Listen to entire program here:
Technical assistance: Moses Frimpong
On the program last week (Jan. 27th) we spoke to Joe Mancini, director of the Working Centre in Kitchener. The centre provides work and services to people from transitional housing to a cafe, as well as a community kitchen and bicycle repair shop. It’s a place where the workers serve those they are in solidarity with. In Windsor, perhaps because of the major impact of manufacturing and auto assembly, the civic mindset is one of having a large corporate presence providing high wage jobs. As we experience deindustrialization and the dismantlement of the Fordist system are we as a community having a tough time adjusting and failing to see that large scale industrial jobs may never come back, and even if they did technology will mean fewer jobs provided? It’s been this theme we have been exploring over the last few months by looking at places like the Working Centre and worker co-operatives. A deindustrialized community seems to mean we need to work more cooperatively and in solidarity with each other and need to break down barriers between workers – barriers like waged and unwaged as opposed to working and unemployed. The capitalist system relies on a percentage of surplus labour to exist in order to control wages – we become a managed commodity rather then active agents able to shape our own destinies.
So today we look to Detroit, perhaps the global poster child of deindustrialization, and we look there past the ruins of the city – ruins created by the flight of capital – to how Detroiters are resurrecting the city and rebuilding a sense of community. The James and Grace Lee Boggs Centre to Nurture Community Leadership, exists to “…nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible, and just communities.”
Grace Lee and James Boggs are legendary social activists. James passed away in 1993 and Grace Lee Boggs, now 96, still takes part in some aspects of the Center. Ron Scott is a board member of the Boggs Center with a long history of community and civil rights organizing.
He was a co-founder of the Detroit branch of the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s and more recently founded the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. He also writes on the political blog, Detroit News.
Scott spoke of the challenge to develop a spirit of sacrifice and service and here is an excerpt:
In 1963 a conference came together in Detroit – the Grassroots Conference – assisted by Grace Lee and James Boggs:
In the second half hour I spoke with Jaimie Philip, an organizer with Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC)- Michigan, about efforts to not only organize restaurant workers but also to work together to create social enterprises like the newly opened Colors restaurant in Detroit.
Jaimie was in Windsor on February 4 to speak at a fundraiser for the Windsor Workers’ Action Centre where she described the organizing efforts of ROC Michigan. Here she describes the formation of ROC: