Feb. 22, 2013: Melissa and Brian Austin & We Are Wisconsin

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Wisconsin activists Melissa and Brian Austin were in Windsor on Saturday, February 16th to talk about their involvement with the Wisconsin Uprising 2 years ago and the documentary film “We Are Wisconsin”. The film was screened that Saturday at the CAW Local 200/444 hall and Brian and Melissa were on hand from their home in Madison, Wisconsin to talk about their experience with the occupation of the state capitol building as well as their involvement with the film and subsequent activism.

What’s remarkable is that Brian Austin is a Madison police officer and a member of Cops4Labor who spent some nights at the state capitol as a protestor and days spent as a police officer – so a pretty remarkable departure from the usual image of the police on the other side of a protest line…

Melissa and Brian Austin Feb 22, 2013 (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Melissa and Brian Austin Feb 16, 2013 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

 The film blurb states that “When a Republican Governor’s bill threatens to wipe away worker rights and lock out public debate, six (extra)ordinary citizens join the growing protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol, and spend the next twenty-six days building a movement that not only challenges the bill, but the soul of a nation.” It truly is a moving record of what the people of Wisconsin did when their rights were being stripped away and I urge you to see it.

 On the program I had a couple of segments to share: first I sat and talked with the Austins about their experiences and I think you’ll come away agreeing that they are two very articulate spokespersons in the fight for democracy and justice: 

In the second half hour I have Brian speaking after the film screening on how things are now two years later, especially the aftermath of the recall effort and continuing organizing in the state:

The Austins delivered a warning as we in Ontario face a coming assault on the rights of workers to form unions (an impending private members bill in Parliament to take apart the Rand formula, and in Ontario the continuation by the liberals of weak labour laws, or in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker or Michigan Gov. Snyder style by Tim Hudak if he is elected.

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Rockin Robbee was also in on this last Friday of the month program and he played a couple of tunes starting with Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World:

Robbee covered Seeds and Stems Again Blues:

An original composition by Robbee: For All We Know:

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Click image for more on this Detroit connected band
Click image for more on this Detroit connected band

Sample track played on air: These Stones Will Shout:

Feb. 15, 2013: Black History Month: Sandwich activists John Elliot and Terrance Travis

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Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Sandwich activists John Elliot and TJ Travis (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Sandwich activists John Elliot and TJ Travis (Photo: Paul Chislett)

February is Black History Month and the Sandwich Town section of Windsor is a good place to start in order to understand and take to heart the Black reality in our community. From the Underground Railroad to the dire straits the community is in today, there is a long and important history in Sandwich that needs to be celebrated so that a future vibrancy can exist.

What's the deal for Sandwich? (Photo: Paul Chislett)
What’s the deal for Sandwich? (Photo: Paul Chislett)

On the program Friday were two Sandwich community Black activists, John Elliot, Executive Director of Sandwich Teen Action Group, and Terrance (TJ) Travis, co-founder of the Bloomfield Free School and Outreach Centre. Both men’s lives are deeply rooted in Sandwich and they are both a living example of the future of Sandwich: 

Sandwich First Baptist Church is a significant community historical site. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Sandwich First Baptist Church is a significant community historical site. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

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Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist
Click image for more on this fantastic Detroit artist

Track played on air: “Like Janis”:

Feb. 8, 2013: David Heap and the Gaza’s Ark project

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

On the program  I spoke with David Heap, a prominent Palestinian rights activist who was aboard the Canadian Boat to Gaza and is a member of Gaza’s Ark.

This new project will attempt to raise money to build a boat in Gaza that will then set sail with goods made in Gaza to area ports in an effort to again highlight the gross human rights violations suffered by the Gazan people by Israel, and send a message that the people of Gaza have not given up and are struggling for justice and dignity.

Video: Embroidery makers of Gaza
Video: Embroidery makers of Gaza

The blockade of Gaza by Israel has practically destroyed the economy there, and on top of this Israel launched two attacks on Gaza in 2008-09, and again just last year killing over 1400 in 2008-09 and hundreds more last year.

Donate-button-medium Gaza Ark

I spoke to David Heap via Skype from Nice, France where he is on a teaching assignment: 

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‘HUNGRY’ –dedicated to Samer Issawi and the other Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli incarceration. By Doc Jazz

 His website reads:

 “Thanks to supporters from around the world, the song ‘HUNGRY’ which is dedicated to Samer Issawi and the other Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli incarceration has been rising in the HipHop Charts on Soundclick.“

Feb. 20, 2013: CJAM/CKUT Homelessness Marathon

Minutes before going on air for the 2013 CJAM/CKUT Homelessness Marathon
Minutes before going on air for the 2013 CJAM/CKUT Homelessness Marathon (Photos: Paul Chislett)

On Wednesday evening CJAM provided a live remote to the Windsor Workers’ Action Centre as part of CKUT’s 11th Annual Homelessness Marathon.

Poster

Local media has been focusing on a supposed increase in the number of panhandlers in the downtown core (Windsor Star & Windsorite.ca). In a city where millions are being spent on a new aquatic centre and with the eleimination of the Community Maintenance and Start-Up Benefit, life is tough for people on the streets.

Many on social assistance are panhandling to make ends meet. During the discussion, Rob points out that since there is nowhere to go for a meal after 6PM, the money he makes panhandling during the day goes towards buying pizza or a hamburger in the evening. He rents a housekeeping room with no kitchen, so the extra cash makes it possible for him to better survive the nights.

Several Windsor residents who all live in poverty and panhandle as a way to make ends meet came together to tell us their stories:

Lorne making it happenLorne worked to get us on the air from the Windsor Workers’ Action Centre in downtown Windsor

Rockin Robbee and RonRon on the right and Rockin Robbee took part

 

Feb. 1, 2013: CCPA’s David MacDonald & income inequality in Canada

Click Image for more info on OPIRG Windsor
Click Image for more info on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

On Friday I spoke to David MacDonald, senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives about his take on the recent data release by StatsCan which indicates growing inequality in Canada. The release also generated a firestorm of sorts in the mainstream media setting the data either as, in the words of the national Post’s Terrance Corcorran  adding “…nothing to the ongoing ideological debate over inequality or any meaningful new analysis, [but] [just] … reinforce[d] StatsCan’s recent role as one of the country’s leading class warfarists”, or, according a recent Globe and Mail editorial, we should be thankful for the 1% for the taxes they did pay.

Occupy Windsor was all about inequality. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Occupy Windsor was all about inequality. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

MacDonald emphasized that the statistics released show that in Canada’s three largest cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal the bottom 90% make less than they did 30 years ago, and that even in Calgary “where the action is” economic growth has had little effect on income after adjustments for inflation.

In Windsor there has been a modest gain for the lower 90% of a few hundred dollars over 30 years while the top 1% have done better. In short, the StatsCan figures are the “definitive data” on the trickle down theory where indeed a few drops have made it to the 90% while the richest have siphoned off the most:

OpinionPieces_200

Globe and Mail Editorial

Terence Corcoran Jan 28, 2013

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: January 28, 2013

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Click image for more on this band
Click image for more on this band

Track segment played on air: “Set Me Free” :