Title: 6th CORDILLERA DAY Celebration
Location: 53 Cummer Avenue, Toronto
Description: The Cordillera Day is a yearly commemoration of the historical struggle of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera for the defense of their ancestral domain and their right to self- determination. It is also an occasion to strengthen the unity among the different indigenous groups of the Cordillera Region and build solidarity with other indigenous peoples, sectors and other nationalities for social justice, freedom and democracy. This occasion started in the Philippines on the 24th of April for 30 years now as an aftermath of the 1980 assassination of Macli-ing Dulag, a respected pangat (tribal chieftain) who bravely opposed the World Bank-supported Chico River Dam Project of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. This intensified the struggle of the Kalinga and Bontoc tribes for the defense of their land and resources.
In Toronto, the Cordillera Day is being hosted by the Binnadang-Migrante, an organization of indigenous migrants from the Cordillera Region in Northern Philippines which is advocating for the assertion of human rights as migrants and actively engaging in the struggle of the Cordillera indigenous peoples for self-determination and the Filipino people’s struggle for genuine freedom and democracy.
For inquiries and confirmation, please call any of the following:
Jenny Owatan:416-877-5725; Bridge Cosme Dang-ay:647-740-4175; Geralda Cobsilen: 647-898-7531; Marivic Kalagui:647-894-1270
Start Time: 6pm
End Time: 10pm
On May 1st, International Workers Day, we will march to reclaim May Day for just people’s struggles and to Honour Our Communities. We are unified in our fight against poverty and capitalism. We oppose attacks on rights and income of workers, irrespective of status. We demand an end to immigration detention because no one is illegal. We will continue our support for Indigenous peoples’ movements for self-determination. We oppose colonialism. We are in solidarity with struggles against Canadian imperialism. We insist on an end to environmental destruction. We resist patriarchy, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia both in our day-to-day work and as larger systems of oppression. Join Us!
5:30pm – Meal and Rally @ Allen Gardens (Carlton and Sherbourne)
followed by a march
Organized by: Members of the May 1st Movement (BASICS, Migrante, Bayan, Two Row Society), No One Is Illegal, OCAP, and other allies.
by Pragash Pio and Denise Cordova
On March 13, 2014, the Committee in solidarity with those affected by Chevron in Ecuador organized a forum “Exposing the Dirty Hand of Chevron,” as a part of a wider awareness campaign.
For the past 20 years Ecuadorian indigenous and peasant communities have been fighting a legal battle against the oil giant Chevron for what is the largest environmental oil-related crime of our time that has been left behind in the Ecuadorian rainforest. In 2012 Chevron was sentenced to pay damages of US$ 9.5 billion. However, the corporation no longer has any assets in Ecuador to be seized.
Therefore, in order to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment to indemnify and compensate the victims and survivors of the contamination left in Ecuador by Chevron, the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled in December 2013 that Ecuadorian indigenous communities have the right to pursue all of Chevron’s assets in Canada.
Justice James MacPherson of the Court of Appeal for Ontario said that: “Chevron’s wish is granted. After all these years, the Ecuadorian plaintiffs deserve to have the recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorian judgment heard on the merits in the appropriate jurisdiction. At this juncture, Ontario is that jurisdiction.”
Given that the legal battle against Chevron now continues here in Canada, several organizations and collectives in Toronto saw the need to create a Solidarity Network with the affected communities in Ecuador by Chevron.
During their initial meeting, held on January 16, 2014, they gathered to denounce the pollution that Chevron left in Ecuador and the serious impact this has had on the health of the indigenous and peasants living in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Participants also expressed their support in the struggle of the Ecuadorian government of President Rafael Correa to win a measure of justice in the courts and media against the powerful U.S. Corporation.
“How can it be possible that Chevron, colluding with a private arbitration centre, wants to make the Ecuadorian government responsible for paying the judgment of US$9.5 billion to the affected communities?” asked Janis Mills, a Canadian academic and activist.
In an effort to create awareness in Canada around this issue, the committee has organized various screenings, events and information series.
Nicole Oliver, who participated at one of these events, noted that “The battle against oil corporations is also happening here in Canada. For example, theUnist’ot’en are currently battling against Chevron and other companies in resistance to the Pacific Trails’ Pipeline in northern B.C. over unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.” Oliver also stressed that “we think that peoples from Canada and Ecuador have similar problems, in many cases, facing the same threats, such as corporations and Canadian companies, that put profit first over the common good. In this context we think that affected communities can learn and support each other beyond borders.”
On March 13th, 2014 a forum was held at the University of Toronto with Brendan Morrison, Canadian lawyer representing the victims of Chevron in Canada, and Santiago Escobar, a human rights activist who has exposed and denounced the crimes of Chevron in the courts of both Ecuador and North America.
The forum began with the screening of a documentary on the crimes of Chevron, describing the hard evidence being used to legally challenge and sue the U.S. corporation for its chemical pollution. The screening described how Chevron’s pollution was the source of the rising epidemic of cancer and other health-related issues appearing for the first time throughout the Ecuadorian rain forest.
Brendan Morrison gave an overview of the legal battle during which he quoted Chevron’s spokesman’s declaration that the oil corporation “will fight [any legal challenge] until hell freezes over” and then “fight it out on the ice”.
“Chevron keeps refusing to accept responsibility for the environmental damage caused in the Ecuadorian Amazon, which as a result has generated high levels of cancer, abortions and various health problems among people living in areas contaminated by Chevron. It is time for this corporation to take responsibility,” said Toronto activist, Megan Kinch.
Santiago Escobar showed further fraud with proof of payments made by Chevron to Borja Diego Sanchez (known as “Chevron’s dirty tricks guy”) describing the collusion between the two. According to documents from Chevron, which emerged during Borja’s deposition in the U.S., Borja received over two million dollars in support to create propaganda for Chevron; ranging from use and payment of Chevron’s attorneys; a salary of ten thousand dollars; funding for his travels, among other various expenses.
“Chevron’s dirty tricks guy” first became known in September 2009, when Chevron used some videos he produced in which among other things, he created the impression that the judge proceeding the legal case of the affected communities against Chevron was being bribed. Chevron used these videos to accuse the government of Ecuador of inventing a false legal case for political reasons.
The forum came to an end with a photo exhibition documenting environmental damage caused by Chevron. All the participants created hand prints with black paint on canvas as a symbolic protest against Chevrons’ poisoning of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
On March 18th, at the University of Toronto, the Youth Communist League organized a Forum on Ecuador vs. Chevron, and Report-back from the World Festival of Youth and Students that was held last December 2013 in Quito, Ecuador.
Currently, several organizations and alliances in Canada are backing the Indigenous plaintiffs in Ecuador, including the Canadian and Quebec sections of the International League of People’s Struggles; the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front; La Red de Amigos de la Revolución Ciudadana; Hispanic Centre of York and Barrio Nuevo.
The Committee in Solidarity with those Affected by Chevron in Ecuador is comprised of people committed to social and environmental justice. If you want to join the cause, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on : www.facebook.com/chevronsdirtyhand – https://twitter.com/chevronsdirty
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
612 Markham St, Toronto
Since February 12th, when demonstrations against the Government of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela turned violent, Venezuela has been in
the spotlight of media around the World.
But what is really going on? Is the mainstream media telling the whole story?
Come to this open discussion, facilitated by progressive Venezuelan
and Latin American activist, to learn about what is really happening.
The Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), the Hands
Off Venezuela Campaign, the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Front
Come and hear NUMSA’s General Secretary, Irvin Jim, on:
“New Working Class Leadership and Prospects for Socialist Politics in South Africa.”
7PM, Thursday, March 6, 2014
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto
The dramatic upsurge of popular grassroots protest in South Africa’s townships and rural areas in recent years has been well-termed as marking a virtual “rebellion of the poor” in that country. The working class itself has also been assertive there, prompting the African National Congress (ANC)-led state’s orchestration of an horrific massacre of dissident mine-workers at Marikana in 2012. Until recently, however, leading trade unions have themselves been cribbed and confined within the tri-partite governing coalition of the ANC, the South African Communist Party and COSATU, the country’s largest trade union central body. Now NUMSA — the country’s National Union of Metalworkers with over 340,000 members — has begun to break that mould, under the leadership of its General Secretary, Irvin Jim, a longstanding socialist militant in the union. At its Special National Congress in December it heralded a new socialist political direction for South Africa.
As Irvin Jim put it in a recent speech:
Our people are protesting because they have no water — that most basic of necessities. And the State… that very same state which failed to supply them with water… kills them for their protest. Underneath all of this is a harsh material fact. The South African economy has not fundamentally changed. The structure remains the same as it was under apartheid… the same dependence on exporting raw minerals, the same enslavement to the Minerals Energy Finance complex. Far from an increase in the manufacturing sector — the sector which can really produce jobs — we have a rapid process of deindustrialization. We are not gaining jobs, we are losing them. In 2004 there were 3.7 million unemployed people in our country. Last year that had risen to 4.1 million. More unemployed, not less.This will not stop until we fundamentally change direction. We, as a union, have understood that the ANC and SACP will not lead that change.
Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly,
Centre for Social Justice,
Socialist Project, and
One-day interactive Popular Education workshop on Venezuela and ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas).
Politics + organization + solidarity + Latin food + Music
Join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/events/486252911452139/
We celebrate the memory and legacy of Simon Bolivar, Mariategui, Ernesto CHE Guevara, Salvador Allende, Hugo Chavez and many more who represent peoples’ struggles and ideas from the global South.
We would like to invite you to join this dialogue through your participation in workshops that will include several components such as: presentations, exchange of experiences and debates, with the aim of learning from and implementing the revolutionary ideas from the Global South into a Quebec – Canadian context.
We will split into three groups to discuss:
1.- Peoples’ Media and Media strategies
2.- Peoples’ Power experiences in Venezuela and Canada
3.- Concrete actions for the period 2013-14
Each group will present their conclusions/mandates before the plenary in order to be approved as a mandate to be implemented by the Hugo Chavez People Defense Front across Canada.
Finally we will have a cultural event with theater, Latin musical performers and more!
Each city/delegation will report back to their members in order to engage new members and implement the mandates in their cities/territories.
Agenda and more datails will be sent in due course. ADMISSION IS FREE + FOOD AND SNACKS WILL BE PROVIDED – REGISTER NOW at venesolnet[at]gmail.com
If you need or have transport and have spaces to fill, please let us know
We have secure a special rate for the participants at the Residences Universite Montreal
Single room 45 $ CAD
Double room $55 CAD
Continental Breakfast $7,50 CAD + TAX
When: Sat, Jul 27, 2013, starting at 9:30 AM
Where: Sala Alfred – Lalibertè, UQAM
Direcciôn Pavillon Judith Jasmin
405 Rue Ste Catherine Est
Metro Berri UQAM
Join us for food, a photo exhibition, documentary screening, and fundraiser!
Biimadasahwin means “life” in Ojibway. It is the name given to a place and project led by Darlene Necan, elected spokesperson of off-reserve members of Ojibway Nation of Saugeen no.258. She has started to make her courageous vision of reclaiming her ancestral Anishinabek territory a reality, by returning to live on her trapline.
In June 2013, ILPS-Canada Indigenous Commission supported a log cabin home build led by Darlene. Because grassroots women reclaiming land and rebuilding home builds community power.
In August, Darlene and her organization, Northern Starlights Citizens of Saugeen, are leading the building of infrastructure for Biimadasahwin to be a gathering and teaching place for youth, community members and supporters. Proceeds from this event will go towards this project.
On June 27th, we will screen a short documentary which shares Darlene’s story and showcases the collective home building project. The event will also feature a photo exhibition including beautiful stills of this project, and the Saugeen land and people in Northwestern Ontario. Come learn about and support this inspiring project!
The exhibition will feature work by alex felipe. His work has been published/presented by Amnesty, Oxfam, the Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, This Magazine, and more. He was nominated for a National Magazine Award for his work on Canadian mining in the Philippines.
www.alexfelipe.info / www.alexfelipe.wordpress.c
Video and Online Campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/
Documentary screening of LAST CHANCE to feature the Director & Guest speakers
WHERE: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
WHEN: Tuesday, June 4, 6:45 pm
COST: Suggested donation $2-5
This event features guest speakers Paul Émile d’Entremont (director), Trudi Stewart (film subject) and Michael Battista (The Rainbow Railroad) and is co-presented with the NFB and The Rainbow Railroad.
SYNOPSIS: Their names are Trudi, Carlos, Jennifer, Zaki and Alvaro. They come from Jamaica, Colombia, Lebanon, Egypt and Nicaragua, and are seeking asylum in Canada because of their sexual orientation. The documentary Last Chance by Paul Émile d’Entremont retraces the turbulent journeys of five people who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and nervously await a decision that will change their lives forever. All five remain hopeful their adopted country will show them the compassion they deserve.
In 1886, 127 years ago, European immigrant workers marched in Chicago to demand an eight hour work day. The massacre and execution of trade unionists that followed has been commemorated every year since, in almost every corner of the world on May 1st – International Workers Day.
Since then, working people have waged a continuous struggle, from social reforms to revolutionary alternatives. In this country, these struggles have produced important reforms including the minimum wage, pensions, a retirement age, and many social programs and rights including access to health care and primary education. International Workers Day is also a day to celebrate these victories, especially at this time when we are compelled to organize to protect these vital gains from capitalism’s latest offensive, so-called “austerity”. This agenda is being orchestrated from the highest levels of international finance right down to municipal governments, a program to advance the redirecting social wealth from state-sponsored social programs to the richest.
The colonial foundations of this country, including the systematic theft of land and attempts to destroy the culture and social fabric of indigenous nations, remains the most pressing internal issue in this country today.
The ‘Idle No More’ movement has brought the issue of internal colonialism to the world, and especially to the public in Canada that has largely ignored this reality. Indigenous communities continue to wage campaigns over land claims, the inexcusable number of missing indigenous women, as well reparations for crimes committed by the residential school system, just to name a few.
The Canadian state has also been increasingly playing a role as an imperialist political, economic, and military actor. While Canada has been active in foreign military campaigns since before WWI (participating in military actions in South Africa) over the last decade Canada has gone from being a major component of the military offensive and occupation in Afghanistan to also participating in the NATO-led bombing of Libya, with the prospect of military involvement in Mali, Syria with North Korea currently under discussion. Moreover, the Canadian state has backed and assisted in the proliferation of Canadian mining companies and their operations all over the planet. In many cases, not only do these companies engage in labour exploitation and environmentally destructive practices, which have catastrophic impacts to local communities and ecosystems, but they have also been connected to targeted acts of violence against workers as well as environmental activists, from Colombia to Tanzania.
There are many more – too many – examples of the injustices and crimes that occur here and around the world, crimes that are committed to maintain the capitalist order. All over the world, the wealthy and powerful are using the governments they control to push the same relentless, criminal agenda of pursuing profit at the cost of the rights and lives of people. Whether it be by robbing people’s money as they are doing in Cyprus, or by robbing a nation’s resources through military means as in Libya, or by unrelentingly attacking social programs and workers’ rights as is happening here, their agenda and their system must be stopped.
There should be no mistake. We are not simply talking about going back in time, rewinding the clock to the supposed heyday of the so-called “welfare state” in Canada. This welfare state was at the same time pursuing its genocide of indigenous peoples through residential schools and pursuing its criminal war of aggression against the people of Korea. We cannot continue to pretend that, as Stephen Harper said, “Canada has no history of colonialism”. We can no longer pretend that Canada acts as a ‘peacekeeper’ on the world stage and that transnationals are altruistically ‘providing jobs’ as they outsource jobs here while exploiting workers and resources abroad.
On International Workers Day, we march to build a Solidarity City. Solidarity City is a unified struggle for: Respect for Indigenous Sovereignty, Status for All, an End to Imperialism and Environmental Destruction, an End to Austerity and Attacks on the Poor and Working class, continued resistance against Patriarchy, Racism, Ableism and Homophobia and Transphobia’.
On this International Workers Day, the organizations of the May 1st Movement call for:
Support for the struggle for Indigenous peoples’ liberation including:
The defense of ancestral lands and support to frontline land defenders; and
The recognition of the right of Indigenous genuine self-determination, including their right to determine all their economic and political affairs.
Pushing back on attacks upon working class and poor communities including:
Rejecting all forms of the capitalist ‘austerity’ agenda, reject the cutting of services and trampling on worker and civil rights;
Curtailing police abuses and impunity by reducing of police budgets, dismantling of the bogus Special Investigations Unit, and its replacement with a genuine community-based civilian oversight groups;
Rejecting the continued neoliberal drive towards privatizations, eliminating public incentives and tax breaks for large corporations, and resisting outsourcing by placing regulations and restrictions on these practices.
Supporting concrete campaigns that address immediate needs of workers, including:
Extending access to services without fear of deportation, while fighting for regularization of undocumented people, and extension of permanent residency to any worker in Canada while re-regulating migrant labour to eliminate laws that exempt these workers from the rights and benefits that other workers enjoy; and
Increasing the minimum wage to $14.50/ hr, re-adjustment of social assistance rates to lift people out of poverty whiling indexing both of these to inflation.
Exposing Canadian Imperialism and reasserting our support for liberation struggles abroad including:
The withdrawal of Canada’s military from all foreign outposts and immediately halting any preparations for foreign military campaigns;
The subjection of Canadian mining companies to strict regulations to protect the rights of workers, the protection of the environment and communities where mining may take place, and the rights of people to benefit from any extraction that may take place;
The immediate halt to the practice of labour import which utilized temporary immigration status to regulate and discipline labour; and
The extension of different forms of support to liberation movements abroad from peoples organizations and social movements in Canada.
Of course, there are many other issues that impact different sectors of the working class in different ways and this is but a short list of changes we demand and deserve. Perhaps more importantly, we cannot expect the Canadian state to simply ‘give’ us these things and more. We stress the need for building people’s power in communities, in workplaces, on the streets and in the reserves, if we are going to actually achieve these.
This system is not and will not work for us, the majorities, the working people both here and abroad. We are the ones who build and make things, who perform the tasks and services that make societies progress, and it is our ancestral lands that are being plundered to feed this system.
This May Day, while the same class of politicians who live well off the public dime tell us that we need to tighten our belt and that we need to blame unions and immigrants for this mess, we need to understand that this system, and those that protect it, are the problem. We must stand with each other, in solidarity, so that when any government or corporation looks to trample on one community, one union or one group, we all stand together.
LIBERATION FOR FIRST NATIONS AND ALL OPPRESSED NATIONS!
HANDS OFF OUR SOCIAL PROGRAMS AND RIGHTS!
BUILD A SOLIDARITY CITY!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
by Binnadang Migrante Canada
The Cordillera Day event is a uniting activity held in our home country of the Philippines and here overseas. In these yearly celebrations, it would serve us well to look back in time to where we came from, the difficult paths that we had to go through in order to be where we are today.
Cordillera Day is on its 29th year of celebration in our native land (the Cordillera region of the Philippines) and its 5th year here in Toronto. On May 4, we will be guided by the theme “Strengthen unity in the indigenous people’s struggle for self determination. Uphold the rights and welfare of migrants and families. Support the politics of change.”
Binnadang – Migrante is spearheading the celebration. We are an organization of indigenous migrants to Canada that is advocating for our rights as migrants and actively engaging in the struggle of the indigenous peoples in the Cordillera for self-determination and for the Filipino peoples’ struggles for genuine freedom and democracy.
Cordillera day was born out of the struggle of the Cordillerans. It provides us a venue to give tribute to our martyrs who courageously defended and protected our indigenous people’s rights for our land, life, honor, rich culture, and vast resources of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. Ama Macling Dulag, a respected tribal chieftain, helped unify tribes in the Northern Cordilleras from the late 70’s to early 80’s to resist the construction of the World Bank–funded Chico River Basin Hydroelectric Dams. On April 24, 1980, Dulag was brutally killed by the Philippine military. Up to now, no justice has been served for his murder.
Today, we reflect, learn, derive inspiration and gain further guidance from our Cordilleran martyrs’ perseverance in various struggles throughout the past decades. As migrant workers, we have been forced to leave our families and live under exploitative and oppressive conditions abroad by the very same reasons why Ama Macling struggled before and why many of our people are still struggling now.
The land, life and livelihood of the Cordillerans are under attack! Across the region, the adverse effects of large scale mining have resulted in irreparable damage to the natural environment and local agriculture, the economic and even physical displacement of indigenous communities, and the aggravation of climate change impacts. Human rights are trampled through militarization, employment of union busters, private armies and pseudo-unionists who do not really serve the interest of the people.
The problem of development aggression and security continue to intensify the worsening phenomenon of forced migration. Most of the Cordillerans live on the graces of our fertile lands. But the richest of our lands are claimed by foreign capitalists and local elites. Thus many of us were left with no choice but to migrate overseas, a condition that makes us vulnerable to different forms of exploitation.
The indigenous people together with the other toiling masses of the society are left with no recourse but to resist. We want to finally go home to a country where there is an opportunity for a decent life, where Cordillerans are the ones who benefit from the riches of Cordillera, where our culture is respected and where the Filipino people are free and our society is truly just.