Monday, August 2, 2010

Greeting from CEC to Convention

Greetings from the Central Executive Committee to the YCL BC 2010 Convention.

Dear comrades, members of the BC YCL Provincial committee, friends and allies,

It is a pleasure to be greeting you on the occasion of your two important meetings this weekend, the BC Provincial YCL Convention and your annual summer school.

We would like to comment on the political context of your meetings. Across Canada this summer, we have entered ‘round two’ of the economic crisis. The economic crisis, which we did not create, has deepened the misery and suffering of the working people. The corporate media, however, is claiming that this crisis is over. This is not true.

In fact, the capitalists find themselves facing a volatile situation. Take the debt crisis in Greece, for example. This is now a Europe-wide problem. Big business is trying to save capitalism through aggressive austerity measures. We have seen this across Canada. The Federal and provincial budgets are vicious attacks. They attack labour and worker’s rights – and the youth.

It is time to say: Enough is enough! We must stand up, and fight back!

The fight-back in Canada has been uneven, but not silent. And two protests have seen significant mobilizations by the youth and student movement: The recent G20 meetings in Toronto and the anti-Olympic demonstrations in Vancouver.

In Toronto there was a mass-march. 25 thousand people hit the streets. This included a YCL and Party delegation of over a hundred comrades. But the corporate media did not focus on the mass action. The corporate media focused on the burning of police cars, and the ‘black-bloc’ direct actions that confronted the fence.

There are two main stories here. First, the secret, anti-people, decisions within the G20 meeting. Secondly, the historic mass arrests.

Over 1,000 people were arrested. This was a violent, historic and dangerous attack on democratic rights. People were arrested for simply walking on the street, people who did not even know what G20 stood for.

Three of our comrades were arrested just after the mass action. The police tried to intimidate and break them. They assaulted them, breaking one comrades ribs. They whispered in the ear of a young woman comrade: ‘don’t worry, we are taking you to a place where there are no video cameras.’ They denied them a toilet. They held them for over 24 hours and prevented sleep. They mocked them.

Now we are fighting back through the courts. We are supporting our comrades. The YCL Ontario has joined the campaigns against the mass arrests and charges, demanding a full public inquiry!

But there is also a concrete question here for the youth and student movement: what strategy and tactics are better?

The mass united march which the YCL participated in? Or the ‘diversity of tactics’ with the ‘black-bloc’ direct action?

There is an excellent article about this in the latest People’s Voice. It has been revealed that many of the anarchist groups were infiltrated by police. Many of the ‘direct actions’ featured provocateurs. The point here is NOT that organizations were infiltrated. Any organization can be infiltrated. The point is that the anarchist direct action tactics leant themselves to provocation; while mass action builds the powerful unity necessary for social transformation.

This is not to close a discussion but to open a debate.

The discussion here is, in our view, very relevant to the last two chapters of our Central convention documents. As those documents say, the unity of the youth and students is essential for revolutionary struggle. The unity of the youth and students can not be formed just out of fear – for our jobs, our right to education, for our future. It must be placed in the positive, in terms of a youth and people’s agenda. Our proposal is for a Charter of Youth Rights.

There is a reflection, also, of this question of tactics into alliance building – like we are doing with the Youth festival project.

In closing we would like to salute the YCL BC Provincial Committee for its work on developing the BC School into a special event. This year the YCL is also holding schools in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. We regret that more members of the Executive can not attend the BC school, as in past years.

Good luck and may your debates be successful and build your struggles!

See you in September, in Toronto!

Johan Boyden

Gen. Sec., YCL-LJC CC

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