This year, workers around the world have been hit with the triple whammy of a massive attack on their jobs, wages and living standards; a relentless drive to war and reaction; and news from the UN that the world has reached the tipping point of irrevocable climate catastrophe without immediate action by governments and corporations.
If ever there was a call to urgent action for workers, it’s this one.
And workers are responding. In France, the struggle to stop the Macron government from raising the pension age has mobilized unions and workers in every part of the country in marches, protests, street actions and political general strikes that have paralyzed the country, aiming to defeat the pension bill and bring the government down.
In Britain, 500,000 workers walked out in the largest coordinated strike action against inflationary cuts to wages and living standards in 40 years. British doctors and nurses are taking strike action in protest against underfunding and privatization of healthcare.
In Greece and Turkey, strikes against corporate greed and the impoverishment of millions of workers – many of them the victims of the Turkish earthquakes – continue to grow. Following the tragic train accident at Tempe, Greek workers organized a general strike in March to denounce rail privatization.
In Germany, strikes involving more than 2 million workers and protests against wage cuts caused by 9.3 percent inflation, were accompanied by mass protests against NATO and against sending weapons to the war in Ukraine. Anti-NATO and anti-war protests in France, Greece and other European countries, led by labour and its allies, have been completely blocked out in Canada media, including by the CBC.
The mass strikes and protests against cuts to real wages and living standards, enormous corporate profits and the drive to escalating war in Ukraine, are not limited to the labour and peoples’ movements in Europe. In Latin America strikes and protests are also raging against falling wages, job cuts and right-wing governments. In India, strikes and protests continue against the BJP’s attack on workers’ wages and support for communal violence. In the US, mass protests continue against the attack on women’s reproductive rights, and against police violence and murder of Black and Indigenous peoples, while strikes by healthcare workers and educators in schools and universities continue to grow.
Around the world, workers and their unions are fighting against some of the world’s biggest corporations and some of the most reactionary governments and far-right movements. In Cuba, the government and the people are fighting against a policy of economic strangulation imposed on them by the US economic blockade that is now 60 years old, and sanctions that were loaded on by Trump and Biden in an effort to break the people’s will and starve them out.
They need the support of the labour and people’s movements in Canada and worldwide.
Enough is enough! Cuban union leaders will be guests at the CLC Convention in May. This is the time to show labour’s strong solidarity and support for Cuba, as well as for the Palestinian people and for the people of Sudan, Venezuela and for all those struggling for peace, sovereignty, democracy and socialism everywhere.
Likewise, workers here need the strong solidarity and support of workers struggling around the world. With global free trade agreements and transnational corporations, the workers’ struggle needs to be international as well. But on a principled class struggle basis – free of the corruption exposed recently in the ITUC and sections of the labour movement here in Canada.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
Build a People’s Coalition – people’s needs, not corporate greed
Workers are in motion in Canada, too. PSAC, which represents 255,000 workers, went on strike after two fruitless years at the bargaining table. As PSAC President Chris Aylward said in mid-April, the federal government will set the pattern for all workers in the public and private sectors across Canada with this agreement.
In Quebec, over 400,000 public sector workers are negotiating together in a Common Front of the 4 main union centrals against the openly anti-labour and reactionary CAQ government.
Their main demand is for a significant wage increase to close an almost 12 percent wage gap in. comparison with the private sector. Legault and his government are determined to impoverish public sector workers and are trying to undermine the Common Front’s unity and isolate unions from the working class. Labour militancy and unity with people’s movements will be key in defeating this attack on working people and public services.
Nurses, healthcare workers, teachers, educators and many more in the public and private sectors throughout Canada are fighting against the privatization of Medicare and education, and for strong public services and social programs, and for wage increases with COLA clauses and improved working conditions.
These demands are supported by millions of workers, seniors, youth and students, women, the BIPOC community, the 2S/LGBTIQ+ community and many others. Working people in Canada need a broad-based coalition of all of these sectors to organize mass actions and pressure this minority government to act to roll back prices on food, fuel and rents, roll back interest rates, raise wages, reverse privatization, create jobs, expand EI, tax corporate profits and curb corporate power.
Unite against war and reaction! No to the far right!
The far right, represented in Parliament by Pierre Poilievre and the Tories, aims to roll back all the gains workers have won over the past 8 decades and impose a new McCarthyism on Canada. This is what the current campaign attacking China and Chinese Canadians is all about. It is tied to the drive to militarism and war by both the Liberals and Tories, and shamefully by the NDP and Greens, which threatens Canada and all who care about peace and preventing a nuclear war.
Unity, unity and more unity can defeat this drive to war and reaction, and achieve real gains for working people. In the longer term, the solution is socialism, where working people are in the driver’s seat and exploitation, oppression and war are items of historical interest.
This is no time for passivity; this is the time to rise up. The working class has a planet to save and a world to win!
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada