Sunday, 15 October 2017

Global economy requires new/old style labour solidarity - the message from"Confronting Global Capital" conference in Hamilton, Ontario

 
International solidarity among all workers was the clear message of the important "Confronting Global Capital" workshop held in Hamilton from October 12-14. After decades of neo-liberalism have battered workers in all sectors, from airports to universities and beyond the only way to  hang in is to hang together. Above Steve Tufts of York University introduces Dan Jannsen (seated) of the Toronto Airport Workers Council, an innovative multi-union body created as a united voice for workers at Toronto's Pearson Airport. Reaching out beyond organizational borders, the TAWC has already connected with similar workers in the Phillipines and Turkey. With members unionized by the Industrial Workers of  the World (the Wobblies) TorontotheBetter welcomes solidarity among workers as an important part of a better city for all. We here recognize Toronto Wobbly brother Paul Bocking for his workshop presentation about the impact of neo-liberalism on education workers.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Common Ground Co-op's 7th Annual Bowlathon Fundraiser

Common Ground Co-operative, the folks behind the social enterprises Lemon 7 Allsprice Cookery, The Coffee Sheds and CleanABLE are having their 7th Annual Bowlathon Fundraiser this month.

See their page on CandaHelps here for more information...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

School librarian takes on US president's spouse and gets famous


If ever two unlikely figures were made to share the limelight together it is Melania Trump  [no description or image required] and Massachusetts school librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro [no image available at this time], Both are unabashed seekers of fame, the first by a well known marriage and the second by rejecting a gift of books to her library from the first. The fittingly clownish figures that brought them together are Dr. Seuss's children's book characters like Cat in the Hat. The point here is that the Trump disease of self-promotion at all costs and irrespective of  minor dangers like nuclear conflagration are likely furthered, not impeded by acts like Soeiro's that champion her professional status rather than exposing the cynical do-gooder tokenism that motivates the Trump gang and their donations.          

Uber forced to unionize - the beginninng of the end or the end of the beginning for one kind of "sharing economy" enterprise?

First they start up and make profits by evading labour standards that workers fought long and hard to gain, then their workers start to realize they're getting exploited, then...

See http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-seattle-uber-lyft-unionization-20151215-story.html for details and http://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/ls362.php for the real struggle
behind the struggle.
 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Free market U.S. government can't live with a little bit of competition from Bombardier


Passengers will be getting off Bombardier planes for good if they have to pay 200% extra thanks to a "Make Ammerica Great Again" ruling by the US.  
If there was still any willingness by fair minded observers to accept that competition was what so-called free market champions wanted, the U.S. Department of Commerce's recent imposition of a massive (+219%) trade levy on Canada's Bombardier should be the clincher [https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/27/punitive-export-tariff-placed-on-planes-made-in-northern-ireland.]. Just so happens that Bombardier is in competition with Boeing for similar global contracts of course and that the current resident of the White House has vowed to "make America great again" by rigging markets to create more local jobs. And if boosting the supposedly free market economy takes a little bit of market manipulation and trade barriers then so be it, goes the logic of big power realpolitik. Will the neo-liberal fantasists in Canada's government, who want, they repeat, to "balance economic  growth and nice things like the environment and health and safety standards, be willing to fight their "free market" U.S. allies on this? For the record bleats from Justin Trudeau, Bill Morneau and Chrystia Freeland will have no effect on the ally (aka competitor) they now intend to renegotiate a "better NAFTA" with. That unregulated markets favour ultimately only the already wealthy will once again be demonstrated as any reader of the world's most prominent economic statistician, Thomas Piketty, already knows.Time for Canada to stand up for fair trade and social economy. We're not holding our breath.               

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

"Pull Out all the Stops to Win Amazon HQ bid" says Toronto mayor John Tory ...ignoring Amazon's predatory business history


Or that's what the Toronto Star copy editor made of whatever Tory actually  said in the paper's Sept.8 issue. Words like "gigantic" and "leverage" ripple through the article along with the page 2 headlined "predictability and stability" (identified as Toronto's urban strength). That predictability and stability are the last words one would use to describe the megalomaniacal CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and the contradiction between Amazon values and those that made Toronto once one of North America's most "livable" cities seems to have eluded the Star writers in their eagerness to be seen as city boosters in these continuing neo-liberal times. Predatory capitalism and livable cities do not a happy matrriage make, however many jobs the former promises (and rarely delivers). Better enterprise that promises less quantity and more quality for citizens.      


Monday, 11 September 2017

Think Before you "Skip the Dishes" - you may be missing more than "hard labour"

It's a long time ago when family dinners went the way of extinct species, in that distant past before kids worked several part-times to  pay for school so they can to get a "real job", and before parents worked several jobs to put enough food on the table to give their kids enough nutrition to do the  several part-time jobs they did to get the real job that school was supposed to get them. Those multiple clauses reflect pretty well the degree of displacement from source of the dish-skipping process. In summary let us just note that It would be a sad downer if all this dish-skipping led to no job, or less job than the ancient species of dish doers did.

In fact it's so long ago that most North Americans did daily dishes it's surprising how long it's taken for services like Skip the Dishes (cooked food direct to your door without the waste of the cerebral and physical energy required by dish-making)  to show up. The issue is not so  much the disintegration of the family dinner (and of course the family, nuclear or other, with it). Nor is it necessarily one of quality, though it's hard to imagine quality being maintained when the food making is "outsourced." Quality aka "whole" food is now available, even if the recently Amazon acquired Whole Foods is less and less likely to be the provider and not just because it's too  expensive for the great majority of workers.  

The issue is what is the full impact of dish skipping on the dish skippers. Underlying the whole topic of dish-skipping is, predictably, economics. Those forced to dish-skip by the scant jobmarket will inevitably be less well fed. Dish skipping services are targeting those who don't have the money for decent restaurant food and who, therefore will be paying for cheaper food they know little or nothing about. In other words dish-skipping services are another form of disenfranchisement for the already disenfranchised. When we don't make our cultures, whether its through language or art or food they no longer do what culture us supposed to do - make us a home in the universe. And homelessness of any kind is bad for all it afflicts. A challenge for the many progressive food services in TorontotheBetter's directory, none of which are dishskippers, is to make quality food a personal option. We invite our visitors to check TorontotheBetter food services and let us know who, you think, iis doing the best job of re-patriating food for people.