March 12, 2011
Reflections by Comrade Fidel
NATO, WAR, LIES AND BUSINESS
As some may be aware, in September of 1969, Muammar al-Gaddafi, an Arab Bedouin soldier of a peculiar character and inspired by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, promoted in the heart of the armed forces a movement overthrowing King Idris I of Libya, a country almost completely covered by desert and having very little population, located in northern Africa between Tunisia and Egypt.
Libya’s important valuable energy resources were progressively being discovered.
Born to a tribal Bedouin family of nomadic desert shepherds in the region of Tripoli, Gaddafi was profoundly anti-colonialist. It is affirmed that his paternal grandfather died fighting against the Italian invaders when Libya was invaded by them in 1911. The colonial regime and fascism changed everyone’s lives. It is also said that his father was imprisoned rather than make his living as an industrial worker.
Even Gaddafi’s adversaries assure us that he stood out for his intelligence as a student; he was expelled from high-school for his anti-monarchic activities. He managed to enrol in another high-school and later graduated in law at the University of Benghazi at the age of 21. Then he enrolled in the Benghazi Military College where he created what was called the Secret Unionist Movement of Free Officers, concluding his education later on in a British military academy.
This background explains the notable influence he wielded afterwards in Libya and on other political leaders, whether today they are pro-Gaddafi or not.
He had begun his political life with events that were without question, revolutionary.
In March of 1970, after massive nationalist demonstrations, he managed to have British soldiers evacuated from the country and in June, the United States vacated the great air base near Tripoli, handing it over to military instructors from Egypt, a Libyan ally.
In 1970, several western oil companies and banking companies having the participation of foreign capital were affected by the Revolution. At the end of 1971, the famous British Petroleum had the same fate. In the agricultural sector, all Italian properties were confiscated, and the colonists and their descendents were expelled from Libya.
State intervention was directed to the control of the great companies. Production in that country came to enjoy one of the highest levels in the Arab world. Gambling and the drinking of alcohol were prohibited. The traditionally limited legal status of women was improved.
The Libyan leader got involved in extremist theories that were opposed both to communism and capitalism. It was a stage when Gaddafi dedicated himself to theorizing, something that doesn’t have any place in this analysis, other than to point out that the first article of the Constitutional Proclamation of 1969 established the “Socialist” nature of the Great Socialist People’s Libya Arab Jamahiriya.
What I wish to emphasize is that the United States and its allies were never interested in human rights.
The hornet’s nest taking place in the Security Council, at the meeting of the Human Rights Council at the Geneva headquarters and in the UN General Assembly in New York was pure theatre.
I completely understand the reactions of the political leaders involved in so many contradictions and sterile debate, given the tangled web of interests and problems they must look after.
We all know very well that the character of permanent member, the power of veto, the possession of nuclear weapons and quite a few institutions are sources of privileges and interests imposed by force onto humankind. One can agree or not with many of them, but one can never accept them as fair or ethical measures.
The empire now wants to see events revolve around what Gaddafi may or may not have done, because it needs to intervene militarily in Libya and strike a blow at the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world. Up to now, not one word was said; they kept their mouths shut and carried on with business.
With the latent Libyan rebellion being promoted by Yankee intelligence, or by Gaddafi’s own errors, it is important that the people don’t let themselves be deceived, since very soon world opinion shall have enough elements to know what to expect.
In my opinion, and that’s what I said from the very first instant, we must denounce NATO’s war-mongering plans.
Like many Third World countries, Libya is a member of NAM, the Group of 77 and other international organizations, through which relations are established separately from its economic and social system.
As an outline: the Revolution in Cuba, inspired by Marxist-Leninist principles and those of Marti, had triumphed in 1959, 90 miles away from the United States which imposed on us the Platt Amendment and owned the economy of our country.
Almost immediately, the empire promoted the dirty war against our people, counter-revolutionary gangs, the criminal economic blockade, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, watched over by an aircraft carrier and their Marines ready to land if the mercenaries were to gain determinate objectives.
Just a year and a half later, they threatened us with their nuclear arsenal. A nuclear war was on the point of breaking out.
All the Latin American countries, with the exception of Mexico, took part in the criminal blockade which is still in place today, with our country never surrendering. It is important to be reminded of this, for those lacking historical memory.
In January of 1986, using the idea that Libya was behind the so-called revolutionary terrorism, Reagan ordered economic and commercial relations with that country to be broken.
In March, a force of aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Sidra, inside what is considered to be Libyan national waters, launched attacks that caused the destruction of several naval units armed with missile launchers and coastal radar systems that that country had acquired in the USSR.
On April 5th, a Berlin disco that US soldiers went to was the victim of plastic explosives; three persons died, two of them American soldiers, and many were wounded.
Reagan accused Gaddafi and ordered the Air Force to retaliate. Three squadrons took off from the Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers and bases in the United Kingdom, attacking seven military targets in Tripoli and Benghazi with missiles and bombs. Around 40 people died, 15 of them civilians. Warned of the bombers’ advance, Gaddafi assembled his family and was abandoning his residence located at the Bab Al Aziziya military complex to the south of the capital. The evacuation was in progress when a missile made a direct hit on his residence; his daughter Hanna died and two other children were wounded. The occurrence was broadly condemned: the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning violation of the UN Charter and International law. So did NAM, the Arab League and the OAU, in energetic terms.
On December 21, 1988, a Pan Am Boeing 747 flying from London to New York disintegrated in mid-air after a bomb exploded; the remains of the plane fell over Lockerbie and the tragedy tolled 270 lives, of 21 nationalities.
At first the US government suspected Iran acting in retaliation for the death of 200 persons in the downing of an airbus from its state airline. According to the Yankees, investigations implicated two Libyan intelligence agents. Similar imputations against Libya were made for a French airliner on the Brazzaville-N’Djamena-Paris route, implicating Libyan officials that Gaddafi refused to extradite, for facts he categorically denied.
A sinister legend was fabricated against him with the participation of Reagan and Bush Sr.
From 1975 up to the final stage of the Reagan government, Cuba had devoted itself to its internationalist duties in Angola and other African countries. We were aware of the conflicts developing in Libya, or around it, because of reading material or eye-witness accounts written by people who were closely connected to that country and the Arab world, as well as because of the impressions we had about various personalities from different countries with whom we had been in touch during those years.
Many well-known African leaders with whom Gaddafi had close ties tried to seek solutions for the tense relations between Libya and the United Kingdom.
The Security Council had imposed sanctions on Libya that were starting to be overcome when Gaddafi accepted to put the two people accused for the plane downed over Scotland on trial, with certain conditions.
Libyan delegations began to be invited to inter-European meetings. In July of 1999, London initiated the re-establishing of full diplomatic relations with Libya, after some additional concessions.
In September of that year, the European Union ministers accepted withdrawing the restrictive measures on commerce that had been taken in 1992.
On December 2nd, Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema of Italy made the first visit of a European head of government to Libya.
With the USSR and the European Socialist bloc gone, Gaddafi decided to accept the demands of the United States and NATO.
When I visited Libya in May of 2001, he showed me the ruins caused by the traitorous attack with which Reagan had killed his daughter and had been on the point of exterminating his entire family.
At the beginning of 2002, the State Department informed that diplomatic talks were going on between the US and Libya.
In May, Libya had been included again on the list of states sponsoring terrorism even though, in January, President George W. Bush had not mentioned the African country in his famous speech on the members of the “axis of evil”.
As 2003 began, because of the economic agreement on the compensations reached between Libya and the suing countries, the United Kingdom and France, the UN Security Council lifted the 1992 sanctions against Libya.
Before 2003 drew to a close, Bush and Tony Blair informed about an agreement with Libya, a country that had handed over to United Kingdom and Washington intelligence experts documentation on the non-conventional weapons programs such as ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometres. Officials from both countries had already visited various installations. It was the result of many months of talks between Tripoli and Washington as Bush himself revealed.
Gaddafi fulfilled his promises of disarmament. In a few months Libya handed over five units of Scud-C missiles with a range of 800 kilometres and the hundreds of Scud-Bs whose range surpassed the 300 kilometres for short-range defensive missiles.
From October of 2002, the marathon of visits to Tripoli began: Berlusconi in October of 2002; José María Aznar in September of 2003; Berlusconi again in February, August and October of 2004; Blair in March of 2004; Germany’s Schröeder in October of that year; Jacques Chirac in November of 2004. Everybody was happy. Mr. Money is a powerful gentleman.
Gaddafi triumphantly toured Europe. He was received in Brussels in April of 2004 by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission; in August of that year the Libyan leader invited Bush to visit his country; Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco and Conoco Philips finalized the re-establishing of extracting crude by means of joint ventures.
In May of 2006, the United States announced the withdrawal of Libya from the list of terrorist countries and the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
In 2006 and 2007, France and the US signed agreements for nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes; in May of 2007, Blair once again visited Gaddafi at Sidra. BP signed an “enormously important” agreement according to statements, in order to explore for gas fields.
In December of 2007, Gaddafi made two visits to France and signed contracts for military and civilian equipment for the total of 10 billion Euros; and a visit to Spain where he met with President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Million-dollar contracts were signed with important NATO countries.
What is it that has now caused the precipitated withdrawal from the embassies of the United States and the other NATO members?
It’s all extremely odd.
George W. Bush, father of the stupid anti-terrorism war, stated on September 20 of 2001 to the West point cadets that:
Our security will require [...] transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment of notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and [...] our lives.
We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries[...] Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires.
What will Obama think about that speech?
What sanctions will the Security Council impose on those who killed more than a million civilians in Iraq and on those who every day are killing men, women and children in Afghanistan, where in recent days the enflamed population thronged into the streets to protest the massacre of innocent children?
An AFP dispatch from Kabul, dated today on March 9th, reveals that: “Last year was the most deadly for civilians in nine years of war between the Taliban and international forces in Afghanistan, with almost 2,800 dead, 15% more than in 2009, a UN report indicated on Wednesday, underlining the human cost of the conflict for the population.”
“…the Taliban insurrection intensified and gained ground these last few years, with guerrilla actions further from its traditions bastions to the south and east.”
“With exactly 2,777 the number of civilian deaths in 2010 increased 15% as compared to 2009, indicates the annual joint report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan...”
“President Barack Obama stated on the 3rd of March his "profound condolences" to the Afghan people for the nine dead children; US General David Petraeus, commander in chief of the ISAF and Secretary of the Defence Robert Gates made similar statements.”
“…the UNAMA report emphasizes that the number of civilian dead in 2010 is four times greater than the number of international forces soldiers killed in combat in that same year.
“The year 2010 has been by far the most deadly year for foreign soldiers in nine years of war, with 711 dead, confirming that the Taliban guerrilla has intensified despite the sending of 30,000 US reinforcements last year.”
For 10 days, in Geneva and in the UN more than 150 speeches were made about violations on human rights that were repeated millions of times by TV, radio, Internet and the printed press.
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez, in his speech on March 1st before the Foreign Ministers meeting in Geneva, stated:
“Human conscience rejects the deaths of innocent people in any circumstance and in any place. Cuba fully shares world concern for the losses in civilian lives in Libya and wishes that their people attain a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war happening over there, without any foreign interference, and ensuring the integrity of that nation.”
Some of the final paragraphs of his speech were noteworthy:
“If essential human rights are a right of life, is the Council ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash war?”
“Will it suspend states that finance and supply military aid used by the receiving state in massive, flagrant and systematic violations on human rights and in attacks on civilian populations, such as what is happening in Palestine?”
“Will it apply that measure against powerful countries that carry out extra-judicial executions on the territory of other states, using high technology such as smart bombs and unmanned planes?
“What would happen with states that accept on their territory illegal secret prisons, facilitate secret flights carrying kidnapped persons or participate in acts of torture?”
We fully share the courageous position of the Bolivarian leader Hugo Chávez and ALBA.
We are against the internal war in Libya, in favour of immediate peace and full respect for life and the rights of all citizens, with no foreign intervention that would only serve to prolong the conflict and NATO interests.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 9, 2011
The progressive and anti-imperialist youth of the world will continue support the cause of the people of Puerto Rico as it keeps being a neo colony of the US imperialist administration. This support was underlined in the XVII WFYS, held in South Africa, where we committed to continue struggle until the day of freedom arrives for this people.
WFDY, on behalf of its member and friendly organizations and progressive youth of the world, expresses its total solidarity with university students and calls upon the young progressive people of the world to express its solidarity towards the university and people of Puerto Rico in its struggle to free itself from the yankee imperialism on this March 11.
March 10, 2011
The turmoil and resulting loss of life in Libya is horrendous and deeply regrettable; however this crisis must be resolved by the Libyan people themselves, not through foreign interference. The Communist Party of Canada is categorically opposed to imperialist intervention in any form, or under any pretext.
Efforts to mediate a peaceful, political settlement to the conflict under the aegis of the African Union have been stymied by the imperialist powers which seek to impose a military solution that would advance their economic and political interests not only in Libya but also throughout North Africa and the Middle East as a whole.
The mainstream corporate media equates the uprising in Libya with the previous uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but they are not at all the same. The opposition to the Qaddafi-led regime is multi-layered and very heterogeneous. On one hand, they include those justifiably demanding greater democratic rights and freedom of expression, and an immediate end to political suppression and human rights abuses by the current government.
Deteriorating socio-economic conditions have also fed the fire of revolt. The social advances ushered in by the 1969 revolution which overthrew the monarchic regime significantly improved the living conditions of the Libyan working class. Financed largely through the revenues of the nationalized oil industry, universal access to quality healthcare, education (including post-secondary studies) and social services were all greatly expanded and improved, and the real incomes of the people soared, helping Libya achieve the highest level of GNP per-capita income and human development index ranking in all of Africa. However since the early 1990s, there has been a steady rollback in progressive social policies, under the tutelage of the IMF. A number of key industries were privatized, wealth became ever more concentrated in the hands of the well-connected, unemployment (especially among youth) grew substantially, and social disparities widened along both class and regional lines, aggravating long-standing tribal relations inside the country.
There can be no doubt that these political and socio-economic grievances and contradictions laid the objective basis for the resulting protest movement. The unacceptable actions of the Qaddafi-led regime in violently suppressing the largely peaceful protests further inflamed the situation, widening the social base of the opposition.
On the other hand however, the opposition forces are also composed of reactionary and imperialist-sponsored elements, including pro-monarchist forces which have never forgiven the ’69 revolution for dethroning King Idris, as well as well-financed pro-imperialist groupings such as the so-called “National Front for the Salvation of Libya” which is bankrolled by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, a notorious CIA-run conduit which finances counter-revolutionary forces around the globe (in Cuba, Venezuela, etc.). The NFSL has maintained a para-military training base for a ‘liberation army’ across the Libya-Egypt border for years, armed and financed by U.S. imperialism.
These are the reactionary forces which the imperialist powers are actively supporting and promoting – a puppet ‘government-in-waiting’ that U.S. imperialism and its allies, including Canada, plan to impose on the Libyan people once they have crushed the Qaddafi regime. In this sense, it is fully accurate to speak of an imperialist conspiracy to impose its own solution through military force – either unilaterally or under the cover of the UN Security Council – with the aim of securing Libya’s oil resources, and tilting the political-economic and strategic balance of forces throughout the region back in its favour.
That is why it is absolutely crucial that the peace and labour movements and all progressive, anti-imperialist and peace-loving people across Canada do everything possible to:
* prevent such an imperialist-led military ‘solution’ to the Libyan crisis, hypocritically disguised as a “humanitarian intervention”;
* to oppose the threatened imposition of a “no-fly zone” which would constitute an act of war under international law;
* to condemn the aggressive role of the Harper Conservative government in this dangerous misadventure;
* to demand the immediate recall of the HMCS Charlottetown, a heavily-armed warship it has sent as part of the NATO military build-up;
* to oppose that UN-imposed sanctions on Libya which will inflict further pain on the already suffering masses of Libyan people;
* to uphold the national sovereignty of Libya; and
* to promote a peaceful, political solution to this crisis.
Issued by the Central Executive Committee,
Communist Party of Canada
March 8, 2011
March 9, 2011
Text and photos: Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver, Special correspondent
WHILE it appears that Haiti is no longer news for some international forces who have withdrawn from the country, the Cuban Medical Brigade reaffirmed its commitment to life and heath for this sister Caribbean country, during the presentation of its annual report March 5-6, in Port-au-Prince.
Dr. Lorenzo Somarriba, head of the Cuban medical mission here, offered a broad overview of the year's work, marked by the two catastrophes suffered by this nation: the emergency produced by the devastating earthquake of January 2010, which in a matter of minutes killed 300,000 people and destroyed the limited infrastructure existent within the country and the terrible cholera epidemic which is a long way from being defeated, despite initial inroads.
The report provoked serious discussion of measures to strengthen the Haitian public health system, primary care in particular, through the Cuban-Venezuelan project and the tripartite agreement with Brazil and other nations in this sector, and how to eliminate cholera and avoid its further spread.
Noteworthy within this effort is the completion of 10 community reference hospitals, financed with funds from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), two health centers and a storage facility for medication and equipment, staffed by the Cuban Brigade, which is already responsible for 69 Cuban-Venezuelan project centers and has personnel serving within 87 Haitian Ministry of Health and Population facilities.
Amidst difficult conditions the Cuban internationalists have, during the past year, carried out more than 1.7 million consultations (22.4% in the field), performed 37,846 surgeries and attended 10,170 births.
It is impressive that the Cuban Brigade has treated 30% of all cholera victims in Haiti, and only mourned 6% of total deaths in the country due to the disease, which speaks for its commitment to the struggle for Haitian lives.
The working strategy to eradicate this disease was delineated very clearly, how to provide services in cholera units and centers with the minimum staff strictly necessary, thus freeing Brigade members to address other medical needs.
The World and Pan-American Health Organizations and UNESCO's food program were thanked for their timely support.
Within this context, much serious discussion took place about the need to conserve resources, to provide directors with better economic training, to carefully manage equipment and promote its rational use, giving priority to clinical diagnoses.
The comments made by Dr. Alina Cárdenas, head of the Party's work group, and Ricardo García, Cuba's ambassador in Haiti, and others, devoted special attention to the preparation of those to come, looking to preserve and improve all that has been done by Cuban medicine during its 12-year presence in Haiti.
On this front, the results are clear and allow for well-founded confidence in the future.
The meeting concluded with good news: the election of Dr. Alina Cárdenas, as a delegate to the 6th Party Congress and on March 5, for the second consecutive day since the beginning of the epidemic more than four months ago, fewer than 100 cases of cholera were reported within the regions being served by the Cuban Medical Brigade.
Translated by Granma International
March 8, 2011
WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
International Women's Day 2011 Greetings from the Communist Party of Canada
This year, the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day comes amidst inspiring new struggles for democratic rights in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries. Women have played key roles in the trade union, community, student and other grassroots organizing which sparked these popular uprisings, and in the powerful fightback against the attacks on public sector unions in Wisconsin.
Across the capitalist world, women are disproportionately paying the price for government bailouts of the banks and major corporations. Across Europe, women are active in the fightbacks against the neo‑liberal cuts to social programs, public service lay‑offs and massive raises in tuition.
In Canada, IWD 2011 comes amidst the intense battle over pension rights, such as the U.S. steel lockout of steelworkers in Hamilton. The attacks by corporations upon the hard won pensions of their workers, and by the government upon public pension plans, have the sharpest impact on women, given their lower average incomes, and higher rates of poverty.
This year's IWD follows a groundbreaking vote in the House of Commons, adding gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination and harassment in both the Canadian Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code. While it still must pass the Senate, Bill C‑384 is a major advance for human rights in Canada ‑ particularly for trans women.
March 8 has always been a day to honour women's struggles, take stock of hard‑won gains, and put forward demands to promote full equality.
IWD is particularly significant for working class women, oppressed by the "double burden" of exploitation in the workplace and the major share of domestic labour. Despite the growing numbers of women in Canada's workforce, their unequal economic status is reflected in a 30% "wage gap" and many other indicators.
Statistics Canada reports that in 2009, 58.3% of women ‑ a total of 8.1 million ‑ were employed, more than double the 1976 total. This includes 72.9% of women with children under 16 at home. Despite considerable strides since the 1970s, women are still less likely to be employed than men, with the exception of young women aged 15 to 24.
While about 73% of employed women worked full‑time in 2009, another 27% worked fewer than 30 hours per week, more than double the 12% of men who work part‑time. Nearly 7 out of 10 part‑time workers are female, a total of 2.2 million women, a pattern which has changed little in recent decades. Low‑paid women are increasingly compelled to hold more than one job. By 2009, about 56% of multiple job holders were women.
Meanwhile, the percentage of women in unionized jobs has risen dramatically, from 22.3% in 1976, to 32.6% in 2009, while men's unionization has fallen from 39% to 30.3%. Women now make up a majority of organized workers in Canada.
The majority of employed women (67% in 2009) still work in "traditional" sectors: teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or administrative positions, or sales and service, compared with 31% of employed men.
Young women, and immigrant and aboriginal women, have higher unemployment rates.
The unequal economic status of women in Canada has been condemned internationally. High poverty levels and the lack of social assistance to women have been raised by virtually every United Nations body that reviews Canada's human rights performance, including the CEDAW Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee, and the Human Rights Council.
The fight for equality
Despite the claim that women have achieved "equality," they still face under‑funding of emergency shelters and support services for victims of family violence. Economic and social conditions are shameful for Aboriginal women and girls, who are particularly vulnerable to racism and inequality, and hundreds of whom have been murdered or disappeared. The shameful decision by the Harper Tories to deny funding for the Sisters in Spirit progam is yet another attempt to silence the voices of Aboriginal women.
Internationally, trillions of dollars are wasted on war instead of development efforts to provide women and girls with education and economic opportunities, clean water, adequate health care, and more human rights protection, including personal security, choice in marriage, and reproductive choice.
Global environmental devastation impacts women and children, from those living downstream from Canada's tar sands, to those living in drought stricken sub‑saharan Africa. Changing material conditions goes hand in hand with changing social attitudes. Today it is more obvious than ever that war is the most terrible crime against humanity. In many countries, from the Middle East to Afghanistan to Congo toColombia, wars increasingly target civilian populations. Women and children are casualties of bombardment from the air and atrocities on the ground, and the victims of public health catastrophes arising from the destruction of power plants, water supply systems and hospitals.
The Communist Party expresses our full solidarity for all women involved in the struggle for survival under difficult conditions. We demand that the state of Israel abandon its policy of territorial expansion, violence and economic strangulation of Palestinian communities, an apartheid policy which imposes terrible hardships upon the women of Gaza and the West Bank. The women of Haiti need our full solidarity following the tragic earthquake in that country; we reject the strategy of imperialist governments which have sent troops instead of medical personnel.
International Women's Day 2011 takes place in a time of ongoing economic crisis. Government and corporate reassurances of recovery are exposed as lay‑offs, plant closures and attacks on pensions continue. The corporations, and the governments which serve them, are increasing economic disparity by cutting social programs and giving bailouts to wealthy shareholders and CEOs. Rather than pay for the crisis which their system created, the capitalists want to roll back workers' gains and set the stage for ever‑deepening exploitation.
The demand for a country‑wide child care system, a key issue in election after election, has again been abandoned by the minority Harper government. Incredibly, pay equity is actually under attack, and even the opportunity for complaints through the courts is denied. The Tories ignore calls to improve the Employment Insurance system paid for by all workers. As the majority of part‑time and minimum wage workers, women are disproportionately under‑protected; only three women out of ten in the workforce are eligible to collect EI. Even those who meet the requirements can't survive on benefit rates set at 55% of their low previous earnings.
Needed: a working class response
The response to the economic crisis by working people, women and men, must be a massive campaign to build a People's Coalition for a genuine alternative to corporate greed. Such a campaign, led by the labour movement and its allies, should fight to restructure the economy, to provide sustainable jobs and to improve social services such as health, education and universal child care, to provide increased opportunities for women in the work force. To protect jobless workers and their families, EI payments must be set at 90% of previous earnings for the full duration of unemployment. Evictions and utility cutoffs against all families affected by unemployment must be banned. The labour movement must put much greater emphasis on organizing unorganized women, the most important way to combat poverty and income disparity.
But as long as capitalism continues, it will continue to generate poverty, inequality, exploitation, environmental degradation and war. These are not accidental side‑effects, they are necessary ingredients of a system designed to maximize profit in private hands. Under capitalism, the women of the world face tremendous struggles to win new progress, or to hold on to gains already won. Every step forward will be threatened by the next economic downturn, and the danger of war is never absent. Only socialism, based on democratic, collective ownership and working class power, can permit the enormous creative and productive potential of the world's workers to be used constructively for human needs.
Communists have played a leading role since the inception of International Women's Day, which was unanimously adopted by a Socialist International women's conference in Copenhagen in 1910 and observed for the first time in 1911. The Communist Party of Canada salutes women who are struggling throughout the world for peace, justice and equality, whose full participation is essential for the success of all working class and democratic movements.
On IWD 2011, the Communist Party of Canada stands in solidarity with all those who struggle for peace, equality, democracy and social progress. A better world is both possible and necessary ‑ the world of socialism, the only system which can guarantee full equality and a future for humanity!
LES DROITS DES FEMMES SONT DES DROITS HUMAINS
Salutations du Parti communiste du Canada à l’occasion de la journée internationale de la femme 2011
Cette année, à son 100e anniversaire, la Journée internationale de la femme arrive au moment où de nouvelles luttes pour les droits démocratiques en Tunisie, en Égypte et dans d'autres pays nous inspirent. Les femmes ont joué un rôle clé au sein des syndicats, des communautés, des associations étudiantes et d’autres organisations de masse qui ont déclenchées ces soulèvements populaires au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique, et aussi dans la riposte puissante aux attaques contre les syndicats du secteur public dans le Wisconsin.
Partout dans le monde capitaliste, les femmes paient le prix pour les plans de sauvetage des gouvernements pour les banques et les grandes entreprises. Partout en Europe, les femmes sont actives dans la riposte contre les coupures néolibérales dans les programmes sociaux, les licenciements massifs dans les services publics et l’augmentation des frais de scolarité.
Au Canada, la Journée international de la femme (JIF) 2011 arrive au milieu de l'intense bataille sur les droits aux pensions, comme le montre le lock-out des métallurgistes d’U.S. steel à Hamilton. Les attaques par les entreprises sur les pensions durement gagnées par leurs travailleurs et leurs travailleuses, et les attaques du gouvernement sur les régimes de retraite publics, ont une forte incidence sur les femmes, compte tenu de leur revenu généralement inférieur et donc de leur plus grande pauvreté.
La JIF de cette année suit un vote crucial à la Chambre des communes ; l’ajout de l'identité sexuelle et de l’expression sexuelle comme motif de discrimination et de harcèlement dans les Code canadien des droits de l'homme et dans le Code criminel. Alors qu'il doit encore passer au Sénat, le projet de loi C-384 constitue une avancée majeure pour les droits humains au Canada - en particulier pour les femmes transsexuelles.
Le 8 mars a toujours été une journée pour honorer les luttes des femmes, faire le point sur les gains durement acquis, et faire avancer des demandes visant à promouvoir la pleine égalité.
La JIF est particulièrement important pour les travailleuses, opprimées par le «double fardeau» de l'exploitation comme travailleuses et du travail domestique toujours majoritairement effectué par des femmes. Malgré le nombre croissant des femmes dans la population active au Canada, l’inégalité de leur statut économique se traduit entre autres par un écart salarial par rapport aux hommes de 30%.
Statistique Canada rapporte qu'en 2009, 58,3% des femmes – soit 8,1 millions de femmes - avaient un emploi, plus du double de 1976. 72,9% de ces femmes avaient des enfants de moins de 16 ans à la maison. Malgré des progrès considérables depuis les années 1970, les femmes sont toujours moins susceptibles d'être embauchées que les hommes, à l'exception des jeunes femmes âgées de 15 à 24.
Alors qu'environ 73% des femmes travaillaient à temps plein en 2009, un autre 27% ont travaillé moins de 30 heures par semaine, soit plus du double des d'hommes (12%) qui travaillent à temps partiel. Près de 7 travailleurs sur 10 à temps partiel sont des femmes, pour un total de 2,2 millions de femmes, un modèle qui a peu changé au cours des dernières décennies. Les femmes avec de bas salaires sont de plus en plus forcées d’avoir plus d'un emploi. En 2009, environ 56% des personnes ayant des emplois multiples étaient des femmes.
Pourtant, le pourcentage de femmes occupant des emplois syndiqués a augmenté de façon spectaculaire, passant de 22,3% en 1976, à 32,6% en 2009, tandis que la syndicalisation des hommes a diminué de 39% à 30,3%. Les femmes représentent aujourd'hui la majorité des travailleurs et des travailleuses syndiqués au Canada.
La majorité des femmes occupant un emploi (67% en 2009) travaillent encore dans les secteurs «traditionnels»: enseignement, soins infirmiers et professions liés à la santé, les emplois de bureau ou administratif, ou la vente et les services, comparativement à 31% des hommes.
Le taux de chômage est plus élevé chez les jeunes femmes, les femmes immigrantes et les femmes autochtones.
L'inégalité du statut économique des femmes au Canada a été condamnée au niveau international. Les niveaux élevés de pauvreté et le manque d'assistance sociale aux femmes ont été soulevés par la quasi-totalité des organisations des Nations Unies qui examinent la performance du Canada en ce qui concernent les droits humains, tel que le Comité pour l'élimination de la discrimination à l'égard des femmes, le Comité des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, le Comité des droits humains et le conseil des droits humains.
La lutte pour l'égalité
En dépit de l'affirmation selon laquelle les femmes ont obtenu l '«égalité», les refuges d'urgence et les services de soutien aux victimes de violence familiale font toujours face à un sous-financement. Les conditions économiques et sociales des femmes et des filles autochtones qui sont particulièrement vulnérables au racisme et aux inégalités sont une honte. Des centaines d'entre elles ont été assassinées ou ont disparues. La décision honteuse par les conservateurs de Harper de refuser le financement au programme Sisters in Spirit (Sœurs en Esprit) est encore une autre tentative pour faire taire la voix des femmes autochtones.
Au niveau international, des trillions de dollars sont gaspillés sur la guerre au lieu de contribuer au développement et de fournir aux femmes et aux filles des possibilités éducatives et économiques, de l'eau potable, des soins de santé adéquats, et une plus grande protection de leur droits, comme leurs droits à la sécurité personnelle, au choix dans le mariage et au choix en matière de reproduction.
La dévastation environnementale affecte les femmes et les enfants du monde, de ceux et celles vivant en aval des sables bitumineux au Canada, à ceux et celles qui vivent en Afrique sub-saharienne frappées par la sécheresse. La modification des conditions matérielles va de pair avec l'évolution des attitudes sociales. Aujourd'hui, il est plus évident que jamais que la guerre est le crime le plus terrible contre l'humanité. Dans de nombreux pays, du Moyen-Orient à l'Afghanistan jusqu’en Colombie et au Congo, les guerres cible de plus en plus les populations civiles. Les femmes et les enfants sont les victimes des bombardements et des atrocités sur le terrain, et les victimes des catastrophes de santé publique découlant de la destruction des centrales électriques, des systèmes d'approvisionnement en eau et des hôpitaux lors de ces guerres.
Le Parti communiste exprime toute sa solidarité avec toutes ces femmes impliquées dans la lutte pour la survie sous des conditions difficiles. Nous exigeons que l'État d'Israël abandonne sa politique d'expansion territoriale, la violence et l'étranglement économique des communautés palestiniennes et sa politique d'apartheid qui impose de terribles épreuves aux femmes de Gaza et de la Cisjordanie. Les femmes d'Haïti ont besoin de notre entière solidarité après le séisme tragique dans ce pays. Nous rejettons la stratégie des gouvernements impérialistes qui ont envoyé des troupes militaire au lieu de personnel médical.
La Journée internationale de la Femme 2011 a lieu au moment de la crise économique. La supposée reprise annoncée par le gouvernement et les entreprises se dévoile par les licenciements massif, les fermetures d'usines et les attaques sur les retraites qui continue comme la reprise des capitalistes et non celle du peuple. Les entreprises et les gouvernements qui les servent, font augmenter les disparités économiques en réduisant les programmes sociaux pour donner des millions en plans de sauvetage pour les riches actionnaires et les PDG. Plutôt que de payer pour la crise qui a été créé par leur système, les capitalistes veulent faire reculer les gains des travailleurs et des travailleuses et préparer le terrain pour l'exploitation toujours plus profonde.
La demande pour un système de garderies à l'échelle pancanadienne, une question clé élection après élection, a de nouveau été abandonnée par le gouvernement minoritaire de Stephen Harper. L'équité salariale fait l'objet d'attaques en ce moment et la possibilité de plaintes devant les tribunaux est refusée. Les conservateurs ignorent les demandes pour l’amélioration du système de l'assurance-emploi payées par tous les travailleurs et les travailleuses. Puisqu’elles constituent la majorité des personnes travaillant à temps partiel et au salaire minimum, les femmes sont sous-protégés. Seulement trois femmes sur dix dans la population active sont admissibles à des prestations d'assurance-emploi. Même celles qui qui se qualifie à l’assurance-emploi ne peuvent pas vivre avec des taux de prestations fixé à 55% de leurs revenus antérieurs déjà trop faible.
La nécessité: une réponse de la classe ouvrière
La réponse à la crise économique par les travailleurs et les travailleuses, par les femmes et les hommes, doit être une campagne massive pour bâtir une coalition populaire pour une véritable alternative à la cupidité des entreprises. Cette campagne, menée par le mouvement syndical et ses alliés, doit se battre pour restructurer l'économie, fournir des emplois durables et améliorer les services sociaux comme la santé, l'éducation et les services de garde universels, et offrir des possibilités accrues pour les femmes dans la population active. Pour protéger les travailleurs et les travailleuses sans emploi et leurs familles, les paiements de l’assurance-emploi doivent être fixés à 90% du salaire pendant toute la durée du chômage. Les expulsions et les coupures de prestations contre toutes les familles touchées par le chômage doivent être interdites. Le mouvement syndical doit mettre davantage l'accent sur l'organisation des femmes non syndiquées, le moyen le plus important de lutter contre la pauvreté et la disparité des revenus.
Mais tant que le capitalisme continuera, il génèrera de la pauvreté, l'inégalité, l'exploitation, la dégradation de l'environnement et la guerre. Ce ne sont pas des effets secondaires accidentels. Ces tragédies sont inhérentes à ce système conçu pour maximiser les profits des propriétaires privées. Sous le capitalisme, les femmes du monde sont confrontées à d’énormes difficultés pour gagner de nouveaux progrès et même pour conserver les gains déjà fait. Chaque pas en avant sera menacé par le prochain ralentissement économique, et le danger d’une nouvelle guerre n'est jamais absent. Seul le socialisme, fondé sur la démocratie, la propriété collective et le pouvoir ouvrier, peut permettre à l'énorme potentiel créatif et productif des travailleurs et des travailleuses dans le monde d’être utilisé de façon constructif pour répondre aux besoins des gens.
Les communistes ont joué un rôle de premier plan depuis la création de la Journée internationale de la femme. Journée qui a été adopté à l'unanimité par la conférence des femmes de l'Internationale socialiste à Copenhague en 1910 et qui a eu lieu pour la première fois en 1911. Le Parti communiste du Canada rend hommage aux femmes qui luttent partout dans le monde pour la paix, la justice et l'égalité, dont la pleine participation est essentielle pour la réussite de toute la classe ouvrière et des mouvements démocratiques.
En cette journée international de la femme 2011, le Parti communiste du Canada exprime sa solidarité avec tous ceux et celles qui luttent pour la paix, l'égalité, la démocratie et le progrès social. Un monde meilleur est possible et nécessaire - le monde du socialisme, le seul système qui puisse garantir une égalité pleine et un avenir pour l'humanité!
Today, March 08, the peoples and youth of the world celebrate the IWD. This day, conquered with the struggle of the working women deserves from all the anti-imperialist organizations maximum attention as it represents yet another opportunity to denounce the contradictions, inequalities and inhuman character of the imperialist order.Despite the huge technological achievements and the outstanding data collected by international organizations (as the UN, UNESCO and others), the women of our world continue to be subject of even deeper exploitation and discrimination.
In fact, even in what imperialism tries to promote as “first world”, it is the official data of the European Union itself that says that women have in average salaries 18% lower than men, despite the fact that, also in average, women are ahead in terms of school and university studies.
The discrimination of women is felt through the low salaries, but also other mechanisms that seem “undercover”, as the prohibition to be pregnant or the disrespect for the motherhood/fatherhood license, which are felt by most of the women of the working class in general, but even more with the widespread of the unemployment, precarious work and the general withdrawal of rights experienced by the workers and peoples of the world, in the framework of the current crisis of the capital system.
On this day, we salute all women that struggle and particularly those in countries where cultural and religious backgrounds represent an even stronger object to women’s activism.
On this day, WFDY reaffirms its commitment with struggle for the rights of women, as we consider it is an essential aspect of our wider project of defeating imperialism in all its expressions and that is why this is a struggle of all the peoples and workers and not of the women alone.
We do not only demand equality between men and women, but an equality done at higher level, with decent salaries and the fulfillment of all mankind’s rights (employment, education, culture, sports, motherhood/fatherhood, etc.) both women and men.
Finally, on this day, we salute the Women International Democratic Federation (WIDF) and all its members, as our sister organization in the struggle against imperialism, that together we will surely defeat!
The mission will include meetings and seminars in Cairo, visits to Alexandria and Suez which are 2 cities that played a role in the revolution, and also include a tour in the main places where the big events of the revolution occurred. Also international organizations as the World Peace Council and the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organization will be participating in this important activity.
The arrival should be on April 12 evening or April 13 morning, while the departure shall be on 18 evening or 19 morning.
This mission comes as a part of WFDY campaign in solidarity with the uprising of the Arab Youth which will be organized throughout this year.
March 7, 2011
Budget du Québec, une question de choix ! – L’Alliance sociale et la Coalition opposée à la tarification et à la privatisation s’unissent
MONTRÉAL, le 24 janvier 2011 – Près de 150 organisations syndicales, communautaires, étudiantes, féministes, populaires et écologistes composant l’Alliance sociale et la Coalition opposée à la tarification et à la privatisation des services publics s’unissent pour proposer des mesures progressistes et réalistes en vue du prochain budget que présentera le ministre des Finances, Raymond Bachand. Pour ce faire, ils annoncent la tenue d’une grande manifestation le 12 mars à Montréal, à 13 h.
12 mars – Montréal
12h00 – Place du Canada
coin René-Lévesque et Peel (métro Peel)
(plus de détails à venir : revenez nous voir !)
Malheureusement, le ministre des Finances a déjà clairement indiqué que son budget serait en ligne droite avec le précédent. Les membres de la Coalition et de l’Alliance jugent qu’il ne fait pas les bons choix budgétaires. « Le gouvernement Charest invoque la précarité des finances publiques pour justifier ses politiques alors que des solutions équitables sont à portée de main. C’est pour cette raison que nous nous opposons à plusieurs des mesures qu’il met de l’avant parce qu’elles ne font qu’alourdir le fardeau des citoyennes et des citoyens du Québec au risque de mettre en péril l’équilibre financier des familles », ont plaidé les représentantes et les représentants de l’Alliance et de la Coalition.
Non aux mesures injustes
L’Alliance sociale et la Coalition s’opposent fermement à la tarification et à la privatisation des services. « Nous nous opposons à toutes formes de taxation régressive qui pèsent davantage sur les personnes moins fortunées et celles dont la santé est la plus fragile. En ce sens, la taxe santé de 200 $, en plus d’être discriminatoire à l’égard des femmes, est profondément inéquitable, car elle demande le même effort à tous les ménages, et ce, indépendamment de leurs revenus. Il s’agit là d’un recul social important et nous exigeons du gouvernement qu’il la retire », ajoutent-elles.
Les deux organisations rejettent aussi la hausse des droits de scolarité prévue à compter de 2012, car elle réduit l’accessibilité aux études universitaires. Elles s’insurgent de la mauvaise gestion constatée dans certaines universités où les primes faramineuses semblent être devenues monnaie courante. Elles considèrent que d’autres choix existent pour mieux financer nos universités.
La Coalition et l’Alliance remettent aussi en question l’ampleur des compressions budgétaires envisagées. Elles mineront, à leur avis, la qualité des services publics et des programmes sociaux et ouvriront la porte encore plus grande à leur privatisation. Elles auront aussi pour effet de renvoyer aux familles et, en premier lieu, aux femmes des responsabilités jusqu’ici assumées par l’État.
Oui à de meilleurs choix
L’Alliance et la Coalition seront donc dans les rues le 12 mars prochain pour exiger du gouvernement qu’il fasse les bons choix. « Il est temps que ce gouvernement privilégie des choix plus socialement acceptables qui tiennent compte d’une meilleure redistribution de la richesse. Il doit investir dans les services à la population et mettre tout en œuvre pour que les emplois soient de qualité », ont conclu les représentantes et les représentants de la Coalition et de l’Alliance sociale.
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