Urgent Need for Workers to Unite the People in the Fight for the Rights of All
– Pierre Chénier –
A prominent feature of the last leaders’ debate on September 9, was what has come to be known as Quebec-bashing. A self-serving manipulation of the issue of values makes sure no discussion takes place on what values people actually hold and how they can be expressed in a manner decided by the people themselves.
During the debate, the self-righteous side of the equation which claims to support the myriad identities in the society declared their conception the reference point people have to accept, take it or leave it. While they use identity to set people at loggerheads, they declare that everyone must “fight it out” as a matter of principle. They accuse the other side of the same coin for not supporting the myriad identities which exist in society. They say Quebec is racist, Quebeckers who support Quebec’s official position are racist, as if the official position of the federal government is not also racist and divisive and it goes downhill from there.
No discussion takes place on the actual demands of the people for a rule which fosters a self-reliant economy that upholds the rights of all, permits people to live in peace in their regions and with one another, funds social programs and protects the natural environment. The nation-building project of the Quebec and Canadian peoples to defend the rights of all and for political renewal, including a modern constitution which vests sovereignty in the people, is not an option as far as the ruling class is concerned.
Now, another main theme of the election has become the issue of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, with penalties including unpaid suspension from work or even termination for workers who it is said refuse to get vaccinated or wear masks. many times, decrees mandating vaccinations are being issued in a manner which completely denies responsibility for adequately financing the health care system or the education system, seniors’ homes and long-term care centres, child care centres as well as prisons and the like where the state is responsible for the living and working conditions. Measures such as increasing pay and staffing, immediately ending all privatization of services and making sure the infrastructure and protocols are in place for infection prevention and control programs are not taken. This is a continuation of the rule by decree that has caused so much damage to workers and people, depriving them of their right to a decisive say in establishing working conditions that are needed to ensure the well-being of all workers, their families and society.
More importantly, rule by decree violates the right of those who provide the services to determine what is needed to protect the health and the safety of the people within their own concrete conditions.
To divide the people on the basis of those who are for or against vaccines is state-organized disinformation to keep people fighting one another instead of uniting to solve problems. Those dead set at winning seats in the election or depriving their rivals of seats intervene by fomenting passions, ideologizing issues so as to convert them into matters of conscience and ethics instead of making sure it is the people who decide and control the conditions that affect their lives and those of their families. Health care workers are being targeted and people going to work or going into establishments to receive care, or to classes are subjected to violence. As in cases of racist violence, none of this would happen if it were not state-inspired, promoted and even organized.
Now reports indicate that governments are considering establishing so-called protest-free zones around hospitals. It is like calling security on patients who protest wait-times or bureaucracy or get frustrated at the lack of provision of social services instead of taking collective measures to make sure funding and staffing are in line with the demands. The neo-liberal aim to declare hospitals part of critical infrastructure is for purposes of serving narrow private interests and to criminalize the fight of workers for their rights. This is what is driving these measures, not the safety of the population.
The polity has been cut adrift and the attempts of the ruling class to control the situation breed violence while anarchy prevails. Democratic renewal is necessary so that the decisions of the working people about what is required and how to use the human, natural and material resources can prevail.
This presents the working people in every sector of the economy with the urgent task to calm the situation by speaking out, laying the claims on society which they must and informing the public about the solutions they are proposing and implementing, that favour them and society.