image of a house's front entrance, above the walkway is a white banner that reads "rent strike" in black spraypaint. On one of the columns near the entryway there is a red sign which is unreadable from this distance

The Coronavirus, the Depression, and the Condition of the Working Class

The Canadian state and its entire imperialist project is in a general state of crisis. While this crisis may have been accelerated by the current Coronavirus pandemic, its root lies in the capitalist system itself of which Engels, one of the greatest leaders the working-class has ever produced, said “In every crisis, society is suffocated beneath the weight of its own productive forces and products, which it cannot use, and stands helpless, face-to-face with the absurd contradiction that the producers have nothing to consume, because consumers are wanting.” While the Imperialist ruling class attempts to lie and frame this crisis as entirely the consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic, the truth is this crisis, like all others, is rooted in capitalism’s tendency toward overproduction. Capitalism had just exited its last global crisis of 2008, as the current crisis hit proving Engels’ thesis that “[capitalism’s] economic bankruptcy recurs regularly every 10 years.” Even the capitalists’ own economists have been predicting a depression for months showing the hollowness of the capitalists’ lie that the virus is the root of the crisis.

This crisis is bound to be deeper and more widespread than the last major crisis that began in 2008 with the unemployment rate more than doubling itself from before the crisis as 1.5 million workers have already been laid off. There is no doubt that the Coronavirus is a serious issue for the working-people of the world, but we as revolutionary youth and students must recognise that our enemies remain the same: Capitalism, Imperialism, and Settler-Colonialism and not be blinded by the lies of the ruling-class that we must unite as one regardless of class against the virus as has been discussed in the Revolutionary Communist Party’s statement on the virus.

Working-class students are being affected especially hard by this crisis. While many schools were slow to respond to the spread of the Coronavirus initially, every major university across the country has now closed its doors and moved classes online. While these actions have undeniably helped curb the spread of the virus, they have also severely disadvantaged working-class students many of whom have already been struggling to afford the cost of tuition. While most students from capitalist backgrounds are easily able to make do with this change, many working-class students are struggling with these changes. The sudden shift to online classes leaves those working-class students who may not have access to computers at home or internet connections sufficient for the online transition in a very difficult place where they will be forced to pay more than they can afford for their already overpriced tuition. The transition to online classes has also been accompanied by a drop in the quality of education widening the already massive gap between students and teachers. Many schools have even realised that the quality of education has dropped massively and have offered academic concessions such as pass/fail options on grades and late withdrawal from courses. However, these concessions do not go far enough for the working-class.

The most obvious effect of this depression that most workers are facing are the massive layoffs and cut hours. This affects the working-class’ ability to afford basic necessities like food and housing and is the root of many of the issues working-class youth and students are facing during this crisis. The state is trying heavily to portray this as the result of the virus alone while hiding the truth of the matter which is that the closing of the job market and the current economic depression are both necessary results of the capitalist system. While capitalist students may take a small hit in not being able to find a job immediately, they will not be affected as intensely as the workers whose chance at even finding menial labour has now been shut off almost completely. The old state’s attempts to provide aid have been complete failures with as many as 700, 000 workers being ineligible for EI benefits or the newly announced federal emergency funding with working-class students especially being ignored as their interests have not even been addressed by the federal government.

Working-class students have also seen their housing come under attack. Some university residences have forced students out of their homes entirely. The University of Concordia’s response has been especially bad issuing an eviction notice to students with just four days-notice. Working-class students living off campus are facing housing difficulties as well as many workers are unable to pay their rent due to mass lay-offs. Many working-class students live paycheque-to-paycheque to begin with and with the loss of hours many are unable to pay their rent leading to a large amount of evictions. The old state has been slow to respond to this national housing crisis and in many provinces such as Ontario the old state has explicitly sided with the landlords in order to ease evictions. In B.C., a province led by the NDP-Green government, the old state failed to offer any aid for April with Premier John Horgan saying of the minimal housing aid passed by the government that “We can’t guarantee it will be in their pockets by April 1, [Tenants] have a relationship with your landlord. Let’s hope that they’re good relationships, and you’re going to have to find a way to work this out together.” While landlords and capitalists have their housing secure during this crisis the working-class are being forced to fend for themselves as the old state makes its position clear as an organ of class warfare against the workers.

Students graduating this year will be graduating into an economic depression. This will exacerbate the already bad situation that exists for working-class students in Canada which can be read about in greater detail in our political report or the student section in the Partisan’s electoral boycott issue. Businesses across the country are closing their doors and the old state’s slow response means that many graduating working-class students will be left jobless and without any source of income. While students coming from capitalist backgrounds will largely be fine during this depression and can rely on their families and the aid of the old state, the same is not true of working-class students who have nowhere to turn.

As a result of the mass closure of businesses, many students’ who require placements and coop programmes are unable to obtain their required hours. Some programmes designed for more capitalist or professional students that allow work from home are still available but for many working-class students especially those attending technical schools and colleges this is not an option and they are being left stranded with no way to go forward as a result.

The old state will never stand up for the workers against the capitalists, it is up to working-class organisations like the Revolutionary Student Movement to agitate, educate, and organise the working-class especially at times of crisis. Around the country working-class youth and students are clamouring for action. For this reason, the Revolutionary Student Movement is calling for the organisation toward full tuition refunds for this past semester. Working-class students are not getting what they have already overpaid for and the universities are not providing for the fact that many working-class students are unable to keep up with the drastic changes resulting from the online transition. Working-class students must fight for full refunds in the face of being overlooked by the universities. The Revolutionary Student Movement must also recognise that the struggle against landlords has quickly become one of the working-class’ main concerns and join in this struggle to organise working-class tenants into unions and toward rent strikes.

FIGHT FOR A FULL TUITION REFUND!

ORGANISE TOWARD A RENT STRIKE!

LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTIONARY STUDENT MOVEMENT!

Class On Campus: How does Class Decide Education?

Class On Campus: How does Class Decide Education?

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Join Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) Peterborough as we present and discuss the University as a place of class conflict. Many groups continue to propose that students are a single group, but all of us know in some way this is a lie. Some students will go on to run businesses and exploit others and some will go on to be exploited.

Discuss with us as we cut through the BS and take a hard look at what it means to be a student and who really is gaining from education as it stands. The RSM stands with all oppressed students who want to end oppression not form false alliances with their own oppressors.

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For those unable to attend or interested in more information take a look at our documents found here on the website:

Limits of the Current Student Movement

Class Struggle or Democratic Struggle?

About our Methods of Work

 

Solidarity!

Winter Communist School #2: The Student Struggle

Hello everyone,

I am excited to announce that RSM-UofT is having its second communist school of winter 2014 this upcoming Monday, February 10th from 4-6PM, at the Centre for Women and Trans People (563 Spadina Ave, room 100). The topic is on the student movement. A more detailed description of some of the issues we will touch on is outlined below. We will also have a speaker from Guelph to talk about the upcoming national conference of Revolutionary Student and Youth happening in Montreal on March 1 & 2nd. This is a communist school not to be missed!
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Coming out of the Quebec student strike of 2012, radical and revolutionary students from across Canada have increasingly tried to emulate the militancy of the Quebec students in their own locales. And yet despite the increasing radicalisation of students, the traditional student associations (the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) have proven unable to advance the student struggles outside of Quebec. In this context, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canadainitiated a series of conferences -the third of which is to be held in Montreal in March of 2014 (http://www.mer-rsm.com/2014/01/call-out-for-third-national-conference.html)- designed to bring revolutionary students together for the formation of a real Revolutionary Student Movement; a truly combative student movement capable of winning real victories and advancing the class struggle in Canada.
What is the role of students within the class struggle? Are students a revolutionary subject? Why aren’t the current student associations -the CFS and CASA- capable of advancing the class struggle in Canada and Quebec? What type of organisation is needed among students to advance the class struggle? What is, and why do we need a Revolutionary Student Movement?

Boundless for Whom? The Working-Class Students within the Academic-Industrial Complex

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September 26, Thursday
12-2PM
Hart House Music Room, 7 Hart House Circle

The University of Toronto’s Boundless Campaign describes boundless possibilities and potentials for its students, but for a large segment of the student population, the reality is a different story. Working-class students, mostly racialized, face countless barriers to enroll, stay and graduate from post-secondary education. While millions are spent on programs to increase the university’s global competitiveness, Transitional Year Programme (TYP), a program that allows working-class students to access an undergraduate degree, is in constant threat of elimination. More and more, the university is making a statement: the Boundless Campaign is NOT for the unaccounted Black, Indigenous, queer & trans, single mothers, disabled and poor students that TYP could be further serving.

Join us for a panel and discussion as the Transitional Year Programme Preservation and the Revolutionary Students Movement Coalition (TYP-RSM coalition) share their perspectives on the intensified corporatization of the university and their work in the “Expand the TYP!” campaign. All marginalized, working-class and progressive youth and students are encouraged to attend!

Childcare will be provided! TTC tokens available! And join us for a small picnic afterwards!

Speakers:
Kerri Kimoto is a member of the Revolutionary Students Movement.

Carla Rodney is a member of the Transitional Year Programme Preservation Alliance.

http://typrsmcoalitio1.wix.com/typrsmcoalition

This event is part of Disorientation Week 2013. See the week’s full list of events at: http://disorientation2013.com/

Build the Anti-Capitalist Student Movement!

Join the RSM for a public documentary screening on the activities of the far-left in the Quebec student struggle and open discussion to follow. Tuesday, Feb. 12th at 7 pm, OISE rm. 4410.

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The Quebec Student Strike of last year no doubt inspired and radicalized a generation of young people. As capitalists continue ravaging this earth, ruthlessly exploiting and attacking workers and poor people across the globe in its relentless drive to squeeze more & more profit for their greedy selves, this generation of youth–and in particular, working class youth–is left facing a bleak, harsh, and grim future. Students in Quebec mounted a fierce resistance against the capitalist agenda, first fighting against tuition fee hikes and then expanding the fight into a mass social struggle against the Liberal government. The utter defiance against the Quebec government’s repression and attempt to implement a special (emergency) law was a blow to bourgeois legality!

The Revolutionary Student Movement invite those who are fed up with the current state of student politics and who want to organize on a firmly anti-capitalist foundation to a free public documentary screening (with English subtitles) on the activities of far-left during the strike. We welcome discussion on the pitfalls of peaceful protests vs. the militant and sometimes violent actions that occurred over the course of the strike; on spontaneity and organization in the anti-capitalist struggle; on popular democracy in our schools and on our campuses. The RSM will present a report-back from the First National Conference for Students and Youth Activists, that took place in Toronto last December with the hope of rallying new forces to the cause!

Check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pracrsm.to

Letter of Solidarity to Peterborough Students

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

Fellow students,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,

The Revolutionary Student Movement, Toronto

4 Things Students Face under Capitalism

4 Things Students Face under Capitalism

4 THINGS STUDENTS FACE UNDER CAPITALISM

 

Capitalism is a socio-economic system in which the poor majority toils in misery to maintain the wealth of the rich bourgeoisie. These are four conditions that proletarian (working-class) students and youth face under capitalism:

1. The overwhelming majority of working class students will never get to go to university, or even college because education is not free—state-run education systems starts streaming youth from day one. Where youth end up is entirely dependent upon their class background.

2. Those who do, incur back-breaking debt. There are no jobs out there other than minimum wage jobs, precarious jobs based on fleeting contracts. These jobs offer no end in sight for repaying student loans, forcing working-class students into decades of wage slavery.

3. Social democracy as opposed to radical change—youth movements, including campus movements, are forced to stay within the constraints of bourgeois (i.e. electoral) politics, which serve the rich.  Parliamentary democracy has not, and will not, radically change conditions for the working class.

4. So-called student representatives on campus have no interest in the working class—Student leaders whose aims are cushy jobs with unions and federations are only interested in pushing an NDP (social democratic) agenda and furthering their own careers. We oppose careerism.

It is time for us to realize that our future under capitalism is intolerable. Proletarian youth should not be forced to succumb to the misery of working for minimum wage, struggling to balance two or three part-time jobs just to pay our rent and feed ourselves, waiting for welfare checks or being broke at the end of every month. As struggling youth we must recognize that it is this misery that is the foundation of the capitalist system. It is a joke to blame our social positions on our lack of motivation- it is clearly the proletariat who works the hardest! It is also the proletariat who must surrender the fruits of their labor!

With this said, the rich will not let go of their power and wealth without a fight! We know very well that it will not work to aim for reform, or simply replace the individuals in power with others who appear to have a working-class agenda. We must instead take down the bourgeois state! Historically, we have seen the people power of proletarian students, youth and workers mobilize to abolish capitalism. We see proletariat students, youth and workers from Nepal, India and beyond rising up and resisting capitalist oppression. We must learn from history and from people’s struggles across the globe and take the steps to make revolution a possibility now, right here in the heartland of capitalism and imperialism–Canada!

To learn more, visit rsmtoronto.wordpress.com

To join us, e-mail revolutionary.studentsTO@gmail.com