Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes! Defend the Rights of All!
No Harbour for War!
All Out for Noon-Hour Rally and March Against Atlantica, Friday, June 15
Victoria Park (corner of Spring Garden and South Park) to World Trade and Convention Centre, Halifax
“ATLANTICA” is meeting in Halifax from June 14-16. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) vigorously supports all the actions and activities organized in Halifax since June 11 and throughout the Maritimes during the previous year against the Atlantica project. All out for the noon-hour rally and march today at Victoria Park!
ACCtion Against Atlantica points out:
“We are resisting Atlantica because we believe it will increase the institutionalized poverty of neo-liberal capitalism. We are opposed to the fact that Atlantica aims to attract corporate interest to the Atlantic region by threatening to axe our minimum wage (which is already below poverty levels), our environmental regulations, our social programs, our public services and our workers’ rights to unionize; things they refer to as ‘policy distress factors.’ This kind of language sounds eerily familiar to that of NAFTA and the FTAA that aim to dismantle ‘trade barriers’ such as social and public programs, environmental regulations and workers’ rights.”
The Alliance Against Atlantica, formed to bring together grass-roots organizations, labour, environmental organizations, peace groups, religious organizations, students, and anyone who cares about social justice to stand-up and say No to Atlantica, writes:
“Atlantica is the abbreviated name for the Atlantic Northeast Economic Region (AINER), a cross-border trade concept spanning the Maritime provinces, Newfoundland, southern Quebec, and the New England states ( i.e. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and upstate New York). Its main proponent and originator is a right-wing think-tank group called the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), whose board of directors represents many big-business interests in the Atlantic region.
Atlantica, the International Northeast Economic Region (AINER) is described by its proponents as “defined by many things, chief among them geography, economic trends and trade patterns, common problems and experiences, and politics. The sum of these factors is a region bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north and west by Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and on the south by Highway I-90 to Buffalo and the southern borders of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire.”
“The proponents of Atlantica wish to develop a conduit to channel Asian goods to the United States through the Atlantic Provinces. Massive container ships called ‘post-Panamax’ are too large to pass through the Panama Canal and Halifax is the closest North American port for ships from Asia via the Suez Canal. These containers would reach their destinations via ‘truck trains,’ resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions, higher fatal-crash rates per mile, as well as the likely expansion of superhighways through communities, wilderness, and farmland.
“Atlantica is also about increasing exports of unprocessed resources, like energy and water, from Canada to the United States. The intent is to export oil and gas from the Atlantic offshore as quickly as possible on terms that favour industry and leave decisions regarding exports to deregulated markets.
“The Atlantica tag line is ‘business without borders,’ which has a double meaning: business unhampered by the international border, but also unbound from what AIMS refers to as ‘policy distress factors’ such as minimum wages, social program spending, environmental regulation, public ownership and unionization. This kind of language is eerily familiar to that of NAFTA and the FTAA, stemming from a neo-liberal agenda that aims to dismantle ‘trade barriers.’
“The results of Atlantica would be to expedite a race to the bottom for the majority of people in the region. Knowing this, the governments and institutions involved have tried to negotiate and implement this policy undemocratically behind closed doors.”
All Out to Oppose Atlantica!
For information on actions to oppose Atlantica, visit: http://www.resist.stopatlantica.org. For reports on past actions, visit Maritimes Indymedia.
Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!
FAR FROM being a free trade zone, the Atlantica project, organized by finance capital within the framework of the Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America agreement signed in Waco, Texas, in March, 2005 by the U.S., Mexico and Canada, is an integral part of the annexation of Canada with the aim of creating a union of North American monopolies to dominate the world. It builds on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This has aroused the just concern and broad opposition of the Canadian people. To divert and disinform this popular opposition, instead of leading a sober and enlightened discussion on the issues involved, the media once again raises a hue and cry about the danger of “violent protests.”
The Atlantica project projects a “free trade” and cheap/slave labour zone in which the minimum labour and environmental standards will be eliminated in the name of “labour mobility,” etc. The main aim of this zone, called the Atlantic Gateway, is to carve out a high speed, intermodal transportation corridor linking Atlantic Ocean ports to the heartland of the continent. To eliminate resistance and maximize exploitation, it demands the curbing of “union density” and the elimination of even the limited number and scale of existing defence organizations of the workers in this region.
The monopolies involved are demanding the speeding up trade with Asia in general and China in particular so as to maximize their private wealth at the expense of the peoples of all countries. To this end, the big bourgeoisie, including ports capitalists in British Columbia, the Maritimes and the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes regions, have been falling over themselves advancing one “gateway” scheme after another – “Asia-Pacific Gateway,” “Atlantic Gateway,” etc. All these schemes, however, are also the objects of intensified inter-monopoly and inter-imperialist rivalries on the regional, national, continental and international plane to see who will rule the roost. Competing projects such as the broadening and deepening of the St. Lawrence Seaway with new super-ports in the Great Lakes, the expansion of the 92-year-old Panama Canal (linked to New Orleans and Charleston), or opening up the Northwest Passage, are also well underway.
It must be opposed with an independent nation-building project based on a self-reliant sovereign economy in the service of the public good.
Annexation No! Sovereignty Yes!
Defend the Rights of All!
CONTRAY to an impression the media tend to create, the Atlantica project is not a matter of some future “policy” consideration up for debate and discussion. Its main features are already being implemented by the state behind the backs of the people as part of the neo-liberal offensive of the most reactionary sections of the ruling elites.
One of the central aspects is the negation of the right-to-be of workers in those sectors of the economy deemed vital for continental integration so as not to act as a hindrance of what the monopolies call their “competitive advantage” – a euphemism to suggest that what is good, secure and safe for the monopolies is good for the economy and prosperity for all.
The new Marine Transportation Security Regulations announced by Transport Canada in November, 2006, among other measures, are integral to this trend. A central feature of port regulation is the criminalization of maritime ports workers. Decreed through an Order-in-Council, without any discussion whatsoever, the regulations stipulate state-designated “transportation security clearance” for port workers. The workers are to be “screened” by the Canadian Security and Intelligence service (CSIS) which will act as judge, jury and hiring hall. This spring the Harper government announced it would be providing up to 1500 RCMP to enforce the draconian regulations that are to accompany everything already under way: the privatization of ports, the deregulation of dock work, the casualization and criminalization of labour, replacement of the union hiring hall, new sea, rail and road transportation routes, and speeding up the movement of goods. Intensified exploitation of the ports workers is one way to minimize the time it takes for capital to circulate. In the name of North American security and competitiveness, of a blackmail about “jobs” or “no jobs,” the rights of all are being attacked. The Atlantica project, the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the broadening of the St Lawrence Seaway, the Maritime “security” regulations, and the fascist labour codification of Canadian port and other workers must be seen in this context.
Defend the Rights of All!
No Harbour for War!
THE ATLANTICA PROJECT also fuels the drive for imperialist war and domination abroad and the all-round militarization of the ports, economy and society at home. With its strategic reliance on the “security” of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, it will deepen Canada’s aggressive involvement in the Middle East and South Asia. It builds on six years of bringing Canadian ports under the dictate of U.S. Homeland Security, the CIA and the FBI under the pretext of the “war on terror.” It must not pass!
The movement to defeat the Atlantica project is an integral part of the need to governments over which the working people exercise control. Such governments must by necessity be anti-war governments which have the courage and conviction to restrict monopoly right and stand up for Canada’s industrial and resource base, stand up for working people and stand up for nation-building.
No Harbour for War!
Demonstration Against Nova Scotia Power
ON THURSDAY, June 14, a noontime demonstration, organized by the Halifax Coalition Against Poverty (HCAP) drew attention to the crimes of Nova Scotia’s privatized energy system in the context of the Atlantica project. In the middle of downtown Halifax, about 75 protesters chanted and condemned Nova Scotia Power (NSP) and their exploitation of Nova Scotia’s poor.
A representative of HCAP stated: “We are fighting here today because NSP holds a monopoly over power generation in the province. They supply 95 per cent of the electricity consumed in Nova Scotia thus controlling an essential services used by all people in the province.
“In 1992, Nova Scotia Power was privatized by conservative Premier Donald Cameron in what was then the largest private equity transaction in Canadian history.
“Since that time Nova Scotia Power has raised their residential power rates by over 30 percent. (…)
“We are fighting today because we understand the daily realities of struggling to pay our exorbitant heating costs. We know that it is often a choice between buying food and paying our power bills.
“We are fighting today because we know that we must stand up to this corporate greed because our government will not. We recognize that the government in this province serves only the interests of the rich. This is proven again and again as the utility review board allows Nova Scotia Power to hike rates with the full knowledge that people in Nova Scotia struggle and fail to heat their homes in the winter.
“We are also fighting today against Atlantica. [Nova Scotia Power parent company] Emera’s interest in Atlantica is in creating an unrestricted trade zone. The corporation wants government deregulation over issues such as power rates and environmental regulations and trade. To export natural gas and power to a larger market and to drive up the cost to maximize their profits. We know that further deregulation will have only negative effects on low-income Nova Scotians.
“Our demands are basic for this government and to this corporation.
“We demand that Nova Scotia Power be returned to public ownership and that there be no more power rate increases!
“Friends, we all know that a 30 per cent raise in our power rates is not an empty figure – it means not having heat, lights or being able to cook our food properly.
“Fighting here is personal; we are all fighting for a basic right. We fight against the erosion of public resources and the rise of corporate control.
“If our government is willing to sell our well being for the short-sighted fantasy of status on the world market than we will match their appalling actions. As long as they remain oblivious to our realities blinded by profit, we will match them with the power of our voices, with our collective energy.
“We bring our anger to the doorstep of the Cogswell Towers, to the head office of Nova Scotia Power, because we know poor people cannot afford to remain passive at the mercy of corporate greed. HCAP believes there is dignity in resistance to poverty and that when we fight back, we can win.”
Said one protestor, “Nova Scotia Power has increased rates three times in the last five years. How many Nova Scotians have received corresponding pay raises in that same period?”
(Source: Maritimes Indymedia, Canadian Press)