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“To Protect and Serve” Career Fair

Strax Communiqué 01

Today, 13 November 2008, St. Thomas University (STU) hosted a “To Protect and Serve” career fair, providing a venue for various law enforcement agencies (including the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and CSIS) to recruit university students.

While the STU administration suggests that such an event fulfills its obligation to provide its students with employment contacts and information, we see the nature of this specific “career fair” as indicative of STU’s uncritical support for these agencies.

By hosting this career fair, STU promotes the work of these agencies and becomes complicit in their purveyance of state violence and neo-colonialism. The current inclusion in the career fair of the Portage rehabilitation centre, or the future inclusion of other such organizations, does not justify the presence of agencies like CSIS and the RCMP. These state security bodies were actively recruiting students today, but called on campus security to eject students who challenged them on their involvement in the illegal invasion of Haiti and the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

Given the unacceptable nature of this event, Strax felt that it would be unconscionable not to respond.

We are not alone in our opposition to the militarization of campus space. Other individuals and organizations were also compelled to respond to the “To Protect and Serve” career fair. Our tactics and analysis are not one and the same, but we are united in our understanding of this event as being representative of the uncritical support by the university administration of militarization.

In order to express our opposition, Strax:

- distributed literature revealing the oppressive tendencies of the organizations present;
- repeatedly displayed a banner calling on the Canadian government to cease its occupations of Haiti and Afghanistan;
- enacted a piece of political theatre, linking the actions of various agencies to deportations to torture (such as that of Maher Arar and Omar Kadhr);
- engaged in critical discussion with representatives of agencies of state violence and the event’s promoters, on issues such as the First Nations sovereignty and systemic brutality against prisoners.

Our actions were not without controversy. We faced irate career fair organizers who argued that these organizations had been invited to campus. They were unable to respond to the critique that, as students, we were offered no say in this invitation. Campus security, as well as representatives of the STU administration, served to protect the agencies from our critique by asking us to leave the premises. Protesters were permitted to stand at a significant distance from the booths, which
functioned to maintain the false impression of freedom of speech. Despite this opposition, many Strax supporters succeeded in repeatedly entering the career fair premises on multiple occasions and causing serious disruptions.

Although the Armed Forces and CSIS are often identified as the primary agents of the militarization of public space, our analysis extends to understand the Fredericton Police, the RCMP, and other “law enforcement” agencies as perpetrators of state violence and repression. Therefore, they, as well as the Canadian Armed Forces and CSIS, should be banned from recruiting on campus.

Strax will uncompromisingly oppose all future efforts to militarize our campus spaces. We intend to win.

For more information, please contact Strax at: strax@riseup.net

What really happened in South Ossetia?

The Western-backed Georgian government launched rocket attacks on villages in South-Ossetia, attacking civilians, 2 days before the Russians responded by “invading” and driving out the Georgian army that was attacking South-Ossetia.

Georgia committed war crimes. BBC has the evidence.

Asper family doesn’t set good example

The N.B. Human Rights Commission chose to give its Pioneer of Human Rights Award to the Asper Foundation for its Human Rights and Holocaust Studies Program. The award ceremony occurred at St. Thomas University on October 25.

The award raised many concerns for those critical of the Asper family’s source of wealth, the CanWest Globe media conglomerate. CanWest owns the National Post, Global TV network, Vancouver Sun and other newspapers.

In announcing the award, Gordon Porter, chair of the N.B. Human Rights Commission said: “The Asper Foundation is involved in the lives of many students in New Brunswick….The foundation is making a difference in allowing students to participate in a program that creates sensitization in tomorrow’s leaders. The human rights commission is proud to support this kind of awareness.”

What about awareness of the Israeli occupation of Palestine? CanWest Global’s late founder, Izzy Asper, told the Jerusalem Post in August 2003: “In all our newspapers, including the National Post, we have a very pro-Israel position….we are the strongest supporter of Israel in Canada.” Since Asper’s death in 2003, CanWest has maintained its unquestioning support of the Israeli government’s policies and the Israeli Defense Forces’ actions.

As Gideon Levy notes in his most recent column: “When we say that someone is a “friend of Israel” we mean a friend of the occupation, a believer in Israel’s self-armament, a fan of its language of strength and a supporter of all its regional delusions.”

The Palestine Liberation Organization reports that in the past eight years, Israeli forces have killed an estimated 5,526 Palestinians including 1,010 children under 18, demolished 8,300 homes and jailed more than 65,000 Palestinians.

The Asper family is not setting a great example. Censorship and corporate abuse of power shouldn’t be rewarded.

Tracy Glynn, Julie Michaud, Alisa Carnall and Ali Abbas
Organizers with Fredericton Palestine Solidarity

Underreported News

Barack Obama was elected president of the United States with a 62.5 per cent voter turnout, the highest in 44 years. 2.2 million more young people voted than did in 2004; over 2 million more African Americans voted this time ’round; and Hispanic voters made the difference for Obama in Colorado, Florida, and New Mexico. New Hampshire became the first US state ever to elect a majority of women to their State Senate. Residents of Washington DC, 75 per cent of whom are non-white, still do not have the right to vote for representatives in Congress.

…more

Massive Iraqi Death Toll Ignored by Tabloid Culture

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (IPS) – The year is 1994. Pictures of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley cover the pages of prominent U.S. newspapers and magazines. Yet hidden from national view is the attempted elimination of the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda.

The Steep Price of Power

Colombian coal fuels Atlantic Canada, but at what cost?

UN warns over Gaza food blockade

The UN in the Gaza Strip says it will run out of food aid in two days unless Israel’s blockade – which it describes as “shameful and unacceptable” – eases.

Gaza Again Plunged into Darkness, Hunger as Israel Blocks Fuel, Food to Suffering Population

Democracy Now!: Gaza’s humanitarian crisis has worsened in the aftermath of Israel’s latest blockade of fuel and food. We speak to Diana Buttu, a former lawyer for the Palestinian Authority, and Reverend Edwin “Eddie” Makue of the South African Council of Churches, a veteran of South Africa’s apartheid struggle. They are on an “anti-apartheid” speaking tour across the US for the next two weeks.

Help ban cluster bombs!

On December 3, 2008, a new treaty will open for signature: the Convention on Cluster Munitions. After landmines, cluster munitions pose the greatest risk to civilians, causing more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system. Yet so far, Canada has not declared that it intends to sign the treaty on this historic day.

Sign the petition to ban cluster bombs!

Rally to Oppose P3s

RALLY TO OPPOSE THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT PLAN TO BUILD P3 SCHOOLS, COURT HOUSES AND A HOSPITAL

THE TIME AS COME FOR NEW BRUNSWICKERS TO SAY NO TO P3’S

WHEN: On November 25, 2008 (at the opening of the Legislative Assembly)

WHERE: Join us at 2:30 pm at Officers’ Square ­we will march on the Legislative Assembly

Organized by: CUPE NB

RALLIEMENT POUR S’OPPOSER AUX PROJETS DE PARTENARIAT PUBLIC-PRIVÉ DU GOUVERNEMENT LIBÉRAL POUR LA CONSTRUCTION D’ÉCOLES, DE PALAIS DE JUSTICE ET D’UN HÔPITAL

LE TEMPS EST VENU POUR LES GENS DU NOUVEAU-BRUNSWICK DE DIRE NON AUX PPP

QUAND : Le 25 novembre 2008 (à l‘ouverture de l’Assemblée législative)
OÙ : Venez nous rejoindre à 14h30 au Officers’ Square ­nous marcherons à l’Assemblée législative

SCFP N-B

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