Work?!: An Anti-capitalist teach-in about May Day and Labour (April 7)


Anti-capitalist Teach-in about May Day and Labour

Sunday April 7, 2013, 10am to 6pm

CÉDA (2515 Delisle), Lionel-Groulx metro

10am: Self-management in the Workplace  (Guillaume! & Marie-Eve Lamy)
10am: Reproductive Work and the Construction of the Commons in an Era of Primitive Accumulation (Silvia Federici)
1pm: Immigrant Workers in Montreal: Precarity and Struggle? (Erik Argüello, Evelyn Calugay, Viviana Medina & Aadi Ndir)
1pm: Workplace Popular Assemblies: Possibilities for reclaiming grassroots power (Dave Bleakney)
1pm: Art & Politics: Creative work as a tool for political emancipation – critique of activist productivism (Marhi Aive)
3pm: The Authoritarian Division of Labour (Kevin Sutton)
3pm: Survival and Resistance: An Immigrant History of May Day (Mostafa Henaway & Jaggi Singh)
3pm: Educational Institutions: Squeezing maximum productivity from students (Jeanne Bilodeau, Amber Gross, Camille Robert & Camille Tremblay-Fournier)
5pm: Plenary

Free entrance
Free food, childcare, and whisper translation (EN/FR)
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Full schedule of workshops and plenary listed below or:
All day: Info-fair with anti-capitalist resources
A full day of anti-capitalist workshops, this teach-in is organized in the lead up to anti-capitalist May Day on May 1st (info: and the family-friendly Status for All! march on May 18th (info:
It is the second teach-in in a series organized in the context of CLAC’s monthly anti-capitalist assemblies in Montreal. It is open to everyone and includes both introductory and more in-depth workshops. In a spirit of self-education and aimed at collective action, the teach-in series also serves to build an online database of anti-capitalist workshops, a decentralized tool for popular education:
If you would like to help out, submit material to the info-fair, or submit a workshop to the workshop database, get in touch with us
Organized by the Popular Education Committee of the CLAC (Convergences des luttes anticapitalistes), co-sponsored by QPIRG Concordia, with the support of: GRIP-UQAM & QPIRG-McGill

::: SCHEDULE :::
— 10am to 12pm: Simultaneous Workshops (2) —

Self-management in the Workplace
Presented in French
Room #125
In our capitalist and patriarchal society, the working world is more often than not synonymous with exploitation, alienation, dispossession and, above all, boredom! Salaried work is, for the vast majority of us, a necessity rather than a matter of choice. Is it possible to organize our workplaces on the principles of self-management: equality, mutual aid, direct and participatory democracy and anti-authoritarianism? What are the barriers to self-management and how can they be overcome? What are the limits of self-managed workplaces within a system based on private ownership of the means of production? We invite you to join an open discussion to share and learn from our respective experiences. Our workshop will not attempt to present a grand systematic analysis. Rather we hope to set out some basic points for reflecting on salaried work from an anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian perspective in order to figure out how to put our ideals into practice, here and now, in the spaces in which many of us spend more than half of our time!
Presented by: Guillaume! and Marie-Eve Lamy. Guillaume! is a worker at Koumbit and Marie-Eve Lamy is a worker at Lux Éditeur.

Reproductive Work and the Construction of the Commons in an Era of Primitive Accumulation
Presented in English
Room #119
Looking at reproduction as the first terrain of social change, Silvia Federici will discuss the global restructuring and crisis of reproductive work — housework, sex work, elder care — its effects on gender relations, the development of affective labor and the need for the construction of reproductive commons.
Presented by: Silvia Federici, a writer, teacher and feminist activist. In the early seventies, she was one of the founders of the International Feminist Collective, the organization behind the international Wages for Housework (WFH) campaign. More recently, Federici is a member of the Midnight Notes Collective, and one of the co-founders of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. She is the author of numerous books and essays, including Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (PM Press, 2012) and Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004).

— 12pm to 1pm: Lunch —
— 1pm to 3pm: Simultaneous Workshops (3) —

Immigrant Workers in Montreal: Precarity and Struggle?
Presented in English and French
Room #119
Based on the experiences of Dignidad Migrante, Pinay and the Immigrant Workers Centre, as well as our own experiences, we will discuss the nuances between precarious labour of immigrants and the international division of labour. For example, under the table migrant work in Canada generates huge profits for Canadian businesses while the state ignores it to profit the bosses. At the same time, the social benefits of Canadian workers are based on the super-exploitation of immigrants and poor countries like Mexico. One of the effects of this economic dynamic is that our countries of origin are among the greatest immigrant producing countries in the world.
Presented by: Viviana Medina and Erik Argüello (Dignidad Migrante and Mexicains united for Regularization); Aadi Ndir (Immigrant Workers Centre); Evelyn Calugay (Pinay). Viviana Medina and Erik Argüello are activists and founding members of the Dignidad Migrante collective and the Mexicans United for Regularization. Aadi Ndir lived without papers for six years in Montreal and is well-acquainted with systems of exploitation; today he works as a community organizer at the Immigrant Workers Centre. Evelyn Calugay is a member of Pinay Québec, an organization of Filipino women in Quebec which has fought for the rights of domestic workers since 1991. Dignidad Migrante, MUR and CTI are part of the Status for All! network.

Workplace Popular Assemblies: Possibilities for reclaiming grassroots power
Presented in English
Room #123
The present order is unsustainable socially, economically and ecologically. The constant growth model is not only bankrupt but based on a disempowering form of commodification. Workers are in a race to the bottom in an unsustainable order. There is a fundamental conflict between those who labour and produce things and those who profit from that labour. Popular educator Paulo Friere said “dig where you stand”. Unions and any group of workers can make their presence felt in the places they work by using grassroots assemblies. This workshop will discuss how can these assemblies be created and what possibilities exist for them to challenge the destructive dynamics of capitalism.
Presented by: Dave Bleakney, a postal worker and an anti-capitalist trade unionist who, for the past 16 years, has been the national education representative (anglophone) for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Art & Politics: Creative work as a tool for political emancipation – critique of activist productivism
Presented in French
Room #125
This workshop aims to create a space to reflect on the place of artistic creation in anti-authoritarian activist spaces. Why do we conceive of artistic creation as an individualist practice? How can we leave behind the art of amusement and move into an artistic political practice? How can we escape a productivist logic imitating capitalism and conceive an artistic emancipatory logic? How, through art, can we regain contact with our bodies? These are some of the questions which will be raised. You are welcome to come and share your experiences and reflections.
Presented by: Marhi Aive, a Literary Studies student. For some time, she has thought about literature and the language of bodies as tools of political emancipation, from a feminist perspective. She is part of the Anarchist Writers Bloc and works on the creative feminist zine SpeCULum.

— 3pm to 5pm: Simultaneous Workshops (3) —

The Authoritarian Division of Labour
Presented in English
Room #123
From a lifetime of toiling in the fields of the first empires to a lifetime of precarity in the flexible labour market, the division of labour has been a central method of organizing power and privilege in patriarchal class societies. Using anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian and feminist analyses, we will examine how the contemporary work regime perpetuates a long legacy of violent division along the lines of gender, class, race, region, legality and more. The goal is to generate a lively discussion of how movements of contestation and alternative projects for organizing (non-)production can overcome and/or reproduce these problematic divisions.
Presented by: Kevin Sutton, a precarious educator who makes a living helping economics students pass their exams and makes life liveable by undermining their beliefs in the process. Kevin seeks complicity with all who would challenge the economist’s regime of boredom.

Survival and Resistance: An Immigrant History of May Day
Presented in English and French
Room #119
This presentation and discussion will look at May Day from the perspective of migrant worker and anti-racist struggles. From its origins, May Day has been linked to the campaigns of immigrant workers, not just for better working conditions, but against systemic racism. From Jewish and Eastern European laborers in the 1800s, to Chinese migrants who built railways, to today’s Latin American migrants in the US who “reclaimed” May Day in 2005-06, the experiences of immigrants (with or without papers) is crucial to understanding the radical underpinnings of May Day and its meaning for us today. Aside from providing a historical perspective on the roots of May Day, this workshop will also explore some local examples of migrant justice struggles linked to popular, working class, anti-racist campaigns.
Presented by: Mostafa Henaway & Jaggi Singh. Mostafa Henaway is a community organizer active with the Immigrant Workers Center. Jaggi is a community organizer, active with Solidarity Across Borders and No One Is Illegal. Both Mostafa and Jaggi, who were born and raised in Toronto, are involved with the Status For All Coalition and the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) in Montreal.

Educational Institutions: Squeezing maximum productivity from students
Presented in French
Room #125
This panel discussion by students involved in diverse aspects of the student movement will explore different elements of labour and exploitation in our education systems. Panelists will discuss the following questions: student labour organizing in universities that try to use them as discount workers; gendered divisions of labour during the 2012 student strike and in the student movement more generally; and schools as factories producing ‘good workers’ for the capitalist system.
Présentée par : Jeanne Bilodeau, étudiante en enseignement au secondaire qui milite au sein du Grévisse, un groupe autonome dans le département d’éducation, à l’UQAM; Amber Gross- étudiante militante et membre d’AMUSE/SEOUM, le Syndicat des employé(e)s occassionels de l’Université McGill; Camille Robert, étudiante en histoire à l’UQAM et impliquée dans le mouvement étudiant depuis quelques années; et Camille Tremblay-Fournier, étudiante en sociologie et études féministe; militante étudiante et ancienne membre du comité femmes de l’ASSÉ.

— 5pm to 6pm: Plenary with snacks! —
Join us at the end of the teach-in for a short plenary bringing together the themes of the Teach-In and looking ahead towards upcoming mobilizations and actions. There will be drinks and snacks, as well as presentations about the day’s workshops. We’ll also hear from members of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) of Montreal about the upcoming May 1st demonstration, as well as from the Status For All Coalition about the May 18th city-wide demonstration for immigrant rights.


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