Volume 91, Issue 59

Wednesday, January 14, 1998



Literal interpretation

Re: Canadian strike fever, Dec.3

To the Editor:
The failure of Cooke's analysis of the current Canadian political situation in general and the postal strike in particular is unfortunate, for it is exactly people in Cooke's position being most affected by what is going on in the country right now. The postal workers are fighting for job security and full-time work, something that most of us (who upon graduation will be unemployed) would or should support. The notion that a government, which has laid off 10,000 postal workers in the last 18 months (the admailers) and which wants to lay off another 4,000 through route lengthening, is "being held hostage" is frankly absurd.

The fight surrounding full-time work at Canada Post is an aspect of the same struggle students face in ensuring a quality and accessible education; both are facets of government attacks on the lives of those of us who do not own factories, schools or corporations. The vast majority of the people in Canada and around the world benefit (or would benefit) from low tuition rates, public health care, affordable housing and access to secure full-time employment. We should not see these as isolated entities with no relation to each other. If the Posties secure full-time work, that is a benefit for everyone in the country looking for work. The government and the corporations that benefit from the kind of naive attitude Cooke displays wants us to back the government as it attacks our rights and working conditions. It will only make it easier for the government to attack us in the future when they so choose. Only by standing together against the service-cutting agenda of the government and corporate powers can we hope to secure reasonable services like public health care, affordable, quality education and secure, full-time work for ourselves and our children.

Cooke asks "is this democracy?" Well, consider this: is voting for a party that lies to the electorate on a continual basis any kind of democracy? One only has to look at Chrétien's "jobs, jobs, jobs" pledge or Harris' "not touching health care" promise to see how democratic our system really is. A cursory look at Canadian history will show that anything gained in the lives of working people was fought for; against governments and against the kind of "put up and shut up" attitude presented in Cooke's letter.

Finally, Cooke's concluding comment can only be described as tasteless and disgusting. To even suggest that "fascism isn't so bad after all" (even if it was meant facetiously) is an insult to the millions who died at the hands of Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. "Those who don't learn the lessons of history will be doomed to repeat them" – such a thought has a cruel irony in this context, with openly Facist parties organizing in huge numbers in France, Italy and elsewhere. The attitudes Cooke presents will only contribute to such developments – I wonder if he is prepared to accept those consequences?

Jonathon Hodge

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