As we become used to the energy it requires to be here, with your heart on your sleeve at the general assemblies, workshops and protests, we become better at doing this. We are more unified and are wonderfully creative. Even in the face of the government’s refusal to negotiate with us.
The government has imposed on all of Quebec a special law that will force students back to school in august, and that will make the way we protest criminal. Our student associations, our student unions, our organisers are all susceptible to fines that range from 1000 $ for the individual to 125,000$ for an organisation.
Now, this law was passed right before the Montreal tourist industry normally explodes: festivals back to back from june to the beginning of august. This city needs that economy like USA needs christmas. And Quebec as a province needs Montreal to make money.
One of the less artistic, definitely not free events that this city hosts is the Grand Prix, a nascar like event. Renting your apartment to someone during the Grand Prix for 3 days can make you 2000$ dollars. Money and capital will be there. And so will the students, workers and militant elements of this social movement.
Yesterday at the night demonstration, there were some guys on the top of a building waving the racing checkered flags. We sang “Charest, tu rit, mais check ben ton Grand Prix!” – Charest, your laughing, but watch for your Grand Prix (also translates as your big prize).
There were flyers being handed out, and longer pamphlets talking about what this event is, and why we should disrupt it. The premier himself made a desperate attempt to call out to protesters, saying in the news that out of respect for your fellow quebeckers, do not disrupt the Grand Prix.
Well, monsieur, you can’t have your cake and eat it do. You can’t kick us out of negotiations and expect no reaction. As they say, no social peace until justice. Its heating up out here in the City.
Not just in Montreal either. Protests in London, Paris, Toronto, Ottawa and all over Quebec are becoming more popular. We’re leading up to a decisive moment this summer. And to be fair these kind of actions are what got us where we are today. Before the world cared, before anglophones cared, before night demos were invented we were blocking banks, occupying offices, doing flashmobs and guerrilla art and blocking the bridges into the city.
That is when we were beat down, we were sprayed. That is what made us good at what we do now. And those means are what gave us the leverage that we have.
When we went on strike, we had to do more than just not go to class. Student associations called for disruptions of economic centres in Montreal: like the banks. Students blocked bridges and occupied government offices. There were CEGEPS that were blocked and barricaded and no one, not even workers, were let in the buildings. This was our attempt to let the powers that be know that we know what they care about, and that we are won’t let them do business in peace while they decide to fuck us over.
So its like a flashback now. At the beginning of this strike, there was an action every morning at 7am or even earlier sometimes. Its time to embrace our roots.