People around the world are throwing support behind the now 101 day student strike in Quebec in defiance of a proposed 75% tuition increase.
Last Friday, after the Cherest government responded to mass demonstrations by passing a bill (Loi 78) that places limits on its citizens rights to protest and increases the punitive powers of the police… many Quebec citizens, who are not students and have not yet marched against the hike, have been politicized. Demonstrations have multiplied in size and spread across all neighborhoods in Montreal.
In addition to the university student and teacher unions, various trade unions have begun to thrown their support behind student unions, including the Montreal bus and metro workers who have come out against Loi 78 and have urged members to refuse transportation to police and to arrested protesters!!!
Translating the Printemps Erable is an important resource for English speaker who can find translations of media coverage on the strike there. Please spread it widely.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the student movement gaining momentum in Quebec at this time is about more than the cost of tuition but a blanket rejection of austerity measures dictated to tax-payers from the top down as a response to an economic crisis created at the top.
To help contextualize the student movement in Quebec within collective struggles around the globe in 2012, here is an interview with Judith Butler.
Solidarity in the streets: An interview with Judith Butler
| May 23, 2012
Award-winning author and prolific feminist scholar Judith Butler will be speaking tomorrow night at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. Dr. Butler will be presenting a talk entitled ‘A Politics of the Street’ in which she will examine the different forms of public resistance, protests and their implications for contemporary politics.
The event, which is being presented by The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies as part of their public forums for converging minds to explore freely, sold out 1100 tickets in just three hours.
Media and the new student movements
“We are all drawn to think about what is going on,” says Butler, who has had a close eye on various protests around the world, including the current student demonstrations in Montreal. “I think the Montreal protests are very powerful; it is getting global attention and raises fundamental questions about whether students in Canada have a right to an affordable education. It has been powerful enough to cancel classes and stop business as usual. Sometimes you have to bring the machinery to a halt to make a difference.”
“Media is very important in making certain links. News made through social media can be relatively uncensored and it undercuts or contests the more dominant media representations,” explains Butler, who sees protests in one part of the world having an effect on what is happening on the other side of the world.
“I think there was a successful movement on the part of the Chilean students last year opposing tuition. Their success has been an important point of reference for Berkeley, Athens and Montreal. People in Cairo are watching us in the U.S. and people in Chile are watching Athens. The world has been more connected in the last year and a half. There’s an increasing understanding of global dependency and new forms of global alliances.”