A generation of spoiled brats, as the saying goes. A generation saddled with debt that will probably not have a pension, will retire at 74, have a 50-year mortgage, life-long precarious employment, a slowly privatising healthcare system and a environment ravaged by their parents’ heedlessness. Its offspring, if it dares to have any, will have only the schooling they can access, if the system hasn’t self-destructed under pressure. All-out cuts, endless hikes.
When this generation marches to denounce what’s going on, it gets pounded. “Stay home and study”, it is told. People applaud the police, who are trained to rough it up while the complicit media complacently demonises it. This generation is only questioned in order to be mocked. The very government doling out austerity awards itself retirement packages and excellent salaries while the very rats accused of collusion are free as a bird. Continue reading →
The images were spectacular. Massive property damages. Masked students running rampant. A pavilion ransacked. Riot police called in for reinforcement by UQAM’s administration. The perfect recipe for creating a stir.
If it’s true that violence cannot be tolerated, it is also true that the anger bubbling up within this large university is no accident. It can be partially explained by the breach of trust evident between administrators and a growing portion of the university community.
And yet, this anger is also the product of the government itself radicalising in the face of any open questioning of its austerity politics. By rejecting any real social dialogue, the government breeds discontent among those who haven’t the slightest chance of being heard.
Above all, the crisis at UQAM brutally reflects the authoritarian climate that winds up killing public debate.
At a time when unbridled anti-intellectualism and populism are mounting, this simplistic polarisation of society into “good” vs. “evil” is easier than ever. Continue reading →
The way that cops treat students is different than the way they treat other advocacy groups
Thursday April 2, Montreal. A motley crowd in the street, a street flooded by the spring sunlight that is finally warming our faces, faces coloured with the red of protest, a protest suddenly halted by shots of teargas and the charge of police officers.
Montreal, Sunday March 29. On this chilly day, women take to the streets and step out of Émilie-Gamelin square while shouting chants aimed at reminding Couillard’s government that no one is to hinder abortion access. Around 500 people make their way towards Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s office then turn back around. The police flank the march but never intervene.
In both cases, no itinerary was provided to the police administration. No “violent” incidents were noted by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). And yet these two protests came to two very distinctive conclusions. Why?
“It’s quite obvious from the dozen recent protests: when they are not organized by student groups, but by feminist groups for example, they are not subject to the same treatment. The treatment is notably differential, and it amounts to political profiling.” Continue reading →
Montreal, April 1st, 2015 – In the face of the extremely brutal police interventions used to crack down on student strike-related demonstrations, the Ligue des droits et libertés, ASSÉ, SPUQ, SGPUM, FNEEQ, the Comités Printemps 2015, the Coalition opposée à la tarification et à la privatisation des services publics, the FFQ, the Observatoire sur les profilages and several other community organisations, unions and groups are outraged and deeply worried about the situation. They demand an immediate end to this political repression.
The violent nature of this repression has already been roundly criticized. The fact that it has come about in such a brutal manner, at the very start of the student strike movement, bears witness to an increasing will to crush the social movement and demonstrates the political character of this repression. Calls to order and other commentary offered by certain politicians such as Quebec City mayor Labeaume or Anie Samson – the official in charge of Public Security on the City of Montreal council who declared that this year there would be “zero tolerance and the police will enforce the rules” – confirm a clear political intention to nip the strike movement and student protests in the bud. Continue reading →