CEC statement on Federal Election 2011

Struggle and resistance is the way forward…

The results of the 2011 Federal election are a call to action for the youth and student movement. It is time to pick up our picket signs and banners for major mobilization against the extremely dangerous Harper Conservative majority government.

The Conservatives have no mandate from the young people, nor from the people in general, to accelerate their pro-capitalist, anti-peace, anti-environment agenda – and this must not pass! In confronting our emergency situation, young people should take heart in the fact that Harper won the support of less than 25% of registered voters.

The election has also shown how flawed the Canadian voting system is. The situation calls out for mixed-member proportional representation.

Pirates and bloodsuckers

The greater number of the parliament is now a rouge’s gallery of bloodsuckers, pirates, psychopaths, vultures, and thugs masquerading in business suits under the cover of a legal political party. They are the happy prisoners of racism, sexism and homophobia, the architects of the G20 mass arrests, and represent an agenda of billion-dollar corporate climate crime, imperialist war and pillage and a vicious attack on accessible education, good jobs, and justice, dignity and fundamental rights – like women’s reproductive rights.

To win, the Conservatives fought selective campaigns in target ridings. Automated mysterious phone calls even mis-informed voters on election day about the location of polling stations. A Tory campaign’s communication director tried to grab a ballot box at one advanced campus poll box with the hopes of intimidating voters. Throughout the campaign the Conservatives ran from dialogue with youth, refused to respond to surveys from people’s movements like the “report card on education”, and fired-off cheap Quebec-bashing (warning of a “coalition with separatists”).

Youth vote pushes for change

The youth vote turnout was apparently, like the general turnout, not significantly higher – despite comedian Rick Mercer’s Maple-leaf enwrapped non-partisan “Vote Mobs” on campuses and much hype about social media, etc.

The voting ID rules still frustrate young people voting. Many youth lack, for example, proof of a physical address or their name on utility bills. The first-past-the-post system also discourages voting when a vote for a progressive candidate is supposedly ‘wasted.’

The major election debates appear more and more to be a choice between Capitalism Lite, or Capitalism Classic. The parties are not identical, however, and had more youth voted they likely would have pushed for what was perceived as change and elected larger bloc of parties not aligned directly with big business, suggested by the “student vote” drive in public schools.

We welcome the NDP’s victory as official opposition, the new young Quebec NDP MPs in Ottawa, and the election of the first Green MP. The sharp turn towards the New Democrats in Quebec away from the Bloc Québécois is a rejection of the Conservatives, not a resolution of the national inequalities in the Canadian constitution. In fact, these three non-big business parties have inconsistent records of fighting for social progress and peace (all supporting, for example, the current imperialist war in Libya).

Can’t stop, can’t wait

In practice the ‘Orange surge’ has limited capacity to block the big business agenda. The Tories are in full control of the Commons and the Senate.

We can’t wait four years to fight-back in another election. Urgent, direct and united mass action is needed now. The youth movement must seek-out every platform to combine our efforts, resist and defeat the Harper Tories starting this summer. The first battleground struggles will likely be Harper’s law and order legislation, as well as military spending and austerity measures with the new budget that will include cut-backs to education.

Finding ways to mobilize as many youth as possible behind a people’s agenda must be an important topic for the young workers gathering at the Canadian Labour Congress and the Quebec Confederation of National Trade Unions, the Rebelles feminist gathering in Winnipeg, and the Canadian Federation of Students General meeting at the end of the month.

Instead of ignorance, poverty, prisons and war as the future for youth, the YCL expresses its support for the new campaign for a Charter of Youth Rights (www.youthcharter.ca).  The people’s of Europe and the Arab world are rising up, making history, and pushing for a better future. Look at the bold occupation of State Capitol building in Wisconsin. We need to create many Wisconsins, many of these mass mobilizations.

Struggle and resistance is the way forward!

YCL CEC, May 2011

We encourage youth and student activists to also read the analysis of the Communist Party of Canada, which can be found at http://www.parti-communiste.ca/?p=442

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