Toronto launch party for The Peoples' Social Forum!

When: Saturday, March 22, 6pm-12am
Where: 1482 Bathurst St, 4th floor  
See us on Facebook

This August 21st to 24th, a convergence unlike any other will descend upon the capital of the territory known as Canada. Activists, Students, Indigenous peoples, Unions, Youth, Environmentalists, and thousands of ordinary fed-up individuals from across this land will gather to oppose the current political and economic order and propose a plurality of alternative paths towards a better world.
Join us in Toronto to celebrate the ongoing efforts to build this historic event, connect with people active in the organizing process, register for the forum, share your visions for what will be the largest social movement gathering in recent ‘Canadian’ history.
Oh and dance the night away to some incredible live music and DJ sets including:

-Ruben Pereira, from Venezuela - Coordinator of Social Movements of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - (ALBA -TCP)
-Luis Grubert, From Colombia - president of the teachers’ union
-Lee Reed, rebel hip-hop pioneer from the Rhymethink Collective
-Rosina Kazi, of experimental global justice electro-soul group LAL
-Tyler Shipley, of the political folk-rock band The Consumer Goods
-Jay Robi, of indigenous underground Hiphop group INDAGENIUS
-Faith Nolan, heading singalongs of social justice songs
-SPIN el Poeta, Revolutionary Guatemalan Poetry & hip-hop
-Moyo Mutamba, sharing mbira music
-Mohammad Ali, with his new political rap album
 -Zum One, renown Toronto DJ bringing you bass, dub, and dub step
-Eagle Woman Singerz   + more to be announced

Accessibility: level floor at entrance, elevators allow for wheelchair access.
Looking forward to partying with you!

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The 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum:
Organizing the fight against the Right
Linking our movements from coast to coast to coast

The first ever pan-Canadian social forum will be held this year in Ottawa from August 21 to 24. More than 10,000 participants from all over Canada are expected to come to the University of Ottawa to discuss ways and means of combating the austerity policies of the Harper regime and the provincial governments.

While we have been witness to often spirited resistance in many spaces and places — the Québec student strike, the indigenous Idle No More movement, and the rallies against the Enbridge and TransCanada pipelines — there has not yet been a united Canada-wide response. What are the prospects for a pan-Canadian fightback?

Québec and First Nations

The feeling in Québec is that such a unified counterattack is essential given the scale and severity of the Harper government’s attacks both on social programs (Employment Insurance) and public services (Canada Post) as well as on the right to strike in sectors under federal jurisdiction. In fact, Québec social movements, from the trade union confederations (FTQ,CSN,CSQ) to the women’s organizations (Fédération des femmes du Québec), housing (FRAPRU) and students (ASSÉ), have been spearheading plans for the forum for more than two years. The same is true of the Indigenous communities who are seeking to broaden support for their opposition to the Tar Sands and other mining projects that are destroying their ancestral lands. It is on this basis that a dynamic Indigenous caucus has been set up bringing together activists from Idle No More, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Québec Native Women.

This Québec-First Nations nexus is what is driving the 2014 Peoples’ Forum.

Union and community support outside Québec

And where does English Canada fit in all this? For more than a year, support for the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum has been growing, with involvement in planning efforts by union and community activists from several regions across Canada. There’s a union caucus afoot which includes representatives from the Québec trade union confederations and delegates from cross-country unions (the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, UNIFOR) and federations outside Québec (the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, etc.). In addition, the Ontario Common Front, a provincial coalition of over a hundred community, union and antiracism groups, is supporting the Forum. Community activists are also joining the Forum’s regional support groups in many cities across the country (Vancouver, Regina,Winnipeg, London,Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax).

To reach full article click here

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APG Open Letter: Canada Must Call for
Dialogue Amid Unrest in Venezuela

Letter to John Baird

The Americas' Policy Group (APG), composed of faith-based groups, development NGO's, trade unions, and solidarity organizations, is a working group of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC). We are extremely concerned about the disruption of democratic order in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, over the past two months, and the lack of clarity of Canada's position on this crisis.

We are concerned that the February 28 House of Commons resolution on unrest in Venezuela appears to hold the Venezuelan government solely responsible for the political violence and fails to address the fact that both government supporters and state security forces, as well as the opposition, have equally suffered fatalities, wounded and detained.

Those responsible for a large part of the violence are the opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, who have been instigating the violent demonstrations with the clear aim of destabilising the democratically elected government. In the face of polarization and deep tensions in Venezuela, they have called for street protests which have provided cover for a small group of violent protestors to take to the streets, attacking – with rocks and Molotov cocktails – public institutions like the police headquarters and the Attorney General’s office. Both López and Machado have refused to enter into any dialogue to peacefully resolve the conflict as called for by President Maduro.

On March 7, Canada found itself virtually isolated in the community of the Americas, as one of only three members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to vote against a resolution to support talks between the government of Venezuela and opposition forces (29 countries voted to support a peace dialogue). Whereas political forces in the United States are moving towards implementing economic sanctions against the Venezuelan Government, the governments of South America have taken a more balanced and respectful approach, forming a commission to attempt to mediate between the government and the opposition.

To read full statement click here

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