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Spring 2017 Rebel Films series concluded

Spring 2017 Rebel Films series concluded with the screening of “The Killings of Tony Blair” on April 13 at U of T.

This 21st edition of the Socialist Action-sponsored series, now in its twelfth year, was one of the best, with between 40 and 60 people present for each of the screenings.

In the photo below, see guest speaker Jason Baines, a leader of NDP Momentum, address the topic of the riveting film about how the former British PM and Labour Party leader nearly destroyed the party and became very rich in the process of cutting welfare, privatizing industries, and serving as a tool for western military intervention, especially in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Next up:

  • Toronto’s 31st Annual Socialist May Day Celebration with speakers and entertainers. Saturday, April 29, 2017   7 p.m.
    Free Times Cafe, 320 College St., (2 blocks west of Spadina) Toronto, Ontario. Admission:  $10 waged, $5 non-waged or PWYC. More info.
  • Socialism 2017:  100 Years of World Revolution,   an International Educational Conference – May 12–13, 2017
    at Woodsworth Residence, U of T, 321 Bloor St. W. at St. George   (in room 35, lower level)
    co-sponsored by: Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste – Canadian state, Socialist Action – USA, the Socialist Unity League (Liga Unidad Socialista) – Mexico, and New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) – France. More info.


The Political Situation in Canada Today, and How Revolutionary Socialists Intervene in the Workers’ Movement

Barry Weisleder

[Speech to Kurdish people, April 9, 2017, in Scarborough.]

Ewara bash. (Good afternoon.) Choni? (How are you?) Bigi! (Long live)

Please pardon my poor pronunciation.  You may be relieved to learn that the rest of my remarks will be in English.  As a socialist, I am an internationalist who believes that solidarity knows no boundaries.  My party, Socialist Action, stands in total solidarity with the struggle of the Kurdish people for self-determination.  We condemn imperialism, and all the governments under its influence that have denied the Kurdish people a state you can call your own. National liberation is a precondition for the emancipation of the working class internationally.

My task today is to begin a dialog with you about the present political situation, and how socialists intervene in the workers’ movement in this country to improve living conditions and to advance the socialist transformation of society.

Continue reading The Political Situation in Canada Today, and How Revolutionary Socialists Intervene in the Workers’ Movement

Change coming to OPSEU

On March 18, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union met in seven regional assemblies across the province to elect members of the union’s executive board, as well as to fill equity seeking committees and send delegates to affiliated labour bodies.

A campaign for “class struggle and union democracy”, launched in Toronto, succeeded in electing socialist Julius Arscott to one of three executive board seats in the Toronto region. The 188 delegates also elected militants Myles Magner, who is the Regional Vice President, and Jessica Sikora. Seven candidates contested the election, offering a spectrum of views from left to right. The successful candidates, all on the left, won on the first ballot, each garnering over 50% of the votes cast.

Myles Magner received a strong 76.5% after declaring that, if elected, he would run for President of OPSEU against incumbent Smokey Thomas who is mired in controversy over concessions bargaining, bad relations with staff, and possible collusion with a community college boss to have a union activist fired.

A clear mandate for change emerged from the Toronto Region 5 meeting of OPSEU. There are indications of this sentiment across the province. Elected are eight new Executive Board Members, some 40% of the top executive. This result comes at a volatile time, rife with intimidation tactics directed against union activists. One case is currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Who’s CSIS spying on now?

Thanks to the latest WikiLeaks spill of thousands of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, it is clear that spies and hackers can view private information stored on home computers, cell phones, and use internet-connected televisions as surveillance devices.

The CIA can do this with sophisticated software tools with names like ElderPiggy and AngerQuake. That’s deep snooping without breaking into your home. Privacy rights are just gonzo. The surveillance state is marching arm in arm with authoritarian rule. It’s a trend that suits US President Donald Trump. But in Canada too? You bet. A ruling last November by a Federal Court judge confirms it.

The court found that for 10 years the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spied on people who posed no threat to ‘national security.’ It retained the data illegally, using it to gain “specific, intimate insights into the lifestyle and personal choices of individuals.”
If the CIA now has enhanced spying capabilities, can Canadian police agencies be far behind? Canada is allied with the USA in the “Five Eyes” intelligence network, so it’s reasonable to assume that Canadian cops are up to the same dirty business.

Remember, Liberal Justin Trudeau refused to rescind law C-51, Conservative Stephen Harper’s odious code of intrusion. Instead, the Liberal Party promised to establish “independent oversight” of security agencies – whatever that means. Now it seems Justin is in no hurry to implement that pledge, however ineffectual it may prove to be.

Are Top Female Bankers role models for equality?

by Elizabeth Byce

A few female bankers have broken the glass ceiling. They are now being paid millions of dollars a year. Is this a gain for women? Is it a triumph of feminism?

To be sure, the rise of the women’s liberation movement put pressure on the patriarchal capitalist rulers. They dusted off some seats at the corporate board table for women – women who are willing to play by the rules of elitism and exploitation.

As a result, Janice Fukakusa, former chief financial officer of the Royal Bank of Canada, enjoyed a salary of $4.67 million in fiscal 2016, down from $4.96 million for 2014. Jennifer Tory, also of Royal Bank, got $4.29 million in 2016; Colleen M. Johnston of the Toronto-Dominion Bank received $3.1 million; and Diane Giard of the National Bank of Canada made $2.84 million.

Nonetheless, there are still no female Chief Executive Officers at Canada’s largest banks. And the highest paid females still fall short of the highest paid CEOs: Royal Bank’s David M cKay at $11.5 million; Bank of Montreal’s William Downe at $10.6 million; and Scotiabank’s Brian Porter at $10.1 million.

But women are still making progress, right?

No, not where it matters to most women, those whose labour is paid, or not paid at all.
On average, women are paid 13 per cent less than men in Canada. In fact, the gap would be bigger if male workers’ wages had not stagnated, or fallen over the past two decades.
27 per cent of employed women work fewer than 30 hours per week, more than double the 12 per cent of men who work part-time. Seven out of 10 part-time workers are female.

Low paid women increasingly hold more than one job to survive. 56 per cent of multiple job holders are women.

Female post-secondary students are a majority of those who bear onerous student debt after leaving university and college.

Deep inequality is rooted in the capitalist system. It can be overcome only by ridding the world of that outmoded system, with all its oppressive and destructive tendencies. Bourgeois feminism won’t accomplish that. Only socialist feminism, based on the political self-activity of working women and men, has that as its aim.