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).

 

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.

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!

Revolutionary Students Disrupt Cop Recruitment at Laurentian University

Revolutionary Students Disrupt Cop Recruitment at Laurentian University

On 9 October 2014, the Sudbury chapter of the Revolutionary Student Movement carried out disruptive operations against an RCMP recruitment event held on Laurentian University campus. As the recruitment presentation began at 4pm, members of the RSM stood up to read aloud a statement condemning “the RCMP – enforcers of the racist settler-colonial capitalist order – and their presence here to disseminate state propaganda on the ‘socially beneficial’ role of the police and gather new recruits to expand the police force!”

RCMP: Racist Colonial Mercenary Pigs!The statement went on: “This encroachment on our campus comes on the eve of the first anniversary of the brutal RCMP raid on the brave land-defenders of Elsipogtog who defied exploitation and destruction of their territories. … In opposing the RCMP’s presence here, we stand with the common struggle of all oppressed and exploited people across the world for liberation from the imperialist yoke of the capitalist class, its state institutions, and armed forces!”

The disruption continued with the student-militants brandishing a red banner and chanting “Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” Their intention was to stay until the RCMP ceased the recruitment presentation, left the space and ultimately the campus. However, as one RSM member recounted after the action, “the officer proceeded to physically remove us from the room. Despite acknowledging our actions weren’t illegal and we weren’t under arrest, the officer continued to use force to suppress and silence us.”

RSM members regrouped outside the room and continued to educate students about the enemy in their midst, in line with the mission outlined in the leaflets they handed out: “Whereas the capitalists want to use the university for their own ends … we want to reclaim it for the people, by building a combative movement of revolutionaries and progressives on campus, turning the university into a site of class struggle. Against cop recruitment on campus, we advance the recruitment and development of revolutionaries from the student body.”

Preempting false liberal outrage over impeding the cops’ “right to free expression”, the leaflet explained that the “action is justified because the mantra ‘serve & protect’, so empty and deceitful coming from a cop, can ring beautiful and true when uttered by a revolutionary. We aim to serve the people, to protect the interests of the oppressed and exploited masses, to unite with their most pressing struggles and aspirations while pointing the way forward to liberation, and together make revolution!”

Close the Barn Door, Keep the Pigs Out! RCMP Recruitment Protest in Toronto

Close the Barn Door, Keep the Pigs Out! RCMP Recruitment Protest in Toronto

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On Wednesday, November 19th, the Revolutionary Student Movement—an anti-capitalist, militant student organization—carried out a protest against a Royal Canadian Mounted Police recruitment event on University of Toronto campus. The protest outside the Medical Science Building was joined by comrades from the Proletarian Feminist Front and the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee. Protestors handed out pamphlets to passing pedestrians and attendees of the RCMP propaganda session. The comrades led chants denouncing the RCMP’s recruitment presence on St. George Campus, and held speeches denouncing capitalism, imperialism and settler-colonialism, all of which are the foundation upon which the RCMP functions as the strong arm of the ruling class.

The University of Toronto has a long history of accommodating the recruitment efforts of the repressive state apparatus on campus. The RCMP not only holds 1-2 recruitment sessions per semester, but also participates heavily in university career fairs. Police recruitment has largely been ignored by the left in most of English Canada, with no major disruption remaining in the collective memory of the University of Toronto campus. As a result, the cops have been left to their own devices in recruiting today’s bullies into tomorrow’s pigs.

The Revolutionary Student Movement broke this dubious ceasefire by leading the first protest against the pigs’ recruitment process at the University of Toronto. This struggle built on the immense success of the Sudbury Revolutionary Student Movement’s disruption of a similar event at Laurentian University. While our comrades in Sudbury were forcibly shoved out of the pigs’ playground, they still delivered a strong blow to the recruitment event. Moreover, they remained outside the building and educated participants and witnesses as to the necessity of smashing the capitalists’ grasp on the university and reclaiming the campus for the people.

The cowardly behavior of the police was not just in Sudbury; it also reared its pathetic head at the University of Toronto, where the RCMP recruiters refused to exit through the front door where the protest was being held. Instead, the pigs remained inside the lobby for 10 minutes with no idea of what to do in response to our actions. Truly, the cops are paper tigers.

These disruptions against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have shown that it is possible to engage in direct action against the police, even in a time where the pouting of opportunists has demobilized and confused the left. Moreover, these struggles have in fact shown the necessity of an independent and militant student movement that actively confronts the pigs who want to turn our campus and our city into their sty.

The police are the enemy. This is not because of incidental injustices within the police force itself, such as corruption or sexism within the ranks, although they may certainly exist. The police, first and foremost, are the repressive arm of the ruling class, raised against the masses of workers who toil each day for capitalist profits. The police are the enemy of the vast majority of society because of their social function within the capitalist system, as explained in the pamphlet produced by the Revolutionary Student Movement and distributed at the action:

“Like other police forces in Canada, they exist to protect capital and ensure the stable functioning of the capitalist system. If this means abusing and intimidating communities into submission, fine. If this means lying and spying, no problem. If this means beating up and arresting protesters who denounce this exploitative system, it’s all in a day’s work. We must have no illusions: if the people were to rise up against such a system, the police would be on the front lines against them, and would be happy for the overtime pay.”

Furthermore, the RCMP is an army of occupation of indigenous lands and peoples. This function continues into the present day, suspended only in Ontario, Québec and Newfoundland, where provincial police departments have taken over and put their jackboots on the necks of the indigenous people in their jurisdictions. This colonial function is horrendously illustrated in the outright neglect by the RCMP of the epidemic of missing and murdered aboriginal women, which they refuse to investigate, much less solve. And how could they? To remedy a crime of settler-colonialism requires that settler-colonialism be abolished, which in turn would require the abolition—in fact, the smashing—of the RCMP itself.

Finally, the RCMP is a domestic intelligence apparatus for political repression. Much like the FBI and NSA of the United States, the RCMP also exists to keep tabs on, disrupt and repress people and organizations who oppose the current state of affairs. If you’ve ever spoken out against imperialist war, capitalist exploitation, racist violence, or colonial occupation, the RCMP wants to know about it. And if they have their way, they will. If you’re upset about rising unemployment, growing personal debt, falling wages and failing social services, the RCMP is your enemy because they work tirelessly to protect the capitalist system, the system that causes all of these problems. They understand this fact and will do what they can to arrest, jail, frame or discredit anyone who opposes capitalism.

This is not just the legacy of the RCMP, but rather remains to this day the very purpose of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They are here to crush all the revolutionary (even non-revolutionary) aspirations of the oppressed. It is with this understanding that the Revolutionary Student Movement says: “Close the barn door! Keep the pigs out!” We must show that the police are unwelcome on campus. In order to do so, we must take the campus out of the hands of capitalists and make it a site of class struggle!

PCR-RCP article published here

Revolutionary Frontlines: Reports from the Revolutions in Venezuela, India, and the Philippines

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Join to learn more about the ongoing revolutionary processes in Venezuela, India and the Philippines. A comrade will report back from his recent experience doing research in Venezuela in a community organized by an autonomous revolutionary organizations, while two comrades from Toronto will give us insight on the struggles led by Maoist rebel movements in India and the Philippines. The presentation will be followed by a discussion period.

DATE: MONDAY, August 12, 2013

TIME: 7-9PM

LOCATION: ROOM 5160, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON *this building is wheelchair accessible

Childcare will be available at this event. Please email revolutionarystudentsto[at]gmail[dot]com for more info.

This event is part of a Quebec-Ontario speaking tour organized by the Revolutionary Student Movement and its counterpart in Québec, the Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire (MER-RSM)

Indignation and a rejection of capitalist power is on the rise everywhere in Canada. The masses are chomping at the bit for new ideas and strategies to launch a revolution that is capable of ending the cruel and unjust system that is poisoning our lives. Given the advanced state of revolutionary movements elsewhere, the Canadian masses have much to learn from foreign revolutionary struggles. This panel will present the experiences of various revolutionary groups -particularly from Venezuela, India, and the Phillipines- that have made significant headway in the struggle against capitalism and successfully established a democratic, socialist counter-power in their respective countries.

In Venezuela, the CRBZ is struggling autonomously, in a context made more favourable to anti-capitalist forces by former President Hugo Chávez. It has organized dozens of communes where the people are learning to govern themselves while being at the frontlines of the resistance against fascist paramilitary forces. Meanwhile, in India and the Philippines, revolutionary Maoist groups have been involved for decades in a protracted armed struggle against their respective states. In so doing, they have sown the seeds of people’s power among the most marginalized groups in their society and accumulated invaluable practical experience. All anti-capitalists are invited to come learn more from and discuss the experiences of these major revolutionary organizations and struggles.

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.

Support the Revolutionary Party in Afghanistan! Fight the Occupation and Comprador/Reactionary Forces!

Support the Revolutionary Party in Afghanistan! Fight the Occupation and Comprador/Reactionary Forces!

Military Conference to be hosted at University of Toronto

Members of the Revolutionary Student Movement recently became aware of a military conference happening next week, on April 10th and 11th. The event is called “Afghanistan: The Australian and the Canadian Experience Compared“, and is stacked with a “star”-studded cast, including Major-General Jonathan Vance, Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Canadian Forces, and one of the architects of the occupation of Afghanistan; Munk School of Global Affairs director Janice Stein, and Michael Ignatieff, famous for his endorsement of the war on Iraq.

The event is jointly put on by UofT’s Trinity-Munk Centre for the Study of Contemporary International History, Canadian Forces College, and Australia’s Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy. Day one of the conference will take place at Hart House, UofT’s supposed “living laboratory of arts, culture, and recreation” (and now apparently also of imperialist war), while day two will take place within George Ignatieff Theatre within Trinity College.

Although the Centre for the Study of Contemporary International History, co-funded by Munk School and Trinity College, proclaims it will “contribute to both teaching and research at the University of Toronto and will involve undergraduates in the International Relations program through special lectures, visiting professors, workshops and conferences”, it is obvious that the military conference is only the latest in a series of UofT-endorsed international plundering schemes.

According to a writer from militaryfreecampus.wordpress.com:

“The Munk School is becoming a testing ground for the militarization of Canadian campuses, reflecting the shifting priorities of UofT’s increasingly corporate-controlled academic planning. As University administrators consent to the withdrawal of public funding, academic decision-making authority is being ceded to the corporate sector. Career prospects in “pure” research are gradually being squeezed to the unfunded margins, and the global security-industrial complex is positioning itself to recruit newly precarious young scholars.”
 

Take anti-imperialist action!

In response to the Munk School and its catering of imperialist war and occupation, a number of allied groups, including PRAC/RSM and UofT General Assembly’s Anti-Corporatization Working Group, have come together to plan an action to:

  • oppose the corporatization and militarization of university space, curriculum, and the recruitment of precarious young scholars, and to
  • oppose the Canadian imperialism, which now no longer takes the form of outright occupation of Afghanistan, but, instead, manifests itself in indirect occupation through new Afghan puppet regimes.

Please check back for more details about the upcoming action.

Support the people’s right to wage revolutionary war!

As an Marxist-Leninist-Maoist student group, RSM denounces Canadian imperialism and its offspring, the occupation of Afghanistan. On the other hand, we support revolutionary wars waged by oppressed peoples against their oppressors, whether these oppressors take the shape of the old, colonial type, direct-intervention type, or the neo-colonial non-direct-intervention, that prefer to dictate international affairs through puppet regimes. As the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan points out:

“Hamid Karzai, the head of the puppet regime, while he is constantly telling the participants and supporters of this regime that soon a “long-term strategic agreement” would be signed with America (an agreement that actually has no other meaning other than prolonging the condition of occupation), has declared the crimes of the occupiers in Panjawai to be a deliberate and obvious act of terrorism and has demanded the trial of the perpetrators. However, it is clear that, according to the previous agreements between the American occupation and its puppet regime, and specifically between George W. Bush and Hamid Karzai, that every American soldier and officer in Afghanistan has legal sanctity; they only can be put on trial in the US, according to the constitution of that country. Hamid Karzai…is showing his servitude in empty and meaningless “nationalistic” gestures towards his imperialist masters in order to “prove” his political competency in their court.”
 

For these reasons, C(M)PA believes that:

“[A] just response to the war crimes of the imperialist occupiers and their satraps, is not to legally prosecute the officers and soldiers responsible for these crimes, to take personal revenge against them as individuals, or the unjust efforts of freeing some prisoners, but the further intensification and expansion of resistance, until the total expulsion of the occupiers from the country and the destruction of their puppet regime.”
 

Our task is to support the work of C(M)PA!

We, as opponents of imperialism at the one of the centres of imperialism, and as university students from relatively privileged backgrounds, must not only insist on getting Stein, Ignatieff, and Vance et al out of UofT. We must support the work currently done by already existing groups resisting and mobilizing against the occupation.

We must support the Afghan revolutionary forces in its struggle to topple the puppet regime the US and its imperialist cronies helped set up!

Short speech made at the Oct 15th “Canada out of Afghanistan Now!” rally

A more detailed summary of the rally, as well as an analysis of Occupy Toronto, which happened on the same day, can be found on the PRAC website.

We are the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee of Toronto. We denounce Canadian imperialism. We denounce the occupation of Afghanistan.

We stand in solidarity and support of the Communist-Maoist Party of Afghanistan. The goal of the Communist-Maoist Party is to resist occupation in all its forms. We support all those who are working tirelessly in resistance. We particularly those who are mobilizing the oppressed Afghans.

Background information:

In July 2011, a regiment of 650 US troops left Afghanistan, and 33,000 more are due to leave soon.

Why are they leaving? Because the occupation has changed its tactic from one of pure occupation to the gradual transfer of responsibility.

For example, the UK is withdrawing its forces completely. However, the UK will be establishing a military academy for Afghans. The purpose of the imperialists and their cronies is the training of forces that would be able to repress its own people.

This does not mean the US has withdrawn from the business of occupation; the US will be now be occupying in a smarter way—via a puppet regime. How will the US establish this puppet regime? Through 2 ways:

1. the imperialist US intends to maintain permanent army bases in Afghanistan

2. the imperialist US plans to buy out the local Islamist insurgency. It will do this through a variety of tactics, from repression and appeasement, to peace and conciliation.

The ultimate goal of the imperialists is the consolidation of its own rule via the puppet regime. The Islamist, chauvinist and autocratic character of the Afghan regime is of no consequence to the US and its imperialist cronies.

And why is the US so interested seeing the puppet regime consolidate? Because the installation of 400,000 local security personnel will save the US money. Saving money will mean the US can maintain longer dominance of both Afghanistan and the regions around Afghanistan.

It is not hard to see the that end goal, whether 2001 or 2011, is still global supremacy for the US and its imperialist cronies.

What must we do about this? Since the puppet regime will now carry out the wishes of the imperialist forces, the revolutionary struggle will be targeting the puppet regime. That is its top priority.

We, as opponents of imperialism in an imperialist country, must support the Afghan revolutionary forces in its struggle to topple the puppet regime the US and its imperialist cronies helped set up!

 

A Quick Historical and Contextual Overview of “JRA/PFLP: Declaration of World War by Masao Adachi” (1971)

A Quick Historical and Contextual Overview of “JRA/PFLP: Declaration of World War by Masao Adachi” (1971)

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The Proletarian Revolution Action Committee of Toronto and the Revolutionary Student Movement would like to thank everyone for coming out to the event tonight!!!

To put the film in context, we would like to provide a  brief historical overview of the political situation in which this film was made, the relationship between the Japanese Red Army and the infamous United Red Army, our own political position regarding some of these politics, especially the nature of armed struggle, and its implications of it on the larger communist movement.

This film was made 3 years after the second Ampo struggle by noted filmmakers Masao Adachi and Wakamatsu Koji, both sympathizers of the Japanese Left and the Communist League (Red Army Faction). The second Ampo struggle, like the first Amp struggle of 1960, was against the US-Japan Security Treaty which among others things included the right for American military bases to exist in Japan. The Communist League (Red Army Faction) itself was a split from the Communist League, or the Bund, in July 1969. The Bund itself was originally formed in 1958 by a group of Zengakuren members and leaders that split from the Japanese Communist Party in light of Khruschev’s Secret Speech and the JCP’s policies towards a number of political questions. Zengakuren stands for Zen Nihon Gakusei Jichikai Sō Rengō or in English the All-Japan Federation of Student Self-Government Associations, and is an umbrella group for numerous student groups in different universities. Although it must be noted that by the 1960′s several competing Zengakuren’s existed, each controlled by a different socialist/communist group. The Bund quickly came to adopt Trotskyism like much of the anti-JCP Left. The Bund was centrally involved in the first Ampo struggle in 1960 and collapsed shortly thereafter (1961) into numerous small sects due to the failure of that Ampo struggle. The different Bundists sects reorganized themselves into Communist League – Unity Faction in July 1965 in the midst of the ever deepening university struggles, the war in Vietnam and in preparation for the Ampo Struggles. The Bund again was a major force in the street battles, coordinated direct actions and university occupations across the country and was regularly pitted in violent street battles with the police.

Indeed, the unified Bund’s student organization soon emerged as one of the largest student groups on Japanese campuses. However, by 1969 tensions had arisen within the Bund’s central committee regarding the direction that the struggle should take thereafter. The Bund itself was largely concentrated in the Tokyo and the Kansai area around Osaka and Kyoto. The Kansai group argued, much like the Weather Underground, that the time had come to start a revolution in Japan using an urban political-military strategy. The Tokyo group opposed such a plan and deemed it adventurist and premature. In September 1969 at a public meeting organized by the Kansai faction called “The Great Red Army Political Meeting”, the Kansai faction announced the formal formation of the Communist League – Red Army Faction (RAF), and announced the following slogans, “Escalate the Present Struggle into Armed Revolution”, “Simultaneous Worldwide Revolution” and “Create a World Party, a World Red Army and a World Revolutionary Front”. Amongst the attendees were Shigenobu Fusako, future leader of the Japanese Red Army in the Middle East, and Tsuneo Mori, future leader of the Japanese Red Army in Japan. On September 22nd the RAF started attacks against police boxes in Osaka with molotov cocktails, and started a series of revolutionary expropriations and continued until 1971. Due to the success of these actions the RAF quickly came under pressure from police surveillance and saw the mass arrests of their underground and aboveground members. On November 5th the police in an early morning raid on a mountain lodge at the Daibosatsu Pass in Yamananashi Prefecture, surprised and arrested 53 members of the Red Army that were there on a program of ‘special training”. Chairman Shiomi was also arrested, thus resulting in the near collapse of the organization. These mass arrests resulted in two key developments: 1) the rise of Tsuneo Mori to the Chairmanship of the party; and 2) the remaining fragments of the organization came to theorize that it may be too difficult for an urban guerrilla army to get the necessary training in Japan itself, and results in a group of JRA members hijacking Japan Airlines Flight 351 on March 1970 which is re-directed to North Korea i.e. the JRA in North Korea, Shigenobu’s departure in 1971 to Beirut to receive training from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine i.e. the JRA in the Middle East at the behest of Chairman Mori, and the Mori group in Japan which would later merge with the Japanese Communist Party (Revolutionary Left Faction) to form the URA. Apparently Chairman Mori was less keen on establishing worldwide bases and continued to believe that domestic guerrilla training was possible.

Mori and the few comrades that remained in Japan continued to have a fair amount of cash and safe houses that had been acquired through donations and continuous revolutionary appropriations, but did not have easy access to firearms. Thus, they got in touch with another small far-left group that was committed to a form of Maoism and urban guerrilla warfare, the Japanese Communist Party (Revolutionary Left Faction), which was under the leadership of Nagata Hiroko, who like Mori, had been recently catapulted into the Chairmanship of her organization due to her organizing skills and the recent arrest of the former Chairman of the organization during a raid on a police station. The Japanese Communist Party (Revolutionary Left Wing) or Nihon Kyōsantō Kukumei Saha was a split from another Maoist group, the Japanese Communist Party (Left Faction). The  Japanese Communist Party (Revolutionary Left Faction), although having a number of firearms due to successful expropriations, lacked funds and safe houses. Thus, the marriage between the two organizations was one of convenience. The two organizations soon began to begin conducting joint trainings and finally result in the merger of the two organizations to form the United Red Army which is so well-known in the world for the torture and killings of 14 of its own members, and is the subject of a recent Wakamatsu film called “United Red Army”. This film wonderfully demonstrates the brutality and the odd theoretical developments that the new organization develops including: 1) Mori’s peculiar development of the theory of “communization”, which had been mentioned in earlier RAF writings, by merging self-criticism (jikohihan) and sōkatsu or collective critical examination of the problems that an organization faces; 2) the introduction of violence into the process of communization, and; 3) death by defeatism. It must be noted that whilst the PRAC and RSM believe that criticism/self-criticism and some process of becoming proletarian and revolutionary communists is healthy for organizations and the Left as a whole that we reject Mori’s theories, and indeed, note that Mori had little knowledge of Maoism, despite the fact that his organization had merged with a Maoist one. We must remember that this was an unprincipled merger based not on ideological and political considerations but simply on military questions, although it did result in the JRA in Japan and the Middle East shedding some its earlier Trotskyism in favor of a “transition world theory”. Furthermore, it is also interesting to note that in the early months of the joint training the discussions within the URA were lively and active and slowly became strangled through the authoritarian and bureaucratic tendencies of the leadership of Mori and Nagata, especially through the consistent practice of commandism, and the minutes soon become transcripts of speeches by the leadership. WThe PRAC and RSM oppose all forms of commandism, and argue that we must all recognize that commandism is rife in the Left at large.

Shigenobu, leader of the JRA, was completely unconnected from incidents that occur during the joint training, and left Japan for Beirut in early 1971, prior to the merger of the two organizations, although as you will see the film does recognize the JCP(Revolutionary Left Faction) as brothers in the struggle. She is soon joined by Tsuyoshi Okudaira, who would be in charge of the attack on the Lod Airport in 1972. Also, in 1971 two avant-garde filmmakers, Adachi and Wakamatsu, both JRA sympathizers in Japan join her on returning from a film festival Europe decided to make a film about the JRA-PFLP relationship, the film we are screening today. Adachi himself will remain in Lebanon for the next 28 years as a JRA member and was charged in 2001 for passport violations that resulted in a 4-year sentence, which was suspended to 18 months. He has recently made a film about Okudaira and the attack on the Lod Airport. The resulting film “Red Army – PFLP: Declaration of World War”, also translated as “Manifesto for World Revolution”, which makes more sense in the context of the slogans that were agreed upon in 1969, was shown in late 1971 in Japan to increase recruitment for the JRA in the Middle East. A member of the PFLP also spoke at the screening and made a passionate appeal for solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The JRA was thus able to recruit members from the Partisan groups and the legal front that had not joined the Central Army in the mountains. In 1972 after hearing about the lynchings and the Asamo-Sansō Incident, Shigenobu came under increasing pressure from the PFLP who were disturbed by the events. Shigenobu and Okudaira thus penned, “My Love, My Revolution” (which unfortunately has never been translated into English) as a response to the events and irrevocably broke from the URA. Furthermore, the attack on the Lod Airport was conducted on behalf of the PFLP to demonstrate their solidarity with the Palestinian cause and to further distance themselves from the horrific events in Japan. Indeed, it became clear, the JRA in the Middle East was now simply the JRA and had nothing to do with the URA. The JRA becomes increasingly dependent on the PFLP for infrastructure and funding because their links with the movement in Japan had been broken, although they do continue to receive some funding and support from JRA members in Europe who had been forced to leave Japan due to increasing police repression. The Japanese Left experienced increasing levels of police surveillance and crackdowns as the Japanese government repressed the Left due to its consistent embarrassment at the actions of the JRA internationally and their incapacity to catch them. By the 1980′s the JRA and the PFLP part ways because of tensions that arise due to the PFLP’s increasing narrow focus on the Palestinian struggle alone and nationalism, rather than the worldwide revolution that Shigenobu and other members of the JRA had been fighting for. It has been suggested by some that the JRA, like other urban guerrilla groups turned to Muammar Ghaddafi for funding in the 1980’s, and that Shigenobu’s arrest in Osaka, Japan in 2000 may have been evidence that she was trying to re-establish a domestic Japanese network to continue the struggle. Shigenobu formally disbanded the JRA in 2001 and in recent years there have been a number of arrests of other JRA members, although several remain in hiding.   The PRAC and the RSM understand the JRA’s and PFLP’s particular application and understanding of armed struggle, and stand in complete solidarity with the desires of the Palestinian people for a free unified secular Palestine, but do not believe that history has borne out the correctness of their strategies or line. In fact, the PFLP itself has distanced itself from these strategies and theories, and the JRA has completely collapsed because of the evident failures of said strategy. The strategy isolated the JRA from the Japanese people, from whom they had become completely disconnected and unwittingly aided in the suppression of the revolutionary movement within Japan. These are serious errors that were made and cannot be repeated. We would like to make it clear that we also do not believe that there needs to be a world party, a slogan repeated in the film that you will see today, but rather call for the formation of a new International of a new type. Furthermore, we believe that “simultaneous world revolution” and calls for a “world Red Army” are completely idealistic slogans, which demonstrate the JRA’s continuing idealism although it had made some major strides in changing its ideology away from the narrow idealism of a form of Trotskyism that denigrated the important contributions of Ho Chi Minh and Mao. Any and all revolutions must be built on the peculiar national composition of a given country and the contradictions within it, whilst recognizing that those national contradictions are influenced by contradictions that are developed at an international level.

Furthermore, the PRAC and the RSM firmly believe that it is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism that is the basis for any future revolutionary struggle in this country and around the world, although we also recognize that we must emerge from the narrow dogmatism of the past and develop new political strategies and theories that are appropriate to building revolutionary struggles in a given country. Furthermore, the PRAC and RSM stand in solidarity with the RCP(Canada) who recognize, unlike other groups in the Canadian Far Left that may have delusions about the possibility of some non-violent revolution against capitalism or some confrontation of spontaneously armed masses against the well-trained armed thugs of capitalism like the police and army, that protracted armed struggle and armed propaganda will be likely necessary stages in the revolutionary struggle at some future stage. However, these forms of struggle must emerge in direct relation to the mass struggles of the working class itself, and cannot be simply willed from international base areas around the world.