rabble's Special Correspondent on the Student Strike pops in to say hello...

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ethan Cox Ethan Cox's picture
rabble's Special Correspondent on the Student Strike pops in to say hello...

Howdy babblers!

My name is Ethan Cox, and I'm rabble's Special Correspondent on the Student Strike. I used to spend a great deal of time on babble many years ago under the handle of Socrates, but I've been away from the board for quite some time now. Although I have been known to lurk from time to time ;)

I wanted to reintroduce myself, and also offer to do my best to answer any questions babblers may have about Quebec politics and the student strike come social movement which has been gripping this province.

Apart from my position with rabble i also do some work for LeadNow, and am writing a book on austerity for Between the Lines Press, which should be out next year.

I spent years as a student union exec and councillor at Dawson College and Concordia University here in Montreal, leading a two year struggle to accredit the Dawson Student Union against ferocious resistance from the administration.

I've worked as a union organizer with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and was a member of NDP Quebec central office staff during the 2011 election. I was also Quebec Director and Communications Advisor on Brian Topp's NDP leadership campaign.

I believe that there is a role for electoral politics AND activism when it comes to changing the world, and I like to dabble in both.

I do most of my interacting on twitter these days, where you can follow me @EthanCoxMTL, but I'll try to stop by babble more often and throw my two cents in from time to time.

As I said, if you have any questions about the situation in Quebec, or my articles, feel free to ask.

I know babble to contain a virtual smorgasbord of the best and brightest activists and thinkers this country has to offer, and I'm very much looking forward to interacting with you all :)

Oh, and you can view the archive of my rabble articles here



Hey, Ethan/Socrates, great to have you [back] here!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi Ethan! Great to have you here, and many of us have been reading your coverage of the movement with interest. Welcome (back)!

Ethan Cox Ethan Cox's picture

Thanks Unionist, Catchfire. I've honestly been having a blast. Being gainfully employed to cover such an incredible movement is amazing. I also love the rabble staff, they all work their asses off on this site.

love is free love is free's picture

there's a little 'video editorial' today on la presse's website wherein andré pratte suggests (standing on the beautifully refinished place d'armes) that the quebec student movement ought not to fall into charest's trap, that is, that they ought to suspend the strike during the election campaign lest they hand him the ammunition he needs to win another mandate.  this, he further suggests, is only reasonable, considering the extreme unlikelihood of any change coming about before or during the election campaign.  i'm not so sure that this isn't a pretty good point, especially considering that the students' demands are clear and emphatically on the agenda, but obviously, this is power speaking to those demanding redress, it would be sort of foolhardy to trust, of all people,. andré pratte.

qu'en penses tu là-dessus?

Ethan Cox Ethan Cox's picture

The risk of wily old Charest using the students to scare the poorly informed into his arms shouldn't be taken lightly. But that said, a strike is not a top down endeavor. You can't turn it on and off at will, it runs on momentum. If the students don't continue the strike on August 17th, and in large numbers, it's over.

I think the important thing is that the students pick their tactics over the coming month with care. An example of a really positive effect they can have on the election is that an anti-corruption casseroles has been spontaneously called for the night of September 3rd. Half vote mob, half anti-corruption protest, organizers are calling on people all over Quebec to take to the streets with their pots to denounce corruption, and then turn out and vote Charest out the next day.

If it works, and draws large crowds, it'll be one hell of a statement. It'll make people think as they finalize their decision, and remind everyone of the election, which is critically important given that Charest's best chance is low turnout.

I also think that even the CLASSE, who have great respect for diversity of tactics, need to send the message that confrontations will be counterproductive. Focus on festive, joyful mobilizations, and minimize the opportunity for property damage. However, as we know, the police are perfectly capable of creating a "riot" all on their lonesome.

So far the students have signaled their intention to put boots on the ground in key ridings, and focus their resources on vulnerable MNAs. This is especially important given that Quebec's election law limits 3rd party spending quite severely. But people cost nothing, and if it's done right, this targeted electoral approach could have a huge impact on the outcome.

Pratte and the rest arguing this point know full well such a stand down would break the strike. That's why they're making the argument. Instead we need a mix of festive and large demos, with targeted electoral work by large cadres of volunteers. Make it inclusive, and make sure no one forgets about corruption, which will win over even those opposed to the student cause.