October 27, 2018 - No. 37

Urgent Need to Humanize the Social and Natural Environment

The LNG Canada Project and
the Natural Environment

Gitxsan protest in 2014 against approval of LNG projects on their territories.

Renewed Anti-Social Offensive in Ontario
Government Action Plan Driven by Self-Serving Private Interests
Ontarians Demand Increased Funding for Public Health Care

For Your Information
Bill 47 -- Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018

Working People Step Up Opposition to
Anti-Social Offensive in Europe

Mass Demonstration Opposes Attempts to Sow Racist Divisions

Mass Protests Denounce Neo-Liberal Social and Labour Reforms

2018 Global Peace Forum on Korea
Important Event Advances Peace on the Korean Peninsula

All Out to Defend Revolutionary Cuba!

UN General Assembly to Vote Once Again to End
U.S. Blockade of Cuba

Militant Support for Revolutionary Cuba
Expressed in New York City

Despicable U.S. Provocations Fail Miserably in Attempt to Isolate Cuba
Effect of Blockade on Sports
- Alfonso Nacianceno, Granma -

Centenary of End of World War I
British Imperialism and the First World War
Women's Historic Contribution Against the War

73rd Session of UN General Assembly

Principles of Sovereignty and Peaceful Resolution
of Disputes Still the Order of the Day

Urgent Need to Humanize the Social and Natural Environment

The LNG Canada Project and the
Natural Environment

The LNG Canada project is a matter of concern to working people in Canada. It brings to the fore the need to humanize the social and natural environment and raises serious questions about the exploitation of Canada's natural resources: Whose resources? Whose economy? Who decides? Who controls the process? Who benefits? The answer is not the working people in Canada. This is clear from the Canadian government's backing and funding of projects such as this, the Trans Mountain Expansion and others. They act regardless of the people's objections, notably those of the Indigenous nations, whose right to be consulted and give their consent in these matters is usually trampled on. In the case of fracking in BC, the matter is of profound concern to all BC residents in an earthquake prone zone. This situation underscores the urgent need to humanize the social and natural environment. Working people should reject this humiliation and victimization by governments that serve supranational interests, at the expense of the people and the natural environment. Providing information on these matters and what is at stake so that people can draw warranted conclusions is very important at this time when matters are rapidly spiralling out of anyone's control.

For Your Information

The $40 billion LNG Canada project has the approval of the National Energy Board, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, BC Hydro, the BC and Canadian governments and is also said to be approved by the elected governing bodies of 25 Indigenous peoples whose territories are affected. Several Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs oppose the project. Debbie Pierre, executive director of the Office of the Wet'suwet'en said, "The Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs do not endorse nor support pipeline projects that threaten the health and well-being of our lands and our people."

The LNG export project encompasses hydraulic fracturing of the Montney Formation in Northeastern BC to extract natural gas. The gas will be transported 670 kilometres through a pipeline to a terminal and plant on the west coast at Kitimat BC. The plant will liquefy the gas for shipping to overseas markets.

The National Energy Board and other agencies say the Montney Formation alone, which stretches from BC into Alberta, holds 449 trillion cubic feet of usable natural gas, 14,521 million barrels of useable natural gas liquids (NGLs) and 1.125 billion barrels of oil. The cumulative estimated gas resource is equivalent to 145 years of Canada's 2012 total consumption.

Hydraulic Fracturing

 Schematic depiction of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. (Wikipedia)

The oil and gas of the Montney Formation is found in a shale basin below impermeable formations. Hydraulic fracturing is the current method employed to extract the gas. Wikipedia describes hydraulic fracturing as, "a well stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressure injection of 'fracking fluid' (primarily water, containing sand or other proppants suspended with the aid of thickening agents) into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open."

The imperialist economic system puts the making of maximum private profit as the aim and main purpose of production. Advances in production technique must serve the aim and purpose of imperialism, and the military protection of the system and the security and position of privilege of the social class in control. Instead of devising pro-social aims for the use of advanced production techniques, their consequences and effects on human health, the people's well-being, and the natural environment when they are used to pay the rich are not a consideration of imperialism.

Generally the consequences or effects on human health, the people's well-being and the natural environment of employing advanced scientific technique only become known in hindsight after considerable use and growing resistance of the people. However, even after the effects become widely known, the imperialists will only take measures to correct the situation, if at all, under pressure from a mass political mobilization of the people. If the advanced scientific technique continues to serve the making of maximum private profit and the competition with other imperialists or offers a military advantage such as nuclear weapons, no amount of opposition will deter the imperialists from using the particular advanced technique short of depriving them of the power to do so.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has been used commercially since 1950. Two-and-a-half million fractured wells had been drilled up to 2012 and thousands more from that time, especially in the U.S. and Canada. Resistance to fracking and a burgeoning body of scientific knowledge of the consequences and effects of hydraulic fracturing now exist.[1] Not only are the effects on the immediate surrounding areas where fracking occurs known but so is the wider issue of climate change and the danger this poses to humanity and Mother Earth. (See the UN press release and report on climate change[2]) Resistance to the unbridled self-serving use of advanced production techniques to extract and market oil and natural gas has developed despite determined opposition from the imperialists who have done everything to stop or divert discussion on the issue.

LNG Canada and Climate Change

Residents of Kispiox valley in June 2014 declare they will stand with the Gitxsan people against any LNG projects in the valley citing in particular their concerns for the environment.

Residents of Kispiox valley in June 2014 declare they will stand with the Gitxsan people against any LNG projects in the valley citing in particular their concerns for the environment.

Natural gas cooled to -162 degrees Celsius turns into a liquid or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The liquid is measured by weight not the space it occupies when in a gas form. LNG Canada will ship about 14 million tonnes of LNG per year in the initial stage and aims to increase that amount.

The NDP and Green Party's Confidence and Supply Agreement, which allowed the Horgan-led NDP to seize governmental power from the Liberal Party in BC, pledges to draft a climate plan to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 40 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050. GHGs are defined as: "Any of various gaseous compounds (such as carbon dioxide or methane) that absorb infrared radiation, trap heat in the atmosphere, and contribute to the greenhouse effect."[3] The leader of the BC Green Party, Andrew Weaver believes the pledge to reduce GHGs has become impossible with the approval of the LNG Canada project.

Tom Green with the David Suzuki Foundation warns that with the accelerated fracking necessary to supply LNG Canada with enough natural gas, increased methane leakage into the atmosphere is inevitable under current methods. This means the province will miss its target to reduce emissions of methane by 45 per cent by 2025.

Karen Tam Wu, BC managing director for the Pembina Institute is quoted by Global News as saying, "The task of reducing BC's carbon pollution must not be underestimated ... In addition to the climate considerations, scientific research has not fully caught up on the many impacts of unconventional gas development. Recent research demonstrates evidence of risks posed by hydraulic fracturing to our water resources and public health. In the absence of further investigation, we should be cautious about putting our communities at risk."

The BC government briefing paper says the Kitimat conversion plant and terminal alone will emit one tonne of greenhouse gases for every ten tonnes of LNG transformed from gas. When in operation LNG Canada is projected to add up to 3.45 megatonnes (3,450,000 metric tons or 3.45 billion kilograms) of carbon emissions or GHGs into the atmosphere each year. In comparison, BC's entire oil and natural gas industry produced 4.28 megatonnes in 2015. Using those figures, the David Suzuki Foundation says LNG Canada will increase the province's annual overall greenhouse gas emissions by more than five per cent.

The LNG project's emissions when operational will represent more than one-quarter of BC's legislated targets for carbon pollution in 2050, set at about 13 megatonnes a year. Once the tally of 3.45 million tonnes of emissions is added to the existing emissions, the gap to be closed by 2030 according to the BC government's own estimate will grow to 23.9 million tonnes.

To placate its Green Party partner, the government promised a revised climate action plan for later in the fall. In keeping with its line that "even with approval of this project we are doing more to reduce climate change than others," the government argues that the emissions at the Kitimat terminal are acceptable given the fact they are ten times less than at the LNG export terminal at Sabine Pass in Louisiana, which went on line just two years ago and is said to produce about one tonne of GHG for every tonne of LNG.

The BC government employs an infantile or some would say opportunist (pragmatic) argument to approve a project that for all intents and purposes contradicts its Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Green Party. A government briefing paper reads, "BC can choose to supply low GHG-intensive gas, helping to reduce the world's carbon footprint. Or we can leave this demand to be supplied with higher GHG-intensive gas from other parts of the world."

If we don't sell LNG to the world, others will do it but in even worse ways, is one rationale of the government for approving the LNG Canada project. At a press conference announcing the project, an ebullient Premier Horgan said, "Today LNG Canada has sent a signal to the world that British Columbia and Canada are open for business." The slogan "open for business" has become a neo-liberal moniker in most imperialist jurisdictions synonymous with allowing the oligopolies to do whatever serves their private interests replete with lavish pay-the-rich schemes from the public purse.

To address the problem that with the 3.45 million tonnes of GHG emissions when the LNG project is fully operational, the gap to be closed by 2030 to meet the current BC government plan will grow to 23.9 million tonnes, the government now says that when the new Site C dam and its related hydroelectric power project "goes on line in 2024, it will provide clean power for some of the electrification in the clean growth strategy." In plain English, Site C will offset the increased GHG emissions from the extraction and sale of large quantities of natural gas.

The state support for LNG Canada is not merely approval but material. BC provincial subsidies are reported to total $5.35 billion. An LNG Canada official representing the five companies within the cartel behind the project said that without BC and federal material support the project would not have been "competitive or viable." Federal money and support for the project from an array of agencies and programs has not yet been tabulated.

According to a June report from a coalition of NGOs, "Canada provides more government support for oil and gas companies than any other G7 nation and is among the least transparent about fossil fuel subsidies ... Federal subsidies include the Canadian Development Expense, the Canadian Exploration Expense and the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for Liquefied Natural Gas assets ... Export Development Canada, a crown corporation, provides financing to fossil fuel companies, including more than $10 billion in 2017. The fossil fuel industry also has access to additional federal tax provisions and policies. Provincial programs include Crown Royalty Reductions in Alberta and the Deep Drilling Credit in British Columbia. Most of these subsidies were put into place decades ago and fail to take into account the costs of climate change to human health, communities and the economy ... Canada remains the largest G7 provider of support for oil and gas production per unit of GDP ... G7 governments provide at least US$100 billion a year to support the production and consumption of oil, gas and coal, despite repeated pledges to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025."[4]

According to the government about 60 per cent of the gas for the LNG Canada facility will come from new fracking. Presumably, the rest will come from old fracking. Fracking for gas in BC's northeast involves a process that uses a proprietary mix of chemicals and massive amounts of water. Fracking's need for fresh water has so far resulted in the construction of at least 92 unlicensed dams in northeast BC.[5]

LNG Canada has contracted TransCanada Corporation to build and operate a new Coastal GasLink pipeline 670 kilometres to a plant and terminal in Kitimat BC on the West Coast. At the new plant in Kitimat, LNG Canada says it will burn its own natural gas for the energy-intensive cooling and compression process to turn the gas into liquid.

On October 8, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a "special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty." (See Note 1 below to read the report.)


1. Wikipedia writes, "Hydraulic fracturing has the potential to cause fugitive methane emissions, air pollution, water contamination, and noise pollution. Water and air pollution are the biggest risks to human health from hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing fluids include proppants and other substances, which may include toxic chemicals. In the United States, such additives may be treated as trade secrets by companies who use them. Lack of knowledge about specific chemicals has complicated efforts to develop risk management policies and to study health effects. Surface water may be contaminated through spillage and improperly built and maintained waste pits, in jurisdictions where these are permitted. Further, ground water can be contaminated if fluid is able to escape during fracking ... There is potential for methane to leak into ground water and the air ... Hydraulic fracturing causes induced seismicity called microseismic events or microearthquakes [and has been identified as] responsible for earthquakes up to 5.6M in Oklahoma and other states."

2. The press release, summary and complete report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released October 8, 2018 are available here.

3. Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Wikipedia notes: "A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth's surface would be about -18°C, rather than the present average of 15°C. At current emission rates (from human activity) temperatures could increase by 2°C, which the United Nations' IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) designated as the upper limit to avoid 'dangerous' levels, by 2036. (The IPCC has now revised downward the 2°C upper limit 1.5°C.)

"Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (around 1750) have produced a 40% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), from 280 ppm in 1750 to 406 ppm in early 2017. This increase has occurred despite the uptake of more than half of the emissions by various natural 'sinks' involved in the carbon cycle. The vast majority of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (i.e., emissions produced by human activities) come from combustion of fossil fuels, principally coal, oil, and natural gas, with additional contributions coming from deforestation, changes in land use, soil erosion and agriculture (including livestock)."

4.The report is from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International with comments from The Narwhal.

5. Fully documented by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives here.

(With files from Global News, postmedia.com, Pembina Institute, agencies)

Haut de


Renewed Anti-Social Offensive in Ontario

Government Action Plan Driven by
Self-Serving Private Interests

Emergency rally outside the Ministry of Labour in Toronto, October 24, 2018, the day following introduction of Bill 47.

Presenting as the rationale that "the government is acting to bring jobs and investment back to our province," the Ontario PC government introduced Bill 47 in the Legislature on October 23. Entitled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, the legislation is driven by the self-serving outlook of the rich that the impediment to economic growth and prosperity are the claims of the workers on the wealth they themselves produce.

Bill 47 is legislation that serves private interests not the public good. It completely disregards the economic impact of integration into the U.S. economy, the most recent scientific and technological developments, and globalization and its supranational agreements that carve up economies amongst the global monopolies for their own benefit. Instead of dealing with the reality of the economy as it presents itself, the legislation turns the world upside down and blames the workers who diligently produce the social wealth for problems over which they have no control or responsibility.

Specifically directed at making life more difficult for the working class and making them pay for economic problems, Bill 47 attacks:

a) Ontario's most vulnerable workers;
b) the legal right of workers to organize into unions to defend their rights; and
c) apprenticeship standards in the construction industry, virtually the only sector of the Ontario economy to show any real growth in employment income from 2005-2015.

Following the October 24 Toronto rally against Bill 47 participants marched to Queen's Park.

The bill rolls back and freezes the minimum wage law at $14 an hour and denies any real increase for those already working and living in poverty. Not until 2020 will the minimum wage be adjusted for inflation.

The legislation repeals equal pay provisions for part-time, casual, temporary and temporary work agency status workers.

It guts the 2017 revisions to Ontario Labour Standards included in the previous government's Bill 148. This will make union organizing more difficult. For example, it repeals card-based certification in various sectors and the right of unions to employee lists during unionizing campaigns. It empowers employers to refuse to reinstate employees returning after a strike or lock-out lasting six months or more.

Despite one in five new jobs in Ontario being trades-related positions, the legislation does away with the Ontario College of Trades, and replaces it in early 2019 with a new model for regulation of skilled trades and apprenticeships. The government says it wants to remove the barriers employers are facing in increasing the numbers of skilled building trades workers.

The ruling elite refuse to face the problems that emerge from the economic system itself where wealth and power have become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer global oligarchs. Those who control the economy have organized it to suit their narrow private interests and couldn't care less for the problems they create for the people. The global oligarchs are to blame for the loss of more than 200,000 industrial jobs in Ontario since 2005. Only anti-worker rogues would suggest that a modest increase in the minimum wage scheduled for 2019 or certain labour standard amendments are responsible for such a disaster.

The legislation dares to blame equal pay for part-time, casual and temporary workers who do the same work as full-time employees for impeding investment from those who control the social wealth workers have created. Could this be because the rich oligarchs have concentrated their "job creation in Ontario" on precarious and part-time work and want to keep those workers captive in poverty and insecurity? Half the workforce (48 per cent) is now captured within what is called "irregular" work which has, in fact, become regular.

Full-time employment has declined by 7.3 per cent compared with 2005. This reality is reflected in employment income decreasing between 2005 and 2015 in real terms: one per cent for non-immigrants; 2.5 per cent for immigrants; 6.3 per cent decrease for Filipinos; and a 9.6 per cent decline for Blacks.

Working people denounce the measures in Bill 47 that make it more difficult to organize into unions. These and the other anti-social measures cause real harm to the economy. Hundreds of thousands of "good paying jobs," unionized jobs, have been wiped out with the destruction of Ontario's manufacturing base. This wrecking seriously harms the economy and the oligarchs in control should be held to account and not be allowed to blame the victims.

Brampton action against Bill 47, October 25, 2018.

Kingston picket against Bill 47, October 25, 2018.

Sudbury action against Bill 47, October 26, 2018.

Newmarket picket against Bill 47, October 26, 2018.

Brock University, St. Catharines, action against Bill 47, October 26, 2018.

A report by the Mowat Centre on the recent industrial decline said, "In seven of Ontario's 16 census metropolitan areas -- basically a series of mid-sized cities in southwest Ontario and in a central arc surrounding the Greater Toronto Area [the former industrial heartland -- TML Ed. Note] -- the median employment income for men fell by over 10 per cent in real terms. These include Windsor, where the drop was steepest at 25 per cent, as well as St. Catharine's-Niagara (13.9 per cent), Oshawa (13.5 per cent), Peterborough (13.5 per cent), Hamilton (10.8 per cent), London (10.8 per cent) and Barrie (10.7 per cent)."

The substantial reduction of social wealth being produced and circulated within Ontario as a result of the decline in the manufacturing sector is driving down the standard of living and reducing economic activity generally.

Bill 47 also attacks workers in the one sector of the economy where employment income has been positive from 2005 to 2015. By doing away with the Ontario College of Trades, the Ford government intends to lower the trades classification and apprenticeship standards and increase competition among workers to drive down their wages.

Working people are fed up with the disinformation that those who produce the social wealth but have no control over its distribution or the economy in general are to blame for its problems. Many workers reject with contempt the rotten outlook of the rich that the claims of those who do the work cause problems in the economy. Workers are coming to realize that those who do the work should be in control of what they produce and how that social wealth should be distributed and reinvested in the economy and society in ways that favour the people and not the oligarchs.

Denounce Ford's Anti-Worker Bill 47!
Stop the Legislated Attacks on the Working Class that Criminalize
Its Claims on the Social Wealth It Produces and the Right to Organize!
Stop Paying the Rich!
Increase Investments in Social Programs and Public Services!

(With files from Mowat Centre report -- A Different Ontario: Income and Employment, A Decade of Change, published October 23, 2018.)

Haut de

Ontarians Demand Increased Funding
for Public Health Care

Thousands of people, including many front line health care workers, converged on Queen's Park on October 23, to speak out militantly against any plans by the new Ford government to further cut and privatize health care, on top of the neo-liberal wrecking done by previous governments. Signs, banners and speakers affirmed the need for a properly funded public health care system, including proper wages and working conditions for health care workers, and services that are easily accessible to all Ontarians, regardless of where they live. Pointedly, the rally coincided with the tabling of the anti-worker pay-the-rich Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act.

The broad participation of people from across the province confirms that Ontarians are united in their defence of the public health care system and their right to health care. The people are not fooled by the Ford government's empty promises of making billions of dollars of cuts to the public sector, that it calls making "efficiencies," at no cost to the working people of Ontario. The situation underscores the problem of a political system that brings parties to power that do not represent the people and their demands, and the necessity for working people to voice their demands as an organized force that can bring them into being.

Haut de

For Your Information

Bill 47 -- Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018

On October 23, Jim Wilson, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, tabled Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. It is an omnibus bill which amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 2009, and the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009. It substantially changes the province's employment standards and labour relations legislation, including reversing most of the changes contained in Bill 148, passed by the Wynne Liberals in June 2017, which the government says are causing employers the most concern and unnecessary burden. Below are some of the key features of Bill 47:

Changes to Employment Standards Act, 2000 

Bill 47 changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 will:

a) Freeze the minimum wage at $14 per hour until 2020. In the words of the government it will impose "a 33-month pause in minimum wage increases with annual increases to the minimum wage tied to inflation" starting in 2020.

b) Repeal the right of a worker to request changes to the work schedule or work location after being employed for three months.

c) Reduce the emergency time-off provisions in Bill 148 from 10 days, including two paid days, to three unpaid days off for personal illness and family emergencies and two unpaid days off for bereavement.

d) Repeal the right of workers to refuse changes to their work or work schedule if not given a minimum four days (96 hours) notice.

e) Repeal the requirement that employers keep records of scheduling provisions.

f) Introduce changes that will prevent workers from accumulating sick days as statutory entitlements.

g) Remove equal pay for equal work rights for part-time, casual, temporary or temporary- assignment employees such as those working for temporary work agencies.

h) Reinstate the right of employers to ask for evidence in the form of a medical note in cases of employees taking time off for medical reasons.

i) Reduce maximum penalty fines for violating the Employment Standards Act, 2000 from $350/$700/$1,500 to $250/$500/$1,000.

Changes to Ontario's Labour Relations Act, 1995

Bill 47 changes under the Labour Relations Act, 1995, ("LRA") will:

a) Repeal card-based union certification for workers in home care, building trades and temporary help agencies contained in Bill 148 and revert to a voter-based, "secret-ballot" system.

b) Repeal the ability of a union to ask an employer for a list of employees and contract information when it can show at least 20 per cent of a company's workforce is in favour of a union in order to "protect Ontarians' privacy and personal information."

c) Repeal the government's ability to enact union successor rights (i.e. the right of a union to continue to represent the workers of an institution after it is privatized or sold) in publicly funded enterprises such as home care.

d) Repeal the power of the Ontario Labour Relations Board ("OLRB") "to review and consolidate newly certified bargaining units with existing bargaining units" but empower the OLRB to "review the structure of bargaining units where the existing bargaining units are no longer appropriate for collective bargaining." In other words, prevent smaller unions from joining with larger ones but allow the OLRB to decertify a union if it decides that it is "no longer appropriate for collective bargaining."

e) Repeal Bill 148's first collective bargaining agreement mediation and mediation-arbitration provisions and reinstate OLRB involvement in first collective agreement arbitration.

f) Reduce the maximum fine for breaking labour laws from $5,000 to $2,000 for individuals and from $100,000 to $25,000 for corporations.

g) Bill 47 also notes that under the changes to the Labour Relations Act, 1995: "Various Consequential amendments are made to the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1997, the Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997, the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997 and the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014. What "consequential amendments" are not spelled out.

Haut de

Working People Step Up Opposition to Anti-Social Offensive in Europe

Mass Demonstration Opposes Attempts
to Sow Racist Divisions

People from all over Germany converged in Berlin on October 13 in a mass action against racism and xenophobia, and parties that espouse such aims. The action was organized by a broad alliance of associations, labour unions, parties and rights groups. An estimated 240,000 people took part. Previously, throughout the summer, anti-immigration protests have been taking place in eastern German cities.

Marchers carried placards reading "build bridges not walls," "united against racism" and "we are indivisible -- for an open and free society." They vehemently rejected attempts to create divisions in German society, with the word of the day being "unteilbar" which translates as "indivisible."

As in Canada, the financial oligarchy in Germany is desperate to consolidate its power over the human and natural resources of the country. It is raising issues linked to immigration to foment social divisions. It does this by not permitting a serious inquiry into issues related to the global movement of peoples as a result of the neo-liberal global economy and the wars of aggression and occupation taking place, especially in West Asia and North Africa, which have led to massive migrations of persons into Europe.

A feature of the state-organized offensive is the bolstering of parties called extremist which are then said to represent public opinion, and to blame the people for racism and smash any attempt by the people to organize themselves politically in defence of the rights of all.

Disinformation about how the issue of the tragic displacement of peoples caused by war and aggression by the U.S. and NATO, of which Germany is a member, is used to depoliticize the movements of the people aimed at changing the direction of the economy and creating an anti-war government.

The mass demonstration in Berlin brings honour to the German working class and people who have a legacy to defend to never again permit the crimes against humanity to be committed in their name.

Haut de


Mass Protests Denounce Neo-Liberal Social
and Labour Reforms


Hundreds of thousands of workers, students and others took part in mass demonstrations in more than 100 rallies across France to reiterate their opposition to the neo-liberal social and labour reforms being imposed by the government of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The protesters demanded an increase in wages, pensions, gender equality and an end to privatization. According to organizers, more than 300,000 people, including workers, students, retirees and others participated in marches in more than a hundred places in the country. As many as 50,000 people protested in Paris alone.

The call to action issued jointly by six unions on August 30 denounced Macron's "ideological policies targeting the destruction of our social model, favoring notably the explosion of inequality and the breaking of collective rights." Participating unions in the October 9 action included those in the health, education, transport, postal and communication and metallurgy sectors.

Student unions and organizations the youth issued a joint press release on October 5 in which they stated, "Faced with reforms that deny us all rights in the future by closing the doors of higher education, by condemning us to precariousness throughout our lives (during our studies, during our professional integration but also at the time of retirement), the unions and young people, signatories of this text, call for a protest on October 9."

The mass actions by the workers and youth underscores the crisis facing the French nation-state. Macron's government, far from distancing itself from that of his predecessor François Hollande, has continued its retrogressive social and labour reforms and its permanent state of emergency.

The Macron government has slashed housing benefits, imposed taxes on pensions and restricted entry to university admissions. Various students organizations have been protesting against the derailment of universal access to education in the country. A rampant plan for privatization is also underway in the fields of energy and transportation. Privatization of airports and similar efforts in the railway sector had earlier invoked widespread protests from aviation workers and rail workers. The French government has also made conditions far more difficult for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in France.

At the October 9 protest, the students, workers and retirees gave a fitting reply, chanting, "We're not complaining, we're revolting!" while carrying banners saying they have had enough of austerity and unemployment. Many of them said that Macron's proposed welfare reforms will "disadvantage the weakest in society." The elderly turned out to voice their disapproval of cuts to their pensions, which mean the difference between being able to make ends meet or not.

Unions are planning further mobilizations in the coming months on specific reforms such as changes to pensions and the unemployment insurance system.












(Photos: Force ouvrière, FSU section 54)

Haut de

2018 Global Peace Forum on Korea

Important Event Advances Peace
on the Korean Peninsula

The 2018 Global Peace Forum on Korea (GPFK) was held at Columbia University in New York City from September 29 to 30, at a time when the prospect of peace and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is on everyone's mind. The forum was organized under the theme "Peace and Prosperity for Korea and the World."

The event drew participants from around the world, including the countries that comprise the Six Party Talks to Denuclearize the Korean Peninsula -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia, China, the U.S. and Japan.

The moderator and one of the main organizers of the GPFK was Professor Kiyul Chung. He also served as co-chair of the forum's organizing committee and is the Executive Director of the Institute for 21st Century International Relations, based in Washington, DC. Professor Chung's dedication to the cause of peaceful reunification is well-known, including his role as Secretary General of the Korea Truth Commission in 2001.

Originally planned for Washington, DC, the forum was moved to New York to permit the participation of members of the DPRK's Permanent Mission to the United Nations who are unjustly restricted to a 25-kilometre radius of New York City.

One of the overarching themes of the event was that peace on the Korean Peninsula concerns not only the Korean people, but the whole world. Thus the proceedings of the forum called on all peace and justice-loving people to support the efforts of the governments and peoples of the DPRK and the ROK now that a lasting peace is within reach.

Opening Session

The opening address by forum co-chair Jim Winkler, President of the National Council of Churches, focused on this historic moment, that after more than 70 years of national division and state of war with the U.S., the Korean people are moving as one toward peace as never before. He highlighted the recent inter-Korean summits between Chairman Kim Jong Un of the DPRK and President Moon Jae-in of the ROK and the strengthening of inter-Korean ties such as the recent agreements to remove weapons from the Demilitarized Zone, including a no-fly zone over the zone and a joint demining operation, to ensure that no acts of aggression take place between the DPRK and ROK and other peace initiatives. He concluded his remarks by pointing out that what is needed is for the U.S. to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK.

Following that, a message of congratulations from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was read to the forum encouraging the deliberations of the participants on the important question of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The forum also received a message of congratulations from Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, who noted that the positive developments towards peace on the Korean Peninsula were encouraging and that the UN pledged to assist these efforts.

A high-level ROK government representative to the forum, Ms. Lee Mi-kyung, former National Assembly member and President of the Korean International Cooperation Agency, noted that 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and that September 21 was the 47th anniversary of the UN International Day for Peace. She pointed out that peace is necessary for human rights to flourish and that only by ensuring the rights of every human being in each country in the world can peace flourish everywhere. She outlined the many initiatives the Moon government is undertaking to promote inter-Korean peace initiatives.

Presentation by DPRK Representative

A paper entitled "Inter-relation of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the Normalization of U.S.-DPRK Relations" prepared by Professor Tae Hyong Chul, the President of Kim Il Sung University and member of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK, was presented by Mr. Ri Ki Ho, Councillor of the DPRK's Permanent Mission to the UN. It conveyed the strength, hope and dignity of the DPRK and its people to affirm their right to be and their dedication to the peaceful reunification of Korea.

The presentation explained that the DPRK was given little choice but to arm itself with tactical nuclear weapons due to the nuclear threat from the U.S. Consequently, the removal of the threat posed by the U.S. is a condition for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and normalization of relations with the U.S.. Thus, denuclearization must be a bilateral effort by the DPRK and the U.S.

Referring to the June 12 DPRK-U.S. Summit in Singapore, the paper noted that the DPRK wishes to continue the positive atmosphere this created. However, legal and institutional measures must be taken toward a declaration and peace treaty to end the Korean War that would foster normalization of U.S.-DPRK relations and tangible steps towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The paper highlighted the importance of normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S., noting for example that within this framework of hostility the DPRK's nuclear deterrent is somehow considered a threat, whereas the nuclear arsenals of Britain, France, Israel are not. It also noted that this hostility and distrust has consistently undermined previous attempts at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The presentation ended by once again entreating the U.S. to sign a peace treaty as a concrete measure to end hostilities and create the conditions for denuclearization and peace.

Sanctions as Violations of Human Rights

In the first panel discussion entitled "Peace and Security," Doug Hostetter, Director of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) UN Office, pointed out that if there is a lesson to be learned about the more than 10 UN Security Council resolutions passed against the DPRK, it is that they have clearly failed in their stated aim of forcing the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

He noted that these sanctions have had a very detrimental effect on the civilians in the DPRK and have forced many NGOs doing humanitarian work in the DPRK to leave. He gave the example of the MCC not even being able to send nail-clippers in children's kits to the DPRK because they were made of metal. He called these sanctions "collective punishment" against the people of the DPRK and that the UN Security Council itself is in violation of international human rights law such as the 1899 Hague regulations. Hostetter noted that it is the diplomatic initiatives of the DPRK that have led to the current positive state of inter-Korean relations and also DPRK-U.S. relations, adding that diplomacy is key to ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Need to End the Cold War Framework

In a session entitled "Northeast Asia Regional Relations," Professor Lee Jung-chul of the Institute for Peace and Reunification at Soongsil University in Seoul noted that for the longest time it was a Cold War framework that defined relations between the DPRK and ROK and that it was predicated on maintaining the U.S.-ROK military alliance. This has been hugely damaging to the Korean people in their fight for peace and reunification. He noted that previous south Korean governments took the attitude that to have peace on the Korean Peninsula "you prepare for war," i.e., a second Korean War. He stated that the current Moon administration is taking the position that to have peace "you prepare for peace," and this has created a new situation on the Korean peninsula

Professor Lee also noted that the efforts of the Korean people themselves are the decisive factor and they will determine their own future based on peace and reunification, not any outside force or big power politics.

Role of People-to-People Relations

The last panel of the first day of the forum discussed civil society and people-to-people projects and engagement between international NGOs and religious organizations working in the DPRK. These relations lead to understanding and appreciating the DPRK, its government and its people because the experience of those who actually work in the DPRK goes against the disinformation in the monopoly media.

One of the speakers, Dr. Kee B. Park, a U.S. physician of Korean descent who teaches at Harvard Medical School, shared his experience working in the DPRK. He expressed great admiration for the doctors and medical personnel of the DPRK for their knowledge and professionalism and the ease with which he has been able to work with them and learn from them.

The first day's sessions were followed by a reception for the participants. The special guest of honour was the new Permanent Representative of the DPRK to the UN, His Excellency Ambassador Kim Song, who thanked everyone for their support for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

During the reception, there was a cultural performance of contemporary and traditional Korean music as well as singing by the participants. Various people came forward and expressed their heartfelt appreciation and their enthusiasm for the forum and their determination to work for a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

At the end of the reception, the New York Declaration for Peace and Prosperity for Korea and the World was read out and the first day's events were brought to an end.

The next day's morning session comprised exchanges and discussion between the participants and the panelists and speakers.

The Global Peace Forum on Korea was deemed to be a resounding success by the organizers and participants. Future events will continue the discussions and actions to support the Korean people's striving for peace and reunification which will be an important contribution to peace and stability in the world.

Haut de

All Out to Defend Revolutionary Cuba!

UN General Assembly to Vote Once Again
to End U.S. Blockade of Cuba

End U.S. Blockade of Cuba


On October 31, for the 27th time, the United Nations General Assembly will debate and vote on a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba. Last November for the 26th consecutive year the General Assembly approved the resolution entitled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba," this time with 191 votes in favour and only two votes against (the United States and Israel). Two years ago, on October 26, 2016, the vote condemning the blockade was unanimous for the first time because the U.S., in the last days of the Obama administration, and Israel, abstained rather than vote against the resolution.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel at
United Nations, September 26, 2018.

In his address to the UN General Assembly on September 26, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel spoke to the issue of the blockade and the entire hostile policy of the U.S. government towards his country:

The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to fabricating, under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody's interests.

He said this was in contrast to the fact that the two countries had formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas, and that the two peoples shared increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, expressed in the arts, sports, science, and the environment, among other fields.

President Díaz-Canel said the defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade "which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order." This cruel policy punishes Cuban families and the entire nation, and is the major obstacle to the country's development. Given the blockade's aggressive extraterritorial application, he said it seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.

President Díaz-Canel thanked UN member states on behalf of the Cuban people for their "virtually unanimous" rejection of the blockade. He pointed out that the U.S. government's hostile actions also include covert programs of gross interference in Cuba's internal affairs, with tens of millions of dollars officially allocated for this purpose, in violation of Cuba's sovereignty as well as the standards and principles on which the UN is based.

He said Cuba will continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to its people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages done to Cuba over so many years of aggression. At the same time, he noted, Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and on an equal footing but it will never make concessions affecting its sovereignty and national independence.

The U.S. imperialists and any others hoping for the Cuban people to abandon their revolution were then sent a direct message by the country's new president:

"The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation. This is the path that our people have freely chosen.

"The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago."

President Díaz-Canel concluded by saying it had been "exciting and pleasant" to take the floor at the same rostrum from which Fidel exactly 58 years ago "expressed powerful truths that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen with green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade."

The president's speech was met with a standing ovation. After he descended the podium, a long line of diplomats representing countries from all around the world quickly formed to congratulate him.

Representatives from many countries made a point of denouncing the U.S. blockade of Cuba in their own speeches during the General Debate at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. This, along with the enthusiastic reception given President Miguel Díaz-Canel after his speech and by the U.S. people at meetings and other events held during his week-long visit to New York City, portend another vote that overwhelmingly calls on the U.S. to end its criminal blockade of Cuba.

Monthly picket in Montreal demanding end to blockade of Cuba, October 17, 2018.

Haut de


Militant Support for Revolutionary Cuba
Expressed in New York City

Presentation by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel  at the UN Nelson Mandela Summit for
Peace, September 24, 2018.

Wherever Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel went in New York City during his week-long visit from September 23-30, he was met with militant enthusiastic support for Cuba. His itinerary included an address to the UN General Assembly and a presentation at the UN Nelson Mandela Summit for Peace. On Cuba's behalf he met with various heads of state at the UN, with religious leaders, industry and agricultural executives, with Cubans residing in the U.S. as well as U.S. cultural personalities and artists. He also paid a visit to Ground Zero to honour the victims of the 9/11 attack.

"Cuba Speaks for Itself" in New York City

Riverside Church in Manhattan, September 26, 2018.

President Díaz-Canel received a rousing welcome at a gathering of more than 2,000 people who waited in line for hours to hear him speak at a political-cultural evening billed as "Cuba Speaks for Itself" at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan on September 26. Over the years the interdenominational church has been the scene of memorable speeches by numerous historic leaders. Martin Luther King delivered his famous anti-war speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" there on April 4, 1967. Nelson Mandela spoke at the church shortly after his release in 1990 and Fidel Castro spoke there in September 2000 on the occasion of the UN Millennium Summit.

Though it had not been announced in advance, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who had addressed the UN General Assembly earlier in the afternoon, also attended the gathering and spoke to the enthusiastic crowd. In attendance as well were a number of the almost 200 U.S. graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana.

Left: Cuban President Díaz-Canel and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Right: President Díaz-Canel with U.S. graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana.

Meeting with U.S. Agriculture Representatives

 Representatives of the U.S. agricultural sector with Cuban President Díaz-Canel,
September 27, 2018.

On September 27, President Díaz-Canel held an important meeting with representatives of the U.S. agricultural sector, organized by the United States Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). The meeting was described as "friendly and constructive."

President Díaz-Canel pointed out that agriculture is one of the sectors that has advocated the most for normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. "It's very important that people like you can visit Cuba, that we can converse, exchange, so that our reality is truly known," he stated, noting that Cuba is open to talks, as long as they are based on respect, without conditions or impositions. Sales of U.S. agricultural products and food to Cuba began in 2001, but reciprocal trade by Cuba is banned by the U.S. At one time Cuba imported U.S. goods worth more than U.S.$1.1 billion in a single year, but that has been decreasing due to the blockade.

President Díaz-Canel noted that Cuba currently has to import more than U.S.$2 billion worth of food annually, "under very complex conditions, with countries that are located at a great distance, where the freight costs are very high, where, in fact, they raise the prices, as they know the needs and limitations we have."

One indication of the damages caused by the blockade is that in the period from June 2017 to March 2018, losses to Cuba's agricultural sector amounted to U.S.$413,793,100, an increase of U.S.$66,195,100 over the previous period

Meeting with Religious Leaders

  Delegation of U.S. religious leaders meets with Cuban President Díaz-Canel.

President Díaz-Canel welcomed a delegation of U.S. religious leaders during his visit to the UN. He spoke of their efforts over the years to lift the blockade, for the return of Elián Gonzalez to Cuba and to free the five anti-terrorist fighters from U.S. jails.

The religious leaders in turn pledged to continue their efforts. Rev. Darin Moore, a member of the board of the U.S. National Council of Churches who recently visited Cuba said the U.S. people overwhelmingly want the blockade to end. "As sure as I am standing here, I can affirm the blockade will end and our peoples will build bridges," he said. Jim Winkler, President of the U.S. National Council of Churches, recalled that the organization's first declaration against the blockade was in 1968. "As we promised the President tonight, that will continue, fighting every day for that objective," he said.

Haut de


Despicable U.S. Provocations Fail Miserably in Attempt to Isolate Cuba

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo denounces U.S. provocation.

The U.S. and its representatives at the UN recently demonstrated their bitter vindictiveness at Cuba's high standing at the UN and the inevitability of another vote in favour of ending the U.S. blockade against Cuba.

On October 16, the U.S. State Department assembled a gang of its "diplomats" and anti-Cuba mercenaries to stage a provocation against Cuba on UN premises. Those involved included the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, ever ready to answer the call of his U.S. masters.

In a statement on October 14, Cuba's Permanent Mission to the UN denounced the U.S. government's intention to use the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber of the UN to launch a phony "human rights" campaign against Cuba billed as "Jailed for What?" allegedly to support those it refers to as "political prisoners" in the country.

Cuba stated this act against a member state of the UN in the chamber of one of its major bodies, in contravention of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, served to tarnish the name of the UN. Instead of holding what it called a political farce in the worst taste, the statement said the U.S. would do better to ask forgiveness and provide reparations to the Cuban people for the damages caused by its 56 years of blockade.

The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Her Excellency Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, sent a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General António Guterres asking that the event be cancelled and for an investigation to determine accountability for the open violation of rules governing the use of UN conference rooms.

When the "show" went ahead anyway, the audience is reported to have consisted mainly of media representatives and members of U.S.-financed anti-Cuba "NGOs." Almost none of the UN-accredited missions or others who were invited showed up. The members of Cuba's UN mission in New York were in attendance, however, despite not being invited and its Ambassador being barred from speaking.

Kelley E. Currie, the U.S. representative to the UN Economic and Social Council opened by calling on other countries to join the U.S. in attacking Cuba on the basis that Cuba does not "share their vision of human rights." No sooner had she begun her diatribe than the voice of Cuba's Permanent Ambassador to the UN could be heard demanding to speak and denouncing the fraudulent campaign and the lies it is based on. Meanwhile, the rest of the Cuban diplomats, supported by others from the Bolivian and Nicaraguan missions, began pounding on their desks and shouting "Cuba sí, bloqueo no!" effectively drowning out the hypocritical words of the speakers. Some also held up photos showing police abuse of citizens in the U.S. and scenes of torture from the Abu Ghraib prison camp. At one point the U.S. had UN Security remove those who joined in the chorus of protest against the pathetic "campaign launch" from the public gallery.

The vigorous defence of Cuba's dignity and denunciation of the farcical provocation mounted against it by the biggest violator of human rights on the planet, under cover of the UN, carried on without let-up until the hosts finally had to suspend the meeting, eliminating the question and answer session that was supposed to end it.

As a follow-up to the events that took place in the ECOSOC Chamber, Cuba's Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement denouncing the U.S. for once again sullying the name of the United Nations:

The United States, in another action of contempt for human rights and this Organization, has preferred to create absurd lies about Cuba rather than recognize and promote a campaign to redress its multiple human rights violations, both in its territory and in the rest of the world.

With this action, which included the use of the ECOSOC Chamber and the United Nations WebCast, the name and emblem of the Organization was used in an act against a Member State, on the pretense of international support for its fallacious campaign. All of this contravenes the principles and purposes of the Charter.

It is the clear intention of the United States Government to sustain, with all available resources and without the slightest moral objection, the unilateral policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba and universally repudiated by the United Nations General Assembly for its criminal and genocidal nature, and therefore, in violation of international law.

This event is a new chapter in the long list of aggressions against Cuba. It is part of the actions aimed at subverting the legitimately established constitutional order and of the interventionist agenda that has gained renewed momentum under the current Administration, whose fascist, racist and xenophobic ideas are a matter of grave concern in the international community.


The event, as we had foreseen, was a political comedy staged on false arguments and with supporting actors of a dark history at the service of a foreign power, many of them paid by Washington, including the Secretary-General of the puppet Organization of American States.

The sponsors of the alleged campaign were not willing to listen to Cuba's truth. They even tried to prevent Cuban diplomatic officials from entering the room. What happened is the total and absolute responsibility of the United States.

Cuba's voice was heard despite everything. They could not give us valid arguments, they did not have them. The truth is on our side.

Cuba is proud of its human rights record, which it does not allow to be manipulated. The United States lacks the moral authority to give lessons, and much less in this matter. That country, with its poor adherence to international human rights instruments, has a pattern of systematic violations of all human rights, including the use of torture, detention and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, as in the case of the Guantánamo Naval Base, an illegally occupied Cuban territory; the murder of African-Americans by police officers; the death of innocent civilians by their intervention and occupation forces; xenophobia and repression; the imprisonment of immigrants, including children who are separated from their families. The latter, the imprisonment of children, would have rightly justified the name "Jailed for What?"

New U.S. Ploy to Stave Off Total Isolation in Vote on
Blockade Dismissed with Contempt

On October 24, Cuba's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez held a press conference in Havana where he denounced the U.S. government's latest attempt to undermine the broad and overwhelming international support for Cuba's demand to end the U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade against it. He referred to a document issued by the U.S. on October 23 that proposes eight amendments to Cuba's draft resolution against the blockade coming up for a vote at the UN General Assembly on October 31.

Far from improving or refining the resolution, as amendments are intended to do, they serve to completely alter the spirit of Cuba's draft resolution, Rodríguez said. The Cuban foreign minister described them as "deeply hypocritical and shameless." Among other things, the U.S. claims in its amendments to support the very people it is blockading and trying to bring to their knees through hunger and despair. The blockade is recognized as an act of genocide under the Geneva Convention against the Crime of Genocide, Rodríguez pointed out.

Already there is a long history of manipulating the human rights issue against the Cuban Revolution he pointed out. The attacks pertaining to the UN Development Agenda contained in the U.S. "amendments" more than anything draw attention to the lack of international benchmarks, as Cuba is one of the few countries that has actually exceeded the Millennium Development Goals and is in a good position to achieve those set for 2030, he said.

"If the U.S. government wants to discuss the relation of human rights to sustainable development goals, we can do that," Rodríguez said. "Just say when and where. Then we could talk about the discrimination faced by Blacks and Latinos in the U.S.; or women doing the same work as men for less; the hundreds of thousands of citizens prevented from participating in elections because of debts they owe; or the wars launched by Washington and its massacres of civilians."

Rodríguez dismissed the latest political manoeuvre of the U.S. as nothing more than a mendacious ploy for propaganda purposes, aimed at manipulating international and domestic public opinion and justifying behaviour that has no support internationally or within the U.S. He said this increasingly hostile policy is linked to "the anti-Cuba industry" in Miami and aimed at creating a climate of heightened bilateral tensions.

He noted that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. has signed only 18 of the 61 existing human rights covenants. It would be interesting for the U.S. government to take part in a debate at the UN regarding adherence to international human rights instruments, he said, citing the glaring example that the U.S. is the only country in the world to have voted against the right to food.

Rodríguez then went through a number of the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals one by one, giving examples of how the U.S. is far from attaining any of them, and has even adopted policies in direct violation of the goals.

He noted that what was even more striking is a document accompanying the October 23 press release, circulated surreptitiously by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gonzalo Gallego that seeks to persuade UN members to change their vote on October 31.

In concluding, he indicated that Cuba would be following events closely in the days ahead and will contact the media once again on October 31 "when the General Assembly is certain to overwhelmingly and practically unanimously condemn the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the people of my country by the U.S."

(Cubadebate, Granma. Statement of Cuba's Permanent Mission to the UN slightly edited for style.)

Haut de

Effect of Blockade on Sports

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist"

Imagine you invite a friend to your home to converse.

Imagine that this friend wants to reciprocate, but something always gets in the way, based on external interests, to ruin this relationship.

Such a situation sparks various sentiments, none of which are pleasant, and leads one to question how such baseness can be put above the enjoyment of friendship.

Despite the fact that the United States and Cuba didn't reestablish diplomatic relations until July 20, 2015, the Cuban Volleyball Federation (FCV) and its U.S. counterpart, USA Volleyball, maintained ties, which they decided to expand in 2016, when the two entities signed a joint collaboration agreement.

In this context, the U.S. men's national team came to play in Havana's Ciudad Deportiva, a step to be followed by the Cuban squad visiting the U.S., but this was not possible. Various actions followed that damaged sporting relations between the two countries.

While Lory Okimura, chairperson of USA Volleyball, has remained open to exchanges with Cuba, in September 2017, the island's team was deprived of its right to compete in the North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NORCECA) Continental Men's Championship held in Colorado Springs, which offered the possibility of qualifying for the 2018 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Men's World Championship, held in Italy and Bulgaria this past September.

Despite the FCV completing all required forms and submitting them to the U.S. Embassy in Havana with sufficient time to process visas for the Cuban volleyball players, U.S. diplomatic personnel informed that due to a lack of staff (after the majority were withdrawn due to alleged "sonic attacks"), they were unable to process the requests.

The precepts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) require that any country that is host to an IOC recognized event must guarantee the entry into its territory of all teams eligible to participate. The NORCECA Continental Men's Championship was such an event.

As the Cuban delegation was unable to obtain the necessary U.S. visas in Havana, they travelled to the Dominican Republic to apply at the U.S. Embassy there instead.

That effort was also unsuccessful, and the players returned to Cuba having lost momentarily the chance to secure their ticket to the World Championship.

Faced with this situation (Puerto Rico was also unable to compete in Colorado Springs due to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria), Cuba was authorized to organize a Men's Final Qualification Tournament in Pinar del Río, to decide the final two places at the World Championship.

Cuba and Puerto Rico secured their tickets to the 2018 competitions in Pinar del Río, but hosting the final event cost the island $58,000. Neither the pointless trip to the Dominican Republic nor the hosting of this competition in Cuba would have been necessary if the United States had honoured its obligation to guarantee Cuba's participation in Colorado Springs.

In addition to this example of damages to the island in the field of competitive sports, Cuba has been unable to transfer $73,000 worth of prizes awarded to its beach volleyball duo Sergio González and Nivaldo Díaz; and payments to its international referees Lourdes Pérez and Ricardo Borroto, to the bank account of its volleyball federation because U.S. banks refuse to carry out the transactions, FCV President Ariel Saínz reported.

The trials and tribulations in the field of volleyball are just one example of damages that also occur in other sports. Such obstacles, pressures on third countries not to interact with Cuba, and prohibitions, cost the Cuban sports movement $80,859 in damages between 2015 and 2016, which increased to $130,237 in the same period a year later, and are calculated at $324,403 from 2017 to date.

The damages also extend to other related spheres, such as the impossibility of acquiring supplies for the National Anti-Doping Program; and the refusal to provide teaching laboratories with the essential aids and tools to guarantee quality education in schools and teacher training.

In contrast to these attacks on Cuban sports, U.S. teams have always been warmly welcomed to the island by our people. To cite just two examples: the visits by the Major League Baseball teams the Baltimore Orioles in 1999; and more recently, the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016.

Cuba remains open to dialogue and collaboration with the United States, based on respect for our dignity and sovereignty and without conditions. However, real life examples, such as those depicted here bring to mind a phrase by former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi: "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist."

Examples of Blockade's Impact on Sports

- Cuban athletes are prevented from attending training camps and competitions in the United States. Instead, they must travel to Europe or Asia, resulting in increased travel, lodging, and facility rental costs.

- The Havana Anti-Doping Laboratory purchased gas chromatography-mass spectrometry equipment for 157,000 euros. This would have cost 34 per cent less in the U.S. market.

- U.S. brand cleats for National Baseball Series players were requested, which would have resulted in savings of more than $10,000, if they had not been purchased through third countries.

- Exchanges between Cuba and the United States in the scientific and academic sphere of sports and physical activity are hindered.

- In High Performance Sports, costs are between 40 and 50 per cent higher to obtain the minimum necessary equipment. Boxing, the pentathlon, sailing, field hockey, volleyball, archery, and track and field, are the most harmed disciplines.

- Use of the Nexy credit line, granted to the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) for the acquisition of sporting goods from Japanese companies, has been significantly limited, since the commercial distributor for our geographical area is based in the United States.

- As a result of the blockade and the policy of the current U.S. administration, there is a downward trend in the interest of professional entities and franchises for sports exchanges with Cuba.

- Cuba was unable to import goods from the United States to improve the infrastructure of our training centres for athletes and coaches. This has resulted in the impossibility of obtaining state-of-the-art technology, medicines, recovery and dietary supplements, as well as specialized equipment and resources.

- The Brazilian Wrestling Federation has been unable to transfer $52,535 to Cuba, due to the blockade restrictions on bank transactions.

- Cuba was unable to purchase Hobie Cat sailboats from Europe, due to the high costs.

(Source: INDER report on the impact of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuban sports. Edited slightly for style and clarity.)

Haut de

Centenary of End of World War I

British Imperialism and the First World War

To this day the conflict which led to World War I continues to be presented as a noble and just cause. One of the main arguments advanced at the time Britain declared war on Germany was a duty to defend the right of self-determination of small countries, Britain's stranglehold over Ireland notwithstanding. To this day, official circles continue to assert that the British government declared war in response to Germany's invasion of Belgium and therefore "in defence of international law and a small state faced with aggression." Some go even further declaring that the government of the day acted to end "warmongering and imperial aggression." No attempt is made to look at the underlying causes of the war, which include the "warmongering and imperial aggression" of all the big powers, including Britain.

By 1900 the world had been almost completely divided between the big powers that had staked out colonial territories and spheres of influence. Nevertheless, contention continued with all the major powers seeking re-division of the world in order to gain an advantage over their rivals.

For instance, Britain's "entente" with France was a consequence of its evident international isolation following earlier imperial aggression in South Africa. Britain's alliance with France then led that government to threaten Germany with war when the latter squabbled with France over which power should invade and occupy Morocco. It is clear that in this case Britain did not defend the sovereignty of a small state faced with aggression. It was content to support France's aggression against their common rival Germany, because France had agreed to accept Britain's prior invasion and occupation of Egypt.

British imperialism chose to use Belgian "neutrality" as a justification for war against its rival Germany but did not seek to prevent the aggression of the Belgian monarch, Leopold, against the people of the Congo. In the 30 years preceding the First World War, Belgian imperial aggression led to the deaths of some 10 million Africans, probably half the Congolese population, without any intervention by any of the big powers. This is not surprising because all the major powers fought wars of aggression and conquest not only in Africa and Asia but wherever their predatory interests led them. In this regard, Britain was the most aggressive and predatory of all the big powers at that time.

Examples of the British Army's World War I recruitment posters.

The British government's warmongering and imperial aggression was also expressed in the rapid expansion of its navy and the secret naval agreement with France in 1912, both of which were directed against Germany. A new alliance with Russia in 1907, which opened a new chapter in what was then known as the "great game" of Anglo-Russian contention in Central Asia, was based on a joint agreement that denied Afghanistan and Persia their sovereignty and placed the resources of these countries at the disposal of banks and monopolies of Russia and Britain. Such alliances were clearly undertaken in the context of British imperialism's predatory interests and in contention with Germany, its main rival at the time.

The division and redivision of the world not only precipitated war and created the conditions for the international alliances that turned Europe into two camps of armed robbers. Secret negotiations and treaties during the war sanctioned further re-division. In 1915, the British government reached a new secret agreement with Russia over the division of Persia, that decided it would fall into Britain's hands, while Russia was compensated with rights to parts of the Ottoman Empire, including its capital Constantinople; and Britain and France would acquire other Ottoman territory. When Italy joined the Allied powers, the British government entered into a secret treaty partitioning the Austro-Hungarian Empire, allowing Italy to seize further territory in Africa, including Libya and in the Horn of Africa, thus violating the sovereignty of the Libyan, Somali and other peoples in that continent. Secret plans were also made for the dismemberment of Ethiopia. These secret agreements paved the way for France to annex Syria and Lebanon, and Britain would take what is today Iraq. The secret treaties paved the way for the British government's Zionist occupation of Palestine, which to this day denies the Palestinian people their right to be.

The notion that the British government entered the First World War to uphold "civilized values" or for a "just cause" or to defend the rights of small nations is a dangerous fiction that has no basis in fact. It is disinformation advanced to deprive the people of an outlook which is required to give rise to an anti-war government today. The conditions for the First World War grew out of the conditions of the imperialist system of states at that time, not least the intense rivalry between the big powers for markets, raw materials and spheres of influence, which they sought to secure through a violent re-division of the world.

The 100th anniversary of the end of World War I is an occasion to draw warranted conclusions from the experience of the working class and people before, during and after the war.

(With files from the archives of Workers' Weekly, on-line newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

Haut de


Women's Historic Contribution Against the War

On the occasion of the centenary anniversary of the end of World War I, we pay tribute to the thousands of women, many of them unsung heroes, who played a vital role in the fight for peace in World War I. Women, who were not conscripted to military service at that time, played a crucial role in the anti-war movement. This is an account of the bravery of the women of conscience from many countries, including Canada, who organized the Women's International Congress for peace in 1915 in the Hague, leading to the formation of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom which has continued to work for peace for 100 years. Others created the Women's Peace Crusade in 1916 in Glasgow which spread throughout the country. Women were involved in the creation of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and in running the work of the Friends (Quaker) Service Committee. Many drew on their experience in the pre-war struggle for the right of women to vote. They risked imprisonment for their anti-war work, and some did serve prison terms for defying censorship, for publishing the Tribunal newspaper, and for speaking about peace. Women also stood second to none in the overthrow of the tzarist regime in Russia which brought in the first worker's socialist state in 1917.

The Women's International Congress at the Hague -- April 1915

Women's Peace Congress in the Hague, April 1915.

In April 1915, about 1,200 women from the warring countries gathered in The Hague, for the Women's International Congress. The overwhelming majority were from the Netherlands, but despite travel restrictions, others came from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United States. French and Russian women were not allowed to attend. One hundred and eighty British women applied to go but the government, after refusing at first to allow passports, eventually agreed to issue 24 to women chosen by the Home Secretary. The Admiralty then closed the North Sea to shipping! The only British women able to attend were Chrystal Macmillan and Kathleen Courtney who had already travelled to the Hague to help organize the Congress, and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence who arrived there from a speaking tour in the U.S. Those who made the trip from the U.S. risked their lives sailing the Atlantic in a ship that was unable to fly the U.S. flag and could have been torpedoed. Five Belgian delegates arrived to great applause having surprisingly secured permits from the occupying German authorities. Messages of support came from as far away as India, Brazil and South Africa.

The British press treated this with the usual contempt. The Evening Standard said "Women peace fanatics are becoming a nuisance and a bore" and dismissed their efforts as amateurish, and they were mocked by the Daily Express as "peacettes." Generally the press was disappointed the women did not come to blows.

Newspaper photograph of Women's Peace Congress head table.

To hold the conference at all during the war was a remarkable feat of organization and bravery. It was the first international meeting to draw up an outline of the principles needed for a peace settlement to succeed. The Covenant of the League of Nations after the war is remarkably similar to the 20 resolutions passed by the delegates. They included democratic control of foreign policy, with no secret treaties, universal disarmament, future international disputes to be referred to arbitration -- and of course, equal political rights for women, and the involvement of ordinary men and women in the final peace conference.

The delegates held a minute's silence for all those killed in the war to that time. Rosika Schwimmer described the mood: "we had one who learned that her son had been killed -- and women who had learned two days earlier that their husbands had been killed, and women who had come from belligerent countries full of the unspeakable horror, of the physical horror of war, these women sat there with their anguish and sorrows, quiet, superb, poised, and with only one thought, 'What can we do to save the others from similar sorrow?'"

Rosika suggested that the resolutions passed by the Congress should be taken in person to the heads of the belligerent and neutral governments and to the President of the United States. Many thought the idea impractical and impossible, but she persuaded them. Between May and August 1915 thirteen of the women, in two groups, (including Chrystal Macmillan from Britain) visited senior statesmen in fourteen capitals: Berlin, Berne, Budapest, Christiana (now Oslo), Copenhagen, The Hague, Le Havre (seat of the deposed Belgian government), London, Paris, Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), Rome, Stockholm, Vienna and Washington. Women from the fighting countries were chosen to visit the neutral governments, and vice versa. They wanted the neutral countries to set up a mediating conference. In Britain, Catherine Marshall arranged meetings with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister. Everywhere they found all the governments had convinced themselves they were fighting "in self-defence" and were waiting for the neutral countries to intervene. In Austria, Jane Addams (American chair of the Congress) said to the Prime Minister, "It perhaps seems to you very foolish that women should go about in this way; but after all, the world itself is so strange in this war situation that our mission may be no more strange or foolish than the rest." He replied "Foolish? These are the first sensible words that have been uttered in this room for ten months."

Rosika ultimately returned to Hungary, then after the war was forced to flee to the U.S. where she was unfairly accused of being a German spy and denied U.S. citizenship because she "refused to bear arms," and died stateless in 1948.


Haut de



Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca