Results of the 44th General Election
Pandemic Election Solves
No Problem Whatsoever
- Dougal MacDonald -
Pauline Easton -
Show of Contempt for the Polity
Dangerous War Preparations
• Oppose Attempts to Embroil Canada in
Ballistic Missile Defence
- K.C. Adams -
Calls for U.S. Homeland
Security to Help Curb
Gun Violence in Quebec
Fire to Fight Fire Could Backfire
- Geneviève Royer -
Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Violations
Actions Stand as One for Women's Rights
Supreme Court Undermines Its Own Rules
to Illegal and Cruel Treatment of Haitian Refugees
- Diane Johnston -
• Fraud of the Debt Ceiling Debate
- Kathleen Chandler -
No to U.S. Terrorism and
Aggression Against Cuba! Celebrate Cuba's Contributions to Humanity's
• People's Peace Prize Awarded to Cuba's
International Medical Brigade
Independence Day, October 10
Anniversary of U.S.-Backed Terrorist Attack on Air Cubana Flight 455,
October 6, 1976
Building Unity in the Diversity of Our America
• Successful 6th Summit of Community of
and Caribbean States
Solidarity with the People
of the Philippines
Vigil Honours Victims and
Survivors of Marcos Dictatorship by Calling for Ouster of Duterte Regime
• End Canada's Support for Duterte Regime
Abuses of Human Rights
- Steve Rutchinski -
of the 44th General Election
the majority consensus of the people of Canada, the $610 million 44th
federal election was an expensive waste of time that changed nothing.
The Liberal government called the election during the COVID-19 pandemic
that has so far killed 28,000 Canadians (after promising not to),
hoping to change their minority government into a majority. But their
campaign backfired. The representation of the different parties in
Parliament remains essentially the same following the election and many
are angry that the election was held.
There are 338
seats in Parliament. Prior to the election the Liberals occupied 155
seats, Conservatives 119, Bloc Québécois 32, NDP
24, Green Party 2, and Independents 5, with one seat vacant. Results of
the 2021 election as of October 8, with recounts still underway in two
ridings, reveal that the Liberals won 160 seats, Conservatives 119,
Bloc Québécois 32, NDP 25, Green Party 2, and
Independents 0. In other words, another minority Liberal government and
a distribution of seats very similar to the previous election. One wit
called the election a $610 million cabinet shuffle.
election reinforced that democratic renewal is a critical need. The
lack of democracy was shameful. For example, as has been the case for
many years, an arbitrary "official" decision was enforced that treated
the political parties who participated in the election as either
"major" or "fringe." This meant that although 22 registered political
parties ran candidates in the election, only five were invited to take
part in "official" debates and forums organized by the "Leaders' Debate
Commission" that Trudeau created in 2018. The other 17 small parties
were ignored or belittled. All this goes totally against the notion of
an informed public participating in a fair election.
44th general election also continued the "first-past-the-post" election
system where voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice,
and the candidate receiving the most votes wins the seat. But the
percentage of the popular vote that any Party gets is not reflected in
the percentage of seats it gets. In addition, those who do not support
the winning candidate are not represented in government.
In June 2015,
Prime Minister Trudeau vowed that the 2015 federal election would be
the last conducted under the first-past-the-post system, implying that
a new system of proportional representation (PR) would replace it. PR
means that seats are allocated to parties based on the proportion of
votes received, which would be an improvement. In February 2017,
Trudeau walked away from his June 2015 commitment.
the recent election, the working people were as usual treated as
spectators and voting cattle. Their only role was to "pick a side." So
"democracy" means that everyone makes their one vote once every few
years and then exercises no control whatsoever over what the cartel
parties do, say or decide.
Even the members of the
cartel parties are thoroughly disenfranchised and have no say
whatsoever as concerns candidate selection or decision-making. Their
candidates and MPs are similarly powerless. Disinformation pervades the
media. The sum total is that the people concerned have no say
whatsoever over what is happening.
Some of the
nonsense which the cartel party leaders have spoken "on the campaign
trail" is mind-boggling. They concoct "issues" according to what their
campaign handlers think will get them votes and declare the huge sums
of money they will spend "fixing" things, as if the real world and real
people do not exist. They launch personal attacks on opponents which
accomplish nothing. Meanwhile self-appointed pundits and pollsters tell
everybody what to think, both before and after the election. All this
underscores once again the importance of the working people speaking in
their own name to make sure things are turned around in their favour in
the coming period.
Alberta premier Jason Kenney
played a negative role throughout the election. His negligence in
handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed it to overwhelm
Alberta's health care system undermined the Conservative campaign.
Support for the Conservatives in Alberta was down about 14 per cent.
The Liberals regained a seat in Calgary and one in Edmonton, and the
NDP won a second seat in Edmonton. It is very likely that Kenney, who
literally disappeared during the campaign, will be the target of
pointing fingers as the Conservatives look for someone to blame for
their lack of political gains. Not only is Kenney Canada's least
popular premier but the knives are out for him within his own
The idea that working people have
a real choice between one party and another through elections has been
repeatedly debunked. Many have pointed out that since Confederation
only two parties have ever formed the government and that their
policies serve and are bankrolled by private corporate interests. The
people want the power to solve real problems, not to just keep electing
governments that pay the rich.
It is important that
post-election we do not become passive but constantly affirm the right
to speak in our own name, empowering ourselves at every step by taking
stands which are to our advantage within the situation. This is how we
can fight for our right to actively participate in making the important
decisions affecting our lives.
Now that the
election is over and the Liberals remain in a minority position,
stepping up our own work in our own collectives such as our workplaces,
educational institutions, and seniors' residences is a very good place
to start turning things around.
During the phony
insolvency proceedings at Stelco from 2003 to 2006, and for many years
following, the workers of United Steelworkers Local 1005 in
Hamilton held two-to-three-hour weekly "Thursday meetings" where they
informed themselves and then discussed the issues facing them and what
to do about them. That is the kind of democracy where people can speak
in their own names, participate in arriving at decisions and exercise
control over their implementation and the results achieved. The workers
were able to stand as one and feel confident in the bold path they had
Another example of democracy worthy of the
name is for citizens and residents, not political parties, to choose
their candidates from among those who are already actively solving the
In sum, our overall
aim now must be to actively participate in building a new Canada that
is run by the working people and their allies and serves the people's
interests. It can be done. It must be done.
The prediction of Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party strategists that he
could win a majority government by holding the election in September,
and his own opportunism and arrogance in agreeing to call the pandemic
election, causes many to question the Liberals' narcissism and lack of
The fact is that the ruling class's
powers of prediction are zero and have been zero for some time. Polls
are more often than not wrong and many people wonder why. They have
been wrong so often that in this election pollsters often included the
caveat that "if the poll results are accurate," then this or that can
A caveat is a proviso, as in "there
are a number of caveats which concern the validity of the assessment
results." In other words, don't hold us to anything we say.
predictions escape the ruling class, including its intelligence
agencies, is because the rules and standards which determined how a
two-party system of government would function no longer exist. Since
1993, the equilibrium in the Parliament is a thing of the past. No
longer can it be claimed that Canadians are represented by either the
party in power or the party in opposition and that by electing one or
removing another they can hold these parties to account.
the Liberals and Conservatives, supported by other parties, embroiled
Canada in "free trade" on the basis of making Canadian monopolies
number one on the world market, nation-wrecking and the anti-social
agenda became the order of the day. Canada's neo-liberal economy is
such that workers no longer even know who owns the companies they work
for, where decisions are made or who is paying the piper and calling
The parliamentary equilibrium was lost
following the 1993 federal election when the Conservative Party,
despite receiving many votes, won only two seats and the Bloc
Québécois became the Official Opposition. After
that, the Reform Party staged a coup and took over the Conservative
Party setting it on a new virulently anti-national, anti-social path
integrated into the U.S. war machine and rivalries south of the border.
At the same time, the factional fighting within the Liberal Party
increased along with its desperation to cling to power. Since the
sponsorship scandal where the Liberals were caught handing over brown
bags of money to cheat election spending rules, scandal follows scandal
involving money, corruption and schemes to pay the rich. The
politicization of private interests took over -- this refers
to handing over basic functions of the state and decision-making to
narrow private interests such as Deloitte and Touche, KPMG, UBS (which
the Stelco steelworkers referred to as You'll be Sorry when they had
the misfortune to cross paths), SNC-Lavalin and many others.
the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan started handing over their
prisoners of war directly to the United States to be sent to black
sites and tortured without even the Prime Minister of Canada being
informed, it became clear that the Canadian Department of National
Defence was now under the command of U.S. Special Forces. When Jean
Chrétien was Prime Minister he famously gave a definition of
sovereignty according to which a sellout is an expression of
sovereignty if it is we who have decided to sell out. Even that claim
is no longer made. Selling out is just par for the course.
of this meant that the predictability based on the rules which governed
how the democratic institutions functioned became a thing of the past.
No longer could one count on ministers to take responsibility for
misdeeds in their departments or which took place on their watch by
resigning. No longer could one count on a Prime Minister to abide by
the recommendations of a parliamentary committee such as on electoral
reform. No longer would conflict of interest rules mean that those in
government and the civil service would not be corrupt.
private interests take over decision-making and government, then their
striving for control means anything goes so long as they have the power
to get away with it. Everyone and everything become disposable.
Trudeau's "gamble" in calling the election was all about
putting the narrow private greenwashing interests in command of the
public purse. These are the interests which seek financing for the
infrastructure projects which serve them and their need to modernize
strategic industries involved in production, communications,
transportation and resource extraction linked in one way or the other
with U.S. imperialist war.
These narrow private
interests are organized as oligopolies -- behemoth companies that form
cartels and coalitions to influence the decisions taken at every level
and which strike while the iron is hot to make a killing. They do not
give a damn about people or nations, or nation-building or the social
and natural environment. It is all about controlling the new
technologies and space.
There can be no
predictability when this is the case because everything is carried out
by narrow private interests and their handmaidens in government. The
rules are declared by them and broken by them as they see fit.
Only the people's
forces have an interest in bringing new forms into being which empower
them. Only then can predictability once again become a feature of life
which people require to have stability and security for
themselves and their families. To participate in arriving at the
decisions which affect our lives is a human right because only then can
one control a situation by monitoring the results of decisions, taking
corrective measures when problems arise in their implementation or if
wrong decisions are taken and so on.
the pundits, Trudeau's "gamble" in calling this pandemic election did
not pan out but he retained power so it is not all bad. It is far more
than that. The failure to predict outcomes is one feature of the crisis
of what are called the democratic institutions which reveals the need
for democratic renewal which empowers the people.
At the end of the 44th General Election campaign, a reporter asked
Justin Trudeau whether, if elected, he would re-look at the question of
electoral reform. Trudeau said he remains open to getting rid of the
first-past-the-post method of counting votes, even though it's not a
priority since there's no consensus on the issue, and no one had even
raised it with him in the campaign until then.
made clear though that he considered a "ranked ballot," which the
Liberal Party has long favoured, as the only alternative, claiming it
makes elections less divisive. He continues to oppose proportional
representation (PR), he said, because it gives more weight to smaller
parties "that are perhaps fringe parties."
the same argument he gave in 2017 when he tried to justify refusing to
implement recommendations of the All-Party Special Committee on
Electoral Reform for making the way votes are counted more
representative in the allotment of seats in the House of Commons. At
the time he claimed "extremist voices" who do not join one of the three
"big tent" parties posed the greatest threat to Canada's democracy.
"If we were to make a change or risk a change that would
augment individual voices -- that would augment extremist voices and
activist voices that don't get to sit within a party that figures out
what's best for the whole future of the country, like the three
existing parties do -- I think we would be entering a period of
instability and uncertainty." He added that would "be putting at risk
the very thing that makes us luckier than anyone on the planet."
He did not explain who is the "us" he was referring to, but it
was clear it could only mean the privileged minority that come to power
through the party system and operate like a cartel to ensure the people
and their concerns are kept out.
He raised the
alarm about "extremist" voices ending up holding the balance of power
under PR if they manage to get 10, 15, 20 seats. He said "the strength
of our democracy is we have to pull people together into big parties
that have all the diversity of Canada, and who learn to get along ...
And that's why we have a system that works so well."
former members of his own cabinet and party, who are no longer there,
in view of events that took place in previous parliaments, have plenty
of experience about how "the big tent" failed to listen to their views.
They were defamed, isolated and even thrown out because diverse views
are only tolerated so long as they do not conflict with those of the
Prime Minister and his entourage. In fact, membership in the entourage
is not at all inclusive but exclusive to the extreme.
the last week of the 2021 campaign CBC Windsor ran a story on what they
called "fringe and splinter" party candidates. Ostensibly about
candidates of the Christian Heritage, Marxist-Leninist and Green
parties in area ridings, it pushed a variation of the same line. The
story was heavy on commentary from a local political science professor
who is CBC's local go-to "expert" when it comes to elections. She also
happens to be a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and has authored
papers arguing against the adoption of PR when that was under
consideration in BC. In her writings the professor warns that "smaller
or even fringe parties in PR systems are able to wield a
disproportionate amount of power at the expense of the preferences of
the majority of voters who did not cast a vote for such parties." For
good measure she adds that moving to PR would likely increase both
government spending and deficits.
In the CBC story
this commentator raised what was made out to be an observation of a
voter trend. In reality, it seemed more like advice she was offering.
She said while people may gravitate ideologically to a fringe party,
when it comes time to vote they may stick with one of the mainstreams
"so as not to split the vote."
That "news" story,
variations of which are heard at every election, is one of the methods
aimed at convincing the electorate not to vote for small party or
independent candidates. They are endlessly repeated so as to be
accepted without question as conventional wisdom. In fact its aim is to
ensure that what are called major parties -- already favoured with
every manner of privilege through state funding, patently unfair
electoral laws and free promotion in the media -- can continue
functioning unimpeded as a cartel that blocks the people from coming to
power, or even being elected so their voices are heard and their
concerns raised in Parliament.
No threat to the
unrepresentative party system called a representative government is to
be permitted. Discussion of the direction of Canada's foreign policy,
its integration into the U.S. war machine and support for U.S. wars,
its membership in NATO and NORAD, the billions spent on war
preparations and paying the rich in a myriad of ways, how any of this
benefits the Canadian people and, more importantly, who decides, are
all considered taboos which must not be broken.
fight for renewal of the political process to empower Canadians
directly, instead of bringing parties to power, is an important one
that must continue to go forward. Political forums which bring people
together to exchange experiences and discuss how to make an advance are
mounting in Canada that the cartel parties in Parliament will once
again conspire to participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defence
program (BMD). The Liberals and their cartel party partners are pushing
to destroy Canadian public opinion that has been opposed to
participation in the U.S. BMD. For instance, The Trudeau Liberal
government before the pandemic election announced plans to spend more
than $553 billion on war preparations over the next 20 years. Much of
this funding will go into the U.S. war economy to purchase fighter
jets, armed drones and other war production.
increased spending was confirmed the day before the election call when
Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Defense Secretary
Lloyd Austin issued a joint statement agreeing to "modernize" NORAD,
the North American Aerospace Defence Command, and outlining "priority
areas for new investments."
The August 14 joint
statement says: "Canada and the United States share a desire to
coordinate in fielding new capabilities to complement and eventually
replace the North Warning System with more advanced technological
solutions as soon as possible. Ensuring effective awareness ultimately
requires a system-of-systems approach including a network of Canadian
and U.S. sensors from the sea floor to outer space."
is Pentagon jargon for Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD). NORAD
modernization includes the positioning of U.S. missiles in Canada and
weaponization of outer space as part of the U.S. ballistic missile
shield. When BMD is declared operational, the U.S. and its war allies
including the Canadian government believe and will then declare that "a
U.S. nuclear war is winnable" and a pre-emptive nuclear strike could be
used. The U.S. war economy since 2014 has conducted 17 BMD tests of its
"system-of-systems" to "destroy incoming ballistic missiles."
The cartel parties have jumped on the "winnable war"
bandwagon. In 2014, the year the U.S. began testing its
"system-of-systems," a parliamentary committee gave its support for the
government to join in the development of the U.S.-led missile shield.
The Canadian Senate Committee on National Security and Defence soon
agreed and announced it was "unanimous in recommending that the
government of Canada enter into an agreement with the United States to
participate as a partner in ballistic missile defence."
2017, the Conservative Party's then foreign affairs critic and now
leader Erin O'Toole said that Canada must join BMD.
defence committees in both the House of Commons and the Senate joined
the pro-war chorus in 2019, advocating for BMD. Christian Leuprecht, a
professor at the Royal Military College, gave urgency to the demand to
join BMD, telling CTV News earlier this year that the integrated
U.S./Canada power grids could be targets of Russia and/or China's
intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"You can hit a
component in Canada and have a dramatic impact on the entire North
American continent, and the entire North American system and how it
functions," Leuprecht said.
In the U.S.,
anti-war public opinion is always under attack as pointed out by Mark
Muhich writing in Counterpunch this September. "Despite fantastical
cost overruns, persistent test failures, cynicism from the scientific
community, warnings that Ballistic Missile Defense can be easily
defeated with chaff and camouflage technologies, bi-partisan
opposition, and credible charges that Missile Defense has renewed a
nuclear arms race, BMD finds its place in the Defense Authorization Act
year after year. One prime reason is the vast lobbying power of defense
contractors, especially Missile Defense contractors like Boeing,
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Defense contractors spent $58 million in
the first six months of 2021 lobbying Congress to fund defense and
missile defense contracts."
The program of the
federal NDP during the pandemic election states under the heading,
"Defence at home and abroad:" "Unfortunately, after decades of Liberal
and Conservative cuts and mismanagement, our military has been left
with outdated equipment, inadequate support and an unclear strategic
mandate. In contracting for new military equipment, including ships and
fighter jets, New Democrats will ensure maximum industrial benefits and
jobs. This will help ensure the survival of healthy shipbuilding and
aerospace industries all across Canada."
way, the NDP uses high sounding phrases of economic benefit and jobs as
a smokescreen to shield it from criticism for being warmongers by
calling for integration into the U.S. war economy and war preparations
and participating in the U.S.-instigated anti-China and anti-Russian
propaganda campaigns. It is tantamount to saying that war preparations
and pouring money into the U.S.-dominated military cartels are not
destructive to the social and natural environment but necessary for the
economy to grow.
The Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist) has a principled anti-war program with no
equivocation. It calls on all Canadians to join the movement to
establish an anti-war Government and build a self-reliant economy that
forms the material basis to meet the needs of all and humanize the
social and natural environment.
Get Canada out of NATO and NORAD!
Oppose Integration into
U.S. Homeland Security,
War Machine and Wars of Aggression!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
President George W. Bush withdrew the U.S. from
the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001. Since then the U.S.
government has poured $100 billion into building a ballistic missile
shield. This money has gone to Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE
Systems and others in the war economy. Those war companies are hungry
to have Canadian public money as well and have dispatched lobbyists to
make it so.
for U.S. Homeland Security to Help Curb Gun Violence in Quebec
Montreal June 7, 2020, against police impunity and in solidarity with
protests in the U.S. against police brutality and impunity.
On September 24, Quebec
Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Security Geneviève
Guilbault held a press conference to announce Operation Centaur, the
Quebec government's strategy to combat gun violence. A $90 million
budget is being allocated to projects in four areas targeted for
1. "Rapid intervention with
individuals who use or are at risk of using firearms;"
"Support for intervention and knowledge development;"
"Increased pressure and destabilization of criminal networks across
4. "Prevent crime using community outreach initiatives."
Only later in the press conference did
Minister Guilbault mention the "collaboration" of U.S. Homeland
Security Investigations in a program "under the coordination of the
Quebec Police (SQ)," in which "all police forces in Quebec [and] the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, the
Ontario Provincial Police, the City of Montreal Police (SPVM), the
Quebec City Police (SPVQ), the Laval and Longueuil police services as
well as the Aboriginal police forces under the direction of the
Association of First Nations and Inuit Police Directors of Quebec" will
The Quebec government does not
even bother to hide how little it opposes Canada's ever-increasing
integration with the brutal police powers of the United States. The
U.S. itself, "compared to 22 other high-income nations" has "the
highest rate of gun-related murders ... 25 times higher than the
The peoples of the world
witness every day the crimes committed by the U.S. imperialists both at
home and in the countries where they impose their presence. The people
of Quebec, who want to hold the police powers accountable for their
violence against youth, Indigenous people and people of national minority
backgrounds, can only be insulted that their safety at home is to be
placed in the hands of the same powers that brutalize them with
Moreover, to claim that Homeland Security
Investigations will submit to the "coordination of the Quebec Police"
is a morbid farce as everyone knows that the U.S. submits only to its
The people of Quebec aspire to live in
safety and to end all forms of violence. They, their organizations and
collectives, based on their broad experience, know that it is not
weapons per se that cause violence. Rather, the use
of weapons is a result of the chaos that results from an anti-social
agenda that leaves everyone fending for themselves. There is an effort
to create public opinion that every aspect of violence should be
studied and proposals to humanize society be given prominence.
By calling on the police powers here and in the United States,
the Quebec government is revealing the extent to which the Quebec
people lack control over all decisions that affect our security.
To see the press release from the Office of the Deputy Premier
and Minister of Public Security, click
"Violences par arme à feu aux États-Unis," Wikipedia.
October 22: Cultural event 6:00-9:00 pm
Saturday, October 23:
Tribunal 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Sunday, October 24: Tribunal 10:00
Monday, October 25: Presentation of Findings at the UN
information click here
An important International Tribunal is taking place October 22-24 in
New York City. Organized and hosted by the Spirit of Mandela Coalition
it aims to bring international attention to U.S. violations of human and
civil rights of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples, spotlighting the
inhumane and violating treatment of political prisoners. As an example,
the U.S. is violating international law in its deliberate refusal to
provide adequate medical care to U.S. political prisoners and all
prisoners. Another example is the use of extended solitary confinement.
Leonard Peltier, still unjustly in jail after more than 45 years, was
repeatedly kept in solitary for long periods, as were many others,
especially Black and Puerto Rican political prisoners. In the case of
Albert Woodfox he was forced into solitary for 40 years!
It will be charging the United States government, its states,
and specific agencies with human and civil rights violations against
Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. The Tribunal will be charging
human and civil rights violations for:
1. Racist police killings of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.
2. Hyper incarcerations of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.
3. Political incarceration of Civil Rights/National Liberation era
revolutionaries and activists, as well as present day activists.
4. Environmental racism and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.
5. Public Health racism and disparities and its impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.
6. Genocide of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples, as a result of the historic and systemic charges of all the above.
legal aspects of the Tribunal will be led by Attorney Nkechi Taifa
along with a powerful team of seasoned attorneys from all the above
fields. Nine jurists, some with international stature, will preside over
two days of testimonies. The jurists include six women and come from
South Africa, Eritrea, India, France, Puerto Rico and the U.S. (see www.tribunal2021.com
for more). Testimonies will be elicited from impacted victims, expert
witnesses, and attorneys with firsthand knowledge of specific incidents
raised in the charges/indictment.
The 2021 International Tribunal has a unique set of outcomes
and an opportunity to organize on a mass level across many social
justice arenas. Upon the verdict, the Tribunal will:
- Codify and publish the content and results of the Tribunal
to be offered in High Schools and University curricula.
Provide organized, accurate information for reparation initiatives and
community and human rights work.
- Present a
stronger case, building upon previous and respected human rights
initiatives, on the international stage.
Establish a healthy and viable massive national network of community
organizations, activists, clergy, academics, and lawyers concerned with
challenging human rights abuses on all levels and enhancing the quality
of life for all people.
- Strengthen the demand to
free all Political Prisoners and establish a Truth &
Reconciliation Commission mechanism to lead to their freedom.
- Establish the foundation to build a "Peoples' Senate" that
is representative of all 50 states, Indigenous Tribes, and major
- Provide the foundation for civil
action in federal and state courts across the United States.
to capacity limits, in person attendance is now closed. You can,
however, participate via Zoom. Please register at
Once all the speakers
and performers are lined up you will receive the program.
Dr. A'isha Mohammad
Texas contingent at
march in Washington, DC, October 2, 2021
was a day of broad united action in the United States to affirm women's
rights, especially their right to health care. Recent months have seen
numerous actions, including pickets and strikes by health care workers,
demanding safe working conditions for all, including increased staffing
and COVID-19 protections, testing and sick days.
October 2 actions focused on current attacks on abortion rights,
established as a legal constitutional right through repeated and
determined struggle which culminated with the1973 Supreme Court
decision Roe v. Wade.
The date was chosen to signal both the Supreme Court (which reconvened
October 4) and Congress (which is debating a bill putting the right to
abortion into law) that women firmly reject these brutal attacks on
their rights. In large numbers, hundreds of thousands nationwide, women
stood up to demand their right to health care and their specific
women's rights as the human beings responsible for giving birth and
nurturing children. Many mothers and daughters participated as did
people from all walks of life.
place in no less than 660 cities large and small. As the call for the
actions put it, demonstrators were fighting "for our human rights" and
that "we'll never let go of our vision of reproductive justice; for
unfettered abortion access and everything we need to support and grow
our families to thrive and live healthy lives."
Women's March organization was joined by 90 others in initiating the
call for demonstrations. There were rallies, pickets, banner drops,
virtual meetings, marches and other events in every state. One of the
largest demonstrations was in Washington, DC and huge rallies were also
held in Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California,
just to name a few. Health care workers, the majority of them women,
played a significant role.
Among the demands raised
were to declare a recent Texas law unjust, illegal and an example of
the dark reaction being imposed on the people. As signs put it, "Keep
Your Laws Off My Body." The Texas law imposes an almost complete ban on
abortions. It makes no exceptions for rape or incest and makes
abortions illegal when a heartbeat can be detected -- at about six
weeks, when many women do not even know they are pregnant. Providers
have made clear that 85-90 per cent of abortions occur after six weeks.
Mississippi law, which comes before the Supreme Court in December,
makes abortions illegal after 15 weeks. Other states, especially in the
South and Midwest have also limited abortion access. Current Supreme
Court precedents, including
Roe v. Wade and others since, prohibit states from banning
abortion before the point fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or
about 24 to 28 weeks into a pregnancy.
and Mississippi laws are part of broad government attacks on women and
children and their health care rights, including those against the many
forced into detention camps at the border and elsewhere, unsafe
conditions in schools, lack of child care and more. There is also
concern that given the increasing government attacks on rights, the
Supreme Court will overturn its previous rulings.
the heart of the ongoing fight is the human right to health care for
all, with meeting the needs of women and children central to providing
that care. As the October 2 and many other actions show,
women across the country are making clear that they are affirming their
rights by making their claims on government to meet them. They are
speaking out in their own name for their rights, as the many speakers
and participants October 2, nurses on strike, and teachers rejecting
unsafe schools, continue to do.
Los Angeles, CA
North Hampton, MA
New York City, NY
Voice of Revolution is the
newspaper of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.
Rally outside the U.S.
Supreme Court, October 2, 2021
On September 1,
the same day the Texas law banning any abortions after six weeks came
into effect, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it would not act to block
the law. It did not rule as to whether the law is Constitutional, which
is now being litigated in the lower courts. Many lawsuits have been
filed against the Texas law, but this one was brought by President
Biden and the U.S. Justice Department. Biden's action is an indication
that, while commonly the Supreme Court acts as an arm of the Executive,
defending its powers, the conflict among the ruling circles and
dysfunction of existing institutions is such that the Court at times is
also acting in favour of ruling factions not in power. It also shows
the increasing conflict between state and federal government.
The decision by the Supreme Court was done through what is
known as its "shadow docket." This is the practice of undermining its
own rules. In this case it meant deciding important issues in a rushed
decision without full briefing or oral argument, including guidance
from lower court rulings, that had not yet occurred. As Justice Elena
Kagan, in dissenting put it, "Today's ruling illustrates just how far
the court's 'shadow-docket' decisions may depart from the usual
principles of appellate process." She added such a ruling "is of great
consequence." She said the decision was taken hastily and only with the
"most cursory" review of the submissions by the parties involved. The
conclusion not to act on an "obviously unconstitutional abortion
regulation backed by a wholly unprecedented enforcement scheme," was
not explained or justified by the majority ruling. She concluded, "In
all these ways the majority's decision is emblematic of too much of
this court's shadow-docket decision making -- which every day becomes
more unreasoned, inconsistent and impossible to defend."
justices themselves are concerned that the Court is undermining its own
rules and setting precedent to make such "cursory" and "unreasoned"
decisions the norm. Many people already consider that the Court has
become so politicized that, like Congress and the Presidency, it has
lost credibility in the eyes of the public. It is not a defender of
rule of law but of undermining it, including undermining its own rules
Additional comments by the dissenting
justices further confirm this. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her
dissent, "Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly
unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their
constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of
justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand." She said, "The
court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations
to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its
precedents and of the rule of law."
Roberts wrote that he would have blocked the law while appeals moved
forward. He said the Texas "legislature has imposed a prohibition on
abortions after roughly six weeks, and then essentially delegated
enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large. The desired
consequence appears to be to insulate the state from responsibility for
implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime."
The Texas law is
designed to inflame passions and pit people against each other while
letting the state off the hook. The law bars state officials from
enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone
who performs the procedure or "aids and abets" it. The patient may not
be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people or
organizations who help pay for the procedure, and even the driver
taking a patient to an abortion clinic can all be sued. Individuals
bringing such lawsuits do not need to live in Texas, or have any
connection to the abortion or show any injury from it. In this way the
state has no responsibility and those instigating the lawsuits have a
free hand to more broadly and arbitrarily attack women and health care
On October 6, a federal judge ruled that
the Texas law (S.B. 8) was unconstitutional and blocked state court
judges and court clerks from accepting any lawsuits stemming from it.
Judge Pitman also ordered the state to publish his order on all
"public-facing court websites with a visible, easy-to-understand
instruction to the public that S.B. 8 lawsuits will not be accepted by
Texas courts." He ruled the state and "any other persons or entities
acting on its behalf" were blocked from enforcing the statute, saying
"this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive
deprivation of such an important right."
immediately appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, known for its
reactionary rulings. As the many demonstrating and fighting state and
federal attacks on the right to health care bring out, the fight for
rights will carry on and is far from over. What is also coming to the
fore is that existing Supreme Court rulings and its own norms and rules
are being undermined. There is not a rule of law or a rules-based order
when rules and laws are so readily violated.
encampment under a bridge in Del Rio Texas in September 2021.
In an internal memo dated October 2, Harold Koh, a U.S. State
Department legal advisor, called the use of the "public health
authority" -- known as Title 42 -- "illegal" and "inhumane" and hence,
is abandoning his role in the Biden Administration.
explained that when the Trump Administration first issued its Title 42
order in March 2020 during the growing COVID-19 pandemic, "it was the
first time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
had invoked its authority under this statute. The
extraordinarily broad order "suspended the right to introduce certain
persons into the United States from countries where a quarantinable
communicable disease exists" but limited that suspension to persons
travelling from Canada or Mexico." Through Title 42, the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was made responsible for the
implementation of the order at the border. "But the breadth and
subsequent implementation of the Title 42 authority," Koh continued,
"now raises significant concerns about whether the United States is
living up to its binding obligations under international law."
Koh also noted
that he has spent much of his legal career seeking to ensure that the
U.S. abides by its non-refoulement obligations under the Convention
Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or
Punishment (CAT), and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of
Refugees (Refugee Protocol), which modifies and incorporates the terms
of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee
Convention). CAT, he pointed out, prohibits State Parties from
expelling, returning, or extraditing anyone to any State where there
are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger
of being subjected to torture. He added that the Refugee Convention,
subject to certain exceptions, prohibits State Parties from expelling
or returning refugees to "the frontiers of territories" where their
life or freedom would be threatened on one of its designated grounds.
Koh noted that the Biden Administration's current
implementation of the Title 42 authority "continues to violate our
legal obligation not to expel or return ("refouler") individuals who
fear persecution, death, or torture, especially migrants fleeing from
Haiti" and said that his concerns "have only been heightened by recent
tragic events" in that country.
expulsions, he said, "are currently being executed to return Mexican,
Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran families and single adults to
their countries of origin, and more recently, Haitians to Haiti."
Citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics,
Koh revealed that nearly 700,000 people have been expelled under Title
42 since February of this year, and that this past August alone, 91,147
people were forcibly removed from the U.S.
former legal advisor also drew attention to the existence of
"disturbing reports that some migrants were not even told where they
were being taken when placed on deportation flights, learning only when
they landed that they had been returned to their home country or place
of possible persecution or torture, i.e. the exact act of
refoulement that is forbidden by the CAT and the Refugee Convention!"
There is also no basis, he noted, for defending Title 42
expulsions on the ground that the "danger to security" exception in the
Refugee Convention applies or allows the U.S. Government to exclude
individuals on a public health basis. Even the UN Refugee Agency
(UNHCR), he added, "explained in its March 2020 legal guidance on the
COVID-19 response that state entry measures should not prevent people
from seeking asylum from persecution and that states may not deny entry
to people at risk of refoulement."
Mistreatment of Haitian
refugees in Del Rio, Texas, September 2021.
also informed that on September 17, 71 civil society organizations in
the U.S. sent a joint letter to President Biden, Homeland Security
Secretary Mayorkas and Attorney General Garland on Title 42, calling on
the administration "to immediately end its embrace, defence, and
advancement of illegal and cruel Trump administration policies that
harm families and people seeking protection and bolster xenophobic
rhetoric by treating people seeking protection as threats."
of Title 42 flights to Haiti, he said, is particularly unjustifiable,
because of the "extraordinary and temporary conditions" that "prevent
its nationals from returning safely." Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
presently applies to Haitians already present in the United States as
of July 30, regardless of their immigration status. The Haitian TPS
designation, announced in May, cited "serious security concerns, social
unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack
of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic." He
noted, "And that was before the assassination of President
Moïse thrust the country into even greater political
instability and a devastating earthquake on August 14, 2021 and
Tropical Depression Grace on August 16, 2021" he noted.
also cited the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, which notes that "Haiti is still reeling from
the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse
and still facing an escalation in gang violence since June that has
affected 1.5 million people, with at least 19,000 displaced in the
metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince." It also said: "Some 4.4 million
people, or nearly 46 per cent of the population, face acute food
insecurity, including 1.2 million who are in emergency levels ... and
3.2 million people at crisis levels .... An estimated 217,000 children
suffer from moderate-to-severe acute malnutrition."
other things, Koh proposed that the Biden administration immediately
suspend all Title 42 flights to Haiti "based on the dire
humanitarian conditions there."
Demonstration in Boston,
September 24, 2021 against deportation of Haitians.
Photos: N. Conway, ajplus, redfishstream, L. Rouijeune)
The monopoly media has had
almost daily reports about the current conflict in the U.S. Congress
over the debt ceiling, including whether to raise it or suspend it or
abolish it altogether. The debt ceiling is said to be distinct from the
federal budget, but the debate consistently occurs when the budget is
being debated and government shutdown is threatened. Indeed in 2013,
the No Budget, No Pay
Act was passed which suspended the ceiling for the first
time, allowing unlimited debt for that period. Suspension occurred
regularly after that from 2013 to 2017. Now agreement has been reached
to raise the limit by $480 billion, which is only enough to fund debt
payments until December 3, the same date a government shutdown could
occur if the budget is not passed.
The claim that
the debt ceiling serves to regulate spending and prevent too much debt
from being incurred is a myth and part of the fraud. In reality, the
debt ceiling has consistently been raised. In the 1980s it was several
trillion dollars and today it is about $28.5 trillion. Another part of
the fraud is the fear generated that failure to raise the debt ceiling
means the U.S. will default on its debts. It is used as a form of
blackmail against those who do not submit to the plans of the
administration. The debts, mostly in the form of government bonds and
notes, all paying interest, are largely owned by the giant private
financiers. The financiers are also the ones that determine the U.S.
credit rating. This means that the promotion of potential default makes
it possible for the financiers to lower the U.S. credit rating, making
government borrowing even more expensive. At the same time, the fear of
catastrophe which is generated diverts all eyes to the debt ceiling and
this, in turn, pressures people to line up behind one or the other of
the ruling factions and the private interests they represent.
The fraud also serves to steer attention away from the military
funding with bills passed by the Senate and House (316-113) with no
fuss, no muss. The bills are currently being reconciled to be sent for
the president to sign. Meanwhile, the rest of the federal budget,
which includes funding for social programs like education, health care
and housing, has again been left in limbo until December.
The military budget
provides the Pentagon with $768 billion, more than $24 billion above
what Biden asked for, and includes $28 billion to modernize nuclear
weapons. It also calls for women turning 18 to now register for a
military draft alongside men of that age. Currently registration for
the draft is not being enforced but the fact that women are now to be
added is an indication that the U.S. is preparing for yet more wars and
positioning itself to impose a draft. The funding increase was mostly
defended as needed for potential war with China.
the name of modernizing infrastructure and "green" energy the debt
ceiling debate has also become a weapon used by the contending factions
within the U.S. ruling class to determine which private vehicle
manufacturers, construction companies, energy providers and other
oligopolies will get the biggest slice of the budget. It is also part
of the contention between the executive, in this case the Secretary of
the Treasury, and Congress, which, constitutionally, controls the purse
strings but in reality commonly concedes that to the Office of the
A default by the U.S. would mainly be a problem for
the private financiers and oligopolies, who use public funds to serve
their own narrow interests. These funds are not used to benefit the
people or the society they depend on. As far as the people go, they
would be far better off if the government stopped making debt payments,
including interest, to these private interests and instead established a
public banking structure.
It is also the case that
in all kinds of ways the people consistently demand that the government
stop funding war and use the funds allotted for war to guarantee the
people's right to health care, housing, education and a livelihood.
Currently the budget for funding social programs is far below what is
required to meet the just claims of the people. Increasingly people are
speaking out with their own voice to express their own demands. This
voice can be heard in the many demonstrations, strikes and actions held
This underscores that the biggest fraud of the debt
ceiling debate is to hide the fact that the people do not decide any
aspect of the federal budget, which comes largely from taxes on working
people. The ruling elite hope that the people's demands to stop paying
the Pentagon and rich and increase funding for social programs will get
lost in the fog of the repeated threats of catastrophe and government
shutdown. It is a vain hope because the more people take stands for what
is right, the more they empower themselves and the frauds get revealed
for what they are. In this regard, the people know that government
shutdowns harm the people who work in government service and depend on
these services, not the rich. The debt ceiling debate is a hydra which
requires a herculean effort to defeat.
U.S. Terrorism and Aggression Against Cuba!
Cuba's Contributions to Humanity's Well-Being!
8, Cuba's Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized
in Disasters and Serious Epidemics received the People's Peace Prize,
awarded by U.S. members of the campaign to award it this year's Nobel
COVID-19 pandemic, we were very inspired to see how the medical
personnel of a small island under a criminal blockade risked their own
lives to save others in different countries throughout the world," said
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war organization Code Pink.
She expressed regret that the medical brigade was not
recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee, explaining that this is why
they were given the People's Peace Prize, to highlight "the incredible
solidarity, humanism and values that they demonstrated for so many
The Contingent of Doctors Specialized in
Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics was created on September 19,
2005 in Havana, at the initiative of the historical leader of the Cuban
Revolution, Fidel Castro, to show how to respond to tragedies around
the world. Its name honours a youth from the U.S. who fought for Cuba
in its First War of Independence from Spain.
will show that human beings can and should be better. We demonstrate
the value of conscience and ethics. We offer life," said Fidel.
The first emergency it faced a few days after its creation was in
Guatemala, where it assisted the population affected by the floods that
occurred there in October 2005 and also during the earthquake in
Pakistan. Cuba also offered to aid people in New Orleans after Hurricane
Katrina and the massive flooding in September 2005, but the U.S.
rejected the aid.
Among its many other missions, in 2010,
the brigade assisted those affected by the devastating earthquake in
Cuba was one of the first countries in the
world to respond to the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) and
the United Nations to confront the Ebola epidemic in Africa in 2014.
More recently, the health care professionals of the Henry
Reeve International Medical Brigade have provided assistance to more
than 40 countries to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
brigade has received many awards, including the Dr. Lee Jong-wook award
from the WHO in 2017.
the triumph of its revolution, Cuba has had a long history of providing
internationalist medical assistance to other countries, beginning in
May 1960, when it sent its first international emergency medical
brigade to Chile after it was hit by the massive Valdivia earthquake.
those who participated in the campaign to nominate the Henry Reeve's
Brigade for a Nobel Peace Prize deserve hearty congratulations. A
message of congratulations issued by the Embassy of Cuba in Ireland
"The campaign had a goal that went far
award itself. It was about facing a brutal hostile propaganda maneuver
undertaken by the Donald Trump government against Cuban medical
cooperation, which even attempted to intimidate the governments that
received such cooperation.
"It was about mobilizing
international public opinion in favour of the recognition of Cuban
health professionals, who left to help other peoples when the COVID-19
pandemic took thousands of lives a day and health systems collapsed.
Trump hid bodies in refrigerated trucks and suggested the use of bleach
as an effective remedy against the pandemic, Cuban doctors went
anywhere on the planet where it was necessary to save lives.
total of 57 brigades worked in more than 40 countries.
do not know how many candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize received the
support of statesmen, heads of government, parliamentarians,
international personalities and countless organizations that from
dozens of countries recognized the work of Henry Reeve. [...] Henry
Reeve has the best of all possible awards: the recognition and sincere
gratitude of the peoples."
Manuel de Céspedes and his followers at the Grito de Yara.
Today, Yara is celebrated for its important historical contributions to
October 10 is Cuban
Independence Day. It marks the beginning of Cuba's struggle for
independence from Spain in 1868 when Carlos Manuel de
Céspedes and his followers proclaimed independence in what
came to be known as El Grito de Yara (The
Yara Proclamation). The event marked the start of the Ten
Years' War known as Cuba's First War of Independence. Though this First
War of Independence ended with surrender to the Spanish in May 1878, in
the longer term it proved to be a key event in Cuba's struggle for
independence from Spain. These events also directly contributed to the
abolition of slavery in Cuba in 1886.
was finally forced to withdraw from the island when representatives of
Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty ending the
Spanish-American War in Paris on December 10, 1898. The Treaty
established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the
United States, and allowed the United States to purchase the
Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. This was followed by
three-and-a-half years of U.S. military rule, after which Cuba gained
formal independence in 1902.
Today the anniversary
is celebrated as a national holiday, a day of cultural events and
gatherings which celebrate what it means to be Cuban and what Cuba has
achieved as an independent nation.
This October 6 marked the
45th anniversary of the bombing of Air Cubana Flight 455 by U.S.-backed
anti-Cuba terrorists. This heinous act of terrorism was one of many
carried out against Cuba with U.S. backing from the 1960s to the 1990s.
In 2010, Cuba began to commemorate this date as the "Victims of State
Terrorism Day." On this day, Cuba commemorates its 3,478 citizens who
have died and 2,099 who have been permanently disabled by acts of
terrorism, a total of 5,577 victims. These figures do not include
victims from other countries, including Canada, killed or injured
during terrorist attacks aimed at Cuba.
this solemn occasion, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
sends deepest condolences to the Cuban people and all victims of these
attacks. It stands with the Cuban people and their revolution in
opposing terrorism, the use of force as well as "coercive diplomacy" to
sort out differences and problems between nations and peoples. It
pledges to continue working to support friendly
between all countries based on mutual respect and benefit and the
upholding of the rule of international law as established by the UN
On this occasion, CPC(M-L) reiterates its
condemnation of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, which is both illegal and
internationally condemned. The blockade profoundly violates the human
rights of the Cuban people and is carried out with the same vicious aim
of causing death and destruction as the bombing of Air Cubana Flight
455. CPC(M-L) also condemns the U.S. government for putting Cuba back
on its spurious "state sponsors of terrorism" list in January 2021,
citing Cuba's support for the Venezuelan people and their affirmation
of their right to be through the Bolivarian Revolution as support for
"terrorism." It condemns the act of terrorism against the Cuban Embassy
in Washington, DC on April 30, 2020 when a Cuban expatriate living in
the U.S. sprayed the front of the embassy building with over 30 rounds
using an AK-47 assault rifle. Luckily none of those inside at the time
were injured. To this day the U.S. government has never condemned that
attack, which could well have resulted in deaths, as the perpetrator
admitted to law enforcement was his intention.
having failed in their mission of achieving regime change, more
frenetic attempts are being made to stir counterrevolutionary rebellion
within Cuba and against Cuba abroad, using the difficulties the people
face as a result of the U.S. blockade to incite opposition to the
government. The allegedly peaceful protestors are incited, funded and
used by the U.S. and the disturbances have nothing to do with a
political movement against the government. In this vein, in
early morning hours of July 27, this year, three incendiary devices
were thrown at the Cuban Embassy in Paris. Two of the "Molotov
cocktails" hit the facade and entrance of the building. Embassy
personnel were able to put out a fire that had started and there were
no injuries. Families with children were inside the building at the
time of the attack.
CPC(M-L) calls on
Canadians to hold the U.S. government responsible for all these acts of
counterrevolution and terrorism. Canadians should also call on Canada
to disassociate itself with the acts of hooliganism, terrorism and
violence against Cuba. Canada should stop condoning these attacks by
claiming they are political when nothing but filthy trash talk comes
out of the mouths of the allegedly peaceful protestors. It should stop
accusing the government of Cuba of being totalitarian to divert
attention away from who is responsible for the violence in Cuba. Canada
should also take action against the use of Canadian territory for
purposes of enforcing the illegal blockade.
the U.S. to take advantage of the impact the pandemic is having on Cuba
at this time as a result of the blockade, to intensify its economic,
commercial and financial blockade and campaign of putting maximum
pressure on the Cuban government and people, encouraging violence and
disorder to justify a military intervention is ample proof of what the
U.S. democracy and human rights stand for.
denounces the Biden administration for spreading lies and
disinformation for the purpose of demonizing Cuba's leadership and the
supporters of revolutionary Cuba and inciting counterrevolutionary
elements to engage in violent acts like those that took place on July
11. It calls on the Canadian government to take no part of this vile
activity and instead demand that the U.S. end its criminal economic war
against Cuba. The Cuban people must be allowed to solve their problems
on their own without outside interference or threats, something they
are more than capable of doing.
The anniversary of
the bombing of Air Cubana Flight 455 is a timely reminder to Canadians
and Quebeckers of the need to end Canada's appeasement of U.S.
imperialism and state terrorism and ensure that Canada is a zone of
peace, with its own independent foreign policy that upholds the rule of
international law. This includes standing up for Cuba's right to be,
free from outside interference, terrorism and all forms of aggression,
including the unjust U.S. blockade.
Unity in the Diversity of Our America
18 the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)
successfully held its Sixth Summit of Heads of State and Government in
Mexico City. The last summit was held in January 2017 in the Dominican
CELAC is an inter-governmental
organization for dialogue and political coordination to foster the
political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America
and the Caribbean and the well-being of all the peoples of the region.
Comprised of all countries of the Americas except for the U.S. and
Canada, which were deliberately excluded, CELAC was founded in February
2010 as an initiative to promote unity in diversity and overcome
divisions arising out of constant efforts of the U.S. to assert its
hegemony in its "backyard" through its instrument for that purpose, the
Organization of American States (OAS).
founding declaration issued in 2011 at its first summit expressed a
commitment to respect for international law, the peaceful settlement of
disputes, the prohibition of the use and threat of the use of force,
respect for the self-determination, sovereignty and territorial
integrity of countries and non-interference in their internal affairs,
and the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy. At the
second summit held in Havana in 2014 CELAC members unanimously
proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace in
observance of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and
Over the last four years,
governments in the service of U.S. efforts to destabilize and impose
regime change in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia and promote
divisions of all kinds in the region, worked to obstruct CELAC's
ability to hold any summits or even carry out work. However since
assuming the pro-tempore presidency of the organization in January
2020, the government of Mexico has worked to get CELAC and its regional
integration project back on track.
Stage for the Sixth Summit
The stage for the
September 18 summit was set with a meeting of CELAC foreign ministers
held in July as part of celebrations in Mexico of the 238th Anniversary
of the Birth of the Liberator Simón Bolívar. In a
speech for the occasion Mexican president Andrés Manuel
López Obrador (AMLO) said Bolívar was an example
and inspiration for today. He then put forward for consideration
replacing the OAS with "a truly autonomous organization that would be
no one's lackey," arguing that "The policy of the last two centuries,
characterized by invasions to install or remove rulers at the whim of
the superpower, is already unacceptable. Let's say goodbye to
impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions and blockades."
The Sixth summit was itself held on the heels of another
auspicious event: the September 15 celebration of the Bicentennial of
the independence of Mexico and Central America from Spain and the 211th
anniversary of the beginning of that struggle in Mexico known as the
Grito de Dolores. The Mexican government honoured Cuba's President
Miguel Díaz-Canel with an invitation to speak at that
celebration -- an acknowledgement not only of the historic ties between
Mexico and Cuba going back centuries, but of "the special case" of
Cuba, as the Mexican president called it, for having asserted its
independence by politically confronting the United States for over half
a century. In his speech Díaz-Canel recognized the important
work done by Mexico to defend CELAC's purpose of building "unity in the
diversity in Our America" in the face of attempts to impose a
neoliberal re-colonization project on the region.
Bolivarianism vs. Monroeism
These events set the
tone for the sixth summit, held three days later at the historic
Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, to deliberate on the way forward for
Latin America and the Caribbean -- whether it should be guided by the
principles associated with Bolívar's liberating project for
the Americas or the hegemonic Monroe Doctrine of the U.S. The practical
expression of this was the agenda item proposed in advance by Mexico
and seconded by Argentina, for consideration of the need for "in-depth
reform of the Organization of American States (OAS) or the creation of
a new organization to replace it." Other topics on the agenda included
discussion of urgent matters such as the need to confront the pandemic
and for everyone to acquire the needed vaccines and medications, the
problem of climate change, of the punishing unilateral coercive
measures applied to certain countries and the lack of fairness and
transparency in the way the international financial institutions do
The meeting was attended by 17 heads of
state, two vice presidents and other high level representatives of
CELAC's 32 members. (Brazil suspended its participation as of 2020 by
decision of President Jair Bolsonaro.) Also in attendance were Charles
Michel, president of the European Council and Alicia Barcena, Executive
Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean (ECLAC). Chinese president Xi Jinping addressed the summit as
well by video link.
Virtually all members of CELAC
intervened at the plenary session, expressing a commitment to regional
integration, despite their different views on what that should involve,
to tackling common problems like the health emergency and climate
change together, and to strengthening CELAC, regardless of their stand
on the OAS and whether it should be replaced or reformed. A notable
exception was Colombia that did not send a high level representative,
and instead issued a spurious statement "rejecting" the presence of
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It was similar in tone and content
to the many declarations churned out by the U.S. and Canada's failed
Lima Group before it descended into irrelevance and fell silent some
eight or nine months ago.
The presidents of Uruguay
and Paraguay were the only other ones who openly countered the spirit
of the summit, doing the bidding of the U.S. by singling out Cuba,
Venezuela and Nicaragua for criticism. (The U.S. had already issued an
uncouth public reminder as President Maduro was en route to Mexico that
a $15 million "reward" for him to be captured and turned over to them
was still on offer.) The two presidents were quickly put in their place
by the presidents of Cuba and Venezuela. President Maduro commented
after the summit ended that Venezuela had not gone there to throw
stones or to get provoked only to play into the hands of those hoping
to destroy CELAC by getting its members to fight one another. Instead
he called for revitalizing CELAC with a "new institutionality" and an
international policy in the service of all humanity and of
international law, and not to be a battleground of differing ideologies.
The Cuban and Venezuelan presidents also made a point of
expressing appreciation to Mexico for hosting the dialogue taking place
at the time aimed at achieving agreements between the Venezuelan
government and the country's opposition forces.
number of countries made special mention of Cuba, thanking it for its
assistance in fighting COVID-19. During his intervention President
Díaz-Canel offered further help in the form of
Cuban-produced vaccines. There were calls from others for lifting of
the U.S. blockade of Cuba and an end to its attacks on Venezuela and
Nicaragua. The role of the OAS and its Secretary General in instigating
the 2019 coup in Bolivia that had repercussions for CELAC was also
denounced. Peru's newly elected president Pedro Castillo made a point
of saying he brought greetings from the country's many Indigenous
peoples whose voices had always been excluded from the country's
official discourse and expressed support for concrete action to advance
the region's integration.
The successful sixth summit concluded with the issuing of the
44-point Declaration of Mexico as well as five other special
declarations — on the need to put an end to the U.S. blockade
of Cuba, in support of Argentina's claim to the Malvinas Islands, on
bringing a common position to the upcoming COP26 Conference on Climate
Change and other matters of mutual concern. Many of the leaders used
the platform of the General Debate and other high level meetings held
during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York,
including the meeting of the Group of Friends of the UN Charter, which
took place immediately following the Mexico summit, to reiterate
important stands of CELAC. In those venues they called for an end to
unilateral coercive measures, including the U.S. blockades of Cuba and
Venezuela; they called for equitable access to COVID vaccines and
treatments, more action against climate change and an end to other
injustices that go against the spirit of one humanity, one struggle
that has emerged as the clarion call at this time.
the thorny question of what to do about the OAS remains for future
discussions, there are favourable prospects for tackling this burning
issue for the peoples of Our America and CELAC in the coming period. An
impetus for this will be the continued failure of the U.S. to impose
regime change in countries it has targeted, as well as the defeat in
2022 of the deeply unpopular, reactionary governments of Duque in
Colombia and Bolsonaro in Brazil and possibly others, which the
peoples' forces in those countries are working towards by building
united fronts for that purpose.
with the People of the Philippines
marked the 49th anniversary of the infamous Declaration of Martial Law
by the U.S.-sponsored Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Philippines. On
September 19, a vigil was held in Toronto to remember and pay tribute
to the 3,257 people killed, more than 34,000 tortured, and 70,000
jailed during the time of Marcos. More than 60 people, including some
survivors of the Marcos dictatorship, participated in the vigil
organized by BAYAN-Canada, the alliance of progressive Filipino
organizations in Canada and their allies.
poetry and music were featured which focused on the necessity to step
up support for the Filipino people's resistance to state violence and
terror of the U.S.-sponsored Rodrigo Duterte regime. Speakers pointed
out that since coming to power, the Duterte government has been
responsible for the extrajudicial killings of more than 30,000 people
under the pretext of his "War on Drugs" as well as 400 other people
including human rights defenders, Indigenous leaders, members of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which has been engaged in
peace talks with the Philippine government, and members of the New
Duterte's Anti-Terrorism Act 2020
and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict made up
of members of the military and police constabulary were also condemned
for carrying out a campaign of anti-communist terror against the
people. It was pointed out that tens of millions of dollars earmarked
for COVID pandemic relief have been diverted into counter-insurgency
efforts by the Philippine state under Duterte.
pretense of being a human rights defender was denounced in light of
Canada's support for the Duterte government despite the latter's human
rights record. Speakers also denounced Canada's racist and arbitrary
treatment of migrant workers in Canada, many of whom have been forced
to leave the Philippines as Overseas Foreign Workers.
youth who made up the main force at the vigil highlighted "the
importance of remembering Martial Law victims and their sacrifices to
fight the Marcos dictatorship, as well as the importance to today fight
the tyranny and the de facto Martial Law of the Duterte administration."
Canadians stand opposed to the Canadian government's continued support
for Canadian mining companies' crimes against the people of the
Philippines and the continuing sales of military equipment and training
of police and armed forces. Canadian mining companies make up close to
20 per cent of all mining operations in the Philippines where they have
forcibly displaced Indigenous peoples from their hereditary lands and
collaborate in the Rodrigo Duterte regime's violent attacks on land
defenders. The Canadian government also supports the regime with
military funding and cooperation, in the amount of $37.9 million in
2018-2019, as well as providing training for Philippine military and
A recent report on human rights violations
shows the need for Canadians to step up their work to hold the Canadian
government to account and demand an end to the criminal activities of
Canadian mining companies and an end to government support for the
On September 13, the Independent
Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the
Philippines (INVESTIGATE PH) tabled the third and final report of its
investigation into widespread and worsening human rights abuses by the
Rodrigo Duterte regime since it came to power in July 2016.
PH was established by the International Coalition for Human Rights in
the Philippines (ICHRP) in response to the tepid Resolution 45/33
adopted by the Office of the UN Human Rights Council which whitewashed
the gross human rights violations which the UN Human Rights Office
itself had documented. More than 250 extrajudicial killings of human
rights defenders, legal professionals, trades unionists, Indigenous
peoples and peasant activists were documented between 2015 and 2019.
INVESTIGATE PH was led by 17 eminent personalities and human
rights defenders from around the world serving as Commissioners. They
were assisted by a large number of legal workers, researchers and
others who carried out extensive interviews with victims and their
families as well as human rights activists. The report is a tribute to
the fighting people of the Philippines as well as a call to action to
end these crimes against humanity and war crimes by the regime.
The first report, released in March 2021, documented
intensifying political repression immediately following the June 2020
report (A/HRC/44/22) of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR). It showed how the July 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act
(ATA) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict
(NTF-ELCAC) are used by the government to terrorize, criminalize and
eliminate opposition to the Duterte regime by progressive and
The second report released in
July 2021 probed deeper into state abuse and impunity as well as the
lack of redress mechanisms for victims of state terror and violence.
The third report focuses on the violations of collective human rights
to development, self-determination and peace in the Philippines, as
well as violations of civil and political rights.
significance is the Report's conclusion about the key role played by
the U.S. which has dominated the island nation and the conditions that
have led to poverty, landlessness and exploitation which have worsened
under the Duterte government.
The Report calls for
the UN and the international community to do their duty to the people
of the Philippines by supporting their struggle for their rights; it
calls for the immediate resumption of the stalled peace talks between
the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the
Philippine state. It supports the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and
Economic Reforms put forward by the NDFP as the basis of ensuring the
rights of the people of the Philippines, among other proposals.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) congratulates
INVESTIGATE PH for this historic document tabled before the world. This
work brings into sharp focus the state of human rights in the
Philippines under the U.S.-backed Duterte regime and calls on the
people of Canada and the world to stand with the heroic people of the
Philippines who are asserting their right to be under the most brutal
conditions imposed by U.S. imperialism and its local collaborators.
No to Human Rights Abuse and Impunity
in the Philippines!
One Humanity, One Struggle!
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