Category Archives: Youth

YSA Reading and Discussion Events


Reading & Discussion of

Vladimir Lenin’s

Left-Wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder

7 pm // October 11, Thursday
OISE, ROOM 2-212 (252 Bloor St W at the St. George Subway Station)

The text is online here:


Leon Trotsky’s

Fascism: What It Is and How to Fight It

7 pm // October 18, Thursday
OISE, ROOM 2-212 (252 Bloor St W at the St. George Subway Station)

The text is online here:

  • Participants are encouraged to read the texts prior to the session.
  • Contact us if you want to participate in this very important educational event:


Reading and Discussion of Lenin’s – “WHAT IS TO BE DONE?”

Reading & Discussion of 
Lenin’s  – “WHAT IS TO BE DONE?” 
7 pm // October 4, Thursday
OISE, ROOM 2-212 (252 Bloor St W at the St. George Subway Station)
  • Join the Youth for Socialist Action in a reading and discussion of the very famous political booklet, “What is to be Done?”, by Vladimir Lenin.
  • Participants are encouraged to read the text prior to the session.
  • You can access the text online here:
  • Contact us if you want to participate in this very important educational event:

RSVP and Detailed Info: 416-535-8779

Zellers workers on Target for their rights

by Evan Engering (member of the YSA and UFCW)
Scores of labour activists converged on a quiet business park in Mississauga (west of Toronto) on August 22 to deliver a message to Target Stores CEO Gregg Steinhafel. The American retail giant recently bought out more than 100 former Zellers stores in a takeover deal leaving at least 12,000 jobless.
The Stephen Harper Conservative federal government approved the takeover this year without ensuring that any of those workers would keep their jobs, much less retain their hard-earned benefits and seniority.
“What they’re saying to you is this is going to be the fate of all workers in this country and this province in the years to come” said Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan, “This is what we can expect, unless of course, the Labour movement gets it’s act together.”
Ryan’s dire warning could not be more pertinent. This predatory takeover, just like the flight of a Caterpillar diesel engine plant from London, Ontario to union-busting Indiana earlier this year, is a reminder of the increasingly precarious nature of work in the capitalist system.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union is challenging the dismissal of the few unionized workers in this sector, trying to invoke ‘successor rights’ as Target takes control of the Zellers chain. But employers’ more frequent use of strike-breaking legislation and other anti-union laws are making the legal system less and less a recourse for pursuing any justice for workers.
Militant talk must be matched by more militant action, including mass pickets that shut down anti-worker enterprises. Only then will workers realize their power.

Quebec’s repressive response to student protests

by Eric Kupka

As reported here previously, the Liberal provincial government of Quebec is imposing a sharp rise in university and college tuition over the next seven years. This sparked massive demonstrations by students and their supporters throughout the spring and summer, some of which have attracted over 300,000 protesters.

However, Quebec Premier Jean Charest remained unmoved during the protests, and ultimately responded by having the National Assembly pass Bill 78, now Law 12, known in the sanitized language of the legislation as “An act to enable students to receive instruction from the post-secondary institutions they attend.”

Despite its name, the law is much more about silencing and repressing protesters than enabling students to attend class. It prohibits any gatherings in school buildings and on school grounds, and within 50 meters of the outer limits of school grounds, which “could result” in denying students access to classes. It also requires all organizers of demonstrations involving 10 or more people to give advance notice to local police of the demonstration’s date, time, venue, route and duration, and allows the police to unilaterally order a change in venue and route. A violation of these provisions could result in a $1,000 to $35,000 fine for individuals, or a $25,000 to $125,000 fine for organizations.

Bill 78 has been criticized by the Quebec Bar Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, among others. A law professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal called it the “worst law” that she has seen since the invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970, which brought Canadian troops onto the streets of Montreal.

Student associations brought a legal challenge against Bill 78, on the basis that it infringes on constitutionally-protected rights such as freedom of expression. An early attempt at an interim injunction against implementing the law failed, although the case remains before the courts.

Quebec has long been admired for its so-called ‘social-democratic’ character – unique in North America and exemplified by its low post-secondary tuition rates. With the Liberals now attempting to shift the province closer to the continent’s neo-liberal mainstream through its tuition hike plan, outsiders have been inspired to see the Quebecois rise en masse to defend their progressive gains — conquests of the nationalist movement in the 1960s.

Socialists stand with the students and workers of Quebec and demand an immediate repeal of Law 12, and cancellation of the planned tuition hikes. We back the call of the leftist Québec Solidaire party to eliminate all university and college tuition fees.

Spread the Quebec Students’ Strike to Ontario

by Tyler Mackinnon
College and university students are now just entering or returning to school after summer vacation. However this year things are a bit different. Many students are asking this question:  Are we going to go on strike?
Since student strikes and mass street protests are still going strong in Quebec, many post-secondary student activists are working to spread the strike across English Canada – at least in Ontario where fees are the highest. The Great Recession, the result of an overproduction crisis compounded by a high stakes financial gamble lost by the super rich, is now being used as an excuse to raise tuition fees and slash a variety of public services.  It is also the rationale for furthering the agenda of corporatization of universities and colleges.
Sky rocketing tuition fees range anywhere from $6,000-$10,000 a year for a full course load.  To some, these charges seem manageable when compared to the crippling debts and related interest charges they must bear afterwards.  Students should realize that now is the time to hit the streets and demand what has always been our right:  Free, quality public post-secondary education!
Students should begin organizing for something more potent than a mere single day of protest. Sadly, the various student unions have been vague about their plans for action.  They claim to be waiting until the school year resumes to unveil their strategy. It is obvious that an action plan should be made public as soon as possible, particularly since Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty lied about reforming the tuition debt regime — not to mention McGuinty’s current war on elementary and secondary school teacher’s fundamental bargaining rights. No longer should students and education support workers trust the false promises of McGuinty and his Liberal party – bought and paid for by the 1%.
With rebellion in the air and high enthusiasm for following in the footsteps of our Quebec student comrades, one would think that the Ontario student revolt will happen any day now. Sadly this is not the case, largely due to the existing student union leadership.
Instead of demanding free post-secondary education and the cancelation of student debt, student bureaucrats are playing it safe.  They ask for small concessions from the provincial government, such as freezing tuition fees, or lowering them by a small percentage over a period of time. Not only would these concessions do very little to help the least affluent students, but they’d fail to affirm the most vital aspect of the growing student movement globally — that education is a RIGHT, not a privilege! It should be the rich, whose system caused the economic crisis, who ought to bail out the economy, and not only that, but to pay for tuition-free education for all.
At a time when Ontario student unemployment is the highest in the country, at a time when obtaining one’s OSAP cheque is an Olympian challenge, at a time when universities are more corporate-branded and controlled than ever, we need bold, not petty demands. Now is the time for rebellion, in the classes, in the work places, and on the streets. The student union leadership has a choice.  Lead, follow, or get out of the way.  On every campus, students should organize debates, conduct strike votes and resolve to initiate action to drop fees.  This is the perspective that Youth for Socialist Action will be advancing everywhere.  Join us.  Together we can fight to win.