September 20, 2016

Race & Racism: Biology or Systemic?

"You can't have capitalism without racism" - Malcolm X
Kayla Hilstob

The way we come to identify ourselves and others within our society has much to do with our social conditioning. Most of us have been conditioned to believe that because of the colour of our skin, naturally we belong to a certain group. This is the concept of race, the mother of racism.

This creation happened only a few hundred years ago in a deliberate move to justify and enforce the system of slavery for white Southern American plantation owners. Scientists have continuously tried to find a biological basis for race since its inception, to justify racial oppression, conflict, segregation, apartheid and genocide, yet there have been no findings whatsoever. Conclusively, there is no biological difference between people of different complexions, other than the few genes that produce the trait of skin colour. Race is a social construct that was created to impose a hierarchy of oppressed people to make a few powerful plantation owners very, very rich.

September 15, 2016

Young Worker Horror Stories

We often hear that our generation has it worse off than our parents. As the capitalist class continues to deepen their attack on the living and working standards of working people as a whole, the jobs available to young people in particular keep getting worse: part-time, non-union, precarious work, internships, or straight up unemployment are often the ‘choices’ we have.

In a recent, small-scale investigation blitz of employers by the Ministry of Labour in Ontario, it was discovered that 3/4 of employers were breaking already substandard labour laws. But what does this look like at the ground level?

Here are some stories from Rebel Youth readers about their work experiences:

August 23, 2016

Syria: Manipulation for war

Ajit Singh

A couple weeks ago, a Palestinian child was beheaded by the "moderate rebels" in Syria, created, funded, and backed by the United States, Canada, and NATO. Western states and the corporate media tried to minimize and downplay this beheading, going so far as to suggest that he was a member of a Palestinian militia supporting the Syrian government and therefore this was understandable conduct.

Last week, the US and UK funded "non-governmental organization", the “White Helmets”, which was founded by a British military officer, shared images of a Syrian child appearing to be bloodied. In addition to these dubious connections, photos circulating on social media show the photographer posing with the same militant group who captured and beheaded the Palestinian child in Aleppo. However, unlike the beheading where the child’s suffering was swept away, the corporate media is now flooding us with a story, saying: "Look at this poor child! The Syrian and Russian governments are barbaric! We must act!" [1][2][3]

July 27, 2016

Canada’s $15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal: What History Can Tell Us

TJ Petrowski

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is a “matter of principle” that Canada follows through with a $15 billion armaments deal with Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian state which funds international terrorism, stones women to death for the crime of being raped, and that leads the world in public beheadings. This decision has been sharply criticized by journalists, activists, and international organizations. In a public statement Amnesty International said that it has “good reason to fear that light armored vehicles supplied” to Saudi Arabia by Canada “are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights” in both “neighbouring countries” and for ‘suppressing demonstrations and unrest within Saudi Arabia” [1]. Montreal students and a former Bloc Quebecois MP and law professor have filed a class action lawsuit to block the deal, citing that by selling weapons to countries with poor human rights records Canada is violating its own laws [2].

July 7, 2016

From one terror to another: A view from France on the aftermath of the ISIS attacks in Paris

Movement of Young Communists of France poster:
"The problem is not the refugees, it's the war in Iraq, Syria, etc..."

Louis Souchière

2015 will, without any doubt, be a year French children will be learning about in history classes for decades to come. From the assault on Charlie Hebdo in January, to the aftermath of the attack that took 129 lives in Paris in November, the international media and social networks have been flooded with controversies and messages of support focused on the French people. The so called “war on terror” was once again revitalized as one of the biggest concerns in the West with more and more countries dedicating resources to the bombing of Iraq and Syria. The French government, which quickly passed a bill to conduct more air strikes in Syria, was itself making loud declarations about how France would now be “in a state of war” as “retaliation strikes” on Raqqa were launched no more than two weeks after the attack.

The reinforcement of imperialist policies, with the French military being once again a part of the tip of the spear in efforts that have already destabilised many countries, from Libya to Syria, is not the only effect the attacks of 2015 had on the country. What is less known to the international community is the effect the aftermath of these attacks had for French people themselves, especially racialized minorities and Muslim communities, the latter accounting for around 8% of the country’s population.

June 27, 2016

Cuba: a happy country

2016 May Day march in Havana - photo: M. Ahmad
Haley Bjornsgaard Shaw

Sometimes I have doubts. Society wears me down. I wonder if my ideologies are simply nice stories I tell myself, ones that I know deep down, no matter how much I argue in YouTube comments, could never be possible. That everyone’s right, human nature is greed and nastiness, that socialism can’t and won’t ever happen.

Recently, I learned about bonobos, a type of ape. The species most similar to humans, they live in peaceful, matriarchal societies in the Congo, where all disagreements are settled with sex. Unlike most matriarchal animals, the females are smaller than the males. How this works is that if a male bonobo starts acting out, all the females band together to kick him from their group.

Reading this restored my faith in feminism. Stupid, I know.

This article is about spending May Day in Cuba. Like bonobos, it gives me hope.

June 24, 2016

YCL Hamilton at Pride 2016: "We’re here, we’re Queer, no racist fear!"

RY presents a speech delivered at Hamilton Pride 2016 by Young Communist League – Hamilton representative Sha Ali

There have been some amazing words today, so thank you to everyone who has spoken and everyone who has come out in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

It’s the voices you’ve heard today that allow us to stand in true solidarity with the victims of the shooting, and indeed the victims of violence around the world.

It is these voices that are so important right now. They are so important because, as we speak, forces are already mobilizing to use this struggle — our struggle — to cause more violence.

Already, mainstream media has implicated Islam for the Pulse shooting. The comparison between the tragedy and 9/11 has already begun. The attack on refugees and immigrants is intensified. The attack on Muslims, now justified.

June 22, 2016

Freeland confronts anger over TPP in her own riding

Rally against the TPP outside the meeting - Photo: J Watts
Drew Garvie

On Wednesday, June 16, Chrystia Freeland, the Liberal Minister of International Trade visited her own riding of University-Rosedale in downtown Toronto in order to “listen” to the public as part of her promised consultation tour on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The message Freeland heard at the meeting was a clear and resounding “No to the TPP”.

It was a close to capacity crowd with hundreds in attendance at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. A large crowd gathered outside in festival themed rally complete with a 30 foot, red-eyed, inflatable horse, meant to represent the TPP as a Trojan horse.

June 19, 2016

63 years since the Cold War murdered Ethel & Julius Rosenberg

"Save the Rosenbergs" rally in France
Brendan Campisi

Today it will have been sixty-three years since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed after being convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. While I believe that the actions the Rosenbergs were accused of -- helping the USSR break the US monopoly on nuclear weapons -- were an act of service to humanity, the details of what they did and did not do are, in the final analysis, not that important.

June 10, 2016

Ontario’s Education Minister condemns BDS, supporting apartheid education

Peter Miller

On May 19th, a motion given to the Ontario Legislature titled the “Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism in Ontario Act” was defeated 39 - 18. Bill 202 would have blacklisted supporters of the Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by prohibiting public institutions from working with people who support BDS. The Bill also would have specifically prohibited colleges and universities from enacting BDS because of the movement's success in getting students and student unions to support BDS through general meetings and referendums. Not only was the Bill a McCarthyite attack on democratic rights and those fighting for human rights in Palestine, but the Bill also spread misinformation, stating supporters of BDS are “anti-Semitic” and call for the boycott of Jewish businesses, which has never been the case.

May 31, 2016

Silence and Indifference: Indigenous women testify to police violence

Demonstration in solidarity with the women of Val-d'Or
Marianne Breton Fontaine

On Thursday, October 22 2015, a team from Radio-Canada’s show Survey ran a shocking report on multiple cases of rape and the sexual abuse of Indigenous women in Val-d’Or. Originally, the team of journalists was not investigating these cases but rather the disappearance of Indigenous women and particularly that of Sindy Ruperthouse, an Algonquin whose disappearance in the of Spring 2014 demonstrated the shameful indifference of the media and Quebec authorities.

May 27, 2016

The Toronto Raptors and the Right to Sport

 Peter Miller

Raptors regular season tickets and playoff tickets are out of reach for the majority of people in Toronto, with the average resell cost for a single ticket at $258. At the same time, costs for cable, internet, and going out to a bar to watch the game pile up, making access to watching the playoff run in the comfort of one’s own home inaccessible to many.

Everyone deserves the right to democratic culture, sport, and leisure, and this includes the right to watch some of the best basketball players in the world. Under capitalism, short-term partial victories for these rights can be won, but these gains are constantly under attack.

May 26, 2016

White Canada Forever? The racist history of Canadian immigration policy

Brendan Campisi

In today’s debates over the admission of Syrian refugees to Canada, many defenders of admission, including the Trudeau Liberals, have drawn on the image of Canada as a friendly, welcoming country with a history of accepting refugees and immigrants. While this flattering cliché is believed by many Canadians, a look at the history of this country’s immigration policy shows it is far from the truth.

Early Canadian immigration law was loose to the point of being almost non-existent, befitting a settler-colonial society founded on European migration. This began to change when the first major group of non-European immigrants arrived in the 1870s and 80s. This group was made up of Chinese immigrants who mostly settled in British Columbia, many after working in deadly conditions building the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Calls began to limit this influx and by the early 1880s the ‘head tax’ had been introduced to discourage Chinese immigration. It would be raised significantly several times, eventually becoming so high that it effectively ended Chinese migration entirely. Chinese people were also stripped of the right to vote at the same time. In the discussion of that law, John A MacDonald said that it was necessary to disenfranchise the Chinese and stop them from immigrating in order to preserve “the Aryan character of the future of British North America.”

May 25, 2016

Cheer for the Raptors but not for “Canada’s Team”

Peter Miller

It’s absurd that the Canadian anthem and American anthem is played before every Toronto Raptors game. It’s much like the start of every school day in Canada, with the national anthem being played to invoke patriotism for youth in a country that is playing an increasingly aggressive imperialist role on the world stage and continuing its genocide against indigenous people.

That’s why it didn’t bother me when NBA legend, Dwayne Wade continued to warm up during the Canadian anthem during a recent play-off game in Toronto. Hearing the anthem before every game is a waste of time, and players should warm up during it if they still need to get their body ready for some intense play. Predictably, however, Raptors fans booed Wade for the rest of the NBA playoff series for his action. Some Canadian politicians even chimed in to voice their disappointment with Dwayne Wade’s actions.

May 19, 2016

Islamophobia: Ideology of imperialism and its role in Canada

Edward Lovo

I. What role does Islamophobia play in Canadian politics? Until Harper, the distorted image of Islam from our southern neighbour barely entered mainstream politics. To a significant degree, Jean Chrétien before him endorsed a vein of Islamophobia through his foreign policy actions. With Harper, however, his unprecedented militarism went in tandem with his Islamophobic rhetoric. For a number of reasons, Canadians wanted Harper out at all costs, so Trudeaumania hit the country like an epidemic. Though Trudeau avoids Harper’s virulent strain of Islamophobia, as fellow Liberal Chrétien did before him, Trudeau endorses the mild Islamophobia which allows Canadian foreign policy to fly under the auspices of the American eagle’s wing.

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