Fighting for a better world can often seem like a Sysiphian struggle. For every inch we push that damn boulder up the hill, it rolls back two. But sometimes, ever so rarely, enough of us get together to push that we can crest the top and roll all the way down.
It is in those magical moments in time that the world changes, as the pent up frustrations of the many overcome the inexorable pressure of the status quo. It's hard to know at the time if this moment, this movement, will be the rare exception that prevails, or the far more common failure that rolls right back over us.
All you can do is what people the world over have always done, push like the dickens and hope like hell.
In Quebec right now, our boulder is teetering at the very top of the hill. It remains to be seen if it will roll forward, and provoke a real re-imagining of what we want from our governments, and our societies, or if it will pitch backwards, and squash us all like so many bugs.
Quebec deserves your solidarity, but it should also be your inspiration. In a province like Ontario, with some of the highest tuition fees in the country, why shouldn't students take to the streets for the kind of society they want to have?
There is no greater gift that people across this country can give to the citizens of Quebec, who have been beaten, kettled, politically profiled and arrested for carrying in their hearts an idea, than to join them in the streets and turn Quebec's struggle into a country-wide one.
It is a struggle for dignity, for morality, for a world that makes sense. Its demands are so simple and self-evident as to be absurd: we want governments that serve the best interests of the majority, and respect the rights of all.
Harper, Charest and McGuinty all serve the same interests, and they aren't ours.
Thankfully, as activists in Ontario prepare to bring Quebec's struggle to their campuses this fall, they'll get a chance to meet some of the architects of the student strike, and build solidarity between movements in Ontario and Quebec, thanks to the Quebec-Ontario Student Solidarity Tour.
Organized by a diverse coalition of over twenty six Ontario labour unions, student associations and community groups, the tour will take place from the 12th to the 20th of July.
With stops in Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, Niagara, Windsor, London, Guelph, York U, Toronto and Peterborough, the tour seeks to answer the question "How can we build solidarity, as well as a broad, united and growing movement here in Ontario?"
The tour will feature representatives from CLASSE, the largest and most militant student group in Quebec, as well as other grassroots student activists.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the co-spokesperson for CLASSE, Jérémie Bédard-Wien, a CLASSE Executive, and Hugo Bonin, a CLASSE activist and former interim spokesperson will be joined by Marianne Breton Fontaine, an indy journalist, candidate for Quebec Solidaire and former student union executive, and Audrey Devault, Chairperson of the Dawson Student Union.
One note of caution, not all speakers will be at all events, so make sure to check the schedule for your city to get all the details!
All of these speakers are courageous, committed activists, who have worked tirelessly over the last year to build this movement and articulate a vision for a better, more just world.
For those who don't know, the CLASSE espouses a broader social critique than other student organizations. They don't stop at student issues, but see themselves as part of a broader movement, which seeks to build a better world not only for students, but for all of us. They are a radically democratic organization, which empowers their membership with all major decisions, and organizes according to a grassroots, bottom-up model.
I'm a big fan of CLASSE, their organizing methods, and their unabashed desire to change the world, not simply lower tuition. Gabriel, Jérémie and Hugo, as well as Marianne and Audrey, are our future. They are articulate, impassioned advocates for social change, who project authority, intelligence and confidence despite their relatively young age.
If you live in Ontario, I urge you to make it out to see this tour. I promise you won't regret it.
I hope to see large crowds at these events, and strong strike campaigns on all Ontario campuses this fall. With any luck, this tour will be the first step in building a national, united movement to challenge the austerity agenda of our governments...
Follow me on twitter for the latest news from Quebec: @EthanCoxMTL