Fidel Castro and the Legacy of the Cuban Revolution

For more than half a century Fidel Castro has stood as a symbol of revolution and resistance to capitalist imperialism. Contrary to the scenes shown on the American news channels, millions around the world mourned the passing of the Communist icon last November. In celebration and memory of the life of Fidel Castro the Guelph Young Communist League and the Communist Party of Canada are hosting a presentation on the life and legacy of Fidel and the Cuban Revolution.

Speaking will be Liz Hill from the Canadian Network on Cuba, and Miguel Figueroa, the former leader of the Communist Party.

The event will be on Thursday, February 16th, in Room 442 of the University Center at the University of Guelph from 6-8pm.

If you have any Questions, feel free to email us, or post them on the event page which can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/572965492897627/

 
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Yves Engler Launches New Book: A Propoganda System

When: Thursday, October 20th at 5:30 pm

Where: MacKinnon 227 GUELPH FB (Shareable for facebook page) (1).png

Join OPIRG Guelph, CFRU 93.3 Community Radio, and the Guelph Young Communist League for a discussion with Yves Engler on his new book!

About the Author
Dubbed “Canada’s version of Noam Chomsky” (Georgia Straight), “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left today” (Briarpatch), “in the mould of I. F. Stone” (Globe and Mail), “part of that rare but growing group of social critics unafraid to confront Canada’s self-satisfied myths” (Quill & Quire) , “ever-insightful” (Rabble), “Chomsky-styled iconoclast” (Counterpunch) and a “Leftist gadfly” (Ottawa Citizen), Yves Engler is the author of nine books and hundreds of articles.

About the Book
A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation reveals why most Canadians believe their country is a force for good in the world, despite a long history of supporting empire, racism and exploitation. The book details the vast sums Global Affairs Canada, Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence spend articulating a one-sided version of Canada’s foreign policy. With the largest PR machine in the country, the Canadian Forces promotes its worldview through a history department, university, journals, war commemorations, think tanks, academic programs and hundreds of public relations officers.

A Propaganda System traces the long history of government information control during war, including formal censorship, as well as extreme media bias on topics ranging from Haiti to Palestine, investment agreements to the mining industry. The book also details the corporate elite’s funding for university programs and think tanks.

Written for ordinary Canadians interested in the structures impeding understanding of this country’s role in the world, the book should be of interest to journalists curious about the institutions seeking to “spin” them, development workers dependent on government funds and academics interested in the foreign-policy establishment’s influence on campus.

 

Fire Kevin O’Leary! Join Guelph’s O’Leary Unwelcoming Party!

For this protest meet on Stone Rd W outside of Stone Rd Mall (by bus stop closest to Chapters) at 6:45 pm on Tuesday February 18. Fire Kevin O'Leary

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1462936097255837/

On Tuesday, February 18 at 7pm, multimillionaire investor and media personality Kevin O’Leary will be speaking at Chapters Guelph to promote his new book, The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women and Money. O’Leary is probably best known for his aggressive personality as shown on Dragon’s Den, and his extreme neoliberal views showcased on The Lang and O’Leary exchange on CBC. Kevin O’Leary uses his platform on the CBC to spread his toxic message, defending the super-rich, attacking unions, and advocating austerity and privatization.

O’Leary recently provoked public outrage when he said that an Oxfam report showing that the wealthiest 85 people on earth had as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion was “Fantastic.” O’Leary believes that this massive disparity of wealth will inspire and motivate the poor to work harder, so that they too can join the super-wealthy elite. In reality, O’Leary is aggressively defending a system that is creating extreme wealth for a tiny handful and mass poverty for the majority of the planet. This is nothing new for O’Leary, who has a long history of obnoxious and offensive statements in defence of the wealthy:

– O’Leary has frequently expressed his violent hatred of unions, organizations that millions of Canadians belong to, saying that if he were Prime Minister, he would “make unions illegal. Anyone who remains a union member will be thrown in jail.” He says that “Unions…are born out of evil. They must be destroyed with evil.” The National Union of Government and Public Employees pointed out that “O’Leary’s wilful promotion of contempt and hatred towards unions reflects a viewpoint that has often ended in violence perpetrated against union members and leaders around the world”.

– He has said that education is a privilege and that unemployed students ‘deserve to be in debtor’s prison’

– Expressed admiration for frighteningly ultra-capitalist and writer and ideologue Ayn Rand

– Called interviewee “an Indian giver (sic) with a forked tongue” when referring to the guest’s opposition to foreign corporate control of Saskatchewan’s potash industry. CBC Ombudsperson concluded that the remark was “unambiguously offensive”.

– Described his spot on Dragon’s Den as ‘Free advertising’

The common thread in these remarks is O’Leary’s belief that the rich must be able to accumulate more and more wealth, regardless of any social cost. The context for these comments, and O’Leary’s public prominence, is the global austerity offensive that is destroying public services, attacking workers’ rights and undermining every gain made by working people. Kevin O’Leary is a mouthpiece for the super-rich elite that already controls most of the world’s wealth, but wants to eliminate any obstacles to accumulating more.

The Young Communist League of Canada’s Rebel Youth magazine is calling for CBC to fire Kevin O’Leary and stop giving him a platform to express these destructive views, false statements and self-serving ideology. The petition (https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/cbc-fire-kevin-o-leary) has gathered thousands of signatures to fire Mr. O’Leary and restore and expand funding to the CBC so that the public broadcaster does not have to cater to voices like O’Leary’s to attract advertising revenue.

If you agree that our public broadcasting station shouldn’t be giving space to this voice of the ultra rich in whose goal is to strengthen the austerity attack on the vast majority of the public, join us in protesting Kevin O’Leary’s talk at Chapters this Tuesday.

Join the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade!

GuelphCheEventFacebook event! https://www.facebook.com/events/1526609817565211/

Presentation from former participant of the Che Brigade and screening of the 2008 film: Che – The Argentine.

Since 1993, hundreds of people living across Canada, of various ages, skills and backgrounds have enjoyed an exciting and informative three-week stay in Cuba with the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade.

The trip provides the opportunity to look at the gains and victories of the Cuban revolution, as well as see Cuba’s challenges first hand, particularly the impacts of over 50 years of illegal economic blockade from the United States. The Che Brigade fulfills two main goals. On the one hand, it is a great way to show support for the struggle of the Cuban people to maintain their independence. On the other hand, it is an important opportunity for people from Canada to know and understand the dynamism of all aspects of life in Cuba.

The Cuban people, who are committed to maintaining their revolution and its great gains, receive the Brigade participants, known as “Brigadistas”, with warmth and friendship. The fact that Brigadistas come from Canada to share friendship, reaffirms to many Cuban people that the social change they are carrying out is important, not only for their country, but for the entire world.

The Che Brigade combines volunteer work with cultural, social, economic and political encounters in an educational context.
Join us!

This is a unique chance for people from Canada to support Cuba by volunteering on an agricultural field, painting a school, or any other projects alongside Cubans. We hope you will join us for the 2014 Che Brigade!

Public Auto Insurance Campaign Event!

AutoInsurancePosterGuelph

Public Auto Insurance Now!

Ontario’s 9 million drivers pay the highest car insurance rates in Canada. They also receive the poorest coverage and the poorest benefits if they are in a serious car accident.

But the big, multi-national insurance companies that administer auto insurance in Ontario, have never had it so good.

Last year, they made profits of $4.4 billion – up 24% over 2011.

BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec all have public auto insurance, and drivers in those provinces pay significantly less than Ontario drivers.

We can put public Auto Insurance on the Public Agenda!

Come check out the event in Guelph!

Liz Rowley, leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) is visiting communities across Ontario to build support for the campaign.

visit: http://www.publicautoinsurance.ca/

This campaign is an initiative of the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario).

Facebook Event!

Guelph Young Communist League Poster!

gycl poster

New YCL Poster!

Are you from 16 to 30 ? Join the Young Communist League – YCL – Ligue de la jeunesse communiste (Canada) : Learn to struggle/ struggle to learn!
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YCL Ontario School

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The YCL Ontario, friends and allies will convene in Guelph from Friday Sept 20th – Sunday Sept 22nd. We will be learning from each other and guest presenters in a series of workshops. We hope to strengthen our analysis and our organizational skills to strengthen the struggle against austerity and for socialism in Ontario!

The classes will include:
• Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism
• Capitalism IS Crisis
• The YCL, Mass Movements and Political Parties
• Communist Myth-Busting
• Reform, Revolution and the Minimum Wage
• Anti-Imperialism and the World Festival of Youth and Students

Logistics
All food will be provided
Billets in Guelph will be provided
There may be a vehicle leaving from your area

Please email ycl.ontario@gmail.com to register and include your club organizer if you are a YCL member. Please include any dietary or billeting requirements and how you plan on getting to the school.

“Learn to struggle/ struggle to learn!”

Our LGBTQ Rights: Celebrate! Defend! Expand!

Joint statement by the Young Communist League of Canada and the Communist Party of Canada

YCL at Toronto Pride 2013It’s Pride! Time to celebrate the advances of the LGBTQ communities in Canada and around the world. The Communist Party of Canada and the Young Communist League applaud these victories. More and more countries around the world are recognizing same-sex marriage and other fundamental LGBTQ rights. In Canada, the struggle for concrete steps to end harassment based on sexual orientation and gender expression/identity has seen a number of key victories. The number of GSA’s in schools, and districts with explicit LGBTQ policies continue to increase. Working with the queer community, Newfoundland and Manitoba have become the most recent provinces to ensure schools are safer and more welcoming places for all students. This year is the tenth anniversary of same-sex marriage in Canada.

We all welcome the continued expansion of queer-positive environments in the mass media, the labour movement and in the traditionally homophobic arena of male professional sports, where the “you can play” campaign is sending a powerful message that gay athletes must be treated with respect.

The vote by the Ontario Legislature to enshrine “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the provincial Human Rights code, the defeat of attempts to deny civic funding to Pride Toronto, the adoption of Vancouver Pride as a civic event and other legal, political and cultural victories are the hard-won results of decades of efforts by the LGBTQ community and our allies.

But those who spread fear and bigotry are not giving up. The anti-equality protests in France and the near-unanimous vote in the Russian Parliament to ban so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” are, in part, a reaction to the democratic progress being made elsewhere. The Communist Party of Canada strongly supports the statement of the International LGBTI Association-Europe co-chair, Gabi Calleja: “We are deeply concerned by the negative impact of this law (in Russia). Homophobic rhetoric which accompanied the adoption of this law at the regional and federal level for the last few years already significantly contributed toward a climate of hatred and physical violence against LGBTI people which recently resulted in a number of murders.”

There are still far too many countries where LGBTQ people face laws that can result in imprisonment or even death. Of course the myth that queer rights can only be won in wealthy capitalist countries is shattered by advances in countries such as Cuba, Brazil, and South Africa, and by the reality that homophobic and racist views are deliberately exported from North America and Europe.

And while we have made great strides here in Canada, we should not be complacent. The forces that spread hate in other countries, have powerful friends in the Conservative caucus of Stephen Harper.

Canada’s corporate-driven “austerity” cuts to social spending, and the attacks on unions, heavily impact women, Aboriginal peoples, and racialized groups, and make it far more difficult to implement significant advances towards equality. The sharpest negative impact is on the most marginalized members of the LGBTQ community, including trans, two-spirited, racialized queers and young people.Pride Fist Image

The trans community is frequently left out of the gains made by the rest of the LGBTQ community. While we celebrate the recent decision by the Nova Scotia Government to fund gender reassignment surgery, there is a long ways yet to go. The cost of delaying full equality for trans people would be tragic. This is not a “marginal” issue; trans people are 10% of the LGBTQ population, and face huge medical costs, higher unemployment, less access to housing, widespread intimidation at work, and lack of legal protections.

Despite attempts to hide their destructive social agenda, the Harper Tories aim not only to reverse queer rights but also the decades of hard-fought gender equality gains by women. Right-wing forces continue to scapegoat the LGBTQ community and racialised groups, to divide working class resistance against finance capital, corporate bailouts and global environmental plunder.

Homophobia and transphobia are weapons to divide working people; just like racism, sexism, and national chauvinism. Today, those in charge of our economy, the ruling class, use the economic crisis and the so-called “war on terror” to justify their assault on workers and social equality. But “an injury to one is an injury to all.” Our unity will be strengthened by adopting full legal and political protections for sexual orientation and gender expression, and gender identity.

This unity is a vital element of the broad democratic and social resistance against the corporate agenda of austerity and war. Together, we must build a powerful coalition to put people’s needs before corporate greed. Our LGBTQ community must be a key player in a “People’s Coalition” of labour, Aboriginal peoples, youth and students, women, seniors, farmers, immigrant and racialized communities, environmentalists, peace activists and many other allies.

Ultimately, our unified struggle in our communities and workplaces, in the streets and at the ballot box, can defeat the Harper Tories and open the door to a “people not profits” government. The goal of the Communist Party is to win fuller social equality and genuine people’s power in a socialist Canada, where our economy and resources will be socially owned and democratically controlled.

This historic advance will make it possible to eradicate the intersecting forms of exploitation and oppression which we all face today. We urge you to join the Communist Party and the Young Communist League to achieve a liberated society in which, as Karl Marx said, “the freedom of each is the condition for the freedom of all.”

YCL at Toronto Pride 2013

Make poverty wages illegal! Raise the minimum wage!

Statement from the YCL (Ontario) Provincial Executive Committee

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The inherent and insurmountable contradictions within capitalism are sharpening and have become more apparent in the current context of profound economic and environmental crisis.  One of the main symptoms of these contradictions is the “growing gap” between the “99% and the 1%”, or more precisely the majority that work, and shrinking minority that own. Consider the following:

  • The global corporate class has $32 trillion hidden in off-shore tax havens.
  • Canadian corporations are currently sitting on over half a trillion dollars on their balance sheets.
  • In 2011, Canadian CEOs made $7.7 million on average, or 285 times more than the median Canadian wage of around $27,000 for a single earner.
  • Top executive compensation at the 50 largest employers of low-wage workers – (firms like WalMart, Target and McDonald’s) – averaged $9.4 million last year. Consider the following:

On the other hand, union jobs disappear, two-tier contracts are forced on us, pensions are clawed back, youth unemployment hits 20% in some areas, prices sore and wages drop or stagnate.  The minimum wage in Ontario has been frozen for three years by the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals and their banker-backed “austerity” agenda. In fact, since 1976, the minimum wage in Ontario has been in deep-freeze.  In today’s dollars, the minimum wage 35 years ago was the same as it is today.  The result is poverty and desperation for hundreds of thousands of Ontarians, especially youth:

  • More than 800,000 Canadians were working at or below minimum wage in 2009.
  • Canada ranks as having the sixth lowest average minimum wage rate in the OECD
  • Presently, an Ontario worker earning minimum wage lives 19 per cent below the poverty line.
  • More than 400,000 households in Ontario rely on food banks. Almost half of them have at least one family member working full time.
  • Since the minimum wage was frozen three years ago, gas prices have risen 24 per cent, egg prices 21 per cent, transit 10 per cent and baked goods 12 per cent.
  • Low wageworkers also have much lower rates of insurance coverage for vision, dental, prescription medication and hospital care services, leaving them and their families in a general poorer state of health.
  • Raising the minimum wage will increase the take home pay for 14% of Ontario workers that make at or around minimum wage (3/4 of a million people).

Poverty wages and the attack on the working-class

The YCL Ontario recognizes that the main goal of the capitalist class is exploitation for profit by obtaining commodity labour as cheaply as possible.  Our poverty is their profits.

The current poverty minimum wage rate is a weapon directed at precarious workers and marginalized communities.  It is a tool that reproduces the inequalities of racialized and gendered labour, disproportionately affecting women, immigrants, youth and workers of colour.  This attack on the most marginalized sections of the working-class has a depreciating effect on the whole working-class.  When any of us are forced into poverty, it allows the capitalists to lower wages across the board.

acorn_0We have seen this in the expansion of the classification of jobs that are now minimum wage; jobs such as bank tellers, security guards, childcare workers, personal home support workers, teaching assistants and flight attendants.

The expansion of low-wage jobs is not just a problem for young workers. Between 2004 and 2012, the number of minimum wage workers aged 35 years and over has increased by 10%, rising from 17% to 27%.

Big business has always resisted rises in living standards and wages, and this can be seen in their opposition to any proposals to increase the minimum wage rates.  Often bogey arguments like “prices will rise” and “we’ll lose small business jobs” are the favorite talking points of the ruling class.  In the first instance, we must acknowledge that the relation to wages and prices are not that simple, as wages to a strata of the working class in Canada (albeit a large one) aren’t the only purchasers of consumer goods.  Furthermore, if we don’t fight, which is what the capitalists want, we have no chance of even keeping up with price hikes, which are increasing faster than wages. 

As for the plea on behalf of small business (usually on the part of big business) we must note that the principle threat to small business is from monopoly capitalism, that over 50% of minimum wage workers work for businesses with over 100 employees, and that no-sized business should have the right to pay poverty wages.

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The fight for a living wage

At the YCL-Ontario’s last convention in June 2012, we adopted the demand of $19/hr as the current minimum wage necessary for Ontario.

If the “high” minimum wage of 1976 had been maintained its relative value would be approximately $15 an hour.  Settling for the same wage as the working-class had won 35 years ago would represent a historical concession, in the face of increased productivity and technological advancement that the working-class has not benefitted from.

We must also look at the “minimum wage” in relation to the need for a “living wage”.  The demand for a living wage, which has already been won in some municipalities in British Colombia and the United States, puts forward that wages should be set at the minimum hourly wage necessary for each of two workers in a family of four to meet basic needs and participate in their community.  The living wage calculations do not leave room for savings of any kind.  In 2008, the Canadian Auto Workers and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimated that “two working parents raising two young children would need to earn $16.60 an hour each, with both parents working full-time and year-round, to be able to live adequately within the Greater Toronto Area”.

In order for a Torontonian to live above the Low Income Cut Off (as defined by the City of Toronto) a single adult with three dependents needs to be paid $21/hr, or with two dependents $17.32/hr.

By calling for $19/hr, which is 75% of the average provincial wage, and putting forward the demand for a Guaranteed Annual Income the YCL-Ontario is presenting a way forward that would drastically reduce poverty in Ontario and reflects the immediate needs of the working-class as it faces a vicious assault in the form of austerity.

Support the “Raise the Minimum Wage” campaign

meltthefreezeThroughout the Spring of 2013, there has been renewed interest in building a movement capable of winning a higher minimum wage.  As the YCL-Ontario supports all progressive campaigns to raise the minimum wage, we enthusiastically endorse the “Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage” which has already held actions in 15 Ontario cities.

The campaign is built around the demand for an immediate 37% increase to Ontario’s minimum wage to $14/hr, and the indexation of the wage to cost of living increases.

“Raise the Minimum Wage” is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90 (a foodbank volunteer union), OCAP, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Workers’ Action Centre, and more.  We call on all progressive youth and our allies in the youth and student movement to get involved with the campaign and grow this movement.

The YCL-Ontario fights alongside our sisters and brothers engaged in this important campaign as a part of winning $19/hr.  We can’t go from $14 to $19 or towards a real break with losing to poverty if we don’t educate ourselves about what’s happening with profits, prices and what we get paid.  Winning also means we have to be united across Ontario in one fight, not divided by different rates.

We will win!

Teacher unions and the OFL rally outside the Liberal Party convention on January 26th 2013.

Teacher unions and the OFL rally outside the Liberal Party convention on January 26th 2013.

A superficial view of current Ontario politics could be depressing and demobilizing.  It seems that Ontarians are up against very strong and reactionary forces, emboldened by the economic crisis and convinced that workers should pay for the capitalist crisis.  For example, throughout the last year we have seen a Liberal party that is determined to use draconian legislation to undue collective bargaining rights in the public sector.  The Tories under Hudak are now talking about “the right-to-work” which really means setting the clock back 60 years on labour legislation, as well as continuing to use rhetoric demonizing the poor which saw massive cuts to welfare rates and ODSP in the 90s.  The ONDP have just helped pass a budget with the Provincial Liberals which puts in place a five year austerity plan which will do great harm to working people, the unemployed, women, youth, and many more.  Although the NDP’s demand of 15% off car insurance is welcome, they failed to challenge the Liberal-Tory underlying assumption of the need austerity.

The Wynne government has announced the convening of an “advisory panel” to investigate the minimum wage.  This is a common tactic to ensure that action is either inadequate or ignored, while having the government distanced from the “consultation” and recommendations.  For example, thousands of people were consulted by the Social Assistance Review Commission which was convened by the McGuinty government.  It’s very mild recommendation was to increase assistance rates by $100 a month.  The government has since ignored even this watered down request.

It is clear that there is no solution in the current Legislature.  This means that progressive policies, like raising the minimum wage, will be fought for and won in the streets.  We’ve done it before, and we can do it again!  The first Canadian minimum wage laws were won for non-union workers around 1920 by trade unionism and political action.  Until the 1970s there were different rates for men and women.  This wage discrimination was eliminated by the women’s and labour movements.

Mass independent and escalating political action to resist austerity and demand new policies that meet people’s needs is the winning strategy.  Campaigns such as the raise the minimum wage campaign, are a part of a broader fightback, and need to be linked together to start winning victories.

As the student strike in Quebec demonstrated in 2012, victories can be won from even right-wing political parties.  These victories will also lay the groundwork for people’s movements to have their own political voice within parliament.

New coalitions between labour and people’s movements are forming and they require activists’ full attention. The Ontario Common Front is a coalition between the anti-poverty movement and the Ontario Federation of Labour. It includes more than 100 organizations and is a promising development.  The Idle No More movement has provided new opportunities to make alliances between First Nations peoples and settler communities against the Liberals in Toronto and the Tories in Ottawa.  As austerity creates more enemies and allies for us, unity is key to our strength.

The Young Communist League is fighting against the attacks on democracy and civil rights and for a Charter of Youth Rights that defends the rights of students and youth to employment, democracy, culture and leisure, full equality, free education, and other rights.  This campaign is one vehicle that we can use to bring together movements like the campaign to raise the minimum wage with other social movements.

As a revolutionary organization, the YCL-Ontario recognizes the need to struggle for immediate reforms as a part of a much larger historic revolutionary process.  Only through increasing the working-class’ capacity to struggle can we lay the foundation to win socialism.

We think the biggest problem facing the country, and indeed the entire world, is a capitalist system that puts profits before people. We say that it is time to get rid of capitalism and build something better – a system that defends peace, working people, the environment and democracy. We call that socialism! If you agree with this, join us and get involved!

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