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April 13, 2012 - No. 53


CAW Organizes Town Hall Meetings on
Importance of Auto Industry

Participate in the Meetings on the
Future of the Auto Industry

April 17 to May 1

Click image to download poster or see below for details.

CAW Organizes Town Hall Meetings on Importance of Auto Industry

Premier Seeks Legitimacy for Anti-Student Attacks by Declaring "Absolute Rights"

Two Opposing Aims and Outlooks - K.C. Adams

Fifth Peoples' Summit in Cartagena de Indias

Canada Must Uphold Cuba's Right to Self-Determination - Canadian Network on Cuba
U.S. Has Confiscated More than $493 Million in Cuban Funds Since 2010


CAW Organizes Town Hall Meetings on
Importance of Auto Industry

The Canadian Auto Workers' (CAW) Union has organized a series of meetings to engage Ontario residents in a discussion on the importance and direction of the auto industry. The meetings will discuss the all-round importance of the auto industry to the economy in Ontario and Canada, the upcoming negotiations between CAW and the Big 3 automakers (Chrysler, Ford and General Motors), and the necessity to maintain Canadian-standard wages and working conditions for industrial workers as a precondition for the well-being of the economy and people.

A CAW press release says, "Canada's auto industry has survived years of turmoil. Despite downsizing, the industry makes a crucial contribution to Canada's productivity, exports, and incomes. Yet our auto jobs face increasing threats: from globalization, apathetic governments, and corporations more aggressive than ever. Attend this special community meeting to learn more about: the importance of auto jobs in our community; the threats facing the industry; and the CAW's new proposals to strengthen auto jobs for the future."

The meetings are taking place within an atmosphere of disequilibrium within the auto sector and Ontario manufacturing generally, as the global monopolies and governments pursue their anti-social campaign to force autoworkers and other industrial workers to abandon their rights and Canadian-standard wages, benefits and pensions and agree to a modern form of slave-labour. The monopolies and governments are colluding in this anti-worker pressure using forms of extortion that include threats to shut down auto production in Canada and move it to a "right to be slave-labour" state mostly in the former slave states in the southern U.S. but increasingly also in northern industrial states such as Indiana.

TML encourages its readers to attend the meetings in the various cities and stand with autoworkers in defence of their rights and against the wrecking of the Ontario auto industry and other manufacturing, and to hold governments to account to defend Canadians and their economy and restrict global monopolies from acting with impunity against workers, the Ontario economy and the public interest.

Schedule of Meetings

Tuesday, April 17 -- 7 pm

Caboto Club (2175 Parent Avenue)
Contact: Jack Robinson at jack.robinson@caw.ca or 519-567- 9223

St. Catharines
Wednesday, April 18 -- 6 pm

CAW Local 199 Hall (124 Bunting Road)
Contact: Wayne Gates at wgates@caw199.com or 905-328-9532

Thursday, April 19 -- 6:30 pm

CAW Local 222 Hall (1425 Phillip Murray Avenue)
Contact: Joe Sarnovsky at joesarnovsky@cawlocal222.com or 905-723-1187

Monday, April 23 -- 7 pm

CAW Local 1285 Hall (23 Regan Road, Suite 1)
Contact: Leon Rideout at val@caw1285.on.ca or 905-451-8310

Tuesday, April 24 -- 6 pm

CAW Local 88 Hall (364 Victoria Street)
Contact: Dan Borthwick at dan.borthwick@bell.net or 519-532- 4179

Wednesday, April 25 -- 6:30 pm

CAW Local 707 Hall (475 North Service Road East)
Contact: Gary Beck at president@cawlocal707.ca or 905-467- 5372

Monday, April 30 -- 7 pm

CAW Local 1524/1106 Hall (600 Wabanaki Drive)
Contact: Bill Gibson at bill.gibson@caw.ca or 519-589-6390

Tuesday, May 1 -- 6:30 pm

CAW Local 27 Hall (606 1st Street)
Contact: Fergo Berto at fergo.berto@caw.ca or 519-670-4635

Special Issue of

Autoworkers Firmly Defend Their Claim
on What They Produce

- K.C. Adams -

This six-part article is to assist autoworkers with their analysis and discussion of a way forward for the sector that serves their interests and the Canadian economy:

• Part One: Extortion Is a Crime -- Time for a New Direction for the Economy
• Part Two: The Sham of Profit‐Sharing -- Concessions Are Not Solutions!
• Part Three: Profit‐Sharing Means Even More Insecurity for Autoworkers
• Part Four: A Basic Problem in the Auto Industry
• Part Five: The Need for Equilibrium and a New Direction for the Economy

The Pillage of Chrysler
Chronology of Fiat's Takeover of Chrysler -- 1998 to March 2012

This chronology provides an overview of the events that took place leading to Fiat's takeover of Chrysler and the conditions under which this took place. In particular, the information reveals the seamless connection between government and monopoly capital. The governments of the United States, Canada and Ontario on behalf of monopoly capital used the takeover to force concessions from autoworkers. Autoworkers face the reality of defending their livelihoods, auto plants and rights against an unholy alliance of monopoly capital and the state. The information also shows that the narrow private interests of monopoly capital for the highest return on investments in the shortest possible time is not only unsuitable for modern mass production but also destructive and the basic cause of economic crises.

The chronology is broken into five sections:

• I: DaimlerChrysler AG to Cerberus Capital Management (1998–2007)
• II: Cerberus to the Economic Crisis (2007–2008)
• III: Economic Crisis to U.S. Chapter 11 and Fiat Agreement (2008–2009)
• IV: “Surgical” Bankruptcy and Fiat Takeover (2009)
• V: Chrysler Group LLC Emerges from Bankruptcy – Claims It Is Recovering (2011–March 2012)

Cost: $4.00
Published by Workers' Centre, Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
P.O. Box 264, Adelaide Stn,
Toronto, ON M5C 2J8
Tel: (416) 253-4475
Email: workerscentre@cpcml.ca

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Premier Seeks Legitimacy for Anti-Student Attacks by Declaring "Absolute Rights"

As Quebec students enter the eighth week of their strike, the Charest government continues to unleash one provocation after another, even citing "absolute rights" to justify its anti-social measures. Despite this, the students are determined to stay the course and they continue to win support for their just cause.

The more the government discredits itself by attacking the right to education, the more irrational its arguments become.

On April 11, Minister of Education Line Beauchamp called for a return to classes and invoked the Labour Code to declare the walkouts illegal. In other words, unable to argue politically that the tuition increase is in the general interests of society, the Charest government is stepping up its criminalization of the students' resistance.

The Minister said in an interview she requested with Radio Canada: "We are faced with some who have decided to boycott their classes, but are fully within their rights to demand access. In addition to the possible class action suit that has been announced, this is a reminder, as demonstrated by the injunctions won by students, that we must act according to the law."

From Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he is promoting his Northern Plan, Quebec Premier Jean Charest came to the aid of his Education Minister. Also unable to give an actual political argument for his government's attack on students' right to education, he could only resort to the most vulgar remarks to try and denigrate Quebec students and workers. He resorted to the same disinformation used against the workers, presenting the students' democratic votes to strike as a "climate of intimidation" akin to what he claims exists in the construction industry. (This was a doubly self-serving and diversionary comment, to cover up that the issue of corruption in Quebec's construction industry does not originate with the workers and unions, but with the corruption of the government and construction companies.)

Like his Education Minister, Charest refused to acknowledge the strike, calling it a boycott. He said the leaders of the student movement will have to accept that students will continue their session "without anyone trying to block them in their absolute right to obtain an education."

Students and Supporters Block Attempts to
Turn Conflict into a Law-and-Order Matter

The Valleyfield College administration tried to take advantage of the situation in which students, claiming to act in defence of the public interest, have been accorded injunctions to undermine the student strike. Despite the students' democratic strike vote, the administration announced a return to class for April 12. It clearly misjudged the situation as more than 500 students supported by teachers and workers blocked classes from starting.

"We denounce the college's irresponsibility that endangers our students' security," said Mélanie Dutemple, a professor at the CEGEP. "We are angry, democracy is being violated," she said.

"The message is clear: neither injunctions nor unilateral decrees by administrations will end this strike. The movement is not losing steam and will hold fast until the Liberals back down. Full stop," said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for the Broad Coalition of Student Union Solidarity (CLASSE). He added that 14 student associations renewed their strike votes on April 10, including Montmorency and de Maisonneuve colleges, André-Laurendeau CEGEP and Sherbrooke CEGEP, as well as several departments and faculties of the University of Montreal and Sherbrooke University. At the University of Laval, the sociology, creative and literary studies, history, geography, forestry and physics students have all voted to renew the strike. "It shows that the Minister's offer isn't endorsed by the students," said Laval University Confederation of Student Associations President, Martin Bonneau.

"This attempt to smash the democratic strike is totally unacceptable. If they want to end the strike there is only one solution: cancel the tuition fee increase," said Jeanne Reynolds, co-spokesperson for CLASSE and a Valleyfield college student.

For the Federation of College Professionals (FPPC-CSQ), "the Minister's declarations demonstrate the government's inability to resolve the conflict. By encouraging the prosecution of the conflict rather than opening the door to real negotiation the government is headed for an impasse for which society will pay the price. If [educational] institutions have to recognize the student associations, how can Minister Beauchamp ignore the decisions taken democratically in their general assemblies?" said federation President Bernard Bérub.

President of the Quebec National Teachers' Federation (FNEEQ) Jean Trudelle said a forced return to class on April 12 puts the professors between a rock and a hard place. "If they respect their employer's orders and give their courses, they are ignoring a democratic decision taken by their students.... Obviously this is not conducive to achieving educational goals," he said.

"The minister's attitude is highly irresponsible and a forced return to classes will only add fuel to the fire. It may produce clashes and more radical positions," Trudelle added. "The government's stubborn refusal to begin a dialogue is going nowhere. It is important to find a solution to the crisis, but it is certainly not by imposing a return to classes by way of court action that we will get there," he concluded.

Student Indebtedness Is Not a "Solution"

The Education Minister's "proposals" have been rejected by the students. "The proposals made by the Minister [April 6] were to divide the movement and discredit the student leaders. So today, we respond with strength. We consulted our associations and everyone answered 'Present!'," said Martine Desjardins of the Quebec Federation of University Students (FEUQ), adding that the Minister's "little game" didn't work.

"It's important to meet with the Minister to explain exactly how unacceptable her announcement is. Student indebtedness is not a solution to [to the problem of] access to education and with genuine dialogue we can end the conflict," said Léo Bureau-Blouin, president of the Quebec Federation of College Students (FECQ).

Guaranteeing Both the Right to Education and
the General Interests of Quebec Society

The women's committee of the Federation of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN) has given its support to the students. "Historically, education has played an important role in the emancipation of women. That's a fact," said Josée Marcotte, head of the women's committee and vice president responsible for FSSS clerical staff, technicians and administrative professionals. "Access to education has always been [decisive for] the feminist movement. Women of all times and places aspire to better living conditions and by accessing education they can attain real equality. They also aspire to have the opportunity to get a job and have an income, to guarantee their independence," she said.

Sociologist Guy Rocher, member of the Parent Commission that led to the creation of Quebec's college system (the CEGEPs) and the Ministry of Education in the '60s, recalled that the elimination of tuition fees was a position adopted by the Parent Commission in 1965. "For economic reasons, given the major government spending to reform the entire system, the money was not allocated for free tuition. But we had hoped that in the not so long-term free tuition would be instituted. Except that quietly, the government adopted the neo-liberal perspective of [its citizens as] consumer-taxpayers," said the University of Montreal professor and researcher at the Centre for Public Law Research.

Student Actions Continue

Students blockading the Banque nationale tower in downtown Montreal, caught between police lines
then pepper sprayed, April 11, 2012. (CUTV)

The students and their allies refuse to be intimidated and say they will continue to rely on the justness of their cause. On April 11, the student action during the morning targeted those who benefit from indebting the students. They blocked entry to the Banque nationale headquarters in Montreal. The action was declared illegal and the police forcibly evicted the students. The brutality used against the students shocked several employees there. Throughout the day a dozen student demonstrations took place in Montreal and in the evening the students met at Émilie-Gamelin park for a march. In Quebec City, about 100 students briefly occupied a CIBC branch and a Banque nationale branch in the morning.

According to a Leger Marketing survey conducted on behalf of the FECQ, 47 per cent of Quebeckers say they are dissatisfied with how the minister is handling the issue of the student crisis.

Sixty-five per cent want the government to initiate discussions with students. "The Minister's hard line doesn't fly. She has to open up and begin a dialogue with the students," concluded FECQ President Léo Bureau-Blouin.

(Translated from original French by TML Daily)

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Two Opposing Aims and Outlooks

Control of the economy is related to ownership but reaches beyond this to its aim and outlook. Control of the economy in the present era is divided according to the two main social classes: owners of capital and the working class. The two main types of ownership within the socialized economy, not its peripheral of small family businesses, reflect this class division: private ownership by capital and public ownership through the government as representative of society and the people. The two forms of ownership in the present era and their respective aims and outlooks can be characterized as capital-centred and human-centred.

The capital-centred aim and outlook put capital and its well-being, growth and dominance at the centre of all decisions.

The human-centred aim and outlook put people, their well-being and the general interests of the economy and society at the centre of all decisions.

The clash between forms of ownership and divergent aims and outlooks of the two main social classes permeates the present era. Given the suffocating dominance of owners of capital and their capital-centred aim and outlook through their control of competing parts of the socialized economy, the state machine and mass media and the age-old traditions of class exploitation of former systems of ownership, the human-centred aim and outlook and form of ownership of the working class has to fight to find space for its expression and development, importantly within the thinking of the working class itself and its organizations.

The working class movement must resist all penetration of its thinking by the capital-centred aim and outlook. Owners of capital and their representatives use their immense wealth along with the power of the state and mass media to overwhelm the human-centred aim and outlook and banish it to irrelevance. Even in the face of admitted failure and destruction of the economy and the turning of millions of lives upside down, owners of capital refuse any discussion of an alternative to their control of the economy and their capital-centred aim and outlook.

Such was the case February 13-16, 2012 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington where owners of capital and their leading representatives -- specifically General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, a political confidant and operative of President Obama -- organized a forum of U.S. captains of industry called "American Competitiveness: What Works."

Within the conditions of a continuing economic crisis in various regions of the world, a jobless recovery and general failure of the present direction of the economy, owners of capital still banished any suggestion of a human-centred alternative from the forum and discussion. Instead, the talk centred on the inevitability of what transpired and how to make the best of the changed conditions for the benefit of capital. The headline of the Reuters item summing up the conference, which was reproduced throughout the monopoly-controlled financial media was, "After 'lemming-like' exodus, U.S. manufacturers look home."

The Reuters' item writes, "Big U.S. manufacturers moved their production out of the country too quickly over the past decades and now see a competitive advantage in building up their footprints back home, top executives said on [February 13]. The chase for lower-paid workers drove the migration, which resulted in employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector falling by 40 per cent from its 1980 peak... a brutal 2007-2009 downturn and high unemployment.... 'We, lemming-like, over the last 15 years extended our supply chains a little too far globally in the name of low cost,' said Jim McNerney, chief executive officer of world No. 2 plane maker Boeing. 'You are going to see more [manufacturing] come back to the United States'."

The capital-centred aim and outlook led to the "'lemming-like' exodus" and anti-social technical productivity to destroy livelihoods yet they want workers to believe that the same aim and outlook can lead to something other than more attacks on the rights of the working class, a decreased standard of living, recurring crises, and war among competing centres of capital for markets, raw material, cheap labour and spheres of influence.

They want the working class to accept that a new human-centred direction for the economy is not necessary and that the same owners of capital who put the people and their economy into the present mess can provide a solution. But even they admit their "lemming-like" slavishness to what serves their capital within the moment. Their capital and its well-being, growth and dominance was at the centre of all decisions during their "'lemming-like' exodus" and anti-social drive for productivity and big scores, and they are doing the same now within the conditions of high unemployment, jobless recovery and the "return of manufacturing."

Owners of capital are demanding concessions from workers, both those currently employed and others when they return to work, and a destruction of all established social norms. This proves that recovery and a return to manufacturing under the control of owners of capital are based on what serves capital and its well-being, growth and dominance, and not the well-being of the people and the general interests of the economy and society.

The people should grasp that the capital-centred aim and outlook is too narrow for the modern economy. The narrow outlook drove owners of capital by their own admission towards a "'lemming-like' exodus," destruction of livelihoods through anti-social productivity, big scores and economic crisis. The same narrow aim and outlook is forcing them to drive down the standard of living of those who do the work and to destroy all social norms of a modern society within a context of "more [manufacturing] coming back to the United States."

The working class must reject with contempt the disequilibrium of a "return to work and manufacturing" under the dictate of capital and its demand for concessions, a lower standard of living and destruction of all social norms that defend the well-being of the people. A "return to work and manufacturing" must be based on the recognition of the rights of the working class and established social norms that provide some protection for the people's well-being.

The working class must organize itself into powerful collectives that can defend workers' basic interests and fight for the rights of all and for a new human-centred direction for the economy in opposition to the present capital-centred direction. This requires workers to reject the aim and outlook of owners of capital and to put forward forcefully their own human-centred aim and outlook. Workers must uphold in their minds and inscribe on their banners that this modern economy is their economy and they must be in control with their own modern human-centred ownership, aim and outlook that puts people, their well-being and the general interests of the economy and society at the centre of all decisions.

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Fifth Peoples' Summit

Peoples of the Americas Raise Their Voices in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Some of the forums at the People's Summit in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, April 12, 2012.
Left, a forum on free trade; right, a forum on mining.

The Fifth Peoples' Summit got underway on April 12 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on the eve of the so-called Summit of the Americas, which is scheduled to take place in the same city, April 14-15. The heads of state of all the countries of the Americas are scheduled to attend the so-called Summit of the Americas with the exception of Cuba -- which is excluded as a result of the veto of Canada and the U.S. in the Organization of American States  (OAS) -- and Ecuador, which refuses to attend because of Cuba's exclusion.

At the Peoples' Summit, representatives of the peoples of the Americas are raising their voices to give expression to the real concerns of the peoples, according to Enrique Daza, national director of the Labor Research Center, a member of the Continental Alliance and organizer of the forum of nations.

Daza explained to Prensa Latina that the Peoples' Summit takes place outside the official OAS meeting, so that the proposals for integration and the demands of social movements can be taken into consideration. He pointed out that the OAS agenda for the so-called Summit of the Americas will deal with a series of preselected issues, chosen for their non-controversial nature, instead of dealing with the real problems that concern the peoples of the Americas.

The Peoples' Summit is an affirmation that the peoples have the right to express their opinion on the most pressing problems of the region, he emphasized.

The event consists of three sessions: the first was held on April 12 and the topics it addressed included models of development, regional integration, militarization and human rights, climate change and a green economy, land, territorial and food sovereignty, free trade and the economic crisis.

On April 13, collectives of women and students as well as churches, trade unions and human rights organizations will gather for various meetings.

An Assembly will be held April 14, to approve the declaration of the Peoples' Summit, which will then be taken to the Presidential Forum of the so-called Summit of the Americas through the mobilization of people on the streets of Cartagena de Indias.

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Canada Must Uphold Cuba's Right to

The Canadian Network on Cuba is outraged by the statement from the office of Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), which declares that Canada -- in lock step with the United States -- opposes Cuba's participation in the upcoming Summit of the Americas to be held April 14-15, 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia. This arrogant statement flies in the face of the overwhelming consensus of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Their expressed desire is that no Summit of the Americas can truly be legitimate if Cuba is excluded.

Moreover, this assertion from the Minister's office runs counter to the sentiment of the vast majority of the people of Canada. Canadians irrespective of their political or ideological positions, stand in favour of building relations with Cuba based on mutual respect and equality, relations which uphold Cuba's right to self-determination and sovereignty. Having traveled to Cuba in the hundreds of thousands and having witnessed Cuban reality for themselves, Canadians have come away with a profound respect and admiration for the Cuban people and their efforts to build and defend a society centered on independence, justice and human dignity.

The declaration from the Minister's office that Cuba "doesn't comply with democratic conditions" is not only a slander against Cuba, but reeks of the discredited colonialist mentality and practice of foisting on independent countries imperial arrangements that they do not want or accept. The statement is an intolerable interference in the sovereign affairs of Cuba and violation of its right to self-determination. The statement harkens back to a bygone era where great powers acted with impunity against and with utter disregard towards the nations of the Americas. The peoples of the Americas have time and time again resoundingly rejected this method and mode of thinking. The great anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles of the 19th and 20th centuries bear witness to this. The statement deliberately parrots the disinformation of the United States State Department about Cuba. This open alignment with U.S. policy is deeply disturbing and alarming, and we call on Canadians to repudiate it with the contempt it deserves.

It bears reflection that it was only as recently as December 2-3rd, 2011 in Caracas, Venezuela, when representatives and heads of state from 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries founded the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). With the founding of CELAC, the peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean created an organization to defend and preserve their political, economic and cultural sovereignty, a bulwark against foreign interference in their affairs. For this reason the United States and Canada were excluded from this historic gathering.

It is important to note that the exclusion of Canada and the United States from CELAC was the collective unanimous will of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, whereas Cuba's exclusion from the Summit of the Americas is the utterly unprincipled, unilateral diktat of one superpower. Washington's warped logic, which Ottawa apparently endorses, is that any sovereign state in the Americas can be excluded by its fiat, and its fiat alone. Thus, in reality the United States does not recognize the sovereignty of any other country that has been invited. That the Canadian government does not protest the arbitrary treatment of Cuba is not only shameful but also further erodes and weakens Canada's sovereignty.

If the Canadian government wants to stand with the peoples of the Americas and not defy the winds of progressive change blowing though the Americas, it must abandon colonialist and imperialist mindsets and policies.

A potentially historic moment is upon us in which a most regrettable page in the relations amongst the nations of the Americas can finally be turned. The Canadian Network on Cuba calls on the government of Canada to engage in the enlightened statecraft that the times require. If the government is truly interested in the cause of democracy then it should stand with the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, and insist that Cuba is included in this and future Summits of the Americas.

Isaac Saney
Co-chair & National Spokesperson,
Canadian Network on Cuba
Tel: (902) 449-4967
Email: isaney@hotmail.com
On behalf of the Canadian Network On Cuba (www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca)

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U.S. Has Confiscated More than $493 Million
in Cuban Funds Since 2010

The government of the United States has confiscated more than $493 million from Cuba since 2010, as part of the economic blockade it has imposed on the Caribbean nation.

The amount was confirmed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in a communiqué that describes Cuba as a nation that sponsors terrorism.

Using the same pretext, the U.S. government froze $223.7 million of Cuba's assets in 2009.

The document, cited by Prensa Latina, indicates that U.S. authorities have additionally appropriated six properties belonging to the Cuban state in New York and Washington, DC.

The U.S. has maintained an economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba for more than 50 years, which has cost the country more than $975 billion and constitutes a violation of the United Nations Charter and all norms of international law.

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