The streets of Montreal were taken over by more than
This past May 1st, across the United States and here in Quebec, the spirit of May Day was alive and well…
The Front d’action socialiste (Socialist Action Front) is an organization of socialist activists launched publically in Montreal on May 1, 2014. We are publishing an English translation of its founding declaration as a small contribution to strengthening much-needed links between socialists in Canada and those in Quebec and because we find its non-sectarian emphasis on building movements and its revolutionary humility admirable – NSW
By Jeremie Bedard-Wien and Alain Savard
Two years after the defeat of the Charest government, Quebecers have chosen to give a strong mandate to the Liberals (PLQ). As a backdrop, a dramatic election campaign saw the Parti Québécois (PQ) rise and fall precipitously. What lessons should progressives draw from the re-alignment of the Quebec electoral map?
By Jérémie Bédard-Wien and Alain Savard
Much ink has been spilled about the Charter of Québécois Values since it was announced last month by the Parti Quebecois (PQ) minority government. Seldom has a social issue garnered so many reactions, from English Canada’s moral high ground to the contemptuous “Jeannette Manifesto” signed by twenty prominent Québécois women in support of the charter. Opinion polls signal deep polarization: on one side, conservative religious believers and pro-charter seculars; on the other, anti-charter believers, open-minded seculars — and anglophones.
By Darryl Leroux
Since the details of the PQ’s proposed Charter of Québec Values were first leaked to the media a few weeks ago, there has been a firestorm of condemnation across the Rest of Canada (ROC). The corporate media’s universal denunciations on the matter are matched only by the many petitions circulating on social media calling for an end to this display of racism in Québec. It’s an auspicious moment indeed when stories in the National Post and the Globe & Mail sound very much like the ones penned by activists on social media.
Montreal activist and artist Stefan Christoff’s zine Le fond de l’air est rouge [The essence of the air is red], a collection of articles about the Québec “Red Square” mass movement of 2012, has recently been published by Howl! Arts Collective. New Socialist Webzine interviewed Stefan about the movement, its effects and its lessons. We present the interview along with a series of political art works in the online exhibit by the École de la Montagne Rouge.
Q1: The 2012 student movement in Québec grew into a broader popular movement of a kind that hasn’t happened in Canada or Québec for decades. What role did radical left students of different kinds play in building the movement among university and CEGEP students?
Certainly the Québec student strike occurred outside of the world of official politics, far from a stage-managed process, the radical energy on the streets carried forward a combative approach that stood in direct confrontation to the structures of economic and political power in Québec society.
A statement by Le réseau écosocialiste (the Ecosocialist Network)
“The disaster at Lac-Mégantic cannot not be resolved by a strict inquiry, individual accusations, some superficial regulatory modification and false promises of security. This episode is not just a technical problem, but is a springboard for social mobilisation, for political action aimed at both ecological transition and the liberation from the yoke of unscrupulous big business and their accomplices in the Canadian State.”
Québec has just experienced the most brutal ecological catastrophe of its history. On July 6, 2013, a train loaded with 72 cars carrying crude oil derailed during the night. It exploded in downtown Lac-Mégantic, a small Eastern Townships municipality of 6000. A series of explosions and a fire completely destroyed more than 30 buildings including the municipal library, the town’s archives, heritage buildings, businesses and residences. Police have confirmed that 50 people were killed by the blast.
By Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears
The 2012 Quebec student strikes delivered one of the few victories we have seen in anti-austerity struggles in the Canadian state. The mobilization, which at its high point saw over 300 000 students on limited or unlimited strike, and demonstrations of hundreds of thousands, was a crucial highpoint that has a great deal to teach radicals. The attempted clampdown by the Charest government through Bill 78 that attempted to outlaw the movement, unleashed a new and innovative round of resistance including the casseroles night marches.
Tom Mulcair has been the leader of the federal New Democratic Party for more than eight months now. His leadership has largely been as expected: solid, competent and moderate. Mulcair has continued Jack Layton’s strategy of trying to supplant the Liberals as the middle-of-the-road alternative to the Harper Conservatives. It’s not a particularly inspiring strategy and, looking toward the likely coronation of Justin Trudeau as the next leader of the Liberal Party, it’s not a foregone conclusion that it will be a successful one. And supplanting the Liberals, even if that is solidified, isn’t necessarily sufficient to defeat the Conservatives. Unless the Conservatives really implode or somehow manage to alienate their carefully cultivated base of supporters, they are going to be difficult to defeat in the next election.
By Alejandra Zaga
The inspiring student movement is not the only organizing in Quebec that people outside Quebec need to know about, so we are publishing a number of articles about movement organizing in Quebec today. Following on our article on Profs Against the Fee Hike, we’re glad to publish this look at Montreal-Nord Republik — NSW.
By Anne-Marie Le Saux and Philippe de Grosbois
During the Quebec student strike this year, CEGEP and university teachers opposed to the tuition fee hike that triggered the student mobilization organized themselves in a network, Profs Contre La Hausse (Profs Against the Hike, PCLH by its French initials), to take action in solidarity with students and against the government’s agenda.This organization, independent of union structures, was an important development. We are glad to present this article about PCLH, which was written before the final phase of the student strike — NSW
By Rene Charest
In this year’s massive and inspiring social movement in Quebec, union mobilizations have been notably weak. We are glad to present an article written for us by Quebecois activist Rene Charest that looks at this important problem — NSW.
By David Camfield
This is a slightly revised and expanded version of an article written for the magazine of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France. Although it’s mainly intended to give readers outside Canada an account of the movement, readers in Canada may find it a useful overview.
By Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale (CLASSE)
For months now, all over Quebec, the streets have vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet. What started out as a movement underground, still stiff with the winter consensus, gathered new strength in the spring and flowed freely, energizing students, parents, grandparents, children, and people with and without jobs. The initial student strike grew into a people’s struggle, while the problem of tuition fees opened the door to a much deeper malaise – we now face a political problem that truly affects us all. To find its remedy and give substance to our vision, let us cast our minds back to the root of the problem.
By rosalind hampton
Action guided by anti-racist and anti-colonial analysis is essential to imagining and building liberating alternatives to our current social order. The experience of the inspiring movement ignited by Quebec students this year confirms this belief, as questions about its diversity and about incidents of racism have increasingly emerged.