USA/Canada

Support Quebec's striking students!

In Canada, talks between the right-wing Quebec Liberal Party government and student groups resisting tuition fee rises have broken down.

The government representative said after four days of talks that the gap between the two sides was too wide. The students are continuing their protests.

In Canada, talks between the right-wing Quebec Liberal Party government and student groups resisting tuition fee rises have broken down.

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The Third Camp: “Neither victims, nor executioners”

We continue our symposium of recollections and reflections from activists involved in the “third camp” left in the United States with a piece by David McReynolds who, although not a Trotskyist, worked closely with many who were, including Max Shachtman.

We continue our symposium of recollections and reflections from activists involved in the “third camp” left in the United States with a piece by David McReynolds.

Although not from the Trotskyist third camp tradition, David worked closely with many who were, including Max Shachtman.

He joined the Socialist Party of America in 1951, and in 1958 was involved in negotiating the merger of the Independent Socialist League into the SP. In 1980, he became the first openly gay man to run for the US Presidency.

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Their morals and ours: the case of John Edwards

John Edwards was once the shining hope of American progressives; today, he’s a disgraced former politician. Last week, his trial in federal court ended with an acquittal. The trial, and the public reaction to it, showed yet again a very ugly side to American politics and culture.

John Edwards was once the shining hope of American progressives; today, he’s a disgraced former politician. Last week, his trial in federal court ended with an acquittal. The trial, and the public reaction to it, showed yet again a very ugly side to American politics and culture.

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International news in brief

Strike action by American workers increased dramatically over the past year.

“Serious stoppages” (strikes involving more than 1,000 lasting at least one shift) rose from just five in 2009 to 19 in 2011. Days lost to strike action increased from 124,000 to over 1 million.

The increase comes against the backdrop of a decade of pay stagnation for manufacturing workers, whose wages have mostly remained flat since 2000, despite a 50% increase in output.

Racist attacks on African migrant workers in Tel Aviv

American strikes; racist attacks in Israel.

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Quebec government tries to ban protest

The student movement in Quebec faces an all-out offensive by the government.

The student movement in Quebec faces an all-out offensive by the government.

For more than 90 days, more than 150,000 students in Quebec have been on an all-out indefinite strike against Quebec government plans to cut education funding and raise fees by 75%.

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Hundreds of thousands in Montreal support students and defy ban on protests

On 22 May 250,000 or more demonstrated in the centre of Montreal.

On 22 May 250,000 or more demonstrated in the centre of Montreal. They were supporting the students on strike for 100 days now against tuition fee rises, and defying the law passed on 18 May by Quebec's provincial government to limit protest.

Theoretically the law compels the organisers of all protests of over 50 people to submit detailed plans to the police at least eight hours before the event.

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John Carlos: "It's not about winning medals - it's about being a freedom fighter"

(In the 1968 picture, John Carlos is on the right.)

Many hundreds of people heard 1968 Olympic rebel John Carlos speak at the 21 May anti-racist meeting organised by the RMT and FBU trade unions.

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Neither Washington nor Moscow: those were the days

The third camp American left in the fifties and sixties.

We continue our series of recollections and reflections from activists who were involved with the “third camp” left in the United States — those “unorthodox” Trotskyists who believed that the Soviet Union was not a “workers’ state” (albeit a “degenerated” one), but an exploitative form of class rule to be as opposed as much as capitalism. This week, we publish contributions from people of two generations, David Finkel, who is now an editor of the Against the Current magazine in the US, and Marty Oppenheimer, who has been active in developing radical sociology.

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The heart of the “third camp”

Herman Benson, a veteran of the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and of the Workers' Party, on the origins of the “third camp”.

In Solidarity 242, we began publishing a series of recollections and reflections from activists who had been involved with the “third camp” left in the United States — those “unorthodox” Trotskyists who believed that the Soviet Union was not a “workers’ state” (albeit a “degenerated” one), but an exploitative form of class rule to be as opposed as much as capitalism.

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Quebec: three months of student strike

On 13 February 2012 an indefinite student general strike in Quebec against an increase in tuition fees began. This now involves nearly 200,000 students from universities and CEGEP (“collège d’études générales et professionnelles”, an intermediary level of education between secondary school and university).

A fee rise of $1,625 over five years is planned — a phenomenal increase on the current $2168 per year. The stated intention is to raise fees to the Canadian average of $4,000 per year. Quebec currently has the lowest tuition fees in North America.

Students in Quebec have been striking for three months against an increase in tuition fees.

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Demonstration: support the students' movement in Quebec!

Date: 

16 May, 2012 - 16:30 to 18:00

Location: 

Canada House, 5 Trafalgar Square, City of Westminster, SW1Y 5BJ

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Sign the online petition against police violence here

The Quebecois students’ movement has been engaged in an all-out student strike for 12 weeks, against a 75% increase in tuition fees.

Demonstrations, occupations, walk-outs and blockades have been taking place across Quebec since February, in protest against the Charest government’s plan to make students pay radically more for their education.

The students, organised in the coalition CLASSE, have made a counter-proposal to the government: cut management pay, and tax the rich and big business to fund free education.

The sustained action of the students has brought the government to the negotiating table – but the movement has also suffered violent police repression.

Police have repeatedly attacked demonstrations, and last week at a protest in Victoriaville, students Maxence Valade, 20 and Alexandre Allade, 20, were seriously wounded by police. Valade lost an eye and both are still in hospital with potentially fatal head injuries.

Join the protest called by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts at the Canadian High Commission on Wednesday to show your support for the Quebecois student movement.

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Réflexions sur la question nationale du Québec

Le Canada est un pays impérialiste fondé depuis 250 ans sur l’oppression nationale des Québécois, des Autochtones, des Acadiens et des autres communautés francophones réparties à travers le pays.

Pour l'auto-détermination, contre "la mentalité étriquée de petite nation"

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Why I became a third camp socialist, and what I've done

A contribution to a new symposium of activist recollections of involvement with the "third camp" left in America, focusing on the tradition originating with the Workers' Party led by Max Shachtman and its successor organisations.

I grew up in a working-class neighbourhood on the South Side of Chicago. My Dutch immigrant grandfather, John Cornelius La Botz, became a socialist in Chicago during the Great Depression. As socialists, my father Herb and my uncle Bert La Botz were conscientious objectors to participation in World War II. They were drafted, interned in a camp for conscientious objectors in Big Flats, New York, and there became friends with other socialists, some of whom were associated with Dwight McDonald’s Politics magazine (est. 1944), which had broadly third camp politics.

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The two Bayards

There are essentially two Bayard Rustins: the one up to 1963 who was a radical pacifist not linked to Max Shachtman or to the Socialist Party and after 1963 focused on making links between the civil rights movement and the trade union movement.

The exchange on Bayard Rustin (Solidarity 239, 240) was fascinating.

I met Bayard in 1949, when I was a young student at UCLA. He had a profound effect on me, and when I came to New York in 1956 to work for Liberation magazine, he was one of the editors (the others being Dave Dellinger, A. J. Muste, and Roy Finch) who met weekly. And then I went to work for War Resisters League, where Bayard, as Executive Secretary, was my boss. He and Muste were my two primary mentors.

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US election: lesser evils and...Ron Paul

The contentious character of the Republican primaries has revealed one startling fact.

The Democratic Party under Obama has come to occupy so much of the political terrain, from moderate right to centre left, that there is no space for the Republicans to define themselves beyond the realm of sheer lunacy.

What line would Obama and the Democrats have to cross before the labor movement and the oppressed finally pursued a course of class independence?

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When Rustin went abject

The political fate of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin.

In his younger years Bayard Rustin was a fearless fighter for peace and social justice. That is what should be memorialised. (“Remember Bayard Rustin”, Eric Lee, Solidarity 239).

The SP, later the SDUSA, of which Rustin became a prominent personality opened another, sadder chapter. The SP melded their concept of coalitionism — of driving the racist Dixiecrat wing from the Democratic party — into an abject apologia for accommodationism.

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Remember Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin is remembered as the organiser of the great 1963 March on Washington but to socialists his legacy is richer than that.

This March marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bayard Rustin, the American civil rights leader who passed away in 1987.

Rustin is remembered as the organiser of the great 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King gave his “I have a dream” speech.

But to socialists, Rustin’s legacy is richer than that.

I first met Rustin some 40 years ago when he agreed to co-chair the Socialist Party together with Michael Harrington and a long-forgotten Jewish trade union leader named Charles Zimmerman.

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Hundreds of Thousands of Quebec Students go on Strike

The battle over the tuition fee hike in Quebec is set to escalate after 130,000 students from various student organisations began another student strike today. They are expected to be joined by thousands more later in the week after hundreds of thousands of students voted in favour of an indefinite student "general" strike.

The battle over the tuition fee hike in Quebec is set to escalate after 130,000 students from various student organisations began another student strike today. They are expected to be joined by thousands more later in the week after hundreds of thousands of students voted in favour of an indefinite student "general strike."

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March 7th Montreal Student Demonstration Attacked by Police

A demonstration in Montreal called by La Coalition large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASS) against rising tuition fees ended in disaster after it was attacked by the police.

A demonstration in Montreal called by La Coalition large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASS) against rising tuition fees ended in disaster after it was attacked by the police.

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American Students National Day of Action to Defend Education

SDS Flier
A National Day of Action has been called today by Students for a Democratic Society – the American equivalent of NCAFC – to demand better access to education and lower tuition fees.

A National Day of Action has been called today by Students for a Democratic Society – the American equivalent of NCAFC – supported by the American Occupy movement, to demand better access to education, lower tuition fees, and the cutting of top-paid administrator’s salaries.

The March 1st Day of Action to Defend Education, known as M1, will see widespread occupations of high school and university campuses across America; including Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Chicago, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia and many others.

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School victory, Chicago-style

Parents and students occupied a school in Chicago which had been slated for “turnaround” by the Public School administrators.

That is a process which involves the entire staff of a school being sacked and a new one brought in. The school would have been turned into an Academy.

Activists from the local Occupy group then formed a human chain around Piccolo School to stop police from evicting the protest, which ended in a victory.

Parents and students have occupied a school in Chicago to stop the entire staff being sacked and a new one brought in.

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SOPA: “a baby-step towards something worse”

The passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) through the US Congress has been temporarily postponed.

The bills would give the US government wide-ranging powers to act against web-based copyright-infringement. One of SOPA’s major effects would be to introduce prison sentences of up to five years for the streaming of copyrighted material. Websites containing user-uploaded content could find themselves liable for the actions of their users, something which, in the words of liberal commentator Jon Stewart, would “break the internet”.

The passage of the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts through the US Congress has been temporarily postponed.

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US Republican bigotry

In the USA, three Republican presidential candidates have signed up to an explicitly anti-gay pledge to defend marriage.

Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann have backed the call from right-wing Christian organisation The Family Leader for candidates to defend heterosexual marriage. The pledge declares that homosexuality is a choice and a health risk, and commits candidates to the appointment of Supreme Court judges who will defend the status quo definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

In the USA, three Republican presidential candidates have signed up to an explicitly anti-gay pledge to defend marriage.

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Ohio overturns anti-union law

Voters in the American state of Ohio have voted to repeal legislation which restricted the collective bargaining ability of public sector workers.

The vote gives hope that similar legislation in Wisconsin — the introduction of which sparked a bitter labour war which involved the occupation of the state’s capitol building — could also be overturned.

61% of voters voted to abolish the law, which banned strikes by public sector workers as part of a radical overhaul of the state’s labour law.

Voters in the American state of Ohio have voted to repeal legislation which restricted the collective bargaining ability of public sector workers.

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