December 14, 2020
Your generous support of the Centre for Social Justice in the past is deeply appreciated. Your contribution is of vital importance to the struggle for social and ecological justice in Ontario and Canada. Although Donald Trump’s presidency in the US is near an end, and Premier Doug Ford is now practicing a soft-voice neoliberalism in Ontario, their political regimes and policies continue to exacerbate social polarization and racial inequalities across North America. It is frightening to see anti-immigrant, racist, and homophobic political views become integrated as legitimate parts of the political scene. There has never been a more important time to sustain strong social justice education and organizing.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has further unsettled the economics and politics of Canada and the capitalist world order. While Canada has fared decidedly better than the US with its disastrous response to the virus, the cumulative impact of decades of austerity and policies that focus on increasing markets as the solution to every problem is a shambles everywhere to be seen. The deterioration of the public health system has meant an erratic response to the pandemic, with the capacities for detecting and isolating the infected still hopelessly flawed leaving individualized ‘personal responsibility’ as the public policy tool.
The rundown of long-term care homes and the lack of proper healthcare staffing has been utterly shameful. Our most vulnerable communities, the poor and the racialized, are the hardest hit. Meanwhile, old social problems simply fester away. Despite government pledges, adequate provisioning of clean water, housing, and child welfare for First Nations communities remain a major problem. Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions remain stuck in the top group of countries, with emissions continuing to increase, with the targets set for 2030 to keep the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees are likely to be missed by 15-20%. In ‘opening Ontario for business’, Premier Doug Ford has scrapped Ontario’s climate change policy and now is prying open the Greenbelt for developers. The provincial government in Ontario continues to set the pace in Canada for austerity and the lowest per capita support for government programs in Canada.
Fortunately, this has also been a year of growing social justice struggles. The Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, the protests for land rights and sovereignty by First Nations, and the Fridays for Future climate strikes by students in Canada and across the world have been, well, awesome! The Women’s Marches of the last years have been inspiring; the hundreds of demonstrations in support of unionization, minimum wages, paid sick days, and migrant rights have been admirably tenacious. All these struggles are rebuilding inclusive and fighting social and labour movements.
The CSJ has a long history of educational work and campaigning for climate justice and expanded public transit; against austerity and tax cuts; and for de-commodified public services. More than ever, we need your ongoing support to continue to build these struggles.
Over the last year, the Centre for Social Justice has been very busy for what is essentially a volunteer social organization. We will continue to collaborate in education and organization workshops with the Toronto Airport Workers Council, an alliance of unions at Pearson addressing working conditions, precarious work and contract flipping. This is a project and a new form of community unionism that we hope to extend to major airports around the world. As well, we will continue to support the work of Green Jobs Oshawa in converting the unused capacity of industrial plants to ecologically-responsible production. This is a campaign we need to take into communities and labour councils across Ontario and Canada.
Not only have we been advancing our own projects, but we have been lending our support to many other groups as well through the pandemic. The CSJ continues to operate as a strategic hub for community meetings, public forums, and offering meeting space and administrative support for initiatives such as the Free Transit Toronto, research projects on Toronto and Ontario politics, and a conference on prison reform. These projects all attempt to address the inequities of neoliberal policies, and to identify democratic, egalitarian and climate-responsible alternatives. The CSJ also provides support for numerous social justice groups by helping organize events, subsidize speakers and assist in educational initiatives.
Over the last year, even during the pandemic, we’ve supported public forums and workshops such as Lower Fares, More Service! Public Transit Struggles In and After Pandemic, on the Trudeau government’s record in power and handling of the pandemic, Corbynism and the Labour Party, on Long-Term Care and Pension Fund Capitalism, a Green New Deal for Canada – Take the Plant, Save the Planet, a book launch of Canada and the World, among other issues. The CSJ has become a reference point for critical, public discussion of political issues of the day. We also plan to continue to collaborate with the Capitalism Workshop, RedTalks, and university labour centres on a series of discussions on the gig economy, Toronto and Canadian politics, and other issues.
We could not keep the Centre’s programming going without your financial support. Over the coming year we need to transform our website and social media capacities. The neoliberal austerity agenda is in danger of taking another hard right turn in the post-pandemic fiscal setting. We need to meet this challenge, and join the growing protest movements against climate change and inequality and for democracy, new ways of meeting human needs, and to create an alternate political agenda.
We want to thank all of you who have helped us fund programming at the Centre for Social Justice. Without your support we could not continue to be such a key part of building a new politics in Ontario and Canada. Donations can also be made online at socialjustice.org/donate. Please consider joining our monthly donor plan, and subscribe to our weekly social justice newsletter.Share: