The Young Communist League of Canada extends greetings of solidarity to the working people of Canada, and especially to young workers, on May 1st – International Workers Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when police opened fire on workers protesting for an eight hour working day.
Today young workers must consider what kind of future is offered to them by our current capitalist socio-economic system.
Late last year, youth unemployment hit a 30 year high. While media reports trumpet “economic recovery,” in reality there is recovery for the capitalists but not for the vast majority of youth, women, aboriginal peoples, and workers. Unemployment remains high and those jobs which do exist are increasingly “McJobs” with minimal pay, no benefits or job security, and part time or casual hours. The process of deindustrialization is worsening this situation rapidly, while eroding Canadian sovereignty. Major ecological problems, especially global warming, are getting worse. And if the solution gets in the way of the drive for profits, it is not considered.
To the unemployed and underemployed youth, the government offers no jobs except the dangerous lure of military recruitment for education or a career. Canadian involvement in the disastrous imperialist occupation of Afghanistan has cost well over $18 billion dollars while Canada’s military budget is expected to run over $21 billion this year alone. 142 Canadian soldiers have died as have well over 32,000 Afghans. War is no solution to the problems faced by young workers.
Meanwhile, Federal and Provincial governments continue to carry out an all-out offensive on working and living conditions at the behests of their corporate masters. The recent Harper budget is a case-in-point. The Harper Conservative budget, passed with the complicity of the Liberals, provides for more of the same – tax breaks for the rich, and more spending on war, while cutting social programs, and ignoring the need for spending on education, environmental protection, job creation and other needs of working people.
All this part of a general offensive of capitalism against the interests of the working class, aimed at maximizing profits and salvaging this decrepit and crisis-ridden system through imperialist adventures abroad, lowering of working and living conditions at home, and eliminating the hard won victories of the past. In other words, this is an offensive against the future of the youth.
As in 1886, today the only path forward is struggle. All other paths lead only to an ever-worsening future for the country, and the world, that today’s youth will inherit. We salute the struggle of workers and students in Quebec, where protests have sprung up against the reactionary Charest Liberal budget, including one demo of 75,00 workers and another of 15,000 people including many students. We support the growing demand for a general strike. We stand in solidarity with workers who are fighting for their livelihood, such as the Sudbury Steelworkers who are defending their jobs from the union breaking efforts of Vale Inco. We note the efforts of young workers who have fought in campaigns for increased minimum wages, better on the job safety, and more.
What is needed is to unite all the various threads of resistance against the anti-worker offensive, to defeat it, and to reverse it in order to go on the offensive for progressive reforms which will benefit the working class including young workers.
Ultimately, we stand firm in our analysis that the capitalist system cannot be made to serve the interests of working people. It cannot cherish nature. Only socialism, a system in which the working people hold all economic and political power, can provide a real future for youth and students in Canada and the world. This is the future we fight for.
Jobs not bombs!
People not profits!
The youth are the future, the future is socialism!