The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 77/No. 35      October 7, 2013

Communist candidates campaign,
petition door to door in Montreal
MONTREAL — “We raise the need to build a mass working-class movement that is independent of all the capitalist parties and politicians on the federal, provincial and municipal levels — whether Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic, Parti Quebecois or “independent” — to fight for a massive government-funded public works program to put millions to work at union-scale pay,” Joe Young, 66, factory worker and Communist League candidate for mayor here, told the Militant Sept. 14. “We also find that many workers agree when we say we need to fight for a qualitative increase in the minimum wage.”

Communist League candidates in the Nov. 3 municipal election — Young and Katherine LeRougetel, 55, a food processing worker who is running for mayor of the borough of Verdun — are campaigning door to door in working-class neighborhoods across the city. They are on the ballot after turning in more than the required number of signatures.

“I work for minimum wage, raising it is important,” home companion and caregiver Joselita Yung told LeRougetel after meeting the candidate at her door. “What can I do to contribute to this movement?”

Yung subscribed to the Militant and along with her husband signed the petition to help put the candidates on the ballot.

The Communist League candidates are challenging an array of capitalist politicians, who all say they are campaigning for “change” or to make Montreal a “winning city,” in the wake of the resignation of both the previous mayor and his temporary replacement amid widespread charges of corruption.

Dubbed front-runners by the bourgeois media are former Liberal federal cabinet minister Denis Coderre; economist and management consultant Marcel Coté, running for Coalition Montréal; and Richard Bergeron, leader of the Project Montreal party, billed as an urban affairs expert.

Campaign supporters organized a special door-to-door effort over the Sept. 14-15 weekend to gather signatures and introduce workers to the Militant and revolutionary literature from Pathfinder books on the struggles of workers and farmers around the world. Margaret Trowe, an auto parts worker and Socialist Workers Party candidate for the at-large city council seat in the Nov. 5 election in Des Moines, Iowa, joined in.

Much of the door-to door discussions centered on the discriminatory and anti-working-class Charter of Quebec Values, put forward by Quebec’s Parti Quebecois government as part of a campaign against immigrant workers, especially those of Muslim faith.

A highlight of the weekend was a panel discussion at the Militant Labor Forum that day attended by 22 people. LeRougetel chaired the event. The panelists were Young, Trowe and electrical-mechanics student François Bradette, who recently joined the Communist League after months of door-to-door campaigning with Militant supporters.

“As we go door to door we raise the need to build a mass revolutionary working-class movement that can take power out of the hands of the propertied ruling families and establish a government of workers and farmers,” Young said. “Along this road we need to build working-class unity through our struggles today.

“At the demonstration against the charter I explained to participants that it is an attack on the working class which aims to divide us and weaken our ability to organize and fight to defend ourselves against the impact of the growing capitalist economic crisis,” Young said.

“All questions in politics — racial questions, the environment, women`s rights, war and peace — are class questions,” said Trowe in her remarks. “Campaigning door to door, exchanging views with workers from this angle makes us sharper. We develop our views about the road forward for our class in discussion and action with other workers.

“Going door to door in Des Moines last week we explained that fighting against our own government is the main way workers in the U.S. can help the Syrian workers fight for political space against the Assad regime,” she said.

“Our campaign statement for jobs, a higher minimum wage, against discrimination of immigrants, along a course toward strengthening and unifying the working class points toward a fight for a workers and farmers government as the best way for workers here to show solidarity with the struggle of workers and farmers in Syria to push back the murderous assault they face. And it helps us mobilize unconditional opposition to U.S. intervention in Syria.”

“We came across all kinds of views today as we campaigned door to door in Verdun,” said Bradette. “The majority we spoke to were against the charter. A woman bought a copy of the Militant after we showed her an article we had translated into French. Some expressed anti-communist views or were not interested in the campaign. One truck driver we met told us about the deteriorating conditions at work after he lost his union.”

Following a lively and lengthy discussion, participants attended a well-prepared potluck fundraising dinner.

Four subscriptions and 35 copies of the Militant were sold, along with a copy of The Communist Manifesto, over the weekend. Eighty-four signatures for Young and 37 for LeRougetel put the totals well over the 200 and 100 required respectively.
Related articles:
Quebec: 10,000 rally against anti-immigrant ‘secularism’
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