Farshad Azadian and Rashin Alizadeh are the co-chairs of the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) and have written this in their personal capacity. Please also see Fightback's original call-out for support of the #Occupy movement across Canada.
On Friday, 7th October, over 300 people attended the #OccupyToronto General Assembly to begin preparation for the main #OccupyToronto demonstration on 15th October, planned to be held in the heart of Toronto’s financial district.
Echoing the Wall Street protests in the United States, young people in Toronto are joining together to mobilize against the agenda of the financial oligarchs. In only the last couple of days, over 15,000 have taken to the streets to demonstrate against Wall Street. These thousands include nurses, teachers, transit workers, and other trade unionists. The importance of participation from workers, and more specifically from organized labour, cannot be overemphasized.
As the sentiment of these protests begins to resonate with people all over the world, one thing is being made abundantly clear: people will no longer accept the miserable status quo that the capitalist system forces on them. They refuse to accept rising poverty, unemployment, student debt, privatization, and the gutting of social services.
Revolutionary struggle is erupting everywhere in the world, from the Arab spring, to the strike waves and mass movements in Europe, to protests on Bay Street and Wall Street. The common denominator in all of these movements is the refusal to accept the dictatorship of the rich.
As socialists participating in the #OccupyToronto movement, we must remind our fellow activists of the importance of welcoming the labour movement into the movement. In making our struggle a collective one, we only gain strength. As such, we must ally with, and appeal to, our union sisters and brothers. The power of organized labour can paralyze the economy and actually challenge the corporate domination of our society.
Historically, as youth and students, we tend to move first. Being more sensitive to social problems, we tend to anticipate broader movement in society. But today, the fact is that it is no longer just young people who are feeling the pain of the economic crisis. Even the supposed “middle class”, made up mostly of unionized workers, is seeing its standard of living rapidly fall. #OccupyToronto must speak to their issues. Let’s use this rally to spark a mass working class movement.
Let us invite Toronto public sector unions — currently facing some of the worst attacks — to join in on the struggle against the Bay Street bankers. Let us invite local labour councils and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) to organize with us. In doing so, our united opposition against the agenda of austerity we are facing will be strengthened. We appeal to our fellow workers — garbage collectors, teachers, nurses, postal workers, transit workers, steelworkers, librarians, city staff, and hotel workers — to join us on October 15. United, the power of labour can win the fight against austerity!
We are the majority. The burden of the world crisis in capitalism is being placed on our back. We did not cause the crisis. We refuse to pay for a crisis caused by a tiny minority in our society. We will not accept the inexcusable inequalities in our society. We challenge the disparity (which continues to grow) between rich and poor, and the political domination of the rich. This necessarily means addressing the root of the problem — we must challenge capitalism.
We will not accept the bankers’ domination of our economy and the future of our society. We must take power out of their hands and put it into the hands of the people. We must disarm the Bay Street capitalists. The socialists in the #OccupyToronto movement declare that we, the 99%, must take control of our society. Nationalize the banks! Nationalize the big corporations!
By putting the banks and corporations under the direct democratic control of the people, we can run the enormously productive and advanced Canadian economy on the basis of human need instead of the obscene profits of a tiny minority. The enormous wealth of our society should be used to solve our pressing needs for housing, healthcare, education, well-paying employment, and childcare
Let us direct our burning indignation against this global system of capitalist inequality. Let our movement transform society to one based on genuine democracy, justice, and economic equality. That is, to transform our society into a socialist one.
Fight corporate control of Canadian society! Nationalize the banks!
For workers’ democratic control of the economy!
Ally with workers and the labour movement — bring them into the struggle!