Category Archives: Analysis

Status for All!

The advocacy organization, Justice for Migrant Workers, on June 29 called for an immediate shutdown of Ontario’s entire agricultural industry until every workplace is fully sterilized to stop the spread of COVID-19 among its workers.  From the start of the pandemic, to that point, more than 1,000 agri-farm workers were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the province, according to Chris Ramsaroop.  Justice for Migrant Workers made the following demands of the provincial and federal governments:

  • Full access for migrant workers to all benefits, health care and application of all labour standards to which Canadian workers are entitled.
  • Non-discriminatory testing across the community and food chain.
  • Workers testing positive get the benefits of full quarantine even if they are asymptomatic. 
  • Permanent residence status to all workers with temporary or undocumented status.

The horrendous conditions of migrant farm workers are just the tip of the menacing iceberg.  Most migrant workers, including many females from the Philippines, Mexico and South America who labour here as cleaners and personal service workers, suffer unsafe, precarious and low wage conditions.  They are super-exploited for private profit.  Socialist Action echoes the demands of the Migrant Workers’ Alliance, including those listed below.  SA calls on unions and the labour-based New Democratic Party to make the campaign to champion the rights of this section of the world working class a top priority.  Socialist Action joins in demanding for migrant workers and their families:

  • The right to work and decent wages to make a good living.
  • Freedom from discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion or any other status, in all aspects of work, including in hiring, conditions of work, and promotion, and in access to housing, health care and basic services.
  • The right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law, particularly in regard to human rights and labor legislation, regardless of legal status.
  • The right to equal pay for equal work.
  • The right to freedom from forced labor.
  • The right to protection against arbitrary expulsion from the State of employment, and the right to return home if the migrant wishes.
  • The right to safe working conditions and a clean and safe working environment.
  • The right to reasonable limitation of working hours, for rest and leisure.
  • The right to freedom of association and to join a trade union.
  • The right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • The right to protection during pregnancy from work proven to be harmful.
  • The right to protection for children from economic exploitation and from any work that may be hazardous to their well-being and development.
  • The right of children of migrant workers to education.
  • The right of migrants and their families to reunification.

The super-exploitation and oppression of migrant workers is a feature of capitalist rule, aggravated by the present pandemic, economic depression and environmental crisis.  Only a Workers’ Government on the road to socialist revolution can transform society in the interests of the vast majority.  Help make it happen.  Join us today!

Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action    call:  647-986-1917

WEBCAST: Boom or Bust? The Future of Global Capitalism

Thursday, September 17,  7 p.m with political economist Yasin Kaya, and Rosemary Hnatiuk in Winnipeg and Corey David in Toronto. 

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The Wealth Gap Widens


Did anyone benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic?  Billionaires did.

Tobias Lutke is the 40-year old CEO of Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify Inc.  He saw his personal wealth rise from $3 billion (U.S.) in March 2020 – to $8.5 billion in August.

Generally, e-commerce flourished during the pandemic as fewer people visited stores.  The poor got poorer, already hurting from the great recession that started prior to the pandemic.  Meanwhile, the rich got richer.

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and CEO of Amazon, has a net worth of $189.4 billion. According to Bloomberg News, Bezos’ fortune has grown by $74 billion since the start of the year.  In just one day in July it jumped $13 billion.

The Walton family, who owns the Walmart empire, gained an extra $25 billion over the past year – the same amount Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zukerberg, saw his wealth climb.  According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the fortunes of U.S. billionaires soared by $434 billion during the pandemic lockdown between mid-March and mid-May.

Canada’s billionaire class is doing well too, thank you very much. The Thomsons, Canada’s richest family who oversee the Tomson Reuters media empire, saw its wealth leap from $31.6 billion in April to $37.7 billion in mid-August.  The Westons, who control the Loblaws supermarket chain, went from $7 billion in April to $8.4 billion today.

An Ipsos survey conducted in April showed that 40 per cent of Canadians under the age of 55 had only one week’s worth or less of savings to cover costs like food or rent if they lost their jobs due to the pandemic. In the U.S., almost 40 million jobs were lost by the end of May. And 40 million Americans could be evicted from their homes by the end of this year if state authorities don’t help.

In Canada, the top one per cent of families hold about 25.6 per cent of the wealth – roughly $3 trillion CDN.

Companies that are prospering are less dependent on large labour forces and are heavily invested in the online world where people work from home. That is one reason why Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – the so-called FAANGS – are seeing revenue climb and increasingly dominate the stock market.

If most of the money is hoarded by a small group of people, the capacity of workers to buy goods and services shrinks.  Steep wealth taxes would put a band aid on this festering sore. Only radical surgery will rid the world of the underlying disease.

— B.W.

Towards a Transitional Programme for the Working Class in COVID-19 Times


By Barry Weisleder

World War 1 spawned the Russian Revolution, the Winnipeg General Strike, and spurred union recognition.  Following World War 2, out of the debris of fascism and holocaust, the industrial unions, the labour-based NDP, and the welfare state emerged.  What will be the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic?  Qualitatively enhanced class consciousness and greater social responsibility, or regression to capitalist austerity?

Sombre facts define the dawn of a new era.  The current plague, the fourth in less than two decades (SARS in 2003, H1N1 in 2009, MERS in 2011, Ebola in 2014-16), won’t be the last.  It plunged the world into a Great Depression.  Stock markets tanked. Unemployment skyrocketed.  As of April 18, six million Canadians applied for emergency federal aid.  It’s unprecedented.

The reflex of the vast majority of people is to seek remedial action from….who?  Giant corporations?  Big banks?  The Business Council of Canada?  No.  They expect the government to act, to cushion the blow, to spend massively so that lives may be saved.

Continue reading Towards a Transitional Programme for the Working Class in COVID-19 Times