CPC(M-L) HOME TML Daily Archive Le Marxiste-Léniniste quotidien

August 6, 2009 - No. 153

64th Anniversary of Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!
Never Again! One Humanity, One Struggle!
No to Nuclear Blackmail and
Double Standards of U.S. Imperialists!

64th Anniversary of Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis! Never Again!

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Rally Around Canadian Steelworkers in Defence of Their Rights
USW Press Release 
Resist U.S. Steel "Whacking" Canada - K.C. Adams

For Your Information
Inco, Stelco: The Dark Side of Foreign Takeovers - Editorial, Orangeville Citizen
Lakeside Steel Files Motion to Intervene in Federal Minister's Court Application on U.S. Steel - Lakeside Steel Press Release

64th Anniversary of Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the morning of August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atom bomb that exploded above the Japanese city of Hiroshima killing about 140,000 people in the initial blast, in total more than 237,000. Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, the United States dropped another atomic bomb on the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki killing 8,500 people and eventually resulting in the deaths of more than 70,000 people due to exposure to radiation and injuries.

The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. was aimed at threatening the world's people, especially the people of the Soviet Union, who were instrumental in defeating the Nazi aggressors at the cost of 10 million lives and many millions more wounded. It was the Soviet Union that had emerged after the Second World War as the leading force for liberation, emancipation and peace for all nations and peoples. The dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki served notice that the United States would commit any crime in order to establish its hegemony over Europe and Asia and defeat communism. The Canadian government was directly involved in facilitating the production of the atomic bomb, amongst other things by providing enriched uranium. Canadian ministers knew in advance the bomb would be used on the Japanese people.

August 6 and August 9 have now become days to commemorate those who were killed in these horrendous acts of terrorism by the U.S. and to express the collective determination of the peoples of Canada and the world to never again permit such crimes against humanity. This call today takes greater urgency in a world where U.S. imperialism gives itself the right to launch "pre-emptive nuclear strikes" against any nation or people as it has threatened to do against Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), countries who are waging a determined struggle for their right to be.

Today, sixty-four years after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of a nuclear holocaust that would annihilate all of humanity remains a reality. The U.S. imperialists under President Barak Obama continues to be the leader by far in producing, selling and stockpiling nuclear weapons capable of wiping out the entire planet many times over, despite Obama's disinformation campaigns about "curbing nuclear weapons proliferation." Addressing a large number of people at an outdoor rally in Prague this past April, Obama stated: "Today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons..." followed soon after by his adding that a nuclear free world would not "be achieved quickly...perhaps not in my lifetime." Thus Obama does not take a principled stand against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and is certainly not going to start with the U.S. giving up its massive nuclear arsenal. The U.S. imperialists need the largest nuclear weapons stockple in order to enforce their Nazi logic of "might makes right" and to threaten any country that takes a stand in defence of its own independence and sovereignty such as Iran, the DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela and others.

At the same time the allies and clients of U.S. imperialism, such as Israel, are also encouraged to produce nuclear weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other international laws in order to threaten aggression on neighbouring states in the name of "self-defence" and the "war on terror." There is no possibility of peace in the world when U.S. imperialism and its allies such as Israel and Canada can impose these double standards with impunity in violation of international laws and conventions that humanity has brought forward. In the face of these brutal double standards, countries such as the DPRK see themselves forced into building and testing nuclear weapons as a "deterrent" against the constant nuclear blackmail of the U.S., adding to humanity's collective anxiety about nuclear proliferation and the real danger of a nuclear world war breaking out that would annihilate the whole of humanity.

It is the U.S. and its allies who have to be held responsible for creating the very dangerous situation in the world that forces small countries like the DPRK to arm themselves with nuclear weapons in the interests of self-preservation.

The crimes committed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki will not go away by threatening the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran and other countries for allegedly posing the "nuclear threat." It is unacceptable that those who used nuclear weapons in the past on an already defeated foe in order to blackmail the entire world's people today threaten the use of nuclear pre-emptive strikes under the pretext of acting in the interests of "peace" and "human security."

Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day highlight precisely that it is the U.S. imperialists who have used nuclear weapons against the people of Japan and are openly threatening to do so against the people of Iran and Korea today. They are portraying those who defend themselves against U.S. aggression as the ones who are destabilizing international relations and creating conflicts and wars.

Today the U.S. imperialists and their allies in Canada and around the world want to divide the world between "democratic" and "civilized nations" and "Islamic dictatorships," "failed states" and others that are "uncivilized" in order to justify their drive to dominate all of humanity with the aim of plundering the world's human and natural resources. The current occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. and their allies show that their main aim is to humiliate and defeat all those who affirm their right to be. Under the presidency of Barak Obama, the U.S. continues to build military bases around the world to threaten their main rivals such as Russia and China as well as any country that affirms it right to independence and self-determination. The peoples of the world have direct experience with U.S. imperialism and its allies since the Second World War and before. The peoples of the world cannot be suppressed through force.

Humanity's fight to rid the world of nuclear weapons and defeat the U.S. imperialist "new world order" requires stepping up the struggle to uphold the sovereignty and independence of all nations big and small, and the elimination of the threat or use of force to settle conflicts. It also necessitates that the Canadian working class and people put in place an anti-war government that rejects the use of force as a means of settling conflicts between nations and peoples, withdraws from all aggressive military blocs and treaties such as NATO, NORAD and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and demands that all nuclear states dismantle their respective nuclear arsenals, beginning with the United States.

On this occasion, TML pays its deepest respects to the Japanese victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to all peoples the world over who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of imperialist dictate. The imperialist system led by the U.S. is criminal and must be ended by the political unity of all the fighting peoples of the world if peace is to prevail.

Return to top

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!

Rally Around Canadian Steelworkers
in Defence of Their Rights

U.S. Steel imperialists lock down Stelco Lake Erie Works

U.S. Steel has increased its attack on Canadian steelworkers with a lockout of almost 1,000 members of Local 8782 USW, Lake Erie Works. Stelco mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke were already shut down as U.S. Steel has transferred production to U.S. mills under its overall empire-building plan and President Obama's "Buy American" dictate.

Local 8782 was willing to extend the existing contract past the July 31 expiry deadline but U.S. Steel summarily dismissed this request with ideas of taking advantage of the situation to drive down Canadian wages, benefits and pensions. All remaining steelworkers were escorted from the Stelco Nanticoke mill at 7:00 p.m. August 3. The U.S. imperialists then placed a warlike lockdown on the mill lining the entryway with concrete anti-explosive barriers and with security personnel videotaping pickets. Steelworker picket captain Rob Clark, of Simcoe, is quoted in the Simcoe Reformer: "Monday's lockout is the culmination of a sour relationship that began when U.S. Steel made its move on Ontario. 'It's been a huge change,' Clark said. 'Since U.S. Steel arrived, they've done their best to shut us down. We're used to being part of the solution to problems. We're not used to being pushed away. It's just a totally different culture'."

According to reports from union sources and the mass media, U.S. Steel wants a complete restructuring of the labour contract to blow apart steelworkers' Canadian standard claim on the wealth they produce. The U.S. Steel imperialists calculate that while Stelco mills are not producing steel, they can fill their order book in Canada with steel produced at their U.S. mills until Canadian steelworkers agree with concessions.

The Simcoe Reformer gives some indication of the brutal arrogance of the U.S. monopoly on the issue of pensions: "The U.S. Steel negotiator in charge of pension policy recently informed Local 8782 that it wants a basic overhaul of the existing plan, which guarantees retirees a set amount of money each month. 'His exact words were -- That is goddamn charity!' Ferguson said outside union headquarters on Hawk Street in the Nanticoke Industrial Park. 'He said it's social welfare, that it is the government's responsibility, and that no company should be involved with it'." (Bill Ferguson is President of USW Local 8782)

The package of concessions demanded by the U.S. monopoly aside from eliminating the defined-benefit pension plan include a $3 an hour reduction resulting from a wage freeze, elimination of cost-of-living allowances, an end to profit-sharing, the introduction of drug co-payments and a reduction in severance pay.

Maintaining and funding the defined-benefit pension plan was a condition of U.S. Steel's seizure of Stelco in 2007. The threat to destroy the pension plans is one more reason for the federal government to intervene forcibly and either have U.S. Steel live up to the commitments it made upon purchase of Stelco or seize the mills on behalf of Canadians as the core of a sovereign steel industry.

Destroying the pension plans and other concessions would simply increase the amount of steel added-value (imperialist tribute) that would leave Canada for the United States once production has resumed.

TML calls on all workers and their allies to stand firmly with Stelco steelworkers of Local 8782 against the concessions demanded by the U.S. Steel imperialists and for a resolution of the ownership issue that favours the people.

Return to top

USW Press Release

Steelworkers demand Clement step in as
U.S. Steel defies Feds and locks out its employees

In a stunning show of contempt for its workers, the federal government and Industry Minister Tony Clement, U.S. Steel has locked out its Lake Erie Works employees.

Only weeks after Minister Clement followed Canadian production and employment cuts with the unusual step of taking U.S. Steel to court for failing to live up to its commitments under the Investment Canada Act, US Steel has now raised the stakes.

"We see this action by US Steel as a clear violation of its written undertakings to maintain employment and production levels under Investment Canada Act. For US Steel to lock out the union's members at a time when it is already on notice that the government thinks it has broken its promises makes these recent events even more indefensible," said Tony DePaulo, United Steelworkers Area Co-ordinator. "In light of this, we are calling on Clement to urgently expedite the government's request to the Federal Court of Canada to order U.S. Steel to resume steel production and put its employees back to work."

"We now have almost a thousand workers laid off or locked out by U.S. Steel. This is an act of defiance towards claims that it should be held accountable for its promises to the Canadian government," said Wayne Fraser, District 6 Director for USW.

"We call on Minister Clement to immediately intervene and stop this flagrant contempt of US Steel's responsibilities to be a "net benefit" to Canada," insisted DePaulo.

Last night after 7p.m. U.S. Steel locked out the remaining 150 workers at its Nanticoke plant. About 800 workers have already been laid off from the Nanticoke plant, which was temporarily shut down by U.S. Steel in March, along with its Hamilton works. It was this March action that prompted the federal government to disclose that US Steel had signed an agreement regarding output and employment when it bought the former Stelco in 2007. Employees at the Hamilton mill, which operates under a separate collective agreement expiring in 2010, have been recalled to work in recent weeks.

After negotiating throughout the weekend, the company simply locked the workers out declaring "substantial disagreement on a number of issues, necessitating our lockout decision."

It is interesting to note that this behaviour by US Steel is happening during a time of growing consensus among Canadians that foreign companies that take over Canadian firms must be held to the "net benefit to Canada" principle and made to keep its performance promises.

In a recent online panel, nearly all 127 CEOs from small, medium, and large corporations agreed: "It is an excellent decision to require foreign companies to abide by their undertakings when buying important Canadian firms."

The United Steelworkers are also attempting to become interveners in the federal government's case against US Steel.

For further information: Bob Gallagher, (416) 544-5966; Tony DePaulo, (905) 869-0760

Return to top

Resist U.S. Steel "Whacking" Canada

Canadians must take back the Stelco mills and allow steelworkers to produce
the wealth we need! Manufacturing yes! Nation-wrecking no!

In a regulatory filing July 28 opposing a Canadian government lawsuit, U.S. Steel asserts it has the right to break commitments it made upon seizing Stelco steel mills in 2007.

From Pittsburgh, U.S. Steel CEO John Surma mocked the Canadian government's lawsuit of his steel monopoly for not living up to its commitments. Surma said sarcastically, "Maybe the news of that economic downturn hasn't reached Ottawa yet."

Maybe Surma living far from Hamilton and guarded by walls of luxury cannot imagine that layoffs and shutdowns are neither solutions nor funny.

The Hamilton Spectator reports that Surma "vows to fight feds over job cuts.. [Surma] promises the Canadian government a stiff fight if it presses ahead with a lawsuit alleging his company broke promises to maintain jobs in Hamilton as part of the deal that allowed it to take over Stelco... U.S. Steel has a clear right under the Stelco deal to cut jobs [Surma asserted]... 'We are going to run our facilities in a way that best serves us... We know how to defend ourselves and we are going to do that,' he said."

Maybe the news of his monopoly's shutdown of Stelco steelmaking hasn't reached Pittsburgh yet. Surma, you're not "running" Stelco's mills; you've shut them down!

U.S. Steel came to Canada in 2007, handed some money over to a gang of shysters, one of whom was from North Carolina with others from New York and Toronto, and after a year of raking in stupendous profits began to lay off Stelco steelworkers and wreck production. That is not friendly Mr. Surma, not friendly at all. It is downright antagonistic and now you're rubbing salt in the wound by making fun of the Canadian government's rather timid demand that you uphold your legal obligations.

Surma also "praised executives who've controlled losses by struggling to keep a lid on the cost of idled plants, such as the former Stelco. 'We've been doing a good job of whacking down costs and cutting the energy requirements and staffing needs of those plants,' he said."

Interesting choice of mafia terminology, "whacking down costs." Owners of capital consider "costs" the people who produce added-value and provide services. Surma congratulates himself and his hired guns for "whacking" Canadian steelworkers and passing the losses onto their shoulders and Canada's social programs.

You are out of whack Surma! You invaded Canada, seized Stelco's steel mills, profited enormously for a year, and then when the predictable downturn in the capitalist business cycle began, you started "whacking" Canadian workers and their production facilities, passing the burden onto us with cutbacks and layoffs that solve nothing.

Canadians are tired of being bullied and "whacked" by monopoly right. Canadians do not need this grief coming from the United States or anywhere else. Canadians are organizing and fighting to gain control over their economy. Paraphrasing Surma's own words: We need to gain control over our facilities and run them in a way that best serves us. We have to defend ourselves and we are going to do exactly that!

Canadians reject monopoly right and are organizing to regain control over their lives and means of production and subsistence. It is our right and duty to exercise control over both Canada and its economy. It is our right and duty to build a self-reliant independent economy!

Down with U.S. Steel's monopoly right and arrogance! Refuse to be "whacked" by the monopolies!

Whose economy? Our economy! Who decides? We decide!

Let's take back our Stelco mills and allow steelworkers to produce the wealth we need! Manufacturing yes! Nation-wrecking no!

Return to top

For Your Information

Inco, Stelco: The Dark Side of Foreign Takeovers

Where were the economic nationalists back in 2006 and 2007 when foreign firms gobbled up so many Canadian industrial giants, among them Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Abitibi?

Our suspicion is that they were alive and even speaking out, but few of us listened. After all, stockholders were reaping huge benefits, our Loonie was soaring and we were being assured that all the acquisitions would be to Canada's long-term benefit.

But as we all now know, any benefits have by and large proved illusory, particularly in the case of Stelco and Inco, and our confident expectation is that the same will hold true for the auctioned assets of Nortel.

In the case of Stelco, the behaviour of its new owner, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, has been particularly offensive and the federal government's response weak-kneed at best.

There seems no doubt that the government approved Stelco's sale in part because of assurances that it would be a net benefit to Canada, the buyer having promised to maintain both production and employment.

Instead, in part responding to the offensive Buy America requirement in Washington's economic stimulus package, U.S. Steel has shut down Stelco's plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke and is currently producing steel only in the U.S.

The appropriate response of the Harper Conservatives would have been to make U.S. Steel choose between restoring Canadian production to the same proportion of the firm's overall production at the time of its acquisition, and putting the Stelco assets up for sale, allowing Ottawa to buy them at current market value if no other purchaser came forward.

Instead, all that has happened is a breach-of-contract action in Federal Court which, if successful, would see U.S. Steel paying up to $10,000 a day -- a fine that would likely work out to less than the legal fees for appeals.

According to Ottawa's court application, U.S. Steel promised that its Canadian steel production between Nov. 1, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2010 would be at least 3.95 million tonnes a year, and that it would maintain an average employment level of 3,105 full-time workers at its Canadian operations.

Instead, the document says, U.S. Steel produced slightly less in Canada than the benchmark level in 2008, and that as of May 20, 2009, its Canadian mills had produced "a very small quantity of steel, which on an annualized basis, would represent only a small fraction of the amount the Canadian business was required to produce pursuant to the production undertaking."

(As for the impact of the Buy America requirement, we suspect U.S. Steel could get around it by having steel from Hamilton or Nanticoke turned into finished products at its U.S. mills.)

But whatever might be said about Ottawa's handling of the Stelco fiasco, it pales beside the hands-off approach adopted for Vale SA, the Brazilian firm that three years ago paid $19 billion for Inco, Canada's largest nickel producer, while making similar promises concerning employment and investment in Ontario's Nickel Belt.

Instead, Vale Inco had shut down the Sudbury operation even before the laidoff workers launched a hopeless strike this month in response to the foreign owner's demand that it no longer have to share with its workers the extra profits enjoyed when the price of nickel rises above historic levels.

With the world-wide demand for nickel at present levels, Vale has no need for the Canadian production and essentially has nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting the strike drag on for months or even years. The only losers will be the workers, Sudbury, the federal and Ontario governments and the Employment Insurance fund.

In the circumstances, it was surely both strange and unacceptable to see Canada's Industry minister do nothing more than attempt to rewrite history, portraying Vale as Inco's saviour.

The minister, Tony Clement, suggests that, without the purchase by Vale in 2006, Inco would have failed, leaving Sudbury without its biggest employer. In an interview with the Sudbury Star, he even claimed that without Vale the local community would have been a "Valley of Death."

The remark ignored the reality that at the time of the sale Inco was reaping huge profits and was the target of a bidding war among three suitors.

Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez, a former NDP Member of Parliament, said the minister's comments couldn't be farther from the truth, and that he wants Mr. Clement to come and see how things really are. And the United Steelworkers union has supported a call by two local MPs for the minister's resignation over his "misleading" and "disparaging remarks" about Sudbury.

Some Sudbury residents attribute Mr. Clement's different treatment of U.S. Steel and Vale to political reality, with the Conservatives hoping to gain Hamilton-area seats in the next federal election while having little or no hope for a win in the Nickel Belt.

Whether or not that's the case, it's surely in Canada's best interests that the government enforce all commitments made during a foreign takeover.

Return to top

Lakeside Steel Files Motion to Intervene in Federal Minister's Court Application on U.S. Steel

Calls for sale of U.S. Steel Canada as appropriate remedy in order to resume operations of Hamilton and Lake Erie works (formerly Stelco)

Lakeside Steel Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Lakeside Steel Corp. (collectively "Lakeside" or the "Company") today announced its filing of a motion ("Intervener Motion") with the Federal Court of Canada to obtain intervener status in the application filed on behalf of the Minister of Industry ("Minister") under the Investment Canada Act (the "Minister's Application") against United States Steel Corporation ("US Steel") and U.S. Steel Canada Inc. ("US Steel Canada").

Lakeside is a diversified steel pipe and tubing manufacturer in Welland, Ontario, which reported revenue of approximately $207 million, EBITDA of approximately $10.5 million and net income of approximately $6.5 million for the year ended March 31, 2009. U.S. Steel Canada has been a supplier to Lakeside.

Lakeside supports the initiative taken by the Minister to file the Minister's Application and is seeking to intervene in the Minister's Application to make the Court aware of the impact of the shutdown of U.S. Steel Canada's operations on the Canadian steel industry and to propose alternative remedies requiring the sale of US Steel Canada. Lakeside is interested in acquiring U.S. Steel Canada, and if successful in that acquisition would comply with US Steel's commitments on production and employment. A sale of US Steel Canada is a remedy available to the Federal Court under the Investment Canada Act.

"The Minister's approach is appropriate in requiring foreign investors, who invest capital subject to commitments, to meet those commitments or face the available remedies," said Vic Alboini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeside. "The Lakeside alternative being proposed to the Court would repatriate a former Canadian icon and resume operations immediately at the Hamilton and Nanticoke facilities. We believe this is a viable business solution to address the difficult reality at US Steel Canada."

Background to Lakeside's Intervener Motion

Stelco Inc. ("Stelco") filed for creditor protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") on January 29, 2004. Lakeside acquired Stelco's steel pipe and tubular assets in Stelpipe Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stelco, on October 31, 2005 when Stelco was subject to the CCAA filing. Stelco's equity at the time of the CCAA filing became worthless as a result of the CCAA process. Stelco emerged from the CCAA process on March 31, 2006 and 19 months later was acquired by US Steel on October 31, 2007 for approximately $2 billion, consisting of approximately $1.22 billion in equity and approximately $839 million in assumed debt. US Steel renamed Stelco as US Steel Canada and shut down the operations of US Steel Canada 17 months following its purchase in apparent contravention of commitments made to the Minister at the time of the acquisition.

The Minister states in his Application that US Steel committed to produce on average at least 4,345,000 tons annually over a three year period and committed to employ on average 3,105 employees. These commitments for US Steel Canada's business were given in support of US Steel's application to the Minister for approval of its acquisition of Stelco in 2007.

If the commitments were made without any qualification, such as materially changed economic circumstances, the Investment Canada Act provides the Federal Court with certain remedies. The Minister's Application is seeking an order for US Steel to comply with its commitments, a penalty of $10,000 per day for the breach of each commitment and any other appropriate relief.

"Despite the compliance order and the penalty being requested by the Minister, there is a strong incentive for US Steel to comply with 'Buy American' requirements, which are an integral part of the U.S. stimulus initiative, by filling orders from its US facilities, rather than from the Canadian Stelco facilities. It is therefore highly unlikely that US Steel will meet its production and employment commitments made to the Minister," said Alboini. "It is important for Stelco to be owned or controlled by a Canadian company, for the long term benefit of Stelco's employees, customers and suppliers."

Lakeside is asking the Court for an order requiring US Steel to sell US Steel Canada. Lakeside is an interested purchaser, would reopen Stelco immediately and would comply with the production and employment commitments made by US Steel to the Minister. Lakeside is the only remaining publicly held Canadian-owned steel manufacturer. The Lakeside business was part of Stelco and the challenges at the former Stelco are the same issues that Lakeside has addressed.

About Lakeside Steel Inc.

Lakeside is the parent company of Lakeside Steel Corp. ("Lakeside Steel"). Lakeside Steel, located in Welland, Ontario, is a diversified steel pipe and tubing manufacturer. Lakeside Steel's list of customers includes large oil and gas, mining, automotive and commercial and industrial supply companies.

Return to top

Read The Marxist-Leninist Daily
Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca