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People's Voice - Issue of May 16-31, 2010
From: Communist Party of Canada
http://www.communist-party.ca , mailto:inter@cpc-pcc.ca 

PEOPLE'S VOICE - Issue of May 16-31, 2010


By Liz Rowley

Toronto participants in the People's Voice May Day
celebration responded to the call to support Sudbury
strikers against Brazilian multinational Vale Inco with a
donation of $350. Another $350 was raised for People's
Voice, which has helped expose Vale's union busting, and
helped mobilize support for the strike since July 2009.

The gathering also passed a resolution calling on the
provincial government to pass anti scab legislation, and to
force the company to negotiate the "fair deal" that miners,
smelterworkers, and the community are entitled to.

Vale Inco, which has 97% of its global holdings outside
Canada, is determined to kill the defined benefit pension
plan that provides some measure of security for workers
after a lifetime in their dangerous occupation. Even this
plan has left some workers and mine widows unable to cope,
because pensions were not tied to cost of living increases.
Nor do they cover the costs of diseases such as black lung
which are rife in mining towns like Sudbury.

Vale wants a defined contribution (DC) pension, akin to
RRSPs, completely exposed to the ups and downs of the
market. In the crash of 2008, hundreds of thousands of
people lost substantial portions of their DC pensions and

The company also wants to end the nickel bonus, a profit
sharing arrangement whereby workers get a share of the
increase when the price of nickel rises. 

For the first time in its 100 year history, the Inco mines
and smelters are being worked by scabs, as the company
struggles to break the workers' resolve and their union,
Local 6500 of the United Steelworkers. Strikebreakers and
rent a cops have been recruited in Milton, a small farming
community in Southern Ontario, as well as from Timmins, a
hard rock mining town rocked by layoffs and mine closures.
Others are being recruited from the unemployed and
unorganized across the province, and flown into the mine
and smelter sites by helicopter. The scabs are sleeping in
the mine site offices, and flown out on regular rotations.

AFI Security cops are following strikers and their family
members on trips to the grocery store, school, and so on.
This intimidation is intended to wear down the families and
convince strikers to accept the company's terms. In
retaliation, strikers are picketing the homes and
businesses of scabs, and listing their names at mine
entrances and in public places. Strike supporters have
organized extended pickets, holding up company trucks as
long as three hours, much longer than the protocol which
requires the union to let all traffic pass through the
lines after twelve minutes.  

In March, the office workers at Vale, members of a
separate, composite USW local, voted nearly unanimously to
accept a contract offer containing a $5,000 signing bonus,
a wage increase, and other juicy enticements. Instead of
joining in the big strike of miners and smelterworkers, the
office workers, including senior staff, opted to take the
bait and look after themselves. These are the same
untrained and inexperienced employees the company has used
since last July to work the mines and smelters. Serious
gaps in Ontario's labour laws permit employers to redirect
employees to work in their struck worksites. The deal was
intended to put a wedge into the union, and it has done so.
Strikers won't forget that they were left out in the cold
by their brothers and sisters who cross the picket lines
every day. 

In April, public pressure finally pushed NDP Mayor John
Rodriguez and the Sudbury town Council to enforce municipal
by laws that prohibit using company offices to sleep and
house workers. A mass meeting at City Hall forced the Mayor
and Council to speak up for the community.

But the company isn't producing much. Many of the trucks
passing through the lines are empty. Production is fitful
at best, intended mainly as a propaganda weapon to break
down support for the union. There is a real danger of
serious accidents in the mines, and chemical gas leaks or
explosions from the smelters could affect the whole town.
This itself is reason to compel the provincial government
to step in and ban the use of scabs.

How to win against such a powerful company with such deep
pockets? That's the question facing strikers and their
supporters. Clearly there must be a greater mobilization of
Canadian labour in support of the strike. Also at issue is
ownership and control of Canada's natural resources, and
Investment Canada's "free pass" to Vale to extract nickel
and precious metals under any conditions.

The labour and democratic movements can demand that local
MPPs and MPs act to force the company back to the table to
negotiate a collective agreement, to ban the use of scabs,
and to re open the Investment Canada deal that allowed Vale
into Canada in the first place. They can also put pressure
on other businesses that deal with Vale, such as TVOntario
which sells advertising to Vale on its nightly "Agenda"
news program. Letters to the editor and calls to the talk
shows are important.

After 10 months, with no end in sight, this is now
everybody's fight. The outcome will ripple right through
the mining and resource sector, either lifting up the fight
to save pensions and good unionized jobs, or axe them. 

The strikers are holding on, but they need all the
firepower the labour movement can bring to bear. Working
people across Canada need to know what's in the balance,
and what they and their unions can do to help win.

The real solution is to nationalize Vale and put the
operation under public ownership and democratic control.
That would end what is effectively a lock out, and result
in a fair deal for striking workers. It would also return
ownership and control of these rich mines and natural
resources to the Canadian people. A noble idea, and one
worth fighting for sooner, rather than later.    

(Liz Rowley is the Ontario leader of the Communist Party.)

Special to PV

While the struggle of Quebec's public sector unions is
drawing considerable attention across Canada, other
important labour developments are underway in the building
trades. Collective agreements covering 150,000 Quebec
construction industry workers expired on April 30. Although
talks for a new contract began last October, union
negotiators have run into the intransigence of employers'
associations representing the various sectors of the
industry, including residential, road building, and

An alliance has been formed, consisting of unions which
represent around 80& of all workers in the Quebec
construction industry. The alliance includes the Quebec
Provincial Council of Construction Trades International,
CSD Building, the CSN-Construction, and the Union of Quebec
Construction (SQC), to which are attached six local
affiliates of the Quebec Federation of Labour.

The spokespersons for the Alliance report that "to date,
little progress has been made. The difference between union
demands and employer positions is so great that discussions
are very difficult."

The wage offer from the employers does not even cover
inflation, and maintains wage differentials for workers who
perform the same tasks in the residential sector. Under the
pretext of "economic hardship," the employers want to
abolish the double-time overtime pay rate in the
institutional-commercial sector, and to return to a working
week of 50 hours at straight time on construction sites.

Yet all indicators show that construction activity is on
the upswing, so the workers feel they are entitled to
better pay and improved working conditions. The unions are
refusing to surrender, instead resorting to pressure
tactics against the employers, and possibly strike action
towards the end of June. Unfortunately, Quebec law
prohibits any retroactive settlement in the construction

The union alliance acknowledges that a walkout would have
serious consequences: delays in delivery of new houses; a
slowdown in road work across Quebec making travel difficult
for motorists; and a delay in Hydro Quebec's La Romaine
mega site. But these disadvantages, the unions note, would
be caused by aggressive business associations which seek to
undermine the working conditions of construction workers.

PV Vancouver Bureau

The turnouts varied from city to city, but May 1 was marked
across the country by the labour movement and its allies as
part of the world-wide actions for May Day.

The biggest rally drew an estimated 25,000 trade union
members and supporters in Montreal. The demonstration
included thousands of public sector workers, united in a
Common Front to win a new contract with the Charest
government of Quebec. Carrying flags and balloons, music
blaring from speakers on a truck, the marchers went to
Marguerite Bourgeoys Park, where they paid homage to late
Quebec union leader Michel Chartrand.
The protesters condemned the health care user fees and cuts
in the public service in the recent Quebec budget. 

"We're against any kind of user fees," said R�gine Laurent,
president of the F�dration interprofessionnelle de la sant�
du Qu�bec, representing 58,000 nurses. "Studies around the
world prove that, as soon as there is an obligation for
citizens to pay for health care services, it's obviously
the poorest who are most penalized."

Teachers at the rally attacked the Charest government for
failing on its promise of smaller class sizes, and for
imposing bureaucratic rules that take time away from

Some of the 250 Journal de Montr�al reporters,
photographers, copy editors and office workers, now in
their 16th month of a lock out, marched near the front of
the rally.
Thousands were in the streets of Toronto on May 1, drawing
attention to the attacks against refugees and immigrant
workers in Canada. The solidarity group No One Is Illegal
was joined by a wide range of trade unions for the
demonstration. "We've seen a further dismantling of an
already broken immigration refugee system," said Faria
Kamal, one of the organizers. "We're here today to speak
out against it and fight back."

Smaller actions took place in several other cities. In
Winnipeg, over 200 people made their way from city hall
down Main Street, then circling through downtown to Old
Market Square, with chants such as "the people, united,
will never be defeated." The day's theme   Equal Rights,
Equal Opportunities, Progress for all   highlighted the
struggle for women's rights.

Vancouver's May Day march along Commercial Drive, the first
in six years to be organized by the city's Labour Council,
drew about 500 participants. The march finished up with a
rally at Grandview Park, where retired Longshore union
activist Dave Lomas spoke on the union's June 19
commemoration of the 1935 "Battle of Ballantyne Pier," a
turning point in the Vancouver labour movement. Other
speakers included B.C. Communist Party leader Sam Hammond
and Vancouver school trustee Jane Bouey.

Later there was an evening social event, with greetings
from two members of the Cuban Women's Federation who have
been touring British Columbia. BC Federation of Labour
President Jim Sinclair and VDLC President Bill Saunders
both gave powerful speeches condemning the attacks on
workers' rights by governments and corporations.

Statement from the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario)

The Liberal government in Ontario has launched a campaign
to reduce health care costs that won't, in fact, reduce
health care costs substantially and will almost certainly
increase drug store dispensing fees paid by the public.

That's because the government is solely focused on reducing
generic drug companies' kickbacks to drug stores for
product placement, while ignoring the multi national
pharmaceutical companies which are the single biggest drain
on health care dollars in Ontario and across Canada.  

Called "professional allowances" these kickbacks do add  
minimally   to the cost of drugs. But they're just a fly in
the ointment compared to the obscene mega profits rolling
in from the price fixing monopoly of the multinational
pharmaceutical companies. These roll in year after year on
the backs of the sick and the poor in Ontario and globally,
because the federal is protecting them, and the provincial
government hasn't the will or the desire to take them on.  

Rather, the Premier and the Health Minister are taking on
pharmacists, with the full knowledge that pharmacists are
either employees in chains like Shoppers Drug Mart, or
owner operators of small neighbourhood drug stores that
likely won't survive the Liberals' pre election campaign.

If the Liberals really wanted to cut drug and health care
costs, they'd go after Big Pharma which is making a 25%
profit on the drugs it sells in Ontario   far more than the
profits they make on the same drug sales to France, Italy,
Sweden, Switzerland and Britain.

Further, to really lower the cost of drugs the Liberals
would also have to take on the federal government over
their refusal to tighten up on drug patent laws which have
allowed the multi-national pharmaceuticals to extend their
patent protections   and mega profits   for years into the

But the McGuinty government is prepared to do neither of
these things, preferring to campaign against drug store
chains and independent pharmacists instead of the real
cause of increasing health costs   the obscene profits of
the multi national drug companies.

The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) calls for the
nationalization of the pharmaceutical industry, and the
expansion of Medicare to include pharmacare. That would
fundamentally cut health care costs in Ontario by
eliminating obscene profiteering, and would provide
immediate and long term health care benefits to all
Ontarians. This is the campaign the McGuinty government
should mount without further delay.  

Further, we call on both the provincial and federal
government to take immediate action to rescind current drug
patent legislation which protects Big Pharma profits, and
to pass legislation to speed up and increase Canadians'
access to generic drugs of all types. 

Health care is just too important to be left to the
profiteers and privatizers like the pharmaceutical industry
that is working daily to dismantle universal public health
care in Ontario   Medicare in Canada.

Ontarians and all Canadians have shown they are willing to
fight to protect and expand Medicare.  What's missing   and
so obviously missing with the government's cynical pre
election campaign against pharmacists today   is the
political will to take on the real threat to Medicare   the
multi national pharmaceutical companies and their boundless
greed.  Could it be related to political contributions to
the Liberal and Tory parties from pharmaceutical companies
in Ontario?  

If a little country like Cuba can do it, surely the
governments of Ontario and Canada can do it. The health of
Ontarians and all Canadians depends on it. 

People's Voice Editorial

The full impact of the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig
blowout is gradually becoming apparent. As attempts to
block the huge oil spill fall short, it appears more likely
by the day that this corporate catastrophe may turn much of
the Gulf of Mexico into a virtual dead zone, destroying the
sealife and the environment which provide a living for
millions of workers and their families. Yet this event was
entirely predictable. Driven by the need for profits,
offshore drilling is just one of the environmentally risky
tactics used by the capitalist system to extract the oil
necessary to keep functioning. While this is only the most
recent and spectacular such disaster, imperialism has
already turned much of the earth's surface into death

On the "recovery" side of the capitalist ledger, cautious
voices are already warning against euphoria. Stock prices,
the most visible indicator of confidence in the system,
continue to experience wild swings. As this issue goes to
press, stocks are up on the news of the trillion-dollar
"bailout" of the Greek economy. But if anyone thinks that
Greek working people will quietly agree to pay the cost of
this massive deal, they are quite mistaken. Faced with the
"choice" between surrendering their wages, pensions and
social programs, or continuing to resist, the people of
Greece will not retreat. Their general strikes and huge
demonstrations are only the beginning of a working class
fightback which will inevitably spread across Europe and
around the planet. 

Truly, capitalism today is a system going up in smoke. It
has no future to offer our world, and it must be replaced
by the socialist alternative. That means building powerful,
united, mass struggles for peace, jobs, equality, the
environment, and genuine human progress. We have no

People's Voice Editorial

The Harper government's latest attack on women's
reproductive freedoms shows that the so-called "pro-life"
forces are willing accomplices in the deaths of women and
children around the world. Most Canadians support women's
right to choose, yet the Tories have decided to exclude
from Canada's G8 maternal/child health package any funding
for reproductive health care that includes safe abortion
services. This policy will have a deadly impact.

Until now, Canada has acted through the United Nations to
help provide a full range of reproductive health services,
including safe abortion where legal, and has consistently
funded such services. In developing countries, up to 20
million women decide to resort to illegal abortions every
year, resulting in an estimated 70,000 deaths. Millions of
these women never receive medical treatment for the
resulting complications. Over 200,000 children lose their
mothers every year from unsafe abortion-related deaths, and
the lifespan of the surviving children in such families is
shortened. In countries where mass rape is used as a sexual
weapon, lack of access to safe abortion services compounds
the trauma imposed on women and girls, further reducing
their chances to regain a normal life.

The new policy means that groups which forfeit Canadian
funding may lose much of their ability to provide other
basic healthcare. Far from improving the health of women
and children, the Harper government's policy shift will
cost countless lives.

This must not be allowed to happen. The Tories must be
pushed to fund the full range of reproductive healthcare
for women, and quality post abortion care for women injured
from illegal, unsafe abortion. This issue proves again the
urgent need to mobilize Canadians to drive the Tories out
of office, and to decisively defeat the right wing forces
in the next election.

PV Vancouver Bureau

When Vancouver's Catholic Little Flower Academy fired Lisa
Reimer from her position teaching music because she is a
lesbian parent, the episode sets off alarms about using
public funds to subsidize private schools.

Reimer had told the school administration that she was a
lesbian, and that her partner was expecting a baby. Last
December, well in advance of their son's birth, she
formally requested parental leave. The request was denied
in January, and then Reimer was suddenly dismissed without

In citing the reason, the principal stated the school had
no concerns about Reimer's ability to teach. In fact,
Little Flower Academy was very pleased with her
performance. Reimer was told that many parents had
complained after becoming aware of the fact that she had
recently become a parent and that her spouse was a woman.
The families were said to be worried that "the girls might
follow Reimer's lead."

"Little Flower Academy is a publicly funded religious
school," said Steve LeBel of BC's Pride Education Network.
"They are clearly discriminating against Ms. Reimer on the
basis of her family status and sexual orientation. In 2010,
it is absolutely unfathomable that any school would
insinuate that students could be led into homosexuality by
having a lesbian teacher and then fire that teacher.
British Columbians want to know if the minister of
education, Margaret MacDiarmid, is comfortable giving
public funding to a private school that discriminates based
on sexual orientation?"

"This kind of discrimination and homophobia could never
happen in a public school," said Glen Hansman, a vice
president with the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers'
Association. "This case is a clear example why private
schools should not receive any kind of public funding
whatsoever. All teachers have the right to a safe and
accepting workplace. Catholic schools should be no

Reimer will return to the public school system in September
as a teacher in Vancouver. The Vancouver School Board has a
policy which explicitly protects lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender (LGBT) teachers from discrimination. The
VSB policy, in keeping with the BC Human Rights Code and
collective agreement, supports and protects LGBT teachers
who choose to be out in the workplace.

(Adapted from a text of a collective of authors published
in Le Devoir, November 18, 2006)

On April 12, Michel Chartrand passed away at 93 years old.
This exceptional fighter participated for over 70 years in
all the memorable events in Quebec's history, starting in
the mid 1930s. During the Fifties, in the "Grande Noirceur"
(the dark days of Duplessis), he acted as a spearhead of
the trade union movement, which acted as the real
opposition to Duplessism and opened the way to the Quiet
Revolution. Chartrand paid the price, jailed no fewer than
seven times in the hard fought conflicts that marked that
period, the best known of which were those in Asbestos and

This gave a foretaste of his later troubles with the legal
system, including his detention for four months under the
War Measures Act decreed by the Trudeau government during
the October Crisis of 1970. His trial, like that of all the
300 or so persons unjustly jailed, ended in a dismissal of
the charges.

Michel was predominantly a political man, speaking
abundantly about public issues. "Everything is political,"
he loved to say. But this patriarch of the Quebec left
scorned the traditional parties, which in his view sought
only power without real change.

In the first part of his public life, he was deeply
involved in the reformist nationalist parties of the
Thirties and Forties   Action Lib�rale Nationale and the
Bloc Populaire   precursors of the contemporary
sovereigntist Parti Qu�b�cois and Bloc Qu�b�cois. As his
thinking radicalized, in the Fifties he succeeded Th�rese
Casgrain as leader of the Parti Social D�mocrate, the
Quebec wing of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation
(CCF). And in the early Sixties he was the founding
president of the Parti Socialiste du Qu�bec (PSQ). At the
end of his life, he was an eminent member of Qu�bec

An independentist from the beginning, he never supported
the PQ, criticizing its overly centrist and neoliberal
policies. However, he was not a narrow nationalist,
conscious that a nation oppressing another one cannot find
the path to freedom. This is why he actively supported the
struggle of the Mohawk people during the Oka crisis in

Driven out of the CTCC (the CSN's predecessor), by its then
secretary general, Jean Marchand (one of the three "doves"
who, with Trudeau and G�rard Pelletier headed to Ottawa in
1965 to "put Quebec back in its place"), Chartrand went
back to practising his trade as a printer for ten years.

But as president of the Montreal Central Council of the
CSN, from 1968 to 1978, Michel gave his full measure as a
man of action and an orator. He became one of the pillars
of the Quebec union movement, which he helped transform
into an instrument of struggle.

He was the keenest enthusiast of the innovative orientation
adopted by the union central, which sought to add a "second
front" to the traditional mission of trade unionism, the
negotiation of collective agreements. This was expressed,
for example, in the Central Council's involvement in causes
such as defense of the rights of tenants and injured
workers; the founding of a popular newspaper, the weekly
Qu�bec Presse; the establishment of superstore food co
operatives; support to the Front d'Action Politique (FRAP),
the first progressive party to oppose Jean Drapeau, the
autocratic mayor of Montreal; the successful campaign to
abolish the private hunting and fishing clubs, which earned
Chartrand yet another stay behind bars; and, above all, the
practice of international solidarity.

Still tireless, in the mid 1980s Michel established the
FATA (Foundation to assist injured workers). When he was
over 80 years old, he criss-crossed Quebec holding dozens
of meetings for his campaign to establish a "citizenship
income." He even made a lengthy stop in Jonquiere, during
the 1998 elections, to run against then premier Lucien
Bouchard, as a spokesperson for the Rassemblement pour
l'alternative progressiste (RAP   Coalition for a
progressive alternative), one of the predecessors of Qu�bec
solidaire. His slogan was "Zero poverty through a
citizenship income," which contrasted with the "Zero
Deficit" of the PQ government.

We hope this can acquaint the younger generation with some
of the accomplishments of an exceptional personality,
thirsting for justice, who devoted his life to the defense
of the most disadvantaged in our society.

By Gurpreet Singh

When Sikh separatists held a procession to celebrate
Vaisakhi in Surrey last month, they stirred controversy by
displaying pictures of fundamentalist militants who had
died during the bloody struggle for Khalistan. But they
also offended progressive thinkers in the community by
adding a picture of Bhagat Singh, one of the most revered
martyrs of India, and an atheist who opposed religious
orthodoxy in his writings.

The organizers of the annual Surrey Vaisakhi parade are
staunch supporters of Khalistan, an imaginary Sikh homeland
they wish to carve out of India. Vaisakhi is the harvest
festival of India, with great religious significance for
the Sikh community. It was on Vaisakhi day that Guru Godind
Singh, the tenth master of the Sikhs, laid the foundation
of the Khalsa, an army of the devout and baptized Sikhs.

The parade is organized under the aegis of the Gurdwara
Dashmesh Darbar, a Sikh temple whose management openly
demands Khalistan. Not only do they display the pictures of
"their martyrs", but also wave Canadian and Khalistani
flags. For years until 9/11, Canadian politicians attended
the event without any reservations. Thanks to increasing
trade relations with India, the Canadian establishment,
which was earlier accused of being soft on the Sikh
separatists by the Indian government, has mended its ways.
A case in point is the unanimous resolution in the House of
Commons condemning the online death threats against Liberal
MP Ujjal Dosanjh, who is critical of Khalistan and
violence. In an unrelated incident, Dosanjh and Dev Hayer,
a B.C. Liberal MLA who is another opponent of terrorism,
were also warned by one of the parade organizers to come at
their own risk.

In an apparent bid to tease the Indian government and
critics of the Sikh separatists, the organizers displayed
the picture of Bhagat Singh. A terrorist in the eyes of the
British government, he had killed a police officer and had
thrown a bomb in the assembly, and believed in an armed
revolution. True, but he was not a religious
fundamentalist. He and his comrades were fighting against
the British occupation of India, leaving aside their
religious beliefs and not seeking a Hindu or a Sikh state.
Born in a Sikh family, Bhagat Singh gradually become an
atheist after being influenced by the writings of
revolutionaries. A year before his hanging in 1931, he
wrote an essay, "Why I am an atheist?" in which he quoted
leftist thinkers and challenged the existence of god. In
other essays, he suggested that he was opposed to religious
fundamentalism. Above all, his struggle was not only for
the freedom of India but for social justice. He tried to
organize the peasantry and the workers, and challenged the
age old caste system that discriminated against those
considered untouchables.

It is pertinent to mention that Bhagat Singh was hanged
along with two Hindu patriots, Sukhdev and Rajguru. They
were all inspired by the secularist revolutionaries, and
any attempt to equate their struggle with a sectarian
movement is inappropriate. Those who lost their lives in
the name of Khalistan, either in police encounters or after
being hanged, were not followers of Bhagat Singh's
ideology. During the Khalistan movement, not only Hindus
were targeted, but women were forced to wear traditional
attire by militants who curtailed the freedom of people.
Three hundred communists were killed by the
fundamentalists, including Darshan Singh Canadian, the
Punjab MP well known to Canadians for his contributions to
building the labour movement during the 1940s in British
Columbia. Other theocratic groups, like the Hindu
nationalist RSS, have also tried to embrace Bhagat Singh in
the name of patriotism, but he was a socialist, while
religious extremists of all shades have been enemies of the

Even though the parade has passed, this controversy refuses
to die. A Sikh website has accused Dosanjh and Hayer of
double standards for joining the celebrations of Bhagat
Singh's birth centenary in 2007. Although Dosanjh and Hayer
represent parties that are in no way close to Bhagat
Singh's ideology, and their participation in the
celebrations was more tokenistic, Bhagat Singh cannot be
simply confused with trigger happy anarchists. He was a
thinker, who had adopted peaceful and Gandhian ways during
the final years of his life. He participated in a hunger
strike to oppose inhuman treatment towards Indian
prisoners. He was responsible for only one murder of a
police officer, and threw a bomb in the assembly to oppose
draconian British laws, without any intention of killing
anyone. This bomb, in the revolutionaries' own words, was
thrown to make the deaf hear. Bhagat Singh and his friend
B.K. Dutt courted arrest after the bombing and made no
attempt to escape. As a part of the planning, Bhagat Singh
wanted to reach the Indian masses by using the court system
as a propaganda tool.

Gurpreet Singh works for Radio India and is currently
working on a book, Canada's 9/11: Lessons from the Air
India bombings.


The following joint statement marking the 65th anniversary
of the defeat of fascism has been issued by several dozen
Communist and Workers' parties, including the Communist
Party of Canada

On May 9th, we commemorate 65 years of the victory over
Nazi fascism   the most violent and brutal expression of
monopoly domination in a capitalist system in deep crisis  
which led humanity to one of the worst catastrophes of its
history, with the barbarity of concentration camps and the
Second World War's procession of death and destruction for
the peoples.

The communists were on the frontline from the very first
moment, mobilising and organising workers and peoples in
the resistance. The anti fascist struggle was marked by the
firm and determined action of the communists, to which
millions gave their lives.

The heroic contribution of the USSR, of its Red Army and of
its people, which suffered around 27 million deaths, was
decisive for the victory over the fascist hordes.

It was with the victory in 1945 and the formation of the
socialist camp that millions of men and women undertook
their emancipation, freeing themselves from exploitation,
oppression and colonialism, with the working class movement
winning enormous social and political victories on a
progressive path never before attained in human history. 

In the current situation, at a time of capitalism's deep
crisis in which the imperialist offensive is hitting so
seriously the toiling masses, humanity is again facing
great dangers resulting from imperialism's deepening
contradictions, from the arms race, from the reinforcement
of aggressive military alliances and from the attempt to
forcefully impose a brutal intensification of exploitation,
precariousness in labour relations, dismissals and
unemployment, poverty and the negation of the most basic
necessities for millions of working people. 

In commemorating the 65th anniversary of the victory over
Nazi-fascism as an important action of struggle for peace,
we also condemn the monumental falsification of history
which currently tries to place fascism and communism on an
equal footing and to erase the communists' decisive role in
the peoples' liberation from the yoke of Nazi fascism. This
anti communist campaign   which, as history proves, is
always anti democratic   seeks to make illegal and suppress
not just the actions of the communists, but of all
democrats who oppose capitalist domination and exploitation
and who resist and fight in an organised manner against
monopoly and imperialism.

For us communists, evoking the 65 years of the victory is
to reaffirm our deep belief in the struggle for social
emancipation, in the justice of our values and liberating
ideals. We reaffirm our determination to fight against the
forces which were at the root of the fascist horror. We
reaffirm our unshakeable confidence that the future does
not belong to those who oppress and exploit, but to the
workers and peoples who resist and fight for humanity's
emancipation from the shackles of the exploitation, and for
a society in which the workers fully enjoy the fruits of
their labour, and in which social progress, peace and
welfare prevail. The future belongs not to capitalism, but
to socialism and communism.

By Anna Pha, The Guardian (newspaper of the Communist Party
of Australia)

How often have you heard it said that Marxism has no
relevance to the environmental crisis or that the
environment is not a class question? After all, Marx and
Engels were writing 150 years ago, long before the current
environmental crisis.

Marx and Engels certainly did not have the benefit of the
scientific knowledge that we enjoy today, nor were there
such imminent threats as climate warming or loss of
biodiversity. For example, the study of ecology - the
interdependence of the various components of nature -
really only emerged as a widely accepted science in the

Engels studied the historical processes of the material
world, the constant changes taking place and the impact of
each change on other aspects of that world. In the
Transition from Ape to Man, he says:

"Animals ... change external nature by their activities
just as man does, if not to the same extent, and these
changes made by them in their environment ... in turn react
upon and change their originators. For in nature nothing
takes place in isolation. Everything affects every other
thing and vice versa, and it is usually because this many
sided motion and interaction is forgotten that our natural
scientists are prevented from clearly seeing the simplest

"The animal destroys the vegetation of a locality without
realising what it is doing. Man destroys it in order to sow
field crops on the soil thus released, or to plant trees or
vines which he knows will yield many times the amount sown.
He transfers useful plants and domestic animals from one
country to another and thus changes the flora and fauna of
whole continents.

"More than this. Under artificial cultivation, both plants
and animals are so changed by the hand of man that they
become unrecognisable. The wild plants from which our grain
varieties originated are still being sought in vain. The
question of the wild animal from which our dogs are
descended, the dogs themselves being so different from one
another, or our equally numerous breeds of horse, is still
under dispute....

"But all the planned action of all animals has never
resulted in impressing the stamp of their will upon nature.
For that, man was required.

"In short, the animal merely uses external nature, and
brings about changes in it simply by his presence; man by
his changes makes it serve his ends, masters it...

"Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account
of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest
takes its revenge on us. Each of them, it is true, has in
the first place the consequences on which we counted, but
in the second and third places it has quite different,
unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the

How true! Humans had no idea that the extensive use of
fossil fuels and other producers greenhouse gas emissions
would burn holes in the ozone layer, induce global warming
and bring the human race to the brink of extinction. This
is the same process that Engels is describing. Of course
Engels had no means to foresee the extent of revenge that
nature would take on humanity.

Engels continues in the same prophetic vein: "The people
who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor, and elsewhere
destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never
dreamed that they were laying the basis for the present
devastated condition of these countries, by removing along
with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of

"When, on the southern slopes of the mountains, the
Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests so carefully
cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that
by doing so they were cutting at the roots of the dairy
industry in their region; they had still less inkling that
they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water
for the greater part of the year, with the effect that
these would be able to pour still more furious flood
torrents on the plains during the rainy seasons..."

This analysis stands the test of time.

"Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means
rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people,
like someone standing outside nature - but that we, with
flesh, blood, and brains, belong to nature, and exist in
its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the
fact that we have the advantage over all other beings of
being able to know and correctly apply its laws."

Engels looked not just at the impact on nature but on the
social consequences of human actions. He looked at the
impact of primitive communal ownership of land and the
barest means of subsistence and compared this with higher
forms of production and the eventual division of the
population into different classes - the capitalist mode of

"The individual capitalists, who dominate production and
exchange, are able to concern themselves only with the most
immediate useful effect of their actions. Indeed, even this
useful effect - as much as it is a question of the
usefulness of the commodity that is produced or exchanged -
retreats right into the background, and the sole incentive
becomes the profit to be gained on selling."

The manufacturer Engels says, is "not concerned as to what
becomes of the commodity afterwards or who are its

Engels asks: "What did the Spanish planters in Cuba, who
burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and
obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one
generation of very highly profitable coffee trees, care
that the tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the now
unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only
bare rock?

"In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of
production is predominantly concerned only about the first,
tangible success; and then surprise is expressed that the
more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn
out to be of quite different, mainly even of quite an
opposite, character."

That narrow focus on immediate outcomes, on profits, is
what drives capitalism. The process described by Engels was
accelerated by colonialism and continues unabated today.

The result is desertification, salination, river beds
drying up, extreme weather conditions and the many other
forms of environmental crisis that people around the globe
have experienced.

The result is global warming, irretrievable loss of
biodiversity, millions of people facing starvation and many
plant and animal species, including human beings, facing
the threat of extinction.

Marx also recognised the relationship between humans and
nature: "man himself is a product of Nature which has been
developed in and along with its environment". (A criticism
of the Hegelian Philosophy of Law). If only the full
implications of their writings had been further studied.

Marxist theory is a living tool, a scientific approach to
interpreting and understanding the universe. Marxism is the
application of scientific method to social, economic and
environmental issues. Scientific method is not static but
continually undergoes change reflecting our knowledge of
the material world around us.

Communists bring something to the environmental struggle
that many other groups do not; that is their class analysis
of the causes of the crisis - capitalism. Based on that
analysis they also identify the only basis of a lasting
solution - socialism. They have an important role to play
in tackling the pressing questions of climate change,
biodiversity and sustainable development. Marxism serves
all environmentalists, including communists, well.


Whichever party or coalition forms the next government of
Britain, the ruling class will be in power, warned the
leader of the Communist Party of Britain the morning after
the May 6 election.

Robert Griffiths continued, "A Labour led government based
on progressive policies would be the best outcome in
current circumstances. But big battles lie ahead to defend
public services, jobs, wages, pensions and benefits   and
to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan.

"Enormous pressure is being exerted by the bankers,
speculators and City spivs to force the new government  
whatever its composition   to slash public spending or face
savage attacks on sterling and that government's ability to
borrow money. A Tory government would enthusiastically
collaborate with the ruling class offensive against the
working class and peoples of Britain.

"That is why we need a government based on the anti Tory
majority. For the LibDems to support the installation of a
minority Tory regime would indicate how shallow and
insincere their proclamations in favour of progressive
policies really are. For New Labourites to yield to LibDem
and City pressure to support some kind of `national
consensus' for massive cuts would be the final betrayal of
millions of working class Labour voters.

A Tory LibDem government would not represent the broadly
progressive majority which still exists among the peoples
of Britain. Yet it is tempting to contemplate such a
development with some relish. Let the Tories provide the
butt of mass popular opposition to reactionary policies.
Turf them out at the first opportunity and force another
General Election.

"The problem is that a Tory LibDem coalition could inflict
massive damage in a very short space of time, backed by
most of the mass media. The danger is that many Labour
voters would become demoralised rather than reinvigorated,
while a fresh General Election could be engineered to
consolidate the Tory and LibDem vote against a near
bankrupt Labour Party.

"Only a Labour led government supported by the LibDems,
Plaid Cymru, SNP and progressive MPs   and under pressure
from the trade union, pensioners and peace movements  
would be remotely likely to resist any aspect of the ruling
class offensive.

"But it would have to tax the rich and big business rather
than slash public services. A Windfall Tax on energy,
banking, retail, armaments and pharmaceutical monopoly
profits would raise billions of pounds immediately. The
government budget deficit would be reduced still further by
abandoning ID cards, withdrawing from Afghanistan,
terminating PFI schemes, taking the subsidised railways
back into public ownership and scrapping plans for new
weapons systems.

"Together with a genuine commitment to introducing
proportional representation   preferably the Single
Transferable Vote in multi member constituencies   this
kind of progressive programme would win majority support
inside and outside Parliament. Whoever would head such a
Labour led government is far less important than its

"It is clear, however, that the New Labourites have brought
the Labour Party to the brink of disaster, losing millions
of voters, two important trade union affiliations and half
the party's individual members.     The remaining
affiliated trade unions must take the earliest opportunity
to impose progressive policies on the Labour Party and
clear these wreckers out of Labour's ranks...

"Advantage must be taken of the current crisis in Britain's
political system to put forward alternatives that embody
the real essence of democracy   namely, rule by the people.
However this governmental crisis is resolved, the labour
movement will have to focus on mobilising the widest
alliance of popular, anti monopoly forces against
reactionary policies from any quarter. Projecting the
People's Charter as the positive alternative will be an
essential weapon in the huge battles to come."


May Day rallies across the planet this year shared a common
theme - resistance against the drive by big capital and
compliant governments to make working people pay the full
costs of the "economic recovery." In many cases, corporate
news outlets limited coverage to fights between police and
small groups of anarchists, but the real demonstrations
were much larger.

Over 140,000 union members and political activists gathered
for the first legally sanctioned May Day celebration in
Istanbul's central Taksim Square in 30 years. Participants
included relatives of 34 people killed when police attacked
a rally at the square on May 1, 1977. 

For the past four years, union activists determined to
commemorate the massacre have clashed with riot police who
barred their entry. The governor of Istanbul said he
authorized the celebration this year "to avoid tension ...
and even to destroy certain taboos." 

Union organizers called the rally a victory. "It has very
symbolic meaning for us," said Eyup Ozer, a spokesperson
for the Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation, DISK.
"All the people who were murdered in the 1977 May Day
demonstration will be represented by their photos."

Thousands of flag waving union members filed peacefully
past security barriers, armoured personnel carriers and
helmeted riot police often referred to in Turkey as "Robo
cops." Against a soundtrack of blaring labour anthems,
activists chanted slogans like "Equal Jobs, equal Pay,"
"Free Health Care for Everyone" and "Long Live May 1st."

In Athens, over 20,000 demonstrators protested against
anti-worker measures adopted by the PASOK government to
secure loans from the European Union. Two days later, the
Greek protests escalated again with mass walkouts by public
sector unions. Protesters led by the Greek Communist Party
stormed the Acropolis on May 4, hoisting a huge banner
calling on European workers to rise up. 

Similar demands were raised in other European cities. In
Zurich, police used water cannons to disperse protesters as
unions and politicians protested against excessive Swiss
banking bonuses.

Thousands joined May Day marches in Stockholm, where
speakers blamed the right-wing government for failing to
stem rising unemployment and eroding the nation's cherished
welfare system. Thousands of demonstrators in Paris took to
the streets to condemn President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to
gut the pension system.

Thousands of demonstrators in Moscow, carrying red balloons
and Soviet flags, calling for the Russian government's
resignation over rising prices and unemployment.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party organized actions on May 1
under the slogan "Against the Crisis! All United for Labour
and Democracy!" Demonstrators gathered at the National
Assembly square to protest the policies of the GERB center
right ruling party, and then headed for an open air stage
in Sofia's central park. The Socialists were recently
outraged at the refusal of the state owned Bulgarian
National Television and Radio to run commercials
advertising the May 1 rally.

Tens of thousands of workers thronged the streets of Asian
cities, demanding job creation and minimum wage hikes. In
Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, thousands of red  and blue
shirted workers marched on the presidential palace. Some
15,000 police lined the streets, barbed wire was stretched
in front of the palace, and water cannons were at the ready
as the crowd chanted, "Workers unite! No more layoffs!" 

"This corrupt government has taken the side of the
capitalists and businessmen, not us, the workers," rally
organizer Bayu Ajie said in a rousing speech. "Workers
unite to fight corrupters! We'll not be defeated!" the
crowd responded.

The Indonesian workers' demands include social security
guarantees, an end to outsourcing, the elimination of
arbitrary layoffs and human rights for workers.

In Tokyo, about 32,000 workers rallied in Yoyogi Park,
wearing headbands and raising banners calling for job
security. National Confederation of Trade Unions leader
Sakuji Daikoku said more than 17 million people in Japan
are temporary or part time workers, and 3.5 million are

"Under such working conditions, there is no hope or bright
future," Daikoku said. "Let's make a change to create a
society where full time employment is the norm."

In Hong Kong, about 1,000 protesters   including janitors,
construction workers and bus drivers   demanded the
government increase the minimum wage to 33 Hong Kong
dollars ($4.30). "We demand reasonable pay. We demand a
share in the fruits of economic success," the workers
chanted at an urban park before setting off to Hong Kong
government headquarters. Hong Kong has never adopted a
minimum wage, but the government says it aims to pass
legislation by July.

Thousands of Tehran residents chanted anti government
slogans as they marched towards Iran's Labour Ministry on
May 1. At least 4,000 people marched down Azadi Street in
central Tehran toward the ministry, according to witnesses.
There was a heavy police presence in the area, including
hundreds of anti riot cops, while police helicopters
hovered overhead. Security forces arrested at least 30
protestors. In nearby Baharestan Square, protestors chanted
"Death to the Dictator" and "Death to Khamenei," referring
to Iran's Supreme Leader.

Elsewhere, in the north western city of Tabriz, hundreds of
people rallied outside the local Labour Ministry building
chanting anti government slogans. At least 20 protestors
were arrested. 

Hundreds of workers took to the streets to mark May Day in
Bahrain. Carrying the national flag and workers' unity
banners, they marched from the General Federation of
Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) premises in Adliya to the
parliament. GFBTU secretary-general Sayed Salman Mahfoodh
said that any development in the country would not succeed
if it did not involve the input of workers, who are the key
to economic growth. He called on the government to ratify
international labour agreements and conventions.

"Workers are paying for no fault of theirs and we have to
take steps to lessen their suffering," he said. "We are
also concerned that labour union activity is not allowed in
many companies even though unions are legal. The government
should intervene in this matter as well and ensure every
worker has a right to take part in union activities."

The May Day turnout in Havana was massive, as about a
million Cubans turned out to voice support for the island's
socialist government and its measures to protect workers.

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on May 1 that four
power companies were being nationalized as part of the
drive to increase public ownership over key sectors of the
country's economy. Bolivia's key natural gas industry was
nationalized soon after  e took office in 2006, followed by
several utility companies and the biggest smelter and top
telecommunications firm.

"We're here ... to nationalize all the hydroelectric plants
that were owned by the state before, to comply with the new
constitution of the Bolivian state. Basic services cannot
be a private business. We're recovering the energy, the
light, for all Bolivians," Morales said in the central
Cochabamba region.

The state now controls 80 percent of electricity generation
in Bolivia. Earlier, the Bolivian government had failed to
convince investors to sell the shares the state needed to
have a controlling stake.

"It's the state's obligation to compensate investors for
their assets. ... We made an effort to reach an agreement
with the private, multinational companies, but they were
unwilling to reach an accord," said Morales.

In Chile, the May Day rally in Santiago, led by the Unified
Workers Confederation (CUT) focused on discontent with the
new right-wing government of President Sebastian Pinera.
But some protestors also expressed their disenchantment
with leaders from the centrist Concertacion alliance who
attended the protest, after ignoring May Day events in
previous years, when they held political power.

CUT leader Martinez did not shy away from mentioning the
targeted opposition members, saying, "We've been waiting
years for reform. Take care when approaching the workers.
We know who kept their word and who did not." 

Martinez attacked Pinera and his government, especially the
billionaire businessman's conflicts of interest because of
his vast wealth.

Immigrant rights were a hot topic for May Day rallies
across the U.S. this year, in the wake of Arizona
legislation which makes it a crime to be in the state
without legal status and requires police to check for
immigration papers. 

In Los Angeles, 60,000 immigrants and their supports turned
out for a May Day Immigration Rally, one the largest
demonstrations in the city's history. The lively, animated
march proceeded through downtown Los Angeles to city hall.

Twenty five thousand protested in Dallas, and more than
10,000 in Milwaukee. Washington, DC, and Phoenix, among
more than 70 places around the United States which held
rallies or vigils.

New York City was the scene of a historic rally, organized
by the labour and immigrants' rights movements, to demand
government action on jobs, and end to harassment of
immigrant workers, and to "reclaim May Day." The rally was
planned before the Arizona anti-immigrant law was passed,
but repeal of the law became a significant rallying cry of
the demonstration. The other main demand was for jobs for
all. Trade unions came together with immigration coalitions
to "reclaim" May Day, creating an alliance of the two
overlapping movements that drew 20,000 25,000 people.

The May Day rally by ten thousand people at Chicago's
Haymarket Square amounted to a declaration by the city's
workers that they were re claiming a holiday once derided
as a day only "the left" celebrated.

Al Martin, field director for the Illinois AFL CIO, chaired
the rally which was sponsored by the Chicago Federation of
Labour. He was cheered as he compared the struggle of the
Haymarket Martyrs for the eight hour day and for justice on
the job to the struggle today for passage of immigration
law reform. "This whole thing is about racism being used to
divide and conquer us and we are not going to let that
happen," he declared.

Fifty Japanese workers, members of Zenroren, Japan's
national labour federation, were applauded as they joined
the Chicago crowd. Komatsu Tamiko, the Zenroren
international representative, paid homage to those who died
in the struggle for the eight hour day. Today, she said,
"Japanese workers and American workers share the same fight
for justice against corporations that are exploiting our
brothers and sisters all over the world." 


The following report from the All Workers Militant Front
(PAME) of Greece gives a brief overview of the nationwide
strike and demonstrations on May 5, led by PAME. Nearly
every productive activity in Greece was shut down.
Factories, construction sites and stores, ports and
airports, universities and schools were paralysed. In some
cases, private employers threatened to fire any employee
who did not turn up at work; this was the case with the
three Marfin Bank workers who died that day when their
building was attacked by anarchists.

In the early morning thousands of workers and young people
were outside workplaces, defending the right of the workers
to go on strike against employers' intimidation. Hundreds
of thousands of people took part in the demonstrations
organised by PAME in 68 cities throughout Greece. At the
same time, provocative groups tried to undermine the strike
demonstration. The actions of provocateurs led to the death
of three young bank workers after a Molotov cocktail was
thrown into their building.

In Athens, the central strike demonstration of PAME took
place at Omonoia Square. Giorgos Perros, member of the
Executive secretariat of PAME delivered the main speech
stressing: "No more sacrifices for the bankers, for the
industrialists, for the monopolies. We will make sacrifices
so as to defend, all together and united, our rights, our
life; so as to defend the life of our children, not hand
them over to the most brutal exploitation bound hand and
foot. We do not give up our gains.

"They lie when they argue about a rescue bailout package
for the country; it is a rescue bailout package for the
employers, the banks, the ship owners, the ones who have
been benefited from the previous rescue bailout packages;
likewise for the foreign creditors, who along with the
parasites of plutocracy will plunder the wealth produced by
our people for the next decades.

"They have elaborated and gradually implemented these
measures over many years. These measures are outlined in
the Treaty of Maastricht, in the White Paper; they are
included in all decisions of the EU Summits; they were
included in the programmes of PASOK and New Democracy;
likewise in the 9 point agreement between GSEE and
Federation of the Greek Industrialists."

Perros underlined: "we deserve our own Greece, which is far
better than theirs, and we will struggle for it. Even if
they pass these measures, we will never legitimate them in
our consciousness, we will never obey the laws that impose
those measures. Day by day, month by month we will gather
forces to block the implementation of these measures, till
the overthrow of them and their measures."

Following the speech, a PAME march took place, against the
line of concessions taken by the GSEE and ADEDY labour
federations. Other groups joining the march include the All
Greek Antimonopoly Rally of the Self employed (PASEVE) and
Students' Militant Front (MAS).

At the head of the march was a delegation of the Central
Committee of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), led by Aleka
Papariga, General Secretary of the party.

The protesters marched through the central streets of
Athens to the parliament, where the social democratic PASOK
government had tabled anti labour measures, seeking to pass
the legislation under emergency procedures. The KKE members
utilised the parliamentary regulations by asking to follow
the procedure that requires 180 MEPS out of 300 to adopt
legislation, rather than a simple majority for the approval
of the anti people bill.


Report from the Greek Communist Party (KKE) on the deaths
of three workers during the May 5 demonstrations in Athens

The massive and protected demonstration of PAME on May 5
gave a dynamic response to the provocative action organised
by several groups in order to disorient the people, to
reduce the importance of the massive mobilization, to
slander the KKE, to stop the dynamic of the struggles and
intimidate the working people.

In her speech in parliament, right after the announcement
of the death of three people, KKE leader Aleka Papariga
made the following statement:

"The working people, who suffer an unprecedented attack,
the worst after 1974, are able to distinguish the
systematic political struggle for the defense of their
rights to protest, a struggle that can take many forms
according to the conditions at each time. They can clearly
tell the difference between this struggle and every plan
aiming at the subversion of the struggles, every
provocative action that causes innocent victims and aids
all those who want to slander the struggles.

"People should not only defy the provocations, they should
also take all the measures to protect their struggles which
should start from the workplaces. They should hit where it
hurts. The starting point of the battle must be the
workplace and lead to a nationwide struggle.

"I should also stress the following: stop putting the blame
on the people. People are blamed for the crisis, for
everything. The responsible organised people's movement
cannot be blamed for actions planned backstage. This
provocation will not pass. We will continue our struggles."

Papariga also gave a resolute response to Georgios
Karatzaferis, president of the nationalist party LAOS, who
resorted to anti-communism and attacked the KKE during the

"When the march of PAME arrived at the parliament, there
was a group of members of `Xrisi Avgi' (ultra right
nationalist group), the so called the known unknowns, who
in 1994 set the Polytechnic School on fire, and they were
saying `burn the parliament down'. We disarmed them, we
denounced them, we marched with linked arms and not a
single incident occurred while we were at Syntagma Square.

"I do not know whether this group outside the parliament
has blood ties, permanent or temporary with Mr.
Karatzaferis. But honestly, Mr. Karatzaferis is playing the
role of a provocateur in order to impose the anti people



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