March 18, 2012

The Situation of Youth and Student movement today

Main Political Resolution, 

YCL-LJC Central Committee

March 18th, 2012


  • The danger of war against Syria and Iran and the need for a peaceful resolution by the people themselves, not imperialism.
  • Bill 30 is a direct attack on privacy and civil and democratic by the Harper regime
  • The Robo-call scandal must increase our resolve to kick-out the Harper government!
  • The CFS Day of Action was a step in the right direction, showing youth fight back
  • We express our full support to the BC Teachers Strike and the great solidarity actions of BC high school students
  • We send our full solidarity to the growing Quebec student strike and must spread the word!

The youth are in action

The work of this meeting of the YCL Central Committee follows directly from the political analysis we agreed upon, just a month a half ago.

Across Canada, youth continue to take back the streets in protest.

These are big events and it is the main idea we want to highlight today, along with the growing crisis between the people and the current Harper regime, and the increasing danger of imperialist war on Syria and Iran.

Dangers to the youth internationally

At the 25th Central Convention of our League, we said that the economic crisis presented the occasion for the sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions and the danger of war.

Now, as our Syrian comrades recently said, their country’s situation is increasingly complicated and dangerous:

Different areas of our country have been witnessing activities ranging from peaceful and un-provocative demonstrations that never constitute a danger for the security of the state and should accordingly be dealt with peacefully; provocative features aiming at increasing tension; and finally to plundering operations aiming to devastate public institutions, carry out assassinations, kidnapping, looting and blocking out high ways... [that] should be confronted and stopped.

The YCL calls for all peace-loving youth to support a peaceful and political solution by the Syrian people themselves. Attacks on Syria are also a road for imperialism to hit at Iran.

Harper has called the Iran the greatest threat to world peace. What are the facts?

Iran has an official policy of "no first strike" and hasn't started a war of aggression, unlike the US and Britain – or Israel.  It is these countries that are failing to fulfil their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty - which requires them to scrap their own nukes.

Still, this Thursday Obama said the window for a diplomatic solution was “shrinking.”  But the "secret" underground nuclear facility at Qom was actually revealed by the Iranians to the International Atomic Energy Agency. And the IAEA’s report still does not conclude Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

Any use of military force against nuclear installations in Iran will be extremely dangerous and violate international law. The Iranian people themselves must resolve these problems.

Just think how much a war would cost. What a waste! And, right now, where are the jobs for youth? Where is our future?

The YCL fully supports the recent protests of the Israeli Prime Minister to Canada by the Canadian Peace Alliance and says – no attack on Syria and Iran! No more imperialist wars in the Middle East! Youth demand a world at peace!

The capitalist attack in Canada

The Harper Conservative government are about to bring in a viciously anti-working class federal budget and, since Parliament reconvened, Minister Vic Toews has tabled Bill 30 which would force every Internet provider to hand “authorities” access to our private information, at any time, without a warrant.

Disgustingly, the Tories are using child porn criminals to justify this outrageous attack on civil rights. Despite overwhelming public opposition, including from young people, the Tories are still pushing Bill 30 through parliament.

The YCL says that this frightening legislation must be blocked.  PM Stephen Harper’s arrogant and corrupt government shows complete contempt for democratic rights and civil liberties.

Nowhere is this clearer than the “Robo-call” scandal.

The 2011 election was stolen from Canadian voters, a vote fatally tainted by criminal tactics. This illegal tactic may have been used in enough ridings to lift the Harper Tories into ‘majority territory.’

This sabotage of electoral democracy has removed any legitimacy for the Harper Conservatives. The Harper government must immediately resign, a new general election be held, an independent public inquiry be launched, and penalties placed on the Conservative Part if they have been found to violate election law including de-registration.

On a much larger scale, Canada now has voter ID requirements that cannot easily be met by millions of people restricting voting for rural people, Aboriginals communities, seniors, the homeless – and tens of thousands of post-secondary students and young workers with no fixed address. We need a new system of voting based on proportional representation.

That this issue has become a flash point of anger was brought home to the CEC just the other day, when a high school student near Barrie, Ontario wrote us asking to join, and requesting information on how to organize a picket outside his MP’s office on this issue!

Today, the most urgent priority for all youth and students who value democratic freedoms and civil liberties must be to mobilize in huge numbers to call for an inquiry – and a new federal election.

The youth movement fightback

The popular opposition to these scandals and repressive legislation further exposes the growing crisis between the Harper regime and the reactionary big-business agenda on one side, and the people’s majority.

What’s new and important is that in the last six and half months – Occupy Canada launched Oct. 16  -- we’ve seen more youth hitting the streets in organized mass struggle than in several years.

The CFS Day of Action brought thousands of students in the first cross-Canada mobilization of students in years. The CEC issued a special statement with the Communist Party of Canada calling on the students to take their struggle forward and draw-in more people, winning the battle of ideas for accessible education on their campuses and bringing the struggle out onto the streets.

Our leaflet was well received.  In one city, comrades found a young person who thought it was so good that they photocopied the leaflet themselves and were handing it out.

While the CFS demos were not enough, they were a positive step. The next steps for this struggle need to be an issue of concern not just for our student activists but the whole YCL, and all the progressive youth.

Just last week, British Columbia teachers began an intense strike battle going up against the reactionary Clark Liberal government, who have sent BC’s teachers back to work without collective bargaining or the right to strike through Bill 22, which threatens the democratic rights of all workers.

You can see some of that protest on Youtube, posted by a comrade who is video-taping actions across BC.
A great show of militant solidarity was made by BC high school students, who walked out in a mass rally in the streets of Vancouver.  The YCL has fully supported this action. Teachers working conditions are students’ learning conditions!

The biggest action of youth resistance has been in Quebec.

The Quebec students, who are fighting an increase of $1625 in tuition fees, have held democratic general assemblies mobilizing and empowering students on an explicitly political basis of united confrontation with the government.

Just one of Harper’s expensive fighter jets would cost the same as all the money raised by this increase.

The Quebec education system, the corporate media does not hesitate to remind us, has the most accessible education in Canada.  What they do not say it that it is because of the struggle-oriented approach by the Quebec students and working people.

This story that includes the “Quiet Revolution,” which swept away the ancient regime of church-oriented schooling and saw the mass construction of accessible French-language universities and the almost entirely free CEGEP college system, and a history of massive strikes.  The problem of access to education is an unfinished social goal, the more broad-thinking students say, of the Quiet Revolution and also linked to the fight back against austerity.

The situation is volatile and exciting!

Over 220,000 students are now on strike -- more students than in the massive 2005 demonstrations – and mobilizing almost daily, shouting at the top of their voices in the streets.

However outside of Quebec very little is said about the growing strength of the strike. This motivating movement is ignored by the corporate media. What does cross the divide of “the two solitudes” is mis-information or could have been scripted by the Charest Liberal government. Student, labour and progressive youth know little about what is going on.

Through our magazine and Rebel Youth blog, we can help break the silence.

The Quebec student movement is holding strong in its unity, despite challenges from the right to retreat and put the emphasis on an electoral strategy like voting for the Parti Québécois. There are also other voices that go the opposite extreme and renounce any connection with elections or the left political party Quebec Solidaire or even, like the statement this week of the pro-black bloc anarchists, claim that “unity” between people’s forces is a myth.

But unity is not a myth, it is an objective necessity for the victory of the people’s struggle. The students are starting on a path of a common front of struggle that is shaping-up to be a serious challenge against the austerity agenda and shows the way forward!

The LJC-Q is in this struggle and is preparing a massive banner -- two-stories long -- to drop over a viaduct at an upcoming rally for the Charter of Youth Rights.

We send our full solidarity to the struggling student associations, as well as students and youth of Quebec, in this brave fight back.

Our role as the YCL-LJC

Comrades, these protests are the key developments.  

They call out for support and greater action. They call out for a YCL that is visible and engaged.

Are these mobilizations just a flash of powder? Or can progressive youth across the country connect their struggles, draw together the threads of resistance, and help build a united fight back with the people’s forces and especially labour?

We are not arm chair observers towards this question – because this is the decisive question all we face as youth and student activists, and we have found a response in the Charter of Youth Rights campaign.

We also have to raise our banners as the League and step-in to the debates of the youth and student movement through action, as best we can.

There is a difference here between activist work done by individual members of the YCL, and YCL work.

Of course, many of our members are active in all these actions at different levels, which is very positive. But our task in the Central Committee today is to muster our forces together and push as hard as we can towards greater unity in action of the youth movement – as the Young Communist League.  To help move our committees and clubs further into struggle.

Do we join and help build the action as the YCL or do just observe or act without coordination?  That, so to speak, is the difference between the YCL catching the boat – or missing it.

The capitalist are literally stealing our future from us.

Now is the time for a fighting YCL and a fighting youth and student movement. 

United! militant! active!

Presented by Johan Boyden,
General Secretary, for the CEC
Adopted with revisions by the CC'
March. 18th 2012

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