The Daily GRRR! - Nov. 3, 2014 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” Edition

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Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! live on the airwaves at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Monday morning show for November 3, 2014.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Nov. 3, 2014
1. Water tax bursts the dam as 120,000 protest Irish austerity measures
2. Tens of thousands protest Quebec’s austerity cuts in Halloween march
3. Racist students applaud blackface for best costume at BrockU event
4. Real women with doctorates respond to Amazon’s “Sexy PhD” costume
5. HuffPost devotes front page to coverage of #BeenRapedNeverReported
6. Restrictions on abortions in N.B. are forcing women to do-it-themselves
7. Impoverished Ont. First Nation organizes furniture and clothing drive
8. B.C. First Nation votes yes to implement $17.22/hr living wage

1. Water tax bursts the dam as 120,000 protest Irish austerity measures

On Saturday, the streets of cities like Dublin and Dun Laoghaire were overrun with Irish residents who are taking great issue with the country’s new water tax, which will put an extra price on the public utility that is already paid for through people’s taxes. With an estimated participation of 120,000 people across the country -- chanting slogans like “No way, we won’t pay!” and “From the rivers to the sea, Irish water should be free!” -- almost 100 protests were held nationwide over the controversial water charges that were introduced last month, in the latest austerity measure levied against Irish residents in the government's plan to pay back the international financial bailout of 2010. But while Ireland represents less than one percent of Europe’s population, the country’s government has inexplicably taken on a massive 43% of the net cost of the European Union’s collective banking crisis, which required bailouts for all 27 member states. That leaves Ireland to come up with $51 billion out of an overall $120 billion, which works out to $11,216 for every person in the country, compared to the European Union average of $230 per person. This is especially shocking in light of a Unicef report released last week, which shows how Ireland has been the fifth worst-hit nation since that recession began, as indicated by the Irish child poverty rate rising from an existing high of 18% in 2008 to a staggering 28.6% in 2012.

It’s no wonder the Irish are angry, then, given that even the basic survival need of water is now being taxed out of the average person’s price range. But accounts of the demonstrations indicate that this particular austerity measure is merely a final straw for the frustrated masses; as one demonstrator explained, “This is the issue that woke me up,” and this was a sentiment echoed by many in the streets of Ireland on Saturday. Éamonn Campbell, a guitarist with the legendary Irish folk band The Dubliners, put it best in a comment to the BBC: “It is not just about water charges, it is about all these taxes that have been forced by the greedy, both in Ireland and Europe, and paid for on the backs of the needy.”

2. Tens of thousands protest Quebec’s austerity cuts in Halloween march

As reported by CBC News, tens of thousands of people took to Montreal’s streets this past Friday to protest austerity measures undertaken by Quebec premier Philippe Couillard’s Liberal government, which came to power in April’s provincial election. In the spirit of Halloween, organizers dubbed the demonstration “Austerity: A Horror Story” and welcomed the hordes coming in costume to show their opposition to the provincial budget’s $3 billion in proposed cuts, which are destined to come out of much-needed social services, including education, healthcare provision, and fire fighting.

In the words of a spokesman for the Coalition Against User Fees & Privatization in Public Services, who participated in the demonstration, “We're here to protest today against austerity, so against decisions of the government that involve cutting public spending, cutting public services.” CÉGEP and ASSÉ, the radical university student association, estimated that 82,000 of their students participated in the one-day strike as a core part of the protest, and a broad coalition of social groups also took part in the march. The crowd of protesters also included firefighters who are against cuts to their pension plans. As proclaimed by Ronald Martin, the head of the union representing Montreal firefighters, “We're going to do all the manifestations that we could to go against the government and its austerity policy.”

With cautious optimism, the impressive turnout and widespread participation in this action bodes well for an ongoing campaign against the province’s harsh budget cuts. However, there is also corresponding potential for widespread arrests when so many people take the streets in Montreal. As discussed in an article by Ricochet Media, “The last two years have seen hundreds arrested under municipal bylaw P-6, implemented at the height of the Maple Spring. The bylaw forbids demonstrations without prior approval from the SPVM, the city’s police service. Will we see a repeat of the unconstitutional mass arrests Montreal has become known for? Yves Francoeur, the president of the SPVM’s union, surprised many when he declared, in a radio interview, that ‘we cannot blame people who do not follow the rules when we see the current government tear up agreements. In [this] context it’s hard to ask people to respect current rules and laws.’

“We live in a strange world when Montreal’s infamous police force cannot bring itself to muster its usual venom against the right to protest.” But such a public concession from the police is certainly a good sign, and we look forward to hearing what will happen there in the coming days.

3. Racist students applaud blackface for best costume at BrockU event

As reported by Dylan Powell, the Brock University Students Union confirmed on their Facebook page this weekend that their Halloween pub night on October 30th included costume contestants “wearing black make-up or paint on their faces…” The statement, which was only posted after students began posting to social media about this highly problematic event, stops short of naming this as blackface but claimed that the student union is “fully aware of the historical context that this action can represent…” And yet, not only did they allow the students perpetuating this racist historical practice to participate in the costume contest, but they also permitted them to be awarded best costume by the “1000s of students” in attendance at said contest -- and if this doesn’t clearly condone the use of blackface, I don’t know what else would.

This completely unacceptable incident follows after social media complaints in September led to the University responding to young men out front of student residences on move-in day holding a sign “Honk If You’re Droppin’ Off Your Daughter.” Those men did not face a disciplinary panel. Previous to that, last year the University okay’d a speaking event with an anti-choice extremist who publicly claims (and did at the event) that women who access abortions should be charged under the criminal code for murder. Students who demonstrated against the event were forcibly removed and faced the threat of a disciplinary panel. In the fallout for that event the University was asked for policy on what criteria they use, or would use in the future, to define hate speech and what proactive policies would come from it. In the absence of a response, these events continue to happen on campus and their complaint based responses are clearly not a deterrent. If students had not taken to social media to complain about this event, it is doubtful that Brock University or their student union would have even acknowledged it.

4. Real women with doctorates respond to Amazon’s “Sexy PhD” costume

As reported by Salon.com, the online shopping empire was evidently trying to jump on the grossly-inappropriate-and-offensively-marketed-costumes bandwagon with their new “adult women” costume inspired by the female academics of the world -- who, wonder of wonders, don’t find it so “delicious”. The “Delicious Women’s PhD Sexy Darling” costume includes a light blue, t-shirt-length polyester “gown” and matching tassel hat, despite the fact that PhDs wear tams for graduation. According to the description, the extremely low-cut “micro mini graduation robe” also features a front zipper and comes with a carefully coordinated gold sash -- and, of course, a fake diploma.

But the only thing “delicious” about this Amazon item is the deluge of sarcastic comments from real women with doctorates who used their wit to show how ridiculous this costume really is. Here are a few highlights:

“First things first, I am a lady Ph.D. Like all lady Ph.D’s, I frequently ask myself: ‘How could I be sexier?’ Delicious costumes has come to my rescue! I can now lecture in my 5 inch gold spiked heels and ‘barely there’ regalia while giving nary a thought to the male gaze and it’s implications on the prevalence of rape culture in our society. I fully expect my chili pepper rating on RMP to go through the roof once I begin to greet my students in this costume. Hopefully I can keep my post structural hegemony’s from engaging in some wardrobe malfunctions. Then again, who cares? I’m sexy! Forget about the 7 years I spent sweating out a dissertation and engaging in innovative research! SEXY!!!!”

“Thank you, thank you, Amazon! I’m another Lady PhD who was worried that my years of tireless devotion to the advancement of knowledge meant that I’d never do anything important or valuable with my life — like attract a man. After two days of slinking around campus in my “Delicious” new regalia, I can say with confidence that men of all ages and positions in the patriarchy — from panting freshmen boys to bleary-eyed professors emeriti — see me in a brand new light. And my giggling girlfriends in the faculty lounge agree: this makes my scholarship on feminist hermeneutics in digital humanities and information science look HOT.”

“When I left my nursing job for graduate school, I was so distressed. I mean what was I going to wear? There were plenty of sexy nurse costumes that I could wear to honor my accomplishments in that profession, but after I attained my PhD there was something missing. I was better educated, but not sexy. Until now. Thank you, Delicious Costumes, for filling the void. You’ve given women like me who have worked our asses off earning our degrees a way to show our asses off, too. Keep it classy, Amazon.”

5. HuffPost devotes front page to coverage of #BeenRapedNeverReported

Throughout the past week, with ever-increasing coverage of Jian Ghomeshi’s career of abusing women, there has been a corresponding rise in social media posts from people who have survived such abuse and are bravely speaking out. A significant factor in prompting these posts is the offensive trend in other people, predominantly men, responding to the Jian Ghomeshi coverage with questions of why survivors of abuse don’t report their attackers. Not only is it not their place to ask such questions of a survivor, but there is a wide variety of extremely valid reasons why survivors don’t go to the police.

This week, countless women and men have shared their stories of rape and sexual assault with a powerful Twitter hashtag. As reported by The Huffington Post, #BeenRapedNeverReported was created by former Toronto Star writer Antonia Zerbisias and Montreal Gazette reporter Sue Montgomery, who shared their own stories of rape in personal Twitter posts. There's not a lot of space in a tweet, but words have so much power. And words previously unspoken out of fear or shame must not be ignored, whether one or thousands speak them at once. In the spirit of recognizing these words, The Huffington Post dedicated their November 2 frontpage to the personal stories shared on social media with the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported, and in an effort to keep the conversation going, they have created an online form that is still active on that page for people to submit their thoughts on what is needed to support survivors and help prevent further rapes and sexual assaults.

6. Restrictions on abortions in N.B. are forcing women to do-it-themselves

As reported by Vice News, there is quite a recent history of barriers to overcome for women seeking abortions in the maritime province. Beginning in 1994, New Brunswick banned abortions in clinics outside of hospitals. Federal rulings changed that in 1995, but people needing the procedure were still forced to pay out of pocket -- which currently costs around $2,000 -- and even now there are apparently only two hospitals in the province that are willing to perform abortions. Since then, the province’s Morgentaler Clinic saved many from unwanted pregnancies. But following its closure in July of this year, the government’s restrictions on abortion are too tight to accommodate people’s needs. Newly sworn-in premier Brian Gallant has pledged to remove barriers to abortion in the province, but has not yet come through with anything in the way of solid action.

According to a member of Reproductive Justice New Brunswick, an advocacy group created after the news broke that the Morgentaler Clinic was going to close, at least one woman that she knows has resorted to ill-advised DIY means to induce her own miscarriage. Generally taken in conjunction with methotrexate or mifepristone (or RU-486/the "abortion pill"), misoprostol is not FDA-approved in Canada—but it is available online. The Reproductive Justice New Brunswick member explained that the woman took only the misoprostol, resulting in a dangerously incomplete miscarriage that forced her to go to the hospital. Fortunately, she survived, but there is no way to be sure how many people are resorting to misoprostol or other at-home abortion methods. Kathleen Pye, the chair of Reproductive Justice New Brunswick, says she’s sure more people across the province are pursuing DIY abortion techniques: “I guarantee it’s happening,” Pye laments, “and it’s unbelievably frustrating. The current government doesn’t get how serious this is… We really need the government to step up.” In the meantime, many people are forced to visit clinics outside of the province, whether in St. John’s, Montreal, or Maine. Most people the group hears from are heading to the U.S. for their abortions. Earlier this month, half of the patients to walk through the doors of one clinic in Maine were from New Brunswick, but of course, that option will only work for those who can afford to travel to the U.S., which puts added restrictions on those who don’t have citizenship or otherwise can’t obtain a passport, as well as those who can’t afford to travel so far. I highly encourage you to read the full account from Vice News, which we’ve linked to on our podcast page.

http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/women-in-new-brunswick-are-performing-diy...

7. Impoverished Ont. First Nation organizes furniture and clothing drive

Members of Mishkeegogamang First Nation are facing a harsh winter and the injustice of a terrible housing crisis. Mishkeegogamang First Nation is an Ojibwa nation located 500km north of Thunder Bay in Treaty 9 territory. Like other northern communities struggling against colonial dispossession, Mishkeegogamang faces traumatizing poverty despite billions of dollars of resources being extracted from their territory by the gold mining industry. A Northwestern Health Unit report stated that as many as 21 people live under one roof, and it is not uncommon for people to sleep in shifts to assure everyone access to a bed. In the face of government inaction, members of Mishkeegogamang have organized their own clothing and furniture drive in preparation for the coming winter. A truck will make the 28-hour drive to bring furniture from Toronto, so in the spirit of solidarity, organizers are asking for help to fill the truck!

The organizers are looking for volunteers to act as the furniture pick-up crews in Toronto, and in case you need the extra incentive, they’ve promised lovely gifts for volunteers! For those who live outside of the GTA or want to help in other ways, donations are also needed to pay the truck driver and cover the cost of the gas. And then, of course, there’s the clothing and furniture to help them safely get through the winter! The most-needed supplies are beds, tables, chairs, mattresses, couches, warm clothes, and blankets. They also welcome donations of washing machines, dryers, bookcases, TVs, and computers. Toronto’s CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group is supporting members of Mishkeegogamang First Nation in organizing this furniture drive, so if you can donate your time, furniture, clothing, or monetary funds, please email cupe3903fnswg@gmail.com or call (647) 295 0078. You can also connect with them through the Facebook event, which we’ve linked to on our podcast page here at http://grandrivermc.ca.

Mishkeegogamang Furniture & Clothing Drive (Facebook event): https://www.facebook.com/events/319311071590627/

8. B.C. First Nation votes yes to implement $17.22/hr living wage

As reported by The Huffington Post, a Vancouver Island First Nation is implementing a living-wage policy, which will boost the pay of some of its workers by almost $7 an hour. Unlike a minimum wage, a living wage takes into account a family's needs to cover their basic expenses, and Port Alberni's Huu-ay-aht First Nation says members of the executive council voted to implement policy on Friday. Currently, the minimum wage in B.C. is $10.25 per hour, but the Huu-ay-aht say they have calculated the living wage for Port Alberni at $17.22 per hour or $33,579 annually.

The Huu-ay-aht say it will become the first band in Canada to adopt such a policy and is following in the footsteps of the British Columbia’s city of New Westminster which implemented a similar policy in May 2010. The band is one of five Maa-nulth First Nations who implemented a so-called “modern-day treaty” with the federal and provincial governments in 2011, and according to Councillor Tom Mexsis Happynook, "The treaty has given us the ability to make decisions based on our values and goals, and implement those decisions in accordance with our own laws… The living-wage policy shows how the treaty gives us the ability to chart our own future.”

Midway Music: From The Night by Stars

Feature: “Smashy Smashy: Nine Historical Triumphs to Make You Rethink Property Destruction” by Jesse A. Myerson and José Martín for Rolling Stone (yeah, you read that right!)

Closing Song: From the Night (Remix) by A Tribe Called Red

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