Recently, a couple in their early to mid twenties on bikes dropped in to Diggers, our little bookshop just a little ways passed the rock cut in South Bay. They were headed to Little Bluff when they saw my sign for the shop. Visiting from Montreal, they said they were so happy and amazed to discover a shop like Diggers “in the middle of this place”. Apparently a little radical left bookstore, where you can sit and read zines, have tea and hangout, isn’t what people expect amidst the wineries and the rural back roads.
Chatting, I learned one of them had just attended, for their first time, the annual Montreal Anarchist Book Fair in May. Much of the literature they’d seen there was on our shelves. They hung out for a while in the store, then bought a couple of books and zines and were on their way.
Another guy came by one day who was a retired union head and we had a brief chat before he took home Unfree Labour: Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant workers in Canada. This book explores labour migration to Canada and how public policies of temporary and guest worker programs function in the global context of work and capitalist restructuring. Contributors are directly engaged with the issues emerging from the influx of temporary foreign workers and Canada’s “creeping economic apartheid”—the ongoing racialization of economic inequality for many workers of colour. The essays also examine how migrant and immigrant workers have organized for justice and dignity in Canada. As opposed to a good deal of current writing that often ignores the working conditions and struggles of racialized migrant and immigrant workers, the authors contend that migrant workers, labour organizations, and migrant worker allies have engaged in a wide range of organizing initiatives with significant political and economic impacts. These have included both court challenges to secure legal rights to unionization and grassroots alternatives to traditional forms of unionization through workers’ centres.
For the past few days, everyone who’s come by has had the option of taking home some organic pears from our backyard. Yesterday, two couples came by and one of the gentlemen saw a little book I’d found in a thrift store years ago called Civil Disobedience – Theory and Practice. It was written in 1975. The visitor said he’d played sports back in Oslo with one of its authors, Christian Bay.
I’ve had so many interesting conversations in the shop with everyone from neighbours I might not have met otherwise, to friends of friends from out of town.
Last Thursday, we had our first “Discussions at Diggers” nights. The topic was Anarchism – what, why, how. Imagine, sharing ideas face to face! So much better than on social media. This was the first of four Thursday evening discussions happening this month, each focusing on a different topic (Read the previous post blog for details).
In closing, I have to recommend a book I’m currently reading that has been especially meaningful with hurricanes Harvey and Irma underway.
Black Flags and Windmills – Hope, Anarchy and The Common Ground Collective by scott crow (intentionally lower case) is a powerful and inspiring story about the work and organizing the collective carried out during hurricane Katrina.
Here’s a short video about the book.
As one of the reviewers said, the book would make a great movie. It reads like a novel, but it’s all true and speaks to the amazing achievements of communities coming together.
I’m actually putting in an order for a couple more copies of this title.
That’s all the news from Diggers for now. Please come by for a visit sometime soon. We’re open weekends and sometimes during the week, until it gets too cold. Follow us on facebook or instagram, subscribe to this blog or text or call at 613-920-4914 if you want to come by outside of regular hours.