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Appeal: December 2018

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 cause of social change in Ontario and Canada. The Presidency of Donald Trump has shaken social justice activists across North America. The election of Doug Ford as Premier of Ontario has plunged us into an even more difficult – even frightening – political moment. Both Trump and Ford have empowered racist, homophobic, anti-Francophone and all kinds of motley alt-right groups. This is one of the most politically dangerous times we have faced in decades. There has never been a more important time to sustain strong social justice education and organizing.

Trump has encouraged a new phase of military aggression, an increase in the capacity and range of nuclear weapons, denigrated measures addressing climate change, passed tax legislation that will egregiously increase income inequalities, and rolled back healthcare coverage. Trump has mobilized troops along the U.S. border to keep out migrants fleeing political turmoil, and launched dangerous trade wars against China, Canada and Mexico. The response of the Justin Trudeau government to these developments has been extremely disappointing. The Liberals have adopted a frosty silence toward the Trump Administration in public while sustaining policy alliances in pipelines and tar sands production, military deployments in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, in abandoning opposition to new nuclear weapons developments, and in common commitments to privatization of public goods.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is only making things worse. In ‘opening Ontario for business’, the attacks on democracy and services have been furious and alarming: scrapping Ontario’s climate change policy; tearing up some 750 renewable energy contracts; gutting a new sex-ed curriculum; curtailing supports for Francophone and First Nations in Ontario; hacking Toronto city council in the midst of an election; returning to the hard-line law-and-order politics; rolling back proposed minimum wage and income supports; privatizing cannabis distribution; ‘ginning-up’ the provincial books to justify austerity; and the list could go on. The provincial government in Ontario has been setting the pace in Canada for austerity, privatizations, and the lowest support for government programs in Canada, and Ford’s Conservatives want to do even more.

This is going to be an important coming year for social justice struggles. The inspiring Women’s Marches of the last years; the numerous actions against climate change, extreme weather and loss of species; and the hundreds of demonstrations in support of migrant rights were a good start. Protests are growing.

The CSJ has a long history of educational work and campaigning against austerity and tax cuts; for climate justice and expanded public transit; and for de-commodified public services. More than ever, with a hard right government now occupying Queen’s Park, we need your ongoing support.

In the last year, the Centre for Social Justice has been very busy for what is essentially a volunteer social organization. Not only have we been advancing our own projects, but we have been lending our support to many other groups as well. The CSJ continues to operate as a strategic hub for community meetings, public fora, and offers project space for initiatives such as the Free Transit Toronto, attempting to address the crisis in public transit in Toronto and Canada, anti-privatization campaigns, on social justice and economic alternatives. We have been providing direct support to the Action Keele project attempting to develop better bus services in Toronto. The CSJ also provides support for numerous social justice groups by organizing and promoting events, subsidizing speakers and promoting community educational initiatives. We will collaborate again with Low Income Families Together on a Summer Camp for youth, and also have supported educational work on ecology and climate change amongst First Nations and supporters. Over the last year, we have cooperated in educational workshops with the Toronto Airport Council, an alliance of unions at Pearson. And we also continue to publish our weekly social justice newsletter every Thursday.

Over the last year we’ve held fora on public transit, and climate change and the climate justice movement, on public healthcare, on Corbynism and the Labour Party, on Pension Fund Capitalism and the CPP, on the housing crisis, on Thomas Sankara and African liberation, on the rise of the far right in Europe, on the political thought of Karl Marx, on the new government in Mexico, the state of mining in Canada, among other issues. This year we have been co-sponsoring The Capitalism Workshop bringing together researchers and the general public together to learn about the ‘gig economy’, Amazon’s distributional logics, the sharing economy platforms, the political economy of the social media, and much else. The CSJ has become a reference point for the critical discussion of political issues of the day.

In the coming year, we will be continuing our support for public transit, the summer social justice educational camp for teens, the Toronto Airport Council of unions, and the building of new labour networks. We will also collaborate with The Capitalism Workshop on a series of discussions on the climate crisis, with research networks on Ontario politics, and others. These are just a sample of what is coming up.

We could not keep the Centre’s programming going without your financial support. The neoliberal austerity agenda has taken a dangerous hard right turn with Trump and Ford in power. We need to meet this challenge, and work feverishly for an alternate agenda.

We want to thank all of you who have helped us fund programming. We need to keep 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.