In British Columbia, employment is dropping faster than anywhere in the country, save the Atlantic region. Official government figures indicate employment jumped to 8.2% in January, and actual unemployment may be as high as 12%. During the first month of 2011 most other provinces saw an increase in employment numbers over the last month, yet BC continues to slip.
Youth and workers in BC have been told for some time that the economy is in recovery mode. But no recovery has arrived for workers, youth, and students. This "jobless recovery" means a recovery for big business only in a province short on jobs, with the lowest minimum wages in the country, and continued attempts by government and employers to make workers pay for the economic crisis.
The provincial government has made no significant moves to fix the growing problem of unemployment. Unemployment levels of this magnitude or higher suit the political agenda of the BC Liberals, because competition keeps workers divided and facilitates a race to the bottom in terms of wages and working conditions. In BC corporate income taxes are being cut while working people are hit with increases in fares, tuition, and other fees, as well as the hated HST. This trend highlights the anti-worker stance of the BC Liberal government.
The cause of unemployment is fundamentally tied to the mode of production. That is to say, the economy is owned and controlled by private corporations whose interest is in profits, not the people. Furthermore, there is little recourse for working people to have democratic input in the economy. Thus, the economy reflects the interests of the few owners and bosses, not the mass of British Columbians. The BC Liberals are of owners, of big business, which seeks to further the exploitation of workers to the most extreme level.
To ensure total worth-while employment there must be enforced legislation for a living wage for all workers, and abolition of the $6 training wage. Work weeks must be shortened and a ban placed on mandatory overtime. Ban raw log exports, and open publicly run mills in British Columbia. Nationalize oil and gas, end and reverse privatization of BC Hydro, and increase funding to post-secondary education. All of these reforms would create good-paying, secure jobs and increase the standard of living for British Columbians.
Experience over the past ten years of Liberal rule have shown that only a broad, mass, and militant fightback led by labour and joined by, among others, the youth and students, can force change on a government that is unreceptive to the will of the people. The power of mass extra-parliamentary struggle should not be downplayed, as recent events in Egypt and Tunisia demonstrate. We also note that with the potential of a provincial election within the year, the opportunity now exists to ensure the defeat of the Liberal Party as well as to block the rise of new and resurgent forces on the right like the BC Conservatives and BC First Party. But this will only occur if the people of BC, fed up with years of the Liberal's big business policies, are mobilized around not only their discontents, but a progressive alternative.
Ultimately, we know that while the opportunity exists to win many progressive reforms which will improve the lives of working people, youth and students, the capitalist system with its periodic crisis, its need for war and plunder, and its environmental degradation, can only offer increasingly dismal long term prospects. The exploitative capitalist system which produces economic crisis, unemployment, and poverty, must be replaced by a new, socialist, system wherein working people hold all political and economic power and harness it for the benefit of society, not for the profits of a minority.
Build the Trade Unions!
Build the Students' Unions!
Build the Young Communist League!
Better Work, Better Wages!
BC Provincial Committee Young Communist League of Canada www.ycl-ljc.ca
The Young Communist League BC Skills Development Weekend aims to develop the organizing and activist skills of YCL BC members, such as interpreting and communicating political positions and policies, using message boxes, carrying out agit-prop, organizing and chairing meetings, and contributing to Rebel Youth.
The event will take place from March 11-13 at the Centre for Socialist Education, located at 706 Clark Drive in Vancouver.
In addition to skills development educationals and activities, the event will include an exciting and educational discussion on South Africa and its national democratic revolution, a showing of a video report on the 17th World Festival of Youth & Students, and a social event on the Saturday evening. Friends and allies are welcome to attend these events.
This weekend is a very important one for the YCL as it is a rare opportunity for our members around the province to come together to talk politics, learn important skills, and get to know their comrades from other clubs. We strongly encourage all comrades to do all they can to attend.
Registration for the event is now open and is only $20. Meals are provided as well as billets for out of town guests. In special circumstances travel subsidies may also be available. The agenda of the event is attached.
To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In solidarity, Young Communist League BC Provincial Executive Committee
In support of the intifada of the poor! YCL-LJC International Commission February 2011
The Young Communist League of Canada expresses our solidarity with the intifada of the poor of the popular forces in Tunisia, as well as Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen and other Arab countries. We urge youth to join the mobilizations by youth and students across Canada in support of these uprisings. The strength and will of the people is stronger than ever, and is a testament to what the militant and united struggle of the workers and youth can achieve in the current context the economic crisis and the capitalist offensive against the people.
In Tunisia, where the protests were sparked, demonstrations follow more than two decades of the highest level of political repression, corruption, the illegal privatization of public resources, and blatant theft of public funds. The people of Tunisia have demanded change from the staggering unemployment and crippling poverty caused by imperialism and the dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, his wealthiest allies and his political colleagues, including interim prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, former minister of International Co-operation and Foreign Investment and from Ben Ali's very own oligarchy. We condemn the continued arrests in Tunisia of progressive trade unionists and students and pay homage to all those protestors killed in the violence.
We alert Canadian youth and student organizations of the hypocritical aspect of Prime Minister Harper’s recent statement on supporting democracy, being made in the Kingdom of Morocco, occupier of the last colony in Africa, Western Sahara. The Harper Conservatives, who until a week ago strongly supported these governments, cannot re-write their history. In the context of the debate about extraditing Ben Ali’s family members, we note that this has exposed the contradictory two-tier racist immigration system which spends most time punishing and deporting immigrant and migrant workers yet allows in Canada super-rich human rights violators from US-backed puppet regimes from around the world.
We urge the youth of Canada to oppose any imperialist attempts to interfere with the sovereign people’s of north Africa and the Middle East and their right to make their own future. For the Arab people, these struggles are only the continuation of a long battle for much needed political and economic reform that must go further; we support the demands for the redistribution of wealth and resources, which previously sat in the private hands.
The uprising has been an inspiration to not only to the Arab National Liberation movement but to all political activists and working people across the globe. Regardless of its outcome, it sends a signal that the people make history. We too, can throw off our chains and fight towards a democratic system that represents our interests, rather than those of our elite oppressors.
"Garbage Dreams" Directed by Mai Iskander, 2009, 79 minutes
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, 7 pm Centre for Socialist Education, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver
************** The Oscar-nominated GARBAGE DREAMS examines the social inequality which is a key factor driving the current revolutionary upsurge in Egypt and across the Arab world. This documentary sees global issues at the grassroots level, showing how transnational corporate “modernization” fuels the marginalization of the poor. Cairo, a city of 20 million, never had a system of garbage collection. But for about a century it has had the zabbaleen, a 60,000-strong community of people who live in Mokattam, on the outskirts of the city. The zabbaleen recycle 80% of the waste they collect directly from people’s houses, sorting it carefully, cutting off the tops of cans, shredding up plastics, and feeding the edible waste to hogs for sale to Egypt’s Coptic Christians. When multinational companies are brought in by the Egyptian government to collect the trash, turning the zabbaleen into marginal scavengers, three teenage boys born into the trash trade are forced to make choices that will impact their lives and the future of their community.
No charge for admission; donations welcome. Coffee and refreshments available. Left Film Nights are presented by the Centre for Socialist Education, Young Communist League, and the Vancouver East and Montivero Clubs of the Communist Party of Canada. Call 604-255-2041 or email for further information.
Canadian Youth: Condemn Harper’s Free Trade Agreement with Morocco Young Communist League, Central Executive Committee February, 2011
In late January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to Morocco where he met with King Mohammed VI to discuss a free trade agreement between the two countries. This agreement has the ignominious title of being the first of its kind between Canada and an African country, and follows on the heels of the Harper Conservative's shameful free-trade deal with Columbia's dictatorship. It is not surprising that the first country chosen for such an agreement would be one like Morocco; a staunch ally of US imperialism, a Kingdom devoid of democracy, and a colonial power.
We draw to the attention of the youth and student organizations of Canada that, since Morocco's decolonization from fascist Spain in 1975, Morocco has held Western Sahara as a colony, brutally suppressed its people, and deprived them of the economic benefits of their own land and resources. They have been embroiled in a struggle with the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, since day one, supported by the United States and CIA. This struggle took the form of armed conflict up until 1991, when a UN sponsored cease fire led to a transition towards peaceful means. But the promises of the UN sponsored cease fire have never been kept. A referendum on the independence of Western Sahara has been sabotaged at every turn, and today the fight for independence is beginning once again to heat up.
Late last year 15,000 youth from 156 different countries gathered in Tshwane, South Africa for the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, the largest anti-imperialist gathering in the world. The Final Declaration of the 17th WFYS demanded that Morocco immediately respect the right to self-determination of the Sharawi, end the blockade of the occupied territories, allow international observers and media in to Western Sahara, release all political prisoners and dismantle the wall which divides the territory.
We also note that the Polisario Front is recognized as the representative of the Western Saharawi people both by the people themselves, and by the United Nations. Over 50 countries recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, including full diplomatic relations with Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam, DPR Korea, Palestine, South Africa, and Mozambique.
The Harper Conservative government claims to be “neutral” in this conflict. This attitude effectively means support for the Moroccan occupation since it fails to recognize the rights of the struggling Western Saharawi people, the legitimacy of their state, and their grievances and condones the actions of the oppressor nation.
It should be no surprise that the ultra-right Harper regime expresses no qualms in dealing with the un-elected King of Morocco despite his disregard for democratic, civil and worker's rights. After all, this same government continues to unconditionally support the genocidal and racist apartheid regime of Israel. It continues to support the dictatorial Mubarak regime of Egypt, another ally of imperialism in the region.
It seems that the Harper Conservative government's sycophantic cries about “human rights” and “democracy” only apply when aimed spuriously at countries which are charting a path separate and apart from imperialism and its interests, such as in the case of socialist Cuba, Venezuela, and others.
Harper’s own distain for democracy and human rights has been proven time and time again -- in prorogues, the extension of the occupation troops in Afghanistan, the vicious suppression of dissent during the G20, attacks on women’s rights, and more.
The Young Communist League condemns imperialism, and its neo-liberal, free trade agenda. We condemn the Canadian governments complicity in the colonial occupation of Western Sahara and the brutality inflicted upon its people by the Moroccan state. We call for all progressive and democratic youth and student organizations across Canada to condemn the Canada-Morocco free trade agreement and fight for a foreign policy based on peace, solidarity, and disarmament. Harper and the Conservatives must be exposed for their support of anti-democratic regimes at the polls and in the streets!