No. 8

August 1, 2021

Elections or No Elections
Matters of Concern to the Polity

• Fight for the Rights of All and Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

• The Spectre of Cyber Warfare Elections and the Need to
Make Canada a Zone for Peace

- Anna Di Carlo -

• Canada Joins U.S. Claims of Cyber Attacks and
Preparations for War

- Pauline Easton -

• Infrastructure Spending to Maintain Class Privilege and Control
and Further Integrate Canada into U.S. War Economy

- Barbara Biley -

For Your Information

• COVID-19 Update for Canada

Congratulations to 1492 Land Back Lane Defenders

• Haudenosaunee of the Grand River Win Another Land Battle

- Philip Fernandez -

75th Anniversary of the Stelco Strike of '46

• The Contribution of Steelworkers to Steeltown

- Rolf Gerstenberger -

• Salute to USW Local 1005 and the Spirit of '46

• 75th Anniversary of the Stelco Strike of '46

• Poem: The Spirit of '46

- Bill Mahoney -

Mass Workers' Rally at BlackRock's New York Headquarters

• Striking Alabama Coal Miners Adopt Bold Slogan We Are One!

Increasing Conflicts Among U.S. Policing Agencies

• Battle Over Federal and State Authority:
U.S. Department of Justice Sues Texas Governor

- Kathleen Chandler -

• Texas Governor Adds More State Troopers on the Border


• Farmers' Fight for the Rights of All Continues Unabated

- Jaspal Singh -

Elections or No Elections
Matters of Concern to the Polity

Fight for the Rights of All and
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

There is much speculation that a federal election will be called shortly. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Trudeau continues to insist that he does not want an election even as he crisscrosses the country using his position as Prime Minister to make pork barrel handouts to those whose votes the Liberal party hopes to attract, all the while complaining that the Opposition is making Parliament dysfunctional. An all-party motion that was passed against calling an election during the pandemic, which even the Liberals voted for, is ignored. Despite evidence to the contrary, every effort is being made to say the pandemic is over and that life is getting back to normal. Such is the cynicism of the ruling class to manipulate such important matters as electing a new government in a manner which is self-serving.[1]

This is causing a lot of anxiety and confusion because most reports indicate the pandemic is not over and cases of variants of the coronavirus which caused the COVID-19 pandemic are rising in various parts of the country, particularly in BC, Alberta and northern Saskatchewan. As well, the percentage of people who have been vaccinated varies from province to province and region to region. On July 29, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that "Today's seven-day moving average of 594 new cases reported daily (July 22-28), shows an increase of 39 per cent over the previous week." Medical professionals across the country are warning of a fourth wave. During the last week of July an outbreak was declared in BC's Okanagan area, prompting the return to stricter public health guidelines. CBC reported on July 28 that Saskatchewan's far north recorded 220 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 the previous week while the national rate was just 8 per 100,000 people, and that the situation has worsened.

Added to the problems this poses for everyone, thousands of people in the west have been displaced or are under evacuation warnings due to wildfires and flooding. In BC, there is no end in sight to the extreme heat, drought and tinder-dry conditions. Wild-fires are also raging in Ontario creating smog which traps heat and affects breathing that has moved into southern Ontario and western Quebec.

Forest fire smoke over Prince George, August 1, 2021

These are the conditions in which speculation of an imminent election call continues unabated. An election in the conditions of the pandemic, under public health guidelines that, in areas with outbreaks and increased cases, restrict public gatherings and person-to-person contact, and are different in every region of the country, means further inequality amongst parties and candidates. Parties and candidates with big war chests will buy advertising while candidates who rely on volunteers and door-knocking will be further marginalized. Denying citizens' right to an informed vote is par for the course. This added disregard for the Canadian polity is beneath contempt.

Election preparation and disdain for the people can be seen in the recent spate of funding announcements that Trudeau has made, as he criss-crossed the country from BC to Newfoundland and Labrador. BC was the first province to sign a 50/50 cost-sharing deal with the federal government to access some of the $27.2 billion announced in the federal budget for child care.

That announcement on July 8 followed a July 5 announcement by Trudeau in Sault Ste. Marie that the federal government would give $420 million to Algoma Steel Inc. to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to support its transition to Electric-Arc Furnace production and phase out coal-fired steelmaking.

On July 14, the Minister of Transport announced $1.9 billion in additional funding for the National Trade Corridors Fund which will "ensure that Canada's transportation system is well-positioned to attract further private-sector investment..." The minister's announcement stressed that 15 per cent of the renewed funding is dedicated to the Arctic and Northern Regions.

The same day, Trudeau was in Quebec's Gasp้ region where he announced a $25 million contribution to a joint project with the government of Quebec and a Danish subsidiary of General Electric for the expansion of a wind turbine plant to produce blades for the U.S. and European markets. On July 15, he announced that the Quebec and federal governments are providing up to $685 million to Aerospace Companies operating in Quebec including Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bell Textron Canada, and CAE.

During his trip to the Maritimes on July 27 and 28, Trudeau's office announced child care agreements with PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador as well as a $5.2 billion deal with Newfoundland and Labrador to complete construction of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, the cost of which has risen from $7.2 billion to over $13 billion.

An announcement of $400 million for the ArcellorMittal Dofasco steel plant in Hamilton was made on July 30 and millions of dollars in funding for projects at airports, transit and other projects in cities across the country were announced on July 28 and 29.

In another cynical ploy to curry votes, the Trudeau government announced, on July 26, new regulations "to improve protection of temporary foreign workers," in reality a plan to secure the supply of cheap migrant unprotected labour for agribusiness. Such benefits as there may be for workers are incidental to government schemes to pay the rich -- including the $50 million given to the agribusiness monopolies last year towards the required 14-day quarantine for incoming migrant farm workers, and another $35 million this year in Emergency On-Farm Support to upgrade their living conditions.

Every one of the announcements of these schemes to pay the rich from public funds was couched in language of the "green economy," job creation and Trudeau's so-called feminist agenda and support for workers and working families. Even a cursory look at these programs shows they are at heart pay-the-rich schemes which reveal a callous disregard for the well-being of Canadians and Quebeckers.

Repeated requests from Elections Canada officials that the election law be amended in anticipation of an election during the pandemic in order to provide optimal conditions for election workers and voters, have been denied. Calling an election in these circumstances is reckless and irresponsible and will put the health and lives of voters and election workers, many of them seniors, at risk.

For the Prime Minister to call an election in August would be the height of self-interest, based solely on the calculation that the conditions exist for the Liberals to achieve their coveted majority, no matter the cost. It would be an expression of utter contempt for the people and show that all the talk of "we're here for you" really amounts to nothing more than posturing to get votes.

Canadians should prepare to intervene in any election in a manner which favours their interests. No matter what propaganda is used to create illusions about who is popular and who is not, elections or no elections, step up the fight for the rights of all and to make sure Canada is a zone for peace!


1. In a vote in the House of Commons on May 25 all members of all parties who voted, including Trudeau, voted in favour of a Bloc Qu้b้cois motion to denounce a pandemic election and agree that the government has a responsibility to prevent it from happening. The lone dissenting vote was Independent MP Derek Sloan. Still, reports from insiders at a Liberal Party meeting for candidates, campaign managers, and riding association presidents on July 19, led participants and media to speculate that the election could be called as early as mid-August, and that they were told by Liberal campaign manager Azam Ishmael to "Start looking for a campaign office, go get a campaign office" and that a lease for two months would be a "good idea."

Haut de page

The Spectre of Cyber Warfare Elections and the Need to Make Canada a Zone for Peace

Canadians have been informed that the 44th General Election will be monitored by national and foreign security police and intelligence agencies, along with global social-media platforms and various state-funded NGO's on the hunt for signs of what they call foreign and foreign-influenced activities. To build the case for the need for such monitoring, on July 16 the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) issued its third report since 2017 on what it calls the threat to Canada's democratic process, which it defines as "voters, political parties and elections." The report names Russia, China and Iran as suspected "adversarial states."

It reiterates the exact words it used in 2017 to explain why Canada is a target. The CSE says that Canada plays "an active role in the international community, participating in key multilateral forums, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Group of 20 (G20), and the Group of Seven (G7)."

"Government of Canada foreign policy, military deployments, trade and investment agreements, diplomatic engagements, international aid, and immigration policy are of interest to other states. Canada's stance on an issue can affect the core interests of other countries, foreign groups, and individuals. Threat actors may use cyber tools to target Canada's democratic process to change election outcomes, influence policy makers' choices, impact governmental relationships with foreign and domestic partners, and impact Canada's reputation around the world," the CSE report says.

One question which comes to mind and seems obvious is How can an election outcome be "changed" unless it is already a foregone conclusion? What "outcome" is the CSE talking about? Does it have to do with Canada's continued integration into the U.S. war-machine and the role played by supranational organizations in the service of oligarchic state control of the economy and international relations? What is the CSE talking about?

Elections are supposed to be a time for Canadians to decide for themselves what domestic and foreign policy they want. They should be free to advocate whatever vision they see fit for the country, including Canada's withdrawal from NATO; and the need to dismantle NATO, opposition to various neo-liberal global alliances and trade deals, Canada's current integration into the U.S. war machine, and self-serving conceptions of rights both at home and abroad; the need for political renewal to replace the present constitutional order with one decided by the people through a democratic process of the people's choosing, and so on. Will they be able to do so without being targeted and turned into suspected agents of "an adversarial state" -- other than our own of course?

The CSE report declares that the next federal election will be marked by the promotion of hostile relations with the countries the CSE deems to be adversarial states which endanger Canada's democracy and way of life. The underlying implication is that the Canadian state expects people to line up behind the NATO alliance countries versus "enemy states."

"Consistent with our judgement in the 2019 Update: Cyber Threats to Canada's Democratic Process, we assess that an increasing number of threat actors have the cyber tools, the organizational capacity, and a sufficiently advanced understanding of Canada's political landscape to direct cyber activity against future Canadian federal elections, should they have the strategic intent. We judge it very likely that Canadian voters will encounter some form of foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, the next federal election."

It states that there is "a significant amount of false and misleading information online" and claims that its assessment only deals with "online foreign influence activity targeting voters."

"This influence activity happens when foreign threat actors covertly manipulate online information, often using cyber tools, in order to influence voters' opinions and behaviours. We define foreign interference as covert, deceptive, or coercive activity by a foreign actor against a democratic process, conducted to advance strategic objectives. Foreign cyber interference includes cyber threat activity by foreign actors as well as online foreign influence activity."

"[W]e consider foreign interference on the scale of state-sponsored activity against U.S. elections to be improbable in Canada at this time," the CSE report adds.

It also predicts that if an election is held before the COVID-19 pandemic is over, "it is very likely that the online activities of political parties and candidates will be targeted by cyber threat activity," adding that  it is "very unlikely" "to be part of a sophisticated cyber campaign against a particular Canadian political party or candidate."

The CSE is now following the modus operandi of the U.S. intelligence agencies which claim that if nothing happens it shows they are doing a good job on preventing anything from happening. The CSE's prediction of foreign interference concerning the 2019 election did not materialize and they claim it is because the work of the secret police was obviously effective. The CSE says much progress has been made in combating potential cyber attacks on the democratic process.  Referring to the United States elections, they write: "Although there has yet to be a systematic study of the effectiveness of these practices, a comparison of the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections suggests that identifying and publicizing potential online foreign influence campaigns, strengthening the cyber security postures of organizations involved in the election, and improving social media companies' responses to malicious activity on their platforms can decrease the impact of hostile states' efforts to influence democratic processes through cyber means."

It is a very poor argument for interfering with freedom of speech which is a human right. Tactics of intimidation and fear-mongering have no justification, no matter what high ideals are conjured up by the establishment forces. In this regard, the Canadian spy agencies report they operate in coordination with the Five Eyes agencies comprised of the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and the U.K, while special supra-national NATO and G7 monitoring bodies are also in place, including the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism housed in Global Affairs Canada.[1] To make decisions based on what these agencies declare they have detected, a special panel of five senior civil servants will go into service upon the issuing of the election writ. The panel will receive briefings from the intelligence agencies, guided by a Liberal Cabinet directive entitled Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP) which tasks them with informing Canadians "about incidents that threaten Canada's ability to have a free and fair election." Established by the Liberals prior to the 2019 Federal Election, the Panel is comprised of the Clerk of the Privy Council, the Prime Minister's National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and the deputy ministers of the departments of Justice, Public Safety, and Foreign Affairs. Before it makes a public announcement, the Panel consults with representatives of the political parties with seats in the House of Commons.

In this light, the CSE informs that "while there are many opportunities for threat actors to target democratic processes, it is important to note that, in the past few years, there have also been significant strides towards protecting democracy around the world. This includes efforts by governments, non-governmental and research organizations, civil society, traditional media, and social media and technology companies to improve cyber security practices, raise awareness, and respond to incidents quickly. For example, Canada has implemented a broad suite of measures, including legislation (i.e., the Elections Modernization Act), agreements with social media companies, as well as several initiatives to improve communication and information sharing between Elections Canada, Canadian security and intelligence agencies, other government departments, political parties, and voters."

CSE praises the role given to social-media corporations and various organizations to monitor political discourse on the web. It says that measures that can deal with suspect content and accounts include:

"- demoting 'borderline content' (i.e., content that almost violates community guidelines);
- shutting down inauthentic accounts;
- hiring personnel to screen posts and investigate malfeasance;
- collaborating with fact-checking and research organizations;
- flagging or demoting misleading content; and
- directing users to authoritative sources."

The Growth of Private Cyber Mercenaries and
False Claims of Attributions

The CSE uses the language of intelligence agencies about "likelihoods" and "possibilities" of ascertaining the source of imagined and real cyber attacks. While claiming that Russia and China are the primary perpetrators of cyber attacks, the CSE says that hostile actors may also include "cybercriminals [who aim] to make money" and "thrill-seekers searching for a challenge or notoriety" who it says "may target Canadian democratic processes as well." " While these activities lack a strategic agenda, they still impact the functioning of democratic processes and voters' perceptions of the security, legitimacy, and fairness of the results," CSE says. It does not address how the intervention of the intelligence agencies based on secret information and unknown criteria "impact the functioning of democratic processes and voters' perceptions of the security, legitimacy, and fairness of the results."

The CSE also acknowledges the difficulty, if not impossibility, of determining the source of a cyber attack, which it well knows given that the CSE itself is involved in cyber attacks. For one thing it references the burgeoning cyberwarfare industry. CSE says that "the development of commercial markets for cyber tools and talent has reduced the time it takes for states to build cyber capabilities and increased the number of states with cyber programs. As more states have access to cyber tools, states that were interested in targeting democratic processes, but previously lacked sufficient capabilities, can now more readily undertake this type of cyber activity. The proliferation of state cyber programs also makes it more difficult to identify, attribute, and defend against cyber threat activity more broadly."

It also notes that "private firms increasingly provide online influence as a service to governments and political actors." A 2020 Oxford study identified 48 cases of private companies deploying disinformation on behalf of a political actor. Since 2018, the same researchers have identified more than 65 firms offering disinformation as a service.

"Private firms spread disinformation through trolling, automated accounts, human-curated accounts, and AI [Artificial Intelligence]. Governments and political actors who hire firms to conduct online influence campaigns on their behalf not only use domestic firms, but also turn to firms based in other countries. For example, between 2019 and 2020, the Archimedes Group, based in Israel, ran online influence campaigns against elections in Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia."

The use of these methods in Canada, however, is not cited. This underscores the crass dishonesty of the report. The only case of an official investigation into foreign influence in a Canadian election was conducted in the Alberta April 16, 2019 election. It concluded that domestic, not foreign entities, carried out what it refers to as "inauthentic online activity." It attributed the activity to "known national far-right and hate group actors who have previously disseminated material, using similar tactics as known malign foreign actors."[2]

The report of the CSE is, besides other things, clearly intended to put a damper on speech in general and during the impending federal election in particular. This is a matter of serious concern to the polity and all Canadians and their demand for a democratic process which enables them to make the decisions which affect their lives. The time is now to reject the dictate that Canadians should not speak in their own name with their own voice to put forward their own vision for the country. The need to Make Canada a Zone for Peace in the world has never been greater.


1. Canada offered to lead and house  the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (G7 RMM) when it was established at the G7 Charlevoix Summit. It was tasked with coordinating cross-country activities to "identify and respond to diverse and evolving threats to our democracies, including through sharing information and analysis, and identifying opportunities for coordinated response." Its stated objective is to "monitor for and analyze potential cases of foreign interference, regardless of the political party affected or political nature of any given issue. Its objective is to articulate the trends and tactics employed by foreign actors as it pertains to interference in democratic processes and institutions and to track and understand their evolution."

The G7 RRM  makes a point of stating that it is not a fact-checking body and does not need to be since there are hundreds of those elsewhere.

2. The G7 RRM chose to monitor the Alberta election in 2019 because it was identified as "being at risk of interference because of the extent to which environmental issues were debated. For example, the pipeline has been noted as a socially divisive issue that may be a target for foreign actors." It was chosen "with the purpose of identifying any emerging tactics in foreign interference and drawing lessons learned for the Canadian general election."

In its report, issued by Global Affairs Canada, RRM said that it identified "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" on social-media platforms. It concluded, however, that "the majority of these accounts were very likely not foreign."
"The Alberta election provides an example of a situation where there may be evidence of coordinated inauthentic behaviour undertaken by Canadian actors, making the identification of foreign interference more difficult," it concluded.

Haut de page

Canada Joins U.S. Claims of Cyber Attacks and Preparations for War

On July 19, Canada joined the Biden administration in a "coalition" to publicly accuse the Chinese government of malicious cyber activities and irresponsible state behaviour, in language just short of declaring cyber warfare. The joint announcement claims the U.S. uncovered a wide array of cyber attacks against Microsoft by hackers they said had a history of working for China's Ministry of State Security (MSS).

The announcement said China is responsible for the attack on Microsoft's email software -- an attack which infected tens of thousands of businesses, government offices and schools in the U.S. alone. Those joining the U.S. coalition included, besides Canada, the European Union (EU), Australia, Britain, Japan, New Zealand, and the other countries comprising the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.

In connection with the allegations, the U.S. Department of Justice announced criminal charges against those they claimed were the four hackers, for targeting foreign governments and entities in crucial sectors such as defence, education, health care, the maritime and aviation sectors, and for cyber theft of intellectual property for financial gain.

The charges are part of the focus on cyber security by the governments which form part of the U.S. imperialist coalition and attempts by the Biden administration to define what constitutes cyber warfare. Raising the issue of crucial sectors of the economy and life, such as aviation and electrical grids, is to establish them as part of national security and to justify charges of cyber warfare.

For its part, Canada is making cyber security a prominent issue in the conduct of the upcoming federal election. It is marching in lockstep with the Biden administration which is also working to establish rules for what constitute crimes and punishment, while also publicly putting in place the means to back up U.S. claims that a cyber attack was committed by China, Russia, or another country it is accusing of such things. As part of this, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) which was formed in 2018 with a budget of more than $3 billion, published a "Joint Cybersecurity Advisory." The Advisory has what the U.S. says are more than 50 "tactics, techniques and procedures" used by hackers associated with China.

This year CISA has already received a funding increase of $650 million, added to what is expected to be $2.3 billion. CISA also has the authority to "hunt proactively" for threats across civilian federal networks and subpoena authority over internet service providers when the agency "detects critical vulnerabilities in national infrastructure." It will encourage the private sector to turn over more information about the cyber threats they face. CISA also serves as a top federal liaison on cyber issues for private-sector owners of what is designated by the government as critical national infrastructure.

A salient problem is that cyber warfare and cyber security are not defined by the government, any more than what constitutes terrorism has ever been defined. It is also known that terrorism charges inside the country have mainly targeted those standing against wars of aggression, or those who are defending the environment and opposing racist police killings or incarcerations at the southern U.S. border. Many expect that U.S. government claims of cyber attacks will follow the same course and that Canada will follow suit, falling in line with the U.S.

A major concern is the method used by President Biden and the U.S. administration to launch accusations and declare crimes and punishment without providing facts or evidence. This method is also used by the government of Canada. Everything is about "appearance," what the rulers say the attacks "look like," what China "might do" and the like. The hackers are said to have a "history of working for China," but that history is not provided. Nor is it said whether there is evidence that they are still working for China. All of this is said to be secret and therefore cannot be divulged.

As the "Joint Security Advisory" shows, the method also involves providing a list of what the U.S. asserts are "tactics, techniques and procedures" that are like, or have the appearance of being, those used by Russia or China. This then is used to say the attacks are made by Russia or China. There is no direct evidence. The basis for identifying the particular "tactics" as belonging to China also remains secret. The assertions and publication of the list serve to create a norm that whenever these same "tactics, techniques and procedures" appear, they can be attributed to Russia or China.

A problem the U.S. government and those appeasing the U.S. government face is that it is next to impossible to attribute specific cyber attacks to particular governments or individuals, especially on an international level. This is because the attacks can be made to look like they are being made by those countries, or coming from particular places, using the very "tactics" cited, when that is not the case. Attribution cannot be made -- a fact already established in various cases which have refuted U.S. claims and shown them to be fraudulent.

The U.S. is simply asserting that attacks can be attributed to China or Russia. For purposes of mobilizing their military bureaucracy and for purposes of creating public opinion, the U.S. asserts that China or Russia are conducting these attacks and that they should be punished. Whatever claims are made by the U.S. about the "tactics, techniques and procedures" used by China or Russia or Iran or others are to be considered valid. In this way the media, pundits, politicians and academics are drawn into a debate about whether Russia or China were involved, while the list of tactics given and the methods used are established as "the norm." The whole process is also a means to generate fear and antagonisms towards China and Russia so as to prepare for war. The Pentagon regularly states that China and Russia are "strategic adversaries," who could target "national strategic infrastructure." Canada also promotes these threats of cyber warfare, as decided by the U.S., to lay the groundwork for justifying war.

Cyber Security Scare Shows that Military Might Fails
to Gain Political Advantage

A problem the U.S. rulers are repeatedly contending with is that even with their military and nuclear superiority, they cannot achieve political advantage. The U.S. spends more on its military than the next eight countries, which include Russia and China, combined. China has, for example, four aircraft carriers. The U.S. has many more and many more nuclear weapons as well as the means to deliver them. Similarly, the "peace dividend" and political advantage that was supposed to emerge with the fall of the Soviet Union did not occur. Today, the U.S., like the liberal democracies in Europe, have dysfunctional governing institutions, civil war conditions among the vying factions of the rulers and widespread dissatisfaction and lack of legitimacy among the people. In Canada, the liberal democratic institutions are also dysfunctional. The integration of the Canadian economy into the U.S. war machine and of the Canadian state with the U.S. imperialist agenda for world domination means that the U.S. civil war scenario spills into the country's political arena. As part of contending with this, the claim is made that the problem with elections, for example, is foreign interference by Russia or China, or Iran, rather than the failure and racist, unrepresentative nature of the existing constitutional order which they demand everyone uphold.

Further, much like the U.S. did with nuclear weapons, they are trying to impose their rules as to what is and is not cyber warfare and what the punishments are and who has authority to impose them. For nuclear weapons the U.S. put in place the notion of secrecy, that information about building nuclear weapons was a state secret and anyone releasing such information was guilty of espionage. They then enforced this with, for example, criminal charges and execution of the Rosenbergs, using this claim of espionage.

Similar efforts are being made concerning cyber warfare and cyber security so as to establish U.S. authority to act, impose punishments and justify imperialist war. People siding with Russia or China can be branded agents of a foreign power, or guilty of treason. While the U.S. openly talks of interfering in Cuba's internet, they are also again promoting anti-communism to provide justification for targeting the many forces supporting Cuba. Further, with Biden's continuing threats, the memory of a potential nuclear confrontation between Russia and the U.S., as occurred with the 1960's missile crisis, has been brought to the fore. So too supporting the people of Palestine, or demanding the peaceful resolution of conflicts or opposing the provocations the U.S. and NATO are engaging in in the Indo-Pacific region are treated as stands that are foreign inspired or in the service of "adversarial states."

Biden's NSA Speech on Cyber Threats and Cyberwar

On July 28 Biden delivered a speech at a gathering of members of the 18 intelligence agencies in the U.S. in McLean, Virginia at the "National Counterterrorism Centre at Liberty Crossing Intelligence Campus." Biden declared that a cyber attack will most likely cause a major war and identified China and Russia as the likely perpetrators. Speaking of the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections, Biden accused Russia of interference. He decried "rampant disinformation that is making it harder and harder for people to access -- assess the facts, be able to make decisions." Pulling his "the U.S. is innocent of any wrong-doing, we are the paradigm of democracy and human rights" card, he protested: "[...] look what Russia is doing already about the 2022 elections and misinformation. It's a pure violation of our sovereignty."

Biden told the audience: "You know, we've seen how cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, increasingly are able to cause damage and disruption to the real world. I can't guarantee this and you're as informed as I am, but I think it's more likely we're going to end up -- well, if we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it's going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence. And it's increasing exponentially -- the capabilities."

He described the U.S. intelligence agencies as "the eyes and ears around the world," stating they are "in the frontlines of our national defence, and in many cases, for the world, through us."

Speaking about Russia, Biden spoke like a hoodlum. His overall approach is to become personal to give the impression that he has the inside track  "When I was with Mr. Putin, who has a real problem -- he is -- he's sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Nothing else. Their economy is -- what? -- the eighth smallest in the world now -- largest in the world?  He knows -- he knows he's in real trouble, which makes him even more dangerous, in my view."  

So too when he spoke about China. "Take a look at China. I've spent more time with Xi Jinping as a world leader than anyone else has. [...] He is deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest -- the most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s -- the 2040s. It's real."

Biden seems to think that accusing Russia and China of what the U.S. itself is all about provides proof that Russia and China, and not the U.S., pose the greatest danger to world peace at this time.

Later in his speech, Biden suggested that there was a need to also work with Russia and China to deal with "existential problems" facing the entire world. This in fact serves to further reveal how the world is being put on a war-footing. Biden said, "at the same time, we have to work in cooperation with nations like China and Russia that are our competitors -- and possibly mortal competitors down the road -- in the context of there's -- to meet the existential threats, for example, of climate change. There are certain things that are in our mutual interest.  But we can't -- we can't be lulled into thinking that that's enough and that we don't really have to keep a watchful eye on what the ultimate objective of the other team is. But there are things where we should be -- where we should be cooperating."

Biden made it more than clear that such cooperation must never lose sight of the U.S. pursuit of domination and control. "A dramatically warming Arctic is opening up competition for resources that once were hard to access.  I had -- as they say in Southern Delaware -- they talk at you like this, you know what I mean? -- I had a "Come to Jesus" meeting, an "altar call" with Mr. Putin about what he thinks is what Russia's property is in the Arctic. China looking very closely at that as well, where they are. That's what I mean about the world changing. What is that going to do to our strategic doctrine in the next 2, 5, 10, 12 years, when you can circumvent the Arctic without icebreakers?"

All of it shows that a main aim is to block the peoples from calmly looking at issues of war and peace from their own vantage point, one that is to their advantage and directly involves the human factor. It is to divert and divide the anti-war struggles and striving for anti-war governments by drawing people into the trap of looking at matters from the vantage point of the rich. This requires rejecting their claims and attributions about cyber warfare and pursuing relations of friendship and mutual respect with the peoples of the world.

In the upcoming election in Canada, avoiding the traps the rulers are setting for the polity requires pursuing all efforts to defend the rights of all, calling for an anti-war government, opposing Canada's integration into the U.S. war economy and working to Make Canada a Zone for Peace. This program remains key to ensuring that Canada becomes a force for peace at this time, not a force for war as is currently the case. 

Haut de page

Infrastructure Spending to Maintain Class Privilege and Control and Further Integrate Canada
into U.S. War Economy

To stay in line with the U.S. Biden administration's proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, the Trudeau government has stepped up the creation of arrangements necessary to hand over billions from the public treasury to the global oligarchs including through direct investment and public-private partnerships or offering tax incentives, cheap electricity, transportation infrastructure and many other means. Most of it is carried out under the guise of "building back better" after the COVID-19 pandemic, a "green transition" to address climate change, and even a "feminist recovery." In the last week of July alone, in a cynical move to appeal for support to win a federal election, the Trudeau government has announced millions of dollars in government funds for the aerospace industry in Quebec, for Algoma Steel and ArcelorMittal Dofasco steel plants in Ontario, for projects in transportation, airports and transit, for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations throughout the country and much more.

In 2017 the Trudeau government established the Canada Infrastructure Bank which had been described as a federal infrastructure bank which would provide low-cost financing to municipalities but was immediately turned into a mechanism for imposing public-private partnerships on municipalities. Earlier this year the government launched a consultation regarding the establishment of an independent advisory body to inform infrastructure policy and investment. The recommendations from the consultation with "over 300 organizations and individuals" was released on July 29 in a report entitled Building Pathways to 2050: Moving Forward on the National Infrastructure Assessment. The alleged aim of the assessment is to determine the needs and "improve coordination among infrastructure owners and funders; and to determine the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure."

The imperialist oligarchy and governments in their service are paying first-rate attention to developing and renewing infrastructure in such a way that it satisfies the needs of narrow private interests and furthers the needs of war governments. The problem posed for the working class is to begin by declaring that there is an alternative to the present crisis-ridden and destructive policy which pays the rich and that Canada must be a zone for peace, not war. The alternative begins by insisting that governments must provide Canada with a modern aim which serves the people and society. The economy must be organized so that each part supports each other and complements the whole under the control and direction of the actual producers.

In modern socialized economies, such as those of Canada and the United States, infrastructure is an indispensable social means of production used by all sectors and enterprises in the collective economy. A significant problem that exists in developing and maintaining infrastructure, including roads, bridges, electricity, water, transit, educational, recreational, government and health care institutions and all other aspects of modern infrastructure is that while the value from infrastructure is distributed widely throughout the socialized economy, it is not fully and objectively realized (paid for). Even more, the financial oligarchy demands that governments create public infrastructure spending programs which will preserve and defend their immense social wealth and class privilege and their control of the country's economic and political affairs.

A significant aspect of neo-liberalism and imperialist globalization has been the proliferation of pay-the-rich schemes giving public funds to the largest and most powerful private companies and cartels of the global oligarchy. None of it has to do with serving the needs of the people.

Haut de page

For Your Information

COVID-19 Update for Canada

Calgary protest, August 1, 2021, against lifting of Alberta public health guidelines.

Since the start of the pandemic, 1,428,683 cases of COVID-19 and 26,570 deaths have been reported in Canada by the Public Health Agency of Canada according to its latest update, July 29. Variants of concern represent the majority of recently reported COVID-19 cases, including B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta), which have been detected in most provinces and territories.

Despite alarming spikes in Alberta, the government announced the lifting of most public health guidelines related to the pandemic, including that by mid-August, there will be no requirement for infected individuals to quarantine and no testing until symptoms are severe. This is being opposed by politicians, physicians, health care workers, teachers, unions and other organizations, who have been holding daily rallies (with social distancing and masking) since the day after the announcement, and by others across the country.

The July 29 seven-day moving average of 594 new cases reported daily (July 22-28), shows an increase of 39 per cent over the previous week. Severe illness trends continue to decline, with the latest provincial and territorial data showing that an average of 486 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during that same period, which is 12 per cent fewer than in the prior week. As well, on average, 228 people were being treated in intensive care units, 8 per cent fewer than the previous week. An average of eight deaths were reported daily.

Public Health Canada reiterates that as jurisdictions begin to ease restrictions, risks and circumstances are not the same everywhere and following local public health advice continues to be important, regardless of vaccination status. While COVID-19 is still circulating in Canada and internationally, core public health measures and individual protective practices can help to reduce the spread: stay home/self-isolate if you have symptoms; be aware of risks associated with different settings; avoid non-essential travel outside Canada; and maintain individual protective practices such as physical distancing and wearing a well-fitted and properly worn face mask, as appropriate.

Haut de page

Congratulations to 1492 Land Back Lane Defenders

Haudenosaunee of the Grand River Win
Another Land Battle

On July 3, the Haudenosaunee of the Grand River held a Land Back Lane Unity Concert at Kanonhstaton to celebrate their win in another battle in defence of their treaty and hereditary rights. The concert was held after Foxgate Developments announced on July 1 that it was abandoning its project to build a 25-acre subdivision of some 200 homes on lands of the Haudenosaunee of the Grand River. William Liske, chief legal officer for Lesani Homes, which along with Ballanty Homes are partners in Foxgate, informed that "after a full year, it has become evident that the court orders (two injunctions, banning the land defenders from the property) will neither be honoured or enforced." Foxgate remains adamant that it owns the land on the basis of the "land title system" which is not recognized by the sovereign Haudenosaunee people who have fought for more than 200 years to protect and steward the land for themselves and for future generations.

For more than 350 days the land defenders occupied the Foxgate Developments building site, naming it 1492 Land Back Lane, and held their ground against the Canadian state, its police and courts and upheld the treaty and hereditary rights to their lands and sovereignty. More than 256 charges have been laid by police against the land defenders and their allies and the cost of policing the Indigenous fighters has been in excess of $16 million.

The Trudeau government which was duty-bound to intervene to assist the Haudenosaunee in their just struggle instead turned a blind eye when the Ford Government in Ontario unleashed the police and the courts to intimidate and criminalize the land defenders. It has also come to light that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been monitoring the land defenders as "a potential threat to national security." The cowardly Trudeau Liberals refused to meet with the Haudenosaunee so that a political solution could be worked out.

The firm stand of the land defenders forced Foxgate Developments to cancel the project. Kanonhstaton where the Land Back Lane Unity Concert was held on July 3, is the former "Douglas Creek Estate" lands which the land defenders and their allies, including steelworkers from USW Local 1005, successfully reclaimed in 2006. The news of this "win number two" was met with great enthusiasm by the more than 200 people who attended the concert.

Ironworker Skyler Williams, a participant in the 2006 battle and spokesperson for the land defenders at 1492, welcomed everyone to the Land Back Lane concert. He pointed out that the broad financial, political and other support and solidarity of workers and allies across the country, and the firm conviction of the land defenders had resulted in victory. He thanked everyone for their support and pointed out that while this is "a victory that we are celebrating today," the battle continues. Williams had pointed out to the local press earlier that without the consent of the Haudenosaunee, any development project will be met with resistance. He called the victories, in 2006 and now in 2021, "incremental wins" in a "generational struggle" for Indigenous rights and said that the work is only beginning. "This is the very foot of the mountain," he said.

During the almost one year that the land defenders have reclaimed Land Back Lane, they have planted a small orchard and built cabins for accommodation. When they heard the news that 215 children's remains had been found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School, the land defenders planted three white pines to honour them and dedicated their orchard to future generations.

The Land Back Lane Unity Concert featured internationally renowned Indigenous musicians such as Tom Wilson and Blaine Bomberry and spoken word artists Kahsenniyo Williams, Layla Black and others who stood firmly with the land defenders and affirmed their continued support in the battles to come.

(With files from TML correspondent, APTN News, Land Back Lane Facebook page. Photos: C. Osorio)

Haut de page

75th Anniversary of the Stelco Strike of '46

The Contribution of Steelworkers to Steeltown

"We are commemorating the strike of '46 by appreciating the contribution the steelworkers have made to Steeltown ... In 1946 the workers broke new ground in defence of their rights and the rights of all. Hamilton is the product of this fight. Who can even imagine life in Hamilton without the contribution made by the steelworkers and their families? Together all of us have created what we are defending today. We have always done our duty by working hard which is why we fight for our rights. How can we go back to a time when the workers were treated as second class citizens and even less than human? It is unconscionable to be used, abused and thrown onto a scrap heap so that a few can be filthy rich at our expense. The workers did not believe this in 1946 and the spirit with which they fought then is the same spirit which motivates us today, 65 years later. This is worth celebrating!"

As President of USW Local 1005, addressing a mass rally on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the Strike of '46

Haut de page

Salute to USW Local 1005 and the Spirit of '46

The People vs U.S. Steel, mass rally and march in Hamilton, January 29, 2011

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) sends its warmest greetings to USW Local 1005, to all its members, leadership and retirees on the 75th anniversary of its founding. Located in Hamilton in the heartland of industrial Canada, Local 1005 has played and continues to play an important role in the working class movement.

Right from the beginning in 1946, the leaders, activists and supporters of Local 1005 proved to themselves and others that organizing a defence collective of, for and by workers themselves could be done. They did not seek the permission of any authority in power; they demanded their recognition as a defence collective of workers as a matter of right. They held high the banner of the actual producers with concrete demands and claims arising from their social and working conditions. They proved in practice the importance of having a workers' defence organization independent of those who own and control the facilities and state, a union of, for and by the steelworkers themselves.

The steelworkers of '46 had a special spirit arising from the times. They were part of the international contingent of the working class that had defeated the anti-worker anti-people hordes of Nazis, fascists and militarists led and manipulated by those who owned and controlled the monopolies. Workers and their allies throughout the world had united with the Soviet Union in a great flow of revolution to defeat those in power who were committing atrocities against the people.

The flow of revolution and Spirit of '46 captured the imagination of millions of industrial workers. Today this spirit is upheld by those who see the necessity to engage in actions with analysis, think for themselves and organize independently of the ruling elite. This is the key to defending our rights and the rights of all in Canada.

USW Local 1005 organizes a march and a conference on nation-building in Hamilton on
May Day 2010.

From the Spirit of '46 arose the struggle for public health care, education, unemployment insurance, pensions for all and the realization that these social programs are not gifts from the ruling elite but rights and a way of life that must be fought for and defended with organization and actions with analysis. From the Spirit of '46 arose as well the contention that only through eliminating class privilege and by empowering and bringing the working class into the centre of control over Canada's economic, political and social affairs can a modern country be built that guarantees the rights of all and stands for the same internationally.

Steelworkers pose in the present an important question: What is the use of producing all this steel, all this value if the actual producers have no say or control over its production and how the social wealth is used and distributed? The workers' claim on the value they produce both individually and socially is their right as workers, and that claim is for a lifetime not just while they are healthy, uninjured and in the prime of life. The state has the social obligation to uphold the workers' claim throughout their entire lives on the value they produce. If the state refuses its social obligation to the working class then it loses all credibility and raises the necessity of its replacement with a modern state that guarantees the rights of all.

Life itself since '46 has proven concretely that without constantly renewing the organized battle for rights and the broad public interest, those rights can be crushed under the relentless pressure of those who own and control the socialized productive forces and state. They use all their social wealth, connections, class privilege and power to push their narrow private interests and monopoly right and refuse to address the economic, political and social problems that are the conditions of recurring crises and war.

The essential kernel of the Spirit of '46 is the resolve to solve the problems of organizing the working class to defend its rights in the face of all obstacles. The key today is to further develop the independent thinking, theory and organizing of the working class in opposition to the interference of the ruling elite and their state.

Today the power of the monopolies and state has increased exponentially strengthening the resolve of the class to organize to defend its rights and meet the challenges of the day. To its great merit, Local 1005 spearheaded the work demanded of the labour movement in Canada to renew itself to meet the obstacles and power of the ruling elite when it started using the fraudulent bankruptcy protection to get rid of its social responsibilities to the workers and attack their union, wages and pensions. Under the strong leadership of the Executive of Local 1005 guided by its President Rolf Gerstenberger, dedicated to resolving the crisis in favour of the workers, not the owners, members and retirees developed new methods which involved everyone in discussions to debunk self-serving disinformation, look at the facts, consider their options, decide the course of action to be taken and mobilize the people of Hamilton to stand with them.

Thursday meetings were held, open to all, where all issues were put on the table and hashed out together. Everyone had the right to speak and everyone was encouraged to formulate their own views on the matter at hand, not lobby for or against this or that view. No attacks of a personal nature were permitted thus it was possible to speak freely with no fear of sounding foolish or being inadequate. Everyone's role was appreciated to get to the heart of the matter and make sure everyone's interests were taken into account. This mass democratic method based on recognizing that all members are equal and have a say made the union itself and its leadership accountable to the membership and created a force the company had to reckon with every step of the way.

USW Local 1005 Thursday meeting, January 19, 2017

The experience of Local 1005 proved once again that no matter what difficulties modern workers face in production, in defence of their rights, in life or politics, they are more than capable of finding a solution by organizing their peers through actions with analysis using their own thinking and guided by modern definitions which accord with the needs of the times.

On behalf of CPC(M-L) and all those Canadians engaged in nation-building, we salute the fight waged by Hamilton steelworkers faced with the brutal use of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). We salute all the steelworkers, pensioners and the people of Hamilton who took bold stands in defence of workers' rights and the rights of all. By renewing the democratic processes, they made sure workers could speak freely and get to the heart of the matter in front of them. They consulted with all interested parties, took bold stands and successfully organized to achieve inspiring successes. They wrote a glorious new chapter in the history of Canadian labour. Congratulations!

Haut de page

75th Anniversary of the Stelco Strike of '46

Seventy-five years ago on July 15, 1946, Hamilton, Ontario steelworkers took on the country's biggest steel producer in a crucial strike for union recognition. With strong community support, they held the line for almost three months to win an historic victory, with the strike ending October 4, 1946.

Throughout the world at the end of World War II, hundreds of millions upon millions of working and oppressed peoples yearned for and were demanding change. The imperialist socio-economic system was weakened. A new socialist state existed on one-sixth of the globe. There emerged a continuing upsurge in the industrialized countries and movements for rights, national independence and national liberation in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In the U.S. and Canada big capital was fat with war profits. The war economy was of no benefit to working people at home or abroad. A massive strike movement broke out, known as the Spirit of '46, which embodied this striving. In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 18 months that followed, some 7 million workers engaged in the largest, most sustained wave of strikes in U.S. history. About 144 million days of work were lost in those 18 months, more than in the entire decade of the 1980s or the 1990s and just slightly less than the total "days idled by work stoppages" in both those decades combined. In Canada, there were 70,688 workers out on 36 strikes in June 1946.[1]

The Spirit of '46 announced to the world the workers' claim to the wealth they create and the standing of their collectives, including putting union recognition on a legal basis.

Canadian Stelco steelworkers waged a historic strike in Hamilton in 1946 to force the government to recognize their union, USW 1005, and to improve their wages and benefits, and establish their pensions. When the company was organizing to have the Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP attack the workers' picket lines, the people of Hamilton from every sector rallied around the striking workers. At a crucial moment in the strike, hundreds of World War II veterans marched from Woodlawns Park down to Stelco's gates. The strong Italian contingent of striking workers often held mass buffets, with men and women preparing food for thousands of hungry strikers. One night, over $6,000 in donations was collected, and the "money used to further the strike by providing more food and other necessities. Some local merchants and farmers displayed their sympathies by extending credit and donating tons of food. Entertainers regularly visited the picket lines."[2] This was concrete public support that greatly assisted the workers.

In 1946, the workers and their communities were able to make headway because the union fought and a critical mass of workers and the people of Hamilton stood with it in the face of great difficulties. Throughout its history, Local 1005 has faced constant attacks from directors and executive managers who wanted to smash it and impose their will on the workers with impunity. The workers have always fought to uphold their rights and the rights of all, especially since the anti-social offensive was launched with one of its aims to dismantle the union, refuse to negotiate in good faith and treat the workers as expendable. Hamilton steelworkers have shown time and again that security lies in the fight for the rights of all. On this basis, they can achieve success. They have inspired the labour movement and all Canadians nationwide.


1. It Started with a Whisper: A History of the 1946 Strike, published by USW Local 1005 on January 1, 1996 on its 50th Anniversary, page 26.

2. "The Siege of '46," on the history of the 1946 Stelco strike, part of a digital collection on the history of labour and technology in Hamilton and district posted on the McMaster University website, part of the SchoolNet Digital Collections program of Industry Canada.

Haut de page

Poem: The Spirit of '46

Steelworker poet Bill Mahoney was declared USW 1005's poet in residence. Photo shows him at the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the strike of '46, July 23, 2011, where he recited his poem The Spirit of '46, written for the occasion.  Bill has updated the poem on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Union's founding and recited it especially to celebrate the important anniversary.

From the struggle of '46 the spirit still lives on.
Although many of our veterans are dead and gone.
They fought for social justice and for workers' rights.
Seventy-five years later we still fight the fights.
They fought for decent wages, benefits and a pension plan.
A working life with dignity for each woman and man.
Showing the way for others right across the land.
Now all across the country, workers are under attack.
Without a strong Union, how would you fight back?
Companies want your dignity; Companies want your pride.
How would you fight the bastards with no one on your side?
Would you go crawling on your hands and knees?
To the foreign masters to do with as they please.
Companies want your loyalty and your sweat and blood.
But when your working days are over they dump you in the mud.
For all the gains we have made, we worked long and hard.
If we now gave up an inch the company'd want a yard.
We were told foreign ownership would be a benefit.
They've been here for many a year and we ain't seen it yet.
They want to rob the elderly; they want to rob the young.
If they can't do it with a pen, they'll try to use a gun.
1005 stood up to them that is something they hate.
So on November 7th they locked up the gate.
We are proud Steelworkers from Local 1005,
They can't steal our dignity, they can't steal our pride.
We are going to stand up and fight back all the way.
When you mess with 1005 you have hell to pay.
We will have many stories to tell to our kids;
Of times spent on picket lines and when we held the bridge.
When future generations talk about the fight,
They will say we had the courage to stand up for what is right.
Our Local is legendary and our future's bright
Because we had the courage to stand up and fight.

Haut de page

Mass Workers' Rally at BlackRock's New York Headquarters

Striking Alabama Coal Miners Adopt Bold Slogan
We Are One!

Hundreds of striking Alabama coal miners and their supporters rallied on July 28 outside the headquarters of the massive hedge fund BlackRock, the largest investor in Warrior Met Coal, Inc. More than 1,100 workers from two Warrior Met Coal Mines in Brookwood, Alabama, have been on strike since April 1, demanding wages, benefits and working conditions commensurate with the work they do. The miners are members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Locals 2245, 2397, 2368 and 2427 representing workers at Warrior Met's #4 Mine, #5 Mine processing plant, #7 Mine and the company's Central Shop, all located near Brookwood.

Striking workers at the New York rally, wearing shirts with the slogans "We Are One" and "We Are Everywhere," chanted "No contract, no coal!" and "Warrior Met Coal ain't got no soul!" as passing trucks and cars honked in support. They were joined by fellow coal miners from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, as well as members of the labour movement in New York City. Also lending support was actress Susan Sarandon.

The workers set up their picket line outside the entrance to BlackRock's offices, where they spoke out about their struggle to provide for their families.

"Warrior Met is the creation of a shadowy network of New York hedge funds and investment banks," said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. He explained that in 2016, workers took a $6-an-hour cut in wages and reduced benefits in their contract after Walter Energy, which eventually became Warrior Met Coal, declared bankruptcy in 2015. "The workers gave up more than $1.1 billion in wages, health care benefits, pensions, and more to allow Warrior Met to emerge from bankruptcy five years ago. The company has enjoyed revenue in excess of $3.4 billion in that time. But it does not want to recognize the sacrifices these workers made to allow it to exist in the first place. All those billions came up to New York to fatten the bank accounts of the already-rich," Roberts said. "BlackRock is the largest shareholder of Warrior Met stock. We are simply following the money, and demanding that those who created that wealth get their fair share of it."

UMWA rejected a contract offered up by the company in April, just a few weeks after the strike began, which would have given workers a $1.50 per hour pay increase over five years. Workers are demanding pay and benefits to match what they were receiving before the contract that was signed in 2016. Warrior Met's current offer is $2 per hour in raises over the next five years. The company recently paid bonuses to upper-level management, the union informs.

"It's about time to get what we deserve. We brought this company out of bankruptcy," said a striking miner. "We deserve to get back what we had."

Miners also inform that the company has imposed untenable working conditions, where on top of the difficult and dangerous conditions they face in the mine, they are expected to work seven days a week, up to 16 hours a day, and face termination for missing more than four days of work, except in the case of a family death.

Brian Kelly, 50, a third-generation miner and President of UMWA Local 2245, attended the protest with his wife, two daughters and grandson. He pointed out that many of the workers struggle to pay medical bills as health care has become more expensive for them.

"We have debt collectors all over our people because we can't afford to pay these bills," Kelly said. "There used to be a little respect for people who go down there ... and this company just lost all respect for us."

The company brought in replacement workers to break the strike. However, the workers report that safety conditions have worsened and the company is running below capacity, scaling back production at one mine while closing another. The strike has also forced the company to stop development of a new project, along with halting stock buybacks.

Carl White, 35, President of UMWA Local 2397, said that BlackRock likely sees "that this company is not performing like it did when the union workers were in these coal mines. We're not asking for much here," White said. "It's time to come to the table and give us a fair and decent contract."

It is the workers that produce the wealth, from whose increasing and untenable exploitation Warrior Met and BlackRock are making their massive profits. Yet in a statement to Bloomberg, Warrior Met turns the real world on its head to portray its existence as being threatened by the workers' just demands: "We have and will continue to work with the UMWA to reach a fair and reasonable contract that provides our employees with a competitive package while protecting jobs and ensuring the longevity of the company."

The protest in New York is one of multiple protests UMWA has held for the current strike. Nearly a dozen workers were arrested and charged with trespassing during a May 25 protest at a Warrior Met Coal mine in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the entrance was blocked to stop replacement workers from entering and exiting the mine at shift change.

The UMWA informs that it has held "many solidarity rallies at Tannehill State Park in Bessemer, Alabama to bring miners, families and supporters together to discuss the importance of remaining diligent in the fight against the coal company. The UMWA has received an immense amount of support from our labour brothers and sisters, local politicians and the surrounding communities since announcing its action to strike."

(With files from UMWA and news agencies.)

Haut de page

Increasing Conflicts Among U.S. Policing Agencies

Battle Over Federal and State Authority:
U.S. Department of Justice Sues Texas Governor

Conflicts in the United States between the federal government and Texas Governor Greg Abbott concerning authority on immigration matters continues to escalate. After sending about 1,000 state troopers to the border area, on July 28 Abbott issued an executive order calling on them to stop cars "transporting migrants who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19." Immigrant rights advocates immediately protested, saying the action could not be carried out without racist profiling by the state troopers. As well, as they have no means of assessing who poses a risk, profiling by country of origin would also likely be used. The state troopers were given authority to stop cars they "suspected" were transporting migrants and to force them to return to their point of origin or a port of entry and to seize the vehicle if the driver refused.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland threatened action July 29, saying the Order was "dangerous and unlawful," and calling on Abbott to rescind the Order. He said the Order "violates federal law in numerous respects, and Texas cannot lawfully enforce the Executive Order against any federal official or private parties working with the United States." Abbott refused, specifically saying that his "duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that."

The Department of Justice filed suit in U.S. District Court, El Paso on July 30 . The suit emphasizes the supremacy of the federal government for immigration matters. It states, "No State may obstruct the Federal Government in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities," and that the Order "directly interferes with the administration of federal immigration law." It speaks to the ongoing conflicts saying that the Executive Order "causes injury to the United States and to individuals whom the United States is charged to protect, jeopardizing the health and safety of noncitizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families..."

The federal government contracts with numerous religious and non-profit organizations to assist in transporting migrants, including refugees seeking asylum, to shelters or bus stations, airports, etc. It is these people and organizations who are being directly targeted, as well as federal authority more generally. It is also the case that implementation of the Order could mean that larger numbers of people will be forced to remain in federal detention camps, as they cannot be transported.

President Biden is also using COVID-19 as justification for blocking entry by refugees and forcing them to return to Mexico. In this manner both federal and state governments are violating the rights of immigrants and refugees, while also battling over authority.

Keep in mind that all the various forces now involved -- federalized and state National Guard, federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol, Texas state troopers and local sheriffs -- are all armed and receiving conflicting orders. As the suit states, the situation is "risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel." Even if the Court decides in the federal government's favour, it does not mean Abbott will submit. The potential for direct confrontation among the policing agencies, including armed confrontation, is greatly increasing.

Significance of South Dakota Governor Sending
National Guard to Texas Border

At the request of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, South Dakota Governor Kristi L. Noem deployed 50 South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border. She announced the deployment June 29, saying she was responding to Abbott's call to augment border security with law enforcement resources from other states. The initial deployment will reportedly last 30 to 60 days, but Noem can extend it and add additional troops. She also said the deployment was being paid for by a private individual who is a mega donor billionaire and supporter of Trump and the ruling factions Trump represents. Abbott and Noem are Trump supporters as well.

The deployment, though small in number, is significant in terms of states acting independent of the federal government on immigration matters. It indicates that governors, also representing vying factions among the rulers, are rejecting the compromise concerning armed forces reached at the time the Constitution was written. That compromise was that the ruling factions would not organize their own private armies but would accept one public army, the Continental Army, which is today the U.S. military forces as a whole under the command of the President, as Commander-in-Chief, and thus the Pentagon. The state National Guard was to be mobilized, within each state, for hurricanes, fires or other natural disasters.

Each state controls major armed forces in the form of that state's National Guard, along with state-based policing forces. The governor of each state, not the Pentagon, commands those forces. Out-of-state deployment of the Guard involves the President, with the consent of the governors, federalizing the state forces, so that the Pentagon commands them. This has been done to send large numbers of National Guard to Iraq and Afghanistan, something usually reserved for active-duty soldiers.

There are already about 4,000 troops from different states at the border, mostly federalized National Guard, along with some active-duty soldiers. They were deployed by then-President Trump in 2018 and put under the command of the Pentagon and they have remained there ever since, now under Biden.

The Texas and South Dakota governors positioning troops on the southern U.S. border under their own direct command is a new development which will inevitably exacerbate the conflict that already exists between and within federal and state policing agencies, especially where the southern border and immigration are concerned. California, for example, refused to send forces to the border when Trump called for them.

Abbott has already deployed the Texas National Guard to the Texas border with Mexico and Noem is now adding a contingent of South Dakota National Guard to that force. Since neither the Texas nor South Dakota National Guard are under the command of the Pentagon, they can carry out law enforcement activities such as making arrests and detaining people.

In addition, there are already private mercenary armies in the U.S., but they have generally remained under the command of the Pentagon -- such as in Iraq -- or other federal policing agencies. Even so, they represent the privatization of armed forces, operating directly for oligopolies, commonly with the backing and support of government policing agencies. Such forces have been used, for example, against Indigenous peoples, like water protectors at Standing Rock. In that respect, the ability of private armies controlled by oligopolies to act independent of and even against the federal government is part of the intense rivalries between the ruling factions.

The danger of violent civil war increases as these developments unfold. The vying ruling factions are striving to maintain their rule in conditions where their usual mechanisms for lessening the conflicts are not functioning, as indicated by this deployment, the failure of elections to do so and the deepening dysfunction of Congress. They must also contend with the peoples everywhere who are rejecting their legitimacy and fighting for the rights of all, uniting against war and the use of force.

In this situation, the rulers and their media are again trying to paint the problem as one of picking "the right side" -- Biden or Trump -- depending on which side is called "the right side." Trump visited the Texas governor and the border on June 30 with much effort made to arouse passions for one side or the other. The united efforts of the peoples, including those both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, as seen in El Paso and elsewhere, show that it is this striving for people's empowerment that provides a way forward, not choosing sides among the rulers.

Awareness is growing amongst the people that they cannot afford to "pick a side" as they are urged to do. On the contrary, they must work out how to intervene to their own advantage, on the basis of their own aims for the country.

Border communities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas hold a townhall, June 30, 2021, to defend the rights of all and to protest a visit to the border wall by Governor Abbott and Trump that day. (LUPE)

Haut de page

Texas Governor Adds More State Troopers
on the Border

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in addition to posting Texas National Guard to the border with Mexico and bringing in National Guard from other states, is now increasing the presence of state police forces. He has done this in the name of a "disaster declaration" for the border area, which gives him authority to command and send in state policing agencies.

Abbott has sent about 1,000 Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers, about a quarter of the state police force, to counties on or near the border. He has instructed them to arrest migrants coming into the country -- many seeking asylum -- on trespassing charges, a misdemeanour that does not usually involve jail time and is commonly dealt with by local forces. While only "unaccompanied males" are supposed to be targeted, men that are part of families have also been singled out and shipped to jails miles away. Whether "accompanied" or "unaccompanied," these actions are contrary to federal law, which requires that federal forces deal with all immigration matters.

At the end of July, Abbott also issued orders for the Texas National Guard to assist the state troopers in making these arrests. Commonly the Guard does not engage in local law enforcement. Those at the border are armed with assault rifles. Federalized National Guard, under the command of the Pentagon are also armed and present.

The first arrests have been made in Val Verde County, where the town of Del Rio is located. Officials estimate that there could be 50 arrests a day in Val Verde County alone, and possibly 200 daily by August.

The Governor has also used state funds to pay for a border fence to be erected on private land on the border near Del Rio so that the trespassing charges will stick. In Texas, criminal trespass requires that the person know they are trespassing, which is not commonly the case for migrants. The fence is said to be sufficient to make the charge.

It is expected that those arrested would get sentences of time served and be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation. ICE has already asked to be notified before the release of those arrested.

The moves by the Governor are contrary to federal law concerning refugees seeking asylum. Migrants who cross the border, whether at entry points or not, and turn themselves over to the federal Border Patrol, are able to make their case for asylum and remaining in the U.S. Val Verde county officials said a vast majority of people crossing the border at Del Rio immediately turn themselves in so they can apply for asylum. While it is the case that the federal government has also made securing asylum more difficult, the issue here is interference by state policing forces in immigration, which is a federal matter.

Already, local sheriffs are objecting as are the federal forces. Val Verde County Sheriff, for example, intervened on behalf of a migrant couple, where the man was arrested by state troopers and separated from his wife. The sheriff brought in media to witness the arrest, saying it was not supposed to happen and that it was not the only example of families being separated. He called DPS officials and secured this one man's release, but dozens more are going forward. The Border Patrol Agent present also objected but chose not to interfere in this particular case.

The most populated border counties, like El Paso and those in the Rio Grande Valley, have refused Abbott's request that more law enforcement be sent to their regions. Local officials have argued there is no increase in criminal activity in their counties that justifies a disaster declaration and law enforcement surge. It remains unclear if Abbott will send in forces despite their objection.

U.S. troops stretch razor wire across the border crossing between McAllen, Texas and Hidalgo, Mexico, November 12, 2018.

With so many different forces involved -- federal Border Patrol and ICE, federal and state National Guard with some under the control of the Pentagon and others of a state governor, larger numbers of state troopers and local sheriffs and officials -- the potential for conflict among them is very great. It creates a situation where no one authority exists. The situation is a further example of how dysfunctional governance has become and the inability of governing forces at federal, state and local levels to sort out their conflicts. This creates conditions for violent civil war which endangers the lives of all.

People in Texas and all along the border have rejected the militarization of their towns and the border region while also opposing the criminalization of migrants. Numerous organizations, some working both sides of the border, are organizing to strengthen the unity of all those fighting and stepping up the fight for justice and the defence of the rights of all, the basis for providing security for the people.

Haut de page


Farmers' Fight for the Rights of All
Continues Unabated

Farmers hold their Kisan Sansad (Farmers Parliament) in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

The fight of the farmers in India to repeal three anti-farm laws and for their rights continues unabated with more and more initiatives being taken by the farmers, while the government's attempts to defeat them meet one failure after another.

On July 22, the farmers inaugurated a Farmers Parliament (Kisan Sansad) near the Indian parliament in Delhi to discuss in the open the problems of farmers and the anti-farmer laws. The Farmers Parliament started with a moment of silence to pay tribute to more than 560 farmers who have died during the protests at the encampments. The farmers have announced that a memorial to the more than 560 farmers who have died on the borders of Delhi in the last eight months will be built at the Singhu border.

The farmers then explained one of the laws clause by clause and how it goes against the farmers. Speakers pointed out that these laws will bring misery to all people by making food out of their reach. Representatives of the farmers said that this parallel parliament of farmers and peoples is deliberating on the concerns of the people, while the parliament across the street is acting against the interests of farmers and others. Every day 200 farmers belonging to 40 farmers' unions come from their encampments to participate. The Farmers Parliament will continue as long as the monsoon session of parliament continues, they say.

On July 26, the Farmers Parliament was convened by 200 women from all parts of India. Wearing the colours of the farmers, they deliberated on the Essential Commodities Act which allows for unlimited storage of essential commodities and leaves all the people at the mercy of big monopolies who buy cheap, hoard food and sell it at very high prices. The women analyzed the consequences of this law and condemned it.

Women convene the Kisan Sansad, July 26, 2021.

Farmers also announced Mission Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, to take the farmers' movement to the villages of these two states. They will organize public discussions about the farm laws in each and every village and call on people to defeat the ruling party.

Even in the pouring rain, the Farmers Parliament continues deliberating on the concerns of the people and the anti-farmer laws, while the parties of the ruling elite carry on their circus inside the parliament buildings, the talk shop of the rich.

After farmers issued a "peoples whip" to members of parliament belonging to opposition parties, these parliamentarians shouted slogans in parliament in support of the farmers at the opening of the monsoon session, which was adjourned for a day. Farmers have raised a slogan Chuppi Chhodo Ya Kursi Chhodo (Break Silence or Vacate the Seat). In order to hoodwink people again, the leaders of the Akali Dal, the Congress Party and others protested outside the entrance of parliament under the pressure of the farmers' movement.

Non-Resident Indians in many countries around the world organized sleep-outs in support of the farmers in India. Hundreds of people spent the night outdoors in Times Square, New York, in Trafalgar Square, London and in many other cities. Every day of the week rallies, meetings and manifestations are taking place across the globe. In Boston, a rally is being held every Saturday to support the Indian farmers.

A study conducted by a former chief economic adviser to the Modi government, who is on the faculty at Harvard University, reported that COVID-19 deaths in India may be 10 times higher than officially reported. "True deaths are likely to be in the several millions not hundreds of thousands, making this arguably India's worst human tragedy since Partition and independence," the report said. Disinformation, fraud and deception are the standard operating procedure of the Indian government. A minister in Modi's cabinet claimed in the upper house of Parliament that no one has died in India due to lack of oxygen.

On July 31, the farmers and Non-Resident Indians around the world commemorated the 81st anniversary of the martyrdom of Shaheed Udham Singh. Udham Singh was hanged on July 31, 1940 in Pentonville Jail in England for killing Michael O'Dwyer known as the butcher of Punjab. O'Dwyer was Lieutenant Governor of Punjab when he ordered the massacre in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in 1919, killing thousands of people in cold blood. All across the world, the life and work of Udham Singh continues to inspire the youth and others in India, and in other parts of the world.

After killing O'Dwyer, Udham Singh surrendered to the police saying, "[...] For full 21 years, I have been trying to seek vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?"

Udham Singh's statement to the court was classified by the British government after the trial and only declassified in 1996. He said in court, "I am standing before an English jury. I am in an English court. You people go to India and when you come back you are given a prize and put in the House of Commons. We come to England and we are sentenced to death. [...] But when you dirty dogs come to India there comes a time when you will be cleaned out of India. All your British Imperialism will be smashed."

"Machine guns on the streets of India mow down thousands of poor women and children wherever your so-called flag of democracy and Christianity flies.

"Your conduct, your conduct -- I am talking about the British government. I have nothing against the English people at all. I have more English friends living in England than I have in India. I have great sympathy with the workers of England. I am against the Imperialist Government."

"You people are suffering -- workers. Everyone are suffering through these dirty dogs; these mad beasts. India is only slavery. Killing, mutilating and destroying -- British Imperialism. People do not read about it in the papers. We know what is going on in India."

The farmers in the encampments around Delhi commemorated the anniversary of Udham Singh's martyrdom by paying tribute to his life and work. Many farmers called upon people to follow the determination of Udham Singh.

July 28 marked the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Baba Bujha Singh at the ripe old age of 82. He was killed by the Indian state in a fake encounter in the late hours of the night. Bujha Singh was leader of the farmers, communists and Ghadar Party. To this day no one has ever been punished for this state-sanctioned murder.

Thousands of young men and old leaders were killed by the Congress government in Delhi in the 1970s in fake encounters. Institutionalized by the Congress Party, these have been carried out by CPI(M), Akalis, BJP and other party governments as well. Genocide in Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s was supported by the entire party system of government. Many people noted the parallels between Father Stan Swamy's murder in early July and Baba Bujha Singh's killing. Farmers paid tribute to Baba Bujha Singh at a memorial meeting held in his village, where a monument stands in his memory.

July 28 was also the 49th anniversary of the custodial killing of Charu Mazumdar, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) before it split into many factions following his death. He was killed in prison by the Indian government after being arrested in Kolkata without any charges laid or trial held. In the mid 1960s Charu Mazumdar wrote eight articles analyzing the Indian society and state that inspired millions of peasants, who rose up against their oppression and were brutally crushed. He analyzed that the people of India who shed torrents of blood for freedom from the British, did not achieve what they had fought for. The anti-people Indian state is in the service of big monopolies and big landlords, he pointed out. To their shame, today some who claim to be followers of Charu Mazumdar shout that the democracy in India is the "greatest achievement of the independence movement."

Haut de page

(To access articles individually click on the black headline.)



Website:   Email: