Category: Canada
Canada’s entry into Mali strife: Another Afghanistan fiasco
worker | April 2, 2018 | 8:41 pm | Africa, Analysis, Canada, Communist Party Canada | Comments closed

3/28/2018

Canada’s entry into Mali strife: Another Afghanistan fiasco

The March 19 announcement that Canada will send “peacekeepers” to the west African country of Mali is an ominous signal that under Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Canada is increasing its role in dirty wars intended to make the world safe for imperialist exploitation.

The deepening crisis in Mali has its origins in a variety of factors, from the history of intervention by French imperialism, to the overthrow of Libya’s Col. Gaddafi, and the scramble for hydrocarbons and uranium wealth by western-based corporate interests.

The resource-rich Sahel desert area, which spans Africa from west to east below the Sahara, has been devastated by the 2011 NATO war in Libya and the resulting French imperialist intervention in Mali. Violence across the region has escalated since a 2012 coup in Mali ousted a central government which had opposed French pressures to establish military bases in the country. According to the UN, 5 million people have fled their homes and 24 million people need humanitarian assistance in the region.

France currently has 4,000 soldiers in Mali. Under “Operation Barkhane”, 1,000 French troops are to be stationed in Mali indefinitely, ready to make a “rapid and efficient intervention in the event of a crisis” in the words of former French president Francois Hollande. Since his election as President last May, Emmanuel Macron has pushed to intensify the imperialist war launched by Hollande in France’s former colonial empire.

The European Union is preparing to double its funding for the G5 Sahel force, set up by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to fight Islamist jihadist forces. The G5 operates in coordination with French troops and the MINUSMA, the 12,000-strong UN “peacekeeping” force, fighting Tuareg fighters objectively allied with islamist forces such as AQMI (Al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb) or Ançar Dine, groups that flourished as a result of the destruction of Libya. To date, 162 UN troops have been killed in Mali, many of them the victims of explosive devices, similar to the long war in Afghanistan.

The situation has resulted in growing tensions between Europe, the United States, and China, which is an increasingly influential economic power in Africa. Although Macron says that French troops are engaged in Mali to “fight terrorism as long as it takes,” it appears that this military presence is mainly intended to protect imperialist interests.

The G5 force will cost an estimated 423 million euros in its first year alone, and Macron has called for huge new military spending increases. The impoverished Sahel countries under French domination are expected to provide most of the cannon fodder in this “anti-terrorist” war, and France has been forced to seek financial help from the EU, and also from key imperialist allies such as Germany and the United States. But Washington has declined to finance the G5, and it now appears that Canada’s initial contribution of “non-combat” troops to this imperialist misadventure is Justin Trudeau’s way of fulfilling his pledge to send “peacekeepers” into African conflicts. The government is tentatively sending two transport helicopters and four attack helicopters, for medical evacuations. But Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance warns that this number could change. The financial and human costs of a growing military mission in Mali will inevitably rise, and Canadian troops will sooner or later be involved in combat operations causing civilian casualties. If the Libyan disaster is any indication, the outcome can only be more chaos and destruction.

The Communist Party of Canada condemns this mission, which has nothing to do with keeping the peace, but does embroil Canada in a complex regional conflict involving militias, terrorist groups, and a weak central government which controls only the south of Mali. We demand that no Canadian troops should be sent to defend French imperialist interests in Africa, and that the funds earmarked for this mission should instead be devoted to non-military humanitarian aid projects which can benefit the people of Mali and the rest of the Sahel.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Reverse the Cuts to Canada Post – Restore and Expand Door-to-Door
worker | February 23, 2018 | 7:40 pm | Canada, Communist Party Canada | Comments closed

February 22, 2018

Reverse the cuts to Canada Post – Restore and expand Door-to-Door

The Communist Party of Canada demands that the Liberal government live up to their promises made during the Federal election surrounding Canada Post and immediately restore door-to-door delivery service for the nearly one million households who have had this service cut.

Part of the Harper government’s legacy of attempts to privatize the postal service, bust the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and attack workers’ wages, pensions and working conditions, was cutting the door-to-door mail delivery to 800,000 people and the installation of “mega-box” mail delivery. After CUPW and allies, including the Communist Party, fought against this bid to reduce service as part of the broader privatization agenda, Justin Trudeau promised to reverse the cuts during the 2015 Federal election.

After a lengthy review and delays by the Trudeau government, the federal government released a report in late January of this year announcing that previous plans to cut door-to-door delivery to an additional four million households would be canceled. This has demonstrated once again that mass, independent political action on the part of the labour movement can be effective in fighting back and winning jobs for their members and strengthened public services for all.

The government’s refusal to reverse the already implemented cuts and the further delay in forwarding decisions about the direction of Canada Post to the crown corporation’s board of directors, shows that the fight is far from over. In fact, many addresses, especially in rural areas, never had door-to-door service to begin with and are sorely in need of an expansion of delivery services.

The Communist Party of Canada continues to stand in solidarity with postal workers and supports CUPW’s demands to implement an expansion to the public post office to address climate change, and maintaining the service’s financial self-sufficiency with expanded public services including postal banking. Postal banking in particular would expand banking and financial services to communities left high and dry by the monopoly banks who have raked in record profits while closing branches and charging higher and higher fees. Many countries operate publicly owned postal banks, as did Canada until 1969.

Furthermore, the Communist Party of Canada calls on the Federal government and Canada Post to negotiate in good faith with postal workers in upcoming bargaining this year and break with the recent history of attacks on workers and their union.

Special resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Feb 11th, 2018

Unifor and CLC: get back to the table!
worker | January 27, 2018 | 7:44 pm | Canada, Communist Party Canada, Labor | Comments closed

Unifor and CLC: get back to the table!

January 23, 2017

The announcement on January 17 by the National Executive Board of UNIFOR, Canada’s largest private sector union, that it was disaffiliating from the Canadian Labour Congress, effective immediately, is a shock to millions of workers in Canada – over 3 million of whom are members of unions affiliated to the CLC, and 300,000 who are members of UNIFOR.

Many remember an earlier split in the late ‘90s, ostensibly over the same issues, which fractured the labour movement for almost a decade. During that time governments and corporations drove a vicious austerity agenda that cut jobs and wages, closed plants and factories, destroyed defined benefit pension plans, orchestrated bankruptcies under the CCAA that stole workers’ wages, pensions, and benefits – just like US Steel, Nortel Networks, and Sears are doing today. Union density was undermined, the pay gap grew wider and part-time and precarious work replaced good union jobs. Public and post-secondary education and healthcare were under sharp attack, core funding for public services and universal social programs was slashed, and the trade union movement itself came under sustained attack. Corporations raked in super-profits, half a million manufacturing jobs disappeared, and real wages, purchasing power, and living standards fell.

This was all part of the neo-liberal agenda to expand corporate control, and to smash the power, influence and capacity of organized labour to become the backbone of an organized Canada-wide resistance, and the starting point to mount an effective counter-offensive.

But the top leadership, burdened under the weight of right-wing business unionism, was unable to recognize its role and responsibilities to unite its ranks and lead a militant struggle against austerity. While workers chafed, instead of exposing the political advocates of austerity in Ottawa and the provinces, many labour leaders embraced the Liberals and NDP, and doused militant, independent labour political action as destructive to these new (and not so new) political partnerships.

At the same time, labour conventions became increasingly centralized, leaving less and less time to debate issues, and making it much harder for delegates not already in leadership – or without a nod from leadership – to run for office. Votes were whipped and slates were the order of the day in too many union meetings and conventions. The labour movement settled in for a long sleep under CLC President Ken Georgetti, and few of the affiliates complained. As union density declined, raiding became a widespread way to maintain membership and the dues income needed to maintain operations. It was the norm, not the exception.

But workers’ interests are fundamentally opposed to the interests of the Big Business parties and the corporations they speak for. Tri-partism and bi-partism are poison, aiming to block and blunt the workers’ struggles.

As economic conditions worsened, workers in some of the lowest paid industries began to demand more, asking their unions to protect them against poor contracts, wages and conditions. Pressure was building for change, for the labour movement to be stronger, more militant, and more independent of employer influence.

The response of right-wing business unionism was to tighten up the organization of the trade union movement even more.

The CAW, at that time a union with a reputation as a militant, class conscious and fighting organization with a commitment to social unionism, was also in a difficult and vulnerable situation with the loss of the Auto Pact. The Big three auto companies seized the moment to squeeze the CAW with threats of closing plants and layoffs of hundreds, even thousands of workers, unless concessions were adopted. The union looked to the Liberal Party for help to stop the closures and layoffs, while also expanding its membership drives well beyond the automotive sector. Many other workers were attracted by the high wages and good contracts for autoworkers, and by the union’s militant history, and today autoworkers account for only 25% of UNIFOR’s members. As to the Liberals, their main contribution to the union was photo-ops with union leaders, and support for the contract stripping that the Tories ordered after the 2008 economic meltdown.

In the late ‘90s the SEIU charged the CAW with raiding, after SEIU locals in Canada opted to leave SEIU and join CAW.

As the CLC’s umpire noted in his report to the CLC, there was no method within the CLC Constitution for Local unions to disaffiliate without the agreement of the parent union. The reason was that the CLC’s affiliates are the unions, not the union Locals. The conundrum facing local unions that want out of CLC affiliates (which are often international unions, located in the US) must convince their union leaderships that they should be allowed to leave to join another union. With the exception of progressive unions like UE, which jointly negotiated a fraternal split at the border, almost every other union has responded by imposing a trusteeship of the local union, as Unite-HERE in the US did to Local 75 in Toronto last month.

Article 4 of the CLC Constitution has been a burning issue in the trade union movement for more than 20 years, with no resolution in sight to date. This is at the heart of the current dispute, according to the UNIFOR letter of disaffiliation. The CLC’s decision not to include UNIFOR in a sub-committee struck to review the issue suggests that a resolution was not being seriously considered.

But questions have arisen about UNIFOR’s constitution and the legality of its National Executive Board’s decision to disaffiliate without any reference to a convention or to the membership more broadly. UNIFOR members heard about the decision in the same way that everyone else did – on the news and on the internet.

They also heard that the CLC had directed that UNIFOR members are not to be seated at provincial labour federations or Labour Councils. Many UNIFOR members are Labour Council delegates, sitting on Committees, or elected Presidents and Executive members. Labour activists are distressed and angered that the on-the-ground centres of labour and community struggles across the country are being disrupted by struggles “at the top” that appear to have little to do with the bread and butter struggles on the ground: against austerity, against Trump’s NAFTA plans, against war and military spending, and much more.

Labour Councils in Hamilton, Durham and London have already refused to ask UNIFOR delegates to leave, and that is exactly what the doctor ordered for labour unity and solidarity. The inability of the CLC and UNIFOR leaderships to resolve key issues at the top levels should not tear apart the movement at the base, in the communities, in the struggles now and just ahead.

There is no doubt that the fight for Canadian autonomy, sovereignty and democracy is directly related to the ability of the labour movement to unite against austerity and the corporate assault. It’s directly related to a labour movement in which class struggle leadership prevails and business unionism is a disappearing relic. It’s related to a trade union movement that utilizes the energy, initiative and capacity of its members to build its strength, and which cooperates instead of competing with its sister unions here at home, and globally.

The decision of UNIFOR’s National Executive Board will not help to resolve the real problems that exist in the CLC. Disaffiliation will divide and weaken the labour movement at a very dangerous time for workers, their families, and for all those who are unorganized, precarious and racialized workers, and the million unemployed and under-employed. This includes our youth, whose future is both poor and uncertain.

The CLC should be equally concerned, as it too will be weakened. Raiding will gather steam everywhere, to the detriment of the unorganized workers and the labour movement as a whole. This will include raids on UNIFOR as well as on CLC affiliates. There is no doubt the employers will take every advantage possible.

Instead of sudden divorce, UNIFOR and the CLC should go back to the table and work to resolve the problems created over many years, and which must be honestly and openly addressed now. The voices of workers in Canada must be heard on this issue: they are not on-lookers but the substance of Canada’s injured labour movement.

Statement by the Central Trade Union Commission, Communist Party of Canada

100th anniversary of Great October Revolution
worker | October 31, 2017 | 8:14 pm | Canada, Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU), USSR | Comments closed

10/30/2017

100th anniversary of Great October Revolution

Throughout November, celebrations around the world will mark the centenary of the outstanding political event of the 20th century: the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. By overthrowing the Russian capitalists, landowners and aristocrats, the workers, peasants and soldiers of the Tsarist empire opened the door to a new society in which humanity’s dreams of peace, equality and democracy began to become reality. The storming of the Winter Palace, signaled by the guns of the Aurora cruiser, began the historical epoch of the transition towards a socialist society, based on cooperation and social justice, not the  exploitation and oppression inherent in the profit-driven capitalist system.

The October Revolution was far more than a change in government. It was a fundamental social upheaval, a sharp break with thousands of years of class-divided societies. For the first time, the working class took lasting political power, shattering the myth that only the owners of wealth can rule.

Under the slogan “Peace, Land, Bread” and with the support of the overwhelming majority of the working class and poor peasants, the Bolsheviks (the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was then called) began the long and complex effort to build a new “system of civilized cooperators,” as the great revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the essence of socialism.

The new Soviet government immediately issued its famous “decree on peace”, taking Russia out of the imperialist slaughter by the leading capitalist countries for the re-division of wealth and colonial possession they had plundered from the world’s peoples. Land was transferred to millions of impoverished peasants, and industrial, financial and other capitalist companies were nationalized. Workers were guaranteed employment. Education and health care became universal and free. Nations oppressed under the Tsarist heel were guaranteed equality and self-determination, including the right to secession. Patriarchal laws were replaced by the full legal and social emancipation of women.

The imperialist countries, including Canada, sent armies to crush the young Soviet state while the “baby was still in its cradle”, as Winston Churchill said. Surrounded by counter-revolutionary forces and invading imperialist armies, the Soviet government and the Red Army triumphed, with the support of workers around the world acting under the slogan “Hands off Russia!” The heroic example of Soviet Russia inspired working class struggles and insurrections throughout the world, including the Winnipeg General Strike and the formation of the Communist Party of Canada in this country.

The Soviet revolution shook imperialism as never before. Yet it stood on the shoulders of more than one hundred years of working class and national liberation struggles. Millions of workers had supported the First and Second Internationals, whose goal was world peace and socialism, in sharp contrast to the imperialist strivings of the leading capitalist countries.

The Internationals were inspired by the slogan “Workers of all lands, unite!” and by revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who declared that the working class was the agent of socialist revolution. The working class movement was steeled by persecutions, and educated by the bloody vengeance of the French and Prussian capitalists in 1871 against the Paris Commune – the world’s first working class state. When opportunist leaders of the Second International backed their own imperialist governments during the First World War, the revolutionary sections of the working class movement, including Lenin and the Bolsheviks, courageously struggled against imperialist war. Nearly fifty years after the Commune, the October Revolution gave a new impetus, content, and energy to the world revolutionary movement.

Great October holds a unique and honoured place in history, as the first socialist revolution to achieve and retain political power, withstanding both internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. It dramatically changed world politics, breaking the hegemony of imperialism, and establishing a new and fundamentally different approach to relations between peoples, nations and states.

The October Revolution proved that socialism could become more than a utopian ideal. The working class and its allies could move beyond sporadic resistance to challenge the capitalist system as a whole, and achieve social emancipation. The exploited and oppressed, through conscious and united struggle, could shape their own destiny. It was this truth about the Russian Revolution that filled the privileged classes with a fear and hatred of socialism, from the earliest days of the Soviet state.

Despite unremitting imperialist hostility and subversion, the Soviet Union endured for over seven decades, scoring many great achievements, overcoming unemployment, illiteracy, and social deprivation. Socialism in the Soviet Union transformed an economically and culturally “backward” country into one of the world’s leading powers, and made great advances in culture and science.

It was the Soviet Union which led the heroic military struggle to defeat Hitler fascism on the battlefield, creating the conditions for the emergence of other socialist states in Europe. The Soviet Union championed the cause of anti-racism and decolonization, gave crucial material and political support to liberation movements, and provided vital assistance to the former colonies as they won their independence. The changing international balance of forces was a key factor in helping the peoples of China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to carry out their own socialist transformations. The USSR’s peace policy also restricted – though it could not entirely suppress – imperialism’s tendency to military aggression.

The gains achieved by workers under socialism inspired the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, compelling the ruling class to concede reforms around labour rights, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, health care, public education, and pensions. The progress toward economic and social equality by women in the USSR was a powerful stimulus to the struggles of women in the capitalist countries for pay and employment equity, and for child care and other social programs which would weaken the patriarchal double burden of capitalist exploitation and unpaid domestic labour.

Ultimately, however, the first workers’ state was overturned and capitalism restored, due to a combination of interrelated internal and external circumstances and contradictions which culminated in the temporary victory of counter-revolution.

The defeat of socialism in the USSR became a powerful ideological weapon in the hands of monopoly capitalism. We categorically reject the bourgeois contention that the causes of the crisis and defeat of the Soviet Union were rooted in the intrinsic nature of socialism. Rather, that historic setback resulted from the extremely difficult conditions under which socialism was built, especially the destructive impact of decades of imperialist pressures and subversion, and from distortions and departures from Marxist-Leninist theory and practice.

Whatever the failures and mistakes which occurred during that first great experiment in building a new, higher form of society, these do not detract from the enduring significance of Great October. Socialism’s historical balance-sheet was overwhelmingly positive, not only for the people of the Soviet Union but indeed for all humanity. The misery and impoverishment which have befallen millions of people in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since the early 1990s (especially women whose equality gains were rolled back), and the massive profiteering by those who took advantage of the restoration of capitalism, is painful evidence of what happens when counter-revolution succeeds.

Despite its so-called victory, capitalism itself remains in profound systemic crisis. The widening gap between rich and poor, the endless wars and conflicts spawned by imperialism, and the environmental crisis which threatens human civilization, all show that the private profit system, driven by personal and corporate greed, cannot meet the fundamental needs and interests of the people and the global environment.

As capitalism generates war, austerity, and catastrophic climate change, people everywhere are yearning for freedom. Struggles against imperialist globalization have grown sharper, and in many countries, the working class is mounting fierce resistance against the corporate drive for higher profits. The powerful example of Cuba’s socialist revolution continues to inspire workers, youth and oppressed peoples around the world.

Imperialism is responding with growing reaction, militarism and war. In the US, Canada, Europe, India and other regions, far-right, racist and neo-Nazi forces aim to divide and weaken the working class movement, and to roll back the equality gains achieved by trade unions, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. But the forces of imperialism and reaction cannot hold back the irresistible power and attraction of socialist ideas, the growth of the international working class, and the striving of the vast majority of humanity for social progress, a sustainable environment, and peace.

Not least, the Great October Socialist Revolution proved the importance of creating the “revolutionary party of a new type” – solidly grounded in the working class, and based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and the principles of democratic centralism. At a time when working people increasingly reject both the old-line capitalist parties and social democratic opportunism, it is more critical than ever to strengthen the revolutionary political parties which can win the working class for a genuine socialist alternative.

Nothing can erase the accomplishments of Great October. The Communist Party of Canada will celebrate Great October for its great achievements, for its historic lessons and for the unequaled inspiration it has created for the future of humanity – a socialist future!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Nationalize Bombardier: Stop the Giveaway!
worker | October 27, 2017 | 7:07 pm | Canada, Communist Party Canada | Comments closed

Oct252017

 

The Communist Party’s Executive Committee is demanding the federal government immediately block the corporate deal with Airbus that will kill thousands of new jobs and give away controlling interest in Canada’s C-series jet for $1.

Further, Parliament must step up to put Bombardier under public ownership and democratic control, and pull the plug on NAFTA which has contributed in a big way to this debacle.

Bombardier’s $8.7 billion debt includes over $6 billion spent on development of the C-series jet – a project meant to make Canada a leader in the global aerospace industry, creating thousands of new jobs in Canada. That’s why the federal government made $1.3 billion in loans to Bombardier and why the Quebec government invested $1.25 billion for what began as a 49.5% interest, now shrunk to just 19%.

While reaching into the public purse time after time, Bombardier’s executives were being paid millions in publicly funded bonuses year after year – without any public oversight or control.

What induced Bombardier to hand over control of the C-Series jet to the European based Airbus, was NAFTA, and the decision of the US administration to slap a 300% tariff on Bombardier’s sales of the C-series jet to Delta airlines in the US. The tariff was the result of demands by the US based-Boeing corporation which claimed that Bombardier was unfairly subsidized by the Canadian government. To get around the tariff, Bombardier made a deal with Airbus to build the jets in Alabama, in a non-union shop, in a US right-to- work state. In exchange Bombardier gets a 31% stake in the C-series for 7.5 years, while sales will be larger because Airbus is a mega-player in the aerospace industry.

Canadian workers get left holding the bag for public investments and loans that will never be repaid, and for jobs that will never materialize because wages are so much lower in the US. In fact, there is a good chance that the 2,000 Bombardier jobs in Montreal could disappear, as production ramps up in Alabama. NAFTA gives corporations complete freedom to set up and close down wherever and whenever they want, with low wages, poor working conditions, and a union-free, regulation-free environment all acceptable reasons to move production out of Canada.

This is another perfect example of why Canada should pull the plug and get out of NAFTA now.

Continuing in NAFTA means continuing to watch as manufacturing and industrial jobs are routinely stripped out of Canada, while wages are beaten down, pensions are gutted and unions and labour rights are undermined and destroyed.

Private corporations have repeatedly demonstrated, in their pursuit of profit, that they cannot be relied upon to provide good jobs with fair wages and benefits, to the working class in Canada. The practice of massive public bailouts to huge corporations, in exchange for job guarantees that evaporate, must end. The aerospace and transportation industry is a key element in Canada’s economy and it must be developed in the interests of the people, not corporate profit.

Enough is enough! Get out of NAFTA! Nationalize Bombardier and block the deal with Airbus. Build the C-series jet in Canada. And build a Canada-wide transportation system that’s publicly owned and democratically controlled, and meets the needs of the people who live and work in Canada – not those corporations that profit here.

Central Executive Committee, CPC

Condemn Spain’s Repression of Catalonia – Defend the National Right to Self-Determination

Condemn Spain’s Repression of Catalonia – Defend the National Right to Self-Determination

Oct. 6, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the savage violence of the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy exercised against the Catalan population, in order to prevent voting in a referendum on October 1, 2017 to decide on their future as a nation.

According to the Catalan authorities, more than 800 people were wounded by police forces, including nearly 100 more severely.

While Rajoy rejoiced that the Spanish state had succeeded in preventing the referendum “with all its strength”, the Catalan regional government announced that more than 90% of the 2.2 million ballots that could be counted supported the independence option. The police did manage to close 319 polling stations and seize the ballot boxes, so that approximately 770,000 ballots could not be counted. In total about 56% of the 5.3 million registered voters cast a ballot, or were prevented from voting by the repression.

This situation follows the Catalan regional parliament’s decision on September 6 to hold the Oct. 1 referendum on self-determination. After the referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court, the Spanish government announced three days later that it would not recognise the result. About a million Catalan people went into the streets of Barcelona to demand the right of self-determination, that is, the right to decide for themselves.

On September 20, the Spanish police stormed the Catalan government, conducting searches and arresting a dozen senior officials, including the Minister of Finance, under the pretext of “disobedience”, “prevarication” and “misappropriation of funds” in connection with the organisation of the referendum. Again, thousands went into the streets of Barcelona to protest the arrests.

When the central government announced its intention to use force to prevent voting, thousands of people occupied the voting places. Although opinion polls initially did not give the majority of votes to the independence option, ironically, the authoritarian acts of the central government eventually seem to have rallied more and more people.

Following the vote, the Catalan authorities considered that a majority had clearly expressed themselves in favour of secession. They met behind closed doors to discuss the next steps in their plan to declare independence and separation from Spain, defying the Rajoy government. Forty-four Catalan organisations, including the main Catalan trade unions and two pro-independence associations, called for a one-day general strike and mobilisation on Tuesday October 3.

The authoritarian drift of the Spanish government, according to the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, is a qualitative leap in the process of liquidating freedoms during recent years. Today, this attack by the Rajoy government is launched against the right of the people of Catalonia, and imposes the de facto liquidation of the Generalitat (the political organization of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia). Tomorrow, it will be the rights of assembly and protest, and thus step by step, to the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, etc., always justified by “defence of the law”.

The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) also supported the mobilizations to defend democratic freedoms and the right of national self-determination, calling for steps to restore normal democratic life, and for “an agreement between the [Spanish and Catalan] administrations that gives the Catalan people the right to vote peacefully with the full guarantee of being able to decide on the different ways of organizing themselves as a nation”, and to guarantee the social and labour rights that the two governments have undermined since 2010. Following the repression of Oct. 1, the PCE called for the resignation of President Rajoy, and for mobilization of the social and democratic forces of the whole country to find a way out of the crisis and avoid any unilateral action that would deepen it.

Silence of foreign governments

The European Commission considers the referendum illegal, and therefore supports the Spanish Government, declaring that this is an internal matter which must be settled in accordance with the constitutional order of Spain. The Commission says that “in today’s times we need unity and stability, not division and fragmentation.”

Most countries in Europe have also avoided pronouncing on this crisis. The French and U.S. presidents openly supported the Rajoy government, urging a united Spain.

Amnesty International has been content to deplore the use of excessive force employed by some police officers in the performance of their duties. According to AI, “the tensions are very strong, it is essential that Spanish legislation such as international human rights law be respected.”

The Canadian government said that “the question of [Catalonia] is a matter for the internal affairs of Spain.” Canada wants “a solution to the country’s internal debates to be found in harmony and respect for its constitutional framework,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Strangely, that is not what the Canadian government has said in the case of Venezuela. Minister Freeland has happily interfered in the internal affairs of that country, especially when she openly attacked the Constituent Assembly election, which is provided for in the the Venezuelan Constitution, and by adopting economic sanctions against its political leaders.

On the other hand, in the Quebec National Assembly, the Couillard government first observed the same silence and invoked non-interference in the affairs of Spain. Premier Couillard has even maliciously tried to oppose the right to self-determination of Aboriginal nations to that of Quebec. But on October 4, fearing the public opinion very sensitive to the violence committed by the Spanish government at one year of the next election in Quebec, a motion was unanimously adopted denouncing that violence and calling for a recovery of the political dialogue between Catalonia and Spain with international mediation if both parties consented.

The real reason for this silence is that the Canadian state does not recognize the right of self-determination for the nations that make up this country, up to and including the right to secede. By not criticising the force used by Spain against Catalonia, it actually reserves the possibility of doing the same thing here.

While the Canadian state tolerated the holding of referendums in Quebec in 1980 and 1995, it subsequently passed the “Clarity Act”, which gives the federal government authority over the question, and the interpretation of the voting result. This is a complete denial of the right to self-determination, and it is imperative that the Canadian working class reject this form of national oppression.

Among the various components of the working class in this country, the Communist Party of Canada defends the idea of mutual recognition of the right to national self-determination, up to and including secession. Our aim is to promote unity and solidarity of the multinational working class in its struggle for socialism, and to reduce distrust and barriers which can divide workers along national lines, under the leadership of their respective bourgeoisies.

Central Executive Committee, CPC

Communists condemn Minister Freeland’s violations of sovereignty of Venezuela

Communists condemn Minister Freeland’s violations of sovereignty of Venezuela

Aug 01, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the latest flagrant violation of the national sovereignty of Venezuela by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.Going far beyond the bounds of diplomacy, Minister Freeland attacked the July 30 voting to elect a Constituent Assembly which will have powers to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela. The Liberal government’s claim that the election was “contrary to Venezuela’s Constitution”, and therefore illegitimate, is a lie. Article 347 and 348 of the Bolivarian Constitution outline the president’s right to initiate a National Constituent Assembly.  

These statements are a form of blatant interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, and openly support efforts by the United States to prepare for outside intervention against the country’s elected government.

Despite the boycott of the constituent assembly elections by the right-wing opposition, and their open calls for violence, over 41% of citizens cast ballots, and 94 percent of polling stations were open. The turnout exceeded the participation in the 1999 referendum that ordered the previous Constituent Assembly to be convened, which was responsible for drafting the current constitution. These figures are highly significant, since the opposition had tried to prevent voting, urging its supporters to set up barricades, block roads and take over the country.

Such threats are far from idle, since most of the recent killings in Venezuela have targeted government supporters. Among the latest reports of violence was an attack by opposition protesters in the community of Borburata, Carabobo state, where stones and petrol bombs were thrown at National Guard members protecting a polling station located in a school.

Over eight million people voted on Sunday, choosing from 6,120 candidates for the 545-member Constituent Assembly, which will allow the Venezuelan people to exercise their popular sovereignty in a truly democratic fashion. The Communist Party of Canada welcomes the outcome of the Constituent Assembly voting, and we urge the labour movement and all democratic-minded and progressive peoples in Canada to speak out against the attempts of US imperialism and its faithful ally the government of Canada, to set the stage for a reactionary coup against the Maduro government.

Central Executive Committee, CPC