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Toronto G20 protests: What was gained and what was lost

Toronto, June 25, 2010. The peaceful mass protests against the G20 were largely ignored by the mass media.

By John Riddell and Art Young

September 2, 2010 -- Socialist Voice -- Two months after the protests against the G20 summit in Toronto and the accompanying police rampage, it is time for an initial balance sheet of what was gained and lost.

Some on the left view the experience as entirely positive. In particular, the Toronto Community Mobilization Network (TCMN) declares flatly that “the people won”, citing participation by “nearly 40,000 people”, the success of the June 24 march for Indigenous sovereignty, and the involvement of a wide spectrum of social movements and “over 100 grassroots organizations”. The July 26 TCMN statement also highlights protesters’ capacity to carry on in the face of arrests and intimidation, including deployment of almost 20,000 cops and a formidable array of weaponry, at a cost of more than C$1.2 billion.

Ian Angus: What next for ecosocialists?

By Ian Angus

August 30, 2010 -- Canadian Dimension via Climate & Capitalism -- Not long ago, most socialists had little to say about environmental issues, and the environmental movement was focused on individual (change your light bulbs) and capitalist (create a market for emissions) solutions to the ecological crisis.

In 2007, immediately after the founding of the Ecosocialist International Network, I wrote a Canadian Dimension article on the challenges facing ecosocialists. In it, I discussed two parallel trends that, though in their infancy, seemed to portend a new wave of anti-capitalist and pro-ecology action.

  • Some socialists were moving away from the left’s abstention from the environmental movement, and attempting to develop a distinctly socialist approach to the global environmental crisis.

Ecuador: Indigenous struggle, ecology and capitalist resource extraction

Marlon Santi, Quito, July 5, 2010.

Marlon Santi interviewed by Jeffery R. Webber

July 13, 2010 -- The Bullet -- On July 5, I sat down with Marlon Santi, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), in his office in Quito. We discussed the increasing contradictions between the demands of the Indigenous people's movement, on the one hand, around water rights and anti-mining resistance, and the positions of the government of Rafael Correa, on the other, which has labelled Indigenous resistance to large-scale mining and oil exploitation as “terrorism and sabotage”.

* * *

Can you describe your political formation and personal political trajectory?

Toronto G20: `Toxic remedies' will make workers and poor pay for the crisis

By Damien Millet, Sophie Perchellet and Eric Toussaint. Translated by Christine Pagnoulle and Marie Lagatta

June 28, 2010 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt -- As at its previous meetings, the Toronto summit of the exclusive G20 club, to which the world’s richest countries invited the heads of state of the major emerging countries, once again raised great expectations only to end as an empty bubble. As in London in 2008, then Pittsburgh in 2009, the Toronto G20 discussions focused on a way out of the economic crisis. But a capitalist way out, favouring creditors and great powers.

For the last two years global financial regulation has been an elusive sea serpent, unsurprisingly resulting in no concrete measures. To appease their citizens who pay a high price for the consequences of the present crisis, although they bear no responsibility for it, governments pretend they are trying to redefine the rules in the global financial game whereas for decades they have promoted the cancellation of any rules that would protect the world’s peoples.

Toronto is burning! Or is it? Black bloc tactics play into the state's hands


More at The Real News
Real News Network report of police violence against peaceful protesters on June 26, 2010.

By Judy Rebick

June 27, 2010 -- Rabble -- For people sitting at home and watching TV news last night, Toronto was burning. The same police car on Queen St West burned and blew up over and over again. The same image of a young man very violently smashing Starbucks windows appeared over and over again. Windows smashed all along Yonge Street. None of us had ever seen Toronto like this. It was shocking.

What next? The Freedom Flotilla and the struggle to break the siege of Gaza

By Rafeef Ziadah

June 5, 2010 -- The Bullet -- While people around the world are still in shock at the killing by Israeli commandos of innocent human rights activists on board the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, those who have been following Israeli state actions for some time are not surprised. This is an ongoing pattern of Israeli state terrorism and collective punishment. While we mourn the dead on the boats, we must not forget that the flotilla itself is in response to an even greater brutality – the slow starvation of more than 1.5 million people trapped in an open air prison called the Gaza Strip.

Canada: New openings for workers in Toronto

Participants at the Stewards' Assembly. Photo by John Maclennan.

By Herman Rosenfeld

March 2010 -- Relay (Socialist Project) -- In the context of an economic crisis where working people in Ontario, Canada, have suffered major setbacks, organised labour’s response has so far been disappointing. Apart from a few public sector strikes forced by employer concession demands, some longer-term strikes against concessions (such as the Vale-Inco struggle), a number of workplace occupations demanding severance pay and a few demonstrations calling for pension protection and Employment Insurance (EI) changes, there has been little resistance. This has forced activists in the trade union movement, and the left more widely, to confront the limits of our present organisational situation, and to begin to look for new ways to move forward.

Québec: Why the Parti Québécois expelled SPQ Libre

By Richard Fidler

March 30, 2010 -- Life on the Left -- A five-year long attempt to reform the Parti Québécois (PQ) as an independentist and “social-democratic” party ended abruptly on March 13 when the PQ’s national executive decided not to renew recognition of its left-wing “political club” as an authorised grouping with the party. The decision, which effectively expelled Syndicalistes et Progressistes pour un Québec Libre (SPQ Libre)[1] from the party, was promptly approved by the PQ’s conference of constituency presidents.

Tour builds Venezuela solidarity in Canada

By John Riddell

March 15, 2010 -- Socialist Voice -- Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke concluded their 10-day tour of Canada on March 7, with a rally in Vancouver entitled “Change the system, not the climate”. Fuentes shared the platform with Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s UN ambassador and chief spokesperson on climate change.

 

Israel’s apartheid: Making Palestinians pay for Hitler’s crimes

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By Suzanne Weiss

This speech was given by Suzanne Weiss on March 2, 2010, to a meeting of students at the University of Waterloo in Canada, held as part of the Israeli Apartheid Week. Suzanne Weiss, a holocaust survivor, is a member of Not in Our Name: Jewish Voices Against Zionism and of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto.

* * *

A year after a murderous Israel’s assault, the war on the people of Gaza continues. Gaza is still under siege – still surrounded by walls and checkpoints. Its people are denied the necessities of life and the right to rebuild and shape their future.

For me, as a survivor of the holocaust, the tragic situation in Gaza awakens memories of what I and my family experienced under Hitlerism – the ghetto walls, the killings, the systematic starvation and deprivation, the daily humiliations.

Eyewitness account: Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution -- The second decade

With Kiraz Janicke, Federico Fuentes. Moderated by Greg Albo.

Left Streamed -- Toronto, February 26, 2010 -- Kiraz Janicke is a journalist for Venezuelanalysis.com, the foremost independent English-language source of news on Venezuela. She is editor of the Peru en Movimiento website and a member of the Caracas bureau of Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading socialist newspaper.

Vancouver Winter Olympics: A festival of corporate greed

Graphic from No2010.com.

By Roger Annis

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Socialist Voice -- On February 12, 2010, the corporate sporting behemoth known as the 21st Winter Olympic Games will open to great fanfare here. In a time of economic hardship and government cuts to social programs across Canada, huge sums of public money have been spent to stage this uber spectacle.

Billions of dollars have been spent constructing venues, a new convention centre and airport terminal; widening and paving untold kilometres of roads and highways; building a hugely expensive rapid transit line connecting the city’s airport to its downtown; and erecting new hotels to serve the influx of corporate sponsors and spectators.

The hotel, travel, restaurant and real estate industries hope to make a killing off the influx of out-of-town spectators and partygoers. Construction companies have already earned hundreds of millions of dollars during the years of preparation furiously pouring concrete and asphalt. The official line says there will also be lots of long-term tourism dollars to be made, though this has not happened in other host cities.

Reconstructing Haiti: Time to break with foreign interference

Sweatshop in Haiti.

By Regan Boychuk

January 26, 2010 -- Haitians’ incredible plight has always been difficult to fully appreciate. Then the earthquake struck: hundreds of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands more hurt, a million homeless, and two million in need of food. It defies imagination.

And according to a journalist just returned from Haiti, even the heart-rending footage we’ve seen here on television fails to “portray the magnitude of the tragedy that has happened – and the degree to which the Haitian people are suffering. When looking at images from the disaster,” writes Steven Edwards, “we need to multiply by ten times our reaction of horror – only doing that can give you a true picture of what is going on in a place that has become hell not far from our shores.”[i]

Quebec left debates independence strategy (updated December 20, 2009)

Québec solidaire's member of the Québec National Assembly, Amir Khadir, tossing a shoe at a picture of US President George Bush at a rally in Montreal in November 2008.

By Richard Fidler

December 3, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- Québec solidaire, the left-wing party founded almost four years ago, held its fifth convention in the Montréal suburb of Laval on November 20-22, 2009. About 300 elected delegates debated and adopted resolutions on the Quebec national question, electoral reform, immigration policy and secularism.

The convention clarified the party’s position on some important questions at the heart of its strategic orientation that had been left unresolved at its founding.

Québec solidaire is the product of a fusion process lasting several years among various organisations and left-wing groups that had developed in the context of major actions by the women’s, student, global justice and antiwar movements in the 1990s and the early years of this decade. But the party has faced many obstacles as it struggled to establish a visible presence in Quebec’s political landscape.[1]

Canada/Quebec: Québécois denounce Supreme Court attack on language rights

By Richard Fidler

November 9, 2009 -- The October 22 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada overturning yet another section of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language (CFL) has been met with angry protests by a broad range of opinion in the French-speaking province.

The court declared unconstitutional a law adopted unanimously by Quebec’s National Assembly in 2002 that closed a loophole in the charter being used to circumvent the requirement that Quebec students attend French-language schools. In effect, the judgment restores free choice of language of elementary schooling for parents rich enough to send their kids for a few years to private schools not funded by the Quebec government before enrolling them in English public schools.

Canada: Vale Inco strike shows need for international action

On strike since mid-July.

By Marc Bonhomme, translated by Richard Fidler

A Québécois militant, member of Québec solidaire, discusses the global implications of the strike by 3500 workers at Vale Inco, the world’s largest nickel mine, in Sudbury, Ontario.

November 11, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- In France’s South Pacific colony of New Caledonia [Kanaky], a small delegation of Vale Inco strikers from Sudbury, in northeastern Ontario, most of them Franco-Ontarians, met in October with the union at the island’s Vale Inco nickel mine, due to open in 2010, although it threatens a UNESCO nature reserve. The newspaper Nouvelles calédoniennes reported the encounter, in its October 31 edition:

Photo essay: Guatemalan Indigenous communities resist violent eviction by Canadian mining company

Adolfo Ich Xaman (in middle) murdered by company goons.

Story and photo essay by James Rodríguez, Barrio La Union, El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala

September 28, 2009 -- MiMundo.org -- (Unless indicated, all photographs were taken in June 2009.) As a result of a frustrated eviction attempt in the community of Las Nubes in El Estor, Izabal, Adolfo Ich Xaman (middle in photograph above) was brutally shot and killed by private security guards subcontracted by the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN), local subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining company.

Mr. Ich Xaman was chairperson of the Community Committee for Development (COCODE) of the nearby Barrio La Union community, a primary school teacher, and brother-in-law of Ramiro Choc, a high-profile imprisoned Indigenous and peasant leader. During the attack, the following men were also shot and injured: Samuel Coc, Ricardo Tec, Alfredo Xi, Haroldo Cucul (left in the photograph), Alejandro Acté, Luciano Choc, Hector Choc and Guzman Chub.

(Updated Sept. 28) International solidarity with the Honduran people's struggle for democracy

Solidarity demonstration, Sydney, September 24, 2009.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal below is publishing various solidarity statements and reports of actions in solidarity with the democracy struggle of the people of Honduras. More will be posted as they come to hand.

Socialist Alliance: `Australia must act for democracy in Honduras'

Below is an open letter from the Socialist Alliance to Australia's foreign affairs minister, Stephen Smith, calling on the Australian Labor government to act for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, and the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

Britain’s conquest of Quebec: 250 years later, a continuing debate on how the French colonisers became colonised

By Richard Fidler

September 13, 2009 -- Life on the Left -- Colonisation. Conquest. Words that even today evoke widely varying historical memories.

Just last year Quebec City staged an elaborate round of events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its founding as the colonial capital of New France. No expense was spared as federal and provincial governments alike poured money into the city’s coffers. Capping the ceremonies were massively attended concerts by Québécoise singer Céline Dion and former Beatle Paul McCartney — apparently deemed emblematic descendants of the French and British “founding peoples” of present-day Canada. It seemed to be one great love-in of all those involved.

(Lost in all the self-congratulatory rhetoric, of course, was any recognition that the city’s site had in fact been occupied by its Indigenous inhabitants for many centuries prior to the arrival of the Europeans.)

Canada: Statement of purpose, Vancouver Socialist Forum

Poster for a meeting sponsored by the Vancouver Socialist Forum.

Vancouver Socialist Forum

Vancouver Socialist Forum was founded in 2007 to promote the ideas of socialism and facilitate the political activity of its members. It organises educational discussions and regular public forums.

Socialism or barbarism

The economic crisis that engulfed the planet in 2008 once again illustrates the destructive and irrational nature of capitalism. To prevent worsening social and economic misery for the world’s population, capitalism must be replaced by an entirely new economic and social order, socialism.

The goal of socialism is to create societies that offer full participation to each member and are environmentally sustainable. Human needs will be fulfilled through public and democratic ownership of the means of producing social wealth.

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