to submit to the police script.    in that quarter alone. Shame on       together and come up with winning
front of several battles, including the                                                                                                                              The definite sharpening of the class      This criminal cross-class alliance         those so-called progressives, who,    strategies through constructive
fight against gay marriage, interven-                                                                                                                              war, measurable by the increased            indicates where the allegiances of         in the heat of the moment, proved     debate and discussion. Solidarity!
                                                                                                                                                                   level of military spending employed         the trade union bureaucracy lie. To        their contempt for the ‘rabble’ by

                                                                                                                                                                   against the domestic population,                                                       urging the police to preemptively
                                                                                                                                                                                                               add insult to injury, CLC president
Neo-liberalism and home care
                                                                                                                              reduce barriers to participation by      mostly did not show up in what        involved in protesting the G20,       policies as incredibly harmful to       perform for free labour that social
                                                                                                                              its own members who might face           both mainstream and activist          including labour and women’s          women around the world. She             service networks have performed,
                                                                                                                              burdens from unpaid caring and           publics saw in June.                  groups, focused their gender          would have liked to have seen           there will be a period of adjustment in
                                                                                                                              domestic labour, such as funding           She cited a number of reasons       justice-related energies almost       “more connections to different          which people will do what they need
“If Mom didn’t take care of you when you were a child, would you be able to go to work?”                                      childcare during union events.           for this. One was the general         exclusively around a version of       women’s movements in different          to do to get by,” he said. However,
                                                                                                                              O’Gorman, who is the president           mainstream media disinterest          reproductive choice wrapped in        parts of the world to make our          “there are only so many hours you can
           SCOTT NEIGH                      compared to 7.3 hours for women.          to care provision has decreased,        of the newly formed CUPE Local           in the issues motivating dissent      “a very simplistic analysis” and      analysis more concrete about how        cut out of your sleep, only so much
                                            In households with a child under age      more and more poor women in             5011, which represents graduate          against the G20, and their nearly     then “kind of wanted to shut out      the G20 affects different groups of     effort you can put in before it becomes
                                            six, the averages shifted to 6.1 hours    Canada have simply had no good          teaching assistants at Laurentian        exclusive focus on protest tactics.   any other narrative, like around      women.”                                 unendurable.” For this reason, he
  “If your Mom didn’t take care of                                                                                                                                     In addition, she related it to        unpaid reproductive labour.”            However               movement
                                            for men and 12.6 hours for women.         options. “A lot of the women who        University in Sudbury, Ontario,                                                                                                                              thinks it is imperative that these issues
you [when you were a child], would                                                                                                                                     “the weakness of the women’s            Khan said choice “is important      organizations in Canada take up
                                              This invisibility has many              are in poverty do work hard, do         said, “Overall, I’ve found that                                                                                                                              “find political expression in the near
you be able to go to work?”                                                                                                                                            movement right now.”                  for sure, but there was a             questions of unpaid caring and
                                            expressions in public policy as           work all the time” both in low-wage     CUPE has really worked on that,”                                                                                                                             future.”
  Those are the words of trade union                                                                                                                                     However, she also said that         complete lack of analysis about       domestic labour, organizer John
                                            well. For instance, in the years that     jobs and at unwaged work, but           and cited numerous examples
activist, graduate student, and single                                                                                                                                 after the Harper government           what the G20, the IMF, the WTO        Clarke of the Ontario Coalition
                                            O’Gorman’s time was dominated by          “rather than the state intervening      of how it has facilitated her                                                                                                                                  For more of Scott’s writing, please
mother Laurel O’Gorman. They are                                                                                                                                       advanced an agenda for maternal       do to women’s lives.” Through         Against Poverty (which he admits
                                            unpaid work in her home, her then-        to provide affordable childcare, the    participation. Still, she also cited                                                                                                                         see his blog at scottneigh.blogspot.
her way of neatly capturing the idea                                                                                                                                   health in developing countries        their role in reorganizing work       has also not directly addressed the
                                            partner was working at a trade. Both      state will intervene only when there    other instances where barriers                                                                                                                               com
that without the massive amounts                                                                                                                                       that excluded funding for             and in imposing a host of             question) thinks it is crucial that
                                            are now pursuing further education --     is neglect.”                            remain, and both in the position of
of unpaid work done in the home,                                                                                                                                       abortion services (and, initially,    other changes, she sees these         they do so.
                                            he qualifies to access grant funding        In contrast, a response to this       her local as it goes into bargaining
primarily by women, capitalism                                                                                                                                         contraception as well), many          neoliberal institutions in their        “When a society starts to impose
                                            under a government “second career”        burden by some affluent households      and her experience so far of
would grind to a halt.                                                                                                                                                 of the larger organizations           entirety and not just individual      on women and demand they
                                            program because his earlier work          is to hire other women to perform       processes within the union beyond
  And through the neoliberal
                                            was waged, but she is able to access      domestic and caring labour, often       the local level, the gendered
changes of the last thirty years --
paid work that has become more
                                            education only through taking on debt     poor and working-class women of         impacts of unpaid domestic labour        >>REVIEW
precarious and more poorly paid,
                                            because her earlier work was unpaid.
                                            She said, “In my life, this is the most
                                                                                      colour brought to Canada as part
                                                                                      of the Live-in Caregiver Program.
                                                                                                                              have not been a major focus of
governments that have radically
scaled back support for people in
                                            visible example of how unpaid work        This program subjects these                Armstrong, who has worked             Women transforming the
need, different groups of workers
                                            doesn’t matter and everything is
                                            about waged work...because what I
                                                                                      women to much more oppressive
                                                                                      rules for work than Canadian
                                                                                                                              extensively with unions and
                                                                                                                              community groups over the years,
                                                                                                                                                                       banana unions
increasingly subjected to different
rules -- the burdens of unpaid work
                                            was doing wasn’t ‘work.’”                 citizens have to face, including        confirms that unions have some           of Latin America
                                                                                      having to live with their employer,     awareness of the issue and could
have increased significantly. Yet
                                             Neoliberalism                            limited access to social services,      be an important force in addressing      by Dana Frank
many unions and community groups
                                                                                      restrictions on basic employment        it, “but I don’t think it’s at the top   Review by Karine Wehlm
are still in the early stages of figuring
                                              Professor Pat Armstrong is a            rights and on pursuing other work,      of their agenda, partly because          and Peter Marin
out how to recognize and respond
                                            political economist who teaches at        and the threat of deportation if they   they are so squeezed” by the many
to the central importance of unpaid
                                            York University in Toronto, Ontario,      demand better treatment. This is        neoliberal attacks on the labour           This is a powerful book about the his-
caring and domestic labour.
                                            who has done research on women’s          part of the “labour apartheid” that     movement.                                tory of women banana workers fighting
                                            work for more than forty years, most      is the “essence of neoliberalism,”         Progressive and radical “do-it-       for gender equality inside their unions,
  Women’s Work and Invisibility
                                            recently with a focus on healthcare.      according to Khan. She added,           yourself” alternatives that seek to      set within a broader struggle against the
                                            She said that the “most obvious”          “The lack of childcare support in       avoid reliance on the welfare state      exploitation of banana workers by the
  “Women’s labour is often the
                                            way neoliberalism has increased           this country has normalized this        through local community-based            multinational corporations that domi-
most exploited,” according to
                                            pressure to engage in unpaid work         experience of hardship.”                initiatives have at times advanced       nate the industry in Latin America.
Sharmeen Khan, an organizer
                                            in Canada is “in cutbacks of what we                                              some interesting co-operative
and spokesperson for the Toronto
                                            call the welfare state.” This refers to    In Struggle                            models. However, these sorts of            Dana Frank begins with a brief history
Community Mobilization Network
                                            the array of social programs enacted                                              experiments are rare in Canada,          of the banana industry and the creation     led to the creation of a section in       incredible women of SITRATER-          the workshops and conferences
that put together much of the
                                            mostly after the Second World War           Many public sector unions, like       and they often do not address the        of banana workers unions. The author        which women workers found them-           CO began by sending two women          and from reading how the par-
infrastructure that groups used for
                                            which provide services in ways that       the Canadian Union of Public            gendered burden of unpaid labour         describes the domination of the region’s    selves in the majority. Jumping on        from the women’s committee to          ticipants overcame some of the
protesting the G20 summit in June.
                                            socialize the costs and which support     Employees (CUPE), have some             or the ways in which many poor           politics and economy by the major mul-      this opportunity, these women or-         workshops (eg. women and work,         challenges of machismo, both
Pressure that gives women fewer
                                            people living in need. Particularly       awareness of the issue and respond      and working-class women already          tinational corporations (Chiquita, Del      ganized - and after 2 years of strug-     women and society, sex and gen-        within their unions and their
options other than to engage in
                                            since the mid-1990s in Canada,            by both political and workplace         do incredible levels of waged and        Monte and Dole) and the struggles of        gle, they were able to win their fel-     der, and leadership workshops).        own homes. As Iris Munguìa,
work that is underpaid or unpaid “is
                                            the welfare state has been under          efforts to strengthen the welfare       unwaged work.                            peasants, workers and socialist move-       low male co-workers to the need to        These women would in turn edu-         one of the women banana work-
a strategic way of maintaining profit
                                            attack by business lobbies and many       state. The idea is that high quality,      Even in the most visible              ments against them.                         form a women’s committee. Using           cate the rest of the women’s com-      ers, puts it: “We hope that when
for a few... The unpaid labour that is
                                            governments.                              accessible, not-for-profit services     mobilization against neoliberalism                                                   this committee as a launching pad,        mittee on the subject. Each of the     you read this book it helps you
often invisible is strategic in that.”
                                              She says that in the healthcare         would give communities more             in recent years in Canada -- the           The author describes the conditions       by 1994 they had expanded their           women on the committee then            reflect, and it turns into an in-
  The invisibility Khan refers to
                                            sector, this means people are sent        options for meeting caring needs.       protests against the recent G20          faced by women entering the banana          model nationally, through COSI-           further committed to educating 25      centive for exchange and com-
shows up even in how many of us
                                            home from hospital “sicker and            As well, fighting to transform the      summit in Toronto -- this issue          plantations in large numbers in the         BAH - the country-wide union              other women on the banana plan-        munication, and for the search
talk about what we do, where the
                                            quicker” -- less care is provided by      low pay and precarious, casual          was largely absent. Though gender        1960s. These women were confronted          federation - and regionally, within       tation. This went on for two years,    for alternative alliances to im-
word “work” is so often used to
                                            nurses and doctors, and now “most         character of caring work when it        justice was one of the key themes        with sexual harassment at work, granted     COLSIBA (the Coalition of Latin           with workshops held every three        prove women’s lives – not just
refer only to what we are paid to
                                            of that care is provided unpaid in        is waged would help to increase its     of the organizing, and Khan said         no maternity leave, fired when pregnant     America Banana Union, found-              months on their only day-off. In       women in the banana sector, but
do. Caring for children and older
                                            the home...mostly by women.” The          overall status, including when it is    that issues of women’s work were         and often faced domestic violence at        ed in 1993 and today represent-           this way they were able to em-         all women”.
adults, preparing food, cleaning,
                                            limited public dollars for homecare       unwaged.                                definitely present in the initial        home - all in a homophobic and machis-      ing 40 unions in 8 countries) by          power the women in their union
doing laundry, getting groceries,
                                            services are also now more often            CUPE also enacts measures to          discussions she was part of, it          mo culture in which they were forced        launching a women’s secretariat in        and thereby transform themselves.        But the lessons here go be-
and the dozens of other tasks that
                                            taken up caring for people who have                                                                                        to work a double workday (childcare,        1996. To give an example of how                                                  yond women organizing. Ac-
make life possible get relegated to
                                            been discharged from acute care                                                                                            household chores and their 8-14 hours       far their struggle has come, at the         These women were also suc-           tivists in Ontario struggling to
an assumed but undefined space that
                                            hospitals so there are fewer resources                                                                                     paid workday).                              2004 COLSIBA conference they              cessful because they not only fo-      grow and keep local groups
not only ignores their importance
                                            to care for frail and elderly people                                                                                                                                   sat together to compare their union       cused on their work issues, but        alive, or union locals who strug-
but ensures that they are often not
                                            (who are most often women) so it                                                                                             The heart of the book describes how       contracts from a woman’s perspec-         also tried to change things in their   gle to build member participa-
seen as work at all. The invisibility
                                            is generally family (again, mostly                                                                                         these women organized to gain power         tive, in an effort to standardize their   communities and in their lives         tion have much to learn about
when unwaged tends to correspond
                                            women) who have little choice but to                                                                                       within their unions despite opposition      contracts across the region.              outside of the workplace. For ex-      the need for and advantages of
with poor pay and low status when
                                            take on that work.                                                                                                         from their male co-workers. The author                                                ample, they worked to get training     making long-term internal edu-
this kind of work is done for a wage.
                                              Armstrong adds that it is evident                                                                                        focuses mainly on Honduras - where            The achievements of these wom-          for other trades, since most ba-       cation a key focus of their work.
  According to researchers Leah
                                            from how governments have talked                                                                                           women really only started to organize       en are impressive and inspiring - es-     nana women stop working in the
Vosko and Lisa Clark, despite
                                            about the issue that this is not an                                                                                        by 1986 - but she also talks about the      pecially considering they had such        plantations by their forties. They       The labour movement also has
modest increases in the proportion
                                            unforseen side-effect. Rather, “it is                                                                                      struggles of women in other Latin           scant resources, little free time and     also provided education to wom-        much to learn from the transna-
of such work done by men over
                                            clearly part of the current healthcare                                                                                     American countries, such as Guatemala,      were organizing in countries where        en on how to raise their children      tional organizing of the women
the preceding decades, the time
                                            strategies to do as much as possible                                                                                       Costa Rica, Ecuador, Columbia, Nicara-      the state and bosses crack down           in a gender-neutral manner.            within COLSIBA. These wom-
devoted to unpaid work by working
                                            by unpaid labour.”                                                                                                         gua and Panama.                             hard on worker organizing. So how                                                en point the way forward toward
age men and women still differed
                                              Khan points out how neoliberal                                                                                                                                       did they accomplish this?                   There is much to be learned          building a grassroots, worker-
considerably in Canada in 2005.
                                            changes have affected different                                                                                              The first organizing efforts in Hon-                                                from the experiences of these          to-worker internationalism as an
Men performed, on average,
                                            groups of women in different ways.                                                                                         duras began within SITRATERCO, a              From day one the women focused          women; women activists every-          alternative to the international-
3.5 hours a day of unpaid work,
                                            For instance, as poverty has increased                                                                                     union in the north of the countryside.      on self-education and collective          where will gain a great deal of        ism of union elites that has little

  6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           7
                                            and accessibility of services related                                                                                      Restructuring of the union in the 1970s     empowerment. For example, the             insight from the descriptions of
                                                                                                             >>BANANERAS book review
                                                                                                             continued from page 7
                                                                                                              to do with their rank-and-file membership.

                                                                                                                One of the other key lessons of this book is that
                                                                                                              class struggle is ineffective without an under-
                                                                                                              standing of the role gender plays within the work-
                                                                                                              ing class itself - and likewise, that the struggle for
                                                                                                              gender equality necessitates an understanding of
                                                                                                              class. The “mujeres bananeras” really show this
                                                                                                              through their struggle. These women made their
                                                                                                              unions stronger by fighting for gender equality,
                                                                                                              and through their struggles with their male co-
                                                                                                              workers for dignity and workers’ power on the
                                                                                                              banana plantations of Latin America.

                                                                                                                This short, easy-to-read book is for everyone
                                                                                                              who wants to learn more about the history of
                                                                                                              women organizing (which is often neglected)
                                                                                                              and who wishes to be empowered by these cou-
                                                                                                              rageous women’s victories in their struggle for
                                                                                                              gender equality. You can also find more informa-
                                                                                                              tion about current women banana worker’s issues
                                                                                                              and their organizing efforts online at http://www.

>>REVIEW                              youthful, and absent of any body         the animal delicately layered
Brian Donnelly’s Obedi-               hair on his appendages and torso).       over top of the white space
                                      The subject’s object of need — in        inside the subject itself)
ence & Savagery                       this case, the fish—is presented         provides not a hierarchy
                                      in relation to the animality of          of these spaces, but rather
Show & Tell Gallery (Nov. 5 to        the grizzly bear, rather than the        givesan ordering—or a
Nov. 28, 2010)                        humanness the body: the work that        logic—to the interactions                the man is celebrating is that which     of the various aspects of the
Review by Brendan Bruce               is inhuman; the fish in the grasp        subject and the spaces that
                                      the figure’s left hand is bleeding       define these aspects.
   While the exhibit’s press          red—not white—blood without                Often the radicalism (or
release claims that Donnelly          the separation of the animality of       revolutionary       expression)
“pits realism against abstraction     the object and the humanness of          of art is narrowly defined
and black space,” his work could      the subject.                             by one of two factors:1)
also be read as an alarming             In relation to this materialism, the   that art’s content should
commitment to materialism.            political value of Donnelly’s work       be pedagogical—that art’s
Contrary to the tenants of            comes from the ways his paintings        radical value is to critique
realism, the artist is not simply     demand that we rethink space vis-        what society is like, or
painting his subjects as they                                                                                            Catch and Release. Brain Donnelly.
                                      à-vis the subject, specifically our      more importantly, to show what
would appear in everyday                                                                                                 Oil on Canvas. 60” x 72”. 2010.
                                      subjectivity. The textured empty         societyshould be like—or 2) that the
life. Instead, the photogenic         space has a void-like appearance,        form of art is itself radical activity—   gallery. The dangerous connection
qualities of the subjects of these    in which the audience attempts           that the disjunctures of the artistic     between the audience and the animal
paintings represent socially          to situate the subject of the            style provide the needed radical          aspect of the painting’s subject is
constructedaesthetics,       rather   paintings; but Donnelly, more            statement. In the former, Donnelly’s      ordered by the spaces created by
than a true representation of         often than not, leaves the human         exhibit could be read politically         viewing the works; in the snapshot
the human form. The poses             figures exposed to this void (with       through the difference between the        the audience member is at a distance
of the subjects are specifically      partially     erased     appendages      concepts of ‘work’ encapsulated in        from the subject of the painting equal
represented in animalistic, rather    that discombobulate the idea of          the obedience of Accomplice vs. the       to the distance between the subject’s
than human activity: an alligator     the closed body of the ego and           savagery in Burden. In the latter, it     human and animal aspects. The open
sunbathing, a hound carrying its      open up the body by blurring the         could be read in regards to the form      bodies in the paintings arereplicated
master’s catch, or a puma in the      boundary between body and its            of the painting, or what I have called    by the audience’s body in the
hunt. These activities construct      surrounding void). The human             ‘an alarming commitment to [socially      snapshot (whether their legs merge
visual narratives of human            bodies become backgrounds on             constructed] materialism.’ Rather         with the textured void or drift out
subjects—a human female               which to projecttheir inhuman or         than looking for political expression     of electronic image captured by the
outstretched relaxing, a worker       animal representations, just as the      in either one of these concepts, or       phone). In this way, the subjectivity
doing her bosses bidding, or a        void acts as the stage upon which        in their formal conjunction, the          of the audience member is tied into
woman in pursuit of her desires—      the subject is set. The dripping         politics of the exhibit are perhaps       the precarious logic of the painting:
involving human bodies that           white ‘blood’ reveals another            best understood as the politics of the    it is only the spaces within ourselves
are painted with their muscles        appearance of the usage of space in      bodies produced by the audiences’         that separate us from the inhumanness
contorting and flexing in inhuman     the paintings: there remain spaces       engagement with the visually              of our subjectivity, and these spaces
activities. In Catch and Release,     within or between the aspects of         constructed space—in between              are not discrete and distinct but open
pictured to the right, elements       the subject—thereby implying that        their own bodies and the bodies in        and intermingled by the layering of
of this socially constructed          the inhuman, animalistic aspects of      Donnelly’s paintings. While I was         aspect within visually constructed
materialism can be clearly seen.      the subjectare not directly bound        at the opening, individual audience       space. It is these encounters with
The grizzly’s face is portrayed       to the human aspect. Instead, there      members were pulling out their            Donnelly’s works that produce a
in a collectively constructed         is a wound that hemorrhages; not         camera phones to get snapshots            political relationship that the audience
representation     of     romantic    another element of subjectivity,         of the paintings, sometimes with          must deal with—or rationalize away;
splendor (the archetypical roar       but the distance between these two       themselves in the foreground of           namely, the socially constructed logic
of a 19th century naturalism)         aspects of the subject itself. The       the shot. This act in itself provides     of space that separates us from the
and the human body is socially        detailed layering of Donnelly’s          a third dimension of space to this        inhuman subjectivity found within all
assembled by elements of              painting (the human figure set           reading . . . one in which the image      of our bodies.
contemporary masculinity (the         upon the void, the white ‘blood’         of the audience’s ego is separated
normative male figure; toned,         oozing across the human form, and        from the painting by the space of the

Shared By: