Letter of Solidarity to High School Students in Guelph

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Students,

We were excited to see you take action on Monday December 17, as you walked out of your classes at GCVI and other schools and marched to your MPP’s office to denounce Bill 115, which strips your teachers of their fundamental rights as workers, and as a result led to your loss of extracurricular activities. The Guelph Young Communist League would like to express our solidarity and offer our support as you engage in a struggle with the government over your rights and your future.

The working conditions of teachers are the learning conditions of students. If we don’t join together and push back, the consequences for teachers and students alike will be dire. If we unite, students can help protect democracy, defend workers’ fundamental rights – and force the government to repeal Bill 115.

You have started to boldly organize in this struggle, and you have not been alone in doing this. All across Ontario, from Ottawa to Orangeville, from Stratford to Scarborough, you students have taken the initiative to make your voices heard and let the government know that you will not let it manipulate you!

Since many of us are fellow students, studying at the University of Guelph, we are inspired by your actions. We too suffer from polices that undermine our future and the quality of our education. For years the government has been raising tuition fees and putting us into insurmountable debt. They have also been cutting the quality of teaching and attacking our professors. Like the students in Québec who successfully fought back to resist a tuition hike, you inspire us and we congratulate you for your courage!

Ontario is a province with tremendous natural wealth, a surplus of the super-rich, and many giant corporations and banks. Canadian corporations are currently sitting on $526 billion of unused money in their balance sheets. Canada’s five largest banks have all raked in record profits in 2011. Also, corporations still benefit from one of the lowest tax rates in the world right here in Ontario. In the shadow of this concentrated wealth stand our hospitals, transit system, and schools. All of which remain underfunded and neglected. Who created the crisis in education? It wasn’t the teachers or the students – it was government policies that pay no serious regard to people’s needs, only corporate greed.

As Communists, we are also enthusiastic to see the youth rising up to defend the rights of people against the actions of the capitalist class and their latest offensive through the austerity agenda. We believe you are right to identify your interests alongside those of your teachers, against the lies of the government. You may have read already the pamphlets distributed by some of our members at your rally, but we would like to emphasize this: what you are fighting against is a system, a power structure that’s made to benefit the rich and keep us, the majority of the people, the 99%, under their domination. This is capitalism. They will not stop at this attack against teachers. Already they are moving to shed the pensions of your parents, shut the door to immigrants, continue down a path of environmental devastation and take away your right to access health care and education, for example. If we let things go like this, our future is dark.

But we at the YCL believe that when injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes the duty. The rebellious spirit you have shown is a perfect example of this, and if it grows, it can become an unstoppable force to transform society. Struggles against Bill 115, and for the right to quality education and for democratic and labour rights, are important in order to build the balance of forces necessary to build a world free of exploitation, where equality and democracy can flourish and everyone is allowed to develop their potential to the fullest. If Bill 115 is stopped, we will be stronger and the struggle for fundamental change will continue. We see Socialism as the goal, where the people are in power. We want to work with you, sisters and brothers, to build the youth and student movement.

We are proud to see you hold high the torch of struggle in Guelph,

Solidarity,

The Guelph Young Communist League

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