2 May 2013

May Day 2013 in Vancouver

To commemorate International Worker's Day (commonly known as "May Day"), over 100 people took part in an anti-capitalist march in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday, May 1st. The march began with a rally at Victory Square, then coursed its way through the Downtown Eastside, led by a boisterous black bloc that handed out flaming torches to whoever would carry them. The march paused for several minutes of chanting in front of Pidgin, an upscale restaurant that's been picketed for weeks by anti-gentrification campaigners, before continuing on to its conclusion at Thornton Park.

The Vancouver Police Department deployed large numbers of officers on bicycles and motorcycles around both Victory Square and Pidgin restaurant, while the PSU (riot police) shadowed the march from start to finish, filming protesters along the way.

Organizer Training 101 Report

On April 27th, the Vancouver and Vancouver Island IWW branches co-hosted an 'Organizer Training 101' education session. A fellow worker from the Edmonton branch flew out to deliver a packed day of organizer training.

The morning started with a quick round of personal introductions. We had a solid turn-out of Wobblies and allies from diverse backgrounds. The training material outlines the basic stages of a workplace organizing campaign, starting with gathering basic information about co-workers, discussing grievances, and culminating in the establishment of a strong union that protects the rights of workers. Throughout the training session, we had several opportunities to share our own personal workplace experiences and discuss the challenge of organizing.

The training session offered experiences that cannot be found in any book, pamphlet or website. For instance, we used role-playing to practice how we might approach a fellow worker to find out if they've been having issues at the workplace that they need help resolving, and how open they are to the idea of forming a worker-led union.