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Reports, analysis, and stories from the struggle of the Cuban people to defend and build their socialist revolution.
The Quebec Student Strike
The story of the biggest student mobilization in Canadian history as it unfolds.
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Reporting the viewpoint of the Communist Youth and the Communist Party of Greece for a People's Greece.
The youth movement
Statements and analysis about the way forward for the youth and student movement in Canada today by the YCL-LJC.
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(WOMEN'S E-NEWS)--A survey released earlier this month finds that teen dating violence rates are higher than ever, with the economic crisis apparently worsening rates of abuse of between parents and among teens.
Those June 10 results come out as school budget cuts hinder education programs focused on preventing dating violence.
The survey, commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. and Family Violence Prevention Fund, found that nearly half (44 percent) of teens whose families have experienced economic problems in the past year have witnessed verbal or physical abuse between their parents, and 67 percent of those teens have experienced abuse in their own relationships.
Overall, nearly 1 in 3 teens (29 percent) reported experiencing sexual or physical abuse or threats of such abuse in dating relationships and nearly half (47 percent) reported experiencing controlling behavior from a boyfriend or girlfriend.
The survey also found that almost two-thirds of parents whose teens have been in dating relationships believe their children have never experienced abuse, despite numbers that suggest higher rates.
Most parents are not talking to their children about teen dating violence, according to the findings, with 80 percent of teens turning to friends for help. Only 25 percent of teens reported taking a course on teen dating violence in school.
'Parents Need to Learn'
"Parents need to learn. They're so oblivious," says Monique Betty, 19, who suffered dating violence in middle and high school.
Providers of services to prevent dating violence, who have seen an increase in teens reporting abuse, believe the rise may stem from growing awareness of the issue.
"I hope that it is more that kids are able to identify it better, because there has been more education and awareness around it," says Lucy Rios, director of prevention at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Among other growing educational efforts, Liz Claiborne reports having distributed 4,600 free copies of its "Love Is Not Abuse" curriculum nationwide.
National teen dating violence education leader Break the Cycle will market a DVD-based curriculum with testimonies from survivors and experts for under $100 to schools across the country, starting this fall. The organization, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., will also distribute 1,000 free copies in Southern California.
An online educational video game is also in the works in Rhode Island.
Video Game Teaches Safety
Using a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Providence-based domestic violence nonprofit Sojourner House, along with the youth advocacy group Young Voices and the Rhode Island Department of Education, is developing an interactive game that will allow teens to navigate through dating violence scenarios in a high school setting.
Ten other sites received grants from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, including an organization in Idaho, where Monique Betty, the survivor of dating violence, will provide mentorship to students in middle school.
Such innovative projects rekindle hope, but Ann Burke, whose daughter was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 2005, wishes nationwide implementation of school curricula on teen dating violence was going better.
Burke pioneered the passage and implementation of a law requiring teen dating violence education and policy in Rhode Island and worked closely with the state's attorney general Patrick Lynch, a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2009.
She says similar laws or resolutions in at least nine other states have been "watered down" by the budget crisis.
Such resolutions tend to recommend rather than requiring education.
As Rhode Island schools struggle with crippling budget cuts, Burke has single-handedly trained over a thousand school staff members, including more than half of the state's health teachers, through the privately funded Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund.
Amy Littlefield is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles.
Reprinted from the People's Weekly World
The following is a brief by the Tudeh Party of Iran sent to international workers and communist parties to help explain the background of the ongoing struggles for democracy in Iran.
Background to the election
Iran entered the 10th presidential election in difficult socio-economic conditions. Four years of Ahmadinejad's government and the neo-liberal policies it pursued (dictated by the IMF and World Bank) meant that the overwhelming majority of the Iranian working class and working people were suffering from unprecedented hardship and poverty. Examination of the policies of Ahmadinejad’s administration reveals the specific characteristics of the direction taken by this government, which is affiliated to grand mercantile capitalism and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie of the country, and some of the reasons behind the people’s mass movement against this reactionary regime. The principal direction of the socio-economic policies of Ahmadinejad’s government and some of its consequences can be summarised as follows:
Debate about the economic path the country should take was one of the most important battle-fields between the reactionary and progressive forces, right from the first day after the 1979 revolution. Inclusion of Article 44 in the constitution was one of the accomplishments of the February 1979 revolution. [Editor’s note: According to Article 44, the Iranian economy consists of three sectors, the state, cooperative and private sectors, but “all large-scale and mother industries” of the country are entirely owned by the state. This article was amended to allow for privatization.] It was revoked by Ahmadinejad’s government, following an executive order issued by the Supreme Leader of the regime. The consequence of these policies is to bring the macro policies of the regime more than ever into line with the policies and prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank, as already tried out in various countries. The disastrous consequences of these policies could be clearly observed in the developing countries of the world. The executive order of the Supreme Leader in 2007 regarding Article 44 was warmly welcomed by the IMF. In a report about the economic prospects of Iran, the IMF stated: “Recently the government has been pursuing privatisation more seriously. According to the executive order issued by Ayatollah Khamenei regarding Article 44 of the Constitution, more than 80% of state-owned enterprises must be privatized in the next 10 years. The executive order on Article 44 revitalized privatization plans. Privatisation of state-owned enterprises will be completed by the end of the 5-year plan.”
Mounting foreign debts and destruction of national production
Another key political decision by the Ahmadinejad government has been the opening of domestic markets to the import of consumer goods more than ever before, damaging domestic production and swelling Iran’s debts. According to reports published by Iran’s Customs, in the first 4 months of the current Iranian year from spring of 2008 (in parallel to the increase in value and weight of imported industrial raw material as a result of the imposed sanctions), the import of luxury consumer goods like cars, fully automatic washing machines, fridges, cigarettes, audio equipment, decorations, cosmetics and the like, has drastically increased. The other important economic indicator is that despite the enormous increase in oil revenue, Iran’s foreign debt not only failed to decrease during Ahmadinejad’s term, but soared at an increasing rate. Kargozaran newspaper, 9 March 2008, quoting from ISNA wrote: “Business Monitor International stated in its latest report that Iran’s foreign debts would increase in excess of $8 billion in 4 years. In its 2nd quarter report of 2008, BMI estimated Iran’s foreign debt in the last year at $23.3 billion, which would increase by $500 million this year to reach $24 billion. BMI believes that Iran’s foreign debts in the coming years will grow; in [Iranian] years 1387 (2008) and 1388 (2009) it will increase to $26.3 and $28.1 billion, respectively, and following the same increasing trend, it will soar to $29.2 billion in 1389 (2010). A one billion dollar increase will mean a total national debt of $30.2 billion in 1390 (2011). In 1391 (2012) Iran’s foreign debt will hit $31.6 billion which is $8.1 billion more compared to national debt in 1385 (2006).”
Growing mass hardship and poverty
Although finding accurate and acceptable statistics regarding poverty in Iran is very hard, reading between the lines of existing statistics, the concrete conclusion can be drawn that poverty and destitution has exacerbated during Ahmadinejad’s government. For instance, recent studies by the Central Bank [of Iran] indicate that the number of people living under the poverty line increased during the first two years of the ninth government, from 18 percent to 19 percent. Based on these figures, currently between 14 and 15 million people are living under the poverty line. Noandish website on May 8, 2008, quoted Ali Asgari, Economic Deputy of President Office of Planning and Strategic Control, as saying: “according to the published economic index, about 20 percent of the population lives under the poverty line.
The dimensions of the escalation of poverty and unemployment are clearer when inflation numbers and the rise of cost of living are considered. This past summer the central bank of the regime reported that “the price of some food items shows an increase of 40 to 45% in just about a month.”
Working class under attack
Our Party’s Central Committee in its enlarged plenary meeting of December 2008, highlighted the issues listed above and paid particular attention to the plight of the working class and the increasing attacks of the regime against progressive forces. The document of party’s meeting stated:
“Clearly, the harsh living conditions of working people will trigger a growing discontent and dissent among them. Last year we witnessed tens of labour protest movements, demonstrations by educational workers, vast protest movements by students, and also a continuation of women’s struggle against the government and its policies. The working class of Iran was also faced with a hard challenge last year. One of the important arenas of the trade struggle of the workers is to fight against temporary contracts, which were promoted by Ahmadinejad’s administration and its anti-labour Ministry of Labour and have had an unprecedented growth. According to statistics released earlier this year, 80% of workers in factories and in manufacturing industries are working under temporary contracts covering a working term from only 2 months and 10 days up to 6 months. A large portion of temporary workers that are covered under the Labour Law, work under the most harsh slavery conditions. This situation has had an adverse impact on the efforts of labour activists to form and brace independent labour organisations. Furthermore, in the past few months, Ahmadinejad’s administration and the reaction's parliament started talking about changes to the Labour Law and taking away the rights of the workers more than before. Labour organizations and activists swiftly reacted to this stance. In recent years, our party has repeatedly stressed that dispersion among workers and labour movement, for whatever reason it may be, will impede the growth of the trade union movement in the country at the moment, and ultimately will give the chance to the regime to divide the struggles of the workers and suppress them one by one. The efforts of labour activists to form independent labour organizations have been faced with brutal and suppressive action from the security forces of the regime. Due to arrests and further pressures on labour movement activists, efforts in this area have been faced with ever increasing difficulty.”
Our party’s plenary meeting went on to conclude that:
“The regime, faced with the discontent of the masses across the country, parallel to having adopted anti-popular economic and social policies, and in order to prevent harmonisation and synchronisation of the protests of working people and ultimately escalation and expansion of these protests, has intensified its pressure and suppression policies. However, continuing pressures and organised attacks against The Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburban Bus (Vahed) Company and keeping Mansour Osanloo [Chair of its Board] detained in the regime’s torture chambers, and also intensifying the activities of suppression forces, even in the “Islamic Associations of Labour”, and a rise in firing labour activists, are all part of policies that the regime is pursuing in order to suppress the labour movement in the country. Suppressive policies of the regime are not limited to the labour movement, but are also equally enforced against the student movement and the women’s movement. Last year, the student movement was faced with extensive confrontation by the regime’s security forces.”Imperialist Intervention and Iran’s Progressive and Democratic Movement
Iran has had a long and painful history of imperialist intervention and indeed one of the goals of the great Iranian Revolution of 1979 was to put an end to the US-British intervention in our country’s affair. In recent years the world has witnessed the constant stand–off between the Bush administration and the Iranian regime.
In the final year of the Bush presidency and with the growing threat of military intervention in Iran by U.S. imperialism, the progressive forces in Iran, including our party, joined the growing social forces in mobilizing a nationwide peace movement comprising the national, democratic and progressive forces. This peace movement which aimed to mobilise against the risk of war and the U.S. attack against Iran, was systematically suppressed by the regime. This movement encompassed largely the same forces that are currently fighting the regime against the election frauds and includes: a relatively wide spectrum of political forces, the women’s movement, the students’ movement and the labour movement. It is also important to reiterate that the growing tension and imperialist interventionist policies against Iran was supposedly linked to Iran’s nuclear policy. It is imperative to reiterate that the issue of nuclear crisis and the resulting international tensions, which led to issuing a number of resolutions by the security council of the UN against Iran, and escalation of friction in the Persian Gulf region between Iran’s regime and Bush administration - while Iran’s neighbouring countries are burning in war, bloodshed and occupation of foreign forces, and are facing an immense human disaster - truly concerns the national and patriotic forces. In recent years, the Tudeh Party of Iran has consistently insisted on defending the national rights of the country, including the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, and has asserted its strong opposition to any foreign interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. We have, at the same time, stated that promoting and taking advantage of these policies by the Supreme Leader [Velayat-e Faqih] regime is used as a disguise to suppress the rights of people and to distract public opinion from the escalating domestic problems and to intensify repressive policies. The aggressive and destructive policies of imperialism in the region, which have led, under various guises, to a total military occupation of two neighbouring countries, and its unprecedented military presence in the Persian Gulf, are other concerning issues that cannot be neglected.
Election and current crisis
Therefore the Iranian presidential election on 12th June took place against a background of growing hardship and poverty for the masses, increasing suppressive policies against the working class movement, students and women’s movement and against the intelligentsia.
The four candidates approved by the “Council of Guardians”, the reactionary watchdog body controlled by the right, were all dedicated personnel and leading figures of the regime over the last thirty years.
The other candidates are also well known. Karoubi was a leading and senior figure during the Khomeini era, acting as the Speaker of Parliament for years. Mohsen Rezaie, the fourth candidate, was the commander of the revolutionary guards in 1980's and was seen as one of the most reactionary figures in the guards responsible for savage suppression of the democratic forces in Iran. Ahmadinejad was a little unknown figure, in the Special Forces unit of the intelligence gathering of the revolutionary guards, accused as being part of the terror team that assassinated the Kurdish leader Dr. Gasemlou in Vienna and brought to fame, when during the last presidential elections in 2005, Khamenei openly backed him.
There has been much dispute about the election results and there are detailed complaints lodged by all three candidates about the fraudulent nature of the election. The fact that the election results were announced within two hours of polls being closed (with some 40 million votes to count) speaks volume. Furthermore the regime itself has come to confess that at least in 170 ballot boxes there are more votes than voters, as well as the fact that, having analysed the result of every ballot box, it transpires that for every Mousavi vote there are two Ahmadinejad votes with an error margin of 0.1 percent speaks volumes about the validity of the results that are in dispute.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is fully supporting the struggle of the Iranian people against the dictatorial regime. Our cadres, members and supporters have these days been demonstrating in the streets of Tehran and major cities in Iran and helping to organise this noble struggle for change, for peace, democracy, and social justice.
Condemnation of the regime's attempt to steal the election;
The annulment of the fraudulent results of the election of June 12 and a re-run of the ballot;
Condemnation of the use of brute force against the demonstrators which has already resulted in the murder of scores of innocent peaceful protestors;
Immediate and unconditional release of those arrested during the recent demonstrations peace, democracy, human rights and social justice in Iran.
You can access other recent publications of the party about the recent events and in particular the analysis of the party about the situation in the country at the English pages of our website at: www.tudehpartyiran.org
We rely on your continued international solidarity and standing with the Iranian working class in defence of peace and progress in Iran.
du Canada stands in support of struggles by all of Canada's First
Peoples on this day, National Aboriginal Day, and every other day in
the year. National Aboriginal Day should never be a token day, and
First Nations reservations should never be token lands. This day we
take the time to recognize that a war has and continues to be waged
against all aboriginal peoples. A slow and steady genocide has been
committed against First Nations, the Metis and Inuit peoples.
We are all on Aboriginal land, and the idea of the treaties was to
share and share alike what this land has to offer. Now it is time for
the state and corporations to pay the rent! The concept of land
ownership was unheard of, until colonial governments forced it upon
Aboriginal peoples. Sharing and co-operation were trampled by
capitalist values of exploitation of land, profit from misery and
feelings of superiority. Such attitudes set the foundation for racism
and the cultural genocide of the residential school system.
What are the legacies of a government policy to control the Aboriginal
population? One of many legacies is a suicide rate that is of
epidemic proportions in many communities. Aboriginals have a high
rate of suicide. Aboriginal youth in particular have the highest
suicide rates. According to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, young
aboriginals living on a reserve kill themselves at rates five to seven
times higher than other young people. Put in another way, that's 500%
to 700% more. A University of Manitoba report stated that aboriginal
youth suicide rates were highest in urban areas.
Manitoba has the highest suicide rate in the country.
Young Aboriginal women face racialized and sexualized violence. The
Native Women’s Association of Canada has compiled a database of over
520 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls since 1970. Of the
women and girls whose age at the time of their disappearance or death
is known, two thirds were under the age of 30; eighteen per cent were
under nineteen years old.
Racism against Aboriginal peoples is spawned by capitalism from the
colonial courts and prisons to the 2010 Olympics and also among youth.
Recently, a Facebook group appeared claiming “Native Americans are
ruining Canada.” One post said: “Native Americans are substantially
increasing Canada’s suicide rate to enormous proportions and
embarrasses us as a country [sic]” The group description said “Anyone
from Upper Canada College can join and invite others from Upper Canada
College to join.” (UCC is the most elite private boys school in
Canada, with the Duke of Edinburgh on its Board) The facebook group
has been closed down, but this was not random – national oppression of
aboriginal peoples is part of the ideology of the ruling class.
Can we compare UCC with the learning conditions for many aboriginal
youth on reserve or in off-reserve urban aboriginal communities? Many
schools have students learning in overcrowded and sub standard school
buildings, with meagre school supplies. Now the federal government is
withholding much of its funding for a First Nations University.
Although access to education is both a human right and a treaty right
for First Nations, basic core service funding including
post-secondary, is capped; And the federal Conservatives want to
off-load it's responsibility for post-secondary education, switching
from grants to student loans, for an already disadvantaged group of
Over 50% of Aboriginal people are under 23. Canadian youth justified
by being deep enraged by treatment of Aboriginal peoples by the
Canadian ruling class; the attack on Aboriginal youth is an attack on
Aboriginal youth need a future. A future free from racism, a future
with a good paying job, a future with land or proper compensation for
land use. A future with rights to universal education right up to and
including post-secondary education. A future with good housing. A
future without racist police brutality and racial profiling. A future
with a dream. A future that is a reality.
Central Executive Commiteee
2. Native Women’s Association of Canada, www.nwac-hq.org
If you look at the scanned document closer you will find among the qualifications: "have a lifestyle free of sexual sin" and "be a member in good standing and active participant of a protestant evangelical church."
In 2005, I was a youth starting out in university and interested in a provincial government program that gave students tuition money for so many hours of volunteer work. I was interested in doing this as I had wanted to volunteer but was always too busy working at a minimum wage job that I didn't enjoy.
I thought I'd try out the soup kitchens in Winnipeg.
Well, there were many to choose from: Winnipeg Harvest which was the major foodbank, Siloam mission which had just moved into a recently closed down garment factory (which moved production overseas), and Union Gospel Mission, which had fortress like buildings in skid row areas of the city. On a whim I decided to hit the Union gospel one first. A man greeted me and buzzed me in. And I was told to wait. Another man showed up and called me into his office and showed me the forms now posted on this screen. He explained that in order to volunteer I had to be all of the things on the qualifications sheet (1st image) Well I looked at the form and thought "this is why we separate church and state".
I had two choices: either I lied through my teeth to accomplish my goal of getting a volunteer posistion, or I just say I am anything but the things on that form.
The Qualifications Form and me: (follow with the first scanned image)
1. I'm not born again.
2. I consider myself Catholic and hardly in any congregation.
3. Well, okay I guess I can agree with this one.
4. I enjoy a good drink now and then. And I still smoked back then.
5. I'm gay nothing wrong with that. Except in the eyes of Union Gospel, I'm Damned.
6. Who knows, but I'm guessing a big NO on this one.
I questioned to myself the legality of this set of forms. It's a church, albeit a right-wing church by the sounds of it so I did not push the matter. "Oh well" I thought. I had school to worry about first, and bills to pay, before I find out more on that. And finding out more through a government office in Doer's Manitoba is like pulling teeth. Sort of like filing for EI. "Meh". I just say I am not all of the things the form says I should be for volunteering.
So, that said and done he was kind enough to suggest Winnipeg Harvest. But I figured volunteering at that point was more hard to get a position than an actual paying job. So next time I feel like working at a soup kitchen, I'll find the local food not bombs.
After this episode I was interested in the history of such missions and found some books interesting among them how the other half lives (a classic, but full of outdated terms) and articles such as one explaining the term rice Christian. Are these missions simply doing good work or exploiting a person down on their luck? Given these new hard times I'm sure missions will be out for an audience much like any political group or union.
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