TML Monthly

No. 5

May 9, 2021


Big Pharma Cartel Reaps Maximum Profit
from COVID-19 Pharmacare

There Is an Alternative!

- K.C. Adams -

COVID-19 Pharmacare Pay-the-Rich Programs

Infrastructure Development to Pay the Rich

Time for Democratic Renewal and a New Direction for the Economy!

Manitoba Bill 57, Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act

Preparation for All-Out Criminalization of People
Fighting for Their Rights

- Barbara Biley -

Main Features of Bill 57

Federal Government's Attempt to Escape Its
Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples

Canada's Self-Serving Definition of UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples

- Philip Fernandez -

Haudenosaunee Affirm Sovereignty -- Declare Moratorium to End Further Development on Haldimand Tract

Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs Denounce
Latest Criminal Act by Canada

1850 Robinson Treaties Annuities Case

Justice Denied

- David Starbuck -

Permanent Resident Status For All Now!

"Exclusion, Disappointment, Chaos and Exploitation"
-- Migrant Rights Network Report

Canada Refuses to Deal with Its Discriminatory
Immigration Practices

- Steve Rutchinski -

Federal Budget Fails to Deliver Immigration Rights,
Continues Focus on Failed Temporary Programs

Coming Event: March on Ottawa, July 18-25

U.S. President Biden's First 100 Days

The Fraud of Claiming Human Rights to Hide
More U.S. Crimes Against Humanity

- Kathleen Chandler -

International Commission of Legal Experts Recommends Investigation of U.S. for Crimes Against Humanity

Mass Protests Led to Chauvin's Conviction;
Now They're Being Criminalized

- Barbara Ransby -

Latin America and the Caribbean

People's Forces in Action Fighting for
Democracy and the Right to Be


Life and Death Struggle in Defence of Sovereignty
and People's Right to Take Decisions


Youth on Front Lines of People's Fight
for Rights and Against State Terror

Colombian People, at Home and Abroad, Standing as One
in the Face of Murderous Repression

- Garnet Colly -

Transitional Justice and Judicial Independence Under Attack


Nation-Building Resumes, Coup Forces Face Justice


Citizens to Elect Assembly to Draft New Constitution May 15-16


Supreme Court Nullifies All Charges Against Lula

Big Pharma Cartel Reaps Maximum Profit from COVID-19 Pharmacare

There Is an Alternative!

March 11, 2021. Demonstration in New York City.

The COVID-19 pharmacare pay-the-rich programs, worth billions of dollars and resulting in fortunes for certain individuals in control and ownership of Big Pharma, prove that any form of pharmacare must be all-sided or it will inevitably become yet another corrupt pay-the-rich scheme for privileged global oligarchs cynically using a necessary social program as cover. To endure and be effective in the long run and not be used to strengthen the oligarchs of Big Pharma, pharmacare must encompass the development, research, production and delivery of pharmaceuticals with the aim to serve the people, economy and society and not the global rich. This requires human-centred public enterprises to organize the necessary research and develop, produce and deliver pharmaceuticals to the people without any aspect being infected with the imperialist aim of private maximum profit.

A true pharmacare program and health care system generally are required not only for individuals but for the economy and society to function and develop. The pandemic shows how crucial it has become to have social conditions that defend and produce a healthy population. If not, as has been revealed, parts of the economy and even the whole can grind to a halt. For workers to be readily available to work, the health of the people amidst a universal free health care system must be built and maintained.

The pandemic proves that to sustain the investments necessary for a proper health care system, including pharmacare and seniors' care, the value they produce in the form of healthy workers has to be realized in a proper exchange within the economy. All big corporations in the economy of a certain size must pay for this value, which in fact they require for their existence. These large corporations must be held responsible to realize (pay for) the value evident in healthy workers and the capacity to work they bring to them and the overall economy. Healthy and educated workers are the essential human factor to produce new value, without which the economy and society would collapse. The imperialist oligarchs in control refuse to admit this self-evident truth, and will continue to do so unless deprived of their ability to deprive the working people of what belongs to the people by right.

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COVID-19 Pharmacare Pay-the-Rich Programs

April 19, 2021. Rally in Washington, DC.

The Pfizer/BioNTech/Fosun global cartel has made billions of dollars in profit from the pharmacare programs of various governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cartel consisting of Pfizer from the U.S., BioNTech from Germany and Fosun International from China is reporting billions of dollars in actual and potential gross income from the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is a joint development, production and distribution venture of the three monopolies.[1]

Governments are using a form of pharmacare to administer the vaccine to their populations free of charge to individuals. For example, the Government of Canada has contracted the Pfizer cartel to deliver millions of doses of the vaccine at unspecified prices per dose generally believed to vary between $20 to $30.

The Pfizer/BioNTech/Fosun cartel hatched a plan called "Project Lightspeed" to produce a COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it on a global scale in mid-January 2020. This was just days after the SARS-Cov-2 genetic sequence was first made public and almost two months before the World Health Organization declared the virus outbreak a pandemic.

The Pfizer cartel's direct sales of the COVID-19 vaccine to governments through pay-the-rich pharmacare programs represent 98 per cent of the 2.5 billion doses that Pfizer/BioNTech will produce this year. The cartel has pledged to contribute only 40 million doses or two per cent of its production to Covax, a multilateral partnership aimed at supplying vaccines to poor countries. Clare Wenham, a health policy expert at the London School of Economics denounced this amount as "a drop in the ocean" of what is urgently needed.

Case of Pfizer/BioNTech/Fosun Global Cartel

The Pfizer section of the cartel said COVID-19 vaccine sales for itself during the first three months of 2021 realized $3.5 billion in gross income. Pfizer expects its gross income from the vaccine for this year alone to balloon to $26 billion. In addition, it reported several hundreds of millions of dollars in income from 2020, as governments began ordering the vaccine. Pfizer says the profit margin from COVID-19 vaccine sales should be around 20 per cent of its gross income.

Pfizer's declared expropriation of added-value (profit) from its total realized gross income from all its sales in 2020 was $9.6 billion on a gross income of $41.908 billion. This reveals how profitable global health care has become for the cartels, especially when coupled with a form of pay-the-rich pharmacare. In addition to this private profit for the global owners, the Pfizer CEO was given $21 million as a so-called salary for 2020.

The BioNTech section of the cartel has "locked in" $11.8 billion in sales of the vaccine to this point mostly to European government COVID-19 pharmacare programs. The European Union alone has initially agreed to buy 1.8 billion Pfizer doses from the cartel without disclosing the price. Fosun says it has orders for 100 million doses in China on the books. The Pfizer cartel projects to produce and sell billions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 alone and continue in the coming years with "booster shots," including a modified version that only requires normal refrigeration not super low freezing as with the current one.

Intellectual Property Rights Within Liberal Democratic System

The oligarchs in control of Big Pharma oppose making the thought material surrounding the development of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine known to all so it can be reproduced throughout the world for the benefit of all humanity. They insist the thought material dealing with mRNA is their private property coming from the heads of their scientists and should be used to profit the owners of the cartel as they paid for the necessary research to develop the vaccine.

March 11, 2021. Demonstration in
Cambridge, England

Within the situation and modern world, to think of advances in science as someone's private property and not the treasured public property of all humanity is not only backward indeed but untenable. Propagandists for imperialism declare that the right of property ownership is the foundation for life itself but it is proving to be the opposite -- their so-called liberal democratic system which makes sure narrow private interests prosper is the purveyor of death and destruction all over the world.

The Pfizer cartel opposes any weakening of its private ownership of the thought material that it declares its scientists have developed as this would negatively affect its aim of making maximum profit. Writing in the New York Times, Rebecca Robbins and Peter S. Goodman point out the hypocrisy of this view. Pfizer's cartel partner BioNTech, they write, has "received substantial support from the German government in developing their joint vaccine. And taxpayer-funded research aided both companies -- the (U.S.) National Institutes of Health (NIH) patented technology helped make so-called messenger RNA vaccines possible. BioNTech has a licensing agreement with the NIH, and Pfizer is piggybacking on that license."[2]

The concept that in 2021 an individual or group can come up with an idea, innovation or invention that does not require the accumulated thought material of the ages and the collective participation of the people and resources of society is irrational. In today's world, scientific developments are social in the same manner the economy and life generally are social. Private ownership of ideas or thought material is in contradiction with the reality of modern social life. No recent invention or development in medicine, IT, digitalization, robotics or Artificial Intelligence would have been possible a century ago let alone during the previous peasant era of petty production. Scientific developments today are the result of mass public education and the accumulated thought material of the ages, especially since science began to take a solid and consistent public theoretical form in the late eighteenth century and left behind forever its previous dominant empirical character.

Lost in all the hoopla surrounding vaccines as the silver bullet to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic is a discussion of the possibilities to overwhelm or isolate the virus not only with pharmaceutical intervention but by taking action against its spread in particular to the most vulnerable throughout the world. 

The condition for the global spread of the virus is the imperialist system of states and their neo-liberal globalization and the past thirty years of the ruling oligarchs' anti-social neo-liberal destruction of society and its social programs and norms. The pandemic is further exposing how untenable this situation has become and can only be resolved by establishing human-centred public enterprises capable of research and development and delivery of pharmaceuticals needed by the people. This modern approach would eliminate the making of maximum private profit for remedies and vaccines which is now blocking the mass distribution of vaccines to deal with COVID-19. As long as this is in the hands of the imperialist cartels the world cannot be made safe.

Globalization has taken place at lightning speed to serve the cartels and their mania for maximum profit. In doing so they are incapable of dealing with the consequences of their actions. The fight for lives is the fight for rights and this is the alternative to what the governments in the service of the rich are doing with their pay-the-rich schemes and anti-social offensive.

March 11, 2021. Boston, Massachusetts protest.


1. Pfizer Inc. is a U.S. global cartel headquartered in New York. It develops and produces medicines and vaccines for immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. In 2020, the company had seven drugs or products that each realized more than $1 billion in gross income. Pfizer reported a total gross income of $41.908 billion for 2020 and private ownership of assets valued at $178.983 billion. In 2020, the company bought the capacity to work of 78,500 workers of which 29,400 worked in the United States.

BioNTech SE is a German biotechnology company that develops and manufactures active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches to the treatment of diseases. It declared a gross income of 121.5 million euros in 2019 with private ownership of assets valued at 797.7 million euros. It purchased the capacity to work of 1,323 workers in 2019. 

Fosun International Limited is a Chinese global cartel headquartered in Shanghai. The cartel has operations in 16 countries engaged in every sector of the modern socialized economy, including entertainment as majority owner and operator of Cirque du Soleil. Fosun had a declared gross income of $20.7 billion in 2019 on total private ownership of assets valued at $102.6 billion while buying the capacity to work of 71,000 workers. (Wikipedia)

2. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research. It was founded in the late 1880s and is now part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH conducts its own scientific research through its Intramural Research Program and provides major biomedical research funding to private non-NIH research facilities through its Extramural Research Program.

As of 2013, the Intramural Research Program had 1,200 principal investigators and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows in basic, translational, and clinical research, being the largest biomedical research institution in the world. Translational research includes two areas of translation. One is the process of applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory and in preclinical studies to the development of trials and studies in humans.

As of 2003, the extramural arm of the NIH provided 28 per cent of biomedical research funding spent annually in the U.S., or about $26.4 billion. (Wikipedia)

(With files from New York Times article: Pfizer Reaps Hundreds of Millions in Profits from COVID Vaccine.)

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Infrastructure Development to Pay the Rich

There Is an Alternative!Time for Democratic Renewal and
a New Direction for the Economy!

There are infrastructure projects across the country that cast long shadows over public spending on infrastructure. These infrastructure projects essentially enrich a handful of private developers, landowners and financiers. They are the people who decide, control and profit from infrastructure projects. The corruption is so thick it even raises questions about the necessity of the projects in the first place.

The necessity for infrastructure in a modern economy is self evident, which in effect is why corruption appears to be so easy to cover up with high-sounding phrases, for example, nowadays especially by claiming that something is "green." Industrial mass production demands a level of productivity in energy and water consumption, sewage disposal and transportation that only big expensive projects can deliver. And it seems, the larger the project the greater the sleaze.

Lenin, in 1916, exposed the imperialist practice of enriching land developers and banks by extending mass transit to the far reaches of sprawling cities: "Speculation in land situated in the suburbs of rapidly growing big towns is a particularly profitable operation for finance capital. The monopoly of the banks merges here with the monopoly of ground-rent and with monopoly of the means of communication, since the rise in the price of land and the possibility of selling it profitably in lots, etc., is mainly dependent on good means of communication with the centre of the town; and these means of communication are in the hands of large companies which are connected with these same banks through the holding system and the distribution of seats on the boards."[1]

How the infrastructure is conceived, decided, controlled, financed, organized, built, maintained and managed from inception to ongoing use is the crux of the matter. Within the present situation, a ruling oligarchy decides and controls these matters and manipulates public opinion to accept the decision. The people do not control or decide any aspect of the development even though it directly affects their lives, the economy and the social and natural environment. The ruling elite suggest no alternative is possible except to pay the rich, generating cynicism and distrust and casting a pall over society as nation-building is turned upside down, degenerating into criminal nation-wrecking. Of course this is not the final word on the matter for, as with everything, the people are quite capable of turning the situation around in a new direction that serves their interests and builds the New and leaves the filth behind.

Stories of the corruption and sleaze tend to serve scandal politics against the government of the day and feed the liberal illusion that a sleazy government can be replaced by one which is not sleazy. No better case exists than that of Ontario to prove that this is not the case. Subsequent governments, no matter the political stripe of the party in power, have been corrupt on very grand scales. It is the system of party government which is corrupt and requires replacement with a system that elects citizens to the legislature and these citizens elect their government and hold it to account. They must not permit narrow private interests to influence the direction of the economy, government projects, policies or regulations.

In the case of infrastructure projects in Ontario, the corruption is so blatant it is little wonder Premier Doug Ford is crying at press conferences pretending he cares about the people. If it stinks and gleams like rotting fish, it most probably is rotten. Time to stop paying the rich and clean out the filthy stable through democratic renewal and a new direction for the economy!

For the example of the corruption involved in the construction of  Highway 413 in Ontario click here.

Together Let's Build the New!


1. V.I. Lenin, Chapter 3: Finance Capital and the Financial Oligarchy, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

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Manitoba Bill 57, Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act

Preparation for All-Out Criminalization of
People Fighting for Their Rights

March 23, 2021. Protest against Bill 57 outside Manitoba legislature.

On March 15, the Manitoba government of Premier Brian Pallister announced that it is "distributing new legislation that would prevent interference with critical infrastructure while respecting the right to freedom of assembly and expression." The expression "distributing new legislation" hides the fact that Bill 57, the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act, passed first reading at the Manitoba Legislature in November 2020 and was only made public four-and-a-half months later. Eighteen other bills that passed first reading at the same time were also published months later. Federally, bills are printed within hours after passing first reading.

This in itself shows how the neo-liberal government executives have destroyed parliaments and legislatures as places to debate legislation and other issues that affect the people. Now debate on Bill 57 has been delayed until the fall after the NDP used a procedural rule of the Manitoba Legislature which allows the official opposition to delay a number of bills to the next session.

Bill 57 prepares the ground for all-out criminalization of the people fighting for their rights. The bill states that the owner or operator of what is considered critical infrastructure may bring an application to the court for an order establishing a critical infrastructure protection zone if the owner believes there is interference with the construction or operation of the infrastructure. Once the court makes the order, individuals or corporations that disobey the order are subjected to fines and individuals are also subject to imprisonment.

The bill defines "critical infrastructure" as just about everything under the sun, from pipelines and railways to hospitals, personal care homes and "facilities required for the delivery of government services to the public or for the effective functioning of the Legislature." It says: "Infrastructure is critical infrastructure if the use or presence of the infrastructure makes a significant contribution to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Manitobans."

October 26, 2020. Alberta health care workers walk out in defence of their rights and picket Royal Alexandria Hospital in Edmonton.

Justice Minister Cameron Friesen justified the legislation in a March 15 communiqué: "We must also ensure Manitobans have access to uncompromised supplies and services, and can pursue their livelihoods unencumbered." However, the legislation does not protect the services that are provided or should be provided via the infrastructure. That is not the aim of the bill. The fact is that people may die in the hospitals because workers do not have the conditions to provide the needed care, legislatures may pass bills and regulations that jeopardize workers' and peoples' health and safety, and rail workers may die on the job because of overall unsafe conditions. The purpose of the bill is to step up the anti-social offensive against the people and make the people's resistance illegal.

The bill can be invoked with a claim of "interference" with critical infrastructure, for instance by workers, youth and Indigenous peoples protesting against the violation of their rights and demanding justice in the vicinity of the infrastructure or on the land where the infrastructure is located. The bill denies the causes for which people are holding their actions. It is another mechanism to impose the dictate of the narrow private interests which own and operate the infrastructure or the government executives that run it on behalf of narrow private interests, under the hoax of protecting infrastructure that makes a significant contribution to the well-being of Manitobans.

The fact that the bill includes the land on which the infrastructure operates as part of the infrastructure itself clearly shows that a main target of the legislation is the Indigenous peoples who, with their supporters, are defending their lands and hereditary and treaty rights. Clearly, the bill was triggered by the determination to crush protests such as the nationwide protests, including rail blockades, in support of the Wet'suwet'en land defenders who blocked construction of a gas pipeline through the BC First Nation's hereditary territory, affirming their right to say No!

February 10, 2020. Winnipeg action opposes RCMP invasion of Wet'suwet'en territory.

The hereditary and treaty rights of Indigenous land defenders and their supporters are denied through the bill, while the "right" of global private interests to operate as they please, without the consent of the people and in violation of their rights, is enshrined in the law. The Kenney government passed similar legislation in 2020. This is called politicizing private interests and criminalizing public interests.

The fact that this bill extends the concept of critical infrastructure to include health care institutions and government shows that the intent is to criminalize the fight of the people for their rights in all aspects of life. This must not pass!

The entire bill is an intolerable attack on peoples' right to express their conscience and determine the direction of economic and political affairs to make them serve the needs and interests of the people and not those of the rich.

It shows the inability of the government of Manitoba to provide any convincing argument for its pay-the-rich agenda and anti-social offensive. To resort to suppression and criminalization underscores how impotent it actually is. 

Manitobans have a proud history of fighting for rights and no self-respecting Manitoban will submit to such things. The government is showing how weak it is. Manitobans consider that speaking out against what the government is doing is a must, as organizations representing the interests of farmers, Indigenous people and university faculty are already doing.

Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations

The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations writes in a March statement that Bill 57 is plagiarized from an American Corporate Lobby Group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). They state "ALEC works behind the scenes to provide fill-in-the-blanks legislation to Republican legislators to promote their corporate, right-wing agenda: making government as small and taxes as low as possible, bringing in anti-union right-to-work acts, voter suppression laws and even stand-your-ground NRA pro-gun legislation....

"Bill 57, the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act finds its original source in Oklahoma House Bills 1123 and 2128. These were aimed at curbing mass protest by Indigenous communities in the wake of the Standing Rock pipeline protest in North Dakota. The Pallister government has introduced this legislation as their own without attributing the real source: the ALEC model bill crafted out of the Oklahoma legislation. [...]"

National Farmers Union in Manitoba
Upholds Critical Democratic Rights

The National Farmers Union (NFU) in Manitoba issued a statement on March 9 which opposes Bill 57, the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act "on the grounds of both substance and process." It says amongst other things:

"Bill 57 was introduced after Alberta passed its Critical Infrastructure Defence Act in 2020 and there is little doubt that it will follow its lead in terms of its content as well. The Alberta law empowers the government to impose punitive fines or imprison protesters for trespass or interference with big business. The Alberta law allows the government to expand what it means by 'critical infrastructure' by simply passing a Cabinet order. Alberta's law protects the interests of large corporations that are wealthy and powerful, and seeks to intimidate or punish citizens and communities who have few means other than peaceful protest to bring attention to their issues and demand a hearing.

"There are many examples in Manitoba's history where the kind of protest Bill 57 seeks to prevent has led to important advances. From the Metis under Riel in 1870, the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, Manitoba has been shaped by citizens standing up for their rights. Bill 57 would silence democratic voices and see Manitoba's future defined by the interests of corporations instead.

"The NFU is dedicated to the protection of the lands and waters that sustain Canadian quality of life and stands in solidarity with those engaged in this work. The NFU's historic successes advancing farmers' interests are based on the right to peaceful protest. This bill would infringe on our right to continue to do so. Non-violent peaceful protest has been an important means of influence for farmers in Canada, and it is a right of farmers to be able to express their opinions in this way. Our democratic rights are critical to our relationship with governments. This government's complete disregard for transparency regarding Bill 57 is discouraging and unacceptable in a democracy. For all these reasons, the NFU calls on the Manitoba Government to withdraw Bill 57."

Manitoba Indigenous Organizations Speak Out

Indigenous organizations in Manitoba have been speaking out against Bill 57. Addressing local media on March 16, the day after the legislation was presented, Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization said, "We have to challenge it at every aspect. ... The province and the federal government have been stacking the deck against First Nations for a long, long time."

Referring to the penalties in the bill, he said, "It's an intimidation tactic." He said the legislation is "a strategy, obviously, to silence the voices and the views of First Nations people who have been excluded for a very long time from infrastructure strategy and investments in terms of our partnership on a government-to-government basis ..."

At a mass rally at the legislature on March 23, Lisa Currier, Coordinator with Idle No More Northern Manitoba, one of the organizers of the rally said, "[Bill] 57 would silence our voices and just make us conveniently protest over there in the corner far away from where the heart of the issue is." She made the point that the bill violates Indigenous rights including those recognized in the Constitution with regard to Indigenous title to the land. "Section 2.3 of Bill 57 says that any lands that critical infrastructure sits on becomes part of the critical infrastructure and that sounds like land ownership to me."

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Main Features of Bill 57

Bill 57, the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Act begins with the recitals to the bill, a series of "whereases" which present the Bill as not extremist, but a balance between freedom of expression and assembly, and protection of critical infrastructure from interference:

"WHEREAS there exists a constitutional right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, which includes the right to assemble in public places for the purpose of democratic discourse;

"AND WHEREAS throughout Manitoba there exists critical infrastructure the use of which contributes significantly to the health, safety, security and economic well-being of Manitobans;

"AND WHEREAS it is in the interest of all Manitobans that critical infrastructure be protected from interference while respecting the right to assemble for the purpose of democratic discourse; [...]"

What the whole bill actually establishes is the process through which the fight of the people in defence of their rights is to be criminalized by the state under the hoax that it "interferes" with what is called critical infrastructure. The word "interference" is not provided with a definition. The bill suggests that anybody who, through their actions, prevents an owner or an operator of critical infrastructure from building or operating it commits interference.

Vacuous Definition of Critical Infrastructure

The bill gives the following definition of critical infrastructure: "Infrastructure is critical infrastructure if the use or presence of the infrastructure makes a significant contribution to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Manitobans."

To ensure that the issue of the land is front and centre in this process of criminalization, the bill states: "For the purposes of this Act, land or premises on which critical infrastructure is located is considered to form part of the critical infrastructure."

Spurious Process for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure

The process for protecting critical infrastructure from interference begins with the owner or operator of critical infrastructure applying to the court for an order establishing a critical infrastructure protection zone, when the owner or the operator "believes" that people are interfering with "the construction, operation, use, maintenance or repair of the infrastructure."

The court must hear the application on an urgent basis. If it rules that the infrastructure is critical infrastructure, that its "construction, operation, use, maintenance or repair" is being "interfered with, hindered or delayed," and that an order is necessary to free the infrastructure from interference, the court issues an order establishing a critical infrastructure protection zone on an urgent basis. The bill also provides that the court may issue such an order without an application for an order by the owner or operator if the court "is satisfied that it would be impractical for an applicant" to apply for such an order.

The court order designates an area surrounding the critical infrastructure as a critical infrastructure protection zone and prohibits anyone from entering the zone, prohibits or restricts specified conduct within the zone, and prohibits interference with any access required to bring people or materials into the zone.

Designating an Area Where People May Congregate

A part of the bill claims to protect the "constitutional right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, which includes the right to assemble in public places for the purpose of democratic discourse." It is an example of the use of the courts to defend private property rights in the name of deciding on behalf of the people all the limitations which the ruling class considers to be reasonable. The clear aim is to make sure that the role of the people is reduced to one of lobbying governments or employers in a manner which puts no pressure on them and in fact facilitates depriving the people of saying what can and cannot go on on matters which affect their lives.

The bill states that the court that makes the order to create a critical infrastructure protection zone may designate an area near or within the protection zone where people may congregate "for the purpose of exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression." The court has to be satisfied that the designation is necessary for those rights to be protected and that it does not create a safety problem for anyone.

The hypocrisy is such that to protect the claim of the ruling class that the courts are neutral and serve everyone equally, the bill states that the court "must have regard to the need for the area to be on public property, as close to the critical infrastructure as practicable, and visible to members of the public."

The bill contains nothing about forcing governments to define the public interest in a manner which does not serve narrow private interests and to abide by what the people decide.

Offence, Penalties and Seizure Powers Designed
to Create a Lot of Political Prisoners

The bill sets penalties for individuals found guilty of contravening the court order or helping or counselling another person to do so. The penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both. For a corporation, the penalty is a fine of up to $25,000. When the contravention of the order lasts more than one day, the person is guilty of a separate offence for each day.

The bill also establishes seizure powers. It says: "A peace officer who discovers an offence being committed under this Act may seize any motor vehicle, trailer or other thing that is used as an instrument in the commission of the offence or is evidence of the offence."

The bill also entitles the Court to suspend the person's driver's licence for up to one year or disqualify the person from holding a driver's licence for up to one year when the person found guilty of contravening the Act has used a motor vehicle or trailer in their action. The Explanatory Notes state: "Items used in the commission of the offence, such as motor vehicles or trailers used to establish a blockade, may be seized and forfeited on conviction."

Schedule Concentrates Arbitrary Powers in Government

For good measure, under the schedule which lists infrastructure considered critical, the bill hands over full arbitrary powers to the Manitoba government to decide as it goes along. The bill states that the Manitoba government may also, by regulations, designate other infrastructure as critical infrastructure.

The Schedule sets out 10 categories of critical infrastructure: agriculture and food production; communications; finance; government; health care; justice and public safety; oil, gas and electricity; transportation; waste disposal; and water, sewer and drainage.

The list is much broader than the list that is included in the Alberta government's Bill 1, the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, which was passed in May 2020. Bill 1 however contained the provision that anything could be defined as “critical infrastructure,” including “a building, structure, device or other thing prescribed by the regulations.” Regulations have yet to be published. 

To give a rough idea of what is called critical infrastructure in the Manitoba bill, under agriculture and food production, it includes, among others, animal feed processing and packaging facilities, animal processing facilities, food processing facilities and even grocery stores and other stores that sell food products.

Under health care, it includes ambulance and patient transport services, hospitals and medical clinics, and personal care homes.

Under government, it includes "facilities required for the delivery of government services to the public or for the effective functioning of the Legislature."

It is clear that the government has in mind criminalizing peoples' actions at places such as meat packing plants, hospitals and other health establishments, at the Legislature and other places where people denounce the anti-social offensive and the refusal to protect people against COVID-19. Workers, Indigenous land defenders and others who oppose the dictate of the rail, oil and gas monopolies and defend their rights and their future, as well as youth and farmers organizing actions will all be targets.

The whole bill is an intolerable attack on peoples' right to express their conscience and determine the direction of economic and political affairs to make them serve the needs and interests of the people and not those of the rich.

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Federal Government's Attempt to Escape Its
Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples

Canada's Self-Serving Definition of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Trudeau Liberals are pushing through Bill C-15 An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill C-15, like everything else the Trudeau Liberals have done in the name of truth and reconciliation, is based on a lie. Far from committing Canada to recognizing Indigenous peoples' rights, Bill C-15 aims to put a UN seal of approval to the ongoing refusal of the Canadian state to honour Indigenous peoples as sovereign nations and honour their hereditary and treaty rights.

The Liberals would like this law passed before the next election so that they can claim to be following through with "truth and reconciliation." With the help of the NDP they moved one step closer to that goal, imposing closure on debate of bill C-15 on April 15 and sending it for study by the Parliamentary Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs. The Committee completed its study within a week and adopted the Bill with two amendments after hearing from a small group of witnesses, the vast majority of whom urged swift passage of the bill. Clearly the major concerns of many of the more than 47 written submissions, particularly from First Nations questioning the legitimacy of Bill C-15 or urging more time for study of the Bill, were swept aside.

The monopoly media is facilitating this agenda to convince Canadians the Indigenous peoples are on board with Bill C-15. In fact, just as with the Liberal government's so-called "consultations" on Bill C-15, it is only the hand-picked few who are featured. As Indigenous peoples have become aware there has been increasing and militant resistance to Bill C-15.

On April 1, for example, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) assisted by the Green Party, held a press conference denouncing the attempts by the Trudeau Liberals to push this legislation forward. Grand Chief Joel Adams of the AIAI said: "It's bad enough they are trying to decide what's best without consulting with us, which is an insult in itself, but now they are using UNDRIP as an excuse to push their agenda in trying to take away the rights of all Indigenous Peoples. They are rushing to get this pushed through legislation with the least amount of consultation as possible so they can make the argument that it has Indigenous support when in fact a large number of communities were not consulted or made aware that this could be a reality."

The 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was a hard-fought decades-long struggle for the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the world. The aim was to provide a legal platform from which Indigenous peoples could launch campaigns to advance the fight for their rights within colonial oppressor states like Canada. At the UN, Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand -- the four nations with the most horrific record of genocide against Indigenous peoples -- did everything they could to sabotage the efforts of Indigenous peoples from Canada and around the world as they strove to assert their right to be on the agenda of all humanity at the UN. The main thrust of this campaign, often led by Canada, was to ensure that the right to sovereignty of Indigenous peoples in Canada and internationally would not be guaranteed in the Declaration.

Dr Hayden King, an Anishinaabe scholar and Executive Director of the Yellowhead Institute at Ryerson University, elaborated on this in a 2019 article entitled "UNDRIP's Fundamental Flaw." Dr. King poses the question of how Indigenous rights can be affirmed when the UNDRIP was "created with intrinsic power structures intact -- leaving the state with ultimate control." He noted that "During discussions, English-speaking states frequently objected to the draft declaration, re-writing over a dozen articles and even removing some. These changes were made despite boycotts and hunger strikes by Indigenous delegates at the United Nations."

The most damaging changes were made to the last article, Article 46. "The original text stated, 'Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations,' while the revised Article 46(1) added 'any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.'"

In this way Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand systematically changed the thrust and intent of the original 1994 UNDRIP draft presented by the Working Group for Indigenous People which put the right to Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination in first place. Even with these changes, Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand all voted against the Declaration when it was adopted by an overwhelming majority (144 countries in favour with 11 abstentions) of the General Assembly in September 2007.

With its nay vote, the Canadian state, with the Harper Conservatives in power, showed its refusal to even recognize the Indigenous peoples. Bill C-15 is an attempt by the Trudeau Liberals to codify in Canadian law under the figleaf of UN approval, Canada's continuing effort to contain the rights of Indigenous peoples within the 19th century colonial framework, which runs roughshod over the hereditary and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples. It is extremely self-serving on the part of the Trudeau Liberals.

One only has to look at what happened in BC after the NDP government of John Horgan passed Bill 41, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, in November 2019. Some of the people who helped pass the legislation are being recruited now to speak in favour of Bill C-15. Yet Horgan had no compunction to criminalize the Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders and call for RCMP paramilitary assaults against them when they stood up to defend their hereditary and land rights against the Coastal Gas Pipeline. That was less than two months after BC "recognized" UNDRIP. Similarly, despite ongoing opposition by Indigenous peoples and their allies, tens of millions of dollars have been handed over to private monopolies in subsidies to continue construction of the Site-C Dam in BC on Indigenous land, hunting and sacred sites. So much for how UNDRIP is being "upheld" in Canada.

Bill C-15 is based on a lie. Charmaine White Face, an Oglala Sioux spokesperson and elder, issued a statement on April 16 on behalf of the Indigenous Activists Networks, denouncing the attempts by Canada to pass Bill C-15. She underscored that the UNDRIP of 2007 "is NOT the Declaration approved by Indigenous Peoples and to say that Bill C-15 will affirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples is spurious and will be harmful to Canada. She noted that to claim "Bill C-15 will affirm the rights of Indigenous Peoples is not true. The UNDRIP was changed to satisfy colonizing governments' continued pursuit for control over Indigenous Peoples and resources." She underlined that Canada could stand for the truth and base its laws on the 1994 draft of UNDRIP, which the Indigenous peoples of the world drafted and approved and which also had the approval of two UN Committees. She warned that to proceed with Bill C-15 would be dishonest and damaging to Canada.

The more the opposition to Bill C-15 from the Indigenous Rights and Title holders grows, the more the Trudeau Liberals are going to be isolated and desperate. The struggle against Bill C-15 brings to the fore the constitutional crisis in Canada and need for a modern democratic Canada, a free and voluntary union, with a modern constitution that upholds the hereditary rights and title of Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. Bill C-15 should be withdrawn and Canada's relations with Indigenous peoples must be based on mutual respect and equality, recognizing their inalienable right to sovereignty and self-determination. 

Withdraw Bill C-15!
No to Canada's Self-Serving Definition of the UNDRIP!
Uphold the Hereditary Rights of Indigenous Peoples!

(With files from Yellowhead Institute, Indigenous Activists Networks, Government of Canada)

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Haudenosaunee Affirm Sovereignty --
Declare Moratorium to End Further Development
on Haldimand Tract

On April 20, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council held a press conference outside the Onondaga Longhouse on Six Nations of the Grand River to declare an immediate moratorium on any further development in the Haldimand Tract. This is land the Crown, which usurped Indigenous territories in the first place, "bequeathed" the Six Nations of the Grand River in 1784 as compensation for the loss of their territories and for being military allies of the British during the American Revolutionary War. What was roughly 384,451 hectares along the Grand River has been reduced to less than five per cent of its original size through land grabs by governments for urban development, and other illegal and underhanded means.

Speaking on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Chiefs Council, Deyohowe:to (Roger Silversmith), Snipe Clan Chief of the Cayuga Nation stated among other things:

"According to our law, the land is not private property that can be owned by any individual. In our world view the land is a right to be held in common for the benefit of all. The land is a sacred trust placed in our care for the sake of the coming generations," the Chief said. "Land is meant to be shared among, and by, the people." "It is not for permanent empire building," he added.

He highlighted the immense challenges faced by the Haudenosaunee for more than 200 years to affirm their land rights: "Our ancestors faced overwhelming odds and relentless pressure to give up our lands. Unscrupulous practices were used to coerce our ancestors into selling the land. At other times outright fraud took place as acknowledged in the Royal Proclamation of 1763."

Deyohowe:to emphasized that the Haudenosaunee live by the Great Law of Peace and agreements made by the Crown based on the Two-Row Wampum, the Silver Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship, and that sharing or leasing the land is based on these agreements, another example of the Dish with One Spoon principle. "We seek justice in our longstanding land rights issue, we seek an accurate account of the use and investment of the funds held by the Crown on our behalf, and the land transactions of the Crown involving our lands. For nearly 200 years our Chiefs have been asking for such an accounting and justice. Generations of elders have passed away with these matters unresolved and it is time to end the injustice. We want the land that is ours. We are not interested in approving fraudulent dispossessions of the past. We are not interested in selling land," Deyohowe:to stated.

The Chief pointed out, "Our faith in the Canadian people is strong, as we feel that the majority of Canadians also want to see justice in these matters. However their elected representatives and public servants have failed to act effectively to address and resolve these matters. It is time to lift the cloud of denial and wipe away the politics that darken their vision of our future. It is time we are heard clearly. It is time our case is heard with utmost respect."

"Today we are putting a moratorium on development on the Haldimand Tract. No development can proceed on the Haldimand Tract without the consent of the Haudenosaunee. The moratorium builds on our land rights statement to end the exploitation of the land and resources along the Tract," Deyohowe:to affirmed. In concluding their press statement, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs and Clan Mothers affirmed their support for "the efforts and stand behind our people who are protecting our land rights." This is a powerful public statement of support for the land defenders at 1492 Landback Lane, who have stood their ground for the last 10 months defending unceded lands against the Foxgrove Developments' housing project on Six Nations territory.

"We want the Crown to keep its obligation to the treaties to ensure that all Crown governments, federal, provincial and municipal, are partners in those obligations," Deyohowe:to said. "We want an honourable relationship with the Crown, and a peaceful resolution to these longstanding issues."

All Out to Support the Haudenosaunee Moratorium on
Development on the Haldimand Tract!
Canada Must Respect Nation-to-Nation Relations with the Haudenosaunee!
Uphold the Sovereignty of the Six Nations!

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Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs
Denounce Latest Criminal Act by Canada

October 16, 2020. Support action in Halifax for Mi'kmaw moderate livelihood fishery.

On April 30, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs issued a media release denouncing the seizure of 37 lobster traps from a Potlotek First Nation Netukulimk Livelihood harvester earlier in the day by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the first day of the lobster fishing season.

The press release points out that the Potlotek First Nations harvester "was authorized by his community and was fishing pursuant to his community's Netukulimk Livelihood Fishery Plan." Chief Gerald Toney, the Fisheries Lead for the Assembly added, "Not only was the harvester in full accordance with community's regulations, but the harvester was also fishing within DFO's dictated commercial season." Chief Toney called the seizure of the traps a "shameful and illegal act." Chief Wilbert Marshall of the Potlotek First Nation stated that the seizure of the harvester's means of a livelihood was "a failure of the Government of Canada to accommodate our Rights and a failure to uphold the Honour of the Crown."

"The Potlotek Plan is the same as the plan fished last fall, with minor changes, but Potlotek First Nation has been fully transparent with DFO in the development and sharing of their plan to implement their Treaty Right to fish and sell fish for a moderate livelihood, as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada," the press release emphasizes.

As a sovereign Indigenous Nation, the Mi'kmaw have the right to self-determination in all their affairs including matters concerning their means of a livelihood in accordance with the Peace and Friendship Treaties signed with the Crown prior to 1779. The refusal of the Canadian state through the DFO acting on behalf of the Crown to recognize this fact is a block to harmonious relations between the Mi'kmaw and Canada. The use of force to seize the lobster traps and other equipment of the Mi'kmaq fishers and to charge Mi'kmaq harvesters shows exactly how the Trudeau Liberals self-servingly intend to "uphold" the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada through Bill C-15 which is now being pushed through parliament.

Ongoing attempts to criminalize the Mi'kmaw, and treat them as wards of the Crown will not succeed. Not only will the Mi'kmaw continue to assert their sovereignty and hereditary rights to fish and other matters which cannot be given or taken away, but the entire Canadian people stand behind them and their just demands.

Hands Off the Mi'kmaq Fishers!
Return Their Stolen Traps!
Respect the Sovereignty of the Mi'kmaw and All Indigenous Peoples!

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1850 Robinson Treaties Annuities Case

Justice Denied

Two court cases of import to Sudbury and Northern Ontario took place over the past few days. One has been proceeding with the speed of molasses in January, the other is proceeding with the speed of a deadly bullet.

On April 28, the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded its hearing of the Government of Ontario's appeal of the Stage 1 decision in the 1850 Robinson Treaties annuities case. This case involves an augmentation clause in the Treaties whereby the Crown agreed to increase the annuity if the Crown could do so without a loss. The annuity was last increased in 1875 to $4/person/year. In 2014, the twenty-one First Nations party to the Robinson Treaties took Canada and Ontario to court to gain an augmentation in the annuity. In December 2018, Justice Patricia Hennessy of the Ontario Superior Court released her decision in Stage 1, ruling in favour of the First Nation plaintiffs. The court found, among other things, that "the Crown has a mandatory and reviewable obligation to increase the Treaties' annuities when the economic circumstances warrant, and that the economic circumstances will trigger an increase if the net Crown resource-based revenues permit the Crown to increase the annuities without incurring a loss." It is this decision that the Ontario Government is appealing. The case is proceeding to a Stage 2 appeal later this year, after which the judges will render their verdict.

On April 29 and 30, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard an application by Laurentian University for an extension in creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Under the CCAA, Laurentian has cancelled 69 programs and terminated almost 200 employees, forced concessions from its unionized employees and broken the 60-year-old contracts between Laurentian and its affiliated Universities. The Court authorized Laurentian to enter into Stage 2 of the CCAA process which involves selling off land, buildings and other assets said not to be essential to Laurentian's core activities.

So, in the case in which the Indigenous peoples would benefit and the Canadian state and the financial oligarchy would provide compensation, the hearing of the case is taking many years and no restitution is being made while the case is being appealed. In the other case, where the Canadian state and the financial oligarchy would benefit and the members of the Laurentian community, Indigenous peoples, Francophones, Sudbury and Northern Ontario have much to lose, decisions are rapidly made and implemented in such a way that an appeal becomes pointless. Laurentian is being wrecked by the CCAA.

Such is Canadian justice in the twenty-first century.

For the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund Press Release May 3, 2021 click here.

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Permanent Resident Status For All Now!

"Exclusion, Disappointment,
Chaos and Exploitation"
-- Migrant Rights Network Report

On May 4, just days before the Trudeau Liberal government's May 6 launch of its "new pathway" to permanent residence, the Migrant Rights Network released a report entitled "Exclusion, Disappointment, Chaos and Exploitation."

The report is based on a survey it conducted with 3,000 of its migrant members over a two-week period following the government's April 14 announcement about the new short-term immigration pilot program "for over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates" presently residing in Canada.

The focus of the "new pathway" is on temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes and on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international graduates of Canadian educational institutions.

Eligibility requirements include having at least one year of Canadian work experience in a health care profession or another "pre-approved essential occupation." International graduates "must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017."

Besides the pathway being closed to the "1.18 million undocumented residents, refugees, students and migrants in Quebec," another "45.4 per cent of migrant workers" and "34.5 per cent of international graduates" who completed the survey are also excluded from the new program. An additional "48.27 per cent of international graduates and 45.4 per cent of migrant workers do not have the language test results required to apply for this first-come, first-served program."

The Migrant Rights Network is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau "to ensure permanent resident status for all migrant and undocumented people in the country, and ensure that all working class migrants that arrive in the future do so with permanent resident status."

It is also demanding that the current program be expanded "to include everyone without permanent status," that "all caps and the six-month window" be removed, and that "residents of Quebec" be allowed to apply. It also wants the "requirements for an English language test, educational credentials, current employment, and valid immigration status" removed. "Any other inadmissibility requirements must also be removed," it states, "and the application fees waived for low-wage workers."

To read the complete report, click here.

For the Migrant Rights Network Press Release May 4, 2021 click here

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Canada Refuses to Deal with Its Discriminatory Immigration Practices

The temporary immigration "pathways" for migrant workers and students announced by Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino on April 14 is a refusal by the government of Canada to put an end to its discriminatory immigration practices. Spearheaded by migrant rights organizations, Canadians have been demanding substantive change and renewal of Canada's immigration practices but the government has ignored these calls of Status for All.

More than 450 labour and social justice organizations called on the Minister and Prime Minister earlier this year to implement a single-tier immigration system, with equality and rights for all, where all migrant workers, students, refugees and undocumented people in the country are given full immigration status without exception.

Mendicino's "pathways to immigration" sidesteps any serious reform based on recognizing the rights of all.

The Trudeau Liberals are quick to say that the pandemic has revealed inequalities in our society. This is clearly the case with 850,000 temporary study and work permits being issued in Canada every year to people whose contribution to Canada is called "essential." Yet Canada's immigration practices make it impossible for the vast majority to attain full immigration status as landed immigrants.

But now when the pandemic disrupts the immigration targets set according to the self-serving interests of the rich, then with big smiles Minister Mendicino announces "we want you to stay." Without any sense of shame the Minister declares that from May to November this year Canada is opening 90,000 permanent resident spots to migrant workers and students currently living and working here: 20,000 for temporary foreign workers in health care; 30,000 for those in other selected essential occupations; and the remaining 40,000 for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution.

Everything about this "pathways to immigration" window is discriminatory, just a temporary loosening of Canada's discriminatory immigration practices. It is only for this year. Migrant workers and students arriving next year or the year after to perform the same essential duties and to study, will be out of luck.

"Pathways to immigration" excludes tens of thousands of undocumented residents who are employed openly through this corrupt system in health care and other essential occupations -- but with no rights whatsoever.

Many who work in agriculture, food production, construction and other essential sectors have no chance because they don't meet the "official language" proficiency requirements. Others won't apply because the limited definition of family members they can sponsor excludes their parents and other family members whom they support at home through temporary work programs here.

It is a disgrace. Canadians have higher standards of equality and human rights than this! Canada needs to renew its immigration practices on the basis of affirming the rights of all, equally, without any discrimination.

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Federal Budget Fails to Deliver Immigration Rights, Continues Focus on Failed Temporary Programs

An April 20 press release from the Migrant Rights Network informs that the federal government's 2021 Budget "continues Canada's trajectory of temporary migration, where the majority of new arrivals each year are on temporary study, work or refugee permits without equal rights or services."

We are informed that $168.3 million has been set aside for "paying for the management and the fallout of temporary immigration streams, and almost a billion dollars for border enforcement rather than ensuring full and permanent immigration status for all." Its announcement "of a childcare program does not ensure permanent resident status on arrival for the tens of thousands of low-waged, racialized migrant women who take care of children. There is no recovery without full equality and that requires full and permanent immigration status for all."

And even though the federal government acknowledges that migrants were responsible for 75 per cent of Canada's net GDP growth in 2019, it fails to "ensure equal rights for migrants."

The Budget "re-commits the federal government to recently announced time-limited and exclusionary pathways to permanent residence" as the program "excludes undocumented migrants, refugees, students in programs less than two years long, those that are currently unemployed, those without valid work authorization, those that cannot pass language exams, and those in many essential industries."

As for the government's intention to propose amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship with even more authority to determine who becomes a permanent resident, the organization points out that over the last decade "incredible power has been centralized in the Minister's hands resulting in the proliferation of so-called Pilot Programs, creating more and more temporary immigration streams and "pathways" to permanent residency that few people can access. It is time to overhaul the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to ensure permanent resident status for all migrants, including on arrival."

The federal government's Budget proposal of $656.1 million over five years and $123.8 million ongoing to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to modernize the borders means that those funds "will likely result in increased immigration enforcement, more integration with U.S. Border control but will not ensure oversight of CBSA."

An amount of $57.6 million has been set aside to extend the Mandatory Isolation Support for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to help employers offset costs associated with temporary foreign workers fulfilling isolation requirements upon entering Canada. However, "[s]ince the beginning of the pandemic," the Migrant Rights Network points out, "increased subsidies for employers have failed to improve quarantine conditions for migrant workers." Instead, "[m]igrants need permanent resident status to access and enforce rights."

Even though $54.9 million has been allocated to Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to increase inspections, they "cannot even share the fact or results of an inspection with the workers whose complaints triggered those inspections in the first place," let alone ensure that "they are compensated in instances of abuse."

As for the $6.3 million to be set aside to support faster processing and improved service delivery of open work permits for vulnerable workers: "Most migrants cannot apply for these permits because of onerous application procedures which require access to legal advice and documentation."

With regard to the proposed $428.9 million investment, with $398.5 million in remaining amortization, to develop and deliver a new digital platform for immigration processing, the advocacy group notes: "The problems with the immigration system are not just about technology. Processing backlogs and long wait times are the result of the many unjust and impossible requirements migrants must meet in order to access permanent residency."

As for the planned $49.5 million to support community-based organizations in the provision of migrant worker programs and services, the organization notes: "This funding aims to provide rights information to migrants without permanent resident status that migrant groups have called a "waste of resources." The problem, it points out, "is not that migrants don't have information about their rights, it's that they are either excluded from rights or cannot assert those they do have without risking termination and deportation, because of their temporary immigration status."

(Source: Migrant Rights Network )

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Coming Event: March on Ottawa, July 18-25

A march from Montreal to Ottawa is planned July 18 to 25 in support of the demand of status for all migrant workers and action from the Trudeau government. The theme of the actions is "Trudeau, we're tired of waiting, we're on our way!"

This action and others were announced at a press conference March 27 hosted by Solidarity Across Borders that was addressed as well by representatives of Le Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), La Coalition étudiante pour un virage environnemental et social (CEVES), Caring for Social Justice Collective, La Fédération des femmes du Québec and Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain de la CSN.

The march and other actions are being organized to build support for an ongoing, comprehensive regularization program for all migrants with precarious status. Speakers called on workers, women, Indigenous peoples, youth and people from all walks of life to step up mass actions in support of the demand for full immigration status for migrant workers and students in Canada, in defence of human dignity and the rights of all.

A press release issued by Solidarity Across Borders announcing the press conference points out "The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed migrants without permanent status into ever deeper precarity while simultaneously shining a public spotlight on the place they hold in Canadian society as both essential to the capitalist economy and disposable. The pan-Canadian Migrant Rights Network has taken the lead in mobilizing support across Quebec and Canada for status for all, a position echoed in recent months by Louise Arbour, the City of Montreal, and Amnistie internationale Canada francophone."

Recent changes to immigration rules continue to deny access to permanent resident status to the vast majority of migrant workers in Canada, including farm workers who are returning to Canada now for the 2021 season. The ruling elite continues to divide workers and deny rights to migrant workers in order to justify their super-exploitation. Migrant workers are part of the Canadian working class and the work done by farm workers, workers in health care, the service sector, warehousing, food processing, transportation and other sectors has been recognized as essential. There is no justification for dividing the working class into those with status and those without. The necessity for governments to guarantee the rights of all is urgent and immediate.

TML Monthly fully supports the march on Ottawa and other actions in defence of the rights of migrant workers and will provide more information on the actions as it becomes available.

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U.S. President Biden's First One Hundred Days

The Fraud of Claiming Human Rights to Hide More U.S. Crimes Against Humanity

March 7, 2021. On the eve of the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, 1,000 people marched through downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota with a scroll bearing more than 470 names of people killed by Minneapolis police. 

A lot is spoken about U.S. President Joe Biden's first one hundred days in office. All kinds of opinions are given about what he has or has not accomplished. What is significant, however, is what is kept hidden -- which is that he is committing crimes against humanity, both within the United States and all over the world, in the name of human rights, democracy, the environment and peace. In other words, his mission is to perpetuate fraud on a grand scale so as to shield the rule of a small elite by making sure the majority are not able to seize the initiative at this time to turn things around in their favour.

In his first 100 days Biden has said he is supporting racial justice, democracy, climate action and peace. The claims are intentional deception which is precisely what constitutes fraud. The intention is to hide the continuing U.S. crimes both at home and abroad, be they more police racist killings, or actions which negatively target immigrants and refugees, seeking to perpetuate the war against Afghanistan, foment tensions against China, Korea, Iran and Syria, step up the criminal blockade to bring down Cuba, and more.

Fraud is the means used to divert the people's movements from realizing their own aims to have greater control and accountability and to guarantee the rights of all will be protected. Fraud is also the means used to get everyone to accept the president as the source of change and rely on the presidency for everything.

The Derek Chauvin guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd was rendered on April 20. It was won because of the persistence of the movement across the U.S. demanding justice. The ruling elite could give no argument to get Chauvin off the hook for his crime. But according to Biden it is thanks to the justice system that Chauvin was found guilty. This is fraud! Biden spoke both before and after the conviction to give himself anti-racist credentials. Trying to associate himself with the demands of the movement concerning the need for significant change, he mentioned the need to confront "systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly," and "the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans." He then called on everyone to rely on the president and his Department of Justice to solve the problems. To show he means it, on the day after the conviction the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Minneapolis police department to determine if there is a "pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing." He also stressed that the president worked closely with the Minnesota attorney general in prosecuting the Chauvin case.

The reputation of the Justice Department is such that nobody is confused about the fraudulent role it plays. Across the U.S. people call it the Injustice Department. Neither Biden nor the news media that perpetuate his disinformation mention, and purposely, that police in the U.S. have killed at least 64 civilians just since the Chauvin trial began in March, with the killings of Daunte Wright (aged 20), Adam Toledo (13), and Ma'Khia Bryant (16), recent examples. There is an intentional pattern of racist state violence and killings targeting African Americans. Yet according to the Biden administration, the very forces responsible for the crimes, with the Injustice Department prime among them, are to be relied on to solve the problem.

April 14, 2021. Demonstration in Minneapolis suburb following the police killing of Daunte Wright on April 11, 2021.

This example, among all the others, plainly illustrates the nature of fraud -- that those most responsible for the crimes committed are also the ones with the power to decide who is committing the crimes and who is punished.

When it comes to accountability, Biden repeats the nonsense that the problem is that of a few "bad apples:" "(M)ost men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honourably." During the Chauvin trial the Minnesota attorney general gave the same argument. The trial was not about policing, but about Chauvin, he said. "This is not an anti-police prosecution, it's a pro-police prosecution." This stand is directly aimed at the hundreds and thousands of people who are defending rights by demanding fundamental change to policing itself.

Biden has also chosen not to speak to a report issued April 27 by the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence in the United States, which concluded that there is "a continuing pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Commissioners find a pattern and practice of racist police violence in the U.S. in the context of a history of oppression dating back to the extermination of First Nations peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the militarization of U.S. society, and the continued perpetuation of structural racism."

The Commission of Inquiry also provided concrete steps the president can take, such as supporting "legislation aimed at divesting federal resources from incarceration and policing," demilitarization and removing the immunity police now have for their crimes. It calls for the U.S. executive and legislative branches to "acknowledge that the transatlantic trade in Africans, enslavement, colonization and colonialism were Crimes against Humanity" that require reparations, including "a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities, an African knowledge program, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer, financial support, and debt cancellation."

Biden has acknowledged neither the report nor its recommendations. Instead, he talks about the work "we do every day to change hearts and minds." This is the same vacuous justification given to defend the criminal U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. He goes out of his way to target the broad and persistent actions demanding justice and calling for the people to decide matters like policing, crime and punishment and war and peace, saying that "peaceful" protest is acceptable but violent "agitators and extremists" cannot be allowed to succeed.

This brings out a problem the Biden presidency is facing which is that the arguments given to justify what cannot be justified are very weak, without any substance whatsoever. The entire world has witnessed and continues to witness practically every day the unfettered violence and brutality used by police agencies at all levels against protests in various cities all over the country, while federal police forces decide what is and is not "violent." Millions support the protests but what to think about them and how to judge them is not in their hands. The purposeful campaign of disinformation about the racist assaults against Blacks, Hispanics and Asians and the story that the president is concerned and doing something about the matter constitute fraud.

Biden is also silent about the fact that 34 states have introduced 81 anti-protest bills during the 2021 legislative session -- more than twice that in any other year. In Florida such a bill has become law. It criminalizes protests that obstruct traffic, makes defacing monuments a felony, blocks bail, and makes "mob intimidation" a crime. "Mob intimidation" is defined as three or more people acting with intent to force another to take their viewpoints.

Systematically, from the federal government on down, it is resistance that is criminalized while those most accountable for crimes are protected and given the power to judge those crimes and decide what is to be done. It is precisely this matter of concern about who decides and defines such issues as security and policing that is being raised by the broad mass protests. The persistence of the people's movement for rights and justice indicates that the people will continue to rely on their own efforts, not the fraud of the Biden presidency which insists that safeguarding the U.S. constitutional order is the way forward.

March 15, 2021. Action in Chicago, Illinois demands U.S. get out of Haiti

Another example of the fraud the Biden presidency is perpetrating concerns matters related to migration and refugees. President Biden has said the U.S. is intervening at the border with Mexico and in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador on a humanitarian basis. Conditions on the ground however show he has not only continued but even increased large numbers of deportations, not only to those countries but to Haiti as well. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol have continued to impose brutal and illegal conditions, not only against the many thousands of children at the border but also against the large number of people seeking asylum.

The claim is made that yet more U.S. intervention in these countries will address the "root causes" of immigration. These interventions include by-passing government officials to build relations directly with "civil society, from social issue groups to members of the private sector, members of the media." It includes funding of various kinds which have long been used to disrupt and destroy the economies and governance of these countries in a manner that favours integration into the U.S. war machine. For example, $125 million was given from USAID, notorious for ruining economies, and $104 million went to "protect" people in the region. Part of the "humanitarian aid" also comes from the Pentagon, which will provide $26 million "to increase its partnership activities in the region" -- meaning further integrating military forces in these countries under U.S. command while also more broadly militarizing life. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $25 million to "strengthen the Guatemalan agricultural sector and facilitate access to financing," and $30 million to "expand access to daily meals and literacy activities to school children."

The long history of U.S. intervention of this type is responsible for ruining the economies of these countries in the first place and for fomenting coups and aggressions and propping up corrupt regimes. The fraud is the claim that these funds are for humanitarian purposes, not to further integrate and control the peoples of Central America so as to disrupt their resistance, including their united efforts with the people of the U.S. to end all such interference and provide for relations of mutual support and benefit.

May 1, 2021. As in other cities demonstration in Washington DC, focuses on the rights of immigrants and those without status.

Matters of immigration are also connected to U.S. war plans. Greater control of Mexico and Canada and their integration into a North America of the U.S. Imperialists is being extended to the countries of Central America and the Caribbean as well.

President Biden has chosen the anniversary of 9/11 this coming September to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In his address to Congress on April 28, Biden said, "We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11," which clarifies nothing about either why the U.S. really invaded Afghanistan or how it or Afghanistan have fared since the invasion. He just lamely says that "the United States will remain vigilant about the threat from terrorist groups that have metastasized around the world. We will continue to monitor and disrupt any threat to us that emerges from Afghanistan." He specifically names "Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond," as threats.

The anniversary of 9/11 is being invoked to win the "hearts and minds" of the people and cover up that the U.S. war against Afghanistan is a criminal war of aggression. As well, while Biden says troops will be withdrawn, nothing is known about the Pentagon's at least 18,000 private military contractors present in that country. No one is to be held accountable for the collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan for a crime they did not commit, for the broad and continuing genocide and U.S. interference.

The demand of the anti-war movement in the United States is for all U.S. troops to be brought home and for all foreign U.S. military bases to be dismantled as a critical step to safeguard peace in the world. But for Biden, U.S. aggression and intervention of all kinds are a means to "position us to win the competition for the 21st Century" and to have "a Union more perfect. More prosperous. More just. As one people. One nation. One America."

As the people and their demands have made clear, there are two Americas contending for the future. One, represented by Biden, is the America which is committing untold crimes to maintain the existing social relations which ensure the rich remain in power and the state is structured to ensure war, inequality and injustice. The other America is that comprised of the people fighting to bring into being new relations and structures that favour their interests, that protect and guarantee their rights at home and those of the peoples of all countries abroad.

Limiting the struggles being waged by the peoples to the confines dictated by the perpetrators of the crimes against them is not part of the people's equation. Their struggles are not to be limited by joining Biden's calls to preserve the existing constitutional order which ensures more crimes against humanity. The people of the U.S are joining those of the world in standing as one humanity, with one struggle for the right of the peoples to govern and decide, for international relations of mutual respect and benefit.

The New rejects the fraud being committed by the Old, the fraud of U.S.-style democracy and its need for war measures to protect the U.S. as the indispensable nation that opposes autocracy and protects freedom. The people's movement persists in demanding decision-making of, by and for the peoples.

Biden has become the spokesman for fraud, saying "Our Constitution opens with the words, 'We the People.' It's time we remembered that We the People are the government."

Across the United States, the people are arising and giving their response: We the people is we the majority, we the propertyless, we who will persist in fighting for a future where we decide. 

(Photos: VOR, Daviss, Shawn in Arizona, T.P. Quang, Black Alliance for PEace, Cosecha NY, NAKASEC)

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International Commission of Legal Experts Recommends Investigation of U.S. for
Crimes Against Humanity

On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence in the United States held a press conference where it released the final 188-page report of its investigations into the U.S. for its violations of human rights of its citizens and residents of African descent, concluding these crimes warrant prosecution under international law.

The International Commission of Inquiry was organized by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the National Lawyers Guild. The Commission was comprised of 12 legal experts from 11 countries -- Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Costa Rica, France, India, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, the UK -- and four rapporteurs from the U.S.

The Executive Summary of the Commission's report states its purpose is to "examine whether widespread and systematic racist violence in policing against people of African descent in the United States of America (U.S.) has resulted in a continuing pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Commissioners find a pattern and practice of racist police violence in the U.S. in the context of a history of oppression dating back to the extermination of First Nations peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the militarization of U.S. society, and the continued perpetuation of structural racism."

The Commission held public hearings from January 18 to February 6, 2021. The Executive Summary explains that "All cases selected for the hearings involved the egregious and unjustified killing or maiming of individuals of African descent in the U.S., including: (1) the killing of unarmed individuals who posed no threat of death or serious bodily harm; (2) the killing of individuals fleeing the police who posed no serious threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officers they were fleeing or others; (3) the use of, or threat to use, physical or psychological intimidation to extract confessions; and (4) the maiming of individuals fleeing the police and/or who posed no serious threat of death or serious bodily harm to others." Of the 44 Black people whose cases were reviewed in the hearings, all but one was killed by police.

In the "Summary of Findings and Recommendations" in the Executive Summary, the Commissioners state that they "find violations of the rights to: life, security, freedom from torture, freedom from discrimination, mental health, access to remedies for violations, fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to be treated with humanity and respect. The Commissioners find violations of the State's duty to provide medical care to detained persons; to ensure investigations of extrajudicial killings that are independent, competent, thorough and effective; and to provide prosecution of suspects and punishment of perpetrators to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. The Commissioners find that U.S. laws and police practices do not comply with the international standards on the use of force, which require legal basis, legitimate objective, necessity, precautions, proportionality, protection of life, non-discrimination, and accountability."

The Commissioners point out the "disproportionate use of excessive force by police led to the deaths of the 43 Black people in the cases they examined" through the use of restraints, firearms and Tasers, and that they "similarly find a pattern of unlawful and excessive force employed against people of African descent by chokeholds and compression asphyxiation, by kneeling or standing on the victim, by cuffing the victim face down and by applying pressure to the victim's head and neck."

The Commissioners also highlighted "that the use of force against unarmed people of African descent during traffic and investigatory stops is driven by racial stereotypes and racial biases resulting in U.S. law enforcement agencies routinely targeting people of African descent for questioning, arrest and detention based on racist associations between Blackness and criminality." They similarly noted a pattern for "race-based street stops, otherwise known as 'stop-and-frisk,' [...] a form of 'order maintenance' policing that drives not only racially disparate rates of arrests, but also often triggers the use of deadly force by police. [...] The continual harassment of Black people via stop-and-frisk is reminiscent of the socially accepted practice during the era of the slave patrols, when every white person had the right to control the movements and activities of Black people." They also highlighted how the police carry out wrong-doing with impunity and with collusion from other parts of the legal system that compounds the violation of rights.

Based on their investigations, "The Commissioners find a prima facie case of Crimes against Humanity warranting an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The crimes under the Rome Statute include: Murder, Severe Deprivation of Physical Liberty, Torture, Persecution of people of African descent, and other Inhumane Acts, which occurred in the context of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population of Black people in the U.S."

The Commission goes on to call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights "to support the following in her report mandated by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in its Resolution 43/1:

"a. Constitution by the UNHRC of an independent Commission of Inquiry mandated to conduct
full investigation into incidents of police violence against people of African descent in the United States and to determine, in particular, whether the level of violence constitutes gross violation of human rights and whether crimes under international criminal law have been and continue to be committed;

"b. In order to establish a continuous process to monitor systemic racist police violence in the United States, the appointment by the UNHRC of an Independent Expert on Systemic Racist Police Violence in the United States;

"c. Call for the demilitarization of law enforcement throughout the United States; and

"d. Call for an end to impunity and for accountability of police officials resorting to racist violence and unjustified force before independent civilian review boards and in criminal and civil proceedings of the justice system in the United States."

Further, "The Commissioners call on the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, upon receipt of the report of the Commission of Inquiry, to initiate an investigation into Crimes against Humanity (Article 7), pursuant to her/his powers under Rome Statute, Article 15."

Given that the U.S. has thus far refused to ratify the Rome Statute to become a party to the ICC, to avoid being held to account for its crimes at home and abroad and protect its military forces from prosecution, "The Commissioners call on the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government to:

"a. Accept the jurisdiction of the ICC in relation to the U.S. under Article 12 with respect to any and all Crimes against Humanity as defined in the Rome Statute;

"b. Sign the Rome Statute of the ICC and transmit it to the U.S. Senate for consent to ratification;

"c. Remove the non-self-executing language in the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and/or pass full implementing legislation of this treaty, including the provisions in Article 20, which prohibits propaganda for war and speech that promotes hatred of racial or religious groups or incites discrimination or violence against people of racial or religious groups;

"d. Fully enforce the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the U.S. has ratified;

"e. Ratify all other international human rights treaties, as well as regional treaties;

"f. Support legislation aimed at divesting federal resources from incarceration and policing as well as ending the criminal legal system-driven harms that have disproportionately criminalized Black and Brown communities, LGBTQIA people, Indigenous people, and disabled people, and instead, utilizing funding initiatives, and invest in new non-punitive and non-carceral approaches to community safety;

"g. Create an effective and robust system of combating institutionalized racism within all law enforcement agencies, to be monitored by an independently elected body, in consultation with civil society organizations committed to principles of civil liberties and non-discrimination;

"h. Remove the personal immunity that protects individual police officers from civil lawsuits filed by members of the public, and impose a clear duty on police officers to de-escalate all encounters before force is used; and

"i. Develop policies and support for legislation to demilitarize policing throughout the United States and accomplish a complete overhaul of current policies and training practices including, but not limited to: (i) outlawing use of force except in conformity with UN Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement during arrest, custody and assembly based on: precaution, necessity, and proportionality; (ii) outlawing chokeholds and outlawing other subduing tactics that cut off breathing or blood circulation; (iii) outlawing excessive use of Tasers; (iv) prohibiting no-knock warrants; and (vi) outlawing use of force except in conformity with UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials [...]"

In their final two recommendations, the Commissioners highlight the need for the U.S. government to provide reparations for its role in the historical crimes associated with the enslavement of African peoples:

"The Commissioners recommend that the U.S. executive and legislative branches acknowledge that the transatlantic trade in Africans, enslavement, colonization and colonialism were Crimes against Humanity and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance. Past injustices and crimes against people of African descent in the U.S. must be addressed with reparatory justice.

"The Commissioners also recommend that the U.S. Congress establish a commission to examine enslavement and racial discrimination in the colonies and the U.S. from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. The Commissioners urge the U.S. to consider seriously applying analogous elements contained in the Caribbean Community's Ten-Point Action Plan on Reparations, which includes a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities, an African knowledge program, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer, financial support, and debt cancellation."

To view the entire report, click here.

Videos and transcripts from the live hearings in 44 cases are available at the Commission's website:

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Mass Protests Led to Chauvin's Conviction;
Now They're Being Criminalized

April 19, 2021. Demonstration in Minneapolis the day before the jury gave its verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

On April 20, former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the brutal public lynching of George Floyd. For the Floyd family, the conviction offered some solace that the courts did not allow Floyd's life to be taken with impunity. For many of us, however, it was a hollow "victory," not only because prisons don't solve our problems, but because we know police don't either. [...]

Past precedent shows there would have been no reckoning, even a limited and flawed reckoning, had there not been the massive protests that swept this country in the wake of Floyd's murder.

Now, at the same time that the criminal legal system is congratulating itself for sending Chauvin to prison, the very protests that brought the case to national attention are being criminalized.

This week, after making the racist assertion that Minneapolis officials allowed protesters to "run wild" in the streets, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an ominous bill that seeks to essentially criminalize protest in the state of Florida, clearly targeting protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter. It is a dangerous harbinger of what may be in store for other parts of the country. Indeed, the New York Times reports that "GOP lawmakers in 34 states have introduced 81 anti-protest bills during the 2021 legislative session -- more than twice as many proposals as in any other year."

The bottom line is that, while all eyes are on Minnesota, Florida House Bill 1, dubbed the "anti-riot" bill, and the other looming bills like it, have the potential to have a far greater impact on movements to combat racialized state violence than the Chauvin conviction.

Let me first speak to the limits and contradictions of the verdict in Minneapolis. Chauvin murdered Floyd in broad daylight in front of witnesses and it was recorded. This was an egregious case of wanton violence, and fortunately the jury agreed. But what is the takeaway? That the criminal legal system has overcome 400 years of systemic, deep-seated racism by holding a single police officer accountable for the kind of racist violence that has become all too routine? That is the wrong conclusion. It is not only ahistorical and shortsighted, but it gives a distorted sense of progress.

To let one cop, albeit a racist and violent one, be the scapegoat for a systemic set of problems is to deny the systemic nature of those very problems. Daunte Wright's mother was prescient and eloquent when she said, "Justice would bring our son home to us," and "there's never going to be justice for us." She went on to say that there can and should be accountability for her son's murder at the hands of yet another Minnesota police officer. However, she understood that the demand for justice requires something much more.

All of that said, two things are important to remember. Cops should certainly not get special exemptions for heinous acts of violence, even if they become common. Secondly, however, locking up one cop won't bring back our murdered children, neighbours, friends and loved ones, nor will it prevent future violence.

What is necessary is fundamental systemic change. We have to listen to those calling for moving away from policing as we know it and making prisons obsolete. That should be our goal, as congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has courageously argued. We should be moving resources away from policing and toward community services, mental health services, jobs and projects that prevent violence, de-escalate violent situations and save lives.

The new Florida anti-protest law puts a formidable obstacle in the path to this kind of systemic change by subverting the movements that have been the principal catalysts for change. The law criminalizes protests that obstruct traffic and makes defacing monuments a felony. It also punishes local governments that decline to be heavy-handed in suppressing protests, mandating that local officials will be charged for damages done in such protests. It calls for six-month mandatory sentencing for any protester who commits assault upon a police officer. Of course, there are many cases where protesters are being beaten and their deflection of blows gets conveniently labelled as "assault."

The law also uses the language of "mob intimidation," which is defined vaguely as three or more people acting with intent to force another to take their viewpoints. It is unimaginable how such a law could be fairly enforced. Conceivably, a political argument on a street corner could be cause for arrest. If this is not censorship, I don't know what is.

Another particularly disturbing feature of the bill is that it prevents people from being bailed out of jail until their first court appearance, which essentially mandates detention of protesters prior to a conviction for any crime. This is reminiscent of the detention without charge policies that characterized dictatorships around the world and regimes like the former apartheid system in South Africa. As others have pointed out, many of the behaviours stipulated in the law are already in criminal statutes, and is therefore redundant, but designed to intimidate and deter activists.

It is important that we make these linkages between the Florida law and the skewed framing of the Derek Chauvin trial. The only reason there is a trial in Hennepin County, Minnesota, for the heinous murder of George Floyd in broad daylight is because there were loud and persistent protests in the streets of this country. Had there not been protests, there would have likely been an "accidental death" report. No investigation and no trial.

In fact, the initial press release from the police, before videos surfaced, was a complete cover-up. So, the Florida law prevents an important mechanism for achieving a modicum of justice, which is the right of citizens and residents to protest.

The challenge to social movements, then, is to be ever courageous and creative in speaking truth to power, no matter what censoring measures those in power attempt to impose in Florida and beyond. As Minneapolis Black Visions Collective leader Kandace Montgomery insists, "The fight for justice is far from over."

(Truthout, April 21, 2021)

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Latin America and the Caribbean

People's Forces in Action Fighting for
Democracy and the Right to Be

May 1, 2021. Banner in May Day demonstration in Bolivia stands with Cuban people against
the U.S. blockade.

People around the world, even in areas hardest hit by the pandemic and its economic consequences as a result of the gross irresponsibility of neo-liberal governments, are not just continuing but escalating their fights for rights on different fronts. Oppressed peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean, an area with a combined population approaching 659 million, stand second to none in this regard.

The heroism of the Cuban people stands out in this regard as they complete the trials for two vaccines.  They have created these through their own efforts even as they not only manage to sustain themselves in the face of an ever more cruel U.S. blockade designed to make them surrender, but open new prospects for their independent stand in defence of the right to be. Their humanitarian internationalism stands in sharp contrast to the imperialist bullying, threats and monopoly over the use of force exercised by the United States only ninety miles away.

The fights being waged by the Haitian people stand out as well, as do those of the Colombian people who are rising in unprecedented numbers to join a national strike taking place throughout the country since April 28. Sharp political battles are being waged by the working people and youth of these two countries, some paying with their lives at the hands of official police and military forces or criminal gangs and paid assassins used by the ruling elite and their state to carry out a dirty war of terror against the people's forces.

The governments of both Haiti and Colombia are known to work hand in hand with and, in many cases, take their marching orders from the U.S. embassies in their countries. The police forces of both Haiti and Colombia have received training from Canadian police.

TML Monthly is providing updates on these actions and those of other peoples in the region fighting for peace, democracy and justice and in defence of their sovereignty and independence.

(With files from news agencies and local TML correspondents)

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Life and Death Struggle in Defence of Sovereignty and People's Right to Take Decisions/h1>

April 1, 2021. Ongoing demonstrations in Haiti.

The people of Haiti have for several months been waging a non-stop fight to rid themselves of an illegitimate foreign-backed dictator who refused to relinquish power when his term expired, but has carried on ruling by decree, persecuting his opponents and engaging in one unconstitutional act after another to prevent the people from expressing their democratic will. The Haitian people's actions in defence of their rights are all the more heroic because they are standing up to an entire "multilateral" arsenal of imperialist subversion and violence aimed at preventing them from empowering themselves as the masters of their own destiny. 

Their determination to put an end to the death squad democracy that the U.S. and its Core Group (Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, the European Union and representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States) have imposed on Haiti is profoundly patriotic and anti-imperialist. The Haitian people's struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights in today's conditions shows they are worthy sons and daughters of the formerly enslaved people who, through their own revolutionary efforts, defeated successive European powers and were the first to throw off both slavery and colonial rule over 200 years ago.

Banner in May 2021 protest in Haiti: "We Want to Live! We Have a Right to Live"

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Youth on Front Lines of People's Fight for Rights and Against State Terror

The people of Colombia have risen in what is at this point a full blown uprising against the anti-people, neo-liberal, pro-war agenda of the government of Iván Duque and his mentor, the nefarious former president and alleged death squad patron, Álvaro Uribe. The uprising began on April 28 as a one-day national strike. It was called mainly by trade unions and social movements to demand Duque withdraw his government's neo-liberal restructuring plan, starting with the cancellation of regressive new tax measures. These would place the heaviest burden on millions of working and impoverished Colombians whose backs are already against the wall, having been left largely on their own to try and survive a badly managed pandemic and its devastating economic consequences.

For daring to take their demands to the streets and squares of their towns and cities, participants in the strike were met from day one with violence and deadly force, with eight killed on April 28. Most were young and were shot to death, presumably by members of the hated riot squad or other police. While youth and students make up the main force in the streets, there are many social movements and others involved as well -- working people and professionals from different sectors, including informal workers, political organizations, artists, musicians and others. Members of the Indigenous Guard who play a similar role in their traditional territories have taken on the role of protecting the marches and demonstrations.

Many cities are militarized, with tanks and other armed vehicles on the streets and helicopters flying low over certain neighbourhoods. Colombia's third largest city Cali quickly became a virtual theatre of war and epicentre of the state's terror operation with the Army's top commander personally in charge of it. According to the non-governmental organizations Indepaz and Temblores that are tracking the events, 47 people -- 2 women and 45 men – were killed between April 28 and May 8, with 35 of the deaths occurring in Cali.  Of the 47 deaths, 39 are alleged to have been the result of police violence.  This included at least one person shot while taking part peacefully in a candlelight vigil for victims of police violence, and others who were apparently randomly shot from a passing car. United Nations human rights monitors wearing vests to identify themselves as such also reported being shot at by police in Cali, saying they managed to avoid getting hit. Cell phone videos taken by alarmed bystanders showed a group of men in civilian clothes jumping out of the back of an unmarked truck and firing handguns as they ran toward a group of people who appeared to be taking part in a demonstration. Other videos showed a disgusted man standing by the truck holding up a jacket with "Police" written across the back, the vehicle registration, as well as handcuffs and other tools of the trade found inside after its windows were smashed open. This left police little choice but to admit later that it was their truck and their men.

May 6, 2021. University students take part in the protests. 

The police terror operation and use of agents-provocateurs and infiltrators to carry out the vandalism and killings the government wanted to pin on the youth to justify its criminal treatment of them, did not bring the results it wanted. Rather than succumbing to fear and division and leaving the fight to another day, the youth stood firm, their courage and the justness of their stands inspiring the workers, social movements, intellectuals and others to continue the fight as well.

Feeling the heat, Duque withdrew the IMF-inspired tax reform, saying he was not shelving it but would reintroduce it with some modifications. The next day, his Finance Minister -- the architect of the reform -- resigned with his whole team.

None of this has led to the protests being called off however, especially with police continuing to arbitrarily arrest and kill people for exercising their democratic right to protest, and with cities still militarized. Instead, the youth, as well as social movements and workers' organizations that make up the National Strike Committee have stepped up and broadened their demands. They are now focusing not only on the tax reform but calling for the cancellation of the government's plans to sell off public assets, further privatize health care and other public services and introduce changes to the country's pension system and labour laws. These are all part of a blueprint for restructuring the state in order to free up and generate more resources to use for paying the rich by fleecing the people, in what is already one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of income.

Other demands are:

- for a mass vaccination program and more rational management of the pandemic
- free education
- implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement instead of obstructing it;
- that the state do its duty and act to put an end to the intolerable situation in the countryside where targeted killings and massacres of social leaders and former guerrilla members occur with impunity almost daily;[1] and
- that the hated riot squad (ESMAD) to be disbanded.

Many youth say they have lost their fear and intend to keep demonstrating until the state terror campaign of police brutality and killings is stopped, and assurance is given that all those responsible for the killings, injuries, arbitrary and irregular arrests, detentions, beatings, torture and the sexual abuse of protesters and other innocent people, including those who gave the orders, are held to account and punished for their crimes.

"President Duque, Stop the Massacre!" (@annan_tkg)

With denunciations and calls for his resignation coming from many quarters, Duque seems to be looking for a way out out of his labyrinth by meeting with what he calls different "social sectors" and the National Strike Committee without having to deal with the youth. The youth are the driving force of the protests now, as well as the main victims of the unspeakable atrocities associated with the military and police operation he ordered and continues to defend[2].

The United Nations, other multilateral organizations and governments, including some close allies of Colombia have issued statements, most zeroing in on the excessive or "disproportionate" use of force against protesters and the importance of citizens' right to protest being respected. Colombian Senator Iván Cepeda has indicated that he and a number of organizations that have been tracking the events plan to launch a petition before the International Criminal Court asking that President Iván Duque, former President Alvaro Uribe, Minister of Defence Diego Molano, the Commander of the Army General Eduardo Zapateiro and Head of the Police General José Luis Vargas be held responsible for the crimes against humanity committed during the strike.

Support has flowed from inside Colombia and around the world in different ways for those who have persisted in fighting for the demands of the people in Colombia. Pickets and rallies hailing their resistance and calling for an end to the police repression and violence, with those responsible held to account criminally, have been held in many countries including in several Canadian cities.

TML Monthly stands with the youth and people of Colombia courageously fighting for their democratic rights and for an end to police violence and the state terrorism that has drowned their country in blood for decades. All those responsible, including at the highest levels of the state and government, must be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

May 8, 2021. Rally in New York City in solidarity with the Colombian people.


1. Since the Peace Agreement was signed in 2016, there have been 270 former FARC-EP members and some 1,200 social leaders murdered.

2. As of May 9 the organizations Temblores and Indepaz, which are documenting incidences of police violence and related events, report that since April 28, 47 people have been killed, 39 allegedly as a result of police violence. Among them are four minors, with the vast majority of others whose age is known between 18 and 36 years of age. There have been 28 reported eye injuries, 12 cases of women being sexually assaulted and 963 arbitrary arrests. The whereabouts of 438 people is unknown. Many of those arrested and released said they were not taken to police stations for processing but to irregular locations where they were held incommunicado, without the required judicial oversight. Many said they were beaten and subjected to threats, torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment at those sites, often by people who did not seem to be police officers and were not wearing uniforms.

(With files from TeleSUR, El Tiempo. Photo: @ericay, reproducao twitter, dealinrugs)

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Colombian People, at Home and Abroad, Standing as One in the Face of Murderous Repression

May 6, 2021. Montreal demonstration in solidarity with Colombian people.

In order to further pay the rich, the Colombian government used the COVID-19 crisis to try to institute a tax reform, further increasing the suffering of working people, along with reinforcing numerous other neo-liberal measures, as so many other governments are doing at this time. However, the Colombian people decided that they would have none of it and that the pandemic would not prevent them from expressing their opposition.

On April 28, they took to the streets in millions across the country. The government responded with armed force, which only increased their anger and determination to defend their interests and their lives. After six days of a national strike, the government was forced to withdraw its tax reform proposal.

But the people recognized that that was not the only problem they faced. They were standing against the paramilitary murders of social leaders and former guerrilla combatants reintegrating into civilian life since the signing of the peace agreement. They were marching for peace and for the right to demonstrate. They were marching to defend health care and education as a right for all. And they were marching to demand justice in the face of the cold-blooded murders of the youth who were standing in the front ranks of this battle.

Colombians resident in Montreal and Quebec declared that they may be absent from their country of birth but their homeland and the fate of their families and friends there is very present in their hearts and their minds.

They have stepped forward, with the youth in the forefront here too, along with other democratic and progressive forces, to support the people in Colombia, condemn the crimes of the Colombian government against the peaceful demonstrators, and are calling on the Quebec and Canadian governments to condemn the violence against their people.

On Wednesday afternoon, May 5, upwards of 100 people gathered in front of the Colombian consulate where they spoke out for over an hour-and-a-half, expressing their anger over the situation in Colombia and their determination to support the resistance. Every participant was encouraged to raise their voice, including activists from the Haitian diaspora and the Marxist Leninist Party of Quebec.

Montreal, May 5, 2021

The next day at 5:00 pm, people began gathering in front of the Maison Radio Canada to continue their efforts to inform other Quebeckers and Canadians about the situation their compatriots are facing in Colombia. Well over 500 people with their flags, banners and placards, including members of Colombian communities from Trois-Rivières and other towns, shouted slogans, spoke out, signed a petition destined for the Canadian government against the violence of the Duque government, sang and danced, expressing their irresistible spirit of resistance.

Montreal, May 6, 2021.

The Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on May 6 condemning the violence against the demonstrators. It was also decided that this resolution would be forwarded to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

One of the demands of the movement is that the Quebec and Canadian governments speak out against the murderous repression of the demonstrations and demand that the Colombian Government respect their demands for social reforms. However, there are few illusions that these governments will do more than issue some statement against the violence because of the interests of the rich whose investments they defend in Colombia.

Nonetheless, resistance to injustice is a right and a duty. Increasing numbers of working people in Canada and Quebec are coming forward to support the right of the Colombian people to defend their dignity and their well-being.

(Photos: TMLM)

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Transitional Justice and Judicial Independence Under Attack

Webinar on Colombia
Tuesday, May 18 -- 6:30-8:00 pm UK; 1:30-3:00 pm EDT
To register for Zoom meeting, click here
Organized by: Justice for Colombia


Diego Martínez: human rights lawyer and legal advisor to the FARC
  Reinaldo Villalba: human rights lawyer at
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo

  Alirio Uribe: human rights lawyer and ex-Member of Congress
  Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon): Chair, Colombia Caravana
  Hasan Dodwell: Director, Justice for Colombia
  Sue Willman: Chair, Law Society Human Rights Committee
  Chaired by Clare Mellor: Director, Thompsons Solicitors

The transitional justice system and judicial independence are under a barrage of attacks in Colombia. The transitional justice system is part of the final peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in 2016, to render justice for the victims of the civil war, and its functioning is being undermined by current and former government members. This meeting will hear the latest update from Colombian lawyers who put their lives on the line in defence of peace and human rights.

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Nation-Building Resumes,
Coup Forces Face Justice

May 8, 2021. Bolivian Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government, led by President Luis Arce, marks six months in office.

The Bolivian people -- both those living at home and in the diaspora -- are active, as is their new government, working to consolidate the gains of last October's electoral victory that swept out of office the foreign-backed coup forces that had usurped power for a year. The Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government led by President Luis Arce is today forging ahead, restoring important nation-building projects and public services which were shelved, defunded or privatized by the illegitimate coup government of Jeanine Añez.

One of the new government's early actions was to return a loan of over U.S.$340 million incurred illegally and with unacceptable conditions from the International Monetary Fund. It has also resumed the independent, anti-imperialist foreign policy instituted by the government of Evo Morales. It has withdrawn from the illegitimate Canada-led, U.S-inspired  Lima Group formed to attack Venezuela, returned to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America -- People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) that champions Latin American and Caribbean integration, and joined a coalition of 17 countries calling themselves the "Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations" that promotes legal means instead of force for settling problems internationally and upholding the aims and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. It also acted swiftly to undo the effects of the exclusionary and discriminatory practices of the racist oligarchy's short-lived coup government, aimed at humiliating Bolivia's majority Indigenous population, a proud and important base of the MAS. The government has also acted to bring to justice those responsible for the massacres and repression carried out at Huayllani, Senkata and Sacaba in the early days of the coup as well as the torture and political imprisonment of anti-coup protesters and MAS leaders and others.

Currently former Senator Jeanine Añez, some former ministers of her "de facto" government and commanders of the military and police who led the mutiny that allowed the coup to succeed, and certain others who engaged in egregious human rights abuses as part of the revenge-taking unleashed by the coup forces are in jail or under house arrest, awaiting trial or under investigation for various criminal offenses. This has provoked a hue and cry about "political persecution" from their patrons in the U.S. State Department, its henchman at the OAS who incited the coup, a few colonial voices from Old Europe and some racist oligarchs in Bolivia smarting from their defeat but still intent on seizing power.

The demands of victims' families are not calls for revenge, but for those who murdered or injured their loved ones for their known or presumed political views, and those who gave the orders, to be punished.

According to the national ombudsperson's office there were 35 people killed, 533 injured, and over 1,500 arrested or detained in the days surrounding the coup. Government officials and/or their family members had their houses ransacked and burned by violent mobs, while Evo Morales and Luis Arce were subjected to ridiculous trumped up charges of sedition and terrorism. They and some others accepted offers of asylum in other countries until it was safe to return to Bolivia. Some were offered asylum but, blocked from going to the airport, were forced to remain inside the Mexican embassy for a year under threat of arrest should they so much as step outside. Still others were wrongly jailed for months.

Today, Bolivians are very active, organizing and speaking out inside the country and internationally, holding webinars, online discussions and engaging on social media to make sure the demand for justice is broadly taken up so those who committed crimes against the people, including those who gave the orders, are punished. Their slogans, "It's not political persecution, it's justice!" and "It's not revenge, it's justice" and "It was a coup" express the consciousness of the people and their demands in response to the noise about "political persecution." It is precisely political persecution and revenge-taking that were hallmarks of the short, corrupt rule of Añez and company.

The response to the accusations of the U.S., the OAS and others was a speedy one, not only from the organized patriotic Bolivian people, but from a long list of statespersons, former presidents, foreign ministers and other personalities who joined them in calling for a stop to this ill-intentioned, illegitimate meddling in Bolivia's sovereign affairs.

By remaining vigilant in defence of their nation-building project and affirming the rights of all members of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, without exception, the people of Bolivia are contributing to the further development of the liberating social and cultural revolution they embarked on 15 years ago.

(With files from TeleSUR)

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Citizens to Elect Assembly to Draft
New Constitution May 15-16

An important electoral event takes place in Chile on May 15-16. Citizens will elect the 155 members who will make up the Constitutional Convention they overwhelmingly approved in a referendum held last year. Those elected will work together to draft a new constitution to replace the anti-people neo-liberal one left over from the days of the fascist Pinochet dictatorship.

The Chilean people, with youth and students in the lead, fought long and hard for 150 days in 2019 against the punishing neo-liberal policies of the government of President Sebastian Piñera, to the point of almost bringing him down. They demonstrated bravely, undeterred by the non-stop brutality of state security forces. Serious eye injuries were sustained by 300 youth from police deliberately firing pellet guns at their eyes. Police also killed 34 people. It was the persistent fight of these fearless youth, supported by other sections of the people, that opened the door for a new constitution to be written, and for it to be done by citizens elected by their peers solely for that purpose.  

Ever since Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favour of that proposal, rejecting one that called for sitting members of the national legislature to make up half of the constituent body, they have been organizing as best they can under the difficult conditions of a punishing economic crisis and a dramatic sanitary crisis. They are organizing to get enough democratic voices elected to ensure the success of the work of the Constitutional Convention in guaranteeing all Chileans the fundamental rights, freedoms and benefits they have fought long and hard for. An "exit referendum" will be held in 2022 in which citizens will be asked to approve or reject the new constitution they have drafted.

(With files from TeleSUR)

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Supreme Court Nullifies All Charges Against Lula

"Moro, suspected; Lula, proven innocent."

On March 8, a Supreme Court Minister nullified all the charges and sentences issued for convictions obtained as part of a corrupt lawfare operation mounted against former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, representing the serial violation of his rights over several years, including the 19 months he spent in prison from April 2018 to November 2019. Lula was exonerated after the judge admitted as evidence a trove of damning leaked conversations from the social media platform Telegram revealing ongoing collusion among the "Operation Car Wash" (Lava Jato) prosecutor who pressed multiple corruption charges against Lula, celebrity judge Sergio Moro who convicted him without evidence, and certain Supreme Court judges who also were part of the conspiracy. Their conversations on the Telegram app revealed that the charges against Lula were based on forged or coerced plea bargain testimonies by jailed businessmen who all changed their stories multiple times to obtain partial illicit asset retention, greatly reduced sentences and transfer to house arrest. Also confirmed was the fact that the Brazilians illegally worked hand in hand with U.S. government authorities, as Lula's defence team had long alleged, proving that the whole thing was an elaborate scheme to set up the former president and take him out of the 2018 presidential race he was on track to win. This is what opened the door for the election of Jair Bolsonaro whose chaotic rule has left his government divided and plunged Brazil into crisis, with not a few accusing him of genocide for his criminal refusal to take measures to control the spread of the pandemic in the country.

On April 15 an eight to three Supreme Court decision ratified the annulment of all Lula's sentences, fully restoring his political rights. Lula is now free to run again for elected office should he choose to do so, and has let it be known that he is willing to present himself as the Workers' Party candidate in next year's presidential election. Voter intention polls taken shortly after he made that known suggest he would once again be favoured to win. The prospect of using the 2022 election to return Brazil to the path of sovereignty and nation-building instead of submission to the U.S. and nation-wrecking is bound to inspire many others as well, as it does Lula, to ensure that fight is fought so it is won.

(With files from Brasil Wire. Photo: Brasil Livre.)

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