Porter Airlines is in the midst of a labour dispute. Their refuelling staff at Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport recently organized under COPE (Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union), contract negotiations have failed, and the workers have walked-out. Porter has trained alternate staff to do the refueller’s work and there have been no reported delays due to refuelling issues. So, the striking workers are in a difficult spot.
Last week militant labour unions rallied together in support of the Porter workers. There were a number of high-profile executives at the rally, led by Sid Ryan of the Ontario Federation of Labour. While executives often attended their rank & file were less enthusiastic to show, and less willing to get arrested for wildcat actions. The OFL’s solution was to bus in a group of anarchists who they would outsource the dirty work to.
Rabble.ca published an interesting video about Porter this week. It’s of a group of masked and hooded people blocking the airport ferry from closing their gates. On the ferry there’s what appears to be a fuel truck, presumably belonging to Porter Airlines. So, as expected, the unions are escalating.
There are a couple of interesting things we can learn watching the video. First, it appears there’s been some effort made to obscurify people’s faces- it’s almost like the video has been intentionally darkened. After all of the recent exposure of anarchist participation in labour actions, it appears they’re beginning to get a little camera shy.
What’s more interesting than what one can (or can’t) see in the video is who made it- Humberto DaSilva, a CUPE employee who makes no effort to hide his love of militant anarchism. DaSilva works in communications, and is connected to the core of the militant union/activist elite. In a link from 2009, he was listed as the person to call to arrange interviews with Sid Ryan of the Ontario Federation of Labour, and Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians. Both the OFL and the CoC have deep, long-term relationships with some of Canada’s most militant and violent anarchist organizations.
DaSilva publishes videos using the brand “Sindicalista TV”- here’s his logo:
Anyone familiar with anarchist symbols will immediately recognize the wild cat in DaSilva’s logo. It’s called the ‘sabot-cat’, and it symbolizes tactics of militant unionism- stuff like wildcat strikes and industrial sabotage. The cat was originally created by a member of the Industrial Workers of the World- an organization whose members were present at last week’s battle with the police. (if you watched Reds, you’ll remember Warren Beatty carried an IWW poster with him in the movie).
DaSilva came to public attention last November when he invoked Godwin’s Law in a pathetic attempt to compare Bill C-377 to the atrocities of Hitler. The bill is a call for transparency in union finances- union executives (particularly the militant ones) are highly uncomfortable with the idea of showing their books. It’s widely speculated that if the rank & file get access to their executive’s accounts there are likely to mutinies across the country.
Looking further back into DaSilva’s work one can see that he’s, yet another, apologist for the G20 anarchists. In his video titled Free Hundert, Bust Bubbles DaSilva displays logic so twisted that it’s hard to imagine he actually believes his own BS.
He creates a narrative about Hundert that he’s a heroic political prisoner who “was criminalized as a G-20 conspirator before the G20 even happened”. When discussing Hundert’s bail, DaSilva states “He signed the bail conditions, coerced by means unknown.” Then, to add some added fear-factor he says “If this had happened in Iran, or China, the western media would have blown a gasket!”. (If this happened in Iran or China they’d probably have been shot dead in a televised ceremony.)
The reality behind Hundert’s story is distinctly different than the one DaSilva tells us. Hundert was arrested after being observed by undercover police training and giving directions to the foot soldiers who brought violence the city. He gave them lists of places they should focus on destroying. He trained young people how to “de-arrest” fellow protesters from the police- an act that’s violent by its definition.
This brings us back to Porter Airlines. One of the narratives the union executives were trying to spin during last week’s protest was that there were too many police. A few of the day’s speakers directly referenced the G20- all focussed only on the misdeeds of the police (who made many mistakes), but completely ignored the deeds of the anarchists.
The story the G20 apologists give us is that the violence at the G20 was all the fault of the police. They say that the mass arrests came as a result of the inherent brutality in the system. However, they completely ignore the fact there were scores of people who came specifically to engage in violence and bait the police into embarrassing situations.
Office Bubbles is a great example. He’s a Toronto cop with a (deserved) reputation for not having a sense of humour. I’ve seen bubbles in action during a (failed) attempt of evicting an Occupy Toronto encampment- he was the first guy to start putting on his gloves in a ‘tough guy’ kind of a way. It’s generally acknowledged in the activist community (those who are honest to themselves) that the protester who blew bubbles into Bubble’s face was baiting him.
The joy the militants got from Officer Bubbles’ reaction was somewhat akin to a freshly bathed dog that discovers a pile of steaming manure. They couldn’t help but roll their backs all over it and bath in the glory of the stench of their own BS. Even last week people were taunting the cops with calls of “Bubbles!, Bubbles!” at Cheri Dinovo’s anti-
The police made some big mistakes (I hope they’re mistakes) during the G20. The mass arrests were a serious violation of people’s civil rights, and we must do everything in our power to ensure it never happens again. But we must also look at what enabled the situation to escalate. The anarchists came to street looking for a fight.
Had people like Alex Hundert not been training legions of vandals to engage in street violence, it’s unlikely the city would have felt the need to build scores of temporary holding cells. Equally, if vandals weren’t tearing through Toronto’s streets smashing windows and burning down police cars, it’s highly unlikely those holding cells would have been filled. Had everyone been peaceful, the G20 would have been entirely different.
It’s not simply bad taste to label a man like Alex Hundert as a political prisoner- it’s an act that comes with serious consequences. They’re creating legends that will ‘inspire’ more young people to destroy their lives- perhaps at the upcoming Pan American Games (the anarchists have been planning for this since 2009), or maybe the next federal election. Anarchist violence had a big impact on the last election in Quebec. It’s widely accepted that the ruckus of the student fee protests helped put the Parti Quebecois into power. It’s naïve to think someone won’t try to replicate that success in 2015.
Last week’s events at Porter Airlines proved that there’s a serious gap between the militancy of the labour executives and the rank & file. The majority of people with union contracts have no interest in street fighting, burning police cars or even blocking traffic. The actions of the G20 apologists in the labour movement is probably the best single argument in favour of bill C-377- Humberto DaSilva should be the bill’s poster-child.
This movement is dangerous…
It was interesting how CTV news handled this story. They went into absolutely no detail about what was causing the delay at the airport, just simply that people were delayed. I would love to know the editorial decision making on that one.
Honestly, after watching CTV (and Global, CBC, all of them) in-action interviewing the radicals, I don’t think they really have a clue about what’s going on here. It seems they’re just a bunch of pretty/handsome talking heads…
At least on the first report, they didn’t bother to interview anyone or even send a camera team. Also remember: Porter Airlines has been an advertiser on CTV.
Get ready for more labour actions over the next 2 years. Business rents are escalating, food costs are rising which will be an interconnected double whammy. The lid to the pressure cooker can only be held so long.
Then let’s make sure it’s unacceptable to use street violence in union (or any other) actions…
Ontario in particular is going to be bad. The deficit we have can only be corrected through cuts. The Sid Ryan posse will go nuts. They like to pretend government is a bottomless pit of money. They also like to pretend the deficit was caused by the recession. Their line is that the province has an income problem not a spending problem. The trouble is even when income was high during the boom years Ontario was running a massive deficit. We are borrowing money to pay CUPE and OPSEU. Tax increases can only account for so much.
As Ontario’s only NDP government ever found out there is not as much money out there as socialist like to think there is. They taxed everything under the sun short of the air we breathe and still could not come close to generating enough money. Eventually they forced all public service employees to take unpaid days off to save money. In the process proving the public service was bloated to begin with. It amounted to a pay cut for all public service employees which the ivory tower socialists in the NDP thought was a brilliant way to solve the fiscal problem. The unions disagreed.
Regardless of which party is in power we are heading for a similar situation in Ontario. And I am pretty sure the union executives (excellent term since unions are just businesses anyway) know this. What you see with Porter is just practice for them. Bigger protests are coming from CUPE, OPSEU and the teacher unions. The government credit card is close to being maxed out and we are still paying off debts from 10 years ago. Something has to give. And when it does you can be Brother Sid will have “Boots on the ground” all over Ontario.
Hyya Greg, GREAT article and funny you wrote this now, as I was literally just now working on a very similar article about these guys who are imported to cause trouble and then leave.
I also fully agree with you that we need to fully expose these people for who they really are, plaster their faces on here so that the public gets to see who these people are , and hopefully, the public exposure will be enough for many of these scum bags to leave town before they even get started .
I am working on my story now which will be ready by the weekend where I will showcase the criminals that people like Dave Vasey hangs with and what roles they played in past and present events. Lets keep the preasure up and keep it so high that it will force them to vacate their activities out of fear of getting identified and caught.
I can’t wait to see that one!
You had me right up to the point of defending police actions during the G-20. The anarchists just played a set role during that street theatre, The police cages were not built because or for them. To say ” it’s unlikely the city would have felt the need to build scores of temporary holding cells. Equally, if vandals weren’t tearing through Toronto’s streets smashing windows and burning down police cars, it’s highly unlikely those holding cells would have been filled. Had everyone been peaceful, the G20 would have been entirely different.” Sorry you are dead wrong. In your zeal to point a finger at the anarchists you forget the police too have a union and that both the police and anarchists were working together and for the same people that weekend. The media made it perfectly clear before that weekend what role both the police and anarchists would be playing that performance and the players were well rehearsed. What happened was not an accident and you can’t point at the anarchists and say it was their fault.
Do you have any evidence of this? If you do, I’d love to publish it. I’ve been digging into this story for over a year now, and I’ve not found a shred of solid evidence for this theory yet. True, the police responded VERY slowly when the cop cars were set on-fire- and maybe it was a setup. But this doesn’t show us any proof of a connection between the Anarchists and the police.
Logic dictates that had people not got violent it would have been very difficult for the police to justify filling those jail cells. If there wasn’t a risk of the protesters getting violent, and the protesters didn’t- how could they possibly get away with the arrests? They couldn’t have.
Not true, those arrests were well planned out in advance, There was a marked attitude difference in the police starting the day before for no reason at all. Your proof would be in the fact that the police knew the plans and route of the anarchist rampage, For five days prior to the main event police had a very heavy presence all along Younge St. According to eye witnesses 30 minutes before the anarchist rampage began all police in the area of the window breaking were pulled out completely. When the Anarchists broke off the main march and charged the police line the police allowed them to pass only stopping those who were following them. There is no question in anybody’s mind that the burned cars were deliberately and strategically placed for that purpose. There is also proof that the anarchists had been infiltrated and their plans well known to police in advance (the anarchist who published the names of these police infiltrators was charged) and film exists of masked anarchists running behind police lines for protection. (See scary cop lady film)
We have discussed this but you refuse to acknowledge the proof because it does not fit your theory, never the less it is there.
What I said in this article was that because of the violence, the police ended-up conducting mass arrests. I’m not arguing if the police were responsible for ‘allowing’ it to happen or not- I’m only saying that the violence enabled the arrests.
Do you not agree that’s true?
No, what I’m saying is both the violence and arrests were pre-planned and both sides were in on and down with that plan.
My story never agreed, nor disagreed with that. All I’m saying is that (regardless of if it was planned) the violence was the precursor to the arrests. Without the former, there wouldn’t have been the latter…
If the Southern Poverty Law Centre can sue the neo-nazis our of existence (or at least bankrupt some of the hardcore ones), then surely someone can come up with a way to sue union leaders for this stuff.
BTW, “They taxed everything under the sun short of the air we breathe”. They actually taxed DIRT, i.e., garden soil…
I think Lawrence McCurry has it right. This is a case in which Mr. Grenouf is indeed, dead wrong. The G20 situation was orchestrated well in advance, both the so-called provocations and the so-called reaction. Within that context there are all sorts of individuals with their personal agendas but we should never lose sight of the big picture.
I’m open to that theory, but I’ve yet to had seen any hard evidence on it. If you have any, please share…
Well if you want to watch a show, keep an eye on Montreal media tonight. It is the annual anti-brutality march. Last years included someone punching a police horse.
It is fun for the whole (anarchist) family.
The same thing is happening here in Toronto tonight – it starts at 5pm at the 52 division station.
Well, be careful. I am sure you are not too popular with some of the protesters and if the police there are like ours, once they have told the crowd a half dozen times to leave, they kettle and arrest everyone.
It’s over now – only about 30 malcontents showed up. Very lame…