No. 40October 20, 2019
A lively and informative discussion on how to make Canada a force for peace in the world took place at the Steelworkers’ Hall in downtown Toronto on October 17 at a forum co-sponsored by the Animal Protection Party of Canada and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC). This forum provided a much needed opportunity for people to come together and discuss their concerns about Canada’s foreign policy and to speak for themselves on a topic that has been completely dismissed by the cartel parties as being of little or no concern to Canadian people in this election. The forum was well attended with participation by a broad spectrum of people.
Three speakers were featured: Liz White, the leader of the Animal Protection Party of Canada and candidate in University–Rosedale, Steve Rutchinski of the MLPC and its candidate in University–Rosedale, and Tamara Lorincz, from Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Anna Di Carlo, MLPC National Leader, also attended the meeting.
Left to right: Liz White, Steve Rutchinski and Tamara Lorincz.
Speaking on “The Need to Review Canada’s Foreign Policy and Trade Agreements,” Liz White noted that Canada’s foreign policy requires renewal in favour of promoting peace and justice. Liz noted that the small political parties contribute to presenting alternative viewpoints on important issues confronting Canadians but have been ignored by the media and mostly shut out of the candidates’ meetings. Even as national leader of a federal party she had not been invited to one all-candidates’ event. She greatly appreciated that this forum afforded an important opportunity for all those concerned about Canada’s foreign policy to discuss their views, and exchange opinions and ideas.
She gave examples of how Canadian foreign policy is not independent but under the influence of the U.S., which Canadians do not want. She highlighted Canada’s weapons sales to the brutal Saudi regime as unacceptable, given the human rights record of the Saudi Kingdom and its being an aggressor in Yemen and the Middle East. She also highlighted Canada’s refusal to support the efforts of African nations to protect endangered species such as rhinos and elephants. Ms. White made an impassioned argument that Canada can and should play a positive role internationally for peace and for creating conditions for both the human and natural environment to thrive.
Steve Rutchinski’s presentation was entitled “Promotion of Unacceptable Foreign Policy Doctrines by Canada’s Post Secondary Institutions — The Case of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.” Steve recounted how the Munk School was created on the initiative of global mining oligarch Peter Munk, the late CEO of Barrick Gold Corp, to bring together leaders of finance capital, government, academia and the monopoly media to shape Canada’s foreign policy as a tool to serve the interests of the Canadian and North American ruling elite. He highlighted the role of the Munk School in formulating and elaborating unacceptable foreign policy doctrines — for example, the so-called Responsibility to Protect, “sustainable development” and “hybrid warfare” — as instruments of foreign interference in the internal affairs of other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. Most importantly, he highlighted the ongoing opposition by students, faculty and the community at large to institutions of higher education, like the Munk School, acting as instruments of intervention, aggression and war.
Speaking on behalf of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Tamara Lorincz gave a spirited presentation entitled “Canada’s Role in NATO Must Be Ended and NATO Dismantled.” One of the things she highlighted was that all the political parties sitting in parliament are pro-NATO and that this is dangerous for Canadians and goes against their will. Tamara pointed out that NATO is an instrument of the U.S. and its policy of war and aggression around the world and this alliance under the U.S. poses the greatest danger to humanity’s survival. She noted that the Trudeau Liberals have committed more than $500 billion for defence spending over the next 20 years. These billions being spent for war and destruction of the planet could be better used to serve human needs, she pointed out.
Tamara spoke about the organizing that is going on against NATO, noting for example that demonstrations have taken place yearly at the Halifax International Security Forums dating back to the 60th anniversary of NATO. She spoke also of organizing going on internationally, including the actions that took place in Washington DC at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting on the occasion of its 70th anniversary and in other Canadian and American cities this past April. She emphasized the importance of stepping up the organizing against NATO and its “We Are NATO” campaign. She called on everyone to work together to protest the NATO Association of Canada gala on November 1 at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto, and proposed an action for November 23 in solidarity with protests scheduled at this year’s Halifax International Security Forum. She also encouraged people to join the monthly pickets being held outside the NATO Association of Canada offices in Toronto and proposed an action be taken the first week of December to protest the NATO 70th anniversary events taking place in London, UK.
A lively discussion followed the presentations. Lorne Gershuny, MLPC candidate for Parkdale–High Park spoke against Canada’s actions to undermine the government and people of Venezuela. Two Filipino youth from Bayan-Canada spoke about the role that the Canadian government is playing in supporting mining companies that have historically exploited and displaced the people of the islands thereby contributing to the migrant labour crisis in that country. Independent journalist and blogger Tony Seed, one of the founders of No Harbour for War in Halifax, explained how Canadian people have actively opposed NATO and Canada’s membership in NATO from the time of its founding. From the deployment of nuclear weapons on Canadian soil to participation in wars of aggression, none of this, he said, has ever been done with the approval of the Canadian people. Rather these are imposed by executive decision, cabinet decree or by a handful of cabinet ministers. The cutting edge of Making Canada a Zone for Peace, he said, is to get Canada out of NATO.
The discussion ended on a very positive note with interest in further developing these kind of forums.
A meeting was organized by the Marxist-Lenininst Party of Canada in Windsor on October 19 to discuss Canada’s foreign policy and how to make Canada a zone for peace. The meeting which was chaired by Laura Chesnik, the MLPC candidate in Windsor—Tecumseh who outlined the main points of the MLPC platform calling for a change in the direction of Canada’s foreign policy and emphasized the need for discussion on these matters during the federal election. In keeping with the MLPC’s call for political renewal she said the Canadian people, and no one else, must be empowered to decide the aim and direction of Canada’s foreign policy.
After the opening remarks there were two presentations. The first was by Margaret Villamizar, the MLPC candidate in Windsor West and its spokesperson on foreign policy. She began by saying that among the cartel parties vying for power there seems to be a taboo against talking about foreign policy. The complicit silence of these parties points to a shared unquestioned acceptance that Canada is for peace and so is NATO, so what is there to discuss?
Margaret then explained how there is nothing peaceful, democratic or legal about Canada and the Lima Group’s efforts to force regime change in Venezuela and to split the ranks of other countries, like the Caribbean states organized in CARICOM that have staunchly resisted joining the U.S.-led crusade. She announced to applause that Venezuela had just won a big victory at the United Nations by being elected to sit on its Human Rights Council with the majority of the organization’s 193 members backing Venezuela’s bid over that of the U.S./Lima Group candidate Costa Rica whose sole reason for entering the race at the last minute was to defeat Venezuela. She used the example of Canada’s dirty work through the Lima Group as well as NATO to illustrate the kind of multilateralism being pushed by sections of imperialism that say they champion liberal democracy and a rules-based order that is supposedly better than the unilateral wrecking by U.S. under Trump. This is very different from the international rule of law and adherence to the UN Charter that the world’s peoples striving to affirm their sovereignty and right to self-determination are demanding. She emphasized that it was essential for the people to play their role in bringing into being and defending the new arrangements required for the realization of their aspirations for a world at peace and in which the rights of all human beings are affirmed.
The second speaker was Tamara Lorincz, a member of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. She spoke about the danger NATO presents to the world’s people and why it should be abolished. She pointed out that propaganda about NATO being a successful organization is a lie since all its interventions have been failures. She provided details about the extent of Canada’s military spending and drew attention to how much importance the government places on attracting youth from a very young age to identify with and join the military, revealing that the cadet program is the single largest youth program in the country. Tamara encouraged everyone to be active in working for peace and against war, pointing out the importance of the peace movement taking a stand against NATO and for it to be dismantled.
The presentations were followed by participants in the meeting asking questions and themselves contributing information and sharing their concerns about the direction of Canada’s foreign and military policy and the fact that none of the cartel parties showed any concern about continuing the status quo. Many expressed appreciation to the MLPC for organizing the meeting and the opportunity it provided for them to learn about and discuss matters of definite concern that are absent from the discussion at “official” debates and forums and what the media pundits say are “election issues” for Canadians.
Saturday, October 26 — 1:00 pm
North Memorial Public Library, 2285 Gottingen St.
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No Harbour For War is initiating a series of forums on the theme “War and Peace — Who Decides?” The first one will be held on Saturday, October 26 at 1:00 pm in the North Memorial Public Library, 2285 Gottingen Street.
As one of our members put it, “It is important that, immediately following the election, Canadians who oppose Canada’s involvement in global aggression should get together to discuss the issue of an anti-war government as a practical measure to make Canada a zone for peace.” Canadians in the main reject Canada’s involvement in U.S.-led aggression and war — they want Canada to be a genuine force for peace in the world.
On October 26, we invite all anti-war/peace and environmental activists to come together to discuss the many issues facing us on these matters. We also invite all those who, for whatever reasons, are interested in these topics.
This initial forum on war and peace is also a lead-in to the November 23 anti-war rally to be held against the 11th annual Halifax International Security Forum. This U.S.-based security forum, totally financed by Canadian taxpayers, is an important platform for the warmongering and empire-building of U.S. imperialism and the NATO bloc, in which the Trudeau Liberal government has been fully embroiled. It is unacceptable that Halifax, or any Canadian city, be used as a venue to plan further crimes against the peace and the peoples of the world.
The announcement in August of an anti-Venezuela conference in Montreal was met by the formation of the Montreal Ad Hoc Committee Against Canadian Interference in the Affairs of Venezuela. It is comprised of a number of organizations uniting in action to support Venezuela’s right to be and to oppose the conference. The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University invited Orlando Viera-Blanco to speak and misleadingly called him the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada. Viera-Blanco was appointed Ambassador by the self-proclaimed imposter president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, whose foreign-backed opposition forces are attempting to overthrow Venezuela’s constitutionally elected president Nicolás Maduro. Canada’s recognition of Guaidó is an act of gross interference in Venezuela’s sovereign internal affairs.
October 4 Discussion Forum
On October 4, a meeting to discuss the Canadian government’s stand on Venezuela and an appropriate response was held at the Montreal offices of the Marxist-Leninist Party. A spokesperson of the MLPC and representatives from the Salvadoran and Haitian communities spoke, as did an activist working in defence of the rights of the Palestinian people. They elaborated the politics of interference in the affairs of those countries by both the Canadian and U.S. governments. Christine Dandenault pointed to the fact that in the federal election, the important issue of Canada’s foreign policy has been tossed aside by the cartel parties, as they obviously consider Canada’s dirty role in support of aggression against the peoples par for the course and something which does not need to be discussed. Canadians and Quebeckers strongly disagree and are demanding that Canada be a factor for peace, she said.
The spokesperson for the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front-Montreal (FMLN-Montreal) quoted the first statement made by the External Affairs representative of the new Salvadoran government, which came to power on June 1. Referring to the United States he said, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.” The spokesperson pointed out that when the FMLN was in power the government always called for caution in dealing with the U.S. and its supporters who made repeated attempts to instigate war in El Salvador. The FMLN-Montreal spokesperson also provided information on the Rio Treaty and current attempts to justify an invasion of Venezuela under its aegis.
The representative of Palestinians and Jews United (PAJU) spoke about the statement from the phoney Venezuelan ambassador to Canada, appointed
by self-proclaimed false President Guaidó. Orlando Viera-Blanco, who recently visited Israel, suggested that Israel become the model for Venezuela. “To say, as this false ambassador who is not an ambassador has, that he wants Venezuela to follow the Israeli model, is to say that he would like Venezuela to become a regime of apartheid and institutionalized racism because that’s what Israel is. For me, that statement is obscene. No country in the world would want to follow Israel as a model, as it’s the model of the southern states in the United States during slavery, it is South Africa under the control of white Afrikaners.
“Today, Israel deports Palestinians and continues demolishing more of their homes. We are talking about 40,000 homes demolished and 18,000 in Gaza in 2014 during Israel’s attack on Gaza. Today, there is no longer any restraint. Israel acts with impunity. Today, it’s worse because we have the Trumps, Trudeaus, Scheers and other members of the Western political class who are complicit, along with the media here, in these war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“Currently, there is evidence of the increasing transfer (i.e. deportation) of Palestinians in the Hebron Hills. It’s a system that dehumanizes Palestinians. It’s the only country in the world that sends children to military courts. It’s a country that uses administrative detention – that is, they can arrest any Palestinian without charge, without proof, without trial and it is renewable every 6 months. Hundreds, if not thousands, are in Israeli jails including a certain number of children. We don’t see that in the monopoly media. There are two court systems: Israeli settlers in the settlements fall under the state’s civil courts based on what is called the constitution although the constitution does not exist. Palestinians are subject to military courts. Apartheid means separation. It’s not a coincidence that the two apartheids were born in 1948.”
He spoke of the role of Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other representatives of the Canadian elite such as Irwin Cotler, a notorious Zionist and a former Minister of Justice in the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin Liberal governments; and Ben Rowswell, a former Canadian ambassador to Venezuela, to interfere in the affairs of other countries. Such people play an active role in trying to destabilize any government deemed to be an enemy because they take independent stands that favour their own interests rather than those of the U.S., Canada and their allies, he pointed out.
An activist with the group Solidarité Québec-Haïti, shared the experience of her people in the fight for their right to be. She said that what has been happening more recently in Haiti is interference, not only by the United States but also by Canada. In 2003, there was the meeting in Canada with the United States and France to overthrow President Aristide. Since that time, Canada has invested in prisons and a repressive police force that is shooting people right now. Canadian funds have been used to train this police force: the RCMP and Quebec’s police forces go to Haiti and become involved in cases of sexual misconduct. Canada has also funded the elections in Haiti — at least $11 million in 2016 was invested. These are elections that are largely boycotted by the population. The last election that took place was that of Jovenel Moïse, successor to Michel Martelly, who has been in power since 2016, even though less than 20 per cent of people voted. Canada continues to say that it will support Jovenel Moïse and is calling on the population to participate in a “dialogue.”
In Venezuela, she said, the president was clearly elected, there’s a legitimate government, which has been confirmed by observers, however, the powers that be are not supporting it. “They support Jovenel Moïse, as he does what he is told to do. A vote took place for intervention in Venezuela and the powers that be needed the vote of Latin America and the Caribbean and of Caricom (the Caribbean Community). Caricom opposes it, except for Haiti, which Caricom condemned. We here in Canada must maintain the pressure. There will be a march on November 17. We must support each others’ struggles.”
October 8 Information Picket Against Anti-Venezuelan Conference
On October 8, between 4:30 and 7:00 pm, over 50 people participated in a militant action against the holding of the anti-Venezuelan conference, both inside and outside the venue. A barrage of slogans were vigorously shouted by protestors: No! to the Anti-Venezuela Conference!; Defend the Sovereignty of the Venezuelan People!; No! to the Lima Group!; Maduro Sí! Guaidó No! A large banner with the words “One Humanity, One Struggle!” was unfurled.
At the building where the conference was held, there was a constant flow of students and teaching staff. In between classes, students came out to shout slogans, hold banners and discuss with protestors; youth working in the building’s ground-floor café came out to find out what was going on and support the action. Drivers honked their horns, and passers-by expressed their solidarity, stopping for further information. MLPC candidates distributed copies of Renewal Update in support of the people of Venezuela and its legitimate government, collected subscriptions and had many lively exchanges with students and passers-by. Simultaneously, an action was held inside the building as a dozen or so activists placed themselves in front of the doors to where the conference was being held. They sang songs of resistance and shouted slogans, disrupting the event.
Around 6:40 pm the false ambassador finally exited the building, flanked by two young body guards. Recognized by one of the protestors when he stopped to ask a question, the false ambassador was denounced as a “corrupt individual.” Activists encircled, him shouting “thief,” “imposter,” “filthy agent,” “Guaidó Non, Maduro sí!” The imposter slunk away as protestors pursued him down the street. As one of the demonstrators noted: “It warms the heart when collaborators are not given an easy time and know they cannot act with impunity.”
On October 17, Venezuela was elected to the 47-member Human Rights Council of the United Nations, winning the support of a majority of the General Assembly’s 193 members in a vote held by secret ballot to fill two seats assigned to Latin America and the Caribbean. All terms on the council are for three years and Venezuela takes its seat in January 2020. The victory came in the face of a high pressure campaign by the United States and certain other countries as well as over 50 “non-governmental organizations” that worked for Venezuela’s defeat based on it allegedly being “unfit” for the position.
When at first the only two candidates were Brazil and Venezuela, assuring both would be acclaimed, Costa Rica put its name forward at the last minute for the sole purpose of usurping Venezuela, but it did not work. Brazil was elected with 153 votes and Venezuela with 105, beating out Costa Rica which got only 96 votes. The room burst into applause when the results were announced, with delegations from different countries flocking to congratulate the Venezuelans.
With this latest spectacular failure of the Lima Group’s campaign to isolate and de-legitimize the government of President Nicolas Maduro, all it could do was try to hide its humiliating defeat at the hands of over half the UN member states with a delusional statement that belied its exclusionary, colonial mindset. In it, Canada and the other signatories “deeply deplored” the results of the election and pledged to keep up their regime change efforts against Venezuela “together with the international community.”
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called the election a historic victory over imperialism because of the “ferocious campaign” mounted against Venezuela by the U.S. and its “satellite governments.” He thanked members of the Non-Aligned Movement for their support and promised that as a member of the Human Rights Council, Venezuela would defend peace and national sovereignty and work to see that acts of aggression such as armed interventions and economic blockades are recognized as violations of human rights.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada expresses its deepest sympathies to the Cuban people on the loss of their Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso. Many Canadians had the good fortune to see Alicia Alonso perform or when she accompanied the National Ballet of Cuba, in Havana or at venues in Canada. She was magnificent. A stellar dancer and choreographer, Alicia founded the Cuban School of ballet and led the National Ballet of Cuba which performed all over the world. She was a most worthy and inspiring representative of Cuban culture and patriotism. Bravo to Cuba for having such a stellar ambassador of dance and culture. Bravo!
For the information of readers we are reproducing the news report by Cubainformación.
Alicia Alonso, who during her 88 years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher contributed with her brilliant art to raising the prestige of her homeland to the highest rank around the world, died at the CIMEQ Hospital, in Havana, at 11:00 am on the morning of Thursday, October 17, 2019, two months and three days before reaching 99 years of age.
She founded the Alicia Alonso Ballet Company in Havana 71 years ago, today known as the National Ballet of Cuba. As its director and main figure, she has been an inspiration and guide for the training of several generations of Cuban dancers, with her own style that has conquered a prominent place in international ballet.
“Alicia Alonso has gone and left an enormous void but unbeatable legacy,” the president of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, wrote on Twitter.
She was born on December 21, 1920, in the Redención area, a popular neighbourhood of Marianao, in the modest home of Antonio Martínez Arredondo, a veteran army lieutenant, and Ernestina del Hoyo y Lugo, a skilled dressmaker. From a very young age the illustrious dancer found in dance the vocation that would guide her whole life.
Her stellar path, that began in 1931 at the Ballet School of the Sociedad Pro-Arte Musical de La Habana, was forced to take alternate routes abroad due to the low level, prejudices and elitist character of ballet in Cuba.
Her professional artistic orbit was varied, spanning Broadway musical comedies, the Ballet Caravan, the American Ballet Theatre in New York, the Washington Ballet and the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, with colossal triumphs as a guest star of the most significant companies, festivals and galas of that artistic genre throughout the world.
Her exceptional status as prima ballerina assoluta was not due to a capricious hierarchical reputation, but to the mastery of a vast repertoire of 134 titles that encompassed the great works of the romantic-classical tradition and creations of contemporary choreographers.
When on November 28, 1995, at the Teatro Massini in Faenza, Italy, she gave the final performance of her career as a dancer, she had already managed to establish a hard-to-match record, not only for the length of her time on pointe, but for the level of excellence with which she danced.
But Alonso’s greatness lies not only in having represented Cuba triumphantly in 65 countries, receiving countless thunderous ovations, from Helsinki to Buenos Aires, from New York to Tokyo and Melbourne, but in having put at the service of her homeland all the honours she received, among them 266 international awards and distinctions, 225 national awards and 69 choreographic creations — romantic, classic and contemporary, which she did, returning them as fruits of the labour that she had always seen as a modest contribution not only to Cuba’s culture, but to world dance culture:
– Honorary doctorate in art from the University of Havana, the Superior Institute of Arts of Cuba, the Technical University of Valencia, Spain, and the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
– Order of the Aztec Eagle, awarded by the Mexican state in 1982.
– Commendation of Isabel Catholic Order, given by King of Spain Juan Carlos in 1993.
– Dance Foundation named for her, along with the University Institute of Dance “Alicia Alonso” affiliated with the Rey Juan Carlos University.
– Honourary Member of the Association of Stage Directors of Spain (ADE).
– Gold medal from the Circulo de Bellas Artes of Madrid, in 1998.
– National Hero of Labour in Cuba.
– Order of José Martí, the highest award granted by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.
– Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002.
– UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, invested in Paris.
– Legion of Honour, awarded by the President of France in 2003.
– Iréne Lidova Lifetime Achievement Award presented in Cannes in 2005.
– Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts awarded by the Spanish government, presented by the King of Spain.
– ALBA Prize for the Arts, from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, in 2012
– Title of World Dance Ambassador, awarded by UNESCO in 2017.
More than half a century ago when she returned to Cuba with her foreign honours, she did not hesitate to declare:
“All my hopes and dreams consist in not returning to the world representing another country, but carrying our own flag and our art. My desire is that there is no one left who does not shout: Bravo for Cuba! when I dance. If I cannot fulfill that dream, sadness will be the reward of my efforts.”
That patriotic position led her to found, together with Fernando and Alberto Alonso, the Alicia Alonso Ballet Company, on October 28, 1948, known since 1950 as the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC). It had the historical task of training the first generation of dancers within the technical, aesthetic and ethical principles of the world-renowned Cuban ballet school of today.
For 71 years, especially after the triumph of the Revolution, she was able, with a firm hand, to place the BNC among the most prestigious companies worldwide, to found a teaching system that today encompasses the entire island and is the guarantee of Cuban ballet, as well as stimulating an internationalist collaboration movement in the field of ballet in Cuba that has extended to almost fifty countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
It is Alicia, guide and mentor, who with her gift of bringing people together, was able to convene in 26 International Ballet Festivals in Havana the most famous dance personalities, in a celebration of art and friendship. And this is the same Alicia that we have seen delivering the best teaching, as well as performances of the highest calibre, be it on rustic platforms, in public squares, factories, schools and military units, aware that the people, whoever they may be, always ascend and never descend.
Those who had the privilege of being by her side, also knew the extraordinary human being that she was, who by courage and iron discipline was never defeated by physical failures, changes in fortune or misunderstandings.
It was our Alicia who, while bathed in cosmopolitanism, longed to hear the songs of our roosters, to taste and smell the salt spray of her Malecón in Havana, appreciated the butterfly and coral as most exquisite, or was fascinated with the scientific advances and the mysteries of the cosmos.
“A tenacious force, frenetic, heroic — shooting at illness and against time — toward untiring perfection,” as Juan Marinello rightly defined her.
The Cuban people pay their final respects, October 19, 2019.
(October 17, 2019, Cubainformación. Translated from original Spanish by RU. Photos: A Padron Padillo, Prensa Latina.)
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