Stories we are covering
Reports, analysis, and stories from the struggle of the Cuban people to defend and build their socialist revolution.
The Quebec Student Strike
The story of the biggest student mobilization in Canadian history as it unfolds.
The Class Struggle in Greece
Reporting the viewpoint of the Communist Youth and the Communist Party of Greece for a People's Greece.
The youth movement
Statements and analysis about the way forward for the youth and student movement in Canada today by the YCL-LJC.
Reflections on how to build a better world from a Leninist point of view.
People's Weekly World Newspaper,
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — The Organization of American States voted Wednesday to revoke the 1962 measure suspending communist Cuba, overturning a landmark of the Cold War in the hemisphere.
"The Cold War has ended this day in San Pedro Sula," said Honduran President Manuel Zelaya immediately following the announcement. "We begin a new era of fraternity and tolerance."
The action doesn't mean Cuba will return to the 34-member body that helps coordinate policies and mediates disputes throughout the Americas.
Cuban officials have repeatedly insisted they have no interest in returning to an organization they consider a tool of the United States.
If Cuba changes its mind, the agreement calls for "a process of dialogue" in line with the OAS' "practices, proposals and principles" — a veiled allusion to agreements on human rights and democracy.
"This is a moment of rejoicing for all of Latin America," Ecuador's Foreign Minister Fander Falconi told reporters after the session.
The decision was taken by consensus, meaning the United States accepted it, though Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had lobbied personally for requiring Cuba to make democratic reforms and improve respect for human rights.
The decision seemed to catch State Department officials in Washington off guard.
Spokesman P.J. Crowley, briefing reporters before the vote, said an agreement Wednesday was unlikely and he called that "a clear sign of how the president's approach to relations in the Americas is paying dividends."
He said the main support from Cuba's return came from "countries like Nicaragua and Venezuela; they're the ones who have been trapped in the past" while the United States was celebrating "that the OAS is, in fact, a community of democracies."
Clinton herself left the meeting before the final vote, saying that the organization had been unable to reach consensus on Cuba.
The meetings dragged on so long Tuesday night that she did not even have time to deliver a prepared speech of 1,500 words before flying out of Honduras to join U.S. President Barack Obama in Egypt.
The U.S. won Cuba's suspension from the hemispheric body in 1962 as Fidel Castro's government veered into the Soviet bloc at a moment of intense global tension.
But in recent years, with the Cold War fading and left-of-center governments spreading in the Americas, Cuba's isolation melted away. Every country in the hemisphere except for the United States has re-established relations with Cuba and the U.S. embargo of Cuba is deeply unpopular throughout the region.
Membership in the OAS gives a country a voice in hemispheric agreements on major issues. The OAS has often tried to mediate solutions to political conflicts and it has offshoots that coordinate health policies and protect human rights.
Cuba's government, has repeatedly said it has no interest in returning to the 34-member organization, which it calls a tool of the United States.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote in state newspapers on Wednesday that OAS should not exist and historically has "opened the doors to the Trojan horse" — the U.S. — to wreak havoc in Latin America.
The Obama administration has hoped its recent overtures to the Cuban government would overcome widespread resentment in the Americas over Washington's long history of isolating Havana.
U.S. officials have lifted restrictions on money transfers and travel to the island by Americans with family there and are resuming long-stalled immigration and postal service talks.
In her prepared statement for Tuesday's closed session, Clinton acknowledged that "in the past, the U.S. has sometimes taken a counterproductive approach to domestic affairs within the hemisphere that created mistrust and suspicion," according to a copy given to reporters.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said the United States is continuing to use the OAS as "an instrument of domination" and that Cuba's suspension was due to the support of former conservative Latin American dictators who were "used by the Yankees."
At a news conference the Sandinista leader accused the Obama administration of being no different from previous administrations. "The president has changed, but not American policy," Ortega said.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
From Peoples Voice newspaper
One of the contentious resolutions at last month’s Canadian Federation of Students general meeting condemned the recent massacre of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. After this debate, what is new and significant in the Canadian student movement?
Of course, context is needed. The CFS is the most numerically significant component of the Canadian student movement, although it excludes the two militant student organizations in Quebec with tens of thousands of members. It also excludes the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), deliberately engineered as right-wing split over a decade ago.
The CFS is potentially the ‘tip of the spear’ of the student fight back, especially in English-speaking Canada. The CFS meeting therefore had great significance, not least with today’s Harper Tory government attacking public funding public post-secondary education.
To most young people, the CFS meeting was invisible. We can hold the corporate media primarily responsible for that. But many progressive youth and students are starting to wonder: who is to blame for the absence of loud and proud protest on a cross-Canada level against the escalating tuition fee crisis?
To be sure, the CFS will be campaigning in the upcoming Federal election – presumably evaluating platforms. And if Harper’s term in office wasn’t enough to convince youth that elections are significant, just look at how elections has framed the tuition fight-back in Ontario, BC, Manitoba and now Nova Scotia.
Last year’s CFS federal election campaign was half-baked – leaflets delivered too late, strategy not thought-out, Greens rated perhaps too harshly (and the Communists, who advocate for tuition fee elimination, omitted). That criticism was raised at the last CFS meeting. Now, apparently, things will be different. But if you can’t vote, either because you are too young or not a citizen, what’s the appeal?
And is this tactic sufficient?
Frankly, the answer is no. Yet reflection on the student fight back can not start and end with a discussion of tactics alone, or calls for ‘a diversity of tactics.’ Of course I agree that, to borrow the title of one progressive student publication, we must be ‘Upping the Anti.’ But beyond activist hipster phrases, there is a concrete problem: can meaningful parliamentary advance be achieved without the people's mass action?
Look at Manitoba: the NDP campaigned for a tuition freeze, but is implementing an increase. Currently in Nova Scotia’s elections the NDP is only campaigning on tax credits to address student debt! Students can’t rely on their friends in a political party and privately hope they’ll be the engine to bring our train home.
Having not had a major cross-Canada ‘day of action’ in several years, it’s a fair question to ask if the student movement isn’t dangerously shifting towards a latent rather than a active force.
That brings us back to Sri Lanka.
Not that the resolution was mistaken; rather, it was congruent with the CFS’s deeper commitment to the peace movement. The parochial claim that internationalism is somehow in conflict with ‘bread and butter’ struggles flies against solidarity and all its cardinal principles. Ultimately, we share the same oppressors in the form of imperialism.
But if mass action and mobilization for the right to accessible education are neglected, reactionary forces within and outside the student movement will have another cleavage to exploit and furrow into division. There’s historical precedent here. During the Vietnam war the Canadian Union of Students, the CFS’s predecessor, imploded – largely for not balancing an agenda of anti-imperialist solidarity work with the more immediate concerns of members.
Access to education could be the campus issue that “electrifies the third rail.” This is already the main dynamo inside the student movement, one that can be neglected but never turned off. Once a force is in motion it won’t spontaneously stop; but nor will it necessarily move in the strongest way.
Unity is a struggle. Some on the left sidelines also might be inclined to slag the student leadership as reformist social democratic careerists, call for a “real” fightback, and quietly wash their hands of participation in reduce tuition campaigns.
It would be as mistaken to deny these weaknesses within the student movement as to claim this is the central problem. Student activists have a choice: slide towards advocacy, or fuel up a militant Canada-wide campaign, with allies like labour, peoples forces, and parents – for ultimately our demand is raising living standards of the people as a whole.
Maybe you had a classroom pet in your early school days. Well, for the YCL maybe these lab rats in this film should be our official classroom pets. Now, I can't vouch for the proper use of a scientific method, but still, this film is interesting in how a social situation is induced in these rats. The term "rat race" is very literal here as the worker rat runs back and forth only to find its food gobbled up by the capitalist rats who hover around the food tray the way an opportunist hockey player hovers around a goalie in his net.
What the film doesn't show is what variable conditions could make the situation more equal for the rats. What would happen if the worker rat was removed from the situation?
What's hot this month
Rebel Youth is looking for hitchhiking stories. If you have a good hitchhiking tale, write us at Rebel Youth (at) ycl-ljc.ca Kieran Szuch...
Statement by the Young Communist League of Canada YCL-LJC CEC, May 2013 Over the past six months, the Harper Conservative government ...
About RY Magazine
Rebel Youth offers a weekly pan-Canadian Socialist perspectives on the youth and student movement across Canada and internationally. Produced by the Young Communist League of Canada, we publish in print edition three times a year. Our sister magazine in French is Jeunesse Militante Write us (Rebel Youth 290A Danforth Ave, Toroto ON., M4K 1N6) to get copy of either publication - $12 CND. for four issues. Read the media that fights back. Because there is no time like now to organize!
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