Tag Archives: Boston

Radicalizing Reality Forum: Resisting Walls & Bars

28 Feb

Radicalizing Reality Forum: Resisting Walls & Bars

Hey friends, check out this event tomorrow that our anarchist group is holding:

Saturday March 1 2014
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Community Church of Boston
565 Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA
617-356-ROSA (7672)
Facebook Event Page

Wheelchair Accessible / Childcare & Spanish Interpretation Upon Request

Join us for Part II of the Radicalizing Reality: Resisting Walls & Bars study group to analyze criminalization, migration, displacement, and strategies of resistance! Across the Americas and the globe, we are seeing rising struggles against enclosure and for freedom of movement or the right to remain. Communities are pushing back against displacement and uniting to stop deportations, prisoners are striking for freedom and dignity, migrant youth are sustaining a growing movement, and Native peoples are resisting exploitation of sovereign land. We can see a new world emerging in these acts of defiance and solidarity. Through these readings, videos, and comics, we hope to work towards both an understanding of the capitalist strategy of criminalization and a decolonial approach to fighting back.

What models do we see being used to fight criminalization/displacement, and who are the communities leading struggle? How do these struggles intersect? What local equivalent of stop and frisk, gang injunctions do we see? How do we see gentrification and border imperialism manifesting in Boston? How does the State uphold and justify narratives of criminalization and disempowerment? Where are strategic points of intervention? What kind of change are we fighting for, and how do we build inclusive resistance throughout? Join us for a participatory conversation on these and other questions in Part II of the Radicalizing Reality series.

Reading list:
Abolicionismo (Texto Introductorio) by Cruz Negra Anarquista
Apuntes Sobre la Organizacion Carcelaria by Cruz Negra Anarquista
Building a Solidarity Network in Houston by Unity & Struggle
Southwest Defense Network Website
No Keystone Pipeline Will Cross Lakota Lands statement from Honor the Earth, the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred
The Criminalization of Poverty in Capitalist America by political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim
Spirit & Nation by Yosimar Reyes
“Activist Immigrants Hurting Their Case, Lawyer Says” article by Julián Aguilar from Texas Tribune
Stop-and-Frisk As a Weapon of Gentrification by Glen Ford
Undoing Border Imperialism (introduction pages 4-20) by Harsha Walia

Dede’s Story by Who You Callin’ Illegal? (8 min 38 sec) English
Fenced Out by FIERCE! (6 min 3 sec) English
Gang Injunctions, Racism and Gentrification in Oakland, CA by Black Agenda report (11 min 7 sec) English
Stop the Injunction! by Critical Resistance (7 min 32 sec) English
Movement for Justice in El Barrio: Fighting Gentrification (9 min 9 sec) Spanish with English subtitles.
Evaluarán Proyecto Contra Inmigrantes”> by WUNTV (2 min 12 sec) Spanish

Liberty for All #4 by Julio Salgado & Tina Vasquez English


Issue 6 out now!

11 Feb

Issue 6 out now!

In this issue:
-Boston Union News Roundup
-Minimum Wage Hikes
-Immigrant Detainees Continue Struggle for Rights at South Bay
-Sergio Reyes’ birthday and fund-raising event From Punta Arenas to Boston: 60 years of struggle

Last Wednesday’s talk

5 Feb

Just wanted to say thanks to the folks who came to my talk last week at the Center for Marxist Education. It was good time, and for the last bulk of the evening we had a great conversation about our experiences during the Occupy Boston encampment, the relationships of our political organizations, unions, and other pre-existing groups to the (then) new Occupy Boston general assemblies and working groups. That the participants came from a variety places on the Boston left and were open to comradely dialogue made for a really interesting and enlightening discussion. Unfortunately we didn’t film it, but hopefully we’ll continue this conversation,



Tuesday: From Student Power to Popular Power

26 Jan

Tuesday: From Student Power to Popular Power

An International Panel with Speakers from Boston, Quebec and Chile. Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 6pm at the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston St.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/586122191464180/?source=1

Hosted by Black Rose Anarchist Federation


Presenting my Book in Central Square, Cambridge!

16 Jan

Presenting my Book in Central Square, Cambridge!

Hey friends,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s also been a while since I spoke about my book. Come out to Central Square!

Jake Carman Presents his Book: “Nine years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the BAAM and Other Essays”
Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 7pm

Reflecting on the last decade and the History of BAAM
for revolutionary organizing today

At Center for Marxist Education
550 Mass Ave, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Jake Carman presents his book, “Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation – The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (2001-2010) and Other Essays.” A discussion on anarchist organization and practice, with author and organizer, Jake Carman.

About the Book: In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in the midst of the subsequent nationalist fervor, Boston radicals came together to form the Boston Anarchists Against Militarism (BAAM) Coalition. Through interviews and an extensive study of BAAM’s public statements, activities, and publications, this history explores the evolution of BAAM from an anti-war coalition into a general union of Boston anarchists. The lessons of the past decade are useful to today’s generation of activists as they grapple with the questions of political organization and activity in the struggle against global capitalism.

http://www.JakeCarman.com Facebook.com/baamhistory

Service Workers Forum tomorrow!

10 Dec

Hey all,

   I’m helping to plan this event below for tomorrow night with some comrades at BU Student Labor Action Project and the IWW. It should be awesome, please come check it out if you’re in town!



Resistance with Dignity! Service and Low Income Workers’ Forum
7pm, Wednesday, December 11th,
At Boston University, in the College of Arts and Sciences room 201.
685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA.


Since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, the cost of living has risen and corporate profits increased, while minimum wage and other industry standards for low-wage workers have remained the same. Even worse, many employers use the recession to demand concessions and rollbacks from their workers.

Yet across the Boston area, workers in a variety of industries are fighting back. From hotels to restaurants, workers are organizing to demand pay increases, benefits, and union recognition. Come hear from workers struggling in these industries as they share their stories. Participate in a discussion with us about union organizing and shop-floor struggles.


Rosa de la Rosa – Le Meridien Hotel

Tasia Edmonds – Insomnia Cookies, BU

Cris Barros – Mass. Uniting (Former KFC worker)

Jonathan Peña – Insomnia Cookies, Harvard

Hosted by the Boston University Student Labor Action Project and the Boston Industrial Workers of the World


Strikers Deliver Demands to Insomnia Cookies; Company Targets Union Member

27 Oct

(Article first appeared at CradleofLibertyNews.org. For photos, check iwwboston.org)


Strikers Deliver Demands to Insomnia Cookies; Company Targets Union Member

By Jake Carman

On Thursday, October 24th, striking workers delivered a demand letter to the Harvard Square location of Insomnia Cookies. Niko Stapczynski and Jonathan Peña—who were fired after declaring a strike with two other employees on August 18th—and fifty members of their union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), visited the late-night cookie chain at 10 P.M. In their letter to management, the workers demanded reinstatement with back pay, compensation for nearly $1000 in short paychecks and withheld lunch breaks, company neutrality to the union and a card check election, and an end to the practice of forcing employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The union is threatening to turn these demands into legal charges if Insomnia fails to respond within two weeks.

Also on October 24th, Insomnia baker Tommy Mendes, who still works at the Harvard Square Insomnia location, declared to management that he, too, had joined the IWW. Mendes sent an email to his boss, simply stating “I just wanted to let you know that I’m a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.” While Mendes joined the IWW soon after his coworkers began their strike, according to the union, he only recently “made the courageous decision to go public and has announced his union affiliation to his manager…in part due to intolerable pressure and threats on the job.” The company suspended Mendes immediately, and the union promises to fight what they call “unlawful retaliation for his union activity.”

The public struggle at Insomnia Cookies in Harvard Square began at midnight on August 18, when the entire four-person night shift voted to initiate a strike for higher wages, healthcare, and freedom to form a union. Peña, Mendes, and coworkers Chris Helali and Luke Robinson—who have since moved out of state—closed the shop, contacted the IWW, and began holding pickets and building connections with Harvard and BU student organizations. Pickets have since spread to the new Boston University store.

Workers claim Insomnia has a bad track record when it comes to following labor laws and fairly compensating their employees. According to the demand letter, “For months prior to the strike, workers employed as ‘drivers,’ had not received minimum wage. Also, employees often did not receive the 30 minute meal break for shifts longer than 6 hours, to which they are entitled by MA State Law.” Drivers, who deliver cookies by bicycle until 3 A.M., and rely on tips to pad their $5 and hour wage, complain the company has unrealistic expectations of delivery times, and pressure from management causes unsafe riding and accidents. Whats worse, according to the union, “Insomnia does not give paid time off when drivers get hurt on the job, and instead blame them for the accidents.” The company doesn’t offer health benefits to the workers either.

Before the strike, the average turnover rate for a local Insomnia employee was only three weeks. The droves of Boston-area Insomnia workers who have recently quit the job, as well as the firing of the company’s regional manager—in part due to his inability to keep his stores staffed and functioning—attest to the aptly-named Insomnia work environment. Insomnia, which has 33 locations on college campuses across the US, sustains itself only by exploiting students two-fold: as employees, where they are underpaid, barely trained, easily-replaceable, and overworked, and also as consumers, where they are sold frozen cookies at unjustifiably high prices. In order to hold Insomnia accountable and to end the company’s reprehensible labor practices, IWW members are encouraging workers nationally to join the union, and if they are planning to quit already, to go on strike.

Ways to Get Involved:


-Dont Quit, Strike! http://iwwboston.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/dont-quit-strike.jpg


-Donate to the Insomnia Strike Fund:



-Sign the petition to support the strikers’ demands:



-Find us Online: https://www.facebook.com/insomniaunion http://iwwboston.org/


To reach the Boston IWW:

Email: iww.boston@riseup.net

Phone Number: 617-863-7920

Mailing Address: PO Box 391724

Cambridge, MA 02139

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BostonIWW/



Striking Workers at Insomnia Cookies Join the IWW

11 Sep
Hey all, check out this article I wrote for the Industrial Worker (due out next month).
Also, support Insomnia strikers by joining their rally tomorrow night at 8pm at the store’s location, 65 Mnt Auburn St, Cambridge: https://www.facebook.com/events/1405934196300747/
or by donating to their strike fund: https://www.wepay.com/donations/insomnia-cookies-workers-strike-fund

Striking Workers at Insomnia Cookies Join the IWW

By Jake Carman,


At 12:00 am on Sunday, August 18th, the night shift at the Harvard Square Insomnia Cookies voted unanimously to initiate a strike for higher wages, healthcare, and freedom to build a union. On Tuesday, August 20th, all four strikers joined the Industrial Workers of the World, and launched a public campaign to achieve their goals.

Insomnia Cookies, with 30 locations in the US, caters to college students and runs late night deliveries of warm cookies and milk to dorm rooms. Delivering cookies until 2:45 am, Insomnia workers who double-duty as bakers and cashiers receive only $9 an hour. “Drivers,” who are expected to deliver cookies by bicycle within a half hour, receive only $5 an hour plus tips. Neither receives healthcare and the turnover is so high, the typical employee lasts only a month. As Niko Stapczynski, a striking driver at Insomnia, told the Industrial Worker, “I was being paid below minimum wage. We had no breaks because we were understaffed. Sometimes we’d work without breaks until 3:15 am. We were supposed to keep delivery time as fast as possible, which encouraged unsafe riding.”

Peak hours are late at night when college students return from parties. As the lines of customers thickened on the evening of Saturday, August 17th, Chris Helali noticed his coworkers were stressed. “I gauged the overall feeling that night and people were pretty down. I basically said guys lets go on strike. It took about an hour to get everyone to agree and to figure out what we were going to do.” The entire night shift—four workers, Chris Helali, Jonathan Peña, Niko Stapczynski, and Luke Robinson—used the store computer to type up a strike agreement, and made signs for the store’s windows. Then, Helali continues, “we told the customers we were going on strike. Some of the customers asked ‘can we at least get a cookie before you close down the store?’ So we said sure, why not. We served everyone in the store. Then we went outside to put up the signs and lock the door.”

At 3 am the regional manager, who runs the only Insomnia Cookies in Massachusetts, arrived to file the paperwork to fire all four strikers. He then called Luke Robinson to threaten him with a lawsuit for “violating contractual obligations,” says Helali. The store did not open again until 1 pm on Sunday, August 18, two hours later than usual.

Picketing began that morning at 10 am, and all of the strikers were on the line by 11 am. The police, according to Helali, “came about eight or nine times and told us to stay away, do not bother the store…They said we’d be arrested if we went inside. They told us to stay on the center median, about thirty feet from the store, or we would be arrested.” While workers have a legal right to picket on the sidewalk outside their store, so long as they remain moving in a circle or otherwise, the police, called in by the boss, intimidated the workers.

That afternoon, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) arrived to lend support. Helali, who reached out to the IWW, said, “I knew that the IWW in Boston was pretty militant and was ready to go straight to action, as opposed to some of the business unions who probably would not even come or try to organize us. I knew the IWW would do everything in their power to help us out. So I decided to reach out on the Facebook page and post about our strike.” One organizer arrived around noon, and by 3:30 pm five others had arrived. On Tuesday, all four strikers joined the IWW and held a meeting with union organizers.

On Thursday, the strikers and their union held a march from the Harvard Square T Station to the store, with fifty IWW members and allies, including Harvard dining hall workers, members of Harvard Student Labor Action Movement, Common Struggle/Lucha Común, Boston Solidarity Network, and others, participating.

Insomnia workers marched to their shop again on Monday evening, following a union rally against racially-motivated firings at Harvard University, organized by Harvard No Layoffs Campaign, led by “dual card” members of the IWW and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUTCW). Jonathan Peña addressed the crowd. Around 50 people, including students from the Harvard Student Labor Action Movement, joined the march from Harvard to the Insomnia location, surprising the manager and leafleting the public.

While the workers at Insomnia had not joined a union prior to striking, some workers had been discussing workplace conditions, unions, and strikes for weeks. According to Helali, he and other workers “would speak about the issues that pertain to our job and the conditions there. I heard a lot of the other workers’ gripes, what they wanted to be changed, how they felt they were treated. I tried to gauge the general overall feeling, and concerns of the workers. It prompted me to eventually put the idea out for a strike, as a joke at first maybe about two weeks before the strike. I’d sort of casually say, hey we should go out on strike. Why not?”

Along with low pay, no benefits, and unrealistic expectations on the part of the company, workers complained about a lack of breaks. According to Helali, “Customers would flood in and sometimes we’d have to have all of us up front helping. It was constant on our feet. Rarely did we get an opportunity to sit down and relax.” It was the pressure of the crowd of hungry customers that finally drove these workers to strike. However, in not contacting the union prior to striking, and not organizing the day shift to join the strike or union, the strikers began at a disadvantage. With dedication to their cause and plenty of support from the IWW and other allies, strikers hope to overcome the obstacles in front of them and turn Insomnia Cookies into a job worth having, and to spread the union to Insomnia Cookies locations across the country.

The Insomnia strike began just a week and a half before a national wave of fast food workers’ strikes organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). On Thursday, August 29th, fast food workers across the country participated in a one day strike for a $15 minimum wage, highlighted in Boston by a 4 pm rally at the Boston Common. As Jonathan Peña told the Industrial Worker, “we want to show solidarity with the struggles of other fast food workers, because their fight is our fight.” Insomnia workers were present at the Fight for Fifteen pickets in Boston beginning that morning at 6 am, and ending with an evening picket at Insomnia in Harvard Square at 6 pm.

While half of the striking Insomnia workers have moved from Boston this September, the other two workers are continuing to plan public demonstrations and discuss unionization with their coworkers, Harvard students, and other service workers, while they pursue legal charges against their employer for withholding breaks and back pay and failing to meet minimum wage.
The company opened a new location on September 2nd near Boston University at 708 Commonwealth Avenue.

For updates and information on how to contribute to the strike fund or get involved, please visit https://www.facebook.com/insomniaunion or http://iwwboston.org/.

Fast Food Workers Strike Tomorrow!

28 Aug

Hello friends, comrades, and fellow workers. Please join the IWW at these two rallies tomorrow for striking fast food workers!

-1. 4:00pm- Fast Food Worker Strike Rally
Boston Common, Boston, MA

Like millions of people in today’s economy, fast food workers don’t earn enough to pay their bills and put food on the table. That’s why thousands of workers at McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast food restaurants in cities across the country have been going on strike to demand decent wages they can aord to live on. Fast food workers in Boston will be taking part in this national action on August 29. It’s crucial that we show strikers that we have their back. Will you join us?
For more information visit MassUniting.org or call (617) 284-1260

-2. 6pm This Thursday, August 29, Support Insomnia Cookie Workers on Strike
As fast-food workers across the country join a national day of strikes on August 29, striking workers at Insomnia Cookies in Harvard Square will hold an evening rally in front of their store at 65 Mt Auburn St Cambridge, MA, at 6pm, Thursday.

Four Insomnia workers decided to go on strike on Sunday, August 18, for higher wages, benefits, and a union. They joined the Industrial Workers of
the World, set up picket lines and rallies, and have remained in the streets for over a week. Excited by the wave of strikes at other fast food
chains, Insomnia workers look to participate in the national day of strikes to support workers like them across the industry, lend solidarity to other unionizing workers, and draw attention to their own cause.

Insomnia Cookies, with 30 locations in the US, caters to college students
and runs late night deliveries of cookies and milk to dorm rooms. Still delivering cookies until 2:45 am, Insomnia workers who double-duty as bakers and cashiers receive only 9$ an hour. “Drivers,” who are expected
to deliver cookies by bicycle within a half hour, receive only 5$ an hour
plus tips. Neither receive healthcare, at a job where turnover is so high,
the typical employee lasts only a month.

At 12:00 am on Sunday, August 18, the night shift at the Harvard Square
Insomnia Cookies voted to initiate a strike for higher wages, healthcare,
and freedom to build a union. All four were fired later that morning, and
one was threatened with a lawsuit. To win back their jobs, gain a living
wage, and build a union, Insomnia strikers are calling for your support.

Please join us at 6pm, Thursday evening – 65 Mt Auburn St Cambridge, MA,
for a mass rally.

https://www.IwwBoston.org <https://www.iwwboston.org/&gt;