Spur of the moment student strike ?
Meow everyone, Yes, it has been a while since I was here to claw out some news but I do have some interesting news to share today.
As you all know by now, I have been following the student strike in Quebec rather closely , because, as a student myself, tuition fees do of course have an effect on me as well . I also have been very vocal in my opposition to the use of violence and property destruction, as , in my view, these actions only subtract for the legitimacy of any action and simply put, it tarnishes the image of good honest and hard working students, as these actions paint us all with the same brush .
Let me talk a little bit about the tuition hikes that have been proposed in Quebec. The hike would take place over a five year term totaling about $ 1700.00 over the five years it would take to phase in the full increase in the fees. Yes, this is a lot of money and I will not make light of the amount of the increase. Tuition fees do put a huge strain on people and it is very stressful if one is already living on the edge. However, the amount on a per year basis works out to about $ 350.00 . Compare that to universities here in Toronto where we see increases of about $ 500.00 – $ 600.00 per YEAR . Now, WHO is getting it worse? As i said, i am in no way making light of the significance of this increase.
So, what did the Quebec students do? Why they went on a province wide student strike of course to protest these tuition fees. They got so angered , that they simply walked out . OR DID THEY , and was this a spontaneous action? Well, as it turns out, this was a well planned action that was TWO YEARS IN THE MAKING . TWO YEARS of planning went into these student strikes , so, what was the REAL motivation to go on strike?
Well, the organizers of this strike, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois
… as well as Cloé Zawadzki-Turcotte, pictured second from left ,
…. have been on a cross Canada speaking tour to discuss in detail the planing of this strike and what the possible end goal is . Another key player in this , although fairly silent is Ethan Cox .
Cox writes for Rabble.ca as well as being a CSU Councillor for the Concordia University Student Union. I must point out as well , and this will be very clear later on, that this speaking tour had heaving involvement of the CFS ( the Canadian Federation of Students ) and remember, the CFS gave CLASSE $ 30,000.00 earlier this year to support their strike. The speaking tour traveled across Canada and stopped off at key CFS member universities. I had a chance to attend one of these speeches and took a video of one of the speakers. Each speaker addressed the assembled for about 20 minutes. I am having some trouble posting the video but will post it in a separate posting once i get the technical glitches solved. One this that was very clear was that all the speakers mentioned very clearly that this was not a spur of the moment action but rather, a well planned action that took two years of planning and work to pull it off. The following articles to elude to this as well :
One thing that has always troubled me was the use of violence and property destruction as part of the protest. In fact, both speakers mentioned several times that part of the planning of this event was to organize with other fringe groups to get huge masses out. While CLASSE wanted to focus on the tuition fee increase, other, groups were welcomed and asked to protest along side for what ever causes they saw as important to them. Basically, this was a no holds barred , protest what ever you want action and anything goes. Of course, this was the welcome mat for the anarchist movement to walk in , ( or get invited in ) and do whatever they usually do. Riots were an everyday sight, sadly . The latest tour stop even had this to offer up :
HOLD ON A SECOND, did I read this correctly? COMMUNISTS? Yes, you do read this correctly, for this was not just a bunch of students getting angry over a tuition fee increase, but rather, a well planned series of events that had the input and backing of communists . The event at Ryerson University was attended by about 175 – 200 persons and there was a significant International Socialst, Lenin-ist , Tortsky-ist presence. Union organizers were welcomed with open arms as well.
However, what really struck me was the connections they made to the Occupy movement. The speakers told us how they used the now famous general assembly process TWO YEARS before occupy was even a thought. They went so far as to say that all student unions need to make use of this process , as well, all course unions within the student unions themselves. Looking at who the backers are, have been and what these backers are well known for, it would not be a stretch to postulate that they are planning something huge that will force the hand of government into action, but what action is unclear.
Based on the stated two years worth of planning that this student strike required, only it was not really a student strike , I look at the calendar and notice that two significant events are on the horizon at about this time frame. One being the Pan-Am games here in Toronto and the other would be the federal elections the following year( keep in mind that the year before an election, all the parties are already in campaign mode ) One thing that has been stated by CLASSE was that they wanted to get rid of Harper ( our Prime Minister ) so, a concentrated and aggressive campaign against him would not be out of the question .