M1M May Day “Workers Power!” Video Series!

30 Apr

May Day is around the corner! Join us in the streets for the annual May Day of Action in Toronto. 5:30 PM: Rally and March starting at City Hall and ending at Little Norway Park in solidarity with striking workers at Porter (Queens Quay and Bathurst)

Why come out for May Day?  Check out these videos of our friends talking about what May Day means to them, and the importance of building long term “workers power!”

Organize a contingent: bring a group of people from your class, organization, neighbourhood, or union local to this demonstration, bring your demands, banners, flags and signs.

 - Help fund a bus, food, transit tokens, ASL, and materials for the day. If you or your organization or union local can make donations of money or in-kind, please help us make this day as participatory and accessible as possible. Cheques can be made to No One Is Illegal and mailed to 260 Queen Street West, PO Box 60006, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z8. Please put May Day in the memo line and email nooneisillegal@riseup.net to let us know.

- Build the movement: add your organization to the list of endorsers for this day of action. Fill out this form http://bit.ly/ZDRwKU

- Get the word out. Call, text, and email your friends. Share the facebook events, or better yet, start your own! Make sure to tag everything, including pictures and videos after, with the hashtag #May1TO.

MAY DAY 2013

8 Apr

M1M May 1 poster 2

Watch the trailer here!:

Right to Resist, Right to Exist! Conference, November 8 to 10, 2012, Toronto.

28 Sep
The “Right to Exist, Right to Resist!” conference will respond to the criminalization of resistance and the attacks on the people. It is an action-oriented conference which aims to increase awareness, develop solidarity and unify networks for collective action amongst those of us targeted by the Canadian state, its intelligence, its police forces, and its military, and exploited by its socio-economic system, capitalism.

The conference will be broken down into four tracks: (1) War on Resistance, (2) War on Working People, (3) War on Communities, and (4) War on Land Defenders and the Environment.  Through our plenary sessions, we hope to unify these tracks into the points for the beginning of a common united front against Canadian imperialism.

Through the conference’s four tracks, we seek to bring together activists, organizers and concerned people from various sectors of Canadian society to clarify our points of unity and struggle against Canadian imperialism, capitalism, and colonialism.

Registration information @ www.ilps-canada.ca, registration form here.

See below for more information! (context, objectives of conference, and conference overview/tentative schedule)

 


CONTEXT

Today the world capitalist system is embroiled in an economic crisis that is spiralling deeper and deeper, and it’s the people who are paying the price.  Just years after the massive bailouts to the banks throughout the imperialist countries, the people are being forced to pay – but the people are resisting!

In reaction, imperialist governments and their comprador partners are targeting with increasing ferocity all those who rebel, resist, disrupt the smooth functioning of the machinery of oppression and exploitation, or pose an alternative.  Liberation and resistance movements in the Third World, Indigenous people’s struggles for land and self-determination, workers exercising their right to strike, (im)migrant workers and refugees, and the impoverished communities in the big cities have all faced ideological attacks from the Canadian political establishment and the capitalist media.  Existence for growing numbers of people is becoming harder and harder, and when we resist, we are criminalized.

The ideological attacks on our existence and resistance take the form of tagging movements for national liberation and Indigenous peoples struggles for land and self-determination as “terrorism”, immigrants and refugees as “security risks” and “queue jumpers”, environmental groups as “foreign agents”, workers as “entitled”, the poor and unemployed as “lazy” and “a drain on the system” and students opposed to tuition fee hikes as “spoiled brats”.  All these labels are attempts to divide and distract us from the structural roots of capitalism’s crisis and shift blame onto the people.

From ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation passed in 2001 to the recently passed ‘Omnibus Crime Bill’, from the numerous bills targeting immigrants and refugees to the routine application of back-to-work legislation against workers strikes in key sectors and Quebec’s repressive Bill 78 attacking the right of students to strike to oppose tuition fee hikes  - all this amounts to the legislative component of this broad attack on the people.

It is this exploitation and oppression of the broad masses of people across the world that produces rebellions and movements for liberation.  The biggest terrorists, criminals, and security threats are not the people fighting back, but the imperialists and their agents in their struggle to keep global capitalism going.

All peoples and nations have the right to exist free of exploitation and oppression; and when that’s made impossible for them, the right to resist and the right to rebel. For this reason, we call on all people’s organizations and communities under attack to unite for the ‘Right to Exist, Right to Resist’ conference in Toronto, Canada from November 8-10, 2012.

With Canada’s increasing support for and direct participation in wars of conquest and occupation in the past decade – Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya, support for Israeli expansionism and apartheid – there is a growing understanding that Canada is an imperialist power.  But too often ‘Canadian imperialism’ is defined narrowly only in terms of its imperialist wars abroad, rather than Canadian society in all its dimensions.  Other contradictions in Canadian society must be accounted for in defining Canadian imperialism: its super-exploitation of migrant workers and its ‘austerity’ attacks on labour broadly, the dispossession of indigenous peoples and the plundering of their lands, the criminalization of resistance and liberation movements at home and abroad.  None of these aspects of Canadian imperialism are recent emergent.   This conference seeks to fill the gap in the definition of ‘Canadian imperialism’ by elaborating how (im)migrants, workers, and Indigenous peoples are exploited and oppressed – albeit in different ways – by a common enemy, Canadian imperialism.

To successfully confront Canadian imperialism and its big capitalists, we need a broad, mass-based movement with a unified strategic orientation.  Our conference, initiated by the member organizations of ILPS-Canada, strives to contribute to the building of this movement by reaching out to all affected communities, targeted peoples and nations, activists and community organizers, and working-class people in general, to share assessments of our struggles and strategize for unity moving forward.

Let’s unite to build the united front against Canadian imperialism, capitalism, and colonialism!


OBJECTIVES OF THE CONFERENCE

This action-oriented conference aims to increase awareness, develop solidarity and unify networks for collective action amongst those of us targeted by the Canadian state, its intelligence, its police forces, and its military, and exploited by its socio-economic system, capitalism.  Through the conference’s four tracks, we seek to bring together activists, organizers and concerned people from various sectors of Canadian society to clarify our points of unity and struggle against Canadian imperialism, capitalism, and colonialism.

The conference will be broken down into four tracks: (1) War on Resistance, (2) War on Working People, (3) War on Communities, and (4) War on Land Defenders and the Environment.  Through our plenary sessions, we hope to unify these tracks into the points for the beginning of a common united front against Canadian imperialism.

The War on Resistance: It’s Right to Rebel! Defending the right to organize, dissent, and rebel in the face of the ‘War on Terror’ Topics to be explored: Terrorism or liberation? Opposing Canada’s “terrorist” designation of liberation movements; Political Prisoners; Surveillance and repression of indigenous leaders and activists throughout Canada; Repression of domestic dissent and organizing: From G20 to the Quebec Student Strike.

The War on Working People: Rebuilding the movement of militant labour in the face of ‘austerity.’ Responding to union busting, retrenchment and super-exploitation of migrant workers
Topics to be explored: Beyond business unionism: Banning the right to strike, and where to go from here, From Neoliberalism to the Austerity Offensive: A War on Working People, Super-exploitation of migrant workers

The War on Communities: Block the mass incarceration agenda and the containment of the people. Organizing against prison expansion, police brutality, raids and deportations
Topics to be explored: The Omnibus Crime Bill, The Mass Incarceration Agenda: An overview, Bill C-31: Criminalizing Refugees, Police brutality and terror in our communities

The War on Land Defenders and the Environment: Building an anti-imperialist environmentalist movement and uniting with indigenous people’s land and self-determination struggles
Topics to be explored: Presentations on resistance struggles to Canadian mining operations abroad, Land and self-determination struggles of indigenous people against Canadian colonialism, Developing an anti-imperialist environmentalist movement.

Resolutions will be drafted in advance by Preparatory Committees formed prior to the conference with representatives from various organizations engaged in struggles against Canadian imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. Each Preparatory Committee will organize a separate track for the conference and propose resolutions and campaign ideas to be debated in the afternoon’s strategizing sessions and prepared for a final presentation at the conference’s concluding plenary.

If you are from a democratic mass organization engaged in struggle around one of the identified issues, please contact us at ilps.canada@gmail.com or the most relevant Preparatory Committee to get involved:

Contact the Track 1 Preparatory Committee @ ilpsc.resistance@gmail.com
Contact the Track 2 Preparatory Committee @ ilpsc.workers@gmail.com
Contact the Track 3 Preparatory Committee @ ilpsc.communities@gmail.com
Contact the Track 4 Preparatory Committee @ ilpsc.environment@gmail.com


CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

The Conference will be held at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012: Keynote Event, Childcare all day

5:00pm to 6:00pm: Registration for the Keynote Event (please arrive early for registration!)

6:00pm to 10:00pm:  Keynote Event:  Keynote speakers to be announced

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012: Second General Assembly of ILPS-Canada, and Conference Opening Panel, Childcare all day

8:30am to 9:00am:  Registration for the Second General Assembly of ILPS-Canada

9:00am to 4:00pm:  Second General Assembly of ILPS-Canada (registration begins at 8:30, please arrive early for registration!)

*This event is not covered by conference costs. It is a distinct event from the ‘Right to Exist, Right to Resist’ Conference and full participation in it is reserved for official delegates from ILPS-Canada member organizations.  However, we welcome non-delegates with or without organizational affiliations to participate as observers. Registration for the Assembly available here.

6:00pm to 7:00pm:  Registration for the Conference Opening Panel ((there is no need to come early for registration if you have already registered in person on November 8)

7:00pm to 10:00pm:  ‘Right to Exist, Right to Resist’ Conference Opening Panel. Panelists to be announced

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2012: ‘Right to Exist, Right to Resist’Conference, Childcare all day

8:30am to 9:30am:  Conference Registration (there is no need to come early for registration if you have already registered in person on November 8 or the 9)

9:30am to 9:55am:   Morning Plenary

10:00am-12:00pm:  Track Panels

12:00pm-1:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm to 3:00pm: Concurrent Strategizing Sessions, discussion on draft resolutions and campaign outline in each separate track 3:00pm to 3:30pm: Refreshment Break

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm:  Closing Plenary  (30 min for Presentation, Discussion, and Approval of Resolutions for Each Track)

5:30 pm- 6:00 pm: Moving Forward with the United Front Against  Canadian Imperialism, Capitalism, and Colonialism

8:00pm to late:  Concert organized by the People’s Artists Network & the International Conference of Progressive Culture Artists to be announced

M1M’s 2012 May Day Statement

24 Apr

Capitalism is the crisis!

Build people’s power for the fights ahead!

On May 1st, 1886, workers in Chicago were shot down as they marched for an 8-hour workday. Ever since then, May 1st or May Day has been recognized as International Workers Day, a day of celebration and struggle for the toiling masses all across the world.

The twentieth century witnessed heroic struggles and glorious achievements of human liberation under the leadership of workers and supported by the most oppressed and exploited people.  The struggles of workers and peasants, women and students of the popular classes, and people resisting occupation, military dictatorship and fascism carved out important gains for the people in the past century.  However, decades of neoliberal “globalization” have reversed the gains of previous generations of working class struggles, revolutions, and anti-colonial movements.

With the onset of the 2008 financial crisis – after a brief period when many were questioning the viability of capitalism – the ruling classes of the G20 countries regrouped, decided upon their strategy, and declared open war on the people.  In June 2010 at the G20 Summit in Toronto, while 1,100 people were being rounded up in the streets of Toronto and thrown into cages, Stephen Harper announced that we were entering the “Age of Austerity”.

But this new era of “austerity” really isn’t so new. It intensifies the attacks of neoliberalism of the last thirty years on the Third World and the poorest people in countries like Canada, while extending the offensive to those layers of the working class who previously considered themselves as “middle class” – workers in manufacturing and the public sector.  Since 2003, 500,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs have been transferred from Canada to countries where workers are more heavily exploited.

For decades, Federal governments have slashed corporate tax rates in the name of job creation and attracting foreign capital. Yet, non financial Canadian corporations alone are sitting on more than $500 billion in cash reserves – never mind what the banks and financial corporations have.1   The stagnant economy is not the result of high taxes or “uneasy investors”, but a crisis of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital across the world economy.  The biggest corporations in the world seek to grow today not by expanding their capacity to invest in new production, but by swallowing up their competitors and often closing down their factories in order to conquer new markets, control output, and tweak price levels just to optimize profits.  One can say there is a crisis of “overaccumulation” because the capitalists have more capital than they can profitably invest.  Redistributing wealth is not an option for the ruling class because that means us workers wouldn’t be as desperate and exploitable.

This crisis of overproduction is what accounts for the upsurge in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) amongst the biggest corporations in the world. The media has a lot to say when a Canadian company is confronted with a takeover by a foreign corporation, but has little to say about Canadian companies buying up assets all across the world. In fact, Canadian companies, especially in mining and finance, have outpaced foreign companies in M&As for the last few years. In 2010, the global mining sector in particular experienced a record number of mergers and acquisitions – a staggering 2,693 – worth USD113 billion, in which Canadian capital was responsible for a breathtaking 713 of these takeovers, or 36 percent of the total global value in this sector.2  Canada is not being taken over by foreign corporations; Canadian companies are more and more dominating in the world.  This is what makes Canada “imperialist”, and it’s the people – most especially Aboriginal peoples, and third world workers and peasants  – who are paying the heavy cost for the gains of these big capitalists. But it’s also the workers losing their jobs. Our misery is their profit.

These takeovers then allow for big companies to close down the competition and shift production to places where labour is super-exploited.  This was the case with Caterpillar’s takeover of Electro-Motive in London, Ontario in 2010 and its eventual shutdown of the plant when it liquidated 500 jobs in early 2012, shifting production to a non-unionized plant in Indiana.  Meanwhile, the corporate media divides the working class by blaming more exploited workers in other countries, especially China, for the movement of capital.

The Federal government’s drastic reforms to the immigration system complement super-exploitation. Refugees are being criminalized to keep them out and it is being made more difficult to sponsor family members to come to Canada, while Canada continues the “brain-drain” of professionals and high-skilled workers from the “developing” world — labour and experts that the Canadian system did not have to invest in to train and educate. Meanwhile, the numbers of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in the country continues to grow.  Capital wants to see a workforce that is disposable — that has few rights, no access to services, and can be sent back home when they’re no longer needed (when they’re injured or done their jobs).  In 2008, the number of TFWs entering Canada exceeded the number of permanent residents being allowed into the country.  As of 2011, there were more than 300,000 TFWs in Canada.  These workers look to Canada for a better life precisely because multinational corporations like those in Canada have made the prospects of a better life back home (under capitalism!) impossible.

Cheaper wages and shrinking social programs are allowing the capitalists to make record profits. Yet, only four years after the biggest financial bailouts in human history, running into the trillions of dollars, the international bankers and G20 countries have the audacity to call for more austerity from the workers!  The Canadian government (through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) is currently guaranteeing the big banks for up to $600 billion dollars in mortgage assets. That means that as Canadians begin to default on their mortgages under the heavy weight of record-high debt levels, public funds will go to bailout these banks rather than the people who cannot make their payments due to declining wages and lack of jobs.

Such bailouts are a major part of the  “fiscal crisis” that has become the justification for the major spending cuts and privatizing public goods. Tens of thousands of Federal public sector workers will lose their jobs in the coming years, a move that will disproportionately affect women employed in these jobs and families who rely on the related services.3  Workers under 54 years of age have had two years stolen from their old age security in the last Federal budget.

Yet, you can always become a cop, join the military, or help build new prisons for the poor!  These “public services” are exempt from austerity because they’ll be needed to contain the next round of popular struggles. Canada is in the midst of the largest prison building boom since the Great Depression.  Federal and provincial governments are building or expanding upon 60 prisons across Canada to make space for the Federal government’s Omnibus Crime Bill.4   The second largest addition is the New Toronto South Detention Center with 1100 beds.  It costs $117,000 to house an inmate at a Federal facility.  If even a quarter of this money was directed towards job creation, community services, affordable housing, and raising the disability support and welfare rates, crime would plummet significantly.  How do we know this? Close to 100% of all inmates are from the poorest 10% of the population – a shocking statistic that reveals the relationship between poverty and criminalization.5   What’s worse is that the prison population is “racialized”: Aboriginal and black peoples make up much higher proportions of the prison population than they make up in the Canadian population.

Yet the main debate we see animating Parliament today is about who got the contract to build the F-35 jets and how many we’re getting for however many billions of dollars.  The people are asking why the hell we’re spending billions on these death machine to begin with.  There’s no party in Parliament that has clearly stood up against any spending for these weapons of mass destruction to begin with. Why would they? Every parliamentary Party supported the bombing of Libya.  Canada dropped more than 550 bombs on the country, destroying its infrastructure and paving the way – or destroying the way – for the new Western-backed Libyan government to take out billions in foreign loans from for “reconstruction”.  It’s for wars like this that the F-35s are needed.

Meanwhile, the unions can’t even resist the concessions being forced onto their members. The only leverage that the unions have to resist attacks on their narrow defense of the collective agreement – the right to strike when collective bargaining breaks down – has been virtually banned by the state through the wanton use of “back-to-work legislation” by Federal and provincial governments. Examples: Air Canada pilot strike in March 2012; Canada Post postal workers in June 2011 and Air Canada flight attendants in October 2011; York U. teaching assistants and contract faculty in 2009; Toronto transit workers in 2008; the list goes on.  Some workers, such as seasonal farm workers, have no right to form unions at all.

Yet, the only resistance that labour leaders have to offer is begging at the feet of corporate management and various levels of government for “good jobs” and “green jobs”, as if the harmonious relationship between workers and capitalists can continue – a collaboration that was always premised on the super-exploitation of workers and peasants in the oppressed countries.

Now that this era of class peace between unionized workers and the big capitalists in countries like Canada is coming to an end, a new era is opening up for class struggle.  It’s time to reclaim the history of militant labour!  It’s time to reorganize workers under the leadership of our own class! It’s time to break with the bosses, the bureaucrats, and the bourgeois politicians! Most importantly, it’s time to break with the illusions of the previous era: namely, that capitalism can continue and that the majority of us have anything to gain by continuing to defend the capitalist system.

Our exploitation is their profits. Our grinding poverty and desperation means we’re forced to work for less.  Price increases to food, gasoline, and rent are extorting the people of our ever-shrinking real wages, while filling the coffers of the rich.

It’s either capitalism or the people. It’s either a system based on blind production for private profit and necessitating the destruction of the environment and the conquest of peoples and nations, or a system where production meets the needs of all people and future generations.  Those are the only two ways forward at this juncture of history.

The May 1st Movement (M1M) was founded in late 2008 as a coalition of working-class and people’s organizations to reclaim the history of May Day for the working class in Toronto. After four years of organizing May Day activities and rallies, in 2012 we have contributed to bringing together people’s organizations for a united rally on International Workers’ Day.  In the coming years, we must broaden and strengthen this unity with all possible forces in order to advance our struggles.

To do this, M1M and all progressives, militants, and revolutionaries – all anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-colonial forces – must work together to win over more and more people to a positive vision of what is to be done.  The crisis of capitalism is deepening day-by-day.  Before the ruling class finds more reactionary solutions to the crisis, people’s organizations must struggle to unify around a project of universal liberation.

The May 1st Movement (M1M) believes that we cannot expect capitalism to meet the needs of the people. Our demands should reflect this reality, and so should our strategy for change.  We can’t propagate illusions about what’s possible in this system.  We need to build the capacity of the people to fight for a new society. We need to reclaim the history of militant labour and unions led by the workers, not big salaried bureaucrats. We need grassroots power in our communities and our schools — in every sector of society.  We need as many people as possible to take a lead. The Aboriginal people in this country are showing us the way forward as they stand up all across the country to defend their land, their lives, and their livelihoods from the plunder of Canadian government and the corporations.  The rest of us must do the same.

Let May Day be the launching point for the struggles that must come.  Let May Day be the day when we march with the toiling peoples of the world against the global capitalist and imperialist system!

MAY DAY 2012

1 May

Unite the struggles of the people on International Workers’ Day for an Anti-Capitalist May Day!

*The richest 10 people in Toronto earn almost 3.5 times the annual income of all people earning minimum wage in Canada*

All over the world on May 1, millions of people fill the streets to advance the struggles and issues of the working class.

On May 1, 2012 in Toronto, we need to also be out in the streets – not as a parade, but as a call to people across the city and across the country. A call to action against the governments of the bankers and the rich who are imposing “austerity” on the people.  After decades of spending billions on wars, prisons, police, tax cuts and tax breaks for the rich, subsidies, oil and mining companies and other corporations, they tell us there is an ‘economic crisis’ that justifies their layoffs, wage freezes and reductions, cuts to social programs and higher and more fees for what we need.

This is capitalism: their system is the crisis!

This is a call to unity against the nationalism, racism, anti-immigrant sentiments, sexism, homophobia, and any other hatred their media creates to keep us divided while the rich continue to line their pockets.

Since its founding, Canada has been stealing and plundering First Nations lands, minerals and resources and now launches imperialist wars around the world to plunder other people’s resources.  The land rights of First Nations and those of other people fighting for their rights and freedom should be everyone’s fight.  The right to work and dignity for those who come as immigrants and migrants need to be the fight of all of us who came as or descend from immigrants.

This is a call to reject the rampant consumerism and the social decay, climate chaos and environmental destruction imposed by this system.  We don’t want the “growth” that capitalism has to offer.

We want a truly democratic and just society that meets the social needs of all people. Capitalism can’t do this.

So May Day is a call to all those coming under attack, to the sick and tired, the exploited and oppressed.

A call to all unionized workers whose rights and wages were the result of years of struggle, not from supporting this or that party or by back-room negotiations. Remember your role in this society, reclaim the proud history of militant labour.

A call to precarious workers with little job security and no benefits.

A call to the students struggling to find jobs and tied down to tens of thousands in debt.

A call to all the working class women who have to work multiple minimum wage part-time jobs to feed a family.

A call to the racialized youth, targeted and brutalized by police and under attack from policies aimed at stuffing their bodies into new prisons.

A call to the migrant mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, who left their homes in for the empty promise of a better life.

A call to the indigenous peoples defending their land rights against Canadian colonialism, and a call to all non-indigenous peoples struggles to unite with them.

On May 1, 2012, International Workers Day, join us at 4pm at Nathan Phillips Square for a rally and march to respect Indigenous sovereignty, insist that no one is illegal, for international workers solidarity, to defend and expand public services, to stop prison expansion…and corporate handouts, to end imperialist wars and aggression, to build people’s power, and to move beyond capitalism.

Rally with the May 1st Movement contingent!

Rally with the red flags!


Coordinated by Occupy Toronto, May 1st Movement and No One Is Illegal – Toronto

Endorsed & Supported by: Afghans for Peace, CAMP Sis, Canadian Auto Workers Union, Centre for Social Justice, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Committee for the Defence of the Iranian Peoples Rights (Canada Organization), Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians, Communist Party of Canada, DAMN, Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly, Health for All, International Council of Latin American and Caribbean Women in Canada, International Federation of Iranian Refugees, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Law Union of Ontario, Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Metro Toronto Labour Council, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Movement Defence Committee, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 12, OPIRG Toronto, OPIRG York, ProtestBarrick, Rhythms of Resistance, Socialist Project, Stop the Cuts, Toronto Bolivia Solidarity, Toronto Socialist Action, Trans Film Screenings, Tudeh Party of Iran – Canada Organization, United May Day Committee, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto], Workers Action Centre, Workers Community Party of Iran and more…

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