A women’s conference of the Socialist International in Copenhagen in 1910 launched International Women’s Day globally in 1911. Trotskyist parties, including the predecessor organization of Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste in the Canadian state, re-launched the modern IWD in Canada in 1978. Continue reading On the 106th Anniversary of IWD: For Feminism and Socialism!
Socialist Action fully supports the militant Aramark workers, members of Unite Here Local 75 at York University. We say: Working people make the country run. Working people should run the country!
Over 200 food service workers at York University went on one-day strike on February 2. A full strike next week is highly possible.
Striking workers say “enough is enough” to very long hours, in low-wage, precarious jobs, replete with racist harassment in their workplace. They demand what they deserve: respect and dignity at work, decent wages and benefits, and good working conditions. Aramark, the company sub-contracted by York University, dares to insist that $12 an hour is enough. The Aramark workers demand that the base rate be raised to $15 immediately.
To build support for the strike, students and other campus allies handed out thousands of fliers throughout out the day, and they launched the york15.ca website. A student organizer summarized it aptly: “Students and workers on campus are one. Workers impacted by poverty wages, by no benefits, by disrespect in the workplace, automatically impacts us as students because we are the future workers.” We agree totally.
Inequality continues to increase in Canada. Wealth concentrates at the top, while over 50% of workers in the GTA are trapped in precarious jobs. Debt is crushing the unemployed and working people. The burden of post-secondary school tuition fees and debt weighs heavily on students.
This situation is intolerable and it must end.
We support the Aramark workers’ demands, and add the following goals:
- Smash the bosses’ agenda of precarious employment, low pay and social cuts! Money for jobs and education, not for war and police repression. Fight for economic democracy and socialism.
- Common Front, General Strike, Workers’ Government! Build a common front. Follow the example of Aramark workers, students, and faculty at York University. The next step is to generalize the struggle across all sectors.
- Challenge Labour and the NDP to fight the bosses’ agenda. Build a class struggle opposition inside the unions and the NDP. The top brass should stop apologizing for the NDP being a labour party and should defend the workers’ interests. With real wages frozen for over 30 years, workers need a raise. A minimum wage of $18/hour would be a good start. Fight for it.
This struggle can be won. Alone, an individual can do little. But the working class united can move mountains. Together we can create a world fit for humanity, fully in harmony with nature. It is the most worthwhile aim. Join us in the fight for workers’ power, eco-socialism and feminism.
647-728-9143 or 647-986-1917 | socialistactioncanada@gmail. com | www.socialistaction.ca
Photo by David Bush
By pandering to big developers and the rich, by targeting civic workers instead of tax-withholding banks, by hiking user fees (and politicians’ perks) while slashing community services, David Miller and company pushed tens of thousands of working people into the boa constrictor-like embrace of Rob Ford and George Smitherman.
Joe Pantalone, the hapless apologist for the Liberal-NDP coalition government, Joe ‘Pants’, the Bob Rae of City Council, alienated his base and deprived voters of a principled, independent working class alternative to the big business right wing, right from the start.
The turnout of 52 per cent of eligible voters, compared to 39 per cent in 2006, rewarded candidates who promised “change”. Ford received 47 per cent of the votes cast. Former Ontario Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman, running on a similar programme of austerity and privatization, got 36 per cent.
A stormy period of clashes over the fate of city jobs and services is now in store. Hopefully, there will be mass resistance to the corporate agenda. If there is, it may hasten the realization that unions must break with the Liberals and fight for an up-front NDP-Labour slate of candidates committed to socialist policies prior to the next municipal vote in 2014.
York University’s administration punished Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) for holding a rally on March 27 to demand divestment from Israeli Apartheid. York U Security also asked an alumnus and member of SAIA to leave the protest at Vari Hall and threatened to arrest him if he didn’t. In addition, SAIA’s club status “has been revoked until January 2014 following the Vari Hall demonstration in March” as reported in Excalibur, York University’s community newspaper.
In response to these sanctions, Youth for Socialist Action (YSA) joins The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), and the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA), which have all condemned the York University administration. We call on the administration to amend University policies which pose a threat to free speech, particularly the Senate Policy on Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour in Academic Situations, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the Temporary Use of University Space policy.
YSA is a firm supporter of the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Apartheid Israel. We demand that York University stop investing in repression, occupation and war crimes, and to stop violating freedom of expression on campus.
As a socialist and internationalist organization, YSA affirms that socialists have a further responsibility to present a cogent analysis of the current situation in its global context, and to advance a programme in the strategic interests of all working people. In this sense, the starting point for a programme for peace with social justice in the Middle East is the end of the apartheid Zionist state, and the revolutionary transformation of all the Arab regimes. For the Palestinians, the proposed “two state solution” is simply a call for an old-style South Africa Bantustan-type arrangement – consisting of large, impoverished, concentration camps of Palestinians surrounded by powerful Zionist armed forces. We support the right of Palestinians to establish a state on any part of their territory, whatever its limitations, and to continue the fight for full national emancipation. This is a basic, democratic stance, without which social progress is impossible.
We further seek to
- Educate and mobilize public opinion to oppose Israel’s military aggression against the Palestinians. Confront and expose the myths about Zionism offering a safe haven for world Jewry. Refuse to submit to intimidation by pro-Zionist organizations and business media. Conduct seminars and teach-ins, and seek opportunities to speak to labour, NDP and community organizations.
- Challenge the partnership of the Canadian government and big business with the Israeli state and economy. Ottawa’s policy is now the most blatantly pro-Zionist in the world. Challenge Canada’s complicity with United States’ domination of the Middle East.
- Demand implementation of an immediate international embargo on investment, trade and arms shipments to Israel – to be lifted only when the Zionist state ends its occupation of the Palestinian territories, dismantles the Apartheid wall and the Zionist settlements, halts its military aggression, recognizes the right of return of all Palestinian refugees, pays reparations to refugees and victims of Israeli state violence, ends discrimination against non-Jews inside Israel, and recognizes the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and an independent state.
- Organize a broadly based, mass action-oriented, democratic alliance of all groups and individuals willing to fight for peace with social justice in Palestine. Action must include solidarity with the mass protest movement of the victims of Zionist aggression. It is wrong to subordinate the freedom struggle of the Palestinians to the so-called ‘unity’ of the Israeli working class, much of which is imbued with chauvinist prejudice. In recent years Israeli unions hold general strikes against social cutbacks and the lack of housing, but include right wing settler groups and refuse to discuss the plight of Palestinians. We insist it is wrong to oppose the global BDS campaign on the claim that it is ‘divisive’, as some ‘leftist’ groups argue. Unity in action for social justice should be based on a concrete programme of democratic demands, including the ones stated above. On this basis, a broad movement for justice and solidarity can be built, reaching out beyond the Canadian Arab and Jewish communities, and mobilizing allies in the unions and the organizations of feminists, seniors, environmentalists, students, immigrants, civil libertarians, visible minorities and international solidarity activists.
Unity in action of Palestinian and Israeli workers – against national oppression – is a prerequisite to a Democratic, Secular Palestine, which is likewise a precondition to ending the bloodshed, repression and injustice that torment the peoples of the region. Unity in solidarity action with the Palestinian people, across the Canadian state and around the world, is a critical step towards that goal.
Youth for Socialist Action
for more information: http://www.socialistaction.ca/ysa