Category Archives: Events

B’nai B’rith Smear Campaign Protest (Aug 29, Toronto)

My name is Elizabeth Byce.  I am the federal treasurer of the NDP Socialist Caucus.  For thirty years I was an active member of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.  At the national convention of the CUPW in 1998 I was the delegate who moved the motion to have CUPW endorse the global campaign in solidarity with the people of Palestine and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Zionist apartheid state.  That motion was adopted almost unanimously by the 700 delegates present.  It was an act of internationalism.  It was an act of working class solidarity against racism, occupation and murder.  The BDS campaign is global.  It is much stronger than it was 20 years ago, and it is growing fast on every continent.  That is why Israel and its Zionist apologists are desperate to portray BDS as anti-Semitic.  That claim is a lie which cannot conceal the crimes of Zionism.  Nor can it divert us from our duty of solidarity with the victims of occupation, the Palestinian people.

Recently, B’nai B’rith Canada launched a smear campaign against the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. As a result, CUPW has become the latest victim in a long list of smear campaigns launched by B’nai Brith Canada to silence human rights defenders who expose Israeli violations of international law.  But as you can see, we shall not be silenced, and we shall not be moved.  We will win the NDP and more unions to a principled stand against Israeli apartheid.  “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

My name is Barry Weisleder and I am pleased to speak on behalf of Socialist Action in solidarity with the CUPW and against deplorable smear tactics.  History is full of ironies.  The so-called Jewish Defense League, which is shouting threats at us today and that calls CUPW and Palestinians terrorists, is itself banned in Israel and the USA as a terrorist organization.  I want to mention one more irony.

B’nai B’rith was founded in New York‘s Lower East Side in 1843, by 12 German Jewish immigrants. It was a working class movement that organized Jews of the local community to confront what Isaac Rosenbourg, one of the founders, called “the deplorable condition of Jews in this, our newly adopted country”. It performed the traditional functions of Jewish societies in Europe: “Visiting and attending the sick” and “protecting and assisting the widow and the orphan.”  B’nai B’rith, which means “sons of the covenant”, established a Lodge in Toronto in 1875.  But with the discovery of oil in the Middle East, and with the backing of the Zionist project by British and French imperialism, and later by American imperialism, B’nai B’rith became a cheerleader for the Occupation of Palestine and for ethnic cleansing.  Bourgeois Jewish organizations continue this regression into mouthpieces for an Apartheid state.  In 2011 the Canadian Jewish Congress dissolved into the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.  In an ugly irony of history, the Jewish establishment and imperialism have turned the Palestinians into the Jews of the Middle East.  As Leon Trotsky explained in the 1930s, Zionism creates a death trap for the Jews, fostering anti-Semitism worldwide.  Increasingly, the Zionists are out of touch with their own supposed base.  A fast-growing minority of Jews are non-Zionist, or anti-Zionist.  This new political reality is the cause of desperation in the ranks of the reactionaries, so they lash out against great organizations, like the CUPW, which had the courage to be among the first supporters of the global boycott campaign.  The labels ‘terrorism’ and racism apply to Israel, not to CUPW.  A new feature of the constitution of Israel proves this again.

The “Jewish Nation-State Law”, adopted by the Knesset just weeks ago, declares Israel to be the “nation-state of the Jewish people”.  It enshrines Hebrew as the only official language.  It permits the creation and protection of “Jewish only communities’, and it directs the Supreme Court to refer to “Jewish tradition’ in rendering some decisions.  Non-Jews are officially relegated to second class status.  Apartheid practices are entrenched in Israel’s Basic Law, which since 1951 is the constitution of the Zionist state.  If any further proof of the racist character of the colonial settler state was required, this is it.

Socialists are here, not only to defend CUPW, but to support BDS, to demand the Right of Return of all refugees, to end the siege of Gaza, to tear down the Apartheid wall, and to advance the only solution to the present crisis, a Democratic and Secular Palestine.  “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Public Forum: Eyewitness report—Election in Venezuela and its aftermath

Socialist Action presents a public forum

Eyewitness report: Election in Venezuela and its aftermath

Speaker: Nety Maroquin, Guatemalan socialist just returned from one month stay in Caracas.  Her presentation will be in Spanish, with translation into English, plus a screening of her short videos of every day life in the Bolivarian Republic.

Introduction by Maria Paez Victor, a founding member and spokesperson of the Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, and the Chair of the Board of the Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean Policy Centre.

Wednesday, June 20

7 p.m.

at OISE U of Toronto, room 5-160

252 Bloor St. West,above the St. George Subway Station

Everyone is welcome.  Donation $4, or PWYC.

For more information, e-mail:  socialistactioncanada@gmail. com

Visit the SA web site at:

or call 647-986-1917  or  647-728-9143 .

Emergency Rally for Palestine

By Mitchell Shore

During the lunch hour on Friday, May 18th, Socialist Action members gathered with about 200 like-minded people at an emergency rally outside of the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. We were there to urge the Canadian government to condemn Israel’s May 14th massacre of at least 60 people and the injury of 2,700 more, including the shooting of Palestinian-Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani. The protests follow the decision by US President, Donald Trump, to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem. Trump’s move has been widely criticized by the international community.

After a few speeches, including the reading of a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, the group then marched from Freeland’s office to the Israeli consulate, where it staged a “die in” in the middle of the road. Throughout it all, we loudly chanted slogans including: “Hey Hey Trudeau – Occupation Has Got to Go!”; “Free Free Palestine – Zionism is a Crime”; “From Palestine to Mexico: Border Walls Have Got to Go”.

The Gaza border protests are actually part of a larger struggle which began on March 30 when more than 30,000 people demanding their rights for justice and the right of refugees to return to their home land. At that time, 23 people were murdered by Israeli Defence Forces and more than 1400 people were wounded. In over six weeks of mass protests, at least 115 protesters were killed and more than 9000 were wounded.

Since its founding 70 years ago, Israel has maintained a regime of of settler colonialism, apartheid and occupation over the Palestinian people. It is a racist regime which privileges Jews over non-Jews. On a daily basis, millions of Palestinians face indignities and institutionalized discrimination, including the denial of the the right for refugees to return to their homes from which they were violently removed. Since 1967, Israel has maintained an illegal military occupation over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

The situation in Gaza has been particularly brutal. Over the past decade, Israel has murdered and injured thousands of Palestinians. Palestinians are forced to live in the world’s largest open-air prison–something that in a sick sense of irony resembles the very concentration camps which many Jews and others were forced to live in as prisoners during World War 2. According to various reports from the United Nations, Gaza today has become unlivable. Residents of Gaza are without access to food, education, health care, electricity, and work. Ninety-seven percent of drinking water is unfit for human consumption. So much so that it is slowly poisoning millions of innocent people, mostly children. Electricity is only available for a few hours a day, and the unemployment rate is the highest in the world.

Socialist Action Canada demands the Canadian government condemn Israel’s violations of international law, including its illegal occupation, building of illegal settlements, and imposition of a siege on Gaza. We also demand that the Canadian government denounce the opening of any embassies in Jerusalem, as this act is illegal under international law. Socialist Action calls on Canada to impose sanctions against Israel, similar to the sanctions that were imposed against apartheid South Africa. And we call for an immediate embargo on the sale of weapons to Israel.

We say:

  • Stop the violence against Gaza and end the blockade!
  • Free all Palestinian prisoners, including the more than 400 children!
  • We demand the right of Palestinians refugees to return!
  • End all military and economic aid to Israel!
  • Support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns!

The Farcical May Day March in Toronto

Around the world, millions demonstrated for workers’ rights and socialism in the main city squares.  It was the continuation of a proud revolutionary tradition that began 132 years ago.  But in Toronto, fewer than two hundred people met in a muddy field at the corner of Keele Street and Four Winds Drive.  After a much-delayed rally on the soggy grass, featuring excellent socialist hip-hop rapper Mohammad Ali Aumeer, and a good opening statement from the organizers, the gathering of far-left factions walked for an hour south to a desolate Downsview Park.  There the event ended in disarray.

Now is the time for some accountability on the part of ‘organizers’ of one of the most farcical gatherings for May 1 in the modern history of the day in Toronto.

At the terminus, there was no concluding statement from the organizers.  The saving grace was a circle dance led by Kurdish women, and a rendition of the Internationale led by Socialist Action.  SA hosted a lively contingent, walking and chanting at the front of the parade.  Other organizations on the left, ostensibly socialist, anarchist and left social democratic, were conspicuous by their absence.

The purported reason for holding this virtually hidden display of workers’ solidarity, far from the eyes and ears of working people concentrated in the busy downtown districts, was to bring the celebration closer to teaching assistants on strike at York University, to indigenous people and environmentalists fighting Line 9, and to the victims of Ottawa’s imperialist war policies.  These were good goals.  But, sadly and predictably, this plan failed on all fronts.  The demonstration did not approach the site of the strike.  It attracted almost no friendly onlookers en route, and obtained zero mass media coverage.

Apart from a dozen, stalwart, flag-waving members of CUPE Local 3903, there was no significant union participation visible, and no presence of indigenous people’s movements evident.

Instead of the 1,000+ folks who typically gather at Dundas Square or Toronto City Hall or Christie Park or Queen’s Park on the occasion, this effort of the so-called United May Day Committee was one of weakest displays of outreach, event planning and parade marshaling seen in decades.  Organizers did not inform SA, and others, of the meetings of the UMDC.  As a result, we are reduced to openly expressing our concerns post-facto.

Clearly, there are hard lessons to be drawn from this sad experience.  Just as importantly, activists in the unions, international solidarity campaigns, and on the left should strive to ensure that the May 1, 2019 march does not repeat the egregious errors of the rather pitiful one just held in 2018.

We can and must do better in the future.

Toronto’s 32nd Socialist May Day Celebration

The live broadcasting of the event on the Socialist Action’s Facebook page is now ended.
Below is a high quality video of the speeches and performances.  Further below are some photos taken at the event. And at the end of the page is the full text of the speech delivered by Barry Weisleder.

Socialist Action Speech to May Day Celebration 2018

Good evening, sisters and brothers, comrades and friends. Are you familiar with the expression “the past is prologue to the present”?

50 years ago, millions of workers and students in France shook the foundations of capitalist rule with a general strike. But one party urged workers to abandon the strike in favour of an election. That betrayal by the Communist Party saved the Gaullists and French capitalism. Today railroad and airline workers, backed by the broader public sector, are in the streets of France battling the anti-labour policies of Emmanuel Macron. Students are occupying schools to protest rule changes by Macron to make college education less accessible. Will May 1st 2018 pick up where May-June 1968 left off?
46 years ago, thousands of Palestinians marched to the border of Israel to demand the right to return to their homes and to their occupied land. Six were killed in what became known as Land Day. Today, the Great Return March continues at the Gaza/Israel border. Dozens of Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli snipers. Meanwhile, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Zionist apartheid state is growing.

22 years ago, Ontario was the scene of a series of one-day general strikes against the Mike Harris Tory government. The day after the biggest strike which paralyzed Toronto and Queen’s Park, union bureaucrats pulled the plug on the movement. That guaranteed the re-election of Harris. Today a provincial election campaign is underway, leading to a vote on June 7. The Conservative Party leader is Thug Ford. A Ford government at Queen’s Park would make Mike Harris look like Mother Teresa. The Kathleen Wynne Liberals, in a death bed conversion, are offering reforms that superficially look good. The labour-based NDP, led by Andrea Horwath, makes it easy for the Lyin’ Liberals by offering a similar platform of milquetoast policies. If Horwath does not turn sharply to the left to win, get ready for general strikes to confront a hard-right wing Doug Ford government.

The labour movement suffered a telling blow when UNIFOR quit the Canadian Labour Congress. It is sad, no, it is outrageous to see union leaders who embrace the Liberal Party turn their backs on the House of Labour, only to embark on a course of union raiding. This behaviour is symptomatic of the crisis of the workers’ movement. Decades of concessions bargaining and internal repression have weakened labour and emboldened Capital. Only an awakened rank and file can turn this around.

Today, the world is teetering on the brink of climate catastrophe and nuclear holocaust. Which one will destroy civilization first?
The New Cold War is getting hotter. Its front line stretches from the Baltic countries, through Ukraine, and Syria, to the Persian Gulf. Ironically, the cradle of civilization could become the grave yard of humanity if the Cold War goes nuclear.

We know that 1% of the global population controls over 50% of the world’s wealth. In the face of growing inequality and poverty, Canadian bank and mining CEOs reward themselves with multi-million-dollar salaries. The head of Ontario’s Hydro One, Mayo Schmidt, got a $1.7 million raise to boost his pay to $6.2 million. As an electricity user, did you get your bonus yet?

We have a severe housing crisis. Robots are replacing workers. Cops get away with murdering Black, brown and mentally ill people. We are inundated by a steady stream of lies from our saccharine Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On climate change, indigenous rights, electoral reform, taxation, civil liberties and military spending, his is the Harper agenda – behind a cloud of cannabis smoke. On matters of imperialist war, pipelines and trade, Trudeau has been Trumped. Instead of dumping the Investor State Dispute Settlement court, Trudeau wants to preserve NAFTA. Instead of disarmament and development aid, he is sending choppers to Mali, in Central Africa, a country which just happens to be rich in gold and uranium. Justin Trudeau backs NATO ally Turkey, which is on a killing spree in the Kurdish region of Syria.

In contrast to these reactionary moves, we see a growing appetite for social and political change.

Millions of women and men marched on January 21 across North America against sexism and misogyny.

Millions more demonstrated on March 24 against gun violence. Millions are disgusted by the antics of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Campaigns to defend public postal services, to save public libraries, to make Ontario Hydro public again, and to raise the minimum wage are gaining ground.

Teaching assistants at York University, Carleton and Western are fighting for decent jobs and pensions.
In this situation, socialists are very active. We forced an end to the conservative leadership of federal NDP head Tom Mulcair in 2016, and we helped to defeat the right-wing leader of the CLC, Ken Georgetti, in 2014. But there’s much more to be done.

Let’s start with the housing crisis. Winter in Canada without housing is a death sentence. Scores die on the streets in this country every year; 100 died here in 2017. In Toronto, the waiting list for social housing is over 180,000 people. Community housing stock requires $2.6 Billion in repairs. The average home price in Greater Toronto is $916,000. Housing costs have outpaced wage increases for decades. Basically, wages have been frozen for 30 years. Instead of superficial measures like a tax on vacant condos and foreign investors, we need the government to build 500,000 housing units immediately, under public ownership and workers’ control.

Corporations and the rich should pay for improved train and bus service. Want to get cars off the road? Free mass public transit is the better way. Why are good jobs so scarce? Not because of immigration, but due to automation and capitalist greed. In a few years, robots will quadruple. In a rational society, this would not be something to fear. The elimination of boring and dangerous work would be a good thing – provided that the fruits of automation are shared. How can that be done? By shortening the work week, without loss of pay and benefits. Share the available work, increase the quality of work life and productivity – through democratic economic planning.
Sadly, capitalism is going in the opposite direction. Big companies are merging, killing thousands of jobs. The so-called ‘middle classes’ have been squeezed while the very rich get richer. Governments complain about revenues but tolerate secret tax havens.
The gap between economic growth and the well-being of Canadians widened considerably since the 2008 recession. Millions of people experience precarious work, longer commute times, rising rates of diabetes. Yet we feel none of the promised benefits of growth in the economy. Business hacks argue that governments cannot afford to worry about well-being.
The truth is that society cannot afford environmental degradation. It cannot afford the human and economic costs of poor health. And yet, what else does late capitalism have to offer? Many wonder: What will it take to change course? Well, isn’t it clear?

To save civilization, to save humanity, to save life on Earth, capitalism must go. And to do that it will take a revolution. History shows that there can be no revolution without a revolutionary party. A revolutionary party is not self-proclaimed. It must earn recognition in the eyes of millions. It takes more than slogans to change society. But slogans and a programme are necessary. Sustained revolutionary practice based on a revolutionary programme and strategy is absolutely required.

Central to our programme is the fight for Climate Justice and a decent, democratic and sustainable future for humanity.

We say it’s time to declare a Climate Emergency. A New Climate agenda would begin with nationalization of key sectors such as Finance, Energy, resource industries like Big Oil and Gas, Transportation, Agri-business and Auto.

The economy must be restructured radically, with planning by workers, scientists and environmentalists, and managed by elected worker reps. The top priority should be the rapid replacement of fossil and nuclear fuels with clean, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass. Reverse the privatization of Ontario Hydro. Phase out the Alberta Tar Sands. Cancel the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and abrogate the other ‘free trade’ deals. Dismantle the polluting, wasteful, and dangerous war machine used to support imperialism. Dismantle nuclear weapons, starting with the US arsenal. Close all foreign military bases. Send home all soldiers and military contractors. Get Canada out of NATO.

We demand nationalization of Big Oil and Gas –not to drill for fossil fuels, or to make pipelines ‘safe’. Our aim is to conscript the wealth accumulated by the energy pirates, and to devote it to rapid green energy conversion. It is the only way to fund the energy transition that is so urgently needed.

But what is the key to unlock the door to liberation? It is recognition of the fact that a socialist programme must be advanced and won inside the mass working class organizations. Why? Because that is where we can create the political basis for a Workers’ Agenda, a Workers’ Government, and a socialist revolution.

At this stage, activists are needed who understand the goal, and the means to get there. The fight to win anti-austerity and eco-socialist policies must take place inside the workers’ movement. It’s true that there we will find agents of the bourgeoisie, and they must be fought. We must remove the union and NDP bureaucrats who collaborate with the bosses, vote for cutbacks, vote for military spending, and prop up the rotten capitalist system. Look at the spectacle of the Alberta NDP government stabbing the B.C. NDP government in the back over a dirty oil pipeline.

Clearly, the bureaucrats put their personal careers within the state apparatus ahead of the interests of the working class as a whole. They undermine the political independence of workers at every step. Pro-business bureaucrats must be replaced by class conscious revolutionary workers. Workers will gain self-confidence in the fight against the bosses, and against the agents of the bosses in the workers’ movement.

That is why Socialist Action is engaged in struggles inside the mass working class organizations. You won’t find many groups that call themselves socialist doing that today. Most stand on the sidelines, talking to themselves, or acting as cheerleaders for the bureaucrats.

For Socialist Action, building a disciplined working class party inside our class is the heart of our strategy for revolutionary change. So, we fight for socialist policies and run candidates for executive office in unions and the NDP. We are leaders of the NDP Socialist Caucus. At the federal NDP convention in Ottawa in February we were in the forefront of those making demands for party democracy and for public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy. Our candidates got between 16 and 33% of the votes cast, except for one, Dirka Prout, who was elected. Delegates snapped up over 1,000 copies of Turn Left magazine.

We helped to shape the NDP leadership debate on pipelines, education, childcare and taxation. And we will continue to push hard on freedom for Palestine and Kurdistan, for Hands Off Syria, Canada Out of NATO, for homes not bombs, and to tax the rich.

Here’s a question: Are you sick at the prospect of 4 more years of John Tory big business rule at City Hall? Should there be a challenge from the socialist left at the October municipal election? Well, Socialist Action is ready to step up – ready to battle the business elite. If the NDP won’t run, we will run candidates for city council and mayor if we can double our membership in the next two months. Sisters and brothers, comrades and friends, I urge you to join us in this effort. But let’s be very clear: There is no electoral solution. There is no market solution to the crisis of capitalism. The capitalist market created the problem. Only a social revolution can solve it. Only by taking control of the major means of production, like the Cubans did 58 years ago, only by instituting democratic planning, in harmony with nature, does humanity have any hope of survival.

That’s what Socialist Action is all about: educating, agitating and organizing for fundamental change. In this process, a mass revolutionary workers’ party will arise. Such a party is the key to a future of peace, freedom and prosperity.

But it cannot be built without you. So, please join Socialist Action today. Together we can make the world a place truly fit for human beings.

Long live the international working class. Long live the fight for socialism and feminism. Have a wonderful, festive, red May Day weekend!