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:

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.

Our deep embrace of individualism seems to have blinded us to the fact that we live in a community that collectively could very well sway society in its favour. We no longer want to struggle. And what’s worse is that we’re wrong about who the enemy is. Renouncing the term of “worker”, does it also follow that we have stopped thinking of ourselves as workers? We would thereby be forgetting that very few of us actually have control over our work, let alone over the conditions of our lives.

I’m under the impression that we no longer wish to identify with our class, one that we call “working” or “middle”. But to deny this title and its consequent struggles is to mislead ourselves into believing that we also can change our “class”. Our leaders are in stitches seeing us believe in such an illusion and turn away from unions, the very institutions that could restore the balance of power.


Translated from the original French by Language and Dissent, a collectively-run blog supporting the anti-austerity struggle in Quebec. These are amateur translations written by volunteers; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may have their flaws. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us via email (languageanddissent [at] gmail [dot] com). Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.

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