Are you a railway worker? Contact the CP Rail Base Workers’ Committee at [email protected]. If you are an educator, connect with the Pan-Canadian Committee of Grassroots Educators at [email protected].
Members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) are leading a campaign across Canada to mobilize a large delegation of workers to attend the international online May Day rally on Sunday. The event, which begins at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, will advance an international agenda of struggle for the working class against imperialist war and the pandemic “let down” policy of the ruling elite.
The campaign included a joint meeting convened on April 24 by two rank-and-file committees established by educators and railroad workers from across Canada. Speakers from the National Base Educators Safety Committee and the CP Rail Base Worker Committee reviewed the struggles of education staff and railroad workers over the past few months and underscored the need for workers in all industries to unify their struggles globally against nationalist and corporate unions.
The meeting adopted the following resolution:
This meeting of education and railway workers declares its full support for the International May Day Rally co-sponsored by the World Socialist Website and International Alliance of Base Committee Workers on May 1. The rally will offer a political perspective to unify the struggles of the working class internationally against capitalist barbarism, the pandemic and imperialist war.
The proxy war between the United States and NATO against Russia raises the imminent threat of a global conflagration fought with nuclear weapons. War is producing an explosion in the cost of living for workers around the world, further exacerbating already unprecedented levels of social inequality and making the necessities of life increasingly unaffordable. Meanwhile, the ruling elites in Canada, the United States and Europe are wasting tens of billions of dollars in weapons and other military equipment to escalate the conflict in Ukraine, bring about regime change in Moscow and reduce Russia to the status of semi-colony. After sacrificing millions of lives during the pandemic to an entirely preventable disease, the governments of Canada, the United States, Britain, France and Germany don’t care if millions more are cremated. in a nuclear exchange.
Education and railroad workers have sought to fight back against the brutally exploitative conditions we face. But our efforts have been sabotaged at every turn by nationalist and corporate unions. Education unions have forced teachers and support staff back to unsafe schools during the pandemic, and denounce as ‘illegal’ any collective action by workers against the ruling class’ ‘profit before life’ policy . Railroad unions are helping management enforce a dictatorial regime of brutal working hours, a cover-up of safety concerns and a draconian disciplinary process aimed at intimidating and firing workers who speak out. Unions all support the ‘confidence and supply’ deal between the Liberals and New Democrats, which will allow the Trudeau government to wage war abroad and impose austerity on workers at home until in 2025.
This is why the Pan-Canadian Committee of Rank-and-file Safety Educators and the Rank-and-file Committee of CP Rail Workers are organized entirely independently of the pro-capitalist unions. Our committees believe that a new international strategy is needed for the working class, a strategy that unifies our struggles across borders against the domination of social life by a financial oligarchy and for the reorganization of society to meet the needs urgent social needs of the vast majority. We strongly appeal to all workers in Canada and around the world to attend the May Day rally, which will advance a socialist agenda to end war, sacrifice workers’ safety and their lives. to increase corporate profits, and to the deadly COVID -19 pandemic.
The meeting heard two reports: one from Laurent Lafrance, the national organizer of the CERSC, and the other from Penny Smith, a WSWS writer who played a leading role in the creation of the CP Workers Rank-and -File Committee. The reports dealt with the terrible working conditions faced by education staff and railway workers during the pandemic as ruthless rail operators seek to increase their profits.
They also addressed the role of corporate unions in collaborating with management to impose the demands of the ruling elite and the sabotage by unions of all labor struggles. “Railway unions are playing an increasingly treacherous role as labor police, suppressing any opposition to the dictates of corporate management,” said Penny Smith. “The Teamsters, Unifor and others routinely conspire with corporate management and governments to impose concession-laden contracts that ignore wage demands or chronic health and safety issues that have plagued the industry for decades.”
Laurent said, “Today’s meeting demonstrates the willingness of diverse groups of workers to unite and speak with one voice in opposition to attempts by union bureaucracies to divide and isolate us, a strategy that aims to weaken us against the state and the bosses, and ultimately prevent a revolutionary movement of the working class against capitalism. After decades of union betrayal and divisive politics, this will to unite has become a concrete possibility thanks to the political leadership of the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Parties from which we derive our political guidance. This initiative, it should be remembered, is part of the efforts of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees organized by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
Explaining why he plans to attend the May Day rally, Malcolm, an educator from British Columbia, said: “This May Day highlights the need, greater than ever, for the international working class to organize politically with the revolutionary socialist perspective of the SEP. In the year 2022, how could it be clearer that capitalism is pushing humanity off a cliff?
“The pandemic has demonstrated that the working class is an international class. For teachers, the conditions we face are no different from those of comrades in Toronto, Philadelphia, Miami, Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires or anywhere else in the world outside of China. Everywhere, the same social actors are at work: governments motivated by the need to put corporate profit first, political parties, at all ends of the political spectrum, from conservatives to liberals and by the ‘left’, kowtowing to the financial aristocracy and demanding that the economy trump all other social needs, and the unions that do nothing more than tell workers to shut up, hold our head down while imposing austerity pay cuts and ignoring our right to a safe workplace.
“The only response from governments to the class consciousness and social tensions that the pandemic has awakened in the working class is imperialist war. Every day they and their media creeps are screaming about a Russian bogeyman who will come looking for us all once he’s finished in Ukraine. As a result, billions of dollars that could have been used for public health measures or to relieve soaring gas and food prices, are immediately earmarked for weapons. How do these policies benefit the working class besides bringing us closer to a nuclear holocaust? They don’t!
“Instead, the media and its upper middle class enablers chatter about democracy, human rights and the rule of law. What gross and gross hypocrisy! Workers are not blind to the history of Western imperialism. What concern was there for democracy when the CIA plotted and hatched coup attempts against the governments of Chile, Iran, Egypt and Venezuela? What concern for human rights is there when the West supports the fundamentalist government of Saudi Arabia? What concern is there for the human rights of the Palestinian people who live under a brutal Israeli occupation, who are shot and thrown into Israeli dungeons almost daily? What concern is there for the journalists and human rights defenders who are being murdered by the Ukrainian government right now, by far-right neo-Nazi forces embedded in that country’s armed forces? What concern was there for the international rule of law when NATO bombed Libya? When he bombed Yugoslavia? When the United States and its lackeys invaded and occupied Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of people? The answer is always NO!”
Liam, a graduate student from British Columbia, wrote: “At a time when the United States is at risk of war with a nuclear power, I intend to attend the May Day rally to reinforce the call of the ICFI against conflicts between great powers. We, the workers of the world, must reject the war propaganda of NATO and the United States and embrace the proletarian call for a revolutionary struggle against capitalism and imperialism.