Elections, a theatre of democracy (Huffington Post)

By: Étienne Boudou-Laforce, Ianik Marcil, Steve E. Fortin, Bianca Longpré; signatories at bottom of post
Originally published on: October 15 2015
Original French text here: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/etienne-boudou-laforce/election-theatre-democratie_b_8307102.html

With its cardboard stage set, contrived acting and empty issues, federal elections can resemble an interminable production of summer theatre. Thankfully, at the end of the day, the theatricality makes way for handsome and unshakeable democracy. Elections are in fact the people’s calling to vote and choose their own destiny. Is it not a deeply noble thing to see democracy enacted?

Theoretically, the answer is yes, indeed. But maybe you should check with Greece. They elected an anti-austerity party and won a referendum against austerity, and yet their creditors answered back with a categorical “no” and even greater austerity in order to possibly punish them for even thinking they could get away with a referendum. As Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund-Adorno once said, “if voting could change the system, it would be illegal”.  Does this mean that our “less bad system” would be a simulacrum of democracy that is more pernicious than others because it suggests real political consequence? Is Étienne Chouard correct in stating that “the fact of having to designate our masters is a fraudulent imposition. It yields plutocratic results, with the rich leading for the past 200 years”?
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Why school? (Petit Rorqual)

By: Anonymous
Originally published on October 2 2015
Original French text here: https://petitrorqual.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/pourquoi-lecole/#_ftn1

In her book Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune [1] , Kristin Ross lays out the discourses and images of a revolutionary project that she describes as a lived experience of “equality in action”. If the issue was then the dismantling of the state’s bureaucratic apparatus, the first step was to address one of its central elements: school. Ross dedicates a whole chapter to what the Commune planned on doing and undoing within it: to open up its enclosures to the subject of shared (communal) luxury. In other words that echo the strong imagery associated with that impassioned moment: to plant apricot trees amidst the ruins of the great column [2] .

To open the school onto the street, the neighbourhood, the workshop, the workplace, not in order to synchronize children’s actions and knowledge to the market’s expectations, but to incite girls and boys to discover other spaces, for them to learn of their own hands how to grasp and shape the stuff of this world. This living learning arises at any point during an encounter or a gesture, such is the spirit of Jacotot’s approach to teaching: “Thought, for Jacotot, is not divided into specific competences and domains for specialists–-it is similar in all of its exercises and can be shared by all. The something that one learns and to which one relates everything else can very well be a literal thing” (Ross, 76-77), or deeply abstract as well. At any rate, be it from a piece of wood, a section of equation or a leap, learning is possible from the moment one draws it out to bridge the space between matter and mind.

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The morning after the protest (Le Devoir)

By: Martine B. Côté, Quebec City
Originally published on: October 2 2015 (Letter sent on September 30 2015)
Original French text here: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/451556/lendemain-de-manifestation

Like on every morning after a protest, I’m irate. All through the day, I cringe at each and every mention in the media of “citizens held hostage” and at headlines such as “Teachers play hooky”.

That we lament a protest for hindering our daily routine is a sign of our failure to take responsibility. We have shirked our responsibilities as citizens who struggle, minimally at that, to not yield everything to the world’s powerful. The 1% gave us our 4%: we have been relegated to the role of taxpayer who takes changes lying down. Sadder yet is that we stand behind our leaders while renouncing those who struggle to earn a better living and greater well-being. Even if we are not bosses, or rulers, or powerful.
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