For many years, we’ve been told to tighten our belts. We’ve been told that the government has to rescue the economy, that the holy debt must be reimbursed, and that austerity measures must be implemented at all costs. In this time, the only cuts they have implemented are those to our living conditions. While big corporations and the richest of society continue to increase their profits, we at the bottom of the social pyramid are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Our rents, our bills, and the price of goods continue to increase while our earnings stagnate, or even diminish.
Political parties seem to be competing in a game of who can gut or privatize the most social programs. We’re told that our wages and working conditions must be reduced in order to remain competitive at an international level; that we must absolutely exploit our natural resources, even if it destroys our environment, in order to create jobs to replace those that have been delocalized to countries where labor is worth 2$ an hour. But we never asked for capitalist globalization. These measures were put in place so that they could line their pockets with the profits. And now, after suffering their globalization, they ask – no – they demand of us that we foot the bill of their exploitation? No, thank you!
We’re at the end of our rope! We are subjected to the full force of their austerity measures on the federal level : unemployment insurance reform, privatization of the Post, of the CBC, cuts in social housing, in environmental groups and in women’s groups… The same goes for the provincial level : privatization of healthcare, tuition hikes, increases in electricity rates, and cuts in social assistance. Not only that, but they are destroying the environment in order to extract every last bit of its resources : pipelines, tar sands, fracking, Lac-Mégantic, etc. It’s also clear that they’re just mocking us with their so-called job-creating measures : minimum wage remains below the poverty line while they laugh all the way to the bank. We’ve only got two weeks of vacation while they travel all year long. Our rents increase ceaselessly while they’re nice and warm in their luxury condos. They make us work longer and longer years, while they leisurely retire before the age of 50.
They don’t bat an eye for the people. They let native women disappear without even opening investigations. They gentrify our neighborhoods while we have to move farther and farther away to survive. While they go to private clinics, we sit for hours in the waiting rooms of under-funded hospitals. While their children attend the most prestigious private schools in the province, our decrepit schools fight each other over funding. They want to divide us over language, to ram down our throats the colonization of First Peoples and of peoples in exploited countries. And when we protest, they lock us out. They harden their repression by passing anti-demonstration regulations, special laws, and injunctions. They want us to believe that our problems stem from unemployment, from immigrants, even from unions. But they are the real profiteers of the system : bosses, politicians and other bourgeois.
The era of our divisions is ending. May 1st, 2015 will mark the beginning of our offensive. It is time for us to unite, to rise up, and fire a warning shot, because we’ve suffered enough. For, once we set off, we will not take a single step backward. They have grown too rich while impoverishing the rest of us. We will cease to submit, and we will make progress, whether they like it or not. We are the base of the pyramid on which they are enthroned – if we decide to move, it is their entire kingdom that will come crashing down.
This text is a call to mobilization. If we want this day of strikes to be a success, we must immediately begin discussing it in our respective circles, whether they are unions, students, popular or affinity groups, in order to take a position and join the movement. Let’s make sure that the 2012 strike was not in vain, but instead was the jumping-off point towards the 1st of May, 2015. Let’s make this the greatest day of strikes, blockages, and actions that Canada has seen since the Winnipeg general strike of 1919!
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On May 1st, 2015 : I won’t work, I won’t buy, I won’t rest – I’ll fight!
A call made by the Montreal’s General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)