November 23, 2019 - No. 28

2019 Halifax International Security Forum

The "Davos of the Defence Industry"

No Harbour for War!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!


• Attempts to Recruit Women for Aggression and War

Liberal Government Cabinet Sworn In

• Public Relations to Make Liberal Minority Government
Look Representative

- Peggy Morton -

Quebec and Ontario Trade Union Conventions in November

• Workers Express Need to Find a Way to Move Forward 

- Pierre Chénier -

Ford Government's Pay-the-Rich Anti-Social Offensive

Province-Wide Resistance Develops

For Your Information

Who Said What in Opposition to Anti-Social Law

NATO at 70

Opposition to NATO 70th Anniversary Summit in Britain
During General Election

U.S. March on the War Machine Opposes Wars and Atrocities

Calling NATO a "Unique Diplomatic Force Multiplier"

- Nick Lin -

Aggressive War Alliance and United Nations Discuss
"Enhancing Practical Cooperation"

Impeachment Efforts Continue in United States

Organize Together for Politics of Empowerment

- Voice of Revolution -

Halifax International Security Forum

• Information About the Agenda, Partners and Sponsors

2019 Halifax International Security Forum

The "Davos of the Defence Industry"

The 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is being held from November 22 to 24. No Harbour for War is organizing a rally on November 23 at 1:00 pm and a panel discussion and meeting at 6:30 pm to express opposition to this warmongering gathering. The HISF represents narrow private interests that are linked to U.S. wars and striving for world domination through its association with partners, sponsors and media "thought leaders," which Canada brings together in Halifax once a year.

When it was launched in 2009 from Washington, DC, with the sponsorship of NATO, the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) immediately began to tout itself as the "Davos of the defence industry." At the time, the U.S. imperialist policy, based on the brinkmanship of the Bush presidency, was in deep crisis. Obama set about re-tasking the U.S. agenda as well as NATO -- which had expanded from 16 to 28 full members -- with a new strategic doctrine, as part of its imperial agenda to justify it as a global power superior even to the United Nations. The HISF, which now brings together representatives from 90 countries, an increase from 17 in 2009, has become an important tool to this end. The list of its sponsors shows it is clearly an instrument of giant arms and energy monopolies and oligopolies and international finance capital involved in the business of war, the most profitable business of all. To this end, it functions as a political and ideological mechanism for enforcing U.S. control, for integrating Canada and other countries into the U.S. war machine and for nation-wrecking. Behind the backs of the Canadian people, governments of Canada -- first the Harper government and now the Trudeau government -- participate in it to adjust to the U.S. demands and further tailor Canada's decision-making process to NATO demands.

The HISF is well camouflaged by the media. The techniques of the U.S.-led Halifax war conference being used to sell war are familiar disinformation strategies, known to the peoples of the world from before and during the Anglo-U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is when the phrase "weapons of mass deception" -- referring to the state-organized disinformation about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction -- came into vogue.[#note1-1">1] The HISF and the monopoly media go out of their way to obscure their war aims through gushing descriptions of how these philanthropic monopolies support "collaborative efforts" "towards global prosperity" and a "firm commitment every day to building a more secure world," which favour the war aims of the U.S. imperialists and their striving for world domination. Individual panelists from the think tanks bear faux academic titles like "Senior Non-Resident Fellow" and "Junior Adjunct Fellow," "human rights experts" and the like. Selectively invited journalists are described as "thought leaders." Their main mission is to provide arguments for wars based on imperialist doctrines, such as "responsibility to protect," which favour the U.S. imperialists and their allies. The aim is to make sure the Canadian people and especially the working class do not look into, analyze and soberly discuss the actual forces involved, their connection to the economy and its reality and what is the way forward to secure their own interests and rights.

Information can be traced about the sponsors and partners while no explanation is available on what sponsorship entails. Details of the "partnerships" are kept secret. Furthermore, two-thirds of the sessions are secret, held behind closed doors. But facts speak for themselves. [See the items in the Supplement to this issue of TML Weekly -- Editor].

Canadians should demand that the HISF be banned, along with demanding that Canada get out of NATO and NORAD and that they be dismantled. No foreign troops should be permitted to operate on Canadian territory and Canadian forces should be brought home to operate only in defence of Canada based on how the Canadian people define that need, not the U.S. imperialists, NATO and their so-called intelligence agencies. No foreign warships, whether or not they carry nuclear weapons, should be permitted to use our harbours.  All foreign think tanks and NATO-sponsored Canadian academic institutions should be dismantled. All front groups and non-governmental organizations which promote imperialist war aims must be rejected by the people.

Oppose the Halifax War Conference and the Government of Canada's War Aims!
No Harbour for War!
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!


1. Hill+Knowlton Canada was represented by Peter Donolo, Vice-Chairman. Hill+Knowlton is a U.S. multinational public relations monopoly known for its fraudulent and corrupt practices. It is the same outfit that staged the infamous "fake news" in which a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl was reported to have seen invading Iraqi soldiers ripping Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and killing them by throwing them on the ground. This sensational "news story" was used to legitimate the U.S. imperialists' 1991 invasion of Iraq. Hill+Knowlton was paid U.S.$10 million for services rendered.

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Attempts to Recruit Women for Aggression and War

The Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is promoting a role for women in upholding peace and security that is informed by U.S. imperialism and the aggressive NATO alliance. This so-called security is based on the destruction of countries that will not submit to U.S. imperialist dictate. In the ensuing chaos and violence of NATO interventions and occupations, it is women and children who are the first victims.

In October, for the first time since 2009, two women were appointed to the HISF board of directors: Tammy Harris, former Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force; and Cindy McCain, head of the Washington, D.C.-based McCain Institute. The late U.S. Senator John McCain, the warmonger and advocate of American exceptionalism after whom the institute is named, had longstanding ties with the HISF.  The institute is funded by many arms and energy monopolies as well as the government of the feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In September 2018, the HISF launched a Peace With Women Fellowship Program. It is a program of indoctrination, not academic study. Each year, selected women military officers from the NATO bloc are taken on an "executive tour" of the U.S. and Canada en route to the Halifax war conference.

The press release announcing the program states:

"Participants will visit Washington, DC, Silicon Valley, Toronto and Waterloo, and Ottawa before concluding the program in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"Fellows will meet with government, military, and thought leaders as they travel through the political and technological capitals of the United States and Canada to deepen their understanding of American and Canadian strategic challenges, as well as the cutting-edge technologies transforming the realities of national security."

Presumably this is what is meant by "raising the profile of women at all levels within the Alliance."

The genesis of this push to recruit women occurred at the 2017 HISF, when NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Canadian Clare Hutchinson would become NATO's new Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security.

Hutchinson was previously a Gender Adviser at the United Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She was deployed with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon from July 2012 to December 2013 and the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo from October 2004 to December 2007.

Both Hutchinson and Stoltenberg present the issue of women in the military as upholding a decontextualized abstract ideal of empowerment, gender equality and opportunity for women. The content of a given military mission, whose aims it serves and whether it is just and upholds peace, national sovereignty and rule of international law, or whether it is committing war crimes are not to be discussed.

For example, at a February 2016 ceremony for 125 Indian women police officers stationed with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, Hutchinson said:

"What we're doing with the military and the police is breaking down the perception that this is a male domain and that women can't be involved. We know that the obstacles aren't that it's too dangerous or that they don't want to travel or leave their children. Those aren't the most prevailing obstacles; it's mainly that they're not aware of opportunities."

Stoltenberg said of Hutchinson's appointment, "[E]mpowering women is not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do: it makes countries safer and more stable. NATO is determined to make a difference, including through our training and operations -- for example, by deploying gender advisers to local communities in Afghanistan. We also aim to raise the profile of women at all levels within the Alliance.

"We still need to do more, but for NATO, peace and security are not just a man's world.

"I thank Canada for its strong commitment to women, peace and security, and I look forward to welcoming Ms Hutchinson to NATO Headquarters soon."

Around the same time that the HISF began pushing the recruitment of women, the Trudeau government launched its "Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations" with which it has given itself the dishonourable task to convince women -- who are in the front ranks of the opposition to aggression and war -- to consider the "equal opportunity" offered to be recruited as soldiers or police officers for the new more aggressive "peacekeeping" that takes place under UN auspices today. 

Hutchinson's appointment can be seen as an attempt by NATO to give Canada credit for its nefarious activities and bolster its attempts to make war and aggression "progressive."

Canada has blood on its hands — whether in Korea, Yugoslavia, Libya, Ukraine, Haiti and Afghanistan and now it is deploying into Eastern Europe to threaten Russia and suppress opposition to NATO's aggressive role in Latvia, Ukraine and other European countries.

That it is seeking to absolve itself of its crimes by presenting itself as the biggest defender of women and peace fools no one. Women's security and empowerment lies in fighting for their own rights and the rights of all. Women, especially working class women, are in the front ranks of all the fights for rights and against military intervention and war.

Trying to hide this by promoting women who act as instruments of imperialism -- whether openly or under cover of one or another version of its phony "human rights" agenda -- shows that the HISF and the Trudeau government's notion of empowerment is bound up with aggression and war and on this basis is fraudulent to the extreme.

(With files from Tony Seed.)

2019 Halifax International Security Forum

• Information About the Agenda, Partners and Sponsors

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Liberal Government Cabinet Sworn In

Public Relations to Make Liberal Minority Government Look Representative

Justin Trudeau's new cabinet was sworn in at a ceremony on November 20 at Rideau Hall, presided over by Governor-General Julie Payette. The cabinet has been expanded from 31 members to 37, including the Prime Minister. Seven members are new to cabinet. Three former cabinet ministers were not re-appointed, and two lost their seats.

Seventeen members come from Ontario, ten from Quebec, four from British Columbia, one from Manitoba, and one from each of the Atlantic provinces. There are an equal number of women and men, as in Trudeau's first cabinet.

Many members who were in the previous cabinet were assigned new roles. The most prominent change was the naming of Chrystia Freeland as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, with responsibility for working with the provinces. Freeland also remains in charge of Canada-U.S. relations, including passage of the new NAFTA agreement by the U.S. Congress. The monopoly-controlled media suggested that Freeland's role involved exercising her "considerable diplomatic skills" to develop better relations with the premiers, among them Ontario's Doug Ford, Quebec's Francois Legault, Alberta's Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe. That these "considerable diplomatic skills" were exercised in the last parliament on behalf of the global oligarchs who control the Canadian economy is not to be discussed. Nor is the fact that Freeland has done yeoman's service for U.S. imperialism on matters of war and peace, and in embroiling Canada in conspiring to bring about illegal regime change in Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries.

Media reports have highlighted the make-up of the new cabinet as concerns the number of cabinet members from Quebec and the different regions of Canada, which it presents as a matter of ensuring that all parts of Canada as well as Quebec are listened to and represented. The "sunny ways" by which Trudeau claimed he would govern in 2015 have been rejigged in 2019 as a matter of "listen hard" and "mend fences," as the National Post put it. Political pundits remark that the Trudeau government will have to exercise skill in negotiating such matters as the carbon tax and some form of pharmacare with provincial governments. The Trans Mountain pipeline has been declared a done deal in contempt of the fact that the Indigenous nations have not given their consent. The suggestion is that if Freeland could make a deal with the Trump administration, she can also be the one to make the deal with the provincial governments. In other words, deal-making is the order of the day. What is not discussed is who such deals and horse-trading will benefit, beginning with the fact that the trade negotiations with the U.S. gave the global oligarchs what they wanted.

The Montreal Gazette quoted both the Quebec Legault government and the mayor of Montreal as welcoming the increased number of ministers from Quebec. "The importance of Quebec is confirmed," said Quebec Treasury Board President Christian Dubé. "I think it is very good news for all of us." Mayor Valérie Plante said she is counting on the six Montreal ministers to ensure the city has a strong voice in cabinet on issues such as mobility and housing, the Gazette reported. "The fact that they actually live here or their ridings are here definitely brings a different layer of understanding, and of wanting to do the right thing," she said.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted, "The Government of Alberta hopes to find common ground with the federal government to create jobs and growth, in part through responsible resource development, and to ensure fairness in the Canadian federation."

"In particular, I look forward to working with [Jim Carr] in his new role as Special Representative for the Prairies, [Chrystia Freeland] as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs [and Seamus O'Regan] as the Minister of Natural Resources," Kenney wrote.

At the same time, Kenney has revived a version of Stephen Harper's "firewall" around Alberta, including a separate Alberta pension plan, and has been grandstanding about what he calls the inequity of the equalization arrangements which were negotiated by the Harper government, of which he was a leading member.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated those appointed to the new cabinet, saying that his team is looking forward to working with Ottawa to "build a stronger, more prosperous Ontario and Canada."

Jim Carr, former Minister of International Trade Diversification and before that Minister of Natural Resources was appointed as Trudeau's "special representative" for the prairies. Carr almost immediately stated that he thinks there is room to make changes to regulations governing major energy and mining projects.

In addition to the cabinet appointments, Pablo Rodriguez was named House Leader, and Kristy Duncan, Deputy House Leader; Mark Holland remains Chief Government Whip. Commentators point out that the role of the House Leader and his team assumes more importance in a minority parliament, where the government needs the support of either the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, or the NDP to get legislation passed.

Among the changes in the new cabinet is the appointment of Bill Blair, formerly Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, as Minister of Public Safety, a position formerly held by Ralph Goodale who lost his seat. The minister of public safety is responsible for the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, Corrections Canada and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). As Toronto Chief of Police, Blair presided over one of the most violent and massive violations of human rights by the police in Canada at the 2010 G20, including widespread police violence and abuse of rights and the unlawful arrests of some 1,150 people. His appointment is another ominous sign as to where this government is headed.

On top of the fraud that the working people of Canada are at each other's throats and engaged in bashing Quebec and Alberta, the monopoly-controlled media are now spinning the tale that the provincial governments represent the demands and aspirations of the people, and the federal government is somewhat chastened and in fence-mending mode. The reality is that people are in motion against these same governments, expressing their fierce opposition to their neo-liberal, anti-social offensive and the destruction of any public authority.

The fraud that the Trudeau government will consult with Canadians and do things in a new way has been completely exposed. Now "listening to Canadians" is being presented to mean that the federal government is going to conduct some shrewd deal-making with the provincial governments. Beneath the smooth talk is the reality that there is no politics, only striving for domination and power and the dictate of the financial oligarchy. What is being promoted is deal-making behind the backs of the people. It is further proof that the "democratic institutions" are obsolete and are dragging society down. Canadians already have oodles of experience with the Liberals and their claims to do things differently, to consult, listen to Canadians and so on, and the reality that what exists is the rule of private interests through the use of police powers. They are not adopting a wait and see attitude towards this government. It is a time to Empower Ourselves Now! by continuing to speak in our own names. It is the demand for genuine democracy, for democratic renewal, which is the order of the day.

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Quebec and Ontario Trade Union Conventions in November

Workers Express Need to Find a Way
to Move Forward

Trade union activists are gathering this November to deal with the serious situation working people face. They are determined to organize their ranks to resist the denial of the rights of workers by the international financial oligarchy and the governments and state agencies deployed to serve its supranational private interests. Many delegates sense an urgency to step up the struggle in defence of the rights of all in opposition to the anti-social offensive in both the public and private sectors.

The Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) will hold its 32nd Congress in Quebec City from November 25 to 28 under the theme "In Action in a Changing World." The FTQ has about 600,000 members from the private and public sectors, including construction, mining and metallurgy, communications, forestry and others.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is holding its 14th Biennial Convention in Toronto from November 25 to 29 under the theme "The Power of Many." The OFL has approximately one million members who work in the private and public sectors, including all the major industries.

In Quebec and Ontario, workers and their allies throughout society face an authority in governments that rule on behalf of the international financial oligarchy. Through the fraud of the cartel party system, these governments claim mandates from the people when in fact they represent the tiny minority of rich and powerful.

Working people who are the vast majority are subjected to constant abuse from the minority in power that refuses to solve the social, natural, economic and political problems facing the people and society. Instead, the ruling minority has turned over the productive forces to pay the rich and destroy the social fabric and former arrangements of civil society and what are called the liberal democratic institutions.

The trade unions face a ruling minority that refuses to recognize the right of workers to a say in their working conditions and, in many cases, refuses even to negotiate terms of employment in what used to be considered the norm of good faith bargaining.

But working people are the majority and have over a century of experience in developing the productive forces, defending their rights and opening a path forward under constantly changing conditions. Workers are the essential human factor in producing the social wealth that the society and people require for their existence. As the essential human factor in the economy, workers' rights must not and will not be denied. Workers refuse to accept the situation where a tiny minority abuse the majority and trample on the rights the people possess by virtue of being human.

To defend themselves, their rights and future, workers do indeed have the "power of many." This power of many must be organized to take "action in a changing world" in ways that make the working class and its social consciousness the decisive human factor for democratic renewal, to humanize the social and natural environment, to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programs.

Quebec Federation of Labour -- In Action in a Changing World

The FTQ convention is taking place at a time when the Quebec government, in the service of the international financial oligarchy, is intensifying its activity against the organized struggle of workers. This was on ugly display with the open and gross intervention of the government against the ABI aluminum smelter workers in Bécancour. The Legault government gave its wholehearted support to the global cartel Alcoa/Rio Tinto and its prolonged lockout of workers and demand for concessions.

The ABI workers faced 18 months of a brutal lockout. The Legault government turned against its own working people, talking nonsense about their demands and allowing Alcoa/Rio Tinto to use its supranational powers with impunity to the point of refusing to negotiate and simply throwing "final offers" at workers. The Legault government caved in to the global cartel reneging on its obligations to pay Hydro-Québec $400 million in contracted electricity. This in effect forced Quebeckers to finance the long lockout. The Quebec government has also allowed Rio Tinto to evade its obligations to invest in its Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean facilities in exchange for the hydroelectric preferential rates and privileges that the government and Hydro-Québec have bestowed upon the monopoly.

In another example of the treachery of the rich minority in power, the Quebec government intervened on behalf of the big construction companies to unilaterally impose changes to the training regime for crane operators without the consent of the workers affected and in direct opposition to their views and those of experts and professionals in the construction industry.

Legault has also announced the government's intention to impose wage settlements on public sector workers without even going through the pretence of negotiations with public sector unions and their members. The arrogance of the ruling minority must be challenged!

Taking action in a changing world means confronting the abuse of authority and impunity of the ruling minority. It means taking action not to bring back the old forms of the past but to defend the rights of all and usher into being new content and forms to deal with the arrogance and dictate of the ruling minority within the present conditions.

When the majority is organized to defend the rights of all, the ruling minority will not be able to abuse fellow workers in the construction, metallurgical and other industries and public sector. The full mobilization of the workers' movement and public opinion has the power to force the ruling elite and their political representatives to back off!

The working people are sick and tired of the privilege, power and impunity of the rich minority and their flunkies in government and the state. The FTQ convention has the social responsibility to forge a new beginning of resistance to the ruling elite and to mobilize the working class majority to engage in actions with analysis to defend the rights of all and to fight for democratic renewal in a changing world and give the economy a new direction that guarantees its stability and the well-being of all.

Ontario Federation of Labour -- The Power of Many

In Ontario, the OFL Convention is taking place in the midst of the Ford government's escalating attacks on the people and society. The rich minority has intensified the anti-social offensive against those who provide the social programs and public services that strive to raise the level of society and ensure a dignified life for all, especially the most vulnerable.

The health care and education systems, injured workers, the unemployed and vulnerable, and the entire public sector that is providing the necessary services for a modern society are under attack. The Ford government's austerity measures include huge cuts in social programs and public services. The government explains the anti-social offensive in the most pathetic way as necessary to prop up the privilege and power of the rich minority of the international financial oligarchy. While ignoring the real problems the working people, economy and society face, the Ford government seeks to bolster the social wealth, power and privilege of the oligarchs who own vast amounts of secure state-organized debt for which they receive guaranteed interest payments and whose private enterprises benefit from public money through pay-the-rich schemes.

Ontario workers are in a constant battle to defend their rights and to speak out against the anti-social offensive of the rich minority. Workers are organizing to discuss the problems with their peers and find a way to unleash the power of many to turn the situation around in their favour.

A blatant example of the rich minority running amuck is the Ford government's Bill 124, which gives itself the power to impose caps on wage, benefit and pension increases for hundreds of thousands of union and non-union public sector workers and to declare null and void any collective agreement that does not adhere to the imposed caps. The government has even denied the affected workers the right to challenge the imposed wages before the courts or Labour Relations Board.

Members and allies of the OFL know they are confronting a tough battle for their rights against a rich minority that has abandoned all the old forms and content of civil society and what are called the liberal democratic institutions. The Workers' Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) shares weal and woe with working people in this fight to organize and unleash the power of many to change the direction of the economy and open a pro-social path forward to democratic renewal with new forms and content in politics and relations of production suitable for the modern world.

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Ford Government's Pay-the-Rich Anti-Social Offensive

Province-Wide Resistance Develops

Toronto, Labour Day 2019

Across the province, teachers and education workers, health care workers, migrant workers, injured workers, and broad sections of the people are taking actions and stepping up resistance to the anti-social offensive of the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative (PC) government.

Since coming to power on June 7, 2018, the Ford government has carried out massive cuts to health care spending, public education and social programs, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs and the services those workers provide to the people, with more cuts to come. All of these cuts are carried out under the pretext of being fiscally responsible and accountable to the people.

Citing the need to reduce the debt and deficit, on November 7 the government passed into law Bill 124, the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, which attacks public sector workers by imposing a one per cent cap on their wages over the next three years.

The Ford government forecasts paying $13.3 billion in interest for fiscal year 2019-20 alone to the financial institutions that hold Ontario's debt. The backgrounder to Bill 124 says that this amounts to "$1.5 million of interest paid every hour of every day" and the Ford government makes clear that the financial oligarchs who hold Ontario's debt are the priority and must receive their interest payments before "a single dollar can be spent on schools, hospitals or transportation." 

It is the political representatives of this financial oligarchy who are orchestrating the cuts to social programs and public services and legislating against the rights of public sector workers, to "sustain" the current pay-the-rich direction for the economy. These representatives are placed in positions of authority to decide government policy, either as finance ministers or government-appointed consultants. Former Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa, for example, was Director of Commercial Banking at the Royal Bank of Canada Financial Group for more than 20 years. Don Drummond, another appointee of the McGuinty Liberal government, who advised how to restructure public services to ensure payments on the debt and deficit were sustained, was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the TD Bank from 2000 to 2010. Much of the direction he set out in his Commission for the Reform of Public Services is what is now being taken up by the Ford government, especially as concerns the restructuring of wages and benefits throughout the public service and increasing class sizes in educational institutions.

Walk-ins for education were organized across Toronto and in other locations in southern
Ontario, October 10, 2019 to demand an end to cuts in public education.

TML Weekly reported on Bill 124 on August 31, pointing out that the measures that the Ontario PCs were taking with this bill "amounts in practice to a form of opting out of the government's legal duty to be accountable to the people for its actions and violating the rights of public sector workers with impunity. The act uses a variation of the fraud of reasonable limits on people's rights and the notwithstanding clause found within the Canadian Constitution and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Public sector workers in Ontario have made it clear that they intend to file a Charter challenge to Bill 124 at the Supreme Court. Even bourgeois commentators acknowledge the legislation runs counter to recent Supreme Court decisions but that has not deterred the Ford government.

Ontario workers are not relying on the prospect of a favourable outcome following a protracted legal proceeding. Bill 124 was passed while the teachers and education workers in Ontario, one of the main targets of this law, are still in bargaining for a new contract. At the moment, besides preparing to challenge Bill 124, education unions are getting ready to take various actions, including strike action, to fight for just wages and working conditions and to defend the public education system.

Elementary school teachers voted 98 per cent in support of strike action, if necessary, and will be in a position to take legal strike action on November 25. Starting November 26, they will stop attending staff and school meetings, participating in any ministry-related activities, and carrying out a host of other tasks, which is intended to target school and board administration and the Ministry of Education.

High school teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation will hold information pickets outside of work hours and also begin a limited withdrawal of services on November 26. Teachers and occasional teachers have backed strike action by 95.5 per cent, while 92 per cent of education workers also support possible job action.

Teachers in the Catholic school boards likewise have voted 97 per cent in favour of taking strike action but are not yet in a legal strike position.

Students at three Toronto universities are also in action to defend public education against the Ford government's measures that affect post secondary education. They held a one-day walk-out on November 6 to protest the Ford government cuts to public education and student aid and the increasing cost of post-secondary education in the province.

CUPE Ontario is also in action against the Ford government's attack on the rights of injured workers. Under its slogan "Communities Not Cuts," CUPE Ontario held an action at Doug Ford's Constituency Office on November 14 to protest the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB) refusal to acknowledge 93 per cent of claims related to mental health issues. Currently 1.7 million workers in Ontario do not have WSIB coverage and, if injured on the job, are forced to fend for themselves. Organizations like the Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups and others are actively demanding that WSIB coverage be universal and that the Ford government stop attacking the most vulnerable workers.

Picket, November 14, 2019 outside Doug Ford's Etobicoke constituency office opposes Bill 124 and demands measures be taken to guarantee safe working conditions for temp workers.

The Ontario Health Coalition is also organizing resistance across the province against the Ford Government's cuts to public health care. Cuts include services covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, privatizing the delivery of community care to seniors and others, plans to privatize and reduce ambulance services across the province, the reduction of public health units from 35 across Ontario to 10, cuts to mental health services and more. Rallies and other actions have been held in Chatham and Toronto and others are called for Sault Ste. Marie on November 30 and Ottawa on December 7. Details are available on the Ontario Health Coalition website

Regional rally for public health care, organized by the Ontario Health Coalition,
Toronto, November 9, 2019.

(Photos: TML, CUPE, OSSTF, D. Ladd)

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For Your Information

Who Said What in Opposition to Anti-Social Law

"Bill 124 is a direct attack on the collective bargaining rights of every worker in the province [...] The Ontario Federation of Labour is committed to fight this Bill at every step, and we are reviewing all of our options -- both political and legal -- including the launch of a Charter challenge. Now that the Bill has passed, I cannot imagine a scenario that does not result in a charter challenge [...] The agreements unions bargain on behalf of their members must be negotiated at the bargaining table, not in the legislature." -- Chris Buckley, President, OFL, November 7, 2019

"This [Bill 124] is a regressive bill that for years will prevent the majority of Ontario's 280,000 [Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)] members, as well as tens of thousands of hardworking frontline workers who belong to other unions, from exercising their constitutionally protected right to engage in free collective bargaining. It is absolutely shameful [...] There are no services without the people who actually do this work and it is those people that are being impacted by this regressive bill. All that speculation of a change in direction by the Ford Conservatives, is just smoke and mirrors. Bill 124 proves that their agenda of cutting public services and blaming front line workers for the deficit hasn't changed." -- Fred Hahn, President, CUPE Ontario, November 7, 2019

"This legislation is clearly driven by ideology and not sound public policy. Bill 124 strips Ontario faculty of fundamental democratic rights. This entire exercise has been justified based on a manufactured crisis and a farcical set of public consultations. The costly consultation was led by external legal counsel and not civil servants or elected officials and was clearly a sham to justify legislation that was almost certainly written well before the consultations began. It is reckless for the government to introduce this disruptive measure in the public sector without a shred of evidence of its economic or other purported impacts. [The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)] is also deeply concerned about the sweeping powers granted to the President of the Treasury Board in the proposed legislation. Empowering the minister, in their "sole discretion," to make orders about collective agreements and arbitral awards is at best contrary to democratic principles." -- OCUFA, June 19, 2019

"The Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act tramples on collective bargaining rights and targets public sector workers with unfair austerity measures for the next three years. The legislation ensures that compensation for educators and other public sector workers will continue to fall behind the rate of inflation. The passage of the legislation comes just one day after the Minister of Finance bragged to Ontarians that the economy is thriving and that the government is more than a billion dollars ahead of its deficit reduction targets.

"The unions, all currently in negotiations with the government for new collective agreements, are preparing a court challenge to the legislation, which likely violates the Charter rights of their members. The unions entered into negotiations in good faith, and have been doing everything they can to move the process forward. With the passage of this legislation, the prospects for good faith bargaining have been all but shattered."-- Joint Statement of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, and the Association des enseignantes et enseignants franco-ontariens, November 7, 2019.

"Bill 124 violates the Constitutional rights of Ontario workers and will see families fall further behind in their struggles to keep up with the cost of living. [...] The [United Steelworkers (USW)], which represents thousands of public-sector workers, particularly in the university sector, believes Ford's legislation will be struck down by the court [...] The courts have repeatedly ruled this type of legislation infringes on the Charter rights of working people to be able to freely and collectively negotiate with their employers ... Most recently, the previous Liberal government in Ontario imposed similar legislation that attacked these fundamental rights and it was emphatically ruled unconstitutional by the courts." -- Marty Warren, Ontario Director, USW, November 8, 2019.

"As the elected leaders of one of the largest public sector unions in Ontario, we vow to vigorously fight the Ford government's draconian and sexist wage-cut legislation in a court of law and in the court of public opinion. In both cases, we will win. By unfairly targeting public sector workers -- the majority of whom are women -- Bill 124 is an attack on women. At a time when government should be actively working to make the gender wage gap smaller, the Ford government is actively making it larger. Bill 124 is also a clear violation of public sector workers' constitutional right to free and fair collective bargaining. How can bargaining be free when it has been hamstrung by a cap? -- Warren Thomas, President and Eddy Almeida, Vice-President/Treasurer, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, November 8, 2019.

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NATO at 70

Opposition to NATO 70th Anniversary Summit
in Britain During General Election

No to NATO! action in London, England, April 2, 2019, as NATO celebrates the 70th anniversary
of its founding.

The British anti-war organizations -- the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the No to NATO, No to War Network -- are organizing actions across Britain on the occasion of the NATO Summit to be held in England in December. The organizers write:

"On December 3 and 4, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) will mark its 70th anniversary with a Heads of State Summit in London. With Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Recep Tayyip Erdogan set to attend this gathering of the world's largest nuclear-armed military alliance, it is vital that the peace and anti-war movements are mobilized to full capacity to oppose what John Pilger calls an 'American invention designed to impose American power on Europe.' In advance of the protests being organized around the Queen's reception for NATO leaders on December 3, [the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] are hosting a counter-summit in Central London. The event will bring together anti-war voices from across Europe and beyond, to discuss NATO's nuclear warmongering, its interventionist wars, and set out how civil society can work to abolish NATO and create a more peaceful world.

"NATO is by design a powerful arm of U.S. foreign policy, and increasingly dangerous in the hands of the reckless Donald Trump. We must take action against NATO -- Join us in saying 'No to NATO' on November 30."

 The organizers write:

"Donald Trump is coming to London in December for the NATO Heads of State summit. On Tuesday, December 3, the Queen will be hosting a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace and it is crucial we raise our voices against the world's largest nuclear-armed military alliance which is overseen by one of the most reckless U.S. Presidents in history.

"Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist and a climate change denier who threatens communities at home while destabilizing the rest of the globe.

"NATO, as an aggressive and expansionist nuclear and military alliance, plays a dangerous global role -- it is still in Afghanistan 18 years on and is expanding further into Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

"The summit is a crucial opportunity for our movement to oppose Trump, his nuclear warmongering, interventionism and destructive social and political agenda. Let's unite against war and military aggression and ensure President Trump's visit to Britain will be met with the response that it deserves.

"Assemble at 4:00 pm in Trafalgar Square on December 3 for music and speeches before we march to Buckingham Palace saying loud and clear: No to Trump, No to NATO!"

International Counter Summit
Saturday, November 30 -- 10:30 am-5:30 pm

Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave., London WC2H 8EP
For information click here

December 3 -- 4:00 pm

Assemble at Trafalgar Square and March to Buckingham Palace

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U.S. March on the War Machine Opposes
Wars and Atrocities

The Rage Against the War Machine march on October 11 in Washington, DC brought together various individuals and groups to stand against all U.S. wars, atrocities and interference against the peoples worldwide. It demanded an end to war funding and targeted the war monopolies, war economy and war government. Held during the 2020 election campaigns, it stood against both Democrats and Republicans as war parties that refuse to implement the broad anti-war stand of the country's majority that are calling for an end to U.S. wars. In saluting the actions to defend the environment and affirm the right of the youth to a bright future, it was brought out that the Pentagon is the world's single largest polluter and that U.S. wars and military worldwide poison the water, soil and human beings, often making land uninhabitable. Stopping war is key to stopping climate change.

Starting from the White House, the demonstration -- held on a Friday during the day in order to do outreach to the public -- proceeded to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is responsible for massive attacks on social programs and the sovereignty of countries worldwide, while profiting from wars and the huge debts imposed on the peoples. The march also went to the office of the Atlantic Council, which is in an unmarked building, consistent with hiding the role of its influence in acting to advance U.S. domination and use of force, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As the leaflets distributed pointed out, the Atlantic Council specifically targets the anti-war movement, using disinformation while acting, for example, to have 800 Facebook pages removed, many of them opposing U.S. wars and crimes. No explanation was given for the removal of the pages, some of which had millions of "likes," including Police the Police, Cop Block, and Free Thought Project.

The demonstration proceeded to the Washington Post, where it denounced current owner and Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, as a CIA contractor, responsible for the widespread misinformation and disinformation of the Post. This includes its consistent failure to even report on anti-war demonstrations and many other efforts of the peoples in DC defending rights.

Leaflets with information about the role of the various pro-war forces were distributed to the many passers-by at each stop and to workers along the way. This outreach to the public was an important part of the action and reflective of the need for demonstrations today to be directed to and engage the public in discussing and standing against the U.S. war machine and war government. Importance was given to putting the issue of war and peace on the agenda during elections and to demanding that candidates support the call to Bring All U.S. Troops Home Now! This is a solution the peoples at home and abroad are demanding.

The march was followed by a summit the next day where all involved were able to share their organizing experience and provide information about ongoing struggles. Discussion included the Syrian people's efforts to get the U.S. out, Venezuelans defending their right to decide their government against U.S. efforts at regime change, and opposing the crime of collective punishment against the peoples, including sanctions.

The importance of the people relying on themselves, not the government, including organizing work to repeatedly engage and politically mobilize the public was raised. So too was the need to be pro-active, to advance a pro-people, anti-war program and not be limited to reacting to the agenda set by the rulers and their pro-war parties.

(Voice of Revolution)

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Calling NATO a "Unique Diplomatic Force Multiplier"

Demonstration in Washington, DC, March 30, 2019, as NATO foreign ministers meet to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO on April 4, 1949.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accepted Foreign Policy magazine's ''Diplomat of the Year'' award at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on November 12. In accepting the award from editor-in-chief Jonathan Tepperman, Stoltenberg made a case for "relentless transatlantic diplomacy, backed by credible transatlantic defence." He called NATO "a unique diplomatic 'force multiplier,'" and claimed that "when 29 nations speak with one voice, their voice is more powerful than any other in the world."

These remarks are self-serving in the extreme. The term "force multiplier" pertains to the field of military combat. The U.S. Department of Defense defines it as follows: "A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment." This is the opposite of diplomacy, where differences are resolved through peaceful means for mutual benefit. According to the NATO Secretary General, NATO's coercive threat of force strengthens and is essential to effective diplomacy.

In his acceptance speech, Stoltenberg spoke at length to justify NATO's war preparations, claiming military threats to NATO countries where none exist. He highlighted NATO's aggressive encirclement of Russia with its massive military buildup in eastern Europe: "[O]ur diplomatic efforts can only be effective if we engage Russia from a position of credible deterrence and credible defence." He went on to suggest that China poses a similar threat to NATO countries: "Diplomacy combined with military strength is also important as we adapt to a shifting global balance of power. A key driver for this is China. China will soon have the world's biggest economy. And it already has the second largest defence budget, investing heavily in new capabilities." Although China has not been invading other countries and carrying out coups and regime change, it is said to pose a threat to NATO countries. Stoltenberg's so-called diplomacy is simply window dressing to cover up outright aggression that serves the interests of NATO countries, especially the big powers.

As concerns his assertion that NATO represents "29 nations speak[ing] with one voice [that is] more powerful than any other in the world," this does not reflect reality. A major split currently exists in NATO, between the U.S. and the other members, as the Trump administration considers NATO to be ineffectual and a hindrance to U.S. aims because it does not function without the U.S. military and funding. Moreover, 29 countries out of the nearly 200 in the world is a small minority compared to other international groupings, such as the Group of 77 or the Non-Aligned Movement. Furthermore, whereas the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement operate within the bounds of the United Nations and the rule of international law, NATO does not. It is a rogue military alliance that flouts the rule of international law. Its aggressive activities are opposed by a majority of the world's peoples, who decry it as the "North Atlantic Terrorist Organization." Counter to Stoltenberg's sophistic remarks, reality indicates that NATO serves narrow aggressive aims and imposes itself on others according to the imperialist doctrine of "Might Makes Right."

Who or What Is Foreign Policy Magazine

It is relevant to inquire who or what is Foreign Policy magazine, which has proclaimed NATO's Secretary General the "Diplomat of the Year."

Foreign Policy is a U.S. publication, founded in 1970 during the turmoil of the Vietnam War, whose cofounders -- Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel -- espoused reactionary world views. Huntingdon was an imperialist ideologue known for his "clash of civilizations" theory. Manshel was an investment banker, editor, publisher and diplomat. During 1954-55, he was the director and chief administrative officer at the Council for Cultural Freedom, an anti-Communist organization of U.S. and European intellectuals.

Foreign Policy has links to the annual Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) war conference. Foreign Policy has been designated a "Media Partner" of the HISF, since 2017 when HISF Vice Chairman Jonathan Tepperman became its editor-in-chief. That year, Foreign Policy gave Chrystia Freeland its "Diplomat of the Year" award, the same year she began spearheading the work of the Lima Group -- a minority of countries within the Organization of American States -- aimed at foreign intervention and regime change in Venezuela.

Tepperman originally became involved in the HISF in 2010 when Foreign Affairs, the journal of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, of which he became managing editor in 2011, became a "media partner" of the HISF.

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Aggressive War Alliance and United Nations
Discuss "Enhancing Practical Cooperation"

NATO recently touted its cooperation with the United Nations. This would seem to be a contradiction in terms, given that the UN was founded on the basis of defending international peace after World War II by upholding the sovereignty and equality of all nations and providing the mechanisms to work out differences based on diplomatic means. NATO, for its part, was founded for the express purpose of undermining the UN and imposing a Cold War ideology on international relations to advance Anglo-American imperialist aims.

On November 7, NATO's Military Committee hosted Lieutenant General Carlos Humberto Loitey, UN Military Adviser, for a briefing on its activities. Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, remarked, "Since 2008, our cooperation has grown significantly. In 2018, we signed a new joint declaration to further enhance our cooperation. Today, we work closely together on Afghanistan and Iraq. And NATO operations are carried out under UN Security Council mandates. NATO has also pledged support for UN peacekeeping operations. There is still more NATO and the UN can do together."

The UN Military Adviser referenced the involvement of NATO countries in current UN peacekeeping operations, saying that NATO members contribute more than 5,000 personnel to UN Peacekeeping Operations. He explained that NATO has also provided support to UN-sponsored operations, which includes logistical assistance to the African Union's UN-endorsed peacekeeping operations in Darfur, Sudan, and in Somalia; support for UN disaster-relief operations in Pakistan; and escorting merchant ships carrying World Food Programme humanitarian supplies off the coast of Somalia.

NATO states, "Practical cooperation between NATO and the UN extends beyond operations, including amongst other projects, the cooperation on tackling terrorist misuse of technology, countering improvised explosive devices, border security, providing assistance to NATO Allies in the identification and prosecution of foreign terrorist fighters, and strengthening capabilities to deal with threats posed by terrorist attacks with the use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons."

Air Chief Marshal Peach concluded the November 7 meeting by saying, "This high-level visit is an opportunity to reconfirm the commitment between our organizations and discuss areas where we could enhance our practical cooperation while remaining complimentary and avoiding duplications. We could both benefit by working together on crisis assessment and management, information sharing, training and education, tackling corruption in the defence sector, promoting the role of women in peace and security, the protection of civilians, including children, in armed conflict, combating sexual and gender-based violence, and arms control and non-proliferation."

NATO's report on the November 7 meeting also refers to UN Security Council Resolutions as providing "the mandate for NATO's operations in the Western Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. They have also provided the framework for NATO's training mission in Iraq." Rather than this indicating a field of cooperation, these activities show how the UN Security Council has been coopted for warmongering aims to provide a legal veneer for unjust wars of aggression in all those countries.

Overall, this situation shows the growing danger posed by NATO, not only through its outright aggression, but also through its attempts to put a humanitarian face on its war preparations and to insinuate itself as a legitimate body that is qualified to intervene in social, political and economic affairs. It must not pass.

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Impeachment Efforts Continue in United States

Organize Together for Politics of Empowerment

Public hearings on the Trump impeachment, broadcast live, have begun, with various officials testifying. The monopoly media is filled with reports of every detail involving hours of testimony and hundreds of pages of depositions. There is speculation as to whether the various statements provided help or harm Trump, along with Trump's numerous tweets. Everyone is to be embroiled in every detail of who said what, what role the president did or did not play, whether individuals were acting on his orders or not, etc. Trump has also proclaimed he will not work with Congress as long as the impeachment process is taking place. This is yet further evidence of the intensifying conflicts among the rulers as to how to restore confidence in a dysfunctional system and how to maintain the unity of the country when the ruling factions are at war with one another. 

The issue facing the people, however, is not the power struggles and conflicts among the rulers but rather their own struggle for political empowerment. With or without impeachment, the existing system of representative democracy by and for the rich does not serve the interests of the people. This is evident in their broad rejection of the current direction of the country, their discontent with the electoral process, including the many debates by Democrats that ignore the people's main concerns, like issues of war and peace, inequality, poverty and solutions for -- not talk about -- the environment and a bright future for the youth.

What is needed now is politics of empowerment, politics by and for the working class and people. The rulers, including with impeachment, are striving to disempower and depoliticize the people, so as to preserve their power. We are to line up pro and con the individuals testifying, the various congresspeople involved, the process itself, the supposed apathy of the people about it, and so forth.

How to resolve the current crisis of the existing institutions, their dysfunction, their lack of democracy, is not answered by becoming embroiled in the impeachment process and lining up for and against. While there is no doubt broad discontent with Trump, the bigger concern being widely expressed in actions and organizing of all kinds is with the existing democracy itself. It is a democracy which does not heed the will of the majority, which does not give voice to the people's concerns, which acts in their name while acting against their interests. The concerns of the people are silenced and government crimes at home and abroad, that are far more serious than those being investigated with impeachment, continue to occur with impunity. 

In the current set up there is no place for holding government accountable for genocide against African Americans and Native peoples, for colonization of Puerto Rico, for militarization of the border and police, for illegal aggressive wars, for collective punishment of whole countries and more. Why no public hearings on these matters of concern? No testimony by the people? No criminal charges for those responsible? To do so would call the existing undemocratic nature of the current system into question, something the rulers are striving desperately to avoid.

Through their many struggles, the people are giving voice to their concerns and coming forward to speak out, in their own name and for their own interests. Now is the time to step up the work for politics of empowerment, to put this issue front and centre as the many battles for rights move forward.

Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.

(November 15, 2019)

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