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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) from the party, was promptly approved by the PQ’s conference of constituency presidents.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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.
By Art Young
June 24, 2009 -- The movement to call Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people is growing, it is “invading the mainstream discourse, becoming part of the constant and unrelenting drumbeat against Israel”. It could eventually threaten the existence of the Jewish state by undermining the support it receives from its strongest backer, the US government.
That was the message of alarm delivered by the executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Howard Kohr, to the AIPAC Policy Conference on May 3.
By Nathan Rao
March 23, 2009 -- It would be wrong to see the massively successful protest actions in France on March 19 as distant and exotic, of no particular relevance to us here in Canada. With the economic meltdown heralding a new political era, and with most of the country's left and social movements still stunned and disoriented following their embrace of the misguided and failed Liberal Party-led coalition plan, the French experience is instructive and inspiring.
February 14, 2009 -- With US President Barack Obama to visit Ottawa, Canada, on February 19, renowned writer and anti-war campaigner Tariq Ali shares his thoughts on the new administration's foreign policy. In his recently published book, The Duel, Tariq Ali argues that expanding the war in Afghanistan will only sow more destruction in that long-suffering Central Asian country, and aggravate the already volatile situation in Pakistan.
In this interview, which first appeared at the progressive Canadian website rabble.ca, Ali discusses with rabble's editor Derrick O'Keefe the war, prospects for Palestine under Obama's watch and the rising left-wing tide in Uncle Sam's backyard. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with O'Keefe's permission.
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By Roger Annis and John Riddell
[Roger Annis will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.]
The first casualty of the financial collapse has been the claim that “there is no alternative” to unrestricted free market capitalism. The imperialist governments are bankrolling imperilled banks and industrial conglomerates with immense bailouts — an estimated $5.1 trillion in the US alone by November 2008 — while preparing “stimulus” packages aimed at restoring financial markets.
The “stimulus” includes potentially useful projects along with many that are far more dubious. But urgently needed social investment, such as housing or a national daycare program, receives scant consideration. The spending is shaped to restore corporate profitability, not to sustain workers’ livelihoods. Thus, the US government’s auto industry bailout is conditional on wages and working conditions in union-organised plants being cut to match non-union operations, and Canada’s federal government has set similar conditions.
Salim Vally of the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa (http://psc.za.org/), addressing a meeting on February 7, 2008, part of Toronto's Israeli Apartheid Week (http://www.apartheidweek.org/), draws on the experiences of the South African anti-apartheid movement to inspire the Palestinian anti-apartheid movement. Salim Vally was deeply involved in the South African anti-apartheid movement.
By the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Canada) and the Palestine Solidarity Committee (South Africa)
December 31, 2008
By Richard Fidler
December 15, 2008 -- In the December 8 Québec general election, the Liberal government headed by Jean Charest was re-elected with 66 seats, turning its minority status before the election into a thin majority of seats in the National Assembly. The sovereigntist Parti québécois (PQ), benefiting from a late surge in the polls, was elected in 51 seats and replaced the right-wing Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) as official parliamentary opposition. The ADQ elected only seven members.