The decision of the court, which took just 15 minutes to deliberate, after hearing more than 6 hours of legal argument, is designed to discourage labour unionists like Gael who won’t back down, and who refuse to be bullied.
In 2016 and 2017 Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste (Canadian state) contributed to the formation of a new revolutionary political current in the Fourth International. It was based on a text which constituted a sound, principled and absolutely necessary challenge to the F.I. leadership’s abandonment of the historic programme of world Trotskyism. Published in six languages, the document gained support by organizations and individuals around the world. Unfortunately, the Platform for a Revolutionary International obtained few votes at the World Congress held in March 2018.
At the SA/LAS convention in Toronto in May 2018 we pledged to continue our close collaboration with our American comrades in Socialist Action (USA), our very good relations with the Fourth International section in Greece, with the comrades of the Anticapitalist and Revolution (AetR) tendency of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, with the Revolutionary Left Anti-capitalists (IZAR) in Spain, with Socialist Democracy in Ireland, with the LUS in Mexico, and with co-thinkers in Italy, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong and other countries. Our efforts to participate in the FI as a sympathizing organization, or even to attain observer status, have seemingly reached a dead end. The decision of the 1995 World Congress to include SA/LAS in all F.I. gatherings has been systematically violated. Farcically, the dormant Gauche socialiste in Quebec, which claims to have ten members, remains the official F.I. section in Canada.
by Gary Porter
The Gradual Civilization Act, passed by Parliament of the Province of Canada (pre-Confederation) in 1857, sought to assimilate Indian people into Canadian white settler society by encouraging “enfranchisement.” Enfranchisement meant giving up recognition as an Indian and the special relationship of Indians to the government in order to become an ordinary Canadian citizen. The act was a failure — only one person voluntarily enfranchised.
The federal government then enacted the Gradual Enfranchisement Act which established the elective band council system that remains in the Indian Act to this day. This was an attack on hereditary chiefs who were much more difficult to deal with because their status was not up for periodic reaffirmation, and it is not subject to white men’s corrupting inducements and acts of intimidation.
Socialist Action categorically rejects the coup crudely attempted by the U.S. government against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Washington blatantly violates the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people. In a democratic and transparent election, in the presence of international observers, Venezuelans legitimately elected Nicolás Maduro Moros as their President in May 2018.
On January 22, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence issued a recorded message that was broadcast by 2,527 media outlets for three days, in coordination with the shadowy Organization of American States (OAS), calling for subversion of Maduro’s government.
Before the eyes of the world, and in the most grotesque manner, they presented their new puppet for the occasion, Juan Guaidó. Guaido is a man who never ran for president and represents a small party in the National Assembly. The Assembly is a body that is guilty of not cleaning up election irregularities that occurred in three southern districts in the 2015 election.
The naming of Guaido as President, out of thin air, would be laughable if the situation was not so serious, threatening the stability of the hemisphere. So, Guaido is recognized by a couple dozen countries, and Nicolas Maduro is recognized by nearly one hundred.
The clear aim of imperialism is to overthrow Maduro – as it has been trying to do by credit strangulation, by trade embargo, and perhaps now by military intervention. Prominent in the chorus of external anti-democratic demagogues demanding the ouster of Maduro is the Justin Trudeau Liberal government in Ottawa, whose most vocal siren is Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Socialist Action Canada had a representative present at the January 10 inauguration of President Nicolas Maduro for a second term in office. Participants in the gathering at the Supreme Court building in the capital, ranging from Presidents and foreign ministers, to grassroots activists, came from over 90 countries.
At a mammoth rally, before thousands of troops, held later that day at the Military Academy in Caracas, the generals and commanders of all branches of the Venezuelan armed forces vocally pledged their loyalty to Maduro for the six years of his new term of office.
At several meetings with ministers of the government and with PSUV top officials, we expressed our solidarity with the principle of self-determination and our indignation at the bullying threats from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, from Freeland, the European Union, and the neo-colonial satellite regimes of the South. Ottawa’s stated ‘non-recognition’ of Venezuela’s President, who was re-elected with over 68 per cent of the votes cast, is tantamount, in the sphere of diplomacy, to an act of war. Such a provocation by Trudeau/Freeland is particularly obnoxious coming in the same week that RCMP violently arrested 18 Indigenous people, members of the Unist’ot’en and Gidimt’en clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, blocking a road to pipeline construction on unceded traditional land in British Columbia. The shameless hypocrisy of a regime that claims to be democratic, pro-reconciliation, even feminist, seems to know no bounds.
Despite many troubles historically rooted in oil income dependency and corruption, Venezuela today demonstrates more democracy than the Lima Group of 14 countries combined. The failure of the PSUV government to break the stranglehold of foreign and domestic capital, to effect a socialist transformation, is a matter solely for the people of that country to resolve.
Concerning Venezuela, Trudeau and Freeland do not speak for the working class and ordinary people of Canada. On all matters, the Liberal government and the Tory opposition are the voice of big business, and are the allies of imperialism that yearns to regain control of Venezuela’s rich natural resources, which include an abundance of valuable minerals and pristine waters. You don’t hear them complain about electoral fraud in Honduras, Guatemala or Brazil, where it actually occurred in recent years. You don’t see them set a deadline for democratic elections in Saudi Arabia, Haiti or Ukraine.
In the face of rising tensions, and growing social crises demonstrated by lengthy, massive strikes (e.g. in Costa Rica) and by huge caravans of economic and climate refugees desperately seeking an exit from super-exploited Central America and Mexico, we demand that Ottawa and Washington acknowledge the real issues, renounce bullying, intimidation tactics, and economic blockade, and stop all threats of military aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
We urge the labour movement in Canada, and its political arm, the New Democratic Party, to take the lead in campaigning that all states respect the indivisible sovereignty of Venezuela. Niki Ashton and Svend Robinson set the tone that forced federal leader Jagmeet Singh to go beyond his initial vacuous enunciation.
If there is a break in diplomatic relations between Canada and Venezuela, which must be opposed with all our might, and which would be the bitter fruit of imperialist aggression, it will be necessary to take creative steps to foster people-to-people direct relations. Consideration should be given to establishing a bottom-up Peoples’ Diplomacy. In the event that Venezuelan state officials are expelled and barred from entry to Canada, this could take the form of Popular Embassies, to be established in both countries, staffed by civilians. They could be tasked with fostering cultural, educational and political exchanges, and with conducting campaigns of mutual solidarity for social justice. This would be an expression of a grassroots Anti-Imperialist United Front, targeting the enemies of peace, freedom and national self-determination.
In the meantime, Socialist Action appeals to all progressive, democratic and working class organizations, and individuals, to step up efforts to protest the belligerent actions of Ottawa and its co-conspirators in the Lima Group and in the Organization of American States, and to confront the ignorant bias of the commercial mass media. La lucha sigue!
Respect the Sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the authority of its re-elected President Nicolas Maduro!
No Sanctions! Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela!
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.”