NOII statement (English / Punjabi ): Commemorating 100 years of the Komagata Maru

Posted by admin on May 21st, 2014


Download flyer in English and Punjabi here

100 YEARS AGO the 376 passengers of Komagata Maru were refused entry into British Columbia by Canadian immigration officers. They experienced racism and hostility. Their inability to land caused hardship for the passengers, who soon lacked food and water, were denied access to medical attention, to communication with their family and to proper legal counsel.

As we commemorate this resilient journey and the determination of people, we honour their legacy including descendents who have persevered and established their lives here despite so many barriers. Now, 100 years later, the story of the Komogata Maru is being celebrated as an historical event that occurred at a time when “Our city looked very different”.

For many however, these changes are not evident.

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ICWA To Hold Big Forum On Immigration In Surrey

Posted by admin on Aug 31st, 2012

By Sunil Narula

Indo Canadian Workers Association (ICWA) will be holding a massive forum in Surrey next month to highlight the ‘anti-immigration policies of the Government of Canada’. More than a thousand people are expected to attend this forum which will be held on September 9 at Bear Creek Hall.

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Komagata Maru: Continuing the Journey

Posted by admin on Jun 9th, 2012

New website launch:

More than just an isolated “incident”, The Komagata Maru story reflects a deliberate, exclusionary policy of the Canadian government to keep out ethnicities with whom it deemed unfit to enter. These justifications were couched in racist and ethnocentric views of “progress”, “civilization”, and “suitability” which all buttressed the view that Canada should remain a “White Man’s Country”.

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Refuge 26, 2: No Borders As Practical Politics

Posted by admin on Apr 25th, 2011

The special issue on No Borders As Practical Politics has finally come out in the Canadian journal *Refuge*

You can access the entire issue here

Table of Contents


A Note from the Editor
Sharry J. Aiken

Editorial: Why No Borders?
Bridget Anderson, Nandita Sharma, Cynthia Wright

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Divide and Deport: On Immigration, Thom Hartmann and Lou Dobbs Have Much in Common

Posted by admin on Feb 28th, 2011

By David Bacon, In These Times, Feb. 28 2011

Radio host and author Thom Hartmann has a new book, Rebooting the American Dream. Hartmann has a progressive reputation, and his book supports unions, calls for eliminating tax cuts for the rich and advocates other sensible ideas. But like many liberals, when it comes to immigration his tune changes. In one chapter, Hartmann says he wants to “Put Lou Dobbs Out to Pasture.”  But Hartmann, like Dobbs, criticizes corporate power and then turns his fire on workers and immigrants. Instead of taking Lou Dobbs on, Hartmann repeats many of the stereotypes and falsehoods that gave Dobbs a reputation as one of the most anti-immigrant commentators in U.S. media. Hartmann, like Dobbs, claims to speak for the interests of working people. And his ideas do reflect the thinking of a certain section of the U.S. working class. That makes it important to understand the impact of his recommendations.

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Chinese Head Tax/Exclusion Families Continue Redress Struggle

Posted by admin on Jan 25th, 2011

By Sid Tan, W2TV, Jan. 25 2011

[Click here to see the video]

From the “my art is activism and my trade is organising” department, here’s a video of some magnificent grannies and grandpas gathered in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It was feisty seniors seeking redress almost three decades ago who inspired me to join them. Now I’m a grandpa and almost a senior and an inclusive just and honourable redress is still incomplete.

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Today’s efforts to combat human trafficking reflect historical racism and sexism

Posted by admin on Jan 11th, 2011

By Melissa Ditmore, Race-Talk, January 11, 2011

Current efforts to address trafficking in persons are both reminiscent of and informed by the history of slavery and trafficking in the United States and elsewhere. In fact, trafficking in persons is often referred to as “modern-day slavery.” Historical grounding confirms that the reference to slavery, while not exactly on point, is relevant.

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Past Policies of BC Provincial Government towards Chinese

Posted by admin on Dec 14th, 2010

1875 After the first Provincial legislature agreed not to allow Indians or Chinese to vote, no Chinese voted in the second Provincial election. Since the federal government used provincial voter’s lists, Chinese were effectively barred from federal elections as well.

1876 Municipal Act was amended to prohibit Chinese from voting in any municipal election.

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Vancouver to erect monument to Komagata Maru racism incident

Posted by admin on Dec 2nd, 2010

By Jeff Lee, The Vancouver Sun,  2 Dec 2010

One of the most odious incidents in Vancouver’s history, the Komagata Maru incident, is about to get memorialized by the Vancouver Park Board. For those who aren’t familiar with the incident, it involved the arrest in 1914 of a ship in Vancouver Harbour that arrived with more than 300 passengers of maily East Indian descent. The fine (white) city folks and the government of the day refused to let the passengers land and some many days later, after being cooped up on the ship, the passengers “voluntarily” returned to India. It is, to my mind, one of the pathetic low points in our city’s history, ranking down there with the forced internment of Canadians of Japanese descent during the Second World War and the head tax on Chinese labourers.

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Introduction To Swan’s Special Issue On Immigration

Posted by admin on Oct 4th, 2010

Link to articles here

(Swans – October 4, 2010) A predictable consequence of the dire economic crisis has been a spectacular rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in North America and Western Europe, which, combined with religious xenophobia against Muslim residents, has led to a significant growth of right-wing populism. In the U.S., former pro-immigration Republican leaders openly advocate reconsidering the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to strip it of its provision that provides automatic citizenship to any child born in the country whether or not the parents are citizens. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is quietly presiding over a much higher rate of deportations than the preceding Bush administration oversaw. Anti-immigrant rhetoric is particularly virulent among Tea Partiers and the candidates they support for the coming mid-term elections. In Europe, populist right-wing parties have been scoring substantial electoral gains by scapegoating immigrants of Muslim background. In Italy, Umberto Bossi’s Lega Nord (“Northern League”), a xenophobic party, is a member of the Berlusconi governmental coalition. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party of Freedom (and a favorite of the American Tea Party), openly advocates banning new mosques — as the Swiss did in a recent referendum — and the Koran, stopping all immigration from Muslim countries, and deporting immigrants. In Germany, a controversial book written by Thilo Sarrazin, a forced-to-resign member of the board at the Bundesbank and former finance minister of the Berlin city-state government, and often called a mini German Wilders, has fanned a harsh debate on immigration. In France, the Sarkozy government is emulating the policies long advocated by the far-right National Front, shamelessly deporting Romas and targeting immigrants from Northern Africa. The beast is raising its ugly head (Brecht) once again — and the phenomenon repeats itself in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, etc. Even tiny Sweden, a model of social democracy, has just elected to its parliament 20 members of the anti-immigration, far-right Sweden Democrats led by Jimmie Åkesson.

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