March 26, 2015

"Precarious and poor" on strike at UofT and York U

Sam Hammond

Reprinted from People's Voice Newspaper

At the end of February and beginning the first week of March, approximately 10,000 academic workers went on strike at two of Canada’s largest universities. They are represented by two CUPE Locals, 3902 and 3903, who represent Units of Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants and Contract Faculty at the University of Toronto and York University respectively. Nine thousand are still on strike.        

The issues and responses at both universities, York with about 4000 strikers and U of T with about 6000, are so close that they can be detailed in the same general overview.  A good place to start is with the words of Erin Black, Union Chair at U of T, “We are poor and precarious and need improvement in our standard of living”.  This is by no means an overstatement but what analyses will show is probably an understatement of the precarious existence of Teaching Assistants (TAs), Graduate Assistants (GAs) and Contract Faculty (CFs) at most universities.

March 24, 2015

Young Communists of Venezuela condemn US aggression

Against the imperialist aggression - Unity, solidarity and struggle

Statement of the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) – National Executive Committee of the Central Council

The Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) expresses its strongest condemnation to the executive order signed by the president Barack Obama, last March 9th, when he declared a “National Emergency” after describing Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the National Security and Foreign Policy of the United States”.

The interventionist policy of the US and European imperialist poles against Venezuela has intensified during the last months: unilateral sanctions against the state of Venezuela and recurrent statements by senior US officials and European Parliament have highlighted the development of an international conspiracy against the Bolivarian Process.

March 16, 2015

The Attack on Muslim Women

Mariam Ahmad

As we have witnessed, Islamophobia is on the rise. Following the events of Charlie Hebdo, we’ve seen that attacks on Muslims, and especially Muslim women, have gotten worse. In Canada we have seen bills like C-51 (the “Anti-Terrorism Act”), and Bill S-7 (“Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices”) tabled with shockingly large support from the Canadian population, even though they clearly target minorities, specifically Muslims. This is after an intense campaign of Islamophobia by the corporate media and pro-war politicians that goes back decades. This ideological offensive has gotten hotter in the last six months as Canada joined the latest invasion of Iraq. More and more, Muslim women are put in danger just because they choose to observe their religious rites.

In Quebec, a Muslim woman named Hanady Saad was walking along René-Lévesque Boulevard in Montreal with her friends, when a stranger yelled at her. “...Terrorist, go back home, we don’t want to see your hijab. You have to take it off,’” Afterwards Saad said. “I’m a human, you know? I have the right to wear the veil. I have the right, like everybody, to be who I am”.  Why aren’t governments taking steps to address such a hostile environment for its citizens? Why are there no proactive steps taken to curb hate crimes against Muslim people?

March 11, 2015

Momentum builds for cross-Canada actions against Bill C-51

Special to Rebel Youth

Right across Canada, momentum is building against Bill C-51. People are discovering what this bill really means. Contrary to the stated purpose of the bill; “fighting terrorism”, the legislation creates new police state laws, attacks the civil liberties and democratic rights of everyone in Canada, and elevates CSIS to a police force with sweeping new powers that can and will be directed against environmentalists, Indigenous communities, trade unionists, and other people’s movements. C-51 opens the door to a suspension of Habeas Corpus and to the collective punishment of communities based on racism or political ideology.

Rebel Youth helped to sound the alarm early on. Now resistance has grown to include unions, civil liberties organizations, Indigenous groups, anti-Tar Sands activists, most political parties besides the Conservatives and the Liberals, and even some sections of the corporate owned media.

This Saturday, March 14th, major actions are planned in more than 40 cities across Canada. This cross-Canada day of action was initiated by Lead Now, Open Media, the BC Government Employees Union as well as the BC Civil Liberties Association, but the list of participants and endorsing organizations keeps growing! The Communist Party of Canada and the Young Communist League of Canada support the call to action and will be taking part in demonstrations across the country.

March 8, 2015


Róisín Lyder

Rebel Youth presents 10 biographies of revolutionary women!

Angela Davis

“The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what’s that? The freedom to starve?”

Angela Davis first became involved in the black liberation and communist movements in the late 1960s as a professor at the University of California Los Angeles. As an outspoken critic of US imperialism and white supremacy, Davis was targeted for persecution and was imprisoned in 1970 on charges of murder and kidnapping. After a massive mobilization across the world demanded her freedom, Davis was acquitted in 1972. She has continued her political work to this day, as well as pioneering theoretical work on the relationship between race, class, and gender and on incarceration. Lefties today are sometimes still spotted sporting a nostalgic ‘Free Angela!’ button.

March 7, 2015

Women's History in the Soviet Union

IWD 1932: "A day of rebellion by working
women against kitchen slavery!"
Elizabeth Rowley Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) Leader
Transcribed by Jenna Amirault and Justin Ferguson
From a lecture at the 2013 YCL-LJC Women’s School

Well comrades, let me say a few words about women in the Soviet Union. The first thing to say about the Soviet Union is that it was the first socialist country in the world. Before the Soviet Union the ideas of socialism, of a working class state and country that was ruled by the working class in their own class interest and where big corporations and so on didn’t exist and where there was no monarchy and where feudalism was abolished and so on, it was all theoretical before 1917. When the Great October Socialist Revolution actually happened it had a huge impact, not only, obviously, in the Soviet Union but worldwide because it was the first time there was a little piece of territory that socialists around the world could point to and say ‘there, that’s what socialism looks like, that’s the experience, that’s what’s happening to people in that country and that’s what’s happening to women in that country!’

March 3, 2015

A quick reminder why Feminism is necessary

Marianne Breton Fontaine

Not a day passes without reminding me of the necessity of feminism, despite the surreal campaign “Women against feminism,” a US initiative where women post photos of themselves explaining why feminism is not needed by them. “I do not need feminism because if I wear a top like this, it’s for you to look at,” said one of them. “I do not need feminism because I like to cook for my boyfriend,” says another. It’s funny, because for me, these arguments convince me of the need to continue the struggle...

This morning’s daily reminder was made when I learned that the Couillard government will cut the “Chapeau les filles!” program, this program that was promoting education for women in areas still reserved for men, such as science and engineering. However, this cut will only save tiny crumbs for the public treasury. The icing on the cake was that earlier yesterday the same government announced that it would fly to the rescue of Bombardier if the company requested, because the company is currently experiencing some declines in profits. Is there anyone who still doubts that the State is at the service of a specific class?

March 1, 2015

International Women’s Day: Reinvigorating Marxist-Feminist Struggles in Canada

 Jenna Amirault

This March, the Young Communist League and the Communist Party of Canada will celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) by expressing solidarity with the ongoing and past struggles of women. While IWD is widely celebrated in civil society today, often little is known about the holiday’s socialist roots. IWD would not have been possible without the struggles of socialist women. The political activism of Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) and Luise Zietz (1865-1922) was particularly influential. Zetkin and Zietz were committed communists dedicated to organizing working class women and educating their male comrades on the importance of women’s struggles. They understood that the success of socialism depended on proletariat women and men “fight[ing] hand in hand…against capitalist society.”1   In August 1910 at a general meeting of the Second International, Zietz suggested holding an International Women’s Day to bring attention to equal rights, the suffrage and the struggles of working class women. Zetkin seconded the motion and over a hundred women from seventeen different countries voted in support of creating IWD. The next year on March 18 (chosen to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Paris Commune) the first IWD demonstrations were held in Europe. It was a tremendous success with an estimated 300 demonstrations being held across the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1922, with the help of Zetkin, Lenin would name International Women’s Day an official communist holiday.

February 20, 2015

Film Review: "Pride" (2014)

by Róisín Lyder

Pride is a dramatized version of a series of events that took place in England and Wales during the 1983-5 miner’s strike, which was brutally crushed by Margaret Thatcher and her Tory government as part of their efforts to break the British trade union movement. The movie opens with the song ‘Solidarity Forever’ playing overtop of historical images of the strike and the song punctuates the rest of the film. Indeed solidarity is the real theme of Pride, a film that is a light-hearted meditation on the possibilities created when members of the working class overcome what may seem like insurmountable differences.

At the 1984 gay pride march in London we are introduced to Mark Ashton as he begins taking up a collection for the striking miners. It is at this march that the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is formed. Ashton persuades the others to join by asking: “Who hates miners? Thatcher, the police, the public and the tabloids. Sound familiar?” The young queer people see the parallels; one suggests that the usual police harassers have been absent from the gay nightclubs lately because they have been too busy harassing the miners. The group sets about fundraising and eventually finds a mining town reluctantly willing to accept the cash. Following the usual practice of thanking solidarity groups, the LGSM are invited to the small Welsh town of Onllwyn where they meet an assorted cast of characters ranging from those who effortlessly lack prejudice, to the mildly uncomfortable, to the outright and staunchly homophobic. A series of predictable yet entertaining moments of bigotry and acceptance ensue.

February 2, 2015

Harper’s “anti-terrorism” legislation promises to increase repression

by Brendan Campisi

  On Friday, the Harper government announced a wave of “anti-terrorism” legislation which will dramatically increase the power of the country's repressive forces. Supposedly justified by the shootings on Parliament Hill last year, the new laws will give CSIS the power to “intervene and disrupt threats to national security at home and abroad”, restrict the movements of suspected 'terrorists', stop them from boarding a flight, disrupt money transfers or electronic communications, allow government agencies to share information like passport applications with intelligence agencies, increase the amount of time suspected 'terrorists' can be detained without charge, and allow courts to order the removal of material deemed “terrorist propaganda” from websites registered in Canada. It will also create a new offence, 'promoting terrorism', which will not require the advocacy of any particular act.

January 21, 2015

Afghanistan war is far from over

By T.J. Petrowski

 After 13 years, the U.S. and NATO are announcing the end to combat missions in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of troops. But despite the symbolic flag lowering ceremony, the U.S. led war is in fact not ending, and the brutal war is set to continue through 2015. NATO is set to "transition" to a non combat, "Resolute Support" mission to assist the Afghan National Army in its operations, with 4,000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan into 2015.

 President Obama has authorized 10,800 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan in 2015 (an increase of 1,000 from his May 2014 pledge to reduce troop levels), to resume combat operations against Afghan militants (including night raids by Special Operation soldiers, previously banned by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai), and aerial strikes. A senior American military officer was quoted saying that "the Air Force expects to use F 16 fighters, B 1B bombers and Predator and Reaper drones to go after the Taliban in 2015."

January 16, 2015

Dentist Misogyny at Dalhousie

By Nicole Hattie, Halifax

A widespread public outcry has been heard across Nova Scotia following news that 13 male Dalhousie Dentistry students were members of a self‑described "gentlemen's facebook page" used to discuss chauvinistic and misogynistic messages. The men engaged in a poll, which asked who they would like to "hate fuck," and discussed using chloroform to rape women. The results of the poll were posted on Dec. 6 - the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre.

The response by some people, like the Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente, has been to say that this was a "joke" and should not be taken as a direct attack on women. But many labour, community and women's groups sharply disagree. A protest of approximately 300 students, faculty and other people on Dalhousie's campus rallied against all forms of sexism and harassment, denouncing the university's approach as unacceptable.

Bowing somewhat to public pressure, Dalhousie president Richard Florizone later suspended the men from clinical duties at the Dalhousie clinic, saying the school is looking at many options and is not ruling out expulsions. Despite this, many continue to be outraged.

These violent sexualized acts of hate speech had reportedly been taking place months prior and the university was well aware. However, nothing was done about the issue until it went "viral" in the media. There had also been reports of a male professor showing sexualized videos in class that objectified women as a way in which to "wake the male students up."

It appears the dentistry programme at Dal is basically a sexist "old boys club" for the sons of Nova Scotia's well‑heeled elite.

January 15, 2015

After Charlie Hebdo: Real unity against violence means unity against imperialism

Photo from the January 11th National Unity march in Paris
By Adrien Welsh

Adrien Welsh is a member of the Young Communist League of Canada and chair of the YCL-LJC International Commission. He is currently living in Paris, France.

On Wednesday, January 8th, 12 people were killed - among them, two police officers - and 11 others were wounded after the offices of the weekly satirical Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo was the target of an armed attack at around 11 AM. The famous satirical cartoonists Jean Cabut, “Cabu”; Georges Wolinsky and Stéphane Charbonnier, who collaborated with the newspaper L’Humanité (historically linked to the French Communist Party) were also victims.

The assailants managed to leave the headquarters of the newspaper and struck again by murdering a police officer in the south-west suburb of Montrouge the next morning. Three days later, members of the Jewish community were held hostage in a Kosher supermarket in Vincennes near Paris  as well as in Dammartin-en-Goëlle. After a three-day man-hunt, the three suspected murderers, Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, were killed. In a video, the latter claimed to have been working together with the Kourachi brother but separated for a “greater impact”. He also claimed the original attack was meant to be a revenge for the people France had killed in the Islamic State of Syria.

This is the deadliest attack in France since 1961, when a bomb placed by the Secret Army Organization (OAS) - an ultra-right and colonialist paramilitary group fighting to maintain French colonialism in Algeria - exploded under a train, killing 28 people.

January 2, 2015

Greek young communists ‘combatively marching for a socialist tomorrow’

Delegates and observers at the Communist Youth of Greece's
11th Congress, December 2014
By Adrien Welsh

From the 19th to the 21st of December, the Young Communist League of Canada attended the 11th Congress of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), held under the slogan “Pioneer youth of KKE (Communist Party of Greece), combatively marching for a socialist tomorrow, without crises, wars or exploitation.” It was an occasion to reinforce the ties between our organizations and increase collaboration based on the principles of proletarian internationalism.

Among European countries, Greece is certainly the most ravaged by the current crisis of capitalism. After two memorandums imposed by the Troika (European Union - IMF - World Bank), the unemployment rate totals 60% among youth, and yet, this has not been enough. In 2014, a restructuring plan forced the loss of almost 500 000 jobs in the public sector. Hospitals and schools are closing and the population now relies on help from the Red Cross and other humanitarian associations to provide them with the medical care they need. As for education, with the quality of the public system declining, parents are turning towards private schools, with Greece having the highest enrolment in private schools of any country in the EU.

In these conditions, a new political alignment is developing with the rise of two forces aimed at safeguarding the system.

December 17, 2014

Major victory for Cuba: All the Cuban 5 are now free!

by Drew Garvie

Socialist Cuba has won some major victories today. It has been announced that the last three of the “Cuban five”, which remained until today in US prisons, have been freed in exchange for American USAID spy Alan Gross.

The three Cuban heroes; Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero will join their families for the holidays after more than 15 years in jail. They will also join Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez who were released in 2013 and early 2014. These five men had infiltrated a group of anti-Cuban terrorists in Florida in the late 1990s. The US government proceeded to jail them for espionage, despite their work in uncovering plans for attacks against civilians in Cuba, and their willingness to share this information with US authorities. Attacks against Cuba, largely planned by groups operating on US soil with the complicity of the US, have led to the deaths of around 3,500 Cubans since 1959.

In an address delivered at noon, Cuban President Raul Castro gave more details about this victory and ongoing negotiations with the US government. He started his speech with the acknowledgement that Cuba has been “loyal in defending all the principles of our independence war” since the revolution of 1959. Raul mentioned that in 2001 Fidel Castro had promised the return of the Cuban 5 to Cuba, and that today was a realization of the goals of this long struggle. Raul expressed gratitude to the “hundreds of committees and solidarity groups, governments, institutions and personalities” that had struggled in their “efforts for liberation” of the Cuban 5 heroes. Millions of people around the world have participated in demonstrations, conferences, petitions, letter writing and more to demand the release of the Cuban 5.

November 23, 2014

From Ayotzinapa to Montreal: Overview of the Global Student Struggle

Special to RY

Student struggle week of action underway

Every November 17th, International Students’ Day, is commemorated by remembering the important role of students in fighting for a better world. In honour of this day, the World Federation of Democratic Youth’s Commission on Europe and North America has called for a student week of action against the current attacks on our education system taking place across the region. The week of action runs from November 17th-23rd.

In Canada, students are facing skyrocketing tuition fees, mounting debt, the privatization of education, cuts to student services, attacks on the living and working conditions of campus workers, the elimination of programs and classes, and the corporatization of research. More and more students now graduate without a future: either unemployment, or work in precarious, part-time, low-paid, non-unionized jobs. Students in Canada are fighting for free, accessible, quality and emancipatory education. They are fighting for a future!

Canada is not alone in this fight. The attack from governments and corporations is being resisted, at home and internationally. In recognition of this week of action, Rebel Youth Magazine takes a look at ongoing international student struggles:

November 6, 2014

The world denounces the US's illegal blockade against Cuba... once again

The Cuban people on the march in Havana - May 1st, 2014
By Adrien Welsh, Chair of the YCL-LJC International Commission

"Cuba no está sola, todo el mundo está con Cuba socialista, Cuba vencerá"

Last Wednesday, for the 23rd time, the world rejected the criminal blockade imposed on Cuba in 1962. The outcome of the vote during the session of the United Nations on this topic couldnt have been more clear: out of the 193 member countries of the United Nations, 188 voted in favour of the abolition of the blockade, and only 2 voted against the motion (not surprisingly the US and Israel). Since the first vote in 1992, a majority of the member countries have supported this motion. The change is that the support has become increasingly unanimous: in 1992, while only 3 countries voted against the end of the embargo, there were still 46 countries that abstained.

Despite all this, this criminal blockade keeps being imposed on the Cuban people, causing a loss of over 3.9 billion dollars this year, and 1.1 trillion since the beginning of the blockade. As a consequence, not only can Cuba not trade with the US, but also it cannot use US dollars in its international financial transactions, nor can it access bank credits from US institutions or their subsidiaries. Moreover, since 2004, fines to both US-based and foreign entities who have traded with Cuba, total over 11 billion dollars.

October 31, 2014

Attacks on young communists in France, Serbia and Venezuela are the latest violent examples of growing fascist threat

Communist Youth of Venezuela respond to attack
targeting their office and activists
By Drew Garvie
General Secretary, YCL-LJC of Canada

In late October, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, a global anti-imperialist federation of youth organizations founded after the fascist defeat in Europe in 1945, issued two statements condemning fascist violence in both Venezuela and Yugoslavia. These attacks had occurred in the preceding weeks.

In the early morning hours of October 21st in Caracas, members of the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) were finishing their work at their central offices. Several firebombs were launched at the building and a fire was started in their meeting room. Fortunately no comrades were injured in the attack and the fire was extinguished.

The JCV Executive Committee released a statement contextualizing the attack against them: "This deed occurs within the framework of violence imposed by fascism since February of this year carried out by mercenaries and paramilitaries serving the extreme, pro-imperialist right." This references an upsurge in right-wing protests that took place from February through June, which led to the deaths of 43 people. Most recently, Robert Serra, the youngest parliamentarian elected in Venezuelan history, and a member of Venezuela’s Socialist Party (PSUV), was murdered with Colombian paramilitaries being implicated.

October 27, 2014

Anti-Chevron campaign wins key victory in lead up to Supreme Court appeal case

After Protests Canadian Bar Association Withdraws Intervention in Chevron Case

All pictures from Oct 9th protest outside Ontario Bar Association (Toronto):
Rebel Youth
From: Telesur English

Activists point to mobilizations as the reason why CBA choose to reverse course.

Facing a large backlash, resignations, and protests, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has decided that it will not make an intervention at the Canadian Supreme Court in the case involving Chevron Corporation's contamination of the Ecuadorian rainforest.

In a letter sent to members, CBA president Michele Hollins stated “The [Legislation and Law Reform] Committee concluded that while the factum was well-drafted and of a high standard of quality, it did not meet the specific requirements of CBA’s Intervention Policy. Consequently, under the terms of the Intervention Policy, the CBA came to the conclusion that without the certification of the factum, the Intervention could not move forward and would be withdrawn.”

Although the previous letter to members made mention of opposition to the CBA intervention, this second letter did not. Santiago Escobar, a member of the Anti Chevron Committee of Canada, in an interview with teleSUR stated "The CBA won't admit this but they withdrew because of the protests they were facing, they knew that they couldn't be seen supporting a corporation that has negatively affected the lives of so many Indigenous people in Ecuador."

October 9, 2014

The Newest Iraq War

People's Voice Editorial

A month after Canada entered the latest war in Iraq for thirty days, the Conservative government made it official: the term of this military mission will be six months. But despite the media manipulation to claim that this war is widely supported by Canadians, the public mood is dubious, and rightly so. One interesting test was an Oct. 4 street poll conducted by Vancouver's StopWar coalition, which found that over 90% of respondents were opposed to Canadian military intervention in Iraq.

The U.S. and its usual "allies", including Canada, argue that they were compelled to begin bombing Iraq and Syria because of the barbaric acts of Islamic State/IS. Yet one of the "allies" in this war is Saudi Arabia, which has publicly beheaded 79 prisoners so far this year alone. The key NATO ringleader, the U.S. itself, has initiated coups and invasions in dozens of countries over the last century, killing millions along the way. Human rights abuses? Just look at the apartheid imposed on Palestinians by PM Harper's best friends, the Israeli government. Little wonder that many Canadians understand the real motive for going to war again; this is another chapter in a long-term conflict to dominate the energy resources of the Middle East and nearby regions by western-based transnational oil corporations.

October 8, 2014

Motherland amidst Imperialism: A Story of Indigenous Resistance and Settler Mutiny

Occupation site in August - J-l Fournier
By Siegfried Barazov

"In our opinion, the foundation for national liberation rests in the inalienable right of every people to have their own history…. It may be seen that if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture." —Amilcar Cabral, Syracuse University speech, 1970

There are times when the power of a culture can make time stand still.  The elder of the Cree nation spoke to me of the sanctity of fire, and I, a settler on stolen land, had to struggle to find an adequate response to stories and traditions that seemed in that moment to be as old as the Ottawa river itself: born countless thousands of years before European imperialism’s chosen killers came bearing their guns, germs, and steel.  However, in meeting with this old man at the site of the occupation where the Ottawa and Gatineau rivers combine, I am happy to say that I had the knowledge and the memory to reply with the example of Beltane, the ancient Celtic fire festival from the days long before this monstrous colonial enforcement agency, referring to itself as the ‘white race’, was ever invented to stain the moral fabric of the European peoples and set them against the rest of the world.

The elder was one member of small group consisting of people from several Indigenous American nations, coming from as far away as the Yukon and the southern United States to stand in solidarity with the local Anishnabe, and Mohawk peoples who were struggling to protect a sliver of their ancient heritage from destruction.

September 26, 2014

How Israel became Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on Decolonization

By Adrien Welsh

What did Big Brother say in 1984? "War is peace", right? Well, today we can say "decolonization is colonization"...

It happened in secret, with little noise on June 18th. During the election of the six committees of the General Assembly of the United Nations, a wild political oxymoron emerged: Israel, an occupying power, was elected vice-chair of a committee for the rights of the Palestinian people and the occupied territories. The corresponding document, a statement to the UN, states that, "despite the strong opposition of the Group of Arab States, Mr. Mordechai Amohai, of Israel, was today elected Vice Chairman of the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly on Special Political and Decolonization”.

This move was tasteless joke in the face of the Israeli criminal operation "Protective Edge" which has left over 2,000 dead and over 10,000 wounded (08/19/14) and has brought Gaza farther towards its full destruction.

September 17, 2014

Pictou’s Trials and Tribulations: The Tragedy of Boat Harbour

Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul
 (second from Right) - Photo: Pictou Advocate
By Peter Bazarov

In Northern Nova Scotia, tucked away between the forests and the sea, sits the small community of Pictou—home to 3000 people, and tragically, one of Nova Scotia’s most shameful secrets.  Though it is located in the beautiful Nova Scotia highlands, with beaches facing the warm lapping waters of the Northumberland Strait, Pictou is nevertheless avoided by most tourists, and is best known instead for its legendary ill health. Cancer, heart disease, lung disease, rates of miscarriage and infant death; in all of these Pictou is either the worst county in the province or among the worst.  The waters of Pictou Harbour test positive for a variety of toxic heavy metals, and the air tests positive for pollutant rates thousands of percent above Federal limitations.

The source of all this? A dammed off poisonous stew, a toilet for the toxic excretions of the local pulp and paper mill—Boat Harbour.

September 15, 2014

Ontario’s Austerity Hurts Students With Disabilities

By Sarah Jama

We all know what it feels like to sit in class with an uncontrollable urge to pee. Most of us would raise a hand, get granted a hall pass, and go relieve ourselves in the nearest bathroom or tree. For others, the process is more complicated. Picture wearing a catheter, or needing help to transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet. Not so simple in a school setting.

Educational assistants (EAs) are individuals who help students with disabilities gain access to the accommodations required in order for them to benefit from receiving an education. Simply put, EAs are meant to assist students with disabilities in closing the gap between able-bodied individuals and themselves, or to ‘even the playing field’. They scribe notes for students who can’t move their fingers, or assist in monitoring students with severe anxiety in testing situations. Yes, they even help students in the bathroom.

September 12, 2014

The Lego People Unite and Defeat Lord Business! (Review)

By Peter Miller

My crusty side tells me “The Lego Movie” is just a 100 minute long commercial. My crusty side is right. It is a very successful commercial for LEGO that grossed $468,009,556 worldwide.

But The Lego Movie isn’t just a commercial. It's also a movie leftists can enjoy. I sat in the movie theatre with friends laughing, excited, and high on life when I watched the movie in theatres. I was the opposite of crusty.

The villain in the film is “Lord Business”, played by Will Ferrell. He’s a capitalist dictator who wants total control. He doesn’t want the ruled to be creative at all.

Fox News took note that a capitalist was the villain for this film. Business host Charles Payne said the film attacked big business, and Lord Business “looks a little bit like Mitt Romney.” Fox’s Monica Crowly even said “Hollywood has long been dominated by the far left, which is very anti-capitalist.” Payne worried the film was indoctrinating young children.

September 8, 2014

Harper Vs. Women

by Marianne Breton Fontaine

Rape culture, discrimination, poverty, violence, etc.; the list of evils of patriarchy is long. One might think that every year, the status of women is improving in Canada. But it’s not, and it's not just women's groups and the left that say so. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada’s place on the international gender equality index has steadily declined from 7th place in 2004, to 25th in 2009. This is not a coincidence; it is the result of clear policies enacted against the advancement of women's equality. Yes, Harper is anti-women!

Funding for women's groups

Since Stephen Harper took power in 2006, the Conservative government gradually eliminated funding for groups that promote women's rights. For example, he has closed 12 of the 16 regional offices of Status of Women Canada. The Conservatives have made significant changes to the funding criteria of women's organizations, saying that they will only fund groups that are “directly involved” with women. In other words, groups that were doing research on issues affecting women, defending feminist positions or lobbying on women’s issues are no longer considered eligible for funding. Harper did not stop there. He also removed the word "equality" from the ministry’s objectives. Thus, groups such as the Victoria Status of Women Action Group (SWAG) and the Coalition for Pay Equity in New Brunswick saw their funding cut drastically, and in some cases these groups have had to close their doors permanently.

August 6, 2014

Cyprus: Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Island’s partition

WFDY poster commemorating 40th anniversary of partition
 By Adrien Welsh - Chair of the International Commission of the YCL-LJC

During the 27th Pancyprian Festival of Youth and Students organized by EDON, the Communist youth of Cyprus, the World Federation of Democratic Youth organized an international solidarity event for freedom and unification in the divided capital of the Country, Larnaka on July, 4th. This action was the occasion to condemn the continuous occupation of the northern part of the country by Turkish troops and to demand their withdrawal.

This July commemorates the 40th anniversary of the double crime of NATO on the Mediterranean island.

On the 15th of July, 1974, EOKA 2, the fascist junta ruling Cyprus by that time, led among others by the notorious anti-communist Grivas - who had served against the National Liberation Army (ELAS) during Greek Civil War - perpetrated a coup d’État in order to achieve the annexation of Cyprus to Greece (“Enosi”), an idea long defended by the nationalist right. As a consequence, Turkey invaded the northern part of the country five days later legitimated by the defense of Turkish Cypriots’ interests, enacting the partition of the island.

Today, 40 years later, a “Green Line” still separates the country, affecting 250 000 people, that is, more than 20% of the population; 38% of the island is occupied by armed forces defending Turkey’s colonization enterprise.

July 29, 2014

Harper to Canadians: “Some citizens matter, some don’t”

By Zidane Mohamed

Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian, remains in prison  
On June 23rd, the Egyptian high court sentenced three reporters for Al-Jazeera to 7 years in prison, advancing the ongoing campaign of censorship of journalists and activists by the current military dictatorship, which has the support of the United States and Israel. One of them is a Canadian-Egyptian journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, who was arrested in December in Cairo as he was covering the aftermath of the army's removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July 2013.

The Canadian government, which prides itself as a champion of human rights, should do its best to intervene in aiding its citizens from the crimes of military dictatorships. But after the Omar Khadr fiasco, and a decade of “war on terror” jingoism, they passed a pernicious bill that would legally absolve the Canadian government of any responsibility to intervene. Bill C-24 reiterates the Harper government’s commitment in continuing institutionalized racism, which discriminates against migrant peoples, who are often racialized. Bill C-24 gives the immigration minister expanded powers over citizenship rights, which include revoking the citizenship of dual-citizens who have “engaged in certain actions contrary to the national interest of Canada”.

July 21, 2014

Register Now for People's Social Forum! On to Ottawa!

A very important meeting for labour and social movements is taking place from August 21-24th in Ottawa. The People’s Social Forum (PSF) expects to attract 10,000 activists from across the country and will host hundreds of workshops over a four day period. As the Forum itself says, “the PSF is an inclusive space that must be occupied by all people and activist organizations convinced that another Canada is not only possible, but above all, necessary”.

With the economic and environmental crisis raging across Canada, and Federal elections taking place next year, there is no better time for a mass meeting like this. The recent mass mobilizations of social movements (namely the Occupy movement in 2011, the Quebec Student Strike in 2012 and Idle No more in 2012-2013) the decisive drift right of the principle party of social democracy in Canada, and a renewed interest in labour militancy (as seen in the recent elections at the CLC) will no doubt be discussed in depth at the conference. 

The caucus structure of PSF organizing is designed to encourage the democratic participation of Original Peoples, youth, labour, people of colour, people with disabilities and women. The local organizing committees are working to ensure the broadest possible mobilization for the Forum in communities across Canada.

July 15, 2014

We must force Harper to reject war crimes in Gaza (Upcoming protests)

by Drew Garvie

July 11th Protest in Toronto
As Palestinian casualties approach 200 deaths from one week of the intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza, actions and protests across the globe are demanding an end to the Zionist murder of civilians.

The Young Communist League of Canada - Ligue de la jeunesse communiste du Canada released a statement yesterday condemning condemning "Operation Protective Edge" and calling for a just peace in Palestine.

In the statement it points out that the Conservative government has fully endorsed the ongoing war crimes being committed in Gaza: "as an imperialist country, member of the criminal alliance of NATO and colonizer of Indigenous territories, Canada seized this occasion to reiterate its unconditional support of Israel - more and more vocal under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Its diplomacy has been only focused on one side of this conflict, emphasizing the launching of rockets by Hamas, while supporting all the deaths and illegal operations by Israel’s occupation army".

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