March 16-31, 2008
Volume 16 - Number 6
$1

Prolétaires de tous les pays, unissez-vous!
Otatoskewak ota kitaskinahk mamawestotan!
Workers of all lands, unite

Contents
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1. FIGUEROA LOOKS BEHIND TURMOIL IN PARLIAMENT
2. CALGARY ANTI-RACISTS CHALLENGE NEO-NAZI THREATS
3. "TAXI DRIVERS WILL WIN OUR RIGHTS"
4. LABOUR AND PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS SLAM TORY BUDGET
5. FARMERS WIN LEGAL BATTLE OVER WHEAT BOARD
6. UNITE AGAINST HARPER'S WAR AGENDA!

7. LONGSHORE WORKERS SHOW THE WAY - Editorial
8. THE TERRIBLE COST OF WAR - Editorial
9. CONDEMN COLOMBIA'S AGGRESSION AGAINST ECUADOR!

10. WOMEN'S LIVES "WORSE THAN EVER" IN AFGHANISTAN
11. INDIA'S 2008-09 BUDGET: NOT WHAT IT CLAIMS
12. URIBE'S COLOMBIA IS DESTABILIZING A NEW LATIN AMERICA

13. A LAWYER'S TALE: HUMAN RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH
14. A CONVERSATION WITH A YOUNG SOLDIER
15. YOUTH UNITE! FORWARD FOR LASTING PEACE!
16. WHAT'S LEFT
17. PV CROSSWORD
18. PODCAST OF PEOPLE'S VOICE ARTICLES

19. CLARTÉ (en français)
20. THE SPARK! (Theoretical and Discussion Bulletin of the Communist Party of Canada)
21. INTRODUCING MARXISM: A COMMUNIST PARTY STUDY COURSE
22. REBEL YOUTH

23. $50,000 FUND DRIVE : PEOPLE'S VOICE - NEWS FOR EQUALITY

24. ON TO CARACAS!


A calendar for the year 2008, dedicated to the struggles of the international working class for peace and socialism.
Featuring notable dates, short biographical sketches, plus poetry, speeches, and writings by
Che Guevara, Clara Zetkin, Norman Bethune, James Connolly, Emiliano Zapata, Nikos Beloyannis, Dolores Ibarruri, V.I. Lenin, Pablo Neruda, Gladys Marin, Tim Buck, Nazim Hikmet, Ho Chi Minh, and Salvador Allende.


Available for $10 plus $2 postage from People's Voice, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.


The Spark!

Theoretical and Discussion Bulletin of the Communist Party of Canada

People's Voice deadlines:
APRIL 1-15
Thursday, March 20
APRIL 16-30
Thursday, April 3
Send submissions to PV Editorial Office,
706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3J1,
pvoice@telus.net








People's Voice finds many "Global Class Struggle" reports at the "Labour Start" website, http://www.labourstart.org. We urge our readers to check it out!


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FIGUEROA LOOKS BEHIND TURMOIL IN PARLIAMENT

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3).

People's Voice interview with Miguel Figueroa, leader of the Communist Party of Canada

People's Voice: The federal scene has been quite tumultuous in recent months. How do you read the manoeuvrings of the Harper government and the opposition parties?

Miguel Figueroa: It is no surprise that many Canadians find the bobbing and weaving on Parliament Hill more than a bit bewildering. Fundamentally, the volatility is being driven by the desperate attempts of the federal Conservatives to create the necessary conditions to win a clear majority in the next election, whenever it comes. The problem they face is that the majority of the peoples of Canada continue to oppose the main policy lines of their right-wing agenda. The latest polls show that the Tories are still far short of the 40% or so to gain their coveted majority. Therefore, they have been forced to bide their time, introducing as many populist measures as possible even in a minority situation.

PV: Such as we witnessed in the recent budget?

MF: Yes, of course. On the surface, it was hardly the fiscally conservative budget one would normally expect from these neo-Cons -- some short-term relief for the struggling auto industry; some token funding for rapid transit, seniors, post-secondary students, and Aboriginal peoples, etc.

     It was a skilfully crafted but deceitful budget. First, because the allocations don't come remotely close to what is objectively needed to preserve jobs in the critical manufacturing sector, to reverse the degradation of the environment, or to defend (much less improve) vital social programs such as healthcare, education or childcare. This is inexcusable and irresponsible, especially as the U.S. economic recession begins to impact on the employment and real income of working people in this country, particularly the most under-paid and vulnerable. And second, because the budget transfers even more wealth - in the form of tax cuts, credits and the new tax-free savings account program - to big business and the wealthy. This allows finance capital, in the first place, the banks and resource-based monopolies, to continue to amass obscene levels of profit at the expense of the working class and of our environment.

PV: The Liberals under Stéphane Dion had an opportunity to block the budget but instead decided to give it their grudging support.

MF: They blinked at a crucial moment when they could have defeated the Tories and precipitated an election which might have driven Harper and his wrecking crew from office. The pundits in the mainstream corporate press have explained this retreat in narrow electoral terms, on the basis that the Liberals were unprepared to go to the polls, and that "election-weary" Canadians would punish them for bringing down the government, and so on.

     But there is much more at work here. The Liberal Party establishment and its coterie of backroom advisors understand full well that "Bay Street" considers the Tories as their preferred political tool at the moment. Any move to jeopardize Conservative control in Ottawa would be harshly judged by those dominant sections of the ruling class, the class which after all drives the political course of the Liberals as well as the Tories. This is the principal reason why the response of Dion and his caucus has been so tepid and uncertain on critical issues like tax policy, social programs, the war in Afghanistan, among others. Naturally they pursue their partisan interests as a political party, but at the end of the day, they are not prepared to offend their masters in the dominant circles of capital.

PV: This presumably applies to the negotiated deal between Harper and Dion over extending the Afghan mission to 2011 as well?

MF: Without doubt, the Liberals' retreat on Afghanistan is shameful and indefensible. But we need to bear the following in mind. As on other vital questions, the inner circle of the Liberal Party is deeply divided, with people like Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff and John Manley among the most ardent boosters of this illegal and immoral imperialist war and occupation.

     Nor should we forget that Harper and the Tories - together with General Hillier and the military-industrial complex in Canada and the U.S. - are the main political force driving this militarist course. What we have said previously continues to apply: the Harper Tories represent the most aggressive pro-war interests in Canada, and constitute the greatest danger to peace, Canadian sovereignty and independence, democratic rights, and the social and economic rights and interests of working people. So while we are sharply critical of the Liberal retreats, we should never lose sight of the fact that the Conservative Party is the main enemy of the working class.

     Finally, we should recall the opportunist decision of Jack Layton and the federal NDP last April, when they decided to vote with the Tories to defeat a Liberal motion which would have set a February 2009 final date for the withdrawal of Canadian combat forces from Afghanistan. This untied the Liberals from that firm commitment and set the stage for the current retreat.

PV: The Tories remain quite vulnerable however because of various scandals in their ranks...

MF: For sure. A number of scandals and missteps, like the Karlheinz Schreiber affair and the sacking of Linda Keen, head of the Nuclear Safety Commission, among others have helped to expose the autocratic and vindictive character of Harper and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). But the Chuck Cadman affair will likely prove to be the most serious of all, not only because it involves a criminal act of bribery which implicates PM Harper, but because it reveals the depths to which this gang is willing to go to gain and hold onto power. Canadians have every right to be furious about these revelations, and to demand a full and independent investigation into this crime, and Harper's resignation. If this incredible story had surfaced in the middle of a spring election campaign, the Tories would most certainly have been swept from power.

PV: What then are the prospects for defeating the Harper Tories?

MF: Ever since the election of the Harper minority in January 2006, we have cautioned against passivity, or the pinning of hopes on the opposition parties in Parliament to bring about their defeat. The experience of the last two months confirms that it is precisely the extra-parliamentary forces - the labour movement, together with Aboriginal peoples, women, youth, and other people's movements - which will be the decisive factor in driving the Tories from office. But to achieve that goal will require building the unity and mobilization of these broad social forces and the millions of Canadians they represent.

     The organized trade union movement has a determining role to play in this respect, arising from its size, its resources, and most of all because of the central place of labour in the very process of production in society. The upcoming Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress in May will need to confront this challenge. Militant and progressive trade unionists need to intensify efforts to ensure that the CLC shed its lethargy and undertake the kind of fighting plan of action the times call for. For our part, the CPC and its members will do everything possible to encourage and help build that fightback.

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CALGARY ANTI-RACISTS CHALLENGE NEO-NAZI THREATS

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By Kimball Cariou

       An upsurge in neo-nazi activity in Alberta is meeting increased resistance from community groups. On March 21, members of the fascist Aryan Guard are organizing a white supremacist "Pride" march from Millennium Park to Calgary City Hall, but members of Anti-Racist Action and community groups are mobilizing to challenge this provocation, set on the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

     This development comes after a frightening escalation of neo-nazi threats: two attempted Molotov cocktail firebombings of Calgary homes on the evening of February 12.

     The second attack targeted the home of anti-racism activists Bonnie Collins and Jason Devine and their children. That firebomb burned a fence and patio furniture, but luckily there were no injuries in either case.

     Collins and Devine are also well-known in the labour movement, and Bonnie was the Communist Party-Alberta candidate in Calgary East for the March 3 provincial election; Jason has run in federal elections for the Communist Party.

     Bonnie Collins told the media that her work in standing up to local white supremacists was behind the attack. "They're getting stronger, they're showing their flags," she told the Calgary Sun, promising to help build the rally against the March 21 fascist provocation.

     Speaking to People's Voice, Jason Devine talked about the increase in far right activity. A previous attempt to build the neo-nazi movement in Alberta sputtered out a few years ago, he says, when the so-called "Western Canada For Us" was exposed by Anti-Racist Action and other groups. One leader of that white supremacist formation was fired from his job and later convicted for hate crimes.

     The latest neo-nazi group to emerge is the Aryan Guard, which Devine says was initiated by five or six people who moved to Calgary after meeting vocal opposition from anti-racists in Toronto. This core group has linked up with some young people around the punk scene in Calgary, and with older Albertans long involved in the white nationalist movement.

     Devine estimates that the Aryan Guard has about 40 members paying dues of $10 a month, and says that the group has been visible through postering hate material as well as a website. Then last fall, wearing ski masks and acting in a provocative manner, the group organized a protest at City Hall against allowing veiled Muslim women the right to vote. Anti-racist activists succeeded in chasing them away, but the incident showed a disturbing rise in hate-mongering. Following that event, Collins and Devine began receiving frequent phone call threats at home.

     Most neo-nazi groups eventually split, says Devine, often over leadership differences: "only one person can be the Fuhrer," as he notes. But so far, the Aryan Guard has remained united.

     Devine says that the violent neo-nazi nature of the Aryan Guard is perfectly apparent from its website. The group should be considered armed and dangerous, he points out, since the site shows them with bats, axes and shotguns, and even celebrating Hitler's birthday with a cake.

     Yet even in the wake of the threats and firebombings, no charges have been laid against anyone, either for promoting hatred or for criminal acts. One Aryan Guard leader went so far as to state that "it's a shame they had kids in the house, but I wouldn't cry if a couple of commies burned." But the police seem unwilling to do anything, says Devine, preferring to ignore the attacks as a "left vs. right" dispute.

     This police inaction is part of a historic pattern. Over the past several decades, Communists in Canada have been the target of a wide range of attacks from far-right forces, but charges have never been laid. The list of incidents ranges from a 1970s firebomb at the home of Communist leader Liz Rowley, to the arson attack which burned down the Party's headquarters on Cecil Street in Toronto (the building was under reconstruction at the time), and the 1996 death threat at the Party's Vancouver office. In the latter case, a detailed letter promising to kill anyone entering the building was dropped through the mail slot on Hitler's birthday - April 20 - along with a symbolic twenty rifle bullets. The police response was limited to telling the Party to close its offices.

     Following the Feb. 12 firebombing, the Central Executive Committee of the CPC issued a letter expressing "full solidarity with the Devine/Collins family and with our comrades in Club Red in Calgary in the face of this violent assault. Such crude acts of intimidation will not silence our comrades in their important work to combat racism, fascism and imperialist war, to defend democratic rights and social justice, and to advance the struggle for socialism."

     The Communist Party is demanding a full and complete investigation into this incident, and that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice.

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"TAXI DRIVERS WILL WIN OUR RIGHTS"

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

People's Voice interview with Canada Taxi Drivers Association's President, Jamshid Bagherzadeh.

People's Voice: The just released findings of the study on the conditions of the taxi drivers in Toronto paints a grim picture of working people making far less than minimum wage even while working long hours. Can you tell us a bit of the background of this report?

Jamshid Bagherzadeh: The history of the Toronto taxi industry has never been the focus of an serious study. Of course, there were a few surveys done last in the twenty years to legitimize the city's attempts to "reform" the industry due to the drivers frustration and struggle. The last two surveys and studies had brought about the 1998 Ambassador program. This actually further divided the drivers as it created a two-tier car plate system and over-flooded the market. Internationally, standards talk about an average of 1800 people to one cab. Currently in Toronto, the ratio is at 500 to one.

     There are many serious issues facing Toronto taxi drivers. We have long been subject to racial profiling by the police and the law enforcement agencies. Random checks and multiple ticketing for no reason have always been major concerns. Excessive ticketing may cause drivers to be taken to the Licensing Tribunal and have their licences suspended.

     Currently drivers work long hours, making wages way below the minimum standard. Because they are conveniently labelled as "self employed entrepreneurs," they are exempt from provincial labour standards, which cover health and safety, holiday pay, minimum wage, etc.

     Last year we sent a delegation to New York to attend a conference organized by the New York Taxi Drivers Alliance. We became founding members of the International Taxi Workers Alliance (ITWA) which has now 31 member organizations around the world. We immediately started networking with other cities and exchanging information and local expertise.

     A study done by the Los Angeles Taxi Worker alliance caught our attention. We put a call out in Toronto to some progressive organizations to help us with a similar study. We got a great response from three academics at Ryerson and University of Toronto Osgoode Law School. Aparna Sundar, Sara Abraham and Dale Whitmore are the principal authors of this report. We helped arrange for interviews with our members, and we are absolutely thrilled at their work.

     The final report was officially released on February 13 at City Hall in presence of the media and some councillors. The response from the media, the public and our members was overwhelmingly positive.

PV: What are the recommendations from the report?

JB: Form a drivers' association, recognized by the City, to represent driver interests and to collect information and statistics about work conditions.

- Require brokerages and plate owners to negotiate collectively with drivers over lease, shift, and brokerage fees.

- Move existing lease and shift drivers to owner-operator and/or employee status without further increasing the total number of taxi plates in Toronto.

- Conduct a city-sponsored survey, with recommendations, on policing practises in relation to the taxi industry.

- Create a taxi worker benefits fund out of revenue earned from fees and penalties paid by drivers.

 - Study the use of protective shields.

  - Resolve the issue of the double standard in airport exemption under a principle of fairness.

     On the last note, let me explain with two specific examples. The limousine drivers are by law allowed to pick up passengers from the airport, but the police chose to turn a blind eye when they picked up passengers from the city to the airport [which is not allowed]. On the other hand, our drivers are subject to harassment by the police and the port authority if we take passengers from the airport on our way back. The law should be for all, but the police prefer to impose it only on the taxi drivers.

     Another example of unfairness of the system (of which there are many) is when during the major blackout in North America, the taxi industry lost a lot of income. The city of Toronto compensated the big taxi companies while totally ignoring the taxi drivers. This is totally unjust. 

PV: How did the city react to the findings of this report?

JB: (Councillor) Howard Moscoe, head of the Licensing & Standard Act Committee, was present at the release of the report. He said that he agreed with the findings that taxi drivers are making below the minimum wage and has invited the authors of the Taxi Report for a private meeting on March 19.

     The next challenge is to bring the taxi drivers up to Ontario Labour Code standards, so that we are entitled to the basic benefits and retirement fund. We are willing to work with the City on these issues, but if there are delaying tactics or unnecessary obstacles, our next stop will be with the Ministry of Labour, Human Rights Commission and Employment & Immigration Canada

PV: Do you have any last comments?

JB: The system that governs the City of Toronto is focusing on petty issues like providing two dollars for the shift drivers and three dollars for the leasees. The City can deny all the findings of this report, but the important thing is whether or not they recognize the taxi drivers association, or whether the taxi drivers are entitled to benefits. We keep on hearing mutterings from City officials that our demands are far-fetched. The truth of the matter is that the taxi drivers association is the main driving force that struggles for fairness and basic rights for our members. Just think: after working 20, 30 or 40 years, what do we have for our work for the city? No health benefits, no pension fund, no social or economic safety net that would provide for us. That will not be so. We will fight and win our rights, rain or shine!

PV:  Well, we wish you a good fight, unity amongst your membership and the victory will be yours!

JB: Thank you for the opportunity to express our voice through your paper.

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LABOUR AND PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS SLAM TORY BUDGET

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

PV Vancouver Bureau

     The budget presented in late February by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was adopted just days later, after a minimal debate in the House of Commons. Stephane Dion's Liberals, who could have brought down the Tory minority government, sent just a handful of MPs to vote against the budget. At a moment when public support for the Tories remains mired in the low 30s, a federal election on the budget or the Afghanistan war could have become a campaign to drive out the far-right Harper government; instead, the Tories have gained several more months to push their unpopular big business agenda.

     The Flaherty budget received a lukewarm response from the corporate media, perhaps reflecting the desire of the Canadian ruling class for even bigger tax breaks and giveaways. But the same media ignored the widespread outrage expressed by the four-million strong labour movement, the major Aboriginal organizations, environmental groups, and other popular sectors.

     The Canadian Labour Congress had called for the budget to focus on the manufacturing and forestry job crisis, and to narrow the gap between the corporate elite and working families. The Congress called for "new manufacturing investment by supporting sector development strategies in key industries like auto and forestry" as well as "highly targeted measures to boost real investment, not more reckless, costly, across-the-board corporate tax cuts which mainly benefit the booming energy sector and the banks."

     The CLC had also argued for major new spending on basic municipal infrastructure, public transit, and energy conservation and renewable energy, to meet environmental challenges while building new industries and creating new jobs.

     Instead, the budget featured Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) "a new tax exempt savings vehicle" which will eventually remove a high proportion of investment income from income tax, costing billions in lost revenues while doing little to help working families. The Budget cut existing programs, and failed to invest in new job-creation plans.

     Most of the 2007-08 federal surplus of ($10.3 billion out of $13 billion) went to pay down debt, allocating just $2.7 billion to new spending and tax measures. As Tory tax cuts take full effect, the surplus will fall to just over $2 billion in 2008-09, and just over $1 billion in 2009-10.

     Looking at the TFSA plan, the CLC notes that high income earners will be able to save $5,000 per year and to reinvest the resulting income, giving the wealthy yet another substantial tax benefit. The official estimate is that TFSAs will cost federal revenues of $3 billion annually in twenty years.

     While the gas tax transfer to municipalities worth almost $2 billion per year was made permanent, this falls far short of the $6 billion per year called for by cities. Similarly, the $500 million to support public transit projects in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal is peanuts compared to the urgent transit needs faced by major cities.

     On another controversial issue, the government is moving to separate the Employment Insurance Fund from the Public Accounts starting in 2009. Any future surpluses will be held and invested to meet EI program costs by a new crown corporation, the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board. However, the new Fund will start with a mere $2 billion reserve, not the $57 billion surplus in the existing EI Fund. There is no assurance that the government will support the new Fund during a serious and prolonged recession.    The 2007 budget had allocated $98 million (over 2 years) to speed up entry of temporary migrant workers. This policy aims to please corporations pushing for maximum "labour flexibility" and to undermine the labour movement. Budget 2008 allocates another $22 million over the next two years for the "just-in-time" immigration system, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As the CLC points out, "once again, no resources are allocated to monitoring the compliance of employers in the TFWP", and the budget "makes no reference to resolving the backlog of over 200,000 applications for permanent residency under the family re-unification and `Humanitarian and Compassionate' categories of the immigration system."

     Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine called the federal budget "a bitter disappointment for First Nations and a missed opportunity for all Canadians. It is disheartening that this government sets out reducing the cost of a toaster by a couple cents as a national objective, but not helping First Nations children finish high school or grow up in safe homes."

     The budget contained very little in the way of new initiatives for First Nations and relied on re-announcements and the re--profiling of existing resources, says the AFN.

     "The Conservative government has repeatedly let down First Nations since they took office," Fontaine said. "They promised to `put wheels' on the Kelowna Accord. That was three budgets ago and First Nations are still waiting." He noted a 2007 study by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards which found that if investments were made to bring First Nations education levels up to those of the rest of the population, an additional $71.1 billion would be added to the economy. But under the current system, First Nations students receive on average $2,000 less than students in mainstream schools.

     "They do not feel any responsibility to address the third world poverty conditions that exist within this country," said Fontaine. "It is inconceivable that the government could have found new ways to spend over a hundred billion dollars since coming to office, and that none of that would lead towards a real, comprehensive plan to move First Nations from poverty to prosperity."

     The AFN is planning for a second National Day of Action, which Fontaine said will be "a day of solidarity with Canadians, and a day of protest against this government."

     The budget let down Aboriginal women, according to Beverley Jacobs, the President of the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), which represents thirteen member groups.

     Jacobs said the budget "included a few investments for First Nations peoples in Canada, including improved child and family services on reserve, as well as increased health and education outcomes. Further, the announcements to improve access to safe drinking water for First Nations were welcomed; however, there are over 600 First Nations communities in Canada and the amount of the investments are no where near what is needed."

     "This budget is a far cry from what is needed," said Jacobs. "What is the point of improving standards for drinking water on reserve, when there is a housing crisis with no access to water? When this government chose not to honour the Kelowna Accord, it promised an alternative plan for Aboriginal peoples. This budget delivers small investments, but we are still awaiting a ground-breaking strategy to finally pull the most marginalized segment of the Canadian population out of its current mire and onto a path towards prosperity."

     The federal budget failed to include real measures to protect the environment, said the David Suzuki Foundation.

     "The federal government has repeatedly stated that climate change must be addressed and has consistently refused to do anything meaningful about it," said Dale Marshall, a policy analyst with the Foundation. "Canada is falling further and further behind other countries that are taking action on climate change. Not only is Canada out of synch with the rest of the world, it's being upstaged by its own provinces that are showing leadership and taking action on climate change."

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FARMERS WIN LEGAL BATTLE OVER WHEAT BOARD

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

A potentially crucial legal victory has been won in the struggle to save the Canadian Wheat Board. On Feb. 26, the federal government's attempt to remove the CWB's single-desk authority over barley sales was rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal, setting the stage for further debate in Parliament.

     The ruling upheld last summer's decision by Federal Court Justice Dolores Hansen, who quashed a cabinet order which would have taken away the CWB's single desk marketing of barley.

     At the time, National Farmers Union President Stuart Wells said Hansen's ruling "holds the government to account for that collusion and re-asserts the rule of law and democracy." He emphasized that by acting through regulatory change, rather than amendments to the CWB Act, the government was being unlawful, undemocratic, and unsustainable. At the legal hearing in Calgary, Wells noted, the government revealed that it had done no analysis of the legal or economic consequences of its Order-in-Council.

     Responding to the latest ruling, Kyle Korneychuk, an elected CWB director from Saskatchewan, said "I think it's a victory for farmers, but more so, it's an establishment of democratic principles. It's not a dictatorship. We're going to have a vote."

     To make the change, the minority Conservative government must now pass legislation in Parliament, where the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois all remain opposed.

     Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has pledged to introduce legislation to change the CWB's mandate. While the Tories argue the change would give farmers "freedom of choice," Wheat Board supporters say the single-desk system ensures grain producers get fair prices instead of competing against each other for sales.

     In December 2006, the Harper government fired former CWB president and CEO Adrian Measner for his public defence of the Board's traditional role. CWB vice-president Deanna Allen was recently fired by Greg Arason, who was appointed by the Tory government to replace Measner.

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UNITE AGAINST HARPER'S WAR AGENDA!

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

Statement by the Central Executive Committee CPC for the March 15 day of peace actions

The anti-war protests on the March 15 day of peace action speak for Canada's peace majority. The protests are in solidarity with the world's peace majority, and with the majority of U.S. people now engaged in a historic struggle to block the Bush war machine.

     The U.S.-led imperialist occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq are a crossroad for humanity. They are a pivotal world issue. Ending these horrible wars will renew the prospects to resolve global warming, hunger and poverty.

     Bush (and Stephen Harper) represent the other road: permanent war and occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, torture, renditions, restrictions on civil liberties, spying, racist fear-mongering, weapons in space, and more imposed hardships to pay for higher military spending.

     A historic task confronts Canadians who want realistic solutions to the deepening economic and environmental catastrophe: to block the Harper Tories' drive to war and reaction. We must strengthen the unity of the anti-war movement and prepare an action campaign that continues until Harper is blocked or defeated.

     The labour movement, Aboriginal nations, women, youth and students and all faiths need to work together against Harper's agenda.

     Bay Street - the main centre of Canada's powerful big business interests - wants to avoid an election and to help the Bush camp. These goose-stepping corporate fat cats want to lure all of Parliament's opposition parties to prolong and collaborate with Harper's minority government.

     By blocking a Harper majority government voters would get tough on the real criminals in Canada - the assassins of Aboriginal and women's equality, the environment, world peace, civil rights, manufacturing jobs, public health care, the Wheat Board and Canadian sovereignty.

     Blocking Harper is in the interest of all nations in Canada. Just as important, driving the Tories out of office before the presidential election in November can help the peace majority make a real difference in the United States. Unity and action by the peoples' movements can make that happen!

Militarism brings fascism 

     Canada's top general, Rick Hillier, has claimed that the debate about the occupation is causing attacks on Canadian troops. He wants to intimidate Parliamentarians to give unanimous support for the aggressive NATO military mission. But Parliament must never take orders from the military. Top military commanders have no business silencing debate in Canada.

     Hillier should be fired instead of being encouraged by Harper to reinforce the drive to war. Militarism is a threat to democracy, a weapon to scare people into supporting reactionary causes and a fascist ideology.

     Harper and other warmongers in local and provincial governments are carrying out a powerful campaign to glorify the military in Afghanistan, targeting children to sign yellow ribbons, staging rallies for the troops, paying think-tanks and servile professors for opinion pieces in the corporate media.

     All groups that value democracy need to help expose the Harper government's dangerous propaganda and the insidious growth of militarism.

Leave the Afghan quagmire

     The Manley Commission's report on Canada's role in Afghanistan showed no comprehension how to escape this swampy quagmire. Instead, it predictably repeated imperialist justifications for the occupation, claiming that Canada is bringing democracy and equality to the Afghan people. This dishonest and chauvinist lie cannot change the fact that the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan was an illegal and misguided act of barbaric revenge for the terrorist attacks against New York in 2001.

     Harper's hand-picked commission avoided other inconvenient truths, such as that the Karzai government controls only 30 per cent of Afghan territory, or that the puppet regime is full of war criminals and drug lords, or that women had far more rights and respect under the socialist government overthrown in 1993 by the henchmen of U.S. imperialism. The truth is that resistance in Afghanistan could force the U.S. into a humiliating retreat from the country in the near future, perhaps earlier than the extension for Canadian forces to remain in Kandahar until 2011.

Backsliding in Parliament

     Last year, the NDP tragically voted with the Conservatives to defeat a Liberal motion that would have ended Canada's military role in Kandahar in February 2009. By propping up Harper's war agenda, the NDP freed the Liberals from this commitment, allowing them to reach an agreement with Harper to extend the mission until 2011.

     Such wavering in Parliament means that the peoples' movements must exert even more pressure to get Canada's troops out immediately. The Tory PR campaign is not winning the propaganda battle; in fact, a majority of Canadians still want the troops out.

     Bush's world-wide "war on terror" is continuing imperialism's ambitions by violent means - the plundering of resources and re-division of markets to ensure the domination of finance capital throughout the world. But far from invincible, the NATO military alliance is badly divided, and Bush is struggling to retain support. Defeating Harper would further divide NATO and help to isolate the most war-like members of the alliance.

     This racist war can be stopped. Imperialism can be stopped. Canada must join the anti-war majority of the world's peoples by defeating Harper!

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LONGSHORE WORKERS SHOW THE WAY - Editorial

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

People's Voice Editorial, March 16-31, 2008

A resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of delegates at the International Longshore & Warehouse Union's annual Pacific Coast convention has called on dockworkers to stop work during the day shift on May 1, to express opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Delegates urged other unions, including affiliates of the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Coalition, to unite in similar events to end the war and bring U.S. troops home from the Middle East.

     One immediate response was a decision by the 2,700-member Letter Carriers Union in San Francisco to observe two minutes of silence in all carrier stations at 8:15 am on May 1, in honour of International Workers' Day, and in solidarity with the ILWU stop-work action against the war.

     This ILWU resolution did not come out of thin air. West coast longshore workers have a proud record of militant and radical politics, dating back to the days of Harry Bridges. ILWU's historic actions include the refusal of Local 10 longshoremen to load bombs for the military dictatorship in Chile in 1978 and military cargo to the Salvadoran military dictatorship in 1981. This time, the union points to even wider dangers, such as the threat of U.S. air strikes in Iran, or possible military intervention in Syria or Pakistan.
     By vowing to halt the flow of goods and profits, longshore workers are upping the ante at a crucial time. We salute their resolution and we urge the Canadian labour movement to consider similar bold moves to challenge the war-makers in the Harper Tory government.

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THE TERRIBLE COST OF WAR - Editorial

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

People's Voice Editorial, March 16-31, 2008

One of the authors of "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict" (published Feb. 29) says this estimate "probably errs on the low side." Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning former World Bank chief economist, is no radical. But he stresses that the $3 trillion figure applies only to the United States, and does not reflect the enormous cost to the Iraqi people, or to the rest of the world.

     The toll for U.S. taxpayers includes privatizing the Iraq war and occupation: contractors can make up to $400,000 a year while soldiers cost a mere $40,000. The biggest monetary cost is caring for the health and disability needs of veterans, projected at hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few decades. Then there's the economic pain caused by the skyrocketing price of oil, which was just $25/barrel before the 2003 invasion.

     For Canadians, the relative cost is lower, but $4 billion spent to date on our Afghan occupation is still a very heavy burden. Shamefully, only one-tenth of that amount has been spent by Canada on civilian needs in Afghanistan, much of it stolen by corrupt officials.

     Beyond these figures, consider the suffering inflicted by the warmakers on the families of over 4,000 NATO soldiers and one million Iraqi and Afghan citizens who have died, or by the destruction of homes, jobs and infrastructure in those countries during this conflict. And as the latest reports from Afghanistan make clear (see page 6), the claim that Canada is making war to "liberate women" is an utter lie.

     Our world desperately needs massive investments in clean water, schools, job creation, disease prevention, and technologies to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Instead, trillions of dollars which could help save the planet are being used to destroy our future. The profit-hungry capitalist system that drives this insanity is a threat to our very existence. The imperialist "leaders" who use military might to project this system into every corner of the world must be defeated, before it's too late.

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CONDEMN COLOMBIA'S AGGRESSION AGAINST ECUADOR!

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

Statement from the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, March 6, 2008

In an illegal incursion into Ecuador on 1 March, Colombian troops murdered 17 combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), including Comandante Raul Reyes, a long-time military commander and member of the FARC-EP's Secretariat. Among the other victims was the well-known revolutionary song-writer Julian Conrado.

     The cold-blooded attack on the camp came just days after the FARC had unilaterally released several prisoners into the hands of Venezuela and the International Red Cross in a promising move to prompt negotiations for a more generalized humanitarian exchange of prisoners of war held by the two sides.

     This latest provocation shows once again that the Colombian regime of President Alvaro Uribe has no intention of seeking a political, negotiated solution to the decades-old conflict but rather intends to further intensify its "dirty war" against the insurgency and all those Colombians who oppose its fascist rule. Its brazen violation of the territorial sovereignty of its Ecuadorian neighbour - a clear and unequivocal violation of international law - demonstrates its willingness to destabilize the peace and security of the region as a whole and provide a pretext for direct U.S. imperialist aggression directed against Venezuela, Ecuador and other progressive governments in Latin America.

     There can be no doubt that the Bush Adminstration is pulling the strings behind this whole affair, using its Colombian puppet to provoke a wider war in the vain hope of reversing the growing anti-imperialist movements throughout the region. To cover its imperialist plans, Washington and its flunkies in Bogota are now churning out all sorts of clumsy and patently false accusations accusing Venezuela and Ecuador of secretly supporting and financing the insurgency and even assisting FARC in obtaining uranium to produce a radioactive bomb. Such fabrications and lies should fool no one.

     At this critical juncture, the Communist Party of Canada calls on the Canadian government and all peace-loving Canadians to denounce this dangerous provocation, and to demand that the UN Security Council condemn Colombia's grave contravention of international law, demand that the Uribe regime and its U.S. masters respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all neighbouring states, end its internal "reign of terror" against workers, peasants, trade union and human rights activists, to seek a political solution to end the civil war in Colombia.

     The CPC also demands that the Canadian government remove the FARC-EP and the ELN from the list of terrorist organizations, and instead offer to facilitate negotiations between the belligerent parties in Colombia with the aim of achieving a just and lasting peace in that country.

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WOMEN'S LIVES "WORSE THAN EVER" IN AFGHANISTAN

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

On International Women's Day, a "celebration" was held inside the Canadian military compound at Kandahar. For some media outlets in Canada, this was literally the only IWD event reported as "news." The corporate media here ignored the real tragedy - that conditions for Afghan women have not improved under their "protectors", the warlord-based Karzai government.

     A recent article by Terri Judd in The Independent (UK) reported that "Grinding poverty and the escalating war is driving an increasing number of Afghan families to sell their daughters into forced marriages. Girls as young as six are being married into a life of slavery and rape, often by multiple members of their new relatives. Banned from seeing their own parents or siblings, they are also prohibited from going to school. With little recognition of the illegality of the situation or any effective recourse, many of the victims are driven to self-immolation - burning themselves to death - or severe self-harm."

     Judd's conclusion is based on "Afghan Women and Girls Seven Years On," a new study from the British organization Womankind. The report finds that 87 per cent of Afghan females have been victims of violent abuse (half of it sexual), and that over 60 per cent of marriages are forced. Despite a law "banning" the practice, 57 per cent of brides are under the age of 16. The illiteracy rate among women is 88 per cent, with just 5 per cent of girls attending secondary school.

     One in nine women dies in childbirth, the highest in the world alongside Sierra Leone. More than one million widows have no rights, left to beg in the streets along with orphans. Afghanistan is the only country in the world with a higher suicide rate among women than men.

     The banned practice of offering money for a girl is still rampant, along with exchanging her as restitution for crime, debt or dispute. The going price for a child bride is as much as three years salary for a labourer; many grooms take loans or swap their sisters instead, according to Partawmina Hashemee, the director of the Afghan Women Resource Centre.

     Hashemee says that in Kabul, there has been greater recognition of women's rights since the fall of the Taliban. But the capital remains a dangerous environment and female MPs, activists and journalists still live under constant threat of death.

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INDIA'S 2008-09 BUDGET: NOT WHAT IT CLAIMS

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By B. Prasant, PV correspondent in India

India's 2008-09 budget is clearly aimed at upcoming Parliamentary elections early next year. The budget is filled with attempts to hide the burgeoning economic crisis the nation faces, behind a facade of cosmetic measures.

     The new Budget admits inter alia how every important economic and financial sector has started to stagnate and fall behind targets set during the 2007-08 financial year. The growth rate itself has gone down from 8.5% to just over 8%.

     The Budget has not addressed the inflationary trends in the economy adequately, especially with regard to food and fuel prices. The food subsidy is to increase by only about 3.5% over 2007-08, actually a reduction since the Budget assumes an inflation rate over 6%.

     It is clear that the government does not envisage an expansion of the PDS (Public Distribution System) to protect the people against rising food prices. While the shift to a fixed excise duty on unbranded petroleum is a welcome measure, this will not reduce high fuel prices. Petrol and diesel prices could have been brought down had there been similar restructuring of the customs duties on petro products.

     A disturbing aspect of Budget 2008-09 is its failure to provide an adequate fiscal stimulus to the Indian economy at a time when the world economy is poised for a downturn and the rupee has appreciated against the dollar, adversely affecting growth and employment generation.

     Although the Finance Minister has budgeted for a 17.5% increase in tax revenues over 2007-08, revenue expenditure will rise by 12.2%, and capital expenditure (after adjusting for book transactions) by a mere 8.8%. The opportunities provided by the rising tax revenues have not been properly utilized. Budgetary support for the Eleventh Five Year Plan has been increased in Budget 2008-09 by 382 billion rupees (Can. $9.5 billion) over last year, far less than the Rs. 600 billion suggested by the Left Parties. This fiscal conservatism is in keeping with the retrogressive trend for some decades now in the union (central) government's "liberalisation" budgets.

     As CPI(M) chief minister of Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee recently noted, "It is estimated that there are over 350 million workers in the unorganised sector. The Budget has helped only a fraction of them through the extension of the existing insurance schemes. Moreover, while the Finance Minister has assured that the outlay for the rural employment programme would be increased in accordance with demand, the outlay has been increased by around 20% only in Budget 2008-09, when the number of districts covered under the scheme has almost doubled."

     Taxes have been reduced in a wide sweep for the rich and for the corporate houses. The resulting shortfall will be collected through indirect taxes that will adversely affect the mass of the people. Prices of commodities of common consumption will go up further. With the increase in the per litre price of petrol and diesel, costs will go up even more as transporters shift the burden of freight onto the groaning shoulders of the common people.

     The attempt by the finance minister to bedazzle the nation with a so-called "debt waiver" worth Rs 600 billion for the indebted peasants has to be viewed in perspective. The peasants comprise close to 70% of India's population. With no effort to remedy the reasons why peasants' debt is on the rise, a "debt waiver" is a publicity stunt. Is there appropriate provision in the budget itself to cover the waiver amounts? The answer is an emphatic "no". Where will the funds come from? 

     It has been broadly hinted that the shares of profit-making public sector undertakings will be sold to generate "adequate" funds. This is a double-ended ploy typical of our World Bank-trained finance minister. If the Left objects to the measure, especially about how the "book transfer" would be subtly managed, harming the nation's core sectors immensely, the union government could then gleefully declare that the Left are anti-peasant! If the Left does not raise hell, then the same charge will be levelled against it!

     There is another dangerous agenda behind the facade of this scheme. The debt waiver is announced, but the banks will be reimbursed not in a year, but in three instalments over three years, minus interest payments. The largest bulk of agricultural loans comes from the cooperative banks and loan cooperative societies. These institutions would simply go bankrupt while implementing the debt waiver, if the entire compensatory amount of money is not received in full at one time. Most banks - even the larger ones - do not have the capacity to absorb the three-year-long loss. Even if some banks do have the capacity, where would they get the interest on the debt waiver for three years? No way out is mentioned.

     Then again, peasants who own more than a couple of hectares of land, even if it is not adequately irrigated, would not get the benefit of the waiver. Yet many of the thousands of peasants committing suicide in states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, as procurement prices plunge for food crops, do own more than two hectares. Also, the proposed debt waiver law would not cover loans given by money lenders, the biggest source of agricultural loans in states ruled by the Congress and the BJP.

     Finally, kisans who have already paid back bank loans will be deprived of the debt waiver. The danger of corruption on a mass scale looms large. Many peasants facing deprivation from the waiver scheme for paying off bank loans before the plan was announced are now pleading desperately with the banks to declare them as defaulters. The smaller cooperative banks which dominate the banking scene in the Communist-ruled states will become bankrupt, leaving the peasants in the complete grip of the money lenders. 

     In 1977, the Left-supported Janata Party government implemented a debt waiver scheme under pressure from the Left. In 2004, the BJP-led central government announced a waiver of loans worth Rs 140 billion. However, there was no budgetary provision either in 1977 or in 2004. The CPI(M) called both announcements "instances of sheer deception."

     This time, too, the debt waiver scheme has been announced without any budgetary provision. The Left peasant organisations must immediately demand that the funds to compensate the debt waiver must be made not through sale of shares of profit-making PSUs, but through taxes on big capital and on the corporate sector.  At the same time, a demand must be raised that peasants who had paid back bank loans earlier must be brought within the scheme. The Left peasants' organisations, as veteran peasant movement leader and CPI(M) central committee member Benoy Konar told People's Voice, "expect that the Left MPs will become aggressively vocal on this issue in the Parliament."

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URIBE'S COLOMBIA IS DESTABILIZING A NEW LATIN AMERICA

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By James J. Brittain and R. James Sacouman, March 4, 2008

A few weeks after the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan state called on the Colombian government to respect the need for peace and negotiation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), the administration of President Alvaro Uribe Velez supported an extensive armed air and land assault against the insurgency movement - not within Colombia's borders, but rather on the sovereign territory of Ecuadorian soil.

     On March 1, 2008, the Colombian state, under the leadership of Uribe, Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderon, and his cousin, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos, illegally deployed a military campaign within Ecuador, which resulted in the deaths of Raul Reyes, Julian Conrado, and fifteen other combatants associated with the FARC-EP. Such actions are a clear display of the US-backed-Colombian state's open negation of international codes of conduct, law and social justice.

     The actions of March 1 took place days before a major international demonstration scheduled for March 6. Promoted by The National Movement of Victims of State-Sponsored Crimes (MOVICE), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and countless social justice-based organizations, March 6 has been set as an international day of protest against those tortured, murdered and disappeared by the Colombian state, their allies within the paramilitary United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) and the newly-reformed Black Eagles. Recently, President Uribe's top political adviser, Jose Obdulio Gaviria, proclaimed that the protest and protesters should be criminalized. In addition, paramilitaries in the southwestern department of Nari+¦o - not far from where the illegal incursions were carried out in Ecuador - have threatened to attack any organization or person associated with the protest activities.

     It is believed that the Uribe and Santos administration is utilizing the slaughter of Commander Raul Reyes and others as a method to deter activists and socially conscious peoples within and outside Colombia from participating in the March 6 events. Numerous state-controlled or connected media outlets, such as El Tiempo - which has long-standing ties to the Santos family-have been parading photographs of the bullet-ridden and mutilated corpse of Raul Reyes throughout the country's communications mediums. Such propaganda is clearly a tool to psychologically intimidate those preparing to demonstrate against the atrocities perpetrated by the state over the past seven years.

     Over the past two months, numerous researchers, scholars and lawyers have supported the call to declare the FARC-EP a legitimate force fighting against the corrupt Colombian state. In January 2008, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador argued that the FARC-EP should no longer be depicted as a terrorist organization. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also announced that the FARC-EP are far from a terrorist force, but are rather a real army, which occupies Colombian territory and shares in a Bolivarian vision for a new Latin America. Mexican deputy Ricardo Cantu Garza also has promoted the recognition of the FARC-EP as a belligerent force legitimately fighting against a corrupt and unequal socio-political system. As prominent US attorney Paul Wolf argued:

     "The FARC-EP are a belligerent army of national liberation, as evidenced by their sustained military campaign and sovereignty over a large part of Colombian territory, and their conduct of hostilities by organized troops kept under military discipline and complying with the laws and customs of war, at least to the same extent as other parties to the conflict. Members of the FARC-EP are therefore entitled to the rights of belligerents under international law ... there is no rule of international law prohibiting revolution, and, if a revolution succeeds, there is nothing in international law prohibiting the acceptance of the outcome, even though it was achieved by force."

     From Copenhagen to Caracas, numerous state officials have denounced the description of the FARC-EP as a terrorist organization. Progressive officials and administrations in Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela have rather opted for the status of belligerent or irregular forces to more accurately depict the FARC-EP's domestic and geo-political stance. Disturbingly, in the face of this evidence and the FARC-EP's consistent promotion of a humanitarian prisoner exchange and peace negotiations with the state in a demilitarized zone in southwestern Colombia, the Uribe and Santos administration has moved ever farther away from supporting an end to the civil war within Colombia by opting for systemic violence.

     Over the past several years, different aspects of the FARC-EP's real social, political and cultural activities for progressive social change have been censored or marginalized by the private press or governments in support of the Colombian state. Nevertheless, after researching the FARC-EP and the country of Colombia for years, independent journalist Garry Leech argued that, "while there is little doubt regarding the global reach of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, there is no evidence that the FARC is anything but one of the armed actors in Colombia's long and tragic domestic conflict."

     In actuality, the FARC-EP is an actor within the strategic confines of Colombian society that aims its directives at domestic social change. In light of such realities, how can this insurgency be a terrorist threat to external nation-states? Coletta A. Youngers, of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), responds to this question by describing how: "The U.S. government now views the Latin American region almost exclusively through the counterterrorist lens, though the region poses no serious national security threat to the United States ... little evidence has been put forward to substantiate such claims, and whatever activity is taking place there appears to be minimal."

    While Youngers does not trivialize its revolutionary tactics, she clearly argues that the FARC-EP cannot be correctly framed within the concept and rhetoric of global terrorism. Youngers argues that the insurgency is not a direct political threat to administrations within the United States, Canada, the European Union and any other foreign nation-state in the fact that the FARC-EP's activities "are targeted inward, not outward," hence, "applying the terrorism concept to these groups negates their political projects."

     Characterizing the FARC-EP as a foreign terrorist organization dramatically alters the dynamics of the peace process in favour of a killer state. Stipulating that the FARC-EP is terrorist results in the inability for legal peace negotiations to take place between the FARC-EP and any government that subscribes to the categorization. According to James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer, promoting the FARC-EP-and its supporters-as terrorists "puts them on the list of targets to be assaulted by the US military machine" and "thus subject to total war."

     The terminology of terrorism is perfect for imperialist ideology and expansionism. It is a very open-ended reference that "allows maximum intervention in all regions against any opposition" and "that any group engaged in opposing militarism, imperialism (so-called `globalization') or local authoritarian regimes could be labelled `terrorist' and targeted," thus legitimizing external invasion or attack, say Petras and Veltmeyer.

     Internal and external condemnation of the Colombian state has fallen upon the deaf ears of the Uribe and Santos administration. After years of increased violations of civilian human rights, the ongoing suppression of trade-unionism, assassinations of left-of-centre activists and politicians, and a political reality that has witnessed 75 governors, mayors and Congressional politicians alleged or found guilty of having direct links to the paramilitaries, now the Colombian state has deemed it necessary to illegally encroach upon those nations that deviate from their ideological model of political and economic centralization.

     Not only has the Uribe administration criticized its neighbours, but after the actions realized on March 1 it is clear that the Colombian state, with the full backing of the United States, will impose its own ideological goals and values through force, regardless of the democratic rights and privileges of conventional electoral law and procedure. While the neighbouring states of Ecuador and Venezuela struggle for peace and try to assist the people of Colombia in the quest for an end to the civil war, the Uribe and Santos administration has bypassed judicial realities and governance to impose its own objectives.

     Careful analysts of the Colombian situation continue to debate whether the Colombian state is pre-fascist or actually fascist. It is certainly neither humane nor actually democratic. The current Colombian state must be transformed, sooner rather than later. Those fighting for peace must condemn the action of this regime. In solidarity, we must protest the policies of the Colombian state and raise our voices in support for a New Colombia that stands for peace with social justice.

     James J. Brittain (Assistant Professor) and Jim Sacouman (Professor), sociologists at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, have been researching the Colombian civil war and political economy over the past decade.

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A LAWYER'S TALE: HUMAN RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By William Sloan

"The Army is not a good school for democracy" - Pierre Eliot Trudeau

     I have been a member of the American Association of Jurists (AAJ) since 1987, President of the Canadian branch since 1997. The AAJ is a human rights NGO of lawyers, judges, professors and students of law throughout the Americas, with consultative status at the UN. It was founded in 1975 in Panama as the regional affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

     I left Montreal on Feb. 14, heading for Bangladesh to observe the human rights situation there, especially the trials of Sheikh Hasina. The country's Prime Minister from 1996-2001, Sheikh Hasina faces corruption charges which her Awami League party says have been trumped up to prevent her from taking part in elections which were recently postponed.

     After 19 hours of travel in economy class, I arrived in Dhaka at 2 am on Feb. 16. I travelled on a simple tourist visa because the Bangladesh authorities have a habit of impeding visits by human rights activists, most notably Asma Jahangir in 2002.

     I was pulled out of the passport line-up and taken to be questioned. I named two Canadian citizens as friends, Bengali journalists who sought refuge in Canada during General Ershad's military dictatorship in the 1980s. I told them that I would be meeting with Sultana Kamal, winner of Canada's John Humphrey Freedom Award in 1996.

     They expressed concern about the activities two weeks earlier of Payam Akhavan, Professor of International and Criminal Law at McGill University. He had come to Bangladesh as foreign Counsel for Sheikh Hasina. I told them that I had no clients in Bangladesh, that I would be performing no work-related activities in Bangladesh. My expenses were paid, but I donated my time pro bono while continuing to pay my office expenses in Montreal.

     I first engaged in this kind of "tourism" in July 1987, travelling to Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship one month after the massacre known as "Operation Albania". I have done it since in Guatemala (4 times), El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador (twice), Haiti (3 times), Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Bangladesh in 2002 and 2005.

     I was warned that any "non-tourist" activities on my part would result in enforcement action by the government. Members of the Bangladesh Democratic Lawyers Association (BDLA, an affiliate of the IADL) were waiting to meet me, and two television reporters wanted to interview me as I left the airport. I told them that I did not want to comment on the situation before meeting with the local people, but that I had a mandate from the AAJ and IADL because of concerns about violations of due process, right to counsel and judicial independence.

     Two days later I was approached at the door of the hotel by a Major Zakir, an officer of the DGFI - Bangladesh's much feared military intelligence - to invite me to meet with his boss, Brigadier Amin. He showed me his official DGFI picture ID card. I begged off but agreed to meet him in a room in the Hotel Business Centre.

     We had a frank discussion of the purpose for my visit. He told me that as long as I stuck to due process issues, he had no problems.

     During my time in Bangladesh I was openly and constantly followed by the DGFI, sometimes with more than one vehicle.

     On the afternoon of the 19th, I arrived for a hearing at the Special Court Emergency Tribunal, inside the security perimeter of the Parliament buildings. But an officer told me that he was sorry, that he had orders that I was not to be allowed inside the court building. As I left the security perimeter, I was faced with a wall of cameras, microphones and photographers. Television stations were ordered not to run the audio of this informal press conference.

     I requested a meeting with the government's Law Advisor. I was told that he had orders not to meet with me.

     On Feb. 20 I went to the Supreme Court building to meet with a few BDLA lawyers in the office of the Supreme Court Bar Association. As the room filled up we moved to a larger room, but as word spread of my presence, we moved again to a large hall where I spoke with about 150 lawyers.

     At 4:30 pm on the 22nd, I was to hold a press conference with the President of the BDLA. As we were meeting to prepare, the Hotel Sonargaon administration informed us that the government had cancelled the press conference. The Hotel apologized, saying this had never happened to them before. I nevertheless met in my room with the BDLA leaders to prepare a brief oral statement.

     At 3:30 I was told that the police wanted to see me in my room. I went down to the lobby and sent an email to the AAJ and IADL. As I finished, a casually clad officer approached and told me that I had to return to my room and stay there until my scheduled departure for the airport that night.

     I was detained in my room, the corridor lights dimmed, by up to six casually clad officers in the corridor and near the elevators, including the service lift. The press and lawyers who had come for the conference were kept away from the hotel by a cordon of police. This last I only learned in Montreal by reading the next day's papers on the internet.

     Three police officers travelled with me in the vehicle to the airport, with three police vans accompanying us. I was taken directly to the airport Immigration office, where I was detained until boarding time. I was not informed of any immigration or other legal proceedings. An ordinary exit stamp was put on my passport.

     I am fearful for the safety of Monwar Hossain, the young man who was my interpreter/guide during the trip. I last saw him in the lobby as I was passing through to leave. He was in police custody and though usually bubbly, he appeared terrified.

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A CONVERSATION WITH A YOUNG SOLDIER

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By Johan Boyden

     You meet all sorts of people travelling on the bus. With over 2,500 Canadian troops in Afghanistan these days, not surprisingly some passengers are soldiers.

     A few days ago, I rode the a bus with a young guy who had just quit fighting in Afghanistan, leaving his tour of duty early. I first noticed him when he kept falling sideways, drifting into sleep and collapsing into the lap of the young woman next to him. He was wearing a new leather jacket. Later, when he woke up, he told us he had just hopped off a plane from Kandahar, via London, England.

     Why did you quit the army? we asked. "I'm allergic to bullets," he said.

     Although he showed me various pieces of military and civilian ID as the conversation went on, he never told me his name - but that isn't important.

     The guy grew up in a small northern Ontario town. His father works at a steel plant, his mother at a grocery store. Now he is 22. We see a picture of himself, a young wife, and a cute little daughter in a red santa suit. In high school, he saw one of his friends get killed by a train. He said it prepared him for Afghanistan, where he saw many people die. He also said he had killed three men in a skirmish.

     He has seen children walk in front of tanks. His friend shot an eight year old Afghan child. The kid had a gun, he said. But he couldn't do that. He couldn't shoot a child. He didn't like seeing people die. That is another reason he is leaving the military.

     As he mentions the child's death, he turns around and looks at me directly. His eyes are wide open, staring out of a skinny young white face, under a short scrub of blond hair. He looks at me with a hard, lonely, aggressive intensity. The young woman asks if he will get counselling. No, but he could - until March 4th, when he officially stops being a soldier and becomes a civilian.

     I'm fine, he says. I've seen people who are a lot worse that me.

     He is not a war resister. He is against the war because he could die. When he joined the military they said he wouldn't see combat. They trained him to build devices that could listen into cell phones. It is completely legal he claims, as long as you are using their frequency for a call. He hopes to use these skills as a civilian.

     In Afghanistan he was stationed in the south, fighting Al Queda. As far as the military is concerned, 2011 is a done deal. The only question is what we'll be doing. He didn't know anything about oil pipelines, or visits from former Prime Minister Chretien to wrap-up business deals involving oil. Not as much oil in Afghanistan as in Iraq, he said.

     In Afghanistan their base smelt like dirt. It was about three miles from a village. If they put the base close to the village they would be attacked. Did you speak to the villagers? No, he said, adding that he doesn't speak Arabic (which is not widely spoken in Afghanistan, of course).

     Most of the time was spent walking with other soldiers, making sure there wasn't any trouble, guns at the ready - loaded with hollow bullets. Hollow bullets, he explained, expand on impact. He turned to the young woman and  pointed to his cheek. They don't go in leaving a little hole, they rip it all out. He moved his hand across his jaw.

     It was peace keeping, he said.

     The best part in Afghanistan was showing some people where fresh drinking water was. The worst part was shooting the three men, and when one of his buddies was killed.

     I ask him what he would say to someone considering joining the army. He laughs. I'd do this, he says, and moves his hand as if to give a hard slap on the face.

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YOUTH UNITE! FORWARD FOR LASTING PEACE! 

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

By Stephen Von Sychowski

On November 10, 1945, the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) was formed at the World Youth Conference in London. The Conference was organized by the World Youth Council, an anti-fascist organization formed during the Second World War and composed of youth from the allied countries. Among the organizations present was the Young Communist League (YCL) of Canada (then called National Federation of Labour Youth - NFLY).

     The WFDY pledged to fight for youth unity, to struggle against racism, to seek the elimination of all traces of fascism from the earth, to build friendship between the peoples of the world, to forge a just and lasting peace and to eliminate want, frustration and idleness. They declared that "We have come to confirm the unity of all youth salute our comrades who have died - and pledge our word that skilful hands, keen brains and young enthusiasm shall never more be wasted in war".

     For over 60 years the WFDY has continued this struggle for its goals. It opposed imperialist wars, most famously those in Korea and Vietnam, and fought for the interests of youth and students around the world. The WFDY and many of its member organizations were shaken by the counter-revolutions throughout much of the socialist world towards the end of the last century, but continued to fight. In this dark time for the working class movement, the YCL Canada was liquidated in the midst of an intense struggle within the movement between Leninist and revisionist forces.

     Today the WFDY is growing once again. In 2005 it held the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students in Caracas, Venezuela. The WFDY also has consultative status with the United Nations and operational relations with UNESCO.

     Likewise, the YCL Canada, having been re-founded almost a year ago in Toronto, is growing and continuing the struggle. In February it again took its historical place as the Canadian member of the WFDY, when the YCL was voted in as a full member at the General Council meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. The meeting was attended by over 40 organizations from all corners of the globe, and produced a solid political document and several solidarity resolutions.

     The growth in anti-imperialist youth movements is a natural outcome of the imperialist stage of capitalist development. Youth are under attack! We are being forced to work at below-poverty level wages, given the debt sentence for trying to further our education, driven into poverty and homelessness and recruited to kill and be killed in dirty imperialist wars. We are victimized by ageism, racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. And slowly, but surely, more of us are fighting back.

     The YCL Canada continues to work alongside the rest of the WFDY to forge the international youth unity necessary to help stop and reverse the global offensive of capital. One of our most important campaigns over the next year and a half will be to help send the largest and broadest delegation of Canadian youth to the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students to be held in Minsk, Belarus, in 2009. Now is an exciting time to join the movement.

     Youth unite! Forward for lasting peace! For more information on the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the World Festival of Youth and Students please visit http://www.wfdy.org.

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WHAT'S LEFT

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

CROSS-CANADA TOUR

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine - with Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, cross-Canada tour  sponsored by Near East Cultural & Educational Foundation (NECEF - http://www.necef.org) and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR - http://www.sphr.org).

Events include

  • Montreal (March 25, 7 pm, Concordia Univ. Rm. H-110),
  • Toronto (March 26, 7 pm, Health Sciences Auditorium,6th Floor, 155 College St.),
  • London (March 27, 7:30,Labatt Hall, Univ. of Western Ontario),
  • Calgary (March 28,6:30, ICT 102, Univ. of Calgary), and
  • Vancouver (March 29, 7pm, Mackay Room, Central Public Library).

NANAIMO, BC

“What would a Conservative majority mean for you?” - forum with People’s Voice Editor Kimball Cariou, 7 pm, Tues., March 18, Malaspina College Building 255, Room 170. Sponsored by Young Communist League, http://www.ycl-ljc.ca.

VANCOUVER, BC

Anti-war rally, marking 5th anniversary of US/UK war against Iraq - organized by StopWar peace coalition, gather 12 noon, Sat., March 15, Vancouver Art Gallery, for info visit http://www.stopwar.ca.

March Against Racism - 1 pm, Friday, March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racism, meet at Clark Park on Commercial & 14th, organized by No One Is Illegal and a wide range of other groups, for info contact noii-van@resist.ca or call 778-885-0040.

People’s Voice Spaghetti Dinner - 5:30 pm, Sun., March 30, dinner $10, at Centre for Socialist Education, 706 Clark Drive. Followed at same location by Left Film Night, 7 pm, featuring “Shut Up & Sing,” documentary on the Dixie Chicks after their criticism of the US invasion of Iraq, admission free (donations welcome). For information on events, call 604-255-2041.

WINNIPEG, MN


Young Communist League-UW campus club  meets 1st & 4th Wednesday each month, 5:30 pm, U of W buffeteria (4th floor top of escalators). E-mail us at ycl_manitoba@ycl-ljc.ca


YCL movie nights on U of W campus - to get on the notice list for time, room, and films, just e-mail us at yclmovienight@hotmail.com.


EDMONTON, AB

Edmonton Young Communist League - meets regularly at Remedy Cafe, 8631-109 St., 5 pm on the second Friday each month. Discussion topics and suggested readings on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=3559215104.

TORONTO, ON

World Against War rally - Sat., March 15, starts 1 pm with march from Queen’s Park, 2:30 indoor rally at 427 Bloor St. W, contact Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, 416-795-5863. For Canadian listings on March 15, see http://www.acp-cpa.ca.

“Sisters’ and Brothers’ Keeper - Cuba and Southern African Liberation” - 45 min. documentary on Cuba’s contribution to South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Friday, March 28, 7:30 pm, at 290 Danforth Ave. (west of Chester subway. Guest speaker film co-producer Prof. Isaac Saney. For info, call Canadian-Cuban Friendship Assoc. Toronto, 416-654-7105.

MONTREAL, QC

Vigil against occupation of Palestine - Fridays, noon to 1 pm, at Israeli Consulate, corner of Peel and Rene Levesque. For info: Palestinians And Jews United, 961-3928.

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People's Voice deadlines:
APRIL 1-15
Thursday, March 20
APRIL 16-30
Thursday, April 3
Send submissions to PV Editorial Office,
706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3J1,
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$50,000 FUND DRIVE
PEOPLE'S VOICE - NEWS FOR EQUALITY

(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

The appalling corporate mainstream media was on full display this International Women’s Day.  Across Canada, thousands of women and their allies rallied and marched, enduring winter storms in many cities. The Harper government’s blatant attacks against equality rights should have made these events headline news. But virtually everywhere, their actions received at best a few seconds of TV and radio coverage.

What did most media outlets pick as the number one IWD story? That’s right: the so-called “celebration” held under military guard (i.e. occupation) at the Canadian armed forces compound in Kandahar. Instead of covering IWD as a day of militant struggles by working class women for social and economic equality, we were treated to the sight of heavily armed troops and considerable blather about “defending women’s rights” in Afghanistan. Not a word was said about the lack of progress for women in that country since NATO troops arrived over six long years ago (see page 6).

For our part, as we do every year, People’s Voice presented the real story of IWD’s origins, and  used our March 1-15 issue to promote the international struggles for equality. We can do this thanks to the generations of working people who have built our press, starting with The Worker in the 1920s. When the ruling class drove women out of the factories following the Second  World War, the Canadian and Pacific Tribunes kept up the fight for women’s rights as workers,
not second class citizens. Contrary to some claims, International Women’s Day was always marked across Canada during those Cold War years, and the proof is in the pages of our predecessor publications. Drop by our offices sometime to see for yourself!

This spring we’re keeping up the fight for social change, whether it’s March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racism; Earth Day on April 20; or May 1, the most important date on  the working class calendar. People’s Voice will be there side by side with the people’s movements, and with our readers.

Of course, to keep doing this, we need your support for our annual $50,000 Fund Drive. Donations are arriving steadily at our business office in Hamilton, and fundraising events are being planned in a number of cities. One of the first is at the Centre for Socialist Education (706 Clark Drive, Vancouver), where the monthly Left Film Night on Sunday, March 30, will start off at  5:30 pm with a Spaghetti Dinner organized by the Vancouver East Club CPC. For just $10, you’ll get spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, and a short documentary on Venezuela. Then at 7 pm, take in Shut Up & Sing, the incredible story of the Dixie Chicks standing up to the Bush regime and the U.S. ultra-right for their anti-war statements.

As reported in our previous issue, we are offering some material incentives in return for your solidarity. This year’s “PV Shopping Bag” includes the following:
  • “The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism,” a 112-page booklet by David Lester, full of astounding facts and figures about the exploitative system which threatens our planet;
  • a 12-month complimentary PV sub (keep it or give it to a friend);
  • People’s Voice 2008 Calendar;
  • People’s Voice “Karl Marx” Tshirt (tell us what size);
  • a surprise music CD - pick classical, oldies, or folk.
Here’s how it works. For a $100 donation, you get your choice of one of these items. For each additional $100, choose another item from our Shopping Bag. For a donation of $1000 or more, take the entire Shopping Bag, and receive a lifetime subscription for yourself or a friend.

Remember - People’s Voice is your newspaper, your voice in the information wars. Your donations help us build it bigger and better!

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ON TO CARACAS!


(The following article is from the March 16-31, 2008 issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers - $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 133 Herkimer St. Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)

Caracas, Venezuela will be the “World capital of peace and antiimperialist
struggle” during the World Peace Assembly, from April 8-13. The Canadian Peace Congress has issued a call for anti-war activists to attend, with the aim of strengthening the ties of the Canadian peace movement with the rest of the world.

The World Peace Conference is open to everyone April 11-12, followed by a day of open debates in Caracas’ public squares, concerts, and activities in solidarity with Venezuela, marking the six years since the attempted coup d’etat and the restoration of people’s power.

Founded in 1949, the World Peace Council will hold also its Assembly April 8-13. Once the most prominent peace movement in the world following the Second World War, the WPC has remained strong in countries with anti-imperialist and socialist governments.

The Assembly will be an important opportunity for the peace movements of different regions and countries to overcome Cold War divisions instigated by decades of imperialist propaganda.

For more
information or to join the Canadian delegation, contact the Canadian Peace Congress at 250-355-2669 or by email at info@canadianpeacecongress.ca.

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