Student strike movement 2015

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Student strike movement 2015



I think this needs its own new thread.

This strike movement, which officially started a few days ago, targets the austerity policies of the Couillard (and Harper) government, as well as the fossil-fuel-based economy.

Already well over 100,000 students have voted to strike for different periods of time. Already there have been mass demonstrations, and brutal police attacks. Today UQAM is threatening to expel 9 students for manifestly political "infractions" supposedly committed from 2013 onwards. And just as its predecessor Charest government did in 2012, the Couillard tyrants have threatened to cancel the session if the strikes continue as well as threatening the strikers with consequences for depriving the tiny percentage of scabs of their "[url= to study[/url]".

Our youth and students are leading the way, once again. They deserve everyone's support, and they deserve to have their struggle publicized as broadly as possible.

For those with Facebook access, here's a brilliant photo which tells the story:


Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

as well as threatening the strikers with consequences for depriving the tiny percentage of scabs of their "right to study"

If the school is neither your employer nor "the government", and students don't constitute a union, what makes those who want to study "scabs"?

I get that if you join a union then you should be expected to join your own union's strike, but how does simply being a student mean that you have to join other students in whatever they choose to do??  What if finishing up the studies you've paid for is more important to you than "the fossil-fuel-based economy"?


Sorry if I don't engage you in this conversation, Magoo. This thread is about the struggle of students for a better society and a better future. If you're really interested in the answer to your question, go study the Civil Code and its certification of student associations, and the court cases on this matter.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs for the thread unionist

Photos | March 22, 2015


Quebec student strike leads Concordia to cancel class

Thousands of students at Quebec post-secondary institutions have voted to boycott class and go on strike beginning March 23.


Striking students are expected to gather at Phillips Square at 11:30 a.m. Monday, kicking off more than a week of daily protests.

Consult the list of student faculties and associations that have voted to strike here.​​


One need not be on Facebook to see the first photo by Isabelle Lévesque. 

The one with the cops is hilarious, as they adopted the students' red square as a symbol over their own struggle over (unfair) pension cuts. That certainly shows the dual nature of the police - they are unionized like any other employee, and do sometimes protect ordinary people, but are also employed as hired guns to crush other workers' and popular struggles.



[url= large group of protesters once again took to Montreal’s streets on Tuesday night in opposition to government austerity measures.[/url]


The group of more than 1,000 demonstrators — mainly students — set off from Émilie-Gamelin Park shortly after 9 p.m., according to police, and began making its way through the downtown in a familiar but still unpredictable zigzag pattern. Police presence was heavy and the riot squad was deployed to monitor the event, which was organized by a group calling itself Mouvement étudiant révolutionnaire.

There were reports of several arrests shortly after the march began, with at least one person reportedly detained for assault with a weapon. Police appeared to deploy a tear gas-like substance, rubber bullets and batons to attempt to break up the crowd, and formed roadblocks at several major intersections. The riot squad charged the crowd at least once, but as of 11 p.m., the demonstration was still ongoing following a tense standoff at Drummond St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd.

A window of a CIBC banking centre was smashed and there were reports of police cars being vandalized. [...]

An earlier protest held on Tuesday afternoon near the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on René Lévesque Blvd. ended with three students arrested and charged with assaulting police. Another protester was ticketed for wearing a mask, while 30 others were arrested, detained, then released without charge.


Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets as Police Disperse Canadian Students' Anti-Austerity Rally (and vid)


Stefan Christoff: [url= the streets against austerity and the social violence of capitalism[/url]


MADOC: [url= A day in the life of a student striker[/url]


Spotted at Radio-Canada, this short item:

A hate graffiti targeting ASSÉ in the hands of the police

UQAM filed a complaint with SPVM about hate graffiti found on its walls this morning. The graffiti, which calls for the rape of the ASSÉ spokeswoman and the "death" of "ASSÉ rich kids", is considered a criminal act.

Un graffiti haineux visant l'ASSE entre les mains de la police

L'UQAM a déposé une plainte au SPVM concernant le graffiti haineux retrouvé sur ses murs ce matin. Le graffiti, qui appelle au viol de la porte-parole de l'ASSE et à la « mort » des « enfants de riches de l'ASSE », est considéré comme un acte criminel. 


Nora Loreto's blog: Remember, she lives in Québec, which is a much smaller city. Colder, too.

She needn't worry about "defending private property", as the law is the same whether you are a homeowner, a tenant, or the member of a housing co-op. You have the right to "peaceful enjoyment of your dwelling". Especially not to be harassed by cops for no reason except perhaps being a young person.


More on the rape and death threat graffiti against student leader Camille Godbout and Assé militants:


Cégep student in Québec City hit in the face by teargas canister. Her family plans to sue:

Most of the comments are deplorable, of course.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture is an updated version of a video oda posted


Shit, they've attacked Banane rebelle. He was Québec's counterpart of Montréal's Anarchopanda. Neither ever committed a violent or provocative act in 2012; on the contrary.


Quebec City Protester Shot Directly With Tear Gas (and vid)

"There is no right reasons to shoot someone directly in the face,' said Camille Godbout of student protest group ASSE', 'They're shooting directly at people instead of shooting, for example, in the air, she said..."

Canada: Cops Unleash Tear Gas at Close Range at Anti-Austerity Protest in Quebec

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Liberal party politicians are totally silent about the intense police violence being directed toward anti-austerity protests over recent days, this silence illustrates clear complicity and the reality that police forces work on the ground level to violently enforce state policy if it faces a serious grassroots challenge.

As thousands turn to the streets in protest of sustained austerity measures, enforced again in the 2015/16 Québec budget, police are testing the limits of current frameworks of state violence toward protests. In real terms this equals people having their teeth smashed in by riot shields, tear gas shots directly to the face by SQ officers and the use of dangerous weapons like flash bang grenades.

At this point its really important to state clearly that the intent and goal of the use of these weapons is to injure people joining the demonstrations and to send a violent message to all those now considering joining the protests. 

These acts of violence by the police are not defensive, they are intentional and are part of a strategy of state violence that aims to attack people expressing collective power on the streets, a process that questions the structures of state power that are so distant from real democracy.


Silence by Québec politicians on police violence equals complicity and endorsement

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Montreal Revolutionary Student Movement, protest against austerity.

Video from hotel balcony...

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Everything you need to know about Quebec’s latest student strike

ricochet wrote:
UPDATE MAR. 28: On Mar. 25 in Quebec City, a police officer fired a modified pyrotechnic tear gas canister into the face of Naomie Tremblay-Trudeau, an 18-year-old student, at point blank range as she tried to run. Rushed to hospital in an ambulance, doctors told her her injuries could have been life threatening if the impact had landed differently. “As soon as I saw the projectile, I wondered if I would still be able to breathe. I was just hoping to not die there. I needed help to move. It was fear, so much fear,” Tremblay-Trudeau, who has vowed to return to protests this spring, told the Journal de Quebec. Despite serious facial injuries and difficulties speaking Tremblay-Trudeau has done extensive media interviews in Quebec denouncing police abuses, asserting her absolute right to protest peacefully in the street and categorically rejecting the suggestion that she allow fear to prevent her from returning to the front lines of ongoing anti-austerity protests. Instead, she has announced her intention to sue the officer who fired on her, and likely the police force and city as well.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Demonstrators blockade James Administration building

On the morning of March 24, a group of roughly twenty students affiliated with Demilitarize McGill blockaded the James Administration building for approximately two and a half hours. Gathering at 7:30 a.m., the masked demonstrators obstructed all five entrances to the building, holding banners and distributing flyers to passers-by.

According to a member of Demilitarize McGill present at the scene who wished to remain anonymous, the group’s main goal was to protest austerity, while also calling attention to the military research carried out at McGill.

“We understand the fight against austerity as intrinsically linked to the fight against military research,” he explained, saying that some “[use] the excuse of education budget cuts as a way of justifying military research contracts.”

Heather, who is also involved with Demilitarize McGill and preferred to be identified only by her first name, spoke to The Daily after the demonstration. This action, she said, had been planned independently of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU)’s anti-austerity mobilization committee.

“I think that by having a blockade […] rather than […] a demonstration or a protest, we were actually able to disrupt the functioning and purpose of a very specific […] building,” Heather noted.

She added that the location was important: “It was also in a highly visual […] place. We were able to give out [information] and flyers to a lot of students.”

Over ten police vehicles and a number of campus security vehicles were stationed at various points on campus throughout the morning. Officers maintained a constant presence at the building, observing and photographing protesters....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quebec police don’t live in a bubble: When faced with a symbolically criminalized enemy, there's only one possible attitude: all-out war.


A good read on how the demonization of students has contributed to a climate of violence and hatred towards students in Quebec.

The day following the incident, [student shot in the face with tear gas weapon] one of the capital city’s radio hosts affirmed, “as a taxpayer”, being “very proud of the work of the police officers yesterday.” A few days earlier, a headline in the Journal de Québec touted “The Québec City method,” praising the efficiency of the previous day’s police intervention which saw nearly 250 protesters surrounded and then arrested under a mere municipal by-law. That same day, a host from another radio station in the capital congratulated the police dog which seriously bit a protester: “The police dog deserves a good Gaines-Burger!” he exclaimed on-air.

These questionable statements are the climax of the dangerous rhetorical escalation we have been witnessing since the beginning of the student mobilization a week ago. The airwaves of the capital region carry the message that it is imperative that “the Quebec government request the enforcement of the War Measures Act and that the army take over Quebec”. On the same station a few days prior, it was declared that “the government should pass an anticipatory special law. To warn people that if there are troublemakers, we’ll get them right away. We’ll shoot on sight if necessary!”

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

“the government should pass an anticipatory special law. To warn people that if there are troublemakers, we’ll get them right away. We’ll shoot on sight if necessary!”

Let's not become Venezuela.


Funny, I was just about to post this in French; I didn't know that ricochet had already translated it into English.

Here is the French text in case anyone wants to read the original:


alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Not trying to be Nostredamus b ut as I stated in another thread the climate of police violence against protesters,especially students,history will inevitably repeat itself and we're going to see another Kent State.


Kent State and Jackson State (funny how I remember that, a clear sign of old-fartessness) with two Black students killed and twelve injured in Mississippi.


ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Let's not become Venezuela.

More to the point - Let's not become Ferguson, Mo.


This is such great news - teachers and unions joining in:

[url=, teachers and unions to take part in anti-austerity protest Thursday[/url]


Who will be protesting? 

Organizers predict a protest scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Montreal will be the largest one to date against the Quebec government’s austerity measures. The demonstration, organized by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), is expected to get underway at 1 p.m. Well over 100,000 students will be on strike, and according to different student groups, many of them will take part in the protest.

Unions also on board 

The president of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, which represents 325,000 workers across Quebec, has called for its members to join students in Thursday’s protest.

“It will be the first occasion for mass opposition to the Liberal austerity plan since the announcement of the Leitão-Coiteux budget last week,” said CSN president Jacques Létourneau on Wednesday, adding that the CSN had been planning to participate for weeks. “It’s important to send a clear message, with numbers. We have to maintain the pressure. That’s why we stand in solidarity with students who are mobilized against austerity and we hope to have many walk with them.”

UQAM teachers join in

UQAM’s 1,200 teachers have opted to strike for two days after failing to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, and instead of picketing, they’ll join Thursday’s protest. (Classes taught by lecturers at UQAM will still be held on Thursday, according to the university.)

Still working on the FTQ. This could be a turning point.



Will you be able to make it today? I'll try to, for at least part of it.


lagatta wrote:

Will you be able to make it today? I'll try to, for at least part of it.

Unfortunately I'm a few provinces away - back on Monday.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Strike day in Montreal

It’s Thursday, Apr. 2 and in Quebec, the students are revolting. Over 130,000 students are on strike across Quebec today for a major national day of action against austerity in Montreal. “Our services are worth more than your profits” is the slogan of the march, and in addition to students a number of social groups and unions are mobilizing their members, notably the CSN, Quebec’s second largest labour federation.

The march, which has not provided a route in violation of Montreal’s judicially discredited but still in use bylaw P-6, will unroll through the streets of Montreal sometime after one o’clock this afternoon from Square Victoria, in the heart of Montreal’s financial and business district...


Couillard said today that the students should be wary of the unions, rather than joining their cause. He says it's the government which has the true interests of the youth at heart - by preparing a future with manageable finances.

He said this.

He is fucking terrified. It looks good on him.



What he said was just nutty. Moreover, except for a few of the younger Cégep students, most of the students are adults 18 and over. Fuck his "jeunes". And of course it is a strike, big boy.


Police Clash With Anti-Austerity Protesters in Canada (and vid)

"...However despite the reaction from police and the provincial government, an ASSE spokeswoman, Camille Godbout, said the protesters 'will continue to mobilize.'

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The faces of April 2: profiles from Quebec's anti-austerity movement

Robert van Waarden is a celebrated photojournalist whose work has been exhibited around the world, and whose photos often grace the pages of magazines like National Geographic Traveller and Canadian Geographic. A climate photographer by vocation, in 2014 he secured funding to travel the route of the proposed Energy East pipeline, taking portraits and collecting the stories of the people living Along the Pipeline.

On April 2, an estimated 75,000 people, many of them students, took to the streets of Montreal to denounce the provincial government's austerity agenda. Using an experimental, and we believe original, storytelling device Robert took to the streets with them to ask two questions: why are you here, and what are your dreams?


Tough times at the ASSÉ convention this weekend. Waiting for the closing statement today to see whether they emerge united. Hoping.



ASSÉ executives fired among discord

Is it me, or is Salaberry-de-Valleyfield a bit of an inaccessible place to hold their convention? That's an easy 2 hours by transit from downtown Montréal even when it's not Easter Sunday.


That CBC report doesn't say the same thing as the [url= Presse report[/url] on which it claims to be based. La Presse says the executive resigned en bloc at the beginning of the convention - not that they were "fired".

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The following is a letter sent to the Montreal Gazette. It is about lessons learned and a good read.

Yves Engler wrote:
At an anti-austerity protest on Saturday I was arrested, searched, locked in a claustrophobia inducing paddy wagon and all I got was akin to a traffic ticket. I was accused of contravening Montréal city bylaw article P6. Imagine if the police treated speeding drivers the same way!

But while the police have used this bylaw passed at the height of the 2012 protests to strike fear in individual demonstrators, P6 has primarily been used to infringe on our collective right to assembly. It has given the police a powerful tool to criminalize demonstrations. Prior to receiving the P6 bylaw infraction about 250 of us marched in a big loop around Place Émilie-Gamelin because the riot squad blocked us from traveling West, then north, then East etc. After marching in a circle for a while protesters chose an impromptu sit in. Not long thereafter the police said that we had to return to the park, effectively eliminating our right to demonstrate.
As the police corralled the crowd an Officer pushed me and told me to move more quickly. I responded by telling him to F off for which he pulled me out of the march, arrested me, sequestered my belongings, encaged me in a paddy wagon and then released me with a $640 ticket.

The message I’ve taken from the city and province’s response to the student led movement is that one has the right to demonstrate, but if you grow to become a real threat to the powers that be they will criminalize your fundamental rights.


Fucking unbelievable. This is unfolding as we speak. No time to translate - just admiring our students and lecturers. Could this happen anywhere else in Canada?

[url= police interventions at UQAM - 21 students arrested[/url]



[url=]M... professors stare down riot cops[/url]


Today, on the campus of the Université du Québec à Montréal, facing a court order demanding that classes be held and the threat of expulsion issued by their administration, hundreds of students turned up to disrupt classes and enforce their democratically voted strike mandate.

In response, the university administration called in the Montreal police, who arrived in full riot gear with pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons at the ready. Paradoxically enough, their stated role there was to ensure that classes could occur as scheduled.

The students were shortly boxed in and it was clearly about to get very, very ugly. There were numerous reports of police violence on social media, and the bulk of the reported 22 arrests happened as riot police swept onto campus. Students then set up barricades, and police formed a line and prepared to move in.

Then a funny thing happened. A single man, a prof in a paperboy cap, walked out into the no man’s land between the lines and gestured to police that he was staying there. As students thunderously chanted “les profs! avec nous! les profs! avec nous!” a second prof came forward, and then a third, and in moments a line of professors had formed, linking arms and standing between students and police.

Please read the whole article.

It's beautiful.

We shall definitely overcome!


ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Yeah, that's some quite outstanding intellectual leadership from the Profs, showing the merits of courageous collective action trumping state thuggery. A very important lesson from the teachers ... maybe the best lesson they will ever teach. 

Today, if only for today, that lawless ride came to a screeching halt at the feet of a line of university professors. Either you beat us all, or you beat none of us, they dared the line of stone-faced officers, and it was the police who blinked.

No matter what happens next, these profs should rightly be celebrated. As the faculty of Quebec so often do, they defused tension, kept everyone calm, risked themselves to protect their students and ultimately went down to the police station to demand the release of those arrested, believing the arrests to be illegitimate. What more could we ask of educators?

Ricochet: "Either you beat us all, or you beat none of us."


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..beautiful act of solidarity


So far I don't see any profs I know. For age reasons, I'm more likely to know them than the students, though remember that there are many mature students at UQAM, as at Concordia on the English side). Excellent article, Ethan.

I think we have to be frank that there are problems among the student side right now, which are helping the adversary. But this article has shown a constructive way out of those problems, and out of the media focus on them rather than on the reasons behind the protests and the exasperation from the utter refusal of Couillard and his band of social vandals to even discuss with students, unions or anyone else.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

VIDEO: Pepper spray, a kettle and a great big hug at the student strike

Following the brutal police dispersement of the occupation of the University of Quebec at Montreal the night before, protesters wanted to retake the streets and demonstrate their opposition to austerity with a protest on the afternoon of Apr. 9.

The police had other ideas, and encircled the head of the protest in a kettle within minutes. A significant group reformed and marched on before being violently dispersed outside the doors of UQAM.

Take a walk in the streets of Montreal once more as videographer Mario Jean takes you behind the scenes of a Quebec student strike protest.


if the goal  was to create a broader anti-austerity movement and electoral support for their cause, that is now lost after trashing of UQAM building;

student movement has become intensely unpopular with Quebec voters, says pollster in Le Devoir today (story link won't link, somehow):

very unlike broader support 2012, ie with PQ and Marois joining,  it is worth underlining





There is a major difference between 2012 and now: what's the goal? In 2012, it was to stop the tuition hikes: something that is very tangible for the students (and yet, they still had less than half the population's support). Now, it's against "Austerity". It's laudable, but extremely vague as well, which makes it hard to gather support.

The students had increased support after the Québec police incident, but they have completely squandered it by A) Vandalism at UQAM and B) The completely ridiculous voting system (one example was an association losing 2 votes to reconduct the strike and winning a third one after hours of debate). 

As much as I am against austerity, especially when the economy is weak, I just can't bring myself to support the MEANS the students chose and how they have been conducting themselves. 

By the way, the poll is here:

And it was taken before the events at UQAM.


Double posts.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

In Quebec’s strike, students are the real targets of intimidation

Intimidation is the new mot du jour in the Quebec mediasphere. Education minister François Blais has decried the “intimidation” he was subjected to on Monday when students approached him in a restaurant to protest his government’s policies.

The students, according to the 1625 Foundation (an anti-student-movement organization with established links to the federal Conservative party), are intimidating their fellow students by enforcing the strike mandates voted for by a majority of their peers. Then of course, there is the intimidation and violence being inflicted upon the poor taxpayer. From broken windows at UQAM (never mind, turned out the cops did that), to broken vending machines at UQAM to litter at UQAM, these students are costing us money goddammit!

Get the idea? The students are masked bands of hoodlums hellbent on the destruction of all social order and the looting of your sock drawer. Apart from the far more balanced pages of Le Devoir and sometimes La Presse, that’s the unilateral image being presented to Quebecers.

Little wonder then that a new poll shows support for student strikers has fallen below 30 per cent. But here’s the problem with that image: it’s not accurate....

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I had a sneaking suspicion that fascist provocateurs did the damage at the school. Turns out it was police instead? Of course the yellow media has the people blaming the students.