We stand in solidarity with our teachers (Le Devoir)

By: Myriam Boileau, Pénélope Dulude-de-Broin and Marie Longpré – grade 10 & 11 students, respectively, as well as all members of the Association militante des élèves du secondaire (AMES) [High School Activist Student Association]
Originally published on: September 30 2015
Original French text here: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/451278/nous-sommes-solidaires-de-nos-enseignants

Photo: Annik MH De Carufel, Le Devoir | We cannot stress this enough: your work conditions are our own learning conditions, students say to their teacher
To Quebec’s public school teachers,
As high school students, we are acutely aware of the direction that Quebec has been veering towards in the course of the past few years. We know it too well : it is the only project that the government has presented to us in our lifetime. We know that public services are increasingly neglected, we know that students and patients are now addressed as “clients”, that attaining zero deficit seems to be our sole priority; that, in spite of the terrifying data that continue to surface, protecting the environment that we are to live in is the last item on the list.

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Lessons from the Spring of 2012 (La Presse)

By Rima Elkouri
Originally published on March 31, 2015
See original French text here: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/52819f3b-8470-48e8-8497-c6efe5c4584a%257C_0

What lessons have we learned from the student uprising in the spring of 2012?

I asked myself this question while listening, on Sunday, to Prime Minister Philippe Couillard comment on the violent episode before the Parliament of Québec in which one demonstrator was injured in the face by a shot of teargas. There are “lessons to be learned from both sides,” said Mr. Couillard.

In and of itself, this statement contrasted those which we became used to from Jean Charest in such circumstances. Even in the face of obvious police misconduct, Mr. Charest seemed to have decided by political calculation that only violence he associated with the “red squares” deserved to be condemned. Another spring, another speech … This time, Prime Minister Couillard has at least had the wisdom to invite the police to review its crowd control practices.

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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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Letter to my mother: why I am striking (Huffington Post)

By Gioia Cazzaniga
Originally published on March 26, 2015
See original French text here: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/gioia-cazzaniga/lettre-a-ma-mere-pourquoi-je-fais-greve_b_6942712.html

My Dear Mother,

I know you are a bit far from here, from Montreal and the hot spot of the protest. You only have access to mainstream media, to [Education] Minister Blais who threatens students with cancelling the semester and right-wing commentators who are bent on pointing out spelling mistakes instead of listening to the message. Only if you would inform yourself a bit better, you would know we are more than 50 000 on strike, without counting the one-off strike mandates and the votes yet to come. Even medical students will take a day or two to denounce the measures of [Health] Minister Barette. Many unions also have their collective agreements ending next week and for them too, it smells strongly of protest.

It is not a question of illusions, it is not a question that only touches students. It is not like 2012. This time, it is a global political struggle.

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