This Agreement is a Farce

Sunday, May 6, 2012

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By Marc-André Cyr, Voir

This agreement is an insult.

This agreement is a surrender!

Under the most optimistic – or tired – analysis this agreement is seen as a 'moratorium' on the question of the tuition increase. Yet it is nothing. The anticipated tuition increase of 1778$ over 7 years is intact and it's 'temporary suspension' is financed by a decrease in school fees payed by students [1].

Thus the government maintains the tuition hike, against which striking students have been fighting for many weeks. The agreement would see the creation of a 'provisional committee' which would be given the task of recommending places to cut 'unnecessary expenses'. Understanding that, this committee would not be dominated by student voices (students would be 4 out of 19 members). In other words, the tuition hike would be payed off by cuts within the schools; cuts which would be imposed by a committee dominated by Deans (who are fiercely in favour of the tuition hike), CEGEP representatives, and henchmen of the minister and the business community.

Explanation of government offer of May 5, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quebec, May 5, 2012.

Students,

As you know, a blitz of negotiations with the Quebec government has continued over the past few hours on the question of the tuition fee increase. The delegations of the student associations conclude these meetings with an offer from the Government. Here are the details.

The Youth Pushing Quebec Toward Maturity

Saturday, April 28, 2012

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By Catherine Lalonde

Faced with the failure of neoliberalism, generation "Y" advances a humanistic vision for the long term.

The leaders of the student movement, Jeanne Reynolds, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Léo Bureau-Blouin, have become spokespeople for a generation of young people, forced to push Quebec toward greater maturity.

In the right-hand corner, the government avoidance dance. The excuses to avoid addressing tuition hikes—the basis for the strike movement. The semantic dickering on the question of violence in order to detract from the complexity of the issues at hand, to discredit a more nuanced view, the condescension. In the left-hand corner, the youth. Though not expected to look beyond the immediate future, they say they are fighting for the children of the future. They refuse to be divided, are committed to solidarity and democracy, and fully embody their ideology. Could they be ushering in the age of reason in Quebec, long held to be in its adolescence?

Black Bloc and Red Square

Saturday, April 28, 2012

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By Francis Dupuis-Déri - Political science professor at UQAM and author of the book Les Black Blocs (Lux, 2007) 

For weeks now, debates have been raging over “Black Blocs,” described as “Anarchist groups” “vandals” “masked, hooded, black clad and waving black flags.” I have witnessed several incidents during demonstrations where demonstrators have insulted and physically attacked Black Bloc members in the name of non-violence.

Black Blocs can also, of course, simply march in the demonstration as union, NGO, and political party contingents do, crammed together behind their banners, following their leaders. I’ve seen Black Blocs in Montréal and elsewhere do just that, marching calmly, an expression of their radical critique of capitalism or of the State through their mere presence. But it’s usually when Black Blocs use direct action that the media notice their existence. And yet Black Blocs are not a new phenomenon. A look back on an eventful history.

The New Proposal from the Government, April 27, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

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This text explains how the government's proposal of April 27 was far from a compromise.  Instead, the government will not release any new money for education and the measures that the government frames as compromise they have in fact been planning to implement for years.  So, when the government proposes to create a commission to look at the way universities are run, they have in mind to set up a more bureaucratized, more stifling and more neoliberal model of the university, precisely what the students and faculty have been fighting all this time.

"Illegal demonstration" is not a performative utterance

Friday, April 27, 2012

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By Veronique Robert, defense lawyer, criminal law

"Illegal demonstration" is not a performative utterance.

In other words, the police declaring a demonstration illegal does not mean that the demonstration is illegal, much less that participants are committing an illegal act by the mere fact of their presence.

"Illegal demonstration" is not even a legal concept.

In other words, the police declaring a demonstration illegal only means that from that moment on, they assume the right to disperse it, to clamp down on it, to break it. As we have seen a few times in these last weeks, they also assume for themselves the right to charge against demonstrators, and to detain some of them, for reasons still unknown to the public insofar as no charges have been filed, except for breach of conditions.

Student Conflict – Amnesty International Canada Francophone is Seriously Concerned about Infringements on the Right to Protest

Monday, April 23, 2012

Amnesty International is calling on the Quebec government to find a peaceful resolution to the student conflict and to stop resorting to methods that may infringe on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest.

We’ve become aware of a growing number of journalistic reports, eyewitness testimonies and accounts describing police tactics during demonstrations, methods of arrests, acts of vandalism and other forms of violence in some cities and universities in Quebec.

This information leads us to believe that the approach taken to ensure security during demonstrations has violated some of the fundamental rights associated with peaceful protest and due process, notably the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and association, as well the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest.

My mother is f*cking poor - Letter from a student

Monday, April 23, 2012

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To all those who accuse students of being “spoiled”; you’re partly right. Partly, because it’s true that those who can access higher education must have certain privileges that others don’t. But these “spoiled” students are fighting so that those who don’t share their privilege can have access to the same social standing that they do.

Is State-Sanctioned Violence a Laughing Matter?

Friday, April 20, 2012

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I just came back from the Montreal Convention Centre, and I am shocked. I’ve got a couple of protest marches under my belt, but never have I witnessed anything such.

I’m not the kind of protester “looking for a fight,” I’m not one you’ll see on the front line. Only this time, there was no front line. I was standing there quietly, with a small number of people, not too far from a group of CSN teachers. I didn’t see anything coming, the riot control cops, stormed us from all sides, before rushing into the Convention Centre. A bystander, a man in his fifties — not even a protester — got a leg broken from being hit with a nightstick just beside me! I wondered how I could help him, along with some others when a tear gas canister was fired right next to us: unable to breathe or to see, I panicked. A little further, a colleague of mine noticed me and — a scarf covering his mouth and nose — came to help me out of there.

Proposal for a Social Strike this May 1st and 15th

Friday, April 20, 2012

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 We’ve been discussing a social strike for some time now and it’s high time that we translate words into actions. The fight against the tuition hike is not a question of nickels and dimes; it’s a struggle that is calling for a radical transformation of society. A transformation that rejects the austerity politics of the current government. Health tax, tuition fee increases, increases in rents and electricity fees, restrictions on the right to strike, the pillage of natural resources, and failure to respect the rights of aboriginal peoples…

In the face of such social attacks, there is only one possible response: social strike!

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