Issued by the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, June 2010
On the eve of the G8/G20 meetings, mass labour and democratic mobilizations are building in Southern Ontario and across Canada to protest this wasteful, security-obsessed extravaganza. The Communist Party of Canada salutes this resistance and takes its rightful place alongside workers, students, women, Aboriginal peoples and social activists in denouncing these summits which aim to hammer out a strategic line among the ruling imperialist states and international finance capital on how best to advance their shared interests, and then present their agenda as a fait accompli to the world’s peoples.
This set of G-summits is particularly important because global capitalism continues to be mired in a profound economic and structural crisis, notwithstanding the soothing media reports that the ‘worst is behind us’ and that recovery is well under way. Saving capitalism and restoring profit margins are the main concerns of these ‘leaders’, rather than solving the burning problems afflicting the world today. That is why issues like climate change, the world food crisis, ending wars of occupation and rampaging military spending, and the worsening problem of “under-development”, especially in Africa, have all be swept off the agenda of the G8/G20 meetings.
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney admitted as much this June when he declared that the Summits must focus attention on the continuing crisis, especially in Europe, which has had a serious “impact on financial conditions … [and] it’s not over.” He then parroted the World Bank which earlier raised the possibility of a “second recession affecting most of the industrialized world if governments don’t deal successfully with the unfolding European debt crisis.”
In fact, the leading imperialist countries, including Canada, want to use the Summits to showcase their determination to impose further social and economic austerity on all states and peoples, as the only viable solution to overcome the crisis. But this is a false ‘international consensus” – one that serves the interests of finance capital, but which consigns the vast majority of the world’s working class and oppressed peoples to even more hardship and suffering.
In Europe, the Austerity agenda pushed by the European Union brass and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already having a devastating effect, especially on public sector workers, youth, and pensioners. Minimum wages are being slashed, social programs cut, and the retirement age extended for workers.
But this savage attack is being met by heroic resistance across the European continent, especially in Greece and Portugal where the left, Communist-led unions and popular movements are mounting escalating general strikes and other forms of mass resistance to fightback against this anti-social onslaught of Big Capital and its governments.
In Canada, we need to replicate the kind of militancy building in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere around the world. The right-wing Harper government and their pro-corporate provincial counterparts (both Conservative and Liberal) are also moving to deepen the assault on workers’ conditions, social programs, and democratic and equity rights. And they will succeed in pushing through these reactionary ‘reforms’, unless the labour and people’s forces move quickly to mount a militant, coordinated, Canada-wide counter-attack.
This is such a progressive alternative to this reactionary, pro-capitalist ‘solution’, but it must go beyond, palliative demands to soften the impact. It must include sweeping measures which challenge the dominance of monopoly capital, such as the nationalization of the banks, the big energy monopolies, and other key sectors of our economy. These steps need to be combined with social measures like expanding access to healthcare, public and post-secondary education, raising the minimum wage to $16/hour, reducing the workweek with no loss in take-home pay, and improving public pensions. And with sweeping tax reform which would shift the burden from working people onto the corporations and the wealthy, and with an immediate withdrawal from the disastrous war of occupation in Afghanistan, along with a 50% cut in military spending which would save another $10 billion every year.
As we state in our May Day 2010 statement, “the big monopolies and banks want to make working people pay for the economic recovery through lower wages, higher unemployment, and huge cuts in social spending. We say: those who reap billions in profits must pay! Unite and fight for a fundamentally new direction, placing the needs of working people and our environment before corporate greed, [and for policies] based on peace and disarmament!”