An Enemy of the People in Vancouver

Known fascist, Donald Smith can regularly be seen in so-called “Vancouver” at pro-Indigenous and pro-LGBTQ2S events documenting attenders and offering fake interviews in order to doxx attenders to organizations such as the Soldiers of Odin and Proud Boys. Fascists such as Smith must be exposed to the people for the safety of the people. Smith is an enemy of all anti-fascists, LGBTQ2S and Indigenous activists and the people. Thus, fascists like Smith must be exposed!
Oppose fascism! Join the Revolutionary Student Movement in Anti-Fascist struggle!

China Under the Covid-19 Epidemic

The following document has been sent to the RSM from an underground revolutionary communist organization in China.

In April 2020, although the epidemic in most countries has still not been effectively controlled, the epidemic in China has gradually stabilized. Hence in the recent period of time, the so-called “China achievements”, “China road”, “China model” and other terms began to clamor by the drummer of Chinese imperialism, but is it really the so-called “Chinese system” that lets China take the lead out of the epidemic? And, is it really the spirit of “serving the people” of the Chinese authorities that ended the epidemic more quickly? Indeed, the overcoming of the epidemic cannot be achieved without the command of the Chinese authorities, but can it be concluded from this that the Chinese system has advantages or that the ruling class of the imperialist China really serves the people?

No, never!

In order to overcome a major public safety emergency, what does a country need first? Is it a political system? Obviously not. Before these systems, at least there should be sufficient and mobilizable manpower and material resources. At present, China, as an emerging imperialist country, has abundant resources in its vast land; imperialist China has the most and best laborers in the world , and most of them have the simple patriotic sentiment and thus like a double-edged swords(Make them fooled by the bourgeoisie); thanks to the construction of the socialist era, imperialist China’s industrial output value also ranks first in the world, and there are all kinds of production lines for various materials. It is the support of strong material forces that will allow China to take the lead in getting out of the epidemic. In contrast, in the old imperialist countries like America etc, due to the capital ’s greed to rapidly multiply themselves, and because of the rate of surplus value of the old imperialist countries has seriously declined, capital has flowed into financial capital, which has led to large-scale deindustrialization, and manufacturing has been relocated abroad, How can the material power that can be mobilized in time be sufficient under these circumstances? China has not yet undergone large-scale deindustrialization, largely because China’s domestic labor is still cheap enough to support the capitalists’ high surplus value rate.

That there is enough material power to mobilize can only show that China is an emerging imperialist country, which is not so decayed compared with the old imperialist countries, and it can never explain anything else. Moreover, China’s better “anti-epidemic” performance is also based on the state monopoly bourgeoisie using the name of socialism to deceive the public and using the truncheons to brutally suppress the workers’ movement. Comparing the “good performance” on anti-epidemic of China with the “bad performance” of the old imperialist countries is actually the same as comparing the “good performance” of the revisionist Soviet Union in the Chernobyl nuclear accident with the “bad performance” of Japan in the Fukushima nuclear accident. Revisionist USSR’s “good performance” in the Chernobyl nuclear accident could not conceal the essence of his social imperialism. Similarly, the essence of china imperialism cannot be covered up by the “good performance” in anti-epidemic.

Can China’s political system be affirmed by China’s better performance in this epidemic? The answer is obviously no. From the beginning, the bourgeois bureaucrats punished the “whistler” of the epidemic as a rumor; later, as the epidemic continued to expand, they were only squeezing out a few words like “preventable and controllable”; time to tackle the epidemic, they colluded with some commercial capitalists like sewage and stench to monopolize the food supply to obtain excess profits when providing basic living materials to residents.Some people try to break the monopoly but they are caught by the police, some people try to protest, and then the community (the tentacles of the bourgeois bureaucracy reaching the grassroots level) retaliated against them by transporting vegetables in garbage trucks.

What has to be mentioned is that the local Red Cross in Hubei embezzled funds and materials, rejected public hospitals that lacked materials, and sent a lot of materials for the leaders and private hospital. These phenomena are so open and shameless that the masses of the people couldn’t stand it any longer. People spontaneously organized complete supply chains from manufacturers to hospitals, bypassing the Red Cross, and alleviating the urgent need from public hospitals. The spontaneous organization of the “anti-epidemic” behavior by the people is worthy of recognition, but this worthy behavior is recognized as illegal by the Hubei Red Cross and certain government departments. On the surface, it is said not favorable to unified management, but actuallyit is not favorable to take the bribe into the pockets of the bourgeois bureaucrats.

But there will still be people who are not convinced, saying China’s medical system has played an important role, this public medical system is also a China-specific system. Indeed, the public medical system left over during the socialist period has not completely disappeared, and public hospitals still play an important role. But the observation of the problem should not only focus on the present, but also the trend. Over the years, with the “deepening reform” or neo-liberalism retrogression of the Chinese imperialist authorities, everything is moving towards privatization, and the medical industry is no exception. The kind of “Putian” hospital (actually a kind of private hospital) that killed Wei Zexi has mushroomed over the years . In the mean time, public hospitals have been squeezed violently. Trying to bear the trust of the people, on the other hand, the funds have been cut year by year, and talents have been lost year by year. Many doctors in public hospitals are forced to go to private hospitals to make a living. But in this epidemic, private hospitals hardly played any positive role. In addition, social security such as medical treatment is not unique to the so-called “socialist China”. Britain has a National Service System (NHS), but no one thinks that Britain is a socialist country. People who think that China’s public medical system has played an important role, and therefore think that China is a socialist country obviously do not understand what socialism is.

Obviously, the earlier relief of the epidemic simply cannot prove the superiority of the Chinese imperialist political system. Using the earlier relief of the epidemic to show that the imperialist Chinese is fundamentally higher than other old imperialist countries is obviously very incorrect.

Then, Does the positive response of the imperialist Chinese authorities to the epidemic really stem from the idea of serving the people?

China’s relative advantage in combating epidemics is that it has an advantage as a global factory, which is essentially powerful on the relentless squeezing on workers. The purpose of authorities of the imperialist China to control the epidemic was not to “save the people against disaster “, but to maintain the capitalist production order. After all, if the workers were all ill, how would the bourgeoisie exploit the surplus value?

Moreover, before the epidemic had been alleviated, the Chinese imperialist bourgeoisie could not wait to increase the intensity of exploitation and oppression. The construction workers of Leishenshan hospital and Huoshenshan Hospitals, which have made great contributions to the fight against the epidemic, are not only being owed wages, but also be further squeezed in the name of food expenses in isolation, at the same time, the wages that have been owed have even been reduced to 1% of the original level by clever deductions. Some workers protested, but what was exchanged was nothing other than suppression, batons, interrogation, and detention; bonuses and other incomes for medical equipment factory workers were also canceled by their boss in the name of fighting the epidemic; the female doctors and nurses who worked hard to fight the epidemic were used as propaganda tools by the Chinese authorities to show a huge sacrifice, some female nurses were forced to shave their hair in tears, some female medical staff sent to the critical epidemic area are forced to give up the subsidies they deserve; on the one hand, a large amount of medical personnel uses the greatest efforts to fight the epidemic, but on the other hand, they can only get basic wages, even the basic wages are not complete.

Now, at the moment when the epidemic has just eased but has not completely subsided, the resumption of work and production, or the restoration of the capitalist production order, has been put on the agenda by the imperialist Chinese authorities. When promoting the resumption of work production, the imperialist Chinese authorities were extremely generous to the bourgeoisie, giving a lot of subsidies and low-interest loans or even interest-free loans, but did not provide the necessary subsidies to the workers in crisis. At most, it was a beggar-like payment of negligible money . A Chinese Marxist worker group recorded some facts: the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security(MOHRSS) of the authorities very brazenly declared that “enterprise can negotiate to reduce employee wages and arrears of wages”, “When production is suspended, the worker’s vacation will take up all annual leave”, and at the same time Infected with COVID-19 during work will not be counted as work injury and therefore cannot be compensated; Foxconn, a giant manufacturing group that has absorbed a lot of cheap labor, has cut out unquantifiable temporary workers in factories everywhere; an international enterprise group named Hisense was exposed to layoffs of tens of thousands of people; in Shenzhen, an ordinary takeaway worker was beaten by Chengguan (Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau Officers) for no reason, police violence is rampant; BYD, an automobile manufacturing giant, given the salary of 300 yuan per month to many employees, which is only enough for three days of food in China’s first or second tier cities. Finally, according to the analysis of private progressive intellectuals, China’s unemployment rate is nearly 20%.

The records of the Marxism worker group and the analysis of the progressive intellectuals prove that the working people are suffering unprecedented pain, the working people are suffering violent oppression, but the authorities are still concealing the difficulties suffered by the people, using repression and fake propaganda to create a harmonious scene that does not exist . The above facts can fully prove that the tyrannical giant of the monopoly bourgeoisie of the Chinese imperial authorities did not serve the people at all, but served the interests of the bourgeoisie.

In addition, it must be pointed out that the Chinese people first made a huge sacrifice in this epidemic. Because the virus is raging during the traditional Chinese Spring Festival, the medical equipment factory workers who were on vacation, some workers who built Huoshenshan hospital and Leishenshan hospital, doctors and courier delivery personnel and other uncountable laborers have given up their reuniting with family members, gave up their vacation, faced the risk of infection, and returned to their work. Other people who don’t need to resume work urgently follow the arrangement and stay at home for two months under the pressure of unemployment and salary cuts. It was the huge sacrifices made by the Chinese people that brought the epidemic situation under control. This is the organization brought by the simple patriotic sentiment of the Chinese people, which shows that the Chinese people can organize well. The sacrifices made by the Chinese people to control the epidemic are worthy of recognition, The organization shown by the Chinese people in the epidemic proves the huge revolutionary potential they possess.

When the simple patriotic sentiment of the Chinese people are transformed into the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat, the end of the imperialist China will come, the Chinese people with a glorious revolutionary tradition will stand up again and completely defeat the autocratic tyranny of the monopoly bourgeoisie! The Chinese revolutionaries will work together and joins the effort under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and will reach the masses continuously. Let the masses organize for the revolution and eventually drown the reactionaries in the vast ocean of the people’s war!

(Written by an underground MLM group in China)


















International Workers’ Day 2020

International Worker’s Day is a day to demonstrate and celebrate the power of the working class. The History of May Day and the significance of May 1st for the working class stems from the late 19th century. In 1886 in Chicago, a general strike began on the first of May for the eight-hour work day. An estimated 30,000-40,000 workers have been estimated to have been on strike and many had filled the streets to demand their labour rights. This general strike occurred on the same day in many cities in the United States and is a key moment in North American and global workers history. The strike, lasting many days, ended with a series of events that led to several injuries and deaths in Chicago, referred to as the Haymarket Affair. At the Second International in 1889, May 1st was chosen as the day to commemorate the Haymarket Affair which had began on May 1st, 1886.

On May 1st, proletarians globally unite in their common struggle for liberation. This often includes demonstrations, strikes, demands for the working class, and celebrations. This year, workers across the world will not necessarily be gathering in light of a serious global pandemic.

This pandemic has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries in Canada and world wide as the capitalist class flounders to maintain profit over basic needs during a capitalist economic crisis. As is typical with capitalist crises, as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the Canadian economy, it is the working class that suffers the most.

Approach to the crisis

Capitalism is inherently unable to manage crises. The global capitalist economy functions to continually extract a surplus profit and wealth from the labour of the working class. Profit is prioritized over working class needs, wants, and rights and the working class is the majority of the global population. Preventative policy measures that would have prevented the crisis from spreading as much as it did, but that would have slowed down profits, stagnated under an inefficient system and infection rates surged.

Although capitalism has always been incredibly wasteful, food waste by producers has surged in a time of slowed economic growth. A planned economy opposes the nature of capitalism – to profit off of competition through the sale of commodities. If the commodities won’t be sold, it benefits capitalist firms’ profit to destroy or dispose of these resources rather than make them available to the public, as demand to pay for the commodities available would then decrease. Although food shortage is a worry during a pandemic, food stores currently available are being wasted in a completely inefficient system that doesn’t balance production with the needs of the population – but rather, multiple individual firms overproducing in competition for the same revenue market.

Exploitation of the workers

The workers deemed essential and that are mandated to continue working through a pandemic by the Canadian state largely consist of those paid the lowest wages and in the worst of conditions. Workers in the retail, food production, and food service industries are exposed to the general public daily without adequate protections. They are placed in danger by being denied necessary protective equipment and paid sick days. The failure to adequately provide for the needs of these essential workers will only exacerbate the pandemic, further spreading the virus. Despite being labelled as essential by the government in a time of crisis, many of these workers are paid less than a living wage. On the other hand, countless workers in shuttered industries have been laid off with corporations taking no responsibility for the workers they employ in a time of lowered profits. Yet the working class must still come up with the funds to pay for its basic needs. According to Statistics Canada, at least 3.3 million Canadians are either away from work or have had their hours reduced, while nearly one-fifth of businesses have laid off 80% or more of their workers.

Our reality under the capitalist Canadian state can be understood according to the “division of labour,” wherein the effort to maximize profit and create phoney antagonisms within the working class is active. Workers who perform more “menial” forms of labour are given less value than their fellow workers who deal with a product in its final stages of transformation. This latter section of workers can develop into a “labour aristocracy.” The division of labour is thereby broadened and the bourgeoisie tries to deceive that section of the working class into believing that they share right-wing interests in the imperial core. A common turn of phrase in state media to mask wage exploitation is to call the lowest paid “essential” workers frontline heroes while the bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie refuse to help them limit transmission of the virus to their families once they come home or provide any other significant changes. Among grocery workers and clerks, we have seen that Personal Support Workers (PSWs) who are in constant contact with immunocompromised people are not given proper PPE, and subsequently, are forced to expose themselves and those under their care to the virus. We also can see this occur on-site in hospitals across the country among doctors, nurses, custodians and so on.

Response by the government

One response by the government has been to institute the insufficient and unnecessarily exclusive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The only purpose of CERB is to keep the exploited classes alive so that they can still be exploited later, but even so it cannot be accessed by undocumented, non-status, and many seasonal workers – workers who’ve earned less than $5,000 in the last year, post-secondary students, and workers who are unemployed or who have reduced hours. Considering the majority of Canadians prior to the pandemic were living on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis, many will be forced further into poverty.  Post-secondary students and recent graduates have been promised by PM Trudeau a taxable benefit similar to the CERB, little additional funding for students with disabilities. The Canadian state aims to incentivize them with a grant that rewards them for volunteer work they perform that helps relieve the effects of COVID-19 on their communities. This is a great example of how the state is tricking the students into associating mutual aid with patriotism and not class solidarity.

Certain provincial governments have also used the pandemic as an excuse to further implement their austerity agenda. The premier of Manitoba, for example, asked post-secondary educational institutions to cut their budgets by 30% in order to free up funds to address the pandemic, despite having also slashed the healthcare budget in previous years and orchestrating the closure of many emergency rooms.

Although the pandemic is not yet under control, some in the government are prematurely calling for an end to the pandemic emergency measures. They seek to grease the gears of the Canadian economy with the blood of the working classes’ most vulnerable members by risking a second wave of COVID-19 infections for fear that the profits of their capitalist benefactors will be further reduced.

Resistance & solidarity in an unprecedented time

Workers have shown their solidarity and strength through organizing to address their collective needs in a time of major crisis. By largely moving towards online forms of discussion for safety purposes, the working class in Canada has engaged in establishing mutual aid networks (some with explicit revolutionary character), discussing the possibility of rent strikes, and distributing propaganda and literature. It is evident that the working class recognizes that solidarity and unity are its source of strength.

Certain sections of the masses have also responded to the pandemic in ways that are backwards or reactionary. There have been protests calling for the reopening of the economy on the basis of the harmful economic effects related to the pandemic lockdown. These protests are misguided, since the damage to the economy is due not to the lockdown itself, which consists largely of necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, but due to inefficiencies inherent to a capitalist economy. The hardships that these mostly petty-bourgeois or labour aristocratic masses face are real, but the measures that they propose would only result in more death and hardship. Even worse, some few individuals have been misled by fascist propaganda, spreading false and racist conspiracy theories about the cause of the virus, or even whether it truly exists at all. In the US, far-right anti-vaccination groups have staged demonstrations against the pandemic lockdown, while in Europe cell phone towers have been sabotaged by those who wrongly think that COVID-19 is caused by the installation of 5G towers.

Faced with the myriad contradictory ideas of the masses, the role of revolutionary communists is to apply the mass line, working to strengthen the organizational and political unity of the working classes, and bring them in direct confrontation with their capitalist enemies.

In our context this means:

  • Understanding the struggles and demands of the proletariat, applying a mass line analysis, and consolidating these demands into actionable forms of mass work to advance proletarian interests.
  • Generating proletarian propaganda to combat capitalist and reactionary news outlets.
  • Organizing strong tenants unions to wield rent strikes against landlords.
  • Encouraging mutual aid (but preventing its degeneration into mere bourgeois charity) by revealing the failure of the capitalist system to provide for the needs of the working class, and using mutual aid networks to build further resistance.
  • Isolating and exposing as harmful those sections of the masses who call for unsafe premature opening of the economy.
  • Combating those who seek to mislead the masses.


Revolutionary Communist Party

Committee for Maoist Unity in Quebec

Revolutionary Student Movement

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.




Solidarity with SFI, Oppose BJP-RSS Fascist’s Violence Against Students

On January 5, 2020, students and some faculty from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India were brutally attacked by armed assailants belonging to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a far-right student organization affiliated to the fascist and Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The students and faculty of the university have been protesting against fee hikes for months and have been prominent in opposition to the far-right BJP-RSS government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The CAA is a recent law passed by the Indian parliament which creates a path to citizenship for refugees from neighboring countries, so long as they are not muslim. It represents a continuation of ongoing efforts to repress the minority Muslim population and transform India into a Hindu nation. In passing this law and mobilizing fascist paramilitaries to brutally repressing any opposition, the Indian state further pulls back the false veil of liberal democracy, to reveal itself as a fascist state which depends on Hindu nationalism to defend and strengthen the Indian ruling classes.

The Revolutionary Student Movement stands in solidarity with the Student Federation of India (SFI), the student affiliate of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and especially with comrade Aishe Ghosh of SFI, one of many that were seriously injured during the attacks by the ABVP. These attacks expose the fear of ruling class and righteousness of the struggles of those they exploit and oppress. However, the BJP government cannot defeat the revolutionary movement by these or any other means, as the the more brutality they use, and the wider the sections of Indian society they attack, the more isolated the government will become and the greater and more numerous will be the resistance.

This has been proven in India already in the heroic resistance of the Naxalite movement to the genocidal Operation Greenhunt, which has sought to surround the red base areas and exterminate their base of support. By improving their organization and training the masses in Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology and in the armed struggle, the Revolutionary Communist movement in India in the last few years only grown. We therefore call for the students of SFI to align themselves with the Naxalite movement. Nothing could more make the Indian ruling class tremble than unity between the workers and students struggling in the cities, and the oppressed nations and peasantry struggling in the countryside. Facing the united working classes of India, organized and armed, the fascist BJP-RSS could not hope to win.

Solidarity with the Student Federation of India!
Oppose BJP and Hindu fascism!
Support the Indian Revolutionary War!

Resolutions of the Seventh Congress of the Revolutionary Student Movement

1. The RSM Internal Journal

The RSM will institute a theoretical-scientific internal journal, to be published bi-annually, once per semester.

Be it further resolved that an editorial board for the internal journal be formed, which will act as a standing committee of the RSM, with members elected by the Congress,

Be it further resolved that an this editorial board shall be tasked with (1) retrieving and compiling articles from RSM members, and (2) overseeing the publication and distribution of the journal.

Be it further resolved that an the editorial committee should be able to request revisions to submitted articles that require improvement or wholly reject those which do not conform to the principles of the RSM mandate.

Be it further resolved that an the final content of every issue should be subject to final approval and review by the Coordinating Committee.


2. Combating Patriarchal Behaviours in the RSM

A committee will be struck to study the development of past incidents of patriarchal behaviour and the RSM’s handling of them, study the theories and procedures of other revolutionary organizations in combating internal patriarchy, and oversee their implementation in the RSM;

Be it further resolved that an this committee should keep track of abusers named from other organizations to inform sections of these individuals.

Be it further resolved that an each RSM section will contribute one member to this committee if possible;

Be it further resolved that an the minimum requirements for such procedures be recognized as follows:

  • they must address patriarchy in both the antagonistic and non-antagonistic stages
  • in the latter case, they must provide methods for recognizing and relentlessly struggling against less harmful manifestations of patriarchy, recognizing that failing to do so is liberalism, and that these will lead to greater harm and division if left unchecked
  • in the former case, where antagonism has developed, whether in the form of harassment, abuse, or assault, that the accused should be suspended from the RSM immediately, pending a thorough investigation
  • the survivor has authority to appoint an “inreach” team to represent them to this committee, oversee subsequent procedures such as official statements, official internal documents, and demands.
  • conditions permitting, this investigation should be carried out by out by individual(s) without biases w.r.t. the different parties, such as principally close interpersonal relationships outside of organizing spaces, and should report directly to the committee on their findings
  • if any involved parties feel that the investigation or its results are not in accordance with proletarian feminism, they may appeal to the committee and to the CoCo
  • if it is determined that an accusation of abuse, harassment, or assault is credible, then the accused shall be immediately expelled; the RSM does not have the resources to dedicate to transforming very harmful individuals, we can only isolate them, warn others, and punish them to the extent which our power and conditions allow
  • isolation would here be defined as all members being required to remove the abuser from social media, excluding the abuser from social events where possible, and excluding the abuser from political organizing where possible. Isolation also involves an active struggle to defend and uphold the verdict against apologists and abusers.
  • when the verdict has been reached, the CoCo members have 48 hours to distribute this information to each chapter. This must include the following information of the abuser: name, social media accounts, and photos, so that sections know to isolate this person.  If recommended by the survivor or inreach committee, the CoCo should make a public statement regarding the incident.
  • in the instance that a chapter refuses to expel an abusive member, this committee will have the authority of an investigative committee to make a recommendation to the CoCo that the chapter be dissolved.
  • when experiencing non-antagonistic patriarchy from other RSM members, members must immediately report it to their local leadership; if the accused is in leadership, or if the leadership does not take the situation seriously, it should be escalated to both the committee and the CoCo; sections must create such conditions that all members are aware of this and feel comfortable doing so; they must ensure that all members have the contact information for certain non-local committee and CoCo representatives;
  • if an RSM member experiences antagonistic patriarchal behaviour from another RSM member, they should immediately inform the committee and the CoCo
  • the RSM must reject the survivor-centric approach, as it often serves to perpetuate abuse and allows abusers to continue to exist in radical spaces under conditions when survivors are reluctant to act against the abuser; conditions must be created where a survivor does not fear coming forward and acting against their abuser;

Be it further resolved that an that proletarian feminism, being still relatively undeveloped can only be developed through a scientific approach; the committee must therefore keep detailed records of all findings either in investigations or study, continuously criticize established methods, and develop new analyses of proletarian feminism and the methods of combating internal patriarchy, to be published in the internal journal and analyzed by all sections.


3. On General Assemblies and the Strategic Line of Construction of MER-RSM

Be it resolved:

  • We should unite under the slogan: “Students to the streets” / “Étudiant à la rue”
  • This means to concentrate all capacities in constructing the MER-RSM in struggle among the deepest, most exploited and oppressed layers of the masses, the hard-core of the proletariat, according to the concrete conditions of each chapter of the MER-RSM.
  • The hard core of the proletariat is the larger strata of the proletariat, the millions of workers who have nothing to lose but their chains, who constitute the hard core of the revolutionary camp. These strata are notably made up of, not necessarily exclusively: the poor and exploited workers who are at the bottom of the social ladder; the workers excluded from the labour market, who comprise the industrial reserve army for the capitalists; the new strata of proletarians that come from recent immigration; women, who continue to massively integrate the labour market – the capitalists profit from sexism and discrimination and over-exploit them; the youth, that are more than any other generation, confronted with precarious and underpaid work; the indigenous workers, for whom unemployment is the rule and who are subjected to the worst discrimination.
  • Instead of orienting toward the careerist and reformist vipers’ nest of petty-bourgeois campus politics, as we have largely done to this day, we will organize on campus principally to get students off campus and into the proletarian struggle in the streets, the factories and the fields. This is the practice of the Maoist revolutionaries leading the national democratic movement in the Philippines, as well as a major component of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution concentrated in the slogan “DOWN TO THE COUNTRYSIDE!”
  • On campus organizing is to be treated according to the nature of each section. When on campus work is secondary, such as at universities, this will take the form of on campus recruitment, confronting class enemies, study groups, having a militant presence at relevant demonstrations, and other similar events. In instances of high schools or CEGEPs, it may be more appropriate for members to do off-campus outreach where feasible, treating campus work as more primary.
  • Our purpose is to fight the old state. Our analysis proves that universities are nothing but towers of the bourgeoisie. They are more reactionary than the most reactionary of trade unions. Still, like those trade unions, we should never renounce struggling within them. It is necessary to organize within them, but we must always ask: to what end, and for whom? We say: for the conquest of political power by the proletariat.
  • We must always strive to link the just struggles of the masses for their demands, to the central task of the revolutionary movement in the Canadian state: power for the proletariat, conquered with the force of arms, for socialism and communism.
  • In doing so, RSM sections must concretely combat class enemies and oppose opportunism.
  • No more jockeying almost full-time for General Assemblies, or worse, so-called “proletarian unions” which represent a detour to a detour. Neither represents genuine “dual power” as synthesized by Lenin and Mao, which hinges ultimately on guns: “Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.”
  • We must avoid this narrow sectional interest, which is exclusive to students, and has no concrete perspective for linking itself to the wider proletarian struggle for power.
  • The bourgeoisie has always had their schools to reproduce themselves. We need to show the alienated students, who live in an ideological bubble, the realities of the daily struggle for mere existence confronting the toiling masses.
    RSM sections should synthesize the results from these struggles into articles to be included in the Internal Journal, and that sections incorporate the positive lessons from others’ experiences into their own efforts, in particular lessons on sections of the masses to do work on, how that work is to be conducted, what form of organizations will be created, and what the RSM’s connection will be to those organizations.


4. Security Culture

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee will create a detailed internal document of security protocols to be followed at meeting, while online, during actions, or anywhere deemed necessary.

Be it further resolved that this document contain not only what security protocols to follow, but also the benefits and risks of various security practices especially related to online security.

Be it further resolved that local leadership ensure the disciplined adherence to these protocols by all section cadre and train them in their use.

Be it further resolved that the Coordinating Committee will indicate the appropriate level of security for each document sent out to sections.

Be it further resolved that whenever the Coordinating Committee releases a document for its members they should specify one of the following levels of security: (1) section leadership; (2) general members, and (3) public.


5. International Bureau

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee will take the initiative to seek advice from international comrades engaged in the student struggle and also to materially support them as needed.


6. International Working Women’s Day

The RSM will rectify the error of renaming International Working Women’s Day to “Gender Oppressed Workers’ Day” and return to celebrating this occasion by its original name. Additionally, be it resolved that such action stand in solidarity with the struggles of all members of the working class who are socially perceived as women, including trans women and some non-binary and intersex people, and who therefore are the primary targets of patriarchal oppression.


7. On Video Propaganda

Be it resolved:

  • We must create compelling video propaganda. Teaching people the basics of shooting videos of protests and actions clearly so that we get footage of confrontations with class enemies. We must encourage the masses to record testimonies of their reality without shame. We must put the unseen and unspoken proletarian reality at the forefront and always in order to flip the script on the rancid and festering culture of imperialism.
  • Propaganda officers from each section will form a Propaganda Committee, lead by the Coordinating Committee propaganda officers to:
    • centralize raw video footage of all sorts produced by local chapters;
    • archive them for use in future productions according to the security protocols of the propaganda committee;
    • edit them on case-by-case basis if that capacity is lacking locally;
    • synthesize them into gripping and professionally produced videos that speak to a pan-canadian context;
    • decentralize high-quality video assets, skills and practices.
    • Create a document laying out the RSM’s line on video propaganda


8. On the Logo of the MER-RSM

The Coordinating Committee will consult with sections on the possibility of a new logo design.


9. On Plain Living and Hard Struggle

The following argument was put forth by one section. The Congress elected to retain this information for the purposes of constructing an appropriate code of conduct and recognizes that some of the wording is subject to criticism and change:

  • “The MER-RSM reaffirms that we are not an apolitical social scene, an “Ol’ Boys Club” or a fraternity which exists to generate personal social capital for a few charismatic opportunists.
    • The MER-RSM reaffirms that we are an organization of disciplined revolutionary militants, forging ourselves as leaders for the coming war against the old state, within our lifetimes. We must get serious, professionalize our structure and ourselves. Our personal lives are fully subordinate to our political commitments. We should hold ourselves and one-another to that standard, in the real world and online.
    • No more decadent social gatherings! No more bourgeois cultural events! Just one hour of doing room-to-room talks, having brief but regular meetings where we touch base and study and talk objectives, collective physical training, immersing ourselves among the masses to share in their work and their recreation – this is worth more than a 100 hours of apolitical social gatherings that look no different than the average college party.
  • Camaraderie is important, and to socialize with comrades is important too. But just as with everything else we do, camaraderie must be unfolded among the masses and in service to them.
  • Instead of just fraternizing with each other, we should fraternize with the proletarian masses and take part in their festivities, but not cause trouble. We should listen to them talk about their lives and problems, and wait until they are done before we judge them
  • MER-RSM is all struggle all the time. We must sleep on the ground if necessary, eating the food of the urban poor masses, sharing in their joys and sorrows, forever keeping to the style of plain living and hard struggle. If we are not prepared to give up our gold and soft bed, we will be useless when the time of struggle comes. We must master the new conditions of revolutionary life, or we will perish along with the revolution.
  • Remember, in the last analysis, the workers and peasants are the cleanest people and, even though their hands may be soiled and their feet smeared with cow-dung, they really are cleaner than the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intellectuals. Our purpose is always to build links and make contacts within the masses.”

The MER-RSM Coordinating Committee, in coordination with the Concordia and Ottawa comrades, and all other sections, will develop a statement on proletarian ethics, rectifying past mistakes, and develop a code of conduct for all members based on that statement. This code of conduct should be completed before January 1st, 2020, and be sent out to all sections.


10. Motion on supporting survivors of abuse

Be it resolved:

  • In case of an expulsion of a member from the revolutionary movement due to abuse against anyone, the RSM will uphold the verdict on the abuser and actively protect the survivor against all form of threats and intimidation, including especially threats of legal action against the survivor in reactionary bourgeois courts.
  • the responsibility falls to the pan-Canadian RSM to continue to uphold their statement against all subsequent attacks, as the RSM is the one brought it public, so it’s their duty to continue upholding it.
  • The work of protecting the survivor is not finished once the abuser is exposed and expelled, as history as made it clear that abusers will retaliate using any means at their disposal, including reactionary bourgeois courts, be it a month or a year following their expulsion.
  • Be it further resolved the RSM should make a public statement upholding the expulsion of the accused. In the instance of subsequent intimidation or threats from the abuser, the CoCo will release a letter to the accused, and also to organizations that continue to work with the accused, that they will continue to uphold their previous statements and materially support the survivor, even if the accused intends to pursue bourgeoisie reactionary courts or further escalation in reactionary law or other reactionary attacks.

Report back from the 7th Congress of the MER-RSM

The seventh congress of the MER-RSM has concluded, having been held from Nov. 23-24, 2019. This congress was long overdue, though it was still held in 2019, as resolved at the time of the previous congress nearly three years ago. This congress was marked by numerous struggles on issues of crucial importance to the RSM. There were also certain minor logistical problems in the planning and execution of this congress which we will be able to rectify in the future. Several workshops were given which educated the congress delegates in the production and delivery of various forms of propaganda. A new Coordinating Committee was also elected to guide the RSM until the next congress.

Some of the most prominent victorious struggles waged by the congress delegates include the struggle for the establishment of methods for upholding proletarian feminism and combating patriarchy, on changing the primary focus of the RSM from on-campus to off-campus organizing, on the establishment of an internal journal for recording political experiences and waging line struggle in the RSM, and on not changing the organization’s name in a misguided attempt to symbolize rectification of past mistakes. All congress resolutions and the updated constitution can be found online at

In recognition of the of the RSM’s failure to properly investigate instances of patriarchal abuse, and to systematically eliminate patriarchal behaviour and ideology in the RSM, and that this failure has caused significant harm to RSM sections, members, and periphery, a proletarian feminist committee was created. This committee will have members from all RSM sections, and will investigate instances of patriarchal behaviour when reported to it, as well as develop training and behavioural guidelines for proletarian feminist praxis, and work to further develop proletarian feminist theory itself as much as possible. The congress also resolved to actively work to support and defend survivors of sexual violence on an ongoing basis.

In a major strategic shift, the congress rejected the General Assembly strategy of the previous congress, as well as a newly proposed strategy of building proletarian student unions on campuses. Instead the congress recognized that the relationship of on-campus to off-campus organizing must be based on the relative balance of class forces in a given educational institution. In high-schools or CEGEPs which are largely proletarian, on-campus work may take precedence, but in most universities, bourgeois elements are overwhelming. In this case, RSM sections must limit on-campus activities to propaganda work, study groups, and combating class enemies; the greater part of its effort must go toward bringing students out of the campus to aid in building the larger proletarian revolutionary movement. Using the slogan “Students to the Streets!”, we will work to determine those methods by which students can build the workers, youth, and other movements.

In an affirmation of the place of Marxism as the science of class struggle, the RSM has ratified the creation of the RSM Internal Journal, which all RSM sections will contribute to and which will be published once per term. The campaigns of all RSM sections will be summed-up and analyzed in journal articles, so that other sections can read and learn from them. The journal will also be a space for new theories to be proposed and line struggle to occur. The congress also elected an editorial committee which has been tasked with reviewing submitted articles and preparing the journal.

One of the final motions presented was to change the RSM name. This motion was presented in light of the various mistakes the RSM has made, including in failing to apply proletarian feminism, but also others which have harmed the RSM image and made organizing under the banner of the RSM more difficult for local organizers. This motion was roundly defeated after much discussion. In the end, it was confirmed that the RSM’s newer resolve to uphold and apply proletarian principles is not a break with RSM principles, but an affirmation of them. In places where the RSM has made more harmful mistakes, organizing as the RSM will be difficult, but changing the name will not undo the mistakes; only effective organizing that serves the needs of the masses will win their forgiveness.

The minor organization problems include difficulty in arranging transportation to the congress, such that the Vancouver and Kitchener-Waterloo comrades were unable to attend. This was mostly a result of the lack of budget and time in organizing the conference, though a lack of effective communication within the RSM contributed as well. In the future, better communication networks and less urgency will allow all RSM sections to send delegates to the congress.

This congress has allowed the RSM to affirm its unity and its commitment to rectifying errors. Our new scientific journal will enable us to continually develop ever better methods of combating internal patriarchy and other forms of reactionary ideology, and of engaging in mass work. With it we will forge an intractable organization that will transform bourgeois universities into trenches of combat, and aid in raising the larger revolutionary movement to ever greater heights.


Students to the Streets!

Long live MER-RSM!

Uphold proletarian feminism to smash patriarchy!

Vancouver: Transphobes and Bigots Off Our Campus! De-Platform Reactionaries!

Today RSM members were alerted to the presence of a transphobic rally that was taking place on the University of British Columbia’s campus. The transphobic “rally” consisted of two lone bigots who held a banner reading “God made us male and female. Say no to fake transgender ideology!” Despite no planning or preparation, we quickly mobilized our supporters in the hopes of shutting down this disgusting display of hatred. Initially, the counter-demonstration was disorganized and spontaneous with no clear message or unity. Some students argued that we should be willing to debate with the reactionaries in an attempt to change their minds, while others suggested we simply ignore them in the hopes that they would go away. Members of RSM and its supporters argued for a different approach: a complete and total rejection of transphobia and a push to de-platform these bigots and get them off our campus.

Bill Whatcott, infamous anti-LGBT protestor and one of the two bigots present on campus today

Reactionaries like the ones present today, who religiously defend their transphobia, cannot be debated with, nor can we simply ignore them and hope they will go away. Their aim is to promote reactionary ideas and incite hatred and violence against those who identify as transgender. They use attempts at debate to legitimize their intolerant views and hide behind “free-speech” so they can freely spew their transphobic non-sense. Not only this, but allowing these reactionaries a platform to speak serves to only put trans people in danger. This transphobic rhetoric starts by simply saying “trans identity is not real”, but the natural extension of this line of thinking ends with the notion that “trans people must be forced to not exist”. Therefore, propagation of these ideas almost always leads to violent attacks against trans people.

In response to these conflicting ideas regarding the counter-protest, RSM members engaged in struggle with other protesters, pushing for a counter-demonstration which sought to totally de-platform the transphobes. Despite some reservations by a few individuals, this line of de-platforming quickly gained traction and soon the counter-protest had a clear direction, a goal, greater organization, and unity around our complete rejection of transphobes on our campus.

After some last deliberations, action was finally intiated when an LGBT student took up the call and began chanting against the transphobes. Members of RSM along with other students quickly joined in and surrounded the two bigots, raising rainbow flags to block out the transphobic signs and propaganda. Students chanted loudly “Transphobes Go Home!” and “Trans Rights Are Human Rights!” effectively preventing the reactionaries from being able to spread their transphobic rhetoric. Soon they were unable to distribute their leaflets or talk to anyone, as they were totally blocked off by the counter-protestors. It was not long after the counter-demonstration got organized that the two bigots were forced to leave campus with their tails between their legs, leaving to the cheers of students calling for them to go home and not come back. The result of the transphobes being forced to leave after being unable to spread their message proves that de-platforming is an effective method with achievable results. To push back against reaction, we must do so by any means necessary. We must be militant and unwavering in our commitment to rejecting transphobia on our campus.

Students used pride flags to block the transphobic signs

Despite our success, we wish to also highlight what we feel is another important point in this matter: UBC administration did nothing to protect trans students on campus. These bigots were able to protest almost all day on campus, unhindered by UBC. Not only this, but UBC was actively aware that these individuals were coming to campus and assigned them multiple campus security guards, along with two police officers, to protect them from the justified anger of students. Only through the militant actions of students was this transphobic “rally” shut down. We aim to highlight the clear hypocrisy of the UBC administration and expose their phony inclusivity as being only a marketing tool in an effort to capitalize on gaining favour amongst the LGBT community. The irony of UBC claiming to support trans students while simultaneously allowing and coordinating with transphobes to come to campus is not lost on us, nor other students. UBC, like all other education institutions in Canada, is in service to the capitalist class and is concerned primarily with developing new capitalists and promoting capitalist ideology. Its faux-support for LGBT students shows us as clear as day that it is not concerned with students’ safety, but rather only with its perception as being inclusive.

Security and police did nothing to hinder the transphobic rally, and instead begain filming counter-protestors when students took action against the reactionaries.

Today students learned that we must take matters into our own hands when it comes to protecting ourselves and other students from marginalized groups on campus. We cannot rely on university administration to adequately deal with hate speech and protect its student body. Instead, today we saw a glimpse of what students can accomplish when they are organized and militant in their rejection of intolerance and reactionary ideas.



– Revolutionary Student Movement Vancouver

Defend Our Democratic Rights! Defend Our General Assemblies!

On Saturday November 6th, the Board of Administration (BOA) of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) held its monthly meeting. It was at this meeting that the executive presented the results of a legal assessment of the organization’s constitution. Despite allegedly having had this assessment since June, neither Board members nor students were made aware of it before the meeting was announced. The assessment states that the current SFUO constitution does not comply with the Corporations Act of Ontario and that one of the reasons is the current structure of the General Assembly.

The constitution of the SFUO states that the GA is the highest decision making body of the SFUO, with control over finances, by-laws and elections (section 3.13.4). However, according to the executive’s reading of Ontario law, the current structure of the SFUO is in conflict with the fact that only elected representatives of faculties and the executive are considered directors and have voting rights on constitutional matters. The solution proposed by the executive was essentially to remove the General Assembly’s ability to exert democratic control over elected officials by removing the clause which states that the General Assembly is the highest decision making body. This attempt is anti-democratic in the sense that it removes the best avenue for student participation and control over our elected officials. It goes directly against a referendum decision, as well as the constitution, that states that the GA is the highest decision making body and therefore should not be able to be dissolved by a lower body. General Assemblies would then no longer have the ability to recall elected representatives or approve budgets. The General Assembly would also no longer be able to change bylaws or policy without approval from the BOA. No matter how the executive tried to portray or diminish the importance of this change, saying they had no choice or that the opinions of an assembly that essentially functions as a town hall meeting would be seriously considered by the BOA, the result is a huge step back in terms of the democratic rights of students and transparency of the SFUO. The RSM resolutely condemns the anti-democratic nature of these proposed changes.

By removing the section of the constitution that places General Assemblies above all other bodies of the SFUO, the General Assembly is effectively stripped of all its power. Without the ability to create policy and bylaw changes, review and approve the budget, or recall elected officials, the GA ceases to have a purpose and no longer allows students to directly control our union. Of course we are told that the General Assembly will still exist as a consultative body where students can voice their opinions, but without any authority, nothing compels the BOA to follow through on the wishes of students. What is the point of having a representative organization if it can’t be held accountable or even be modified to fit the needs of the students it represents? If the structure of the SFUO is built around protecting its bureaucracy and not as a tool for protecting the interests of students, who does it serve and what is its purpose?

Many possible solutions were brought up by BOA members, including setting up a constitutional committee tasked with coming up with a proposal for a later meeting that would comply with both the referendum and Ontario law. Another proposed solution is to add a section that requires the BOA to ratify decisions made at the General Assembly. BOA members, however, were told that waiting even a single meeting would open up individual BOA members to lawsuits, fines or jail time since they would be violating their “fiduciary duty”. Not only is this false, but it is a purposeful manipulation of BOA members by the executive. The sudden urgency of this situation seems odd given the fact that the report was conducted in July, leaving the SFUO many months to come up with a solution. The way BOA members were coerced into voting against their beliefs based on threats of looming legal action (which for many members implied the possibility of removal from their programs or even loss of their student visa) is completely outrageous. The BOA, as well as students in general, were never truly given a chance to understand or attempt to fix the problem, despite having plenty of time to do so. Ultimately, the motion was approved and will undergo a second reading in December. We now only have a short period of time to organise and defend our democratic gains.

General Assemblies have enormous potential to mobilize students and provide an avenue for real change. They are the best method of organizing towards a strike which is the only way for students to fight for free and accessible education. They also have the ability to launch investigation committees open to any student who could look into abuses of power by elected officials. This could include mismanagement of funds or unacceptable situations such as the events of the Vets Tour earlier this year. It is clear that General Assemblies have the ability to challenge the bureaucratic authority of the current SFUO structure and that we therefore cannot rely on it to defend GAs.

In the next month students and concerned board members will be working together to draw attention to this attack on democratic rights and independently come up with a solution. You can get involved by joining us at the General Assembly on Saturday November 12th at 2pm in Marion auditorium. Let the SFUO executive and your faculty representatives know that your voice matters!

If you want to get further involved, follow and contact us on Facebook (Revolutionary Student Movement UOttawa) for more news on our next GA planning meetings or send us an email at


Crisis in the SFUO and the way forward

There is a lot more than what appears on the surface concerning the financial crisis at the student federation (SFUO). As a militant anti-capitalist organization active on campus for 6 years now, we have been a part of, observed and struggled with the SFUO for some time and have noted what we have identified as structural weaknesses leading to an inevitable collapse as a center of power for students on campus. This is why the founders of our predecessor organization, the Marxist Student Association, broke with the politics of the core of left-wing militants who were struggling for power over the SFUO in the late 2000s and sought to lead a different way forward for the mass of students[1]. The current crisis is another sign that liberal politics are in decay at the SFUO and unfortunately it is afflicting students as well.

We’ll explain in this article how the crisis in the SFUO originated and how it’s negatively impacting us. We’ll also talk about how we can overcome this and organize ourselves to defend our interests not only as working-class students on campus but also to support the wider struggle for liberation from all exploitation and oppression.

The problem unfortunately runs deeper than this year’s budgetary situation. The current politics ruling over the SFUO are largely the result of a takeover by liberal, social-democratic student politicians with the support of radical militants in the late 2000s. The people who would later found the Marxist Student Association were then part of a wide coalition of militants organizing against tuition fees and in support of other progressive causes, such as opposing imperialist wars. One of the highlights of that time was when hundreds of students protested a planned talk by Ann Coulter in Marion Hall and forced her to abandon, in 2010. While never getting close to resisting the increase of tuition fees and other negative measures of the administration, the coalition did succeed in setting up a strong enough base to dominate student politics in campus over a number of years, and to get by referendum the SFUO to re-integrate the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a liberal student union with locals (including many in dispute) across Canada but mainly centred on Ontario. The radical, combative movement that made this push would then gradually shift to reformist perspectives and bureaucratic tactics, forming a layer of cliquey student politicians. At the same time, through the connection with the CFS, the leading student bureaucrats placed the SFUO into a wide network of liberal organizations, chief of which were labour unions like CUPE, and the New Democrat Party (NDP), turning the SFUO into basically a revolving-door / escalator for aspiring politicians. To put it in other terms, the SFUO was sucked into a bureaucratic machine, and its resources were more and more preyed upon by bigger organizations.

In more details, a certain faction from the initial militant core set out to expand the organization’s bureaucracy rather than focus on building mass support and democracy on campus. From their elected position as executives, they built up a network of bureaucrats throughout the various departments and service centers of the SFUO, which would become their support base to engineer the re-orientation of the SFUO as a stepping stone for the bigger liberal organizations such as the labour unions and the NDP. By adding more and more positions and hiring their supporters, with the promise of further advancement as everyone graduating through the SFUO executive seemed to be moving on to fancy staffing jobs at the CFS, at CUPE locals and with NDP members of parliament, they established an effective support base that was constantly working to uphold the politics in power and direct the SFUO’s resources and the militancy on campus toward those ends.

But to keep things going, the mechanics had to be sheltered from oversight. What little transparency and accountability there existed in student politics at uOttawa at the time, it was thrown by the wayside; one of the ways this was done was to declaw the union of SFUO staffers, CUPE 4943, to render it unable to defend employees from the politics of management. Exec sympathisers were promoted to union leadership and gradually allowed their friends to strip the collective agreement of its power to resist management, paving the way for them to manipulate hiring for their political advantage. A toxic atmosphere of liberalism and opportunism set in the SFUO, causing lasting damage among people there. Another way bureaucratic control was installed was through the creation of the executive coordinator position; this un-elected, permanent, cushy and seemingly unsupervised job was designed to keep the CFS’  liberal politics in command at the SFUO in case some exec positions still ended up being lost to opponents, generally self-assuming conservatives, during elections. This is a common tactic employed by the CFS throughout its locals to ensure its hold over them. Needless to say, this position was consistently staffed with supporters who had carried the torch for the organization and subsequently went on to other bureaucratic positions in the movement. Through this kind of approach, the social-democrats were able to maintain their hold over quite some time in spite of consistent opposition from the anti-CFS right.

Energy was also sucked out of the combative left-wing elements on campus to sustain the machinery. Any legacy of combativeness as well as autonomy was drained away from the service centers for women, for queer people, for disabled people, for international students and others. Those centers came into existence as a result of intense struggle from oppressed people who wanted a center from which they could build resistance, but they were over time co-opted into the liberal SFUO politics. Similarly, the climate justice movement that was burgeoning in the early 2010s was diverted to make bureaucratic gains, and the more recent victories arising from intense mass work, such as the U-Pass and the healthcare insurance, were treated as mere services that only required an “apolitical” management, serving to justify the straight-up bureaucratization. This partly explains why the gap between the dues paid for the health insurance and its costs was allowed to increase since 2011; the health insurance was no longer being sustained as a material interest for the mass of students that needed to be fought for constantly. In this way, the SFUO began losing effectiveness even in its basic delivery of services, especially to students who needed them the most. Each scandal that made it into the news was another sign of cracks in the machine, from the fireworks debacle to Yogagate, from the sudden mass firings of last April to the unprecedented waiting lines for U-Pass this Fall.

Perhaps most sadly, the liberal direction over the SFUO failed to provide the leadership to tackle emerging problems arising on campus. The ills of rape culture, sexual harassment and the attempts by a tenured professor to organize students in an anti-feminist, misogynist and trans-phobic group for example require more mass action. There has been a lot of good work by many individuals from within student associations on campus, which has led to the issue of rape culture and specific acts of sexual harassment and violence to attain wide public attention, but it has so far been left to the initiative of the university administration. The mass of students, and especially gender-oppressed people, need be empowered to defend themselves against these threats. That is why we advocate organizing to fight the aforementioned anti-feminist group known as CAFE which actively denies the existence of rape culture and labels feminists as threats, while harbouring militant islamophobes and white supremacists. As well, the shameful loss by the administration of the personal information of hundreds of students who used accessibility services is another matter that should be met with more militant response. Under the democratic control of the mass of students, the SFUO could be brought more effectively to use in such campaigns.

Similarly, when it came to fighting tuition, which is most often used to justify the existence of the CFS, any expectations there were also fell flat. The CFS strategy on this issue amounts to nothing more than plain lobbying of politicians, cloaked in progressive discourse and assorted with stunt actions every 2 or 3 years. At the most crucial times in recent years, the CFS and the SFUO execs made little to no effort to express solidarity with and draw lessons from the student movement in Québec, the only movement that has had any success in Canada when it comes to fighting tuition fees. In 2015, when another attempt was made to launch a student strike in Québec and was facing heavy repression, and while the RSM was organizing a day of action of solidarity, the CFS and its local hacks were too busy networking on Parliament Hill to even pay attention. At best, the CFS will organize a “day of action” every 5 years or so to prove its combativeness, but these efforts do nothing to undermine the power of the bourgeois government and university administrations. The fact that for an 11th consecutive year now, the university has increased its fees, including an exponential growth over the year for international students, should lead everyone to reconsider the approach that has been taken.

From the beginning, as the Marxist Student Association and then as the RSM, we called for a different path to be taken, for attacking the roots of the system. We realized that fighting against tuition fees was part of a wider struggle against our exploitation and oppression as a class; the terms set out by the oppressing state and its academic institutions are only meant to disempower and manipulate us. As working-class students, we have to connect with the wider struggle for our liberation, and within our context, we have to build up a counter-power to defend our interests and win victories.

This is why in 2013 and 2014 we campaigned for GAs to be established, which was successful, in spite of opposition from such mainstream groups as the campus associations of both the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. It has been a struggle since then however to make effective use of the GAs, but we will continue to encourage students to use them and this year, more than ever, working-class students have a chance to turn things around in their favour.

The liberal politicians who ruled over the SFUO for all those years and who fooled so many militants into their trap are at their core a clique of petty-bourgeois students, attempting to draw power from their bureaucratic positions to go up while building themselves a nice base of loyal supporters. What is also interesting to note is that the first wave of these student politicians were overwhelmingly from white, settler backgrounds, while the next wave that succeeded them are in majority from racialized, colonized-nations backgrounds, who are left to pick up the pieces while a good number among the former are safely installed in their staffer positions further up the chain. Those petty-bourgeois politicians have caused enough damage, and they must never be allowed again to have leadership over left-wing organizing. More than ever, it is time for working-class students to chart their own path and organize their own power.

The MER-RSM will continue its efforts to organize students in this direction. If you want to participate in our initiatives, come to our general meeting on October 20, where we will discuss openly our plans for the coming year. This will include motions to bring to the GA to improve the situation and empower students with regards to the SFUO, as well as the continuation of our campaign to root out MRAs on campus, and participation in the planned day of action against tuition fees. There will also be other meetings and activities over the course of the semester. Nothing is lost! With mass work and organization, we can not only turn things around, but turn our student union into a powerful weapon at the service of the people!

[1] On this topic, you can read an in-depth analysis written by one of those militants in 2010, titled “Whither the student movement in Ottawa”