Spring is officially here and planting season is almost on us. Backyard or community gardening is becoming a political act (perhaps it always was) and the turmoil in the world due to capitalist violence and chaos will surely mean rising fuel prices, and, just as surely, an end to what James Kunstler called the “3000 mile Caesar Salad” – where we truck food in from thousands of miles away.
Click on image for gardening techniques
What about guerilla gardening then? We’ll have a discussion on the politics of local food production, how it can empower us and how we can learn to cooperate with each other in a society dominated by a consumerism, capitalism and private property.
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According to the International Policy Institute website, Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. She is a founder of and remains on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation, works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, co-chairs the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement.
We spoke with her after the UN imposed a so called no-fly zone over Libya which is enforced by mainly western nations. While on the one hand many believe a people inspired revolt needed assistance, others saw the western powers again invading a Muslim country under the pretext of humanitarian needs in pursuit of their own agenda. It remains to be properly explained by western powers, including Canada, why Palestinians in Gaza and civilians in Bahrain and Yemen have not been afforded the same intervention. A new world order is certainly needed, and Bennis spoke of the concept of internationalism where movements for peace and justice are built and can expand to displace the current global economic order which thrives on war and occupation.
You can further support the work of Phyllis Bennis and the New Internationalism Project here.
We had special guest and local artist Keats Conlon sing two songs for us, Charity and Prayers for Sunday, around the halfway point of the program. Click here to see a video of Keats singing Charity.
Tuesday, March 22. 7 pm @ Windsor Workers Action Centre 328 Pelissier ST.
This workshop comes from an understanding that colonialism is not an issue for Indigenous people alone to deal with. It encourages non-Native people to see the ways colonialism is all around us and within us – and how to deconstruct and transform both social relations and the many layers of colonialism within our hearts and minds.
In more detail, this workshop employs interactive discussion, historical documents, treaty texts, maps and images to explore the history of colonization around the Great Lakes, the ways in which non-Native people are signatories to treaties which are currently being broken (and the responsibilities carried therein), and the ways colonialism impoverishes our relationship with the land.
Presenter Matt Soltys lives in Guelph, Ontario, and is active in environmental justice, food security, and anti-colonial movements. he is also a father, a naturalist, former organizer with the indigenous peoples solidarity movement, and producer of Healing the Earth Radio.
Apologies as the audio file is unavailable for this program. We’ll work on restoring it.
It may seem strange with all that is happening in the world – from Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin and Michigan – that we’d talk today about religion as either a force for peace or reason for conflict. After a chance meeting with Usman Sadiq about an upcoming event to explore this question it seemed relevant and necessary. Today we’ll briefly discuss the event and who is organizing it and why.
Religion and politics are mixing today in ways we haven’t seen in the secular west for decades, and it is a volatile mix. But does it need to be? Generally speaking when people’s needs are met harmony of sorts is possible. In a global context, millions are left in poverty and suffer under repressive political regimes, and those millions can draw a direct line from the repression they suffer to global exploitation of resources such as oil and minerals and people, cheap labour. Religious leaders often fill a dual role as political leader and religious leader.
The social compact we had in Canada can be traced to the work of such people, and they stand in stark contrast to religious fundamentalists who seem eager to foment divisions between people and bring us back to the days when free thought and reason could not prevail. So – what about religion as a force for peace or conflict. We’ll talk about the upcoming conference with Ayoun Basharat, President and Usman Sadiq, Vice President of the Ahamdiyya Muslim Student Association here at UWindsor.
The Arabic transcription above the image of the sun is a verse from the Qur’an3:123. “And Allah had [already] helped you at Badr when you were weak”
Is Religion a Source of Peace or Reason for Conflict?
Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011
Time: 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Location: CAW Student Centre, 2nd Floor, Ambassador Hall
Judaism – Jeffery Ableser (Rabbi in Windsor, ON)
Buddhism – Venerable TT Dhammo (Monk from Khmer Krom Buddhist Federation in Hamilton, On)
Christianity – Reverend Father Kevin George (Christian Scholar from St. Mark’s By-the-Lake)
Sikhism – Gurinder Singh
Islam – Ansar Raza (Scholar from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Toronto, On)
Urge the Government of Alberta to respect the rights of the Lubicon Cree
Send a message to the Alberta government to stop approving new oil development licenses on Lubicon land without the consent of the Lubicon Cree.
Massive oil and gas development has almost wiped out the traditional economy and way of life of the Lubicon Cree. Billions of dollars of oil and gas has been taken from their land, yet the Lubicon Cree themselves have been plunged into poverty.
Click on image for more information
It’s time for us to say, “Enough is enough.” Lubicon rights must be protected before another generation of Lubicon youth grows up facing poverty and injustice.
Send an immediate message urging the Government of Alberta to respect Lubicon rights and ensure that any oil and gas development on Lubicon lands has Lubicon consent.
Windsor Guerrilla Gardening Collective is challenging (even daring!) every environmentalist to adopt the “Sustainable Diet Once-A-Day Challenge”. The Once-A-Day challenge is eating food that was foraged, garden grown or
directly purchased from a local farmer, but eating that sustainable food at least once a day, 365 days a year. This doesn’t mean 100% of your diet will come from sustainable sources, but at least one item you eat everyday will! This effort will amount to a HUGE difference in how your diet impacts the earth.
In the first half hour of the program we talked to Richard Sanders, coordinator of Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), based in Ottawa. According to the organization’s website, “COAT is a national network of individuals and organizations in Canada that began in late 1988 to organize opposition to ARMX ’89, which was the country’s largest weapons bazaar. COAT’s first campaign led to Ottawa City Council’s 20-year ban on hosting arms bazaars on municipal property.
Since its formation, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has made significant contributions to Canada’s peace movement. As an Ottawa-based organization, supported by a network of individuals and groups across Canada, COAT made great headway in exposing and opposing many military export events held in the nation’s capital.
Over the years, other COAT projects included:
• Organizing major conferences on human rights, conversion and weapons trade-related issues.
• Non-Violent Play: Organizing opposition to war toys and violent games, and promoting cooperative children’s activities.
• Opposing Military Trade Events: Researching, writing, organizing opposition to military export events in Ottawa.
• Peace Links: Soliciting letters from NGOs in countries where Canada exports military equipment and distributing them in Canada.
National shares of arms sales of the top 100 arms-producing companies in the world (excluding China)
Click image for more info: (Peace Pledge Union)
The organization produces the magazine Press for Conversion, with the results of research on Canada’s role in the weapons industry. We thought it timely to talk to Richard Sanders about COAT’s research into Canadian arms sales in the Middle East, a region in rebellion as the working class from Egypt to Libya are struggling to extricate themselves from dictatorships.
For Canadians it is not enough to say we support those fighting for justice – we also have to take a hard look at the Canadian arms industry and the role it plays in suppressing the legitimate rights of people fighting to be free.
Related story on the international arms trade is here.
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Windsor) is a student funded and operated campus organization. We are the only student funded organization on campus mandated to work on environmental and social justice issues. This is done through conducting public interest research, educating and raising awareness and taking action as directed by our volunteers.
OPIRG-Windsor was established by referendum in February of 1993 with a undergraduate student fee of $2.50 per semester but our fees have not increased since that time in spite of inflation over the last 17 years.
We wish to ensure that OPIRG can better maintain existing operations on campus and extend our services more extensively throughout the university and local communities.
Therefore we are requesting an increase of OPIRG-windsor fees by 50¢ per semester beginning in the academic year 2011/12 plus a cost of living allowance in subsequent years. Some examples of OPIRG’s work:
Windsor Animal Action Group (WAAG): works on a number of issues dealing with cruelty to animals and promoting vegetarianism.
Environmental Group: was instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Coalition” to help coordinate the activities of the different student groups. They worked with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition on the “International Day for Action against
Climate Change” and World Water Day. They are continuing their work with the Coalition on the “Sustainable Campus Project.” They were also instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Committee” made up of faculty, staff and student reps to serve as an
Advisory Committee to the University of Windsor
Social Justice Group: working on Fair Trade & Poverty Issues. (It was through the efforts of OPIRG’s Social Justice Group that the University of Windsor began offering fair trade coffee)
Anti-Racism Group: offers a “Diversity Training Workshop” free to all students twice a year as well offering it to all first year Psychology students (approximately one thousand students. They also offer a “Diversity Trainer Certificate Program” free to all members students.
Stuff Swap: organized a campaign to collect and distribute the items of left by students who are moving out, such as furniture, clothing and appliances, which are in reusable condition, and are usually simply left out for garbage collection and sent to the landfill. The project organized a swap meet and a collection of items from residence that were donated to the diabetes society and Computers for Kids.
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgendered) Issues Group started Out on Campus and helped to establish an LGBT Safe Space.
Women’s Issues Group examined gender inequality and women’s health issues.
Pesticide Action Group:worked with the WEAC (Windsor
Environmental Advisory Committee a sub-committee of City Council) to try and eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides on school and city property.
South East Asia Group: worked in conjunction with the
East Timor Alert Network (ETAN) to lobby the Canadian government to stop selling arms to Indonesia, brought in speakers from East Timor, and participated in a successful boycott against Pepsi’s support of the dictatorship in Burma.
Radio Show (the Shake Up): every Friday at 4pm on CJAM 99.1 FM a talk radio show dealing with a variety of social justice and environmental issues
Solidarity on Campus: works to coordinate the activities of like minded progress groups on campus.
The OPIRG Exchange: Coffee House and Reading room at 372 California provide free fair trade coffee and tea and reading material, audio and visual media in a homey atmosphere.
We are running this referendum in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) who will receive half the new funds we raise in the first year.