As part of Israeli Apartheid Week, yesterday March 6, about 40 people gathered at the conference ‘Profiling of Arabs and Muslims in Canada : an historical perspective’ at Café artere. A conference organized by Tadamon Collective, which reunited the historian, Houda Asal and the activist Mary Foster as part of the BDS (boycott sanction and divestment) campaign.
Chaque année, la journée internationale des femmes est célébrée, occasion de faire le bilan sur les progrès faits en matière de droits des femmes et des avancées qu’il reste à effectuer.
With the upcoming inauguration of the president-elect down south, CKUT’s News Collective would like to share some thoughts from Masha, a member of Russia’s Pussy Riot.
Pussy Riot is a feminist protest punk-band-meet-art-collective that uses performance and music to disseminate their defiance. The group’s “guerilla performance” in 2012 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow brought them international recognition and a two-year jail sentence for mocking Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for the, then, presidential candidate.
In 2016, Pussy Riot again spoke out against the American president-elect. At the time of the interview, Trump was the Republican candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. In response to his success, two songs – “Straight Outta Pussy” and “Make America Great Again” – were released. Both their lyrics and music videos challenged his demonstrated misogyny, racism, and classism.
When asked about Trump, Masha described him as “a crazy asshole.” The interview further explores why tactics employed by feminists in the US and Canada cannot be compared with feminism’s tactics in the Russia, how the rise of Trump resembles that of Putin, and how the media can distort public opinion about struggles against the status quo.
The CKUT News Collective would like to encourage its listeners to go out and show solidarity with DC’s disruptions of Inauguration Day in Montreal.
In light of the Association of McGill University Support Employee’s (AMUSE) five-day strike, CKUT sat down with one of their executives and bargaining members to address their reasons for their work stoppage from October 29th to November 2nd. 82% of the AMUSE members who showed up for the strike vote voted in favour of strike action on October 20th.
AMUSE, McGill’s contract worker union, represents 1500 workers who work all across campus, including Athletics, the McGill Bookstore, and Enrolment Services. The strike was sparked by an impasse in AMUSE’s negotiations with McGill, specifically on the clause regarding McGill’s Work Study program. However, casual worker dissatisfaction ran much deeper, particularly for employees who were not students. More information in the above embedded interview.
The interview was carried out on Monday, the half-way point of their five-day strike. At that point, AMUSE had disrupted various on-campus operations and events, including sporting events and McGill’s Open House. They had also started a hashtag – #istandwithAMUSE – for people to share their experiences on social media. Or pose for a selfie with a sign.
No employees were hired to scab their work, likely because they had declared an end date to the strike. However, Open House did see various full-time permanent employees and higher-up administrators carrying out their work, such as giving campus tours.
The highest profile event that AMUSE disrupted during their strike was Media@McGill’s video conference with Edward Snowden. Before the talk started, AMUSE marched through the lecture hall, shaming the room for crossing their picket lines. A mixture of cheers, jeers and boos ensued. AMUSE picketed all the entrances, handing out flyers which described their conditions, why not to cross their picket line, and that they did not intend to stand against Edward Snowden’s message. Picketers underscored that their picket lines were to draw attention to Media@McGill’s history of ad hoc, precarious contracts.
Nevertheless, a picket line was set up at the entrance for media. A rally also set up camp among the line of hopeful attendees, pushing the message that their rally was the better activity for the evening (The line for Snowden snaked from Leacock, past the Arts Building, down the stairs to McConnell and up all the way to Trottier).
Ironically, Snowden expressed sympathy for their cause saying that “It’s very very very hard to be the least popular person in the room.” And yet at the same time, he also expressed apprehension about journalists being treated as regular citizens (in the context of recent findings that the SPVM and SQ have been tapping journalist communications for information).
Notably, strike pay was only available to workers who chose to work at least a four-hour strike shift. Strike pay was $53 for a four-hour picket shift if you worked under 20 hours a week and $75 for a four-hour picket shift if you worked over 20 hours a week. If members worked more than one AMUSE job, they were told to combine the hours to calculate the total. Several members expressed to CKUT about their discomfort with being compensated only if they picketed. Interestingly enough, Snowden had brought up the right to being a private citizen in his video conference, specifically the right to understanding how governing bodies made their decisions (“Why shouldn’t we get compensated if we don’t picket?”) and the right to keeping controversial views private (“I don’t want to picket in the rain”).
Casual workers have returned to their posts as of Thursday November 3rd and hope to hear updates with negotiations with McGill that will restart November 10th.
On Monday July 4th the queer femme P.O.C. collective Re:Bodies held a poetry night at Coop l’Artère to raise funds for the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, as well as for Pagsibol. CKUT spoke with Nakuset, director of the women’s shelter, about their work and the services that they provide, and excerpts from the poetry night follow this interview.
For more information about how to get involved with the Native Women’s Shelter, check out www.nwsm.info.
This report was produced for CKUT by Claudia Edwards.
CKUT News spoke with Jen from the Cotes-Des-Neiges Community Council regarding the Blue Bonnets public demonstration, which took place the morning of June 22nd. The demonstration raised awareness and increased engagement towards the development of a large social housing project, proposed for the now-empty lot near Namur Metro.
This piece was produced for CKUT by Claudia Edwards.