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YCL-LJC 6 CON 26 the youth will strengthen the fightback!



Young Communist League of Canada ATTN: Central Convention Committee 290A Danforth Ave. Toronto, Ontario M4K 1N9 Tel: 416.469.2446 Email: ycl_ljc@ycl-ljc.ca.ca Web: www.ycl-ljc.ca Ce document est disponible en franais.

Call to the 26th Central Convention of the Young Communist League of Canada

In accordance with the Constitution of the Young Communist League of Canada Ligue de la jeunesse communiste du Canada (YCLLJC), the Central Committee hereby issues this call to the 26th Central Convention of the YCL-LJC to be held Friday May 23, Saturday May 24, and Sunday May 25 in Toronto, Ontario. The convention will convene at 10:00 am on Friday May 23rd and adopted this call as an initial order of business. Convention Committee In adopting this call to the Central Convention the outgoing Central Committee of the YCL-LJC will strike a Convention Committee to assume all political, organizational and administrative/logistical tasks necessary to convene the convention. The organizing committee will ensure working groups on nominations, credentials, and resolutions are formed and begin work before the

convention. The Central Committee will also strike a committee to review the Constitution, which will bring proposals to the Central Convention. Due to important internal developments and the political work of the League, especially rebuilding work in some parts of the country and the scheduling of the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students, the Central Committee deeply regrets it has had to convene the 26th Central Convention eight months past the Constitutional deadline of three years. Delegate ratio Election of delegates to the Central Convention shall be in accordance with the following guidelines issued by the Central Committee as to basis of representation: a 2 to 1

ratio for la Ligue de la Jeunesse communiste du Qubec (LJC-Q); a 3 to 1 for the rest of the YCLLJC. Clubs shall have the option to elect 1 Alternate for every 2 delegates elected. Election will take place at the club level and must be done by secret ballot. The Convention Committee will conduct a comprehensive survey reviewing club life, political activity and membership as well as membership at large, to be due Tuesday, March 24, 2014. Clubs and the LJC-Q will be advised by the Convention Committee of the total number of Delegates and Alternates to be elected in each club and in Quebec not later than Tuesday, April 1, 2014. In accordance with Aricle 13, section 4, all members in good standing of the outgoing Central

Committee shall be voting delegates to the Central Convention. Work of the 26th Convention As according to Article 13, section 3, of the LJC-YCL constitution, The Central Convention shall decide on the policies of the organization, elect the incoming Central Committee and is empowered to amend the constitution. Therefore the enclosed convention discussion documents are being proposed by the outgoing Central Committee of the YCL-LJC for full discussion and revision. Our last convention in 2010 elaborated our policy on important questions, debated updates to the constitution, set a plan of work, and renewed leadership with an emphasis on continuity. The major work of the 26th Convention will be to develop a united, militant and activist strategy to the youth fightback, consider constitutional proposals, and again renew of our leadership in line with the development of new cadre. Leadership All clubs, committees and the LJCQ are encouraged to nominate any member of the League in good standing to stand for election to the Central Committee. In accordance with Article 12 of the YCL-LJC constitution, in electing the incoming Central Committee the Convention should give due regard to leadership qualities; links

with the working class and social movements; the multi-national character of Canada; area representation; and taking into account the systematic advancement of women, persons with disabilities, aboriginal people and people of colour, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons. To be eligible for election to the Central Committee comrades must be nominated either by a club, committee, or individual member of the YCL in good standing, and submit a short biography of 150 words or less. With the understanding that the members do not represent their regions as in a federation but rather are expected to function as a united collective, the outcoming Central Committee is proposing that the size of the incoming Central Committee be set at eleven full members and six alternates on the following basis: British Columbia: 1 member, 1 alternate Ontario: 6 members, 3 alternates LJC-Q: 3 members, 1 alternate Other regions: 1 member Those receiving the most votes shall be declared elected provided that they obtain at least 50 percent plus one of the ballots cast. In the case there is not a sufficient number elected in this way, there shall be a run off vote until such time as the proper number has been elected with 50 percent plus one of the ballots cast. Alternates will have voice but not

vote at Central Committee meetings until elevated, on a regional basis, to replace a full member for a meeting or, if necessary, on a permanent basis. The Central Committee shall elect from its ranks a General Secretary, Organizer and Treasurer. The Central Committee shall elect from its ranks a Central Executive in a number decided by the committee, to direct the work of the YCL between Central Committee meetings. The Central Committee shall meet at least once a year between conventions while the Central Executive shall meet at least once every three months. Delegate and Alternate Fees Convention Fees are $30.00 for Delegates and $15.00 for Alternates, and shall be paid by the club which elected them, and by the LJC-Q in Quebec. Very important logistical concerns The Central Committee empowers the Convention Committee to pay transportation costs of full delegates. Alternates must be funded by the clubs themselves. Outgoing members of the Central Committee will have transportation costs covered by the Convention Committee only after funds have been guaranteed for club delegates. Airline tickets will be purchased centrally by the Convention Committee in consultation with each delegate. Airline flights must be booked as soon as possible after delegates

are elected to keep costs down. Delegates from Ontario and Quebec are asked to carpool, with extra seats going to alternates as a priority. The Convention Committee will ensure that, to the best of their ability, the convention documents and discussion are both translated from French to English and English to French, and sequential interpretation is provided throughout the convention. Because sequential interpretation is time intensive, speakers, guests and delegates will be strongly encouraged to have written copies of interventions to the Convention, so that translators can interpret directly from the written copy. Requests for billets and childcare should be submitted to the Convention Committee by Monday, May 12th or earlier, on the forms attached. Requests for assistance with accessibility or special needs of any kind should also be submitted to the Convention Committee by Monday May 12th or earlier. The Convention facilities are wheelchair accessible. The Convention is open and accessible

to all members, and the Central Committee invites all of our members and friends to attend the 26th Convention. Discussion Bulletin The documents enclosed are the first Discussion Bulletin. There will be at least two more issues of the Discussion Bulletin, and may be more if a sufficient number of contributions are received. The Discussion Bulletin will publish written contributions, either discussion pieces or specific amendments and/or resolutions, submitted by members, clubs, and committees on the Draft Political Resolution and any other matters put properly before the Convention. The Discussion Bulletin will be distributed to all members of the League, through the clubs, or in the case of members at large, through the appropriate committees. Club organizers are asked to convene special meetings of each club during the pre-convention period to ensure energetic theoretical and political discussion of the Political Resolution and other materials before the Convention. In select cases good friends of the YCL-LJC

may also be invited to make written interventions (only members of the League who are elected delegates will have voice and vote and the ability to propose amendments at the Convention, although clubs and members of the League can submit amendments and resolutions through the Discussion Bulletins to be debated and voted on at Convention). Clubs, committees, and individual members, should develop their thinking on all critical questions facing our class, generation, and League during this convention process, and express their views in the Discussion Bulletin so that all members and clubs can respond and comment. The outgoing Central Committee will release a review of its achievements and shortcomings in regards to the 25th Central Convention action plan, as well as meeting attendance and central assignments. Contributions in English or French should be sent to: Drew Garvie c/o drew.garvie1@gmail.com and Marianne Breton Fontaine c/o m.breton.fontaine@gmail.com


Main Political Report on the current situation of the youth struggle, wa the w ay forward, and the contribution of the YCL-LJC







down and making it all seem natural and irreversible, like common sense. However, when these conditions are viewed through the lens of class analysis, the Big Lie of There Is No Alternative unravels and falls apart. 5. The Occupy movement, the Quebec Student Strike, Idle No More and the environmental struggle against pipelines and tankers pumping out Tar Sands oil are just the clearest examples of actions that have enlivened and reclaimed our streets in protest. While the response of these grassroots peoples movements over the past four years has been not been a sufficiently coherent and united fightback, it has produced precious volumes of popular experience and practical lessons as literally hundreds of thousands of people across the country, not least the youth and students, work together in struggle against the corporate offensive. 6. Despite the adverse conditions people face and the subjective weaknesses of the fightback, all these struggles show that a broad and popular mass of society rejects the new corporate austerity attack. Correctly, they are not counting on simply striking out the Harper Tories at the next federal election in 2015. 7. In order to reverse the attacks and shift to a counter-offensive it is necessary that these struggles develop further and move beyond spontaneous protest towards an even broader united, militant and organized extra-parliamentary fightback with the labour movement at its core.

1. Since our 25th Central Convention held in September 2010 probably the most important new developments have been, on the one hand, the consolidation of the austerity recovery agenda by monopoly capitalism and, on the other hand, the uneven but dynamic uprisings and social explosions of protest. This contradiction is expressing itself internationally and across Canada with the Harper Conservative attack and the emergence of new grassroots resistance struggles. 2. The main target of this anti social offensive of capital is the working class, especially its organised section, the trade union movement. It also falls heavily on youth and students, indigenous people, women, immigrants and migrants, pensioners and the elderly, farmers, the extreme poor and marginalized sections of the people, and on all those reliant on the social functions and services of capitalist states benefits won through many decades of hard struggle. 3. The abolishment of democratic rights and freedoms, like accessible education, goes hand in hand with the weakening of the conditions of our class. 4. The corporate media is not only complicit in this attack but plays an important role in turning the entire reality of the economic crisis upside



8. Nothing in nature stands still. Society can not return to an earlier situation. Either the youth and student movement of today, with the working class and the people, comes out of the current economic crisis having made a significant advance or we will be the generation which inherits a country stripped of its social assets and rights, robbed of the gains of 80 years of struggle, and facing the scorched earth of climate change and ecological catastrophe. This is what is at stake for youth people today.

13. With unity and militancy, put forward consistent anti-imperialist positions towards an independent foreign policy of peace and disarmament, while broadening and reactivating the peace movement. 14. With unity and militancy, strengthen the womens movement by pushing beyond isolated struggles and academic analysis towards political demands and mass action. 15. With unity and militancy, expose the illusions promoted by social democracy that capitalism can be adapted to function healthily with a human face benefiting all people (ie. via a Keynesian welfare state), and push for radical and progressive demands. 16. With unity and militancy, overcome the right-wing ideologies of racism, xenophobia and national chauvinism; sexism, hetrosexism, homophobia and transphobia; unionbashing; and anti-communism which poison our movement. 17. We should bring this slogan and framework forward, through a rich and lively 26th Central Convention discussion, and into our daily analysis and strategic planning to strengthen unity and continue to help raise the level of mass struggle by the youth and students.


With unity and militancy

10. In this framework of capitalist economic and environmental crises and the threat of war, we say that with militancy and unity we will build the youth and student fightback, helping as the YCL-LJC to give the youth struggle a sense of direction and perspective. 11. With unity and militancy, make a sharp break from the defensive posture and concession-style business unionism that characterizes too much of the labour movement, and turn towards mobilizing broad resistance to austerity, like the Common Front in Ontario and the EI fight back on the East Coast and in Qubec. 12. With unity and militancy, move the English-speaking student movement from defensive posturing to a visible and fighting force through escalating actions in a common direction, and likewise help bring the Qubec student movement back into action.

18. Economic crisis, imperialist contradictions, and aggressions


19. The youth and students struggle is not identical to the class struggle of working people because it is also a


democratic struggle, a multi-class struggle. But it must never be seen apart from the broader class struggle, and the main contradictions inherent in monopoly capitalism embodied in the struggle between the workingclass and the capitalist class. The capitalist economic crisis is the main characteristic of the global situation, and has created an emergency for the peoples forces and youth today. In this direction it is necessary to make a concise evaluation of the capitalist economic crisis which remains cardinal to understanding youth struggles today. 20. Six years after the onset of the economic crisis, global reports from the principle economies have been very poor, showing anemic growth or stagnation. The economies of the U.S., Europe and Japan the tripod epicentre of this global crisis remain stagnant or in decline. What has helped the Canadian economy can be reduced to the basic force-feeding which is sustaining the US economy with an 85 billion dollar injection that conjures up an image of recovery. For international finance capital, the situation is very sensitive; but it has not stopped them from openly snatching another pretext to extract major concessions from the youth, the working class and the people. As we said at our Central Committee meeting in March 2012 the people are owed everything! 21. This crisis was not created by social programs, or by the people. The reality is that the combined wealth of Europes 10 richest people (217bn) exceeds the total cost of stimulus measures implemented across the European Union between

2008 and 2010 (200bn), Oxfam reported in January 2014. In fact, they said, the eighty-five richest people on the planet have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people. 22. The crisis has impoverished millions and idled a vast mass of human ability who have had no choice but limit their patterns of consumption. A shrinkage of global demand has therefore followed. The pro-capitalist politicians have largely exhausted their current set of policy tool boxes like stimulus spending and austerity cuts. Hope that recovery would be swept in by robust capitalist economic growth in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) seems to have melted into air this winter as these and other emerging economies face financial turmoil and are now relabeled fragile five and exposed eight. 23. This has not prevented widelypublicized super-optimistic claims by the spokespeople of the big capitalists. We can parse the major discourse of big business and this crisis and identify three basic, if not crude, allegations: 24. we are in a recovery and there is light at the end of the tunnel, ie. just wait out the storm; 25. we are protected from the crisis and insulated from further problems, ie. dont worry be happy; 26. the reason for continued recession is social programme expenditures and low consumer confidence, ie. we are to blame.


27. Most strikingly, last fall Irelands Prime Minister announced the country had exited the recession. But youth

unemployment remains at 25% in that country. A week later, Spains Prime Minister made the same statement. But January 2014 youth unemployment in Spain hit a record 57.7%, surpassing Greece. 28. The highest youth unemployment in the world is in the Middle Eastern and North African region where youth unemployment averages at 25%. Youth make up 40% of the unemployed globally. To put a face on these statistics, this means living without access to proper meals, housing, sanitary conditions like toilets and higher suicide. 29. Not only capitalism, but also social democracy seeks to stop the further exposure of its exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature through the empty hope of a Keynesian economic solution. Populist news announcers, late night TV hosts, movies and pop culture often recognize how bad things are, but wrongly conclude that these economic policies simply come from bad policy, poor political choices, bad management, or bad apples, or the wolves on Wall Street. On the contrary, these policies are a result of how state-monopoly capitalism objectively functions today. Capitalism is crisis. 30. The 2007 crisis was not simply a crisis of the banks. It was a crisis of systemic proportions. Capitalism is in a process of constantly modernizing production with automation and new technologies. This has the inevitable effect of, in the long run, reducing the amount of surplus labour time required in production and the rate of surplus value. The massive

accumulation and centralization of capital seen over the last century has, relatively speaking, an enormous glut of capital. This glut has presented a major problem to the capitalists where can it be invested? After all, the capitalists themselves can only spend a tiny fraction on luxury yachts, etc.and they want their capital to grow, reinvesting surplus value to make more profit. While the absolute amount of capital is increasing, the rate of profit is not. 31. It is important to remember that from the capitalist point of view what is important is always the percentage return on investment. The capitalist maintain huge stashes of underutilized capital. Sometimes they find somewhere to invest it with a good return. A good example is Alberta Tar Sands, and this too was speculative and has cooled down. 32. Other ways like loans, socalled Investment vehicles hedge funds, investment funds, assetbacked commercial loans, etc. are another attractive place into which to pour this capital in order to get a strong rate of return. However, debt is air. Commodification of debt, and financialization is generating return from non-productive capital. In fact, there has been a growing contradiction between the actual revenue earning capacity of these investments and how much they are valued on the stock market to the point that the stock value of corporations has almost no relation to what the company actually produces. Therefore you have bubbles and they burst leaving the state holding the bag to maintain economic stability.


33. For some time, neo-liberal policies artificially inflated values, helping transfer investment into such speculative activity. As the CEC said addressing a meeting of comrades in BC in 2012, Over the last 40 years, corporate profits have skyrocketed, and big business has paid less and less taxes to the State. By eroding the tax system, keeping wages down, speeding up the working day, busting unions, privatizing profitable parts of the public sector, and breaking into new markets through trade agreements and even war, the capitalists hoped to survive systemic contradictions. But this only forestalled the onset of the crisis for a number of years and helps explain why certain manifestations of the crisis, such as the Asian Meltdown in 1997-98, the Dot Com, and other economic events could be localized and stabilized. 34. Whether in the form of the velvet glove of welfare state reformism or the iron fist of neoliberal reaction, the policies of finance capital and its state have merely created new contradictions. 35. Therefore, as the Communist Party of Canada said in its most recent 37th Central Convention analysis, the reason for the acute and protracted nature of the crisis is threefold. 1) it is a crisis of overaccumulation of capital, due to the very high degree of financialization of the capitalist economy and its internationalization combined with an insufficiency of global demand; 2) it is truly global in scale, affecting all major imperialist centres simultaneously, and cascading down to the BRIC countries

which are lower on the imperialist pyramid and all other national and regional economies; and 3) it merges with and further aggravates other structural crises under capitalism ie. food prices, environmental crises, etc. 36. This is why we can forecast that there is no sustainable recovery in sight. 37. Capitalism is a system without democratic social planning, which as Engels said produces an anarchy of capital which is the cause of the crisis of misery, exploitation, unemployment, poverty wages, and environmental devastation around the world. 38. The kind of alternative and revolutionary vision that the YCL must continue to put forward is that youth and student unity with labour and peoples movements can defeat austerity, and push big business back onto the defensive a framework that connects immediate struggles with the necessary broad struggle for a peoples alternative agenda. The relevance of youth unity and demands like the Charter of Youth Rights has not diminished, in order to build unity around a counter-offensive program. 39. Communism and socialism are not words to be embarrassed of capitalism is the real failed system. And we putting socialism back onto the negotiation table!

40. The growing aggressiveness of imperialism


41. The past period has also confirmed the relationship between

capitalist economic crisis and war. Indeed, we remain in a critical moment for peace and progressive forces worldwide. As the Final Declaration of the successful 18th World Festival of Youth and Students said in December: a. Imperialism continues its aggression with new means, new methods, as well as the traditional methods of wars, occupations and military interventions. The imperialist war machine has never stopped working in order to serve the interests of the monopolies for expansion to the markets of resources and energy routes. In the past few years militaristic expansion has grown all over the world. The capitalist crisis is worsening the need of monopolies for intensifying the imperialist aggressions and expansion of wars, as it creates realignments in correlation of forces, intensification of in[t]er-imperialist contradictions and competitions. The rise of emerging forces that compete with the traditional imperialist forces is increasing the tensions. 42. This a process that has been ongoing since the sudden, and largely unanticipated counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe tremendously weakened the antiimperialist and pro-peace forces, opening up huge areas of the world to pillage by global capitalism. Interimperialist conflict therefore increased in this scramble, while the US was clearly prominent. 43. The Cold War military alliance of NATO imperialisms visible fist acquired a renewed direction and orientation especially in the crucible of

the early years of the NATO occupation of Afghanistan (now in its 14th year), weakening and distorting the United Nations to provide much needed moral and political cover for, in fact, illegal aggression. 44. In particular, the justification of Responsibility to Protect or R2P has become justification for violation of sovereignty and international law. According to the Canadian Peace Congress: a. While expansion and violence are constant features of imperialism, the current sharpening economic crisis has compelled capitalists to increasingly pursue military-based solutions. In part, this is related to the massive profits that can be quickly derived from a military economy. Beyond that, this increased aggressiveness also has the aim of co-opting and coercing popular movements, establishing new intelligence bases in strategic regions of the world, facilitating blockades and direct military involvement in foreign countries, and seeking out new pretexts for interference and war. 45. In Africa, imperialisms renewed interest has been very clear with the establishment of the US military command structure AFRICOM, the French-led intervention in energyresource rich Mali and the NATO / US bombing and Regime Change overturning the Libyan government and throwing Libya into chaos with its vast oil wealth open to be looted. Meanwhile, Western Sahara remains the Kingdom of Moroccos prisoner with an occupation supported by the US, France and Spain that has forced tens of thousands of Sahrawis into


refugee camps. We met with many anti-imperialist and progressive forces from across the continent at the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in Tshwane, South Africa, in December 2010 which honored revolutionary Nelson Mandela (whose freedom the YCL campaigned for, despite his official status as terrorist in Canada during the years of Apartheid). 46. The Canadian delegation had just returned from the 17th WFYS when the mass mobilizations in Tunisia and Egypt began. As we said at the time, the Arab Spring 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. Since then, north Africa and the Middle East have seen a concerted effort by imperialism to co-opt the forces of the Arab Spring. 47. US imperialism maintains massive political, economic and military support of zionist Israel, an apartheid state, a nuclear power, and the key ally of United States. Israels brutal occupation of Palestine remains one of the greatest barriers to peace both in the region and internationally. In the face of an even sharper proIsrael turn in the Harper Conservatives foreign policy, the YCL continues to call for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories, dismantlement of the settlements and the Apartheid wall, lifting the blockade on Gaza, respecting the 1967 Greenline boundaries, the right of return for refugees, and a de-nuclearized Israel guaranteeing peace and security with neighbouring Arab states. For us the

two-state solution cannot and will never be guaranteed by NATO. We also support the growing resistance by Israeli youth to the Prawer Plan, ethnically cleansing Bedouin from the Negev desert, and the Refuseniks rejecting conscription in the Israeli Defense Force. 48. In particular, imperialism is seeking to destabilize the Middle East and to continue to fragment states as with Iraq, expressed through its New Middle East Policy to seize oil routes and energy resources. This is what is behind the frequent sabre-rattling towards Iran. As we said in our March 2012 Central Committee, Iran has an official policy of no first strike and hasnt started a war of aggression, unlike the US and Britain or Israel. It is these countries that are failing to fulfil their obligations under the NonProliferation Treaty - which requires them to scrap their own nukes. The YCL calls on all states to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to this problem and for Canada to restore diplomatic relations with Iran. This in no way confers support for the Iranian fundamentalist regime, which has committed numerous and ongoing violations of the human, labour and democratic rights of the Iranian people, and the YCL expresses its full support for the democratic, secular and progressive forces of Iran in their struggle for a just and democratic transformation of their country. 49. The United States, Canada and other imperialist powers, as well as Turkey and the Gulf States, have been fuelling a bloody civil war in Syria arming thugs, militias and other opposition groups to destabilise the country. At first, the basis for broad


non-violent protests in Syria was created by neo-liberal reforms implemented by the government in the 1990s and 2000s, as well as very long-lasting limitations on democratic expression imposed with justification of the constant threat of war from Israel. Shortly after these protests emerged, imperialism successfully coopted sections of the movement and started arming sectarian groups. On the one hand, the failure of this tactic of imperialism using proxies to overthrow the government has been set back not only militarily, but also because of the rebels deepening isolation from the Syrian people, and their international exposure as foreign mercenaries and terrorists. On the other hand, the US-led drive towards a direct military strike has been forestalled through a combination of global public opposition, commitments by Russia and China to block UN Security Council approval for a strike, and the international isolation of the US and its relatively small group of allies, including Canada. 50. The US position about chemical weapons was always pretext and hypocrisy. The US has produced no more proof since August that Sarin Gas was deployed by the Syrian government. It has about 8,000 active nuclear warheads, is arming Israel with nuclear programme likely more advanced than Britain and France, and since 1945 has used chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons against other states, nations and peoples at will. Sanction and arms sales to the militias must both be stopped, an immediate ban placed on arms sales to states sending arms to Syrian terrorist groups, Syrias right to self-defense recognized, and a

diplomatic resolution found. 51. The Asia-Pacific region, home to the two most populous countries in the world and therefore gigantic markets, is also of great interest to imperialism. The vast majority of container ship traffic now transverses the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The US Pivot to Asia strategy is repositioning its Navy so 60% of its warships, virtually all equipped with nuclear weapons, are assigned to the Pacific. Its proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) aims to create the worlds largest free trade area. 52. The US encirclement of Russia, and especially China, is the key geopolitical objective. China is a particular strategic enemy for imperialism. US insistence on denying even a peace treaty to the DPR Korea and crushing the country through sanctions, the intimidation and provocation of war games, and other aggressions were never just strategies in a local conflict. Despite the presence of tens of thousands of US troops on its borders with terrifying military equipment including nuclear weapons, despite regular, provocative joint military exercises with its South Korean client state, despite the vivid memory of the carpet bombing, napalming and germ warfare against the DPRK during the war of 19501953 and the loss of five million lives, the leadership of the country has consistently called for a peace treaty to formally end the war, reunification of the country divided by the US in 1945, an end to the US occupation of the south and the annual, month long joint military exercises, and bilateral talks to ease tensions between the US and the DPRK. The YCL supports


these just demands. 53. At the time of our last Central Convention, we said that Latin America is heading in the opposite direction than imperialism. This process, with socialist Cuba, Venezuela, as well as Ecuador, Bolivia and other countries including soon perhaps Chile has deepened over the past four years despite the great loss of revolutionary Comandante Hugo Chavez. 54. One of the shining lights is socialist Cuba, which directly suffers from an anti-communist economic blockade by the US, with extranational impact including on CanadaCuba trade. Just 45 minutes of the blockade stops the equivalent in funds to purchase all the materials needed to build a school in Cuba. In striking contrast with the capitalist austerity budgets, Cuba has recently undergone an intensive country-wide discussion involving hundreds of thousands of people about their difficult situation. We said at our July 2011 CC that the Cubans are cognizant of the uniqueness of their history and current situation, and aware of what went wrong in the Soviet Union. They are avoiding sweeping, unfocused, top-down, divisive changes, keeping the reform process democratic, measured and focused on improving economic performance. In 2012, we sent a comrade to Cuba as part of a Communist Party of Canada delegation. Her conclusions were that the economic reforms were part of a policy of struggle against existing economic conditions and contradictions imperialism, the blockade, the effects of the world

recession and were being done within a web of regulations, limitations and taxation. 55. Perhaps the most recent positive news from Latin America has been the Havana talks, and the peace process in Colombia. Negotiations have been a long standing demand of FARC-EP. Already the outcome has lead to agreement on land reform which, although far from perfect, will hopefully next lead to democratic reforms and ultimately a constituent assembly and curb further US influence in the region. 56. The magnificent mobilization by the students of Chile, which saw hundreds of thousands of students, workers and other social groups, has now defeated of the right-wing government at the polls, replacing it by a center-left government which includes our comrades in the Chilean Communist Youth Karol Cariola, their General Secretary, and student leader Camila Vallejo. 57. In Venezuela and Ecuador, as well as several other countries across Latin America, the anti-imperialist process is both asserting the countrys sovereignty and breaking with US domination. The process is most advanced in Venezuela, and that is precisely why US imperialism is trying desperately to destabilize the country through another coup attempt. In Ecuador the economy is modernizing in a framework that is anti-neoliberal and anti-monopoly while still capitalist. These processes are contradictory; reforms that have enacted major gains in labour and democratic rights, enshrined in a new constitution, have helped to unleash and strengthen the


peoples forces including the communists. 58. It was entirely appropriate, therefore, that the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students be convened this time in Latin America, at Quito Ecuador, home of the citizens revolution. The festival encapsulated this spirit of resistance across Latin America and the world, again successfully bringing together the largest and most diverse international action by progressive youth rejecting and condemning imperialism. 59. The desperation and violence of the imperialist system is a feature of its weakness. The peoples of the world, in the majority, actively reject war, militarism, aggression, and colonialism. They are demanding instead peace and solidarity, sovereignty and social transformation. In its most advanced form, this is the revolutionary struggle against capitalism and socialism

monoxide, and particulates. The March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is one tragic example which lead to 500 disaster-related deaths, and released a large amount of radioactive material into the Pacific. Some of this radioactive material is now is the massive oceanic trash vortexes gyres of floating garbage, toxic sludge and tiny plastic debris, with two in the Pacific, two in the Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean are poisoning marine life and the food chain. All these pollutants are sources for major health problems like cancer and death, especially in children. Industrial and urban discharge, runoff and spills and air pollutants affects the health of hundreds of millions of people, equivalent to a global disease epidemic. Water pollution alone causes an estimated 14,000 deaths a day, which is equivalent to the city of Peterborough dying each week. The poorest countries by far have the worst crises. 63. Scientists are also warning of the steady erosion of species and biodiversity caused by habitat destruction, invasive species, overexploitation, genetic pollution and climate change. We are talking here about the results of millions of years of evolution being wiped out in an irreversible catastrophe that has significant impact on humans. 64. If youth and progressive forces had needed further proof about the relationship between social-economic crises and the environment, the world food price crisis of 2007-2008 clearly showed their interconnection. The United Nations (UN) is still warning of a new era of rising prices and

60. Environmental crisis and climate change

61. Environmental problems are increasingly urgent crises that are shaping are struggles while operating on a global level. 62. A major danger is the escalating problem of global pollution, which is driven forward by the very wastefulness that the unplanned capitalist system encourages. Mines, industrial estates, agriculture, smelters and ore processing, pesticide manufacture and storage are all point sources of mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, and radionuclides as well as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon


spreading hunger, with world grain reserves at their lowest currently since the 1970s and continued danger of low harvests and drought. Food prices as well as deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity, food production, and environmental racism were among a host of environmental problems our 26th Central Convention identified, linking to the juggernaut of climate change. In fact, each of the last three decades has been successively warmer, with 1983 to 2013 likely the warmest 30 year period for the northern hemisphere in the last 1,400 years. 65. News headlines are replete with climate change-related events like super Typhoon Haiyan last winter, or that Australia has experienced such extreme heat that it had to add a new colour, purple, to its temperature map last January. In fact, last autumn a UN scientific body, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), announced they now had unequivocal evidence that linking climate change to human activity and that the world faced a catastrophe in two or three decades if there are not drastic cuts in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. 66. Around the same time, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii announced atmospheric levels of the main GHG, Carbon Dioxide or CO2, are now at 400 parts per million up from less than 350 ppm just fifty years ago and approaching the danger zone of 425-450 ppm and a potentially deadly increase of global temperature by more than 2 Celsius. CO2 levels were last this high about 3-5 million years ago, a long-term record which shows how sensitive the earths

climate is to CO2 levels. As temperatures rise, unpredictable feedback loops could begin such as what scientists call the Arctic Methane bomb when ice sheets melt releasing that powerful GHG in huge quantities. 67. The crisis we described four years ago as one of the foremost pressing environmental problems has thus gotten much worse. 68. By drastic, the IPCC is floating proposals such as keeping two-thirds of known fossil fuel resources in the ground. Corporate economists figure such government implemented climate change reforms could trigger another economic crisis as the nowinflated value of such stranded oil, gas and coal resources would collapse. This carbon bubble is both a pretext for fear mongering and foot dragging, and an objective contradiction the capitalists resolve the climate change crisis, which is reflected in the complete failure of negotiated agreements so far. 69. Last year marked the 25th anniversary of a groundbreaking 1988 international policy conference on the changing atmosphere in Toronto, which stated that Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war. That conference recommended a drop of 20% below 1988 levels of GHGs by 2005. However, four years later, the UN Rio conference would put into motion the Conference of the Parties or COP process leading to the Kyoto Protocol, which set a much lower


objective: only 6% below 1990 levels by 2012 and commodified GHGs, introducing the mechanism of carbon trading. 70. Yet even these levels have not been met and carbon trading has now been proven as totally ineffective. The 2009 fifteenth Conference of the Parties or COP-15 in Copenhagen forecast that Kyoto was not being achieved, proposed yet again lower targets, and sharply brought forward questions like can developing countries can afford to forgo industrial development? Could they control the big transnationals even if they wanted to? How would legally enforceable agreements actually be enforced? And, how can a treaty be reached when the big imperialist countries have not only violated past agreements but done a backslide? 71. Those youth who have found the resources to attend the COP meetings and tried to engage with the process (civil society groups and NGOs have a 1 minute speaking time allocated to participate at certain points) have found themselves not only excluded but sometimes banned for several COP conferences for their remarks. At COP-19 in Warsaw last December, 800 members of environmental groups walked out in protest as the meeting refused to set a target schedule, and adopted nationally determined contributions, instead of commitments to reduce GHGs. 72. The promises of reduced admissions or mitigation by the rich countries have not materialized while so-called climate aid funds have either never came or have now dried

up. 73. These adaptation plans, trying to deal with the problems created by climate change like rising water levels, were supposed to be funded by the large imperialist countries for basically the rest of the world loosely organized into the 133-country Group of 77 including Brazil, Indonesia, and India as well as the Least Developed Countries group (ie. Haiti, Afghanistan, Mali, Laos, etc.), the African Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (ie. the low lying islands in Micronesia, Fiji, Singapore, Seychelles, Cuba, etc) and China. Chinas own GHG emissions have been over 20% since 2005, when it surpassed the US as first in the world, although both on an historic and per capita basis China at of 6.2 metric tonnes per capita and 30 years of industrial growth is far behind the contributions of Canada (19.8), the US (17.6) and Japan (9.2) which have all been major industrial polluters for almost one hundred years. China is also the fourth largest producer of of wind power globally and the first largest maker of wind turbines and solar panels. 74. From our perspective, the way forward has to recognize that capitalism created this crisis and that a clear and deep change in paradigm is necessary not rhetorical but revolutionary in scope. The attack to the sustainability of the environment will never be truly stopped under a capitalist framework. Instead, forms of market regulation have resulted in a transfer of GHGs rather than any meaningful reduction. Climate justice means Canada, the US, the European Union, Japan, and major capitalist


countries have the first obligation including the unrestricted transfer of eco-friendly technologies and even climate reparations. 75. These major aspects of the environmental crisis and climate change cannot be resolved under the capitalist system, making the question of socialism so urgent! As we said in the editorial of the December 2013 Rebel Youth magazine, given the global character of contemporary capitalism, struggles waged in each country must be combined to an ever greater extent with coordinated regional and global forms of struggle.

An international democratic and antiimperialist front is urgently required ... based on the principles of peace, nonaggression, and global disarmament; respect for the sovereignty of all states; for the equality and rights of all nations, large and small, the peaceful coexistence of different social systems, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; fair and balanced trade and economic cooperation; respect and promotion of cultural diversity; and protection of the environment. This should act as a framework for understanding our work with international youth coalitions and federations.







77. Young people searching for a concrete example of the attack by big business in Canada have to look no further than the last three budgets of the Harper Tories: liquidating basic labour and environmental regulations and offering in exchange the promise of further privatization, precarious work, unemployment, inaccessible education, and the shackles of prison or cannon-fodder in new imperialist wars. 78. In many ways, our claim as the YCL-LJC has been confirmed: every problem confronting the youth is connected with the serious political problems in Canada, the Harper governments anti-people and antienvironment austerity agenda, and the capitalist economic crisis. The way the problem is presented is either / or: its either accessible education or health, either money for youth or money for seniors. This is a false paradigm.

protection. Finance capital realizes that the labour movement because of its size, resources, ability to take job action, and organization is the only social / class force capable of uniting broad sections of the people against its offensive. 81. The first target of the new Harper majority after the 2011 election was organized labour (CUPW, the Air Canada and CP Rail workers, etc.). The second target in 2012 was Employment insurance. The Harper Conservatives war on labour in the federal jurisdiction gave a green light to right wing provincial and municipal governments to demand that workers yield concessions or face the legislative hammer, such as Ontarios attack on the bargaining rights of teachers. Since 1982, federal and provincial governments in Canada have passed 199 pieces of legislation to restrict, suspend or deny collective bargaining rights. What is qualitatively new is the speed, ferocity and punitive nature of these legislative attacks. 82. At its core, this offensive aims at crippling and ultimately destroying the organized labour movement. The federal passage of C 377, requiring unions to disclose salaries, time spent on political activities and expenses, was only the beginning. There are now ominous signals that the Harper Conservatives are preparing to impose right to work legislation on all workers under federal jurisdiction. Back to work legislation violates the basic rights of working people by subverting the rights of their unions to fair collective bargaining and the use of legal strike action, we said when Harpers first waves of attacks came against CUPW.

79. Attack on organized labour is an attack on youth

80. As the Communist Party wrote in its May Day statement last year, from the perspective of the ruling class, the weakening of the trade union movement is the key to reducing the cost of labour power, and not only among organized workers. They know that such reductions will put tremendous downward pressure on the wages and incomes of all workers, most of whom have no union


83. The shift to the use of temporary, non unionized workers, paid minimal wages and benefits, is part of a wider reactionary agenda which the Harper government, and its pro corporate counterparts at the provincial and municipal levels, are carrying through on behalf of finance capital. Their goal is to accelerate the accumulation of capital through every conceivable means (privatization, state-restructuring, corporate tax cuts, etc.), and to weaken and suppress working class and popular resistance. Positively, temporary workers can now unionize at least in theory. There are three-times more temporary workers in Canada since 2002, and immigration from temporary workers has outpaced immigration on a route to becoming citizens. 84. At the same time, right wing forces fan the flames of racism, blaming migrants for high unemployment and declining living standards. The enemy of Canadian workers is not our sisters and brothers from other countries, but rather the anti worker policies of the federal government and the big corporations. 85. The other attack on workers outside of the organized labour movement is in cuts to Employment Insurance. These are not simply a cut in federal funding to a social program. They are cuts to a system into which all working people must directly pay into, no matter who they are, and which is intended to guarantee employment. The working class majority, whose sweat and toil by hand and brain has produced all the wealth in this country, are being robbed.

86. The federal government has built up a huge surplus of $57 billion since the mid-1990s, the result of deep cuts in benefits paid to unemployed workers and rules that prevent most unemployed workers from qualifying for benefits at all. 87. In rural and coastal areas, like the homelands of the Acadian people, the government has never shown any interest in building infrastructure so that there can be work all year long. It is the work which is seasonal, not the workers, who are not to blame for the structure of the economy. Rather, EI is an essential subsidy to big capital in these regions to keep their work force afloat on the pogey. 88. The economic system imposed on us has brought with it a reduction in secure employment and a massive increase in precarious work 89. Mass unemployment benefits the wealthy by holding down wage rates. Marx called it the surplus army of labour. This basic truth is behind the Harper governments move to reduce access to Employment Insurance, by forcing jobless workers to apply for any available opening, regardless of qualifications and the conditions of the job.

90. Young Workers facing worse future than their parents

91. Young workers have been violently sucked into this economic storm vortex which continues to sweep the world. To be sure, one line of thinking out of the capitalist class flat-out denies this reality. Consider the following headlines:


92. The myth of the unemployed university graduate (Macleans, May 17th 2013) 93. Youth unemployment could present opportunities (Sun News, July 10th 2013) 94. The youth jobless recovery: good news at last? (Globe and Mail, July 3rd 2013) 95. This is a kind of un-reality for both young and old. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected economic growth in Canada for 2014 at a tepid 2.2%, receiving a lower than usual boost from the slightly better growth in the US. Job creation is so poor that employment is not keeping pace with the rise in the population, (which in Canada is driven by about 65% from immigration). The average jobs created per month between January and July 2013 was 14,000 while population growth per month is about 34,110. 96. The federal governments Youth Employment Strategy, in place since 2006, barely touches the tip of the iceberg for struggling young workers in Canada. Just 1.5% of the 15-24 age group actually benefit from the job subsidies provided through the federal Youth Employment Strategy which is supposed help young people gain some work experience. The new 2014 budget reallocates existing Youth Employment Strategy funds to create a couple thousand paid internships, in small and medium sized businesses and industrial research while the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program is about for profit and non-profit organizations mentoring young entrepreneurs.

97. Reports by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives show that employment of youth aged 20 to 24 has actually got worse since the trough of the recession in July 2009. About 420,000 youth aged 15 to 24 or nearly one in 10 young Canadians are neither employed nor enrolled in school. More than 1 in 5 youth are still looking for work and cant find it. In Ontario, its closer to 1 in 4. But the unemployment rate actually presents an overly-positive picture when compared to the employment rate (graph 1). Those youth who are working, almost by half, have only found part time jobs (table 1). 98. At the same time, real wages for youth have fallen considerably. If we take the years 1981 to 2012, which is basically a generation and a half, employment rates for men under 25 not attending school full time have dropped from 72% to now 57%, with a change in median hourly pay rates (constant dollars) of -13%. Employment rates for women under 25 not attending school full time has fallen from just under 58% to 46%, with a change in median hourly pay rates of -8%. 99. That the prospects of the current generation, for the first time in Canadas recent history, are be worse than their parents is a shameful indictment of the capitalist system. Moreover, these statistics show that the small progress in closing of the pay gap between young men and women is not because womens incomes have been going up. Young people wind up stuck with their families, unable to start their own independent lives, and their parents


wages effectively subsidize the capitalists. 100. Meanwhile, according to the CCPA the top 1 per cent of earners in Canada amount to just 275,000 individuals with an average income of $450,000 compared to only $36,000 for the whole Canadian population. Just as most Canadians are wrapping up lunch break on the first official work day of the year 1:11 p.m. on January 2 the average of the 100 highest paid CEOs will have already pocketed what it takes the average Canadian an entire year to earn.

colour. Moreover, this pressure on the wages of the most marginalized sections of the working-class has a depreciating effect on the whole working-class. 105. 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 well lose small business jobs are the favorite talking points of the ruling class. 106. In the first instance, we must acknowledge that the relation to wages and prices are not that simple. Wages to a strata of the working class in Canada (albeit a large one) arent the only purchasers of consumer goods. Furthermore, if we dont fight, which is what the capitalists want, we have no chance of even keeping up with price hikes, which are increasing faster than wages. 107. As for the plea on behalf of small business (usually on the part of big business) the principal threat to small business is from monopoly capitalism, that over 50% of minimum wage workers work for businesses with over 100 employees, and that nosized business should have the right to pay poverty wages. 108. Can you live on $10.25 an hour? Less than $330 a week takehome? Thats what most provincial governments are offering. But you wouldnt be able to eat and pay the rent (unless you live in a roominghouse). Could you live on $14 an hour? $548 a week take-home? This is why the YCL demands that the

101. Minimum wages

102. It is therefore appropriate and positive that the struggles facing young workers are becoming a greater focus of the YCL, and is also a current campaign of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. In the past year, the YCL has focused on raising the minimum wage, especially in Ontario, and Employment Insurance. 103. As the YCL Ontario said in a statement on this question, the main goal of the capitalist class is exploitation for profit by obtaining commodity labour as cheaply as possible. Our poverty is their profits. 104. The current poverty minimum wage rates on the provincial and federal level are, in fact, a weapon directed at precarious workers and marginalized communities. They are tools reproducing the inequalities of racialized and gendered labour, disproportionately affecting women, immigrants, youth and workers of


federal minimum wage no longer be indexed to provincial rates and be set at $20 an hour which should be universal.

109. Ableism
110. Federal and provincial austerity policies have had a crushing impact on people with disabilities. Discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities has long been called ableism. Historically, people with disabilities have been subject to confinement in oppressive institutions, impoverished, and even subject to forced sterilization. At least four million people in Canada have disabilities; half a million are of working age and have developmental disabilities. About one in twenty youth have a disability. In 2010 the Canadian government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Among other principles the Convention asserts respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, and independence of disabled persons; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; accessibility; and equality of opportunity. 111. However, while ratified the Convention is far from implemented. Youth with disabilities are more likely to have left high school early, and/or be unemployed. In general, people with disabilities who cannot work are subject to some of the worst conditions of poverty of any group, forming the largest number of people in Canada on social assistance. Currently the only Federal income

program for workers in this situation is the Canada Pension Disability which maxes out at $13,000 annually; most Canadians on disabilities and CPP are receiving less than $10,000 a year. The latest Conservative budget provides people with disabilities with tax benefits and continues the Registered Disability Savings Plan. For disabled students the government offers small loans and no more than $250 a month to help with expenses and even this small amount is complicated to access. Relatively few public services are accessible; even the Tory Minister responsible for disabilities was exposed to have an inaccessible office. Privatization and defunding programmes makes the situation worse, like in Ontario the freezing of the Ontario Disability Support Payment. 112. Capitalism reinforces ableism because it is incapable of organizing society in such a way that recognizes peoples different needs before the accumulation of capital. The struggle against ableism and for the rights of persons with disabilities is a democratic struggle under capitalism which advances the struggle for socialism. The YCL-LJC needs to continue to develop its policy in this area.

113. Xenophobia and Racism

114. Part of the political agenda of the Conservative government has been to harness and expand racist and xenophobic views. This can be seen in the Harper governments sweeping immigration reforms. The path to citizenship has not only been closed further to migrant workers, but also to refugees. Refugee claimants


are now told that their claims are invalid based on their country of origin. Immigrants facing violence based on sexual orientation and domestic violence are considered illegitimate. Health care coverage has been stripped away, leaving many with the choice of returning to violence or facing serious health consequences in Canada. The changes to the refugee policies have been accompanied by rhetoric about bogus refugee claimants and fanning the xenophobic flames. 115. Non-status immigrants have absolutely no rights or protections and are left vulnerable to extreme exploitation and violence. Canada remains a country where the indefinite detention of immigrants is commonplace, with some detainees spending years locked-up before deportation, despite recent public outcries and detainee hunger strikes like those in Lindsay, Ontario. 116. Islamophobia is now becoming governmental policy with legislation such as the Charter of Values in Qubec. The Harper governments pro-war policies in the Middle East and South Asia, often justified in Islamophobic language wrapped in humanitarianism, as well as their close friendship with the racist-zionist right-wing of the Israeli state, have certainly helped fuel Islamophobia across Canada. 117. Racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia are convenient tools of the capitalist class. These forms of chauvinism divide the fightback, they create scapegoats for the real grievances of the Canadian born 118. workers in this time of economic

crisis, and they help justify imperialist ambitions abroad. For these reasons the struggle against racism and xenophobia are inseparably linked to the struggle against monopoly capitalism.

119. Attacks on Aboriginal peoples and youth

120. For years, the ruling class has painted Canada as a happy and unified country where everyone gets a fair deal, including Aboriginal peoples. But a new wave of Aboriginal struggle has made it clear that Canada was built on the theft of Aboriginal peoples land and resources, and that only genuine equality of all nations in this country, large and small, can begin to overcome this ongoing genocidal policy. 121. Today, state power is in the hands of big business in Canada, facilitating the oppression of Aboriginal nations, the plundering of natural resource wealth while leaving Aboriginal people in poverty. The federal government has long denied Aboriginal sovereignty and selfdetermination or self-government. 122. Recent policies of the Harper Conservatives have made matters worse. Budget bills C-38 and C-45 prompted mass united resistance in the form of Idle No More in the Winter of 2012-2013. Bill C-45 included changes to the Indian Act that makes it easier to lease out reserve land for economic development without adequate consultation with First Nations. Bill C-45 also, strips protections from 99 percent of lakes and rivers under the Navigable Waters Protections Act. Many of


these bodies of water are on First Nations land, and changes will allow it to be easier for capital to put pipelines across bodies of water. The Omnibus bills also replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with new laws that will limit First Nations involvement in environmental assessments on their own lands. 123. The Native Womens Association of Canada has recorded that there have been more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women reported in the last 20 years. The Sisters in Spirit campaign across the country has demanded justice for these missing and murdered women whose cases have been shamefully ignored by the Canadian government. The United Nations has called upon the Canadian government to form an official inquiry, but the Harper government has continued to ignore this crisis. As we said in our 2011 solidarity statement with the Sisters in Spirit campaign: a. Forced to act as increasingly broad number of people in Canada have been outraged by violence against Aboriginal women, the Harper Conservatives allocated $10 million to address the issue of missing and disappeared Native women, but redirected it in November of last year away from the Sisters in Spirit and instead towards repressive policing efforts. This is also consistent with the governments anti-women approach... 124. Aboriginal women and girls remain more frequently subject to gendered violence, human trafficking, and other forms of abuse. 125. Aboriginal peoples are more

likely to be unemployed, paid lower wages, and earn less than the Canadian average. In 2006, the median income for Aboriginal peoples was just below $19,000 - 30 percent below the cross-Canada median of around $27,000. Aboriginal unemployment is almost double the Canadian average. 126. Indigenous populations in Canada on reserve are also experiencing a clean water crisis: over 116 First Nations do not have clean water and 75 percent of water systems are at medium to high risk. 40 percent of First Nations homes are in need of major repair with an 85,000 home backlog. Aboriginal peoples offreserve also often live in poor quality housing. 127. Life expectancy is 8-20 years less for Indigenous peoples due to extreme poverty. On average, 50 percent of First Nations children live below the poverty line. Teen suicide rates are much higher among Aboriginal youth. In Nunavut, the rate of death by suicide among Inuit is currently 10 times the Canadian suicide rate. 128. Many young Aboriginal women and men also wind-up in jail or on the streets. While 4.3 percent of the Canadian population identifies as Aboriginal, 20 percent of the male prison population and 32.6 percent of women prisoners are Aboriginal. 129. The Harper government has continued to ignore treaties, give mining and oil companies blank cheques, continue unequal funding for education and housing, bury land claims, and in general exacerbate this crisis. In short:


a. a war has and continues to be waged against all Aboriginal peoples. A slow and steady genocide has been committed against First Nations, the Metis and Inuit peoples. We are all on Aboriginal land, and the idea of the treaties was to share and share alike what this land has to offer. Now it is time for the state and corporations to pay the rent! The concept of land ownership was unheard of, until colonial governments forced it upon Aboriginal peoples. Sharing and cooperation were trampled by capitalist values of exploitation of land, profit from misery and feelings of superiority. (Solidarity statement with National Aboriginal Day, 2009). 130. All these policies amount to genocide and can only be reversed by respect for Aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination.

especially affected young women through unemployment but also an increase in violence against young women. 133. As women celebrate the 2014 International Womens Day, many struggles they face are still long-haul demands. Large sectors of the economy and jobs are still closed to women, while other sectors remain are still female ghettos continues. These so-called job ghettos are generally low paid and linking with care giving work, because of the sexist and gendered views. Anyone who looks at the career promotional material given to high school students can see this kind of gendered separation in the photos. 134. Moreover, the responsibility of children and domestic tasks are still in majority done by women. Marxistfeminists call this the double burden of women. It is a reality which has become much more difficult as privatization shifts caregiving work more and more back into the home. Single-parent families are still mainly lead by women, especially young women. 135. The Conservatives have followed the lead of the federal Liberals (who abolished the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women and cut funding to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women NAC). On coming to power, the Harper Conservative also cut the proposed federal program for child care, at that point had not been only a demand of the womens movement for decades but also a paper demand of most political parties for fifteen years, and replaced it with a system of tax credits. The Tories then

131. The attack on young women

132. Women account for 50.4% of the Canadian population but they still make just 75 % of male salaries in Canada (which is not far from the global average of 70%). Likewise, women make up the vast majority in part time and precarious jobs (80% of part time workers in the world, 67.5% in 2009 across Canada). Since 1980, the number of women having part time jobs around the world has more than doubled, which is also true in Canada. Because of this situation, the 2013 Employment Insurance reforms of the Conservatives will most likely have a greater negative affect on women who in general have less access to programs based on the number of hours. Moreover, the job lost with the economic crisis has


closed 12 of 16 offices of the Status of Women Canada, eliminated the funding of any womens organization involved in advocacy , and amended the Act on Equitable Compensation to prevent the use of courts to advance pay equity. 136. The Tories have also continued the attack on both reproductive rights of women and womens control over their own bodies. Since 1988 when abortion was decriminalized, about 40 motions were deposit at the parliament. In 2012, the Woodworth motion, a Conservative MPs so called private members bill was asking Parliament to declare a fetus a person under the law. If in legal terms women have the right to abortion, in really, a large number of women dont have any access to abortion. For example, in Prince Edward Island, there is literally no clinic or any medical offices practicing abortion. Last year, at the 25 anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion, journalist were reporting in La Presse Dcourages, certaines femmes vont jusqu se rouer le ventre de coups ou ingrer des cocktails de produits chimiques pour provoquer une fausse couche. Then last year, it was exposed that lobby groups against abortion had open access to the Prime Ministers office! 137. In the same trend, in some part of Canada, like in Quebec, sex education is cut from the curriculum of high schools. 138. While shelters for women victim of conjugal are full and see their funding cut, violence against women continues. Certain forms of violence are affecting in greater proportion

women, such as harassment and sexual violence. In the last few year, the phenomenon of cyber intimidation against women have increase. Internet bullying is just one form of violence against women. 139. So too is rape. There has been an increase in reports of rape on campus and a systemic denial from university administration. Last fall CBC news exposed rape-chants on university campuses by Fraternity and Business students in BC and Nova Scotia. Rape is not, in majority, committed by strangers in the street but by men the women know and trust. Rapes do not only happen when a women fight and say no; rape is any sex without consent. One of the most notorious incidents recently was the Steubenville High School rape case, where a young woman in the US who was raped and videoed by members of her high school football team while she was passed out. This is a clear example of rape culture (see Infographic 1). After that terrible act, social and mainstream media went into overdrive defending the boys, talking about how the rape victim was cute, dressed sexually, was drinking, etc. (victim shaming) and was therefore responsible for her rape; while the story of the boys focused on their great future hopes now dashed by this mistake (apologizing). This kind of rape culture is lived by women every day, it is also experienced on street with harassment. There is also real problem for women to report rape to police, difficult process for denunciation and throw the justice system, suspicion of false rape accusation.



140. The Quebec Charter of Values is another attack on women, but this time against muslim women. The charter is a highly polarized bill launched by the PQ claims to defend and strengthen the secular state by prohibiting ostentatious religious symbols by all state employees (although Christian imagery in public places, like the gold cross in the National Assembly planted by ultraright Quebec premier Duplessis, is protected in the Bill as heritage). The charter specifically targets Muslim women in a context of Islamophobia, which is shown through the various manifestations of racism, repeated attacks and intimidation of Muslim women wearing the veil. Despite the fact that no part of the Canadian state has a monopoly on racism, the corporate media has also used the Bill to whip-up anti-Quebec sentiment, again labeling the people of Quebec as backward. Although the Bill is happening in Quebec using narrow nationalist sentiment, a common rhetoric is heard all across Canada for example to justify the war in Afghanistan claiming that white Christian men must take on the burden of saving oppressed women from other nations or cultures. The YCL-LJC and the LJC-Q are strongly opposed to the Charter of Quebec values and support the fight by women to liberate themselves. Voices pretending to save women by imposing to them a code of dress are actually part of the attack on women that we describe earlier.

transphobia. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation are often violent, confirming news of more gaybashings in recent years. Despite the It Gets Better campaign, most LGBTIQ* students still report feeling unsafe at school, and prosecutors are often unwilling to prosecute vicious gay bashings as hate crimes. Transgendered issues are gaining greater social understanding but as we said in our 2013 pride statement: a. The cost of delaying full equality for trans people would be tragic. This is not a marginal issue; trans people are 10% of the LGBTIQ* population, and face huge medical costs, higher unemployment, less access to housing, widespread intimidation at work, and lack of legal protections. 143. Those who spread fear and bigotry are also not giving up. 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 LGBTIQ* community and racialized groups.

144. Students
145. The situation of the young women and young workers in the context of the capitalist economic crisis in many way shapes the battles of the student movement today. Women, at least according to the 2006 Census, now account for about 60% of university graduates. And students are increasingly forced to take up part-time work in response to skyrocketing tuition fees and personal debt all at the cost of their grades

141. Attack on queer youth

142. Sexism importantly express itself in homophobia, heterosexism and


and extracurricular education, (including campus politics). 146. Vast and growing numbers of students and recent graduates are also being forced into superexploitation with unpaid internships (The University of Toronto Students Union believes more than 300,000 students are illegally misclassified each year as interns, trainees and non-employees). 147. Tuition fee increases disproportionately impact the access of women to education, an example of social policy perpetuating gender inequality; on a life average, women will make $863,268 less than a man for the same diploma. This inequality is even greater for women from racialized and new immigrant communities. Greater barriers to post secondary education result in fewer women instructors and tenured professors, which can be reinforced by racist and sexist hiring practices. 148. Behind the scenes, the neoliberal restructuring agenda of PSE is directly related to the capitalists class conceptualization of education not as a right and tool of emancipation but a commodity which is integral to the production of a trained modern workforce. Simply put, the capitalists have decided they are paying too much for public education; not only has the burden of funding been directly shifted to the students and their families through user fees (ie. tuition fees) but moreover a fundamental restructuring of so-called superfluous education, like liberal arts programmes, is taking place. 149. Thus, the debate about

implementing the lessons of Europes Bologna process (and now attacks like Frances Fioraso Law in Canada and Quebec) which has produced ideas such as the Ontario Liberals albeit short-lived proposals like threecubed of three-year degrees, increasing online education, now supplanted by differentiation of institutions which means academic restructuring towards privatization and corporatization, etc. This has nothing to do with better education nor is it driven by shortfalls in public revenue. Integration of education with the labour market, integration of research with corporate for-profit schemes, reframing curriculum to be tailored to big employers interests, slashing-andburning arts, humanities and womens studies, etc. is a total redefining of education as an individual privilege not a social right. 150. For Aboriginal youth, the struggle for quality accessible education is linked to selfdetermination and sovereignty. After over 100 years of genocidal residential schools, Aboriginal students demands include authority over the curriculum and the education process, including reinforcing traditional languages, culture, and identity. For many First Nations students education is not only a human right but also a treaty right, denied by the federal government. Although education funding for Aboriginal students is a Federal treaty right there has also been a racistfunding cap imposed for many years which continues to erode access to postsecondary education. The Harper governments retooled First Nations Education Act, while critically


supported by the Assembly of First Nations, has been criticized as basically amounting to the government again deciding whats best for Aboriginal people in schools. The attack on First Nations University in Saskatchewan is another one of many struggles, which was fortunately reversed. 151. High school youth also face severe underfunding while the bargaining rights of teachers across the country are under sharp attack.

Underfunding of school boards, important structures of local autonomy and democracy, has lead to a pushback from communities. In response, reactionary political parties are now proposing the complete elimination of local school boards which would not be positive for education. Some school boards like Vancouver are under such funding pressure they are trying desperately to recruit international students. The Toronto school board has gone as far as establish a recruitment office in Beijing.






153. Literally seventeen days after our last convention adjourned, Occupy Canada actions began in over thirty cities and again proving, as we said at the time, that young people in Canada are not complacent and apathetic but can audaciously take on the 1%. Occupys greatest strength was its message that Big Business was the enemy, not the so-called high-paid union worker or job stealing immigrant living next door. 154. The occupation camps were evicted basically illegally after a few months. But the empowerment of youth associated with the rallying call we are the 99%! contributed to ensuing struggles, like the Quebec Student Strike and Idle No More. All these struggles are still being critically reviewed by young people as future actions are planned. 155. Its tempting to try to search out one single solution for the challenges of movement building, like identifying structural weaknesses in union or campus organization; ignorance, inertia or apathy by membership; the lack of a particular tactic or slogan; or poor leadership lacking political will. Magic silver bullets, however, dont exist.

new social movements have reaffirmed how young people make up one of the most progressive, radical and dynamic forces in society but we do not have the same place in the peoples struggle as the working class majority and its most organized expression, the labour movement. 158. This why the YCL fights that the youth movement, which is actually multi-class in nature, takes a stand and joins the working class and labour at the picket line. Linking hands with other struggles is vital and important. For its part, the working class benefits from allies like youth and students to take on and defeat the immense, coordinated power of the 1%. Labour remains the key ally of the youth. 159. Right now, as our convention comes into session, that policy means winning support among the youth for the Canadian Postal Workers Union against 8,000 job layoffs, service cuts, and the pending fire-sale of Canada Post. With recent bitter strikes and labour disputes at Caterpillar, Alma, the BC and Ontario teachers and elsewhere, one of the real lessons of recent working-class struggles in Canada is that working people do have the strength and understanding to conduct tough battles for their rights, despite scabs, police brutality, corporate media slanders, and relentless political attacks. 160. Most youth, however, are not members of unions while academic culture can sometimes encourage students to forget about labour struggles in their communities. Positive though albeit limited drives have recently seen labour and youth organize with barista workers in Nova

156. The labour movement remains the key ally of youth

157. It is sometimes said that class consciousness is knowing who is with you on the barricades and class analysis is understanding why. The



Scotia, and the hard struggle going on in Qubec to organize Couche Tard. A related gain was Grants Law in BC protect night workers in gas stations, won through a labour-led campaign. As we said in 25th Central Convention, At a time when union density is eroding and deindustrialization is in full swing, organizing the unorganized is a task that can only be ignored by a movement which is suicidal. 161. The labour movement does not exist in a vacuum, as purity does not exist in life. One side of labour wants to organize resistance. Another side, however, has been ideologically captured by capitalist ideology and favours appeasement. It is anticommunist and reluctant or even opposed to building broad community/ labour solidarity campaigns around strike battles or wider social issues, unwilling to engage in the type of movement-building which would rally millions into action against the corporate agenda. 162. One factor here is the direct engagement of the capitalists, another is right-wing social democracy which in Canada is represented by the New Democratic Party. Historically, the period from the beginning of the Cold War to the early 1970s, marked by McCarthyism, by the attack on the left and left-led unions, can be looked at as a period of attempted pacification of the working class, replacing resistance with class collaboration. One reflection has been the long-term decline in strikes in Canada (see graph 2) and lock-outs are now starting to equal strikes in length (graph 3). 163. If anything, the biggest

subjective weakness restraining the fuller and all-round development of the fightback is not limited to the youth and student resistance, but is a political problem reflected in the inaction from the top levels of the trade unions. The now-clear rejection of extra-parliamentary forms of political struggle by the NDP leadership has weakened and divided the fightback, paralysing sections of the labour and peoples movements. The inadequate response of labour, especially the Canadian Labour Congress leadership, has been brought into ever sharper relief by the continued corporate austerity attack of the Harper Conservative government. 164. Worryingly, the right-wing section of the social democratic leadership has identified the main problem as a backward anti-union mentality in its own membership, to be solved with correct internal marketing. Media campaigns like Together, fairness works only try to better outreach to union members to teach them about the benefits of union membership. The CSNs Merci vous ads, intended to create support for public sector workers, have similar limitations. The right-wing of the labour movements underestimation of labours willingness to fight has been used, time and again, as an excuse to avoid launching a fightback. It reinforces the doomed strategy of relying on an NDP victory at the polls as the only way to turn-back the onslaught at the federal level. For example, the CLC is focussing on organizing political action conferences to line up labour participation in the NDPs electoral machine for the 2015 general


election. 165. But even recent history has shown, that when workers are in motion their capacity for struggle and their consciousness grows. An audacious organized resistance, with an independent political program, will demonstrate to all members of the labour movement that it is possible to win real gains that benefit working people. Seeing labours membership as the principle subjective weakness instead of recognizing all-round problems as part of a broader historic class struggle where working people are currently stuck on the defensive, is short sighted and wont help to turn the tide. 166. The tendency on the part of the leadership to underestimate its membership also has a reflection in the student movement. Often leadership will see themselves as the only progressive force within a mass organization, and will be afraid of strategies that include member mobilization. This view also has an expression in the ultra-left which sees mass organizations as backward or inherently reformist and sees the solution as the formation of small revolutionary groups, whether in labour or the student movement. These mistakes have been created by a sense of desperation created by the unrelenting assault on peoples forces, but they remain mistakes and must be rejected in favour of a broad, mass fightback beginning immediately.

167. The labour fightback and the youth fightback

168. While the CLC and the leaders of some important unions have avoided drawing the entire labour movement and its social allies together to map out and launching a broad labour-community common front to fight back against austerity, there are some positive developments that show that a renewed sense of urgency is emerging within labour. 169. The Ontario Federation of Labour has launched a Common Front with social movements in Ontario and has started organizing large-scale demonstrations. In Qubec, a similar anti-austerity Coalition Main Rouge or Red Hand coalition was established that helped lay the groundwork for popular support of the Qubec student strike. A renewed interest in social unionism was reflected in the founding documents of the New Union Project which brought together Unifor. A series of smaller initiatives like the student-labour Port Elgin declaration and the Common Causes coalition appear reached important conclusions but have failed to become an organized force around a common program; the only meeting which comes close to a general assembly of labour, youth and social movements is the positive drive for a pan-Canadian Peoples Forum, although it appears to be still more a project of Quebec labour and social movements and does not have a mandate to formulate an action plan.


170. The lack of a united and militant fightback has serious impacts on the youth movement. Within labour, union

youth committees are facing increased pressure to be co-opted by business unionism with political action meaning young activists will go campaign for the NDP. The same fights are played out in local Labour Councils, Provincial Federations, and in labour conventions. The renewed participation by youth in the Action Caucuses or similar but less permanent formations in Qubec the best tool for uniting the left, winning the centre and isolating the right shows how many young workers wont sucum to either the carrot (career) or the stick (discipline). 171. The tepid approach advocated by right-wing social democratic leadership has also contributed malaise within the English-speaking student movement which most sharply evident in the fact the CFS has not held its annual cross-Canada Days of Action for several years now. 172. Inaction opens up a space for actions that while often courageous, are impulsive, unplanned and too often disconnected from existing mass organizations. The sentiments of the in your face approach to struggle are appear lofty and brave. If we break the widows of the Hudson Bay Company, it will force Canadians to stop and think about the essentially genocidal history of that corporation. But if that was enough to defeat the capitalists, or even eliminate tuition fees, both would have been gone long ago. 173. Tactics are not, afterall, just a question of individual courage or instant results. In fact, spontaneity is to be expected in any struggle as an objective process. But the youth

movement needs to always resist the pressure to separate a tactic from its goal, and take into account the current objective and subjective factors of the class struggle before deciding on tactics. 174. Inaction lays the groundwork for some voices in the youth and student movement to completely reject mass movements, embrace sectarian attitudes towards mass organizations and mistake adventurist tactics as objectively more radical. Lenin said that ultra-leftism was infrequently a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class movement. The two monstrosities complement each other.

175. Mass action

176. Marxism, Lenin said, does not reject any form of struggle. Under no circumstances does Marxism confine itself to the forms of struggle possible and in existence at the given moment only, recognising as it does that new forms of struggle, unknown to the participants of the given period, inevitably arise as the given social situation changes and sharpens. The litmus test for evaluating tactics is to identify what tactics move the greatest number of masses into the struggle, in the strategic direction. As Bolshevik trade unionist Lozovsky said: a. The importance of direct action lies not only in the immediate results, but mainly in the fact that it unites the mass of workers. The working class is not uniform; it includes numerous intermediary strata with bourgeois conceptions. By involving different groups and isolated strata in a


common struggle, direct action brings them closer together, like the links of a chain, and in this way the working class becomes more united. Unity can only be forged in the heat of the struggle and is the most important condition for proletarian victory. 177. Unity is not simply a question of power in numbers, although obviously that is important. Tactics that fit with a strategy of mobilizing people on mass issues have a number of advantages. They increase the material strength of the working people. They show that an injury to one is an injury to all. They teach working people to learn how to work with other classes and groups. And they show the relationship of classes and groups to one another and the state. 178. Ultimately, the strategy of mass action is truly the most dangerous to the ruling class because of the unity of the peoples forces. Massive political action outside parliament. Massive campaigning to eliminate tuition fees, to withdraw from imperialist war plans, to prevent global warming, to win child care, to save medicare, to save our resources and create jobs. A social dynamic that will swell the ranks of movement, bring in thousands of new activists and raise the level of social consciousness of the entire non-corporate population, while recognizing the central importance of labour. 179. The capitalists realize this challenge to their hegemony and are putting up a big fight in the ideological arena but have little problem ripping away the thin faad of bourgeois democracy they usually tolerate and use force.

180. We saw this very clearly when Elsipogtog First Nation and Acadiens blocked a highway protesting fracking gas in their traditional territories last fall, several hundred riot police and armed paramilitary police were brought in. But the heavy hand of the policy was evident during the mass arrests at the G20 protests in 2010, the sweep of the Occupy movement and then again with Bill 78 in Quebec. As the YCL-LJC commented at that time, True democracy is actually an anathema to capitalist domination. Protesters are still receiving fines from the 2012 student strike. For example as of January 2014 the 80 feminists arrested Quebec City at a womens mobilization against fee increases still have not been cleared of charges they face under the highway code of $500 per protester. 181. The increasing surveillance of youth and student organizations, revealed by Edward Snowden and others, as well as the exposure that not only the RCMP and CSIS but also the new Communications Security Establishment Canada is hacking cell phones, emails, server logs, and many other forms of meta-data is becoming a new area of the repression of democratic rights. 182. The new social movements therefore face new problems. Yet their uneven but very positive change in youth action and attitudes away from a kind of agnosticism towards struggle and towards the realization that we the youth can make politics. It is a sentiment which has to audaciously go further, broadening and strengthening, drawing together the threads of resistance with youth and labour as part of the warp and the woof.


183. Quebec spring: students strike, peoples struggle!

184. The issues students were fighting over was not a specific amount of money, but the place of education in society. What started as a student strike over access to education became a broad social battle against austerity and, with Bill 78, for democracy itself. As the Quebec students themselves said, in the CLASSE manifesto Share Our Future: a. Free access [to education] does more than simply banish prices: it tears down the economic barriers to what we hold most dear. Free access removes the stumbling-blocks to the full flowering of our status as humans. Where there is free access, we share payment for shared services. b. By contrast, the concept of price determination the so-called fair share is in truth no more than veiled discrimination. [...] This burden is one that we all shoulder, each and every one of us, whether we are students or not: this is one lesson our strike has taught us. For we, students, are also renters and employees; we are international students, pushed aside by discriminating public services. We come from many backgrounds, and, until the colour of our skin goes as unnoticed as our eye colour, we will keep on facing everyday racism, contempt and ignorance. We are women, and if we are feminists it is because we face daily sexism and roadblocks set for us by the patriarchal system; we constantly fight deep-rooted prejudice. We are gay, straight, bisexual, and proud to be. We have never been a

separate level of society. Our strike is not directed against the people. We are the people. c. Our strike goes beyond the $1625 tuition-fee hike. [...] This is the meaning of our vision, and the essence of our strike: it is a shared, collective action whose scope lies well beyond student interests. 185. The Quebec student struggle, arguably the most magnificent, powerful and united youth movement battle in decades, also quickly inspired all of English-speaking Canada and showed the validity of the YCLs approach for the need of an escalating, united action plan, and our understanding of the national question. The LJC-Q was active in the daily life of the strike, joining as many rallies as they could with banners and literatures, putting forward the call that United mass mobilization must continue to grow with the labour movement fully involved [including] organizing a general strike, social and political. This appeal, put out in concert with the Parti Communiste du Qubec (PCQ) resonated with many thousands of student and labour activists. 186. We made these kinds of points also around the Quebec student strike and on the ten-campus Student Solidarity tour in which the LJC-Q and YCL Ontario actively participated in, together with other allies. The solidarity tour came at a crucial time when Thomas Mulcair had just said the tuition hike is first and foremost a matter of provincial jurisdiction... Our fight is not with the Charest government... Violence is not the right way to do things. This was a betrayal


of the students and was followed by the Georgetti leadership of the CLC and the Fdration des travailleurs et travailleuses du Qubec (FTQ) trying to block collection of solidarity funds. Behind the scenes, the Solidarity Tour became an additional vehicle to confront that attempt at isolation. 187. The time which has elapsed since the end of the strike has therefore not reduced the Quebec springs significance and the necessity for analysis. The strike remains the most significant social struggle of the current period. What lessons can we learn? 188. The militant student union ASS has not been alone in emphasizing the question of democratic structure [especially the general assemblies] while other voices have romantically claimed that economic disruption forced Charests hand. As with all struggles, the Quebec student strike had its own individual life, including the national character of Quebec and its unequal position within Canada; but within that particular reality was also the universal experience of the student movement, especially these three points: 1. The movement has to have a programme; 2. In whatever form it takes, mass participation and empowerment are essential; 3. The interconnection of unity and struggle; 189. Therefore Quebec student struggle powerfully showed the importance of mass struggle and resistance. It proved that mass mobilization is possible and does

work, as Bill 78 was torn down and, albeit for a very brief time, it seemed the PQ government was willing to enact a better tuition framework. 190. The Charest Liberals narrow defeat was seen as a clear rebuke of Charests position during the strike and a victory for the student movement in Quebec. After over eight months of campaigning, students returned to class with a tremendous sense of empowerment and political consciousness, but divided over how positive their achievements were. However, in the time since the Qubec student strike there have been some serious setbacks. In conditions of a minority government and facing a majority right-wing opposition, the new sovereigntist and pro-business Parti Qubecois lead by Pauline Marois quickly manouvered to drop its populist and seemingly anti-austerity rhetoric. 191. Very quickly all of the more progressive demands, like reducing and eliminating tuition fees, were rejected by the PQ who now will continue with an increase, less rapidly than under the Charest plan but, dangerously, on a much longer-term basis. The new Marois Pequists have cut over $124 million dollars in funding from all Quebec universities, and are indexing tuition fees to inflation at a rate of between $46 and $83 per year. This message was hammered home at the Quebec Summit on Education in early 2013, which the ASS subsequently boycotted.


192. This has helped shatter illusions young people might have about the

character of the PQ. The 2012 election saw a surge of support for the left-wing coalition Quebec Solidaire (which called for free tuition among other things and currently includes the Communist Party). It elected, however, only two members to the National Assembly. The fact that a member of the LJC-Q and know communist ran as a candidate for QS, winning over 5,000 votes in the riding of Acadie was an important contribution. With continued mobilization, new conditions for much greater success by QS can help be achieved. 193. The Quebec students struggle is therefore far from finished. By and large the two Federations have given some form of support to the Marois government, and have seen a number of student unions quit their ranks, especially the college student federation FECQ which has lost almost half its membership. The ASS has regrouped with a few new member unions and is now running a general anti-austerity campaign.

196. Idle No More, discussed more below, has also brought forward important and necessary debate about the illegal funding cap for aboriginal aboriginal students. The cap has not been resolved by the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNEA) and already a blue-dot campaign has emerged on social media against FNEA. Aboriginal students in First Nations student centers and associations, established at most universities across the country, are part of the fight for better education funding. The racist policies against Aboriginal students must be understood to hurt the entire student movement. 197. The line in the sand between the right and the left in the student movement remains how you answer the question of access to education: is it a right, or a privilege? We addressed this question in our 2nd annual Winter 2013 YCL student conference hosted by the Hamilton club. The analysis, published later in Rebel Youth issue 13-14, concluded the main subjective obstacle is the right-wing or reactionary camp active on campuses: a. This reactionary trend understands student organizations as students governments and focuses on provision of services (like a health plan or entertainment such as music concerts) for students. It seeks caution and respectability, exclusively limiting the demands of students to immediate economic questions of students and minor goals. The student movement is about building your resume. Education not understood in humanist terms, but

194. The struggle for unity in English-speaking Canada

195. Inspired by the Quebec student strike, student mobilizations sprung up across English-speaking Canada in the summer of 2012, leading to renewed action on many campuses. Among the positive examples has been the work of the YCL in Guelph and Hamilton with year-long student mobilization committees, rallying behind the Canadian Federation of Students to have a united plan for action.


individualistically as a way to get ahead in the rat race. Time and time again, life has shown that right-wing student councils can be tossed-out by their own members because they do not speak for their campuses. The vast majority of students, even though they are still learning about social and class interests, have a strong sense of justice, equality and the postsecondary education as a beneficial social value. b. The YCL, together with the broad range of progressive students, view the student movement in this different, positive direction. The progressive, democratic outlook recognizes that the students have interests that align with the interests of the people the non-corporate majority population. ... It correctly sees access to education is a democratic right of the people. This is the most broad and fundamental basis of unity within the student movement and is most commonly expressed by the demand freeze, reduce and eliminate tuition fees. 198. In the English speaking student movement the later agenda is carried by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS); while reactionary student organizations like the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations or, in Ontario, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance continue to play a detrimental role, neutralizing campuses from action, injecting right-wing ideas into the movement justifying tuition increases, and acting as a conveyor belt for their cadre to a career path in the reactionary political parties. Although these groups have had

limited success expanding their base, the right has had better luck acting as a wrecking crew. Liberal and Conservative staffers and even elected MPs have no problem helping directly coordinate a motley crew of right-wing students like campus Tories, anti-choice activists, tea partystyle libertarians, mens-rights misogynists, homophobes, and zionists all in the name of snatching away the few dollars students pay to a Public Interest Research Group or de-federating the student union from the CFS. 199. Confusedly, some on the left have sided with these demands to disorganize the student movement based on this or that structural or strategic problem with the CFS. 200. Despite both these attacks and the jump in tuition fees, the fact the Canadian Federation of Students cant seem to find the confidence and sense of urgency it had back in the 90s and early 2000s when it organized regular cross-Canada days of action and launched visible, vocal and broad campaigns has led more than a few progressive activists to cynically dismiss the Federation. The bunker mentality that has replaced the Cross-Canada Day of Action with a quite lobby day on The Hill is partly a reflection of trepidation and fear and partly the influence of right-wing social democracy on key sections of that organization. So to is the idea that a cross-province or country action plan is in contradiction with local student union autonomy in fact, the opposite is true. The CFS, at least in Ontario on policy papers, is again raising the question of free education


which is positive. 201. Combating ideological pressure from the NDP, winning support behind policies of action can not be done mechanistically, such as turning actions like a general assembly, faculty union, or even strike from a tactic into a principle, or broadside petitions for strike-votes really really directed at calling-out leadership. Again, as our 2nd annual student conference discussed: a. The student movement, like all peoples forces, will create leadership depending on the circumstance because leadership is an objective necessity in struggle. Its easy to fall into a trap and over-simplify this process. Good, militant student leadership is collective, grasping its duty, listening to students and also advancing unifying positions that helps the struggle move forward, informed. But it doesnt have a magical power to overcome objective reality. b. Likewise, the dichotomies of rank-and-file vs. officers, or top down vs. bottom are often inflated and even false. Movements have more than one layer of activists and leadership that are omitted with these kind of shorthand notes. Top vs. bottom can also re-orient the movement into a kind of naval-gazing search for perfect democratic structures. So-called direct democracy is not totally incompatible with representative democracy, however. Even the CLASSE incorporates both structures. c. The way forward lies in winning the students themselves to the path of unity and struggle, and through

struggle carrying out their own decisions. Searching for the perfect decision-making structure can distract from confronting anti-struggle trends within the movement. 202. It is also easy to write-off an inactive campus as rancid with apathetic, privileged or bourgeoisified youth. Some left critics go further than this blame the victim approach and announce that there are proletarian and bourgeois students and, throwing unity to the wind, advocate an internal struggle within the movement. This might appear to be a logical application of Marxist analysis: identify the working class forces within a movement, and propose that they be pitted against the non working class elements. The mistake, however, is to confuse the class with the movement. Today, it is difficult to find a peoples struggle, other than the labour movement, which is not in some way a class mix. As big business dominates all aspects of social life, and attacks even basic democratic rights, many social strata is drawn into action. Extending the class war into the student movement would be disastrous, undermining the fighting unity of student forces, orienting the struggle inward instead of against the main enemy. This amounts to, unfortunately, empty stentorian posturing about the pure revolutionary student line and helps the right-wing agenda, including defederation. 203. What we said at the 25th Central Convention still rings true broad, united fronts are needed such as in the form of local campus mobilization committees, drawn together into a common, Canada-wide


strategy. And the success of the students response will is determined in many respects by our ability to set aside differences and act together. Many students in English-speaking Canada are demanding just such a strong movement, more militant student unions and a much more active Canadian Federation of Students. As we said in Hamilton last year: a. The fight for free education can open up a broader questions about social transformation although affordable education is not the same as accessible education because there are other barriers in society than just tuition fees. For education to be free it would require a federal role. But it is a common mistake to forget the federal role in post-secondary education and to fall into the trap of accepting the current flawed Canadian Constitutions designation of education as a provincial matter. If education is only a provincial matter a cross-Canada student movement is not necessary. ... b. There is no contradiction, in our view, between advancing socialism as the only genuine alternative to the current capitalist system, and our principled commitment to work to further the immediate and basic interests of students. This finds expression, for example, in the YCLs campaign for a Charter of Youth Rights. 204. It is absolutely necessary today that students across the country organize and mobilize to demand significantly more funding to universities; to link up with labour and community groups to take back

governments from the grip of finance capital and start building the kind of accessible post-secondary education system that makes quality, universal, public, accessible, and democratic education a fundamental right! 205. Secondary Education 206. High school students, while often isolated from the rest of the student movement, are a force for struggle. The resistance of BC and Ontario students against the attack on teachers and their unions has been a great example of class-conscious struggle. We fully supported these kinds of actions, as we said in our statement against Bill 115: a. When injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes a duty. The teachers are bravely fighting back against Bill 115. Many students are joining them. Students are setting aside their differences because they see that now is the time to rise up. If Bill 115 is stopped, we will be stronger and the struggle for fundamental change will continue. Organizing a walkout can be done quickly and successfully using social media, word of mouth, defiance, courage and unity. Convince your friends. Convince your class. March through the halls and into the streets! You can suspend one student, but you cannot suspend hundreds.

207. Idle No More exposes festering issue of national inequality in Canada


208. With the dust not yet settled from Quebecs student uprising, another new social movement burst

on the scene after four Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan began the Idle No More campaign. 209. Their courageous example helped inspire a number of chiefs to take their case directly to PM Stephen Harper, only to be barred from entering Parliament. Chief of Attawapiskat, Theresa Spence, launched a six week hunger strike. 210. In a relative short time, flash mobs and marches, drum rallies in malls, and railway blockades developed into mass rallies putting considerable pressure on the government. 211. The Harper Conservatives, their allies in the corporate media, and all sorts of other racists and chauvinists holed up on basement blogs and in anonymous corners of the internet made a vicious and nasty effort to discredit and divide the movement, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. 212. What could not be hidden was the reality that, in Attawapiskat and on many other reserves as well as urban aboriginal communities, hundreds of thousands live in housing conditions which are an emergency disaster. Despite centuries of broken treaties promising fair treatment, and decades of protests and reports, this situation has not improved. 213. Idle No More tore-down the curtain hiding an ugly sight: the festering issue of national inequality in Canada. The brilliant achievement of the grassroots protest has been to make it absolutely clear that Canada was built on the theft of Aboriginal lands and resources, and that only

genuine equality of all the nations in this country, large and small, can begin to overcome this genocidal policy. 214. The fact that broad sections of the youth and student movement are warming to this perspective, although sometimes oversimplified as a power struggle between settlers and colonized, is all the more reason for the YCL to speak out on these issues and advance our position, deepening and reinforcing the unity of the youth and making the connections with our common enemy in the ruling class.

215. Queer struggles and the womens movement

216. The powerful movement for full gender and sexual equality continues to break down old barriers and prejudices. The number of Gay Straight Alliances or GSAs in schools and school districts with explicit LGBTIQ* policies continues 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. In the traditionally homophobic arena of male professional sports 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


LGBTIQ* community and allies. This fightback is very positive and the YCL needs to find ways to engage as it continues. 217. Womens participation in recent struggles, especially the Quebec Student Strike and the Idle No More movement (which was founded by a group of five women), is significant and notable. Another example is the role of women in teachers unions and in the public sector, where female job ghettos have often been created by the capitalists. These unions have been on the front line of many important struggles and so have been women as grassroots activists, strike captains and stewards, and perhaps most prominently as union leaders. 218. The fightback of the womens movement continues with much work to do and despite difficult conditions. In Quebec, the womens movement includes the FFQ, immigrant womens groups, and aboriginal women. The establishment of the Janettes is an attempt to break this unity of the feminist movement on a racist basis in the context of the debate about the Charter of Values. Unfortunately, the former leader of the FEUQ has joined this coalition. The Janettes are a fringe of the feminist movement linked with right-wing media personality Julie Snyder and has even gone as far as calling to fire Muslim women who do not comply with the proposed law. Behind the claim to be feminist lies a coarse racism and a new attempt to control womens bodies. 219. In English-speaking Canada the womens movement is weakened by having no common coalition voice. As we said in the YCL-LJC message to

the Winnipeg RebELLES conference of young feminists in May 2011: a. The hard work of women made the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, a major coalition of equality-seeking groups in Englishspeaking Canada, into a powerful political force. The pro-corporate Chrtien Liberal government of the 90s slashed NACs funding. This attack continued and led to NACs demise and has weakened the fight back. b. The coming together of the RebELLES, the Ad Hoc Coalition for Womens Equality and Human Rights, the growing Marche mondiale des femmes, the Sisters in Spirit campaign, No One Is Illegal, and the recent mass outpouring of women (especially youth) saying no to violence against women in the SlutWalks (responding to a police officer telling students that the best way to avoid getting raped was to avoid dressing like a slut) these are all welcome new developments and must go further. c. We must bring together these threads of resistance. The needs of the broad majority of the young women can never be divided from those of the working class, aboriginal people, (im)migrants, students, seniors, queer people, farmers, and all the people on the road to a better world. 220. Much of this analysis holds true today. Despite the fragmentation of the womens movement in Englishspeaking Canada after NACs dissolution, women trade unionists have maintained structures like the


Canadian Labour Congresss Womens conferences, which help keep the pan Canadian fight for womens rights alive. As we said in the joint YCL-LJC CPC International Womens Day statement last year, we welcome the development of Leadership, Feminism and Equality in Unions in Canada, a research based initiative that is doing important work in identifying barriers and current issues relating to women in the labour movement. Moving these findings into actions is a most important next step in reinvigorating a more democratic and equity driven labour movement. There are also important community campaigns, like Sisters in Spirit (demanding justice for missing and murdered aboriginal women), the Miss G Project (fighting for a gender studies class in Ontario curriculum), the One Billion Rising (opposing violence against women and girls), and growing outcry against the Tory attack on reproductive rights. While positive, this is not enough. The re establishment of an organization like NAC, to bring together women from labour, young Rebelles women, women in organizations that fight for legal rights, reproductive rights, disability rights, child care, organizations that represent Aboriginal women and racialized women, would be an important advance. 221. The debate around how our society should treat sex work has become extremely polarized. As Jane Bouey, chair of the Communist Partys Womens Commission noted recently, the Bedford case was hailed as a great victory by some feminists, and denounced by others. Even whether one uses the term sex work or

prostitution is seen as a sign of where one stands, i.e. whether one views sex workers as members of the working class. There is wide agreement with striking down the law against communicating in public for the purpose of prostitution, and agreement that some (if not most) women are forced into sex work because of conditions of economic, social and racial inequality. Most agree that many women engaged in sex work face disproportionate levels of horrific violence and even murder. However, there is a sharp division over taking legal steps that would allow those in sex work to better organize themselves: does this increase or decrease the security of those sex workers? The YCL needs to make a full review of this question, perhaps going forward after the convention process when the specific proposal of the Harper Conservative government is made public. 222. Many youth groups have positively started anti-oppression training to counteract systemic problems like sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia, seeing the importance of equality and equity in strengthening a united fightback. Recognition of the personal/political experience of diverse identities of youth as women, racialized youth, trans, cis-gendered, genderqueer etc. is growing, perhaps most dynamically in the student movement but also among young workers and other community activists. This framework of identity politics has helped many young people to speak and act with greater personal authority, confronting and challenging grievances they experience. As the YCL said in 2009, Being born non-


white and/or a woman is not a crime. But under capitalism, it usually means you are sentenced to a lifetime of systemic gender or racial oppression. This cannot be understood as simply a matter of individual prejudice. In the grand sweep of our countrys history, genocide, colonization, national oppression, racism, sexual assault and sexism, discrimination against immigrants, homophobia and other forms of oppression have and continue to play a major role in the functioning of Canadian capitalism. There can be no peaceful coexistence with sexism and racism and with the violence they invariably spawn. 223. The new critical awareness by more progressive youth about the forms and ways discrimination takes place also helps start to recognize privilege and transform individual behaviour. They are both the result of and a new step forward in the long and brave struggle in Canada to win, protect, enforce and expand basic rights which are denied by capitalist society like living in a world free of harassment of which Communists and the YCL have played an important part. Fighting sexism, racism and other social poisons requires going beyond individual awareness and selfreflection to forming broad and powerful movements. Many, if not most, young people who are engaged with identity politics see such mass struggle as, while not without problems, very necessary. Nevertheless, some voices within the framework of anti-oppression refuse the notion of shared experience across different identities. More generally, there can be emphasize or sometimes unknowing promotion of

the idea that capitalist society is not a system where one class exploits another but rather a collection of individuals. Our main class adversary thus becomes lost in abstract and ahistorical power relations, while liberation is limited to the creation of new perceptions of ourselves and others. Far from being new and radical such liberalism is an old, tired and reactionary war horse. The YCLLJC sees the elimination of oppression as inseparable from the fight against capitalism; it is an immediate problem demanding a mighty and united struggle. Power and privilege, colonialism and imperialism, etc. are real and never exist outside of class struggle. 224. The so-called Mens Rights Movement, which has quickly engendered counter-protest from the internet to campuses, cloaks itself in some of the language of Identity Politics while inciting hatred against women or misogyny, as the YCL said in our statement on MRM in 2012: a. The claim of these groups is that men and boys are facing equity issues due to misandry. In fact, the main danger young men face is not at all from pro-women policies and feminists which help young men it is from big business and the Harper Conservatives, whose capitalist system has created mass unemployment, rising tuition fees, environmental crisis and poverty while spending billions on wars and corporate tax cuts. What is needed is solidarity and for the youth to reinforce the links between their struggles and those of the labour movement and the working class. We must not blame the victim.


225. The attack of the MRAs is a symptom of social problems womens activists confront daily. For everyone it can at some point seem overwhelming; and there is pressure to take a different path, retreat into spaces that are more rigorous about anti-oppression, focus exclusively on cultural activism or personal improvement over political demands, over-emphasize language or interpersonal relationships, or even organize within ever-smaller or unique identity combinations. 226. The promise of equality under capitalism has never realised itself. Fundamentally, the capitalist system is a patriarchal system. Often, feminists who are not socialists understand the Marxist concept of a main or primary contradiction as an moral evaluation of womens oppression, which puts womens struggles in the second place to be remembered after the revolution. But this is not the case. Capitalism feeds itself through patriarchy, not only because this system use sexism like other form of discrimination to divide the working class, but more fundamentally because it requires the patriarchal system to maintain the relations of private property. Both system need to be fought. 227. YCLers have a role to play winning support for gender and equity struggles, engaging with problematic ideas in a productive way, making alliances and helping get these local campaigns and communities into focus as part of the whole horizon the youth and student movement. While the womens movement itself is mainly an area struggle for YCL womenPAGE 56

identified comrades, their demands must be carried forward by all members and the League itself must win the youth movement to adopt their demands. That includes avoiding repeating stereotypes, jokes and behaviours we fight against, while supporting equity-based approaches which for members of the YCL is a Constitutional duty of membership. We remain committed to joining with all those fighting immediate struggles today, while championing a better future for young women. History is not on the side of patriarchy and capitalism. It is on the side of freedom, equity, peace, ecology, and the people.

228. Other new grassroots environmental struggles

229. Occupy, the Quebec Spring and Idle No More were new social protests and movements but the were not alone. There is also considerable popular outrage against the Senate and corruption in municipal politics across Canada, especially in Toronto and Montreal. While these scandals give opportunity to harness opposition to right-wing politicians they are no substitute to organized resistance. 230. Perhaps most significant in the last four years has been the explosion of struggle against destruction of the environment and peoples neighbourhoods, especially Aboriginal communities and land, through oil tankers, pipelines and fracking. 231. These battles have been framed by something of an intellectual shift in the youth environmental movement, most clear when over a thousand


youth, students and young workers gathered at the University of Ottawa at the end of October for a busy weekend of presentations, workshops, seminars, and protests about climate change and social issues, under the banner of Power Shift 2012. 232. Conference organizers said that economic and climate crises we are facing have the same roots the relentless drive to put short-term economic profits over the interests of our communities and the environment. 233. Two years later this direction linking anti-capitalist sentiments with pro-environmental ideas continues as indigenous communities and activists in British Columbia confront the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that proposed to run from the Alberta tar sands to the northern BC coast, as well as the TransMountain Pipeline system down to Burnaby. And almost weekly media attention has been gathered by public opposition in the US and Canada to the Keystone XL pipeline. 234. Indigenous people, workers, and community members in Ontario and Qubec are also concerned with Enbridges proposal to reverse the flow of Line 9 and send tar sands bitumen from Sarnia all the way to Montral, and then a port in Maine, USA. 235. These were important issues we helped bring to the table at the 18th WFYS, finding common struggles with the youth against these dangerous pipeline developments, oil tankers, non-renewable energy and mining projects, hydraulic fracturing

(fracking) and against policies of environmental racism. 236. The YCL was one of the first pan-Canadian youth organizations to take a stance against the fracking gas. We have condemned the Alberta Tar Sands as the largest industrial project in human history which releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production and is slated to become the single largest industrial contributor in North America to Climate Change. 237. At their most advanced, these movements are insisting upon sustainable planning and a precautionary approach, Aboriginal sovereignty, as well as local autonomy and democracy, and general public control. These demands are complementary to the YCL and Communist Partys call for public control over energy and natural resources in the interests of the people, future generations, nature and sustainability, not corporate profits. 238. We need to build here and develop a strategy to make a bigger contribution.

239. Peace, solidarity and other international issues

240. The critical situation of world peace and disarmament means the anti-war, pro-peace and antiimperialist solidarity forces across Canada have a seemly overwhelming set of tasks. These movements continue to work to mobilize Canadian people and youth on a regular basis against intervention in Syria and Iran by affiliates to the Canadian Peace


Alliance and chec la guerre, in solidarity with Palestine in particular through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses, as well as exposing the bloody policies of Canadian mining and energy corporations around the world. The YCL must never abandon the principle of working-class internationalism, the principle that working people of the world must stand united against capitalist wars and for the class struggle. 241. While the anti-war and propeace movements are smaller in the streets compared to the mid 2000s, increasingly the battle of ideas around these questions has sharpened. Initially, the Chretien-Martin Liberals and then the Harper Tories hard to intimidate many sections of this movement into silence. In 2009, Minister Jason Kenney abruptly and without warrant cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation, a decision which was upheld by courts this January. In 2011. Minister Bev Odas inserted her now-infamous handwritten NOT into a recommendation to allocate $7 million in federal funding to KAIROS, a social justice coalition of eleven established churches. These two examples are both linked to the support by these mass organizations for Palestine. 242. Many liberal anti-war groups have curbed their criticism, or even expressed support for, the policies of regime change confused by the dangerous mantra of Responsibility to Protect. In fact the war in Libya was unanimously supported by all parties in Parliament (including the Bloc) until Green MP Elizabeth May cast the sole

vote against extending the bombing. Unfortunately Mulcairs NDP increasingly supports policies complimenting NATOs plans rather than resolution of conflicts through diplomatic means and especially the UN. This approach (as well as such things as the NDPs mute response to death of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez while eulogising for Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon) has disappointed many of their own supporters. 243. This all has influenced groups like chec la guerre and the CPA, which are leading few mass protests on the streets. Positively both groups came out against the bombing of Libya although neither rallied sustained mobilizations. The real need to grow and make much more visible the main campaign of the CPA, Peace and Prosperity not War and Austerity, was an important topic of discussion for their January convention. The complimentary necessity for a genuine anti-imperialist voice in the peace movement has become clearer. In our view this is best represented by the Canadian Peace Congress of which the League is a member and held an anti-NATO tour last year. The Peace Congress is affiliated to the World Peace Council, which is a friend of WFDY. 244. While young people always fill the crowd at any large anti-war action, in the absence of stronger organization and coordination in which young people can plug into, the youth movement sometimes has an honest but ultimately superficial tendency to skip from issue to issue depending on what appears to be the most pressing emergency according to the Western


corporate news. Sometimes the level of analysis is simply to oppose whatever, or whomever, the US or corporate media appears to be supporting. While this is one yardstick, channels like Al Jazeera, RT news, and various websites have their own agendas and imperialism works very hard to distort even the way the problem is presented. 245. Sweeping criticisms by so-called leftist voices of the immediate targets of imperialism on the eve of a war can appeal to youth activists who desire what they think is a clear consciousness in the face of demonization campaigns against these governments. On the other hand, uncritically glorifying all targets of imperialism as now resolutely antiimperialist, without recognition of their own contradictions, may appear the most strongest moral position. In reality, however, these two responses to imperialist intervention are different sides of the same coin. They are a false dilemma that can actually strengthen the drive to war by overshadowing the urgent need to build broad and powerful solidarity and peace movements opposition to intervention and blocking our own government from bombing, invading, sanctioning, etc. 246. Clarity and consistent antiimperialism combined with organization into more stable and visible peace work on the street, therefore, is important for the League to help continue and expand, avoiding falling into simplistic positions. Instead of the enemy of my enemy is my friend what is important is to emphasize is that the problems in countries must be resolved by the

peoples themselves, without interference by imperialism such as sanctions, no-fly zones, interventions, etc. and expecting their sovereignty and the norms of international law. Without illusions, peace-loving forces should try to push the route of diplomacy and take advantage of the available channels in the UN for negotiations between states rather than war. As Fidel has said, What is needed is a genuinely democratic UN and not an imperial fiefdom in which the vast majority of nations count for nothing. 247. Lenin described the principles of imperialist foreign policy as that of pirates, and while the capitalists cant seem to find the paper to write peace treaties they have tonnes of it for trade agreements. Labour and social movements in English-speaking Canada and Quebec have been working to lift the shroud of secrecy from deals recently concluded by the Harper Conservative government, the European Union, and major transnational corporations for the largest free-trade agreement in Canadas history since NAFTA, the CanadaEuropean Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is a overarching Bill of Rights for big business and something of an upgrade of NAFTA at the same time all at the expense of all the noncorporate population, not least youth and students. The YCL has strongly opposed CETA and must continue to do so. 248. The YCL should continue to make a top priority of solidarity with socialist Cuba. Important campaigns, especially opposing the US blockade and demanding freedom for the


Cuban Five heroes after their unjust imprisonment in US jails for sixteen years, have gained growing support. Social movements, student groups, several trade unions, the CLC and CSN, and members of Parliament across Canada have all come out in support of the Five. 249. The Cuban solidarity movement in English-speaking Canada and Quebec is more than an archipelago of hard-working individuals and organizations because of formations like the Canadian Network on Cuba and Table de concertatin de solidarit Qubec-Cuba. The YCL is a member of both organizations and efforts like CNCs Che Guevera Work Brigade is a great tool to help Cuba solidarity, and something the League is increasingly prioritizing. We should fundraise to help send many more YCLers and young people to see Cuba. 250. The YCL is active supporting, as best we can, Palestine solidarity especially through actions like Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses as well as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign. BDS has won broadening support and new campaigns like boycott of the Soda Stream machine are developing to which we should be attentive. While our positions have never stopped us from working with the broad sweep of Palestinian solidarity activists, some of whom might vary on their long-term vision for the region, we should continue to respect the lead of the youth of the Palestinian Peoples Party and YCL Israel. 251. As our analysis in this political report says, the Middle East region remains of tremendous interest for

imperialism. War has, unfortunately, likely only been forestalled in Syria. Now is the time to start or step-up education and mobilization about these issues among youth, not to put anti-war work on hold. Any war on Syria would be an attack on Iran. The YCL needs to continue our support of the Tudeh youth of Iran who staunchly oppose any intervention while internally supporting opposition to the theocratic regime. 252. Another constantly volatile area is the Korean peninsula. The YCL needs to continue to be a voice against a new Korean war and provocation, and for a just peace treaty ultimately leading to the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas. 253. The YCL needs to make a better effort following up on the important connections we have built through the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the last two World Festivals of Youth and Students. In particular, we should see where we can mobilize support against the ultra-right threats to the Colombian Peace process by linking with the JUCO helping build support for the negotiations here in Canada, remain active around Venezuela solidarity including with the JCV, continue and deepen our work with La Jota of Chile making linkages between students of our countries in support of their struggles, and continue dialog with the OCLEA about common student concerns. 254. We should also see where it is possible to contribute to promoting the question of freedom for Western Sahara and the youth of the POLISARIO movement. In our first statement on the issue we drew to


the attention of the youth and student organizations of Canada that, since Moroccos 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. 255. Regarding the WFDY itself, our last editorial in Rebel Youth commented that No other organization exists like WFDY. There are many youth forums which have a liberal perspective. There are many global charitable and humanitarian NGOs. But there is only one consistent, truly international, youthoriented and anti-imperialist

organization which is WFDY. No other event exists like the Youth Festival. 256. It is very important that the League continues to build the global anti-imperialist youth movement internationally through the World Federation of Democratic Youth. We need to find unity with the broadest possible forces opposed to imperialist intervention. Naturally this means working with forces that have divergent analysis from our organization, but our view is sincerely that what unites us is much stronger than what, on a certain particular questions, or at certain times, can separate us.



part 4 THE YCL-LJC





258. The past four years of headlines weve been reporting on in Rebel Youth magazine and Jeunesse Militante shows clearly that our 26th Central Convention is being held at a difficult, dangerous but promising conjuncture in the struggle of the youth and student movement, our class and the people. Our convention documents have presented an argument that has tried to analyse and define our conjuncture. On the one hand, youth across Canada face the dangerous attack of big business and reactionary governments, foremost the Harper Conservatives; and on the other hand, while the peoples struggle has not been sufficiently united and organized, there are many cases of inspiring new grassroots youth movements. 259. The kind of YCL needed now is an active force fighting for unity and militancy in the youth movement around demands which undermine the power of our common enemy, big business. In this section we consider three points. First, we evaluate the health of the YCL. Second, we look at two problems we have faced and the internal dynamic of the League currently. Lastly, we look at the question of leadership and the way forward for the YCL, setting the stage for an action plan to be developed. 260. In the the youth struggle, the YCL-LJC has so many things in common with other progressive youth organizations. The League is not separate from the youth and student movement but is a contingent or component; we grow with that

movement and are subject to its same problems. At the same time, we are part of the communist movement in political and ideological unity with the Communist Party of Canada. Working mutually together in the same direction as the CPC, we fight for a necessary step in the long-term direction of the youth struggle: beating capitalism and winning socialism. As we celebrate 90 years of our history, we can say with confidence that our times continue to show the relevance and necessity of the Young Communist League of Canada.

261. A new generation of Reds

262. Todays YCL-LJC comes from a generation of activists thrown through the pressures of capitalist economic crisis and radicalized, directly or indirectly, in many of the struggles we are trying to characterize in this Convention. The YCL-LJC has worked to systematically increase its visibility in these mass actions and that work has paid off. The attention and consideration the YCL is receives in the youth movement is increasing. Our clubs have more friends and allies, and also new members. On Facebook we are getting more likes, more shares, more attention a few more trolls! 263. While respecting the plan to release a more detailed review of work as part of the convention discussion, here are a few highlights. In Ontario, the Young Communist League has grown from about three clubs at the time of the last convention to five active clubs today with considerable growth in the membership of the majority of clubs.


We are breaking new ground in places like Kingston-Belleville and Ottawa. A Winnipeg YCL club (the 1919 club) has been reformed and has started meeting. After a slow period in BC, a new club has just be re-launched in Vancouver. The East Coast and Alberta also require more attention but have real potential for growth. In Quebec, the LJC-Q is aiming to form a second club in Montreal, and has established a registered campus group with a hangout space at a CGEP. Working closely with the Communist Party of Canada has also meant new opportunities to build the YCL. The bottom line is that where we are consistent in our efforts and where the YCLs flag is clearly flown our message is well received and we recruit. 264. Our evaluation of our growth is that it is modest but significant. A genuine process of strengthening has been taking place in most of our clubs, not just organizationally but in terms of our collective grasp of policy and the fighting spirit of the League. 265. A healthy critical discussion and debate about our activity has been associated with our growth. The YCL membership, both new and old, is proposing new ideas and demanding the whole League do more. They are seeking clarification on YCL-LJC policy as we reinforce our work and become active in more struggles. Even some of our close friends in the movement are saying this. We hear this discussion in our clubs, conferences and schools. Too often it just takes place only informally, over a drink after a meeting or maybe at a social. This convention is a chance to

bring those ideas into a practical conversation throughout the whole League. This is an important goal of the convention. The convention should try its best to include everyones voice and encourage new ideas about the YCL in action, club life, and all levels of our work, while always linking-in with political analysis and our organizational principles of democratic centralism.

266. Whats working?

267. Like the review of work, an action plan which will address the Charter of Youth Rights. This will be proposed later but below are some ideas to get started thinking about what should be in that document. 268. Schools. Some our most successful events have been YCL schools, which combine the experience of meeting new members of the YCL with learning about political struggle and Marxism. We could talk a lot about the ideological importance of schools, especially how they open up debates that club meetings and business talk misses, and how they defend our integrity as an organization. But schools also valuable because people get to know each other in a very inclusive and productive way, and build morale. Host clubs get to learn logistic skills. 269. T-shirts and buttons. Fairly simple to do, a bit time consuming at first, but well worth the effort. 270. Fraction meetings in movements. A fraction is a meeting of YCL comrades who are all in the same mass movement to plan immediate common action. For example, the student activist skype call. Or, all the YCLers at a


conference meeting up during lunch to talk about our collective contribution. 271. Campus registration. Currently we have three registered YCL campus clubs with potential for at least two more in the coming semester. Campus clubs allow us to have a visible face on campus, booking tables and rooms for example. 272. International solidarity events. Both the Che Brigade and the World Festival of Youth and Students have been really positive events for the YCL either enormously fun or an epic misadventure especially because they are vehicles through which we can break-down anticommunism and get to know allies while carrying out relevant international exchanges with other left and communist youth groups around the world. 273. All these concrete examples are solid proof that we largely achieved one of the main goals set by the YCLLJC for itself after the 25th Central Convention, namely greater collective work. The level of collective work hasnt always been even. Many of the examples above had central coordination, but came to life at the club level.

had to do with the unity of the YCL and its integrity as an organization, and our principles: full discussion and debate, criticism and self-criticism, voluntary discipline and maximum unity of action ie. what our Constitution calls democratic centralism. Second, both problems asked the question is the YCL a group of people working together as part of an activist collective, or is it a servicecentred experience providing members access to leftist activities or networks? 276. In British Columbia the Provincial Executive Committee disagreed with the Central Executive over the YCLs student movement policy in early 2011, but unfortunately rejected dialogue about the matter with the CEC. While the Central Committee instructed everyone to get back to work, the BC PEC members mass work (which included employment in the labour and student movement) eclipsed visible YCL activity and central-level assignments like Rebel Youth. Occasional statements simply echoed these movements demands, sometimes giving critical support to the NDP. By 2013 all clubs had folded, contacts drifted, a somewhat toxic internal culture developed, and a handful of people were left who resigned from the communist movement. The problem in BC showed what happens when the YCL-LJC submerges itself into movements, stops being visible, and unhooks our involvement in immediate struggles from the goal of socialism. Even if YCLers hold key leadership positions in youth movements and are very busy, if they are not doing political work coordinated by the YCL and our

274. Political obstacles building the league

275. Since the last convention, the Central Committee and its Executive have had to deal with two internal issues on either side of the country. The questions emerged as organizational, administrative, or even personal conflicts; but at the heart, the problems were political. The problems


revolutionary perspective, their energies will be captured by social democracy (through rewards like greater prestige, or pressure like being shunned and isolated if you dont campaign for the NDP). Unfortunately, the matter consumed countless hours of attention of the Central Committee and especially the CEC. The problems were resolved when a few members decided to leave the communist movement. The situation today in BC is much more positive. The YCL in Vancouver has rebuilt itself from scratch and is getting active in Cuba solidarity. A school is being organized jointly with the CPC in March and new contacts have been made across the province. 277. In Toronto the League also encountered problems although of a different nature and the response of the comrades was constructive and comradely. The main problem was that the club (located in a strategically important city for the YCL) had become inactive for various reasons. Members of the club contacted the provincial and central leadership, who stepped-in and helped reorganize the club over a period of time to the point where it has doubled in size, is active in the minimum wage campaign, student politics, and Cuba solidarity, and now will be the host of the 26th Central Convention. Torontos experience showed what happens when a club shrinks from being a politically active body to more of a discussion group while not engaging directly in the concrete struggles of the youth and student movement. It also shows that, as a whole organization, we have to ensure the principles of unity and action and democratic centralism and our

principals as an organization are maintained and that leadership in this process means highlighting the politics of questions, debating and winning comrades to our positions, rather than issuing directives. 278. Thus description of these two political problems are not being put on the table in order to focus on two clubs / committees of the YCL in isolation. Across all the League we need to be conscious of two tendencies that can disrupt the work of the YCL: members working as individuals in mass movements with no visible YCL; or becoming merely a group of friends discussing politics more as a hobby than a guide to action in the youth and student movement. Both these problems are collective problems related to a failure of the club structure. As we said at the 25th Central Convention: 279. Our style isnt to play the game by trying to be a one player team. We have to mobilize more people than just ourselves. For communists to influence people, we have to be on the terrain where they are already fighting. We have to be attuned to issues that are already angering youth. We have to be part of the struggles where they are engaged. The most sophisticated tool to make such assessments and ground people as a group is the YCL-LJC club that can work with an eye to bringing other forces in on the ground floor. 280. It is natural that our clubs are places where members come to do politics and a healthy club in the process of recruiting will have a number of comrades and friends for whom participating in YCL club life is


their main political activity. This is normal and part what we consider the mass character of the League. But the purpose of the club is not to shelter in the corner away from the action but rather to coordinate our participation and contribution to the local youth movement. Thus the servicecentered dimension of club life will always be present but can never overtake the need for action. After all, as is the definition of a collective, the YCLs goal is that all members should contribute in some way, shape or form. Not everyone may be a public speaker, a musician, or a writer, and some folks are great at collecting petitions but not everyone. Most political skills are learnt over time. Our strong clubs are not perfect, but they strive to work so that the everyones diverse potential of talent, ability and skills are realized and become reality. This is true politically as well. As much as we all might have thought this when we joined and assumed the title of being a Red, nobody is born as a communist or walks in the door for the first time as a communist fighter. Communists are made through collective work and struggle. 281. This question most clearly expresses itself in the relationship between theory and action. Marxists, to place this question theoretically, view practice as primary base of all knowledge. In life, unfortunately, there often isnt enough time to discuss theory. Not all theoretical questions, after all, are of equal importance at all moments, nor does elaborate analysis earn the title of theory for being complex. At the YCL-LJC womens school the criticism came forward that many somewhat obscure discussions about communist history or the

plethora of left groupuscules can exclude members who might be drawn to the YCL because of our immediate policy rather than conversations seemingly removed from concrete action. Similarly, limiting activism to theoretical or historical discussions on social media can lead to some sectarian theoretical conclusions divorced from the reality of the struggle. This is understandable: theory without practice is sterile, just as action without theory is blind. While we are far from immune from this problem, neither is the YCL-LJC the worse of the self-declared left youth. The YCL has encapsulated this relationship with the phrase struggle to learn, learn to struggle. The point is that theoretical discussion should be a way to go further with politics, not move away from it.

282. Cadre, towards an action plan

283. With the youth movement as our natural habitat and standing up as openly communist, it is really no surprise that we are constantly engaged in debate over action on immediate issues and our long-term goal, the road to socialism. Twentyone years ago, the YCL crash-landed on the dark, cold, rocky shores of the end of history, capitalist triumphalism, and the overturn of the USSR. But history, of course, had not ended. Motion, in the youth movement and society, is a constant. As young people move into a political understanding of the world, we are drawn into the struggle. The youth movement is constantly and rapidly re-inventing itself and replenishing itself, training new activists and


leaders when members change schools, shift jobs, move city, or go on to new experiences. With the green movement, anti-globalization protest, and especially the massive world-wide mobilizations against George W. Bushs war on terror, the peoples fires of resistance, which had never stopped burning, became brighter. In 2003 a conference was held by young communists and socialists to establish a Leninist youth organization at 706 Clark Drive in Vancouver. 284. The decade since that conference has given the new League a lot of experience re-forging politically and organizationally: getting started from 2003 to the 24th Central Convention in 2007; building and consolidating from 2007 to the 25th Central Convention in 2010; and since then reinforcing our unity and dealing with the challenges of growth. This history is the latest chapter of a 90year volume which we should be very proud of. Nobody can take this from us. Our story includes some of the bravest movements in the youth and student movement like the On To Ottawa Trek of unemployed youth, the Mac-Pap Battalion, and the Stockholm Peace Petition during the Cold War. It includes helping build the Association Nationale des tudiantes et des tudiants du Qubec as well as the National Union of Students and its predecessor. Weve captured some of this history in the last issue of Rebel Youth, and we need to go further. 285. Our history shows that the YCL has a different role to play at different times in the struggle. As the YCL-LJC goes forward an important question the whole organization has to consider is the type of leadership we

need to provide in the youth and student movement, and especially within our own organization. This is obviously relevant to the discussion about the election of the new Central Committee, but it is also significant for the whole League at the level of central commissions, provincial committees and the LJC-Q, and our clubs. Across the whole YCL-LJC experienced comrades are taking on new responsibilities and assignments but the work they were doing before, like organizing their club, still needs to be done. In other cases old clubs are becoming larger and new clubs are being built and they need organizers, treasurers and secretaries. New activists are stepping forward. But the question of leadership is not only relevant for comrades who are assigned and take on these tasks it is a question for the whole League. 286. Tasked by the Central Committee to convene a Central Convention in due time, the Executive met in person in December 2012 with the objective of reviewing the questions of collectively, cadre development, educational work, and leadership transition. The CEC concluded that building the YCL-LJC meant building cadre in a systematic way and reaffirmed that collectively must be at the essence of communist work. Collectively does not equal meetings for meetings sake or time spent on doing things, rather it means the application of talents, better quality of work and unity in action. To avoid leaders making decisions alone, we need to reinforce the active, practical participation in the day-to-day life the League by all the membership, in charge of their


League and taking responsibility for their work. The outgoing CEC also found that, more and more, it took over the role of Central Committee. That problem really needs to be corrected at this convention, and it can be done so by nominating and sending a team of our best activists into the CC. The incoming CC must identify a way to have regular meetings, issue regular statements, carry out regular organizational tours, and frankly blow-up the log jams to doing this even if it means recasting our action goals to a more modest level. 287. While our last Convention sent a large number of the CC members back into action and re-elected for a second term, the 26th Convention does not have that option. As a result, there will be a great deal of leadership turnover at the highest level of the League. The work of all outgoing CC members whose contribution helping carry forward the YCL is recognized. In selecting the next CC, we need to ask what qualities all our cadre must have. Perhaps foremost is combining engagement in political work outside of the YCL with a solid grasp of our policies and what the League stands for on immediate, concrete questions. This requires not necessarily vast experience but a practical approach and getting involved in local struggles. Cadre must also know how the League works in practice. And, cadre need to set themselves the task of learning Marxism. 288. If comrades look around their clubs and see people who fit this criteria, then the club should put them to work. But if they dont, then its a collective responsibility of the whole

League to help train and develop people with those skills. This requires collective educational work like schools. As the call to the convention says in electing the incoming Central Committee the Convention should give due regard to leadership qualities; links with the working class and social movements; the multinational character of Canada; area representation; and taking into account the systematic advancement of women, persons with disabilities, aboriginal people and people of colour, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons. To achieve this goal, as the womens school concluded, we need to create spaces for those comrades to experience the League and give them the possibility to put themselves forward, rather than targeting comrades or tokenizing people pushing them into roles they are either not prepared for or simply not comfortable with. 289. The Central Committee isnt the only central assignment of the YCL. Nine months into its mandate, the Central Committee reported that all the commissions had all started meeting. The commissions (a) were given a basic mandate and the authority to act; (b) had co-chairs / coconvenors identified as well as a proposed system of report-back and check-up proposed; and (c) the CC also called for the student conference call to develop into a regular working group. When we come to do the review, these three points need to be taken into consideration, as well as some other factors.


290. We also need to make sure that commissions dont again become a way to address the problem of

incorporating into YCL work members at large who otherwise might drift away. Canada is a huge country and we get applications from all over. Looking forward, the YCL Central Committee needs to develop a specific structure for members at large, to make sure their skills are at work in the YCL while ensuring a different composition of commissions. 291. We also need to review our work and see if we need more or less commissions and working groups. Certainly the work is there. Partly it is a question of finding the right group of people, and partly it is also a question of effectively and concretely framing their mandate. Two working groups could be proposed. For women and gender struggles, we dont have a proper systematic way of dealing with this area of work yet and so it has carried on somewhat informally or on the sidelines of meetings. For student work, we have a system of a fairly regular call, but when the Executive is too busy to convene the call and there are no pressing emergencies, student coordination falls off the map. And we have yet to really develop a common platform for our student activists to propose for progressive slates at student elections. 292. Much could be said about the improved coordination of our educational work. Certainly we are producing materials and holding regular conferences and schools. An online library, centralizing materials and reading lists could be easily assembled. One route could be changing the responsibilities of the Executive to reflect our current needs and reality, proposing to re-assign the

central organizer with the specific task of being the central education coordinator. Another route could be a specific educational commission. 293. We should also consider the assignment of a specific international secretary, to lead the work of the international commission and our relations with the World Federation of Democratic Youth. 294. The Rebel Youth and Jeunesse Militante have to improve their circulation and regularize their production. This isnt only the task of the Rebel Youth commission but the entire YCL. The clubs must be dynamically linked with Rebel Youth, including its online expression. Articles dont have to match exactly a strict editorial guideline; only statements attributed to the YCL are actual policy. Every member should have a Rebel Youth subscription. The bi-lingual quality of Rebel Youth should be maintained and reinforced. Promoting Jeunesse Militante is also a responsibility of the whole League. 295. The LJCQ is a constitutionally distinct entity within the League. But that shouldnt become a way to exclude the Ligue into the broader work of the YCL-LJC with a common strategy. 296. In our last convention we decided to focus on young workers, students, peace, certain select issues of international solidarity, as well as the environment and climate change and womens struggles. In certain cases we succeeded especially with students, but also in the area of womens struggles through the


womens school, and in our international work around Cuba, the WFDY and the Festival movement. We didnt necessarily succeed in young workers and the environment. These both, however, should remain as Action plan priorities. Another area was the Charter of Youth Rights campaign which didnt get off the ground. And the issue of Trade Schools and High schools needs to be better addressed by the League.

297. Conclusion
298. We are not in the armchair on these questions raised in this convention process, we are in action. 299. The struggle for immediate social progress, within the framework of capitalism, and the struggle for making a rupture, a sharp break overthrowing of the system, are objectively linked as a process. The

YCL is a unique group in the youth and student movement because it gets this unity of reform and revolution. While we dont try to impatiently impose our demands on the youth movement, we dont sit on the sidelines or simply go with the flow. We are not compliant or complacent with the situation today. The vanguard role of the YCL arises in action, working in the political direction of the Communist Party of Canada, and applying that strategic direction within the youth and student movement of unity and militancy. The current economic and political conditions have caused more and more young workers and students to look for alternatives to cut-backs, privatization and austerity. We have answers to the questions that are now being raised. The case against war, poverty, misery, environmental devastation, unemployment, exploitation and oppression is really the case for socialism!


Table 1 - Youth unemployment (ages 15-24) remains high. Source: Statistics Canada Official rate 2007 2011 2012 2013 6.0% 7.4% 7.3% 7.1% Officialyouth rate 11% 14.4% 14.3% 13.8% Real youth rates 15.4% 19.7% 20% 20.9%

Graph 1 - Youth unemployment and employment rate. Source: Progressive Economics Forum

Infographic 1 - What is Rape Culture? Source: Ultra Violent


Graph 2 - Hours lost in work stoppages in Canada since WWII. Source: UNIFOR

Graph 3 - Breakdown of work stoppages in Canada in last decade. Source: Statistics Canada