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following articles are from the October 1-15, 2017, issue of People's
PV Ontario Bureau
As NAFTA negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico gathered in Ottawa for a third round of talks, the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) held a press conference at the National Press Gallery on Parliament Hill on Sept. 21, and participated in the tri-lateral “Civil Society Summit” on Sept. 23.
Communist Party leader Elizabeth Rowley delivered the CPC’s demand that Canada immediately withdraw from NAFTA and NATO at a press conference in the Centre Block at Parliament Hill, accompanied by the Parti communiste du Québec’s Adrien Welsh. Rowley described NAFTA as “a continental corporate constitution” and said the “trade” deal “has always been about corporate globalization, and enabling US based, multi-national corporations to become more powerful than elected governments and public institutions.”
Pointing to the loss of half a million manufacturing jobs, and the 2012 forced relocation of the Caterpillar plant from Ontario to Indiana where workers are being paid half as much, Rowley said even more is now at stake. She stated that the re-negotiations “will not make a bad deal better, and they could easily make it worse for working people who will see their jobs disappear, their wages, pensions and living standards decline further, and their country more and more closely resemble the social, economic and political morass that is the U.S. today.”
The CPC linked the issue of NAFTA to the military pact of NATO and demanded
withdrawal from both. Rowley cited Trump’s recent warmongering speech at the
United Nations as “the evidence that proves
The following day there was a rally and press conference at Parliament Hill organized by the Council of Canadians, Common Frontiers, the Trade Justice Network, Réseau québécois and the Canadian Labour Congress. Organizers read a declaration that was agreed upon by organizations from the three countries.
The statement states: “Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, it is the working people, communities and the environment in all three countries who have suffered, while wealthy investors, big corporations and their executives have reaped more profits and acquired more rights and power. That power has had a negative effect on our democracies.”
It called on governments to adopt a “new model of integration, cooperation and exchange among nations” that guarantees sovereignty and “respect for human, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.”
The Communist Party of
In the afternoon, the “Civil Society
Palmater said that the current negotiations which include limited consultation with the Assembly of First Nations leadership, in no way fulfill Canada’s supposed commitment to free, informed, prior consent of First Nations. The Trudeau government has said that it would like to see a chapter added to NAFTA that outlines Indigenous rights. However, this rings hollow since the Trudeau government has not said this potential chapter would trump the investment and energy chapters which clearly violate Indigenous rights to sovereignty and self-determination.
Panelist Alberto Arroyo from the Mexican Network of Action Against Free Trade
stated firmly that “no matter how much we improve NAFTA, it is never going
to stop violating human rights. It makes human rights something that can be
bought and sold.” That is why the labour and peoples’ movements in
Elizabeth Rowley urged unity around a clear message to get out of NAFTA. She said that 23 years ago labour and democratic movements were clear in their opposition to NAFTA and that the current position that much of labour has adopted, including the CLC, seems to be that Canada should push for a more labour-friendly version of NAFTA. But this is a serious miscalculation of what NAFTA is. A “progressive NAFTA” is not possible because it has always been a project of multi-national corporations and their governments to override the sovereignty of the people of all three countries.
The Trudeau government claims it is pushing for a “progressive NAFTA,” with recent statements about wanting to include gender, Indigenous and labour rights. However it is certain that this is a smokescreen to hide the real nature of these re-negotiation talks: a further expansion of corporate power.
CPC Organizer Drew Garvie linked the rise of the far right with the economic and social conditions created by NAFTA and its built-in austerity policies. “This deal will drive down wages and living standards and open the door further to the ultra-right,” he said.
PV Ontario Bureau
Twenty-eight hundred Cami workers, members of Unifor Local 88 at Ingersol
Cami workers say their contracts were stripped in the years after the 2008 crisis to aid in General Motors’ recovery. It was also a strip imposed by the Canadian and US governments. But now GM is doing very well indeed with a net profit of $9.4 billion and record earnings in 2016. Autoworkers want back what’s theirs, starting with wages, pensions and job security threatened once more by both NAFTA and GM.
Twenty-four hundred workers have less than 14 years seniority at the plant,
with many dual-income families working at CAMI. The plant has been operating
six days a week with mandatory overtime for the past seven years, consistently
winning awards for quality, efficiency and productivity. They produce the
Equinox, and until recently the Terrain. But despite $560 million investment in
a new weld shop, GM has now moved production of the Terrain to
Local 88 Chairperson Mike Van Boekel said a key demand for the union is that GM
declare CAMI the lead plant for Equinox production, which would prevent GM from
ending production of the Equinox at CAMI and secure at least some production –
and jobs - in Canada. The union has won similar contract language at
Chrysler and Ford, declaring plants in
According to the union, GM has about 53 days’ supply of Equinox vehicles, but the pressure is on the company to settle during record sales of the popular cars. The union is in a good position to push forward with its demands, and has the support of the labour movement and autoworkers across the province that are also at the mercy of GM and NAFTA.
Meantime GM operations in
Communist Party leader Liz Rowley said the strikers have her party’s full solidarity and support, and that it’s another demonstration of why Canada should pull out of NAFTA now, introduce plant closure legislation with teeth, and negotiate multi-lateral and mutually-beneficial trade agreements with the world that respect Canadian sovereignty, jobs, and standards.
“PM Trudeau and the Liberals say they will defend workers’ rights, but what are
they doing to defend manufacturing and auto jobs which are sliding south, like
the 400 CAMI jobs, faster every day. NAFTA is killing manufacturing jobs and
the only way to stop it is to pull out of NAFTA now and bring in plant closure
legislation to stop corporations from leaving
“Canada needs an industrial and manufacturing strategy that will build
value-added manufacturing and secondary industry, create good jobs – not
destroy them. Canada should fight for permanent, well-paid, unionized jobs for
workers everywhere and here in Canada in the first place,” Rowley added. “The
CAMI workers are doing their best to keep these jobs in
By Drew Garvie
Seven delegates from
The conference opened with a massive gathering in a main theatre in
The conference continued with international delegates splitting into workshops to discuss and amend a draft proclamation to be issued in the name of the solidarity gathering. What became the “Proclamation of Caracas” forcefully condemned efforts by violent sections of the opposition at destabilization, the economic war and U.S. sanctions, the disinformation campaign surrounding ‘dictatorship’ in Venezuela (pointing to support for the Constituent Assembly as well as state governor elections this year, and municipal and presidential elections next year). The proclamation clearly denounced the threats of invasion coming from Donald Trump.
The document demands that the decision of the region to be a “zone of peace” be upheld. It is an urgent call to democratic forces around the world to build solidarity with Venezuela: “The defense of the Bolivarian Revolution is an inescapable duty of the peoples Latin America, the Caribbean and the world; with the understanding that in Venezuela is defending the right to sovereignty, independence, self determination and the integration of our peoples.”
On the Sunday, delegates took a two-mile gondola ride to a national park high
in the mountains overlooking
at to the whole world.” He talked about the need to build internationalist
solidarity and sharply criticized the "cowardly left" who have
repeated the corporate media's lies about
In closing remarks, Morales stated that “if Maduro is forced to take on
the Empire,” that he and
On Tuesday, delegates gathered in the theatre again to hear closing remarks from Delcy Rodriguez. We also heard from
The theme of building of a participatory, distinctly “Bolivarian democracy”, ran through many of the closing remarks, mostly in reference to the Constituent Assembly and the Bolivarian constitution. As
Venezuelans assembled at noon on Tuesday, for a massive “Anti-Imperialist
Maduro denounced the “aggression of the new Hitler, Donald Trump, the racial supremacist… Despite the words of hate and war from Donald Trump, the socialist revolution will continue.”
At the U.N. Trump had denounced
In returning to
Throughout our trip, the delegates from
Statement by the BC Committee, Communist
One of the first moves of the NDP government of
The Communist Party has opposed the destructive, expensive and unnecessary Site
C dam project on the
First, the federal and provincial governments have failed in their responsibility to uphold the terms of Treaty 8, which promised the signatory First Nations across a vast area of Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories that they would be able to continue their traditional practices of hunting, trapping, fishing, and collecting medicinal plants “for as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and the grass grows.”
As many court cases in recent years have proven, the Canadian state is obligated to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations regarding economic developments on their traditional territories. The days when governments and corporations could simply ignore the rights of indigenous peoples are gone forever. Site C was driven forward by the former Liberal government of Christy Clark without any effort to gain the full and informed consent of Treaty 8 First Nations, and this is completely illegal, in our view.
Second, Site C poses a serious threat to the future food sovereignty of
Third, many independent experts have dismissed the arguments by the Liberal provincial
government and BC Hydro, that the dam must be built to generate electricity for
economic development or export. B.C. Hydro and the province could have chosen
to invest in conservation and alternative energy programs such as wind power,
which would be far less expensive. There is also the potential to generate
hydro power from the Keenlyside, Mica and
Our view is that one reason for this project is to provide power to expand fracking and natural gas on a massive scale, making British Columbia even more dependent on extraction and export of hydrocarbons and other unprocessed raw materials, The cancellation of the Petronas LNG bid demolishes arguments for an economic strategy based on hopes that energy prices will rebound in the near future, and on claims that a combination of huge tax breaks and low-cost electricity will lure big energy transnationals to make multi-billion dollar investments in British Columbia. Even if the unlikely claims of its backers were true, Site C is a direct threat to the global environment, since it will help fuel the expansion of carbon emissions, which are a key factor in unchecked global warming and climate change.
To those who argue that Site C is necessary for job creation, we note that the
project will only employ about 2200 workers for about two years, barely
affecting the total unemployment levels in
In short, Site C is a wildly speculative economic gamble, a violation of First Nations treaty rights, an attack on the people and environment of northern BC (and to the global climate), a threat to food sovereignty in our province, and a waste of taxpayers' dollars which could be invested in much more productive forms of job creation. For all these reasons, the Communist Party renews our demand to shut down this project now!
People’s Voice Editorial
The news from B.C.’s provincial capital has been a mixed bag since Christy Clark’s Liberals were finally ejected from office in July by an NDP government backed by three Green MLAs. One issue that deserves immediate attention is the Horgan government’s initial steps on reform of electoral financing. The sight of the former premier at endless rounds of “cash for access” events with powerful corporate interests cost the Liberals their majority, and the NDP and Greens pledged to take big money out of electoral financing. Unfortunately, that includes donations from trade unions, which unlike corporations, are democratically controlled organizations representing working people. Still, big capital has vastly outspent the labour movement, so on balance, this change is likely for the better.
But there are other flies in the ointment, such as the failure to tackle
uncontrolled political contributions at the municipal level. This has led to
some of the most expensive civic elections in
Another sore point is the introduction of taxpayer financing of some political parties. This system is widespread among OECD countries, but as in most other cases, it will be applied unfairly. Only parties which receive a minimum of 2% of the vote total will be eligible for per-vote funding, leaving out smaller registered parties (such as the Communist Party of BC) which face the same onerous bookkeeping and reporting requirements as the big parties.
Nor does the new legislation reduce overall campaign spending limits. As long as the major parties can spend tens of millions of dollars to get elected, campaigns will remain primarily an exercise in advertising, rather than in democratic debate and discussions.
In short, the Horgan government could have, and should have, done much better on this file.
People’s Voice Editorial
Those who believe that the latest ominous war threats coming from the White
House represent a sea change in
That said, differences in strategies and tactics have a profound impact on
global events. Donald Trump’s vow to destroy the entire country of
Clearly, the situation in the
By Helen Kennedy, Former President, CUPE
The chant of “Where are the women” echoed through the halls of the
That was only the beginning of the disillusionment of women in CUPE. Shortly after taking office, new President Paul Moist knew that CUPE women were angry, especially since women make up almost 70% of the union’s membership. For the 2005 Convention, under pressure from the National Women’s Committee, Moist presented a resolution to the National Executive Board to implement a National Women’s Task Force – to make recommendations on programs that will advance women’s equality in the union, including structural change; and report back to the members through the National Executive Board, provincial division conventions and the 2007 National Convention.
The National Women’s Task Force had a comprehensive process to discuss the situation of women in CUPE and specifically the position of women in leadership. Task Force members held extensive consultations with members across the country.
The Task Force identified barriers that hindered women’s involvement in their union. Despite the growing awareness of equality in family relationships, CUPE women still carried the primary responsibilities for family and home. Many CUPE women worked in precarious jobs, on contract or in the lower paid CUPE positions in childcare and social services. Harassment was cited as a systemic problem; overall union culture and practices of the union were not seen as welcoming. Ironically, during one NWTF meeting, we were informed that a CUPE local was sponsoring a wet t-shirt contest.
After their extensive consultation, the National Women’s Task Force presented
54 Recommendations to the 2017 National Convention, which will begin on Oct. 2
The first recommendations put forward by the Task Force, in 2007, were the Bargaining Conference for Women, adopting a Code of Conduct at CUPE National meetings and structural recommendations for assuring some representation by women on the National Executive Board. Only the recommendation for the National Women’s Bargaining Conference, and the Code of Conduct were passed at the 2007 Convention.
The Task Force was disbanded, and notwithstanding those of us who remained on the National Women’s Committee, there was no longer any accountability to the women (and men) of CUPE.
So where are we now, ten years after the Task Force reported to the National Convention?
The picture on the tenth anniversary of the Task Force is far less rosy than
CUPE has portrayed on their pamphlet going into this convention. Ten years
later, we still have two white men in the two National Officer positions. There
are only 8 out of 23 women on the
CUPE has been hobbled with a complicated and out-dated structure, which focuses mainly on geographic representation. Lost in the structure is sectoral, gender and equity representation.
The structural resolutions proposed by the NWTF included the following: “Create two new full-time Executive Vice-President positions for a total of four full-time National Officers. Of the four National Officers, gender parity shall be applied: two officers must be women and two officers must be men. The gender requirement shall expire at the 2017 Convention.”
It seems quite depressing that the task force felt that a weaker gender equity requirement and a sunset clause would help to get support from the convention.
This convention will be debating several major resolutions that deal with
structure. Resolution 36, submitted by the National Executive Board, would
create yet another Task Force, this one on Governance and structure of the
- C8, which adds four additional Diversity Vice-Presidents for women, workers with a disability, LGBTII workers and Young Workers.
- Resolution R25, which proposes an additional Executive Officer position.
These two resolutions are good steps forward, but the proviso in the first that only two can be from one province is a barrier. R25, on the other hand, adds a third national officer who could be a woman. While there is no gender equity proviso, delegates should pass this resolution at this convention and work diligently to ensure that at least one of the three officers elected at the 2019 Convention is a woman who understands the need to restore CUPE as a social union and a leader in women’s movement. Better yet, delegates should ensure that when the new National Executive Board marches down the aisle to be sworn in at this year’s convention, there is no need to chant, “where are the women?”
Letter to PM Justin Trudeau, from Randy Caravaggio,
Dear Prime Minister,
Since 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first democratically elected by a landslide, the Venezuelan opposition has tried to remove his government from office. After many elections and referendums, the opposition has continued to lose since the majority of Venezuelans keep supporting Hugo Chavez’ party. After the death of Hugo Chavez another election was held and Nicolas Maduro became the democratically elected president. Since the opposition cannot win political power through elections they have resorted to terrorist methods in trying to oust first Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro.
In 2002 the opposition attempted a coup by kidnapping President Chavez. After 72 hours they had to release him since tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets demanding that their president be returned. After that the opposition organized a lockout of the oil industry. Workers were not able to get to their jobs and the vital Venezuelan petroleum industry came to a standstill for over 60 days. This amounted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars from the Venezuelan economy. Since these tactics didn’t make the government fall the opposition resorted to even more extreme measures. Political leaders and government workers have been assassinated; roads have been blocked to paralyze the country and restrict people’s movements; molotov cocktails have been thrown; automobiles, schools, hospitals and other government buildings have been set on fire; grocery stores have been looted; people have been shot at and set on fire; rocks have been thrown; people have been intimidated and threatened not to take part in elections and so on. These terrorist tactics are not accepted by any government; no country or people can benefit from such activities.
Numerous leaders of the opposition have been fully implicated in organizing and supporting these terrorist activities. Their public statements encouraging more violence and destructive action gives plenty of proof of this. While committing these crimes they come out to the international community and state that they are peaceful and democratic while blaming the Maduro government for the repression, violence and mismanaging of the economy. Committing such crimes and stating numerous lies the opposition blatantly calls for regime change, external interference and sanctions.
It seems that the Canadian government, regarding the situation in Venezuela, has taken and joined the side of the outlaws, criminals and terrorists; at the same time taking orders from the US by imposing sanctions against the Maduro government, attempting to cause a regime change and impose an extremist undemocratic government.
This is what a double standard looks like. Canada while - having great
relations with governments such as the US, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia,
Myanmar, etc. that constantly abuse human rights, do not respect democracy and
rip freedom from their citizenry - at the same time is calling for a regime
Why not impose sanctions on the
This picture of
- stop its aggressive involvement in
- demand from the Venezuelan opposition that they stop using terrorist activities, start acting in Venezuela’s best interest and not for their own private gain, and that they sit with the elected Venezuelan government to resolve whatever problems exist through peaceful and constructive negosiations like the Maduro government has called for on numerous occasions.
By Ed Grystar, from mltoday.com
With public opinion polls consistently showing health care a top concern among the U.S. population, single payer's popularity growing, and 116 Congressional Democrats now co-signing HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, the AFL-CIO Executive Council recently passed a resolution calling their "core goal" the "expeditious" move to a system "like" Medicare for All.
While calling for a single payer system "like Medicare for All" is positive, it should be noted that the resolution calls for "no specific path" which in practical terms means there's no organized plan of action that CLCs and unions are encouraged to implement or organize around. Since they call for no plan of action, there is no budget or resources committed to implementing this resolution.
One has to wonder how the AFL-CIO's "core goal" of attaining Medicare for All will ever occur.
Incredibly, HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All is not even mentioned in the resolution even though it has the support of over 600 labor organizations around the nation according to the Unions for Single Payer Healthcare.
In 2009, the AFL-CIO actually referenced HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All in its health care resolution. So in 2017, in a time of unprecedented right wing assaults access to health care and an opportunity to move boldly forward, labor's top leadership seems to be going backward.
Instead, mentioned are the "reforms" of the public option and lowering the Medicare age as practical goals. Long time single payer advocates, the respected doctors of the Physicians for National Health Plan have shown why these are not "solutions" that in any way challenge or alter the current health care delivery system controlled by for-profit private health care insurance. Unfortunately, the current health care problems that the resolution says should be addressed and are excerpted from the resolution below are intrinsically part of the for profit insurance based health care delivery system, which has existed long before Trump became president and today's Republican control of all branches of the federal government.
If Congress and President Trump are truly interested in improving health care for working people, there are many things they could do. They could start by addressing problems that matter most to people, like hollowed-out coverage with deductibles that are far too high for the typical person, unjustified spikes in prescription drug prices and the “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health plans."
These are real problems but they are part and parcel of the Affordable Care Act which was passed in 2010 by Democrats with the full support of the AFL-CIO. Top CEOs of the insurance industry made over 9 BILLION just in compensation since the passage of Obamacare. Picking up on the "fix it" mentality, a bipartisan group of forty in the House of Representatives labeled as the "problem solvers" has cobbled together a reactionary package of proposals that will further erode coverages and continue subsidies to the insurance companies, thereby stabilizing the for-profit system and making the problems even worse. One fix is to raise the ACA mandate for employer offered insurance from fifty full time workers to 500 which will force many workers out of coverages and throw them into the individual health insurance market.
Another "fix" would allow insurers to reduce benefits by offering cheaper, skinnier plans. The costs of premiums might go down but higher deductibles will shift even more costs to patients. PNHP correctly calls this bipartisan compromise, "the selling of cheap, worthless plans." None of these problems can be "solved" in the context of the for-profit insurance based delivery system which needs public subsidies and mandated enrollment to even exist. By sitting on its hands and refusing to publicly mobilize the growing grassroots support for Medicare for All, the AFL-CIO gives credibility to these phony solutions. The health care crisis is systemic and requires a vision that challenges the dictates of the for-profit big Pharma/insurance-run setup.
Because the business union leadership of the AFL-CIO is tied to capitalism,
their solutions can not challenge the fundamentals of the profit making of
This totally inadequate response to the healthcare crisis has exposed the
bankruptcy of the top labor bureaucracy and their support for free market
solutions, bipartisanship, and "partnership" with corporate
With an anxious and restless public looking for solutions and the single payer movement gaining strength, it would be an understatement to say that both the union rank and file and the public are ready for far more. What the working class and general public needs is principled labor leaders with an independent fighting strategy that builds on the growing base of public support for Medicare for All.
A real plan of action that organizes and mobilizes the growing momentum for single payer is the only way to alter the terms of the political debate and change the balance of power so that the idea of health care a human right, not "stabilizing the insurance markets" is put front and center. This is not only necessary but a totally practical plan given the current atmosphere. Labor still has the necessary resources that can get such a public effort off the ground.
Unfortunately, the way forward won't be found in this resolution. We must work to make it happen.
(Ed Grystar is former representative
for the PA. Assn. of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, and was president
Dylan's Nobel Prize Lecture
Bob Dylan ruffled feathers in Oslo last October by skipping the Nobel Prize ceremony, sending a written statement instead. He left it to rock poet Patti Smith to deliver a memorable rendition of his song "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" to the assembled dignitaries. But his Nobel Prize Lecture, submitted on June 6th, makes amends for any perceived slight. It comes as a 27-minute audio recording, complete with tinkling piano accompaniment. Dylan asks himself just what his songs have to do with literature. He tells anecdotes about early musical influences, Buddy Holly and Leadbelly, and describes how he explored "the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries" of the vast trove of American folk music which formed the basis of his songwriting. He then turns to literature, citing novels read in school, the themes of which "worked their way into many of my songs, either knowingly or unintentionally.” What follows is a fascinating retelling of the events, characters, and feel of Melville's Moby Dick, Remarque’s anti-war classic, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Homer’s The Odyssey. Dylan concludes with a reminder that “lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page.”
Cash family condemns racist violence
The children of American
country music star Johnny Cash have condemned the action of a
Text messages of the Apocalypse
In this era of instant communication, news shared in peer-to-peer conversation makes connections ignored by the corporate media. Such can be inferred from "Text Messages of the Apocalypse", a new tune by topical songwriter David Rovics. The song, released on YouTube, is a dialogue between two Americans in environmental disaster zones at opposite ends of the country: "I got a text from Tampa as the hurricane approaches / The biggest ever seen / We're seeking higher ground here / How are you out west In the land of the evergreens?" / "I got a cloth upon my face, hibernating in place / As the ash falls all around / But at least I'm in the northwest, breathing smoke from all the fires / Instead of the in the southeast being drowned." This dramatic exchange might well lead one to ask: how come mainstream media downplays the links between these extreme weather patterns? Corporate control of the media is the obvious answer. "Text Messages of the Apocalypse" suggests a response that's as old as digital technology is new. We can by-pass corporate media distortions by communicating directly with one another. Of course, but organizing collectively to fight the system is even better.
Changing Cuban music scene in
Young people in Miami who love Cuban music
are growing indifferent to the political divisions of the past, says a recent
article in the
Forty prominent organizations and individuals from across Canadian civil society have issued a joint letter to government that lays out overarching concerns with Bill C-59, “An Act respecting national security matters.”
The letter argues that while Bill C-59 makes what it calls “some meaningful and
necessary improvements to
They say that Bill C-59 reverses some, but certainly not all, of former Bill C-51's excesses. It creates new bodies to review and control national security activities; introduces a detailed and explicit new law for Canada's signals intelligence agency, the CSE; adds new protections for the rights of youth involved in terrorism-related offences; and reforms the terrorist speech offences introduced by Bill C-51.
"Bill C-59 brings forward important and useful changes to Canada's
existing anti-terrorism laws,” says Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, National
Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), “but it leaves us with ongoing concerns
about the lack of due process around the no-fly list and the strengthening and
deepening of CSIS powers, given the damage the spy agency has done to Canadian
Muslims. Well known Canadian Muslims have been discriminatorily profiled and
rendered to torture by
The signatories also identify a number of specific aspects of Bill C-59 which require serious attention and meaningful change, including:
- The newly-renamed Security of
- The no-fly list still lacks adequate due process while proposed redress mechanisms remain unfunded;
- The bill fails to reverse the low threshold Bill C-51 set for terrorism peace bonds;
- The preventative detention powers introduced in 2001 are still in place and remain deeply problematic;
- The risk for abuse of CSIS disruption powers is reduced, but the government has yet to demonstrate either their necessity or constitutionality;
- The newly created oversight agencies lack the guarantees necessary to ensure their effectiveness;
- The general risk that our security activities will once again contribute to torture remains;
- CSE "active" cyber security powers (i.e. offensive hacking) are introduced without a rationale for their necessity or measures to adequately prevent abuse;
- The new bill fails to reverse the erosion of due process C-51 extended in security certificate proceedings; and
- The bill legitimizes troubling conduct, including mass surveillance by our foreign intelligence agency and extensive data-mining.
The full text of the letter can be found at the website of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, https://ccla.org/
By Rob Gowland, from The Guardian, weekly paper of the Communist Party of Australia
The capitalist media are often seized with not just surprise but amazement when ordinary people pull together to help one another in times of crisis, as so many Americans did after Hurricane Irma. Such “human interest” stories are always given prominence, even ahead of stories about baby animals.
But why should examples of common humanity take them so much by surprise? Because, dear reader, they’re the capitalist media, and capitalism is all about looking out for number one, “get yours, and get it first”, and Devil take the hindmost! So when ordinary people set aside all considerations of personal profit to help their neighbours it runs counter to the entire ethos of capitalism and must be treated as extraordinary and exceptional. After all, it would never do for people to become used to the idea of helping your neighbours, for it to become the norm. Some smart aleck might point out that that is what people living under socialism do!
Paul Buchheit, writing in US web journal Common Dreams, made the point that “except for brief surges of generosity after cataclysmic events, big corporations have little incentive to provide for the long-term well-being of people struck down by catastrophe.” And those brief surges of generosity usually have more to do with being seen as “good PR” than with any actual desire to help others. If it isn’t going to make them a profit, most capitalists simply can’t be bothered. If they did, it wouldn’t be capitalism any more.
Buchheit adds, “The business world has little incentive to safeguard the population against pollution and industrial poisons; or to maintain infrastructure in the inner cities and rural townships; or to make sure everyone has the opportunity for a living-wage job.” Little incentive? Let’s face it, they regard such programs as theft of their hard-earned profits. They go out of their way to ensure that their money is not used for such programs, employing an army of tax avoidance accountants, lobbyists and advertising agencies to ensure that the funds government needs for social services, welfare and disaster relief are not drawn from the corporate sector.
Heavens, no. Giving lovely corporate profits to poor people would be a dreadful waste! After all, they can’t buy anything – they’re poor remember. Except as cannon fodder they don’t really have a role in the capitalist economy any more. Even the capitalist media is aware of this, as witness this comment in The New York Times: “The free market often does a terrible job of providing basic services to the poor – see, for instance, the lack of grocery stores and banks in many low-income neighbourhoods.”
In developed capitalist countries, the great majority of the recipients of welfare and other life-sustaining programs are children, the elderly, and the disabled. Children, of course, are essential if labour is to be replenished. But the elderly? The disabled? And suchlike? For capitalism, that’s just money down the drain.
Which is no doubt why the leading capitalist country, the
Buchheit’s criticisms are not confined to the
And as everyone knows, homelessness too is rife in “the land of the free”.
Those who do have homes are lucky to live in a tiny inner-city apartment. Many
Americans have to make do with a “mobile home” in the caravan parks that
Capitalism is a system of “private enterprise”, that is, it is intended to provide opportunities for private entrepreneurs to make profits. For decades now, US governments have railed against government expenditure on social programs, denigrating it as “big government” which is apparently a Very Bad Thing. In reality, they attack it because government-funded public works compete with private sector public works, where big money can be made.
The private sector, however, has little interest in providing housing for low income families (i.e. the poor) because, once again, providing housing or any other essential service to poor people is money down the drain. How can you get a profit out of them? They’re poor. Building houses for the rich, that’s where you can make real money!
In a rational society, the government would fund the construction of public
housing because people have a right to housing (shelter), but who thinks the
Not me, that’s for sure.