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Vol. 81/No. 42      November 13, 2017


Communist League campaign: ‘Workers need to
take power’

MONTREAL — “You’re the first candidate to knock on my door since I arrived here from Argentina 30 years ago,” said Alex Gaeta, a 47-year-old mechanic employed by the school board here, when Philippe Tessier introduced himself Oct. 28. Tessier is the Communist League candidate for mayor, on the ballot in the Nov. 5 election.

They got into a discussion on how capitalism’s dog-eat-dog values seek to pit workers against each other. “The biggest battle in front of us is to understand our own worth, and we can only accomplish this through struggle,” Tessier said. “That’s what you can learn from the Cuban Revolution. As the revolution developed, working people were transformed and new values took hold. We see it today with Cuban electricians and doctors, who are volunteering to go throughout the Caribbean to help rebuild after hurricanes Irma and Maria, while Cuba itself is mobilizing to rebuild there.”

“I’ll read your program seriously and consider voting in an election for the first time in my life,” Gaeta said.

Since January the Communist League in Montreal has been using Tessier’s campaign to help get a broader hearing for the League’s revolutionary program and activities. The heart of the campaign has been knocking on doors in working-class communities across the city and beyond, explaining the roots of the world capitalist crisis today, and how the only way forward is for workers to organize independently to take political power.

They’ve used the campaign to increase the reach of the Militant and revolutionary books by leaders of the international communist movement in French, English and Spanish.

Being on the ballot helped the League get wider media attention. In October the Montreal Gazette, English language CBC News and French-language Radio Canada all covered the campaign.

Radio Canada explained that Tessier and the League fought against attacks on Muslims and mosques in Canada. They referred to a campaign statement “demanding an end to the frame-up against rail workers Thomas Harding and Richard Labrie,” currently on trial on frame-up charges from the 2013 derailment and fire in Lac-Mégantic that killed 47 people.

“Philippe Tessier, 24 years old, thinks that workers have to take political power, ‘to resolve the crisis of the capitalist system,’” the Métro, a daily French-language tabloid distributed free at area subway stations with a circulation over a million, wrote Oct. 26. “In his campaign platform he gives the example of Cuba, how ‘working people can transform ourselves by making a socialist revolution.’”

“Tessier is also in favor of a $15 an hour minimum wage, and against the deportation of refugees,” the paper said.

From Oct. 14 to 22 Tessier joined other Communist League and Young Socialist members from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, Russia. The festival drew more than 20,000 people, mostly from Russia itself. The revolutionary delegation used the campaign at book tables, meetings and forums, where they sold hundreds of books on revolutionary strategy and perspectives.

After a long discussion on the worldwide crisis of the capitalist system, a young Russian from Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia got a Militant supplement with the introduction to Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power.

“You guys are different from all the other groups here. You’re the only ones who say workers can accomplish something and make a revolution,” he said. “Other people I’ve talked here say workers are more racist today and that fascism is looming.”
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Minneapolis: ‘Only SWP speaks for working class’
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