Student Democracy Sprouts at the General Assembly! / La démocratie étudiante fleurit à l’assemblée générale!

Student Democracy Sprouts at the General Assembly! / La démocratie étudiante fleurit à l’assemblée générale!

[La version française suivra]

Tuesday night, we had our first General Assembly that met quorum, meaning it had the power to make decisions. Students could modify the agenda and propose a motion to strike down the executives’ 18% salary increase that was approved by the Board of Administration. This motion was adopted with an amendment limiting future salary increases to never exceed an amount equal or lower than a simultaneous increase for staff wages. Next came a period of clarifications on the decision-making power of the GA, since they were recently stripped of their status as highest decision making body of the SFUO by the BOA. They currently only hold political power, not legislative power. Dissent was palpable in the room, some people contested the legitimacy of the BOA’s decision (it had overturned a referendum result) and demanded that GAs regain their status as highest decision-making body. However, these statements were considered points of order and were set aside without a decision being made. There was a motion proposed already about the abolishment of the BOA where this would be further discussed. It was clear by the atmosphere in the room that despite the explanation about the GAs demotion, the executive and BOA bureaucrats’ authority was being put into question.

After this came the RSM’s first motion on the Vet’s tour. This motion demanded that the GA strike a committee tasked with investigating the event which would have access to all SFUO and federated body documentation about the Vet’s tour. Furthermore, this committee must be composed of students present at the GA and that would be elected during that time. Following our motivation of the motion a kind of unease was felt in the room and the question was immediately called. The motion was adopted by a majority.

Before the selection of the committee members could take place, many people left the room. Most of them SFUO and federated body staff and friends (people suspected of having participated in the event). After the walk-out, a recount of quorum was asked by a member of the BOA. The number had dropped from 287 to 221, 10 people under quorum. After quorum was lost, the executive began their reports and the room quickly emptied out, effectively ending the GA.

The Vet’s tour motion was only partly adopted. It was agreed that a committee would be created but it would not be chosen by the GA but by the BOA at their next meeting. However, the BOA had already formed a committee earlier in the year which had been inconclusive and that they would again be expected to investigate themselves is exasperating.

On a positive note, the first real General Assembly of the SFUO has given us an inspiring example of what a vibrant student democracy looks like. By mobilising students, it is possible to end corruption in the Student Federation and fight against rape culture on our campus. Without the sabotage orchestrated by bureaucrats, the March 14th General Assembly could have brought control of the SFUO back into student hands.

No more corruption in the SFUO!

End rape culture on campus!

Abolish the BOA!

 

//////////////

 

Mardi soir a eu lieu la première Assemblée générale avec quorum, c’est-à-dire que celle-ci a été en mesure de prendre des décisions. Ainsi, les étudiant.es présent.es ont été en mesure de mettre à l’ordre du jour et d’appliquer la révocation de la hausse salariale de 18% de l’exécutif qui avait été votée par le Conseil d’Administration. La motion  a passé par une grande majorité avec un amendement supplémentaire limitant les hausses salariales de l’exécutif à un taux égale ou inférieur à une hausse des salaires des employés. Ensuite est venue une clarification sur le pouvoir décisionnel des AGs, dont le CA avait remis en question le statut de plus haute instance décisionnelle de la FÉUO. Elles n’auraient désormais qu’un pouvoir politique, et non législatif. Un certain mécontentement s’est fait ressentir dans la salle, plusieurs membres ont contesté la légitimité de cette décision du CA (puisqu’elle renversait le résultat d’un référendum), et ont demandé à ce que les AGs regagnent leur statut de plus haute instance décisionnelle. Toutefois, ces prises de paroles n’étaient que des points d’ordre et furent rejetées, sans qu’une décision ne soit prise, car il y avait déjà une motion à l’ordre du jour proposant d’abolir le CA qui permettrait de traiter du sujet plus amplement. Toutefois, la grogne manifestée par l’assemblée lorsque le président a expliqué les limites du pouvoir des AGs, a grandement fait ressentir aux bureaucrates que sont l’exécutif et le CA que leur autorité était remise en question.

Suite à ceci est venue la première motion du MER portant sur le Vet’s tour, voulant que l’AG crée un comité pour faire une enquête de l’événement et que ce comité d’enquête ait accès à toute la documentation de la FÉUO et des corps fédérés, en papier ou numérique, qui porte sur le Vet’s Tour. De plus, ce comité d’enquête devait être composé d’étudiant.es présent.es et élu.es à l’assemblée même. Suite à la motivation de cette motion, un certain malaise a été ressenti dans la salle; la question préalable fut posée immédiatement, et la motion adoptée rapidement.

Toutefois, avant de pouvoir procéder à la sélection du comité, un grand nombre de personnes ont commencé à quitter la salle, principalement des employé.es de la FÉUO ou des personnes dans l’entourage du CA (personnes soupçonnées d’être relié au Vet’s Tour) et, à la suite de cet exode, un recomptage du quorum a été demandé par un membre du CA . Le nombre d’étudiant.es  ayant passé de 287 à 221, il en manquait 10 pour avoir le quorum. Suite à la perte du quorum, l’exécutif a procédé à son rapport administratif et la salle s’est vidée rapidement, l’AG a pris fin.

Pour ce qui en est de la motion sur le Vet’s Tour, celle-ci n’a été qu’adoptée partiellement. Il a été décidé de créer un comité d’enquête, mais celui-ci n’a pu être choisi par l’AG et sera donc sélectionné par le CA lors de sa prochaine rencontre. Toutefois, le CA a déjà formé un comité d’enquête qui n’a pas jamais produit de conclusion; laisser ces bureaucrates choisir les gens qui vont enquêter une seconde fois ne fait qu’exacerber les choses.

Sur une note positive, la première véritable assemblée générale de la FÉUO nous a donné un exemple inspirant de ce qu’est une démocratie étudiante dynamique. Par la mobilisation de la masse étudiante il est possible de mettre fin à la corruption de la FÉUO et de combattre la culture du viol sur notre campus. N’eût été du sabotage orchestré par les bureaucrates liés au Vet’s Tour, l’Assemblée générale du 14 mars aurait pu remettre le contrôle de la FÉUO dans les mains des étudiant.es.

Mettons fin à la corruption dans la FÉUO!

Combattons la culture du viol sur le campus!

Abolissons le CA!

Happy Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day! / Joyeuse Journée des Travailleuses(eurs) de Genres Opprimés!

Happy Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day! / Joyeuse Journée des Travailleuses(eurs) de Genres Opprimés!

 

[La version française suivra]

Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day

On March 8th we celebrate a Gender Oppressed Workers Day. We bring attention not only to the struggle of women in modern society, but to the struggle of all those whose who face violence and oppression for their gender. We recognize that the violence of patriarchy, misogyny, binarism, imperialism, and colonialism can’t be separated. Each is a face of the same rotten capitalist system.

It is now more important than ever in the face of reactionaries across Canada, be they men’s rights activists, the alt-right or just plain fascists, to band together and defend our gender oppressed friends, family, community members and comrades. The gender oppressed always suffer when reactionary ideology takes hold but by standing together we can smash reaction and build a better future.

Our use of Gender Oppressed Workers Day was adopted at our 6th Congress to address the historically exclusionary nature of the previous title International Working Women’s Day. Through this change and our practice as a whole we acknowledge that revolutionary struggles have not always been welcoming to trans and non-binary comrades. We also seek to recognize the history of colonialism and the erasure of identities of indigenous peoples, such as two-spirit. Nonetheless, our task has not changed, we uphold the struggles of the past and the many revolutionary victories won through the struggle of not only women but all gender oppressed people.

International Working Women’s Day was first designated March 8th by an international conference of revolutionary women in 1913. The most famous of its celebrations was the Bread and Roses strike of 1917 – a precursor to the February revolution and therein the creation of the Soviet Union. On the 100th anniversary of this event we seek to have continuity with the revolutionary tradition through our upholding of proletarian feminism, while breaking with all reactionary ideas, be they chauvinism or binarism.

Solidarity with all gender oppressed people!
Smash Capitalism, Smash Patriarchy, Smash the State!

~

Journée des travailleuses(eurs) de genres opprimés

Le 8 mars, nous célébrons la Journée des travailleuses(eurs) de genres opprimés. Nous attirons non seulement l’attention sur la lutte des femmes dans la société moderne, mais sur la lutte de toutes ceux/celle qui sont confronté.es à la violence et à l’oppression par le genre. Nous reconnaissons que la violence du patriarcat, de la misogynie, du système binaire, de l’impérialisme et du colonialisme ne peuvent être séparées. Chacune est une face du même système capitaliste véreux.

Il est maintenant plus important que jamais de faire face aux réactionnaires à travers le Canada, que se soit des masculinistes, l’alt-right ou des simples fascistes, de se rassembler et de défendre nos ami.es, les membres de nos familles et de nos communautés et camarades de genres opprimés. Les personnes de  genres opprimés souffrent toujours lorsque les idéologies réactionnaires prennent place et s’étendent, mais en se tenant debout nous pouvons stopper leur croissance et construire un avenir meilleur.

Notre utilisation de la Journée des travailleuses(eurs) de genres opprimés a été adoptée lors de notre 6e Congrès pour adresser le caractère historiquement exclusif du titre antérieur intitulé Journée internationale des femmes travailleuses. Par ce changement et à notre pratique dans son ensemble, nous reconnaissons que les luttes révolutionnaires n’ont pas toujours été accueillantes envers les camarades trans et non binaires. Nous cherchons aussi à reconnaître l’histoire du colonialisme et l’effacement des identités des peuples autochtones, tels que les deux-esprits. Néanmoins, notre tâche n’a pas changé, nous défendons les luttes du passé et les nombreuses victoires révolutionnaires remportées par la lutte non seulement des femmes, mais aussi de toutes les personnes de genres opprimés.

La Journée internationale des femmes travailleuses a d’abord été désignée le 8 mars par une conférence internationale de femmes révolutionnaires en 1913. L’itération la plus célèbre de cette célébrations fut la grève du Pain et des Roses de 1917, précurseur de la révolution de Février et de la création de l’Union soviétique. À l’occasion du centenaire de cet événement, nous cherchons à assurer la continuité de la tradition révolutionnaire en soutenant le féminisme prolétarien, tout en rompant avec toutes les idées réactionnaires,  du chauvinisme au binarisme.

Solidarité avec toutes les personnes de genres opprimés!

Écrasons le Capitalisme, Écrasons le Patriarcat, Écrasons l’État !

Report Back from the 6th Congress of the MER-RSM

Report Back from the 6th Congress of the MER-RSM

On February 18-19 the MER-RSM has held its 6th Pan-Canadian Congress. Delegates from 14 sections from across the country came to Ottawa to decide on the course of our organization, share organizing experience and reaffirm our commitment to pushing the class struggle forward wherever we organize! Realizing the resolution from the 5th Congress to consolidate and build roots, most of our sections have grown, with some doubling their membership numbers. The MER-RSM remains the largest anti-capitalist student movement in Canada, and we will keep organizing to expand our reach and grow in places where sections are established.

Coming out of this Congress, we have set out clear plans for moving forward. The main short term goal of all MER-RSM sections in English Canada is to work to create general assemblies (GAs) on campuses, in order to make students the highest decision making body in student organizations such as unions, associations and federations. Several sections are already engaged in GA campaigns and plan to intensify their work over the coming weeks. The Congress made explicit another reason to struggle for general assemblies, the ability to build towards an unlimited student strike, in which revolutionary politics will be the leading force. This task is in furthering the commitment of the MER-RSM to build towards a revolution in Canada. To help facilitate section’s struggle for GAs, the Coordinating Committee (CoCo) of the MER-RSM will centralize propaganda and analysis from successful campaigns, and from this develop new materials to aid in the spread of direct democratic student leadership through General Assembly.

The Congress also decided to change the way we view our Transformative Justice Committee (TJC). Initially called for at the 2014 Congress in Quebec City, the committee has been slow to materialize. To rectify this the 6th Congress set out a new plan for an ad-hoc TJC to address complaints against MER-RSM members that may have engaged in patriarchal, transphobic, racist, ableist, etc. behaviour or violence. The mandate of TJC includes a process of investigation, mediation and rectification. All comrades interested in acting for the TJC when the need arises are encouraged to get in touch with the CoCo via their Regional Organizer. In addition, the CoCo will create a list of resources to aid in the work of the TJC and make this list available to the leadership of every section. Any member of the MER-RSM or its periphery who has a complaint that they wish to be investigated by the TJC and CoCo has the right to contact their regional organizer or any Coordinating Committee member and to have that complaint dealt with as soon as possible. We will take all complaints with the attention and seriousness they deserve. Through this mechanism the MER-RSM will realize its commitment to maintaining internally a strong LGBTQ2SIAP+-inclusive, and proletarian feminist culture in both word and action

To advance these same politics externally we will implement the two following resolutions. The Congress directed that wherever possible sections to hold events this upcoming March 8th under the banner of Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day, and to promote a celebration of Proletarian Feminism and revolutionary gender oppressed people. In addition, the MER-RSM will intensify our opposition, in the coming years, to Canadian Association for Equality and other “Men’s Rights Activist” organizing. To guide this the CoCo will centralize and produce guidelines and propaganda for campaigns and actions against these reactionaries.

Other decisions focused on strengthening our organizing locally and further improving our propaganda materials. In the coming year CoCo will produce a plan for organizing at CEGEPs and Colleges, this will expand our organizing in this crucial site of struggle beyond the single section currently at Algonquin College. Also the CoCo will also develop recommended basics and advanced reading lists for the ideological advancement of members and will make these courses accessible on the MER-RSM website.

In fostering a culture of revolution in Canadian schools, the CoCo presented the draft of the first MER-RSM publication – “Classmates”. After discussion and feedback, it was decided that the publication will be released at least once a year, with the first issue being ready for September 2017. This will add a vibrancy to our movement and allow supporters and members to contribute actively to the perspective of the organization be it through art, analysis, or polemic.

Finally, the 6th Congress expressed solidarity with the comrades from RSM Sudbury, who are facing heavy police repression. The MER-RSM unequivocally condemns the outrageous actions of the Sudbury Police and Ontario Provincial Police and offers the support and assistance necessary for our comrades there to continue doing their great work. Further the MER-RSM extends our solidarity to Igor Sadikov, a student at McGill who faces major backlash from McGill’s Student Society and university’s administration for publicly expressing his anti-Zionist views. MER-RSM supports struggles against imperialism and colonialism in Canada and internationally and therefore stand in defence of his critique of Zionism. In this vein, we also affirm our solidarity with the member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggles. Through each of these declarations MER-RSM hopes to build comradery and strength by celebrating others who join us in the fight against imperialism, colonialism and capitalism.

Demonstrating the quality and growth of the organization, our Coordinating Committee now mainly consists of comrades who have not been on it previously. Due to this fact, some responsibilities are going to be shared between several people, in order to ensure a steady transition. Regional organizers will contact their sections shortly to introduce themselves:

Chairperson: Dimka Melnik (returning)
Ontario Organizer: Ken Kollontai
Ontario Organizer: Emma Calico
Quebec and Eastern Provinces Organizer: Dimka Melnik & Juju Rmd
Prairies and British Columbia Organizer: Yan Ni & Ian Desales
English Propaganda Officer: Cameron Mcalpine
French Propaganda Officer: Juju Rmd

Our struggles among the student masses have made us the largest left-wing student organization in Canada!

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

RSM-Sudbury Targeted by Police Repression, but Continues to Organize!

Since the string of revolutionary street art began to appear around town on Monday of last week and the March Against School Closures on Tuesday January 24th, the police have intensified their attacks on the Sudbury chapter of the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM-Sudbury).

A small group of RSM supporters were chased by unidentified men in the downtown core that Monday afternoon. The men pursued the supporters for several blocks, yelling that they believed our supporters were responsible for spray painting a building.

We saw a dramatically increased police presence at our demonstration against public school closures on January 24th. Surveillance was heavy, with cops taking pictures of attendees’ faces and recording conversations. At the end of the demonstration, police approached and then pursued a group of RSM supporters and organizers for a short distance as they were leaving together.

police repression
Pigs invade meeting of RSM-Sudbury on Thurs, Jan 26.

Later on Thursday evening, January 26th, during what was supposed to be our public Winter Semester Orientation at Laurentian University, police occupied the meeting room before we arrived preventing the Orientation from taking place. One RSM supporter who was on the scene was questioned and threatened by police. The cops pressed them for information even after they said they were not willing to share any. They threatened to charge the supporter with obstruction of justice for not giving their name and other information, and implied that ‘liking’ the RSM-Sudbury Facebook page was grounds for laying charges. After asking a number of times if the supporter had been at the demonstration on January 24th and receiving no answer, they attempted and failed to arrest them for trespassing at the Rainbow District School Board office under the assumption they had been at the demo.

And a few days ago, police invaded the home of a supporter and searched their residence without a warrant. They used intimidation and fear tactics to enter the premises, threatening to surround the house on all sides until a warrant to search could be obtained. The cops then searched the house under the pretense they were looking for somebody, but turned over every corner of the place where no person could hide, even inside dresser drawers, under mattresses, and through the contents of their desk. This is despite not laying any charges! They’ve continued to harass this person, showing up at their home three times now, and have shown up at the homes of other supporters as well. No RSM supporters have offered any information despite police intimidation and we continue to urge others to not to talk to the police either.

This heavy-handed police repression may look like a totally unprecedented attack on RSM-Sudbury, but the RSM has faced police surveillance and repression to a lesser degree since its inception. This is in the context of a general strengthening of the repressive state apparatus which targets any radical elements in society that call capitalism and its markers into question. We are facing a blatant attempt to stifle any further political activity of RSM-Sudbury because they see us as a threat.

We won’t allow them to intimidate us! RSM-Sudbury will continue to struggle against this rotten settler-colonial capitalist system, the state which protects it, and its many manifestations including the closures of eight public schools in our city!

We will continue to hold weekly public meetings on the Laurentian University campus. The meeting scheduled for this Thursday February 2nd will be cancelled, but regular weekly meetings will resume on Thursday February 9th at 6pm. All those interested in joining the fight are welcome to attend.


Solidarity with all targets of capitalist political repression!

Resist the campaign of police intimidation and terror!

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

On the Recent Wave of Revolutionary Street Art in Sudbury

On the Recent Wave of Revolutionary Street Art in Sudbury

garish LU lawn-display

The social media frenzy over the spray-painted slogans was in full swing by Monday morning last week. The local media outlets started to pick up the story soon thereafter. By lunchtime the news had already spread and mutated all over town. And over a week later, the wild speculation continues unabated, fueled by the appearance of more slogans.

How could something so commonplace as some red paint, hurriedly sprayed here and there, bring Sudbury to such a stir? What gave it the power to delight so many, enrage others, and escape notice by no one? Could it be that, unlike the usual graffiti we walk past every day, this time the bright red paint expresses a bright red politics, the politics of revolution? Let’s examine the scenes.

At one end of town: the garish Laurentian University lawn-display at the main campus entrance was appropriately transformed into a giant dollar sign. A slogan denouncing the capitalist post-secondary education system was included to complete the piece, which appeared in the heart of Sudbury’s enclave of the rich.

At the other end of town: walls around the working-class Donovan neighbourhood were emblazoned with revolutionary slogans. The planned mass closure of public schools was condemned in bold letters. Many of the Donovan pieces identified the RSM by name, likely in solidarity with RSM-Sudbury’s ongoing campaign against the school closures.

And downtown, two days later: similar slogans appeared on the office of the Rainbow District School Board, which is implementing the province’s austerity measures locally via the school closures and program cuts. This was the day after the march on the RDSB office led by RSM-Sudbury on Tuesday, Jan 24th.

revolution: the only solution!

A beautiful array of popular art, to be sure! And although RSM-Sudbury humbly denies responsibility for this sudden bloom of revolutionary expression, let it be known widely that we are in full support of whomever took this initiative!

We commend them for bringing much-needed attention, strikingly and without shame, to the struggles against the oppressive system that surrounds us. We’re also proud that the artist(s) gave a nod to our organization in some of their pieces, an organization that fights hard to build the revolutionary movement against capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. We join the many online and on-the-ground observers in applauding these actions. With the proper organization and revolutionary direction, the spirit of militancy and rebellion shown here can move mountains!

Yet there are also some who complain about ‘vandalism’, even openly call for violence and state repression against those responsible. They care more about the purity of a few walls than about the cuts and closures imposed on working-class youth, the inaccessibility of post-secondary education for most of us, or its subservience to the interests of profiteers instead of the people! Their misplaced concern is amplified by the deletion of supportive comments from the discussion sections of local news articles. But these crocodile tears and cheap tricks fail to sway anyone who unequivocally sides with the downtrodden against their oppressors.

Now in light of the ongoing police investigation into the past week’s events, and political repression aimed at RSM after the Jan 24th demonstration, we must remind everyone that the cops are not friends of the workers and oppressed people! They are the first line of defense against disruption of the unjust status quo. We urge everyone to refrain from talking to the cops and avoid providing any information that may put the brave artist(s) at risk. It is our duty to stand united alongside those who dare to fight for our collective liberation.

RSM-Sudbury will continue to agitate, organize and push the class struggle ever forward. We wholeheartedly support anyone who shows similar commitments, and we encourage them to reach out and connect their efforts with ours without delay.

 

Let graffiti drawings and writings be generalized in the workplace, neighborhoods, schools, universities, centers of street vendors, or workers in general. Let graffiti be in big bold letters on the walls, because only there can the people really see and express their democracy. The walls are the sheets of books where the people write their prose, their poems, their literary works to air their demands, their struggles and the songs of the Revolution… And let’s not care if the masses make spelling mistakes. They will learn later on. Let them write on the walls how they participate in the war. Let them criticize what is wrong… Thus, with the graffiti, the masses express true people’s democracy in writing…

May Directives for Metropolitan Lima
Communist Party of Peru, 1991

No Nazis on Campus! Fascist Propaganda found at McMaster University

No Nazis on Campus! Fascist Propaganda found at McMaster University

mcmaster-thumbnailOn Monday morning Neo-Nazi propaganda was discovered on McMaster’s Campus and in the Westdale neighbourhood calling for the preservation of ‘white culture’ and organization in support of white ‘self-interest’. This represents an attack on all marginalized students in the McMaster community. Fascists lie, propagandize, and distort the facts to support a twisted narrative of supremacy and racial purity and as such the Revolutionary Student Movement is categorically opposed to all alt-right organizations. The Revolutionary Student Movement is a militant and combative anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist student organization. We are definitively anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-ableist, LGBTQ2S*-inclusive and proletarian feminist. We will fight fascism wherever it shows itself. We will ensure that alt-right, white supremacist, and Nazi propaganda cannot be distributed at McMaster. We will not allow fascists to organize openly, and wherever they decide to come out into the open, they will be met with fierce resistance.

mcmaster-image

 

 

Postponement of the 6th Pan-Canadian RSM Congress

Postponement of the 6th Pan-Canadian RSM Congress

Regretfully, the Revolutionary Student Movement’s 6th Pan-Canadian Congress will be postponed. The venue where we had planned to host the Congress backed out of our booking last moment, and all attempts to find another venue were unsuccessful. This cancellation happened due to the political nature of our organization, and while we cannot confirm it at this time – state repression may also be a factor.

 

As we were unable to find another venue on such short notice, the Congress will instead be held February 18-19, 2017. More details about the location will follow soon. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our organizers, supporters, and any intended observers. Despite this setback we remain firm in our revolutionary resolve. We will keep on building the largest revolutionary, combative, militant, and anti-capitalist student movement in the country, and invite everyone to join us for the next Congress. We will make sure that it will be the best Congress to date!

 

Red Salute!

 

– The Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire: RSM Expands Westward!

A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire: RSM Expands Westward!

The Prairies are Rising Red

Within the last year of the work of the MER-RSM, perhaps the most promising development of our organization has been the affiliation of two anti-capitalist organizations in the prairies with our Pan-Canadian organization – the Socialist Student Association (SSA-RSM) at the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Manitoba Student Action Network (UMSAN-RSM). Through this, the MER-RSM has been capable of uniting revolutionary students across this previously untapped area of central Canada, creating a basis of experienced and already engaged organizers that can spread the militant student movement across Canada.

With the degradation of the economic conditions in the prairies for working class people, as unemployment increases; the intensity of the contradiction of settler-colonialism within this area of the country due to significant high populations of Indigenous peoples posed against resource extractive economies; and the intense attacks upon education across English-Canada, the situation is all too ripe that such a spark as the MER-RSM will undoubtedly start a fire across the Prairies. 

  • A Statement of the Pan-Canadian MER-RSM Coordinating Committee

thumbnail4manitoba

After the Day of Action: What Next?

After the Day of Action: What Next?

14958915_1362388553771261_1664768850_o

The Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) is excited to see that so many students across the country participated in November 2nd Day of Action, demanding an end to an education system which is unaffordable and inaccessible to most working class people and people from marginalized communities. Seeing this mobilization is truly inspiring, especially since most students who participated did not have an academic amnesty and many had to skip classes in order to demonstrate that they want these changes to be made now. Members of the RSM across the country have joined the actions in their cities with enthusiasm and have been involved in organizing in support of this initiative – we took part in marches and demonstrations, handed out leaflets outlining our position, promoted today’s events, and organized walk-outs.

However, despite today’s Day of Action being a success in mobilizing a large number of students across the country, we maintain our critiques of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). We maintain 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. 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 actions of CFS bureaucrats today proved our critique to be correct. At many rallies, organizers made the call to vote for politicians who would supposedly bring us free education, and to vote out the ones who do not support this demand. Organizers who sought to put forward the necessity of a strike were, in some places, barred from speaking. The CFS has used mobilizations like today as part of their lobbying efforts for more than a decade, and meanwhile tuition fees have steadily been on the rise across the country. 

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. Not just the Indigenization of programs and institutions that aim to continue to dispossess Indigenous people from their land, but independence of all Indigenous departments and students from settler organizational models. 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.

14975733_1362388480437935_898248020_o

But now that the Day of Action is over, where do we go from here? The RSM proposes the following concrete steps as a program for building a fighting student movement across Canada:

  1. Students should fight for General Assemblies as the highest decision making bodies of their student unions. In turn, where General Assemblies already exist, students should fight for General Assemblies at both the campus and faculty level.
  2. Revolutionary students should campaign and promote the idea of a one-day strike against tuition.
  3. Votes for a one-day strike against tuition should be held in General Assemblies where they exist as a means of building a culture of striking.
  4. These sorts of activities should be continued and escalated, until it is possible to coordinate strikes between campuses.
  5. Strikes should serve as a way of forcing social crises where possible: we will force the state and ruling class to act, rather than simply beg them for table scraps.

The end of tuition, debt, the bourgeois education system, and capitalism are all possible. But in order to win, we need to be organized, and we need revolution.

In just over a week the RSM will be holding its Sixth Pan-Canadian Congress in Montreal. We invite all revolutionary youth and students, who agree with the political perspectives we uphold as well as the concrete steps we propose, to attend either as members of the RSM or observers.

For a truly democratic student movement in English Canada!

Towards a student strike for the elimination of tuition fees!

14971319_1362388583771258_1682983034_n

Closure for Consolidation: Solidarity with TASS and LDSS!

Closure for Consolidation: Solidarity with TASS and LDSS!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Towards a Student Strike in English Canada!

 

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

 

Solidarity with LDSS and TAS Students Facing Austerity!

 

 

RSM-Peterborough