Crisis, War, Pomp, and Polarization open the Autumn of 2022

Crisis, War, Pomp, and Polarization open the Autumn of 2022

by Barry Weisleder

Pierre Poilevre, the hard right-wing career politician, captured the federal Conservative Party leadership with 70.7% of the votes cast on September 10, 2022.  This result reveals that a significant faction of the Canadian ruling class wants to pursue an aggressive austerity agenda, albeit under the populist guise of cutting taxes, while fanning the flames of bigotry and promoting conspiracy theories.

The Trudeau Liberals falsely parade as ‘progressives’ while boosting military spending and subsidies to the fossil fuel giants.

Sadly, the NDP under Jagmeet Singh props up the minority Liberal government with a “Confidence and Supply” agreement that fuels climate catastrophe.  What has Singh got in exchange for this ‘deal with the devil’?  The promise of subsidized dental care for children under 12 – if the provinces agree to implement it – and a host of vague promises.  Socialists demand that the labor-based NDP break with the Liberals and fight for a Workers’ Agenda.  Meanwhile, the Green Party continues to implode.  Leftists should leave that party to its well-deserved demise and join the NDP Socialist Caucus.

In Merry Ole England, the spectacle of the celebration of a cruel and demented institution was on full, obnoxious display — around the clock.  Lenin famously said that the workers’ revolution would be “a festival of the oppressed.” These past few days the world was witness to “a festival of the oppressors” — U.K. style.  Elizabeth Windsor descended from a long line of slave merchants and colonial thieves.  The royal family’s links to slavery date back to the 16th century. In 1562, John Hawkins was the first known English person to include enslaved Africans in his cargo, a journey that was approved by Elizabeth I. The enslaved Africans were traded for goods including ginger and sugar. In 1564, Hawkins arranged another voyage, for which Elizabeth I funded a vessel.  In 1660, the Royal African Company was established by the Duke of York, who later became James II, with involvement from his brother, Charles II. The Royal African Company was prolific in the slave trade; according to the Slave Voyages website, between 1672 and 1731 the Royal African Company transported more than 187,000 slaves from Africa to English colonies in North, Central, and South America. Many of the enslaved Africans transported by the Royal African Company were branded “DY”, standing for Duke of York.

Between 1690 and 1807, an estimated 6 million enslaved Africans were transported from west Africa to the Americas on British or Anglo-American ships. The slave trade was protected by the royal family and parliament.

King Charles III, and his predecessors, refuse to speak of reparations, which Caribbean peoples and other victims justly demand.  Keep in mind the enormous wealth that Britain sucked out of India, and extracted from many other realms, not to mention its decimation and robbery of Indigenous people across Turtle Island.  It promulgated The Doctrine of Discovery and shared in the horrors of Anglican Church-run Residential Schools.

Socialist Action stands for the abolition of the monarchy and the Senate.  Due to its largely ceremonial nature, removal of the king is not high on our list of demands, but it is integral to our fight for a democratic transformation of society.  Obviously, now is a time to highlight this position. The fact that the Canadian establishment entrenched the monarchy so deeply in the Constitution Act of 1982 (requiring the agreement of the federal government, all the provinces and territories, and arguably, First Nations, in order to change it), means that it will take a socialist revolution to get rid of the monarchy.  Socialists demand that Canada immediately stop paying for the care, feeding, and transport of the royals, which amounts to $60 million a year.  And it should find the backbone to declare that we wish to follow the example … of brave Barbados.

The war in Ukraine continues to grind on.  Territorial control shifts back and forth.  Atrocities mount.  NATO’s calculated, aggressive expansion, followed by Russia’s disastrous military invasion, continues to threaten escalation that risks the nuclear annihilation of humanity.  We say “No war but class war.  Negotiate, Don’t Escalate.  Canada Out of NATO.  Build an internationalist anti-war movement.”

COP 27 is coming to Egypt, November 6-18.  As Greta Thunberg often says, it will feature more “Bla-bla-bla.”  On Friday, September 23, Socialist Action will be present at Queen’s Park in Toronto, and will march with our banner “Eco-Socialism or Extinction”.  SA aims to do the same in other cities as well.

A feature of the Fall 2022 agenda is the municipal elections across B.C. and Ontario.  For the first time in generations, teams of socialists are running to offer the working class and all voters an alternative to big business rule at city hall.  Check out the campaigns of Vote Socialist Vancouver and the Municipal Socialist Alliance in Ontario.

Each Fall SA Canada hosts an exciting Education Conference.  This year it will be held online on Saturday, November 26, with sessions at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.  While the overall theme, topics, and speakers are still in the works, there is a good possibility that Cliff Conner, based in New York, will speak about how the military-industrial complex controls scientific innovation – at great cost to humanity.

A new series of the SA webcast will begin on Thursday, September 22, at 7 p.m. E.T., with the topic “Capitalism and the Environment – on the Eve of COP 27.” See the line-up here.

SA member in Kingston, Bob MacDiarmid, authored a comprehensive article on the global environmental crisis.  The 192-page study, including charts and photos, will be published once editing and design is completed.

Finally, a gathering to celebrate the life of our dearly departed, leading comrade Robbie Mahood, will take place on Saturday, October 1 in Montreal.  Honor the fallen, and fight like hell for the living!