Tag Archives: Public Services

Solidarity with Kurdish Workers’ uprising

Socialist Action stands firmly in solidarity with Kurdistan workers who are demonstrating en masse for payment of long-delayed wages, for freedom of political prisoners, for an end to vicious repression, and for dissolution of the corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government.

In recent days, tens of thousands of people in Sulaimaniyah and Halabja provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq filled the streets to demand the dissolution of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) due to 26 years reckless, corrupt, and authoritarian practices. KRG security forces responded to the protests by arresting demonstrators and journalists, seizing TV stations, including the independently-owned NRT, and firing into the crowds of unarmed protestors with heavy weapons supplied to KRG forces by the Global Coalition Against Daesh.  The Canadian state is a participant in the GCAD.  The number of reported deaths has reached 20, and injuries at least 70.  Those numbers will rise as the massacre of demonstrators continues. The use of violence against innocent civilians is a grave violation of human rights.  It is incumbent on Ottawa and its Coalition partners in Iraq to take immediate action to prevent additional injuries and deaths. The dominant parties in the KRG, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), have ruled the Kurdistan Region as a private fiefdom for 26 years. Since 2003, the United States has supplied the militias commanded by these two parties with weapons, training, and financial support. The Canadian Ministry of Defense and the Liberal government looked the other way as partisan militias shuttered the Region’s democratic institutions and party elites enriched themselves — while failing to provide citizens with basic services like water and electricity. The KDP and the PUK squandered the Region’s budget through their corruption and mismanagement, and failed to pay the salaries of 1.4 million public service workers and retirees –over 75% of the KRG’s population– causing deep and widespread poverty. Journalists and activists who expressed dissatisfaction with the reckless abuses of power, were harassed, kidnapped, tortured, and killed. The ruling parties relied on external support to sustain their “legitimacy”.

As a result, Canada is directly responsible for the corruption, the private accumulation of power, wealth, and weapons which they now use against their own people.

We call on the Government of Canada to demand that the KDP and PUK:

  1. Immediately cease attacks on civilians;
  2. End military operations in the cities of the Kurdistan Region;
  3. Release political prisoners and detainees;
  4. Re-open the NRT TV station in Sulaimaniyah.

We urge the organizations of the working class across the Canadian state to demonstrate solidarity with the mass protests and just demands of our sisters and brothers in Kurdistan.

Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste

Photo Credits: Reuters/Stringer

MASS PICKET!!! DEFEND THE POSTAL SERVICE!

SArallypostlsrvc201451*UPDATE: Below is the video showing the picket and rally held recently to defend Canada’s postal service.
    Protest against the plan to terminate door to door mail delivery hit Toronto streets and the mass media on Saturday afternoon, March 15.  Close to one hundred people answered the call of Socialist Action and braved freezing high winds to picket the constituency office of Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, located at Lawrence Ave. and Bathurst St., a busy uptown intersection.      VIDEO HERE

    Members of more than a dozen labour unions, political parties and community groups rallied to demand that Canada Post Corporation and the Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper reverse the decision to phase out home mail delivery to over 5 million addresses, and refrain from increasing the price of postage.

Protest against the plan to terminate door to door mail delivery hit Toronto streets and the mass media on Saturday afternoon, March 15.  Close to one hundred people answered the call of Socialist Action and braved freezing high winds to picket the constituency office of Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, located at Lawrence Ave. and Bathurst St., a busy uptown intersection.

    Members of more than a dozen labour unions, political parties and community groups rallied to demand that Canada Post Corporation and the Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper reverse the decision to phase out home mail delivery to over 5 million addresses, and refrain from increasing the price of postage.
    Demonstrators walked in an oblong loop on the sidewalk next to the MP’s office entrance and chanted:  Stop the Cuts at CanadaSArallypostlsrvc201442 Post, Save Letter Carrier Jobs, No Cuts No Price Hikes – Defend Postal Services, and Seniors Demand Home Mail Delivery.
    About one quarter of the crowd appeared to be members of the Toronto Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).  The rest identified as partisans of UNIFOR, UNITE HERE, OPSEU, CUPE, secondary school teachers, and a host of local groups including Put Food in the Budget and the United Jewish People’s Order.
    Placards signed by Socialist Action, plus a large SA banner were highly visible on the street, and in the TV coverage of the event broadcast by CBC, CTV, CITY-TV, OMNI-TV and CP24.  Participants sported buttons ‘Save Canada Post’ distributed by CUPW, and bought 13 bright yellow buttons produced by SA bearing the slogan ‘Capitalism is Organized Crime’.
    Protest organizer and SA federal secretary Barry Weisleder told the crowd, “The scheme to curtail home mail delivery is part of a plan to gut the federal public sector.  It is part of a plan to shrink postal workers’ pensions and to break a progressive, democratic union.  It is part of a scheme to sell profitable parts of Canada Post Corporation to private sector vultures.”
    SArallypostlsrvc201492Darryl Ellis, President of the Toronto Local of CUPW, pledged that the campaign to save home mail delivery “is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  We will continue to fight until we win.”
Representatives from OPSEU, UNIFOR, PFIB, the NDP Socialist Caucus, UJPO and Youth for Socialist Action also addressed the shivering crowd.
    Weisleder, two days earlier, submitted a written application for a meeting with MP Joe Oliver.  Should the request be granted, organizers would like all the groups involved in the Saturday protest to send a rep to that close encounter with the Tory MP for Eglinton-Lawrence.
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