15,000 Strong Demonstration in Montréal Against the Budget

a report from Union Communiste Libertaire (UCL)

Against privatization and price increases: ONLY THE STRUGGLE PAYS!

On April 1st 2010, some 15,000 people descended on the business district in Montreal at the call of more than 95 unions, popular, feminist and student groups. Is this the first stage of a response against the Liberal budget? Only time will tell. In any case, it was a nice demonstration--a popular grand procession, very diverse and militant (at least in discourse).

We now know that the budget tabled on March 30th by Minister Bachand introduced a host of measures, each more regressive than the one before. The introduction of new fees for healthcare or the rapid growth of sales tax (QST) are examples. The rich will fare quite well, as usual. Nothing in this budget calls into question their privilege and their little schemes to stash their money in tax-free havens. Again, we are required to sacrifice for them. Enough!

The worst is yet to come

Other measures, even more worrisome, are announced in this budget and will arrive later: health care billing depending upon usage, further increases in tuition in 2012, marked increase in rates of hydro-electricity starting in 2014 (3.7% per year until 2018). We have not arrived at the end of the tunnel, especially since there is no guarantee that the government will not add other fee increases to list.

This budget is for large corporations and the ruling class, directly inspired by a neoliberal ideology. Also announced are major reductions in public services--a reduction of 15.4 billion dollars in four years. While we are asked to tighten our belts and pay more for reduced public services, the government reduces the tax burden on business, a measure which will cost $729 million in 2010. For the end of the year budget, the tax contribution required will be four times less for enterprises than what is required rom "taxpayers". Thus, paper mills and aluminum plants, two industrial sectors that particularly use alot of energy, will be spared increases in electricity rates projected by the government. Yet they continue to talk about fairness and justice?

The crisis of capitalism on the backs of working class

By increasing rates and introducing in the coming years so-called "user fees" in the health system, the Liberal government adjusts to the global economic crisis. It attempts to address the state budget by first picking our pockets. Of course there is no question of touching the benefits granted to rich. We know their slogan: if you tax companies more, they will move elsewhere. As employees, we are held hostage by the workings of an economy where capital is the law. The state, a faithful accomplice, completed the job by throwing the burden generated by the deficit crisis of the capitalist system onto the backs of the people.

Redistribute wealth! Starting the fight back!

A tax system even more "progressive" will not solve fundamental unequal distribution of wealth in our society. Ultimately, to definitively resolve this problem, we will have to recover the wealth bosses and politicians have stolen. Consider how we can collectively free ourselves from capitalist domination, once and for all, by taking over our workplaces and self-managing our labor. True social justice can not be reduced to a tax credit, even as "solidarity": we must go beyond it to economic and social equality.

In the immediate future, we must united in the fight, shoulder to shoulder, to defeat this government. We can defeat the Liberals, especially the measures announced this term. Enough is enough! The people are against this government and its schemes. But to succeed, we need a broad movement, united and militant, ready to engage in battle with the state, as was it was in 2003 with organized labor and 2005 with the student movement. We must also learn from our mistakes, including not allowing union leaders to put aside the slogans and more radical initiatives such as the prospect of a general strike. It is not with discussion and consultation that we break the government, but by creating our own power. By submitting this budget, the government has declared war. Historically, the state has chosen the side of the rich in the class struggle. It is time to build our side.

The demonstration on April 1st is an important step in this direction, but the struggle must continue. Workers, students, retirees and the unemployed: we are all attacked by these anti-social policies. It is together that we should fight back.

"Secretariat of the UCL"
ucl -A- causecommune.net

The above text is from a leaflet distributed by the UCL:
"Contre les privatisations et les hausses de tarifs : SEULE LA LUTTE PAIE !"

Our photojournalism


Credit & Video

First of, the translation was done by Pat Murtagh at Molly's Blog. Thanks to him.

Second, we have a small video about the march too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty2R2HzIoik.

Thanks for spreading the word...

Actually, Phebus... A-Infos

Actually, Phebus...

A-Infos did a machine translation. While Molly was working on his own translation, I worked on the machine translation to get the one that is posted here.

Molly's great.

Ah, I see. Thanks to both of

Ah, I see. Thanks to both of you then.