The members of the Industrial Workers of the World — Canadian Regional Organizing Committee express our solidarity with protestors and organizers, here on Turtle Island and across the world, struggling against police brutality and systemic anti-Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) racism. We fully support the abolitionist demands to defund the police, commend BIPOC activists who have brought these demands forward, and support the more radical demand to dismantle the prison system entirely.
As workers living in the colonial state of Canada, we recognize that the problem of police brutality against BIPOC people is not isolated to the United States. Canada was founded on the labour of enslaved African peoples and the stolen land of Indigenous peoples. Our police, acting on behalf of the colonial state, continue to terrorize Black and Indigenous communities. This is exemplified by the recent death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black-Indigenous Torontonian who died at the hands of Toronto police. This is not an isolated incident but rather a pattern of murderous, racist terror perpetuated by the police and RCMP. In just a single month this year the following Indigenous people were killed – Rodney Levi and Chantelle Moore in New Brunswick; Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, and Kevin Andrews in Winnipeg; and three unnamed persons in Nunavut. We say, collectively Rest in Power.
The struggle for autonomy and personal liberty for Black and Indigenous People of Colour on Turtle Island is a struggle against a capitalist enterprise that has polluted every element of life for hundreds of years. The escalating violence from police forces is not a symptom of a broken system. It is emblematic of a system working exactly as it was intended to do. Racial oppression is one of the biggest driving forces of capitalism, and we see that oppression in all state institutions and systems that serve it: in our workplaces, in our schools, in the courts and prisons; in immigration and border control, and in the military-industrial complex.
Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, exploited and oppressed workers across the globe have united to show their solidarity in opposing institutional practices of the capitalist system, white supremacy, and the police and prison system; which are major tools of violent oppression used by the colonial white supremacist states on Turtle Island against the Black and Indigenous working class. While some progress has been made through the immense struggle of oppressed folk and their allies, the fight is not over until all power is taken from authoritarians and capitalists and put in the hands of workers.
Cops are not workers. They are traitors to the working class, whose job is to enforce the unjust laws of capitalist and colonialist order through violent force! We call on the entire labour movement to reject solidarity with police “unions”, and echo calls to defund and abolish the police.
Our own union has a history of supporting and organizing racialized peoples dating back to its founding, but we must not rest upon our laurels. We have important work to do to root out the systemic racism in our organization and to examine how we often benefit from the colonization of the land we inhabit at the expense of Indigenous communities. We call on the IWW and all other radical, progressive labour unions to immediately begin taking action to address racism within our own ranks and to work towards making the labour movement a welcoming environment for BIPOC individuals.
The IWW recognizes the intersections and parallels of our initiatives, with the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand committed to making ourselves available in any way possible to the movement, and all oppressed peoples struggling for self determination and prosperity. An injury to one is an injury to all.
We are here for you, always.
Industrial Workers of the World – Canadian Regional Organizing Committee
Tangible actions to support BIPOC in their struggle
- Elect at least one GMB member to be a liaison with the local BLM chapter and / or other anti-racist groups.
- Ensure the liaison reports back to the GMB and executive regularly to ensure discussion on how the branch can assist local anti-racist organizing.
- Ask your GMB to take a position of solidarity and work with anti-racist groups in a spirit of mutual cooperation without influencing their decision-making processes or goals.
- Offer tangible organizing support such as: promotional outreach, communication before during. and after actions as well as logistical support such as marshaling, monitoring for dangers, first aid.
- Any other tangible, credible actions to support their struggle for racial justice.