by John Clarke (July 23, 2020)
Two recent developments in the United States seem to capture just how the destructive profit-driven irrationality of capitalism renders it incapable of effectively containing the present global pandemic. On July 10, the US recorded a staggering 70,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, and Florida saw 11,433 cases, with 435 more people hospitalized. The next day, the reopening of “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” Disney World, began in that state. Admission tickets for the four theme parks are already sold out for the month of July. Meanwhile, across the country in Los Angeles, it is reported that the factories used to produce face masks for front-line workers, under the ‘LAProtects’ initiative, have become a major source of coronavirus infection. The low wage sweatshop conditions that the mainly migrant workforce have to endure have proven deadly. Three factories have been closed after three hundred contracted COVID-19 and four died.
Rob Wallace has pointed out that ‘pandemics are mirrors.’ This one has been generated by capitalist conditions of food production, and its impacts are determined by a system in which human and social needs are subordinated to the interests of profit-making. The concept of the ‘superspreader’ of the coronavirus has been developed in such a way as to conjure up images of reckless party-goers or selfish sun worshippers, but those who do the most to spread the coronavirus sit in corporate boardrooms and around cabinet tables.
Continue reading Pandemic Worsens, Resistance Will Follow
By Yves Engler (July 17, 2020)
Once again, the media focuses on salacious details rather than the big picture.
While TV and newspapers have dwelt on the whiff of corruption surrounding the government’s $912 million contract with the WE Charity, some broader points have been ignored. Whatever the Trudeau and Morneau families have pocketed from WE, the deleterious impact that NGO has had on social services and young Canadians’ understanding of global inequities is much more significant.
In a series of poignant tweets Simon Black, an Assistant Professor of Labour Studies at Brock University, highlighted how WE has directed young people towards ineffective political actions and a narrow understanding of doing good in the world. He noted, “teaching kids that ‘breaking the cycle of poverty’ (WE’s words) involves travelling to a ‘developing’ country to build a school and not marching on the IMF, World Bank, White House or Parliament Hill to demand the cancellation of global South debts. That’s the real #WEscam.” In fact, a little discussed reason the federal government funds NGOs is to co-opt internationalist minded young people into aligning with Canadian foreign policy.
Continue reading The real WE Scandal
by Yves Engler – June 20, 2020
Was Canada defeated in its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council because of Justin Trudeau’s effort to overthrow Venezuela’s government? Its intervention in the internal affairs of another sovereign country certainly didn’t help.
According to Royal Military College Professor Walter Dorn, “I spoke with an ambassador in NYC who told me that yesterday she voted for Canada. She had also cast a ballot in the 2010 election, which Canada also lost. She said that Canada’s position on the Middle East (Israel) had changed, which was a positive factor for election, but that Canada’s work in the Lima Group caused Venezuela to lobby hard against Canada. Unfortunately (from her perspective and mine), Venezuela and its allies still hold sway in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM or G77).”
The only country’s diplomats — as far as I can tell — that publicly campaigned against Canada’s bid for a seat on the Security Council were Venezuelan. Prior to the vote Venezuela’s Vice-Minister of foreign relations for North America, Carlos Ron, tweeted out his opposition: “With its deafening silence, Canada has de facto supported terrorists and mercenaries who recently plotted against Venezuela, threatening regional peace and security. The UNSC is entrusted with upholding the United Nations Charter and maintaining International Peace and Security: Canada does not meet that criteria.”
Continue reading How Venezuela Helped Defeat Canada’s Security Council Bid
by John Wilson *
The death of Larry Kramer on May 27th was a huge loss, not only for gay men and others in queer communities, but for all of us involved in the fight against every kind of oppression brought down on us by our decaying, crisis-ridden capitalist society. It was also a major loss for the world of art and culture. Kramer was a playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate and activist. He was a key figure in the fight against AIDS, being a co-founder of both the Gay Mens Health Crisis (GMHC) in NYC (1981) and the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). ACT UP, with its bold, militant protests and policy of direct action, started in 1987 in New York city, quickly growing and spreading to many cities in the US and internationally. It denounced the paralysis, indifference and bias of governments and public health agencies as well as the predatory role of Big Pharma. Many protests were designed for a maximum number of arrests, since these attracted media attention. Kramer was often on the list of those arrested.
Continue reading Larry Kramer fought indifference, and won!
Rally in front of Israeli consulate at Yonge and Bloor on Saturday, June 27, 2020.
No Annexation! (SA speech to June 27 in-person rally in Toronto)
Good afternoon comrades and friends. My name is Julius Arscott. I am an Alternate Executive Board member of OPSEU in Toronto and a leader of Socialist Action. SA is one of the initiators of this protest and the coalition that organized it. We say “No to the Annexation of the West Bank!” “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!”
Israel was founded on a big lie: that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land. The Palestinian people are here today to refute that lie.
Socialist Action is part of the world Trotskyist movement. Our movement opposed the creation of the Zionist state 72 years ago. The current land grab, building on the Nakba in 1948, the expanded Occupation in 1967, and the recent annexation of the Golan Heights, continues an ugly legacy of racism and ethnic cleansing.
Look at the world today. It is sharply polarized. On the one hand there is a global pandemic, economic ruin, environmental catastrophe, and authoritarian rule. On the other hand, millions are crying out: Smash Racism! Black and Indigenous Lives Matter! Abolish the Police! The Justin Trudeau Liberal government promised Netanyahu that Canada on the Security Council would be “as asset for Israel”. Ottawa’s defeat at the U.N. was a victory for the Palestinian people.
We know that public opinion in Canada backs sanctions against the Zionist state. Still the authorities try to vilify, even to outlaw BDS. They seek to ban the Al Quds march and to stop anti-Zionist free speech. Zionists and their friends in big business are in a panic. It is a sign of their weakness.
The Palestinian people are in the forefront of resistance to world imperialism. They did not choose this role. It was thrust upon them. They are heroes of the world working class. Many states are guilty of atrocious crimes. But Israel is a lynch pin of global imperialist rule. Richard Nixon, a strident anti-Semite, called Israel “America’s biggest aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.” Freedom for Palestine means freedom for humanity. Proudly, we stand with the people of Palestine. Our task is to mobilize public opinion in mass actions based on clear demands. For that reason, Socialist Action will not stop demanding: No to Annexation of the West Bank! Break the Siege of Gaza! End the Occupation! Tear Down the Apartheid wall! For the right of all refugees to return home. For a Democratic and Secular Palestine for all its residents: Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists! From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!