Donation Letter 2023

December 19, 2023

Dear donor,

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 a peaceful world and social and ecological justice in Ontario and Canada. Unfortunately, the world is far from at peace with a war in Ukraine pushing towards 2 years, horrific strife in the Middle East, and a new Cold War and a massive armaments buildup unfolding in East Asia between the US, Japan and China. All this with new deployment of nuclear warheads and hypersonic missile systems of incomprehensible lethal power. The arms agreements we struggled for in the past are now abandoned.

Social Justice

This military conflict is paralleled by a rise in civic conflict in the of form hard right, often authoritarian, governments. Their growing political strength stretches across Europe from France and Italy to Eastern Europe, but also in states across the global South, most recently Argentina, and the distinct possibility of return of Donald Trump to the White House in the US. Canada has not been insulated from these trends with Danielle Smith, Scott Moe and Doug Ford occupying provincial offices in Canada, and the Conservative Party now being led by Pierre Poilievre with his habits of mimicking Trumpism in the US. It is alarming to see the rise of the gross social inequalities we have commented on regularly as encouraging the acceptance of reactionary political movements. This is a crucial time for social justice education and organizing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has receded, but it continues to haunt the economic and political landscape of Canada and the world. The cumulative impact of decades of austerity and privatization have left the healthcare system in dire straits. Already in the initial turn to winter, hospital emergency rooms are busting at the seams across Ontario and long delays in access to hospitals still plague urgent treatments for out children and all ages. Our most vulnerable communities – the poor, the elderly and the racialized – remain the hardest hit. The UN Climate Change Conference this fall in the UAE was alarming. Canada remains stuck among the top group of countries for per capita emissions, and the global target set for 2030 to keep the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees will clearly be missed. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has all but scrapped Ontario’s climate change policy with his ending supports for renewable energy production. Every month a new political scandal of insider dealing and ad hoc decision-making seems to erupt, from the Greenbelt and Ontario Place openings for developers to pushing on with the insane Highway 413 expansion. All this while, Ontario continues to provide the lowest per capita support for education and social programs in Canada.

Fortunately, this has also been a year of growing social justice activism. The protests for land rights and sovereignty by First Nations, notably the struggle of the Wet’suwet’en in B.C. and Grassy Narrows in Ontario, the Fridays for Future climate strikes by student, and the efforts by CUPE education workers and by parents to protect the school systems have been inspiring. All these struggles are rebuilding our fight for social inclusion and labour justice.

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.

Through the pandemic, the Centre for Social Justice kept very busy. We continue to collaborate in education and organization workshops with organizers in the logistics and warehouse sector, Climate Justice Toronto, Democratic Socialists of Canada, Green Jobs Oshawa, and others. We continue to support converting the unused capacity of industrial plants and arms production to ecologically responsible production as central to climate justice. We all need to be taking such campaigns into our communities and labour councils across Ontario and Canada.

We also 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 and public forums, and offer meeting space and administrative support for initiatives such as the Free Transit Toronto, research projects on Toronto and Ontario politics, Amazon and other union organizing, and publishing projects such as the internationally-renowned annual Socialist Register. These projects all attempt to address the inequities of neoliberal policies and to identify democratic, egalitarian, and de-commodifying alternatives. The CSJ also provides support for numerous social justice groups by helping organize events, subsidizing speakers, grants, and assisting in educational initiatives.

Over the last years, we have been helping build the Leo Panitch School for Socialist Education, in honour of long-time patron of the CSJ and a leading intellectual in Canada until his recent death. We’ve supported public forums, reading groups, and workshops on Union Organizing at Amazon, Climate Change as Class War, Reinventing Work, Beyond Digital Capitalism, and The Right, Social Movements and the Ontario Election. We also supported book launches of New Polarizations and Old Contradictions: The Crisis of Centrism and Solidarity Beyond Bars, and also helped with Film Social in screening socially-important films and discussions. The CSJ has become a reference point for critical public discussion of political issues of the day. We will continue to collaborate with community groups and university labour centres to sponsor public discussions about Toronto, Canadian politics, and current developments in world capitalism.

We could not keep the Centre’s programs going without your financial support. The neoliberal austerity agenda is on the verge of taking another hard right turn in the post-pandemic fiscal setting and to free up funds for NATO and military spending. We need to join the growing protest movements against climate change and inequality and for democracy. It is imperative to and find new routes to peace, meeting human needs and alternative political agendas.

We want to thank all of you who have helped us fund our programming to keep building a new politics in Ontario and Canada. Donations can be made online at socialjustice.org/donate. Please consider joining our monthly donor plan and subscribe to our weekly social justice newsletter.

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