Press Release

To:             All media and community members

From:       Joseph Mairs Memorial Committee

Subject:    11th Annual Joseph Mairs Memorial, January 20th 2013

Date:         November 26th 2012



The Joseph Mairs Memorial Committee welcomes everyone to the 11th Annual Joseph Mairs Memorial at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall, 1135 4th Ave Ladysmith at 1:00 pm, Sunday, January 20th, 2013.

Come and join with other working people to honour Our Labour Martyr, Joseph Mairs. As always, our general theme for the day is ‘Our Common Condition’.

We are very pleased and proud to have with us for this day our dear friend, Mordecai Briemberg on the critical and timely topic- “The New Middle East: Democracy or War?”

Mordecai Briemberg was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1938. He attended the universities of Alberta, Oxford, and California (Berkeley), and then came to teach sociology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in 1966. He was elected chair of the Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology (PSA) department, but in a political purge of the department he was one of eight faculty fired in 1971. After working for trade unions, he became an ESL instructor at Douglas College, and retired in 2003.  

Mordecai has been active in anti-war movements from 1960 to the present: from anti-nuclear weapons activism to opposing US and European imperial wars in Indochina, Iraq Afghanistan and elsewhere. Supporting many national liberation movements, he has been particularly involved for more than four decades in solidarity efforts with the Palestinian struggles against Israeli colonialism. He has been part of efforts in B.C. to create a democratic and critical minded university, and to develop and sustain independent media (newspaper and radio), so that these ‘voices’ can contribute to building the capacities of working and marginalized people, the only ones who can re-shape the world to meet their needs. With so much still to be accomplished, he remains motivated, active, and hopeful.

After the talk, Mordecai will lead a floor discussion which will focus on issues arising from the urgent need to address the perpetual war the peoples in the Middle East and indeed the globe have endured and our hope for peace and justice.

During the discussion we will include all our guests in the conversation.

Again, this year we will enjoy live music by local musicians linked to the Labour Movement -Art Farquarson and friends, Beverley McKeen and friends and Charlie Fox – our splendidly talented family.Mike Gagnon- our long time sound engineer- will be there to make sure our musicians soar.

After the indoor programme, we will form a procession behind our long time piper Frank Nichols and walk to the cemetery to place flowers at the graveside of Joseph Mairs.

Joseph Mairs was a trade unionist and a coal miner. He died in 1914, a month short of his 22nd birthday, after being arrested by government troops during the Occupation of Ladysmith.

This strike which coal miners on Vancouver Island waged was for the eight hour day, health and safety regulations and union recognition.

Joseph rests in the Ladysmith Cemetery beneath a cairn his fellow miners erected in his honour with the inspiring inscription

 “A Martyr to a Noble Cause – The Emancipation of His Fellow Men”.


For more information contact:

Alastair Haythornthwaite 250 889 8903 /250 748 3274

Find us at Facebook – ‘Honour Our Labour Martyr Joseph Mairs’


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