Quebec Student Protests

Hey so I just got this email from a friend of mine in Montreal:

“I know some of you are aware of the situation in Quebec at this moment, with a second wave of striking students mimicking the massive 2012 student uprising that toppled the government and rolled back tuition increases.  We are still in the early days of this new strike, pressuring the government to roll back austerity measures against universities, social services, and the environment.  Like 2012 students have already been severely injured due to police aggression, with one student recently shot in the face with a tear gas canister at point blank range.  Others have already faced administrative intimidation and expulsion for simply participating publicly in the strike.

Today, police stormed the University of Quebec at Montreal, violently assaulting striking students and arresting many. Brave professors formed a human chain around students to prevent further violence, and currently there is still a stand off at this very moment! Over the last three weeks there have been countless protests and night marches with thousands and/or tens of thousands of students in the streets–but we know little is being reported outside of Quebec–in part because we are a French province and anglos don’t know/don’t care what’s going on here.

So I’m writing to you to you all so that we aren’t disappeared and because I know many of you would stand with us if not in the streets, at least in spirit. So please, share the news about what is happening in Quebec with your friends, colleagues, and students. And to stay in the loop if you’re interested, you can always see what’s going on at this website which acts as a clearing house for anti-austerity related information.”

I hadn’t heard ANYTHING about this until they sent me this email so spread the news!

Who’s Who of the Quebec Student Movement: Jeanne Reynolds & Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, CLASSE (Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarite syndicale etudiante) student leaders
June 2, 2012

CLASSE spokespersons Jeanne Reynolds and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois have become outspoken revolutionary voices indicative of the Quebec Student Movement. With  red felt squares pinned to their shirts, the student leaders have articulated the demands of the thousands of students, unions, teachers and residents marching throughout the streets of Canada every day. 

On Thursday, student groups demanded a tuition freeze, but were rejected by government officials. Although university tuition in Quebec is the lowest in Canada, many Quebecois fear this is the first step toward an American for-profit education system. The proposed hike is $254 each year for seven years. 

CLASSE called for a massive demonstration in Quebec today. This is the 40th straight day of protests. 


See’s Who’s Who posts for the Occupy Movement.

Over 1,100 Quebec Teachers Vow to Respect Strike Votes (Media Coop, Mntrl)

Over 1,100 Quebec teachers vow to respect strike votes

BLOG POST posted on August 6, 2012 by Tim McSorley

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.
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Grève | Strike

As I wrote a few days ago, the fight against tuition fee increases is awakening from its summer doldrums. Today, Profs contre la hausse - Professors against the hike - launched a new manifesto.

Members of this loosely affiliated organization of teachers opposed to the tuition fee hike have been front and centre for several months now, interupting government committee meetings, visibly participating in protests, and even helping to support picket lines.

Over 1,162 teachers in Quebec, and another 900 outside the province, have signed on to the manifesto already. In which they vow to respect the right of student associations to vote to strike, and denounce the components of Law 12 - the official name of bill 78, which suspended classes for striing students, banned protests within 50 metres of campuses, and requires teachers and other education workers to report actions breaking the law, all under the threat of incredibly stiff fines.

The manifesto reads, in part:

We reaffirm that decisions taken in a democratic way, by associations whose legitimacy is recognized by the law, are themselves legitimate.

We respect the strike vote of the students. We recognize their right to protest at their educational institutions and to interrupt the activities which are carried out there as the only means by which they have bargaining power.

We would not know how to teach in contravention of these principles.

Le Devoir has a piece about today’s press conference here. Full manifesto is below.

For more in-depth coverage of the tuition fee hikes and the fight for the right to prostest in Quebec, check out today’s feature by Stefan Christoff for The Dominion, Red Square Roots: How austerity underpins social crisis and repression in Quebec and beyond.


For the protection of democracy and the right of student protest

We are professors at institutions of higher education. Our job is to open to our students critical horizons that question reality and offer different world views.

We do not see ourselves as mere agents of the reproduction of the social order, and especially as not officers of the repression with which Quebec’s state power has decided to contemptuously attack the student community. The unjust Bill 12 (formerly Bill 78), which criminalizes what were until recently considered social rights and civil liberties, would have Quebec’s professors play these roles.

We denounce this law by which the Quebec government is attempting to create a chain of obedience intended to systematically attack freedom of association, the right to demonstrate and, more broadly, any “concerted action” within educational institutions of higher education (in Quebec : colleges and universities). Now, no one can impede the right of a student to receive instruction. No one may contribute, directly or indirectly, to “slow down, degrade or delay” the resumption or continuation of classes.

“Gatherings” that could disrupt classes are prohibited within a 50 meter radius of buildings. Teacher and student unions have the obligation to ensure strict compliance with these provisions, under penalty of exorbitant fines. The ministry may order the removal of all the resources of the latter, including dues payments. Finally, higher educational institutions must communicate any information the ministry requires under penalty of fines. Under the pretext of protecting the right of access to classes, this incredibly ferocious law thus establishes a mode of governance based on administrative, judicial and police repression of all those who would organize their forces to challenge its principles and its application or to defend any position adopted by a General Assembly, including positions concerning the accessibility of higher education.

We consider it unacceptable that Quebec professors are now forced to be cogs in this Orwellian system. On the one hand, the government tells professors to ignore the collective decisions taken democratically by student assemblies, to teach the students who present themselves in the classroom and to whom these courses are supposedly “due”, and to thereby penalize those who abide by their vote to strike. This is a direct attack on the freedom of political conscience of professors. On the other hand, professors’ academic freedom may be infringed not only at the direction of educational institutions but also by anyone who would denounce these professors for “helping or inducing a person” to contravene this law.

We reject such an abuse of our work. We defend and will always defend an education which silences no debate, an education capable of generating strong convictions and concrete practices.

We refuse to contribute to the production of a world characterised by the war of all against all, by market logic, by mutual surveillance, by informants, self-censorship, and fear. We reject the idea that respecting the contract between an academic institution and a student, legitimizes the violence exercised by the state against collective political rights - rights to associate, to express one’s opinion freely, to make collective decisions, to strike, and to demonstrate.

We reaffirm that decisions taken in a democratic way, by associations whose legitimacy is recognized by the law, are themselves legitimate.

We respect the strike vote of the students. We recognize their right to protest at their educational institutions and to interrupt the activities which are carried out there as the only means by which they have bargaining power.

We would not know how to teach in contravention of these principles.


ITS OFFICIAL. The Quebec Student Movement has won. Tuition hikes are history. The new government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting less than 24 hours after coming to power.


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quebec student movement needs some 68-esque slogans already

“by stopping the machines together we will demonstrate their weakness”

“be realistic; demand the impossible!" 

"conflict is the origin of everything (heraclitus)”

“a single nonrevolutionary weekend is more bloody than a month of total revolution”

“those who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring to everyday reality have a corpse in their mouth" 

"the most beautiful sculpture is a paving stone thrown at a cops head”

“action must not be a reaction, but a creation.”

“actions enables us to overcome divisions and find solutions”

“life is elsewhere”

“beneath the paving stones, the beach…”

“the student’s susceptibility to recruitment as a militant for any cause is a sufficient demonstration of his real impotence.”

“what if we burned the Sorbonne?”

“we don’t want to be the watchdogs or servants of capitalism" 

"to call in question the society you “live” in, you must firstbe capable of calling yourself in question.”

“there is a policeman inside of your head and He must be destroyed”

“i love you!!! oh, say it with paving stones!!!”

“make love, not war”

“commodities are the opium of the people”

“the cause of all wars, riots and injustices is the existence of property. (st. augustine)”

“the economy is wounded. I hope it dies!" 

"obedience begins with consciousness. consciousness begins with disobedience”

“i have something to say but I don’t know what”

“comrades, stop applauding, the spectacle is everywhere.”

“only the truth is revolutionary”

“to hell with boundaries”

“the future will only contain what we put into it now”

“masochism today takes the form of reformism. no re-plastering, the structure is rotten”

“boredom is counter-revolutionary”  

“we want structures serving people, not people serving structures”

“politics is in the streets.”

 all power to the fucking-soviets
Street Politics 101(VIDEO)

In the spring of 2012, a massive student strike in opposition to a tuition hike, rocked the streets of the Montréal for over six months. Protests and militant street actions became part of the daily and nightly reality of this Canadian metropolis. Several times during this tumultuous spring, the numbers in the streets would reach over one hundred thousand. Police routinely clubbed students and their allies, and arrested them by the hundreds. Some were even banned from entering the city. But every time the cops struck, the student movement got bigger and angrier.

This is a story about how the arrogance of a government, underestimated a dedicated group of students, who through long term organizing laid the foundation for some of the largest mass demonstrations in Canada’s history. But it is also a story of how a crews of determined anarchists, educated a new generation of students, in the importance of owning the streets.

In Street Politics 101, features some of the best footage from what some called “the maple spring.” It also features interviews with students, teachers and anarchists involved in one of the most militant rebellions in Quebec.
Montreal's ban on masked protesters unconstitutional, Quebec Superior Court rules
'Anarchopanda' wins legal challenge of bylaw P-6

“Anarchopanda,” the costumed mascot of Quebec’s 2012 student protest movement, has won a legal challenge of Montreal’s controversial bylaw P-6, which bans masked protesters and makes it illegal to participate in a demonstration if the route hasn’t been filed with police.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Chantal Masse has declared two key articles of the bylaw to be unconstitutional:

  • Article 2.1, which makes it illegal to hold any demonstration if organizers fail to file an itinerary with police in advance.
  • Article 3.2, which makes it illegal to wear a mask during a protest.

In her 124-page ruling, Masse struck down the mask restriction entirely.

As for the right of demonstrators to withhold their planned route from police, her decision was more nuanced.

Masse ruled that spontaneous, unplanned protests can’t be declared illegal, because filing a route with authorities in advance isn’t feasible.

However, where people have been invited in advance to attend a demonstration, a route must be filed, as required by the bylaw.

Continue Reading.