My name is Jérémie Bédard-Wien and I'm a Montreal union organizer. Together with hundreds of thousands of other Quebecers, I've been part of one the most important social movements to ever arise in Canada: the general student strike, which took flight in February and became the "Maple Spring" as it mobilized, on a daily basis, thousands of students and workers united against tuition hikes.
The Coalition Large de l'Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE) has emerged as the spearhead of that historic contestation.
All over Canada, we have been lavished with solidarity.
"Casseroles Night in Canada" saw pots and pans marches being organized in every corner of the country. Buses descended on Montreal for our monthly demonstrations, on every 22nd of the month. Individuals and organizations sent us letters of support.
CLASSE militants have given speeches in front of student and labor assemblies elsewhere in the country. It is now about to tour Ontario, after being invited by several organizations - including CFS-Ontario. I will speak along with Hugo Bonin, another CLASSE activist; Audrey Devault, the Dawson [College] Student Union president; and Marianne Breton-Fontaine.
Starting today, we will be given the chance to talk to Ontarians on a tour of 7 cities. In Niagara, Hamilton, Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph and Kingston, we will be speaking directly to people of all walks of life. Ottawa is the first stop of the tour, where we will address Unitersity of Ottawa students. (Check out the tour website for all the details.)
I intend to blog this experience here on rabble.ca.
Solidarity is but a first step towards something else: the renewal of militant, radical social movements in Canada.
Students must organize in radically different ways if they wish to transform their post-secondary education system, or achieve broader aims.
The clash of ideas, but also the reflection on tactics we hope to spur by touring the province, must introduce the promise of a Canada-wide struggle for free education, for social services and against neoliberalism.
Jérémie Bédard-Wien is a member of the Executive Committee of la CLASSE. Financial Secretary of la CLASSE, Jérémie also works directly with the committee of mobilization. He brings several years of political and organizational experience working with Quebec student unions to coordinate, reinforce and build the movement. Jérémie joins the tour for stops in Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and Niagara.
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