Authoritarian Spiral at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) (Le Devoir)

By Various (group text)
Originally published on March 26, 2015
See original French text here: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/435441/derive-autoritaire-a-l-uqam

Source: Wikipedia

Since the establishment of the first universities in Europe, students have mobilized around academic and social problems, such as the cost of rent. Student activism is not new. Strikes, occupations, and event disruptions have been part and parcel of university life, including at UQAM. Often, these collective actions have been at the forefront of progressive causes working towards social justice: feminism, pacifism, the environmental movement, amongst others.

Historically, university administrations have been relatively tolerant towards activist initiatives, including occupations, some of which lasted as long as six months (like at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1968). In the 2000s, administrators began to change their approach, choosing to quickly call the police, who have intervened in a brutal way, as has been the case at UQAM (not to mention at the UQO and the University of Montreal in 2012, among other examples). This conscious change is part of a broader tendency on the part of authority figures to be more and more repressive towards social movements. They jump on a few isolated incidents to justify an increase in repressive measures. In line with this tendency, UQAM’s administration increasingly prefers the repressive tactics of intimidation and institutional violence. This has important costs (security cameras and extra “security” guards) and contributes to the degradation of the social climate on a campus that is well known for its community and activist environment. And yet, there is no academic consensus about the effects of repression on social movements. Some studies show that repression weakens mobilization efforts, while other reports show that repression provokes increased mobilization and a radicalization of activists.
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We will not let ourselves be ripped off (La Presse / ASSÉ)

The destruction of our public services and of the social state in Québec being orchestrated by the Liberal Party must stop.

By Camille Godbout, Spokesperson for ASSÉ
Originally published on March 20, 2015
See original French text here: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/5705cc8e-704e-44da-812f-224f230be70a%7C_0.html

As of this Saturday [March 21], when there will be a popular protest in the streets of Montréal, we will be more than 37 000 students on strike. Over the course of the coming weeks, there will be more than 110 000 members of students associations, in the four corners of the province, who will be consulted on the topic of this strike.

Often, we are asked why we, the students, are mobilizing ourselves against austerity measures. For us, the answer seems clear: the government is trying, through its repeated compressions, to place the entirety of our public services in permanent crisis. The final objective of this government is that we turn more towards the private sector and establish a “user-payer” model in Québec. In rendering our services non-functional due to inadequate financing, the solution of Mr. Couillard and his minsters will be to raise individual fees.

We refuse this logic which reduces us simply to consumers who will need to pay for each use of our health, education, daycare and all other services necessary for the good functioning of a rich society.

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Students are calling for a “social strike” (Radio-Canada)

Originally published on March 13, 2015
See original French text here: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2015/03/13/001-associations-etudiants-greve-23-mars-asse.shtml

Strengthened by achieving their critical threshold 30,000 strikers, student associations, grouped mostly within the Association for Student Union Solidarity (ASSÉ), call for the whole of society to join their movement against fiscal austerity and exploitation of hydrocarbons.

Some 20 000 students representatives of the Université de Québec à Montréal, as well as representatives of the Université de Montréal and the Université Laval have invited the population – unions, community and women’s groups – to join the ranks of their demonstration on 21 March at Émilie-Gamelin Park.

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The War Waged Against Us – Manifesto by teachers against all that comes with austerity

Anonymous
Originally posted on March 3 2015 (circulating on social media for a few days prior)
Original French text: http://www.pressegauche.org/spip.php?article21078

Dear friends, known and unknown,

Our text does not seek to collect the signatures of either a great number of people nor of those whose certain notoriety would lend importance to this collective address. In these days when protest is marginalized by wall-to-wall security, we are betting our anonymity as a wager capable of an eventual impact. Your involvement remains essential to the dissemination of this text and its ideas. Offer it visibility and this visibility will be a new collective effort that will demonstrate that we are many behind it. If its analysis seems true to you, if you succeed in skipping over the clumsiness, metaphors or register shifts that you yourself would have avoided, then do step in where you’re needed, not simply by relaying this little text, but by being the counter-hegemonic energy we need to amass, one step at a time, against that which wages its war against us. And let’s not wait to be organized: let’s do it ourselves where we can, with our own means to be claimed or invented! This manifesto is a contribution to that idea.

Contact: manifestedeprofs@riseup.net

We refuse the human, social, political and intellectual impoverishment that the antisocial offensive called austerity is putting the world through, making it look sinister, cynical, slavish, sorry, mediocre and a touch sadistic.

Waged to satisfy the interests of the economic elite, this offensive aims to submit all people and things, sector by sector, to the oppressive domination of commodification and almighty profit.

Having long since been set in motion, this conservative revolution is first and foremost a war waged against the collective mechanisms of wealth redistribution, of the pooling of resources in order to weather life’s vagaries. However imperfect, however incomplete they may be, public services represent the most basic agreement of solidarity stemming from our collective concern for an equitable life. And in order to defend such assets, we are ready to fight.
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Occupation of the office of the Minster of Education (Facebook video)

Video by Jonathan Bédard
Posted on February 23 2015
Original French video link: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205173227063998

Occupation of the office of the Minister of Education

Note: Embedding is not working on the site at the moment. If you wish to read the transcript along with the video, please open them in separate windows. Our apologies for the inconvenience. 

If you are watching this video, it’s because the office of the Minister of Education is currently being occupied. Having taken control of this office, we now hold control of political power. Thus we are unilaterally declaring that education will be free for the whole province. Moreover, we are increasing the funding for all educational institutions, as well as the salary of all teachers. We are effectively going against the neoliberal ideology espoused by governments in recent years. We see education as a historic social achievement, as a right accessible to all, and as the means for economic development and social progress. We also invite the other Ministers to be done with austerity. The current measures are ruining Quebec and lowering the entire population’s quality of life. Austerity has been a failure across the world because the state is the main agent in economic recovery. Instead of imposing cuts to health care, education, pensions, social assistance to the most needy, essentially to the common good, money must be taken from where it is found: in the pockets of the wealthiest employers, in the coffers of banks and corporations, instead of losing it through tax evasion, corruption, PPPs [public-private partnerships], the purchase of private medication, the Plan Nord. This action is the beginning of a far greater and wider political struggle, for social regression is not negotiable. It is fought through radical actions, union struggles, and general strikes. Further actions are to come in the future. We are the future.

Chant:
It is all ours, it is all ours.
Nothing is theirs, nothing is theirs.
What they own, they have stolen, they have stolen.
Stop privatizing and reinvest, or it’s going to blow.

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