April 22, 2011
The World Federation of Democratic Youth, together with its members, friends and all the progressive youth of the world wishes to send our most sincere message of salute to the youth and people of Cuba, on the occasion of the first defeat of the Yankee imperialism in America, occured in the sands of the beach of Girón, together with proclamation of the socialist carácter of the Cuban Revolution - both to be celebrated in the framework of the of the VI Congress of the Cuban Communist Party.Since the beginning that the American imperialism has kept a hostile policy against the revolutionary people of Cuba, which deserves our full condemnation. The blockade of more than 50 years and the organizing of terrorist actions from the USA have found a decent people that has known how to defeat them, just as 50 years ago in beach of Girón, and that today more than ever is showing the world that it is possible and necessary to defeat imperialism in all the world.
The Cuban Revolution prepares itself to celebrate the VI Congress of its Communist Party, from which we are sure will come reinforced in its progress of updating socialism, given the wide participation of the Cuban people, as unique protagonist of the solution of its problems; moreover, the protagonist role played by its youth, to whom this date is dedicated, is an example for all the progressive and anti-imperialist people fighting for a better world.
WFDY warmly salutes the VI Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, sure that it will be a success for the country and that it will mean the continuation of a socialist, decent, free and sovereign country. We call upon all the young people, our member and friendly organizations, to celebrate the coming April 16, 50th anniversary of the first defeat of the American imperialism in America, in all possible places, as way to condemn the unfair blockade against the glorious Cuban people and demanding the release of the Cuban Five Heroes unfairly detained in the American jails.
Dear comrades,It is with great pleasure and honor that I salute this Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of the World Federation of Democratic Youth!
Since the year 1945, when our Federation was born that we were closely related to WFTU and throughout the years we have been made even closer, united fighting against the wars, injustices, inequalities and exploitation of imperialism.
For the youth of the world, the development of your congress, as well as the development of trade unionist movement as a whole, is a vital aspect of its present and future. Unlike what many imperialist sponsored tendencies like to promote, the trade union and the struggle in each work place are the key factors of the struggle, the resistance and the transformation of societies.
Particularly, to the young people, those researchers and analysts sponsored by the big economic groups and reactionary forces, try to impose the idea that the trade unionism movement is old, something of the past, out of date and that the existing trade unions are nothing but an attachment of the dominating order.
However, it is reality itself that is proving these ideas and misleading concepts wrong. As collective bargaining, limitless contracts, fair wages, social, political and associative rights are being destroyed, and precariousness, misery salaries and unemployment are being widespread without limit, it is ever more clear that the role of a truly revolutionary trade union - that stands by the workers at all times and organizes them for the struggle regarding all aspects of their labor life (from the most specific to the most general) - is an urgent need of all workers of our times.
Twenty years after the overthrown of the Soviet Union, the so called “end of history” is clearly countered by the wars and inequalities that are, in our days, bigger than any time during the past 65 years. The anti-communist propaganda that a new era of democracy and social rights started in the nineties is demolished by the cruel evidence of facts.
The big economic groups and corporations, rallied in their governments, economic blocks as the EU or structures as the IMF, WTO, World Bank or OECD, want to make the current generation of young people, a generation without rights.
Under the framework and many times excuse of the international capitalist crisis, at all levels, the offense is unprecedented and after one attack comes another and then another consecutively, just so that their profits can continue to grow more and more. This has an impact in the workplaces and in the destruction or privatization of public services and rights, particularly for the youth, education.
To this the students’ movement has increasingly been answering with more struggles and more massive ways of demonstration and protest. Also, the participation of the young workers in the general movement of the workers and in their specific movement have been increasing more and more, despite the huge difficulties and obstacles faced by them to be organized and participant in the struggles.
In fact, the growing obstacles to the participation of the youth are result of the decreasing working and living conditions, but also of the specific and powerful attack against democratic rights and liberties that aims to criminalize all forms of resistance and struggle. Side by side with a powerful propaganda machine, to corrupt the minds of the workers and youth, imperialism wants to isolate all those who oppose it, to better control what is happening and keep its domination.
However, and despite that, it is everyday more relevant the role of young people in the trade union movement. The young people are assuming more responsibilities in the trade unions and showing that only through confrontation in the working place it is possible to achieve any sort of demand. The examples coming from many countries where workers with precarious contracts are massively participating in the struggles and at the forefront of the demonstrations are an inspiration for everyone and a sign that the young generations are committed to change their present and their future.
From WFDY, we denounce the theories that workers with precarious contracts should not engage in the struggles or that they should be separated from the rest of the working class. Such concepts, as the “precariat” (as a sort of new proletariat that is in precarious situation), are nothing more than a division of the movement and an inconsequent tactic promoted by inconsequent forces. Only united the working class can win - disregard their color of skin, geographical origin, type of contract, sector of activity or any other difference. To divide the workers is to follow the same line as the dominant class, that breaks the bounds of solidarity between countries, sectors of activity (particularly private and public) and generations.
As time goes by, imperialism is showing that there are no limits to its offense against the peoples to secure and increase the profits of the dominating classes. After the interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the war against Libya is a proof of this statement. Following the Summit of NATO in Lisbon, last year, the conditions were then better to deepen further the manipulation of the international institutions, particularly the UN, and take forward yet another unfair and unjustified war.
These thugs claim to be defending the human rights of the Libyan people, but let as look at what they are doing where they were also defending the human rights, let us see the consequences of their depleted uranium bombs in few years, and then it will be clear that this was yet another shameless lie to legitimate their greed for oil and for another sort of colony from where they can control all that happens in Africa.
In this moment, it is necessary that all anti-imperialist forces may join hands against the aggression to Libya, so that it can truly be the Libyan people to march the paths necessary and chosen by it to reach its liberation and the accomplishment of all its demands. We need also to reinforce our solidarity with the struggles of the people of Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan, being victims of slaughtering every day. In fact, these examples show also that US, UK, Germany, France, etc. don’t care about human rights in Libya, otherwise they would have bombed the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East long time before, starting with their main allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia or UAE!
As time goes by the situation in Palestine, Colombia, Cyprus, Western Sahara, Burma and others continues to worsen. The blockade continues to choke the Cuban Revolution. These are not new struggles, the international media doesn’t give them headlines or front pages, but they are still going on, and more than ever our solidarity is necessary to help those peoples to win.
My fellow comrades,
Despite the grim scenario, not everything is negative. The recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt have reminded the world that when a people is united and struggling, it is unstoppable. For both these peoples there is a long way to go, as there is for many in Latin America, after they have released themselves from the imperialist chains, but we should never let go these examples that inspire and reinforce our struggle.
In fact, just in December, in South Africa, this was the key message of our 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, where more than 15000 young people from 126 countries underlined the need for us to defeat imperialism, as only way for peace, solidarity and social transformation, for a world free of inequalities and these crisis that will always happen while we live under this economic and political order called capitalism.
This year, our struggle continues, WFDY is organizing its congress, which we call assembly, to take place in Lisbon (Portugal), in November. From now we invite the World Federation of Trade Unions to attend, to deepen our relation, so that - as we write in our slogan - “strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle, for a world of peace, solidarity and revolutionary social transformation!”
We are sure that the success of your congress is also a success for the struggle of all the youth of the world. May it accomplish all the goals to take our common struggle even further!
(WFTU = World Federation of Trade Unions)
In this election, the Communist Party of Canada has advanced a wide-ranging set of proposals designed to protect the environment. The major opposition parties and the Greens base their policies on "market-based" tinkering with the "real costs" of human economic activities. But the Communist Party argues that capitalism itself, a system based on the extraction of maximum profits, is inherently a threat to human survival. The goal of the Communist Party is public ownership of key industries and resources, which would allow for democratic control and economic planning to protect the interests of working people and the environment.
In recent years, the corporate-backed Harper Tories have made Canada a key opponent of serious measures to tackle the deepening global climate crisis. The Communist Party demands emergency action on this issue, as well as support for reparations to countries affected by capitalist-driven climate change.
The Communist platform calls for legislation to slash greenhouse gas emissions, including a phase-out of coal‑fired plants. Rejecting the claim that such measures will "kill jobs," the Communist platform urges investments to create jobs through renewable energy and conservation programs. This would include more stringent vehicle emission controls, expanded urban mass transit, and the eliminate of fares by subsidizing fare collections. The Communists call for funding high‑speed rail lines, and the development of a fuel-efficient Canadian car.
Radical change is advocated in the Communist platform, aiming to remove the private profit motive as the driving force behind economic decision-making. The platform renews the Party's call to adopt a People's Energy Plan, including public ownership and democratic control of all energy and natural resource extraction, production and distribution.
In the short term, the Communists call for a 100% tax on the windfall profits of the oil monopolies, and to "stop and reverse the privatization, deregulation and break‑up of public energy utilities."
The Communists urge a freeze and reduction of energy exports to the U.S., and instead propose to expand shared power flows among provinces through an East‑West power grid. The Party opposes any new development of the Alberta tar sands, and calls to close these operations within five years. Jobs should be guaranteed for workers in more sustainable industries at equivalent wages, and compensation provided for Aboriginal peoples and communities affected by the tar sands. The Party opposes the Enbridge and Mackenzie Valley pipelines, and oil and gas exploration and shipping on the west coast. It calls for a moratorium on the development of shale gas resources in Quebec.
To protect working people hard-hit by declining incomes, the Communist Party supports restoration of the "two price" system, with higher prices for energy exports, and lower prices for domestic uses, especially home heating.
On other environmental issues, the Communist platform includes a ban on "biofuels" derived from feed grains; heavy fines and jail terms against polluters and destructive corporate practices, such as clear-cutting, in‑ocean fish farming, and deep‑sea draggers; and no industrial development in parks.
The Communist Party also calls for action such as income supports to defend family farms and protect Canada's food sovereignty. The Party's platform urges stronger action to support organic farming: reduce the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, and pesticides, a ban on "terminator" seeds, and mandatory labelling of genetically‑modified food products.
From People's Voice
By Stephen Von Sychowski
Thousands of hard working British Columbian's will get a raise on May 1st. To some, it probably felt like the day would never come. A ten year wage freeze instituted by the Liberal Party under Gordon Campbell has left BC with the lowest minimum wage in the country at $8 ‑ more than $3 below the poverty line and less than half of a living wage.
The minimum wage became a topic of shame in British Columbia, particularly given the province's record levels of homelessness and the highest levels of child poverty in Canada. The BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Federation of Students launched the $10 NOW campaign in 2007, when $10 was still above the poverty line. The demands of the campaign included an immediate increase to $10, a subsequent increase to $11, the abolition of the hated and ageist "training wage", and indexing the minimum wage to inflation.
Polling by the Federation showed 80% of British Columbian's in favour of an increase as community leaders, faith groups, anti-poverty activists, civic governments, and others, called for a raise. Meanwhile, the young workers movement mobilized against the wage freeze by organizing rallies, information pickets, "freeze's", petitioning blitzes, lobbies, and other actions.
Christy Clark's wage increase should not be mistaken for a change in Liberal policy or direction. The BC Liberals are a party of big business and always will be. This modest increase is merely a public relations move aimed at buoying the sinking Liberal ship left behind by years of disastrous policies including the broadly despised HST. On the other hand, this move would not be necessary if the minimum wage had not been made such a prominent issue in the public eye, the media, and the Legislature. In this respect it is fair to say that the real thanks for the impending increases to the minimum wage belongs in large part to the young workers movement and others who fought for it and made it a public issue that wouldn't go away.
Understandably, minimum wage workers are excited about the impending increase. Any increase is a good increase when full time wages still leave you impoverished, and you are forced perhaps to work two or three jobs just to get by. But at the risk of sounding stereotypical ‑ it doesn't go far enough.
According to Statistics Canada, a worker in BC would have to make at least $11.11 working 40 hours a week and 50 weeks a year in order to reach the poverty line. Of course this would have to be more when dealing specifically with cities that have extraordinary costs of living, like Vancouver.
Furthermore, the poverty line is not the same as a living wage. A living wage means that you can cover your bare bones essentials without going in to debt. It does not include luxuries, savings, owning a home, maintaining debt, or taking holidays. In other words, it means just that ‑ you can live... but that's about it. The living wage for Vancouver is currently $18.81 and for Victoria, $18.03. Visit livingwageforfamilies.ca for more details.
Meanwhile minimum wage will increase to $8.75 this May, $9.50 in November, and finally $10.25 next May. This means that minimum wage workers will still be making $0.86 below the poverty line and less than half a living wage. This is without taking into account the inflation which will take place between now and then.
To make matters worse, the Liberal government has instituted a "server wage" which will reach no more than $9 by next May. Applied to all those who serve liquor on the job, this has been justified with the flimsy suggestion that such workers have their wage subsidized by tips. This ignores that fact that tips are not a guarantee and, even when they are received, they may be stolen by employers or divided amongst the staff as a whole. Moreover, it transfers responsibility for the payment of workers from the employer to the customer.
In other words, the Liberal policy on wages remains aimed at protecting the interest of their corporate masters ‑ those who fund their campaigns and direct their policies. After ten years of no increases, a modest improvement spread over more than a year and three small steps, plus tempered by the implementation of a second wage tier for servers, is hardly justice. The Liberal Party may have changed its leader, but it hasn't and won't change its ways.
From People's Voice
The bombing of Libya by NATO countries, including Canada, has sparked debates in the anti-war movement. While most anti-war groups and activists condemn the imperialist military intervention, a few have tried to justify the war on "humanitarian" grounds. These arguments have had some impact in the wider public, especially since Libyan opposition forces made the initial calls for a "no-fly zone" against Gadaffi's government.
One expression of these differences was seen at the Vancouver April 9 rally against the war in Afghanistan, organized by the broad-based StopWar coalition. StopWar speakers and a statement condemned the NATO war against Libya, warning that this attack has serious potential consequences.
But Libyan speakers at the rally argued that Gadaffi's forces are committing serious crimes against the people of Libya. While these speakers argued against any foreign military presence "on the ground" in Libya (and opposed the NATO occupation of Afghanistan), they supported the NATO bombing campaign. Vigorous arguments broke out, and most Libyan-Canadians at the rally declined to take part in the anti-war march which followed the speakers.
A devastating criticism of the "humanitarian war" position has been written by U.S. commentator Edward S. Herman, responding to an essay by Lebanese activist Gilbert Achcar, arguing that "general anti-war principles" may require "exceptions".
"This kind of argument," writes Herman, "brings to mind analogous special case positions in defense of torture (of the prisoner who may have information on the ticking bomb); and it reminds me of the claim of a set of defenders of the military attack on Yugoslavia that this was `illegal but legitimate.' His ultimate position, of defending the attack on Libya, but urging constructive criticism, calls to mind Randolph Bourne's remark on the war‑supportive intellectuals of World War I: `If we responsibly approve, we then retain our power for guiding. We will be listened to as responsible thinkers, while those who obstructed the coming of war have committed intellectual suicide and shall be cast into outer darkness.' This was, of course, nonsense, and the responsible liberal thinkers of that bloody era merely contributed to justifying war..."
Herman then takes on Achcar's argument that imperialist intervention would have been warranted in the case of Rwanda.
"Achcar clearly swallows the standard narrative on the Rwanda `genocide,' in which the imperialist powers just `stood by'... But in fact the Western powers didn't just stand by; they actively intervened throughout, but not to contain the killing: Paul Kagame, the primary actor before, during and after the mass killings, was trained at Ft. Leavenworth; his Rwanda Patriotic Front's 1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda was not punished by the Security Council; his subsequent infiltration and subversion of Rwanda was actively supported by the United States, UK, Belgium, Canada and therefore the UN; his forces shot down the plane carrying Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana back to Kigali on April 6, 1994, generally acknowledged to have been the `triggering event' in the mass killings; and Kagame's well‑prepared military forces were in action within an hour or two of the shoot‑down...
"Achcar misreads history in suggesting that Western intervention was missing in Rwanda and that if the imperial powers had intervened they might have prevented 500,000‑1 million casualties. The imperial powers were there and contributed positively to those deaths...
"Achcar's pro‑intervention policy stance here rests heavily on a threatened Gadaffi bloodbath, that `Western governments and everybody else' anticipate. This is a classic imperialist response that goes hand‑in‑hand with demonization and frequently inflated claims of target villain violence. Gadaffi, like Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, has moved quickly from a quasi‑friend and ally to `another Hitler.' One of the durable justifications for the Vietnam war was the likelihood of a bloodbath by the evil forces of communism if the United States were to exit without victory, although the real bloodbath (maybe 3 million civilians) was inflicted by the United States...
"While focusing heavily on the `nature of Gadaffi's regime,' Achcar doesn't discuss the nature of the imperial West's regimes, their now systematic power projection by force, and their treatment of civilians in countries they attack. He doesn't ask how their concern for Libyan civilians can be genuine when simultaneously they support the crackdown on Bahraini civilians and the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia. Assuredly he doesn't refer to Madeleine Albright's 1996 statement that the U.S. policy‑caused death of 500,000 Iraqi children was `worth it' as indicative of U.S. concern over foreign civilian well‑being. Or the significance of the almost daily reports of civilians killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. drone attacks, and the many thousands of `collateral damage' deaths in these countries and Iraq. Weapons evolution with drones and cluster bombs has tended to enlarge civilian casualties. Shouldn't this be mentioned in evaluating claims that a military response featuring air‑power will serve to protect civilians?...
"Perhaps most amazing is Achcar's acceptance of the imperial powers as the "good cops" who can properly bring law and order through violence to the citizens needing protection. Is it reasonable to give the power to straighten things out by force to imperialist powers that have been most guilty of using force in violation of both law and moral principles? The United States is daily killing civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, among other places, has an ongoing torture gulag, and has engaged in a steady stream of wars in violation of the UN Charter. It is the bedrock of support for Israeli aggressions and ethnic cleansings. Shouldn't that rule out approving it as an instrument of supposed justice in protecting Libyan civilians?...
"Achcar tells us that this intervention to protect civilians in Libya will prove `embarrassing' to the imperial powers, as the next time Israel bombs Gaza or Lebanon the world will demand a no-fly zone and picket for the same, and Achcar himself `definitely' will join the picket line. But why wasn't there a demand for a no-fly zone with Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and attack on Gaza? And why isn't Achcar picketing today against the killing of Bahraini civilians with the aid of a Saudi invasion force and the drone attacks on Afghanistan and Pakistan that take a heavy civilian toll right now? Perhaps he is too busy worrying about civilians in the latest U.S‑.targeted state."
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