Stories we are covering
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.
The Class Struggle in Greece
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.
Reflections on how to build a better world from a Leninist point of view.
In support of the intifada of the poor!
YCL-LJC International Commission
The Young Communist League of Canada expresses our solidarity with the intifada of the poor of the popular forces in Tunisia, as well as Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen and other Arab countries. We urge youth to join the mobilizations by youth and students across Canada in support of these uprisings. The strength and will of the people is stronger than ever, and is a testament to what the militant and united struggle of the workers and youth can achieve in the current context the economic crisis and the capitalist offensive against the people.
In Tunisia, where the protests were sparked, demonstrations follow more than two decades of the highest level of political repression, corruption, the illegal privatization of public resources, and blatant theft of public funds. The people of Tunisia have demanded change from the staggering unemployment and crippling poverty caused by imperialism and the dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, his wealthiest allies and his political colleagues, including interim prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, former minister of International Co-operation and Foreign Investment and from Ben Ali's very own oligarchy. We condemn the continued arrests in Tunisia of progressive trade unionists and students and pay homage to all those protestors killed in the violence.
We alert Canadian youth and student organizations of the hypocritical aspect of Prime Minister Harper’s recent statement on supporting democracy, being made in the Kingdom of Morocco, occupier of the last colony in Africa, Western Sahara. The Harper Conservatives, who until a week ago strongly supported these governments, cannot re-write their history. In the context of the debate about extraditing Ben Ali’s family members, we note that this has exposed the contradictory two-tier racist immigration system which spends most time punishing and deporting immigrant and migrant workers yet allows in Canada super-rich human rights violators from US-backed puppet regimes from around the world.
We urge the youth of Canada to oppose any imperialist attempts to interfere with the sovereign people’s of north Africa and the Middle East and their right to make their own future. For the Arab people, these struggles are only the continuation of a long battle for much needed political and economic reform that must go further; we support the demands for the redistribution of wealth and resources, which previously sat in the private hands.
The uprising has been an inspiration to not only to the Arab National Liberation movement but to all political activists and working people across the globe. Regardless of its outcome, it sends a signal that the people make history. We too, can throw off our chains and fight towards a democratic system that represents our interests, rather than those of our elite oppressors.
Keep the momentum going: you will win!
Canadian Youth: Condemn Harper’s Free Trade Agreement with Morocco
Young Communist League, Central Executive Committee
In late January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to Morocco where he met with King Mohammed VI to discuss a free trade agreement between the two countries. This agreement has the ignominious title of being the first of its kind between Canada and an African country, and follows on the heels of the Harper Conservative's shameful free-trade deal with Columbia's dictatorship. It is not surprising that the first country chosen for such an agreement would be one like Morocco; a staunch ally of US imperialism, a Kingdom devoid of democracy, and a colonial power.
We draw to the attention of the youth and student organizations of Canada that, since Morocco's decolonization from fascist Spain in 1975, Morocco has held Western Sahara as a colony, brutally suppressed its people, and deprived them of the economic benefits of their own land and resources. They have been embroiled in a struggle with the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, since day one, supported by the United States and CIA. This struggle took the form of armed conflict up until 1991, when a UN sponsored cease fire led to a transition towards peaceful means. But the promises of the UN sponsored cease fire have never been kept. A referendum on the independence of Western Sahara has been sabotaged at every turn, and today the fight for independence is beginning once again to heat up.
Late last year 15,000 youth from 156 different countries gathered in Tshwane, South Africa for the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, the largest anti-imperialist gathering in the world. The Final Declaration of the 17th WFYS demanded that Morocco immediately respect the right to self-determination of the Sharawi, end the blockade of the occupied territories, allow international observers and media in to Western Sahara, release all political prisoners and dismantle the wall which divides the territory.
We also note that the Polisario Front is recognized as the representative of the Western Saharawi people both by the people themselves, and by the United Nations. Over 50 countries recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, including full diplomatic relations with Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam, DPR Korea, Palestine, South Africa, and Mozambique.
The Harper Conservative government claims to be “neutral” in this conflict. This attitude effectively means support for the Moroccan occupation since it fails to recognize the rights of the struggling Western Saharawi people, the legitimacy of their state, and their grievances and condones the actions of the oppressor nation.
It should be no surprise that the ultra-right Harper regime expresses no qualms in dealing with the un-elected King of Morocco despite his disregard for democratic, civil and worker's rights. After all, this same government continues to unconditionally support the genocidal and racist apartheid regime of Israel. It continues to support the dictatorial Mubarak regime of Egypt, another ally of imperialism in the region.
It seems that the Harper Conservative government's sycophantic cries about “human rights” and “democracy” only apply when aimed spuriously at countries which are charting a path separate and apart from imperialism and its interests, such as in the case of socialist Cuba, Venezuela, and others.
Harper’s own distain for democracy and human rights has been proven time and time again -- in prorogues, the extension of the occupation troops in Afghanistan, the vicious suppression of dissent during the G20, attacks on women’s rights, and more.
The Young Communist League condemns imperialism, and its neo-liberal, free trade agenda. We condemn the Canadian governments complicity in the colonial occupation of Western Sahara and the brutality inflicted upon its people by the Moroccan state. We call for all progressive and democratic youth and student organizations across Canada to condemn the Canada-Morocco free trade agreement and fight for a foreign policy based on peace, solidarity, and disarmament. Harper and the Conservatives must be exposed for their support of anti-democratic regimes at the polls and in the streets!
Oppose Free Trade with Morocco!
Solidarity with the People of Western Sahara!
Long live the Polisario Front!
Long live the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic!
The final debate on Bill C-389, Equal Protection for Trans People will take place in Ottawa next Monday, February 7 and the vote will likely be as soon as Wednesday, February 9.
The vote will be very close and every call you send and each email you can send will definitely help. (All MP email addresses are available at www.labourcouncil.ca/tools)
We have waited long enough for equal protection in law to be extended to trans communities. Too many of us forget that it was in fact the trans community which led our struggle against police repression in 1969 at Stonewall and gave birth to the early lesbian and gay rights movement. Canadian society as a whole benefited from the1969 decriminalization of sexual orientation and impressive legal advances since.
Surely, now is the time to put an end to the exclusion of gender identity and gender expression in Canada's key legal instruments.
Please write or call your Member of Parliament today to encourage them to support this Bill.
An election is imminent. There may be no other chance to address the exclusion of gender identity and gender expression from the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
In particular, we need to target MPs who supported the bill on second reading (including 5 Conservative MPs) and those who were absent from that vote. To find out how MPs voted last time (Dec 7th) and who missed it, visit http://billc389.wordpress.com/english/frequently-asked-questions/how-did-my-mp-vote-on-dec-8/
How did all MPs vote on Dec. 8?
Results at a glance
The final result was 143 votes in favour and 131 votes against.
All NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs present voted in favour of the bill.
Most Liberals present voted in favour of the bill; three voted against.
Most Conservatives present voted against the bill; five voted in favour.
The three opposition party leaders voted in favour. Prime Minister Harper did not vote.
A note on abstentions: There is no way for an MP to officially be registered as abstaining on a bill, i.e. no way to distinguish between MPs choosing to abstain versus simply being absent (which may happen for many reasons: illness, duties in the riding, etc.; in the case of this vote, several MPs were at a climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico.)
However, immediately before the Dec. 7 vote on Bill C-389 took place, a Liberal bill concerning the census was voted on. We therefore note those MPs who voted on that bill, but chose not to vote on Bill C-389.
The recent weeks have witnessed important developments in several countries in the Middle East region, mainly in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. Those developments reflect the great will and capability of the peoples of those countries in their struggles for full independence, freedom and economic and social transformation.The first place was Tunisia were people went down into the streets since several weeks against the oppressive regime of the former - running away - president Bin Ali who controlled Tunisia by brute force since 24 years. The people could achieve their demand in ousting Bin Ali who ran away to Saudi Arabia. Now a new government was formed, but the people still refuse it and ask for deeper reforms. In this context WFDY supports the demands of the youth and people of Tunisia in their demands for reforming the constitution on democratic bases and the legalization of the opposition political parties, as well as their demands in suing the symbols of the former regime and forcing them out of the political life completely and to give back the fortunes they stole from the Tunisian people.
In Lebanon, the former government fell down after the resignation of 11 ministers out of it. This step led to the ousting of the US supported government and presented a shock for the imperialist forces trying to manipulate Lebanon. In this context, WFDY supports the rights of the Lebanese people in selecting their own government without foreign interventions. We also support the struggles of the Lebanese youth through the demonstrations that they organized for their economic rights against the high taxation system on the essential food and products and also on fuel.
Egypt today witnesses one of the most important times in its recent history, where hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating everyday against the regime, heroically overcoming the wave of repression that initially they were the target of, and demanding the resignation of the president Mubarak who rules Egypt since 30 years, and also for the resignation of the symbols of this corrupt regime. WFDY supports the demands of the Egyptian youth in reforming the system through constitutional amendments and reforms and also in their demands for higher wages and less taxes.
Egypt is a main political, economic and military force in the region that lies in the hands of US and Israeli intelligence and any real change will constitute a huge blow for the imperialist forces in the region.
WFDY supports progressive reforms in Egypt and in the region and calls the youth in the Middle East to unify their efforts and struggles through common actions for a better future full of democratic rights and economic and social transformations. WFDY full adopts the demand for the immediate resignation of President Mubarak as a sign of tyranny, oppressions and loyalty to imperialism in the region.
Finally, WFDY considers that these struggles are a proof and an inspiration for all the young people of the world that, even under the harshest conditions and the most brutal repression, it is possible to resist and to win!
Hundreds protest against high prices and regressive taxation
By Simona Sikimic
BEIRUT: Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Beirut Sunday to protest against high food and fuel prices and continued economic hardships.
Marching from Cola to Downtown Beirut, the protesters chanted slogans such as “Bread, freedom, dignity and patriotism” but were denied access to their intended destination outside the Grand Serail, which was cordoned off by riot police. Some minor altercations, including a protester trying to remove a barrier, were reported, but the demonstration remained overwhelmingly peaceful.
“We are mobilizing about issues like wages, the high cost of living and the day-to-day concerns of the people,” said Omar Deeb, secretary general of Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth (ULDY), which organized the march. “Politicians only talk about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the ‘false witnesses’ but no one is talking about the actually important problems.”
With a nationwide base of young activists, ULDY had expected to attract a larger turn out but their efforts were hampered by bad weather. Further protests are now expected to take place over the coming months.
“While the new government is being formed, we decided to use the streets so that the government is not given an allowance [to not] resume basic responsibilities to assure [decent] living standards and food stability and work against poverty,” UDLY said in a statement.
Concerns including rising prices of basic commodities and high and regressive taxation, which places a heavy burden on the poor, while making allowances for the rich, topped the list of grievances.
“VAT tax which hits all people is 10 percent but this is similar to taxes that banks and big businesses pay,” said Deeb. “Some are even exempt totally and something has to be done about this. Ordinary people have the right to live in dignity. We have to introduce a degree of social responsibility into the system.
“Economic issues have to be placed higher on the agenda,” he added.
Alongside other demands, the group is petitioning authorities to begin subsidizing the price of grain and introduce fuel subsides for the poor.
It also plans to picket the General Labor Union which it blames for not doing enough to preserve the interests of its members and for being too close to the Hezbollah-led March 8 camp.
Mass protests over concerns such as high youth unemployment and food instability, have swept the Arab world in the last month, with manifestations reported in Tunis, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
From People's Voice
By Stephen Von Sychowski
The Anti‑Imperialist Court convened on Dec. 19-20 in Tshwane, South Africa, as part of the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students. Witnesses from across the globe told of the horrors inflicted upon their countries by imperialism.
Among these moving presentations was that of the Vietnamese youth, who told of the terrible consequences of the chemical substance Agent Orange, used between 1967 and 1971 by the US military as part of their war of aggression against the national liberation movement in Vietnam.
Agent Orange, code named for the orange barrels in which it was shipped, was used as a herbicide and defoliant. The chemical was used to remove the cover provided by forests to Vietnamese liberation fighters, and to destroy crops in order to force peasants towards the US‑dominated cities. The goal was to deprive the guerilla forces of their base of support and food supplies in the countryside.
The US air force cynically termed this campaign of chemical warfare "Operation Ranch Hand". During this genocidal operation, 6,542 spraying missions occurred, pouring 75 million liters of Agent Orange on South Vietnam. These missions destroyed 10 million hectares of agricultural land. More than 20% of South Vietnam's forest land was sprayed at least once.
This alone would have made the use of Agent Orange a crime against humanity and an act of terrorism, considering the mass, indiscriminate use of dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. But Agent Orange also includes a highly toxic dioxin compound called 2,3,7,8‑Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin.
About 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange. More than 400,000 people were killed, injured, or disabled, and over 500,000 children were born with birth defects due to the exposure of their parents. Some 1.5 million refugees were forced into the slums of Saigon during this period. These numbers include neither the additional use of Agent Orange in Laos and Cambodia, nor its effects on US troops.
Survivors, and their descendants, continue to suffer from birth defects and deformities, high rates of cancer and skin diseases, and other illnesses. Dioxin continues to turn up in the breast milk and blood of South Vietnamese people. Dioxin- contaminated soil continues to menace food and water supplies. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates 3 million Vietnamese people have been affected.
The spraying of forests deeply harmed the ecology of Vietnam. Deforested areas remain difficult, if not impossible, to reforest. Areas subjected to Agent Orange have very low levels of species diversity. Dioxins continue to move through the food web as a result of the ingestion of contaminated plants, animals, and water. Both the US government and the corporations who produced Agent Orange (Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Diamond Shamrock) deny responsibility for the monstrous effects of the chemical warfare unleashed by US imperialism. A class action lawsuit filed by US veterans resulted in compensation which was pitifully inadequate. Meanwhile, compensation to the Vietnamese people has been practically non‑existent.
Vietnamese complaints were ignored until 2002, when the US and Vietnam began joint research and discussions around the health and environmental impacts of Agent Orange. In 2004, Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange filed a class action lawsuit, which was dismissed in the US courts. The US government invoked sovereign immunity, which was also declared applicable to the chemical companies contracted to make Agent Orange. Negotiations broke down in 2005 and joint research was cancelled. An appeal against the dismissal of the class action suit was denied in 2007.
In 2006, George W. Bush promised cooperation with Vietnam on addressing the affects of Agent Orange. But to date only $9 billion has been provided by the US government, while the cost of cleaning up Agent Orange is estimated at around $300 million.
In June 2010, a joint panel of U.S. and Vietnamese policymakers, citizens and scientists released a proposal urging $30 million per year over the next 10 years to clean up dioxin-contaminated sites. To date, the demands of Vietnam, and many others in the international community, have been ignored by the US government.
The use of Agent Orange was a crime against both humanity and the environment. The efforts of US imperialism to use terror, mass murder, economic sabotage, and ecological destruction, did not stop the Vietnamese people from winning their independence. But a third generation of Vietnamese continue to face the tragic consequences of chemical warfare.
Today, the US continues its violent occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, which include the use of such substances as depleted uranium. Israel, a close ally of the US, continues to act as an apartheid state, carrying out genocidal policies against the Palestinian people, and using illegal weapons such as white phosphorus. One can only wonder if today's warmongers have learned nothing from the past. And worse, what price will future generations pay for today's crimes of imperialism?
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Rebel Youth offers a weekly pan-Canadian Socialist perspectives on the youth and student movement across Canada and internationally. Produced by the Young Communist League of Canada, we publish in print edition three times a year. Our sister magazine in French is Jeunesse Militante Write us (Rebel Youth 290A Danforth Ave, Toroto ON., M4K 1N6) to get copy of either publication - $12 CND. for four issues. Read the media that fights back. Because there is no time like now to organize!
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- Rise Up
- Students for a Public Education System
- In support of the intifada of the poor!
- Canadian Youth: Condemn Harper’s Free Trade Agreem...
- Please help gather support for bill C-389
- On the developments in Middle East
- Lebanese youth demand Bread, freedom, dignity and ...
- Agent Orange continues to cause suffering
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