Tar Sands, pipelines, and resistance across cultures and borders

During the week of April 18th I  took in two forums on the pollution of the lower Great Lakes basin: Crossing Borders and Making Connections on April 19 in southwest Detroit, and then on the following evening, April 20, in Windsor: Pollution in our Midst: International Forum on Environmental Issues in the Lower Great Lakes Basin. The April 18th forum featured Crystal Lameman, a Tribal leader of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in the middle of the Tar Sands in Alberta. She gave a compelling overview of the destruction of the land, air and water of her nation because of the Tar Sands bitumen extraction.

Windsor on Watch and Council of Canadians Windsor Essex branch organized the Windsor forum

Vanessa and Lindsay are community activists at Aamjiwnaang, and they gave an overview of the effects of living there amongst the many chemical refineries, and Rhonda Anderson of the Sierra Club in Detroit spoke about organizing in the southwest Detroit area where Marathon Oil dominates the health and quality of life. In effect, Windsor and Detroit are the terminus for Tar Sands bitumen. It is in and around marginalized and racialized communities where refineries are located.

Here is the audio from the April 20th forum in Windsor featuring Vanessa and Lindsay Gray and Sierra Club Michigan’s Rhonda Anderson:

Lindsay & Vanessa Gray Apr 19 2016

Lindsay Gray (L) and Vanessa Gray (R) speak at the SW Detroit forum April 19, 2016 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Also at both forums were Theresa Landrum, who lives in the directly affected area of SW Detroit around the Marathon plant. On Friday April 22 I spoke with Theresa Landrum on The ShakeUp, airing on campus community radio station CJAM 99.1FM, on her community work and the effects of the petro-chemical industry on that area. She describes the literally day to day struggle to monitor  corporations like Marathon Oil and challenge them when they push to expand:

Theresa Landrum Apr 19 2016

Theresa landrum, community activist, speaks at the SW Detroit forum April 19, 2016. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Click image to support the work of Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP) legal defence

Click image to support the work of Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP) legal defence

 

Sept. 2: Julia Putnam and The Boggs Educational Center; Melina Laboucan-Massimo and Tar Sands protests

Click image for more info on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here: 

Julia Putnam: 7:19

Melina Laboucan-Massimo: 37:30

Next week begins a new school year including classes here on campus. All of us are products of many societal influences, and next to home and parents, school is where we are socialized to carry on whatever traditions society has determined make a model citizen. Academics refer to this as reproducing the social order. Without realizing it we learn from a young age how to work according to the clock, obey authority and how to earn a living. It’s not until we make our way to university that we start to confront critical thinking and examine the society that has produced us. Even then, that will occur in the humanities – a university sector under funding pressure and questions to its relevancy. Increasingly universities are being structured to turn out professionals who are trained to be able to make their way up a career ladder; and to do that, it is necessary to simply accept the status quo. The old saying, ‘go along to get along’ is an accurate credo. None of my comments are meant to impinge on the integrity of teachers, most of whom strive to care for their students as they work under often difficult conditions. As well, schools on this side of the border are not yet facing the harsh realities of Detroit.

Julia Pointer Putnam, an educator in Detroit,  talked to us about her experience in 1992 at the Detroit Summer School and how that influenced her today as she and others work to bring into being a new school in Detroit: the Boggs Educational Center.

Detroit Emergency Manager: Click HERE

Information on Michigan Charter Schools

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For years the Alberta Tar Sands have been in the news and for those who check in to alternative news sites such as The Dominion, it is clear the Tar Sands should rank as an environmental crime against humanity. Tar Sands exploitation means more water depletion in Alberta, the extensive use of natural gas to create steam needed to get the bitumen to the surface, the shipping of the corrosive sludge to refineries and the end use of it as a fossil fuel contributes to further global climate change. Many believe the Tar Sands must be stopped. Yet production is planned to be ramped up with the building of a cross continent pipeline – the Keystone XL project to build a second pipeline – to ship the bitumen to the Texas coast for refining. Protests have been occurring in Washington DC with hundreds of arrests planned to help make the world take notice of the pipeline project and the further damage to the environment that will occur. And the unfolding disaster it’s not just global warming. The route of the pipeline cuts straight through one of the largest aquifers in the United States, so any leak would destroy the drinking water of millions.

Several organizations are organizing a protest at Parliament Hill demanding that the XL Keystone pipeline be cancelled. On Monday, Sept. 26, Canadians are being asked to make a stand against the pipeline project in Ottawa at Parliament Hill. I was able to speak to activist Melina Laboucan-Massimo in Washington DC about the protest there and the planned Canadian action on Sept. 26.

On Sept. 24, Windsor on Watch is calling on people in Windsor/Detroit to make a stand against the latest assault on our environment and join in for the Moving Planet Toxic Tour 1PM at the Caron Ave pump station on the Windsor riverfront, and a gathering afterwards at the Phog Lounge.

Recent James Laxer Tar Sands related article

Featured CD

Click image for more info on this Detroit band

OPIRG Windsor Calendar of Events

PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY GROUP

Saturday, Sept. 3 at 1pm @ OPIRG Exchange Coffee House and Reading Room (372 California Between Eco House & Campus Community Garden)

The Palestinian Solidarity Group meeting is open to everyone. Anyone who cares about Palestinian issues and wants to take action to support them should come.

For further information visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/University-of-Windsor-Palestinian-Solidarity-Group/191644890871676?sk=info

ANTI-WAR PICKET

Every Saturday 11 am. to noon Ottawa Street across from Market Square

Canadians Say, Get out of Afghanistan Now!

Occupation is not Liberation

Invest in our Communities, not in War

For more information email: Windsor Peace Coalition <windsorpeace@hotmail.com>

WDLC LABOUR DAY PARADE & ACTIVITIES

Monday, September 5 • 9:30am – 4:00pm CAW 200/444 Hall, 1855 Turner Road to Fogular Furlan Club, North Service Road East Windsor for more information visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174007572668519

OPIRG-WINDSOR BOARD MEETING

Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 3pm @ OPIRG Exchange Coffee House and Reading Room (372 California Between Eco House & Campus Community Garden)

Join us for a peer led recovery group – RAINBOW RECOVERY!

Every Wednesday @ 7pm

This group is for anyone affected by alcoholism or addiction of any kind.

We will be meeting every Wednesday from 7pm – 8:30pm at the Windsor Pride Centre (422 Pelissier). You don’t need to be there every week to come along!

We welcome the LGBT community and our allies ♥ (Alanon, Narnanon, NA, AA, Gamblers Anon – all welcome, and more!)

For details email us at rainbowrecovery@windsorpride.com

Saturday September 10th, from 10am – 3pm.

PECHE ISLAND DAY EVENT hosted by Peche Island (A. Laframboise) The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup

The day will include transportation to and from the island in the Detroit River, along with guided tours focusing on the island’s unique natural and historical features. The island’s marked trails are perfect for self-guided touring. Enjoyable and educational, this is a great event for the whole family!

Limited parking is available for this event, so people are encouraged to bike or bus to the marina. Litterless picnic lunches are welcome on the island, but no garbage is to be left behind. Boat transportation to the island begins at 10am, the last boat bringing people to the island will depart the mainland at 1pm. Boat boarding at Lakeview Park Marina, 9200 Riverside Drive East, Windsor. Light snacks and beverages are available for purchase.

Life jackets will be provided. However, please bring your own infant life jackets. Please note, this event may be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Peche Island Day is a free event and everyone is welcome to attend! For more information contact the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup at: 519-982-3722 or email: postmaster@detroitriver.ca

September 10th 2:00pm

Windsor Workers Action Center – 328 Pelissier

FIBRE CRAFTING part of the Ecology and Freedom Workshop Series

Lindsay will teach us how to sheer, wash, prepare, spin and and knit our own wool.This workshop is essential for anyone interested in learning how to produce their own fabrique or clothes.

Organized by grassroots environmentalists, activists and volunteers.

Questions: roadwindsor@riseup.net

http://WindsorGreenWorkshops.blogspot.com

September 17th 10am

WECSA Community Farm, 13th Concession Near McGregor

GREEN BUILDING WITH LOAD-BEARING STRAW BALE part of the Ecology and Freedom Workshop Series

Come out to WECSA to help build a small storage shed/greenhouse with a commitment to using natural (or reclaimed) materials and self-reliant building techniques. We are inviting the community to share in this project and come helpout. A shuttle will be available from Windsor.

Please email roadwindsor@riseup.net to reserve your seat.

Organized by grassroots environmentalists, activists and volunteers.

Questions: roadwindsor@riseup.net

 http://WindsorGreenWorkshops.blogspot.com

ents

Aug 12: Tzazna Miranda Leal and upcoming caravan for freedom; Pablo Godoy: Students Against Migrant Exploitation

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here: 

Tzazna Miranda Leal: 9:23

Pablo Godoy: 41:26

Many will remember last year’s pilgrimage to freedom when 150 local community activists and foreign workers walked from Leamington to the Underground Railroad memorial in downtown Windsor.

Pilgrimage for Freedom 2010 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Justicia 4 Migrant Workers was the lead organizer of the pilgrimage and this year a new action is planned in several cities in the form of a caravan that will trace the route of the underground railway across southwestern Ontario. We spoke to Tzazna Miranda Leal of Justicia for Migrant Workers about the caravan planned for Sept/Oct. in the first half hour. Tzazna also movingly explained how she became a part of the struggle for justice.

For information on the upcoming caravan:

Email: 4mw.on@gmail.com

Tzazna Miranda Leal

647 618 5325

Chris Ramsaroop

647 834 4932

On a related note, Pablo Gadoy, national representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union told us about Students Against Migrant Exploitation (SAME), an organization that “…educates and empowers students and youth alike on issues that affect migrant workers.” As a young labour activist, Godoy also gave insight into the need to merge union activism and social activism. Also, click link for more on the Agricultural Workers Alliance.

Click image for more info

Featured CD:

Click image for more on this local band

Tariq Ali on London riots:

Were there a serious political opposition party in this country it would be arguing for dismantling the shaky scaffolding of the neo-liberal system before it crumbles and hurts even more people. Throughout Europe, the distinguishing features that once separated centre-left from centre-right, conservatives from social democrats, have disappeared. The sameness of official politics dispossesses the less privileged segments of the electorate, the majority.

The young unemployed or semi-employed blacks in Tottenham and Hackney, Enfield and Brixton know full well that the system is stacked against them.

Read entire opinion here 

Announcements:

       Saturday September 10th, from 10am – 3pm.

PECHEISLAND DAY EVENT hosted by Peche Island (A. Laframboise) The Detroit River Canadian Cleanup

The day will include transportation to and from the island in theDetroitRiver, along with guided tours focusing on the island’s unique natural and historical features. The island’s marked trails are perfect for self-guided touring. Enjoyable and educational, this is a great event for the whole family!

Limited parking is available for this event, so people are encouraged to bike or bus to the marina. Litterless picnic lunches are welcome on the island, but no garbage is to be left behind. Boat transportation to the island begins at10am, the last boat bringing people to the island will depart the mainland at1pm.Boat boarding at Lakeview Park Marina,9200 Riverside Drive East,Windsor. Light snacks and beverages are available for purchase.

Life jackets will be provided. However, please bring your own infant life jackets. Please note, this event may be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Peche Island Day is a free event and everyone is welcome to attend! For more information contact the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup at: 519-982-3722 or email: postmaster@detroitriver.ca

Jan 28: Fighting Dystopia and Stop the Metering!

Listen to the entire program here:

Perhaps you have been following the mass protests in Egypt and I have to say it is breathtaking to see people in the streets demanding justice and change in their government (if a dictatorship could be called a government) after decades of powerlessness.

In our area yesterday (Jan 27)  there was also a large rally – 200 people I am told – members of CUPE Local 4580 who are GA’s and TA’s and their supporters. They were protesting the conditions of employment for GAs and TAs and took their message directly to President Wildeman in his office.

Their efforts are coming while CUPE locals head into bargaining for a new contract. Also, this weekend (Jan 29) there was a rally in Hamilton to support members of the USW Local 1005 who are locked out of the workplace in a labour dispute, in part over pensions. Two buses left from Windsor to attend the Hamilton rally. And  last year at this time we were out protesting PM Harper’s abuse of power when he prorogued Parliament over his fears of the fallout from allegations of Canadian complicity in the handing over of Afghan detainees to certain torture by Afghan security forces.

So, with all that is happening in mind, we talked with Lindsay Sheppard of OPIRG, live here in the studio about the Fighting Dystopia Conference, and in the second half of the show we’ll talk to Lindsay Pinto, of openmedia.ca, about Internet Metering.