September 8, 2018 - No. 30
Concern to the
in BC -- Private
of Establishment Parties versus
• Federal Court of Appeal
of Trans Mountain Pipeline
- Peggy Morton -
• New Memorial to Glorify Ontario's
into U.S. Wars of Aggression
• Demand to Stop the Ring of Fire Is
- Kaella-Lynn Recollet -
• Alberta's Thriving Dairy Industry
to Defend Supply Management Systems
- George Allen -
• Growth and Power of
Opposition to the
• Calgary Activists Organize in
Response to Greyhound Shutdown
• Information Picket to Stop the Ring of Fire!
• Fight to Restore
Ontario's Basic Income
• Supreme Electoral Court Denies
Lula's Right to
Be a Presidential Candidate
- People's Committee in Defence of Lula and Democracy -
• What the Empire Wants in
- Randy Alonso Falcón -
• 70th Anniversary of Founding of DPRK
-- Standing for Peace and Justice for Seven Decades
Labour Day 2018
• Workers Across the Country Uphold the Dignity
Matters of Concern to the Polity
Electoral Reform in BC -- Private Interests of
Parties versus Citizen Empowerment
The desire of the people of British Columbia to have
more control over the politics and economy of the
province, as well as their representatives in the Legislature, is
Indeed, this desire has often been expressed in the election platforms
of worker candidates dating back to the late 1800s and includes calls
for the right to recall MLAs and launch initiatives, for
women's right to vote, and for some form of proportional
representation to replace the first-past-the-post electoral
In the late 1800s, a type of non-party system was in
in BC that
resulted in the election of what were essentially independent
candidates. Worker candidates began getting elected to the BC
Legislature under this non-party system and, it was then that the
big parties -- Liberals and Conservatives -- were brought in
with their operatives and the system was changed in 1903 to a
party-dominated system which prevails to this day and is favoured
by the corporate elite.
Over the years, opposition
to this party-dominated system
which operates like a cartel, has come from workers, women,
Indigenous people, people with small and medium-sized businesses, and
sections of the population who desire to have more say and more
decision-making power in the political affairs and economy of the
province, and to bring about democratic renewal.
The Establishment parties have responded by stubbornly
holding onto the current electoral system with all its
entrenched party privileges or, as is often the case, to change
it only in ways that favour themselves over their rivals. In
either case, the motive has not been democratic renewal and the
empowerment of the electorate but rather maintaining party
There are many instances of this cartel-like
the Establishment political parties throughout the history of
British Columbia and Canada. For example, in order to keep the
Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) out of power in the 1952 BC
elections, the Liberal/Progressive
Conservative Coalition brought in a "preferential
ballot" system to replace the first-past-the-post vote-counting
system, a move they presumed would keep them in office. But the
move blew up in their faces with the fledging Social Credit Party
unexpectedly winning a minority government.
After only nine months in office, with the
self-serving motive, the new Social Credit government changed the
system back to first past the post and called a new election,
where it won a majority with just 38 per cent of the vote and went on
rule for the next 21 years.
In the 1991 provincial election, in a move to bolster
plummeting popularity and respond to public demands for more
accountability, the Social Credit government held a referendum on
bringing in legislation which would allow citizens to recall MLAs
and to launch "initiative petitions" to "propose new laws or
initiate changes to existing laws." Over 80 per cent of voters cast
their ballots in favour and the legislation was brought in
several years later by an NDP government.
Having the right to recall MLAs and launch initiatives
small, but positive, step forward in the struggle of British
Columbians for electoral empowerment. But, reflecting the cartel party
mentality, the NDP government crafted the
legislation in such a way that it was almost impossible for
voters to utilize. Indeed, in the last 23 years, there has been
no MLA recalled despite a number of attempts and only one
citizen initiative has been successful (the 2011 referendum which
defeated the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)).
A similar thing happened with the
on the Single Transferable Vote (STV) in 2005 and 2009 which were
longstanding citizen dissatisfaction with the electoral system.
While the process to recommend an alternative voting system
through a randomly-chosen Citizens' Assembly was a positive
development, the Liberal government jacked up the threshold for
approval of STV to 60 per cent rather than 50 per cent. This resulted
in the 2005
referendum falling short of a Yes vote despite achieving a clear
majority (57 per cent) of the votes.
On the federal level, reflecting the self-serving
the cartel parties towards electoral reform, the Trudeau Liberal
government launched a process after the last election that was
supposed to result in the replacement of the first-past-the-post
system. Yet, when it looked like the process might not
result in the Liberals' preferred system, Trudeau abruptly cancelled
it, despite public opposition.
While all of this history demonstrates that
striving for more control over their lives, it is clear that,
to achieve this aim, people must have their own program to
empower themselves and to bring about democratic renewal. They
cannot rely on the cartel parties to bring about advances. Far
from it, the cartel parties have shown time and again that they
fear voter empowerment and will always attempt to limit or thwart
it while, at the same time, claiming to be supportive. They even
fear rudimentary forms of democratic process such as referendums
(e.g., the Charlottetown Accord of 1992 and HST in 2011) or even minor
tinkering with the electoral system that might cause them to lose
control and open up opportunities for people to take independent
Between October 22 and November 30, 2018, British
Columbians will be voting on whether to replace the existing
first-past-the-post system with proportional representation. It is
important to keep in
mind that the three
parties in the BC Legislature have their own narrow interests to serve
when determining which voting system to support and promote.
But for the people of British Columbia, this referendum
presents an opportunity to seize the initiative, vote Yes to
proportional representation, and have a say and involvement in
what follows. That would be a positive outcome and a step forward
in citizen empowerment.
Federal Court of Appeal Overturns Approval
of Trans Mountain
Celebration of Court of Appeal Decision in Victoria, August 30, 2018.
The Federal Court of Appeal released its decision on Tsleil-Waututh
Canada on August 30, 2018,
overturning the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
(TMX) by the Trudeau government. Nonetheless, the sale
the existing Trans
Mountain pipeline to Canada was approved by Kinder Morgan
shareholders the next day, at a cost of $4.5
Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand
Phillip speaks in Vancouver after court decision is announced.
In a unanimous decision, Justice Dawson wrote that
failed to meaningfully consult First Nations, falling "well short
of the mark" set by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Trudeau
government failed to "engage, dialogue meaningfully and grapple
with the real concerns of the Indigenous applicants so as to
explore possible accommodation of those concerns," the ruling
said. The government also made a "critical error" by basing its
decision on a National Energy Board report that refused to
consider marine shipping in violation of its responsibility to assess
the environmental impact of a project.
The Federal Court of Appeal decision was the response
fourteen separate judicial reviews which were heard as a single
review in September 2017. The challenges were launched by
Tsleil-Waututh Nation; Squamish Nation; Coldwater Indian Band;
Aitchelitz, Skowkale Shxwa:y Village, Soow Ahlie, Squiala First
Nation, Tzeachten, Yakweakwioose, Skwah, Kwaw-Kwaw-Aplit &
Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe et al (Sto:lo); Upper Nicola Band; and
Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwepemc; environmental organizations Living
Oceans, Raincoast Conservation Society, represented by
Ecojustice; the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, and the province
of British Columbia.
The Court held that the National Energy Board did not
provide a report
to supply the "Governor in Council" with the information and
assessments it required to make its public interest determination
and its decision about environmental effects. It also found that
the National Energy Board had erroneously concluded that section 79 of
the Species at
Risk Act did not apply to its
the effects of project-related tanker traffic.
The cartel parties in power and in
opposition in Ottawa
Alberta reacted to the court decision by blaming each other and
refusing to be accountable for their own words and deeds. The
Liberals blamed the Harper government, the Alberta government
blamed the Liberals, Jason Kenney blamed Rachel Notley and on it
went. For two years these parties have all repeated the mantra, in one
form or another, that the "consultation" process for the approval
of the Trans Mountain was beyond reproach. Anyone who did not
agree was a fringe element, and if they refused to be silent they
could be silenced -- "in the national interest."
Both the federal and the Alberta governments are now
paying lip service to the requirements set
by the court, which entail redoing Phase III of the consultation
process and conducting an environmental assessment of tanker
traffic, particularly with regard to the endangered orca
population. Both the Trudeau and Notley governments have made it
clear that, while fulfilling the requirements of the court, they
will pursue "all options" to get the TMX built.
Media and government reports tried to suggest there was
something new or different in the court's interpretation of the
government's obligation regarding environmental assessment and
the duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. However,
this is not the case. The Trudeau Liberals merely decided that
the approval process for the TMX would follow the changes made by
the Harper government to limit the consultation process and who
could participate. They claimed that they had fixed the process
by adding consultations, by which they meant that people could
give their opinions about a decision that was already a done
deal. The opinions would be recorded and passed on to the
decision-makers who might or might not even read them.
The court pointed out what was obvious -- that this is
"consultation" and does not meet the standard set by the courts
in numerous decisions regarding the duty of consultation and
accommodation of the Indigenous peoples.
For its part, the Trudeau government treated its duty
consult and accommodate the Indigenous peoples and the
responsibility of the National Energy Board to consider
environmental impacts with utter contempt. It threw tens of
thousands of pages of documents at the Indigenous peoples and
demanded a response within weeks. It received but did not respond
to their concerns. As well as adopting the process imposed by the
Harper government to limit participation in the National Energy Board
government promised further review and appointed a panel to
conduct the review. The panel produced a report that many people
felt responded to their concerns, but barely three weeks after
the report was released the government approved the TMX without
responding to a single concern raised by the report. Even the
government's own civil service told it that the approval process
would not pass muster.
The cartel parties in power and in opposition are well
of the significant legal precedents established through many
court challenges launched by the Indigenous peoples in defence of
their sovereignty and right to be. The Trudeau government
approved the pipeline in violation of the law. Like the Harper
government before it, whose approval of the Northern Gateway
project was overturned, the Trudeau government uses police powers
in the form of its ministerial prerogative to violate
constitutional law, which cannot be changed through the use of
arbitrary powers. Its attempt to declare decisions which favour private
interests to be in the "national interest" were foiled. However, both
the federal Trudeau government and the Alberta Notley governments have
responded with statements that show an intent to carry on this fraud.
Furthermore, as noted above, this decision has not affected the
Liberals' purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgan
for $4.5 billion.
Heartfelt congratulations to all who fought to get this
approval overturned. Canadians are sure to keep fighting to hold this
sanctimonious federal government to account and any other that bases
itself on expediency and turning the assets of the people over to
private interests. This Liberal government's corrupt practices to pay
the rich are beyond the pale of what even any of its predecessors,
Liberals and Conservatives, have managed to pull off to date. It is an
indication of the stranglehold of the private foreign interests
on the country and the impotency of Canadian governments at any level
to act independently. It is the working people with their Indigenous
allies who are taking charge of nation-building. They will not let up
Vancouver gathering, August 30, 2018, after Federal Court of Appeal
New Memorial to Glorify Ontario's Integration
into U.S. Wars
A statement issued on Labour Day by the Windsor Peace
Coalition points out that "Along with being vehemently
anti-worker and anti-union, the Ford government is setting itself
up to be a champion of U.S.-led wars of aggression." On June 27,
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that his government intends
to construct a second monument on the grounds of Queen's Park to
those who fought in Afghanistan. A statement issued by Ford's office
refers to "the sacrifices
our fellow Canadians made to protect our values and
freedoms." Federal Defence Minister
Sajjan is reported to have commended Ford on the project. There is
an Ontario veterans' memorial already on the Legislature
grounds that commemorates those who served in all of Canada's
military missions, including Afghanistan. This begs the question:
why build another monument?
Ford said the new
memorial's goal is to "send a clear
to future generations about the heroes of Afghanistan and the
sacrifices they made on behalf of all Canadians, lest we forget."
The Windsor Peace Coalition points out that the phrase
we forget," often cited in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada,
comes from a poem, written in 1897 by British author Rudyard
Kipling, entitled "Recessional." The poem cites past military
exploits of the British Empire in what are now Iraq and Lebanon,
yearning for the British Empire to carry on its Dominion in the
face of opposition from "lesser breeds" with "wild tongues,"
reference to the restless conquered peoples who would not accept
their subjugation. Kipling wrote the poem "White Man's
Burden" that same year, in which he referred to "your new-caught,
sullen peoples, half-devil and half-child."
The aim of building a second monument specifically to
those who fought in the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with
remembering, the Windsor Peace Coalition points out: "It is an
attempt to associate the Ford government with support for the
military and U.S.-led wars of aggression. It is a signal that
under this government the militarization of civilian life in
Ontario will be stepped up, something which must be opposed."
The Windsor Peace Coalition decries the suggestion that
such a monument reflects the
values of the people of Ontario, especially its youth, who are
not for war, and adds: "Trying to declare support for war as a
Canadian value will not change this."
The Windsor Peace coalition
can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
Ontario veteran's wall at Queen's Park, completed in 2006.
Demand to Stop the Ring of Fire Is Entirely Just
September 6, 2018 information picket demanding the Ring of Fire project
The demand of the Anishinaabe people to Stop the Ring of
Fire is entirely just.
The Anishinaabe people's land, Anishinaabe Aki, also
known as Northern Ontario, has been
subject to the depredation of the mining and forestry monopolies
and the oligarchs who control them since the days of the Hudson's
Bay Company. They have systematically exploited the resources of
Anishinaabe Aki, extracting huge wealth for financiers in
southern Canada and in the colonial and imperialist heartlands
with little, if any, regard to the interests of the Anishinaabe
people or to the land and the water.
The oligarchs and their
mining companies are salivating at
the prospect of ripping $60-100 billion worth of minerals from
the Ring of Fire. Both Liberal and Conservative Ontario
governments have seen the Ring of Fire as a bonanza to exploit to
extricate themselves from their crisis.
main issue with respect to the development of the Ring of Fire is
Who Decides? The mining companies and the Ontario government want
to decide all the main questions themselves and only allow the
Anishinaabe people to have a consultative role on minor matters.
At the minimum, the Anishinaabe people need free, prior
informed consent to any development of the resources of the Ring
of Fire. At the maximum, the Anishinaabe people need full
decision-making powers in their traditional territories.
Unlike economic endeavours such as farming, fishing and
which, with planned husbandry, provide for a crop every year, and
so can support generations, mining is only done once. Once metal
is dug out of the ground, it is processed only insofar that its
transportation becomes economically viable for the mining
companies. Once it is exported to the industrial heartlands, that
resource does not come back and that economic activity will not
be repeated and support future generations.
It thus behooves the
Anishinaabe people and the working people who also reside in this
land of Anishinaabe Aki to make sure that the
resources of the Ring of Fire are exploited in a manner that
contributes to the economic and spiritual well-being of the
Anishinaabe people. If the Ring of Fire is developed according to
the wishes of the oligarchs and their mining companies, the
interests of the Anishinaabe people and Mother Earth will be
ignored. Whether it takes five years or five hundred years, it is
important that any development of the Ring of Fire has the
interests of the Anishinaabe people as the highest priority.
Chromium, like nickel, is a strategic war materiel
the manufacture of stainless steel. There is no commercially
viable source of chromium at this time in the Americas and the U.S. war
is reliant on Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan and India for what it needs.
The development of the Ring of Fire will provide the U.S. with a
secure supply. We have a social responsibility to
ensure that our resources are not used for war purposes but to
the benefit of the material well-being of human beings. We should
remember that World War I could not have been fought without
Sudbury's nickel as Inco supplied both England and Germany with
the nickel they needed for their dreadnoughts, artillery and
tanks and other machines of mass death and destruction until the
U.S. entered the war.
Mining, forestry and most industrial-type economic
development in Anishinaabe Aki has not benefitted the Anishinaabe
people. Early mining operations in Bruce Mines and Mica Bay
denuded the vegetation, poisoned the air and waters and scared
the animals away or worse. Things have not changed in nearly two
centuries. Mercury still seeps into the English River in Grassy
Narrows. Many other examples of the destruction of the
environment and traditional Anishinaabe ways of life can be
given. We need decision-making powers throughout our lands to
ensure that economic development benefits us and integrates
modern science and technology with our traditional ways.
I believe the working people of the industrial cities
Anishinaabe Aki also deserve decision-making power on
developments within their communities. The mining oligarchs
should not be allowed to establish metallurgical facilities that
are potentially cancer-causing within a few hundred metres of an
established community as they were seeking to do in Coniston,
Greater Sudbury. I commend the Coniston and Greater Sudbury
community for banding together, becoming active, and defeating
this attempt to establish an industrial enterprise in a community
without the consent of that community.
The key question in the development of the Ring of Fire
Who Decides? The mining oligarchs want a mining development on
their terms and conditions with the Anishinaabe people and the
working people who live in the industrial towns and cities
throughout Anishinaabe Aki, bribed, coerced or intimidated into
conditions of the mining oligarchs as the only way forward. This
will not do. The Anishinaabe people, in conjunction with the
working people of the industrial cities and towns, need the power
to determine the type of economic development that will benefit
them. We need decision-making power in our lands and territories.
Until then, I say:
Stop the Ring of Fire!
Alberta's Thriving Dairy Industry Underscores
Need to Defend
Supply Management Systems
Quebec and Ontario dairy farmers demonstrate on Parliament Hill, June
2, 2016, demanding
supply management be protected under any new trade
deals Canada signs.
As has been the case for many years, reactionary forces
the U.S. and Canada are trying to dismantle Canada's supply
management system, in part grovelling before Trump in an attempt to win
his favour. This is an outright attack on
Canadian farmers and workers which will have dire consequences
for their way of making a living and the communities they provide with
their products and services.
Many, many agricultural products fall under the supply
management system in Canada. As one example, let us take
Alberta's thriving dairy industry. In the early 1970s, dairy
became the first commodity in Canada to operate a national supply
management system, managed by the Canadian Dairy Commission. Farm
organizations turned to provincial governments to create the
actual marketing boards, such as Alberta Milk.
Provincially established in 2002, Alberta Milk
Alberta's dairy producers. It is funded primarily by producers
through mandatory membership assessments, which can only be
changed when approved by a majority vote of licensed producers.
The transportation pool is operated on a cost-recovery basis,
with all producers sharing equally in the cost. Alberta Milk
funds research, new initiatives, and nutrition education (e.g.,
in schools) and strives to provide dairy producers with accurate
and timely information and feedback regarding the dairy industry.
Other agricultural supply management systems operate in a similar
Alberta Milk and Canada's other provincial agricultural
commissions and marketing boards are producer-controlled
organizations that developed to fulfill the needs of Canadian
producers, and which render account to the actual producers as to
the price that is put on the value they have produced. They
oppose the dogma of the ruling circles that some mysterious "free
market" can set "fair" prices, even when every sector of the
economy is dominated by monopolies that manipulate prices to suit
their narrow interests. Supply management systems have a long and
commendable record of maintaining stable and consistent prices
for producers, processors and consumers, ensuring a constant and
certain supply of quality products and eliminating reliance on
subsidies. For example, since February 2001, 100 per cent of
Alberta's dairy producer revenues have been derived from the
Alberta is the fourth largest milk producer in Canada,
producing 8.2 per cent of all milk. In Alberta, the dairy
industry is estimated to support upwards of $2.5 billion in
economic activity. With the value added from all other dairy
processing and manufacturing, Alberta's dairy industry
contributed a record $1.27 billion to the provincial economy in
2005 (latest available figures), making it the second largest
segment of the province's food processing activity.
The agricultural products marketed through supply
systems play an important role in the lives of the people. For
example, over 10,000 Albertans rely on milk for their
livelihoods, including dairy producers, veterinarians,
nutritionists, researchers, professors, consultants, government
workers, equipment salespeople, milk truck drivers and many
processing and retail workers.
Dairy farmers in Saguenay, Quebec, August 25, 2016, demand any new
protect supply management system.
In fact, the dairy sector is a dynamic and consistent
contributor in every Canadian province. Dairy is one of the top
two agricultural sectors in seven of 10 Canadian provinces. The
sector's contribution to the gross domestic product was $19.9 billion
in 2016. Total jobs
have decreased at the farm level but have increased in
value-added processing, remaining at around 220,936 jobs. In 2015,
the Canadian dairy industry contributed $3.8 billion in local,
provincial and federal taxes.
The damage caused by the elimination of Canada's
supply management systems would likely mirror the damage caused
by Harper's 2012 dismantling of the single desk Canadian Wheat
Board (CWB). The remains of the CWB are now owned by a U.S.
monopoly and serial human rights violator Saudi Arabia. As was
the case before the 1935 creation of the CWB, agri-monopolies
such as Richardson's and Glencore once again control the market
for Canadian wheat. Like the destruction of the CWB, the
destruction of Canada's supply management systems would clearly
be another major blow against thinking, social consciousness, and
Growth and Power of Oligopolies
The following excerpts from articles in the New
Times (NYT) reveal certain
features of the growth of oligopolies
and the dominance they exercise over the working class and
economy. The dominance of the financial oligarchy over the
economy finds its reflection in the destruction of politics as
power is concentrated in the hands of the few and private
interests are politicized and polities are destroyed. The
disempowerment of the vast majority of the people is reaching
From NYT 's
Trillion Milestone Reflects Rise
of Powerful Megacompanies"
Apple on [August 2] reached a market value of more than
trillion, a milestone that highlights how a group of enormous
companies has come to dominate the United States economy. [...]
a smaller cluster of American companies commands a larger share
of total corporate profits. ... The impact of this phenomenon has
been clear in the stock markets, where a band of household-name
companies -- led by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google -- has fueled
the nine-year bull market, the second-longest
behind the rally that ended in 2000.
But the effects of the consolidation of corporate
extend far beyond the stock markets -- and they are not
entirely benign. Economists, for example, are starting to look
into whether the rise of so-called superstar firms is
contributing to the lacklustre wage growth, shrinking middle
class, rising income inequality in the United States (and) the
vast social and political influence wielded by these
In the past few decades, a profound shift has taken
the distribution of corporate profits among American companies.
In 1975, 109 companies collected half of the profits produced by
all publicly traded companies. Today, those winnings are captured
by just 30 companies, according to research by Kathleen M. Kahle,
a University of Arizona finance professor, and René M.
Stulz, an economist at Ohio State University.
On [July 31], Apple reported the latest in a string of
quarterly earnings, with its profit increasing to $11.52 billion,
up nearly a third from the same period a year earlier. ...
The difference between how much it costs American
to make their products and how much they sell those products for -- a
metric of the power that companies possess in their
markets -- is at its highest level since at least 1950,
according to a 2017 paper by two economists, Jan De Loecker of
Princeton and Jan Eeckhout of University College London.
More than three-quarters of all American industries
grown more concentrated since 1980. [Scholars have linked
corporate consolidation to rising income inequality.] A consensus
has formed among economists that the trend toward corporate
concentration -- in terms of the size of companies and their
grasp on profits -- is real and may be long-lasting. "The
number of papers that are being written on this from week to week
is remarkable," said David Autor, a Massachusetts Institute of
Technology economics professor who has studied the
The consolidation is especially pronounced in the
sector, where a group of large, efficient companies now lord over
the fastest-growing and most dynamic parts of the United States
economy. When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, it quickly
transformed the way society interacts with technology. More than
1.4 billion have been sold since.
Apple and Google combined now provide the software for
per cent of all smartphones. Facebook and Google take 59 cents of
every dollar spent on online advertising in the United States.
Amazon exerts utter dominance over online shopping and is getting
bigger, fast, in areas like streaming of music and videos.
But the trend is not confined to technology.
Today, almost half of all the assets in the American
financial system are controlled by five banks. In the late 1990s,
the top five banks controlled a little more than one-fifth of the
market. Over the past decade, six of the largest United States
airlines merged into three. Four companies now control 98 per cent
of the American wireless market, and that number could fall to
three if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge.
Consolidation begets profits. "Whoever is left is more
profitable and can generate higher returns to investors," said
Professor Pelina Larkin of York University in Toronto, who has studied
the impact of corporate
consolidation on financial markets. ...
This year, five tech companies -- Facebook, Apple,
Amazon, Netflix and Google's parent, Alphabet -- have
delivered roughly half of the gains achieved by the Standard
& Poor's 500-stock index. Apple is the only company with a $1
trillion market value, but Amazon this year has been nipping at
its heels. It is currently valued at more than $880 billion. ...
And in the labour market, scholars have linked
consolidation to rising income inequality and the declining share
of the nation's wealth that goes to workers. The so-called labour
share of the economy has been declining in the United States and
other rich countries since the 1990s, coinciding with the trend
toward corporate concentration. And that decline has been most
pronounced in industries undergoing the greatest
Other economists argue that with fewer companies in a
industry, there is simply less competition for workers and
therefore little pressure to give raises to workers. That may be
especially true in industries where skills are highly
specialized, because it is harder for workers to look elsewhere
for better pay. Recent research has highlighted examples of
companies colluding to keep wages low by agreeing not to poach
each other's workers and by inserting provisions into workers'
contracts that bar them from joining competitors.
Some on the left take the critique a step further,
that greater corporate power translates into weaker antitrust
enforcement, looser limits on campaign contributions and
declining rates of unionization, which collectively make it
easier for big companies to tilt the economy in their favour.
Companies, in this view, are not just reaping bigger profits than
they were in the past, but they are also feeling less pressure to
share the spoils with workers.
From NYT 's
as Profits Soar,
and Prices Erode Wage Gains"
Since the century's start, labour's share of the
income has sunk to the lowest levels in decades.
In 2000, when
the jobless rate last fell below four per cent, corporations pulled
in 8.3 per cent of the nation's total income in the form of
profits; while wages and salaries across the entire work force
accounted for roughly 66 per cent.
Now, the jobless rate is again fluttering below 4
But corporate profits account for 13.2 per cent of the nation's
income. Workers' compensation has fallen to 62 per cent.
If workers' share had not shrunk, they would have had
additional $532 billion or about $3,400 each, said Jared
Bernstein, an economic adviser to former Vice President Joseph R.
Biden Jr. ...
Workers' paycheques account for much less of the
total income since the last recession, and the profits of
businesses account for more.
From NYT 's
Superstar Firms and Amazon Effects
Reshaping the Economy?"
Two of the most important economic facts of the last
decades are that more industries are being dominated by a handful
of extraordinarily successful companies and that wages, inflation
and growth have remained stubbornly low. ...
Mainstream economists are discussing questions like
"monopsony" -- the outsize power of a few consolidated
employers -- is
part of the problem of low wage growth. They are looking at
whether the "superstar firms" that dominate many leading
industries are responsible for sluggish investment spending. And
they're exploring whether there is an "Amazon Effect" in which
fast-changing pricing algorithms by the online retailer and its
rivals mean bigger swings in inflation. ...
At an annual symposium in the Grand Tetons (Wyoming),
of the Federal Reserve and other central banks discussed whether
corporate consolidation might have broad implications for
"A few years ago, questions of monopoly power were
specialists in a very technical way, without linking them to the
broader issues that animate economic policy," said Jason Furman,
an economist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. ... "In the
last few years, there's been an explosion of research that breaks
down those walls."
Central bankers tend not to chase the latest research
as Mr. Furman put it. But they, too, are wrestling more intensely
with the possibility that the details of how companies compete
and exert power matter a great deal for the overall well-being of
While these topics more commonly show up in debates
antitrust policy or how the labour market is regulated, it may
have implications for the work of central banks as well. For
example, if concentrated corporate power is depressing wage
Esther George, the president of the Federal Reserve
Kansas City, the host of the conference, has been intrigued by
the weak lending to small and midsize businesses in recent years,
even amid an economic recovery. She and her staff have explored
whether the increasing concentration of the banking industry
among a handful of giants might be a cause. ...
Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist, argued that
power is most likely part of the apparent puzzle of why wage
growth is low. By his estimates, wages should be rising 1 to 1.5
percentage points faster than they are, given recent inflation
levels and the unemployment rate.
When workers have few potential employers to choose
said, they may have less ability to demand higher pay, and it
becomes easier for employers to collude to restrict pay, whether
through explicit back-room deals or more subtle signalling. ...
Another paper, by the Harvard economist Alberto
presents evidence that the algorithms used by Amazon and other
online retailers, with their constantly adjusting prices, may
mean greater fluctuations in overall inflation in the event of
swings in currency values or other shocks. ...
Mr. Cavallo wrote, "Fuel prices, exchange-rate
or any other force affecting costs that may enter the pricing
algorithms used by these firms are more likely to have a faster
and larger impact on retail prices than in the past."
"Wage stagnation is not a puzzle," said Marshall
fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, who spoke on a panel organized
by the activist group Fed Up outside the lodge where the Federal
Reserve symposium later took place. "Cutting-edge research tells
us exactly what's going on, and yet the Fed seems to be
considering this for the first time."
1. Definition of monopsony
according to Investopedia:
What is a "Monopsony"?
A monopsony, sometimes referred to as a buyer's
a market condition similar to a monopoly. However, in a
monopsony, a large buyer, not a seller, controls a large
proportion of the market and drives prices down. A monopsony
occurs when a single firm has market power through its factors of
production. The firm is the sole purchaser for multiple sellers
and drives down the price of the seller's products or services
according to the amount or quantity that it demands.
In situations where monopsonies occur, sellers often
in price wars to entice the single buyer's business, effectively
driving down the price and increasing the quantity. Sellers that
get caught in a monopsony can find themselves in a race to the
bottom and losing any power they previously had over supply and
For example, some economists have accused Ernest and
Gallo -- a conglomerate of wineries and wine producers -- of being a
monopsony. The company is so large and has so
much buying power over grape growers that sellers have no choice
but to agree to the company's terms.
Examples of a
Monopsonies take many different forms, but they most
occur when a single employer controls an entire labour market.
When this happens, the sellers, in this case the potential
employees (who sell their capacity to work), compete for the few
jobs available by accepting lower wages, which drives down
employee costs for the business.
The technology industry is an example of this type of
monopsony. With only a few large tech companies in the market
requiring engineers, major players such as Cisco and Oracle have
been accused of collusion and choosing not to compete with each
other in terms of the wages they offer for technical positions.
This suppresses wages so that the major tech companies realize
lower operating costs and higher profits.
[The manipulation of
market prices arises from the
the oligopolies to determine those prices. In this situation, the
market prices may deviate from their prices of production. As the
economy is an objective thing, any deviation in market prices
from their prices of production to favour the narrow private
interests of certain oligopolies has far-reaching negative
consequences and becomes a factor leading to economic crises. The
objective value the oligopolies demand in market prices according
to their own private interests must come from somewhere in the
economy to the detriment of the whole and particular sectors, such
as in the example of Gallo Winery, damaging those forced to sell
their product to Gallo at market prices possibly below their
prices of production. – TML Weekly
Opposition to the Anti-Social Offensive
Calgary Activists Organize in Response
to Greyhound Shutdown
A group of Calgary activists have organized themselves
as Prairies for Public Buses in order to mobilize
people to take up the issue of the imminent shutdown of a number
of Greyhound Canada bus routes. To kick things off, Prairies
for Public Buses held a lively rally and discussion the
afternoon of September 3 at McDougall Centre in Calgary. During
the successful action, participants took a unified stand against
depriving Canadians of essential national and regional bus
services. Almost all the participants gave their views during the
discussion, defending the right of all Canadians to affordable,
safe bus service.
Greyhound, which is owned by
a huge UK transport
named FirstGroup, announced on July 9 that its arbitrary shutdown
would include all bus routes in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba
and in Northern Ontario west of Sudbury, and all but one in British
routes are being shut down because, according to Greyhound, they
are no longer profitable. That is the only basis for the
decision. If the company has its way, bus
operations on those routes will cease on October 31 and 415 workers
will lose their jobs.
Public opposition to the July 9 Greyhound
announcement was swift. Many pointed out that rural areas will
lose a very important low-priced transportation service affecting
seniors, students, the poor, and people with medical issues.
Others highlighted the reality that a bus shutdown will further
endanger Indigenous women and girls living in remote areas
thereby depriving them of safe, reliable transportation to
medical appointments and, if living outside their communities, to
return home for funerals and other important matters. The whole
situation highlights the fact that private business decisions
that affect the public interest must not be made unilaterally
but must be brought under popular political control.
front, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) held a press
conference in Ottawa on August 9. The Canadian president of ATU
asserted that the shutdown was "catastrophic" for about two
million riders and suggested that ten thousand daily riders
depend on Greyhound. He pointed out that finding "alternative
transport" could be dangerous, giving the example of the numerous
Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered on the
"Highway of Tears" between Prince George and Prince Rupert, BC.
He called for immediate government action and an opportunity to
dialogue with the Minister of Transportation. Unfortunately, as
most workers are aware, the federal and provincial governments
generally take the attitude that decisions made by foreign
monopolies to wreck the economy are of little concern because
they are private business matters and hence can only be "solved"
by the private sector.
Meanwhile, in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan,
and Manitoba, small carriers are setting up routes to fill the
gap left by Greyhound. Saskatchewan-based Rider Express is
expanding with a Saskatoon-Edmonton route and a Regina-Calgary
route. Northern Express Bus Line is expanding its offerings in
northern Alberta between Grande Prairie and Edmonton. Red Arrow
is also expanding to include a Camrose-Edmonton route. The
problem is that all these moves are individual business decisions
based on what routes are the most profitable for the carriers
involved. None of the private companies are dealing with the
overall issue of planning and implementing a comprehensive system
of accessible, affordable, safe bus routes that meet the needs
of all Canadians.
A whole month after the Greyhound
announcement, federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau on August 9
announced that his department is working "as quickly as possible"
to gather data about the affected routes and will make a decision
about further action in consultation with the federal and
provincial deputy ministers of transport early in September. In
other words, the Greyhound matter will be handled in the usual
manner. First it is ignored, now, due to public pressure,
arbitrary decisions will be made from the top to silence dissent,
while the people who are most affected will be excluded from any
meaningful role in the consultation.
The foreign owners of
Greyhound have decided to end bus
service in western Canada to serve their own narrow private
interests. No alternative that would serve the local and broader
Canadian economy and public interests has been presented for
discussion and action. That is why the only real alternative is
that the people must take matters into their own hands. Reducing
the working people to the role of spectators to the wrecking of
their lives, industries and nation is not an option. It is up to
the working class through its own organizations and media to
rally the people to engage in action with analysis, in order to
change the transportation situation in favour of the people. That
is exactly what those who have rallied around Prairies for Public
Buses are now attempting to do.
Information Picket to Stop the Ring of Fire!
An information picket was held by about two dozen mostly
Indigenous people at the entrance to Laurentian University on
Ramsey Lake Road on the shores of Lake Bitimagamasing (Ramsey) on
Thursday, September 6 from 9:00 am to noon. The aim was to make
known their demand to Stop the Ring of Fire and have Anishinabek
rights recognized. At 11:00 am, they held a ceremonial three-minute
round dance at the intersection of Ramsey Lake and University
Roads. One of the organizers, Bruce McComber, sang a water song
taught to him by his auntie.
The Ring of Fire is a mega
mining project/mineral deposit in
what settler governments and institutions call Northern Ontario,
the organizers explain. Complementary projects include the
chromite smelter on Anishinabek lands that Noront is
The Facebook post on the event quotes Former MP Tony
pointing out that the potential impact of the Ring of Fire "is
very much akin to what the oil sands is to Alberta and Canada
The post continues:
"Do you want a project akin to the oil sands in your
homelands? We definitely don't! This is an event for anyone who
loves clean air and water, wild lands, happy animal families,
Anishinabek sovereignty, Indigenous rights, and life! Most people
who fit in that category can agree we live in an era of
exponentially increasing environmental destruction and
degradation. Most of those same people would probably agree that
we also live in an era of unprecedented political/corporate
"From an 'Indigenous' or Anishinabek perspective, we
never had our true rights recognized. Our right to either
explicitly decide and choose NO
to a proposed mining development
or town/city development in our territories occupied by the
Canadian state has never been honoured. We are never allowed to
own the primary companies, or the mines, or even most of the
means of production. Mining companies continue to destroy our
homelands, steal our wealth, and leave us with scraps we are told
to be grateful for.
"Chief Pontiac once said, 'They came with a bible and
religion and stole our land and now tell us we should be thankful
to the Lord for being saved.' Thank goodness Canada saved us
historically (Indian Residential Schools, '60s Scoop, etc.) and
is saving us today by starving (chronically
underfunding/Millennial scoop etc.) us out of the last of our
last homelands and letting us be wage slaves in their crony
capitalist towns, cities, and country! Even Canadian
subjects/citizens get ripped off and abused daily by Canadian
systems. The more Indigenous rights/systems are accepted and
applied, the better it is for all people calling these lands
"We are a group of people committed to helping the
network of allies around Anishinaabe Aki and Turtle Island who
want corrupt governments and corporations to face the
consequences for the irresponsible and seemingly deliberate
destruction and abuse of our planet and its peoples. We want all
mining in the Ring of Fire area to STOP! We hope you can join us
in friendship, comraderie, and respect as we pray for and
celebrate water at Lake Bitimagamasing (Ramsey)."
Fight to Restore Ontario's Basic Income Pilot Project
Lindsay rally, August 7, 2018.
Concerted action has been taken to oppose the Ford
government's decision to cancel the Basic Income Pilot Project.
The previous Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne initiated the
pilot project in April 2017. The pilot project, scheduled to last
three years, was to involve 4,000 people who earned less than
$34,000 a year in the Hamilton/Brantford area, Brant County,
Lindsay and Thunder Bay. Single recipients were eligible to
receive up to $17,000 per year and couples could receive up to
$24,000 per year, minus 50 per cent of any earnings that year. Those
with disabilities could receive up to an additional $6,000
annually. Only 2,000 of the successful recipients would actually
receive the increased funding. The remaining 2,000 were a control
group who would be compensated for filling out surveys related to
mental health, housing stability and job training. Researchers
from St. Michael's Hospital and McMaster University would study
the results. The project was budgeted at $150 million for the
Lindsay was selected as a testing "saturation site."
everyone living in poverty would be part of the project with half
of the nearly 2,000 participants receiving the funds and half being
the control group. On learning of the cancellation of the
project, over 100 residents protested at Lindsay's Victoria Park
on August 7. On August 27, four of the Lindsay recipients filed a
proposed class-action lawsuit against the Ontario Government for
breach of contract and negligence for cancelling the pilot
project. If the lawsuit is accepted by the courts, other
recipients will be invited to join.
Protest in Cobourg, August 10, 2018, against cancelling of Basic Income
The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction and
Services, which pressed hard to force the Wynne government to
initiate the pilot project, went into action as soon as the PC
government cancelled it, mobilizing its members and concerned
citizens and residents to contact their members of the
Legislature, sign a petition, talk to neighbours and contact
the media. They took their concerns to City Hall on August 15.
They are exploring legal options and co-ordinating actions with
anti-poverty groups in Brantford, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.
On August 17, Hamilton City Council unanimously
motion denouncing the cancellation of the project.
Hamilton photographer Jessie Golem has launched a
photographic series called "Humans of
Basic Income," showing the
human side of the decision to cancel the basic income pilot
Hamilton participants in the Basic Income Pilot Project speak at recent
On September 5, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger,
Brantford Mayor Chris Friel, City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham,
and Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs issued a joint letter asking the
federal government to take over the pilot project. While the project
itself fell far short of guaranteeing the right to live at society's
standard of living, anti-poverty activists, workers, and trade
unionists fought for years to gain this small advance in their battle
to end poverty. Their fight to force the Ford government to reinstate
the project is a just fight that deserves the support of all.
Supreme Electoral Court Denies Lula's Right
to Be a Presidential Candidate
In the early morning hours of September 1,
justices of Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court handed down a 6-1
decision to deny Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the right to be
a candidate for the presidency of Brazil in the October 7
election. The Workers' Party was given ten days to either replace
Lula as their candidate or file an appeal of the decision. This
week, Lula's defence filed two appeals against the decision -- one to
the Supreme Electoral Court and another asking the
Federal Supreme Court to overturn the decision. The following
bulletin was issued the day the decision to deny Lula the right
to be a candidate was handed down.
1. Faced with the violence committed by the Supreme
Court against the rights of Lula and the people who want to
elect him President of the Republic, the Workers' Party [PT]
announced, in a note, that it will continue fighting by all means
to guarantee his candidacy in the October 7 elections. The PT
says that the idea that the Ficha Limpa (Clean Slate) law can bar
the candidacy of people who have been denied their second
appeals, as in the unjust situation faced by Lula, is incorrect.
Article 26-C of the law calls for the suspension of ineligibility
while there are still appeals pending in higher courts.
2. The Brazilian judiciary,
in this case the Supreme
Electoral Court, has shown, once again, that it is capable
of breaking all of its time records when dealing with Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva. The disqualification of Lula's
candidacy -- trampling protocols, deadlines and even a decision
by the UN Human Rights Committee in defence of Lula's right to
run for office -- was passed in less than 24 hours from the start of
the time period for rulings on party tickets.
3. The same Electoral Court Justice who issued the
disqualifying Lula's candidacy recognized the right to run for
office guaranteed in the Electoral and Ficha Limpa (Clean Slate)
laws for 145 mayoral candidates in the last round of municipal
elections. Unlike Lula, they were allowed to run for office sub
judice with appeals still underway. Ninety-eight
them were elected and are currently governing their cities.
4. Ex-President Lula sent a letter to the people of
Pernambuco state, which was delivered by his Vice Presidential
running mate, Fernando Haddad. One passage reads, "The moment we
are living in is not easy. Judicial persecution by a few who
think they can bar the people from expressing themselves are
keeping me imprisoned in Curitiba."
5. On the political program that was broadcast today on
TV stations for the People Happy Again Coalition [Workers' Party,
Communist Party of Brazil and Republican Party of Social Order],
Lula, in his first appearance as candidate, took a jab at the
judiciary. "We are in a situation in which an innocent man is
being condemned to prevent an innocent man from returning to make
the best government for Brazil. I know that I will go down in
history as the President who provided the most social inclusion
in this country, who built the most universities, who built the
most technical schools, and who put the most young people in
university in the history of the nation. I know how I will go
down in history, but I don't know if they will be remembered as
judges or as torturers," said the ex-President, who is leading in
the polls from all polling agencies.
6. The Unified Workers Central (Central Única
Trabalhadores (CUT)) released a note repudiating the Supreme Electoral
to bar Lula's candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic. The
CUT considers the ruling to be one more "arbitrary act made by a
judicial authority, which has been characterized by bias and
disrespect for the fundamental rights consecrated in the
Brazilian Constitution as well as the UN Second Optional Protocol
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of
which Brazil is a signatory.
7. The Landless Rural Workers' Movement (Movimento de
Trabalhadores sem Terra) also repudiated the Supreme Electoral
The organization criticized the Supreme Electoral Court's disrespect of
Electoral Law and the UN Human Rights Committee.
8. Hours after the Supreme Electoral Court's arbitrary
demonstrations sprang up in cities and towns across the country
-- demonstrations in public areas with thousands of people
demanding freedom for Lula. In Fortaleza, for example, there was
a classic "Olê Olê Olã, Lula lá, Lula
lá" demonstration in the Iguatemi Shopping Mall, which is
a popular spot with the middle class. There were also
Lulaço demonstrations in the Vila Rubim Municipal Market
in Vitória, Espirito Santo, as well as in locations
in other cities such as Manaus, Curitiba, Brasilia and Rio
What the Empire Wants in Brazil
Rally condemns the Electoral Court's removal of Lula as candidate,
September 1, 2018.
The electoral disqualification of Luiz Inácio
Silva is the latest chapter (although not the conclusion) in the
dirty political campaign against the Brazilian left, initiated
with the spurious parliamentary-media-judicial process that removed
Dilma Rousseff from the presidency.
The session of the Supreme Electoral Court, which
definitively removed Lula from the electoral contest, took place
on the same date that the coup against Dilma was consummated two
Premeditation and Treachery?
As was the case then, the manoeuvres are based on
supposed interests and fabricated responsibilities. "There is no
justice for those who disagree with the choir of the elites,"
Brazilian journalist Fernando Brito said in an article in the
digital newspaper Brasil 247.
The goal is to prevent at all costs a new popular
in the South American giant that would serve as an obstacle to
the U.S. empire's pretension to dominate and the aims of the local
oligarchy to appropriate the wealth.
"Now they are preventing Lula from being a presidential
candidate because they know he would win the October elections by
a wide margin. In Brazil, the media, in coordination with the
judiciary, have destroyed the Rule of Law," Argentine President
Cristina Fernández wrote on her Twitter account.
Where Is Washington's Hand?
The story could be a long one, but let us focus the
on the most recent events. Edward Snowden's revelations about the
activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States,
which exposed a vast program of espionage against Brazil, are barely
According to U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, in
articles he wrote on the subject for the Brazilian newspaper O
Globo in July 2013, Brazil was the main target of the NSA's
electronic espionage program in Latin America, which collected
information from billions of electronic messages and telephone
calls that passed through Brazil.
Inside the leaked documents was the question:
ally, enemy or problem?" and Washington's concern about the
impact that Brazil's economic growth would have on the
international political scene was revealed.
The NSA had tapped four telephones
the office of President Dilma Rouseff and intercepted the
leader's phone calls, e-mail and text messages as well as the
communications of her personal advisor and secretary. Even the
presidential plane was monitored. Few foreign leaders were under
such extensive scrutiny by the empire.
U.S. espionage followed all the communications of
least 29 members of the Brazilian government, including the head
of the government house, Antonio Palocci, who was later one
of the stars of the betrayals rewarded by the Brazilian
justice system. Did the revelations that led him to surrender
come from that?
The NSA also spied on all communications of the
state-owned company Petrobras, which had been strengthened during
the Lula and Dilma administrations. The former president of the
company, Antonio Menezes, warned at that time of the "significant
risk" posed to free competition and to Petrobras if its
development and methods were known in other countries, because it
would be a "marked target" on international petroleum's strategic
But beyond economic espionage, would key elements not
emerged from that snooping, later to be used by the
judiciary to unleash the process that began precisely one year
after Snowden's revelations, with an extensive investigation
against Petrobras and its contracts, leading to Lula's
disqualification? And were the United States and its oil
companies not interested in dismantling the powerful Petrobras
and the sovereign oil policy that the Workers' Party (PT) governments
The use of the judiciary, as is already known, is at
moment Washington's favorite mechanism for attacking leftist
leaders in our region. They have applied this strategy against
Dilma, Cristina, Correa and Lugo. Faced with its failure to
impose their pawns through voting, the United States resorts to
other mechanisms to achieve its objectives.
This is no coincidence, but rather a
of penetrating the judicial entities of the region, under the
guise of tackling corruption. In recent years, the U.S.
Department of Justice, in coordination with universities,
foundations and NGOs in that country, have developed a training
program for Latin American judicial cadres through scholarships,
seminars, workshops and other programs.
A classified 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable obtained
Snowden and revealed by Wikileaks, assesses a regional conference
that year held in Rio de Janeiro to train police and judicial
forces in crimes related to illicit financing. The report
states: "The investigation and conviction of cases of money
laundering, includes cooperation between countries, confiscation
of assets, methods to extract evidence, and the negotiation of
charges." It also points out: "The Brazilian judiciary is very
interested in fighting terrorism, but needs the
tools and training to use force effectively (...) specialized
judges will direct the most significant corruption cases that
implicate government individuals."
One of the best students of that seminar was the
Curitiba judge Sergio Moro, the champion of the
relentless persecution of Lula. Moro is a direct product of
the imperialist training plan: a graduate of a course at Harvard
on transnational corruption, a participant in events organized by
the U.S. Department of Justice and a frequent traveller to that country.
"Moro was trained in the State Department. He
travels to the U.S. and knows how to win Washington's approval,"
the renowned Brazilian diplomat Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães Neto
It is significant that while the investigation of
Petrobras and Odebrecht, with its saga of leniency deals, began in the
state of Curitiba, it was the U.S. Justice Department that uncovered
the keys to Odebrecht's illicit operations in Brazil and nine other
Latin American countries, and imposed a fine of $3.5 billion dollars on
the Brazilian business giant. Why is the United States intervening so
decisively in a case that the Brazilian justice system is taking on?
Aerial photo of Alcântara Aerospace Base.
The concerted onslaught of the media, the judiciary,
oligarchy and the Empire against Lula and his political forces,
comes at a significant social cost, but yields juicy
fruit for its sponsors.
Doors have been opened to Washington and its allies
impossible to pass through under a Lula government. They have
managed to set up a 16-year agreement for a
U.S. presence at the Alcântara Aerospace Base, which they left
in 2003 during Lula's first government over concerns of national
sovereignty. That was the most important goal that General
Mattis, head of the Pentagon, had on his agenda during his recent
visit to Brazil.
The Alcântara base, where the Brazilian Space
operates, is the only space rocket launch infrastructure under
the control of a sovereign country in South America. Specialists
consider the site to have enormous advantages for space launches
due to its proximity to the equator, where the speed of the earth's
rotation is greater and the launches can be done more
efficiently, using less fuel and with greater load capacity.
But others emphasize that the real U.S. objective is a
military one, because of the possibility of an ideal space for troops
for political-military operations in South America
and Africa, given Alcântara's location in northeast Brazil,
West Africa. It would also be a strategic
location for its conflicts with Russia and China.
For the former Brazilian Minister of Strategic Affairs
(2009-2010), Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, "the main U.S.
objective is to have a military base in Brazilian territory where they
can exercise their sovereignty, beyond the reach of Brazil's laws and
the military, and where they can carry out all kinds of military
operations." In his estimation, the U.S. use of Alcántara is the
"most flagrant case of the surrender of sovereignty
in Brazil's history."
It is also remarkable that in 2017, for the first time
history, joint military operations between the United States,
Brazil, Peru and Colombia took place in the Amazon, a region rich
in resources, biodiversity and water, control of which
For renowned Mexican researcher Ana Esther
holding exercises, such as AmazonLog2017, makes it possible to
"put in place war supplies that facilitate discreet territorial
incursions, rapid response operations, contemplating the
intervention of special forces -- whether U.S., local or private
-- or that permit massive, much more visible or ostentatious operations
such as those in response to supposed humanitarian dangers, very likely
The leading Brazilian defence company, Embraer, closed
a deal in April 2017 with the U.S. company Rockwell Collins in the
aerospace sector and the U.S. Army's Engineering, Development and
Research Command opened an office in São Paulo to deepen
relations in research and innovation in defence
Added to the U.S. military's assault on Brazil, is that
large U.S. firms. In July, Boeing's purchase of 80 per cent of
Embraer's well-known middle distance civil aircraft division was
finalized. The Brazilian company, which has produced
commercial, military and executive aircraft since 1969 and was Brazil's
lead exporter between 1991 and 2001, and the
number three aircraft manufacturer in the world was a kind of
national symbol, so there were major demonstrations of
indignation in Brazil over this transaction. "It is a scandal because
Embraer is a symbol of Brazilian technological capacity,
something like Petrobras but, in this case, a much more
sophisticated industry," said analyst Mario Osava.
Embraer, together with Canada's Bombardier, is the
largest manufacturer of 100-seat regional aircraft, a sector
where Boeing did not operate. It therefore has an interest in the
fast-growing regional aircraft market where it must compete with
newcomers such as Russia's United Aircraft, Japan's Mitsubishi and
Boeing's smaller aircraft, the 737-700 -- with more
seats -- "is unable to take advantage of the growth in demand
from low-cost airlines or the increase in the number of smaller
airports that do not receive large aircraft," the business
newspaper Valor pointed out.
As former President Dilma Rousseff noted recently in a
round table, it was the delivery of one of Brazil's most valued
assets and an industrial icon to a competitor.
Opening the Way for Transnational Takeover of Brazil’s
The huge pre-salt oil reserves, the largest in the
world, reserved by the PT government for Petrobras to exploit, has been
opened up to foreign investment by Temer's government. It was one
of the first steps taken after the coup d'état against Dilma.
decision is to remove some of Petrobras' important functions and
eliminate it as the principal operator in the pre-salt basin so
that now large transnational companies can manage the country's
A record 16 oil firms, including Royal
Dutch Shell PLC, U.S. Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp,
Norwegian Statoil and French Total SA registered for the
auction last June of blocks on the high seas where the equivalent
of billions of barrels of crude oil are trapped under a thick
layer of salt beneath the ocean floor.
Temer has also announced major privatizations in 34
sectors of the country, in an accelerated race of neo-liberal
restoration applauded by the perverse local oligarchy and
transnational powers. Fifty-seven public companies, airports and
ports are listed as being under negotiation or already sold.
"The coup has taken Brazil off course. They are selling
the public patrimony [with privatizations], they have decreed the
end of workers' rights [Temer's labour and pension reforms] and
they have cut investments in health and education for the next 20
years [by reforming the Constitution to impose a spending
ceiling]. All that done in a brazen way. To eliminate the harmful
effects of this coup, we have to go to the polls," Dilma told
Spanish newspaper El País
a few days ago.
"When they have nothing else to sell, they are going to
their souls to the devil," Lula told
Brazilian newspaper O Globo a
to power in
- Wikileaks: EUA
70th Anniversary of Founding of DPRK --
Standing for Peace
and Justice for Seven Decades
National seminar, September 6, 2018, part of celebrations
leading up to the DPRK's
September 9 marks the 70th anniversary of the
founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK),
which is being celebrated with revolutionary enthusiasm by the
Korean people in the DPRK, all the patriotic forces in the
Republic of Korea (ROK) and the diaspora, as well as peace and
justice-loving people in Canada and the world. The 70th anniversary is
taking place in the context of the drive of the Korean people to secure
peace for their nation and put an end to more than 70 years of
U.S.-engineered division, tension and strife and to move forward as a
united, peaceful and prosperous country.
This year, on the initiative of Kim Jong Un, Chairman
State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, he and President Moon Jae-in of
the ROK on April 27 signed the Panmunjom Declaration. On June 12 in
Singapore, Chairman Kim of the DPRK and U.S. President
Donald Trump held the first DPRK-U.S. Summit, a
historic meeting where both leaders pledged to put the past
behind and move forward in a new relationship. They pledged to
establish peaceful relations that would open the prospects for
establishing a permanent peace in Korea, including denuclearizing the
entire Korean Peninsula. It was the principled and selfless efforts of
the DPRK and its leadership that enabled the Singapore Summit to be
held in the wake of several threats by President Trump to cancel. Its
holding reflects the bold leadership and commitment of Chairman Kim to
find a peaceful political resolution to the 73-year crisis on the
National book exhibition began September 7, 2018, as part of 70th
The founding of the DPRK on September 9, 1948 was an
great historical significance for the Korean people and the
peoples of the world. After decades of struggle against the
Japanese occupiers (1910-1945), the Korean people, under the
leadership of General Kim Il Sung and the Korean People's Army,
liberated their nation on August 15, 1945, and began building a
modern democratic state from the ruins of war. Across the
country, People's Committees were formed and in
August-September 1945 the Korean people
elected their representatives to a People's Assembly, which proclaimed
the "Korean People's
Republic" on September 6, 1945.
However, the Republic was short-lived because the U.S.
insisted on fulfilling its ambition to establish a foothold in
north-east Asia on the Korean Peninsula after the defeat of
Japan, even though the Korean people freed themselves from
the Japanese occupiers without the presence of any U.S. troops.
The U.S. included a term in the surrender signed by Japan on
September 2, 1945, that the Korean Peninsula would be divided
along the 38th parallel and that the defeated Japanese military
in Korea would surrender to U.S. forces in the south, not to the
Korean liberators. On September 8, two days after the declaration
of the Republic, thousands of U.S. troops began to arrive in
Korea. The new occupiers declared the Korean People's Republic
illegal and began to crush the People's Committees by force. In
the words of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, Korea was to be an
Over the next three bloody years, through a campaign of
terror and brutality, the illegal U.S. Military Government and
their local agents criminalized, rounded up, tortured, imprisoned
and murdered hundreds of thousands of suspected communists,
"leftists" and other patriots who refused to submit to U.S.
The U.S. organized a fraudulent "free and fair"
May 1948, which was boycotted en masse by the Korean
people. The U.S. installed Syngman Rhee as President of the
Republic of Korea by force of arms in July 1948.
In response to this crime by the U.S. against the
people and their drive for independence and reunification, Kim Il
Sung declared the founding of the DPRK on September 9, 1948 in
Pyongyang at a jubilant rally of more than one million
In order to capture the Korean Peninsula and use it to
threaten aggression against China and the Soviet Union, in 1950 the
instigated the Korean War and from 1950 to 1953 more than
four million Korean civilians were killed and massive destruction
caused to the economy and infrastructure. The United States and
17 other countries, including Canada, took part in this war of
aggression against the Korean nation under the fig-leaf of the UN
flag on the false pretext of collective self-defence against an
attack by the north on the south.
The U.S. aggressors committed crimes against the peace,
crimes against humanity and untold war crimes, including
massacres of civilians, as well as the use of biological and chemical
weapons and the fire-bombing of various northern cities, which
resulted in many civilian casualties. The DPRK, though still in
its infancy, with the help of the Chinese Volunteer Forces,
organized the Korean people and defeated the U.S. in the war and
forced it to sign the Korean Armistice Agreement, thus defending
the sovereignty and honour of the Korean nation.
DPRK President Kim Il Sung said at the time: "The
our people in the Korean War was a victory of the revolutionary
people over the imperialist forces, a victory of the
revolutionary army over the aggressive forces of imperialism. It
proved that the people who rise up for freedom, independence and
progress, taking their destiny into their own hands under the
leadership of a Marxist-Leninist party, will never be conquered
by any imperialist forces of aggression. It also exposed the
vulnerability and corruptness of U.S. imperialism, demonstrating
to the oppressed nations of the world that U.S. imperialism is by
no means an unconquerable enemy and that they too can definitely
fight and defeat it."
It is important to point out that the DPRK has
committed no act of aggression against another country. The
Korean War, which engulfed the entire Korean
Peninsula, was provoked by the U.S. and its
puppet regime in the south. Standing firm against the might of
the U.S. military empire -- known for its use of nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons worldwide -- the DPRK affirms not
only its right to be, but the right of all nations and peoples to
self-determination and peace. For this internationalist spirit,
the DPRK is justly admired by all justice and peace-loving people
in Canada and the world.
Contributions to the Fight for Korean Reunification
United Korean team on the podium at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian
From the end of the Second World War to the present, the
DPRK and its leadership have been instrumental in all proposals
for the independent, peaceful reunification of Korea under the
banner "By the Nation Itself." This includes the proposal made by
the DPRK's founder, Kim Il Sung on July 4, 1972, which states
that the three principles of Korean reunification are: "realizing
independent reunification without outside interference, achieving
great national unity by transcending differences in ideas, ideals
and systems, and reunifying the divided land by peaceful means
without recourse to armed force."
In 1980, President Kim Il Sung proposed that the DPRK
"confederal state republic through the establishment of a unified
national government on condition that the north and the south
recognize and tolerate each other's ideas and social system, a
government in which the two sides are represented on an equal
footing and under which they exercise regional autonomy
respectively with equal rights and duties." He proposed that the
name of this confederal state be the Democratic Confederal
Republic of Koryo.
On April 6, 1993, Kim Il Sung published the 10-Point
Country. This further elaborated
the principles to achieve national reunification and set
up a confederation where the systems in the DPRK and ROK could
co-exist and work for a neutral state in the interests of the
Korean people as an intermediate step towards complete
reunification as desired by the Korean people.
These and other efforts by Kim Il Sung, and the efforts
his successor Kim Jong Il, led to the signing of the
June 15 North-South Joint Declaration in 2000, the
October 4, 2007 Agreement and, on the initiative of
Chairman Kim Jong Un, the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration.
These historic agreements have inspired and given impetus to the
Korean people's striving for peaceful independent reunification
and are now irrevocably part of the political consciousness of
the Korean people.
Today, despite the unjust and illegal U.S.-inspired
and economic sanctions passed by the UN Security Council against
the DPRK, in addition to those imposed by the U.S., Canada and
other imperialist states, the DPRK stands tall and continues to
march forward. Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, the DPRK
continues to strengthen its independent and self-reliant economy
and is building and extending its fraternal relations with other
countries on the basis of a common cause of independence and
peace for itself and all nations and peoples. It continues to
exercise high political culture, implementing the terms of the
DPRK-U.S. Summit and calling on the U.S. to keep its commitments
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