People’s Voice July 1-31, 2017
Volume 25 – Number 12   $1

CONTENTS

1) BILL C-59: ANOTHER THREAT TO DEMOCRACY

2) AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!

3) YCL-LJC PREPARES FOR 19TH WORLD FESTIVAL OF YOUTH & STUDENTS

4) INDIGENOUS MOVEMENTS & ALLIES CALL FOR JULY 1 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

5) 150 YEARS, NO REASON TO PARTY - Editorial

6) CUBANS REJECT LATEST U.S. THREATS - Editorial

7) THE GRENFELL FIRE: AUSTERITY IS TERRORISM

8) THE EVOLUTION OF A SOCIAL MOVEMENT

9) TUDEH PARTY SLAMS WASHINGTON’S AGGRESSION

10) THERESA MAY’S POLITICAL CAREER DEAD IN THE WATER?

11) MUSIC NOTES, by Wally Brooker

PRINTER FRIENDLY ARTICLES

PEOPLE'S VOICE      July 1-31, 2017 (pdf)

 

People's Voice deadlines:

August 1-31
Thursday, July 20

September 1-15
Thursday, August 17

Send submissions to PV Editorial Office,
706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3J1, pvoice@telus.net

You can call the editorial office at 604-255-2041

 

 

 

REDS ON THE WEB
http://www,rebelyouth-magazine.blogspot.com
http://www.communist-party.ca
http://peoplesvoice.ca
www.ycl-ljc.ca
www.solidnet.org

 

People's Voice finds many "Global Class Struggle" reports at the "Labour Start" website, http://www.labourstart.org/. We urge our readers to check it out!

* * * * * *
Central Committee CPC
290A Danforth Ave Toronto, Ont. M4K 1N6
Ph: (416) 469-2446
fax: (416) 469-4063 E-mailmailto:info@cpc-pcp.ca

Parti Communiste du Quebec (section du
Parti communiste du Canada)
5359 Ave du Parc, Montréal, Québec,
H2V 4G9


B.C.Committee CPC
706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3J1
Tel: (604) 254-9836
Fax: (604) 254-9803

Edmonton CPC
Box 68112, 70 Bonnie Doon P.O.
Edmonton, AB, T6C 4N6
Tel: (780) 465-7893
Fax: (780)463-0209

Calgary CPC
Unit #1 - 19 Radcliffe Close SE
Calgary
  AB, T2A 6B2

Tel: (403) 248-6489

Ottawa CPC
Tel: (613) 232-7108

Manitoba Committee
387 Selkirk Ave., Winnipeg, R2W 2M3
Tel/fax: (204) 586-7824

Ontario Ctee. CPC
290A Danforth Ave., Toronto, M4K 1N6
Tel: (416) 469-2446

Hamilton Ctee. CPC
265 Melvin Ave., Apt. 815
Hamilton, ON
.
Tel: (905) 548-9586

Atlantic Region CPC
Box 70 Grand Pré, NS, B0P 1M0
Tel/fax: (902) 542-7981

http://www.communist-party.ca

* * * * * *

News for People, Not for Profits!
Every issue of People's Voice
gives you the latest
on the fightback from coast to coast.
Whether it's the struggle for jobs or peace, resistance to social cuts,
solidarity with Cuba, or workers' struggles around the world,
we've got the news the corporate media won't print.
And we do more than that
- we report and analyze events
from a revolutionary perspective,
helping to build the movements for justice and equality,
and eventually for a socialist Canada.

Read the paper that fights for working people
- on every page, in every issue!

People's Voice
$30 for 1 year
$50 for 2 years
Low-income special rate: $15 for 1-year
Outside Canada $50 for 1 year

Send to: People's Voice, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1
You can call the editorial office at 604-255-2041
<pvoice@telus.net>

(Contents)
(Home)

 


 


(The following articles are from the July 1-31, 2017, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)

1) BILL C-59: ANOTHER THREAT TO DEMOCRACY

By Liz Rowley, leader of the Communist Party of Canada


            Bill C-59, the Liberals’ new national security legislation, is a cleaned up continuation of the Tories’ infamous and draconian Bill C-51 - which the Liberals voted for despite mass country-wide protests. Their 2015 campaign promise to amend C-51 if elected were widely understood to mean they would rewrite it to expunge the dangerously authoritarian, repressive and anti-democratic core of the legislation. Two years later, the Liberals have produced C-59, the twin brother of C-51, cleaned-up, but no less dangerous to our civil, labour and democratic rights.

            Much attention in this Bill is given to oversight, and with good reason. In 1984, following the McDonald Commission Report into RCMP wrong-doing, CSIS was set up to separate policing from intelligence gathering, and steps were taken to establish oversight to keep the RCMP law-abiding, and to end its extensive illegal activities, which included extensive spying and ‘dirty tricks’ aimed at the labour and democratic movements, political parties and movements in Quebec, and left-wing political parties and individuals (including the Communist Party). The dirty tricks included break-ins, forgeries, a barn-burning in Quebec, wiretaps, and many other illegal acts. This was the RCMP’s modus operandi.

            The McDonald Commission concluded that oversight by a separate new organization was essential. That was to be the function of SIRC – the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

            Bill C-59 combines national security and oversight into one conglomerate organization, so that the spies and spooks will now be self-regulating under a new “super-SIRC”. Stream-lined it is, but very dangerous to democracy at home and abroad. Furthermore, much hinges on the political views of the government of the day, since “the Minister” has the power to approve all of the agency’s activities. A Tory government would say “yes” to whole lot of things that Canadians would find unacceptable. What would the Liberals do? We’re getting a taste of that now.

            With the new Liberal foreign and “defence” policies of actively participating in US and NATO wars of aggression around the globe, and increasing military spending by 70%  to pay for it, it’s clear the government’s policy is not peace-keeping, but regime change. This is illegal under the UN charter, but that hasn’t stopped the US or its NATO allies, including Canada.

            Bill C-59 also makes clear that the government’s domestic policy is to pick up where the RCMP left off in the 1970s, and for the same reasons: protests by the labour and democratic movements are seen as a threat to corporate profits, and to the policies of the governments that serve them. Opposition to resource extraction and pipeline projects, to austerity policies, and to legislation like Bill C-51 are recent examples.

            But the Liberals will do the job of tightening up Canada’s security state with a bit more finesse, and a nicer veil of justification than the Harper government could ever produce. 

            This Bill defines activity that undermines the security of Canada as “any activity that undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada …. (including) interference with the capability of the government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations or public safety.”

            This includes: “significant or widespread interference with critical infrastructure; significant or widespread interference with the global information infrastructure as defined in … the National Defence Act; and conduct that takes place in Canada and that undermines the security of another state.”

            And this: “For the purposes of this Act, advocacy, protest, dissent or artistic expression is not an activity that undermines the security of Canada unless carried on in conjunction with an activity that undermines the security of Canada.”

            So much for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the right to protest and dissent.

            C-51 allowed for arbitrary arrest and detention on suspicion of future wrong-doing. C-59 also allows for preventative arrest and detention, but requires a bit better explanation regarding the likelihood of future wrong-doing.

            The new Bill also allows for widespread disruption inside and outside Canada, including intercepting and interference with communications, financial transactions, and the movement of individuals. It allows for widespread spying and covert activity aimed at information gathering and sharing with other government agencies. (Revenue Canada? Health Canada?)

            C-59 will continue to gather names and other information of individuals to add to the no-fly list, which arbitrarily prevents access to air transport; but does allows the Minister to inform parents if their child is not on the no-fly list. 

            C-51 allowed CSIS agents broad powers to act, but Bill C-59 gives them new powers to break the law. The Bill repeatedly and solemnly affirms that security forces, including CSIS, CSE, CBSA, and their agents must obey the law, and especially the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, before going on to explain extensive exceptions to the rule. If someone’s life is in danger, or if time is an issue, the rules can be thrown out the window almost anytime, if the higher ups agree. The only requirement to ignore the Charter rights of an individual or organization, is to secure a secret warrant from a judge. The justification? National security. The agents involved will all be immune to prosecution for their illegal acts. In fact, illegal acts is the name of the game.

            What is prohibited, without exception? Violating the sexual integrity of a person is not allowed. Torture is not allowed. Causing death or bodily harm intentionally or by negligence – not allowed. Neither are obstructing, perverting or defeating the course of justice or democracy. (This last one is rich, and the first three are not believable given Canada’s role in Afghanistan and elsewhere.)

            C-59 also gives broad protections to agents involved in spying, disruption, and other covert activities. While the Bill says the security and intelligence forces must obey the law and the Charter, they then set out the exceptions, which include national security.

            Bill C-59 was introduced  June 20 and has just passed first reading. The Tories have panned the legislation as not going far enough. The corporate owned media says it’s just fine. The Trudeau government has indicated it will seek public input – let’s give it to them loud and clear.

            The Communist Party will oppose this legislation with all of the tools at hand, including briefs, protests, public speaking, articles, and a campaign to expose and defeat the Bill. We call on the labour and democratic movements to also use all their tools to stop this Bill from becoming law. A mass opposition across the country, that includes protests, petitions, demonstrations, letters to the editor, calls to talk shows, motions and resolutions, are all ways to stop this Bill its tracks, before it is used to attack civil, social, labour, and democratic rights.

            Along with this, we demand the repeal of Bill C-51, should it survive this session of Parliament. We call for an end to legislation and political action by the Liberals and Tories that threaten peace and security, including their support for state terrorism and regime change by NATO and the US, and their moves to undermine democracy and civil, labour and democratic rights in Canada.

            The time to act is right now.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

2) AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!

Pride 2017 Statement from the Communist Party of Canada and the Young Communist League
 
            In
2017, Pride events across Canada take place in a much different context than one short year ago. The election of Donald Trump has encouraged fascists and other reactionaries to emerge from their dark corners and to openly promote hatred in the form of homophobia and transphobia, as well as Islamophobia, racism, misogyny and sexism – all of which are intended to roll-back the hard-won rights of oppressed peoples, including the LGBTQ2SIA community. Signs of this appeared last summer, when the shootings at the Pulse gay club in Florida seemed to galvanize the Pride season, and focused attention on the backlash against the gains made by the LGBTQ2SIA  movement in the USA, where reactionary forces have been resisting the extension of civil rights for LGBTQ2SIA people, and actively attempting to roll-back rights already won. In this context, it is necessary to remember that Pride is not only a celebration of the rainbow community, but also a reminder that our gains are the result of a political defense of our community and a political struggle for our rights.

            In that spirit, we salute the actions and spirit of Black Lives Matter, and in particular their action during Toronto Pride 2016, which reminded everyone that the commercialization of Pride, the role of corporations, and the institutional presence of police had whitewashed the ongoing marginalization and oppression, even within the rainbow community, of Black LGBTQ2SIA people, other LGBTQ2SIA people of colour, of Indigenous Two-Spirit people, and of LGBTQ2SIA people who suffer from income insecurity and poverty. Black Lives Matter reminded us that Pride was born in activism and struggle. However, that action also elicited a backlash from the corporate media and in some quarters of the LGBTQ2SIA community who wish to deny or dismiss the experience of racism, sexism and misogyny, transphobia, poverty and exploitation, and Islamophobia in our very own community. The reality is that the commercialization of Pride, and the institutional participation of uniformed police, have made Pride less, not more inclusive.

            The social and political climate for Pride in 2017 is one of growing polarization based on class, social position and identity. This is reflected in election of Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party; Scheer represents the continuity of Harperite homophobia and transphobia, racism, sexism, and Islamophobia. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberals talk a feminist and pro-LGBTQ2SIA position, but have done little or nothing to actually improve the lives of most in our community. After decades of struggle led by trans activists and communities, Bill C-16 was just passed, which updates the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression.” It would also extend hate speech laws to include the two terms. Criminal laws now need to be updated to make it a hate crime when someone is targeted because of their gender identity or gender expression, meaning judges would have to consider it as an aggravating factor in deciding what sentence to impose.

            On the other hand, the Trudeau Liberal government continues to pursue a corporate-driven austerity agenda, most recently with the announcement that it will increase military spending by 70 percent over the next ten years. This, and the continuing refusal to make corporations and the rich pay their share of taxes, means that working class and poor Canadians will face increasing exploitation and oppression, including attacks on labour, civil and democratic rights such as the security state laws (Bill C-51), introduced by previous Liberal and Tory governments. In fact, the Liberals are a party of big business and continue to follow policies (from pipeline expansion to military spending) that negatively impact LGBTQ2SIA people, women, Indigenous peoples, and racialized groups, and undercut equality gains. Similar austerity measures are on the table in every province and territory.

            LGBTQ2SIA youth are particularly affected by persistent and resurgent homophobia and transphobia combined with austerity measures, precarious employment, unemployment and growing barriers to education. This is demonstrated by the fact that as many as 25-40% of Canada’s homeless youth are LGBTQ2SIA identified.

            The world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place; for the LGBTQ2SIA community, the urgent imperative of the day is to unite against a corporate agenda that has increasingly fascist overtones. Homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of hate only serve to divide people and to undermine resistance to the corporate agenda of “trade deals,” raw materials extraction and exports, and militarism.

            We believe that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” Adopting full legal and political protections for sexual orientation and gender expression, and gender identity, and respect for the bodily diversity of intersex people, is urgently needed to strengthen working class unity. This unity is a vital element of the broad labour, democratic and social movement to put people’s needs before corporate greed, austerity and war. Our LGBTQ2SIA community must be a key player in efforts to build a “People’s Coalition” of labour, Indigenous peoples, youth and students, women, seniors, farmers, immigrant and racialized communities, environmentalists, peace activists and many other allies.

            Mass resistance in our communities and workplaces, in the streets and at the ballot box, can defeat the parties of big business and open the door to a “people not profits” government. The goal of the Communist Party is to win genuine people’s power in a socialist Canada, where our economy and resources will be socially owned and democratically controlled. Homophobia and transphobia seek to entrench the heterosexual, patriarchal family, which is necessary for capitalism to police and maintain the gendered division of labour, and increase the rate of profits. The historic advance to socialism will make it possible to eradicate the interweaving forms of exploitation and oppression which threaten our world today. We urge you to join the Communist Party and the Young Communist League to achieve a liberated society in which, as Karl Marx said, “the freedom of each is the condition for the freedom of all.”

            The Communist Party and the Young Communist League fight to:

- Strengthen and enforce hate crime legislation, no to all forms of transphobia, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia;

- Strengthen solidarity with trans people in North Carolina and elsewhere in North America against new transphobic legislation;

- Struggle to expand trans rights including the explicit protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in all Provincial and Territorial laws and human rights codes;

- Make “conversion therapy”, a pseudo-psychiatric or religious practice that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, illegal in all provinces;

- Expand the rights of LGBTQ2SIA youth: end the two-tiered age of consent laws for LGBTQ2SIA youth and protect Intersex minors from non-consensual surgery respecting bodily diversity;

- End the homophobic and unscientific blood ban for gay men donating blood;

- Increase social services and housing support to meet the needs of the 25-40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ2SIA;

- End the Federal and Provincial governments’ drive towards austerity, and big business’ move towards precarious part-time employment, which disproportionately affect LGBTQ2SIA peoples who are amongst the hardest hit by social program cutbacks.

- Stop imperialism’s pinkwashing in support of reactionary forces around the world. No to the coup in Brazil and interventions in Venezuela, no to the pro-fascist government in Ukraine. Withdraw Canadian troops from Iraq and Syria, support the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid, end the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia by Canada. Jobs not bombs - cut military spending by 75%.

            (Note: In this statement, the acronym “LGBTQA2SI” refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender variant, two-spirited, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and others.)

            Central Executive Committee and the Pride Commission of the Communist Party of Canada; Central Executive Committee of the Young Communist League of Canada

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

3) YCL-LJC PREPARES FOR 19TH WORLD FESTIVAL OF YOUTH & STUDENTS

By Adrien Welsh
 
            Between October 14–22, Canada’s progressive youth will have a unique opportunity to gather in Sochi, Russia, for the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students. They will gather along with tens of  thousands of progressive youth from across the world, united under the slogan “for peace, solidarity and social justice, we fight against imperialismhonouring our past, we build the future!”

            The WFYS is the biggest youth anti-imperialist forum, with a history going back to 1947. Its first edition was held in Prague, a highly symbolic place, where on November 17, 1939, nine university students were assassinated and 1200 anti-fascist students were sent to concentration camps by the nazi occupation forces. Organized mainly by the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the former International Union of Students, this first festival launched a strong movement aimed to unite the youth of the world on the basis of the struggle and mobilisation for peace and against imperialism.

            In its 70 years history, the Festival movement has been a key player in bringing awareness to the youth and student movement across the world on the need to mobilise in the anti-colonial struggle. In fact, Festivals were the occasion for youth from African, Asian or other colonies in the 1950s to be recognised as representatives of their countries rather thantheirmetropolis, allowing them to meet with young activists of the anti-colonial movements who eventually became leaders of the newly independent states of Viet-Nam, Algeria, Angola, etc.

            The World Festival of Youth and Students also has a proud history of defending civil and democratic rights, whether it be in the US – for instance, in 1973, Angela Davis participated to the Festival in Berlin – or in South Africa where the ANC Youth League always provided a high participation.

            After the counter-revolution in the USSR and in the Eastern Bloc, the Festival movement suffered a crisis, and so did the anti-imperialist movement in general. However, in 1997, with support from Socialist Cuba (even with the personal help of Fidel), Cuban Youth stepped up and organised the 14th Festival in Havana, in a difficult period characterised by the dogma of the ‘End of History’ and by the brutal dismantling of Yugoslavia, the only country consequently resisting the European Union’sDrang nach Osten.

            Two years after the Festival in Havana, NATO was bombing Yugoslavia, but this same year, Hugo Chávez overthrew the pro-US government of Venezuela and engaged his country into a socialistic project of development, showing that another path is possible in Latin America. Eventually, Venezuela’s example paved the way to the election of progressive governments in Latin America. This all shows that the Cuban youth were right, despite the difficulties of the Special Period, to mobilise efforts to revitalise the Festival movement

            The rise of these new anti-imperialist forces paved the way for a new future to the WFYS. Since 1997, four editions of the Festival were organized in Algeria, Venezuela, South Africa and Ecuador. All of these mobilized between 5,000 and 10,000 young anti-imperialist and progressive activists, who clearly stood against NATO-US imperialism, for peace and social justice, but also in solidarity with all the people struggling against imperialism and colonialism such as Western Sahara, Palestine and Cuba. The most recent 18th Festival, organized in Quito in December 2013, was the occasion for the youth of the world to see the Citizen’s Revolution and honour the legacies of Kwame Nkrumah and Hugo Chávez Fías.

            This year’s edition will take place in an international context where imperialism’s aggressiveness in search of new markets, new access to resources and cheap workforce to fulfill its never-ending appetite, is leading the world to the verge of a globalised war, to the destruction of our environment and to the rise of misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism and the ultra-right as it dangerously plays with fascism as a foil to safeguard its interests. As a result, attacks on the youth are reaching a point never seen since 1945. 

            As mentioned in the Pan-Canadian Call for Participation in the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students, approved by the Central Committee of the YCL-LJC last March, “Globally, the current system offers lives of poverty, precarious employment, unemployment, migration, criminalization, imperialist war and little access to education.”

            The youth, however, are resisting. Here, against tuition fees, for fair wages, for sustainable development, for full gendered equality, against racism and islamophobia, for national equality and for peace. In Syria, the youth fight to live in a sovereign country and to stop a war that has forced millions to flee the country. In Palestine, the youth is struggling against Israeli apartheid and colonization. In Cuba, the youth fights to maintain the gains obtained through the socialist revolution and resist the criminal blockade imposed by the US for over half a century. In Greece, the youth resist the successive memoranda imposed by the Syriza-ANEL government. In India, the youth are at the forefront of the actions against the fascistic Modi government, as illustrated by the student actions at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

            This is the youth that will participate in the WFYS. To them, Canada’s youth will be bringing a strong message of solidarity, showing that Justin Trudeau and his pro-corporate government does not speak on our behalf. This message will be more than just words. As mentioned in the Call for Participation to the Festival, we will “bring our struggles against imperialism at home to those struggling around the world” as we believe that the youth’s struggle experience in Canada is an important contribution to the strengthening of the anti-imperialist character of the Festival.

            This year’s edition will also be special because the programme of the Festival will count a celebration of the Great October Revolution as one of its main items. This will be the occasion to reiterate the importance of this event, which literally changed the world, and to show that the October Revolution remains an example for tens of thousands of young activists from across the world.

            The Festival will also be the occasion to honour the commitment of three anti-imperialist and freedom fighter who continue to inspire millions of youth in their struggle: Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara and Mohammed Abdelaziz. Fidel and Che led the Cuban Socialist Revolution and liberated this Caribbean island from US domination. Their internationalist commitment them both figures for the youth of the world. A commemoration of the 50 years since Che’s assassination will also be part of the programme. Mohammed Abdelaziz, who passed away a year ago, is the historic leader of the POLISARIO front and of the Government of Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony. As such, he led the resistance of the Sahrawi people against Moroccan occupation for over 40 years.

            As a member organization of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the main political force behind this Festival, the YCL-LJC Canada is currently constituting and organising a strong and diverse Pan-Canadian delegation to which “all young people struggling for a better world of peace, solidarity and social justice” are welcome to join. To this date, the mobilization to the 19th WFYS has been endorsed by organizations such as the Communist Party of Canada, the Canadian Network on Cuba and the Canadian Peace Congress.

            Young communists and allies will take this summer’s opportunity to organize fundraising and promotional activities to popularize the Festival movement and raise awareness of the dangers of war and the crimes of imperialism, and about the need to organize, unite and fight against this main enemy of the peoples and of the youth.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

4) JULY 1 - NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION INDIGENOUS MOVEMENTS AND ALLIES CALL FOR

Circulated by Idle No More
 
            In the spirit of Arthur Manuel, we want to make July 1 a National Day of Action. This day of action is to celebrate our Indigenous and human rights to self-determination, our lands, territories, and resources. It is also to educate Canadians about how their constitutional framework, first established 150 years ago in the British North America Act (1867), illegally confiscated our lands, territories, and resources, spawned the post-confederation Indian Act and attempted to write Indigenous jurisdiction— and Indigenous Peoples— out of existence.

            This assault has not stopped. If anything, it has accelerated under the current government. Prime Minister Trudeau has been approving pipeline projects and continues to bank on the exploitation of our resources. He does not want to recognize Indigenous land rights. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues to fall short and fail many families. We will be demanding that the Trudeau government respect our internationally recognized right of land and body self-determination, including our absolute right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent to any activities in our territories, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

            This is a grassroots movement that will never accept any behind-the-scenes attempts to weaken our rights, like the closed door meetings of the Cabinet and a Ministerial Working-Group now underway with the three National Aboriginal Organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Metis National Council), led by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

            Instead of backroom manipulations, we demand:

- a new open truly Nation-to-Nation recognition process that begins by fully recognizing collective Indigenous rights and Title, and our decision-making power throughout our territories.

- full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action, including rejecting the colonial doctrines of discovery and recognizing Indigenous self-determination.

- full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the ground.

            We recognize and affirm that jurisdiction over our lands, territories, and resources is inseparable from the issue of self-determination over our peoples. Violence against women, trans, and two-spirit Indigenous people is connected to the loss of authority over our lands. It is worsened by extraction industries that attempt to claim ownership to our lands and our people through acts of violence.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

5) 150 YEARS, NO REASON TO PARTY

People’s Voice Editorial

            The 150th birthday of Canada on July 1 will be marked by official taxpayer-funded celebrations across the country, and by varying degrees of anger and disappointment at the grassroots level. Despite years of efforts to whip up enthusiasm for Canada’s supposedly nation-defining military feats, most people place far more importance on the need for decent jobs, a strong network of social and health services, a good public school system, improving pensions and universal, public Medicare, and so forth. All these human needs are under relentless attack by profit-hungry corporations and right-wing politicians - the same forces which want us to “celebrate” the heroes of Vimy Ridge, slaughtered with millions of their fellow workers in the imperialist struggle known as the First World War. No reason to celebrate here - especially since the militarist flag-waving is intended to distract attention from the federal government’s recent decision to spend $60 billion extra on the miliary over the next 20 years.

            We particularly object to the sickening propaganda trumpeting the contributions of indigenous peoples to the building of Canada. Here, the level of hypocrisy is stunning. The same Prime Minister who promised to reset Canada’s relationship with indigenous peoples has been a bitter disappointment. Justin Trudeau’s record includes efforts to ram tar sands pipelines across indigenous territories, the painfully slow rollout of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women inquiry, failure to tackle the lack of clean drinking water on over 100 reserves, the appalling foot-dragging on court orders to ensure equality for First Nations children, and much, much more.

            The truth is that the Canadian state was constructed on the theft of indigenous lands, imperial conquest and oppression of the French-Canadians, and the brutal exploitation of generations of immigrant workers. None of this is a reason to party, let alone to make us pay for the celebrations.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

6) CUBANS REJECT LATESTS U.S. THREATS

People’s Voice Editorial


            Donald Trump, the shill who speaks for the big energy monopolies and a wide range of racist and fascist movements, has issued another verbal assault against Cuba, which has seen many US presidents utter similar words since 1959. Speaking in Miami, surrounded by terrorists and brutal thugs, Trump announced steps to expand the blockade, to stop “people-to-people” exchanges, and to rescind Barack Obama’s October 2016 Presidential Directive, which recognized the independence and sovereignty of Cuba.

            Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez spoke about the situation at a recent news conference in Austria, pointed out that countless voices within and outside of the United States believe that Trump’s speech marks a step back in bilateral relations. These new measures ignore overwhelming support for the lifting of the blockade and normalization of US-Cuba relations, not just among progressives, but by members of the U.S. Congress (including Republicans); the business sector; civil society organizations; and even the majority of the Cuban emigré community. In fact, during the November 2016 election, Trump backed the aging, extremist minority of hostile emigres, but lost the vote of Cubans in the Florida counties with the highest concentration of Cuban residents.

            The Foreign Minister added that the announced measures will “restrict the freedoms of U.S. citizens, cost taxpayers more money, reduce the opportunities of companies and business people against their competition, lose income and jobs.” These policies will inflict further human harm and deprivation upon Cuban families, including those involved in cooperatives, and self-employed or private workers.

            Rodriguez concluded that these attacks will reinforce the patriotism and dignity of the Cuban people, and their determination to defend national independence by all means, in the spirit of José Martí, Antonio Maceo and Fidel Castro Ruz. His words ring true, and we express our solidarity with the people and government of Cuba.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

7) THE GRENFELL FIRE: AUSTERITY IS TERRORISM

By T.J. Petrowski

            On June 14, the 220 ft. tall Grenfell Tower went up in flames in a matter of minutes, as if it were tissue paper, witnesses reported. The world watched in horror as residents desperately tried to flee the fire, with one mother even dropping her baby out of a window. The BBC has reported that the total number of those killed could be as high as 70.

            The fire was no accident; it was an attack on the poor by the capitalist system and its political supporters.

            As far back as 2004 concerns were raised about the safety of the building. The EMB Property Management Committee found that the lighting system was in such poor condition it would fail in an emergency situation, with two-thirds of the batteries dead. A 2012 fire risk assessment report found that some portable firefighting equipment hadn’t been inspected or tested in years. Some portable firefighting equipment even had the word “condemned” written on the side.

            The building’s residents’ organization, the Grenfell Action Committee (GAC), expressed concern about the existence of only one escape route and the lack of a building-wide sprinkler or alarm system. In November 2016, the GAC warned of “dangerous living conditions,” but after years of being ignored, concluded that “only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO.”

            When the building was under renovations in 2016, The Guardian reported, the owners requested the more flammable exterior cladding to save £2 (a little over $3 CAD) a square foot. Cladding of a similar material is banned in Germany and the U.S.

            In the aftermath of the July 7th, 2005, London Bombings, Ken Livingston, the then-Mayor of London, said the attacks were “aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old.”

            Weren’t the victims of the Grenfell fire also victims of such indiscriminate mass slaughter? Like the London Bombings, the victims of the Grenfell fire were working-class, mostly low-income, Londoners from all walks of life. And if the BBC is correct, more working-class Londoners have died as a result of the Grenfell fire than were killed in the London Bombings.

            And like the men responsible for the London Bombings, those responsible for the Grenfell fire were motivated by their own political agendas. The owner’s of Grenfell Tower, the Kensington and Chelsea TMO (KCTMO), despite stockpiling £270 million in reserve, chose to disregard the safety of its Grenfell residents in favour of cutting costs. Even when a similar disaster was only narrowly averted in 2013, the KCTMO continued to downplay the seriousness of its residents’ concerns. The Conservative-controlled Kensington and Chelsea Council even went so far as to threaten the publisher of the GAC’s blog with “defamatory behaviour” and “harassment” if they continued posting concerns about the safety of the building online.

            Central austerity budgets, moreover, ensured that when a did fire occur, it would cause terrible human suffering. Budget cuts of up to 80% in some communities have drastically reduced frontline services, “visible to all in unrepaired roads, uncollected bins and closed libraries, gyms and children’s centres,” writes George Eaton. Cuts to legal aid made it more difficult for Grenfell’s mostly low-income residents to obtain legal advice, Eaton argues, while the loss of 7,000 firefighters in the last five years, resulting in longer response times and less fire prevention visits, all but guaranteed a major disaster.

            “The terrible Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington was entirely avoidable,” Deon Lombard, an architect, wrote.

            Austerity kills. Capitalism kills. The only difference between those responsible for the London Bombings and the Grenfell Tower fire is that the perpetrators of the latter were mostly white men wearing expensive suits and sitting in plush offices.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

8) THE EVOLUTION OF A SOCIAL MOVEMENT

Queer Progress: from Homophobia to Homonationalism, by Tim McCaskell, Between The Lines (2016), 520 pages, Paperback $39.95.  Reviewed by Domenic Bellissimo
 
            How did a social movement evolve from a small group of young radicals to the incorporation of LGBTQ communities into full citizenship on the model of Canadian multiculturalism?

            That is the key question that Tim McCaskell struggles to explain through his forty-year saga of gay, queer and AIDS political activism. Queer Progress is both a personal and political journey stretching from 1974 to 2014. Those forty years of intimate involvement allow McCaskell to use a first person narrative in telling a most fascinating and meticulously referenced history of the gay rights and gay liberation movements. The book feels like both a memoir and a social movement history, with political theory relevant to virtually all struggles for equality today.

            McCaskell uses first-hand accounts, as he says, “not to inflate his own importance, but to make the account more vivid and accessible.” In fact his gift includes a sharp analysis when deconstructing events in a respectful manner, along with a witty sense of humour.

            Despite its length, the book is accessible and a pleasure to read. Broken up into four parts and four very different decades, it employs a Materialist analysis to explain that individuals’ ideas, thoughts and beliefs are shaped by the experiences they have in society. The struggle for LGBTQ rights have also been shaped by the economic reality of the time period being examined in Canada. The book takes us on a journey through the Keynesian dominated ‘70s and ‘80s, which provided somewhat of a social safety net for early lesbian and gay activists who risked careers and family support by coming out. It also critiques the struggles for equality in the dominant Neo-liberal economy of the new millennium.

            The conclusion, “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” is brilliant. It rewards the reader with a summary of the process Canada has undertaken in 50 short years. The transformation of a primarily homophobic society to one which values certain sections of the LGBTQ community similar to a national “ethnic” group.

            As the publisher notes, “Queer Progress tries to make sense of a political transformation by narrating the complexities and contradictions of forty years of queer politics.” McCaskell himself acknowledges, “that in the process of transforming laws, we also transformed ourselves. Quoting a famous South African activist and friend, the author says that history will judge our communities not by how many friends we had in high places, but by what we did to support social justice for all.”

            Tim McCaskell is a former OSSTF/FEESO member in the District 12, Toronto PSSP unit, and the author of Race to Equity: Disrupting Educational Inequality. Domenic Bellissimo is the Director of Communications/Political Action at the OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Office.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

9) TUDEH PARTY SLAMS WASHINGTON’S AGGRESSION

From the UK Morning Star

             Soaring tensions across the Middle East are part of Washington’s aggression towards Tehran, the Tudeh Party of Iran warned in a June 25 statement. The TPI stressed the  escalation of conflicts since US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Arab summit in Saudi Arabia during May could “further destabilise the safety and security of the region.” Since then, Qatar has been blockaded, new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan has vowed to “take the fight to Iran” and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has voiced support for regime change.

            The statement highlighted three recent US air strikes on “paramilitary forces backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran” in Syria’s south-eastern deserts. It said Trump had reneged on his promise to end US foreign interventions and stabilise the region in co-operation with Russia.

            The Tudeh Party said US aggression was also a threat to those in Iran who rejected the theocratic regime, and it called on progressive and patriotic forces to oppose US intervention and back-room deals and unite “in defence of peace in the Middle East and the national sovereignty of Iran.”

            Iran’s Quds Force, the IRGC-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) and Iranian ally Hezbollah of Lebanon are fighting alongside Syrian troops. It was the IRGC — not President Hassan Rouhani — which ordered ballistic missile attacks on ISIS targets in Syria in revenge for the death cult’s attacks in Tehran.

            PMU forces recently took control of the border with Syria south of where US and British special forces are operating illegally inside the country.

            On June 23, US presidential envoy to the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition Brett McGurk said Washington would not “allow Iran to jeopardise our gains and fuel instability in ISIS’s wake, by placing foreign proxies anywhere near the border regions with Jordan and Israel.”

            The next day CIA director Mike Pompeo called Iran the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 


10) THERESA MAY’S POLITICAL CAREER DEAD IN THE WATER?

Commentary from the UK Morning Star

             Theresa May warned voters during the election campaign that, if things went badly, Britain could face a “coalition of chaos.” How right she was. The idea that “strong and stable leadership in the national interest” could spring from an alliance with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and endure a full five-year term invites speculation over May’s grip on reality.What inducements will she reveal as the price for bringing the DUP on board?

            DUP priorities seem to be flying the union flag on public buildings more often in Northern Ireland than in Britain, rejecting equal marriage and lobbing significant cash sums to community organisations run by “former” unionist paramilitaries.

            But it represents some of the poorest communities in the UK, which might present difficulties for the DUP if it signs up to Tory welfare cuts. May’s justification for calling her election – to win a bigger parliamentary majority to strengthen her hand in EU haggling – was never the real reason.

            If it had been, having fewer seats would mean that her government will negotiate with Brussels now from an even weaker position. Her main motivation, after swallowing her advisers’ assessment that a landslide was there for the taking, was to seek a huge parliamentary majority to drive through unpopular public spending cuts.

            May’s failure stems from a shambolic election campaign in which she was hidden from contact with the voters and chickened out of face-to-face debate with Jeremy Corbyn.

            However, Corbyn was a revelation to the overwhelming majority of voters who witnessed on TV, radio, in mass rallies and on walkabout a man who bore no resemblance to the feeble-minded, incompetent extremist caricature sketched by the media and many disloyal Labour MPs.

            He refused to adopt the neo-liberal consensus that making big business and the rich elite pay more tax is unthinkable while squeezing low-paid workers, single parents, the disabled, the self-employed, students, young unemployed and state pensioners is just the way things are.

            Many of his most trenchant inner-party critics have had to acknowledge his role in enthusing Labour supporters and bringing particularly young voters into political activity.

            Above all, Corbyn has tossed into the dustbin of history the reactionary assertion that Labour cannot prosper with distinctive progressive policies.

            The Morning Star was alone in the media in sharing from the start the Labour leader’s confidence that offering class-based policies and making clear arguments in their favour could alter the course of a campaign in which May appeared to hold all the cards.

            Whatever dodgy deals the Prime Minister does with the DUP, she is dead in the water. She should step down now. It is only a matter of time before her time runs out, which could precipitate an early election but need not do so.

            Corbyn’s readiness to answer the challenge of leading a minority government, advocating policies capable of being supported by other parliamentary forces as well as widely outside Westminster, merits a positive response.

            His commitment to guarantee on his first day in office the residence rights of EU nationals living and working in Britain would get negotiations with Brussels off to a more positive start than can be expected from a Tory lame duck.

            But at least as important is how well people will live after leaving the EU, so Labour’s agenda of investment for jobs, housing, public ownership, education and the NHS must be given its opportunity when the Tory Party runs out of road.

            Backing public ownership, abolition of tuition fees, supporting trade union rights, building council houses and rejecting private-sector penetration of the NHS had all been put forward inside Labour but were spurned by New Labour as being unaffordable or unacceptable to the Tory media.

            The new leadership showed that they were all affordable and welcomed by former, current and potential Labour voters, irrespective of what the fistful of tax-dodging Tory newspaper barons thought.

            Who inside Labour now argues openly against these policies?

            The fact that Corbyn’s 2016 leadership challenger stressed his acceptance of this agenda while projecting himself preposterously as enjoying leadership qualities the likes of which the incumbent could only dream of spoke volumes for the political change working its way through Labour. It signifies that, whatever the inner thoughts of Corbyn’s most virulent back-bench critics, the New Labour project is dead, over and unlamented.

            While political change was vividly apparent in the party manifesto, inner-party organisational reform has run up against barriers of bureaucracy, where members of the old guard have fought a rearguard action.

            Blocking thousands of membership applicants, expelling many on pretexts that would never be applied to disruptive Blairites and excluding leadership supporters from candidate selections have all been deployed to minimise the extent of change.

            Corbyn remains central to the process of modernising the party apparatus to match the political advances already made.

            Tony Blair forecast before Corbyn was elected leader that a left-led Labour Party could never win a general election, stressing that, even were it possible, he wouldn’t want to see it. His view, shared by other parliamentary members of Labour’s City boardroom faction, illustrates both how far Corbyn-led Labour has come and how much further there is to go.

            The rich and powerful will do everything they can to scotch Labour’s manifesto policies, but that approach remains essential to modernise Britain and create a more just society.

            Consensus around a capitalist cuts agenda must give way to acceptance of progressive change.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home

 


 


 

11) MUSIC NOTES, by Wally Brooker

 

Captain Ska scores hit with "Liar Liar GE2017"

 On the eve of last month's U.K. general election, Captain Ska, a group of session musicians who came together in 2010 to record "Liar Liar" - a protest song against tuition-fee hikes - released a re-worked and updated version of the same song. "Liar Liar GE2017" was launched on May 26, just two weeks before the election. Within a week, it reached  #4 on U.K. single charts, and #1 in Amazon & iTunes download purchases. Such is the influence of social media today, especially among the younger generation, that this was achieved despite the refusal of radio stations to play the song. "Liar Liar GE2017" accuses Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, of being a liar who cannot be trusted. Its lyric video slams her government's cuts to education, health, welfare and disability benefits, and calls her out on her u-turns on Brexit, the so-called "dementia tax", and the betrayal of her promise not to call a snap election. It also challenges Tory positions on war - especially nuclear war. Proceeds from sales will be donated to U.K. food banks. "Liar Liar GE2017" was produced in association with the People's Assembly Against Austerity (www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk). 
 
Indonesian women's choir Dialita

In Indonesia talking honestly about a crime against humanity committed in the mid-sixties has long been a taboo topic. In 1965, President Sukarno, a leading figure in the non-aligned movement, was overthrown in a military coup. The new regime, headed by General Suharto, banned the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). Over the next year, 500,000-1,000,000 communists and leftists were massacred, with many more sentenced to long prison terms. It's well-known that American diplomats in Jakarta provided the dictatorship with the names of thousands of communists. One hopeful sign that the taboo is lifting is Dialita, a choir made up of women over 50 years of age who are either ex-prisoners, or whose parents, relatives and friends were captured, tortured and exiled during the pogrom. Dialita performs songs composed in prison during these years, and other songs that had been erased from the nation's memory for decades. On August 17, 2016, Indonesia's independence day, Dialita released its first album. "Dunia Milik Kita" ("The World is Ours") is a beautiful listening experience that transcends language. Download it for free at www.yesnowave.com.

AFM President calls for unity

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM/CFM) has represented musicians since 1896. Its 80,000 members negotiate collective agreements, protect ownership of recorded music, and fight for health care benefits and pensions. While it's sometimes dismissed as a business union, the AFM/CFM has become more militant and politically active since the election of International President Ray Hair in 2010. The union's house organ, International Musician, provides evidence of numerous collective bargaining struggles, grassroots organizing campaigns (aimed at freelance musicians), and solidarity actions. Hair was in Montreal on May 12, where he spoke to the International Orchestra Conference about the challenge of satellite and web radio (Sirius, Pandora), and on-demand streaming (Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix). Noting that the merger of digital, production, and transmission technology has blurred the lines between broadcasting, streaming, and social media, Hair called for musicians everywhere to unite in bargaining with giant media corporations. "If we surrender complete control over media production and distribution," Hair said, "we lose our leverage and stake in the content, and we cede higher economic ground to management, middlemen, agents, and others in the food chain." Read Hair's speech at www.internationalmusician.org.

Jimmy LaFave: 1955-2017

American singer-songwriter and guitarist Jimmy LaFave died at his home in Austin, Texas, on May 21, just three days after appearing at a tribute in his honour at the city's Paramount Theatre. LaFave, brought to the stage in a wheelchair, picked up a guitar and led the house in a moving singalong of "Goodnight Irene". In April, he'd announced that he had spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Born in Wills Point, Texas, LaFave moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma as a child, where he became the centre of a music scene that came to be called "Red Dirt Music" -  a mixture of rock, folk, rockabilly, and country, grounded in the landscape of Texas and Oklahoma. LaFave was a fine singer, with a high keening voice that conveyed intense emotion, whether delivering his own songs or interpreting lyrics of artists like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. He gained wide exposure after a 1996 appearance on the PBS music series "Austin City Limits", closing his set with a powerful rendition of Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land". LaFave was close to the Guthrie family, which has its roots in Oklahoma. In 2007, at Nora Guthrie's invitation, he spoke and performed at Woody's induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. LaFave released many excellent albums, including Cimmaron Manifesto and Road Novel.

Printer-friendly article

(Contents)

Home