A Demonstration for an Emancipating Education for the People

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Last March 13th in Montreal, more than 3000 people took part in a demonstration organized by CLASSE in order to show their solidarity with all student struggles in the world as well as to protest against the commercialization of education.  Considering the international scope of this demonstration, student organizations from everywhere in the world were contacted.  Established groups in Argentina, Brazil, Chili, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, the United States, Venezuela and Ontario answered the call by confirming that they support the strike movement underway in Quebec and that they would organize symbolic actions on that day.


Why a demonstration in solidarity with all student struggles in the world and against the commercialization of education?

All over the globe, students are confronted with increases in tuition fees, with the interference of private enterprise in scholarly institutions and the revision of the material being taught with a view to adapting it to the demands of the market.  In this sense, what the Quebec population is fighting against is more than a mere increase in tuition fees; it is the global neoliberal agenda in which it is embedded.  Neoliberalism, more than advancing the logic of the paying user whereby education is above all a personal investment, reduces higher education to an innovation-producing machine, a competitive positioning tool for the big economic powerhouses of the world.  The implementation of neoliberal policies in education therefore accentuates the international division of labour in favour of the more fortunate countries and aggravates the disconnection between teaching establishments and the needs of populations.

In this context, of the rise of the knowledge economy, the demonstration last March 13th aimed to develop awareness that the students of the entire world, whether they hail from England, Chili or Quebec, are united in the same fight.  The privatisations and austerity measures being argued by neoliberalism affect not only education, but also health, social programs and, consequently, people in precarious situations (women, LGBTQ, racial minorities, immigrants, refugees, the non-status, etc.)  In light of this, the demonstration, to which several social groups were invited, was a call to a greater degree of solidarity between the student movement and those groups also struggling against regressive measures by the state.

translated from Laurence Jutras