Maple Spring Part Deux?

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Originally published on WagingNonviolence on March 8: http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/maple-spring-part-deux/ Last Tuesday, 10,000 people gathered at Victoria Square in downtown Montreal for the most recent chapter of Quebec’s historic student movement. Their presence was a protest of the long-awaited education summit, which ended with the disappointing, but expected decision to increase tuition 3 percent annually, starting next fall. Premier … Continue reading

“Forward on Climate” Rally in Washington DC: Large and Uninspiring

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On a frigid Sunday, February 17, some 40,000 people rallied in Washington D.C. to protest the Keystone XL pipeline and to push President Obama to be a leader in addressing climate change. I walked through the shockingly quiet crowd, a mumbling sea that occasionally coalesced around a pat protest cheer. Babies perched on parents’ shoulders. … Continue reading

Is the International Student Movement the future of global organizing?

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This article originally appeared on WagingNonviolence on February 6, 2013: http://wagingnonviolence.org/2013/02/is-the-international-student-movement-the-future-of-global-organizing/ On Nov. 10, 2012, tens of thousands of students flooded the streets of Montreal to express opposition to the proposed tuition hikes. Iain Brannigan, one of approximately 30,000 participants, often took part in the city’s frequent, massive student protests — but this day was uniquely exciting for him. As the University of … Continue reading

August 22 National Demonstration in Montreal

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August 22 marked the five-month anniversary of the first national demonstration in March, which had held three hundred thousand and brought international attention to the movement. Members of CLASSE (Quebec’s largest student union) led the protest, which filled about 1.25 miles of Montreal’s downtown streets, lasted just over three hours, and held 100,000 marchers according to … Continue reading

The UQAM General Assembly for Political Science and Law Votes to End the Strike

Voting slips tossed on a table after the General Assembly.

It’s one faculty, in one school, but it’s important. L’Université du Québec à Montréal has been a backbone of the student movement, with about 40,000 students and a history of student radicalism. This week, after the CEGEPs (junior colleges) voted to return to class, student activists hoped the trend would be stopped in the universities, particularly … Continue reading

The Montreal Student Strike Ends at Junior Colleges

A student with the "carré rouge" pinned to his backpack looks out over the General Assembly at CÉGEP du Vieux-Montréal

After witnessing the full power of Quebec’s student unions at the Grand Prix demonstrations in early June, I returned to Montreal this week for what I expected to be intense manifestations supporting the continuation of strike through the fall semester. However, the confluence of Quebec’s Liberal Party Premier Jean Charest’s call for a September 4 … Continue reading

Student Unionism, Why Don’t American Students Strike?

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The “Student Unionism to Build Student Power” panel with Montreal CLASSE organizers Rushdia Mehreen and Frank Lévesque-Nicol and Brooklyn Student Union and New York Students Rising organizers Biola Jeje and Isabelle Nastasia was instructive about a possible organizing strategy for a US Student Movement. In one room were several thought leaders student syndicalism across North … Continue reading

National Student Power Convergence, Forming Liquid Concrete

Students at a "Theater and Activism" workshop.

In the first few days of the convergence students exuberantly engaged with one another, recognizing their commonalities and sharing the highs and lows of their activism experiences, building a network of student solidarity. However, at moments, the honeymoon feeling gave way to underlying tensions. So far, students have demonstrated their differences by reacting to speakers. … Continue reading

July 2, Occupy National Gathering

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The third day of the Occupy National Gathering was full of energy and good conversation. Speaker Amadon DellErba from Spritualution discussed the importance of ending all “isms,” Gina McGill from Alabama promoted the ideas in Beyond Plutocracy, and Matt Taibbi exposed bank collusion. Captain Ray Lewis declined to speak in the group because of the many … Continue reading

July 1, Occupy National Gathering

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The second day of the Occupy National Gathering began with some sense of stability, with Franklin Square set as the permanent location for workshops and the Friends Center’s parking lot as the permanent sleeping area. However, the day of speakers and skill-shares precipitated an evening of arrests, with 25-30 reportedly taken into custody. (Footage of … Continue reading