September 3, 2012
Labour Day 2012
Mobilize the Power of the Working Class to Turn Back
the Anti-Worker Offensive
workers and their supporters
rally at Queen's Park, August 28, 2012.
Every year on Labour Day, tens of thousands of Ontario
workers march through the Dufferin Gates of the Canadian National
Exhibition in the Labour Day Parade organized by local and provincial
unions. Every year this event is an exhilarating display by the working
class of the power of its numbers and of
its capacity for independent organization and action.
This year at the Labour Day celebration workers will be
asking themselves many questions raised by the contrast between the
potential power of the working class proudly on display and the serious
challenges facing the workers' movement because of the aggressive
anti-worker offensive of the rich. How is it
that we are not able to mobilize our vast numbers and our unique
capacity for independent action in our own interest? How is it that a
rich minority can get away with electing politicians like Harper, the
McGuinty-Hudak team and the Ford hooligans to do their bidding. How can
these self-serving politicians act
with impunity to trample on workers' rights and drive down the standard
of living of working people?
There have been many outrageous attacks against the
working class during the past year by the politicians serving the rich
minority and the international monopolies. At this time, teachers and
education workers are resisting the anti-worker legislation cooked up
by the McGuinty Liberals and the Hudak Progressive
Conservatives (PCs) in Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act.
strips them of their right to collective bargaining
and cuts their pay through a wage freeze, days off and changes to pay
grids. It also is intended as a template for attacks on health care
workers and other workers throughout
the public sector.
Two attacks on workers in the past year though, stand
out for many workers: the phony lockout and closing of the Electro
Motive plant in London by the U.S. monopoly Caterpillar and the attacks
on Toronto civic workers and the privatization of waste disposal
services. What stands out about both of these situations
is that despite the widespread belief that this wrecking was against
the public interest and despite the huge popular support workers
rallied to their side, both the Ford hooligans and the Caterpillar
wreckers were able to do as they pleased.
The existing political arrangements enabled private
interests to triumph over the interests of workers and the public
interest. Despite the widespread opinion among workers in both these
cases that `This shall not pass!' the workers' movement was unable to
give this just stand effective political expression.
This is the problem that the workers have to solve.
How can the power of the independent social and
political movements of the working class be used to stop Harper, the
McGuinty-Hudak team and Ford and the entire neoliberal offensive of the
global monopolies? This is the problem workers are trying to work out a
solution to by participating in the September
6 Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W) by-election.
Workers have been organizing in K-W for several weeks to
develop independent working class political strength. They have been
calling on other workers to mobilize themselves, discuss the election
with their workmates and neighbours and to go all out to defeat the
candidates of the anti-worker Liberal and
PC parties. Injured workers have been using the K-W by-election to
raise the issue of justice for injured workers since McGuinty appointed
the Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament Elizabeth Witmer to
chair the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Teachers and education
workers are now joining in
the K-W election campaign to put forward politics that defend their
interests and public education.
On August 28, thousands of teachers and education
workers rallied at Queen's Park to oppose Bill 115. Many discussed the
need to organize and work for the defeat of the candidates of the
Liberal and PC parties in the K-W by-election to hold these parties to
account for imposing this draconian legislation on
them. It would be a non-partisan stand in the sense of uniting people
in action in defence of the public good but not this or that party
which they may or may not believe in.
Through actions like these, the working class can begin
mobilizing itself to go into sustained actions with analysis and show
the real power of its numbers and determination.
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