Closure for Consolidation: Solidarity with TASS and LDSS!

Closure for Consolidation: Solidarity with TASS and LDSS!

Across Canada, high school students are feeling the brunt of government austerity measures. Their schools are being closed; a process known as ‘closure for consolidation’. In Peterborough, these destructive and anti-student measures were experienced by Lakefield District Secondary School students in September when they were forced to consolidate into Thomas a Stewart Secondary.

 

In May of 2015, Peterborough public school board administrators recommended that Lakefield Secondary close and students be consolidated into Thomas a. Stewart (TASS) in the Long-Term Accommodation Plan report released by the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB), in this document, several schools were slated to be closed, but in March of this year, the school board succeeded in their efforts, and students left the school for the last time to be later consolidated into TASS.

 

The most disconcerting aspect of this closure was just how aware the school board was of the negative implications this meant for students who attended LDSS. The school board completely ignored the concerns of teachers, indigenous students, and TASS students regarding the closure and consolidation of their schools. During a consultation meeting, a community archivist from the Curve Lake Cultural Center said to applause, “Our students don’t want to go to a new school. They will be lost … when they are here, we know where they are and that they are safe”.

 

TASS has now been through 2 consolidation processes in an attempt to fill its halls with as many students as possible, even more schools are planned for closure within the next few years that will most likely be consolidated into TASS as well. Prior to the consolidation of LDSS we saw the closure of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS). In 2011, the board voted to close the school, and in 2012 they succeeded with PCVS students scheduled to move into TASS the following school year. Since then, complaints of overcrowding, underfunding, understaffing, and an array of other similar issues have been prominent among students.

 

“Over the course of my four years at TASS I’ve been witness to not only the LDSS transfer but also the end of the PCVS one as well, and quite frankly it’s almost the same scenario but on a larger scale. The class sizes are larger, staff have more students to attend to making it almost impossible to get help, […] While there’s no major culture clash like there was when PCVS moved, and continued up until the remaining students graduated, there’s still substantial tension between the TASS students and the Lakefield students.”

 

TASS touts their higher enrollment numbers, but what does this actually mean? ‘Higher enrollment’ simply lines pockets, no matter how higher enrollment numbers as a result of closure/consolidation actually effect the quality of education. Increased enrollment has meant many students were completely unable to access the guidance department for weeks following the start of the new school year. Students, particularly in the arts department, claim that their classes lack funding, and many ex-LDSS teachers are currently filling positions that they aren’t used too, and as a result both the teacher and students suffer. This also puts tremendous strain on teachers already at TASS, who must now accommodate upwards of 35+ students in a single classroom. These are issues TASS has struggled with since the consolidation of PCVS students and the adoption of the integrated arts program, which has since seen a massive decline in enrollment as it further suffers from cutbacks.

 

“I was particularly excited to hear about the integrated arts program at PCVS, there was such a sense of inclusion. I moved to Peterborough with the intent to attend PCVS, and actually had to end up paying for my own bus pass when the program moved to TASS.”

 

Thus, with the move we see costs for transportation being offloaded onto students typically from the working class core neighborhoods of Peterborough and from the reservations and far flung rural communities previously served by PCVS and LDSS. The consolidation of two distinct student communities into a single school has also brought about what has been termed a ‘culture clash’, in reality this is just is the abdication of responsibility to create anti-oppressive spaces that protect racialized, LGBTQIA2S, and indigenous students. This can be seen in the way students describe the relations among students after the PCVS closure. 

 

“There was definitely anger between PCVS and TASS students. One time at an assembly we were all watching a slideshow of door decorations for this annual contest, there was a door dressed up in PCVS logos and shirts, as soon as it came up on the projector a section of the audience began cheering, and another began booing, a couple boys behind me yelled out homophobic slurs, It was scary but also infuriating. Similar things used to happen to people who wore PCVS sweaters and shirts, friends of mine were harassed with slurs, one time TASS students sprayed axe deodorant over a popular lunch location for integrated arts students, at the time the administration did nothing about it, even when we came forward.”

 

This systematic and widespread violence is typical given the rhetoric we see daily. Despite what the school board and administration says about trying to foster harmony, we can see their profit over people priorities in their actions. If we look across Canada it is always working class schools like PCVS and schools serving indigenous communities like LDSS that are on the chopping block with the added funds being used not to support these students but rather support an ever growing board office and pad the personal projects of administrators.

 

The Revolutionary Student Movement – Peterborough would like to invite students of Thomas a Stewart and past students of Lakefield District Secondary School to attend the November 2nd Day of Action against tuition fees at Trent University. Our struggles are connected to the fight against austerity measures that seek to undermine our education. No organization in English Canada is currently taking seriously the task of mobilizing with high school students. The RSM seeks a fundamental transformation of high school education be to be democratic and anti-colonial, making it accessible for all working class and oppressed students. As we begin mobilizing across the province against school closures, we believe the only strategy that can keep our schools open and eliminate tuition fees is to strike, following the Quebec path of militant organization that has resulted in the province having the most accessible and student focused education in the country.

 

Towards a Student Strike in English Canada!

 

Towards, Democratic, Anti-Colonial, and Accessible Education!

 

Solidarity with LDSS and TAS Students Facing Austerity!

 

 

RSM-Peterborough

Immigration Detention in Canada

Today at Central East Correctional Centre 50 immigration detainees are hunger striking to protest worsening living conditions, abuses, and indefinite detention. This comes one year after the death of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan who was in the custody of Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC). Hassan had spent 4 years waiting to be deported, suffering from mental health issues and diabetes before his death at 39 years old [1]. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has kept secret the details, only releasing Hassan’s age, and that he became ‘agitated’ and was ‘restrained’ resulting in his death. CBSA has refused to release any more information. In March, another detainee died while in the custody of the CBSA, again they have refused to release any information [2]. A representative for End Immigration Detention Network described the prison conditions for the detainees, saying “Immigration detainees are often on long lockdowns during the summer months, sometimes kept in their small shared cells for days in a row, unable to speak with their families, or get legal support” [3]. The current and past governments have failed to take action to correct the violence faced by the migrants at the hand of officials. These events are the latest in Canada’s long record of jailing migrants and abusing immigration detainees.

Migrants in detention have described their living conditions as “cruel and unusual” (Toby Clarke, who has been in detention since 2014), detainees are often abused, tortured, and even killed at the hands of the CBSA. These conditions result in a large portion of the migrants held in jails facing mental illness, again the CBSA has refuses to comment on this. Jailed migrants are also declined visiting with family, contacting family, or getting legal support; isolating these people from the outside world and often times exacerbating mental health conditions and leaving them hopeless.

However to simply blame ignorance, neglect or an overzealous CBSA obscures the principal source of the violence migrants in and out of detention face. It is the position of Canada, an imperialist, settler-colonial, and capitalist state that leads to the use of immigration detention to further exploit racialized communities in Canada. It is a tool to discipline those who speak up and as a terror tactic to destabilize immigrant communities. This abuse has gone on hand and hand with the overwhelming use of migrants since the building of the Canadian Railways used migrants as a source of cheap labour. To this day, Canada employs mass amounts of migrant labor as a disposable workforce (Ontario employing the most temporary foreign workers).

Immigration detention is not the only technique used to discipline migrant communities. Migrants are also often deported for minor crimes, including drug possession and even traffic law violations. Unemployment is also used to control migrants, as of 2014, over 14% of migrants were jobless, effectively making them apart of the reserve army of labor, a section of the proletariat utilized for competition and to drive down wages. This places most migrants solidly in the hard core of the proletariat. Often scapegoated these peoples are faced with little to no medical or social services and have the least protection from violence both state sponsored and community driven. Only through consolidated organization that refuses to work within the domains of liberal techniques of education and lobbying can the conditions of these communities be improved in more than superficial ways.

Based on a racist ideology of national chauvinism core to Canadian culture and the states creation, “temporary” foreign workers and other Migrants are considered to be a drain on health care and social services. This denies many migrants and refugees access while making them near impossible to obtain for the lucky few. The process to receive OHIP is precarious, over 200,000 migrants, refugees, and temporary foreign workers are denied coverage resulting in death, sickness, and exorbitant medical bills. All of these factors force communities into poverty. For migrants workplace injuries are more often ‘treated’ with deportation instead of medical care. Take for instance Javier Alonzo, who suffered a stroke in 2005, his employer attempted to have him deported instead of seeking medical service, which they successfully did when Javier suffered a second stroke that left him unable to work, he was then deported back to Mexico without access to health services [4].

All of this is dependant on if migrants can gain access to Canada in the first place, in 2001 out of 44,452 asylum seekers only 6,784 were accepted (a year later!). The Liberal government is party to this, Bill C-51 makes it far more difficult for migrants to gain access to Canada under the guise of ‘anti-terrorism’ efforts. If they are granted asylum, they have to dodge being thrown in jail, 87,317 migrants between 2006 and 2014 were jailed without committing any crimes, including over 800 children [5], that’s not even counting those arrested for minor crimes like drug possession and even traffic infractions. As of 2014 Canada currently jails approximately 11,000 migrants per year, and the situation is getting worse.

Canada deports roughly 35 people per day, approximately 117,531 between 2006 and 2014. This often takes the form of deportation raids. Take for example a woman named Jane and her 3 year old daughter; Jane was a migrant from Ghana in 1999 (and also a sexual assault survivor), in 2006 the CBSA forcibly entered a Toronto shelter looking for her. Jane described the violence faced saying, “It’s scary. I can’t go to sleep I’m scared not just for myself, but for others in shelters everywhere who are facing the same fear.” [6] The pigs are also, as one might guess, complacent and even participants in the terrorization of immigrant communities, in 2008 Fredy Villanueva was lynched by Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, his brother (and witness to the murder) was later deported to Honduras despite being in the country since he was 12, and having no valid criminal record [7].

This function has also been linked to capital as one of many privatizations. G4S, a British multinational security corporation who provides protection for Canadian mining projects, also provide security for Toronto Immigration enforcement Centre for $36 million worth of contracts. G4S officers have abused migrants on many occasions, even killing one Jimmy Mubenga when they restrained him in 2012 during his deportation to Honduras. [8] G4S is known for providing the Israeli Defence Force with contracts and equipment utilized to kill Palestinians, and even running interrogation centres where over 6,000 Palestinians are tortured every day. [9]

The Revolutionary Student Movement-Peterborough and Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committee)-Peterborough stand in solidarity with these striking migrants. We must organize against these heinous abuses and the CBSA. The Liberal government as agents of capital will not dismantle the system on which it functions. It now as always is up to the masses to work for the abolishing of immigration detention. This requires not just a letter to the minister or a member of parliament. These individuals are agents of oppression no matter what they say, no matter what they think they will always fall in line with the needs of capital and the Canadian state. These are the needs of a settler-colonial, imperialist, capitalist system. Instead a strong anti-racist organization is needed. We encourage those to get into contact with the End Immigration Detention Network (EIDN) in Peterborough. To better understand how immigration detention serve the capitalists and the state and how we can smash it RSM-PTBO will be organizing reading groups. It is only through revolutionary organizing that we will strike the death-nell of the racist practices of the Canadian State!

End Immigration Detention!

Solidarity with Striking Migrants!

1https://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2015/06/19/secrecy-surrounds-death-of-troubled-man-in-immigration-detention.html

2https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/03/10/stop-the-indefinite-detention-of-migrants-in-canada-cole.html

3https://endimmigrationdetention.com/2016/07/11/act-now-immigration-detainees-on-hunger-strike-in-ontario/#more-1741

4 –https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/09/18/denying_health_coverage_to_injured_migrant_workers_is_shameful.html

5http://www.neverhome.ca/detention/

6http://www.neverhome.ca/deportation/

7https://corporatewatch.org/news/2012/may/20/many-reasons-stop-g4s

8https://bdsmovement.net/activecamps/g4s

Solidarity Statement with Lindsay/Toronto Immigration Detainees on Hunger Strike

The Revolutionary Student Movement (Peterborough Chapter) expresses solidarity with 50 immigration detainees undergoing a hunger strike at Toronto and Lindsay prisons to protest worsening living conditions. These men are currently being held without a trial at the Central East Correctional Centre and Toronto East Detention Centre indefinitely, they are demanding to speak to Ralph Goodale (Canada’s Minister of Public Safety). We would also like to extend solidarity to the End Immigration Detention Peterborough who will be holding a meeting to brainstorm ways we can support the hunger strike on Wednesday July 13th at 7:00 pm at the OPIRG office in Sadlier House, Peterborough. The RSM will be hosting a reading/discussion group on Saturday, July the 16th at Confederation park (across from City Hall/in front of PCVS)

End immigration detention!

Solidarity with striking migrants! 

Class On Campus: How does Class Decide Education?

Class On Campus: How does Class Decide Education?

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Join Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) Peterborough as we present and discuss the University as a place of class conflict. Many groups continue to propose that students are a single group, but all of us know in some way this is a lie. Some students will go on to run businesses and exploit others and some will go on to be exploited.

Discuss with us as we cut through the BS and take a hard look at what it means to be a student and who really is gaining from education as it stands. The RSM stands with all oppressed students who want to end oppression not form false alliances with their own oppressors.

Facebook Event

For those unable to attend or interested in more information take a look at our documents found here on the website:

Limits of the Current Student Movement

Class Struggle or Democratic Struggle?

About our Methods of Work

 

Solidarity!

Down with Racism! Saturday 1PM in Confederation Park! All out Against Racism, Fascism, and Islamophobia!

Down with Racism! Saturday 1PM in Confederation Park! All out Against Racism, Fascism, and Islamophobia!

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Down with Racism: Saturday November 21st 1pm


This past Saturday night Masjid Al-Salaam (the sole Mosque in Peterborough and religious and cultural home to the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association) was the location of an arson attack. The community reached out in efforts to raise funds to fix the Mosque. However recent actions have shown that Racists, Fascists and Islamophobes are undeterred. In light of the continued reactionary behavior on the part of white supremacist scum, the Revolutionary Student Movement-Peterborough and the Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committee)-Peterborough call on all anti-racists and anti-fascists to join us on the streets and show a united front in solidarity with all People of Colour in Peterborough and the Kawarthas!

The RSM and RCP-OC call for a Rally Against Racism this coming Saturday at 1pm starting and ending at Confederation Park across from City Hall!

Take to the Streets! All out against the Racists and Fascists! Stamp out Reactionary Thought!

The RSM and PCR-RCP are committed to stopping racism, we have done it before in Montreal and Toronto and as Peterborough anti-racists united we will do it again!

RSM Peterborough is in Solidarity with Victims of Racist Attacks

RSM Peterborough is in Solidarity with Victims of Racist Attacks

RSM Peterborough stands in solidarity with the members of Masjid Al-Salaam, Muslims and people of colour throughout Peterborough and the Kawarthas in the face of an attack on the community’s Mosque this past Saturday Night. An arson attack just hours after the community was celebrating in the space is a clear message of racism and islamophobia. Such attacks by reactionary elements in our community cannot be tolerated. Just as RSM and PRAC Comrades and  have taken an active role in confronting the PEGIDA fascists in Montreal and Toronto, the RSM calls on all revolutionary and progressive forces in Peterborough to condemn and confront racist ideas and actions wherever they arise. There has been a group formed to support the Community!

The international context of western imperialism and reactionary ISIS forces confronting each other cannot be ignored, but it must be remembered that both these groups seek to dominate and oppress the revolutionary classes of the world. Reactionaries and white supremacists will always use conflict to justify their oppression of and violence toward People of Colour and others. Lal Salaam/ Red Salute to the revolutionary forces that are globally confronting reactionary Western Imperialism and Supremacy and Fundamentalist Islam. We cannot forget that no matter which of these forces win it will be the proletarians and refugees who suffer.

 

Solidarity with the Muslims of Peterborough!

Solidarity with the victims of racist and fascist attacks!

Down with Fascism!

Down with Racism!

Down with Islamophobia!

Solidarity Peterborough Mosque

 

RSM Peterborough Serves the People

RSM Peterborough Serves the People

Facebook Header - Serve the PeopleRSM Peterborough is glad to say we are hosting a Serve the People event on Monday November 23rd at 6:30pm in Confederation Park next to the weekly Food Not Bombs Peterborough dinner. At this event we will be distributing winter clothes from the OPIRG Free Market.

In our actions we help to get those who need them warm clothes for this winter and build solidarity with them so we can together struggle against capitalism and the harm it does. We take inspiration for our Comrades in Montreal, Ottawa and Sudbury who have also taken on such initiatives in the past.

We serve the people to help win the struggles of today while building unity and strength so that we can fight the struggles of tomorrow!

To help with both of these necessary tasks and to learn more about RSM Peterborough come out to our Weekly Meetings at 6pm on Tuesdays in LEC 207, Trent University, reach out to us on Facebook: Revolutionary Student Movement Peterborough or email us at RSM.PTBO@gmail.com.

Solidarity!

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