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October 28, 2014 - No. 88

Build the Workers' Press to Oppose Media Monopolization

The Working Class Must
Have Its Own Voice!

Samples of the Party and non-Party press on display at the celebration marking the 44th anniversary of the Party press, Etobicoke, August 23, 2014.

Build the Workers' Press to Oppose Media Monopolization
The Working Class Must Have Its Own Voice! - Dougal MacDonald

Canada-Wide Days of Action October 24-26
People of Cold Lake, Alberta Reject Attempts to Demonize Muslims - George Allen
No to Canadian Participation in U.S.-Led Wars of Terror!
No to Criminalization of Dissent!

Build the Workers' Press to Oppose Media Monopolization

The Working Class Must Have Its Own Voice!

The U.S.-controlled media monopoly Postmedia announced on October 9 that it had purchased the Sun Media chain, the English-language publications of the Peladeau media monopoly, Quebecor, for $316 million. The deal gives Postmedia control of the five daily Sun newspapers in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg; 27 small-market dailies; 140 weeklies; the London Free Press and numerous other media properties. Postmedia already owns, among other properties, the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Regina Leader-Post, Ottawa Citizen, Sakatoon Star-Phoenix, Windsor Star, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province. The purchase of Sun Media still requires regulatory approval from the federal Competition Bureau.

The newspaper business in Canada has always been highly monopolized to better serve the needs of the ruling circles. The Southam family of Toronto, part of the old Canadian ruling class, originally established its national media chain in 1904, beginning with the London Free Press and eventually owning 17 major dailies and 56 community newspapers, as well as numerous radio stations. In 2000, the CanWest media monopoly owned by Winnipeg's Asper family bought from Conrad Black's Hollinger Incorporated the Southam newspaper chain. (Hollinger declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly after Black's conviction for wire fraud in 2007.)  Postmedia was formed in 2010 to take over the failing CanWest.

The Postmedia ownership group was assembled by National Post CEO Paul Godfrey in 2010. Postmedia completed a $1.1 billion transaction to acquire the CanWest newspaper chain on July 13, 2010. Godfrey secured financial backing from U.S. hedge funds Golden Tree Asset Management and Silver Point Capital, as well as other investors.[1] The debt which CanWest already owed to Golden Tree was turned into shares in Postmedia on CanWest's reorganization, resulting in Golden Tree owning 39 per cent of Postmedia. Golden Tree is run by three U.S. financiers, Steven Tananbaum, Robert Matza and Stephen Shapiro. Shapiro, a former managing director of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, represents Golden Tree on the Postmedia Board of Directors. Silver Point, run by Goldman Sachs alumni, owns 19 per cent of Postmedia.

Hedge funds such as Golden Tree and Silver Point make their money not by building companies but by profiting from their destruction -- mass firings, contracting out and financial liquidations. They get rich by investing in companies which are not thriving but are nearing the end of their financial rope. If Golden Tree and Silver Point run true to form, the current workers at Postmedia are likely to be entering a difficult period. Postmedia has been steadily losing advertising revenues for some years and has already been "restructured" by eliminating workers across Canada. Postmedia has repeatedly declared that the future of newsmedia lies in becoming a digital-only business which will certainly lead to further cuts. Also, the Sun Media takeover means that in several cities, Postmedia now has two competing newspapers in the same city, one of which is likely to be eliminated.

The Postmedia-Quebecor deal will increase the monopolization of Canada's media which has always worked in the interests of the ruling circles and will continue to do so. Which group of workers is not familiar with the fact that over and over the monopoly media obscures, misreports, and twists their struggles to favour the owners of capital who hold power? In fact, the monopoly media deliberately hire a variety of anti-worker columnists whose sole function is to consistently attack the workers. This has been very clearly illustrated, for example, during the ongoing struggles of the Hamilton steelworkers of Local 1005 against U.S. Steel. Other more "liberal" columnists undermine the workers in a different manner by calling for "fairness" and for everyone to be "reasonable," as if such a thing is possible when the capitalist owners dominate everything, including the government. Overall, the monopoly media continually trumpet the line of the ruling class on everything, attacking society with a vengeance and serving as a major obstacle to opening society's path to progress.

The way forward for the workers in terms of the media lies not in hoping to influence the monopoly media to finally favour the workers but in having its own voice, in having its own workers' press. Does such a press exist? Yes it does. For over 44 years, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has been carrying out the critical task of building such a press, which is an extremely powerful weapon in the hands of the working class to organize itself in defence of its own interests. This includes 29 years of building the mass Party press and mass non-Party press, two kinds of journalism indispensable for the building of the working class movement for its own emancipation. The non-Party press, as the voice of the movement for enlightenment, and the mass-Party press, as the voice of the working class, are two important instruments in the movement of the working class to create the conditions for its own emancipation and open the path for society's progress. Strengthening and consolidating both kinds of press is a key part of the work CPC(M-L) is undertaking during this period.

The critical roles and partisanship of the two kinds of press are clearly explained in TML Weekly Information Project, August 23, 2014: "The partisanship of the non-Party mass press is to the movement for enlightenment and for the progress of society. In this regard, its content and editorial policy reflect the concerns of the people and, in a manner of speaking, it sets the agenda for society by determining which issues are in fact matters of concern and by eliminating or rejecting all those things which are diversionary and irrelevant. The partisanship of the mass Party press is to the working class and the leading role of the working class over the entire society. It is dedicated to providing the class with the consciousness and organization commensurate with its revolutionary position in society."

TML Weekly continues: "It is important to note that the movement for enlightenment reflected in the pages of the non-Party press, can really thrive only with the working class taking its place and providing all those who are concerned and discontented with the existing situation with the advanced fighting positions, that is by setting the agenda for the working class and its allies to create a modern society based on a modern system."[2] Thus the logical conclusion is that the most effective way for the workers and their allies to oppose increasing monopolization of the bourgeois media is for them to continue to provide the mass Party press and the mass non-Party press with their support and to work to expand it. It is incumbent on the class conscious workers and all progressive and democratic forces to step up this important work in order to achieve victory on the media front and final victory overall.


1. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco assigns most of the blame for the 2007-2009 financial crisis to hedge funds.

2. See TML Weekly Information Project, August 23, 2014 on the 44th anniversary of the Party press.

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Canada-Wide Days of Action October 24-26

People of Cold Lake, Alberta Reject Attempts
to Demonize Muslims

During the night of October 23 some backward elements in Cold Lake, Alberta, defaced the local mosque with racist comments and broke some windows. The words "Go Home" were written multiple times across the outside of the building in red spray paint. The following day, dozens of residents from the town of 14,000 came forward to militantly oppose the vandalism, uniting with members of the mosque to clean off the graffiti and repair the windows. They posted signs on the front of the mosque saying "You are Home!" and "We stand united as Canadians." Members of the community also brought flowers and gifts which were displayed them by the smashed windows.

The Cold Lake mosque has been open for four years at its current location. Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said that the mosque is an important part of the town and that he was disappointed that someone in the community could be behind the damage. "I just want to say that the Muslim community is at home in Cold Lake," the mayor stated.

There is no doubt that the war-mongering stance taken by the Harper dictatorship contributed in large measure to these events. Harper has used the tragic events in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and in Ottawa on October 20 and 22 respectively to declare that Canada is threatened by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) and that we must fight them on their own territory and on Canadian soil as well. He is supporting a military intervention in Iraq and the use of force to sort out problems in the Middle East, fraudulently claiming that ISIS poses a threat to Canadian security and therefore armed intervention is a matter of defending Canada's national interest. The town of Cold Lake is home to the large military base that Canadian CF-18 fighters departed from on October 22 to participate in the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq, on Prime Minister Harper's orders.

Kudos to the people of Cold Lake for rejecting the Harper dictatorship's continuing attempts to demonize Muslims with such misleading phrases as "young jihadists" and instead standing for a socially responsible response to the unfolding events by standing for principle while thinking things through.

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No to Canadian Participation in
U.S.-Led Wars of Terror!
No to Criminalization of Dissent!

On the weekend of October 24-26, anti-war rallies, marches, pickets and other activities were organized in cities across Canada. Events took place in Charlottetown, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Windsor, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and in the Comox Valley and other places. The actions took a firm stand against U.S.-led aggression, war, occupation and regime change and Canada's participation in them, especially the U.S. bombing campaign underway in Iraq and Syria.

The actions took place in the context of the tragic events of the preceding week in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa which are being used by the Harper government to declare that Canada is under imminent threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and that they must be fought not only abroad but at home as well. Participants firmly rejected the use of these tragedies for self-serving purposes, including criminalizing the Canadian people's opposition to Harper's war agenda, and put forward the call to organize for an anti-war government.

TML reiterates the need for everyone to continue organizing such actions to keep their bearings and provide an atmosphere of calm for themselves and others, that facilitates rational discussion of unfolding events. There is great deal of disinformation and pressure on people to jump to unwarranted conclusions in support of an agenda for war and violation of rights that does not serve their interests. Questions of who or what is the source of violence and insecurity in the society and the world at this time are serious questions that deserve serious investigation and deliberation. Providing these questions with serious answers in the context of defending the rights of all will oppose the self-serving disinformation of the Harper dictatorship and assist in the work to build an anti-war government.



A spirited action was held in Montreal on October 26. People from all walks of life participated along with many organizations such as Women of Diverse Origins, Artists for Peace, International Alliance of Women, Independent Jewish Voices, the Green Party and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) with its banner "Fight for an Anti-War Government."

Activists of the PMLQ distributed a statement which called on everyone not to permit the tragedies in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa to validate the Harper dictatorship and its plans for war. Many participants said that they had come out specifically to reject the use of these tragedies to justify Canada's participation in U.S.-led aggression and war.

Outside the federal government offices speaker after speaker denounced the participation of Canada, England, Australia and other countries in U.S.-led aggression.

Following the demonstration people stayed to have lively discussion about how to deal with the situation facing the peoples, with the Couillard government in Quebec and the Harper government in Canada.


The October 25 demonstration in Ottawa condemned the government's cynical use of the killing of the soldier on October 22 at the War Memorial to push its agenda for war, racism and suppression of rights. Participants used the occasion to affirm that state terrorism is never a solution to any problem, that our security lies in our fight for the rights of all, and the necessity to fight for an anti-war government.

Speakers included Abdourahman Kahin of Muslim Presence, First Nations and environmental activist Ben Powless, trade union activist Hassan Husseini, and Anne-Marie Roy, President of the University of Ottawa Student Federation. Everyone rejected with contempt the Harper government's vigorous efforts to criminalize dissent, demonize those it deems "enemies," embroil Canada in U.S.-led wars of aggression, and impose its anti-social neo-liberal austerity agenda.


A militant rally was held across from the U.S. Consulate in downtown Toronto on October 25. Participants included members of anti-war and civil rights organizations, as well as workers, students, national minorities and faith groups. A contingent of Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) activists participated with a banner that boldly declared, "Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!"

The day of action came just three days after the killing of the soldier in Ottawa and all those who spoke opposed the way the Harper government is exploiting such tragic events to promote its war agenda and to increase its criminalization of dissent. The speakers said they will not let Harper dissuade them from speaking out and mobilizing against the war. They took a firm stand against the U.S.-led wars of aggression and occupation and regime change and Canada's participation in them and urged that peaceful solutions be found to problems within and between nations.

Another point made was that the terrorism of ISIS cannot be defeated by state terrorism. This point was made very poignantly by the representative of a Syrian women's organization who mourned the recent killings of the two Canadian soldiers and at the same time mourned the losses suffered by thousands of families in Syria due to the violence unleashed by the U.S. and its allies.


In Windsor on October 24, people held a spirited rally and march in the downtown core during which many flyers were distributed to passersby explaining the purpose of the rally and calling on them to oppose Harper's war agenda.

In addressing those gathered, Margaret Villamizar, Chairperson of the Windsor Peace Coalition, emphasized that the Harper war government does not speak for Canadians. She explained that the Coalition was founded at the time of the 2003 Iraq war, at which time it said that war would only lead to more insecurity, disorder and terrorism. Unfortunately that prediction came true, she said, emphasizing that it is important to find the means to deprive the Harper government of its power to embroil us in these destructive adventures so that the situation does not deteriorate further.

Other speakers expressed opposition to the Harper government's hypocrisy when it comes to terrorism  -- that it opposes terrorism in Canada but fully supports and U.S.-led state terrorism committed against other countries. Opposing state terrorism is the condition for international peace and security, it was pointed out. Many passersby, especially youth, stopped to listen and thank the Coalition for taking such a stand in light of recent events.

Following the speak-out, participants marched through the downtown core shouting "Harper Harper, Out of Iraq!" and "No More Wars of Terror!"

At the end of the march, in a show of intimidation, police made a point of targeting some participants for questioning. It was clear to participants that the Harper government's lawlessness and self-serving disinformation sets the tone for such activities by the police and security forces to act with impunity, in which those who do not fall in line and remain passive or support the anti-social and war agenda are treated as a law and order problem. The Coalition informs that it will not accept that participants in its actions are harassed and plans to file an official complaint with the Police Services.





Courtenay/Comox Valley

In Courtenay, the Comox Valley Peace Group held a demonstration at the city's main intersection at noon on October 25. The call for the demonstration said, "The Harper government is already using the events of the last few days to attempt to justify his government's participation in the bombing of Iraq and Syria as well as to increase the violation of the rights of Canadians at home... Our security does not lie in ever-escalating interference in the affairs of other countries and military aggression. Our security lies in defence of the rights of all, including the sovereign rights of all nations, large and small, and the condemnation of the use of force to settle conflicts between nations."

There was a spirited discussion that affirmed the importance of Canadians not being passive in the face of the Harper government's attacks, both the U.S.-led aggression to achieve its aims of domination and control in the Middle East, and the escalating attacks on the rights of all Canadians.

Throughout the action there were many gestures of support, waves and horn-honking from passengers in passing cars.

(Photos: TML, Island Peace Committee, Canadian Peace Alliance)

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