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      Fire This Time Newspaper Celebrates 10 Years of Publication!
      "Publishing Fire This Time Was a Necessity Not an Option"
      - Ali Yerevani, Political Editor of Fire This Time Newspaper

      By Thomas Davies

      On Saturday April 2, 2016, Fire This Time celebrated one decade of publishing its monthly newspaper. It was an important opportunity to reflect on the origins of the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice and the lessons learned in publishing an independent newspaper reflecting the struggles of oppressed people for building a new world.

      Over 130 people came to the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library to join in the celebration, including many members of different political organizations and tendencies. The event was also themed, “Socialist Cuba, How Far We have Come” and featured Mr. Julio Garmendía Peña, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Canada who traveled from Ottawa to participate with Miraly González González, First Secretary and Political Attache of the Cuban Embassy.

      Fire This Time Editorial Board member Tamara Hansen welcomed everyone to the celebration before introducing Coast Salish elder Kelly White, who was joined by other members of the indigenous community in leading the celebration through a welcoming ceremony to unceeded Coast Salish territory.

      After Kelly, Latin American troubadour Beto Fuentes sang energetic songs inspired by the Cuban Revolution, with participants in the crowd joining in singing the classic ‘Guantanamera’.

      Charles Boylan brought greetings from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), and the celebration was also joined by Garry Owens via video conference. Garry was a founder and leading organizer of the Black Panther Party in Seattle, and has remained active in many social justice struggles up until today. As part of his greetings he made an appeal for people to subscribe to Fire This Time, which was actually very successful in prompting half a dozen people to fill out a yearly subscription card!

      The celebration was also honoured by the participation of Wilfredo J. Perez Bianco, the Venezuelan Consul General in Vancouver. He brought greetings on behalf of the Consulate, and also gave an excellent speech in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Fire This Time has continually advocated for solidarity and defense of the Bolivarian Revolution, especially in the current context of increasing imperialist attacks.

      Mr. Julio Garmendía Peña, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Canada and guest of honor to the celebration spoke next. He began by saying, “I would like to congratulate the Editorial Board of Fire This Time for the 10th anniversary of this publication that that together with others in Canada reflect the reality of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries of our region - opposing the lies and the cliches that the big press delivers about us, Happy Birthday!”

      The Ambassador then outlined some of the important developments and analysis of the new era of US-Cuba relations. He emphasized that Cuba has not renounced or compromised any of its guiding socialist principles in negotiations, and that it is the US which has been forced to change and compromise in its relations with Cuba.

      Fire This Time Political Editor, Ali Yerevani brought the political program of the evening to a close. He emphasized the objective political conditions which led to the creation of Fire This Time: aworld defined by war, occupation and a deep world wide capitalist crisis coupled with the necessity of building an anti-capitalist and anti imperialist consciousness to confront it. 10 years later he reflected, “From an idea we have become an established political tendency. The Fire This Time newspaper is not just a new revolutionary working class newspaper, but the backbone of a revolutionary socialist project in Canada.”

      He emphasized Fire This Time’s focus on solidarity with Cuba and Venezuela, and its organizing perspective and method, “Fire This Time tries very hard to be very close to touch the pulse of understanding, mentality and struggle of the working class. The newspaper’s job is to support and engage with other progressive and revolutionary movements and their struggles. We seek to reach a collective level of mass consciousness through analysis, solidarity and political campaigns which allows the working class and oppressed people to think socially and act politically, to achieve social justice locally and internationally, as Malcolm X said, by any means necessary.”

      Noah Fine and Macarena Cataldo, both contributors to the Fire This Time Newspaper finished the program by performing a song by revolutionary Chilean musician, Violeta Para.

      Tamara Hansen closed the celebration by thanking everyone for attending and emphasizing, “The reasons Fire This Time was created are even more real and more important today, let’s continue to work together to build that better world we all know is posible!"

      Read the "Solidarity as a Constitutional and Strategic aspect in Venezuela, the Speech by Wilfredo J. Perez Bianco, the Venezuelan Consul General in Vancouver, at the Fire This Time 10 Year Anniversary Celebration Here

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