Saturday, April 02, 2011

From Spartacist Canada-Students Must Ally With the Working Class

Markin comment:

I have been placing posts that link the current world-wide student struggles over budgets issues, war, democracy, etc. up with the working class struggle. One of the great lessons learned from the 1960s anti-war struggles was just this point. Learn it students, youths, and, yes, old-timey radicals too!

Spartacist Canada No. 168
Spring 2011

Students Must Ally With the Working Class

SYC Speaker at Toronto Holiday Appeal

(Young Spartacus pages)

The following speech was given by comrade Orlando Martin of the Toronto Spartacus Youth Club at the January 28 Holiday Appeal for Class-War Prisoners in Toronto. It has been slightly edited for publication.

There is a video circulating online of one of many instances of state repression during the G20 summit in Toronto. In it, after forcefully grabbing a young protester, a cop demands to search his backpack. The protester, innocently expecting better treatment, says that as a Canadian, he has the right to refuse the search. So the cop simply says, “This ain’t Canada right now.”

What is Canada but a capitalist state and, as such, a dictatorship of the capitalist class against the working class, against the oppressed, and against anybody who dares to oppose capitalism? The G20 events were just one more example of what the Canadian capitalist state really is. The arrest of 1,100 people, the cop violence, the racist abuse of minorities, the singling out of Québécois protesters, the humiliation of women, gays and lesbians as well as the threats of rape perfectly mirror the racism, chauvinist oppression and violence that are integral to capitalist society, here in Canada and in every capitalist country.

Comrade V.I. Lenin, the great leader of the Russian Revolution, explained in The State and Revolution that “the state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms.” Its aim is the creation of “order,” which legalizes and perpetuates the oppression of one class by another. Against every other so-called Marxist or leftist group that explicitly or implicitly calls to reform the capitalist state, we emphasize that the working class needs to smash it.

A year has gone by since our last Holiday Appeal—another year of police brutality and repression against leftists. Two years ago the cops killed Fredy Villanueva in Montreal. Last year in Toronto, Junior Manon, an 18-year-old Latino youth, was brutally killed after being stopped by cops for a minor traffic offence. As expected, the Ontario Special Investigations Unit has cleared all officers of any wrongdoing. While minority youth are outraged and demand justice, they need to understand that capitalism cannot deliver justice to the working class and oppressed. Calls to jail killer cops, for the community to control the police, or for independent public inquiries, fool the working class into thinking that the capitalist state can be reformed. Even if these calls were realized they would do nothing to end the police violence that is endemic to capitalism. Junior Manon and other victims of racist cop terror will only get justice when the working class overthrows capitalism.

And then there is the brutal police violence against anti-G20 protesters in Toronto last year. What did the left do in response? Jack Layton, speaking of the smashed windows, railed that “the vandalism is criminal and totally unacceptable.” The radical liberal Naomi Klein called on the cops to “do your goddamn job,” which of course means more police brutality. And how about the fake-Marxists? Here is one example: the group Fightback, which claims to be the Marxist voice of labour and youth and also claims that cops are “workers in uniform,” ran an event on June 30 that featured speakers who actually praised the cops!

Let me tell you what we did. A day after the mass arrests, on June 28, we wrote and widely circulated a protest statement that denounced in the strongest terms the brutal police violence unleashed on protesters and defended all victims of state repression, including the anarchists in the Black Bloc, despite political differences (see “Protest Mass Arrests of G20 Protesters!” SC No. 166, Fall 2010). We wrote: “An injury to one is an injury to all! Free all the protesters—Drop the charges!” This is what Marxists do, and what non-sectarian defense work means.

While smashing bank windows and burning police cars are not crimes from the standpoint of the working class, such isolated acts are counterposed to the Marxist fight to mobilize the social power of a class-conscious proletariat to sweep away capitalism. At bottom, anarchism is a form of radical democratic idealism and has proven to be a class-collaborationist obstacle to the liberation of the oppressed.

State repression against G20 leftists was vivid at the University of Toronto campus. During a major raid on the U of T Graduate Student Union building, at least 50 G20 protesters from Quebec were arrested. Last September, political science student and activist Jaroslava Avila was arrested by ten plainclothes cops on campus. These arrests underline the Spartacus Youth Club’s call to get cops off campus and the necessity for young radicals to take up this demand.

What did the left on campus do after the G20 mass arrests? At the annual Clubs Fair, the U of T student bureaucrats allowed cops to have a table as if nothing had happened a few weeks before. What did we do? As soon as we saw this, we made a placard on the spot that read: “The SYC Says: Cops Off Campus!” We went right in front of the tables of the NDP and the reformists, denounced them for their faith in the capitalist state and sloganeered against state repression. The student bureaucrats and Ontario Public Interest Research Group organized a little rally the month after to appeal to the university administration to renounce the cop presence. The reality is that universities under capitalism are class-biased institutions that play a role that serves the interests of capital, not the interests of workers and the oppressed. No appeal to the administration is going to stop the repression of activists on campus. We call to abolish the administration! For student/teacher/worker control of the universities! Free, quality education for all requires the overthrow of capitalism through a workers revolution.

The Spartacus Youth Club also protests the witchhunting, censorship and repeated intimidation of pro-Palestinian students on campuses. Recently, our comrades in Vancouver issued a protest statement against a vicious campaign by Zionists and student bureaucrats to vilify defenders of Palestinians as “terrorists” and “anti-Semites” (see “Down With Anti-Palestinian Witchhunt at UBC!” page 6). Each spring, organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week also face smears of “anti-Semitism.” We say, Defend the Palestinians! Hands off their supporters!

Our message to the youth is to use their fighting spirit to ally with the working class, the only class able to emancipate itself and all the oppressed. Students by themselves cannot change the material conditions that create their oppression but the working class has the objective interest and power to overthrow capitalism.

In order to build the next Bolshevik party that will smash the capitalist state, end racist cop terror and open the road to an egalitarian communist future, we in the Spartacus Youth Club seek to win a new generation of youth to the fight for world socialist revolution. We are the training ground for future revolutionaries. Join us and be part of the struggle!

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