Category Archives: Youth

The Wealth Gap Widens

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Did anyone benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic?  Billionaires did.

Tobias Lutke is the 40-year old CEO of Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify Inc.  He saw his personal wealth rise from $3 billion (U.S.) in March 2020 – to $8.5 billion in August.

Generally, e-commerce flourished during the pandemic as fewer people visited stores.  The poor got poorer, already hurting from the great recession that started prior to the pandemic.  Meanwhile, the rich got richer.

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and CEO of Amazon, has a net worth of $189.4 billion. According to Bloomberg News, Bezos’ fortune has grown by $74 billion since the start of the year.  In just one day in July it jumped $13 billion.

The Walton family, who owns the Walmart empire, gained an extra $25 billion over the past year – the same amount Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zukerberg, saw his wealth climb.  According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the fortunes of U.S. billionaires soared by $434 billion during the pandemic lockdown between mid-March and mid-May.

Canada’s billionaire class is doing well too, thank you very much. The Thomsons, Canada’s richest family who oversee the Tomson Reuters media empire, saw its wealth leap from $31.6 billion in April to $37.7 billion in mid-August.  The Westons, who control the Loblaws supermarket chain, went from $7 billion in April to $8.4 billion today.

An Ipsos survey conducted in April showed that 40 per cent of Canadians under the age of 55 had only one week’s worth or less of savings to cover costs like food or rent if they lost their jobs due to the pandemic. In the U.S., almost 40 million jobs were lost by the end of May. And 40 million Americans could be evicted from their homes by the end of this year if state authorities don’t help.

In Canada, the top one per cent of families hold about 25.6 per cent of the wealth – roughly $3 trillion CDN.

Companies that are prospering are less dependent on large labour forces and are heavily invested in the online world where people work from home. That is one reason why Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – the so-called FAANGS – are seeing revenue climb and increasingly dominate the stock market.

If most of the money is hoarded by a small group of people, the capacity of workers to buy goods and services shrinks.  Steep wealth taxes would put a band aid on this festering sore. Only radical surgery will rid the world of the underlying disease.

— B.W.

Socialist Action attends rally against police violence in Brampton!

Socialist Action joined over a thousand Black students and their allies in a long March for Justice in Peel Region, forty minutes north-west of Toronto, on Wednesday, June 17.  The demonstration, which began at the Brampton Courthouse and ended with a rally at the school board parking lot in Mississauga, protested rampant anti-Black racism at the Peel District School Board (PDSB), as well as deep-rooted racism in the Peel police force.  Participants, predominantly female students of colour, decried the marginalization and victimization of Black students in the schools, as well as racial profiling and brutalization by school officials and police.  Many demonstrators wore T-shirts bearing the slogan Black Lives Matter, and a satirical treatment of the PDSB that read “Police District School Board.”  CTV coverage of the event showed the SA banner “Smash Racism. No Platform for Fascists.”
Speakers at the concluding rally of over 500 included an odd combination of slick bourgeois politicians, rebel singers and poets, and ardent grass roots activists.  Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, the former Ontario Conservative Party leader, praised the crowd for seizing the “historic moment”, but claimed that body-cameras for cops is a way to curtail police violence.  Following the formal proceedings, Kurt Young, Socialist Action organizer in Peel, urged a small crowd gathered at the SA literature display table to fight for transitional demands, including “Disarm, De-fund and Disband the capitalist police force.  For Workers’ and Community-Controlled Policing.”
The SA table, both at the start and end points of the March for Justice, was a busy hub of activity.  Hundreds received the SA leaflet “Jail Killer Cops!  Smash Racist Capitalism!”  Forty-five people signed up for more information at the Socialist Action table where demonstrators purchased $65 in literature and buttons, and three people applied to join SA in Peel.
Inside the school board building where trustees held a meeting, the Director of Education and the Board Chair ignored demands that they step down over anti-Black and Islamophobic statements attributed to school administrators.  For years, Peel parents have been complaining that Black students are more than twice as likely to be suspended from high school than their white peers.  They are more likely to be streamed into non-university-track courses.  Brampton North NDP MPP Kevin Yarde told the Ontario Legislature that “public school board meetings have ended in harassment of parents and advocates, and Black students continue to be hurt by racist incidents, lowered expectations and cruel punishments.”
Clearly, the struggle continues.
B.W.

WEBCAST: SOCIALISM 2020

WEBCAST – Socialism 2020, an international education conference online Saturday, June 6, with sessions at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

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4 p.m. Capitalism is the Virus – pandemic, climate change, economic ruin and authoritarianism,

France – Aurelien Gavois, a leading member of Anticapitaliste et Revolution, Nouveau Parti Anti-capitaliste in France.

Italy – Michela Guardigli, member, National Women’s Commission, Communist Workers’ Party (PCL), Italy.

USA – Lisa Luinenberg, Political Committee, SA-USA.

Canada – Daniel Tarade, SA-Canada member and science doctoral student at University of Toronto.

6:30 p.m. System in Crisis – A Working Class Vision for the Future,

Emily Steers, Socialist Action Canada activist, and Public Service Alliance, Local 902 member.

Jeff Mackler, SA-USA candidate for President.

Yves Engler, author, activist and leading critic of Canada’s foreign policy.

John Clarke, founding member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

 

For more information, including links to past webcasts and other videos, go regularly to:  http://www.socialistaction.ca
For answers to your specific questions, and/or to join Socialist Action, write to:  socialistactioncanada@gmail.com

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#socialism #socialist #SocialistAction #revolution #capitalism #cdnpoli #COVID19 #pandemic #cadpoli #virus #Trump #workingclass #workers #unionstrong #union #canlab #ecology #environment #ecosocialism #depression

34th Annual SA Celebration of International Workers’ Day

Webcast 34th Annual SA Celebration of International Workers’ Day, Saturday, May 2, 7 p.m.  with a number of speakers and entertainers, chaired by Elizabeth Byce.

 

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with guest speakers:

John Clarke, co-founder, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
Naila Saeed, Indocanadians4humanity.
Dirka Prout, co-chair of NDP Women’s Council, member of Socialist Caucus steering ctte.
Yvonne Hanson, climate justice activist and SA leading member in Vancouver, B.C.
Luis Acuna Cedeno, Charge D’Affaires, Venezuela Embassy.
Jeff Mackler, SA USA national secretary and its candidate for President.
Hammam Farah, Executive member, Palestine House.
Nigel Barriffe, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
A message from the Cuban Consul General in Toronto
Barry Weisleder, Federal Secretary, Socialist Action.
M.C.: Elizabeth Byce, federal Treasurer, NDP Socialist Caucus, and retired member of the Toronto Local, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Celebrate with entertainers: HOTCHA! with Beverly Kreller and Howard Druckman; James Gordon, singer/songwriter, playwright, community activist, Guelph City Councillor, and theatre director; poets Giovanna Riccio and George Elliot Clarke; the SPECIAL INTEREST group; Glen Hornblast, folk singer on the social justice scene; Bill Heffernan; Emily Steers, music student and soprano, and YC Lee, operatic singer.

You can watch and listen to the show live-stream by clicking on it at the SA website http://www.socialistaction.ca or enjoy it later via the SA YouTube channel.

For more information, including links to past webcasts and other videos, go regularly to: http://www.socialistaction.ca
For answers to your specific questions, and/or to join Socialist Action, write to: socialistactioncanada@gmail.com

 

#socialism #socialist #SocialistAction #revolution #capitalism #MayDay #music #workersday #cdnpoli #generalstrike #peopleoverprofit

Chile in the vanguard of world-wide protests

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by Robbie Mahood (March 13, 2020)

Among the mass protests that erupted in various parts of the globe in 2019, the case of Chile is outstanding.

Chile has long been regarded as a neoliberal success story, a country that had left behind the brutal years of the Pinochet dictatorship and carried out a “democratic transition”, with the return of civilian rule after 1990.

But the fundamentals of Pinochet’s 1980 constitution were left intact. The major political parties, whether of the left or the right, have alternated in power with the tacit agreement that there would be no serious questioning of the economic and social legacy of the Pinochet era, i.e., Chile-style neoliberalism.

Continue reading Chile in the vanguard of world-wide protests