Movie Night: “Communists on Campus!”

Movie Night: “Communists on Campus!”

Take a break from studying for exams and come out to an end-of-semester social night hosted by RSM-Sudbury. There will be popcorn, camaraderie and a screening of an unintentionally hilarious anti-communist documentary from the Cold War era.

When: This Thursday, March 30, 6:30-8pm.
Where: Room C-102, Classroom Building, Laurentian University.

Communists on Campus is a crude attempt by a right-wing U.S. lobby group to “expose” communist activity in the student, black liberation, and anti-war movements of the 60s, with comically off-base results. The movie desperately uses every anti-communist trope in the book, embodying the capitalists’ deep dread of being overthrown by the workers and oppressed peoples. Fortunately the subject matter is given a chance to speak for itself through extended footage of young militants from progressive and revolutionary groups of the time; they are shown giving speeches and interviews, organizing strikes and armed campus occupations, and working to unite forces against U.S. imperialism and the Vietnam War.

There will be an open discussion after the movie, plus a quick presentation from RSM to help debunk its Cold War clichés, explore the actual role of revolutionaries in the student movement, and connect it with RSM’s local and pan-Canadian work. There will also be Marxist literature and hand-made swag on sale to raise funds for the club.

Please invite friends to the Facebook event and share it widely! Everyone is welcome to attend. The venue is accessible. Entry is $0 (donations welcome).

 

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!

Solidarity with LDSS and CVDCS Student Walkouts Against School Closures!

Solidarity with LDSS and CVDCS Student Walkouts Against School Closures!

This past Wednesday, in solidarity with last week’s student walkout at Lively District Secondary School (LDSS), members of RSM-Sudbury gathered there to distribute a slightly different version of the statement below among the students, and to write messages of solidarity in chalk around the school. That same day, students at Chelmsford Valley District Composite School (CVDCS) also staged a walkout, inspired by LDSS students. We greet that action with the same enthusiasm and our statement has been amended accordingly.


Students of LDSS and CVDCS!

Down with the school closures!The Revolutionary Student Movement – Sudbury (RSM-Sudbury) congratulates you on the mass walkouts you organized over the past week to protest plans by the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) to close your schools!

As the local chapter of a country-wide organization of anti-capitalist students and youth, with members at a few high schools in Sudbury and at Laurentian University, we wish to extend to you our full solidarity and support in this struggle.

Last month we were dismayed to learn about the RDSB’s announcement of massive and accelerated cuts to school infrastructure and educational programs – but the defiant stand you have taken gives us hope! And we are sure there are many others being inspired by your rebellious spirit.

You know better than anyone about the countless hardships these closures will create for many thousands of students, families, teachers and support staff across Greater Sudbury. The loss of jobs, community resources, educational and extracurricular programmes, hopes and social bonds will be hardest felt among low-income, working-class, rural and Indigenous communities.

And for what? The RDSB is trumping up a relatively small budget shortage to justify a sweeping attack on many communities that are already struggling with effects of past school closures – and with a social, economic and political system that leaves us poor, powerless and without prospects for the future. Meanwhile the School Board has no problems finding $7 million to spend on a new office for their bureaucrats!

That is why the cuts must be fought, that is why you are fighting, and that is why RSM-Sudbury has been gearing up to join the fight by your side. When we first heard about the walkout in Lively, we were in the midst of organizing a series of student speak-outs across Greater Sudbury, including in Lively and Chelmsford, to condemn the school closures. The speak-outs are meant to let students and families express their anger and unite for mass actions, just like what you did last week. They will also provide a fighting alternative to the phoney public meetings that the RDSB will be holding in the coming weeks, the aim of which is to create the illusion of ‘community input’ and stem the tide of grassroots struggle.

And a broad, united fight to the finish is absolutely necessary, because we are going up against powerful forces that will not budge unless we force their hand. The School Board and the Government have already shown they are no friends of us students, like in Spring 2015 when they worked together to crush the high school teachers’ strike that fought for better quality of education, for smaller and more personalized classes. The system that these institutions represent offers us nothing, unless we demonstrate that we have the strength to take it regardless of the wishes of those in power.

Your example deserves to be imitated widely, both at schools directly affected by the cuts and at schools that have been spared for now. Our hope is that the speak-outs will go a small way toward building a combative movement of students and supporters in Greater Sudbury that will toss the RDSB’s plans into the trash.

Solidarity with students of LDSS and CVDCS!

Fight the school closures all across Greater Sudbury!

No compromise, no cuts!

We invite all sympathetic students and supporters who wish to work together with us to push this struggle forward to contact our Facebook page or email rsm.sudbury@gmail.com. You can also come out to our twice-weekly general meetings:

  • Tuesdays, 3:30-6pm on the main floor of the Mackenzie Public Library
  • Thursdays, 7-9pm in room C-318 (Classroom Building) at Laurentian University

Down with Displacement, Up with Decent Housing!

British Columbia’s Lower Mainland includes some of the most expensive places to live in occupied Canada. Of the 523 municipalities surveyed in the Canadian Rental Housing Index, Vancouver and Burnaby rank last, or close to last in measures of rental affordability and quality of rental units. [1] The lack of affordable housing for working class people has been termed the “housing crisis”. This crisis affects up to 116,000 people in BC alone. [2]

With the housing crisis deepening, activists have initiated a number of actions in the Lower Mainland to raise awareness about it. In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) and International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) have organized a “Tent City” since July 9. About 50-60 activists, including individuals who are homeless or are currently living in squalid conditions, have set up tents to occupy 58 West Hastings Street, a site currently owned by the municipal government. [3] “Tent Cities” have also been set up in Victoria and Abbotsford elsewhere in BC, and Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario.

Furthermore, there was currently an occupation of an apartment, acquired by the developer Amacon, at 5025 Imperial Street in Burnaby, by the Alliance Against Displacement. Tenants in this block of apartments are among an estimated 1,400 people in the low-income Metrotown neighbourhood facing the threat of “demoviction”. Apartment buildings with affordable housing units will be demolished so that expensive condos get built in their place. [4, 5] The occupation started on July 9, and as of the morning of July 20, the RCMP have carried out the court injunction to remove the protestors from the site of occupation. [6]

The Revolutionary Student Movement-Vancouver section, extends our solidarity with the “Tent City” in Vancouver and the occupation in Burnaby. We believe that decent, affordable housing for working-class people is a vital necessity, and as such, resolutely support their demands. We commend both occupations for highlighting how the housing crisis affects some of the most vulnerable sectors of capitalist society. We also commend the actions for highlighting the inaction that “progressive” municipal governments in Vancouver and Burnaby, led by Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan respectively, have taken in addressing the housing crisis.

The Homelessness Crisis

At its most visible level, the housing crisis includes the 11,000 people in BC who live on the streets. Although Robertson was elected on a promise to wipe out street homelessness in Vancouver by 2015, there are 1847 people who live on the streets in Vancouver in 2016, the highest in a decade. [7] These figures do not include the 40,000 people who are “hidden homeless” in BC and who get by through living in cars or couch-surfing. As the crisis of homelessness has gotten worse, some cities such as Burnaby and Surrey do not even have homeless shelters, and the number of empty units in Vancouver now exceeds the estimated homeless population. [8, 24]

Some of the most vulnerable sectors of the proletariat, or working-class, are at risk of street homeless. We are appalled when migrants, and indigenous people disproportionately face homelessness and housing insecurity. It is estimated that even although 4% of the Lower Mainland’s population are indigenous, they represent over 30% of the homeless population [2]. When migrants, including refugees, and indigenous people do not have access to basic needs, this highlights the continuing racist, colonial, and white-supremacist nature of the Canadian State. Next, women and other gender oppressed people who are homeless face a vicious cycle. They often need to choose between facing physical and sexual abuse from an abusive partner, or going homeless; and while homeless, they sometimes need to return to an abusive partner for financial support, so they can afford fines just for being homeless! [3, 9] Finally, we are concerned when up to 1 in 5 homeless youths identify as LGBTQ2S and when the number of homeless youth is growing. [2, 10] We are appalled especially when homeless youth face unnecessary stress and abuse as they try to get an education or enter the workforce. [10, 11]

The Gentrification of Proletarian Neighbourhoods

13718521_10205350418759957_4339080494318765082_nThe housing crisis also includes up to 65,000 individuals in BC who spend more than 50% on their income on rent, and who often live in substandard, cramped conditions. These individuals are considered at risk of homelessness since housing is considered affordable if it uses 30% of a person’s total income [2]. Housing insecurity, however, does not come out of nowhere. The continuing displacement working-class communities experience in Vancouver and Burnaby is because of policies of gentrification set out by Robertson and Corrigan’s “progressive” governments. These policies are often framed as benign “densification” plans.

In principle, more housing is a good thing, but in reality, building more housing actually displaces low-income residents when they are not able to afford the new housing which is being built. In Metrotown alone, tenants on average would need to pay 25% more in rent than they currently do under Corrigan’s “Downtown Metrotown” plan, yet over half of the tenants in Metrotown cannot afford to pay their existing rents! [3] The same fears of being “priced out” of their own communities are being expressed by tenants in nearby Joyce-Collingwood. [13]

In the Downtown Eastside, including Chinatown, the Robertson government has advocated “social mix” for new developments in these neighbourhoods. “Social mix” means any new developments would include both social housing and “market-price” housing. However, few social housing units in practice would be developed. For instance, a new development at 105 Keefer Street would only include 25 social housing units compared with 102 “market-price” units, at a time when 3,000 Chinese seniors are in need of affordable housing. [14, 15] Next, “social mix” is a policy of segregation. Low-income residents face additional policing, and have separate amenities from higher-income residents, although both live in the same building.  Most importantly, “social mix” destroys more affordable housing than it creates. A net 279 units of low-income housing were lost during the development of the Woodward’s building, one of the first buildings in Vancouver with a “social mix”. [16]  Policies of “social mix” offer no permanent solution to thousands of individuals who have waited years for decent housing, and in the meantime, have lived in cockroach, bedbug-infested, and unaffordable SROs without a shed of privacy. [113606803_10205315895976909_4803548621804326757_n2] It is an absolute shame when these policies destroy the fabric of proletarian neighbourhoods.

The Housing Crisis at Universities

As many working-class students now attend universities, the housing crisis also affects them and extends on campus. There is a lack of affordable housing for students whether housing is on or off campus. Indeed, more than 6000 students are now on the waiting list to access residences at UBC at a time when residence fees are getting more expensive. [21] In 2015, students at UBC protested a 30% increase in residence fees as part of the “I Am A Student” movement. A dormitory at UBC can now cost over $1000 per month [17] at a time when the average student makes only about $750/month (unadjusted for inflation) [18]. This means that students often need to work 2-3 jobs, even during the school year, to make ends meet and to pay for tuition.

To make matters worse, universities do not make developing affordable housing a priority but instead choose to destroy units of affordable housing! Earlier this year, tenants at the SFU’s Louis Riel House, which included 60 units of affordable housing for low-income students, students with families, single mothers, and First Nations students, were evicted. SFU had willfully neglected the condition of the building over its lifetime, and does not have a plan to rehouse all students who were evicted. SFU plans to close down an additional 210 units of affordable student housing. [19] The closure of affordable housing for students with families has also happened at UBC with the closure of the Acadia Courts in 2012. [20] It is shameful when universities choose profit-making from developing projects such as Wesbrook Village and UniveriCity at a time when many students are in need of affordable housing.

Our Demands

Once again, we are glad that a genuine proletarian movement has emerged to struggle for housing justice when until now, “taxpayers” and “homebuyers” have dominated this conversation. We are glad to see militant struggle against landlords and developers who take advantage of oppressed peoples, and action against governments who do not listen to proletarian communities. [3, 13, 14] We see the struggle for housing justice as part of the wider struggle for socialism since capitalism is the root of oppression for proletarian communities. Power needs to be directly in the hands of proletarian communities so that gains for housing justice are made permanent.

 In solidarity with the demands made by the “Tent City” and the occupation at Metrotown [3, 22, 23], we demand the following:

  • Stop the gentrification!: Declare an immediate moratorium on all new “demovictions” and new expensive housing developments in proletarian neighbourhoods.
  • Social housing now!: Build 100% social and affordable housing on government-owned lands in all proletarian neighbourhoods, including the site at 58 West Hastings Street, and university-owned lands for proletarian students.
  • Stop the displacement!: Rehouse all students living at Louis Riel House evicted by SFU, and all tenants evicted by current or future “demovictions”.
  • Rent control laws!: Enact rent control laws, which also apply to dormitories, to ensure housing is affordable for working-class tenants and students in the long term.
  • Homes not jails!: Divert $5 billion dollars from the federal prison, military, police, immigration enforcement budgets, and subsidies to Canadian mining companies committing dubious acts abroad, to support affordable and safe housing for the people!

We finally encourage all proletarian and politicized students raise awareness about the housing crisis and to support both the “Tent City” and the occupation in Burnaby. To support these actions, students can:

  1. Sign VANDU’s online petition, linked here, to support the “Tent City”’s demands in resolving the housing crisis.
  2. Donate supplies to Vancouver’s “Tent City” or support it financially. A list of supplies which the “Tent City” needs is here, and a site where financial contributions can be made is here.
  3. Follow the “Alliance Against Displacement” on Facebook and Twitter for latest updates about future mobilizations in Burnaby and other information about their campaign.
  4. Share this statement, the demands of housing justice campaigns, and other news items on housing justice on social media.

Homes not jails!

Our homes can’t wait!

Affordable housing is a right. What do we do? Unite and fight!

References:

  1. http://rentalhousingindex.ca/pdf/Ranked-Indicator-Scores.pdf
  2. http://www.socialhousingbc.com/
  3. http://thevolcano.org/2016/07/13/were-not-going-home-and-were-not-giving-up/
  4. http://www.burnabynow.com/news/update-housing-activists-occupy-vacant-building-1.2300122
  5. http://www.stopdisplacement.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Dunblane-Demovictions-Report_Spring2016-1.pdf
  6. https://twitter.com/stopdisplacemnt
  7. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/homeless-create-new-tent-city-to-protest-vancouvers-social-housing/article30898440/
  8. http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/10/28/Burnaby-Surrey-Shirk-Homeless-Responsibility/
  9. http://www.wavaw.ca/talking-the-talk-vancouvers-homeless-count/
  10. http://blogs.ubc.ca/gayandhomeless/files/2011/07/BetweentheCracks2002.pdf
  11. https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2015/06/09/foreign-whiz-kid-endured-homelessness-to-graduate-top-of-class-at-u-of-t.html
  12. https://raisetherates.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/2015report.pdf
  13. https://joyceareara.wordpress.com/
  14. http://www.vancouversun.com/business/controversial+chinatown+proposal+rejigged/11438334/story.html
  15. http://thevolcano.org/2016/02/04/our-generations-fight-for-chinatown/
  16. https://ccapvancouver.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/ww_gent/
  17. http://vancouver.housing.ubc.ca/applications/fees-payments/
  18. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-001-x/2010109/pdf/11341-eng.pdf
  19. https://lrhcommunity.wordpress.com/about/our-declaration/
  20. http://ubyssey.ca/news/acadia-courts-relocation-876/
  21. http://www.theprovince.com/news/housing+waiting+list+names+long+would+month+square+feet/11736766/story.html
  22. https://tentcityvancouver.wordpress.com/
  23. https://ccapvancouver.wordpress.com/ourhomescantwait/
  24. http://www.straight.com/news/653356/empty-homes-study-reveals-10000-vacant-condos-still-fails-explain-vancouver-real-estate

Images taken by ILPS Canada and author.

Reject Austerity- No to VSB Cuts and School Closures!

Reject Austerity- No to VSB Cuts and School Closures!

The Revolutionary Student Movement, Vancouver chapter, (RSM-Vancouver) is a group of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist student organizers, based on unceded Coast Salish Territories. We are aware that the Vancouver School Board (VSB) is currently finalizing its operating budget for the 2016/2017 school year. In this process, the VSB has proposed cuts to make up for a $24.6 million funding shortfall, the largest to date, on top of the $82 million in cuts already made to the Vancouver public school system in the past decade. The VSB has launched public consultations on the budget, and will vote to adopt or reject it by April 28. 

In the long term, the VSB is exploring the possibilities of closing up to 19-21 schools, mainly on Vancouver’s East Side: a place where the working-class, urban First Nations, and immigrants are concentrated. School closures were recommended by consulting firm Ernst and Young, acting on behalf of the Liberal provincial government, as part of an “asset rationalization approach” to manage the VSB’s finances. The provincial government has  continually reduced funding for public education, and has previously asked the VSB to close schools before the board goes ahead with seismic upgrades. The school closures would mean that by 2030, up to 5,167 fewer seats would be available in Vancouver’s schools. The “Long Range Facilities Plan” , which proposes school closures and came as a result of Ernst and Young’s report, has been tentatively adopted by the VSB and will become final, after some public consultation, by June.

The RSM-Vancouver unequivocally denounces the cuts proposed in this budget and all recommendations proposed by “consultants” to close schools in Vancouver’s East Side. We see them as egregious, co-ordinated attacks on the conditions on proletarian, or working class neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

We are firstly concerned about the elimination of up to 200 positions from the Vancouver School Board in the present budget, especially when some individuals employed in these positions are precarious workers and serve in positions which benefit proletarian students. For instance:

  • ESL instructors, multicultural liaison workers, and a district-wide anti-racism worker are set to be eliminated or have their hours reduced. This is concerning when immigrant families and immigrant children in proletarian neighbourhoods access these services provided by the VSB, especially when the primary caregiver in a household does not speak English fluently.
  • The district-wide anti-homophobia mentor position will be eliminated. This is concerning when queer families often settle into proletarian neighbourhoods, when students in proletarian neighbourhoods are often far away from LGBTQ2S support services, and when a policy adopted last year to protect trans*/gender-variant students is yet to be fully implemented by the VSB.
  • Elementary school enrichment programs, including music and arts programs, are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when proletarian children often rely on these programs as their only source of extra-curricular activities.
  • Braille, Deaf, and special education support positions are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when these are often the only sources of support for proletarian families whose children have disabilities, and when schoolteachers are often not trained to support students with disabilities.
  • Aboriginal education positions are set to be eliminated. This is concerning when Vancouver’s First Nations population lives in proletarian neighbourhoods and when decolonization and aboriginal education is needed more than ever, in light of recent events.

This is not to mention the elimination of 23 teaching positions and the class size cap in Vancouver’s secondary schools. These changes will only put more stress on overworked teachers when teachers have indicated that their class sizes are already too big during the previous BC Teachers’ Strike. The quality of education in proletarian secondary schools will only go down when teachers in those schools become overworked and are not able to give enough individualized attention to students who are struggling.

Moreover, we oppose the recommendation to close 19-21 “underutilized” schools in the East Side, especially at a time when BC Statistics Agency has predicted that enrolment in the VSB may go up by 8000 students by 2025! Closing these schools will only cause grief to working parents who may need to travel far away from their neighbourhoods to access education  for their children. Next, we reject the basis that these schools are “underutilized”, when they often provide special programs such as a First Nations-focused education and spaces where proletarian communities can gather and organize.  As such, enrolment should not be the sole measure of a school’s value when schools provide much more than literacy and life skills for children.

Based on all of these proposals, we can only see that austerity is just a synonym for class war. Class war occurs when “consultants” recommend closing “underutilized” schools in proletarian neighbourhoods, only so that the VSB can have the resources to make seismic upgrades for schools in bourgeois, upper-class neighbourhoods. Class war occurs when budget proposals make cuts to services proletarian families often access. Class war occurs when the quality of education in proletarian schools is declining as a result of overworked teachers and support staff. In these times of capitalist crisis and neoliberalism, austerity becomes a way to openly exploit proletarians so that the rich can only become richer.

teachers-1Austerity, however, can be stopped. In the short term, we would like to encourage the current school board to extend public consultations, especially when the masses are condemning austerity, to vote no to an austerity budget, and to stop any proposed school closures. We condemn the so-called “progressive” trustees on the school board when they claim to be fighting for proletarian students and better public education, but instead vote for cuts and school closures. We recall Vancouver’s recent history when in 1984, a school board comprised of “progressive” trustees refused to obey the provincial government’s directive to make cuts. The cuts in that year never happened as a result of the trustees’ determination during this struggle.

Furthermore, we encourage the masses, especially proletarian students, to voice their opposition to these proposed austerity measures from the VSB. We are glad to see visible opposition to the cuts but we are appalled when under austerity, groups representing diverse sectors in proletarian neighbourhoods fight each other for whatever crumbs they can get from the ruling class. We applaud the actions of students, when the students of Greenwood Secondary School walked out of their classes in protest of the Toronto District School Board’s’ proposal to close their school. Similarly, we encourage students in the VSB to display the same militancy in opposing this budget and proposed school closures, as they did in organizing in solidarity with BC teachers during the BC Teachers’ Strike.

At the same time, we deplore a system when the bourgeoisie (ruling, and capitalist class) are allowed total power over the education of proletarian children. We cannot wait for “progressives”, including the BC NDP, to improve the conditions in proletarian neighbourhoods when many of these “progressives” support austerity at the same time. It is only fair that proletarians, which comprise the majority of society, are able to end austerity for good and allocate society’s wealth to benefit of their communities. This is why the Revolutionary Student Movement fights for an end to the rotten capitalist system, the root of oppression for proletarian families, and dares to build the struggle for socialism.

ROCK BEATS SCISSORS! SOLIDARITY BEATS AUSTERITY!

Sources:

  1. https://www.vsb.bc.ca/20162017-budget
  2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vsb-busdget-cuts-1.3515629
  3. http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/resource-management/reports/moe_vsb_review_report_june_2015.pdf
  4. http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/shared/Item%201%20-%20Interim%20Long%20Range%20Facilities%20Plan.pdf
  5. https://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/shared/2016-2017%20Preliminary%20Budget%20Proposals%20Report%20March%2031%202016%20-%20Website%20Version.pdf
  6. http://bctf.ca/publications/NewsmagArticle.aspx?id=21540
  7. http://www.newstalk1010.com/news/2016/04/08/east-end-high-school-students-walk-out-of-class-in-protest
  8. http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/b-c-teachers-strike-imminent-as-negotiations-with-government-at-an-impasse

International Working Women’s Day 2016 – A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access in Charlottetown, PEI

In February 2016, the Revolutionary Student Movement at UPEI initiated a united front for abortion access. Working with affiliates of the Campus Alliance for Reproductive Justice (CARJ), the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO), the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARRC), and Abortion Access Now PEI (AANPEI), we organized a demonstration which took place on March 8th, International Working Women’s Day, to raise the struggle for abortion access.

The rally started on Kent Street at 4 o’clock, where we distributed signs, flags, and the now-iconic red braids and bandannas of the ‘militant Anne of Green Gables’ street art, created by a local artist known only as iamkarats. We started by singing an abortion-themed parody of the Ice Cream song from Anne, and then began our march down Great George Street, past the Province House, and toward the Gentleman’s Club on King Street. Speeches were given over a megaphone by a few participants. The demonstration ended with a Scream Choir, to put the frustration and rage of the masses on display.

This demonstration, however, does not signify the pinnacle of the struggle we are waging for reproductive justice and against patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy have developed together, out of the same historical process, as a dual system of exploitation and oppression. As long as there is capitalism, there will be an economic system in which patriarchy can flourish. And as long as there is patriarchal oppression, there will be a society that favours capitalist exploitation. It is only by smashing both capitalism and patriarchy through communist revolution that we can end gender oppression, and secure a future that is free from exploitation and oppression. We will continue organizing demonstrations like these to bring more proletarian women, and other gender-oppressed people, into the mass struggle for liberation. Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Proletarian Feminism, we must wage an endless struggle against all forms of oppression to build socialism and communism.

 

A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access
Photo by Jon Viau
RSM Movie Night: SNOWPIERCER

RSM Movie Night: SNOWPIERCER

snowpiercer-poster

When: This Friday, February 26, 5-8pm
Where: Movie Room @ Single Students Residence, Laurentian University

In the near future, a failed experiment to avert global warming kills all life on the planet, except for a lucky few who take refuge on a train that travels endlessly around the globe with a special engine at its head. Soon a class society with two main poles emerges on the train. On the one hand, a powerful minority who control the engine and live lavishly with their allies and protectors at the front of the train; on the other, a huge dominated underclass confined to the darkness and squalor of the back.

As contradictions sharpen aboard the train, the tail sections launch a revolutionary charge aimed at taking power from their oppressors at the front. But to finally control the engine, they must overcome great material and ideological obstacles, distinguish friends from enemies, unite all who can be united under their revolutionary leadership, build real solidarity by fighting oppressive divides within their own ranks, and resist the temptations of reformism and retreat.

Snowpiercer gives an unflinching, ultimately optimistic view of what it will take to win. Entry is free but donations are welcome. Popcorn will be served and there will be an open discussion after the movie. Venue is accessible. Free parking available at Lot 7 across from West Residence.

See this event on Facebook and share it with your friends and comrades.

The People’s Dinner: Anti-Capitalist Community Meal

The People’s Dinner: Anti-Capitalist Community Meal

feast-poster

When:  Thurs, Dec 17, 5:30-8pm
Where:  Meeting Room 1 (downstairs), MacKenzie Public Library, 74 MacKenzie St

The Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committee) – Sudbury and RSM-Sudbury are teaming up with other members of the community to put on an end-of-the-year social event with an anti-capitalist theme. We’re hosting a free community meal and it is open to everyone!  See this event on Facebook and share it with your friends and comrades.


Why an ‘anti-capitalist’ meal?

Capitalism is a system where decisions are made based on what makes the most money, and not what best meets the majority of people’s needs. The result is that the real material needs of the people are ignored and unmet. Even in Canada, capitalism has resulted in around 20% of people living in need on a permanent basis, having trouble putting food on the table and maintaining stable housing. Internationally, the spread of capitalism results in tens of thousands of people dying of starvation every day. Meanwhile, the rich capitalists keep getting richer by making more profit off of our labour.


Serve and empower the people

There are some attempts to make the conditions under capitalism more tolerable by charities and others, but these are only band-aids and do not empower people or improve people’s material conditions in any lasting way. In order to combat hunger and fight for our basic needs, we must fight capitalism. We must reject the capitalist values of individuality and competition and instead co-operate to serve the interests of the dominated classes. It is our hope that the People’s Dinner will begin to nurture these values which will be necessary to build a larger and stronger movement along these lines.


Everyone is welcome at the People’s Table this season!

Come out to the Mackenzie Library downtown on December 17th to share some food and good conversation.  This event is child-friendly but childcare is also available on site upon request. Venue is wheelchair-accessible.  Contact us on Facebook, or at SudburyRevNet@gmail.com or RSM.Sudbury@gmail.com for more information and opportunities to contribute.

Open Planning Meeting for “People’s Dinner”, Anti-Capitalist Community Meal

Open Planning Meeting for “People’s Dinner”, Anti-Capitalist Community Meal

dinner-planning

When: Wednesday, December 2, 3:30-5:15pm
Where: Meeting Room 1 (downstairs), Main Public Library, 74 Mackenzie Street

The Revolutionary Student Movement – Sudbury and the Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committee) – Sudbury are teaming up to put on an end-of-the-year social event for the whole community with an anti-capitalist theme, but we need your help! We are planning a free community meal for mid-December and there will be lots to do to bring this all together, so we ask the community to help make it happen by donating their time, food, or monetary support. Everyone who recognizes that the barriers we face to meeting our basic needs are the result of systemic problems is invited to help organize this event!

Capitalism is a system where decisions are made based on what makes or saves the most money, and not what best meets the majority of people’s needs. The result is that the real material needs of the people are ignored and unmet.

Canada is a relatively prosperous country, but the majority of people do not get their share. Millions of people in Canada live in poverty as a result of joblessness and precarious and low paying work which disproportionately affect women and other gender-oppressed people, immigrants, youth, and indigenous peoples. Many people face long-term unemployment and around 20% of people live in need on a permanent basis, have trouble putting food on the table and maintaining stable housing. Meanwhile, the rich capitalists keep getting richer by making more profit off the labour of workers.

The situation is even worse in oppressed and colonized countries, with imperialist countries acting on the international scene to dominate and intensely exploit the people living there. The global spread of capitalism results in tens of thousands of people dying of starvation every day.

This is why in order to combat hunger and fight for our basic needs to be met, we must fight capitalism. We must reject the capitalist values of individuality and competition and instead co-operate to serve the interests of the dominated classes. It is our hope that the People’s Dinner will begin to nurture these values which will be necessary to build a larger and stronger movement along these lines.

No Revolution without Trans Liberation: Statement of RSM-Sudbury on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

No Revolution without Trans Liberation: Statement of RSM-Sudbury on the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Below is a statement of solidarity with trans people and the trans liberation struggle, distributed by RSM-Sudbury on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Nov 20, at a vigil held at Tom Davies Square. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and has become an annual event marked around the world.

On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Revolutionary Student Movement – Sudbury joins with trans people and allies in remembering the countless trans lives lost to the vicious system of patriarchal imperialist capitalism. Whether it is hateful violence, social neglect or suicide, the oppression that trans people face daily is as undeniable as it is outrageous. As an organization based on revolutionary anti-capitalist and proletarian feminist principles, the RSM strives to combat all forms of individual and institutionalized oppression, including transphobia, in order to build a genuinely liberatory unity among all working and oppressed peoples in their common struggle for emancipation.

In today’s society – an imperialist, capitalist society based on exploitation of the working class for private profit – the patriarchal oppression of queer people ultimately serves the interests of the dominant class: the minority of bourgeois profiteers. A basic function of systemic barriers, for example, is to bar trans people from sections of the capitalist job market, as reflected in the high rates of underemployment, poverty and precarity they face. They are thus pushed into the ‘reserve army of labour’, a necessary part of the capitalist system that drives down wages to ensure a favourable market for the capitalists. Trans people are therefore overwhelmingly part of the proletariat, which is borne out by the fact that in 2012 the median reported income for trans people in this province was only $15,000 per year, with a sizable proportion relying on social assistance.

Historically capitalism has found many uses for patriarchal ideology and practices. On this continent, the foundations of the present-day capitalist ‘prison-house of nations’ were laid on top of the ruins of Indigenous societies which were in contradiction to the new order envisioned by the white European settlers. The imposition of the patriarchal gender-binary through direct and indirect violence played a key role in this project of colonial domination. And despite some liberal reforms, it remains a painful reality for most gender-nonconforming people, especially those who are proletarian, racialized or nationally oppressed. Recall the murder in 2012 of Filipina trans woman Jennifer Laude by a United States Marine, one of countless soldiers sent by various colonial and imperialist powers to oppress the Filipino people over the centuries. And in so-called ‘Canada’, too, the gender-fluid traditions of two-spirit Indigenous people put them especially at odds with the gender-disciplined labour force demanded by capitalism today.

That is why a consciousness of class and class struggle in all their various guises is fundamental to building a movement that can really stamp out transphobia, as well as all other oppressions that result from and sustain the imperialist, capitalist, settler-colonial organization of society. Doubly so, because the capitalists and their political lackeys have to some extent managed to co-opt some demands of the LGBTQ2S movement that they find less threatening, in an attempt to present bourgeois democracy as the best possible framework for resolving the contradictions of the sexed and gendered division of labour. They have even tried to mobilize LGBTQ2S supporters for imperialist interests under cover of ‘promoting liberal queer rights abroad’! All this must be vigorously opposed. We must remember that although capitalism may allow for the assimilation of sections of the trans community into the bourgeois order, it can never ensure the full liberation of all trans people. Anti-capitalism and proletarian internationalism thus remain indispensable components of trans liberation.

The radical problems that most transgender people face demand a radical solution: a revolutionary mass movement lead by the proletariat and aimed at destroying the roots of all oppression – a movement that dares to struggle for socialism. Yet not only do trans people need socialism; socialism also needs trans people and their full participation in the struggle to build it! To ensure this, we revolutionaries must take a critical look at our own spotty record on the question of queer liberation. Past ‘communists’ have often adopted a tragically incorrect theory and practice on this front. Their male-chauvinist and cis-sexist deviations drove away the rebellious energy of gender-oppressed people, doing great harm to the movement. The RSM is completely opposed to that phony brand of radicalism! We acknowledge that we have much to learn from the long struggles and rich perspectives of trans people. That is why we are here today, to show our solidarity, and to learn how we can struggle alongside trans people for a completely new world.

Down with transphobia and patriarchy!

Fight against chauvinism in the revolutionary movement!

Unite our common struggles against imperialism and capitalism!