On the 100th Day 500,000 take to the streets
While being virtually denied any information by the US media about an event that is obviously "fit to print" and talk about, two recent articles give us a sense of what is going on.
From Natasha Lennard's piece in Salon:
“I don’t think many people, including the [Quebec] government, anticipated that this would escalate and continue everyday since March 22,” Danna Vajda, 29, a former student of Concordia University Montreal, who attended the New York solidarity march, told me via email. She noted: “By the time the government was willing to negotiate with appropriate student associations, earlier this month, the position of many students had already fermented into something much more committed to achieving the goals of the strike than getting back to business as usual and finishing the semester, and the deal offered by the government was rejected by over 80 percent of the student associations.” Vajda added too that the strike is widening its nets, with students in neighboring Ontario considering striking in the fall semester and numerous unions in Quebec potentially joining “what is now becoming an ‘unlimited general strike.’”
And how the Quebec student movement is relevant to us here in the states:
What the Quebec uprising means this side of the border is yet to be seen. As was the case with the Arab Spring and mobilizations in public squares and streets in Greece and Spain, how actions in Canada might shape or inspire actions in the U.S. becomes a question of resonance. And the grounds for resonance here are strong: relative to U.S. education costs, the proposed tuition hikes in Canada seem almost negligible. The red square of the student strike — symbolic of “being in the red” because of student debt — might resonate more profoundly with students in the U.S. than anywhere else worldwide.
And the meaning she finds in this event:
The powerful message from Quebec, for me, is not the importance of strong student leadership. Rather, it is that thousands of individuals have taken risks, broken with their daily routines and found each other in the streets (despite numerous social and political divisions) to engage in a radical political experiment with no clear endpoint. One of the main Twitter hashtags relating the Quebec actions is #manifencours, an abbreviation of “manifestation en cours, meaning simply “demonstration in the streets.” As the proliferation of the phrase suggests, the situation in Quebec is no longer just about negotiating tuition fees; it’s a manifestation with an open trajectory.
Read her whole article, Dissent, à la Québécoise, at http://www.salon.com/2012/05/23/dissent_a_la_quebecoise/?source=newsletter .
From Elizabeth Leier's report in Truthout:
The student movement, now finishing it's 15th week, has resulted in the government adopting a "special law" in order to "maintain law and order" within the Province. This law "Loi 78," is such an aberration to civil and human rights that many scholars, lawyers (including the Quebec Bar Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association) and judges have deemed it unconstitutional and maintain that it would not survive a judicial oversight.
Read her piece, Québec Suspends Civil Liberties in Response to the Student Strike, at http://truth-out.org/news/item/9327-quebec-suspends-civil-liberties-in-response-to-the-student-strike .