Monday, July 23, 2012

The Quebec Students and the Occupy Movement

It was such an awesome sight. Tens of thousands of people marching through the street on a muggy Montreal afternoon. 

To show their support for the student movement, denounce a fascist bill. 

And show Jean Charest and his corrupt government that they are still THERE. 

Protests against Quebec's Liberal government have eased during the summer months, but students said a strong turnout during the height of the summer holidays was proof the movement hasn't died out. 

The crowd, an enthusiastic mix of students, families and seniors, winded its way through the city's downtown on a hot and humid afternoon. 

But this time the banner at the head of the march read: OUT WITH THE NEOLIBERALS.

Which is just  another sign that what began as a student strike, is evolving into a broader based movement for economic and social change. A Quebec-style re-tooling of the Occupy movement. 

And all I can say is it's about time eh? Because the Occupiers were right. The One Percent is taking us to the cleaners.

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

Stephen Harper's plan to coax jobs out of Big Business by giving them juicy tax cuts, is as big a failure in Canada as it is in Britain...

For they can never get enough. Even as the gap between the rich and the poor in Canada grows wider and wider.

And it should be clear to everyone by now that unless our corrupt and out-of-control economic system can be reformed, or replaced by a better one, we're heading for economic collapse.

And condemning future generations to live on a burning planet.

One of the most salient—but also, unfortunately, most counterintuitive—aspects of global warming is that it operates on what amounts to a time delay. Behind this summer’s heat are greenhouse gases emitted decades ago. Before many effects of today’s emissions are felt, it will be time for the Summer Olympics of 2048. (Scientists refer to this as the “commitment to warming.”) What’s at stake is where things go from there. It is quite possible that by the end of the century we could, without even really trying, engineer the return of the sort of climate that hasn’t been seen on earth since the Eocene, some fifty million years ago.

But of course don't try to tell any of this to the angry old men who write to the Globe and Mail.  Because they hate anything young or Quebec so much they would cut off their noses to spite their faces. Even as the government slashes their pensions.

As for me, I have no idea what's going to happen. Will the movement grow stronger? Will it be absorbed by the political parties? Will it fade gently away like the tent communities of the Occupy movement? 

But all I can say is that to my hopeful eyes it sure looked great today.

And this much is obvious:There will have to be a global movement if the planet is to be saved. As Bertholdt Brecht once said, those who fight sometimes lose, but those who don't fight never win.

The Quebec movement is a light in the darkness of Harperland, and a call to resistance.

And of course, as I said in this video last year, the Occupy movement was right. 

This land is our land.


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  1. 21 Trillion

    You Simon are not the only one talking about that, the super rich have raped Canada at the expense of the super poor...

    Harper endorses this madness he himself is a madman...

    I wish the people in my community would take to the streets...

    Quebec from BC I salute thee...

    1. hi Mogs...imagine if we could redistribute that hoarded wealth, how much good we could do to help the poor and the hungry all over the world. And I didn't even mention the big scandal in Britain where Barclay's is accused of manipulating interest rates. It's simply outrageous, they really do think they can get away with ANYTHING...

  2. Damn, I love Quebec...I must have been Quebecois in a former life, because it makes me crazy that the rest of the country just sits back and begs for more abuse, while I rant and rail about it to no good effect...the fact that these folks hit the bricks just to make the point that they could only be ignored to Charest's peril (not to mention the fact that the rightwing media here in Canada is pushing Justin T. like some kind of designer drug as our next 'saviour')and claiming that Quebec is already lost to the NDP...
    Anyone from our Belle Province that reads this, I'm showing you some love, from BC...♥

    1. hi mizdarlin...the Quebecois are not perfect, they have annoying little quirks like anybody else. But I sure do love them and the way they are standing up for our Canadian values, on everything from daycare, to crime, and now tuition. And of course I love them as a people, and I'm so glad that fate deposited me in Quebec. So on behalf of the great French Nation, I accept your love, and send it back... ;)

  3. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Gigantic corporations are always the cause of recessions. Right now they are sitting on all the money, again. This stops the cash flow around the globe, which in turn causes a recession. How does the money simply vanish overnight? Someone has it.

    Canada has become a cesspool of corruption. Harper gives billions of our tax dollars to, banks, mines, oil and gas corporations and big business. He also gives them huge tax reductions. Harper steals from us, to give to the wealthiest outfits in the world. This was seen on the House of Commons TV channel, some time ago.

    1. hi anonymous...the facts speak for themselves. Despite all the scandals, all the warnings, all the misery, those greedy porkers just can't control themselves. And the worst thing is their wealth depends on our poverty, so as they get richer and richer, we get poorer and poorer. And so many people are caught up in this circle of greed, they can't even see how the people they want to be are ripping us all off. And killing the planet they live on.
      It's lucky I don't come from planet Earth or I'd be really depressed... ;)

  4. "Out with the Neo-liberals" damn I am heartened by that sign

    1. hi Kev...yes it is encouraging isn't it? Of course it's the banner of CLASSE the biggest and most militant student group. But it's great to see how many non-students of all ages are joining the marches. The electoral contest leaves me indifferent, because none of the parties are worth supporting when it comes to the larger issues.
      But as a student of Quebec history I'm absolutely convinced that what's happening in the province now will bring forth both new leaders and new priorities. As Chris Hedges said recently, only the movements can save us now...