April 14, 2009

New Issue of Rebel Youth on Sale

(The following article is from the April 16-30, 2009, issue of People's Voice)
People’s Voice is proud to announce that the latest issue of Rebel Youth, the magazine of the Young Communist League of Canada, has just rolled off the press. Printed by union labour, this issue features unique content found in few other English-language publications of the Canadian left, let alone youth and student publications - articles by high school students about local fight-backs, discussion on the Quebec elections, and an interview with Omar Khadr’s sister, Zaynab Khadr. Several articles are in French. As the main editorial says, issue number seven (counting back from when the magazine began republishing in 2004) comes at an extraordinary critical moment for the youth movement in Canada, and globally. We are happy to reprint the editorial:

The economic crisis young workers and students are confronting today is casting a dark shadow onto the future of our generation. The crisis has been made worse by decades of social blood-letting - cutbacks, privatization, and general impoverishment of our class. User fees, such as tuition fees, have appeared like a like a plague of boils across the face of society.

This is outlined in articles like H. Abdul’s piece about the privatization of education in Alberta, “Winnipeg’s Injustice System” about police brutality in the North End by RY Manitoba, and Betsy MacDonald’s story about violence against women. It is also reflected in our accounts of aboriginal student resistance, as David Tymoshchuk’s “Lift the Cap” discusses, and Jamie Campbell’s reporting on the high school Drop Fees struggle. And with Zig Zag’s and Javier Davila’s features (two articles we’re pleased to reprint with permission) the capitalist state’s idea of a solution is exposed: money-wasting corporate mega-projects - or joining the military. Any glance at the news headlines says “welcome to rough times.” Some may turn to “get rich quick” schemes like that which Primerica corporation offers and Tony Marcy contrasts with a union drive. Still more may be seduced by the most vile currents in Canadian society, racist or homophobic ideology - see Jeff Tomlinson’s “Fighting Hate in Durham.” What do we do about it? In the final analysis, we think it comes down to fight or flight.

Flight? Well, we mean the idea that working people, youth and students should just “suck it up.” Try to ride out the recession. It is one thing to be forced to take concessions, but this outlook supports adopting a line of concession. Mr. Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, recently said it’s the “courage of the Canadian people which makes our country strong” and that kind of courage “workers will need to take a pay cut so your friends at the plant can keep their job” (Toronto Star, Jan. 23). He courageously chose the Toronto Board of Trade, an association of the foremost bodies of monopolists, bankers and financiers in Canada, to deliver this message to workers. We think however that there is a demonstrated willingness by youth and students to voice loud and noisy opposition to the direction we’re headed. Take the massive Palestinian solidarity protests against Zionist Israeli and Israeli Apartheid Week. This different approach is also discussed with Chevy Philip’s article about youth joining the Communist Party in Japan, the commentary on the BC election, and the page two photograph from Greece. YCL General Secretary Johan Boyden’s article on the economic crisis calls for a youth alliance that can shift the power of big business by unifying all students and young people who are suffering the consequences. “We didn’t make this crisis, and we’re not going to pay for it!” should be our slogan.

No matter how great and ferocious our opposition from the capitalist class, fight-back is the way forward. We can’t be tired now, as campaigners, as youth activists, as the left and progressive movement.
In closing, we are very happy to present here an interview with the sister of Omar Khadr, who has been misrepresented and vilified by the capitalist media in Canada and internationally. There is considerable optimism that Omar can come home because of the election of US president Obama, about whom we present two opinions by S.J. Bracken and T. Walkom for debate and discussion. And, of course, our usual culture section continues with Soul, Hip Hop, lots of Punk reviews - and even Bilal Awami's way to kill time with music on your call-centre phone.

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