the new objective presents ‘for the workforce, drowning’ [mix]

This mix was made in solidarity with the workers of Dollarama, and with all workers struggling against unfair and exploitative working conditions. The concept of work has been at the center of both my academic research and my artistic practice. In a 2018 collaboration with Stefan Christoff, we explored “work” from the perspective of living outside traditional 9-5 employment, and how commuting and moving through the city structures our lives. The two compositions on I Always Worked, my latest solo release, depart from how different my own relationship to work is from my father’s and grandfather’s factory employment.  So “work” became the guiding theme for this mix, at the suggestion of my friend Stefan, and in solidarity with Dollarama workers and with the Immigrant Workers Centre of Montreal.

I am one of the signatories to an open letter of Montreal artists speaking in support of this issue. (Read the full text of the letter here, below the tracklist.) Dollarama is a multi-billion dollar Canadian dollar store chain headquartered in Montreal. Their stores were declared essential business and have remained open throughout the shutdown. Dollarama has been reprimanded in recent years for exploitative practices, exacerbated by the pandemic. Warehouse workers in particular have denounced dangerous working conditions and inadequate compensation. Store workers given a 10% increase in hazard pay will see that boost end come August, despite Dollarama posting rising profits. A huge proportion of their labor force consists of immigrant workers, who are contracted through intermediary employment agencies. This makes workers more precarious, and discouraged reporting unsafe working conditions. In fact, an employee was fired after informing his supervisor that several of his colleagues had contracted COVID-19.

The ongoing global pandemic has made it even more urgent to support workers, and to advocate for safe working conditions and fair compensation. Already underpaid and exploited, workers such as those at Dollarama have had to assume additional burdens as essential workers during this difficult time. This includes warehouse workers, often consisting of immigrant workers and others who are most precarious and vulnerable to exploitation, and also the workers doing the labour to produce the goods sold.

It is unacceptable for Dollarama, as a company with billions in annual revenue, to continue to exploit the labour force upon which their profitability is dependent. This pandemic has laid bare the reality of inequity, but it is also proof that we can and must organize society differently, and has presented us with an opportunity for a fundamental reconfiguration of how we value and respect labour.

As artists, it is incumbent on us to see our world clearly and to speak truth to power, and in that spirit I strongly support the ongoing struggle of Dollarama workers and all workers.

I realized after finishing the mix that I had selected quite a few records from 1998-2002 (my high school years), as well as from the 1970s, particularly 1977 (quite an important year for me symbolically). Otherwise is mostly very new records, some released just this week. As usual, I made a virtual crate of selections and then recorded the mix live from Traktor.

I recently spoke with Amulets, finishing up an interview (more on that soon), and we discussed our shared teenage musical formation in the hardcore punk and emo scenes of the early 2000s tri-state area. I took the title of this mix from the lead single from Thursday‘s War All The Time (2003).  Between 2000 and 2008 I saw Thursday perform over 50 times, which is still the most I’ve seen any artist perform, so the nostalgia is strong. While I’ve drifted rather far from that scene, I still have great affection for that time and place, and somehow found these lyrics newly resonant. (Joseph Sannicandro)

This is the fifth mix I’ve produced since the quarantine began in March (#4 didn’t get a post on the blog, just at Soundcloud, because we had a few recent mixes already up).


Junior Delgado Sons of Slaves Sons of Slaves 7″ 1977
Jerusalem in my Heart Wa Ta’atalat Loughat Al Kalam Pt iii Daqa’iq Tudaiq 2018
Mos Def Worker’s Comp. The Ecstatic 2009
Slikback Rage Tomo 2019
Moor Mother The Myth Hold Weight Analog Fluids Of Sonic Black Holes 2019
Albert Ayler Prophecy Bells & Prophecy 2016
The Roots Thought @ Work Phrenology 2002
Abul Mogard Post-crisis Remembrance Drifted Heaven 2013
Gentle Giant Working All Day Three Friends 1972
Canzoniere del Lazio Tarentellone Canzoniere del Lazio 1977
Coltrane Selflessness The Major Works of… 1992
Sara Zalek & Norman W. Long Listening for Resilience Steelworkers Drone 2020
Sly & Robbie Was in the Blues Nordub 2018
Speaker Music American Marxists…. Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry 2020
Christoff & Sannicandro et les jours Temps 2018
Aaliyah We Need a Resolution Aaliyah 2001
Tim Hecker The Work of Art… Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again 2001
Bill Withers Moanin’ and Groanin’ Just As I Am 1971
azazone still in the hour of chaos native distortion 2020
Baïkonour Summer Grass/ Winter Work Your Ear Knows Future 2009
Jon Hassell Fearless Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) 2020
Joseph Sannicandro A Digito Cognoscitur Leo I Always Worked 2020
Rihanna Work (ft. Drake) Anti 2016
Sankara Future Dub Resurgence Revolution Dub Wire Cutter EP 2019
Joseph Sannicandro Alea Iacta Est (vocal loop) I Always Worked 2020
Napoli Centrale Ngazzete Nire Ngazzete Nire 1994
Gang Starr Work Caught Up 1998
Canzoniere delle Lame Le lavoranti a domicilio Chants De Lutte Italiens 1977
John Lennon Working Class Hero John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band 1970
Kreng Tourniquet (part 2) Works for Abattoir Fermé 2007–2011 2012
Refused The Deadly Rhythm (of the production line) The Shape of Punk to Come 1998
Lee Scratch Perry Working Man Working Man / Working Dub 1998
unknown Suonata for bagpipe (FX) Italian Treasury: Sicily 1954/2000
STLNDRMS footwork Veggie Tacos 2 2017
The Congos Fisherman Heart Of The Congos 1977
Kuwaiti Pearl Divers Music of the Pearl Divers Péninsule Arabique, Vol. 2: Musique Des Pêcheurs De Perles 1994
Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) Mannenberg Mannenberg – Is Where It’s Happening 1974
Jean Grae & Quelle Chris Waiting for the Moon (feat. Mosel & Anna Wise) Everything’s Fine 2018

Montréal artists support Dollarama workers’ campaign for justice

An open letter published in collaboration with the Immigrant Workers Centre

Currently in Montréal, frontline workers employed in Dollarama warehouses and storefronts are campaigning for justice. These workers are taking bold and brave action to sound the alarm on unsafe workplace conditions within the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Dollarama’s warehouse workers in the Montréal region in particular are speaking out to denounce dangerous working conditions and inadequate compensation. They are supported by storefront workers who have also been calling for fair and safe workplace conditions. We as artists in Montréal support their calls for justice.

On August 2nd 2020, Dollarama plans to end a 10% wage boost, amounting to $1,31 an hour afforded to workers due to the pandemic. This is woefully inadequate, and insulting given that Dollarama’s profits have actually been rising. Dollarama is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), and their first quarter financial report (announced at the Annual General Meeting on June 10th, 2020) demonstrates clearly that Dollarama can afford to pay all its workers a fair wage, including workers in the warehouse sector.

Dollarama stores have remained open throughout the pandemic as the Québec government declared Dollarama shops essential services, and this has allowed the company to continue a trend of rising profits established over the past years. Workers’ wages have not been permanently adjusted to reflect this success – a success made possible by the longstanding arduous labour of frontline workers.

Immigrant workers make up a huge portion of the Dollarama distribution centres workforce. Their labour is contracted through employment agencies, who despite reprimands in recent years for exploitative practices, continue to target new immigrants, refugees and also non-status workers for profit, treating workers as a commodity to be bought and sold to corporations like Dollarama.

Today in Montréal, many workers speaking out against these conditions are Black, some originally from Haiti, and also from across Africa. Our commitment to the #BlackLivesMatter movement demands we look at the labour conditions of Dollarama workers, and stand in solidarity particularly with Black and otherwise racialized workers who have been bringing this cause to public attention.

As artists in Montréal we have a responsibility to speak out about these injustices imposed on Dollarama workers. Dollarama is part of the Montréal landscape, and given that Dollarama is part of the social fabric of the city it is our responsibility to speak out.

Generations of artists in Montréal have supported social movements, fights for justice and community organizing efforts at the scale of the city, society, and the world. In this tradition, today, Montréal artists are speaking out to support Dollarama workers. Artists have lost gigs and struggled with economic uncertainty over the course of the pandemic. This leads us to connect our struggles to the struggles of all people, including Dollarama workers.

The Immigrant Workers Centre writes that Dollarama “put its growth and profits over the health and safety needs of its workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic Dollarama was considered an essential service placing hundreds of workers at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.  Dollarama had made little changes to secure the health and safety of these workers, who are immigrants, and asylum seekers working through temporary placement agencies.”

As artists in Montréal we stand with the campaign to fight for justice for Dollarama workers and declare our support for the three principal demands of the Dollarama workers campaign :

1. Dollarama must grant permanent employment to warehouse workers and cut out exploitative placement agencies.

2. Dollarama must pay a minimum of 15$ dollars an hour to all Dollarama workers, storefront and within warehouses.

3. Dollarama must be forced to respect all public health regulations for workplaces.


Les Artistes Montréalais soutiennent la campagne pour la justice des Travailleur-euse-s du Dollarama

Lettre ouverte publiée en collaboration avec le Centre des Travailleuses et Travailleurs Immigrants

Aujourd’hui à Montréal, les Travailleur-euse-s de première ligne chez Dollarama font campagne afin d’obtenir Justice.

Ces Travailleur-euse-s dénoncent courageusement des conditions de travail qui ne respectent pas les mesures sanitaires, dans le contexte de la crise COVID-19.

Alors que le personnel des entrepôts Dollarama à Montréal soulignent les risques à leur santé et la rémunération inadéquate, le personnel travaillant dans les magasins au détail, lui aussi, demande des conditions de travail plus justes. Nous, en tant qu’artistes de Montréal, appuyons la revendication de justice de ces travailleur-euse-s.

Cette campagne est essentielle, puisque dès le 2 Août 2020, Dollarama prévoit mettre fin à une augmentation de salaire de 10%. L’équivalent de $1,31 de l’heure, cette hausse était donnée au personnel dans le contexte de la crise sanitaire. Notons que les profits de l’entreprise ont augmenté puisqu’elle n’a pas été contrainte de fermer ses magasins – contrairement à d’autres entreprises, le Dollarama a été reconnu comme commerce essentiel au Québec et en Ontario. Malgré une croissance des ventes impressionnante, le salaire des employé-e-s n’a pas connu le même essor que l’image de marque Dollarama.

N’oublions pas qu’il s’agit d’une société cotée à la Bourse de Toronto. Tel qu’annoncé dans son rapport détaillant les résultats du premier trimestre, puis lors de son Assemblée Générale Annuelle, tenu le 10 Juin 2020, elle a généré des profits considérables. Il revient donc à Dollarama de payer ses employé-e-s un salaire décent, tant pour ceux et celles qui oeuvrent dans les entrepôts, que ceux et celles qui oeuvrent dans les magasins.

Au centres de distribution Dollarama, les travailleur-euse-s sont engagés à contrat par des Agence de Placement Travail. Malgré avoir été réprimandées au cours des dernières années pour des pratiques d’exploitation, ces agences continuent de cibler des nouveaux immigrant-e-s et des travailleur-euse-s sans statut légal, afin de récolter des profits. Ces gens sont traités comme des commodités qui peuvent être achetées ou vendues à des sociétés comme Dollarama.

Plusieurs des travailleur-euse-s qui se lèvent contre ces conditions sont Noir(e)s, plusieurs viennent d’Haïti, et de plusieurs pays Africains. Il ya aussi de nombreux immigrant-e-s d’ailleurs et des Québécois de classe ouvrière.

Notre engagement auprès du mouvement #BlackLivesMatter, nous oblige à reconnaître la réalité des employé-e-s Dollarama et d’être solidaires avec les travailleur-euse-s Noir(e)s qui ont bravement dénoncé ces injustices.

En tant qu’artistes à Montréal, nous avons la responsabilité d’amplifier le message des employé-e-s Dollarama. Cette solidarité c’est aussi une obligation citoyenne pour nous, car il s’agit d’une compagnie Canadienne dont le siège social est à Montréal, et elle fait partie intégrante du tissu social de notre ville.

Dans le contexte de la pandémie, les artistes d’ici ont perdu de nombreux contrats et plusieurs ont perdu leur emploi. L’incertitude économique à laquelle nous faisons face nous permets de comprendre et de ressentir la précarité vécue par tous les travailleur-euse-s, y inclus, ceux et celles du Dollarama.

De multiples générations d’artistes Montréalais ont exprimé leur soutien pour des mouvements sociaux, elles ont soutenu des luttes communautaires avec le but de créer des villes, des sociétés et un monde plus justes. Maintenant ces artistes expriment leur soutien pour les travailleur-euse-s du Dollarama.

Le Centre des travailleur-euse-s immigrant-e-s souligne que « dans sa hâte de faire du profit » Dollarama a complètement ignoré les risques sanitaires durant les premières semaines de la pandémie. « L’entreprise a priorisé l’argent, laissant de côté la santé et sécurité de ses travailleurs et travailleuses ».

En tant qu’artistes à Montréal, nous appuyons cette campagne visant obtenir justice pour les employés Dollarama et nous soutenons leurs 3 grandes revendications:

1. Dollarama doit offrir des emplois stables et permanents aux travailleur-euse-s d’entrepôt, et cesser d’avoir recours au Agence de Placement Travail.

2. Dollarama doit payer au minimum 15$ dollars par heure pour tous les employés Dollarama (entrepôt et magasins).

3. Dollarama doit respecter toutes les mesures de santé publique pour les milieux de travail.

Initial signatories / Signataires intiaux :

Joey Calugay, Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrants / Immigrant Workers Centre

Stefan Christoff, Howl! Arts

Mostafa Henaway, Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrants / Immigrant Workers Centre

Artist signatories
(listed in order of receipt)

1. Raphaël Foisy-Couture // Musicien, travailleur culturel

2. Freda Guttman // Artist, community activist.

3. Norman Nawrocki // Author, musician, actor.

4. Samer Najari // cinéaste.

5. Alexandre St-Onge // musician.

6. Darren Ell // photographer.

7. Mary Ellen Davis // cinéaste, travailleuse culturelle, enseignante.

8. Anna Atkinson // composer, singer-songwriter, musician (Linaire).

9. Kimberley de Jong // dancer, choreographer and doula.

10. Thomas Boucher // photographe, musicien, enseignant.

11. Franklin Lopez // filmmaker.

12. Julia E Dyck // Sound + Radio Artist + Educator.

13. Jessie Lauren Stein // musician.

14. Maya Khamala // poet, journalist, novelist.

15. Rebecca Foon // musician (Saltland).

16. Xarah Dion // musician.

17. Asma Khan // artist.

18. Samuel Landry // musician (Le Berger).

19. Ashley Fortier // Metonymy Press.

20. Mauro Pezzente // (Casa del Popolo, Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

21. Thanya Iyer // musician.

22. Ehab Lotayef // poet.

23. Dustin Finer // musician (DF).

24. S. Ayton // musician.

25. Laurence Beaudoin Morin // performance artist.

26. Thy Anne Chu Quang // Atelier Céladon.

27. Justin Doucet // DJ, co-host, (Échantillons)

28. Mojeanne Sarah Behzadi // poet, art curator.

29. Joseph Sannicandro // musician, writer, (A Closer Listen).

30. Roozbeh Tabandeh // musician.

31. Sarah Mangle // artist, educator.

32. Nawar Al Rufaie // musician, Sandhill.

33. Laurel Sprengelmeyer // artist and musician, (Little Scream).

34. Kaitlyn Ramsden // choreographer and dance artist.

35. Patrick Flegel // musician.

36. Michel Mpambara // humoriste et acteur.

37. Cecile Thompson Hannant // musician, (Cecile Believe).

38. Ruby Kato Attwood // artist and musician, (Yamantaka // Sonic Titan).

39. Tim Crabtree // musician, (Paper Beat Scissors).

40. Basia Bulat // musician, vocalist.

41. Andrew Woods // musician (Operators).

42. Kaveh Nabatian // filmmaker and musician (Bell Orchestre).

43. Dominique Pétrin // artist.

44. Jules Bernier // musician.

45. Peter Burton // musician, cultural worker (Suoni per il Popolo).

46. Jess Robertson // musician (LILA).

47. Nima Esmailpour // artist, writer, curator.

48. Esther Bourdages // Commissaire, Grande rencontre des arts médiatiques en Gaspésie.

49. Fenton Benjamin // lyricist, CKUT radio host.

50. Shahab Mihandoust // filmmaker.

51. Hanako Hoshimi-Caines // dancer and choreographer.

52. Hannah Dorozio // actor.

53. Alexander Moskos // musician (Drainolith).

54. Mars Zaslav // cultural worker (Suoni per il Popolo).

55. Kama La Mackerel // artist II writer II educator II cultural mediator.

56. Chris Robertson // artist, print maker (La Presse du Chat Perdu).

57. Tamara Sandor // musician.

58. Saeed Kamjoo // musician.

59. Tamara Filyavich // musician, cultural workers (CKUT Radio).

60. Marjolaine Lord // photographer, cultural worker (La Salière).

61. Sarah Albu // voice, electronics, theatre, performance.

62. Lucas Huang // musician (Egyptian Cotton Arkestra).

63. Deanna Radford // writer, poet, performer.

64. Razan AlSalah // filmmaker, professor (Concordia University).

65. Amanda Ruiz // artist, cultural worker.

66. David Bryant // musician (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire to Flames, Hiss Tracts).

67. Zoë Thomas // musician, doctor.

68. Kelly Nunes // musician, DJ, cultural worker.

69. Aidan Girt // musician (One Speed Bike, Godspeed You! Black Emperor).

70. Hubert Gendron-Blais // musician (ce qui nous traverse).

71. Anna Smutny // dancer, choreographer.

72. Michael Felber // musician.

73. Beatrice Deer // musician.

74. L. Alexis Emelianoff // artist.

75. Jade Barshee // Théâtre Everest.

76. James Goddard // musician (Egyptian Cotton Arkestra, Suoni per il Popolo).

77. Elise Boudreau Graham // artist (Céline Bureau).

78. Claire Abraham // musician.

79. Zahra Moloo // writer, filmmaker.

80. Norman Achneepineskum // artist, musician (Buffalo Hat Singers).

81. Duha Elmardi // writer, community activist.

82. Avi Grenadier // DJ, radio host.

83. Giselle Claudia Webber // musician (Orkestar Kriminal).

84. Vicky Mettler // musician (Kee Avil).

85. Ariel Nasr // filmmaker.

86. Daniel Añez // musician.

87. Svetla Turnin // cultural worker (Cinema Politica).

88. Sarah Pagé // musician.

89. Léon Lo // musician (Skinny Bones).

90. Catherine Debard // musician (Ylang Ylang).

91. Liam O’Neill // musician (Suuns).

92. Laura Acosta // artist.

93. Tanha Gomes // Art Educator, (Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain).

94. Nadia Moss // artist.

95. Rawi Hage // author.

96. Nadine Altounji // musician.

97. Amir Amiri // musician.

98. Laura Jeffery // musician, dancer and choreographer

99. Pietro Amato // musician (Torngat, Bell Orchestre, and The Luyas)

1000. Michael Feuerstack // musician

101. Émilie Monnet // artistic director ONISHKA & Scène contemporaine autochtone.

102. Markus Floats // musician.

103. Chittakone Baccam // musician (Hazy Montagne Mystique).

104. Malcolm Guy // filmmaker (Productions Multi-Monde).

105. Olivia Dumas // artist, zinemaker, community activist (Prisoner Correspondence Project).

106. Shanice Nicole // Educator | Facilitator | Writer | (Out)spoken Word Artist.

107. Devin Brahja Waldman // musician.

108. Peggy Hogan // Hua Li 化力.

109. TiKA Simone // Musician.

110. Arielle Cissy Loé // Empress (Échantillons).

111. Adi Shulhut // Mediteranos مديترانوس.

112. Nick Schofield // Rêves sonores, Saxsyndrum.

113. Kandis Friesen // artist.

114. Shahrzad Arshadi // Multidisciplinary Artist.

115. Shaun Weadick // musician, educator.

116. Christeen Francis // artist, printmaker.

117. Adler Louis-Jean // photographer, cultural worker.

118. John Bart Gerald // poet, artist.

119. Julie Maas // artist.

120. Mazen Chamseddine // artist, architect.

121. Tahlia Stacey // artist.

122. Mohamad Kebbewar // poet.

123. Mathieu Bédard // Les Martyrs de Marde.

124. Meriem Ramoul // artist.

125. Farah Kashem // photographer.

126. Sam Shalabi // musician, composer.

127. Tamara Vukov // filmmaker.

128. Jessica Potenza // artist.

129. Stef Schneider // musician.

130. Odile Myrtil // DJ.

131. Jacob Wren // author.

132. Bonbon Kojak // DJ.

133. Jordan Arseneault // artist.

134. Martin Akwiranoron Loft // Indigenous artist.

135. Feroz Mehdi // writer, community activist.

About Joseph Sannicandro

writer | traveler | sound organizer | contrarian | concerned citizen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: