All Out November 2nd – Towards a Student Strike in Canada!

All Out November 2nd – Towards a Student Strike in Canada!


ALL OUT NOVEMBER 2
nd!

On November 2, 2016, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has called for a Canada-wide day of action against tuition increases. The Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) unequivocally supports the call for a day of action. While we have differences of both political line and tactics with the CFS, the RSM will always support action against tuition fees and we commend the CFS for this initiative. We urge all of our members and supporters to help with the organizing efforts in their various locales towards making the November 2nd day of action huge.

While we support the day of action, we feel it necessary to qualify our support. Our position towards the CFS –that it is an ossified, anti-democratic, bureaucratic, and reformist organization that serves as a barrier to the creation of a combative student movement in English Canada – remains unchanged. The CFS did not call for a day of action out of a genuine desire to launch a truly mass-based anti-tuition campaign, nor out of a desire to increase the level of militancy in its current activities against the rising cost of tuition. Instead, it will again use the day of action as part of its lobbying efforts, as a means of cynically using the mobilization of students to provide weight to the annual meetings that CFS bureaucrats have with politicians. The CFS is open about this fact (though we doubt they will be open about this during the mobilizations this fall!): CFS-Ontario writes that its current campaign, Fight the Fees, has been launched in preparation for the 2018 Ontario elections.

It is worth pointing out that this basic strategy of the CFS –mobilizations to supplement lobbying- has been the basic strategy of the CFS since its creation. And sure enough, aside from a few minor victories here and there, the strategy has been ineffective: even the relatively benign demands that the CFS makes of the federal and various provincial governments are ignored. In the context of the looming deregulation of tuition fees in Ontario in 2017 – an act that will serve as a blueprint for other provincial governments outside of Ontario to follow -, mounting student debt, increasing tuition, and a lack of jobs for youth and students, the inability of the CFS to actually win gains for its members shows increasingly the need for revolutionary students to break from the CFS.

Furthermore, the demands of the CFS do not go far enough. The current campaign and day of action is directed only against tuition fee increases. The RSM stands for the complete abolition of tuition and ancillary fees, the cancellation of all student debt, and for complete open access to all post-secondary institutions in Canada. Only by eliminating fees and entrance requirements can education become truly accessible for the working class in Canada. The RSM stands for access to post-secondary education for all Indigenous people, and an anti-colonial aspect to all education programs. The RSM stands for education to be put in the service of people and not profit; we argue that research should be for the benefit of all people and not the benefit of corporations, and that education should serve struggles for justice and liberation. Finally, the RSM stands for the democratic control of post-secondary institutions by students, support staff, community members, and faculty. And this is just the beginning. On all of these issues –issues which we see as being at the core of fighting for access to education- the CFS has very little to say.

In 2012, students in Quebec launched a strike which brought the Quebec government to its knees. The RSM continues to argue that this is an example that deserves to be emulated in the rest of Canada. Since then, the CFS has done absolutely nothing to try to learn from and implement the lessons of the Maple Spring throughout the rest of Canada. The lobbying efforts of the CFS are a dead end; the only way to force the hand of the government on the issue of tuition is to strike. The RSM holds that the creation of a genuinely democratic student movement is a precondition for student strikes in the rest of Canada. In place of the CFS bureaucratic and corporate style of student unionism, where only a handful of elected officials are consulted on the affairs of the student association, the RSM will continue to work for general assemblies of all members as the highest decision making bodies of their respective student unions. In order to win we must strike, and in order to strike we need democratic control over our student unions.

To this end, the RSM encourages its members and supporters to use the November 2nd day of action to break further with the failed politics and tactics of the CFS. While we will throw ourselves into the mobilizations for the day of action, we will also continue to struggle against the CFS bureaucrats who seek to use the day of action to maintain their stranglehold over their respective student unions. We invite all students to join the revolutionary contingents that are being planned across Canada as part of the November 2nd rallies.

For a truly democratic student movement in English Canada!

Towards a student strike for the elimination of tuition fees!

All out November 2nd!Thumbnail

Join the Fight Against MRA Reactionaries! CAFE has no Place in our Communities!

Join the Fight Against MRA Reactionaries! CAFE has no Place in our Communities!

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In the first week of February 2016, notorious “neo-masculinist” Roosh V’s proposed meetups for his “pick-up artist” (PUA) followers across the world were crushed by the collective anger and power of the masses. Across Canada, the people mobilized protests and militant responses to what was correctly identified as the hate speech of the anti-feminist Roosh V and his misogynist followers. But the battle against the backwards ideas of reactionaries who seek to push back the gains of the feminist struggle over the last decades must not stop there. The PUAs represent only one especially disgusting section of the entire network of websites, organizations, and communities that make up the so-called “manosphere,” a network that has its political expression in the infamous Men’s Rights Activism. We must not hesitate to expose this entire movement, from its militant fringes to its sanitized fronts, for what it is: a reactionary movement of male-supremacists seeking to preserve a status quo of oppression, hierarchy, and inequality. Openly misogynist and backwards “manosphere” groups like the notorious American network A Voice for Men (AVfM) hold extreme right-wing views, including: that male power and structural inequality under patriarchy are a myth, as Warren Farrell claims in a 1990s book often described as the “Bible” or the “red pill” of the Men’s Rights Movement; that the existence of rape culture is a lie perpetuated by feminists to oppress men, so that accusations of rape are nothing more than a tool to keep women in a dominant position in society; and that present-day society is structured to disadvantage and victimize men as a class. All of these ideas are explicitly spelled out in many articles on A Voice for Men’s website.

 

In Canada, the Revolutionary Student Movement has taken a leading role in organizing against the sanitized MRA front known as CAFE, the Canadian Association for Equality. Knowing that most people will reject the openly misogynist and backwards ideas of groups like Roosh V’s PUAs and AVfM, CAFE uses an elaborate and dishonest branding strategy to keep its political agenda covert. But a closer look reveals that although CAFE is careful to maintain its organizational autonomy, it is politically affiliated with these reactionary groups and exists to give institutional legitimacy to their foundational ideas and causes. At times the connection becomes explicit, as when CAFE promoted an AVfM conference on its website as “important to Canadians[1],” or when AVfM founder Paul Elam and CAFE board member Adam McPhee held a dialogue on AVfM that ended with Paul Elam happily concluding that he saw “a bright future with both organizations moving forward with their missions enjoying mutual moral support[2].”

 

Furthermore, all of CAFE’s events – including a talk by Warren Farrell, who is also one of CAFE’s advisory fellows – have received enthusiastic coverage from A Voice for Men and its extended network of toxic misogynists[3]. CAFE’s practice of recording protesters at its events on video has resulted in female protesters being identified, tracked down, harassed, and threatened, a practice known as “doxing.” In at least one case, AVfM published a full article exposing a CAFE event protester in depth, written by an anonymous MRA referring to himself as a part of a “growing underground army” and comparing himself to the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal[4]. The affinity between CAFE, AVfM, and still more underground sections of the “manosphere” make this much more than an empty threat. In March 2014, a Queen’s student publicly involved in planning a protest to a CAFE event, a lecture by University of Ottawa professor Janice Fiamengo, was assaulted and beaten by unidentified attackers the night before the talk[5]. To be sure, CAFE as an organization denounces these individual instances of violence. But these tactics are entirely characteristic of the broader Men’s Rights Movement of which it is a part, a movement that argues that women and feminists specifically are oppressors with whom men are at war. This backwards logic, through which the oppressed are portrayed as an oppressor group that the dominant group must combat in order to preserve their status and identity, is nearly identical to the logic of fascism. In this way, CAFE creates a climate of fear on and off Canadian university campuses to quash and eliminate feminist struggle for genuine equality and justice. This is why we say that even and especially when they try to present themselves as respectable, MRAs must be confronted, exposed, and stamped out everywhere they arise!

 

We want to say a few words about the people involved in CAFE. Not all of them are open misogynists, and CAFE is quick to put forward its more liberal members as evidence that they are not like other MRA organizations. Some of the people it has attracted seem genuinely concerned with real, existing issues that affect men: suicide and mental health, unsafe working conditions, homelessness, education. But a quick look at its events shows that CAFE, like other sections of the Men’s Rights Movement, merely exploits these issues, claiming that they are all signs of a societal conspiracy against men as a class that feminists cover up by talking about the oppression of women.In this way, MRAs take advantage of the political powerlessness and exploitation of the masses to push forward their reactionary, misogynist agenda. We completely reject the incorrect, incoherent, and dangerous answers they provide to actually existing oppression and exploitation in capitalist society.

 

The Revolutionary Student Movement is a militant pan-Canadian anti-capitalist organization that organizes working-class students to advance the class struggle on campuses and build a movement to bring about the end of exploitation, oppression, and alienation on the basis of class, race, sexuality, gender identity, and disability. We see this end as achievable only through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, a mode of production founded on the exploitation of the working class that has caused endless misery in every society organized along its lines – that has brought about suicide and mental health issues, unsafe working conditions, homelessness, underfunded education, along with many of the other social issues CAFE claims to care about, everywhere it has been put into operation. Capitalism also functions by turning dominant sections of the masses against other groups, along the lines of race, gender, sexuality, language, and whatever else it can opportunistically exploit to keep the masses from uniting to smash their shared enemy. In this regard, misogynist ideas, like other reactionary and backwards ideas, set back the people’s struggle for the end of exploitation and oppression.

 

The RSM is proud of its history of confronting Men’s Rights reactionaries when they have attempted to organize on campuses across Canada. In April 2014, comrades at the University of Ottawa shut down a lecture by Janice Fiamengo on the non-existence of rape culture; in August of the same year, the Toronto section of the RSM successfully countered another lecture of one of CAFE’s satellite fronts at the University of Toronto. These actions have seen an escalation in the response of CAFE to student protesters; security and police are now commonly found standing by prior to events, anticipating disruptions ahead of time.

 

Most recently, an RSM action at University of Ottawa on February 10th drew a direct response from CAFE advisor and Ottawa branch Vice-President Janice Fiamengo. Fiamengo is a celebrity in the “manosphere” for her regular video series, the “Fiamengo Files,” which airs on YouTube via an account called “StudioBrulé,” the very same account that posts videos of CAFE events. Fiamengo’s videos argue explicitly that feminism is a totalitarian system that oppresses men. In one video[6], she argues that open rape apologist Roosh V is a wronged victim of the feminist establishment, and cites approvingly from his article “How to Stop Rape,” in which he describes rape allegations as hoaxes used by women to persecute “the previous night’s lover” and goes on to argue for the legalization of rape. In another video from February 2016, she calls for men to “take back their power and their pride” and describes how feminism is turning her into a self-described “raging misogynist[7].” Given her far-right political line, which leads her to argue in other videos that equity is anti-meritocratic and discriminatory against men[8], that sexual harassment is a dangerous myth[9], and that feminism literally wants to degrade men’s souls and take away their specific virtues of independence, objectivity, and strength[10], it’s not surprising that she has also authored violently racist and Islamophobic editorials[11]. In one, co-authored with her husband, the extreme-right ideologue David Solway, she argues that Islam must be rejected altogether from the West and that the so-called “Muslim surge” will bring more and more terrorist attacks on Judeo-Christian values and people[12].

 

It is unacceptable to everyone who opposes Islamophobic, racist, misogynist, and fascist ideas that Fiamengo, who defends known rape apologists, who organizes a hate group on campus, and who shows nothing but contempt for students[13], is a professor at the University of Ottawa! She is the primary organizer of CAFE at uOttawa, alongside David Shackleton, a retired biology professor who has claimed that feminism today behaves like Nazism did leading up to the second world war, that “the coming war is inevitable,” and that “we have to take women off the pedestal, and we won’t do that as a culture until we see the evil that they do[14].” He has also argued that the mass shooting of women accused of being feminists by Marc Lepine at Polytechnique in 1989 was an inevitable result of feminist persecution of men[15].

 

In light of all this, the RSM is glad to be attacked by Janice Fiamengo for consistently confronting her organization, the Canadian Association for Equality. We are not interested in a dialogue with her or her organization. We intend to confirm what they suspect: that the masses, the people themselves, racialized, gender-oppressed, exploited, marginalized, recognize the Men’s Rights Movement for what it is, in all of its forms, and will reject it, through direct action if necessary, wherever it rears its head.

 

We invite everyone who shares these values and who finds it unacceptable that people like David Shackleton, Janice Fiamengo, and Warren Farrell are trying to spread their influence on Canadian campuses to join us in organizing to shut down future CAFE events and stamp out MRA lies, distortion, and deception! If you are concerned about CAFE or any other Men’s Rights Movement presence on your campus, get in touch with the local branch of the Revolutionary Student Movement. Together we can stamp out MRA ideas and fight for the rights, safety, and equality of women and gender-oppressed people on our campuses and in our communities, as well as the rights of all people to leave free of oppression and exploitation in this rotten capitalist system!

 

The RSM pledges to support struggles against MRAs wherever we have the capacity to do so. We are not afraid of combating reactionary organizations when they try take root around us. We call on everyone who wants to see them gone to join us, they won’t stop unless we stop them!

 

Down with MRAs, long live the people’s struggle!

 

 

[1] http://equalitycanada.com/a-voice-for-mens-international-conference-on-mens-issues-why-it-should-be-important-to-canadians/

[2] http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/adam-mcphee-responds-to-paul-elam/

[3] http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/we-went-to-a-mens-rights-lecture-in-toronto

[4] http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/who-is-emma-claire-and-why-is-she-so-hateful/

[5] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/queen-s-student-attacked-after-threats-over-feminist-activities-1.2589321

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZaJ_cpK87M

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kXq8Yb083I

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Js6T45S-Dc

[9] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ba-pdQ8eT8

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1umxQInyjmQ

[11] http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/179974/supreme-foolishness-janice-fiamengo

http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2014/07/01/why-do-we-tolerate-the-intolerable-d-by-janice-fiamengo/

[12] http://www.artsandopinion.com/2015_v14_n6/solway-58hx.htm

[13] https://pjmedia.com/blog/the-unteachables-a-generation-that-cannot-learn/?singlepage=true

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RTavcTTons

[14] http://www.menweb.org/femexpos.htm

[15] http://no-maam.blogspot.ca/2005/01/eotm-war-against-men-by-david.html

Police Rush to Defend MRAs! Statement on RSM-uO’s Protest of CAFE

Police Rush to Defend MRAs! Statement on RSM-uO’s Protest of CAFE

Ca5HgiYUAAAqxp3Last night, February 10th, the RSM participated in protesting a meeting of misogynists under the guise of “men’s rights activism” on uOttawa campus. As a result, this event, which was organized, led and attended almost entirely by retired and tenured professors and other non-students, turned into a totally inappropriate, disgusting, and illegitimate show of repressive force against students.

First, campus security threatened student protesters with expulsion, a criminal record, unhireability, and homelessness. When these transparent attempts at intimidation were rightly ignored, they called the police, who had planned and prepared to make arrests in collaboration with event organizers ahead of time. No fewer than seven police officers immediately brought a cruiser and a police van to campus and swarmed the Arts (Hamelin) building, forcing the protesters to scatter. These police forces continued to patrol and sweep campus until the event was over.

Why is our campus playing host to events like this, whose organizers are explicitly conspiring beforehand with cops to use repressive force against nonviolent student protesters?? How is it that, only days after Ottawa’s mayor and police force were basking in praise for their condemnation of the violent and reactionary misogyny and hate speech of Roosh V and the Return of Kings meetup planned in Ottawa, the same police force is aggressively defending CAFE’s “freedom” to misogyny and hate speech?

CAFE, the so-called Canadian Association for Equality, is a men’s rights activist (MRA) organization which preaches misogyny, antifeminism, and rape culture. Although it is registered as a charity under the Canadian government and presents itself as concerned about men, this is only a cover. CAFE is explicitly not interested in providing social services to men, or with equipping them with tools to deal with the real issues that they face in our capitalist, patriarchal, white-supremacist and colonial society. Instead, CAFE’s “charitable work” consists entirely in “public education” and “raising awareness.” This means, in practice, that they work to spread a misogynist, antifeminist ideology that despises the gains feminism has achieved through long and hard struggle for women and gender-oppressed people’s equal right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. CAFE is on record as denying the existence of rape culture, the importance of consent, and the ongoing oppression and exploitation of women, especially women of colour, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, trans women and transfeminine people, queer women, women involved in sex work, and all intersections thereof. It is a hate group that builds its base of support upon the bodies of these women, denying that they face oppression and in fact maintaining that they are the oppressors – of privileged white men. CAFE tries to convince men that feminism has brought about their oppression in modern society, and that men need “to take back their power and their pride,” to quote directly from a recent Youtube video by Janice Fiamengo, CAFE’s primary organizer on campus. Fiamengo, who is a tenured University of Ottawa professor, is also known for her viciously racist and Islamophobic co-publications with her partner David Solway. It is clear that although CAFE tries to distance itself from less “respectable” groups like Roosh V and Return of Kings, it represents the same thing – a toxic, hateful, violent, and reactionary force that has no place on any university campus.

The RSM-uOttawa stands with students in universities across Canada in opposing CAFE’s incitement of hate, ignorance, and misogyny. CAFE’s lectures have been protested across the country. At Ryerson, CAFE has been decertified as a group and banned from campus. This is an important precedent, as an expression of the collective will and political power of students. We understand that this same will and potential for political expression exists at our university. For hours prior to the event, we participated in leafletting around campus, engaging students about the issue. Many knew about the hate and violence of MRAs already, but were not aware that an organization like CAFE was hosting events on our campus with the apparent blessing of university administration and security and police forces. Some of the students we engaged wanted to take multiple leaflets with them, so that they could deal them out to even more students in their classes. It is clear that CAFE’s message and agenda are opposed to the values and interests of students at this university.

The RSM invites University of Ottawa students to organize with us in opposition to MRA misogyny and hatred on and off campus! In weeks to come, we will have an opportunity to clearly express our opposition by attending the upcoming General Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the students of uOttawa, to vote for a motion to decertify CAFE. We will demand that the SFUO push to have CAFE banned from campus, and challenge the unacceptable anti-student police presence in our halls that comes with hateful and reactionary events like MRA meetings. Together, we can make our voices heard in a clear and unified call:

Down with rape culture!! Down with the police presence that defends misogynists and reactionaries instead of students! NO COPS ON CAMPUS!! NO MRAs ON CAMPUS!!

Report Back from the 5th Congress of the Revolutionary Student Movement

Report Back from the 5th Congress of the Revolutionary Student Movement

The fifth congress of the Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire -Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) was a huge success. This was the first congress in which we had consolidated sections across the country (rather than just contacts or activity in several regions); we were joined by delegates from Vancouver, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, all over Ontario and Quebec, and PEI (in total 16 sections sent delegates). The breadth of experience represented by the delegates was exciting and will hopefully breathe new life into our work in the coming year. We had comrades who had been involved in and/or played leading roles in the ‪#‎Iamastudent‬ movement in BC, the 2015 Quebec student strike, the CUPE 3902/3903 strikes in Toronto, the pro-choice movement in PEI (a province currently without access to abortion), to name a few. This congress was an important moment of consolidation coming out of the hard work and serious reflection about our work over the past three years.

Our newly elected Coordinating Committee now consists of seven positions, with new and old comrades on the committee. The positions are as follows:

Chairperson: Alexandra Lépine (returning)
Ontario Organizer: Jennifer Lawrence (returning)
“Quebec and Eastern Provinces Organizer: Mélissa Miller
Prairies and British Columbia Organizer: Nick Marlatte (returning)
English Propaganda Officer: Dimka Melnik (returning)
French Propaganda Officer: Justin Premier
External Officer: Brendan Copegog White

With these new regional organizer positions we are asking that all sections assign a member to be the main contact for their corresponding CoCo member to ease communication between the sections and the CoCo.

As the new CoCo, we are dedicated to strengthening the organization and making the MER-RSM an organization capable of intervening in the class struggle on and off campuses, continuing with our mandate and tasks assigned to us by the congress, as well as implementing changes and providing political leadership that will help the organization grow in a sustainable manner. With the restructuring we also hope to have a more even expansion and consolidation process aided by the regional organizing positions and a renewed push for accurate reporting from the sections. Consolidation and training the next generations of leadership will be the main focus of our work in the coming year.

The congress should also be commended and excited about the adoption of a comprehensive political report (outlining our current understanding of: the education sector in Canada, the student movement, and a critical appraisal of the past 3 years of the RSM’s activity. This report, along with the motions passed, and changes to the constitution are included in the document package being sent to all sections and will be made available on the website.
We are also happy to announce the relaunch of the Transformative Justice Committee, which will be dedicated to handling contradictions internal to the organization which require a transformative process, criticism and self-criticism, or two-line struggle. If any member of the MER-RSM wishes to join this open committee they should contact Nick. In the same manner if anyone is available to do design or translation work, please make yourself available to the propaganda officers. Finally, in light of the proposal for the MER-RSM to produce a publication we are also looking for content (polemics, theory, stories about mass work, creative writing and art). If you wish to contribute to the central publication contact a CoCo member.

There have been a lot of mistakes over the past three years, but there have also been a lot of victories. With all of our experience and practice we have managed to become the largest left-wing student organization in Canada and we should only aim to get bigger and better from here. We should strive in all our capacities to be the best revolutionaries possible, to push the class struggle forward on and off campus. Dare to struggle, dare to win!

In Solidarity,
The Coordinating Committee of the Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire – Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM)

How to Form a Spring 2015 Mobilization Committee

How to Form a Spring 2015 Mobilization Committee

You’re new to political organizing. You don’t have the experience or the networks, but you know you want to help somehow. You’re excited about the March 24 day of action that’s coming up, but don’t know where to start. You want to organize a Mobilization Committee, but aren’t sure how. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. The only way to get good at organizing is to organize; there’s no trick, secret method, or anything like that. The RSM has created a small guide to help you out.

Any action begins with a plan. You should have some idea of what you want to accomplish. What sort of action do you want to organize? What are the necessary steps required to get there? But before any of that, you need to get people together, and that’s the point of a Mobilization Committee. The Mobilization Committee fundamentally is a committee that brings people together to organize an action, in this case the pan-Canadian day of action on March 24. The first goal in pulling together a Mobilization Committee should be to hold a successful first planning meeting, which usually means getting a decent number of people involved, developing a basic plan of action, and assigning responsibility for carrying out the tasks contained in that plan.

Begin by figuring out who you already know that would be interested in organizing a Mobilization Committee. Start with a meeting to plan the launch of your Mobilization Committee. Specific tasks should be assigned to specific people, and one or two of your most dedicated and reliable people should also be tasked with making sure everything is getting done.

In terms of getting a Mobilization Committee started, promotion is generally your most important task. There are a number of ways you can do this kind of outreach:

  • Making posters advertising the date, time, location, and purpose of the meeting. These posters should be full-colour if possible, eye-catching and attractive. The RSM has a number of designs that can be modified for this purpose so don’t hesitate to ask for one if needed.
  • Putting posters up everywhere on and around campus, including places off-campus where working-class students hang out. Every campus has rules about who can poster, what and where, and those rules are always a little different from place to place so it’s a good idea to find out what those rules are to minimize the chances that all your posters will be taken down and your hard work will go to waste. Often the local student association office will know, so ask them. That said, if it’s impossible to poster without breaking the rules, fuck the rules, do it anyway.
  • Small handbills are also nice for face-to-face outreach. These can be sized as 1/4 of a standard piece of paper and should be double-sided. One side should be a smaller version of your poster, with the other giving a brief description of what the Mobilization Committee is and what it aims to accomplish, plus an invitation to the meeting. Hand these out in highly-trafficked hallways on campus, or approach people sitting on benches and tables with them to start a conversation.
  • One-on-one conversations with people are your most valuable and important organizing tool. Most people are used to getting a wall of bullshit advertising thrown at them day-in-and-day-out; more often than not, people don’t even notice posters. One-on-one conversations are your chance to show people you’re sincere, have a plan to win, and aren’t full of shit. When you’re talking to people about the Mobilization Committee, try getting them pissed off – not at you, of course, but at the system that leaves them indebted, unemployed, and oppressed – and show them getting mobilized is how they can finally do something about it. Get their names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers for follow-ups and reminders.
  • Professors will often allow students to make quick announcements before class. Find out where large classes are held, and where lectures are held that might have students who would be sympathetic to your efforts. Show up before the classes and ask the professor if you can make a quick announcement about a student activist initiative. Have a quick, 2-minute speech prepared (and practiced!) and pass a contact sheet through the class. Stick around until it’s circulated and collect it afterwards, then send a follow-up text or email to the people who signed up.
  • Find out what publications are distributed on your campus. Most schools have at least one newspaper, and many faculties or departments will have one as well. See if you can get an announcement of your meeting in the paper, or write a letter to the editor about it.

The meeting should be in at least a semi-private place so that you can focus, but preferably on campus for accessibility. Ask the student association office and/or the Student Life department of the school about booking a lecture hall or study room for your meeting, and if that fails then pick a room on campus you can access freely without having to ask for permission. Worst case scenario, a table in the cafeteria or a common area works just fine.

Generally speaking, people should be given at least one week (ideally two weeks) notice before a meeting. Think about how much time you need to adjust your own schedule; everyone else faces the same challenges. Try and be accommodating to other people’s schedules.

So you’ve done all the promotion you’re capable of, and it’s time for the first meeting itself. First off, many of the people you talk to, even the ones who say they’re interested, won’t come to the meeting. Don’t be discouraged! People are busy; they work, have families, hobbies, etc. . The majority of people will not be able to be political organizers, and that’s alright. What *is* important is that you don’t adopt a self-righteous attitude, looking down at those that don’t show up; that’s a perfect way to isolate yourself. Some new folks will come, and anything at this point is progress. Often times the people who don’t get heavily involved will become part of the base of contacts you can call on for one-off marches, rallies, events, etc.

Be prepared for your first meeting in every way possible. Be there early to set up and greet people. People will show up late, so expect to start about 15 minutes after your scheduled time. Chat with the people who show up on time and try to find out what they’re all about.

When you’re ready to start the meeting, do a quick go-around for people to introduce themselves and maybe say a little about why they want to be involved in a Mobilization Committee. This helps people become comfortable with one another. Then get down to work.

Before the meeting, you’ll want to have an agenda prepared. You’ll want to think about what you hope to accomplish in the short-term (the next weeks) and the medium-term (March 24 actions) and the specific steps to take so you can get there (what actions, what outreach strategies, what messaging, etc). Come up with this plan at the Mobilization Committee meeting.

The people who show up will probably have some ideas about what they want to do, but chances are they won’t have spent as much time developing a whole, cohesive plan. If somebody brings up something clever, integrate it into the plan! If somebody brings up something that’s a little hazy or half-baked, there’s often at least some kernel of truth in it. Your goal as an organizer is to find that kernel and integrate it into your plans. Not everyone has to agree on everything, but everyone should feel as though they had input into the decisions that were made. The best way for people to feel invested in the Mobilization Committee is for them to feel as though they have ownership over it; without that, people will begin to drift away, and will prioritize other things.

At the meeting you should set out the specific tasks that have to be completed – which at first may just be doing more wide-spread promotion for the next Mobilization Committee meeting using the strategies above. All tasks should be assigned to specific people based on what they volunteer for. You should also decide on one or two people who are responsible for coordinating tasks and making sure things are getting done. You should set the next meeting date and location, and get a contact sheet to collect people’s information so you can follow up with them.

From there, a lot of what happens will be determined by the specifics of your campus and the goals you set out for your Mobilization Committee. This basic guide should help you get to a place where you can figure that out. Of course, if you ever feel stuck or lost as to how you should proceed, contact the Revolutionary Student Movement, which has accumulated a fair amount of experience and might be able to point you in the right direction on the challenges you’re facing.

See you in the streets on March 24!

Resolutions of the Quebec City Conference

Resolutions of the Quebec City Conference

1. The RSM officially supports the Spring 2015 movement and will dedicate itself to building the movement.

The RSM will bring forward an anti-capitalist line into the mobilization committees for the spring 2015 Strike.

In Quebec:
-comrades should openly throw themselves into mobilization committees and the Spring 2015 committees.
-they should aspire to be the best and most active militants on these committees.
In the rest of Canada:
-where GAs don’t exist, GA campaigns should be launched.
-where GAs do exist, democratization campaigns should be launched.
-across Canada we should launch mobilization committees, broader than the RSM, with the goal of either spreading the strike across Canada or organizing a pan-Canadian day of action in solidarity with the strike in Spring 2015.

 

2. Wherever possible, the RSM will mobilize the least-often mobilized students, notably in:
-high-schools
-technical schools
-adult high-schools
-transitional programs

 

3. The MER-RSM should support the IWW Montreal’s call for a strike on May 1st 2015. This could be related to, but not limited to, Spring 2015 mobilization. Some visibility actions should be organized everywhere it is possible.

 

4. Be it resolved that an open Transformative Justice Committee be struck
Be it resolved that the Coordinating Committee organize a first meeting of this committee
Be it resolved that this committee be tasked with investigating the accumulated experience of the RSM and of other organizations in handling sexual assaults, and all other forms of oppression as outlined in the preamble. This committee will create a praxis guide for local RSM chapters as well as the pan-Canadian organization.
Be it resolved that this committee work with the Proletarian Feminist Front on the committee’s mandate.
Be it resolved that this committee contact any groups with relevant experience to their mandate.
Be it resolved that this committee submit a proposal of a praxis guide to all members at least two weeks prior to next Congress.
Be it resolved that this committee present a follow-up of their work at the next Congress.

 

5. The RSM should actively support the creation of a youth branch of the Revolutionary Worker’s Movement, and use our contacts and experience to do so.

 

6. The next congress should be held in Ottawa.

 

7. The RSM calls for the destruction of the CFS, CASA, the FEUQ, and the FECQ.

Denounce the MRAs! Defend Womens’ Rights! Build the Revolutionary Student Movement!

Recently, U of T has seen an upsurge of men’s rights activism (MRA).  Warren Farrell travelled to the university to discuss his new book, The Myth of Male Power.  His “in-depth” outline of male powerless has incited a new pro-men movement on our campus.  MRAs on campus have been campaigning with posters and guest speakers in order to draw attention towards new issues men are facing within our society. Some of these issues revolve around the erosion of masculinity, sexual consent, biased portrayals of men in the media and a global lack of representation.

It is not a surprise that significant numbers of Western men are drawn towards a pro-male movement that distinguishes women as the reason for economic depression and the erosion of patriarchal norms. Men feel threatened by dramatic changes in their traditional roles in recent decades. They have seen a dramatic decline in their economic status and ability to achieve economic success or stability, a shift in their ‘historic’ role as breadwinner and a general shift away from patriarchal structures of the family.

As a result, the underworld of misogynists has been unleashed. From the blogosphere, to men’s separatist movements and now to campuses nationwide their fury goes well beyond criticisms of the family court system, domestic violence laws and false rape accusations. The scary reality is literally hundreds of websites, action groups and advocates whose political line reeks of misogyny: within this movement, women are branded sluts, gold diggers and temptresses and the police have been named ‘armed enablers’ or women’s rights. Unfortunately, men’s rights activist and the organizations they politically affiliate themselves with hold other anti-modern, proto-fascist sentiments such as opposition to same sex marriage, immigration, women in the workplace and the economic advancement of non-white citizens.

black_activism_clip_image002

We do not deny that men have suffered in daily life, mental health and self-esteem. However, we contend that blame placed on women is misdirected.  Instead of understanding economic hardship and political powerlessness as the manifestations of the capitalist order, in which increasing numbers of proletarians are forced to compete for crumbs, while the bourgeoisie reap record profits, MRAs categorically blame women for their losses of social, legal and economic status. We cannot tolerate this reactionary point-of-view! The MRAs must be exposed for what they really are—at best, opportunistic hate-mongers who are taking advantage of the powerlessness keenly felt by the masses. At worst, they represent the most reactive, backward voices within the masses. As such, they need to be verbally condemned as well as physically challenged.

Only a revolutionary students’ movement that unites the progressives on campus will be successful in fighting this hateful, opportunistic trend as well as future proto-fascist movements. Only a RSM can unite proletarian women on campus with those who seek to defend and further women’s rights, and all genders’ liberation. Let’s build the RSM!

Letter of Solidarity to Peterborough Students

This letter was written by PRAC-RSM upon learning of a planned walk-out and potential sit-in, by Peterborough students, on Dec 11, 2012. This walk-out is in support of Ontario teachers fighting for better work conditions, as well as for the reinstatement of extra-curricular activities. The Peterborough students correctly recognized that the blame for the teacher’s work-to-rule action is on the government and the bourgeoisie, and not their teachers. We laud the initiative taken up by the students. We hope that this protest movement will strengthen into a movement against the privatization of education, and eventually against the ongoing crisis of capitalism itself.

Fellow students,

We were excited to learn about the stand you’re taking today, and we wish to extend our congratulations, our enthusiasm and our solidarity.

You all know as well as anyone that with a loss of school activities comes a loss of hope, a world where only those with the money to pay have a chance to develop into the whole, fulfilled people they have the potential to become while the rest of us face boredom, stagnation and isolation.

You also know that the blame for this situation falls not on the teachers, who in their work-to-rule action against the provincial government are exercising what little power they have over a power structure that wants to deprive them of a good job and a good life.

But yours is a struggle not just for extra-curriculars or for a fair contract for your teachers. It’s a struggle against a system that can no longer provide us with what we need.

Ours is a bleak future – one of debt, poverty, unemployment and imprisonment. Everywhere we look, the promises of prosperity and peace made to us by those who run the whole show are coming unraveled. Pensions are being cut, the cost of living keeps rising, and wages keep falling by comparison. How many of us will have a higher standard of living than our parents? Fewer and fewer all the time.

Broken promises, hardship, and exploitation: that’s all the system has to offer us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You haven’t asked for our advice, but if you want it, it’s this: the power structure is your enemy. If you oppose them, they’ll never respect you and the only way they’ll ever listen is if they’re afraid – afraid that the spirit of rebellion you embody will escalate and spread, threatening the whole system of exploitation that makes them rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of us.

The spirit of rebellion you’re showing today can be nurtured and can grow into a force for revolution that will change the face of the planet. You can help make a world where we, the masses – the working class and oppressed people – are in control, where all the potential we hold together can be used to better ourselves and each other, where we reject domination and embrace empowerment, where everyone has everything they need.

We’re doing what we can to build this force for revolution, and we want to work with you in doing the same.

It is with great pride we count you within our ranks as students.

In Solidarity,

The Revolutionary Student Movement, Toronto

Report-Back from the Anti-Corporatization, Anti-Imperialism Rally

Report-Back from the Anti-Corporatization, Anti-Imperialism Rally

Recently, PRAC/RSM participated in an anti-corporatization, anti-imperialism rally organized by a coalition, headed by a student organization at UofT. The rally was by-and-large successful, despite the fact that one of the coalition groups threatened to back out after seeing the previous post.

This experience led RSM to make a post about right-wing sectarianism and opportunism.

Background info:

The deal-breaker, as it came to light, was the fact that PRAC/RSM supported the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan–the C(M)PA . Confusion and abdication of responsibility momentarily took hold of the coalition, as the coalition organizers tried to decide whether to capitulate to the withdraw-ees by changing the overall tone of the event, or moving forward without the withdraw-ees.

This turn of events makes a good teaching moment about one of the dominant tendencies within the mainstream Left: sectarianism.

Sectarianism

Sectarianism is sometimes disguised behind anti-sectarian appearances, as MLM Mayhem recently writes. For instance, the broad “‘anything goes’ ideology” that infects the Left fosters the exclusion of groups and ideas that are deemed too radical.

Moreover, sectarianism is complicated by its indulgence in right-wing opportunism, which is the:

“Adaptation of the policy and ideology of the working-class movement to the interests and needs of nonproletarian (bourgeois and petty– bourgeois) strata”. Opportunism is usually associated with revisionism (q.v.) or dogmatism (q.v.). It can be right-wing or ‘left’-wing.”

“Right-wing opportunism comes into being together with the organised working-class movement (trade-unionism, Lassalleanism, “Economism”, [and in this case petty-bourgeois student activism–ed.] etc. ). It manifests itself in the rejection of revolutionary methods of struggle, conciliation with the bourgeoisie and, in the final analysis, abandonment of the struggle for socialism.”

From our recent experience, for instance, we were able to cooperate with the various coalition groups with whom we attended the rally, but only through reaching a disunited kind of unity, and a lowest-common-denominator kind of cooperation, where the coalition prematurely degenerated into a group of ad hoc parties.

Of course, there are time restraints, as the coalition organizers were all working to put together an action at the top possible speed. However, this does not detract from the fact that we all need to be better organized, and rely less on the spontaneity of the moment to stage a successful rally.

RSM learned from this experience that sectarianism is the opposite of unity.

For coalition-building, MLM-Mayhem suggests a number of principles that provide guidelines for maintaining unity. RSM thought it worthwhile to reiterate these principles.

The coalition organization/organizer:

“a) will work in coalitions without trying to force the entire coalition to liquidate itself into its ranks; b) will maintain its parallel principles in this organization without apology, but with humility; c) will not intentionally engage in asinine and internecine left-wing turf wars and member poaching; d) will maintain that their principles will be proved in the class struggle rather than in name-calling.”

Unity is of vital importance, especially in the face of the enemy. Without criticism and self-criticism, there can be no unity. To quote Mao, “that means starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle, and arriving at a new unity on a new basis.”In the case discussed in this article, the rally could have been better had there been more unity to start with, and better criticism and self-criticism along the way.

Click  here to read the RSM speech from the rally.

Thoughts on the Upcoming Elections

Thoughts on the Upcoming Elections

vote-or-die

With provincial elections on its way, we the proletariat see the usual string of promises. These promises have no other purpose but to diffuse people’s rage at the bourgeois Canadian state.

All the candidates have adopted rhetoric that addresses the working class, but it is all a sham! All the candidates are simply slight variations of each other. All of them are only interested in protecting the interests of the rich from the disaster the rich has wrought for itself. None of them, or their party platforms, truly analyzes the heart of the proletarians’ problems.

We, whether youth, proletarian, or both, face mounting and unpayable debt. We must work non-stop just the make ends meet, and yet we come nowhere near it. When we try to search for jobs, we find ourselves amidst increasingly bigger seas of jobless people similarly looking for work. We cannot get adequate housing free from overcrowding. These, among other issues, define our generation.

Yet all the bourgeois parties can offer us are meaningless promises that don’t address the root cause of our misery.

The NDP party, a prime example of a party that is left in word and right in form, is dangerous because it works hard to deceive the masses by projecting a so-called working class agenda. It says it will raise people’s standard of living, but it shamefacedly represses people’s knowledge of the sources of the wealth that fills its coffers. Like the Conservatives and the Liberals, the NDP will just as gladly plunder third world countries. Its ultimate interest is the maintenance and growth of the capitalist system.

The Liberals, for its own part, is trying to funnel disaffected young people into NGOs, hoping that these young people will waste their youth working for reforms, as the representatives of endless myriads of identity groups. At the same time, the Liberals are trying to paint itself as the “immigrant-friendly” party by appeasing businesses and professional people of color. Meanwhile, poor migrants are kept outside of borders, and poor workers, working for minimum wages and less, languor inside of the borders, unable to benefit from a policy that only promotes the interests of the businesses and the bourgeois class of immigrants.

While the NDP and the Liberals are busy deceiving the proletarians, the Conservatives, similarly despicable, are working to fan an anti-immigration wildfire: by pitting the immigrants and non-immigrants against each other, the Conservatives hope to distract the masses from the dismal state of the economy. As the economic conditions get worse, the Conservatives will have nothing for the masses but increasingly bold hatespeak.

At wits end about who to exploit next, the capitalists cut down funding in order to maintain profits, and people are starting to mobilize against cuts. Our jobs, though, as students, proletarians, and revolutionaries, is to place the misery of our lives within the larger context of capitalism and crisis. We must have the courage to hold the glaring inequalities and contradictions in front of us to heart; we must address the problem at its root; we must take hold of our attachment to parliamentary democracy, at least as it exists now, and uproot it!

Under the present circumstances, voting simply works to legitimize a fundamentally unjust system. We must opt for the more drastic, the more truthful, solution. We must mobilize the masses to act in its own interest.

We must boldly shout: “revolution is the only solution!”