Tag Archives: Youth for Socialist Action

VIDEO/PHOTO’S from Education for Activists conference TROTSKY SCHOOL 2013

Congratulations and thanks to all the guest speakers, members and supporters who helped to make the sixth annual Education for Activists Conference a success.  Over forty-five people attended the Socialist Action Trotsky School at OISE U of Toronto.

Security, Surveillance and the Strong State
with speakers Glen Ford, editor of Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator and Robbie Mahood, member of Quebec Solidaire and a leader of SA/LAS Montreal.
How Revolutionary Youth Movements have
Changed the World
with speakers Lisa Luinenberg, Socialist Action – U.S.A. and Y.S.A. – U.S.A., Tyler Mackinnon, Chairperson, Youth for Socialist Action – Canada, Evan Engering, Y.S.A. – Canada
What is the Labour Bureaucracy
and what should be done about it?
with speaker Barry Weisleder.2013TrotskySchool206
The Democratic Party – Death Trap for U.S. Blacks – The Case for Independent Labour/Black Political Action
with speakers Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator and Julius Arscott, V.P. OPSEU Local 532, steering committee member of NDP Socialist Caucus, and leader of Socialist Action/ Ligue pout l’Action socialiste.
2013TrotskySchool302 2013TrotskySchool303 2013TrotskySchool304 2013TrotskySchool305

Education for Activists Conference November 15 – 16

TROTSKY SCHOOL – Education for Activists Conference

with special guest speaker Glen Ford, U.S. radio host of the Black Agenda Report

Friday, November 15

7 p.m.     Security, Surveillance and the Strong State

Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded and is current editor of the Black Agenda Report, which is widely broadcast, including on CIUT-FM in Toronto. Ford is the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion. He is on the board of directors of the United National Anti-war Coalition.

Lisa Luinenberg, immigrant workers’ rights activist, and a leader of Socialist Action-USA, based in Minneapolis.

Robbie Mahood, member Quebec Solidaire and a leader of SA/LAS Montreal.

Saturday, November 16

10 a.m.    How Revolutionary Youth Movements have changed the world  They ended the war in Vietnam, helped to desegregate the schools of Boston, and form the backbone of Idle No More, Occupy, and the Arab Awakening.

Lisa Luinenberg, Socialist Action-USA and YSA-USA.

Tyler Mackinnon, chairperson, Youth for Socialist Action-Canada.

12 noon Lunch break

1 p.m.    What is the Labour Bureaucracy – and what should be done about it?

Barry Weisleder, federal secretary, Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action socialiste; co-editor, Socialist Action newspaper; substitute teacher organizer, and member of OSSTF.

Lindsay Hinshelwood, ran for President of UNIFOR at its founding convention in August 2013, obtaining 17.5% of the votes cast. She is an assembly line worker at Ford Oakville and a member of UNIFOR Local 707, formerly of the Canadian Autoworkers.

4 p.m.    The Democratic Party – Death trap for U.S. Blacks – The case for independent Labour/Black political action

Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report, radio host and commentator.

Julius Arscott, V.P. OPSEU Local 532, steering committee member of the NDP Socialist Caucus, and a leader of Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action socialiste, will talk about independent working class political action in the Canadian context.

6 p.m. Social gathering at a nearby pub

November 15 – 16, 2013

OISE, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway Station) Room 2-214.

$10 for the weekend, $5 per session or PWYC

For more information contact:

socialistactioncanada@gmail.com          phone: (647) 986-1917       http://www.socialistaction.ca

CFS split would benefit only the right wing

by Tyler Mackinnon and Ben Rostoker
    With the Quebec student strikes still fresh in mind, one would expect a push for solidarity in student unions to fight austerity measures and tuition hikes. Sadly, the opposite seems to be the case. Before the fall semester, students from 15 different universities across the Canadian state campaigned to get their local student unions to leave the Canadian Federation of Students.
    The CFS was formed in 1981. It has been a critical tool for organizing cross-country activities to protest rising fees. Originally the CFS was identified with grass roots actions and advanced working class demands for the abolition of tuition fees. However by the mid-1990’s what was once a meeting place for progressive student activists had turned into a vehicle for careerist liberals. Many of these careerists sought to downplay radical demands and weaken the CFS as a forum for student union organizing. Under an increasingly opportunist leadership, the CFS became riddled with corruption, including such practices as ballot box stuffing. CFS activism shrivelled.
  This altered somewhat in the spring of 2012, when tens of thousands of Quebecois students hit the streets against the tuition increases imposed by the Jean Charest Quebec Liberal government. The CFS rose from hibernation and supported the Quebec students; it even dusted off its old demands for free-post secondary education. As the Quebec student strikes evolved into a general movement against austerity, the CFS claimed it sought to reform its own top-down style of conventions comprised of delegates, and replace it with the Quebecois system of general assemblies that encouraged all students to participate.
  Sadly the promises of the CFS leadership never materialized.It has been over a year and not a single student protest has been organized by the CFS. There has been no move to adopt Quebec’s more democratic institutions. Indeed, the idea of a Quebec-like student strike spreading to English Canada has been condemned by the CFS, which claims it would be divisive, since the student body is “not ready yet.” This is where we see some of the basis for the split emerging. 
    Despite the threats voiced by various spokespersons for the students seeking to disaffiliate from the CFS, it seems unlikely that the 6,000 to 8,000 signatures needed at Ryerson University to cause a referendum on this issue will be gathered.
    Ryerson Student Union President Melissa Palermo expressed surprise that students would even consider such a move. “We have had such widespread support across Ryerson for what we are doing with the CFS,” Palermo told SA. She said that despite the many flaws of the CFS, it still provides post-secondary students with a variety of services, such as the community food rooms. Right-wing students tried to push disaffiliation in 2009, and the RSU is confident it will fail again.  
    However, the last split effort does pose key questions: Why and How can this be done? It seems clear that those who support the split want to form a new student union, but they seem to have no plan to accomplish it. There is no broad, grass roots organization working to unite those who want to create a new union. Part of the problem is the political makeup of the split campaign. At its heart is an anarchist-inspired ‘apolitical’ movement of right wingers, anti-unionists, anarchists, new left socialists, and others who claim that this is a movement that everyone, both ‘right and left’, have their reasons to support. Thus we have right wingers saying that they never wanted to be in a union, and leftists denouncing the lack of concrete CFS solidarity with Quebec students. So the guiding light seems to be ‘let’s break the CFS and let its members spill out into the ether.’
    The prevalence of anarchist misconceptions on organizing without leadership, and so called ‘diversity of tactics’ (which all too often means no planning and condoning the actions of a substitutionist, violent minority) means that there is no plan to replace the CFS with a superior structure. Plus, there is no attempt to build a movement inside the CFS to address the corruption, unaccountability, and lack of internal democracy – even as part of a plan to build a better and separate union. And with no visible organization, or coordination, those wishing to leave the CFS will either be left to their own devices, and substantially weaker. Less effective equivalents to the CFS could emerge, or a disjointed and isolationist political landscape for student unions may result.
    The CFS is a union and it should be treated accordingly. There should be an organized fight within it. Only as a last ditch effort, and provided that there is a mass base for real change, and only if the route to internal democratic change is totally barred, should a split be contemplated.
    Youth for Socialist Action argues that there should be a fight within the CFS to push its leadership to the left, or to replace it and return the CFS to its democratic roots as a bottom up organization. In addition, the local student unions should encourage its members to get involved in campaigns for social justice, such as the ‘drop tuition fees’ and ‘abolish student debt’ campaigns, the Justice for Sammy movement, opposition to war spending and social cuts, and the fight for affordable housing and free mass public transit. Youth for     Socialist Action contends that it is vital to show the connection between the attack on the students’ movement and the corporate austerity drive. To fight inside, as well as outside the CFS, is the only way the students’ movement can hope to win against the capitalist rulers and their anti-student, anti-worker agenda.