THE ONTARIO STUDENT MOVEMENT WILL NOT BE CO-OPTED

THE ONTARIO STUDENT MOVEMENT WILL NOT BE CO-OPTED

Yesterday the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario (CFS-ON) launched a callout for a province wide student walkout on March 20th at noon. It is an interesting coincidence that they chose to initiate a callout for action on that specific date. This date and time is exactly the same as the Red Spring Day of Action which we made a public callout for on January 19th and have been actively organizing to promote on campuses across the country. Already the CFS leadership is feigning ignorance about this widely promoted campaign, admitting they didn’t try to reach out to us before announcing it. This is a dishonest and opportunistic move to co-opt and undermine what is and continues to be an independent, radical initiative of student organizers across Canada. Failing to mobilize quickly and effectively themselves, they have chosen to try and graft themselves onto the work of others. They hope to take the credit by throwing money at expensive promotion, photo ops with pictures of paid staffers and plastic mass-produced protest signs, all to go towards lobbying the politicians who keep on passing legislation to harm most students and prevent us from organizing. They will keep on pretending they have any semblance of relevance to the 500,000 students they claim to represent, the absolute majority of whom has never heard of the CFS despite funding it. This action cannot be swept aside as a misunderstanding, a miscommunication or an innocent mistake. Leadership of the group with a multi-million dollar operating budget, paid organizers and deep rooted networks among student bureaucracy knows perfectly well what events are organized by which student group across the country. The CFS exposes itself once again not only as ineffective and not useful to the student movement, but also as harmful to us all.

If they were simply useless, trying to foster professional careers in “activism” and secure jobs as staffers for political parties without repercussions for the lives of students it would be easy to ignore them. But they work to co-op, control and undermine every student initiative that is new, radical and bold. Their ossified bureaucratic apparatus is completely disconnected from the reality of most students and is incapable to represent us. They are rife with corruption and embezzlement scandals, as well as dishonest bureaucratic maneuvering instead of open political engagement. Our future is on the line and the CFS is part of the problem. The working class in Canada is facing harsh austerity attacks ratcheted up by every government and working class students are no exception to this. We are facing higher levels of debt post-graduation, if it is at all possible for some of us to afford attending school in the first place. Upon graduation we find ourselves pushed more and more into working temp jobs for capitalists taking a greater and greater share of the wealth that needs to be shared by us all. The situation is dire and therefore we need a movement that can fight and win. We need to put politics in command and build a genuine student movement led by the interests of the people who face the most oppression while making the most sacrifices and putting in the most work for everything around us to exist. We need to stop asking politicians for handouts. Instead, we need to strike as often and for as long as we need until we win major systemic changes. All the CFS can do is lobby and unsurprisingly in their 38 years of existence we have experienced 38 years of defeat. Their demands are hollow. They may sound appealing at times, but at best they pay lip service to the interests of most students they claim to represent. They call on the government to give us the right to organize, to protect student voices, for more grants less loans, and to eliminate tuition fees. But they are afraid of being bold, decisive and of fighting for these demands. Demands are not gifts to be handed down by benevolent lords but victories we must win on the streets, at our schools and at work. We will never win anything on the negotiating table not already won in struggle.

In contrast, our points of unity are explicitly political, they are not requests we make of a government that we already know would rather see us chained by our debt and dutifully working for them and the profit of their boss friends. And we are tirelessly organizing to mobilize more and more students around these:

  1. Education in the service of the people, not profit!
  2. Guaranteed paid internships for all students
  3. Abolition of tuition fees at all levels of education! Cancellation of all outstanding student debt!
  4. Barrier-free access to post-secondary education for all Indigenous people and an anti-colonial aspect to all programs!
  5. Democratic control of post-secondary institutions!

 

We have no illusions that the task of realising these demands is an easy or simple process. But we cannot afford to keep begging for scraps from the table of the ruling class and we have a plan to win our demands. Our task is to build a working-class student movement capable of exercising powerful, united student strikes. A movement that is only a part of a larger set of revolutionary forces which can demand on the negotiating table what we have already won. This is no small feat, but it is possible. The examples of Quebec in 2012 and 2015 most recently show us that we can win victories by strong, continuous resistance and working class solidarity. We do not see these experiences uncritically, but we also are not afraid to get our hands dirty and actually build a student movement that can fight.

The CFS-Ontario can definitely recognize they are at the brink of total collapse, as they cannot exist without money. And their only response is to attempt to pretend they have been at the helm of the work students across the country have been doing since January for the upcoming Red Spring actions on March 20th. We need to reject their insufficient demands and go beyond trying to prop-up the same failed strategies of the last 38 years. That union bureaucrats would stoop to grafting on to existing work speaks to their own pathetic desperation. Calling for an action to conflict with an already existing organizing efforts of many students across the country is an attempt to damage the student movement and assert their dominance in a hostile way. The government and the ruling class couldn’t have gotten better help than this – seeing a major student organization step on toes of independent, radical organizing to try to split students apart must make them really happy.

We reject any attempts to water down the politics of the student movement. We call on all of our comrades and supporters to completely abandon any kind of engagement with every CFS-aligned initiative. The student movement needs to get rid of this dead weight by building a genuinely radical resistance and organizing. We must fight knowing that it is right to rebel and it is even better to make revolution. We will continue to resist and to build a movement that can smash the current system of for-profit education and oppressive anti-people governments and we will unite the students across this country to build a new, better system in its place.

In Struggle,

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

Student March Organizers Turn Backs on Antifascists in Ottawa

Student March Organizers Turn Backs on Antifascists in Ottawa

On February 4th, 2019 a rally and a march for student rights was held at Parliament Hill, as part of Ontario-wide day of protests. The event was organized by a new coalition of students who are passionate about resisting the recent cuts in tuition fee subsidies to working class students and the further dismantling of student organizations that were enacted by the current conservative government. Recently, career activist groups such as the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and Carleton Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) have been latching on to similar spontaneous protests organized by members of the masses. The CFS is notorious for its corruption scandals and waste of student money that sustains them, while both they and the GSA are largely disconnected from most students who are not even aware of the existence of these organizations. Despite access to significant institutional funding and student networks, these organizations are rarely able to mobilize more than a few dozen students on each campus largely due to a lack of political perspective to rally most students around. What these groups bring to student organizing is the push to undermine militancy of the masses, the cooptation of events made by others in order to control the political messaging and speakers, and the same old ineffective methods of organizing that boil down to politely asking politicians for small handouts (which they never even give). These groups and their methods of organizing are one of the major reasons why student resistance is at a very low level everywhere outside of Quebec, as they bring much more harm than good by undermining any sort of radical, combative initiatives while most of their leaders seek to bolster their resumes for a future career.

Despite the abundant organizing resources available to the CFS and GSA, the event only attracted around 50 people and was one of the many traditional methods of organizing that does not threaten the ruling class and their drive to harm the working class and people from oppressed groups. Members of the MER-RSM in Ottawa attend many events like this with the aim of offering a more radical perspective on student organizing, as we talk to participants, and try to push the militancy of such events forward when possible, as well as learning more about the grievances that the people and groups that organize such events have. We recognize that the initial drive to go and do something against outrageous processes that harm the masses is a just cause and we support the intent behind it. However, we also understand the limitations of traditional organizing and lead campaigns of our own, with the goal of growing the militancy of the masses that we organize with and winning major gains instead of defending against every new attack that keeps being hurled at us by the ruling class daily.

We are often met with hostility from some anti-communist participants, who are usually unhappy with our flags and banners, as well as stunts that phoney leftist activists pull to exclude us as they feel threatened by our presence. However, something really uncommon has happened at this event that has left us highly disappointed and dismayed at the conduct of the main organizers. A known extreme right “yellow vest” organizer has attempted to disrupt the event, recording everyone in it and raving about the made-up harms of immigration. Two comrades confronted her, putting flags in front of her camera in order to block her from the event and protect those in attendance. She was aggressively pulling our flags, trying to get into a physical alteration and somehow managed to get a small cut on her face. She backed off shortly after this, which shows that standing up to racists and extreme right organizers is the only way to get rid of them.

Since most of the organizers, especially those in the CFS and GSA constantly talk about how anti-racist and progressive they are, surely they would want to rejoice at the sight of an extreme right troll being pushed away from the rally. But their response couldn’t have been further from this. Instead, the organizers rushed to check up on the “wounded” racist that tried to disrupt the rally, asking if there is anything she wanted them to do. She asked them to go and report this to the police, which some of the organizers gladly did. But one of the organizers shined the brightest among them. Zidane, who works with the GSA and was recently affiliated with the student organization called the Young Communist League (YCL) and the Communist Party of Canada has taken the initiative of being ready to dial 911 on his phone as we were attempting to block the right wing troll. A comrade from our group has notices this and quickly confronted him. In response, he claimed that he was only prepared to call the paramedics in case that the extreme right racist would have needed medical attention.

Such behavior is completely unacceptable, disgraceful and dangerous for any leftist, as everyone knows that doing so would invite police harassment of the rally and its participants. Cops in Ottawa have a long history of racist and politically motivated violence, against leftist protesters. It is especially egregious, since someone affiliated with the communist movement would choose to call the cops instead of helping confront a racist. People who choose to act this way should not be allowed in any progressive organizing, much less be allowed to take leadership of it.

It is extremely disappointing and shocking to see organizers of the event making more efforts to protect a racist organizer rather than students who opposed her attempts to disrupt the rally. The organizers have tried to blame us for the confrontation and kept asking us to leave after that incident. Seeing that the cops were getting closer and pointing at our group, and realizing that most people at the rally do not have our backs, we decided to leave it early.

As the result, we no longer have any reason to join events organized by the same organizers. We cannot be a part of events where we not only have to be on guard against cops and extreme right counter-protesters, but also need to watch our backs around event organizers. It is time to break away from the ineffective, traditional methods of organizing that have exhausted any potential they could have had. We are moving forward with the organizing for a student walk out across Ontario in February 15th, leading on to a one-day student strike across the country on March 20th. It is time to sweep away the corrupt and unprincipled career activists and their decaying organizations that suck the life of radical student organizing. We need to end this blight upon the student movement and organize a truly combative, militant student movement that dares to struggle and dares to win!

 

In struggle,

Revolutionary Student Movement in Ottawa

Congratulation to the PCR-RCP on the 12th Anniversary of its Founding

Congratulation to the PCR-RCP on the 12th Anniversary of its Founding

This January 25th marks the 12th anniversary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (PCR-RCP). We congratulate them on this occasion and renew our commitment to working closely with our comrades to make revolution in Canada. It was the PCR-RCP which made the initiative to call a Conference of Revolutionary Youth and Students together in 2012. This meeting was the first of several which culminated 4 years later with the creation of our organization the Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM). Along the way we have been lucky to struggle alongside the PCR-RCP and appreciate the strong leadership they have offered us as well as others in making revolution. Our modest success would have been impossible without their guidance and support.

We have never made any bones about the fact we are guided by communist principles and that the end goal of our work is revolution. We recognize that we are only one part of the larger united front against the various enemies of the oppressed people and the proletariat in Canada. The united front that will defeat capitalism, settler-colonialism and imperialism in this country. The PCR-RCP is an integral part of that movement.

Today we say to our comrades Lal Salam or Red Salute and look forward to continuing the revolutionary struggle for as long as it takes to build a new world!

In Struggle,

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

Ontario Students Rise Up! Red Spring is Coming

Ontario Students Rise Up! Red Spring is Coming

Ever faithful to protecting capitalist interests, the enemies of the people in the government of Ontario have struck another blow against the interests of working class students. This time, it is by increasing the cost of education through a particularly conniving scheme: first, they leaked an announcement about a 10% tuition fee decrease for the 2019-2020 school year. They even promised that tuition fees will be frozen at this level for the following year as well. However, this is a diversion from the real news. The far more significant changes are in the structure of loans through the OSAP program. As always, when we delve deeper we find that behind every such announcement, whatever the rhetoric, the goal is for the government to structure education to train a generation of workers equipped only to take on the jobs they desire to exploit us through, and be pacified both through debt and propaganda.

What are the nuts and bolts of these changes? First, the 6-month post-graduation grace period has been eliminated, making repayment process and loan interest start immediately after graduation. This will result in students being forced into deeper debt, faster than before. It will also push more students into jobs outside of their field of study. This will lead to an increase of the class divide between working class and bourgeois students: working class students bear the brunt of student debt and will not have time to pursue work in the field of their study before they are forced to pay their loans. The second change is the altering of the way available funding is calculated, with the maximum cap put on the portion of funding offered in grants to 50%. This change hits working class students the hardest, since they are predominantly low-income. Previously, the grant-to-loan ratio was scaled to income and the number of dependents an applicant has. Now, while this is still the case, those with minimal income will be saddled with a higher debt load. Ultimately, this will push working class students who have the least ability to pay for the loans to have the greatest amount of debt. These changes should remind us that our education system is constructed to serve the interests of capitalists. These changes will entrench the class divisions amongst students and hurt those of us from the working class especially hard. None of us should be so naïve as to think that any politician today can create an education service that is in our interests. But we can fight to build one both in resisting these changes in the here and now and building a movement that can fundamentally restructure society. We can build a movement that can make revolution.

In addition to these decreases, one of the other changes is the so called “Student Choice Initiative”. The choice, of course, was made for the students by this government, without asking for our permission or opinions. The aim of this initiative is to alter the rules around ancillary fees. When realized, it will direct post-secondary education institutions to let students choose to opt-out of “non-essential” fees. This will be realized in two ways:

1. Student union or association fees will be made optional. We need to remember, that outside Quebec these organizations are not democratic, accountable or connected to serving the interests of most students. Corruption scandals and toothless actions are the order of the day for most student unions across this country. But let us be clear on this: this is an issue that working class students need to solve on our own, by organizing to rebuild our student movement in our interests. Politicians need to keep their filthy hands out of our affairs! And the same goes for school administrations, constantly working to sabotage our future.

2. Other fees and levies that predominantly serve working class students will be undermined. We can think of many examples from food banks to daycare services. These fees, while “non-essential”, primarily help working class students who are in need of assistance. What this change will functionally achieve is to further privatize the provision of services that may not be essential to the school as a whole, but are certainly essential for working class students. These meager handouts are not even enough to adequately help most people in need of assistance, but the attack on it cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt by capitalists to profit further off of the misery they create for us.

Most student groups, including those on the left that oppose this tuition increase have adopted a stance of laying all of the blame on one bad man – Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario. He is certainly a bad man, but the changes we fight against aren’t the result of one man’s actions – they are a result of the governing Conservative party’s policies. But even more so, they are the result of how the Canadian state works, on the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is the result of it serving the ruling class of the wealthiest capitalists and their interests. We do not have universal, barrier-free and accessible post-secondary education. We do not have an education system that serves the people, we only have a system where we take on a huge debt to be able to qualify as sufficiently-trained workers for the capitalist bosses. Our education system only constantly reproduces society as we know it – a society built on oppressive and outright criminal system of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. It does not help to bring us towards a better future, towards a different kind of world. And those who cannot afford to take on education get forced into increasingly precarious, low-paying, back-breaking labor that can barely suffice for survival.

Outrage against the actions of this government is justified. However, things will not change through expressions of moral outrage and knee-jerk reactions to every terrible measure that this government announces every few weeks. Students and workers need to organize around longer-term goals instead. We need to unite in a fight for a better world, the way we want to see it. Not just be scattered and on the defensive all the time.

This government has already launched an attack on every working class person in the province, by depriving us of the small, overdue, minimum wage increase. It has attacked us by stealing the much needed guaranteed few paid sick leave days and other basic workplace necessities. In a show of adherence to colonial oppression, it has canceled all work to include the general practices, customs and traditions of Indigenous peoples in geography, history and social studies courses in both elementary and high school curriculum. It has forced our high-schools to revert back to an outdated sex-education curriculum, reversing years of improved understanding of healthier relationships. It has deprived the Francophone communities in Ontario of the funding for their education programs. There is much harm this government has done, and much more it will do.

This is why we call on all the communities, groups and individuals harmed and outraged by all these attacks on the people to join us in taking matters into our own hands. We are calling for a one-day Strike and marches on February 15th at noon. We will organize a walk-out of classes across the province, and we are looking for every bit of solidarity and support!

We aim to increase the resistance further, and we call on all the students in Ontario to join our Red Spring Day of Action on March 20th! Students across the country will mobilize for a one-day strike to shut down the schools and make the following 5 demands:

 

  1. Education in the service of the people, not profit!

Education must serve the interests of the people, not corporations and profit. Everyone needs to have access to post-secondary education. Research has to be done for the benefit of all, not the benefit of capitalists and their wars. A democratic and scientific education must replace the imperialist, settler-colonial and patriarchal curriculum. Education needs to prepare us to struggle for justice and liberation, not simply prepare us to be exploited on the job.

  1. Guaranteed paid internships for all students

Interns are workers and must be paid equally for the same work as other workers in their field. Over 300,000 interns across the country do not get proper pay. The times when employers could exploit intern workers without pay must end now!

  1. Abolition of tuition fees at all levels of education! Cancellation of all outstanding student debt!

Banks and the government keep using students as cash-cows while tuition fees and debt become unbearable for most of us. We will not be held hostage to the scam of having to give an arm and a leg for a basic necessity such as education!

  1. Barrier-free access to post-secondary education for all Indigenous people and an anti-colonial aspect to all programs!

Canada, as a settler-colonial state, is built on stolen land and the genocide of Indigenous nations. All Indigenous people must have barrier-free access to post-secondary education. We support the creation of independent faculties, colleges and universities controlled by the Indigenous people. The education system needs to foster the cultures and languages of Indigenous people within it and include mandatory anti-colonial components in all programs.

  1. Democratic control of post-secondary institutions!

Universities and colleges should be run by the people they serve, not by unelected boards of governors and administrators filled with representatives of the big banks and large corporations. We demand the abolition of boards of governors. Instead, schools must be run by committees elected at a general assembly composed of students, faculty, support staff, and members of the community.

 

We can fight and we will fight, but in order to win it is not enough to just push back against the harmful changes constantly being hurled at us before we can effectively organize to resist. The only way we can hope to win is by building a movement of students and workers capable of putting up a fight. This movement will grow in each and every struggle until we have realized a world where education serves the people, not profit and where the governing rules of society are not exploitation and oppression, but mutual support and solidarity among the working class. In order to achieve this, we need to end capitalism and the capitalist education system. Today, this means gathering together and striking back.

On February 15th join us across Ontario and on March 20th join us coast to coast to coast. Let us be the spark to start a prairie fire and burn down this old system, clearing the way for a new one to grow!

 

No fees, no debt, no barriers to education!

Dare to struggle – dare to win!

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

For more information about getting involved, email: info@mer-rsm.ca

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryStudentMovement/

 

No Free Speech for Enemies of the People

No Free Speech for Enemies of the People

Since coming to power in June of 2018, the reactionary Ford government in the province of Ontario has been leading a relentless attack against all the progressive values that the people have fought hard to secure for decades. It represents the deepening of reactionary politics in Ontario which is part of an international trend towards reaction. Cutting the funding for necessary social services, canceling the $15 minimum wage increase, scrapping the work to include the history of genocide inflicted upon Indigenous nations (specifically through Residential Schools), and reversing positive changes to the sex-education high school curriculum. Now they are shielding the extreme right from justified protests against their attempts to spread their vile messages. The conservatives have laid bare the nature of bourgeois politicians, enemies of every progressive aspect of society. At every turn they attack and attempt to reverse the gains that the workers, Indigenous people, women, racially oppressed, and LGBTQ people have fought so hard to achieve.

These attacks will not be met with silence and tolerance – just like there can be no silence and tolerance of racist, sexist and other extreme right views on and off campuses! Already mass protests are happening. On September 21st, thousands of students all across Ontario high schools have organized a walk-out against the attack on the progressive sex education. Smaller protests have begun and will surely multiply in coming months. No bourgeois party can or will end the system of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism in Canada. It is clear that under the conservatives attacks on the people will become stronger, and therefore the resistance we need to put up has to become fiercer in response.

The Revolutionary Student Movement has a long tradition of organizing and boosting events and actions aimed at shutting down extreme-right reactionary events from taking place, both on and off campuses. Many events that the so-called “men’s rights activists” have tried holding across the country have consistently been disrupted and shut down by our organizing, making it impossible for them to take root on campuses, gain legitimacy and increase their ranks. Similarly, we have supported protests against Jordan Peterson’s misogynist, trans-antagonistic speeches. And we have always supported confronting fascist and other extreme-right organizing in the streets across the country.

The new push for legislation to develop campus-based free speech policy is a clear attempt to make it easier for abhorrent reactionary views that get confronted by the masses to be promoted at universities. The rightful backlash against those who promote and organize around such views is now at risk of being further restricted, with heavier penalties for individuals and groups who stand up to oppose them. Ironically, the new free speech rules are aimed at shielding and sheltering the despicable organizers of reactionary events from facing the appropriate response from the public. They should be continuously taught what the people think about their opinions when those are brought out in the open, instead of being allowed to exist in an academic bubble free from consequences. After all, spreading their messages has consequences, as exemplified by the current Ontario government, where they now have powerful allies.

We commit to continue organizing in the combative and militant spirit we have always had. We call on all of our comrades and supporters to organize with renewed energy and vigor and take part in events and actions to resist the reactionary attacks by the Ontario government against the people. We must do all we can to help unleash the power of the masses to oppose it effectively!

No shelter for reactionaries!

It is right to rebel, but better to make revolution!

 

 

In struggle,

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

We Say Yes to BDS at UOttawa!

We Say Yes to BDS at UOttawa!

The Israeli colonization project is causing untold suffering to the Palestinian people. Families are losing their land and livelihoods as the military and illegal settlers swoop in; adults and children alike beaten, jailed or even killed simply for trying to resist dispossession; and Palestinian society becomes fragmented as their territory gets divided into enclaves separated by checkpoints and illegal colonies, while millions of Palestinians continue to live abroad in refugee camps, unable to return to their homeland.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was started by Palestinian civil society groups as a means to put pressure on both state and private actors who play a hand in the colonization process. Inspired by the successful boycott campaign that helped put an end to South African apartheid in the 1980s, it seeks to expose those companies and other institutions that enable Israel’s military and make them turn their back on this vicious operation.

Israel currently benefits from an unfair power balance over Palestine, due to its multi-billion dollar support coming from the US government, its alliance with NATO and partnership with multiple transnational corporations. As a result, fair dialogue is impossible and Israel continues to invade and occupy Palestine in spite of all international condemnations.

The Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) opposes all imperialist and colonial forces, and it is our responsibility to show solidarity with national liberation movements across the world. Full liberation can only be achieved when the Palestinian people are able to wage resistance strong enough to put an end to the Zionist settler-colonial project. In the spirit of internationalism, we aim to end the support that the capitalist, settler-colonial, imperialist Canadian state gives to Israel. We do this in an effort to remove as many barriers as we can for the just struggle for national liberation that the Palestinian people wage.

The call for BDS is supported by hundreds of schools, unions, artists and other groups across the world, resulting in a growing withdrawal of financial, academic and cultural support for Israel. The Israeli state is pouring billions to oppose BDS worldwide, even calling for the criminalization of BDS proponents, and thus proving it is an effective measure. The Canadian government and parliament formally support the Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people, adopting an outrageous resolution in 2016 to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian groups or individuals to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which it describes as promoting the “demonization and delegitimization” of Israel.

This is why the RSM UOttawa is bringing forward a motion to the upcoming General Assembly to make the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) endorse the BDS campaign. We have joined forces with the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and Independent Jewish Voices (Ottawa/Carleton University) to mobilize as much support as we can for BDS to be adopted at UOttawa.

The General Assembly will take place Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30PM in the Alumni Auditorium, UCU building.

Let’s bring BDS to UOttawa and show our solidarity with the struggle for national liberation of the Palestinian people!

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

 

Say Yes to BDS! | Dites Oui au BDS! Facebook event

Our email: uottawa@mer-rsm.ca

What the MER-RSM Has Done in 2017

What the MER-RSM Has Done in 2017

This year has been full of major events for the MER-RSM and for the revolutionary movement in Canada. We have held our 6th Pan-Canadian Congress in February, where delegates from 14 sections across the country came together to decide on the course of our organization and share organizing experience. The Congress has elected an almost entirely new Pan-Canadian Coordinating Committee to guide the work of our organization and serves as a good indication of the growth and qualitative improvement that we are experiencing.

As the Canadian state was celebrating 150 years since its founding, many anti-colonial movements and organizers have shown their opposition to this blatant celebration of settler colonialism, capitalism and imperialism. The MER-RSM has joined the FuckThe150th campaign initiated by the Revolutionary Communist Party to protest these celebrations on the ground and to counter the messages spread by the Canadian state on social media.

More MER-RSM sections than ever before have joined in the International Workers’ Day (or May Day) events across the country by taking part and organizing marches, public talks and social events. We have also taken part in celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, a very important historic event to commemorate and learn from.

This year has also been marked by the rise of the extreme right organizations, which have been trying to take to the streets in a series of coordinated, country-wide efforts. Most of these attempts have been shut down or constrained to tiny perimeter by anti-racist and anti-fascist organizers that have been coming out to oppose them. Members of the MER-RSM have joined the efforts to stop the extreme right from taking root on campuses and anywhere they try to rear their ugly head.

It has never been a secret that the state and its running dogs – the police, try to suppress any radical organizing that challenges it and aims to change the society. As the quality of work of revolutionary organizations across the country has been on the rise, police repression followed. This has been particularly evident in Sudbury, Quebec City, and Ottawa. Despite that, we are committed to continuing to build solidarity against state repression and against the rising threat of fascism.

Many new comrades have joined our organization this year, with several new sections being created: Brandon (Manitoba), Guelph (Ontario), Waterloo (Ontario), Windsor (Ontario). Other sections have seen growth of membership and the scope of work. Regrettably, we have seen the departure of the Montreal section of the MER-RSM due to serious political disagreements. However, we have restarted our organizing in Montreal, namely at Concordia university, and we expect to expand our organizing there in the coming year.

We have big plans in the coming year! We are going to distribute our first-ever publication, Classmates, in January. Comrades in Ottawa, Hamilton, Peterborough, Saskatoon, Toronto and Winnipeg are going to be engaged in campaigns to create or improve General Assemblies on their campuses, which will become a platform where political struggles get brought out in the open and a tool to exert direct democratic control over student unions. As the experience of campuses with functional General Assemblies demonstrates, it is one of the best tools for advancing radical politics; building the culture of resistance to capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and other reactionary systems of oppression; and challenging the bourgeois notion of representative democracy, where the small minority detached from the needs of the majority holds most of the decision-making power. Lastly, we will hold Regional Conferences where comrades will come together to meet each other, share organizing experience, and come up with ideas and proposals for the time between then and the 2019 Pan-Canadian Congress.

We are the largest and the most active anti-capitalist student movement in Canada. We remain committed to organizing in struggle against capitalism, colonialism, racism, patriarchy, ableism and other forms of oppression both on and off campuses.

Now is a good time to join our movement!

Get in touch with us: info@mer-rsm.ca

https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryStudentMovement/

 

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

Solidarité avec les antifascistes de Québec  – (Solidarity with the Quebec City Anti-Fascists)

Solidarité avec les antifascistes de Québec – (Solidarity with the Quebec City Anti-Fascists)

 

[English follows below French]

Le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire (MER-RSM) félicite les courageux efforts de tout.es ceux/celle qui étaient présent.es le 25 Novembre pour contrer le rassemblement fasciste qui a eu lieu à Québec. Touefois nous sommes furieux d’entendre qu’une fois encore la police a protégé les fascistes, en mettant en arrestation 44 anti-fascistes et en retenant des charges contre 4. Ça ne devrait surprendre personne. Les poulets n’ont jamais été les amis du peuple, puisque leur fonction première est de réprimer violemment toute opposition à cet État capitaliste, colonial et impérialiste qu’est le Canada. Seulement le mois dernier, nous avons appris le meurtre vicieux de David Tshiteya Kalubi, pendant qu’il était en garde à vue, ceci n’est qu’une continuation de la chaîne de la brutalité rasciste que la police inflige constamment aux personnes autochtones et racisées.

Quatre groupes fascistes étaient présent à la manifestation: La Meute, Storm Alliance, les III%ers et Atalante Québec. Plusieurs de ces fascistes étaient ouvertement armés. Malgré tout, la police a choisi d’attaquer les anti-racistes et anticapitalistes qui étaient venu.es déterminé.es à défendre les intérêts du peuple. Les forces policières affirment avoir une bonne relation avec les fascistes, mais quelle bonne relation de travail que ceux-ci entretiennent! Nous condamnons la police, les fascistes et l’État canadien qui prétend être au service du progrès et de la justice sociale, tout en permettant à la violence racistes, coloniale et patriarcale d’être nettement ressentie à tous les jours par les gens de la classe ouvrière.

En face de cette alliance méprisable, nous sommes fières de voir que des camarades du MER – Québec étaient parmi les forces qui ont menées la confrontation contre les fascistes. Illes ont démontré un excellent exemple de pourquoi nous ne pouvons pas faire confiance à l’État et à la police pour contrer les fascistes. À la place, nous devons nous organiser, souder des liens de solidarité et résister de par nos propres moyens! À cause de leur bon travail, quelqu-un.es de nos camarades sont parmi ceux et celles qui ont été la cibles de la répression policière. Nous ferons tout ce qui est dans notre possible pour les appuyer et pour s’assurer qu’aucun.e camarade n’est laissé.e derrière.

Les événements du 25 novembre nous indiquent que le choix est clair: soit nous ne faisons rien et permettons ainsi au fascistes de s’en prendre aux personnes les plus vulnérables, ou bien nous nous opposons à eux et les écrasons ici et maintenant! Nous ne devons jamais oublier que le fascisme est une facette du capitalisme. Notre combat ne sera jamais terminé tant que cet État capitaliste pourri et colonial, qu’est le Canada -y compris la province du Québec, la police et les groupes racistes et fascistes- ne seront détruits.

Nous tenons aussi à remercier les camarades qui ont démontré.es une solidarité exemplaire avec les personnes arrêtés, entre autre en allant chercher des personnes au poste de police et en gardant le contact avec l’avocat. Nous saluons également l’excellent travail du CO25 et de tous les groupes et individus ayant participé à l’organisation du rassemblement, qui a été un succès malgré tout.
Solidarité avec le MER Québec et avec toutes les personnes courageuses qui se tiennent debout pour s’opposer aux fascistes et à la violence étatique! 

En Lutte,

Le Comité de Coordination du Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire/Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM)

 

 

 

 

The Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) commends the courageous efforts of all those who turned up on November 25th to counter the combined fascist gathering in Quebec City. However, we are enraged to hear that once again the police protected the fascists, arresting 44 anti-fascists and charging 4. This should come as no surprise to anyone. The pigs have never been a friend to the people, violently protecting the capitalist, settler-colonial and imperialist state from any opposition is their primary function. Only last month we have learned of the vicious murder of David Tshiteya Kalubi of Montreal while in police custody, a continuation in the chain of racist brutality that the police constantly unleashes on Indigenous and other racialized people.

4 fascist groups were present at the gathering: La Meute, Storm Alliance, the III%ers and Atalante Québec. Many of these fascists came openly armed. Yet the police chose to attack the anti-racists and anti-capitalists who arrived committed to defending the people. Police forces report good relations with the fascists, what a good working relationship they have! We condemn the police, the fascists, and the Canadian state that pay lip service to progress while enabling and enacting racist, colonial, and patriarchal violence sharply felt every day by working class people.

In the face of this despicable alliance we are proud to see that comrades from the RSM – Quebec were among the leading forces that confronted the fascists. They show an admirable example to all of us that we cannot trust the state and the police to stop fascists. Instead, we must organize, build solidarity and resist with our own hands! Because of their good work, several of our comrades are among those who have been targeted by the police. We will do all we can to support them and ensure no comrade is left behind.

This past Friday reminds us that the choice is clear: either we do nothing and allow fascists to target our friends and neighbors, or we resist and stamp them out here and now! We must never forget that fascism is only one of the faces of capitalism. Our fight will never be over until this rotten capitalist, settler-colonial state of Canada – including the Province of Quebec, the police and the racist and fascist groups – are destroyed. In rage and solidarity we celebrate the work of dedicated anti-fascists in Quebec. We will learn from the good work they do and will resist fascism wherever it arises.

We thank the comrades that have shown an exemplary solidarity with the people that were arrested by getting the arrested comrades to the police station and by keeping contact with the lawyers, among other things. We want to salute the excellent work of the CO25 and of all the groups and individuals that took part in the making of the rally, which was a success despite everything.
Solidarity with RSM Quebec City and all the courageous people who stand up to oppose fascist and state violence!

In Struggle,
Coordinating Committee of the Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire/Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM)

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the Aung San Suu Kyi Mural!

Remove the Aung San Suu Kyi Mural!

At present, close to a million Rohingya Muslims have been driven out of Burma and into refugee camps in Bangladesh as a result of deliberate ethnic cleansing by the Burmese army. While the plight of Rohingya Muslims has deep historical roots, the sudden upsurge in violence has been qualitatively different from anything in recent decades. Under the context of the legacy of British colonialism, and under the pretext of cracking down on radical Muslim insurgency, the government of Myanmar has unleashed a highly organized and systematic persecution of Rohingya Muslims from their lands in what has been described as by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner as “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing”. Consequently, entire Rohingya villages have been burned down, civilians are massacred, raped, and brutalized indiscriminately, and hundreds upon thousands of people are being forcibly displaced from their homes.

 

Despite the overwhelming evidence of human rights violations reported, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and head of the civilian government in Myanmar, has explicitly denied the existence of the genocidal campaign currently unfolding against Rohingya Muslims. Aung San Suu Kyi, a long beloved puppet of Western imperialism, praised for her ‘civil courage’ and dedication to ‘western liberal values’, has effectively shown her true colours as a genocidal collaborationist.

 

The Revolutionary Student Movement, an organization that stands against all forms of oppression, adamantly denounces the figure of Aung San Suu Kyi for her role in the ongoing crimes against Rohingya Muslims. We categorically reject the appraisal and normalization of any and all leaders that legitimize or are responsible for the systemic oppression of ethnic and religious minorities.

 

Given our current political context, where Islamophobic tendencies are slowly being normalized and tolerated despite the very real danger that it poses to Muslim communities in Canada, it is doubly critical that we actively challenge and denounce it wherever it rears its ugly head. There are stark similarities between the Islamophobic campaign being carried out in Burma against the Rohingya, such as the 969 Movement, which claims to be defenders of their nation’s ethnic purity and religious values, and the various Islamophobic groups such as the Soldiers of Odin, the Proud Boys, and the Northern Guards that are spearheading the normalization of hatred towards Muslims communities in Canada. The violence currently experienced by Rohingya Muslims did not emerge from a vacuum. It is the consequence of decades, if not centuries of systematic marginalization, exclusion and oppression by the Burmese ethnic and religious majority. We are experiencing a similar phenomenon in Canada and we must therefore combat it before it further amplifies, lest similar horrors happen here too.

 

As such, we demand that CUSA removes the Aung San Suu Kyi mural located in the tunnels near the University Center and replace it with a mural that promotes solidarity and equality between all ethnicities and religious creeds. There is no space on our campus for the appraisal of Islamophobes and apologists of ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, we urge Carleton students to join us in demanding that the administration revokes Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary degree given to her by the University in 2011. We also demand that the administration explicitly condemn Aung San Suu Kyi’s position towards the crimes being committed against Rohingya Muslims.

Revolutionary Student Movement Carleton Chapter

Un autre cafouillage de la FÉUO : l’importance de la ligne de masse et de l’assemblée générale dans les luttes de libération

Un autre cafouillage de la FÉUO : l’importance de la ligne de masse et de l’assemblée générale dans les luttes de libération

La dernière réunion du Bureau des Directeurs de la FÉUO a été le théâtre d’une bataille autour d’enjeux de taille, allant de la solidarité avec la résistance palestinienne à celle pour l’autonomie corporelle des femmes et comprenant plusieurs autres fronts. Malheureusement, les bureaucrates de la FÉUO ont encore une fois emprunté une stratégie qui écartait la participation des masses et qui consistait à ajouter une liste de mouvements de libération politiques à appuyer dans le manuel de politiques de la FÉUO. En cherchant discrètement à faire adopter cet amendement par l’institution restreinte qu’est le bureau des directeurs, sans aucune annonce à l’ensemble de la population étudiante, la manœuvre ne bénéficiait d’aucun appui qui lui aurait permis de résister à l’attaque réactionnaire qui a été lancée par les forces conservatrices quand celles-ci ont découvert le projet d’amendement, quelques jours à l’avance.

Avant d’aller plus loin, nous tenons à souligner que le Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire appuie la lutte de libération du peuple palestinien, l’autonomie corporelle, l’émancipation des personnes de couleur, des peuples autochtones et des personnes opprimées par le genre, et s’oppose à l’islamophobie, à l’exploitation abusive des gaz fossiles, au capitalisme et au colonialisme. Ces positions politiques ne sont pas l’objet de nos critiques envers la FÉUO, puisque nous estimons qu’elles sont justes, même révolutionnaires dans la mesure où elles remettent en question un système de classes oppressif comme le capitalisme. Le problème est plutôt dans la façon par laquelle la FÉUO prétend appuyer ces luttes alors qu’il ne manque pourtant pas d’alternatives.

Alors qu’approche à grand pas la prochaine Assemblée Générale, l’instance décisionnelle suprême de la FÉUO qui réunit des centaines d’étudiant.es pour débattre et décider de diverses propositions pour utiliser les ressources de notre fédération, les bureaucrates ont plutôt choisi une instance restreinte, réunissant une poignée de leurs partisans, pour présenter cette proposition qui affecte la vie de millions de personnes et qui inclut des principes que nous savons controversés. Comme de fait, des groupes conservateurs, et plus particulièrement pro-Israël, ont été informés du projet et ont mobilisé leurs forces, proférant des menaces à quiconque appuierait notamment la mesure de Boycott, Désinvestissement et Sanctions (BDS) envers Israël.

Le BDS est une campagne internationale, lancée par une centaine d’organisations militantes et humanitaires palestiniennes pour aider la lutte pour la libération de leur peuple. Inspirée par la campagne de boycott contre l’État sud-africain de l’apartheid, elle vise notamment à empêcher toute collaboration avec les opérations militaires israéliennes et à freiner les activités économiques qui se font sur des terres volées au peuple palestinien. L’État israélien combat férocement cette campagne, car il se reconnaît implicitement dans une position similaire à l’État sud-africain des années 80, et pour ce faire il mandate des organisations à travers le monde pour défendre ses intérêts.

C’est le cas d’un des groupes qui a mobilisé contre le projet d’amendement, Hillel, une organisation pro-israélienne qui a des sections sur des campus collégiaux et universitaires à travers le monde et dont le mandat consiste à défendre le projet de colonisation israélien. Bien qu’elle prétende agir au nom de la lutte contre l’anti-sémitisme et de la défense de tous les Juifs, Hillel défend une vision très restreinte de l’identité juive, assimilée à l’identité israélienne, et se permet de taxer d’anti-sémite toutes les personnes, même juives, qui défendent le BDS. Il existe pourtant une myriade de groupes juifs qui condamnent l’État israélien et qui voient le BDS comme une mesure légitime pour rectifier l’injustice historique commise envers le peuple palestinien. De plus, même au sein des rangs pro-israéliens, les tactiques de Hillel sont contestées. Le groupe Open Hillel, par exemple, refuse de taxer d’anti-sémite tous les opposants à Israël et préconise le dialogue sur la question du BDS. De plus, dans leurs propres recherches, Hillel reconnaît que la grande majorité des étudiants juifs en Amérique du Nord ne ressentent aucun lien avec Israël. Les prétentions de Hillel et ses alliés conservateurs à représenter l’ensemble de la communauté juive sont donc frauduleuses.

Dans la même veine, un groupe d’étudiants « pro-vie », c’est-à-dire contre l’autonomie corporelle des personnes enceintes, ont protesté contre l’inclusion d’une clause pro-choix, qui menacerait leur éligibilité à jouir des bénéfices d’un club étudiant. C’était donc à toute une coalition de groupes fermement conservateurs, y compris des bureaucrates du Parti Conservateur lui-même, que la FÉUO avait affaire. Leurs tactiques d’intimidation, y compris la menace de poursuites judiciaires, avaient toutes les chances de gagner en l’absence d’une mobilisation du côté pro-palestinien, pro-choix et de gauche en général. Résultat, la FÉUO a capitulé sur le chapitre de la lutte pro-palestinienne, retirant à l’avance la mention du BDS et finissant par adopter un engagement insignifiant « pour la paix » entre la Palestine et Israël, et les directeur.trice.s ont procédé au vote secret, empêchant au corps étudiant de savoir de quel côté illes se tiennent. Nous pouvons saluer le maintien de l’amendement pro-choix, mais la situation dans son ensemble n’est vraiment pas encourageante.

Cependant, notre principale critique ne vient pas du résultat, prévisible, de la manœuvre, mais vise plutôt sa légitimité et sa substance. Car en quoi une trentaine de bureaucrates étudiant.es qui sont élu.es une fois par année sont-illes aptes à adopter des positions politiques pour l’ensemble des membres de la fédération, soit plus de 35 000 personnes; il est inconcevable qu’une telle adoption se fasse sans débat à travers la population étudiante.

Ceci nous porte donc à la mise en application des propositions, car bien qu’il y ait eu une forte opposition à celle-ci, l’étendue des propositions est très limitée. Puisque l’ensemble des propositions ne sont en fait que des amendements à la constitution de la FÉUO, document interminable et très peu connu de la population étudiante, et qui dispose de peu de pouvoir réel. Ainsi, changer quelques lignes dans la constitution de la FÉUO n’apporte pas de réel soutien à ces communautés opprimées, bien au contraire elle fait passer leurs luttes légitimes pour des manœuvres de bureaucrates.

Comment la FÉUO peut-elle alors adopter des positions politiques de façon légitime et substantielle?  Et bien pour ce faire ces positions doivent être présentées devant et soutenues par la population étudiante.  En d’autres mots, la FÉUO ne peut aller au-devant de ses membres, et de telles positions doivent refléter un changement au sein son membership. De plus, l’adoption de positions politiques se doit d’être démocratique, sans quoi elles sont vides de sens.

C’est avec ses principes à l’esprit que le MER met de l’avant la stratégie de la ligne de masse pour mener les luttes de libération. Cette approche, alimentée par l’expérience des luttes révolutionnaires des peuples des quatre coins de la planète, peut être résumée par le principe «Partir des masses pour retourner aux masses». Concrètement, en tant que militant.es pour la libération des masses, nous devons mener notre travail politique parmi celles-ci, recueillir leurs idées, et façonner des campagnes politiques en se basant sur leur appui et leur participation. Nous devons rencontrer les masses ou elles sont pour pouvoir faire avancer la lutte. C’est seulement ainsi que nous serons en mesure de faire avancer des combats extrêmement difficiles, comme le BDS, qui nous mettent en opposition avec des États et des corporations qui sont capables de se payer des mercenaires politiques sur tous les continents.

C’est pourquoi, dans notre contexte à l’Université d’Ottawa, le MER réitère l’importance des Assemblées Générales en tant que plus haut corps décisionnel de la FÉUO. Car nous estimons que ce n’est qu’à travers celles-ci que de telles positions politiques peuvent être adoptées en toute légitimité! Nous vous invitons donc à venir participer à la prochaine Assemblée Générale de la FÉUO qui aura lieu mardi prochain, le 14 novembre, à 18h30 dans l’Auditorium des Anciens. Il y aura à l’ordre du jour les  propositions suivantes de la part du MER:

 

-La réduction du salaire des membres de l’exécutif de la FÉUO à un taux horaire de 15$/h pour un total de 20 heures par semaine;

 

-De mandater la FÉUO d’assurer une plus grande participation des étudiant.es dans la définition du syllabus, qui serait prise en compte par les professeur.es et de promouvoir l’introduction d’un cours obligatoire pour les étudiant.es, traitant du thème de la colonisation.

 

De même, nous appelons tous les étudiant.es progressistes à passer à l’offensive devant la débâcle des amendements de la FÉUO. Le BDS notamment, est une victoire à portée de main, qui fait des progrès ailleurs au Canada et aux États-Unis, et nous nous engageons à appuyer toute lutte en solidarité avec les groupes opprimés.