May Day Statement Canadians for Peace and Socialism
May 1st 2010
Jobs and a Living Wage for All!
Taxes for Peace Not US-NATO Wars!
Make Parliament Act for People’s Needs!
Put Monopoly Under Control!
May Day 2010 takes place at a moment when another global failure of the capitalist system continues to wreak economic havoc on the lives of millions of workers and their families. The working people have been abandoned by their governments. Senior governments collaborate with big business, diverting state resources from social needs of the people to a profit recovery for the banks, stock markets, private investors and a small parasitical class of wealth and privilege.
Finance capital is taking advantage of mass unemployment, mass indebtedness, and the falling purchasing power of wages, to intensity exploitation and robbery of the working class.
The economic attack on the working class is accompanied by a corporate media blitz attempting to convince the public that a jobless recovery of profits first and people’s needs last is inevitable and justified. The Conservative and Liberal Parties are engaged in a massive cover up of the general systemic failure of capitalism that is evident everywhere. The top leadership of the NDP and the organized labour movement let them get away with it.
The Harper Government’s economic recovery budget was never about jobs for all at a living wage. The budget, crafted by big business advisors, was all about perpetuating permanent underemployment, wage freeze, speed up, to achieve higher profits. Underemployment at low wages without benefits is a deliberate corporate policy. Cheap labour puts more profit in the pockets of employers, speculators and investors. That is what Finance Minister Flaherty promised the banks and profiteers, that is what he has delivered and that is what he intends to continue to do.
Wage earners are deliberately excluded from the so-called “recovery”. The recession is not over for millions of workers and their families and that is the way corporate power likes it. The bosses are not in a hurry to see conditions of workers and their families improve.
Job insecurity, the loss of good union jobs, more workers forced to seek work at starvation wages without benefits is applauded by the investor classes. Creating destitution by cutting the unemployed off EI benefits is deliberate. Impoverishing working class families, forcing them to exhaust savings, lose homes and resort to credit card debt forces workers to accept substandard wages and working conditions, just what the bosses want. Purchasing power of employed workers is falling. Declining purchasing power is the result of a combination of a creeping wage freeze and rising prices on basic necessities.
Housing costs are rising. Mortgage interest rates are going up. The banks and mortgage lenders are profiteering from another housing bubble. The federal government stands idly by as real estate speculators inflate house prices and rack up commissions. Landlords are raising rents, ousting those who cannot pay and gouging those who can. With a glut of housing available, homelessness is spreading among the youth and those living in poverty.
The youth have been abandoned by federal and provincial governments. Jobs with a future are unavailable. Youth are advised to take on debt to acquire skills and higher education and when they do can’t apply those skills in good jobs at a living wage. Employers with the approval of federal and provincial governments force youth to work at menial jobs for minimum wages without benefits or decent working conditions. Without good jobs young people are discouraged from marrying and raising families.
Women, with formal rights under the law, are denied economic equality in practice. Women continue to be excluded from the best jobs and occupations. Women continue to be streamed into service occupations. Women leaving the work force to raise children encounter obstacles to gain the necessary skills to re-enter the work force. Double exploitation of women on the job and in the home remains as a social blight. Government denial of affordable universal day care prevents women from reaching their full potential in the work place.
The working poor, welfare recipients and pensioners living on OAS are undernourished and poorly housed. Programs to keep seniors healthy and engaged in the community are chronically underfunded. Everyone who relies on wages and pension income confront rising costs for food, energy, home heating, transportation to school and work and recreation.
Governments have fobbed off a growing pension crisis to corporate and academic advisors. The government is inviting through the back door, private insurance interests to meddle in public pension planning. Abandonment of the principle of universality in public pension funding is being actively discussed by right-wing think tanks. A two tier pension scheme, one for the rich and another for the poor, is being considered. CPP and OAS are threatened with major overhauls to the detriment of current and future pension recipients. Governments continue to permit the corporate double cross of workers entitlement to hard earned pensions. Governments continue to refuse to crack down and punish investors that take over companies and rob workers of their hard earned pension savings.
The Harper Government is the enemy of the principle of universality in public health care. Universal high standard public health care for all is gradually being undermined. Underfunding the public health care system weakens the Canada Health Act, imposes user fees and encourages the for profit corporate health lobby. Federal and Provincial governments turn a blind eye to the spread of private for-profit health care clinics.
There is a growing crisis in public education. School closures in both urban and rural communities has become epidemic. Teacher layoffs are occurring as the population rises and the demand for high standard education increases. While chronic underfunding plagues the public health care, education and pension systems, the Harper Government continues to squander over $2 billion a year on the US-NATO war on Afghanistan and commit the Canadian people to a 25 year one-half trillion dollar Canada First Defence Strategy.
Federal and provincial governments regardless of party affiliation are failing all wage earners. Falling standards of living for the workers across the country, rising profits for the banks and corporations, spreading urban and rural poverty is the new normal and it is not about to change in the near future without a massive resistance and fight back led by organized labour.
There is no recourse for workers other than to organize and fight back and the top leadership of organized labour has the duty to lead that fight. The complacency that is evident everywhere at the top levels of leadership of organized labour is unacceptable.
The role of NDP members of Parliament and the leadership of the Canadian Labour Congress in exposing the Harper Government is not enough. Lobbying government is proving to be too weak to challenge and prevent the current abuse and neglect of the needs of the majority who rely on wages and income to live. The policy of attempting to convince reactionary pro-big business governments to reform themselves is futile.
An entirely new fight back strategy is required and can only arise from an aroused rank and file movement, led by the most militant, class conscious workers and their families.
The demand of the Communists for a CLC sponsored fight back conference in effect a real Parliament of the working people that challenges the corporate plan for Canada and outlines labour’s plan for the future of the country is long overdue. That call must be heard in every provincial federation, every local and taken up by all workers. There is no one else to do it.
Such a conference must as a minimum declare:
•Organized labour will not accept a wage freeze and will fight for rising wages and purchasing power for workers and their families;
•Full employment and guaranteed incomes for all;
•Affordable housing for all;
•Free education for all;
•Keep the profiteers out of the health and pension systems;
•Jobs and opportunities for the youth;
•End the second class economic status of women.
The working people, as the creators of all of the wealth of the country are demanding their interests and the needs of the poor become the priority of all elected representatives at Ottawa and in every provincial and municipal government across the country. The working class is one class everywhere in the country. It acts in solidarity with all oppressed people, all those who are victimized by the profit system. Governments must feel the heat of the simmering discontent and anger that is everywhere and that is too weakly expressed.
On this May Day join with organized labour, the militant rank and file, all oppressed and disadvantaged people, take up the struggle for a new direction for Canada in the interests of all those who labour to live.
Canada is a rich country. We have everything we need to provide for all. Capitalism is the problem and socialism is the answer.
Left Turn Canada!
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