Student strike against tuition fees hike

102 posts / 0 new
Last post
Bärlüer
Student strike against tuition fees hike

This is it! Student unions that are taking part in CLASSE (Coalition large de l'ASSÉ—an ad hoc coalition built around the ASSÉ group of student unions but extending beyond the actual members of ASSÉ) have now reached the floor that had been determined for the unlimited general strike to take effect. As of the writing of this post, 18 student unions on 5 campuses representing around 20 210 students have obtained unlimited general strike mandates.

Strike mandates votes will continue to be held in other student unions in the coming days and weeks.

FECQ- and FEUQ-affiliated student unions are also contemplating the general strike option.

In fact, the mechanics of the strike are very similar to what happened in 2005, when a massive strike took place to protest cuts of $103 million in the Grants and Loans program: a group coalesced around the ASSÉ (then named the CASSÉÉ) took the initiative and FECQ- and FEUQ-affiliated unions gradually joined the movement. Even the timeframe is similar: the strike started on February 24 in 2005.

Some student unions might be beginning the strike as soon as next Monday.

Issues Pages: 
Bärlüer

I now understand that some FEUQ/FECQ-affiliated student unions have in fact already obtained strike mandates or will hold votes to this regard.

Bärlüer

The strike has begun: 3 student unions representing around 7250 students from Université Laval and UQAM are now on strike. Around 5000 students will be joining them tomorrow. Others will be joining them in the coming days and weeks. Votes on strike mandates are still trickling in every day.

Bärlüer

Please read this superb editorial by Rima Elkouri in La Presse (she's really been on a roll lately with some great articles), a great summary of the stakes. Also remarkable for bringing the matter back to the essential question: what is it that we want of education.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..this is exciting!!!!! thank you for the thread.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1132798--quebec-students-clas...

Quote:

Along with other groups protesting service fee increases, students surrounded and blocked entrances to the Montreal Stock Exchange and the adjoining Delta hotel Thursday morning. Riot police were called and officers used tear gas and batons in the ensuing scuffles. Four people were arrested.

In the hours that followed, the protesters taunted police. “Let us get an education,” they chanted, “so we don’t become policemen!”

The university and college students are in the early stages of a province-wide strike, which is set to vastly increase in size and scope as more student associations in post-secondary institutions vote to strike.

[img]http://i.thestar.com/images/9e/fc/1c534754418d9ef026810310b35d.jpg[/img]

Unionist

[url=http://www.cyberpresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/education/201202/20/0... of students on strike reaches 31,000 today, and will increase to 36,000 tomorrow![/url]

 

And, this morning, students hung a red flag from the Jacques Cartier cross on Mount Royal - god I wish I had a photo of that - will keep looking! It's been taken down now.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Outstanding. Students in Québec know how powerful they are (unless they go to McGill).

Unionist

This is the best I could find. Non-Montréalers need to understand that the Jacques Cartier cross atop Mount Royal is visible from most of the city - and a red square is the symbol of the student protest movement:

ETA: Well, not really visible from "most" of the city - not if you're too close. But certainly when approaching the city, by road, air, etc.

 

Bärlüer

A group of students has constructed a "wall of concrete" in front of MNA François Rebello's office. They say they are members of ACMÉ (Actions contre la marchandisation de l'éducation). ACMÉ—geddit? (I laughed.)

To recap, François Rebello recently left the PQ—whose position is supposed to be against the tuition fees hike and for a freeze—for the CAQ, which is favorable to the tuition fees hike. For additional irony points: Rebello once was a FEUQ (Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec) president.

Interestingly, another PQ deserter, Jean-Martin Aussant, has founded a party (Option nationale) which advocates for free tuition (as does Québec solidaire). Aussant has relayed a petition to table in the National Assembly calling upon the government to put aside its tuition fees increase plan. Please sign it!

Unionist

I voted for Rebello in 2004 when he ran for the Bloc - I never saw all this coming...

However, I also voted for Amir Khadir in 2000 when he ran for the Bloc!! (Did I mention that I love QC politics?) And here is his status update on Facebook:

Amir Khadir wrote:
Motion de censure visant à faire tomber le gouvernement inscrite par Québec solidaire : Que l'Assemblée nationale retire sa confiance et blâme le gouvernement libéral pour la grave atteinte à l'accessibilité aux études et au droit à l'éducation que représente laugmentation cumulative de 1 625 $ en frais de scolarité pour des études universitaires à temps plein. La motion sera débattue mardi prochain.

Next Tuesday, the National Assembly will debate a QS non-confidence motion condemning the Liberal government for severely limiting access to education by its $1,625 phased increase in tuition fees.

That's how a sincere and reliable ally behaves. Let's see what the others do.

Unionist

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Super!

    Bärlüer

    A grab bag of items:

      Unionist

      About 15,000 students and supporters marched in Montréal today; a group blocked the Jacques-Cartier bridge until the riot squad dispersed them; and over 60,000 students are now on strike!

      Catchfire Catchfire's picture

      Simonac, le Québec me manque.

      Unionist

      Et tu nous manques aussi.

      ETA: Tabarouette.

       

      Unionist

      About 200 students have been blocking the entrances at [url=http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Montreal/2012/02/24/001-greve-saintla... de St-Laurent[/url] since 3:00 A.M. Even though classes are cancelled, the administration is trying to gain access to the building. Students are accusing management of having locked them out yesterday. The situation is developing, but police are on the scene and there's fear they may be preparing to force their way through the picket lines.

      The MSM are also making a big deal out of the fact that one institution - only - has just voted 54% against joining the strike (Université du Québec en Outaouais, in Gatineau). It's one of the few, if not the only one, that didn't vote by faculty or department.

      The organization coordinating the strike has also cautiously distanced itself from yesterday's one-hour blockade of the Jacques-Cartier bridge, which is one of the crucial rush-hour arteries. It was a spontaneous action by a few hundred students - they ended up being pepper-sprayed, and I think three arrests. The student leaders are acutely conscious of the need to keep public support onside during this struggle.

       

      Bärlüer

      Quick update: medicine students at Université de Montréal voted to join the strike. (Granted, it's only scheduled to start on March 20, but still.) I believe they voted on a "renewable" mandate of a couple of days. This is a pretty significant milepost. Even in 2005, when the strike movement got huge, they only were on strike for 3 days (which, at the time, was already a pretty big deal).

      Unionist

      [url=http://www.behindthenumbers.ca/2012/02/27/quebec-students-strike-over-tu... background piece by Eric Martin of IRIS (a Montréal-based progressive think tank)[/url]

       

      Bärlüer

      Tout le monde en parle had a segment on the student strike on its last show (the link is to part 1 of 2).

      They invited Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, of the CLASSE (who did quite well) and Arielle Grenier, of the astroturf... erm, sorry, of the MESRQ (who... um... well, insert-the-standard-saying-about-mothers-and-contingency-of-speech-WRT-presence-or-absence-of-nice-things-to-say.)

      Unionist

      Concordia students plan 5-day sleep-in to protest fee hikes and urge fellow students to vote for strike:

      http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Student+protesters+plan+sleep/621684...

       

      Bärlüer

      Amir Khadir in a press conference today:

      Quote:
      Encouragez-vous les étudiants à faire la grève? «Absolument. Si c'est nécessaire pour faire plier le gouvernement, absolument», a déclaré mardi la [sic] député de Québec solidaire en point de presse à l'Assemblée nationale.

      I don't know who asked the question, but most likely it was intended to be a sort of "gotcha" question—or a question with an implicit "Surely you cannot be saying that..." preamble. But Amir just answers without any prevarication whatsoever.

      Love it. Smile

      Unionist

      The aggressive loudmouth Minister of "Education" Line Beauchamp has sent a letter to school administrations in effect telling them they can "ignore" student votes to strike and continue scheduling classes anyway. This move has been condemned by students and teachers alike:

      [url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Students+blast+minister+response... blast Quebec education minister for urging schools to ignore strike[/url]

      Quote:
      Tension is mounting in Quebec colleges and universities as some schools are continuing with classes despite a student boycott – and students are livid that their protests are being dismissed. [...]

      Dawson College has its vote on Thursday, while Concordia is to vote March 7. Most other universities are voting department by department.

      The so-called directive was at the heart of a tense confrontation at the Université du Québec à Rimouski on Monday, when angry students blocked the entrance to the college and prevented staff from entering.

      In the end, students and administrators agreed classes would be cancelled for the next two weeks, said Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec. [...]

      At Concordia, the administration has said teaching will continue in the event of a strike, though some staff have signed a declaration saying they pledge to accommodate students who boycott classes.

       

      Bärlüer

      Unionist wrote:

      I voted for Rebello in 2004 when he ran for the Bloc - I never saw all this coming...

      However, I also voted for Amir Khadir in 2000 when he ran for the Bloc!! (Did I mention that I love QC politics?) And here is his status update on Facebook:

      Amir Khadir wrote:
      Motion de censure visant à faire tomber le gouvernement inscrite par Québec solidaire : Que l'Assemblée nationale retire sa confiance et blâme le gouvernement libéral pour la grave atteinte à l'accessibilité aux études et au droit à l'éducation que représente laugmentation cumulative de 1 625 $ en frais de scolarité pour des études universitaires à temps plein. La motion sera débattue mardi prochain.

      Next Tuesday, the National Assembly will debate a QS non-confidence motion condemning the Liberal government for severely limiting access to education by its $1,625 phased increase in tuition fees.

      That's how a sincere and reliable ally behaves. Let's see what the others do.

      So the vote on Amir Khadir's censure motion took place yesterday evening (and of course the motion did not pass).

      The transmogrification of Rebello is now complete! He was there and voted as did his CAQ colleagues, with the government.

      Unionist

      Is there a procedure under the Elections Act whereby I can formally withdraw my 2004 vote for Rebello?

       

      Unionist

      Thousands of students marched to the National Assembly this afternoon. Riot police had no choice but to defend the heart of our democracy in massive numbers, and then to use tear gas on the selfish and unruly students.

      [url=http://www.cyberpresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/education/201203/01/0... and report here[/url]

      Catchfire Catchfire's picture

      I am apalled, in spite of myself, at those police uniforms. These are the clothes of the stewards of the peace?

      Bravo et courage aux étudiants!

      ETA. Honestly, when I first saw the second picture, I thought it was a piece of theatrical resistence making a caricature of the state. Little did I know that the state had already made a caricature of itself.

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Thousands to march in Quebec City as strike movement nears 100,000


      Momentum gaining at English schools, amid possible admin foul play

      As thousands of students prepare to demonstrate in Quebec City this afternoon, the strike against tuition fee increases continues to grow: As of today, 84,500 students are officially on strike, with another 16,000 or so having voted in favor of a strike mandate, but not officially going on strike. This means the total could soon reach the 100,000 student mark, with some of the largest student associations in the province still to hold votes in the coming weeks.

      Latest polls also indicate a majority of Quebeckers are supportive of the students' cause. Numbers released by Forum Research polling on Feb. 24 showed that 53 per cent of Quebeckers oppose the Liberal government's proposed increases....

      http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/story/thousands-march-quebec-city-strike-mo...

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Student unions on strike & vote calendar

      Total of student unions currently on strike:

      72 students unions
      Representing +/- 90 400 students

      Total of students unions with a strike mandate – waiting to begin:

      26 student unions
      Representing +/- 16 152 students

      Read more Student unions on strike & vote calendar


      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Grassroot General Assemblies

      Throughout the week, general assemblies and meetings of nearly a dozen student associations will be taking place to discuss strike mandates against tuition increases.

      While the Concordia Student Union will discuss and vote on a one-week strike at a General Meeting on March 7, the smaller assemblies are also gathering to discuss their stand and come to internal decisions about student action moving forward.

      And while the CSU and the Mob Squad have been engaged at the departmental level in many cases—such as with the Political Science Students’ Association—some of the momentum behind the GAs come from concerned students or the departments themselves, though the motivations differ from one group to another.

      The Women’s Studies Student Association, for example, took their cues from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute—which took an official position on the tuition increases earlier this month.

      “As an institute, we’ve framed our position on the very significant impact this tuition increase will have on women and their children. That was an important place for us to start,” said WSSA External Executive Gabrielle Bouchard, who is helping to organize the GA that will see women’s studies students vote on an open-ended strike Feb. 29....

      http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/2670

      Unionist

      Demonstration today at the National Assembly in Québec City - and 98,500 students will be on strike by the end of the day!

      [url=http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2012/03/01/001-manifestatio... 100,000 students on strike today [en français][/url]

       

      Unionist

      Further to epaulo's post above, 6 Concordia departments have gone on strike as of this morning (representing about 6500 students). The big CSU vote, on behalf of the whole university, is on Wednesday. It's very confusing, but I guess you have to be a university student to figure it out.

      At least this smashes the right-wing media trope that: "Oh well, so far it's only the French-language schools that have joined the strike", just as previously they were saying: "Oh well, it's all arts types on strike, not the professional/science faculties".

      Victory to the student movement!

       

      Unionist

      Sorry, shoulda posted this before, but I'm watching the live feed of Concordia - they're about to vote!!!

      http://cutvmontreal.com/live

      ETA: Voting on a strike to go from March 15 to 22 (I think), then another assembly to decide whether to continue. March 22 is the national day of protest.

       

       

      Unionist

      Almost 2,000 students are participating in the meeting - in four different locations.

       

      Unionist

      Ok - they're reading the amended motion - ready to start the vote.

       

      Unionist

      Looks like it will pass massively. There was a stupid amendment that was narrowly adopted, saying "students will not make a line to prevent other students and profs from entering" - but there have already been speeches from the floor talking about creative ways to do stuff anyway.

       

      Unionist

      Result of vote:

      In favour of strike: 1,152

      Against: 557

      Chad says: "Congratulations Concordia, we just made history!!"

       

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      ..here's the report from "the link". their exploring direct democracy it seems.

      Strike Three
      Vote for One Week Strike Passed at CSU General Assembly

      “It was definitely an interesting process, but I think that at the end of the day, the students spoke,” said Concordia Student Union VP External Chad Walcott after the vote. Walcott gave a presentation before the vote and fielded questions from students.

      The show of hands, which took place in four separate rooms spread across Concordia’s two campuses, yielded 1,152 for a strike, while 557 voted against.

      Discussion preceding the vote saw two changes made to the original question.

      The first moved the date of the strike—which was originally set to begin on March 22—to a new date on March 15. The purpose of the change was due to the presentation of the provincial budget being moved to March 20. The new dates coincide with the last week of campaigning for the CSU general election. Polling begins on March 22....

      http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/2719

      Bärlüer

      Wow. Way to go!

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture
      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Concordia Bog
      A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

      Whether it’s Peter Kruyt shouting down student reps, Rita de Santis peacocking about the board room and calling students “losers” or Robert Barnes telling students to stop “pissing people off,” meetings of Concordia’s Board of Governors are rarely dull.

      But The Link was curious. These governors are volunteering their time and efforts, for no obvious gain—and in the process they gather no small amount of bad press. So why do it? What kind of people are on the Board?

      We were a little surprised. Some of them have done great work. Others, like the three profiled below, have definitely not....

      http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/2672

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Manifestation étudiante au centre-ville

      video

      Montréal) De 500 à 600 étudiants et élèves en grève ont bloqué mercredi après-midi l'entrée de l'immeuble de Loto-Québec, au centre-ville de Montréal, pour protester contre la hausse des droits de scolarité, avant d'être évincés par la police de Montréal qui a dû user de la force pour les disperser. Cinq manifestants ont été arrêtés et quatre personnes, dont un policier, ont dû être transportées à l'hôpital.

      http://www.cyberpresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/education/201203/07/0...

       

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      ..police and cbc calling students mobs. the repression begins.
      Riot police use tear gas to control student protest
      Students clash with police during tuition hike protest Wednesday

      video

      Four people were injured during student protests over tuition-fee hikes as clouds of tear gas wafted Wednesday over downtown Montreal.

      All the injuries were minor, although two of the people – one police officer and one protester – were whisked to hospital by ambulance to be treated for trauma.

      Students converged Wednesday on several provincial buildings, including the liquor commission and the education minister's office, and they momentarily attempted to occupy the Loto-Québec headquarters which is home to the organization representing university rectors.

      Helmeted and shield-wielding police charged a line of students near the Loto-Québec headquarters after they pushed down a row of metal barriers.

      Several students were arrested, some tackled by police who fixed plastic ties around their wrists before hauling them away.

      The boom of volleys of tear gas echoed through the street as riot-squad officers laid down a curtain of gas among the protesters, sending many stumbling away coughing and rubbing at their eyes....

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/03/07/student-protest-...

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Demo in Paris this Friday in solidarity with the student strike outside the Quebec government's offices.

      Catchfire Catchfire's picture

      Bravo, Concordia!

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Student Strike Vote: An Update

      March 2nd, 2012

      On February 16th, 2012, the Dawson Student Union received a petition signed by 5% of the membership calling on a Special General Assembly to vote on Student Stike. At that point, the DSU Executive was legally bound to attempt to host a meeting on the subject.

      On March 1st, 2012, over 1,100 students crammed into the 3rd floor cafeteria. However, an additional 1,500 students were unable to enter the meeting. At that point, the DSU Executive suggested that the meeting be called to order only to be immediately adjourned out of respect for the students who would not have had the opportunity to debate and vote on the strike motions.

      To respect the spirit of the petition, the DSU Executive has called an emergency referendum for March 5th and 6th, 2012. Polling stations will be open from 9AM to 9PM and will be situated in the lower atrium, the upper atrium cafeteria, and the 2G Wing by the de Maisonneuve entrance.

      The results of the referendum will be announced Tuesday evening.

      http://mydsu.ca/section/3

      epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

      Students in Quebec: Paving the Way to a General Strike?
      March 1, 2012

      quote:

      Quebec’s Liberal government is committed to raising tuition fees by 75 percent or $1625 over the next five years. The tuition fee hikes are part of a sweeping austerity program involving steep social spending cuts, the imposition of a new health care tax, electricity rate increases, a hike in the regressive sales tax, and new or increased user fees for other government services.

      The corporate media is uniformly against the strike, but polls show the students enjoy the support of the majority of Quebecers.

      In a cynical pre-election maneuver, the Official Opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ), which has repeatedly denounced the Charest government for not eliminating the deficit fast enough, now claims that if elected it will freeze tuition fees at the current $2168 per annum through its first term.

      The same newspaper editorialists who have pressed for tax cuts for big business and the wealthy are demagogically denouncing “privileged” university students for trying to make tax-payers pay for their education. The reality is that increases in tuition fees, various administrative fees, the price of text books, and the general cost-of-living are forcing ever-increasing numbers of students to incur large debts or abandon their studies. Due to two decades of cuts by Liberal and PQ governments alike, three-quarters of students are not eligible for student aid.

      The student strike was initiated February 13 by the smallest of the province’s three student associations, the Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE—The Broader Coalition of the Association for Student-Union Solidarity.

      As its name would suggest, CLASSE portrays itself as more militant than FEUQ (the Québec Federation of University Students) and FECQ (Quebec Federation of College Students), both of which have close ties to the trade union bureaucracy and to the PQ. But fundamentally the perspective of all three is the same: to pressure the big business Liberal government into reconsidering its five-year tuition fee hike scheme through a single-issue protest that separates the struggle against the tuition fee hikes from a broader struggle to mobilize the working class against the austerity measures being imposed by the Charest Liberal and federal Conservative governments....

      http://404systemerror.com/quebec-students-paving-the-way-to-a-general-st...

      Bärlüer

      Yeah, damn these students for failing to mobilize the way we want them to! Not a single one of these groups is redeemable!

      What a load of crap, this article.

      Unionist

      You think that's a load of crap? Look at the article on the same page right after it - and they were apparently distributing this to striking students:

      Quote:
      Students must consciously reach out to workers as allies in a common battle and fight to transform the student strike against tuition fee increases into a unified struggle in defense of all public services, all social programmes, and all jobs.

      A turn to the working class means not only sending student delegations to workplaces, but first and foremost assisting the workers in breaking politically and organizationally from the trade union bureaucracy, which for decades has isolated and suppressed the struggles of the working class.

      Perhaps students and workers could unite and chase these armchair revolutionaries out of town?

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Back to the strike:

      A 22-year-old student Francis Grenier, who was injured by a police stun grenade yesterday in downtown Montréal, may have lost his sight in one eye. I haven't found any internet media reports yet (anyone?), but here is something from [url=https://www.facebook.com/ages.cstj/posts/10150712515311944]Facebook[/url] (in French).

      Bärlüer

      There's one here. He's been operated on this morning. Note: the (graphic) picture on that page is displayed according to the wishes of the injured student. He wants people to see what the SPVM did.

      Pages

      Topic locked