Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

November 21, 2013

GREETINGS TO OFL DELEGATES, People's Voice Editorial, (Nov 16-30, 2013, issue of People's Voice)

The Ontario Federation of Labour convention this month will be an important moment in the anti-austerity fightback by the labour movement and its allies across Canada. We send warm greetings of solidarity to all OFL delegates as they debate the way forward for labour under difficult circumstances.

            Around the world, workers have been under serious attack by big capital ever since the neoliberal offensive began over thirty years ago. Today, this attack is becoming even more aggressive. In response, workers in this country have waged significant and often bitter struggles: the Canada Post and Air Canada disputes; the battles by Caterpillar workers in London, Hamilton steelworkers, and aluminum smelter workers at Rio Tinto Alcan in Alma, Québec; the struggle in Ontario against attacks on collective bargaining rights; and mass protests against EI cuts by workers in Québec and Atlantic Canada, among many others.

            Given determined leadership and militant class solidarity, workers are capable of fighting and winning. But the overall state of labour's fightback has been insufficient, especially at the level of the Canadian Labour Congress.

            In this context, positive fightback responses are crucial, such as the Common Front backed by the OFL leadership under Sid Ryan. Such initiatives show that stronger labour resistance can be built against the corporate offensive, winning broad support from community allies. Militant tactics and coalition-building can move labour towards a fighting strategy to block the right‑wing agenda, and onto the counter‑offensive. As the Harper Tories gear up to smash the right to strike in the federal public sector, this is no time to retreat. We are confident that the OFL delegates will meet the challenge to help build a more powerful labour fightback!


(The above article is from the November 16-30, 2013, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)

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