Canada: The People's Summit in Toronto - Workers and youth get ready to take on the capitalist G20

Hundreds of workers, activists, youth, trade unionists, and students gathered this past weekend at Toronto’s Ryerson University to organize “The 2010’s People’s Summit: Building a movement for a just world.” Aside from the scores of workshops, the summit was aimed at organizing the week-long series of events and demonstrations against the G20 summit in the city, culminating with the giant rally at Queen’s Park on 26th June.

The atmosphere at the summit demonstrated that there is a new sense of militancy and activism within the youth and that they are ready to take on the capitalist summit as it comes to the city. The Marxists of Fightback were fully involved in the People’s Summit. Our comrades were present at all three days of the summit, and also organized two separate workshops—one about the revolutionary movements in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America (done in conjunction with Hands Off Venezuela), and one on the Iranian Revolution (co-organized with the Afghan-Iranian Youth Network). In addition, the comrades also participated and intervened in a number of other workshops where they had an opportunity to be part of the discussion, as well as connected with activists and youth from different backgrounds.

Latin America, forefront of the global revolution

An overflow crowd filled a classroom early on the Saturday morning to listen to the workshop on “Latin America versus the G20.” There has been a fight against imperialism and capitalism around the world, but this has been expressed in its highest, and most organized, fashion in the countries of Latin America. It was with this perspective that Fightback, Hands Off Venezuela, the Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel, and Latin@s (The Council of Latin American Women in Canada) organized this workshop, to demonstrate the fight back against the types of policies pursued by the imperialist countries of the G20.

Camilo Cahis, a member of Fightback’s editorial board and an HOV activist, spoke about his recent trip to Venezuela. Camilo talked about the revolutionary movement that has occupied factories there, as well as the advances made by the Venezuelan government. This is contrast with the imperialist governments that have attacked the working class and cut back benefits, wages, and services to an extreme degree, and are now using the capitalist crisis as a further excuse to extend and deepen these attacks.

The revolutionary governments of countries like Bolivia and Venezuela are a huge threat to imperialism. Aside from the threats to imperialist interests in these countries, the bigger danger is that they can serve as an inspiration for the workers’ movements within the imperialist countries themselves. We are seeing all sorts of manoeuvres and mobilizations against Latin America in the current period, including the overthrow of the Zelaya government in Honduras last year, the militarization of the continent by the United States, and even the Canadian free-trade agreement with Colombia and the Canadian government’s investigation of so-called “human rights violations” in Venezuela. Camilo stressed the need for organizing against the threat and also taking a page from the positive alternative of the revolutionary people of the region in “bringing the revolution, home.”

Even though this meeting happened early morning on Saturday, the room was filled with people who were very interested in building a solidarity movement with the Latin American revolution and a good discussion happened afterwards.

The anti-war movement and the rise of revolution in Iran

Workshop on Iran.Workshop on Iran. Later on the Saturday, Fightback, together with the Afghan-Iranian Youth Network, organized a workshop titled, “Iran: From Military Threat to Revolution.” Arash Azizi and Farshad Azadian talked about the need for the anti-war movement to stand firmly against the threat of military attacks and economic sanctions on Iran, but also build solidarity with the revolution that is wrecking havoc, not only on the mullahs’ regime, but also with the imperialists’ agenda in the region.

Arash and Farshad talked about the anti-imperialist implications of the revolution in Iran and how the Islamic Republic, far from being an “anti-imperialist” state, was actually created by the aid of the imperialists, who were worried about the leftist and anti-imperialist turn of the 1979 revolution. A perspective of a leftist, socialist Iran was pointed out: an Iran that could finish with the madness of political Islam and be a beacon of hope for people throughout the region and beyond. It was also stressed that there was a real need for a solidarity movement that not only gives support to the revolution in Iran, but also learns from its lessons for the struggle back home.

As with our workshop in the morning, we had a room filled with people and youth from all different backgrounds, including a number of those from Iranian origin who came in to discuss about the perspectives of revolution in Iran.

Lack of perspectives

In the discussion on Iran, it was pointed out that lack of leadership and organization is a major obstacle to the Iranian Revolution. But it could have been added that Iran is not the only place where movement is suffering from lack of a leadership that could arm it with correct perspectives.

During the three days of summit, it was evident that there is a lot of confusion about what sort of movement should we build against the G20 and their system. It is great for organizations and campaigns from different backgrounds to come together and fight for a common goal, but, after all, there should be a “common goal” for that to happen. Looking at a list of participants and events that were presented at the summit, we could see a total lack of perspectives. We need to build a movement that understands capitalism as the root of the world’s problems, and relies on the working class as the lead force that can change this system and bring it down. Unfortunately, too many of the groups present ignore this and focus on things such as the effects of capitalism on animals, but not people!

For a lot of us, the most frustrating day of the summit was the opening night gala on Friday evening. Close to 1,000 people gathered and we expected an energetic launch to the summit, ready to take on the G20. However, the list of invited speakers and guests were lacking, with most being NGO bureaucrats or academics who represent nobody but a desk and a job. To our astonishment, there was hardly any mention of revolutionary movements from around the world who are challenging the G20’s agenda, something that can serve to inspire the workers’ movement here at home. It is ironic that in a world burning with revolutionary or pre-revolutionary movements from Latin America to Iran to Greece to Nepal to Thailand, no talk of such struggles was mentioned.

Given the anger and need to get rid of these institutions, we need to clear these confusions. We need to identify the capitalist system as the root cause of everything that is wrong in the world. Every radical and militant should be in the mass organizations of the working class, connecting with the mass of workers and youth, and providing leadership to their aspirations for a better, socialist society.

Fight back against the G20!

Workshop on Iran.Workshop on Iran. Later on the Saturday, Fightback, together with the Afghan-Iranian Youth Network, organized a workshop titled, “Iran: From Military Threat to Revolution.” Arash Azizi and Farshad Azadian talked about the need for the anti-war movement to stand firmly against the threat of military attacks and economic sanctions on Iran, but also build solidarity with the revolution that is wrecking havoc, not only on the mullahs’ regime, but also with the imperialists’ agenda in the region.

Arash and Farshad talked about the anti-imperialist implications of the revolution in Iran and how the Islamic Republic, far from being an “anti-imperialist” state, was actually created by the aid of the imperialists, who were worried about the leftist and anti-imperialist turn of the 1979 revolution. A perspective of a leftist, socialist Iran was pointed out: an Iran that could finish with the madness of political Islam and be a beacon of hope for people throughout the region and beyond. It was also stressed that there was a real need for a solidarity movement that not only gives support to the revolution in Iran, but also learns from its lessons for the struggle back home.

As with our workshop in the morning, we had a room filled with people and youth from all different backgrounds, including a number of those from Iranian origin who came in to discuss about the perspectives of revolution in Iran.

Lack of perspectives

In the discussion on Iran, it was pointed out that lack of leadership and organization is a major obstacle to the Iranian Revolution. But it could have been added that Iran is not the only place where movement is suffering from lack of a leadership that could arm it with correct perspectives.

During the three days of summit, it was evident that there is a lot of confusion about what sort of movement should we build against the G20 and their system. It is great for organizations and campaigns from different backgrounds to come together and fight for a common goal, but, after all, there should be a “common goal” for that to happen. Looking at a list of participants and events that were presented at the summit, we could see a total lack of perspectives. We need to build a movement that understands capitalism as the root of the world’s problems, and relies on the working class as the lead force that can change this system and bring it down. Unfortunately, too many of the groups present ignore this and focus on things such as the effects of capitalism on animals, but not people!

For a lot of us, the most frustrating day of the summit was the opening night gala on Friday evening. Close to 1,000 people gathered and we expected an energetic launch to the summit, ready to take on the G20. However, the list of invited speakers and guests were lacking, with most being NGO bureaucrats or academics who represent nobody but a desk and a job. To our astonishment, there was hardly any mention of revolutionary movements from around the world who are challenging the G20’s agenda, something that can serve to inspire the workers’ movement here at home. It is ironic that in a world burning with revolutionary or pre-revolutionary movements from Latin America to Iran to Greece to Nepal to Thailand, no talk of such struggles was mentioned.

Given the anger and need to get rid of these institutions, we need to clear these confusions. We need to identify the capitalist system as the root cause of everything that is wrong in the world. Every radical and militant should be in the mass organizations of the working class, connecting with the mass of workers and youth, and providing leadership to their aspirations for a better, socialist society.

Fight back against the G20!

Workshop on Iran.Workshop on Iran. Later on the Saturday, Fightback, together with the Afghan-Iranian Youth Network, organized a workshop titled, “Iran: From Military Threat to Revolution.” Arash Azizi and Farshad Azadian talked about the need for the anti-war movement to stand firmly against the threat of military attacks and economic sanctions on Iran, but also build solidarity with the revolution that is wrecking havoc, not only on the mullahs’ regime, but also with the imperialists’ agenda in the region.

Arash and Farshad talked about the anti-imperialist implications of the revolution in Iran and how the Islamic Republic, far from being an “anti-imperialist” state, was actually created by the aid of the imperialists, who were worried about the leftist and anti-imperialist turn of the 1979 revolution. A perspective of a leftist, socialist Iran was pointed out: an Iran that could finish with the madness of political Islam and be a beacon of hope for people throughout the region and beyond. It was also stressed that there was a real need for a solidarity movement that not only gives support to the revolution in Iran, but also learns from its lessons for the struggle back home.

As with our workshop in the morning, we had a room filled with people and youth from all different backgrounds, including a number of those from Iranian origin who came in to discuss about the perspectives of revolution in Iran.

Lack of perspectives

In the discussion on Iran, it was pointed out that lack of leadership and organization is a major obstacle to the Iranian Revolution. But it could have been added that Iran is not the only place where movement is suffering from lack of a leadership that could arm it with correct perspectives.

During the three days of summit, it was evident that there is a lot of confusion about what sort of movement should we build against the G20 and their system. It is great for organizations and campaigns from different backgrounds to come together and fight for a common goal, but, after all, there should be a “common goal” for that to happen. Looking at a list of participants and events that were presented at the summit, we could see a total lack of perspectives. We need to build a movement that understands capitalism as the root of the world’s problems, and relies on the working class as the lead force that can change this system and bring it down. Unfortunately, too many of the groups present ignore this and focus on things such as the effects of capitalism on animals, but not people!

For a lot of us, the most frustrating day of the summit was the opening night gala on Friday evening. Close to 1,000 people gathered and we expected an energetic launch to the summit, ready to take on the G20. However, the list of invited speakers and guests were lacking, with most being NGO bureaucrats or academics who represent nobody but a desk and a job. To our astonishment, there was hardly any mention of revolutionary movements from around the world who are challenging the G20’s agenda, something that can serve to inspire the workers’ movement here at home. It is ironic that in a world burning with revolutionary or pre-revolutionary movements from Latin America to Iran to Greece to Nepal to Thailand, no talk of such struggles was mentioned.

Given the anger and need to get rid of these institutions, we need to clear these confusions. We need to identify the capitalist system as the root cause of everything that is wrong in the world. Every radical and militant should be in the mass organizations of the working class, connecting with the mass of workers and youth, and providing leadership to their aspirations for a better, socialist society.

Fight back against the G20!

Despite all these shortcomings, the mood at the end of the summit on Sunday was one of militancy and activism, as everyone went over all of the actions planned for the current week and the logistical issues of the G20 protests—everything from how to counter the police tear gas and sound cannons to what to do if you are arrested.

Everyone left the summit, determined to make this a memorable week of actions and demonstrations that brings more radicalized youth to the movement; youth who will stay in the movement to continue long after the G20 has left this city.

The Marxists of Fightback will be involved in the fight back against the G20 every step of the way. We want to use this opportunity to talk about the real roots of this rotten system that we live under, and how we can go about building a socialist alternative to the capitalist bodies that oppress us at every turn. Come join us at our tent and literature stall at the G20 protests at Queen’s Park (Toronto) this coming Saturday (26th June), as well as our public meeting that evening on building a socialist alternative to the G20 at the Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E.) at 7pm, and join the fight against capitalism!

Source: Fightback (Canada)