Working People Rally at Legislature to Defend the Rights of All | WORKER’S FORUM
February 27 marked a day of action in Halifax called “Nova Scotians Rise Up.” Around one thousand workers from all walks of life, youth and students came together throughout the afternoon at the opening of the Nova Scotia legislature to denounce the anti-social agenda of the McNeil Liberal government and its attacks on rights.
Teachers, nurses, forestry workers, fishers, injured workers represented by the Pictou County Injured Workers’ Association, students, parents, and others from all around Nova Scotia stood at the steps of the legislature to denounce the McNeil government for its attacks on the rights of workers and its inability to address any of the pressing problems facing the people of the province, the economy and social and natural environment.
During the five-hour event to counter the anti-social austerity agenda of the McNeil Liberals, speaker after speaker highlighted a common theme that the government in power does not represent the people and their various concerns but rather powerful private interests that have seized control. The government’s response, when confronted with a collective of workers who demand their rights such as the teachers or nurses, is to criminalize them and refuse to bring in the improvements to their sector that those who do the work propose. In the education sector, the McNeil government has consistently ignored the expertise and knowledge of the teachers and other education workers who have positive ideas to improve the conditions and guarantee the right of all to the highest level of education a modern society can organize. Instead, the government hired a consultant who told it what it wanted to hear that an austerity agenda is the only option.
A fisher spoke of a McNeil government that ignores their concerns and does the same thing as with the teachers, hiring consultants to give credence to an agenda that the government has already set in opposition to the views and knowledge of those who do the work. Speakers denounced the government for suggesting that it has a mandate to make the tough decisions, which means attacking workers, social programs and public services through an anti-social austerity agenda that solves no problem.
This line of having a mandate is totally false. The party-dominated system called representative democracy negates the fundamental democratic rights of citizens to select candidates who stand for election and to set the agenda of the discussion during an election and establish the mandate they want applied by a government they elect. The entire party-dominated electoral process and the power of the monopolized mass media block the people from participating in politics, from selecting representatives from amongst their peers, from setting an agenda to solve problems in a manner that favours the people and from assessing and holding to account the government they chose. Under the current system, the people have no power to collectively express what they think or set an agenda and direction of the sectors where they work to solve problems let alone for the province or Atlantic region. The best they are offered is to appeal to the decision-makers, who represent powerful private interests to take a pause in their attacks, be more fair and less arrogant.
The people’s stand to defend their rights and the rights of all at the rally and through their collective actions as teachers, nurses and others is an expression of their desire to be the decision makers and to have the power in their hands to set an agenda that favours them generally in the economy and society, and in particular in their work sectors.
Activists from the Workers’ Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) participated in the rally distributing several hundred copies of the February 22 edition of Workers’ Forum, while gathering subscriptions for the Party press and engaging in spirited discussion with participants. They expressed the Party’s deep appreciation for the bravery of the teachers in standing up to the McNeil regime criminalization of their struggle with a resounding strike vote despite the threats of fines and imprisonment.
The activists affirmed the line of the Party that our security lies in organized conscious battles to defend the rights of all. The Canadian working people all across the country stand with the Nova Scotia teachers, health care workers, all public sector workers and others in their struggle for their rights with this oppressive and anti-social government.
The need to take up the work for empowerment
The right of the people to a say and control over their terms of employment and the social conditions they face cannot be denied or negated. In passing bill after bill to deprive public sector workers of their right to a say over their terms of employment and the conditions of the work they perform, the Nova Scotia government exposes itself as unfit to rule and in criminal contempt of the people’s rights. The people do not and will never accept a government that deprives them of their rights and forces anti-social conditions on the youth and most vulnerable.
For the Liberal government to invoke police powers to criminalize the teachers and others who demand their rights is beyond the pale. This will not pass because the people will not allow attacks on the rights of any individual or collective. The McNeil government or any government has its head in the sand if it thinks these strong-arm tactics against the people will succeed. We are in the 21st century where the rights of all are considered inviolable. If the McNeil Liberals think they can hold back the march of history towards the right of people to decide and control those affairs that affect their lives such as their terms of employment, education, health care and the social and natural environment, it means they are obsessed and blinded with their class privilege and power.
The people of Nova Scotia and indeed all of Canada are one with the teachers, health care providers and other public sector workers who demand a say over their terms of employment and increased investments in the essential social programs and public services they provide. Students, parents and concerned members of the polity have long demanded an educational system of the highest quality to lift up all our youth to the highest cultural, spiritual and educational levels possible. A pro-social step forward begins with increased investments in social programs and public services and giving workers a say and control over their terms of employment and workplaces.
Those who own and control major parts of the economy must recognize the value public sector workers create within the people and for the society generally and realize it in a proper exchange with value their own workers create. Without this recognition and without exchanging a portion of the value their workers create for their own enterprises then both the economy and society will collapse. They and their representatives in government cannot continue spouting inanities about their inability as taxpayers to pay for educated and healthy workers and a society fit for human beings.
Educated and healthy workers are the essential core of the economy – the human factor that produces the goods and services a modern economy, the people and society require for their existence. For these private interests to deny exchanging the value their own workers produce for the value their enterprises receive from social programs and public services is self-serving in the extreme and a path to destruction and ruin. Their non-recognition of the value public sector workers produce and their unwillingness to realize that value in return for the value they receive is the bogus material reason for an austerity program and to deny the rights of the people to their say and control. The subjective reason to deprive people of their rights is the fanatical attachment of the rich and their representatives to class privilege and power. The rich and their representatives in government consider themselves better than the masses, the hoi polloi as they call those they label as lesser human beings, nobodies and incapable of ruling themselves, the economy and society.
This anti-social experience with the McNeil Liberals shows the importance of stepping up the organizing of the people to fight to defend the rights of all and open a path to democratic renewal. Our security lies in the organized and conscious fight to defend the rights of all in this modern world still dominated by a ruling elite blinded with class privilege and police powers. The people of Nova Scotia cannot and will not allow the McNeil Liberals to crush the rights of any section of the people and deprive the people of their control over the affairs that affect them and their society. The people stand with the teachers, health care workers, all public sector workers and others in their battle for their rights and increased investments in social programs and public services.
Denounce the McNeil Government for its Attack on Rights!
Fight for Increased Investments in Social Programs and Public Services
to Meet the Needs of the People and Society!
Stop Paying the Rich!
Whose Economy? Our Economy!
Who Decides? We Decide!
Join the Organized Movement to Build the New!
Source: Worker’s Forum, March 1, 2018