Friday, January 24, 2020

Victoria City Council declares solidarity with Wet’suwet’en People



In a resolution brought forward by Councillor Ben Isitt, Councillor Sharmarke Dubow and Councillor Sarah Potts, the Victoria City Council voted to endorse a Declaration of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en People on January 23, 2020.

In it they call for "the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to suspend permits authorizing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and commence good-faith consultation with the Wet’suwet’en People" and further that "the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to end any attempt at forced removal of Wet’suwet’en People from their traditional territories and refrain from any use of coercive force against Wet’suwet’en People seeking to prevent the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through non-violent methods."

It reads:

Declaration of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en People
WHEREAS the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, whose representative role is recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada, have indicated a lack of consent for the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their unceded territory;
AND WHEREAS the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the BC Human Rights Commissioner have called on the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to respect Wet’suwet’en law, rights and title by suspending permits authorizing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline until they grant their free, prior and informed consent, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult;
AND WHEREAS these entities have warned of the risk of state violence against Wet’suwet’en People opposing the pipeline through non-violent methods, including the risk of an RCMP response and use of lethal force;
AND WHEREAS Canada has endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which includes a commitment to “consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them”;
AND WHEREAS Canada is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, which include commitments to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pursue efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of Victoria calls on the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to suspend permits authorizing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and commence good-faith consultation with the Wet’suwet’en People;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the City of Victoria calls on the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to end any attempt at forced removal of Wet’suwet’en People from their traditional territories and refrain from any use of coercive force against Wet’suwet’en People seeking to prevent the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through non-violent methods.




Further Readings:

Trudeau dodges, Horgan and Singh contort on Wet'suwet'en, the RCMP and UNDRIP

Open Letter to Jagmeet Singh regarding Trans Mountain, Site C and Coastal GasLink

Our Real Enemy: US Corporations - Vietnam Veterans Against the War, NYC 1972 - Daily LIFT #109


Our Real Enemy: US Corporations - Vietnam Veterans Against the War, NYC 1972 - Daily LIFT #109

A contingent of  Vietnam Veterans Against the War leads an anti-war march in Times Square, New York City, 1972. One of the banners behind them reads "Our Real Enemy: US Corporations"

Presto...fares, fees and harassment!: The war on transit riders continues in Ontario


Fresh off an end of year holiday surprise that saw the TTC raise fares in Toronto while hiring expensive new rent-a-cops to harass riders, and the province screwing the people of Hamilton with the Christmas cancellation of their long-planned LRT, 2020 dawns with more bad news for public transit users.


Despite the fact that it cost the provincial government a mere $18 - 19 million annually -- a tiny drop in the bucket of the vast provincial budget -- the wonderful folks at Queen's Park decided to cancel the program that gave a small discount to users of both GO Transit and the TTC. The way it worked was that if you tapped your Presto card on both systems during your commute you would get a $1.50 discount on a single ride encouraging the use of interconnected public transit travel.

While the cancellation of this program will mean very little for the province's bottom line, it could cost commuters as much as $720 annually, yet another powerful disincentive to get on public transit in the first place.

The irony is that the program has also been a huge success with so many people taking advantage of it that it ran over-budget by a few million each of the last two years. From a public policy point-of-view this is obviously a very good thing as more people using transit means fewer people in cars. The pettiness of this move begs the question, does the Ford government really want anyone to use transit at all?

Then we hear of the predictable consequences of the inane "zero-tolerance" policy for so-called "fare evasion" on the GO system itself. I have looked at the problems with the whole "fare evasion" narrative to begin with in pieces like The "fare evasion" narrative on the TTC is a total fraud. Here's why. An emphasis on policing fares has also led to very negative outcomes in cities like New York as I looked at in the piece The policing of fare evasion reveals the twisted agenda of our politicians.

It is totally predictable that this will happen here as well and has with cases like:
 A Toronto woman who says her Presto card malfunctioned just after she loaded it with money is angry she was still given a $240 fine by transit inspection officers.
Samantha Chong-Luke was given the hefty fine after not having proof of payment on a recent GO Transit trip and claims the officers told her she was going to be arrested.
“I started crying and I was panicking because I didn't expect this to be happening," Chong-Luke told CTV News Toronto. 
Remember that she is being harassed and intimidated by wanna-be-cops, threatened with arrest and issued a steep fine for what amounts to a fare of a few dollars and, in her case, due to a glitch that was the system's fault.

Really makes you feel like hoping on GO Transit doesn't it?

There are plenty of other issues with the Presto card system such as the steep $6 activation fee for the card itself and another $6 fee for every new card you need. This is especially annoying as the cards are rather flimsy and, as the CBC noted, a "thin crack is all it takes to render a Presto card completely useless". It is also an obviously unfair hit for people with lower or on fixed incomes.

What the CBC article did not note, however, is the fun fact that if you lose or break your Presto card you cannot transfer your balance to your partner's card, your kid's card or a backup card you already have registered with Presto. You can ONLY transfer the balance to a new card that will cost you $6.

Seriously.

So, in other words, if you have a balance of less than $6 you de facto lose everything and with any other balance you take a $6 hit even if you have another card registered you could transfer this balance to.

There is absolutely no valid reason at all that you should not be able to transfer your card balance to whatever card you want whenever you want. It is your money that you have already spent and placed on a Presto card. The reason that you are not able to is likely seen when Metrolinx, who administers Presto, refused to tell the CBC how much money they make off of replacement cards.

If you cannot transfer your funds to an already registered card they are guaranteed to get another $6 out of you, aren't they?

It is hard at times not to feel that the people in charge of the system are at war with transit riders and seem to be constantly looking for new ways to make their lives miserable and to take their money.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The People's Anti-Imperialist Struggle Will Win, Poster, People's Republic of China, 1960s -- Daily LIFT #108


The People's Anti-Imperialist Struggle Will Win, Poster, People's Republic of China, 1960s -- Daily LIFT #108

Trudeau dodges, Horgan and Singh contort on Wet'suwet'en, the RCMP and UNDRIP

On the same day NDP leader Jagmeet Singh revealed that he was open to Canada footing the security bill for Royal castaways Harry and Meghan, he also came a little more out of the shadows in de facto support of fellow NDPer and BC Premier John Horgan's colonialist line on Wet'suwet'en and the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Singh has tried to deflect any blame for the standoff from Horgan and his social democratic swamp of deepening hypocrisy by expressing "concern" over the actions of the RCMP which he paints as the fault of the federal Trudeau government.


Hence, as we have pointed out before, the farce of tweets like this one:


First, Singh himself, unlike the federal Green Party, is not actually yet calling for the RCMP to withdraw from Wet'suwet'en territory. He has only said they “should be careful,” and, as we all know, that is sure to make the RCMP think twice before acting.

Further, Singh is now echoing the misleading  propaganda of folks like Horgan and Trudeau that tries to divide and conquer with rhetoric of how "“the vast majority” of elected First Nations officials and communities along the proposed route support the project" as if that somehow overrides the concerns and opposition of the Hereditary Chiefs who do not. This is an old and ugly tactic.

It is difficult to reconcile this with Singh's role as federal NDP Indigenous affairs critic, especially given ongoing protests such as the temporary occupation of the office for the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on Wednesday and the statement of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) that unequivocally noted that the "Wet’suwet’en Jurisdiction and Governance Must be Upheld". 

Horgan has made his commitment to pushing the project through very clear. He was profoundly dismissive of the Hereditary Chiefs in his comments on Monday saying "I'm not going to drop everything I'm doing to come running when someone is saying they need to speak with me...I'm not being disrespectful, I'm just saying be realistic here" as if the chiefs are somehow cranks or lobbyists demanding unreasonable attention from the imperial overlord.

Of course, were they actually industry lobbyists Horgan probably would meet with them, though the $10,000 dinner fee getting a one-on-one with him for resource industry corporate talking heads that was the price tag back in 2016 is not the option it once was.

Horgan also tried to say that his government's alleged commitment to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) does not apply in this case since it was "meant to be forward looking, not backward looking" as the CBC paraphrased it, meaning projects that violate it that have already been approved must barrel ahead.

"There is no negotiating to be done," he claimed. 

Perhaps sensing that this is not playing terribly well with significant sections of the NDP's voting base, Horgan did soften this stance somewhat when later on Monday he "sent a letter to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Nam’oks on Monday, saying he would like to send the province’s minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation" for talks in his stead.

The NDP leadership both federally and in BC should be concerned with the federal Green Party being far stronger in its support for both the rights of the Hereditary Chiefs and the principles of UNDRIP.

In a press release Green Party MP Paul Manly said:
The fact that the RCMP have been sent in shows that this is a political failure on the part of the provincial and federal governments. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs provided alternative routes to Coastal GasLink that would have been acceptable to them as a pipeline corridor. Coastal GasLink decided that it did not want to take those acceptable options and instead insisted on a route that drives the pipeline through ecologically pristine and culturally important areas...
...Greens call on B.C. Premier Horgan to meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs as quickly as possible. We also want the B.C. government to address this situation through the lens of UNDRIP. Since UNDRIP was brought in to address historic injustice, how can it be ignored in order to allow this injustice to persist? The Wet'sowet'en hereditary chiefs have jurisdiction over their traditional territories, and they clearly have not given their consent.
Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May stated further that “British Columbia recently enacted new legislation in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This situation undermines the constitutional role played by the hereditary chiefs."

Prime Minister Trudeau, of course, is very happy to leave the ball entirely in Horgan's court stating “It’s a provincial project and provincial processes. It is being well taken care of by the provincial government.” This is mildly clever, if typically disingenuous.

Still, despite all of Horgan's attempts to claim matters as somehow out of his hands due to the "rule of law", it is a provincial project that would never have gone ahead without the NDP offering up billions of dollars in tax and other incentives and issuing all the necessary permits. The NDP provided all of these incentives despite also turning around and telling BC teachers that their "demands for (a) pay increase don’t square with balanced budget".

Meanwhile the RCMP, having set up roadblocks, now also "admits it’s deploying “air assets” to monitor Indigenous land defenders". Matters are coming to a head and if history is any guide the RCMP, when it acts, will do so with great violence, threats, arrests and brutality. Future progressives will likely not judge Trudeau, Horgan or Singh too kindly unless they take steps now to force a change of course.

NDP partisans have long sought to portray the Green Party as little more than "conservatives with composters". Whatever the accuracy of that moniker, Singh and Horgan had best watch out as they are increasingly -- along with the best past efforts of former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley -- making the NDP look like the corporate apologists the Liberals are, only with dusty old copies of the Regina Manifesto hidden in a desk drawer somewhere.

Further Readings: 

Horgan, Trudeau and Singh show once more "progressive" rhetoric about reconciliation is a sham

Open Letter to Jagmeet Singh regarding Trans Mountain, Site C and Coastal GasLink


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Money For Jobs Not For War! - New York, 1983 -- Daily LIFT #107


Money For Jobs Not For War! - New York, 1983 -- Daily LIFT #107

Protesting warships and American military exercises in Central America, New York City Harbor, 1983

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lenin!, Part of a Soviet Poster Mosaic -- Daily LIFT #106


Lenin!, Part of a Soviet Poster Mosaic -- Daily LIFT #106

Lenin died January 21, 1924

The CPSU: Stages of History December 1980 Part II

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

Leaflet: The CPSU: Stages of History December 1980 Part II 

Published in late 1980 in the lead up to the 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) this booklet provided an official overview of the party's history and of each of its congresses to that point.

It begins before the first congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1898 -- the eventual Bolshevik wing of which evolved into the CPSU after the revolution -- with the formation of the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in St. Petersburg, 1895.

Due to length we have divided this post into two parts.


You can read the first part here.

This second part starts at the 21st Congress held in early 1959 and continues until the lead up to the 26th that was held in 1981. It is then followed by an extensive, and very informative, set of indexes that look at the evolution of the party in both size and demographics over the course of its history. There are statistics for overall party membership levels, the national makeup of party members, breakdowns for education levels and employment, the numbers of women in the party and other charts.

The second part, as with the first, has numerous interesting facts, archival photos and illustrations, including of cosmonauts, housing projects, industrial enterprises, etc. There are photos that include historic figures such as Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh.

The booklet is told entirely from the line held by the CPSU as the 80s dawned and gives a look at how it saw its own story of revolution, the consolidation of power and, especially in this second part, the struggle to build a socialist society and to reinforce what had been the significant gains of the 1950s through the 70s.

(click on scans to enlarge)