May 28, 2016 - No. 22

Liberal Party's Controversial New Party Constitution

What Kind of Political Party Do Canadians Need to Engage in Nation-Building
Against Empire-Building?

Liberal Party's Controversial New Party Constitution

Canada Expanding War Mission in the Middle East
New Details of Canada's Mission in Iraq
Foreign Minister's Meddling in Middle East and North Africa
Canada Joins International Syria Support Group
Training the Syrian Opposition in the Name
of Empowering Women

"Direct Diplomacy" to Foment Regime Change in Syria

Opposition to CANSEC Weapons Fair
Protests Say No to Canadian Arms Sales

35 Years of Unjust Imprisonment -- Free Oscar López Rivera Now!
All-Sided Support for Liberation of Oscar López Rivera
Not a Single Day More of the Unjust Imprisonment
of Oscar López Rivera!

- Network of Intellectuals, Actors and Social Movements
in Defence of Humanity -

May 25 -- African Liberation Day
Hail African Liberation Day!
Victory to the Fighting Peoples of Africa! Imperialism, Out of Africa!

Pentagon and CIA Continue to Destabilize African Continent
- Abayomi Azikiwe -
The International Criminal Court: A Mechanism for Criminalising Opposition to Foreign Intervention in Africa
- Stop Foreign Intervention in Africa -
Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and Diaspora, 1919-1939 by Hakim Adi
- Book Review -

Historic Montreal May 25 Meeting of The Internationalists
Reminiscences of Hardial Bains on the Reorganization of
The Internationalists, Montreal 1968

"More than a Movement, Less than a Party"

Attempts to Wreck the Movement of the Working Class
to Realize Its Aim

Liberal Party's Controversial New Party Constitution

What Kind of Political Party Do Canadians Need to Engage in Nation-Building Against Empire-Building?

An item on the agenda of the Liberal Party of Canada's biennial policy convention taking place in Winnipeg May 26-28 is a new party constitution. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) thinks that whether or not the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada manages to get this new party constitution adopted, all Canadians concerned about the state of politics today should take the time to study what the Liberal leadership is proposing.

In the opinion of CPC(M-L), the Liberals' striving to find a commonness between movement and organization is a form of anti-politics which will further concentrate political power in fewer and fewer hands while keeping the people disempowered. This means that the issue of the fraudulent way in which the consultation over this new constitution was conducted and the failure of this process to provide this constitution with legitimacy is not the only matter of concern when it comes to this new Liberal adventure. Of even greater importance is the question of what kind of political party the people need. This question is central to the success of the people's movement for empowerment.

The deep crisis of the party-dominated system of representative democracy cannot be ignored by pushing the pretense that mass parties, also called "big tent parties," ipso facto represent "the people." Does the term "mass" when applied to a political party merely refer to numbers or also a quality? What is that quality? Does it not concern the question of who wields political power and to what end? Can this issue be circumvented by creating something called new based on the claim that it is new because it is open, and because it is open it is democratic? Far from it, the Liberals' own claim that the alleged modernization of the Liberal Party is for purposes of winning the next federal election in 2019 shows this to be a fraud.

Canadians are deeply concerned by the domination of the political process by political parties of the establishment. These political parties function in very definite ways and are in very deep crisis precisely because they preserve privilege, serve the tiny minority of the rich and serve to keep the people apolitical, marginalized and out of power.

It is not political parties per se which are the problem but the profound crisis of the bourgeois nation-building project and bourgeois nation-state which now lie in tatters in a world where the biggest monopolies have established their interests as supreme on a supranational basis. The claim that there can be politics without political parties so that policies can be made by the people, and not from positions of power, is to cover up what the establishment parties are up to.

The question of what kind of political party is needed by a modern polity and by a society which requires sovereignty to be vested in the people so that it can progress and, ultimately, the question of political power itself are what need to be discussed.

In this issue TML Weekly is providing information on the Liberal Party's new constitution and an item titled "More Than a Movement, Less Than a Party": Attempts to Wreck the Movement of the Working Class to Realize its Aim. This item was first presented by the Central Committee of CPC(M-L) in December 2007 at a National Seminar on the Evolution of Political Parties in Canada held as part of preparations for the 8th Party Congress held in August 2008. The Seminar was attended by Party activists from across the country and the presentation was subsequently circulated to all Party members in June 2008.

Haut de

Liberal Party's Controversial New Party Constitution

An item on the agenda of the Liberal Party of Canada's biennial policy convention, held in Winnipeg May 26-28, is a new party constitution. The Liberal Party's director of communications Braeden Caley is quoted by The Hill Times as saying that the proposed constitution aims "to modernize, strengthen, and open up" the party. Liberal Party President Anna Gainey said, "I believe that as we continue to open up and modernize and have more of a movement than a traditional political party, that this is a natural progression of that." Party Leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "Canadians are counting on us to keep building, modernizing and opening up our movement. We can't let them down."[1]

Reports say the proposed new Liberal Party constitution will go to a vote May 28, the final day of the Liberals' biennial policy convention in Winnipeg. All delegates attending the convention will be eligible to vote. To pass, the proposed new Liberal constitution requires the support of at least two-thirds of voting delegates in attendance for the plenary.

"Currently, the Liberal Party has more than 18 constitutions including the federal party constitution, constitutions of the party's federal wings in all provinces and territories, and commissions such as the Young Liberals Commission, National Women's Commission, Aboriginal Peoples' Commission, and the Seniors' Commission," The Hill Times reports.

"The proposed constitution makes the membership free for any Canadian who wants to register, overhauls the party structure, and makes significant changes to the financial management and governance mechanisms of riding associations and commissions. If the proposed party constitution is passed this week, the party will have only one constitution ... and the party's board of directors will draft bylaws to run the operations of the party, its federal wings in provinces and territories, and electoral district associations and commissions," The Hill Times reported, adding it "has been trimmed down to 12 pages from the current 77 pages."

If the new constitution is approved on May 28, some of the changes will take effect immediately, some changes will take place over the remainder of 2016 as the National Board of Directors passes new by-laws, and some changes will start taking effect on January 1, 2017.

According to the Liberal Party of Canada, it is all about building a new Liberal movement through renewal and consultation. At the same time, the constitutional changes are advertised under the slogan: "One party, one goal: Modernizing our movement to win in 2019."

The Liberal Party of Canada says the proposed new constitution "unifies the Party under one constitution and national board, while maintaining and guaranteeing regional voices and representation." As well, it "supports Electoral District Associations (EDAs) as the central engagement unit for Liberals in our communities, while making it easier for the Party to assist EDAs without 338 different constitutions and varying financial rules." It focuses regional boards on their core mandate of working with EDAs on election readiness and engaging Canadians, including supporting policy development."

It also "maintains the existing voting composition of the National Board, with the positions of Policy Chair and Membership Secretary being renamed Policy Secretary and Party Secretary; eliminates party structures that had fallen into disuse or no longer served their intended function; ends the formal legal blended structure for Atlantic provinces (which presented legal challenges) while maintaining the successful status quo on staffing, organizing, and cooperation in these provinces;" and "substantially maintains all of the existing open leadership rules, which successfully attracted over 300,000 supporters during the 2012/2013 Liberal leadership race."

However, despite the claim of the central Liberal Party apparatus that the proposed constitution has been broadly discussed and meets the approval of the majority of Party members, it has proven controversial. Tom Addison, president of the federal Ontario electoral district association of Kingston, says the proposed new constitution is an attempt to centralize power "within a small circle around the leader."

In a Hill Times report, Addison said "grassroots members were never consulted in the drafting process of this constitution." He said "the party sent out a survey to the party membership to gauge their opinion after the drafting process was already completed. Even the survey that was sent out, less than 10 per cent of the party membership received it and some riding association executives did not get it. Two other riding association presidents who spoke to The Hill Times on a not-for-attribution basis confirmed that a significant number of members and some riding association executives never received the survey and were not satisfied with the consultation process."

What is meant by consultation and how it takes place is central to the concerns expressed over the proposed new constitution. The website Liberal Members Matter set up by Tom Addison to rally support to vote down the proposed constitution has views such as the following:

- "Less than 10 per cent of the party membership received a survey to begin with, among that number a significantly smaller number returned the survey. Of those who did receive it the majority could see that there was nothing balanced in the survey, it was created with the purpose of achieving a single result. A long time Liberal member, who happens to have spent his entire professional career with one of Canada's leading public opinion polling firms was heard to say, 'If one of my interns had ever brought me a survey that looked like that, they would have been fired on the spot.'"

- "The Liberal Party has made a lot of claims surrounding their recent survey of the membership. During a recent National Town Hall Telephone Call, LPC National President stated that there were actually two surveys conducted. These two surveys yielded approximately 2,000 responses. So based on less than 5 per cent of the national membership and less than 0.5 per cent of the number of 'Supporting' members, the LPC considers this to be consultation."

Liberal Director of Communications Caley's promotion of the process as legitimate would in fact seem to corroborate the accusations that the survey results do not constitute discussion on the actual proposed changes. He told The Hill Times that "more than 2,000 Liberals participated in the survey. He said that 98 per cent of survey participants said that they support modernizing the party, 91 per cent said the party should have one constitution like other parties, 96 per cent said they want to make the party more open, and 99 per cent said that they want to make the policy development process more innovative and open."

He then said that delegates "will have the opportunity at convention, as they've had over the last number of months, to express their views and that's an important purpose of the convention... And that's the value of the democratic process within the Liberal Party is to have those discussions, and to constantly be looking how the party can improve its engagement with Canadians, be more open to their ideas, and their involvement, and I know that's going to be a significant focus for this convention."

Who Said What

The Liberal Party of Canada proposes the following under the banner of "One party, one goal: Modernizing our movement to win in 2019"

Building a New Liberal Movement: Renewal and Consultation

Early this year, Justin Trudeau asked LPC President Anna Gainey and your LPC Constitutional and Legal Advisors to lead a working group on determining the constitutional changes needed for the May 2016 Winnipeg Convention.

Tasked with redesigning the party from the ground up, the goals of the working group were to create a more open and accessible party; to modernize the party for the 21st century; and to create a unified party under one constitution that removes many of [the] barriers created by past divisions.

The working group sought direct input from all members and supporters of the party, and 2,116 Liberals completed an online survey giving their opinions, and an astounding 1,279 Liberals provided written comments and advice. [...]

This 2016 round of feedback builds upon a series of comprehensive consultations with the party membership on these topics over the past decade, which was instructive to the 2016 working group and has already resulted in other important reforms such as the 2012-13 open leadership contest and supporter category.

Some of these previous consultations include:

- 2006 Red Ribbon Renewal Task Force 30-page report, and Justin Trudeau served as a task force chair focused on youth involvement

-2009 Special Committee on Party Renewal 46-page report

-2009 Change Commission 39-page report and 17-page follow up two years later

- 2011 consultations leading to supporter category 79-page Building a Modern Party background paper

Liberal Members Matter Website

Ever since this omnibus constitution was unveiled to the membership I have wondered what the true agenda was. The party leadership likes to use terms like "Modernization," however, any experienced leader knows that this is just a political spin word that really means nothing. Whether a Corporate entity or a Political party, when an organization undertakes a massive restructuring of power and control there must be a reason. During our discussions amongst many Liberals across the country I often posed the question, "Why are they doing this? What is the real agenda? Well it seems one of my fellow Liberals may have stumbled onto something.

Is it the smoking gun, or are we just conspiracy theorists? However, for the future of the party we all care about please be patient. The leadership is determined at all costs to force a new constitution upon the party. Whether the membership support it or not. This document moves most of the control to the top of the party. The Leader or their appointees will have the ultimate control of the party. What it means to be a Liberal, the values and principles will be gone. An unelected entity shall have ultimate authority over the party, even the membership at convention can be overruled by the Permanent Appeals Committee.

The question then is, what does this mean?

With control in the hands of a select few, rules can be changed by the National Board without repeal by the membership available for up to 2 years, an unelected entity has the ultimate decisions of all matters pertaining to the party, The principles we live by are gone, what it means to be a Liberal in Canada will be gone, grassroots control or input weakened or eliminated.

This sounds like a party perfectly positioned for a merger. With the Greens? The NDP? Who knows, however, with all of those pesky rights of members gone, the party leadership will have a free hand to reshape our party in their own image.

Calgary Liberal Member and Former Liberal Candidate Jennifer Pollock

A constitution isn't a promotional document. Approval isn't something to let slide, especially when the consequences of premature ratification will have a damaging effect on the culture of the Liberal party and democracy in Canada.

A constitution should set out values, rights and obligations in broad terms. Bylaws should drill deeper and give details that must be consistent with the broad terms set out in the constitution. SO I cannot support a constitution that does not set out the terms that are required and then says those who are to implement the constitution are free to define those values and who has what obligations to the members.

This proposed constitution is incomplete. The terms and central values and units of the party are not clearly defined. Foundational components should not be in bylaws. These are not issues of trust or opinion, it is a matter of good governance.

Most significantly a political party is about the inclusion of the members in decision making through open communication and transparent decision making based on the best information, facts, evidence and science. NOTHING like that has occurred during the brief time that the proposed constitution was introduced until today when no substance has been offered to address the process or substantive problems with the text of the constitution. A secret project was undertaken and the members have been informed. No feedback has been documented or quantified as no amendments were considered. This is the ultimate in one way communication.

From the outset promoters of the proposed constitution have used deception and outright lies to support their claims of the need for a new constitution of this type. Inaccurate statements are being made to attempt to appear to answer concerns. All other Canadian political parties have multiple constitutions. Entirely eliminating values and guiding principles from a constitution does NOT streamline it, it guts it. NOWHERE in the proposed constitution does it state that the EDA will be the primary organization through which the rights of the member will be exercised, as it does in the Conservative, NDP and Green Party. Nowhere does it say the EDA bank accounts, expenditures and financial reporting are the responsibility of the EDA or that they can retain these basic responsibilities reflecting our democracy at the local level.

The constitution belongs to the members and the bylaws belong to those who are to carry out the work of the organization. The process of developing a constitution should involve the members. The party has not done that. [...]

In addition, I do not support the tactics of the party used to force members to ratify the proposed constitution prematurely. There has been a clear abuse of the political popularity to obtain support for a constitution that will allow centralization and personalization of power within the Liberal Party of Canada. For this reason I will not support the proposed constitution by defeating it or referring it to a representative committee whose task it is to see that the next version does have appropriate components, definitions and unambiguous language developed with members input. If a streamlined approach is to be used then the process for bylaw development, approval and amendment should be included in the constitution. The time can be used to draft both the constitution and the bylaws to implement with the new constitution. [...]

I will not support a poorly written, incomplete constitution. I will not be forced to agree that the one being proposed would modernize the Liberal Party or would attract more members. Nor will it make the party open, unified or more innovative. I do not believe that it will do any of these things or that they cannot be done within the current constitution.

I do value good governance. I believe a constitution that provides the framework for good governance provides a level playing field for all those that choose to engage in our political party. The proposed constitution would create a gap in understanding of how to participate in the Liberal Party of Canada thereby allowing power to be used and abused by leaders, members and staff. It also will reduce opportunities for leadership and building democratic capacity in our communities across Canada. As an Albertan I feel obligated to point out that it will not lead to better and more efficient use of funds or increase accountability. Both of these are important to all of us and I assume other Canadians as well. For all these reasons and more I urge all members of the Liberal Party of Canada to defeat the proposed constitution sending the drafters, or another more representative committee, back to the drafting table and our membership across the country.

iPolitics Journalist Tasha Kheiriddin

The Liberals mean to turn themselves into the perfect political entity for a digital age of disposable ideas.

Coupled with the Liberals' promise of electoral reform -- which would see our first-past-the-post system replaced by proportional representation, a ranked ballot, or some combination thereof -- it could help entrench the Liberal party as Canada's Natural Governing Party forever.

It's the equivalent of turning your party into one giant Facebook page: Click 'Like' and you're in the club.

For millennials -- people who are online day and night, value their independence and live freelance lives -- it's a perfect fit. It's politics with no constraints of time or space, no demands, no commitment.

It's exactly what both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are trying to do to the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. -- to turn those organizations from parties into movements embodied by, respectively, Sanders and Trump. They're trying to expand the party tents by appealing to independent voters disenchanted with the political process.

A Liberal no-membership plan will have the effect of sucking voters into a large, amorphous centrifuge to the Liberals' benefit.

The other parties also would face a greater danger of being taken over by special interests.

The Liberals could ensure that they become the dominant player in any coalition government -- which could be every government, since coalition governments would become the new normal under PR. If Canada were to start electing federal governments by ranked ballot, the Liberals would have an even greater advantage; they could become the natural "second choice" for supporters of the other parties, which could be enough to secure majority governments.

Parties focus on politics: elections, fundraising, candidate recruitment and governing. Movements focus on policy: idea generation, research, debate and promotion. For the most part, they keep their distance from each other.

The Liberals' proposed reform would collapse those barriers and create a new creature: a movement whose purpose is to get elected. Modern? Not really. It's called populism -- and it's as old as politics itself.


1. "Trudeau promotes wide-open Liberal party, no more membership privileges." Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press, April 3, 2016.

Haut de

Canada Expanding War Mission in the Middle East

New Details of Canada's Mission in Iraq

Canada is tripling the size of its so-called train, advise and assist mission under its "enhanced mission" to fight ISIL, known as Operation IMPACT.

On May 19, the government announced that this will include three CH-146 Griffon helicopters, an "all-source intelligence centre," and additional trainers for Operation IMPACT.

The three CH-146 Griffon helicopters are said to "enhance in-theatre tactical transport, including medical evacuations if required. The Griffons and their crews excel in the tactical transportation of troops and materiel. A variety of self-defence weapons are fitted to the aircraft for the deployment."

Among the so-called self-defence weapons that can be attached to the Griffon helicopters is a Gatling gun that can fire 3,000 rounds a minute. These are not unlike the U.S. military helicopters that were used in Vietnam to extract soldiers which had machine guns mounted on them that were fired indiscriminately.

The "all-source intelligence centre" is an operations hub the use of which was established by the Canadian military during its mission in Afghanistan. It is said to centralize information for use in a variety of operations. According to the government the intelligence collected will be used to "inform operational planning, ultimately contributing to the protection of Coalition forces and the conduct of Coalition operations."

How Canada's "all-source intelligence centre" will operate within the U.S. armed forces' command of the overall mission is of concern as more and more of the Canadian armed forces are being placed under U.S. command through such "coalitions of the willing" as the Global Coalition Against ISIL.

All-Source Intelligence Centre

Excerpts from "The 'All-Source' Way of Doing Business -- The Evolution of Intelligence in Modern Military Operations," Major L. H. Rémillard, Canadian Military Journal, Autumn 2007.


Canada has recently developed a concept called the "All-Source Intelligence Centre" (ASIC). The ASIC differs from the JFIO [joint force intelligence operation] in that it has been deployed at a relatively lower level than its US counterpart. Since 2003, Canadian ASICs have been very successful in supporting national task forces, battle groups, company groups, and special operations task forces. Like the JFIO, the ASIC is truly a joint organization that has the ability to support all services and components on deployed operations. The British armed forces have also been reevaluating the way they provide intelligence support to their deployed forces. They have developed a model called the Operational Intelligence Support Group (OISG). This model is believed to be currently employed in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The British have relied for a long time on smaller intelligence organizations with 'reach-back' analysis support from national organizations in the United Kingdom. The UK OISG is very similar to the current Canadian ASIC model, as noted by Lieutenant General (ret'd) Ridgeway, the former British Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), during a visit to Afghanistan in 2005.

Even though the UK, the US, and the Canadian models have some minor differences in their application, they all rely on the same general concepts:

- The reliance on adequate numbers of qualified intelligence specialists to conduct the analysis required to assess complex and idiosyncratic threats;

- The creation of strong relationships and sharing agreements with other allied all-source intelligence organizations in order to develop a Common Intelligence Picture (CIP);

- Provision of Intelligence Branch-Corps-Trade personnel with command responsibilities, in addition to the more traditional J2/S2/A2/G2/N2 staff responsibilities;

- The ability to undertake command intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition capabilities;

- The use of new technologies for data transfer, data mining, analysis, and graphical representation of the enemy/threat;

- The presence of multidisciplinary intelligence specialists forward-deployed in direct support of the troops;

- The existence of virtual crisis teams back in the nations' capitals, with the ability to provide 24-hour support to deployed troops;

- The integration of non-military personnel from other government departments (OGDs) and agencies, allowing for a synergetic approach to the intelligence problems; and

- The ability to deploy intelligence organizations capable of working at the highest security levels possible.

Haut de

Foreign Minister's Meddling in
Middle East and North Africa

Global Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs) Omar Alghabra travelled to Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, May 21-25 for meetings with government officials as well as to participate in the Canada-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategic Dialogue. The GCC is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All of the countries, with the exception of Oman, are engaged in bombing and carrying out other types of aggression in Syria as part of the U.S.-led coalition.

The purpose of the meeting with the GCC was said to be to "allow for a wide discussion on a range of regional issues, including the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and joint efforts to combat the expansion of terrorist groups, such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al Qaeda, while setting a path for continued political and humanitarian cooperation."

According to Dion the meetings were to be a follow-up to whatever was discussed among the members of the International Syria Support Group. "Building on discussions at the International Syria Support Group meeting in Vienna earlier this week, I am engaging my counterparts on critical issues related to stability, security, human rights and the prospects for peace throughout the region," Dion stated.

Discussions were clearly directed at the entire region of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and North Africa, not just Syria. They also indicate the meddling of the GCC in the internal affairs of other countries.

The Canadian government, in elaborating its reasons for Dion's visit to various countries, painted an utterly self-serving and criminal picture of the state of affairs that completely ignores the responsibility Canada bears for helping to destabilize the region and its interference in the affairs of sovereign nations. This includes its participation in the overthrow of the government of Libya and ongoing efforts to ensure regime change in Syria.

The government release stated:

"Since its 2011 Jasmine Revolution, Tunisia is the only Arab Spring country that remains committed to a wholly democratic path. Canada strongly supports Tunisia's democratic and pluralist model, and is providing counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to help Tunisia combat growing terrorist and regional security threats.

"Since the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011, the situation in Libya has remained unstable. The international community is now assisting the newly established Government of National Accord to end internal conflict, restore economic health, confront ISIL and curtail the highly dangerous departure of migrants across the Mediterranean.

"Through Global Affairs Canada's Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, Canada is supporting Egypt in its work to strengthen asset declaration to prevent conflict of interest, as well as Egyptian efforts to enhance legislation and skills to limit the movement of foreign terrorist fighters."

On May 21, Dion met with Prime Minister Habib Essid and Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui in Tunisia. Here he announced an initial investment of $4 million over the next three years in a "security partnership" with Tunisia to aid in its fight against terrorism.

While there he also met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Libya's Government of National Accord, Fathi Mijbari and assured him of Canada's "strong support for the people of Libya and their unity government."  As well he met with UN Special Representative, Head of UN Support Mission in Libya Martin Kobler "to discuss the serious situation in Libya and efforts by the international community, including the UN, to assist the new government."

On May 23 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Dion participated in the Canada-GCC Strategic Dialogue meeting of foreign ministers. The meeting was followed by bilateral discussions with officials from a number of member countries of the GCC and some civil society groups.

At the conclusion of the meetings in Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, a joint statement was signed by Canada and the GCC. It is referred to in a number of media reports, but has not been publicly released by the Canadian government. A summary appears on the website of the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

According to the government of Bahrain, among other things, the Ministers discussed "the existing trade relationship between Canada and the GCC and the potential to further develop those ties. They agreed to the GCC-Canada Joint Action Plan (2016-2020) which establishes a framework to formalize the Canada-GCC Strategic Dialogue. The Joint Action Plan covers joint cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including political and security, trade and investment, energy, education and health."

The report reveals that one of the aims of the Canada-GCC Strategic Dialogue was to isolate Iran and blame it for some of the very things Canada and GCC members themselves have been up to in the region as part of the U.S.-led coalition. It states that the Ministers "re-affirm[ed] their rejection of Iran's support for terrorism and its destabilizing activities in the region, including those manifested by Hezbollah, stressing the need to abide by the principles of good neighborliness, non-interference in domestic affairs, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, to refrain from the use of force or the threat thereof, and to resolve disputes through peaceful means."

Many statements attributed to Dion and his GCC counterparts in the joint statement are almost word for word the same as those that appear in a joint communiqué issued by the United States and the GCC on April 16 at their Strategic Dialogue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It can be found on the website of the White House.

In order to create the impression of balancing out Canada's role in contributing military hardware to the government of Saudi Arabia, a government news release said, "Human rights will be top of mind throughout Minister Dion's visit to the region as he makes the case that the crucial regional stability and the global security that all countries seek must be in lockstep with advances in the protection and promotion of human rights.

Dion used Twitter to post photos of himself "discussing human rights" with Saudi officials and others. Under one of the photos he tweeted that he had "encouraged" the president of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission "to enhance the capacity to protect/promote HR in Saudi Arabia." On its Facebook page Global Affairs posted below a photo of Dion posing with a group of Saudi women: "Canada's Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion had a valuable exchange on the evolving situation of women in Saudi Arabia with prominent Saudi women from business, media and civil society. Discussions centered on the importance of women's rights and gender equality, two key Canadian values as highlighted by Minister Dion."

Dion ended his trip to Egypt, by meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and other senior officials in Cairo on May 25. According to the government, the parties were to speak about economic security and political developments in Egypt and the region and discuss the investigations surrounding the crash of EgyptAir's flight MS804. The downing of EgyptAir's flight MS804 killed 66 people, including two Canadians. No cause has been announced.

A Facebook post by Global Affairs Canada on May 25 announced that Dion has "concluded a successful trip to North Africa and the Gulf where he engaged with leaders, ministers and local civil society to discuss pressing concerns, including regional and international security, stability in an increasingly volatile region and respect for human rights.

"The Minister stressed that Canadian efforts to support regional security are essential in the fight against extremism and in responding to the needs of conflict-affected people. Minister Dion was frank in his exchange with counterparts in the region regarding the importance of pluralism and respect for human rights in finding solution to the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa."

How selling almost 900 armoured vehicles to the government of Saudi Arabia is consistent with this aim only a member of the Liberal government or the Harper government before them could explain.

Haut de

Canada Joins International Syria Support Group

On May 17, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion announced that Canada has accepted an invitation to join the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), and that he would be participating in its meetings that day and the next in Vienna, Austria. The ISSG is co-chaired by the United States and Russia.

A government news release stated: "The invitation to join the ISSG is a clear sign that Canada is making a difference in countering the so-called Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) and in bringing peace and stability to Iraq and Syria. Engagement and steadfast commitment are paying off. Through participation in the ISSG, Canada will be better equipped to help restore peace, provide humanitarian relief and protect Canadians."

An example of the Canada's so-called assistance and its nefarious role to impose a self-serving outcome on the Syrian people is suggested in the government's release. "Canada has supported UN-led peace efforts from the outset of the Syria crisis, including, most recently, through providing technical assistance and training for members of the negotiating team of the Syrian opposition delegation participating in talks in Geneva, Switzerland," it states. The Canadian government has previously spoken of technical and advisory support for the self-proclaimed opposition delegation and has now added training. No explanation is given about what kind of training it is and why it is being provided to this particular group involved in the peace talks.

The release adds that "being at the table [of the ISSG] is an additional way to ensure Canada does everything it can for the brave men and women in uniform and courageous civilians who play an important role in securing peace for Iraqis and Syrians each and every day." Clearly the Canadian government has not given up its aim of regime change in Syria and Canada's role in the Middle East is becoming more and more suspect.

Haut de

Training the Syrian Opposition in the
Name of Empowering Women

The following exchange in the House of Commons Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee on March 16 reveals how Canada is meddling in Syria's internal affairs.

Responding to questions about the government's implementation of its Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security in Syria, Tamara Guttman, Director General, Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force on behalf of Global Affairs Canada said the participation of women in negotiations was promoted at the UN. She specifically cited UN Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted unanimously on October 31, 2000. The UN Peacekeeping website explains that Resolution 1325 calls on parties in conflict to prevent violations of women's rights, to support women's participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction, and to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict.

"We can also talk about Canada's support for informal diplomacy before the peace process in Syria," she said. "A woman representing the official opposition in Syria insisted on the inclusion of the text of resolution 1325 in the declarations during the preparations for the peace process and for the political transition in Syria. That passed through as a result of Canada's efforts."

It is not clear whether Guttman is referring to the official opposition elected in Syria's legislature or to those the big powers have declared to be official. If this resolution was included at the insistence of elected representatives of the Syrian people, why Canada claims its "efforts" were decisive is also unclear. Other evidence of Canada's meddling in the affairs of the Syrian people through its support of the self-declared Opposition is provided in the form of a response by the government to questions raised in the Senate[1]:

"Canada strongly believes that sustainable peace is only possible when women are fully involved in the resolution and transformation of conflict. As the only country to appoint a female representative to the Syrian opposition, Canada has credibility engaging Syrian interlocutors on this issue. Taking advantage of this position, Canada consistently advocated for a strong role for women in the Syrian peace process, and has urged the involvement of women in decision-making roles on the opposition's negotiating team. Some progress has been made as 20 percent of the opposition's negotiating team are women.

"Canada has funded track II discussions that preceded the launch of the peace process. During these discussions, Canada's representative to the Syrian opposition proposed and lobbied for the inclusion of language on resolution 1325 in documents on the peace process and political transition in Syria. That language was ultimately endorsed in full by a wide range of Syrian opposition stakeholders -- including salafi islamist armed factions, the Muslim Brotherhood, tribal leaders, as well as women's groups and civil society stakeholders.

"In the lead-up to the current UN-led peace negotiations, Canada's START [Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force] supported an initiative which provided expert female advisors to assist the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), and has supported the participation of women in the peace process through the provision of training and expert consultations to all three of the women on the negotiation delegation and to members of the HNC Women's Advisory Group.

"Furthermore, on the margins of the Geneva talks earlier this month, Canada's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Canada's representative to the Syrian opposition met with the opposition's Women's Consultative Committee, with a view to empowering and amplifying their voices in opposition circles. Canada successfully lobbied for the formalization of their status as an advisory body to the opposition's HNC. Canada has also sought to give voice to the particular concerns of the Women's Consultative Committee -- namely in calling for the release of women and children detained by the Assad regime, both in our public statements, as well as in raising these issues directly with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. Canada delivered a list of women detainees for release to the UN mediator on behalf of the Syrian opposition.

"Canada will continue to advocate for adherence to resolution 1325 in the peacemaking process. This requires relationships of trust, sustained diplomatic engagement, and advocacy with the broad range of opposition stakeholders."

The government said as well:

"Canada also works to include women at all levels of the conflict-resolution processes via various programming efforts. We provide skills-building training to women to help them to actively participate in mediation and conflict-resolution processes. For instance, Canada provided training for young women on leadership, democratic participation and gender issues in Georgia. Canada also funded a project in Somalia aimed at supporting political reconciliation by increasing civic engagement and contributions of women in democratic transition and governance. We also funded similar projects that aim to empower women in various stages of peace operations and peacebuilding in countries such as Burma, Sri Lanka, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Colombia, and Nepal."


1. Hansard, February 18, 2016.

Haut de

"Direct Diplomacy" to Foment
Regime Change in Syria

Since March 2014, Robin Wettlaufer has been Canada's Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition, based in Turkey. Trek, a UBC alumni publication, described Wettlaufer as someone  who "typifies the next generation of Foreign Service Officers and a new kind of diplomacy that focuses on new partners and approaches. Wettlaufer says her role 'focuses on the grass roots [where] the progress is often incremental and long term,' saying it has involved 'bringing rebel groups together, promoting cooperation and negotiation, talking to the opposition, to youth, to religious leaders, and finding ways to strengthen the voices of democracy and moderation.'"

About her current role working with the Syrian Opposition, Wettlaufer said to Trek, "We connect in many different ways with the Opposition, the whole host of parties opposed to the Assad regime, including through social media. Our objective is to expand our networks, to understand the different dynamics, to amplify the voices of democracy, to promote respect for minorities and human rights in general, and to help set the stage for a new Syria when the time comes to move from what is a terrible human catastrophe to reconstruction. We may not be able to change the situation on the ground, but by meeting and working with extraordinary individuals who believe in a better future, we can help harness those energies and help them to do right by their country."

Could there be any clearer indication of the nefarious role Canada is playing in Syria, using its "diplomats" to interfere in the internal affairs of another country by working to help the forces of regime change achieve their aim?


1. For further background on Canada's "direct diplomacy" see TML Weekly January 17, 2015

2. Who is Robin Wettlaufer, Canada's Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition?

Wettlaufer has spent her career in areas of contention where the big powers have sought to stir up division as part of their efforts to impose their will in the name of various humanitarian principles. Of particular note is her role as a Desk Officer for Iraq the same year as the U.S. invasion of that country (2003), followed by her role as a Political Officer to the Palestinian Authority and PLO during the period of the Palestinian national elections in which a resistance slate headed by Hamas was elected and which Canada under Prime Minister Harper was the first country in the world not to recognize the results.

After obtaining an International Baccalaureate from Pearson College-United World College of the Pacific in 1994, Wettlaufer attended the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1998 with a B.A. in International Relations. In 2000 she obtained an M.A. in Political Science/Security Studies from York University.

Positions she held prior to being named Special Representative to the Syrian Opposition (all of them with the Department of Foreign Affairs unless otherwise indicated) include:

Deputy Director (North), Sudan/South Sudan Task Force (2011-2013)
Senior Advisor (Darfur), Sudan Task Force (2010-2011)
Head, Advocacy and Dialogue-Canadian High Commission, Pakistan (2008-2010)
Political Officer-Representative Office of Canada to the Palestinian Authority and PLO (2005-2008)
Desk Officer (Iraq), Middle East Division (2003-2004)
G8 Policy Advisor (Afghanistan, Kashmir, SSR [Security Sector Reform -- TML ed. note], Conflict Prevention), Policy Planning Staff (2002)
Desk Officer, Regional Security and Peacekeeping (2000-2001)
Research Assistant (Ethics of Humanitarian Intervention Project) - York Centre for International and Security Studies (1999-2000)
Desk Officer, Japan Division (1998 – 1999)

Opposition to CANSEC Weapons Fair

Protests Say No to Canadian Arms Sales

Protests took place from May 24 to 26 in Ottawa and Montreal to oppose the CANSEC weapons fair sponsored by the Trudeau war government. The largest arms fair in Canada, the annual event featured participation from six Canadian cabinet ministers and a number of Crown corporations, departments and government bodies, along with hundreds of officials. Hundreds of Canadian and foreign arms monopolies took part.

Speeches by cabinet ministers at CANSEC events promoted rearmament of the Canadian military at a time when it is being further embroiled in U.S. wars of aggression by the Trudeau government. They signalled to the war profiteers present at the event that Canada is preparing for big expenditures in naval, air force and other areas and that this should be music to the ears of defence contractors in Canada and abroad.

A speech given by Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote on May 25 focused on the government's program to escalate construction of warships, referred to as a "National Shipbuilding Strategy." Foote said that Prime Minister Trudeau has asked her to prioritize this aspect including "ensuring the Royal Canadian Navy is able to operate as a true blue-water maritime force." Foote also praised the Irving Shipbuilding company in Halifax and Seaspan in Vancouver, described as "centres of excellence" selected to "build Canada's combat and non-combat vessels."

Speaking at a CANSEC breakfast event on May 26, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan stated, "Our fleet of CF-18s [fighter jets] need to be replaced now," suggesting that otherwise Canada will face a "capability gap in the years ahead." It needs to "be dealt with quickly," he said. "Today, we are risk-managing a gap between our NORAD and NATO commitments and the number of fighters available for operations. In the 2020s, we can foresee a growing capability gap, and this, I find unacceptable and it's one thing that we plan to fix," Sajjan said.

Inside the CANSEC showroom Sajjan toured the booth of General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), the manufacturer of the $15 billion in light armoured vehicles (LAVs) approved by the Trudeau government for sale to Saudi Arabia. Media report that Sajjan said "That's great" upon being briefed by a GDLS official on the capabilities of the vehicle. A May 11 report by the Globe and Mail showed that Saudi Arabia used LAVs to suppress protests inside the country as recently as 2015.

On May 24, a "War Criminal Welcoming Walk" was held in downtown Ottawa outside a hotel used by CANSEC delegates.

On May 25, a day-long vigil was held outside the CANSEC site in the south of Ottawa. At the same time, activists held a banner inside the offices of Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) calling for an end to Canadian arms sales, and three were arrested.

Also on May 25, a rally was held in Montreal to coincide with the actions in Ottawa.

On the final day, Ottawa residents held a picket at the entrance to the CANSEC site as Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan was preparing to speak to a breakfast meeting of weapons monopoly representatives. The May 26 picket called on the government to end its LAV contract with Saudi Arabia and end Canada's support for aggression in the Middle East.

(Photos: TML, J. Hansen, M. Behrens, J. Patterson, No Saudi Arms Deal)

Haut de

35 Years of Unjust Imprisonment -- Free Oscar López Rivera Now!

All-Sided Support for Liberation of
Oscar López Rivera

May 29, 2016 marks the 35th year of the unjust imprisonment of Puerto Rican freedom fighter Oscar López Rivera in U.S. jails. López Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison by the U.S. colonial power for his just and principled stands to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people and spent 12 years in solitary confinement for his political stand. Today, freedom and justice-minded people across the Americas and all Puerto Rican patriots are uniting to step up the work for Oscar López Rivera's liberation. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of López Rivera's imprisonment all-sided efforts are underway to demand his immediate release.

Mass Rally and March in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Committee for Human Rights in Puerto Rico along with the group 33 en 33 x Oscar have organized a mass rally and march in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico on May 29. Committee Spokesperson Eduardo Villanueva stated, "Every day that passes, there is a greater urgency to secure his release from prison and to redouble our efforts." Organizers are calling on the Puerto Rican nation to go all out to show their overwhelming support for bringing López Rivera back home. "The call is for all people, all organizations and institutions, public, and private, the people in general, to participate in the march at this critical time, marked by the proximity to the end of the mandate of US President Barack Obama," Villanueva said.

Unanimous Call from Elected Officials

Puerto Ricans elected to office in the United States unanimously agreed on April 23 to request a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama to demand López Rivera's release. The 30 elected officials had their first meeting in October 2015 after the creation of the Caucus of Puerto Rican Elected Officials in the United States and includes Congressional representatives, city council members and state legislators. The National Puerto Rican Agenda, comprised of elected officials as well as 50 organizations of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. and elsewhere also agreed to support the call for Rivera's freedom. The Hispanic Congressional Caucus in the U.S. likewise demands his release.

The leaders of all Puerto Rican political parties, Puerto Rican governor Alejandro García Padilla, the Puerto Rican legislature, and religious, civic and union leaders have also united to request President Obama grant López Rivera clemency. Democratic congressman Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois) declared to López Rivera's daughter as the elected officials met in April that "your father will be in your arms this year. He will walk the streets of San Sebastián and Chicago this year." Demanding the release of López Rivera was "the first concrete thing the caucus of elected officials agreed to," said Gutiérrez. Planning is underway for activities throughout the year including a Freedom Concert in Washington, D.C. and mobilizations in September.

Poets for Oscar Poetry Marathon

Thirty-five poets from three cities in the U.S. have united for a live-streamed poetry marathon which began on Friday, May 27 and continues until the anniversary of López Rivera's imprisonment on May 29. The event is being broadcast on the website of the National Boricua Human Rights Network at

On Friday, May 27, five poets from Los Angeles County had a reading at Tia Chucha Cultural Center; On Saturday, May 28 another reading was held in New York City at La Marqueta Retoña; And on Sunday, May 29 at 2:00 pm 35 poets from Chicago will be reading at Casa de Oscar, 2628 W Division St.

Coinciding with the May 29 event in Chicago, the group 35 Women for Oscar Chicago will gather and rally for 35 minutes. Similar rallies take place in Puerto Rico, Boston and New York City each month.

City Council Resolutions

The city council of Holyoke, Massachusetts unanimously adopted a resolution on April 5 urging President Obama "to exercise his Constitutional power to grant the immediate and unconditional release of Oscar López Rivera." The motion was introduced by city councillor Nelson Roman during his first day in office, and the vote followed a march through the city. City councillors also noted that 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Irish rebellion of 1916 and drew comparisons to the struggles of the Puerto Rican and Irish people against colonialism. On May 18, the city council of Springfield, Massachusetts unanimously supported a similar resolution calling for Rivera's immediate release. This follows resolutions passed in 2015 by New York City council and others.

Efforts Will Continue Until López Rivera Is Free

"34 Women for Oscar" groups in Chicago (shown above), Boston, New York City and Puerto Rico rally once a month for 34 minutes to draw attention to Rivera's 34, soon to be 35,
years of imprisonment.

Oscar López Rivera is the last remaining prisoner among those he was arrested with as part of the U.S. efforts to crush the movement for Puerto Rican freedom from U.S. colonial rule. In 1999 President Clinton offered clemency to 13 Puerto Rican political prisoners including López Rivera. This was rejected by López Rivera because two other co-defendants were not included in the offer. Since then, all except Oscar have been released. There is widespread international support for his release, including from 10 Nobel Laureates, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and countless popular organizations throughout the Americas.

A most important quality of Oscar López Rivera is his refusal in 35 years to renounce any of the positions in support of the sovereignty of Puerto Rico for which he was jailed. This steadfastness and fidelity to the cause of the Puerto Rican people has been recognized throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, the U.S. and around the world by all the forces who are fighting for dignity, justice and independence and against U.S. imperialism. This is also the quality of the Puerto Rican people who in the face of the massacres and other atrocities, police intrigues, plunder and colonial dictate continue to fight for their sovereignty and dignity. The all-sided support for the liberation of López Rivera is an expression of the fighting unity of Puerto Ricans and their refusal to surrender.

On this occasion of 35 years of his unjust imprisonment, TML Weekly sends militant greetings to Oscar López Rivera and his family and to the Puerto Rican people and reiterates the demand for his immediate liberation and for the U.S. to end its colonial domination of the nation of Puerto Rico.

(With files from: El Nuevo Dia, MassLive, National Boricua Human Rights Network)

Haut de

Not a Single Day More of the Unjust
Imprisonment of Oscar López Rivera!

March in San Juan Puerto Rico, November 23, 2013 demands release of Oscar Rivera.

We demand Oscar's freedom! The Executive Secretariat of the Network of Intellectuals, Actors and Social Movements in Defence of Humanity (REDH, for its Spanish acronym) demands the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera, the oldest political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico and Latin America in a United States prison. Lopez Rivera was never accused of hurting anyone or taking part in any violent actions. He is imprisoned for fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico, a just cause that the Network in Defence of Humanity is committed to support. This year Oscar López turns 73 years old, having spent 35 of those years incarcerated in U.S. federal prisons.

Twelve of his co-defendants were released in 1999 through a presidential pardon from then-President Bill Clinton. And two others were released in 2009 and 2010 respectively through the U.S. Parole Commission.

The only remaining prisoner is Oscar López Rivera. All of his co-defendants have proven to be productive members of their community; there is no reason to think otherwise about Oscar, who enjoys strong support from his family and his community. Also important personalities from Puerto Rico and the world are calling for his freedom.

It is necessary to take into account that Oscar López Rivera has endured the toughest of all possible conditions in prison during the past 35 years of confinement. Oscar Lopez is a veteran of the Viet Nam war and received the Bronze Star Medal for his heroic act of saving the life of an American during one of the battles in which he participated. After Vietnam Oscar returned to his community in Chicago where he became a respected activist. Among other important actions, he helped found the Pedro Albizu Campos High School in the Puerto Rican community there and the Juan Antonio Corretjer Cultural Center, which currently is still in operation providing services to youth and adults residing in the area.

Thousands of people in Puerto Rico of different political spectrums, affiliations and ideologies have supported the commutation of his sentence. Among these political figures, is the former Governor of Puerto Rico Anibal Acevedo Vila, the current Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who recently visited him in prison in the penitentiary in Terre Haute, and the current Resident Commissioner Pedro Perluisi and Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor of San Juan.

Well-known personalities in the fight for Human Rights including the Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina, Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Ireland and tens of thousands of people have signed letters asking for his release.

For all the reasons expressed above and representing the feelings of thousands of intellectuals, artists, and social organizations, the Secretariat of the Network in Defence of Humanity asks President Obama to make use of the powers conferred to him by the Constitution of the United States and commute the sentence of the Puerto Rican Patriot Oscar López Rivera so he can return to his home and his family in Puerto Rico.

Haut de

May 25 -- African Liberation Day

Hail African Liberation Day!
Victory to the Fighting Peoples of Africa!
Imperialism, Out of Africa!

People of the Republic of the Congo, celebrate independence, July 7, 1960 -- one of 17 states
in Africa to gain independence that year. (Bettman)

May 25 of this year is the 53rd anniversary of African Liberation Day. It marks a historic convergence of the peoples of Africa to have their sovereign nation-building projects and exercise decision-making based on their own experience and thought material, and to rid themselves once and for all of the enslavement, colonialism and imperialism of foreign powers.

African Liberation Day was born out of the consciousness of the peoples of Africa that their liberation was their own act and part of the worldwide struggle against imperialism and of the united front of the working class and peoples to end the exploitation of persons by persons. It was initiated at the first Conference of Independent African States held in Accra, Ghana, on April 15, 1958, and attended by eight independent African heads of states. That day was declared "Africa Freedom Day" to mark the ongoing progress of the liberation movement.

In 1960, seventeen African states gained their sovereignty marking it as the "Year of Africa."

On May 25, 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with more than 1,100 people representing 31 African states, 21 African liberation movements and hundreds of supporters and observers in attendance. The OAU (today known as the African Union) proclaimed that May 25 would from then on be celebrated annually as "African Liberation Day." Up to the present, African Liberation Day is an occasion to highlight and carry forward the aspirations of the peoples of Africa for freedom, sovereignty and a new society.

African heads of state at founding of OAU, May 25, 1963.

Today, while nearly every country in Africa has nominally achieved its independence, the peoples' fight to block imperialist dictate and ongoing exploitation of their countries' human and natural resources continues. Not a year goes by without the revanchism of the imperialist powers and powers of old Europe rearing its ugly head. The U.S., France and UK are increasing their aggressive military operations throughout the continent, particularly in north, east, west and central Africa.

The U.S. has at least 4,500 soldiers and at least six bases, including for drone warfare. France has more than 3,000 soldiers across five countries and five military bases. British troops are deployed in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and most recently have been deployed again in Libya. The new Canadian government of Justin Trudeau has cynically declared its intentions to interfere in African affairs through increasing its participation in "Peace Operations," particularly those in French-speaking countries.

In this issue, TML Weekly is providing materials which detail the nefarious activities of the imperialists in their attempts to reassert their domination over African affairs.

Accra, Ghana, September 22, 2011.

No recent example has been more heinous than that of Libya, whose government was overthrown by the U.S.-led aggressive military alliance NATO and its proxy forces in 2011. This was the most cynical revenge by the imperialists against the Libyan people and their leadership which fought to defend Libya's interests and would not kowtow to imperialism. One particular consequence of the NATO bombing campaign was the racist terror inflicted on Libyans of Sub-Saharan African origin, many of whom were killed brutally and whole towns such as Tawergha were emptied. The NATO powers and their monopoly media went to great efforts to spread lies of "African mercenaries" specifically targeting Black Libyans for attack.

The aftermath of "regime change" in Libya has been widening instability, lawlessness and terrorism not only in that country but throughout north Africa and West Asia. The countries responsible include all the old colonial powers, as well as Canada. These countries must be held to account and reparations made for this crime and all the historical crimes and those of the present against African peoples. The U.S. and NATO are planning more such tragedies which must not be permitted to pass.

In the countries of southern Africa, many of which waged the most glorious and heroic Liberation struggles throughout the 1960s to 1980s against the colonial powers and racist apartheid rule, the people are displaying the same heroism as they confront the problems of nation-building today. A major problem they are confronting is the continued control of important sectors of the economy by racist monopoly capital, whether foreign or coming from the legacy of racist minority rule. The peoples of countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa and Angola which delivered strong blows against imperialism have worked staunchly to ensure that this legacy does not have the upper hand. The question of the land and its historic theft from the people remains of utmost importance and land reforms and redistribution have been an historic step to ensure the people have an economic base which can guarantee their livelihood and development.

Canadians and Quebeckers, who proudly count among their ranks the daughters and sons of Africa, must see to it that Canada has a government that has foreign relations based on mutual respect and benefit with the countries of Africa. Canada must repudiate participation in imperialist aggression against African countries and take a stand against all those that seek to exploit, aggress or invade others.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) firmly rejects the paternalistic attitude toward African countries taken by successive Canadian governments to justify exploitive relations or foreign intervention. CPC(M-L) calls on all its members and friends to oppose aggression against the countries of Africa, support the struggles of the peoples and inform themselves and others about the developments taking place there today.

On the occasion of African Liberation Day, CPC(M-L) sends militant revolutionary greetings to all the peoples of Africa fighting to exercise control over their lives, countries and economies so as to guarantee a bright future for themselves and their children. CPC(M-L) salutes their achievements and contributions to the worldwide movement for national liberation which are second to none and that have uplifted all of humanity.

Haut de

Pentagon and CIA Continue to Destabilize
African Continent

Today the African Union faces formidable development and security challenges

May 25, 2016 marks the 53rd anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU) since 2002.

The holiday commonly known as Africa Day or Africa Liberation Day, comes during a period of increasing interference from the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

At a summit in 1963 held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at least 32 African heads-of-state gathered to form the OAU in efforts to foster the rapid decolonization of the continent and to move towards greater cooperation among the various governments. From the onset the OAU encompassed diverse and conflicting views on how Africa should move towards unity.

Founding meeting of the OAU, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 1963

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the then president of the Republic of Ghana and founder of the ruling Convention People's Party (CPP), called for the immediate formation of a continental government with integrated military, economic and social systems. Nkrumah believed that if Africa did not unite imperialists would reverse the minimal gains made by the national liberation movements and political parties.

Other more moderate and conservative states represented in the so-called Monrovia and Brazzaville Groups advocated a more gradualist approach. Others even within the progressive forces did not embody the militant commitment to unification and socialism [of] Nkrumah and Guinean leader President Ahmed Sekou Toure, who along with Modibo Kieta of Mali had formed the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union in 1960.

Kwame Nkrumah, speaks at founding of OAU, May 24, 1963

Nkrumah stressed at the founding OAU Summit that "On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference."[1]

He went on, saying, "From the start we have been threatened with frustration where rapid change is imperative and with instability where sustained effort and ordered rule are indispensable. No sporadic act or pious resolution can resolve our present problems. Nothing will be of avail, except the united act of a united Africa. We have already reached the stage where we must unite or sink into that condition which has made Latin America the unwilling and distressed prey of imperialism after one-and-a-half centuries of political independence."

Nkrumah was overthrown three years later at the aegis of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. State Department and other imperialist entities. His ideas nonetheless are still relevant today in light of the growing militaristic and intelligence penetration of the African continent.

Some Examples of Imperialist Militarism Today:
The DRC and Mercenary Interests

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a leading opposition figure was exposed for having hired mercenaries from the U.S. to provide security for his campaign.

Moise Katumbi, a former governor of Katanga Province, who is now a presidential candidate has faced allegations that he hired mercenaries to assist him in the bid to become leader of the mineral-rich state in Central Africa. On May 9, Katumbi was questioned by the authorities in DRC when he denied the accusations.

Reuters press agency said "The enquiry could lead to charges that carry a prison term and could also tie Katumbi in legal knots that could derail his campaign to succeed President Joseph Kabila at elections scheduled [in] November. Many Congolese people say Katumbi is the strongest opposition candidate to succeed Kabila, given his personal wealth and popularity as the former governor of Congo's main copper-producing region. He also owns a soccer team."

Senegal Signs Defense Pact with Pentagon

The Senegalese government in West Africa has signed a military agreement with the Pentagon giving Washington full access to the country.

Dakar participated in the Flintlock military exercises that are conducted annually by the Pentagon working in conjunction with other African and European states. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) coordinates these military maneuvers along with similar operations in various regions of the continent.

Relations between Senegal and neighboring Gambia have been strained for years. The U.S. escalation of military cooperation and economic assistance to Senegal are only fueling tensions in the region.

An article in Reuters reported "The Defense Cooperation agreement 'will facilitate the continued presence of the U.S. military in Senegal,' said Senegal's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mankeur Ndiaye. The agreement 'will also help to enhance security cooperation and further strengthen defense relations to face common security challenges in the region.'"[2]

War Threatened in Western Sahara

In the Western Sahara, Africa's last colony, there are threats of war from Morocco, a close ally of the U.S. Morocco occupies Western Sahara in contravention of the official policy of both the AU and the United Nations.[3]

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony where Morocco took administrative control in the 1970s. A resistance movement known as the Polasario Front grew out of the demand for full national independence.

After years of fighting, a ceasefire agreement between Morocco and Polasario prompted the establishment of MINURSO in 1991, formally recognized as a United Nations mission. The UN will vote once again on whether to extend the mandate of MINURSO. The UN mandate provided for an internationally-monitored referendum in which the people of Western Sahara could choose whether to pursue independence from or integration with Morocco. This promised referendum has not been held.

The AU maintains official recognition of the Western Sahara people, which caused the Kingdom of Morocco to withdraw from the regional organization. Western Sahara has phosphates and other minerals, making it a source of potential wealth in northwest Africa.

CIA Trains Children as Spies in Somalia

[I]n Somalia, where the CIA has a field station, the agency is providing training to children as spies who target members of Al-Shabaab in the ongoing counter-insurgency campaigns in the Horn of Africa. These training programs are carried out through the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) which works closely with the CIA.

Western imperialist states such as the U.S. and those within the European Union (EU) fund and train the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) deploying 22,000 troops that work alongside the Somalia National Army.

Sputnik News reported on April 7 that, "In an interview with The Washington Post, the boys said that the country's National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) had been using them as 'finger-pointers.' They would be sent to dangerous neighborhoods where al-Shabaab insurgents were hiding and told to point out their former comrades. On many occasions their faces were not covered, although the agents concealed their own. It's scary because you know everyone can see you working with them. The children were used on other missions to collect intelligence and sometimes told to wear NISA uniforms. According to the boys, they were threatened if they refused to cooperate, and their parents didn't know where they were."

Africa Must Unite Against Imperialism

Only an upsurge from the left and anti-imperialist forces can fulfill the visions of a true united Africa in line with the work of Nkrumah, Gaddafi and other revolutionary leaders. The worsening economic crisis due to the decline in commodity prices and western sponsored destabilization is reversing the advances made in regard to growth and development over the last decade.

Africa Liberation Day remains a vehicle to propagate the genuine liberation and unification of the continent under a socialist system. Africa Liberation Day demonstrations have been held annually in various cities across North America since 1972.

Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, an international electronic press service founded in 1998 to foster discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world. Azikiwe is the author of numerous articles and monographs and his writings have been published in the Zimbabwe Herald, The New Worker in England, Africa Insight in South Africa, the Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal, The 4th Media in Beijing, Capital Asia in Malaysia, the Albany Tribune, Black Agenda Report, The San Francisco BayView, in West Africa, Pambuzuka News in Kenya, and Workers World, where he serves as a contributing editor.


1. May 24, 1963
2. May 2, 2016
3., April 29

Haut de

The International Criminal Court:
A Mechanism for Criminalising Opposition
to Foreign Intervention in Africa

A protest against foreign interference in the Central African Republic, December 21, 2012.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established on 17 July 1998 when 120 states adopted the Rome Statute which is the legal basis of this organisation. The court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, should not be confused with the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The latter is part of the United Nations and deals with legal disputes between UN member states.

The ICC, on the other hand, is not part of the UN and has as its stated aims to "exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern" and "to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes." The Rome Statute identifies these crimes of concern as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The Rome statute entered into force on 1 July 2002 and so only deals with crimes which took place after this date.

One striking feature about the establishment of the ICC was that the organisation started life without an agreed legal definition of the crime of aggression and so could take no action against those who organised and carried out this crime. This was a rather striking omission, given that as far back as the Nuremberg Tribunals in 1950 crimes against peace were already clearly legally defined as:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i) Furthermore, such was the clarity on these matters at the time, that the chief American prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunals, Robert H. Jackson, described the crime of aggression thus: "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Notwithstanding the existing body of international law, the ICC, at its inception was unable to legally define the crime of aggression which Jackson had described some 50 years earlier as the "supreme international crime" which contained all the other war crimes within itself. Eventually, in 2010 at its meeting in Kampala, Uganda, the ICC established a legal definition for the crime of aggression and the conditions under which such a crime would fall within its jurisdiction after 1 January 2017 when this agreement enters into force. These conditions are essentially two. First, a crime of aggression only comes within the jurisdiction of the ICC if it is referred to it by the security council of the UN. Secondly, a state which is party to the Rome Statute can refer a situation to the ICC if it thinks the crime of aggression has been committed.

However, before the ICC can act, it must approach the UN Security Council to find out if this body has determined that a crime of aggression has taken place. In addition, states which are party to the Rome statute can opt out of the court's jurisdiction with regard to crimes of aggression and those states which are not party to the Rome statute, such as the USA, are specifically excluded from the ICC's jurisdiction with regard to the crime of aggression. This contrasts strongly with the situation regarding the other crimes with which the court allegedly deals, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court's jurisdiction applies to all countries for these crimes, whether or not they are parties to the Rome Statute, as long as they are referred to it by the UN Security Council. Through these mechanisms, the big powers which hold vetoes in the UN Security Council are able to carry out crimes of aggression and all the other war crimes that these entail with utmost impunity. This is why today when aggression, regime change and mass human right violations have become the preferred method for the big powers to secure their interests, the perpetrators of these crimes, like Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Sarkozy, Aznar, Obama, Hillary Clinton and others are walking around scot free. Therefore it is crystal clear that from its outset, the ICC was not set up to prosecute "serious crimes of international concern" nor "to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes."

Notwithstanding its inability to bring to book the major war criminals of our time, the ICC has busied itself with Africa. Of its 10 cases which the ICC currently lists on its website, nine are in Africa. Observers note that of the 39 people who have been indicted by the ICC, 38 are Africans. This vigorous pursuit of Africans by the ICC is contrasted with its approach when it comes to others engaged in war crimes.

For example, on 5 July in 2013 the Comoros Islands referred a case for consideration to the ICC, since the boats which were in the peace flotilla to Gaza and which were attacked by the Israeli army were registered in the Comoros. On 6 November 2014, the ICC rejected the Comoros case on the grounds that it did not meet 'the legal requirements of the Rome Statute.'

In reality, the ICC in Africa operates as the legal arm of the USA/EU/NATO axis and its role is to criminalise any opposition to the interference of these forces in Africa. Currently, the former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, is being "tried" by the ICC in The Hague. His crime relates to his opposition to the French and UN intervention into the affairs of Ivory Coast following the elections in that country in 2010. The contested results of the November election that year proved to be the trigger for massive French and UN interference in Ivory Coast for the purposes of propelling their preferred candidate into power and for overthrowing the then government of Laurent Gbagbo which was viewed as unacceptable to the USA, Britain and France. Working closely with the troops of the so-called United Nations Operations in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), which has been active in that country since 2004, the French troops overthrew the government of Laurent Gbagbo and installed their preferred candidate, Alassane Ouattara, a former IMF employee.

Another case in point is that of Libya. In the lead-up to the NATO attack on Libya and in order to facilitate it, the ICC rushed out indictments against Muammar Gaddafi and other leading members of the existing Libyan government. In this way, the ICC plays a key role in legitimising the attacks on Africa and criminalising any opposition to these attacks. Not surprisingly, the real war crimes that NATO committed in Libya, including the aggression itself, the ethnic cleansing of places such as Tawergha and the racist pogroms against West African migrants who were living in Libya at the time are of no concern to the ICC.

Clearly recognising the dangerous role that the ICC plays with regard to Africa, there are growing moves on the continent to disentangle Africa from this organisation. In October 2015, South Africa withdrew from it and at the 26th annual assembly of the AU in Addis Ababa in January 2016, the organisation agreed to create a road map for the withdrawal of the AU member states from this organisation. This is a step to be applauded.

Stop Foreign Intervention in Africa is a website organized by activists opposed to foreign intervention in Africa on a military, economic, political and cultural level. It can be found at

Haut de

Pan-Africanism and Communism:
The Communist International, Africa and Diaspora, 1919-1939 by Hakim Adi

This ground-breaking book, based on research undertaken in the archives of the Comintern in Moscow as well as archives in France, Britain, the US and West Africa, documents the activities of the Communist International in relation to Africa and the African diaspora. It focuses on a period when the world was in flux, with inter-imperialist rivalry at its height, when African and Caribbean countries, amongst others, were under colonial domination. Black people in Africa, the Caribbean and other western countries were officially considered inferior, had few rights and racism was at the level of open state policy from so-called "Jim Crow" laws and lynching in the US, to pass laws and segregation in South Africa and the colour bar in Britain.

In these circumstances many were inspired by the creation of the Soviet Union, following the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, and the creation of the Communist International in 1919. From its founding under Lenin's leadership, the Comintern sought to inspire and support the oppressed black people throughout the world to organise and empower themselves and break the shackles of imperialism. The book points out that it was the Communists who were at the forefront of the struggle against colonial rule in this period.

The book plays an important role in chronicling the many African, Caribbean and African American Communists who took up the struggle at that time, in particular those connected with the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers (ITUCNW), established in 1928 under the auspices of the Comintern. The ITUCNW acted to strengthen the work of the Communist Parties to take up for solution the question of how the liberation of Africa and the African diaspora might be achieved. The book points out that in that period many key activists gravitated towards or organised in unity with the international communist movement, including Lamine Senghor in France, Isaac Wallace-Johnson in West Africa, Elma Francois in Trinidad and Jacques Romain in Haiti. In this period the Communists were often in the forefront of major international struggles, for example, to oppose fascist Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 or to demand the release of the nine African American youth arrested in Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931.

The book also examines several areas of controversy and disinformation about the role of the international communist movement in relation to African liberation. Significantly the information outlined in Dr Adi's book highlights that disinformation has often become accepted wisdom and part of continuing efforts to undermine the crucial role of Communists of African descent and of the Soviet Union itself in this period. Using his extensively researched material the writer outlines the facts about the activity and demise of the ITUCNW, as well as the changing tactics and analysis of the Comintern in the period leading to the outbreak of World War II, and leaves the reader to make an independent judgement.

This book makes an important contribution to an area of African and Caribbean, as well as Communist history that has long been neglected and which many people are unaware of. Its focus on the activities of African, African American and Caribbean Communists in the period 1919-1939 is to be welcomed. It is an area about which there remains a great deal of confusion not only with regard to the facts but also concerning the lessons to be drawn from this experience.

Dr Adi focuses his attention on the efforts of ordinary African and Caribbean people who decided to take a stand and address the many problems that confronted them in their time. Problems such as Jim Crow in the USA, and racism and violation of human rights all over colonial Africa and the Caribbean disfigured the lives of millions of people. The Communists took up this struggle with the idea of finding a revolutionary solution to it and with an understanding that solving it would be bound up with the struggle of all oppressed people for their freedom. At great personal sacrifice, these activists made a significant contribution to the mass movements for African liberation which were to burst out in the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Civil Rights movement, the Black Power movement and the independence struggles in Africa and the Caribbean. The progress that has been achieved in the struggle for African liberation to date is due in no small part to the efforts of those individuals featured in this book. It shows what a significant impact we can have on changing the world in which we live when we take up the challenges facing us and try to find solutions to them.

This book has great significance for those who are today involved in trying to find a solution to the many problems that continue to confront Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora. The point is not that we should simply repeat what was done in 1919-39 when people were grappling with the problems of the world as it was then. Rather, it is that we should be inspired by their example to courageously take up the challenge of changing the world today and using the scientific approach which modern communism offers us.

Dr. Hakim Adi is Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester. He is the author of West Africans in Britain 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism (London, 1998); joint author (with M. Sherwood) of The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited (London, 1995) and Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (London, 2003). He has written widely on Pan-Africanism and the modern political history of Africa and the African Diaspora, especially on Africans in Britain. He has also written three history books for children. He is currently working on a film documentary on the West African Students’ Union His latest book Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919-1939 was published by Africa World Press in 2013. In 2014 his children's book, The History of the African and Caribbean Communities in Britain, was re-published for the third time.

(Workers' Weekly, May 24, 2014)

Haut de

Historic Montreal May 25 Meeting of The Internationalists

Reminiscences of Hardial Bains
on the Reorganization of
The Internationalists
, Montreal 1968

We arrived in Montreal May 1, 1968. Awkward, perhaps, is the word to describe a situation when coming to a city with a handicap, an obstruction in the form of a close collaborator who at the particular time was not totally dedicated to the aim for which we had arrived. This awkwardness over aim was to become a continuous source of irritation and disruption for years to come. It is important to choose with whom one goes into battle but history gave us no choice at the time.

Hardial Bains
Founder and Leader of CPC(M-L)

The city appeared quite inhospitable during the afternoon bus ride from Dorval Airport downtown to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and the slow walk to the McGill Ghetto. With our entire earthly belongings dangling from our bodies, it felt as if everyone were looking at us, wanting to know why we had come to Montreal. Some might consider me overly sensitive or self-conscious, but I hope never again to repeat such an experience. After a terrible night at the home of some émigrés transplanted from Vancouver, we set to work.

The same streets, which had looked so inhospitable the day before, now seemed inviting. A call echoed through the cavernous streets: "The Internationalists are here; The Internationalists are here." Within days, the ranks of our organization began to swell. Individuals joined us from as far away as Vancouver but the greatest response came from the inhabitants of the City of Montreal.

When we held our first public meeting May 25, 1968, the old house on Jeanne Mance Street was bubbling with energy. The adjoining living and dining rooms and long hallway were so packed people had to be turned away at the door. The old cliché declares "nothing succeeds like success" and that certainly was the case May 25. Like most clichés, it fails to describe how our success was based and dependent, besides other factors, on our own serious, honest and conscious work. Success does not come about without serious planning in accordance with the actual conditions. The Jeanne Mance meeting was a crucial one; it would determine just how deep and successful our initial organizing work in Montreal and in Quebec would be. We were confident but one can never be sure when dealing with actual people in the heat of the moment. A feature of the meeting, besides so many unfamiliar faces, was the enthusiasm for The Internationalists and the many many questions participants wanted us to answer.

After the historic Montreal May 25 meeting, word swept the city that The Internationalists were everywhere, in their hundreds! The second meeting held just a week later was once again a resounding success. Inside, the meeting discussed the ideological offensive being waged through decadent culture, while outside a demonstration organized against us by some hippies defended that ideological offensive. Not by coincidence the main organizer of the demonstration was a transplant from Victoria, British Columbia, who was extremely upset that The Internationalists had stolen his thunder. He wanted to disrupt our meeting to show how "tough" he was but we did not want such altercations. After making some noise, they left without swaying the youth. The behaviour of the police at the time must be noted and emphasized because it became a general feature. The police did not intervene to stop the demonstration against us and from then on whenever our meetings were disrupted the police were nowhere to be seen unless we took action to end the disruption when the police would suddenly appear to attack us.

Revolutionary politics developed with great speed that summer and the ranks of The Internationalists grew rapidly. By the end of December 1968, close to seventy delegates attended our First National Conference, with organizations either established or in the process of being founded in all provinces except the Maritimes. Most healthy forces were uniting around The Internationalists with many more to follow later. This rapid advance had an objective basis. Those who joined us had emerged out of the same conditions as The Internationalists, and gravitated towards an organization that was stable and strong ideologically, organizationally and in political line. Furthermore, the organization beckoned everyone to embark on the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist road that belonged to us all. The Internationalists were not a sect but an organization of the working class dedicated to the victory of revolution and socialism.

The Internationalists were a national organization called a "Marxist-Leninist youth and student movement" but with all the attributes of a genuine Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. Marxism-Leninism was the ideological basis of the organization, democratic centralism the organizational principle with proletarian internationalism at the core of its practice. The Internationalists had not yet established ourselves as the Party because we wanted to win over some other groups who called themselves Marxist-Leninist to found one Party of the working class. We did not want to unilaterally declare a Party. Such a move would have been considered disruptive for the movement, and in retrospect, history has fully corroborated that opinion.

In October 1968, the Sir George Williams University Student Movement played an important part in the struggle against the racist activities of the university authorities.

Those Montreal days of May are very dear to us. They were both delicate and tough. The Internationalists had to be circumspect. The situation demanded it. No straightforward Marxist-Leninist groups existed in Montreal. The practice of the leader of one of the better organizations reflected at best the ideological confusion he was suffering. We had to be careful with this group for we knew that most members had good sentiment but ideological confusion exerted a huge pressure. We had to lift this ideological confusion resolutely but by being extremely responsible and comradely towards them.

This group invited us to a meeting of one of its committees. We sat through the meeting quietly. The proceedings confirmed our opinion that this group suffered ideological confusion. This was very particular and came from mixing up one's own interests with the aims of the movement in a manner where personal interests become the aim of the movement. At the conclusion of the meeting I was literally commanded to give my impressions and opinions of the gathering and their organization. I told them very nicely and in a cool-headed manner that they would have to excuse me because to give opinions about another organization is a very delicate matter and we would have an opportunity soon to exchange opinions at a meeting between delegations of the two organizations.

There was no stopping some of them. A very ugly atmosphere was created with a few members accusing me of cowardice for not wanting to speak in front of them. I was forced to say something. And of course, when you are in such exalted company, anything you do or say will be used against you. I began:

"You have very good sentiments, and your aim is very good..."

"Get to the point," a real boor shouted from the back.

I had kept my cool so far. Very gently, I let them know that their ideology was liberal bourgeois but before I could finish my sentence someone shouted: "We will kill you if you repeat that."

To myself I said, "Trotskyite, typical petty bourgeois" and drawing myself up to my full height sternly shot back at the man who had voiced the threat: "That would be quite a feat for a petty bourgeois like you!" I then worked hard to cool the situation down.

The person who was so bold and haughty at that time later became a real careerist, a professor in psychology or some similar field and soon disappeared from progressive politics. However, in the political heat of that Montreal summer, he along with all the others belonging to that organization joined The Internationalists.

Others in Montreal who called themselves Marxist-Leninists were connected with the Progressive Workers' Movement from Vancouver. They spent all of 1968 trying without success to keep people away from The Internationalists and to cause a split in our ranks. Meanwhile the Front de Liberation du Québec (FLQ) had all but dissipated while the unilinguists were trying to whip up racist hysteria.

The main opposition to The Internationalists during the summer was centred at McGill University. The Students for a Democratic University (SDU) was decomposing after a period of sit-ins and occupations in the fall of 1967. Although nostalgia surrounded the SDU for the previous actions, there were also recriminations and the healthy elements gravitated towards us. From the death-throes of the SDU came a "socialist" group. The word "socialist" had become a cover for all those who did not want to really deal with the question of socialism and organize to bring it about through revolution. This anti-Leninist opposition culminated in a diversionary "McGill Français" campaign, the leader of which disappeared after the War Measures Act of October 1970.

In October, 1968, The Internationalists joined forces with the workers in the struggle of the Murray Hill taxi drivers at Dorval airport.

Those days in Montreal were crucial for the building of the Party. One cannot imagine a Canadian Marxist-Leninist Communist Party without the workers from Quebec. To build the Party when we arrived in Montreal, besides uniting the various groups, the missing element was precisely the Quebec workers. The summer seemed to have an air of great events in the making and while time passed very slowly, events moved quickly. One day, one afternoon or even one hour could make the difference, could change things in a significant way. Barely six days passed from our arrival on May 1 to the reorganization of The Internationalists on May 7. A battle raged over the organizational principle of democratic centralism. The debate centred on the key point whether an individual is subordinate to the organization or not. We strongly upheld the view that the individual is subordinate to the collective, and we practised that principle. Even though we were a small organization at the time, we knew that it was crucial to stand on guard for our principles. That stand on principles would later be essential for building and expanding the organization.

The May 25 meeting took place just 24 days after our arrival. The Internationalists already had mass appeal. They were a topic of discussion in all circles, a focal point for the unity of all Marxist-Leninists across Canada to found the new Party. July 26 was another important date, a milestone when hundreds participated in our weekend conference held at Sir George Williams University (since merged with Loyola College to form Concordia University), where the broad masses approved our political and ideological program.

Many events followed in that tumultuous summer of '68, and for those who directly experienced the period their fragrance is still so very fresh. If we were to ask what was so important about that particular summer, we would have to talk not just about one but all its varied aspects. The Internationalists were strengthened in every way -- ideologically, organizationally, politically and in quantity. The Internationalists irresistibly attracted all those thinking about taking that decision to join the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. It appeared as if they were just waiting for us. It was the mother liquid waiting for that one crystal, and there you are -- everything is crystallized. Such was the freshness and purity of what transpired that summer. It strengthened our direction and gave us more confidence. It verified the path we had been working out for more than five years, a direction which was the summation of a period transformed into the form of a real advance, the reorganization and consolidation of The Internationalists as a Marxist-Leninist organization in every sense of the word.

The summer of '68 had such a far-reaching impact that even today, if anyone becomes a traitor, they have to first violate the decisions and spirit of that period. It has been observed that the same individuals who became passive or betrayed the organization have tried to throw mud at that period and its predecessor and have become emotionally unstable as a result. It is not possible to purge one's system of the truth and fill it with falsehoods without facing dire consequences to one's emotional well-being.

(Extracts from unpublished manuscript written in 1989. Reprinted from TML Weekly, May 25, 2013.)

Thinking about the Sixties (1960-1967)

by Hardial Bains

Back in the 1960s, a new quality emerged -- pioneered in Canada by the work of the Internationalists -- which has sustained the will of peoples not to submit to oppression and exploitation since that time and which is responsible for keeping open a space for necessary social change that people can occupy. Thinking about the Sixties by Hardial Bains analyzes the entire phenomenon in its profundity.   138 pp / $15.00

Order from National Publications Centre
The price includes GST, shipping and handling. Send cheque or money order to:
National Publications Centre, P.O. Box 264, Adelaide Station, Toronto ON M5C 2J8

"More than a Movement, Less than a Party"

Attempts to Wreck the Movement of the
Working Class to Realize Its Aim

Haut de



Website:   Email: