Vancouver Socialist Forum was formed in 2007 by political activists from a variety of political backgrounds, to organize educational events on social justice issues and socialist theory and practice. VSF adopted the following statement of purpose on May 29, 2009.
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Statement of Purpose, Vancouver Socialist Forum
Vancouver Socialist Forum was founded in 2007 to promote the ideas of socialism and facilitate the political activity of its members. It organizes educational discussions and regular public forums.
Socialism or barbarism
The economic crisis that engulfed the planet in 2008 once again illustrates the destructive and irrational nature of capitalism. To prevent worsening social and economic misery for the world’s population, capitalism must be replaced by an entirely new economic and social order, socialism.
The goal of socialism is to create societies that offer full participation to each member and are environmentally sustainable. Human needs will be fulfilled through public and democratic ownership of the means of producing social wealth.
The world is also facing a climate change-driven environmental catastrophe of epic proportion. Oppressed countries and Indigenous peoples will be the main victims of this. Vancouver Socialist Forum (VSF) opposes the imposition of the costs of global environmental change onto them.
Consumption patterns in rich countries like Canada must change as part of learning a new relationship with planet Earth. This need not result in poverty for working people. What will be lost is the culture of consumerism, needless waste and excessive luxuries.
Only a mass, popular movement of resistance and change can end economic misery and reverse the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem. To achieve a shift to an ecologically sustainable and socially just economic order, planning of the world economy through democratic institutions and mass participation from members of society is required. This cannot be achieved under capitalism. The ruling elites resist any loosening of their control over the world’s natural and human resources, while their lust for profits continues to drive destructive projects like the Alberta tar sands.
Internationalism, the right to self determination
Our watchword is internationalism. Working people of the world share common interests in fighting against capitalist exploitation and national oppression. Divisions among us along national or racial lines are fostered by the capitalists and serve their interests.
We oppose the imperial wars and occupations that are a permanent feature of 21st century capitalism. Canada is an imperialist country in its own right, a junior partner in the imperialist system of exploitation. We oppose the wars by Canada and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine; and the Canada/U.S./UN occupation of Haiti.
We identify with the revolutions in the Americas that have placed socialism back on the agenda, especially those in Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela.
We support the right of Indigenous nations around the world to political self- determination and sovereignty. We oppose the ongoing occupations of their territories, especially the Indigenous nations whose territories are occupied by the colonial-settler state known as Canada. We consider the struggle against Canadian nationalism and chauvinism and accompanying anti-native racism in the non-Native working class to be paramount in our work.
We support the struggles of the Quebecois against Anglo-Canadian discrimination, national oppression, and political domination. We support their struggle for political sovereignty and self-determination. We recognize the deep class divisions that characterize Quebec society and the interest of the ruling class there in promoting racism and bigotry against the Indigenous peoples and people of colour.
We recognize the particular oppression that women face and strive to tear down all barriers to full and complete social equality. Patriarchal constructions of gender must be challenged. We oppose all discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We oppose the racism and discrimination against racialized people, including immigrants of colour, refugees, and ‘non-status’ people. We oppose the discrimination and violence against poor people by police agencies whose job is to keep the poor in their place. We support the democratic rights of poor people to public space and social support.
We recognize the special role played by the trade unions in the struggle for social justice. We participate in rank and file movements for greater union militancy and democracy. We advocate united fronts among all those fighting for justice.
Working people need to organize in politics independent of the capitalists and their political parties. Only independent political action and mass movements struggling for concrete goals can achieve lasting change. Elections alone change nothing.
How we organize
Membership of Vancouver Socialist Forum is open to those who agree with the general principles of its Statement of Purpose and who wish to promote socialist ideas and collaborate in political activities. Decisions of the group are made by majority vote at general meetings.
We seek to join in common activity with like-minded activists in other cities and provinces.
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More information is available on the Vancouver Socialist Forum website. To contact VSF: email vancouver_socialist_forum[at]yahoo.com or phone 778 858 5179.
Videos of VSF public forums. Thanks to the activists and volunteers at Pasifik Canada for putting these online
March 9, 2007: VSF’s first public conference:
- John Riddell reports from Venezuela. [HERE]
- Derrick O’Keefe speaks on Cuba. [HERE]
- Adam Hanieh speaks on the struggle of the Palestinian people. [HERE]
July 13, 2007: Barry Sheppard and Phil Cournoyer on the anti-Vietnam-war movement. [HERE]
July 23, 2007: Phil Cournoyer on the current situation in Nicaragua. [HERE]
November 16, 2007: Ian Angus on ecosocialism. [HERE]
October 9, 2008: Panel on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. [HERE]
April 30, 2009. Panel on the British Columbia provincial election and labour political action [HERE]