On this International Workers Day marked by austerity, budget cuts, increased repression and, fortunately, a bold expression of anti-capitalism, about 500 people took to the streets in the neighbourhoods of Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur, mainly protesting the recent changes to the Employment Insurance regime.
Some speeches were made outside the EI office where the demonstrators gathered. Emphasis was put on the impact of those changes on the living conditions of workers. Whether for those who do seasonal work —be it their choice or not— or those who, for whatever reason, lose their job and look for a new one, the new definition of a “suitable employment” imposed by the Conservative government will create downward pressure on workers’ earnings. Indeed, the unemployed will be forced to accept jobs at a lower wage and some won’t get to choose in which job sector they work, so their quality of life will diminish and their poverty will increase.
Along the demonstration, the people appeared to be rather festive but frankly angry. Revolutionary slogans were clearly heard, among them: “The capital is waging war against us, so let’s make war on capital!” Why is this important that slogans like this one be shout out loud? Because changes in EI, like other austerity measures imposed by the Canadian and Québec bourgeois states (such as the reform of welfare by the PQ government) only help the capitalists.
In the face of those attacks from the ruling class, our duty is to organize ourselves not only to defend our right to better living conditions for workers, but to lead our revolutionary action towards a new vision of society, that of a world free from capitalist exploitation.