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March 1, 2011 - No. 29

Oppose Canada's Intervention in Libya
Under the Pretext of Humanitarian Aid!
No to a "Humanitarian" Imperialist Occupation of Libya!
No to Foreign Interference in Libya! Hands Off Libya!

Oppose Canada's Intervention in Libya Under the Pretext of Humanitarian Aid! No to a "Humanitarian" Imperialist Occupation of Libya! No to all Outside Interference in Libya! Hands Off Libya!
U.S. Preparations for Libyan Invasion

Toronto Public Sector Workers
Legislation Banning Transit Strikes Aimed at Privatizing Public Transit -- It Must Not Pass!

United States
Defiant Resistance Mounts in Wisconsin and Across the Country
Canadian Unions Join Protests
Struggle for Working Class Rights and Dignity Continues in Wisconsin - TML Correspondent in Madison

Oppose Canada's Intervention in Libya
Under the Pretext of Humanitarian Aid!
No to a "Humanitarian" Imperialist Occupation of Libya!
No to Foreign Interference in Libya! Hands Off Libya!

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) vehemently opposes the intervention of Canada in Libya under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid. CPC(M-L) calls on Canadian workers and people to oppose the imperialist definition of what constitutes humanitarianism. Unfortunately, this definition is supported in Canada by not only the Harper Conservatives and their government but by the Liberals and Social Democrats. They are trying to infect Canada's anti-war movement with this unacceptable definition so that it conciliates with imperialist aggression and the commission of further crimes against the peace and humanity. It is Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan all over again and it must not pass!

"The Canadian military has sent a reconnaissance team and medics to Malta in what could be a signal of deeper military involvement in the crisis in Libya," the Canadian Press reported overnight. "The 13-member reconnaissance team arrived on the Mediterranean island Monday along with two of the air force's new C-130J cargo planes and two giant C-17 transports. The aircraft will be used for further evacuations of Canadian citizens and foreign nationals from the chaotic North African country. The contingent is accompanied by nine combat medics. The high-readiness reconnaissance team, much like its previous deployment in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, evaluates the situation and often lays the groundwork for military forces that follow. Defence sources also say that special forces teams are preparing to deploy -- something the military won't confirm."

"The CF [Canadian Forces] has deployed the appropriate assets to assist in the evacuation of entitled persons from Libya," said navy Lieutenant Len Hickey, a spokesperson for Canadian Forces' overseas headquarters, Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. According to CP, Hickey would not say what role the Canadian military might be able to play.

CF contingency planning is always conducted in compliance with Government of Canada direction, CP reports, and that any decision with respect to military deployments will be announced at the appropriate time. "Releasing information about these assets might impede their efforts," Hickey said.

This is clearly part of the NATO plan to invade Libya. CP quotes "NATO sources" saying "a full range of military options has been under consideration by allies since last week. One of the most extreme measures could be the use of ground troops to open avenues for the distribution of humanitarian aid."

NATO says its intervention is dependent on UN Security Council approval. "NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the military alliance wouldn't be taking any action without UN Security Council approval, which may be difficult to get because both China and Russia are on the record as saying there shouldn't be any interference," CP reports.

However, this is a hoax. News reports indicate that the imperialist "humanitarian" invasion has already begun with the landing of U.S., British and French special forces in eastern Libya since before the weekend. An unconfirmed report by the Pakistan Observer says, "The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred 'defence advisors' to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where 'rebels armed groups' have apparently taken over.

"According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region the three Western states have landed their 'special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres' to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas," the Pakistan Observer says. The item continues:

"A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk.

"The Western forces are reportedly preparing to set-up training bases for local militias set-up by the rebel forces for an effective control of the oil-rich region and counter any push by pro-Qaddafi forces from Tripoli.

"Other reports claim that efforts to 'neutralize' the Libyan Air Force were also underway to limit Qaddafi's rule in Tripoli if not fully uprooted from the country.

"Meanwhile, three Indian Navy warships, are also being dispatched to be deployed in the rebel-held areas of Libya.

"According to reports the Indian Navy has already sent two warships plus one its largest amphibious vessel INS Jalashwa. According to defence experts Jalashwa is the largest ship of Indian Navy which was delivered by the U.S. four years ago. Jalashwa, formerly the USS Trenton, has the capability to embark, transport and various elements of an amphibious force and is equipped with mechanized landing craft, Sea King helicopters and armed with radar, ship to air missiles and rapid firing guns.

"Experts say that Indian ship Jalashwa has a Landing Platform Dock with a capability 1,000 fully armed troops. The warship is also used for maritime surveillance, special operations, search and rescue and to undertake other tasks."

What is confirmed however is the statement of British Prime Minister David Cameron who said on Monday, "We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets." The "world community is looking for ways to step up pressure on the Gadhafi regime beyond sanctions and travel bans, which have the most immediate impact," CP quotes him saying. "We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context, I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone," Cameron said. According to CP, "Cameron also suggested Britain might even arm Libyan opposition forces if the regime continues to use violence to crush street demonstrations."

Meanwhile, there is no unanimity to invade Libya in what David Cameron calls "the world community." Prensa Latina reports:

"Differing points of view will dominate a high-level gathering of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which began meeting on Monday in Geneva.

"Although the 16th session of the Human Rights Council will run until March, the high-level deliberations will conclude on Wednesday.

"For Latin America, participants include Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, Argentina's Hector Timerman, Mexico's Patricia Espinosa, Nicaragua's Samuel Santos, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

"According to reports from Geneva, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro, Costa Rica's Rene Castro, Brazil's Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosario Nunes, Ecuador's Justice Minister Jose Serrano, Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon, and several Latin American deputy ministers will also participate in the meeting.

"The United States and its allies in the European Union are pushing for the expulsion of Libya, one of the council's 47 member states, but there is no consensus, given the opposition of other nations.

In a statement on Friday, the Cuban representative to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Rodolfo Reyes, spoke out on behalf of his government for a peaceful and sovereign solution to the crisis in Libya. Cuba rejected any manoeuvre leading to foreign military intervention in Libya and reiterated a call to Libyan authorities to keep calm.

"We cannot accept the risk that this tragic situation is used to satisfy pro-intervention greed, strip the Libyan people of their sovereignty and take over their resources," said Reyes.

He warned of plans for a humanitarian military intervention which Cuba opposes because, instead of solving the situation it would rather worsen it and might have other serious implications.

In an official statement addressed to the head of the UNHRC, Reyes said that Cuba has denounced from the start these plans to occupy Libya and categorically rejects any manoeuvre to favour such purposes.

Certainly, the Libyan people oppose any foreign military intervention, said the Cuban ambassador, who also cited Cuba's concern about the internal situation of civil war surrounding Libya "in the context of a world economic crisis of great dimensions that is plunging the peoples of that region and the world into hopelessness," as stated by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in Brussels.

"We want the Libyan people to reach a prompt, peaceful, sovereign solution to the situation created there, without any kind of interference or foreign intervention, that secures the integrity of the Libyan nation," said Reyes as he expressed the Cuban Government's stand.

The scenario unfolding recalls the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. This time NATO will go all out to play a central role because of the inter-imperialist contradictions between U.S. and European interests over control of Libyan oil where the Europeans will not want to play second fiddle to U.S. decisions. The attempt to grab control of the Libyan oil spigot of the European Union, a major competitor of the U.S. monopolies in world markets, is itself a seriously destabilizing factor in world politics that will increase the danger of war as the big powers strive for control over sources of raw materials and spheres of influence.

No to the So-Called Humanitarian Imperialist Occupation of Libya!
No to the Incitement of Anarchy and Violence to Destabilize Sovereign Nations!
No to the Use of Force to Sort Out Conflicts Within and Between Nations!

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U.S. Preparations for Libyan Invasion

News reports inform that the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise is heading for the Libyan coast along with other warships. A U.S. Navy map cited by the British Daily Mail reveals that there are a total of 23 warships and support vessels of the 2nd and 6th fleets in and around the African continent. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which has been marauding off the coast of Somalia, "has now steamed to the mouth of the Suez Canal in the Red Sea," the Daily Mail says.

"The deadly strike force aboard the nuclear-powered carrier is already within flying distance of Libya but the Enterprise is said to be heading closer to country ...," the Daily Mail wrote.

In response to British Prime Minister David Cameron's demand for a "no-fly zone," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the military was "repositioning" forces to be ready to assist in case a no-fly zone was enforced. He said that, more likely, "U.S. forces would be asked to provide humanitarian relief once the tense situation is resolved." He did not say by whom "the tense situation" would be resolved and to whose advantage.

In this regard, the Daily Mail points out that "the Enterprise -- with its compliment of F-14 Tomcat fighters -- is not the best candidate for a humanitarian aid mission." This underscores the fact that the mission will be "humanitarian" in name only.

Other U.S. deployments include the USS Mount Whitney command ship which is said to have changed its position in the Mediterranean as well, and the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge which is in the Red Sea behind the Enterprise.

According to the Daily Mail, "A senior U.S. military official told Fox News: 'We are exploring all options and moving assets in case they are needed.' Another military official said U.S. commanders were trying to second a battalion of Marines to attach to the Marine Expeditionary Unit on board the Kearsarge."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Geneva today "to press European allies to take action against Libya."

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Toronto Public Sector Workers

Legislation Banning Transit Strikes Aimed at Privatizing Public Transit -- It Must Not Pass!

TML condemns the McGuinty government's tabling of a bill to make it illegal for workers of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to strike. This attack is part of the global assault by the monopolies and governments in their service to criminalize workers' struggles for their rights and give free rein to nation-wrecking. As Bill 150, the Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011 was tabled, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, with the backing of the Ontario government, announced he wants to move faster to privatize the TTC. It is totally irresponsible to declare the TTC an essential service so as to undermine the fighting capacity of the workers' union and then proceed to privatize public transit.

In tabling Bill 150, the McGuinty government suggests that it is merely responding to the City of Toronto's request to designate its public transit system an essential service for the public good. Interestingly enough, in its proposed bill the government does not even define what is an essential service under labour legislation. It refers instead to the "unique importance" of the TTC for the city and people of Toronto.

The International Labour Organization, a body of the United Nations, describes essential services as "those the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population." The Public Service Labour Relations Act of the federal government states that "services should be identified as essential where there are reasonable grounds for accepting the probability, or even the possibility, that human life or public safety would suffer if a work stoppage interrupted the duties of these employees." How do these definitions apply to the TTC drivers and the service they provide? They don't but it does not matter because the McGuinty government's legislation is for purposes of legalizing anti-worker hysteria and further pushing privatization and the wrecking of public services.

Labour Minister Charles Sousa, in his statement when tabling the bill, kept saying that the bill is the city's initiative, suggesting that the provincial government is merely responding to the city's request and is not taking sides.

The Ontario government often receives requests from the city to increase funding for the TTC or social welfare, but it has never even bothered to respond. The hypocrisy of the McGuinty Liberals does not cover up their government's failure to uphold its responsibility to make sure that workers' rights are defended on the grounds that as a matter of principle they require the wages, benefits and working conditions commensurate with the services they provide. Along with the obsessive reference to the bill as being in response to "the city's request" so as to avoid discussing how public transit can be declared an essential service, Minister Sousa invokes the "unique importance" of public transit and "unique circumstances" in Toronto.

According to the Minister, the "unique circumstances" in which the City of Toronto would find itself as a result of a TTC strike include an "unacceptable economic impact," "environmental shock waves" and "health and safety concerns." By "environmental shock waves" he refers to the additional number of cars on the road which add to pollution. According to this logic, why not declare all kinds of activities in Toronto illegal, including baseball and hockey games and the CNE all of which add pollution as a result of increased vehicle traffic. He does not even bother to provide any data to prove that TTC strikes put the lives of Torontonians in jeopardy. He is merely viciously repeating propaganda trotted out during the last TTC strike and repeating phrases to try and make his law conform to the definition of an essential service. In all of this, never once is it discussed how to provide the TTC drivers and maintenance personnel with wages, benefits and working conditions commensurate with the services they perform.

The economic impact of TTC strikes is known to all as people are inconvenienced in their ability to go to work and travel in the city. But layoffs and closures cause economic impacts as well, as do poverty and attacks on social programs and public services, including the slashing of TTC routes and the constant fare increases. These are not declared illegal by the McGuinty government, no matter how many "requests" they receive for such legislation from the workers and the people of Ontario. Only the workers' struggles are declared illegal. And Sousa has the gall to declare that the bill is not going to "take away or limit the right to bargain!" Why is it being tabled then?

The timing here is very important. The labour contract for the TTC drivers expires at the end of March. Both the city and the Ontario government are rushing to pass the bill before March 31 as if it is emergency legislation. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, the union which represents the TTC drivers, pulled the rug out from under this "emergency" by declaring that in this round of negotiations it is not going to go on strike and will submit unresolved issues to binding arbitration. This proposal would, among other things, give the union time to present briefs if the government decides to go ahead with the bill. The union reports that when it approached the city with its proposal, the city responded with the demand that the union sign an agreement that it will never go on strike again and that it will not use any legal recourse against a bill banning TTC strikes. It is clear that the city and the province want to criminalize the TTC workers so that the TTC itself can be wrecked with impunity.

Workers will not forgive governments that act on behalf of the monopolies while pretending to serve the public interest. Many governments in Canada have, through abuse of power, extended the definition of "essential service" to mean just about any part of the public sector. The BC government even declared teaching an essential service. In order to serve narrow private interests, these governments in the service of the monopolies themselves violate laws and standards and then abuse their positions of power to declare their abuses legal! Such a self-serving arrangement cannot seriously claim legitimacy and, sooner or later, it will mercilessly be overthrown as an abuse of power.

Everyone must stand with the TTC workers in defence of their rights.

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United States

Defiant Resistance Mounts in Wisconsin
and Across the Country

More than 100,000 people rallied in Madison on February 26, 2011 (left). Despite threats to remove protestors
by force over the weekend, rallies at the capitol building continued on February 28, 2011 (right).

The electric atmosphere produced by the struggle of Wisconsin workers for their rights is spreading across the country. Everywhere workers, teachers, youth and students are standing together and demanding an end to attacks on their rights. The brutal anti-social, anti-worker offensive of the monopolies and their governments is being met with increasing resistance, with demonstrations and sit-ins in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington State, Washington, DC and elsewhere. Actions were held in all 50 states on Saturday, February 26 to defend workers' rights and raise high the banner of the class, All for One and One for All!

On February 26 for the second week in a row, Madison, Wisconsin saw more than 100,000 people demonstrating against the anti-worker, anti-social attacks of the state government. Workers, teachers and youth stood firm, continuing to mobilize broad political support from workers representing all sectors of the economy and people from all walks of life. Families again came, as did immigrant rights organizations and many others. Despite a resolution by a legislative committee for protestors to be removed by 6:00 pm Saturday, confronted with the tens of thousands inside and out, this did not take place.

On Sunday, February 27 many thousands of people still remained in action in Madison, demonstrating and filling the Capitol building once again. Marching, chanting and drumming took place as protesters surrounded the Capitol and thousands also rallied inside. Once again, the people were presented with an ultimatum to leave the building by 4:00 pm or be removed by the police.

As the time drew near, everyone was told to leave and that they could return at 8:00 am Monday morning, when the building is open to the public. In defiance of the 4:00 pm deadline, several hundred youth, teachers, and public sector workers, including firefighters, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Wisconsin Healthcare, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) remained inside. At about 7:00 pm, an organizer announced to cheers from the crowd that police, who have thus far been in solidarity with the action, agreed not to make any arrests.

On Monday morning, the many arriving to again enter the building found themselves locked out. For hours, no one was allowed to enter. Numerous restrictions were placed not only on protesters but the general public. Such denial of access into a public building is illegal under the Wisconsin state constitution. The lack of access means that food and supplies cannot be sent in to those who remain. People inside can leave, but not return. People organized to pass food and other supplies through the windows. Capitol Police staff are now welding the windows shut.

Fierce opposition is being mounted to provide for those inside and get the doors of the Capitol building, a public institution, open.

In addition, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is attempting to force the return of the 14 Democratic Senators by targeting their staff members, who remain at work in the building. He is planning to deny them their paychecks and perhaps fire them. It was also reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had been brought into the building and was ensconced on the upper floors.

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Canadian Unions Join Protests

Representatives of three Canadian unions were in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend, joining with thousands of workers and supporters to fight Governor Scott Walker's union-busting "Budget Repair Bill."

"Walker's bill represents a direct attack on workers' rights," says John Gordon, President of the 180,000-member Public Service Alliance of Canada. "Public sector workers shouldn't have to pay for the financial crisis they didn't create. We are here to say that Canadian workers are watching - we won't stand for this type of treatment at home or anywhere else in the world."

"This is really one of the most inspirational moments I have witnessed since I've been involved in the labour movement," says Gaétan Ménard, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada."To see 100,000 people gather to defend public employees' rights to collectively bargain against a government that is so intent on union busting is a unique experience we will certainly cherish and treasure upon our return to Canada."

Paul Moist, National President of the 605,000-member Canadian Union of Public Employees, denounced Governor Walker's attack on Wisconsin's public sector workers.

"Using the current recession and a Republican majority in the State Assembly and Senate to strip away fundamental rights from dedicated public employees is plain wrong and totally unjustified," Moist wrote in a recent letter to Walker.

CUPE, PSAC and CEP collectively represent over 900,000 employees across Canada, of which 750,000 are employed in the public sector.

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Struggle for Working Class Rights and Dignity Continues in Wisconsin

Madison, February 26-27, 2011

Saturday witnessed the largest demonstration in Madison, Wisconsin since the tumultuous days of the 1960s youth and students' movement. This time the target of the massive demonstration of over 100,000 was not the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam and absence of civil rights but the fascist wave of state-organized attacks on the rights and dignity of the working class. Similar demonstrations were held throughout the United States.

Protests have erupted against the plan by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to strip public service workers of their legal right to organize into collectives to defend the rights of all and to bargain for wages, benefits, pensions and working conditions that are acceptable to their peers. Public service workers and their allies say that without the basic legal right to organize into collectives and bargain, the working class is stripped of its dignity, reduced to the insecurity of quasi-slavery and subjected to the whims, dictate, impunity and narrow interests of employers. A modern society cannot function without the working class having full legal right to organize itself and defend its basic interests and those of fellow workers and society. Without an agreement and legal guarantees for the right of workers to organize to defend themselves and bargain collectively, the system will degenerate into an open fascist dictatorship of the most powerful rich and their monopolies.

This tendency to open dictatorship can be seen in the decree that the Capitol Building would be cleared by 4:00 pm Sunday or police would move in with force accompanied possibly by the National Guard. This dictate was immediately denounced by the Iraq Veterans Against the War who called on members of the police and National Guard to refuse any order to move against the workers and youth occupying the Capitol Building. Demonstrators reminded members of the National Guard that they in their vast majority are members of the Wisconsin working class and should not participate in attacking the rights of fellow workers. The people of Wisconsin cannot in good conscience hail the uprisings in North Africa and West Asia against open dictatorships and criticize the military and police attacks on protestors in those struggling nations, while at the same time countenance similar attacks against demonstrators fighting for their rights here at home in the United States.

Walker's fascist bill remains stalled in the Wisconsin Senate as Democratic Senators refuse to attend the sham sitting where the Republican majority would simply ram it through. The Democratic Senators report that they will remain "at large" to deny a quorum for as long as it takes to kill the bill. State troopers sent to bring them forcibly to the State Capitol Building are reported to have refused to detain the Senators as most state troopers support the battle for workers' rights.

The intense fight in Wisconsin to defend the rights of public service workers is leading many in the U.S. to question a system of governance that allows big money and the monopoly media to put into power such an extremist anti-worker anti-social element as Walker. Many of the placards that protesters carried Saturday throughout the U.S. denounced the relationship between monopoly capital and those running in elections. Walker himself does not hide the fact that the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch and other wealthy people bankrolled his campaign for governor, and through millions of dollars of attack ads created an atmosphere of hate and confusion over the state budget and the origin of the economic crisis.

A system of governance that allows wealth and privilege to dictate who will govern has no place in modern society where the people themselves, especially the working class and youth, are demanding empowerment and a system of governance that guarantees their right to participate in decision-making and to control the direction of the economy and importantly how society funds itself and how it spends those funds. "We will not tolerate Koch heads in Wisconsin," read one of the signs at the Saturday protest. This sentiment to restrict monopoly right and allow public right to flourish is being developed into serious questions and political discussion of how and why a modern progressive pro-social polity such as exists in the United States usually ends up with such anti-worker anti-social political leaders as Governor Walker.

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