Against a kind of activist-y, spectacular politics, Marianne Garneau argues that US students and workers can learn from the Quebec model how to organize our power as a class. Quebec students have kept their tuition low because they’ve historically had a vibrant, militant student movement, one that is willing to strike and directly disrupt, and not wait for the leadership of the business unions. The organizing model is to create directly democratic bodies—department-by-department assemblies—that know how to leverage our power to fuck up the business of the people who are screwing us over, whether they’re our educators or our employers.
CW: Could you say a little about how you became involved in radical organizing, particularly around universities?
An article by Jerome Raza on the history of student syndicalism in Quebec and the conditions which gave rise to Classé.
[b]In September 2012, shortly after the end of the largest unlimited general student strike in the history of Quebec, several class-struggle anarchist organisations in Canada along with a few local chapters of the IWW put together a cross-country tour to bring the history and experiences of the Quebec student movement to students and activists outside the province.
In Quebec, Canada, an impressive student struggle, connected to protests against attacks on civil liberties has ended in a partial, but nevertheless important, victory. There is reason to learn lessons, but also to celebrate and to be inspired. Let's shout it from the rooftops, as a sign of more to come.
For months, students in Quebec fought against a Draconian college fee rise that the Chares government tried to impose. They struck in great numbers, organized themselves through a system of assemblies where they decided about the strike, what forms the actions woud take and so on. And they demonstrated, in actions that led to militant confrontations with the police.
I keep meaning to write something about the abrupt halt to my "Dispatches from Maple Spring" posts -- written during the best summer of my life in the rebellious, romantic city of Montreal. In fact, I have two unfinished stories languishing in my Wordpress box and several pieces I've been meaning to write. Hopefully I'll have the energy, focus, and stomach for writing again soon about the Quebec student strike and other related politics, but also, first, about the surreal turn in my own life.
The short version, for now, is: both my parents got seriously sick at the same time, but my dad profoundly so. I stayed up all night in Montreal some 3.5 weeks ago to decide what to do.
After a trip to Montréal I have some recommendations as to how we can get on their level.
I returned from Montréal exhausted and amazed by what I had just seen. I know that we have all heard recently about the defeats that the student movement there has suffered, but in America we are so far behind what has been created in Montréal that we need to be taking notes on all the things that the Montréal activists did right.
Cindy Milstein on the Québec student strike as some general assemblies start to vote to return to class.
On August 10, I posted a photo on my Facebook page of a delicate red square with the caption "[the] fragility & sweetness of social struggle." Little could I have guessed, however, just how fragile the Quebec student strike movement would prove to be only three days later.
Reporting from Cindy Milstein on day 110 of the student strike in Québec.
Despite a weather forecast calling for rain all day, the drops held off until just as the last section of the Mile-End neighborhood's Dans la rue pour la grève sociale / In the street for social strike was being cleaned up and taken away.
Cindy Milstein reports on the 108th day of the Québec students strike.
I always seem to wander past the right piece of street art at the right moment here in Montreal, as if some pirate-propagandist were reading my mind, or better yet, engaging in a dialogue with me. So here's yet another good fit: a single rose, growing out of the cracks of the capitalist landscape, or perhaps causing them. Or both.