Ottawa’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran is a desperate political move to try to sustain a reactionary and unpopular policy. Nothing to do with any Iranian threat to global peace and security, it is designed to counter the nearly total isolation of Israel and US policy in the Middle East.
Clearly, Iran has the right to defend itself by any means necessary from the imperial predator states, especially the USA which engineered the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Iran in 1953, fueled the cruel Reza Shah Pahlavi dictatorship for decades, and sponsored a devastating war against Iran (1980 – 1988). The lack of evidence that Iran is nuclear-weapons capable does not deter Washington and Tel Aviv from making accusations and threats, just as George W. Bush did in 2003 to rationalize his invasion of Iraq, resulting in the death or displacement of millions of Iraqis. Self-defense is for victims, not victimizers.
Whether Iran has ‘the bomb’ or not, the major threat of nuclear annihilation stems from the USA and its attack dog in the Middle East, the apartheid Zionist state. Washington has by far the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and it is the only state to use the barbaric weapon (twice against Japan in 1945). American presidents have repeatedly threatened to deploy ‘the bomb’, chiefly in pursuit of their corporate interests in the Middle East and Asia, but as seen in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, not exclusively so. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the only one in the vast Arab region, signalling the ultimate price the Zionist establishment puts on terminating its illegal occupation of Palestine.
What is so galling for the White House and the Pentagon is the public relations coup Tehran scored by hosting the conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, in late August, attended by representatives of 120 countries (two-thirds of the United Nations Assembly). Could Washington and Tel Aviv attract that kind of solidarity without coercion?
Stephen Harper’s hard-boiled Minister of External Affairs John Baird cites the repressive character of the Ahmadinejad regime. He accuses it of using diplomatic personnel to promote its interests and to intimidate Iranians living in Canada. To be sure, the Islamic Republic is deeply undemocratic and repressive. So is the Saudi regime which extended its repressive force into Bahrain to quell an Arab Spring uprising. Recall also that the Harper Conservatives intervened in the 2006 election in Venezuela by funnelling money to the right wing opposition.
Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste condemns all forms of oppression and exploitation. At the same time, we defend the right of oppressed nations to national self-determination. We believe it is the task of the workers and farmers of Iran to settle accounts with their ruling class, to replace the tyranny with a vibrant, pluralist, socialist democracy.
Canada’s rulers could not be less interested in facilitating grass roots democracy in Iran. Their interventions in Afghanistan and Haiti attest to that. NATO bombing of Libya, in which Canadian Forces played a despicable leading role, resulted in U.S.-engineered regime change. But it did not prevent the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi on September 11. Should Washington and Ottawa now break relations with the government they helped to install in Libya? Do they have a similar political ‘make-over’ in mind for Syria? Protests this week across the Muslim world show what is in store for the western powers if they continue to bomb, invade and occupy foreign lands.
Socialist revolution from within, not imperialist intervention, is the road to genuine democracy and social justice. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is wrong to pause, wrong to invite Harper to further explain his reactionary diplomatic move. International working class solidarity starts with opposition to the schemes of our own ruling class and their state, and by clearly opposing the war drive of the western powers. A crucial task in this regard is to strengthen the broad, united front, action-oriented anti-war movement, and to appeal to the Iranian community to be a prominent part of it. Demonstrate the opposition of immigrants, workers, youths, women, seniors, NDPers and the entire labour movement to the impending blood bath.
Hands Off Iran! Restore diplomatic relations now! Canada Out of NATO! NATO out of Afghanistan! Disarm the war makers, starting at home! Money for public health, education, housing and good jobs, not for war! Workers to power, from Iran to Egypt, and beyond!
Statement issued September 15, 2012 by:
Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste (Canadian state)
Just prior to the start of the 2012 Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) Collective Bargaining and Constitutional Convention, held in Toronto August 20-24, the Chrysler Corporation sent the CAW a clear and unequivocal message concerning this year’s contract negotiations with the Detroit 3 (which includes Ford and General Motors). Chrysler tabled the demand that the CAW give up ’30 and out’. This means that Chrysler demands that the CAW give up autoworkers’ right to retire with a full pension regardless of their age after 30 years of credited service.
This is particularly significant because nothing better exemplifies the historic gains achieved by North American autoworkers over the last century than this contractual right. Chrysler’s position attests to its audacity and boldness going into this year’s negotiations. It shows the aggressive stance being taken by the Detroit 3 towards the CAW.
Prior to 2012 none of the Detroit 3 would have dared to table such a demand. Furthermore the tabling of it illustrates the self-confidence of the auto bosses and their sense of a new found ability to attack workers’ pensions. Clearly Chrysler has noted the recent successes of Vale Inco and U.S. Steel in rolling back pensions in their collective agreements with the United Steelworkers’ union and wants to follow suit. Regardless whether Chrysler actually succeeds in eliminating ’30 and out’, the very attempt to do so constitutes a watershed development. But should Chrysler actually have any success in this regard it will give added momentum to the onslaught against pensions, not only at companies like Vale Inco and U.S. Steel, but also by the Stephen Harper Conservative federal government’s move to raise the eligibility age for Old Age Security from 65 to 67.
Thus it is imperative that the CAW beat back the demand to end ’30 and out’ by any means necessary, including by industry-wide strike action. Moreover, such action by the CAW should be couple with a serious campaign of mass action to halt the Harper government’s raising of the age of eligibility for OAS, since it will hit autoworkers especially hard. This is because the supplements to their pensions which are integral to their retirement income, end at age 65, because the current eligibility age for Old Age Security is 65. Raising the eligibility age to 67 will cost retired autoworkers thousands of dollars in lost income between the ages of 65 and 67.
These developments put the proceedings of the Collective Bargaining Convention into perspective. The convention was bathed in militant rhetoric and good policy papers detailing the breadth and depth of the attacks CAW members are facing. But the proceedings were detached from the everyday realities faced by CAW members who are being relentlessly attacked with no clear prospect of a serious fightback in response. Indeed the deliberations at the convention marked no significant shift in direction for a union that has been in retreat for many years, particularly in the all important auto industry. The CAW has allowed the auto bosses to set the trajectory of contract negotiations by permitting them to impose concessions in exchange for promises of new investment. As long as this approach continues, autoworkers will endure the effects of taking ever more contract concessions.
Indeed, the top CAW leadership stubbornly refuses to acknowlege this trajectory, never mind put a halt to it. The outcome of the convention effectively reinforced this recipe for continuing retreat.
Finally, the CAW’s planned merger with the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers, sealed by unanimous vote of the nearly 1,000 delegates, promises more of the same. It will produce a larger, better-resourced labour organization. But those advantages will be of little consequence unless there is a decisive shift to the left in both the collective bargaining and political strategies of the CAW. Neither is on offer with this merger. The very few critical voices on the left in the CAW are consequently tasked with relentlessly making the case that more of the same is not acceptable and will lead to even greater retreats.