Labour

The West Creates Terrorism

How the West Creates Terrorism

Terrorism has many forms and many faces, but the most terrible of them is cold cruelty.

We are asked to believe that terrorists consist of dirty lunatics, running around with bombs, machine guns and explosive belts. That’s how we are told to imagine them.

Many of them are bearded; almost all are “foreign looking”, non-white, non-Western. In summary they are wife beaters, child rapists and Greek and Roman statue destroyers.

Actually, during the Cold War, there were some white looking “terrorists” – the left-wingers belonging to several revolutionary cells, in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. But only now we are learning that the terrorist acts attributed to them were actually committed by the Empire, by several European right-wing governments and intelligence services. You remember, the NATO countries were blowing up those trains inside the tunnels, or bombing entire train stations…

It “had to be done”, in order to discredit the Left, just to make sure that people would not become so irresponsible as to vote for the Communists or true Socialists.

There were also several Latin American ‘terror’ groups – the revolutionary movements fighting for freedom and against oppression, mainly against Western colonialism. They had to be contained, liquidated, and if they held power, overthrown.

But terrorists became really popular in the West only after the Soviet Union and the Communist Block were destroyed through thousands of economic, military and propaganda means, and the West suddenly felt too exposed, so alone without anyone to fight. Somehow it felt that it needed to justify its monstrous oppressive acts in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

It needed a new “mighty”, really mighty, enemy to rationalize its astronomical military and intelligence budgets. It was not good enough to face a few hundred ‘freaks’ somewhere inside the Colombian jungle or in Northern Ireland or Corsica. There had to be something really huge, something matching that ‘evil’ Soviet “threat”.

Oh how missed that threat was, suddenly! Just a threat of course; not the danger of egalitarian and internationalist ideals…

And so the West linked terrorism with Islam, which is one of the greatest cultures on earth, with 1.6 billion followers. Islam is big and mighty enough, to scare the shit out of the middle class housewives in some Western suburb! And on top of that, it had to be contained anyway, as it was essentially too socialist and too peaceful.

At that time in history, all great secular and socialist leaders of Muslim countries, (like in Iran, Indonesia and Egypt), were overthrown by the West, their legacy spat on, or they were simply banned.

But that was not enough for the West!

In order to make Islam a worthy enemy, the Empire had to first radicalize and pervert countless Muslim movements and organizations, then create the new ones, consequently training, arming and financing them, so they could really look frightening enough.

There is of course one more important reason why “terrorism”, particularly Muslim “terrorism”, is so essential for the survival of Western doctrines, exceptionalism and global dictatorship: it justifies the West’s notion of absolute cultural and moral superiority.

This is how it works:

For centuries, the West has been behaving like a mad bloodthirsty monster. Despite the self-glorifying propaganda being spread by Western media outlets all over the world, it was becoming common knowledge that the Empire was raping, murdering and plundering in virtually all corners of the Globe. A few more decades and the world would see the West exclusively as a sinister and toxic disease. Such a scenario had to be prevented by all means!

And so the ideologues and propagandists of the Empire came up with a new and brilliant formula: Let’s create something that looks and behaves even worse than we do, and then we could trumpet that we are still actually the most reasonable and tolerant culture on earth!

And let’s make a real pirouette: let’s fight our own creation – let’s fight it in the name of freedom and democracy!”

This is how the new generation; the new breed of “terrorist” was born. And it lives! It is alive and well! It is multiplying like Capek’s Salamanders.

***

Western terrorism is not really discussed, although its most extreme and violent forms are battering the world relentlessly and have for a long time, with hundreds of millions of victims piling up everywhere.

Even the legionnaires and gladiators of the Empire, like the Mujaheddin, Al-Qaida, or ISIS, can never come close to the savagery that has been demonstrated time and again by their British, French, Belgian, German or US masters. Of course they are trying very hard to match their gurus and bread-givers, but they are just not capable of their violence and brutality.

It takes “Western culture” to butcher some 10 million people in just one single geographic area, in almost one go!

***

So what is real terrorism, and how could ISIS and others follow its lead? They say that ISIS is decapitating their victims. Bad enough. But who is their teacher?

For centuries, the empires of Europe were murdering, torturing, raping and mutilating people on all continents of the world. Those who were not doing so directly, were “investing” into colonialist expeditions, or sending its people to join genocidal battalions.

King Leopold II and his cohorts managed to exterminate around 10 million people of Western and Central Africa, in what is now known as the Congo. He was hunting people down like animals, forcing them to work on his rubber plantations. If he thought that they were not filling up his coffers fast enough, he did not hesitate to chop off their hands, or burn entire village populations inside their huts, alive.

10 million victims vanished. 10 million! And it did not take place in some distant past, in the “dark ages”, but in the 20th century, under the rule of so-called constitutional monarchy, and self-proclaimed democracy. How does it compare with the terrorism that is ruling over the territories occupied by ISIS? Let’s compare numbers and brutality level!

And the Democratic Republic of Congo has, since 1995, lost again close to 10 million people in a horrid orgy of terror, unleashed by the West’s proxies, Rwanda and Uganda (see the trailer to my film “Rwanda Gambit”).

Germans performed holocausts in South-Western Africa, in what is now Namibia. The Herero tribe was exterminated, or at least close to 90% of it was. People were first kicked out from their land and from their homes, and driven into the desert. If they survived, the German pre-Nazi expeditions followed, using bullets and other forms of mass killing. Medical experiments on humans were performed, to prove the superiority of the Germanic nation and the white race.

These were just innocent civilians; people whose only crime was that they were not white, and were sitting on land occupied and violated by the Europeans.

The Taliban never came close to this, or even ISIS!

To this day, the Namibian government is demanding the return of countless heads severed from its people: heads that were cut off and then sent to the University of Freiburg and several hospitals in Berlin, for medical experiments.

Just imagine, ISIS chopping thousands of European heads, in order to perform medical experiments aiming to demonstrate the superiority of the Arab race. It would be absolutely unthinkable!

Local people were terrorized in virtually all colonies grabbed by Europe, something that I have described in detail in my latest 840-page book “Exposing Lies of the Empire”.

What about the Brits and their famines, which they were using as population control and intimidation tactics in India! In Bengal at least 5 million died in 1943 alone, 5.5 million in 1876-78, 5 million in 1896-97, to name just a few terrorist acts committed by the British Empire against a defenseless population forced to live under its horrid and oppressive terrorist regime!

What I have mentioned above are just 3 short chapters from the long history of Western terrorism. An entire encyclopedia could be compiled on the topic.

But all this sits far from Western consciousness. European and North American masses prefer not to know anything about the past and the present. As far as they are concerned, they rule the world because they are free, bright and hard working. Not because for centuries their countries have plundered and murdered, and above all terrorized the world forcing it into submission.

The elites know everything, of course. And the more they know, the more they put that knowledge to work.

Terrorist trade and experience are passed on from Western masters to their new Muslim recruits.

The Mujahideen, Al-Qaida, ISIS – on closer examination, their tactics of intimidation and terrorization are not original at all. They are built on imperialist and colonialist practices of the West.

News about this, or even about the terror that has been inflicted on the Planet by the West, is meticulously censored. You would never see them on the programs broadcast by the BBC, or read about them in mainstream newspapers and magazines.

On the other hand, the violence and ruthlessness of the client terrorist organizations are constantly highlighted. They are covered in their tiniest detail, repeated, and “analyzed”.

Everybody is furious, horrified! The UN is “deeply concerned”, Western governments are “outraged”, and the Western public “has had enough – it does not want immigrants from those terrible countries that are breeding terrorism and violence”.

The West “simply has to get involved”. And here comes the War on Terror.

It is a war against the West’s own Frankenstein. It is a war that is never meant to be won. Because if it is won, god forbid, there would have to be peace, and peace means cutting defense budgets and also dealing with the real problems of our Planet.

Peace would mean the West looking at its own past. It would mean thinking about justice and rearranging the entire power structures of the Planet. And that can never be allowed.

And so the West is “playing” war games; it is “fighting” its own recruits (or pretending to fight them), while innocent people are dying.

No part of the world, except the West, would be able to invent and unleash something so vile and barbaric as ISIS or Al-Nusra!

Look closer at the strategy of these group-implants: it has no roots in Muslim culture whatsoever. But it is fully inspired by the Western philosophy of colonialist terrorism: “If you don’t fully embrace our dogmas and religion, then we will cut off your head, slash your throat, rape your entire family or burn your village or city to the ground. We will destroy your grand cultural heritage as we did in South America 500 years ago, and in so many other places.”

And so on and so on! It would really require great discipline not to see the connections!

***

In 2006 I was visiting my friend, a former President of Indonesia, and a great progressive Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, (known in Indonesia as “Gus Dur”). Our meeting was held at the headquarters of his massive Muslim body Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). At that time the NU was the biggest Muslim organization in the world.

We were discussing capitalism and how it was destroying and corrupting Indonesia. Gus Dur was a “closet socialist”, and that was one of the main reasons why the servile pro-Western Indonesian “elites” and the military deposed him out of the Presidency in 2001.

When we touched on the topic of “terrorism”, he suddenly declared in his typically soft, hardly audible voice: “I know who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. It was done by our own intelligence services, in order to justify the increase in their budget, as well as aid that they have been receiving from abroad.”

Of course, the Indonesian army, intelligence services and police consist of a special breed of humans. For several decades, since 1965, they have been brutally terrorizing their own population, when the pro-Western coup toppled the progressive President Sukarno and brought to power a fascist military clique, backed by the predominantly Christian business gang. This terror took between 2-3 million lives in Indonesia itself, as well as in East Timor and (until now) in occupied and thoroughly plundered Papua.

3 genocides in only 5 decades!

The Indonesian coup was one of the greatest terrorist acts in the history of mankind. The rivers were clogged with corpses and changed their color to red.

Why? So that capitalism would survive and Western mining companies could have their booty, at the expense of a completely ruined Indonesian nation. So the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) would not be able to win elections, democratically.

But in the West, those 1965 intensive massacres planned by the Empire were never described as “terrorism”. Blowing up a hotel or a pub always is however, especially if they are frequented by Western clientele.

Now Indonesia has its own groups of “terrorists”. They returned from Afghanistan where they fought on behalf of the West against the Soviet Union. They are returning from the Middle East now. The recent attacks in Jakarta could be just a foreplay, a well-planned beginning of something much bigger, maybe an opening of the new “front” of toy soldiers of the Empire in Southeast Asia.

For the West and its planners – the more chaos the better.

Had Abdurrahman Wahid been allowed to stay as the President of Indonesia, there would, most likely, have been no terrorism. His country would have undergone socialist reforms, instituted social justice, rehabilitated Communists and embraced secularism.

In socially balanced societies, terrorism does not thrive.

That would be unacceptable to the Empire. That would mean – back to Sukarno’s day! The most populous Muslim nation on earth cannot be allowed to go its own way, to aim for socialism, and to annihilate terrorist cells.

It has to be at the edge. It has to be ready to be used as a pawn. It has to be scared and scary! And so it is.

***

The games the West is playing are complex and elaborate. They are murky and nihilist. They are so destructive and brutal that even the sharpest analysts are often questioning their own eyes and judgments: “Could all this be really happening?”

The brief answer is: “Yes it can. Yes it is, for many long decades and centuries.”

Historically, terrorism is a native Western weapon. It was utilized freely by people like Lloyd George, a British PM, who refused to sign the agreement banning aerial bombardment of civilians, using unshakeable British logic: “We reserve the right to bomb those niggers.” Or Winston Churchill who was in favor of gassing the ‘lower grade’ of races, like Kurds and Arabs.

That is why, when some outsider, a country like Russia, gets involved, launching its genuine war against terrorist groups, the entire West is consumed by panic. Russia is spoiling their entire game! It is ruining a beautifully crafted neo-colonialist equilibrium.

Just look how lovely everything is: after killing hundreds of millions all over the Globe, the West is now standing as the self-proclaimed champion of human rights and freedom. It is still terrorizing the world, plundering it, fully controlling it – but it is being accepted as the supreme leader, a benevolent advisor, and the only trustworthy part of the world.

And almost nobody is laughing.

Because everyone is scared!

Its brutal legions in the Middle East and Africa are destabilizing entire countries, their origins are easily traceable, but almost no one is daring to do such tracing. Some of those who have tried – died.

The more frightening these invented, manufactured and implanted terrorist monsters, the more beautiful the West looks. It is all gimmicks. It has roots in advertisement, and in hundreds of years of propaganda apparatus.

The West then pretends to fight those deep forces of darkness. It uses powerful, “righteous” language, which has clear bases in Christian fundamentalist dogma.

An entire mythology is unleashed; it feels like Wagner’s “Ring”.

The terrorists represent evil, not the enormous expenditure from the coffers of the US State Department, the European Union and NATO. They are more evil than the Devil himself!

And the West, riding on the white horse, slightly pissed on wine but always in good humor, is portrayed as both a victim and the main adversary of those satanic terrorist groups.

It is one incredible show. It is one terrible farce. Look underneath the horseman’s mask: look at those exposed teeth; that deadly grin! Look at his red eyes, full of greed, lust and cruelty.

And let us never forget: colonialism and imperialism are two most deadly forms of terrorism. And these are still the two main weapons of that horseman who is choking the world!

Source: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44013.htm

Image Source: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/22/how-the-west-creates-terrorism/

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

The Austerity Agenda in Sheep’s Clothing

As we go into the New Year with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government in place, it’s worth noting that the struggle against poverty in Toronto now unfolds with a complete set of federal, provincial and municipal regimes all seeking to position themselves politically as moderate if not progressive. This has particular implications and poses particular challenges in terms of effectively resisting austerity, poverty and social abandonment.

There is, of course, an implication in the last sentence I just used. At none of the levels of government we face can we seriously imagine that we are dealing with anything other than continuation and deepening of the agenda of austerity. That agenda is an escalating, internationally determined fact of political life that we can’t seriously expect Trudeau, Wynne or Tory to break ranks with. Still, the fact that we are not dealing with hard right regimes is of considerable significance. The positive side of dealing with the more moderate austerity forces is that they don’t wish to take things as far and they are more likely to tactically retreat in the face of serious opposition. The other side of the matter, however, is that such regimes are harder to confront. They impose austerity more stealthily and have developed considerable skills when it comes to diverting potential resistance into a process of fruitless dialogue.

Because of the newness of the Trudeau regime and, because it replaces such a hated bastion of reaction as the Harper Tories, it is likely that illusions in its false progressive credentials will linger for a while. However, we begin the New Year with global markets reacting to fears that a world economy that has produced only dubious post 2008 recovery is nearing the next downturn phase. With the collapse in oil prices and an economy being kept precariously afloat by unsustainable household debt, it is likely that Canada will feel the full weight of any such development. In this situation, it’s pretty clear that Trudeau has not been put in Ottawa to broker any major concessions. He presides over a system of federal social provision that has been seriously undermined. The Employment Insurance system has been gutted, healthcare weakened, social housing all but eliminated and transfer payments toward social assistance scaled back. A movement that demanded and fought for the reversal of this enormous damage to the social infrastructure could create a major problem for the Liberals and force more from them than token gestures.

Meanwhile, In Ontario…

For the Ontario Government, while they have hardly faced anything comparable to the Days of Action that were directed against the Harris Tories, the ‘social justice’ mantle they have put on has already lost a great deal of its credibility. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has become well used to the Wynne Government’s ongoing game of ‘poverty reduction’ under which a never ending process of consultations is used to deflect political challenge as the Liberals deepen poverty and allow the spending power of social assistance to decline against inflation. The challenges that the Liberals have faced from public sector workers, the campaign for an increased minimum wage and the Raise the Rates campaign that OCAP has been part of demonstrate that the capacity of the Liberals to stave off social resistance to their austerity agenda in sheep’s clothing is not unlimited. Greater levels of mobilization against the Liberals’ poverty measures are perfectly possible and likely.

With the lack of openly declared party politics at the municipal level, the implementation of ‘kinder, gentler’ austerity in Toronto is a little more complex. After Rob Ford’s dysfunctional attempt at right wing populism, a sigh of relief greeted the election of John Tory as Mayor. The conservatives, centrists and soft left members of City Council have all been folded into a regime that likes to give everyone a place at the table and prides itself on an ‘inclusiveness’ that can take various forms, as long as they don’t seriously impede the twin agendas of austerity and upscale urban redevelopment.

Where Rob Ford would have insisted there was plenty of shelter space for the homeless and tried to block any measures to address the crisis on the streets, Tory plays a more skillful game. Under pressure, he opens some warming centres and drop-ins and adopts other minor measures of alleviation. He clearly places a premium on trying to reduce the risk of actual street freezing deaths, which spell political problems for him. Meanwhile, the City policy of keeping shelter occupancy at a maximum of 90 per cent continues to be disregarded and the bureaucracy works to ensure that shelter facilities are moved out from the centre of the city in the interests of redevelopment. The plight of the homeless actually becomes worse but under a regime that has the political intelligence to protect its legitimacy at the cost of some concessions.

Illusory Solutions

The advantages to be gained from the ‘poverty reduction’ circus have not been lost on John Tory and his team. The approach that the Liberals put in place at the Provincial level is now being replicated municipally. The main political capital provided by this approach is that it creates the illusion that the ‘complex problem’ of poverty is being duly considered, solutions sought and the ‘stakeholders’ consulted. Through this procedure, community anger can be safely channeled, expectations put on hold and ‘solutions’ presented that don’t conflict with and even facilitate the prevailing agenda. We will wait in vain for the City to give a lead in challenging precarious work and low wages. The library system in Toronto, has cut its workforce and employs a scandalous number of part time workers. We can be sure that there will be no great desire to ensure that the City run welfare offices adopt a less restrictive approach to the provision of benefits. Any housing initiatives that emerge will be focused on facilitating upscale development, with token ‘affordable housing’ measures included and an emphasis on furthering the privatization of public housing.

At each of the levels of government, then, the above mentioned political contradiction manifests itself. They are all regimes that are relatively less able to withstand serious challenge and social mobilization and this makes it easier to win concessions from them and force them into retreats. However, their very method of operating, based on ‘inclusiveness’ and co-option, makes it all the harder to create the critical mass of resistance that makes such victories possible. In 2016, the possibility opens up that the pace and scale of austerity will make the balancing act that such regimes rely on impossible to sustain. In such a situation, we could break the grip of the fake consensus, increase the scale of the fight against austerity and poverty and win some significant victories.

Source: https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-austerity-agenda-in-sheeps-clothing

Image Source: (Same as above)

TPP

TPP Will Cost Canada 58,000 Jobs, Won’t Grow Economy

Even the loudest advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership concede that the macroeconomic benefits for Canada will be small, as we have written before. Canada’s former trade minister promised a $3.5 billion boost to the Canadian economy—a fraction of a percent—if the massive trade treaty goes ahead. The most optimistic forecasts, including a recent report from the World Bank, point to an increase of around 1% to the Canadian economy by the year 2030.

Nevertheless, business groups, right wing think tanks and other TPP cheerleaders have been singing the deal’s praisesdownplaying its clear harms and calling for its timely ratification. These commentators would have us believe that Canada has nothing to lose and at least something to gain from the TPP, if only we would act quickly to push it forward.

But if the economic argument for the deal was weak before, a new study from researchers at the UN and Tufts University may have finally laid the case to rest. Their analysis shows that Canada can expect a mere 0.28% increase to GDP growth—effectively zero change—over the next ten years if the TPP is implemented. The situation is worse for the U.S. and Japanese economies, which will actually shrink under the TPP, according to the authors.

More troubling is the TPP’s effect on employment. The study suggests that despite a negligible macroeconomic impact, ratifying the deal will lead to 58,000 net job losses in Canada over the next ten years. In other words, the TPP won’t grow the Canadian economy but it will hurt workers, who will see their share of the economic pie shrink by 0.86% under the deal.

In fact, the authors argue, the TPP will lead to “job losses and higher inequality in all participating economies” (and in many other countries that aren’t even part of the deal). The net employment impact of the TPP will be millions of jobs lost. This is in part because greater capital mobility and more integrated supply chains will encourage cost-cutting across the globe. And when employers cut costs to compete in the world’s largest free-trade zone, jobs and wages will be one of the first targets for savings.

Why don’t other macroeconomic forecasts predict job losses from the TPP? Incredibly, it is because most other forecasts assume stable, full employment. TPP advocates have simply shrugged off the implications for labour when assessing the deal’s likely consequences. This new study does not make the same oversight.

Trading our sovereignty for… what exactly?

The list of TPP “cons” is long: among other issues for Canada, it will increase drug costsrattle the agricultural sector and undermine Internet freedom. Most worrying of all, it will give new rights to foreign corporations to sue Canadian governments for regulations enacted in the public interest.

But if the TPP ever had a saving grace—one item for the “pro” list—at least it was going to grow the economy and create jobs. As the evidence mounts against even modest macroeconomic benefits, however, the “trade-offs” are looking increasingly unpalatable.

Is the TPP worth it for Canada? We say no, and we think that Canadians agree. As trade minister Chrystia Freeland contemplates signing the deal (as early as February 4th), this is a message she needs to hear. A deal that costs too much and delivers too little is not a deal that Canada needs.

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Bank Bonuses Rise Amid Economic Crisis: Nationalize Them Under Workers’ Control!

After laying off 4,664 workers, Canada’s top six banks have recorded a combined profit of $35 billion and set aside a bonus pool of $12.5 billion for their executives at the end of 2015. It has become evidently clear that Canada’s bankers have not felt the pain of the economic crisis the same way as the working class and impoverished.

According to a new report by Bloomberg, a prominent financial information company that analyzed the findings, the 4,664 job cuts at the six banks was the most in six years. The firings, or “cost controls”, as the bankers like to say, are set to continue into 2016.

Toronto-Dominion Bank alone eliminated 1,594 staff positions. In response to criticism, TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani said “This is simply a reality of today’s slower-growth world.” Ironically, this year’s executive bonuses were higher than $12 billion in 2014 which was a surge of 13 per cent from $10.8 billion in 2013. All of this during a time when the Canadian economy has entered recession and created immense suffering for average working people and the poor.

In fact, looking back at a trend since the 2008 global recession reveals just how the bonuses of bank executives have grown progressively: $8.3 billion in 2009, $8.6 billion in 2010 and $9.3 billion in 2011. Seven years since the Great Recession with continuous slow growth in the world economy and in Canada, the bonuses of bank executives have in turn been rapidly growing. Hence, Mr. Masrani’s description of a “slower-growth world” is meant for those losing their jobs, but the opposite is true if you’re a bank executive.

Bill Vlaad, president of a Toronto-based firm that monitors compensation trends said “Compensation this year is going to be a grab bag… some are going to have a good deal of candy in the bag and some are not going to get as much.” Here is this year’s candy distribution:

The Bank Bailout of 2008: Canadian Workers Robbed of Their Labour

While Canada’s bankers continue to make the case that they deserve every penny of their colossal bonuses through ‘prudent financial intelligence’, the truth is that they are being spoiled and protected by the government through tax payer dollars, especially when they fail big time.

In 2012 Fightback wrote about a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report, The Big Bank’s Big Secret, which revealed that between 2008 and 2010, $114 billion was shelled out of public coffers to save the top five banks in Canada as a response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Royal Bank and TD are the two largest banks in the country. Together they received $25 billion and $26 billion, respectively, in government support. This was enough to buy majority shares in both: 63 per cent share of RBC and a 69 per cent of TD Bank. Scotiabank, CIBC and Bank of Montreal received $25 billion, $21 billion and $17 billion respectively. That was enough money for the government to buy all of them; in fact they overpaid 148 per cent of the market value of CIBC!

Of the $114 billion, $41 billion was made in loans, $69 billion in direct cash injections through mortgage buy-outs for the big five banks and $4 billion to several smaller banks. As a result, during 2008-2010, the banks made a profit of $26.8 billion. None of this vast sum of money made its way back to the public. This kind of wasteful government spending is not criticized on Bay Street because it maintains the for-profit capitalist system. The government bailout allowed the banks to carry on business-as-usual after they had conclusively demonstrated their failure.

As the banks post these massive profits, we are told to “tighten our belts” and accept cuts to social services, wage freezes, job losses, attacks on labour rights and an onslaught of austerity budgets. How often are multi-billion dollar government deficits blamed on government investments into social programs, job creation and infrastructure? How often do we hear the mantra “the money is not there”? The truth is that the “money is not there” as a result of corporate welfare, tax-cuts for the rich, bailouts of big banks and corporations, bad-asset buy-outs, and the failure of the capitalist system generally. Capitalism creates its own crisis and the rest of us are left to pay for it all.

What the Bonuses are Worth

As we have seen, governments hand over more money than the banks are even worth, just to keep the profits in the hands of a tiny minority. Canada’s banks and corporations sit on trillions of dollars. This year’s bank executive bonuses alone, totalling $12.5 billion, instead of being spent on luxury cars, yachts and mansions, could be used for more important things:

The Only Solution: Nationalize the Banks under Democratic Workers’ Control

The idea that a government can engage in cordial negotiations with the bankers or their rich friends in the corporate world to pay for any of these social services is utopian. This is evident if you take a glance at recent global events. In Greece, Syriza tried to negotiate with the EU and Greek bankers, even when the opportunity to nationalize the banks under the control of Greek workers existed. The result was a defeat for the Greek workers as their country is currently being privatized into bits by the capitalists. In Venezuela, the PSUV nationalized some industries more than a decade ago, but the road to complete nationalization was not taken and under pressure from internal and external forces of capital, the government lost the trust of the people and lost power. History shows that any government that either adheres or tries to collaborate with the for-profit system of capitalism cannot meet the needs of workers and the impoverished – especially today when capitalism is in its deepest crisis in its history.

Capitalism is a system that protects the private property and wealth of a few individuals in a chaotic and illogical global network of profit making, and it is time the leaders of the labour movement accepted this reality. The predominant ideas within Canada’s labour movement’s leadership, going back to the 1950s and 60s when capitalism was in its heyday, has run its course and is decades behind the reality of what is happening in this country, let alone the world. Today, capitalism is in its deepest crisis and is revealing immense inequality and lack of wealth distribution. It hasn’t been easy to explain this reality to average workers and youth for a long time.

The choice between capitalism and a new genuinely democratic socialist society is a choice between the unnecessary lavish lifestyles of the rich few and the vital needs of everyone else. This choice is becoming increasingly clear to millions of Canadians. Therefore, the case to nationalize the big banks and corporations in this country and place them under democratic worker’s control has never been stronger. Now is the time for bold demands that can enthuse and organize workers and youth to take back the immense wealth that exists in society and run it in a rational manner for human need.

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Image Source (same as source)

Liberals in Action: Privatization of Hydro One

The Ontario Liberals under Kathleen Wynne’s leadership are finishing what the Tory government of Mike Harris started: the privatization of Hydro One. While the newly elected federal Liberal government remains in a honeymoon period under a facade of progressive politics, the Liberals in Ontario are revealing their real character as the sweethearts of Bay Street through this fire sale of the crown corporation.

The first phase of the Liberals’ privatization plan began in the first week of November 2015, with the sale of 15 per cent of Hydro One to the tune of $1.83 billion. Major banks like RBC and Scotiabank managed to capture large stakes. The idea is to sell off 60 per cent of Hydro One by 2019, ostensibly to fund a $130 billion infrastructure project and help balance the budget by 2017-2018. In reality, the privatization of Hydro One will not contribute in any meaningful way towards either of these goals. It is nothing but a very lucrative handout to Bay Street.

In October 2015, Ontario’s financial accountability officer, Stephen LeClair, exposed the Liberals scheme for what it is. LeClair compared two funding options for the Liberal infrastructure/deficit reduction plan: the current privatization plan versus simply borrowing the money. He found privatization will actually cost more than the interest paid on borrowed money. LeClair demonstrated that the government would eventually lose around $500 million a year from lost revenue after a Hydro One selloff. On top of this, of the $4 billion that will supposedly be raised for infrastructure, only about half of this money will be in the form of spendable cash, the rest will be in the form of a “non-cash gain”. LeClair found that at the end of the day there may only be $1.4 billion to fund infrastructure, a splash in the ocean for the needed $130 billion. It seems that neither fund raising nor deficit reduction is on Wynne’s mind, but rather the incitement of hand rubbing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Hydro One is notoriously known by its customers as a frustrating, bureaucratic mess. People often find that they are billed incorrectly at too expensive of a rate. But these problems will only become accentuated through privatization. Earlier this year, Ontario’s independent legislative officers came together to denounce the Liberal privatization plan, explaining that a privatized Hydro One will be very hard to regulate. In their report they noted that post privatization they will be unable to conduct performance audits, investigate public complaints and will not be able to examine planned operations, among other negative outcomes. Just this week, the Liberals announced that they would be eliminating any independence of the province’s energy regulator, the Ontario Energy Board, thus weakening oversight. Deregulation in combination with privatization can only mean higher electricity rates for Ontarians. Due to the profit seeking nature of private capital, the banks that will have major stakes in Hydro One will be looking for the highest return possible on their investment, which naturally means extortionately high rates for consumers. Even former economist for TD Bank, Douglas Peters, believes privatization will mean higher rates. He explained that investors will demand an 8 per cent return on their investment, and this return will mainly be found through higher rates. To add insult to injury, the new CEO of Hydro One is set to pull an obscene $4 million annual salary.

It is for these reasons that 194 municipalities, many trade unions and even business associations (fearing expensive hydro rates) have come together to oppose the privatization of Hydro One. As Fred Hahn, president of Cupe Ontario said “The vast majority of Ontarians agree that selling Hydro One is a bad idea. It’s time for the Wynne government to put on the brakes, hold public consultations and, really, to do what the public wants and Keep Hydro Public.” And it is in fact true that the vast majority of the public, 80 per cent according to opinion polls, oppose the Liberal plan.

Mike Harris and his Progressive Conservatives seemed to care more about public opinion in regards to the privatization of Hydro One than the Liberals do today. The privatization of Hydro One began under the misnomer “Common Sense Revolution” of Mike Harris, a revolution consisting of savage attacks on the working class and the welfare state. Harris started this process in 1998 by splitting Hydro One into multiple bureaucratic components and introducing a market in electricity, creating a lot of the inefficiencies that exist today. In 2002, Harris’ successor, Ernie Eves, moved to privatize Hydro One, but faced with mass public opposition, was forced to back down. Now it is the Liberals’ turn, with renewed resolve to disregard public opinion. Even the Progressive Conservatives now oppose privatization, along with the Ontario NDP.

In the last provincial election, the Ontario NDP capitulated to the pro-austerity agenda. Their campaign even went as far as to propose the creation of a new “Ministry of Savings and Accountability” that would cut $600 million from the budget annually. This was essentially a proposal for a Ministry of Austerity. The Ontario NDP has partially learned from the terrible failure of their right-leaning election campaign, and have launched an anti-privatization initiative in response to the Liberals. The provincial New Democrats have led the opposition to the selloff in the provincial legislature, gathered signatures for a petition and held town halls throughout Ontario to inform the public of the horrible plan and bring heat on the Liberals. Unfortunately, these actions in themselves will not be enough to stop the privatization of Hydro One.

The Liberals have not simply made a misjudgement that can be corrected. They will not be convinced through the power of a good argument. The privatization of Hydro One is part of a larger agenda of privatization, austerity and attacks on workers’ rights. Is it any wonder why the Liberals took advice on privatization from Ed Clark, former CEO of TD Bank? The Liberals’ most recent budget means the most savage austerity and attacks on workers since the Harris years, driven by the necessity to balance the budget at the behest of the financiers. Wynne is determined to maintain “zero net gain” in public sector contract negotiations, which in reality means pay cuts due to rising living costs, and cuts to social services such as healthcare, education and welfare. A particularly disgusting part of Liberal austerity was the elimination of a $100 benefit for disabled people. We can only expect more of these uncivilized attacks. The Liberals are nothing more than enemies of the working class and servants to Bay Street. Especially in this period of capitalist crisis, only a mass mobilization by the working class will be able to stop the privatization of Hydro One. Wynne fears working class opposition to her austerity, but will not concede anything without a fight.

For inspiration to fight Liberal austerity we need only look next door to the struggle in Quebec. On December 9th, there were 400,000 public sector workers on strike in Quebec against capitalist austerity measures. This is the sort of action that can halt the privatization of Hydro One and austerity generally. As the saying goes, not a light shines, not a wheel turns, without the kind permission of the working class. Workers have all the power in the world to put an end to austerity, and capitalism. The unions and the Ontario NDP must have faith in the workers to fight for their livelihoods, and give the necessary leadership to call for demonstrations and strike action. The trade unions, in collaboration with the Ontario NDP, should begin mobilization for such demonstrations and strikes against the Liberal agenda. This is the only way we can seriously fight against the privatization of Hydro One and provide a real opposition to the Liberals.

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The Class Struggle in Trudeau’s Canada

The decade long rule of the Harper regime has come to an end. The Trudeau Liberals have formed a majority government, sweeping through eastern Canada and making large advances in Quebec and Ontario. Many Canadians heaved a sigh of relief as the election results came in. The perception is that the days of Harper’s right-wing reactionary policies are at an end.

For the labour movement, the results were more contradictory. Some trade union leaders declared victory as many had jumped on the “anybody but Conservative” bandwagon during the election campaign. For New Democrats and the section of the trade union movement backing the NDP, the results were bitter to say the least.

The NDP suffered a crushing defeat, from leading in the polls at the beginning of the election campaign to losing 51 seats. This represents a retreat back to the NDP’s historic levels of support around 20%. Many NDP members and labour movement activists were left scratching their heads asking what happened to their opportunity to finally defeat the two capitalist parties.

The results of the federal election can seem confusing. At a time when workers and young people are becoming radicalized around the world from Spain to Greece, to Britain and even the United States, some might come to the conclusion that Canada is immune or stands separated from this global process.

This is a false conclusion, but the confusion is understandable if our observations are limited to looking at things on their surface. If we look deeper, however, we can see many contradictions in Canadian society.

The key questions that need to be asked are: why did the NDP do so poorly? Are the federal Liberals really “progressive” and what can we expect from them? After entering technical recession during the first half of this year, what are the expectations for the Canadian economy? Most importantly, where is the class struggle in Canada heading?

NDP Leadership Delivers Historic Defeat

This was the NDP’s election to win or to lose. The leadership of the NDP threw the historic opportunity away. Appeasing the bankers and bosses led to the melting away of popular support.

Initial enthusiasm for the NDP’s modest reform program, notably the one million childcare spaces, as well as opposition to Bill C-51, began to dissipate as the NDP program was elaborated and placed under scrutiny. The removal of left-wing candidates who supported the Palestinian struggle, while allowing candidates who made right-wing statements, disillusioned many party members and supporters. The commitment to balanced budgets in particular put the NDP in the camp of the status quo for many workers.

It became clear that on the basis of meagre corporate tax increases (that would remain below the average tax rate of the Harper years), no real improvements could be delivered. Even the prominent childcare program would not be rolled out in the first term of an NDP federal government, but rather would take eight years to implement!

The Liberals, who were down in the polls, saw the opportunity to maneuver left and seize the space vacated by the NDP. As is the tradition of the Liberal Party, they adopted some socially progressive measures. They began championing marijuana legalization, criminal justice reform and accepting Syrian refugees among other initiatives.

More importantly, the Liberal election campaign began to give rhetorical emphasis to wealth redistribution. They repeatedly highlighted wealth inequality and the need to tax the “1%”, adopting the phraseology of the Occupy movement. Trudeau declared he would strengthen the “middle-class” through increasing stimulus spending, and proposed deficit budgets to do so.

The Liberals began to rise in the polls as a result of this change in tack, garnering the support of many workers and young people. Trudeau began to present himself as the ‘real change’ candidate, and to criticize Mulcair’s program from the left for having adopted “Harper’s budget”. The only response of the NDP was to criticize these Liberal policies from the right!

Is Keynesianism left-wing?

Some in the NDP officialdom have defended their position in the federal election by explaining that Keynesian deficit spending is not necessarily left-wing. This is a correct point in itself and Marxists agree that there is nothing inherently left-wing about deficit financing.

We further explain that deficit financing cannot solve the problems of the working class and neither does it solve the contradictions within capitalism that lead to crisis. At best, these policies delay the inevitable capitalist austerity by making it worse at a later stage.

While Keynesianism is not necessarily left-wing, the NDP’s economic program was certainly right-wing. The NDP committed to preserving corporate profits by ensuring them a favourable tax rate. The only result could be that real improvements for the working class were off the table. In a context of economic slow-down, the NDP’s program could only mean austerity.

Mulcair’s economic program conforms to classical policies of capitalism. The recent finding of the Parliamentary Budget Office that they expect a $3-5 billion annual deficit for the next five years based on current spending displays the weakness in the Canadian economy. How could Mulcair balance the books in this economic context without spending cuts?

The Marxists have long-explained that the NDP cannot serve two masters; either it can organize and voice the interests of the working class, or it can appease and administer the needs and interests of the capitalists. This is unfortunately confirmed in the disastrous federal election results for the NDP. The workers abandoned the NDP as it became perceived to be more aligned with the status quo than the Liberals.

An Abacus Poll published at the end of September explained that 76 per cent of Canadians were looking for “change” in this election. Of those who wanted change, 58 per cent wanted it soon. The same poll found that more Canadians saw Trudeau as representing “ambitious change” and “change that would be felt soon” as compared to Mulcair. In an election where there was a mass anti-Harper mood for change, and where 30 per cent of the electorate was undecided between the NDP and Liberals, this perception was devastating for the NDP.

The policy of appeasing the bankers and bosses lead to the melting away of popular support. It must be said that the election defeat cannot be placed at the feet of Mulcair alone. The NDP’s turn to the right has been occurring for decades. In tandem with this process, we have seen a growing separation of the party tops from the rank-and-file.

The leadership of the NDP is largely filled with careerists and opportunists of all sorts. This has led to a disconnect and blindness to the mood of the masses. More than that, the leadership fears the workers. They see the party as a vehicle for the advancement of their political careers and personal ambitions. They fear that their careers would be jeopardized if the workers attempted to take back the party.

What is the Perspective for the NDP?

The top NDP officialdom was quick to close ranks around Mulcair following his defeat. Immediately after the federal election, an NDP spokesman explained that Mulcair “was in it for the long haul”. Threats were even made against those considering public opposition to Mulcair, such as the statement to the press by the former national director, Robin Sears, that critics of Mulcair “will be quite publicly slapped”.

The NDP officialdom is not unaware of the process of radicalization that they see around the world and view with trepidation. The victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party leadership election in the UK has shaken the NDP leadership. Corbyn defines himself as a socialist and is committed to opposing austerity and imperialist wars.

The NDP leadership fears that a similar process could occur in Canada and is moving quickly to ensure that it doesn’t happen. They fear that if a crack were to open at the top, or if Mulcair were to be thrown out, it could open the floodgates and lead to an upsurge of the left. As a result, there has been a closing of the ranks around Tom Mulcair.

The bourgeois has similarly taken note of the loss of authority and prestige of the NDP leadership, and are worried that they could lose their hold on the party tops. The bosses do not fear the Mulcair clique, but they fear the masses in and around the party.

They fear that the working class and youth could try to transform the NDP into a vehicle of struggle as is occurring in Britain. It is for this reason that the mainstream press has been making supportive statements and publishing positive appraisals of Mulcair since the election.

We at Fightback believe that the NDP rank-and-file and the broader labour movement would do well to learn the opposite and positive lessons from the Corbyn movement in Britain. It would be an enormous step forward for the class struggle in Canada if a mass left-wing based upon anti-austerity, anti-imperialist and socialist policies were to defeat the right-wing leading clique of the NDP.

It should be noted that there are differences between the British and Canadian contexts. Class anger has developed more in Britain as the capitalist crisis and austerity policies has had greater impact on the working class than in Canada. As soon as the Tories defeated Labour in the 2015 general election, a spontaneous movement erupted on the streets of many cities and towns in Britain against the Tories.

It was this radicalized mood and movement that was channeled into the Labour Party leadership race behind Jeremy Corbyn. In Canada, the same feeling of disgust does not yet exist towards the Trudeau Liberals. On the contrary, there are many illusions in the Liberals.

Nevertheless, there is a backlash of the NDP rank-and-file. Many feel like they have had enough of the leadership. Party members have been fed the lie that to win power, that they would have to abandon their principles and accept a turn towards the right. In the past many NDP members grudgingly accepted this argument.

The election results have totally discredited this idea and the authority of the leadership who promoted it. Indeed, the manner in which the NDP lost to the Liberals, by being outmaneuvered to the left, further undermines the prestige of the NDP leadership. Furthermore, the right-wing bureaucracy of the NDP has also been significantly weakened as many have lost their jobs due to the defeat.

The rank-and-file mood in the NDP does have the potential to develop into a left wing. The major barrier standing in the way of the development of such a movement is the lack of a focal point. A cohesive left-wing movement inside the party would require a prominent force, organization or figure within the NDP to stand up to the leading clique and voice the rank-and-file sentiment.

The party brass is standing behind Mulcair and only a serious fight will dislodge these careerists. Without a pole around which to coalesce an effective challenge, the rank-and-file will voice their dissent but could find themselves shut down by the bureaucracy.

An alternative to the existing leadership could come from a sitting or unseated parliamentarian, or from the trade union movement or even somewhere unexpected. Nearly six weeks after the election an uneasy calm reigns within the NDP, with many looking to which way the wind will blow without sticking their heads up. This is a reflection of the weakness of the “lefts” in the NDP. Many of the lefts have abandoned the party or capitulated to the leadership.

The silence was finally broken when Cheri DiNovo, a provincial MPP in Toronto, gave an interview to the Toronto Star on December 1st, 2015. She made excellent points about the need to reclaim socialism, to oppose the NDP’s “austerity approach” and made reference to movements around Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. Former Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan also made similar points. The question is whether those on the left of the party, such as Cheri DiNovo, will actually organize a movement leading into the Federal NDP Convention next spring.

If no focal point on the left arises for the mood of the rank-and-file to gravitate towards, there could be a repeat of the processes previously seen in the Ontario NDP. Andrea Horwath led the ONDP to defeat on an election program similar in substance to that of the federal party. Given no alternative to her leadership, Horwath was able to hold on. She made some gestures towards the left, sounded apologetic to the rank-and-file, made some concessions to rival sections of the bureaucracy and was able to keep her job with a 77 per cent vote in the provincial leadership review.

It is impossible to predict whether somebody or some force will step forward to galvanize and focus the energy of the ranks of the party. However, if the Mulcair leadership manages to hold on, things do not look good for the NDP in the near term. With no alternative policy, or even a policy of critiquing Trudeau from the right, support would bleed away to the Liberals. In the context of the Liberals gaining popularity by undoing unpopular Harper legislation, a Mulcair NDP could find itself polling under 10 per cent, or even 5 per cent like in the 1990s. After a while, an internal crisis like this might be the tipping point for regime change. As they say, nothing concentrates the mind like a hanging.

The historic defeat brought on by the right-wing clique at the top of the NDP opens up an opportunity to transform the party. Such a development within the party would be enthusiastically supported by Marxists.

On the other hand, if the status quo prevails within the NDP, it would be a recipe for further defeats. The growing radicalization in society would tend to be expressed through other avenues. The defeat in the federal election is a clear warning to the rank and file of the NDP and the broader labour movement.

How Long will Trudeau’s Honeymoon Last?

There is a wave of support and enthusiasm for the Trudeau Liberals. He has built expectations in his election campaign. Since forming government, the Liberals have rolled back unpopular measures of the Harper Conservatives, and have been championing socially progressive measures.

The sentiment in support of Trudeau will be enhanced as he passes socially liberal measures, though it should be noted that many of these are not particularly costly from a capitalist standpoint. Given the relief from having brought down the Harper Conservatives and as no serious left alternative is providing sharp criticism of the Liberals, it is not surprising that illusions have developed in Trudeau.

What must be stressed, however, is that the Liberal Party is a party of the bosses. Indeed, it is the historically preferred and natural governing party of Canadian capitalism and imperialism. It is the party that carried out the largest cuts to public spending in Canadian history under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. It is the party that began the War on Terror and the invasion of Afghanistan.

The Liberals are already showing their true colours. The appointment of Bill Morneau, the head of Canada’s largest HR firm and the former director of the right-wing C.D. Howe Institute think tank, as finance minister is a clear statement. The Liberals will serve Bay Street well, and they have picked one of its men to run the new federal government’s finances.

Trudeau’s economic policies can be described as mild Keynesian stimulus spending and deficit spending. He has committed to an additional $60 billion in spending, and at first involved $10 billion annual deficits for the first three years until 2018. This has since been revised to higher projected deficits as the Parliamentary Budget Office released new revenue figures. There was also a prominent commitment to tax the “1%”.

These policies can delay cuts for a period and would reinforce illusions in Trudeau. The commitment to stimulus spending will have some popularity among workers. They may initially take a softer approach regarding the labour movement and federal public service negotiations. The Liberals are wary of provoking class struggle.

What is clear, however, is that these economic policies will at best only delay the inevitable. It is notable that they have already backtracked on a commitment to restore door-to-door mail delivery, and have only halted the process of installing new community mailboxes. Cuts will be necessary in a period of prolonged capitalist crisis. The Liberal program commits to balancing the budget by 2019. This will be a painful process that will expose the Liberals for what they are: a party of austerity.

Whether the Liberals will be successful in delaying the class struggle is still an open question. The slow-down in Canada’s economy this year has already resulted in the downgrading of budget prospects as well as expectations for economic growth in the future. Canada’s economy has for long been presented as ‘healthy’, but such optimism has given way to alarm, fear and gloom among mainstream commentators.

It is clear that at a certain point, the honeymoon with the Liberals will come to an end. When it does, the backlash among the workers and youth will be all the more visceral because of the ‘progressive’ façade upon which the Liberals won the federal election.

Many youth are too young to remember the legacy of the Chretien-Martin Liberals. This explains some of the illusions and enthusiasm to vote Liberal as a means to defeat Harper. The youth in particular will be in for a very rude awakening.

When the Liberals will provoke class struggle, or how long they can delay it, is conditional on factors in the Canadian and the global economy. A definite timeline cannot be given to many of these processes. However, the deep contradictions in the world and Canadian economy will express themselves inevitably, and perhaps sooner than many expect.

Canada’s Economic Slow-Down

Many bourgeois commentators have praised Canada’s economic health since the 2008 financial collapse. Stephen Harper was particularly fond of lauding his credentials as a steward of the economy.

Working class people could tell from experience that this wasn’t the case. There was a massive shift towards precarious employment as better paying jobs were replaced with part-time and contract work. The United Way published a 2015 report which demonstrated that in Toronto and Hamilton, 52 per cent of all workers were temporary, contract or part-time.

Wages have been repressed through attacks on the public and private sector. For example, in Ontario one third of all workers are considered low-wage, defined as making within $4 of the minimum wage. Young workers in particular were badly hit with a combination of high debts, two-tiered wage scales and contract or low-wage employment.

However, there was an element of truth to the fact that Canada fared better than other advanced capitalist countries. This was largely on the basis of the oil boom, the expansion of credit and the bloated housing bubble. Austerity wasn’t as deep as in many advanced capitalist countries, unemployment did not skyrocket, and the resource sector provided an outlet for those who couldn’t find jobs.

Canada’s economy has indeed slowed since the 2008 crisis. The average annual GDP growth from 1998 to 2008 was 3.2 per cent. Since 2008, the average growth has slowed to 2.5 per cent annually. The drop, however, wasn’t as drastic as in many other OECD countries.

Events over the past year – particularly the oil crisis – have shaken illusions that Canada is immune from the process of stagnation and slump that afflicts the world economy. The Canadian economy began contracting earlier this year.

The economy shrunk modestly in the first two quarters of 2015 making it a ‘technical’ recession. This was largely due to the collapse in oil prices, which led to a significant drop in capital investment as well as layoffs in the oil patch.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimated 35,000 jobs were lost in the oil sector in 2015. The Globe and Mail estimated that 63,500 jobs were lost in Alberta during the first 8 months of 2015. Unemployment in the province has increased from 4.4 per cent to 7.0 per cent from September 2014 to November 2015.

This is the first time since 1994 that Alberta’s unemployment rate has surpassed that of Ontario. Companies continue to post losses and at present there is no end in sight to layoffs and cancellations of oil projects.

Some commentators suggested that the resulting drop in the Canadian dollar combined with growth in the US would result in a rebound in Canadian manufacturing. A rebound has not occurred, and at best there is a delaying of the gradual decline in manufacturing in the Canadian heartland.

Bourgeois commentators have begun to clue into the significant weaknesses at the foundations of the Canadian economy. The GDP growth estimates for 2015 are estimated to be around 1 per cent. The IMF predicts that growth will be 1.7 per cent in 2016. This is not the rosy picture that Harper was presenting over the past year.

It has also become apparent how sensitive the Canadian economy is to volatility of the world market. There is increasing concern about record consumer debt, overvalued housing prices, the impact of the global crisis on export markets and a prolonged glut in oil and mining commodity prices.

The Economist published an article titled “Late to the Party” which ran with the byline “an economy renowned for sobriety has binged on debt”. It warns that:

“Now the economy is shaky, which makes inflated debt and housing values more dangerous. The 50% fall in oil prices since 2014 battered the energy sector. Overall, the economy contracted slightly in the first half of 2015; the downturn was worst in oil-producing Alberta. The economy is now growing again and forecasts are relatively cheery.”

“But household debt casts an ominous shadow. At present, borrowers can pay; interest costs have fallen in relation to disposable income. But that could quickly change. Any shock in the form of inflation, which could force interest rates up quickly, or a recession in emerging markets or the United States, would be magnified by Canada’s overblown debt.

….An economic downturn might not spell catastrophe. But the debt binge ensures it would be very unpleasant.”

Consumer debt has reached 165 per cent of income, which is the same level it was in the United States prior to the foreclosure crisis. Canadians are already priced out of the housing market or barely able to pay their mortgages.

Among young people, the situation is even more desperate. The CBC reported that since 1999 debt among people in their thirties had doubled, reaching a debt-to-income ratio of 400 per cent. A decline in real estate prices would leave many homeowners in their 20s and 30s with debts greater than their net worth.

The Bank of Canada has reduced interest rates twice to soften the impact of the slow-down earlier this year. This hasn’t had the effect of stimulating investment and is contributing to the housing bubble. Rather than investing, corporate Canada has amassed a money hoard of about $700-billion. This situation cannot last forever, especially as the US Federal Reserve is set to increase rates this month. The question now is not whether there will be a housing collapse, but how bad will it be?

The Bank of Canada estimates a 10-30 per cent correction, while the Deutsche Bank estimates a correction of over 60 per cent. Toronto and Vancouver are widely seen as highly inflated, and Moody’s economist Paul Matsiras claimed that they are among the most overinflated housing markets on the globe.

Matsiras also raised the alarm that increases in mortgage rates would have debt-strapped Canadians unable to make their payments and that the Federal Government was exposed to a housing collapse through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation insuring of home loans.

The danger of the world economy entering another slump looms heavily over Canada. Lawrence Summers, the former Secretary of the Treasury of the US who also authored Justin Trudeau’s economic plan, recently warned that “the dangers of the global economy are more severe than at any time since the bankruptcy of Lehman brothers in 2008”.

The IMF has revised global growth to its lowest pace since 2008. There is growing concern of slow-down across the emerging economy, and especially in China. These economies were an important driver of growth as huge capital investments were being made in the past period. Since 2008, huge debts have accrued on the basis of low interest rates. This has all come to its limits.

A global slump is developing, and it would have a profound impact on a Canadian economy already on the edge of a cliff. When this occurs – whether in the next six months or in several years – it would have a huge impact on the class struggle in Canada. Among other things, it would spell the end of any lingering honeymoon with the Trudeau Liberals.

The Provincial Dynamic to the Class Struggle

Until the deep contradictions in the Canadian economy begin expressing themselves, and the federal Liberals turn to austerity, we can expect the main focal point of the class struggle will be provincially based.

The struggle of the workers and youth in Quebec continues to stand at the head of the movement. The contract negotiations between the Common Front, which brings together 400,000 workers from all the trade union centrals in the province, and the Quebec Liberals has been moving towards direct confrontation. The student unions have also mobilized in support of the Common Front.

The trade union leaders called off the movement for a “new Quebecois Spring” earlier this year, saying that it was not the right time for struggle. In the current contract negotiations there is a burning desire by the workers to fight the Liberal government.

The Liberals have threatened back-to-work legislation and imposed contracts. This has only enraged the workers. In contrast, the trade union leaders have retreated from their calls for a public sector general strike from December 1st to 3rd. The question at present is will the trade union leadership be able to hold back the struggle once again, or whether the workers will push the struggle forward despite the leadership. December 9th 2015 saw the largest public sector strike in Quebec since the revolutionary general strike of 1972.

The movement in Quebec gives a taste of the kind of backlash that can occur at a later stage against the Trudeau Liberals. The Quebec Liberals did not win the provincial election on the basis of austerity, but instead won on the basis of their opposition to the PQ’s divisionary “Charter of Values”. The anger of the workers is even greater as they feel like this is not what they voted for, and feel like the government doesn’t have a mandate for such austerity cuts.

In Ontario, the ‘progressive’ character of the Kathleen Wynne Liberals has shown itself to be a program of austerity, privatization and net-zero negotiations in the public sector. The sell-off of Hydro One in particular has garnered significant criticism. There is a developing anger against the Wynne Liberals.

The reason that we have not seen a serious fight back in Ontario is because the labour movement is terribly disoriented. Many trade union leaders supported Kathleen Wynne in the 2014 provincial election, and many trade unions gave financial support directly and indirectly to the Ontario Liberals as well. Now these same groups of workers are under attack.

On the other hand, the Ontario NDP has not provided an alternative to austerity. During the provincial election the party campaigned towards the right and openly courted Bay Street. The party has shifted slightly to the left since the defeat but is far from providing a fighting alternative to austerity.

The recent coup in the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) against Sid Ryan by the right- wing of the labour leadership is a further blow to the struggle. Despite his weaknesses, Sid had brought a more bold and social movement orientation to the OFL.

In the private sector, union leaders in Ontario have pushed round after round of concessions onto their membership despite record strike votes in many sectors. This can only go on for so long until one section or another of the working class decides to draw a line in the sand. This could cause a domino effect by inspiring other workers facing the same attacks.

Despite the utter paralysis of the trade union and NDP leadership, a fighting mood is developing in the province.

Earlier this year in Alberta, we saw an example of how rapidly consciousness can shift. The Albertan working class, which has been historically viewed as conservative and backward, defeated the 44-year long Progressive Conservative dynasty in the province and elected an NDP majority.

There was enormous anger towards the attempt of the Conservatives to place the burden of the oil crisis on the backs of the working class. Rachel Notley’s NDP won the election on a program of halting austerity through deficit financing and by taxing the rich. This represented a significant step forward for the class struggle in Alberta.

The plunge in oil prices, which is likely to be prolonged, is showing the limits of the Alberta NDP’s reformism. There is a significant drop in capital investment in the energy sector and associated industries, as profits have dropped by 55 per cent in the energy sector. Unemployment is increasing as mass layoffs are announced every month in the oil patch.

The Alberta government is set to take on significant debt as to avoid austerity. The largest deficit in Alberta’s history is being tabled for 2015. A surplus of $1 billion has transformed into $6.1 billion deficit. Non-renewable resource revenue has dropped from $9 billion to $3 billion.

Meanwhile, increasing taxes on the rich and instituting environmental regulations will only further push away capital investment. The energy sector is estimated to account for approximately 40 per cent of the provincial economy. The problems of unemployment, access to good quality services and preventing environmental destruction can only be solved if the Alberta NDP breaks from the profit motive.

Until the energy, banking and other strategic sectors are nationalized, the Alberta economy will be volatile and at the whims of world market, and the NDP will not be able to prevent declining living standards in the province. Over the coming years, the limits of reformism will become evident as the Alberta NDP faces rising debts, climbing unemployment, drops in capital investment and the hostility of the bosses.

Radical Mood Developing in Society

The class struggle is developing in an extremely contradictory way, precisely because of the lack of an outlet. The NDP’s capitulation to corporate interests has led to defeats and confusion especially in English Canada.

Even if the mass organizations fail to give a lead, this will not stop the class contradictions in society from developing. Spontaneous struggles will be on the order of the day. Movements, especially of students and young workers, similar to those we have already seen around inequality, police brutality, indigenous oppression, tuition fees and precarious work should be expected.

Canada is not immune to the problems that have engulfed societies in Europe, the Middle East, or Latin America. At a certain point, the working class will enter the struggle. This will change the situation overnight.

Consciousness can shift rapidly as the impact of the crisis of capitalism is felt. Sharp turns in the political situation and leaps in class-consciousness are to be expected in the coming period. This is a process that is occurring across the globe.

Among the youth in particular a radical mood is developing. This provides an extremely ripe terrain of work for the revolutionary movement. The youth are badly impacted by the economic crisis. The prospects for the future of an entire generation are being dashed away by the capitalist system.

The youth are also more sensitive to the sickness of capitalist society. The barbarity of a western imperialism, the refugee crisis, the destruction of the environment, the poison of racism and sexism, and even the crisis of morality are radicalizing the youth.

The revolutionary movement must organize itself in anticipation of the coming struggles. The Marxists in Canada have a certain advantage over our comrades in other countries. We are able to observe and study the generalized process of radicalization and of heightening class struggle around the world while having the luxury of time to prepare our forces. The youth have not been this open to revolutionary ideas since the 1970s.

But we do not have infinite time. The pressing task is the preparatory work of organizing and educating the most advanced, critical and combative workers and young people for the major struggles to come. Eventually the working class will move en-masse, the question is only when. Now is the time to prepare and build for this inevitable confrontation.

Source: Marxist.ca

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Unions Push Liberals to Repeal Bill C-51

Labour groups continue to urge the federal government to take action on Bill C-51, which was passed in June and remains in place. The law vastly expands government surveillance, provides new powers to the police and CSIS and may criminalize ordinary political activity.

The Liberals initially supported the legislation, but have promised to repeal unspecified “problematic elements” and undertake public consultations. However, any mention of Bill C-51 was notably absent from the Justin Trudeau’s Throne Speech on Dec. 4.

Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, expressed grave concern about the bill in March, particularly its information sharing provisions.

“The scale of information sharing being proposed is unprecedented, the scope of the new powers conferred by the Act is excessive, particularly as these powers affect ordinary Canadians, and the safeguards protecting against unreasonable loss of privacy are seriously deficient,” he said in a submission to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

On Thursday Dec. 10, Therrien expressed hope that the new Liberal government would follow-through on its commitments and engage in an open debate.

On the same day, Paul Finch, the treasurer of BCGEU, reiterated his opposition to the legislation to rabble and described past elements of the campaign against it.

“We launched a National Day of Action, we were able to organize over 70 demonstrations in conjunction with Leadnow. …The reason we did it is because we felt that this is the most important issue for labour right now in terms of civil rights and civil liberties.”

Finch also called for a Royal Commission and criticized the manner in which the legislation was introduced.

“I actually think there needs to be a Royal Commission on it. [It] needs to drive and specifically deal with issues of intelligence oversight. …If you look at Bill C-51 right now, it was something that was put forward without any kind of broad consultation, without a Royal Commission being conducted,” he said, comparing it to the process of introduction that saw the creation of CSIS in 1984.

“The modern intelligence framework [was] based on the work of two prior Royal Commissions — the most recent was the McDonald Commission, which laid out why there needed to be a separation of powers between a policing agency and an intelligence agency. Before that, it was the RCMP that had an intelligence division that was basically rampantly violating civil liberties on a very political basis. And a lot of that was aimed at labour unions, so that’s kind of where our interest came from.”

Claims of surveillance

In their statement opposing Bill C-51, the CUPW cited a “lengthy history of CUPW being spied upon by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP.” Union activist Evert Hoogers, in a volume edited by historians and sociologists affiliated with Laurentian University, has examined what he found to be labour’s history of being “spied upon, infiltrated and harassed by national security agencies[.]”

In 1994, the agency denied allegations that it was spying on CUPW and also denied spying on the CBC and political parties.

More recently, claims of spying on postal union activists were made in 2000 by ex-agent John Farrell. The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), the oversight body for CSIS, subsequently launched a probe over Farrell’s investigations. Reports on Farrell’s claims were made by Andrew Mitrovica, who would write a book centred on Farrell, who alleged that he was ordered to search through CUPW leaders’ garbage.

In April, before C-51 was passed, Mitrovica warned the public to “remember [Farrell’s story] when the Bill C-51 apologists in the media and academia… insist that since CSIS always plays by the rules, we don’t have to be alarmed by all those new powers they’re getting in Bill C-51 — powers that effectively make legal what under current law is very illegal.”

Hayden B. Peake, curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection, in a review of Mitrovica’s work said that “[he and Farrell’s] allegations remain in doubt because there is no documentation” except irrelevant contract copies.

Looking ahead

Paul Finch told rabble that the BCGEU’s campaign going forward, launched with a broad privacy coalition, is going to call on the government to repeal key parts of the law.

“What’s happened is that the Liberals have made some vague promises about fixing the legislation but they haven’t specifically said what they’re going to fix. So it’s very unclear to everyone what they’re going to fix. …Our concern is that if we don’t have broad public pressure to repeal the worst parts of this bill, the changes will be cosmetic.”

While Finch pointed out that he would like to see the entire law repealed, he highlighted in particular its information-sharing provisions, alluding to the Edward Snowden revelations.

“Really, the linchpin of our concern is the provisions allowing, basically, normalized and legalized warrantless mass surveillance. That’s really the problem for us,” he said.

Finch also emphasized that the lack of response to the Snowden leaks is unwise, comparing its absence unfavourably to the McDonald Commission.

“In the wake of the Snowden revelations, [there] was no ensuing equivalent response or investigation that occurred. There was no Royal Commission struck, there was no equivalent response from government. In fact, the prior Conservative government basically said ‘business as usual.’ …The idea that people here should sacrifice their civil liberties to protect themselves from something that is statistically not a threat is absurd.”

Finch said that the next phases of their activism remain undetermined.

“There’s so many groups and individuals that have stepped forward and contributed to this campaign, that have led vast parts of it, that it’s hard to say what direction it’ll take. I assume there’ll be a multitude of different approaches taken, which I think is good. And the question will be, ‘what’s the most effective?'”

Source: Rabble

80th Anniversary of the On-To-Ottawa Trek: Mass Struggle is still the Key to Victory

Special Resolution on the 80th anniversary of the On to Ottawa Trek, adopted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada, June 13-14, 2015

This meeting of the Central Committee CPC salutes the 80th anniversary of the 1935 On to Ottawa Trek – one of the most iconic episodes in the history of the working class struggle in Canada. On this occasion, we pay tribute to the leaders of the Trek – Arthur “Slim” Evans, Robert “Doc” Savage and other working class heroes who fearlessly took on the bosses, the police, the military, and right-wing politicians.

At the same time, we stress the need to understand the lessons of the past in today’s context.

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The On to Ottawa Trek was initiated by the communist-led Relief Camp Workers Union at the height of the Great Depression, after five years of vicious ruling class attacks on the living standards and rights of the working class across the country. Today we are experiencing another period of economic crisis for the capitalist system, which has seen a rebound of corporate profits since 2008, but no real economic recovery for working people. Once again, the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the mass of the people has increased sharply, reflecting the intensified exploitation of workers as bosses use the “reserve army of labour” to drive down wages and impose austerity cuts.

The Trek was an outstanding example of the capacity of the working class to mobilize militant resistance and win broad support for immediate demands. These included the famous slogan of “work and wages” and closure of the “20 cents a day” slave labour camps, but also the eight-hour day, unemployment insurance, old age pensions, access to health care, the right to organize into trade unions, an end to police state repression, and much more. The generation of radical working class activists who took part in the Trek and other labour battles of that decade were in the forefront of mass labour and democratic movements around these issues from the late 1930s through the post-WW2 era. Their struggles were a decisive rebuff to the earlier domination of narrow craft unionism, and to the class collaborationist strategies of opportunist labour leaders who failed the working class so completely during the early years of the Depression.

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We also note another important historical parallel – the role of far-right Conservative federal governments, which act as the political arm of the most reactionary and aggressive sections of the capitalist class. The On to Ottawa Trek was a key event in the mass struggles leading to the defeat of R.B. “Iron Heel” Bennett’s Tories, who had ordered the brutal police attack on the Trekkers and supporters on July 1, 1935 in Regina’s Market Square. That attack blocked the Trek from advancing eastward, but it did not stop other Workers Unity League members in Ontario from heading to Ottawa to confront the Bennett government. Today, the labour movement and its allies can and must play a leading role in mass mobilizations to drive the Harper Tories out of office, and then to help build a broad, powerful, mass extra-parliamentary movement which could compel a new government to reverse the neoliberal austerity policies imposed over the last three decades.

In all such struggles, both historic and present day, the element of revolutionary working class leadership is a crucial factor. For over 90 years, Communists have led many important battles for labour rights, social justice, democracy, equality, and solidarity. The renewed growth of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League in the recent period is proof that in hard times, a successful fightback requires militant, class struggle strategies.

(To mark this occasion, the Communist Party will hold wreath-laying ceremonies on July 1 at the gravesite of Arthur “Slim” Evans in Burnaby. For information, call the Party’s Vancouver office, at 604-254-9836)

Canada loses 19,700 jobs in April, unemployment still at 6.8 per cent

From Canadian Labour Reporter

OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada’s economy shed 19,700 jobs in April as losses in part-time work offset gains in full-time positions, while the unemployment rate remained at 6.8 per cent, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Analysts had expected a net job loss of 5,000 positions. The data highlighted that Canada is still struggling to boost employment some six years after the end of the Great Recession.

Part-time employment dropped by 66,500 jobs, the biggest fall since the loss of 77,500 posts in March 2011. Full-time employment rose by 46,900 jobs.

The 12-month gain came to 139,100 jobs, an advance of 0.8 per cent, while the six-month average for employment growth was just 2,600 jobs, down from 16,300 in March.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who has long expressed concern over the sluggish job market, last week forecast the economy would return to full employment by 2016.

The labour participation rate, which is of particular interest to the central bank, fell to 65.8 per cent from 65.9 per cent in March. In December 2014 and January 2015 it had hit 65.7 per cent, the lowest since the 65.6 per cent recorded in July 2000.

The War on ISIS is a Farce

Nowhere in recent years have the contradictions of imperialism been so clear than in the West’s war against ISIS. Working people are bombarded with messages in the media of the worldwide threat of ISIS, with the aim of the messages to convince working people of the need to sacrifice their civil liberties and democratic freedoms to counter ISIS and to support more military interventions in the Middle East. If Barack Obama, David Cameron, Tony Abbot, and other Western leaders were truly interested in countering the threat of ISIS, perhaps they should follow Stephen Harper’s “strong leadership” by finding the nearest closet to lock themselves in.

The rise of ISIS has its origins in the illegal occupation of Iraq by the U.S., the U.K., and other Western forces in 2003, which caused the deaths of an estimated 5% of the Iraqi population. The Bush and Blair administrations falsely accused the Iraqi regime of harboring weapons of mass destructions, of supporting al-Qaeda, and of having some connection with the 9/11 attacks. What the public wasn’t informed of was that the Bush administration had plans to attack Iraq long before 9/11. What’s more, the U.S. facilitated the rise of Saddam’s regime, supplied it with weapons of mass destruction in its war against Iran, and unlike Saudi Arabia and other allies of the U.S. in the region, Iraq was a secular state that was violently opposed to the reactionary Islamist ideology of al-Qaeda. The war, if anything, was a boon for al-Qaeda, which was never active in Iraq before the U.S.-led occupation.

In 2011, the U.S., the U.K., France, Canada, and other Western imperialist states, along with their allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, allied themselves with militant Islamist organizations in Libya and Syria to overthrow the secular governments of Muammar al-Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad respectively.

Western imperialism invoked the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) doctrine to justify NATO airstrikes on Libya, killing thousands of civilians. Libya was the wealthiest and most stable country in Africa, with the continent’s highest standard of living and with universal healthcare and education for all its citizens, but in the aftermath of NATO’s humanitarian intervention, the country fell into a state of collapse as rival tribes and Islamist organizations battled to control the country’s wealth. Militant Islamists captured, brutally tortured, and murdered Gaddafi. The NATO intervention in Libya directly facilitated the breakaway of the Azawad and the rise of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali. Using the “war on terror” ruse the U.S., E.U., Canada, and other imperialist states have been actively supporting the Malian regime in its war against Tuareg autonomy and AQIM, which they earlier supported in Libya along with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Libya was virtually handed to al-Qaeda by NATO.

With their success in Libya, al-Qaeda and other Sunni Islamic militants quickly mobilized to overthrow the secular government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, where the failure of Western imperialism is eerily similar to Afghanistan from the late 1970s to the 1990s and, albeit on a much larger scale, to Libya.

The U.S. policy of supporting hostile Sunni insurgent groups laid the foundation for the rise of ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and nearly every single Sunni extremist group that has appeared in the last 40-50 years. In Afghanistan, to undermine the country’s 1978 socialist revolution and spread instability into Soviet Turkestan, U.S. imperialism with its allies in the Persian Gulf and in Pakistan supported militant Islamist groups that would later form the nucleus of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The policy of supporting Sunni insurgent groups was given a further impetus following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, where an anti-U.S., theocratic Shiite regime was established. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in 2007: “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

The Islamic State was formed in 2006 when al-Qaeda in Iraq merged with other Sunni insurgent organizations. The name was changed to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or Levant) (ISIS) in April 2013 after a second merger, this time between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front.

The U.S., the U.K., Canada, and other imperialist states, through their allies Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, have been supporting the “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels with hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons as well as setting up training camps and offering free medical treatment to injured fighters. The question that begs to be asked is how ISIS has managed to defeat the FSA despite hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from the West and its allies in the region?

You would have to be an absolute lunatic to believe that Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States, all absolute monarchies run by a small clique of corrupt Arab sheikhs that couldn’t be farther from an acceptable version of democracy, would support a moderate, democratic, and free Syrian organization. Even to the corporate media in the West it is no secret that these allies of the West fund reactionary Islamist organizations whose interests are antithetical to democracy. The Washington Post reported that “Qatar’s cultivation of African Islamists, principally Somalia’s al-Shabab insurgents, has…troubled the United States,” which is drone bombing Somalia in the name of the “war on terror.” Israel, the region’s “only democracy” we are told, itself supported Hamas to counter the influence of the secular Palestinian Liberation Organization in the 1980s.

These “moderate” FSA fighters that the U.S. and its allies support, if there really was an independent FSA, have en masse joined the ranks of ISIS. Dozens of outlets have detailed this fact. A Lebanese newspaper quoted an FSA commander as saying, “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and al-Nusra,” and Al-Jazeera reported in 2013 that “hundreds of fighters under the command of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) have reportedly switched allegiance to al-Qaeda-aligned groups.” The World Net Daily quoted Jordanian officials as saying that the rebels trained by U.S. instructors in Jordan have joined ISIS.

Furthermore there is overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are both directly and indirectly supporting ISIS. According to a source close to Iraqi intelligence, there is allegedly an ISIS training camp in Turkey that is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, where American personnel and equipment are located. NATO member Turkey is among the most staunch supporters of the rebels, a fact that an ISIS fighter detailed to the Jerusalem Post: “Turkey paved the way for us. Had Turkey not shown such understanding for us, the Islamic State would not be in its current place.”

Former Iraqi Prime Minister and current Vice-President Nouri al-Maliki publicly accused U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar of bankrolling ISIS. Kuwait, in particular, due to its weak financial laws, has become a financial and organizational hub for Syrian rebel groups. The Brooking’s Institute in Washington, D.C. reported “evidence that Kuwaiti donors have backed rebels who have committed atrocities and who are either directly linked to al-Qa’ida or cooperate with its affiliated brigades on the ground.”

Evidence exists of direct Israeli support for ISIS fighters. United Nations observers in the Golan Heights reported to the United Nations Security Council of direct contact between ISIS and Israel, including Israeli Defense Forces supplying ISIS with unmarked crates and offering medical treatment to wounded fighters. An Israeli officer spoke out in opposition to the U.S. war against ISIS, claiming that in fighting ISIS the U.S. is strengthening what Israel perceives as the real threat, the Shiite alliance of Hezbollah and Iran.

Finally nearly all of the aid provided to the “moderate” rebels has been captured or sent to ISIS. It wasn’t long after the Washington Post reported that aid from the CIA and the State Department, which included dozens of Toyota pickup trucks, were being delivered to rebels on the Turkish-Syria border that the iconic photo of ISIS militants in a convoy of Toyota pickup trucks invading northern Iraq became public. Less than four months after Obama pledged $500 million in weapons and aid to the FSA rebels, ISIS had acquired the same amount of weapons from the FSA; a Syrian fighter told Al-Quds al-Arabi that much of the aid was sold to unknown parties in Turkey and Iraq. Don’t forget about the repeated “accidental” weapon drops by the U.S. in ISIS-controlled territory!

The war against ISIS in the Middle East by Western imperialism is a farce. ISIS has and continues to dutifully serve Western and Israeli imperialist interests in the Middle East, causing chaos in formerly staunch anti-imperialist states that had the strength to oppose Israel, and creating a force capable of countering Iranian influence.

The reason ISIS is now a “threat” is that Western imperialism, in failing to topple the Syrian government, requires a new pretext to continue its aggressive military interventions in the Middle East, in particular to weaken Syria and the Shiite leadership of Iraq for an attack on Iran. If defeating ISIS was the real objective, the Western powers would form an alliance with Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, which have relentlessly battled ISIS on the ground, not with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.

Working people need to realize that the real threat to the world isn’t ISIS, Iran, or Syria, it is Western imperialism.