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May 1, 2014 - No. 51

May Day, International Day of Working Class Solidarity

All Out for People's Empowerment!
The Working Class Must Take the Lead

May Day, International Day of Working Class Solidarity
All Out for People's Empowerment! The Working Class Must Take the Lead
- Communist Party of Canada (Marxist- Leninist)

The Importance of Summation and Charting a Way Forward - Workers' Forum

Photo Review
May Day 2013 to May Day 2014


May Day, International Day of Working Class Solidarity

All Out for People's Empowerment!
The Working Class Must Take the Lead

The Workers' Centre of CPC(M-L) on the occasion of May Day 2014, salutes the Canadian and Quebec working class for its courageous and determined resistance to nation-wrecking and the anti-social austerity agenda. With more and more organized and concerted actions, workers are rising to block the wrecking of the country's industrial base, public services and social infrastructure, and to stem the attacks on workers' rights, wages, benefits and pensions.

The neo-liberal wrecking of everything in the public realm has spurred the people to action. With heightened conviction, the working class is formulating and putting forward a pro-social alternative, which is drawing broader sections of the Canadian people into action. Farmers demand the re-establishment of the Canadian Wheat Board's public monopoly on grain marketing and an end to the dismantling of public supply management systems. Scientists, doctors, technical experts and others are standing up for pro-social positions. First Nations forcefully claim the recognition of their sovereignty and right to a say and control over the way Mother Earth is treated and her bounty distributed.

As a contingent of the international working class, workers of Canada and Quebec affirm their unity with the workers and oppressed peoples everywhere who are fighting to defend their sovereignty and right to chart their own destiny free from imperialist interference. The working class and its allies in other strata repudiate Harper's war government, which in concert with the U.S. and other imperialist powers threatens to plunge the peoples into a devastating world war. The anti-war opposition led by the working class must step up its fight to establish an anti-war government.

May First is an important occasion to sum up the experience gained in the class struggle during the previous year and set a line of march. Sober assessment of past events and deciding on a course of action are very much required in a society where every pressure is put against activating the human factor/social consciousness. The working class can only make headway based on its own agenda, one that workers themselves formulate, defend and fight for with passion and conviction.

Workers' experience in the class struggle is telling them they need to act as an organized force, in a way that can only be achieved if they discuss with their peers and together establish an agenda and required strategy and tactics within the framework of the fight to bring in the New and get rid of the Old. For modern workers experienced in solving problems of production, how to develop their own independent politics and effectively defend the rights of all are practical problems to be solved on a modern basis. Providing rights with a modern definition that they belong to the holder by virtue of being human is key to being effective and achieving successes which can then be taken further to achieve victory.

Working people are under tremendous pressure to wage only defensive battles and depend on others to represent them politically, but workers are breaking out of this old way of doing things. Experience is showing them that they are the only force with the numbers, organization and desire to uphold the public interest, enforce public will and put an end to the dictate and nation-wrecking of the monopolies and their direct take-over of governments and state agencies. By leading the fight against nation-wrecking and for democratic renewal of the electoral process and constitutional arrangements so as to vest sovereignty in the people, workers can empower not only themselves but the polity itself and open society's path to progress.

In the fight to renew democracy, the importance of establishing social forms such as Committees for People's Empowerment cannot be underestimated. Those social forms provide a means to ensure the unity of the people under conditions where reactionary forces use the mass media and disinformation to sow doubt about the people's capacity to fight, smash the people's ability to think and plan coherently, and disorganize any opposition.

The working class as the most numerous and organized force disciplined by modern production must take the lead in the struggle for people's empowerment. On the occasion of May First, 2014, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on all those who stand to gain from a working class that has the power to restrict and deprive the global monopolies and their politicians of the monopoly right to do as they please and stop them from stomping on the public interest with impunity to join in!

Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World, Unite!
Our Future Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!
Organize for People's Empowerment!

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The Importance of Summation and
Charting a Way Forward

The past year has seen tens of thousands of workers in action to defend their rights and oppose the anti-social wrecking being carried out by the Harper, Quebec, provincial and many municipal governments. A broad movement demanding the anti-social changes to Employment Insurance be rescinded brought 50,000 people onto the streets of Montreal for May Day 2013. The movement to put an end to the Harper government's worker trafficking, in particular through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, is growing. These fights are taken up with the spirit that the future and security of workers lie in the fight for the rights of all.

Federal, Quebec and provincial governments continue to cut social programs and turn those funds over to the rich. Workers on the front lines of these services have resisted the escalating attacks on their livelihoods, security in retirement and the services they provide. To defend the public infrastructure, public sector workers are mobilizing not only themselves but also those who depend on the services. Alberta provincial workers, Nova Scotia nurses, Ontario teachers and education workers, and others have faced head-on the anti-worker legislation being passed to strip them of their rights and criminalize their resistance.

Workers in Ontario have denounced and opposed the wrecking of one production facility after another, including the shutdown of steelmaking at Hamilton Works, the closure of the Kitchener Schneider's plant and the threatened shuttering of the Heinz, Kellogg and other plants across the province. The working class is demanding alternatives be found, that governments use the means at their disposal to block monopolies from wrecking or removing the productive capacity of Canadian facilities.

Workers at U.S. Steel, in Quebec's construction trades and at CN Rail, to name a few, have waged vigorous organized resistance to the concessions being demanded in wages and working conditions. Workers are tackling how to become effective in carrying out their social responsibility to fight for modern and safe working conditions, the same conditions required for the safety and security of the public. They have rejected the ideological assault that they must make concessions if the economy is to be strengthened.

The majority of truckers at Port Metro Vancouver, around 1,200, organized themselves into a non-profit United Truckers' Association outside the BC Labour Code. The UTA is dedicated to defending the rights of all truckers. When faced with intolerable wages and working conditions, they unleashed a strike struggle. Inspired by their just stand, 300 truck drivers organized in Unifor soon joined them in the fight. Defying threats of losing their port licences and the criminalization of their struggle, they succeeded in reaching an agreement. The struggle of the truck drivers is a reminder that under the current conditions of overall assault against the working class, new methods and forms of struggle are required.

In summing up the year, the Workers' Centre sends sincere May Day greetings to the Hamilton steelworkers who have marked 10 continuous years of weekly meetings where they discuss the problems facing them and society. Within those meetings, they set their program of action for nation-building and to hold U.S. Steel and governments to account for the wrecking of Canada's steel production and trampling of people's rights.

From BC to Ontario and Quebec, working people made themselves a factor in by-elections and general elections, working out the tactics and forms of organization to push forward their interests within the situation. Three days of actions at the federal Conservative Party convention in Calgary put forward the many reasons to defeat the Harper dictatorship. Working people across the country met the opening of the spring session of the federal Parliament with mass actions demanding the post office remain public and that Harper Must Resign Now as a step to block the nation-wrecking for which his government is responsible. The longer the Harper government remains in power, the greater the damage to be undone.

The changes to the Election Act contained in Bill C-23 presently before Parliament, threaten to deprive hundreds of thousands of Canadians of the right to vote. Opposition to Bill C-23 is almost universal. National and international election officials and experts on democracy and elections have condemned the Harper bill but his government is hell-bent on pushing it through in the hopes, it appears, of winning a rigged election in 2015.

Only the organized working class with its own political and economic agenda can turn history around in a new direction that opens a path to progress. Workers can see from their own concrete experience of defending themselves that they are their own saviours and models. Workers' own thinking, human-centred outlook, independent politics and modern methods of organizing to activate the human factor/social consciousness are crucial in turning the situation around. Let the working class pledge on this May First to carry the work forward to deprive the political and economic elite of the power to deprive the working class of shaping history in its own image and moving the world in a new direction that favours the people.


Workers' Forum is a supplement to the Marxist-Leninist Daily. For the Table of Contents of the April-May 2014 issue and subscription information, click here.

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Photo Review

May Day 2013 to May Day 2014

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!



Hamilton May Day 2013.



Quebec construction workers' five unions take united strike action against employers' demands
for concessions on wages and working conditions. Strike begins June 17, 2013;
demonstrations take place in many cities June 20, 2013.
 


 Hamilton Steelworkers from Local 1005 USW celebrate 10 years of Thursday Meetings, June 18, 2013. The weekly meetings are animportant converging point for discussion and action in defence of the rights of all.


Locked out steelworkers from U.S. Steel's Lake Erie Works, joined by a delegation from Local 1005 USW,
picket MP
Diane Finlay's office August 2, 2013, demanding an end to the phony lockout
and rejecting the company's demands for concessions.



Rally at MP David Sweet's constituency office, November 16, 2013, demands that the federal government intervene in
U.S. Steel's decision to end steelmaking at Hamilton Works.



Forestry workers hold demonstration in Saint-Félicien, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, November 21, 2013,
demand the government must take responsibility to protect their living and working conditions (right).
Meanwhile, workers in Baie Comeau occupy the office of their MP.




Demonstration outside Transport Minister's Lisa Raitt's office, November 29, 2013, delivers petition opposing the government's
allowance for airlines to reduce the size of air crews, jeopardizing air safety.


Rally in Leamington, Ontario, November 30, 2013, opposes the planned closure of the Heinz plant and demands the
government intervene to end this nation-wrecking.


Truckdrivers on strike since February 26, 2014 rally at the Port of Vancouver, March 21, 2014, to defend uphold their right to a Canadian standard livelihood, and for a say in their sector of the economy. United in action, the 1,200 owner-operators organized in the United Truckers Association and 300 unionized drivers succeeded in winning a settlement.


Successful public forums are held in Prince George (shown above), Mackenzie and Williams Lake, BC from April 12-14, 2014 under the theme "Renewing our Woods: Keeping Our Forests Public and Sustainable." Participants affirm the need for
people's empowerment to uphold the public interest in the forestry sector.

Defend Public Services and the Workers Who Provide Them!


Rally at Alberta Legislature, May 15, 2013,  protests provincial government's massive cuts to disability services.


Calgary rally against cuts to services for people with disabilities, May 31, 2013.


Edmonton high school students rally at the Alberta Legislature, June 11, 2013, to oppose program cuts, in particular
to support for students with disabilities art program.


Rally outside Alberta PCs' convention, November 22, 2013, demands government keep open the Mitchener Centre for developmentally disabled adults.


BC health care workers from the Lower Mainland rally at Vancouver General Hospital,
May 28, 2013, during negotiations with
private labour traffickers to whom services have been contracted out.



Rally in Quebec City, October 23, 2013, stands with the Quebec City municipal workers in their demands for an acceptable collective agreement.




Alberta public sector workers and their allies rally at the Alberta Legislature (above) and elsewhere in the province  throughout December 2013 against Bills 45 and 46 that viciously attack their collective right to organize.


Rally in Campbell River, March 2, 2014, organized by the Hospital Employees' Union demands government
intervene in the mass layoff of the entire unionized staff of a seniors' care facility
by the private owner and their replacement
with lower-paid non-unionized contract workers from a labour-trafficking monopoly.



  Halifax nurses hold mass picket outside Nova Scotia Liberal Party's AGM, March 29, 2014, to oppose back-to-work legislation criminalizing their fight for working conditions necessary to ensure their safety and that of patients.


Defence of Public Sector Workers Pensions Is Defence of Pensions for All!


 Protest outside the New Brunswick Legislature, November 6, 2013, opposes anti-social reform to public sector pensions.


Retired New Brunswick public sector workers meet November 20, 2013, to discuss how to stop the
provincial government's attack on their pensions.



Mass action at PEI Legislature in Charlottetown, November 15, 2013, opposes cuts to public sector pensions.


Rally in Edmonton, March 2, 2014, to defend public sector workers' pensions and to demand pensions for all.

Rally at the opening of the Alberta Legislature, March 3, 2014, in defence of public sector pensions.


Workplace actions across Alberta, March 20, 2014, reiterate stand of public sector workers in defence of their pensions.

Keep the Post Office Public!


Postal workers deliver more than 12,200 postcards to constituency office of Lisa Raitt, Minister Responsible for Canada Post, December 18, 2013, to demand a stop to the planned cuts to postal services and jobs, while postal rates are raised.






Actions across Canada, January 25-27, 2014, mark the opening of Parliament with the demands to stop the wrecking of the post office and to keep it public. Top to bottom: Parliament Hill, Halifax, Hamilton, Windsor and Calgary.

Stop the Harper Dictatorship -- Harper Resign Now!




Montreal May Day 2013 demonstration demands Harper government stop its wrecking of Employment Insurance
and attacks on unemployed workers.



Rally in Hamilton, June 16, 2013, part of a day of action by medical professionals across Canada to oppose cuts to health care for refugees and to affirm that health care is a right.


"Stand Up for Science" rallies take place across Canada, September 16, 2013, to defend scientists and their work against the Harper dictatorship's attacks on science that does not serve its narrow anti-social, pro-monopoly agenda.




Three days of action outside the Conservative Party policy convention in Calgary, October 31-November 2, 2013,
say a resolute No! to the Harper dictatorship and its nation-wrecking.



Three thousand people in Sydney, Nova Scotia protest the closing of the local Veterans Affairs Office, November 9, 2013.




Demonstrations on January 31, 2014 at Veterans Affairs district offices across the country slated for closure.
Top: Sydney, NS; bottom: Windsor, ON.



Meeting in Raymore, Saskatchewan, March 9, 2014, organized by Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, passes a motion demanding
the government conduct a vote on the reinstatement
of the farmer-controlled single desk Wheat Board.




Actions at the Alberta Legislature, March 3 and 29, 2014, demand an end to the Harper government's attacks on all workers' rights and working conditions through its Temporary Foreign Workers Program.


Action in Edmonton Canada-wide day of action, March 25, 2014, to demand the Harper government withdraw its
anti-democratic "Fair Elections Act," Bill C-23.

No to Neo-Liberal Austerity Agenda!


Monthly rally at Tim Hudak's office, June 7, 2013, against austerity agenda spearheaded by Ontario Liberals and PCs.


Public forum July 6, 2013 during provincial by-election in Kelowna,
BC discusses issues facing voters
and the need for a pro-social direction for BC.


Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation participate in provincial by-election to defend their interests, July 2013, calling on voters to defeat the Liberals and Conservatives.




Rallies at Ontario PC policy convention in London, September 20, 2013 (top), and Liberal Provincial Council
meeting in Hamilton, September 28, 2013, oppose austerity agenda and anti-worker attacks of both parties.


Injured workers and their supporters rally at Ontario Ministry of Labour in Toronto, December 9, 2013, to demand the government its stop attacks on injured workers and its wrecking of the public workers' compensation system
by turning it into a private insurance scheme.



Mass action at the Ontario Liberal Party annual general meeting in Toronto, March 22, 2014, holds government
to account for its brutal anti-austerity agenda.

Uphold First Nations' Sovereignty

Reconciliation week events in Vancouver, September 17-23, 2013, including a march of 70,000 people, affirm the
need for new arrangements between Canada and the indigenous peoples.


Actions on October 7, 2013 mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 with calls to establish nation-to-nation relations between Canada and the First Nations. Top: Gatineau, QC; bottom: Elsipogtog First Nation, NB.





On November 17, 2013, the Elsipogtog First Nation's affirmation of their right to a say and control over their traditional territories is met by state violence. Actions across Canada oppose the violence and demand recognition of the sovereignty of the first nations. Top to bottom: Elsipogtog; Halifax, Ottawa, and Vancouver


On December 10, 2013, Idle No More marks the  one-year anniversary of its first cross Canada day of action.


Omushkegowuk Walkers are warmly  greeted as they arrive in Ottawa, February 25, 2014, after completing their historic journey of more then 1,700 kilometres from Northern Ontario to Ottawa, to call for new arrangements between
Canada and the First Nations.

Women's Security Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!


Sisters in Spirit vigil in Ottawa, October 4, 2013, the largest of 216 vigils held across Canada to honour missing and
murdered aboriginal women and to demand the government take measures to end the violence against them.



Memorial march in Vancouver on Valentine's Day 2014 honours the missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
Actions in their honour and demanding an national inquiry and measures to end the disappearances took place in
more than 14 cities across Canada.





International Women's Day, March 8, 2014 -- women across Canada affirm their place
in the forefront of struggles for the rights of all.

Fight for an Anti-War Government!










Actions across Canada from late August to September 2013 oppose warmongering against Syria and put forward the demand for an anti-war government. Top to bottom: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamillton, Windsor, Winnipeg,
Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.


Fight for the Rights of All!




March 5, Vancouver activists marked their 100th monthly picket for the freedom of the Cuban Five -- Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González -- political prisoners unjustly held in U.S. prisons. Actions
took place the same day in
other cities across Canada. Top to bottom: Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto.



In Montreal, the Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Roundtable on September 12 kicked off a month of actions for the Cuban Five
with a picket that began in downtown Montreal and ended up outside the U.S. Consulate. The actions marked fifteenth years that the Cuban Five have been unjustly jailed for their anti-terrorist actions in defence of Cuba.


 


Actions across Canada February 20-22 defend the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their own affairs
free of foreign interference. Top to bottom: Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.


In Montreal May 12 demonstration commemorated the 65th anniversary of Al Nakba - the 1948 expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes by the Israeli zionists -  and affirm the Palestinian people's right to return and their right to be.

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