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The Island


GAIA – Global Alliance for Immediate Alteration
New Transnational Social Network Union to Crack Capitalism and Protect Life, Peace and Justice on Earth

This space is an experiment for constructing a new type of transnational social network union that aims at bringing individual industrial and non-industrial workers in the Global North, the precariat in the Global South; peasants, domestic, immigrant and jobless workers together with social movement activists from other struggle fields, activist/researchers and many others who has to work in order to reproduce his/her life and to provide an open space where we can connect our networks and struggles to each other.

GAIA project is an open invitation for inventing a world wide, common, grassroots, wiki social movement union that will aim an immediate alteration of capitalist social, cultural, and political order. Hundreds of millions not if billions of workers in the world are out of reach for the established trade union mechanisms and structures, they do not have any protection at all. Peter Waterman calls them ‘Labour’s others’, for some others they are the new working class; the precariat composed of people who hold  no property and even secure job.

What kind of trade union structure will be able to go beyond the ongoing problems, and the crisis of unionism that had been born out of those well known problems, and will become the change maker of our time? Can an open space online social networking ensemble become a model for such future union organisation through the internet?

There are already many good examples of action and organising taking place via the net and incredible results are getting reached, as it happened in 2007 when financial support has been mobilized from the wealthier segments of the Western working classes for the Ford worker’s first ever strike organised in Russia since the beginning of the 20th Century.

For already some times online social networking is gaining ground as an important and dynamic form of communication and collective action tool. Many activists are involved today in one or another social networks on the net, as well as on the real world. Time has come to transform this tool into a new generation social movement union. Therefore we need comprehensive discussion on how can this happen, would it work, how would we build and gain legal ground for such a union, is it possible, or necessary? How would such union look like, be governed and function against the offensive coming from the employer and the state?

‘Social Network Unionism’ working group has recently been created with the aim of promoting such discussion and providing space for comprehensive work in order to experiment with Social Network Union idea by utilizing the opportunity created by UnionBook. With the creation of GAIA space within Open WSF, I would like to invite all who involved one way or other in labour and trade union movements, environmental justice activists, women rights activists, immigrants’ rights activists, water justice activists, information activists, activist students and others from other struggle fields to join and contribute to build GAIA space together as network of networks that can stop capitalism and save the peoples and the mother earth.

Please join GAIA, invent discussion groups on below or any other relevant topics and lead the experiment to save our common future:
Principles of GAIA:
Objectives of GAIA:
Demands of GAIA:
Ethics of the GAIA:
Management and decision making for GAIA:
Fellowship of GAIA:
Applications/tools that are needed for functioning of GAIA as a genuine transnational grassroots union:

Please join and contribute GAIA and spread the word.

In solidarity!

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Work, work, work




Steelworker’s Hall
25 Cecil Street, Toronto
Monday, May 10, 2010
6:00 pm
Cost: $25/person
Contact Marya at 647.702.7914 or



May 13-16
York University, Toronto

The conference will take place against the backdrop of a profound destabilization of global capitalism alongside significant challenges for labour and social movements. Imperialist wars abound and culture has been drawn into the service of empire. Robust theorizations and critical innovations are needed.

Read more:



Guatemala: Human Rights Through Education
A talk with Guillermo Chen, Director of the New Hope Foundation

Thursday, May 13
12:30 – 2:00 pm
252 Bloor Street West
CIDE Room (7-105)

Since 1998, the New Hope Foundation has been providing education opportunities to Maya youth whose families were directly affected by the genocide of the 1980’s. In 2003, the focus changed from providing scholarships for public high schools to providing its own form of high school education.  The Foundation focuses on Maya cultural strengthening, human rights, critical thinking, and grassroots community development. The program is based on a popular education curriculum currently being adapted to also reflect local Maya knowledge.

To  RSVP or schedule a one-on-one meeting with Guillermo, contact Olimpia Boido at:



Report by participants in the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

May 7 2010
Steelworkers Hall Toronto
25 Cecil Street (east of Spadina, south of College)

Principal speakers:

– Robert Lovelace, a leader of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
– Ben Powless, Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario, member of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
– Kimia Ghomeshi, Campaign Director, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
– Danny Beaton: 2010 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (NAAA) for Environment and Natural Resources
– Delegation from Toronto Bolivia Solidarity

More than 15,000 social-movement and government representatives have confirmed attendance in Cochabamba to plan building a people’s movement to save the planet and us all. Join us on May 7 to learn of and be part of this initiative.


– Messages from supporters and sponsors
– Bolivian dance troupe and First Nations indigenous drumming.
– Bolivian food and beverages

Donation $5 or pay what you can.

More info:



On May 17 and 18, the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction is hosting a Provincial Leadership Assembly with representatives from across Ontario to mark the first anniversary of the Poverty Reduction Act and to plan our next steps to tackle poverty in Ontario.

We will be taking stock of progress on and challenges to poverty reduction, learning from the successes of local poverty reduction initiatives, and identifying our short and long term priorities – including for the upcoming municipal and provincial elections.

If you’re involved in poverty reduction work in your community, we hope you will join us to contribute to the next phase in 25 in 5’s work!

Please send us an e-mail at: if you would like more information or are interested in attending the Leadership Forum.




An expert advisory panel has been appointed to conduct a comprehensive review of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system.

The panel will report back to the Minister of Labour in Fall 2010 with recommendations and options for operational, policy and structural improvements to the province’s workplace safety system.

For more details visit:



According to data filed under the U.S. Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, the number of union officials and staff earning high salaries has exploded in recent years. Those earning more than $100,000 a year tripled between 2000 and 2008, the latest year with complete data, and the number earning more than $150,000 also tripled. Union salaries are out of step with most members’ pay, and they siphon scarce resources away from new organizing.

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We shouldn’t rely on paperwork to back up someone’s qualifications. Here is how some people are developing a new, radical approach to education.

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The Harper government’s economic policy, as enunciated in the Throne Speech and the Budget, is properly described by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty as “stay the course” or business-as-usual (that is, what business wants business gets). That is, we are offered more of the same old neo-liberalism and globalization with wealth for the few and austerity for the many — with only a brief panic-stricken Keynesian moment — that got us into the messes we’re in.

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From the heroic class struggles of late nineteenth century America, to an environmentally toxic, tyrannical, all too possible near future, here are some readings likely to stimulate your dissidence.

Unsurprisingly, the fiasco of the climate change summit in Copenhagen led me to Margaret Atwood’s latest eco-disaster novel “Year of the Flood” (McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 2009, 431 pages). Not a watery deluge, but a dry killer tide of disease (like an H1N1 on steroids) wipes out most of humanity.

The first great U.S. mass radicalization against deadly work conditions and miserable exploitation produced a generation of proletarian rebels. “Eugene V. Debs, A Biography”, by Ray Ginger (Collier Books, New York, N.Y., 1962, 543 pages), is the story of the leading voice and most resilient symbol of that late 19th century generation.

“The Sweetest Dream – Love, Lies, & Assassination – A Novel of the Thirties”, by Lillian Pollak, (iUniverse, Inc., New York, 2009, 370) is a charming account of the friendship of two young women who were part of the next wave of rebellion. For those yearning to know what it was like to be active participants on the radical left in Manhattan during the Great Depression, this story of the conflicting relations between the young Trotskyists and Stalinists of the time is the ticket.

The fourth book in this short survey transports us to the post-WW2 capitalist boom. “Marxism in Our Time”, by Isaac Deutscher (Ramparts Press, San Francisco, 1973, 312 pages) is an anthology of speeches, articles and interviews that document one remarkable person’s struggle to keep revolutionary theory alive and potent in a period of working class political retreat.

Read more:



Learning climate and work group skills in care work
Kristina Westerberg, Esther Hauer
Journal of Workplace Learning, Volume 21, Issue 8


Engaging the city: Civic participation and teaching urban history
Amy L. Howard
Journal of Urban History 2010;36 42-55


A cross-cultural examination of student volunteering: Is it all about résumé building?
Femida Handy, Lesley Hustinx, Ram A. Canaan, and Chulhee Kang
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly


Book review: Labor and the environmental movement, Brian Obach (MIT 2004)
Richard Leitch
Review of Radical Political Economics 2010;42 115-117


Re-thinking the “thing”: Sociomaterial approaches to understanding and researching learning in work
Tara Fenwick
Journal of Workplace Learning, Volume 12, Issue ½


The apprenticeship framework in England: A new beginning or a continuing sham? 
Michaela Brockmann; Linda Clarke; Christopher Winch
Journal of Education and Work, Volume 23, Issue 2



The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit:


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Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace:

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Alternative Culture



Dear colleagues and comrades:

I am pleased to announce that the new double-issue of ‘Cultural Logic: an electronic journal of marxist theory and practice’ is now available online at:

Below, please find the table of contents to each part of the double-issue.

Sincerely and in solidarity,

Joe Ramsey

Editor of the forthcoming 2010 Cultural Logic special issue on “Culture and Crisis” –

Cultural Logic: an electronic journal of marxist theory and practice

New Double Issue 2008/2009

Issue 2008:

Issue 2009:


Cultural Logic, ISSUE 2008:


Stephen C. Ferguson II: “Contractarianism as Method: Rawls contra Mills”

Melissa Hull Geil: “Shakespeare and the Drama of Capital”

Nigel M. Greaves: “Intellectuals and the Historical Construction of Knowledge and Identity: A Reappraisal of Gramsci’s Ideas on Leadership”

Sven-Eric Holmström: “New Evidence Concerning the ‘Hotel Bristol’ Question in the First Moscow Trial of 1936”

Nicola Masciandaro: “Consciousness, Individuality, Mortality: Basic Thoughts about Work and the Animal/Human Boundary”

John H. McClendon III: “The African American Philosopher: The Missing Chapter in McCumber on McCarthyism”

J. C. Myers: “Traces of Utopia: Socialist Values and Soviet Urban Planning”

Garry Potter: “Humanism and Terror: Merleau-Ponty’s Marxism”

J. Jesse Ramirez: “Rage Against the Dying of the Light: Herbert Marcuse and the Politics of Death”

Jacek Tittenbrun: “Between Subjectivism and Individualism: A Critical Appraisal of the Austrian Case for Private Ownership”


Lukas MacKenzie: Mark S. Blumberg, Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior, and Michael Tomasello, Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition


Bruno Gulli: “Hölderlin’s Window”

Howard Pflanzer: “The Endless War”


Cultural Logic, Issue 2009:


Jeffrey Cabusao: “The Social Responsibility of Filipino Intellectuals in the Age of Globalization and Empire: An Interview with E. San Juan, Jr. and Delia D. Aguilar”

Alzo David-West: “The Literary Ideas of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il: An Introduction to North Korean Meta-Authorial Perspectives”

Barbara Foley: “Rhetoric and Silence in Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father”

Grover Furr: “Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan”

Bülent Gökay and Darrell Whitman: “Mapping the Faultlines: A Historical Perspective on the 2008-2009 World Economic Crisis”

Dave Hill: “Culturalist and Materialist Explanations of Class and “Race”: Critical Race Theory, Equivalence/Parallelist Theory, and Marxist Theory”

Michele Frucht Levy: “‘For We Are Neither One Thing Nor The Other’: Passing for Croat in Vedrana Rudan’s Night”

Gregory Meyerson: “Post-Marxism as Compromise Formation” (Foreword by E. San Juan, Jr.)

Michael Joseph Roberto: “Crisis, Revolution, and the Meaning of Progress: The Poverty of Philosophy and its Contemporary Relevance”

Spyros Sakellaropoulos and Panagiotis Sotiris: “Peter Gowan’s Theorization of the Forms and Contradictions of US Supremacy: A Critical Assessment”

E. San Juan, Jr.: “An African American Soldier in the Philippine Revolution: An Homage to David Fagen”

Daniel F. Vukovich: “Uncivil Society, or, Orientalism and Tiananmen, 1989”


Paul M. Heideman: Michael E. Brown, The Historiography of Communism

David Schwartzman: Eileen Christ and H. Bruce Rinker, eds., Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis


Christopher Barnes: Selected Poems

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace:

The Ockress:

Wavering on Ether: