Category Archives: Poverty

Poverty and Homelessness in Canada: Kurdish Socialists Host John Clarke

Members of Socialist Action joined about 30 Kurdish socialists and supporters gathered at the East York Civic Center on June 4 to listen to John Clarke, provincial organizer of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, talk about Poverty and Homelessness in Canada. The event was sponsored by Voices – an independent Kurdish Online publication.

John exposed the root causes of poverty in Ontario and described the heroic role of OCAP.  He told the audience how every night over 4000 people crowd into shelters, how tens of thousands have been forced by the government’s neo-liberal austerity policies to use food banks, and how since last year there have been over 100 tragic homeless deaths on the streets— the most ever recorded in Toronto!  He illustrated how disgraceful it is that this can happen in a city with such immense wealth. He also aptly defended OCAP’s use of direct action tactics, without seeking permission from the cops or anyone.  Clarke noted that while workers can withdraw their labour and go on strike, the unemployed and homeless can use only direct action as their weapon to fight against the system. His talk was animated by very moving personal anecdotes about the many people that OCAP has helped over the years.

During the discussion period, Barry Weisleder, a leader of Socialist Action, stressed that the only way to end poverty is through a revolutionary break with the existing class system, that is, by a socialist transformation of society. Such a transformation has at least two pre-conditions for it’s success: a working class that is rising in anger about the unacceptability of current conditions, and a revolutionary leadership in the unions and other working class organizations that will fight for a program to fundamentally change society.

This is not a matter of charity.  It is a struggle for justice and a revolt against unacceptable conditions for humanity and the environment. He urged members of the audience to join with Socialist Action in order to help build a strong and resolutely revolutionary party.

Socialist Action demands immediate action as follows:
• Mayor Tory: Immediately expand Toronto’s shelter capacity.  Open the armories!  People have been waiting long enough!

• Build decent housing for all, starting with a crash programme to create 500,000 new housing units by means of a publicly owned land development and construction industry.

• Provide immediate support and resources for those suffering mental health issues and drug addiction!

• Stop the war on the poor! Tax rich property owners, land developers, giant corporations and banks!

• NO MORE HOMELESS DEATHS!

Growth without “well-being”

by Barry Weisleder

The gap between economic growth and the well-being of Canadians widened considerably since the 2008 recession. That is the conclusion of the Canadian Index of Well-being (CIW) which released its third national report on November 23.

This comes as no surprise to millions of people who personally experience precarious work, longer commute times, or rising rates of diabetes, and yet feel none of the promised benefits of a re-surging gross domestic product. Now we have statistics that shatter the myth of “trickle down” prosperity. Continue reading Growth without “well-being”

When it comes to the poor, NO LIVES MATTER!

by Mitchell Shore

In a memorial for the death of a homeless person, more than 50 people gathered outside of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s luxury condo on February 19. Protesters demanded immediate action to stop the preventable death of homeless people. John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, street nurse Cathy Crowe, and others delivered passionate speeches at the spot where people laid flowers and candles in remembrance. Continue reading When it comes to the poor, NO LIVES MATTER!

Vote NO to OPS Concessionary Deal

By: Julius Arscott

President, OPSEU Local 532

Members of the Ontario Public Service (represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union) are being asked to ratify a three year (2015 – 2017) concessionary tentative agreement. While many of the major concessions sought by management, such as a 12 step wage grid and a 5% pay reduction at the bottom of the grid, were fought off, the deal the members are now asked to ratify is filled with concessions that would continue the downward spiral of wages. It reflects the ‘Net Zero’ stance of the Premier Kathleen Wynne Liberal Party regime. Continue reading Vote NO to OPS Concessionary Deal

Inside Election 2015: The War Not Mentioned

by Barry Weisleder
 
We are on the threshold of momentous change. Around the world working people are deeply dissatisfied with the status quo. We face endless economic crisis, endless wars abroad, and ever-rising surveillance and repression at home. We see fabulous wealth accumulation for the super-rich, and bitter austerity for the rest of us. We witness merciless plunder of our fragile environment by a profit system that threatens the very survival of civilization. The signs of discontent are everywhere.

Continue reading Inside Election 2015: The War Not Mentioned