Les cégépiens de partout au Québec ont quitté leurs salles de classe le Jeudi 24 Février 2005 pour amorcer une grève illimitée protestant les coupures de 103$ millions en matières de prêts et bourses de la part d’Uncle Scrooge, mieux connu sous le nom de Monsieur Charest.

Tandis que quelques 1000 étudiants participèrent au coup d’envoi, les événements ont vite pris de l’ampleur, au lendemain du 24. Plusieurs centaines d’étudiants du Cégep du Vieux-Montréal (on en compte plus de 400) ont littéralement pris leur établissement scolaire d’assaut, et ce, tant que la grève se devra de durer.

En nous rencontrant, notre guide Bruno-Pierre Carrier avait un simple objectif, « l’appel à la compréhension et à l’appui de la population Québécoise [étudiants, parents, travailleurs…] envers cette injustice honteuse de la part du tout béni Charest… ».

De l’extérieur du bâtiment jusqu’à l’intérieur du premier étage où les grévistes sont confinés (le restant du collège étant un NO-FLY ZONE gardé par le Cégep), les choses se déroulent dans un climat d’entraide et de détente. Les occupants s’affairent à ériger des pancartes scandant toutes sortes de messages « éducatifs » à l’attention du gouvernement en place, jouent au baby-foot ou tout simplement regardent les nouvelles du soir, fatigués mais extrêmement motivés. « La pire des choses qui puisse arriver pour le moment serait de ne pas avoir l’appui d’une population éduquée et alerte, et ce, dès le tout début ! », lancent quelques étudiants.

Bien que pacifiste -une entente fut approuvée entre étudiants et le Cégep-, l’occupation ne vise rien de moins que l’atteinte absolue des objectifs voulus dans les délais les plus courts. Cependant, dans une atmosphère tendue mais néanmoins démocratique, les occupants en question tenteront de ratifier la décision de continuer l’occupation par vote populaire à chaque 3 ou 4 jours.

« Charest, à la table de décision, personne d’autres ! » nous répétait notre guide.

Le message n’a pas tardé à être entendu de partout, avec plusieurs dizaines d’associations étudiantes jusqu’à date soutenant la grève et le mouvement ouvrier se montrant des plus attentifs à la situation présente (plusieurs discussion informelles entre les assos étudiantes et les syndicats ont eu lieu a date concernant la grève illimitée et ses revendications). On présage dès lors une occupation similaire dans un autre grand Cégep de Montréal, sinon « encore plus extrême », nous confie notre guide. Obtenir ce genre de soutien de la part d’encore plus de collèges est d’une importance primordiale si le mouvement étudiant veut attirer l’attention des gens, sifflotaient les murs.

Les plus récents sondages rapportent que la popularité de monsieur Charest est en chute des plus libres ; il faut dire que ses politiques ne sont pas très appréciées par les syndicaux, bouillonnant de colère, non plus. Les grévistes des jeudi 24 et vendredi 25 ont eux-mêmes avoué être conscients qu’ils appartiennent à une classe où leurs droits ne sont pas les seuls à être attaquées et qu’ils ne sont que quelques uns parmi tant d’autres.

Pour tous les détails : http://www.asse-solidarite.qc.ca


A Report by Alberto Zablit & Lorenzo Fiorito

Translation by Miriam Martin

On Thursday, February 24, Cégep college students all over Québec walked out of class and launched an indefinite strike against the $103 million cuts to grants and bursaries implemented by Uncle Scrooge (better known as Jean Charest). With thousands of students participating on a moment’s notice, events progressed rapidly the next day. Several hundred students from Cégep du Vieux-Montreal (we counted more than 400) have literally taken their school by siege for the duration of the strike.

In meeting with us, our guide Bruno-Pierre Carrier had one simple objective – to inform ordinary Quebeckers (students, parents, and workers) about this shameful injustice on the part of the honourable Cherest, and to solicit their support. From the building’s exterior to the first floor interior where the strikers are located (the rest of the building being a no-fly zone guarded by the college), the events unfold in a cooperative and relaxed way. The occupiers are busy hanging banners with all kinds of "educational" messages for the current government, playing table hockey, or watching the evening news – tired but extremely motivated. "The worst thing that could happen at this point," some students tell us, "would be not having the support of an educated and aware population."

Despite its pacifist character – an agreement reached between the students and the Cégep – the occupation aims for no less than the achievement of all their objectives, in the shortest time possible. However, in this tense but nevertheless democratic atmosphere, the occupiers attempt to ratify the decision to continue by voting every three or four days.

Our guide kept repeating the slogan "Charest to the discussion table, and nobody else!"

There has been no delay in making this message heard far and wide, with dozens of student associations maintaining the strike at the time of writing. The workers’ movement has proven itself the most attentive to the situation (several informal discussions have taken place with the unions, regarding the indefinite strike and its demands). We can expect a similar occupation in another major Cégep in Montréal, if not "even more extreme", confides our guide. Obtaining this kind of support from even more colleges is of key importance if the student movement is to gain the population’s attention.

The most recent polls show that monsieur Charest’s popularity is plummeting; in particular, his politics are not much appreciated by the unions, which are seething with anger. The strikers of February 24th and 25th have recognized that they are part of a larger social class where theirs are not the only rights to be attacked and that they are each one among many.

For more details, visit http://www.asse-solidarite.qc.ca.

March, 2005

On Thursday, February 24, Cégep college students all over Québec walked out of class and launched an indefinite strike against the $103 million cuts to grants and bursaries implemented by Uncle Scrooge (better known as Jean Charest). With thousands of students participating on a moment’s notice, events progressed rapidly the next day. Several hundred students from Cégep du Vieux-Montreal (we counted more than 400) have literally taken their school by siege for the duration of the strike.

In meeting with us, our guide Bruno-Pierre Carrier had one simple objective – to inform ordinary Quebeckers (students, parents, and workers) about this shameful injustice on the part of the honourable Cherest, and to solicit their support. From the building’s exterior to the first floor interior where the strikers are located (the rest of the building being a no-fly zone guarded by the college), the events unfold in a cooperative and relaxed way. The occupiers are busy hanging banners with all kinds of "educational" messages for the current government, playing table hockey, or watching the evening news – tired but extremely motivated. "The worst thing that could happen at this point," some students tell us, "would be not having the support of an educated and aware population."

Despite its pacifist character – an agreement reached between the students and the Cégep – the occupation aims for no less than the achievement of all their objectives, in the shortest time possible. However, in this tense but nevertheless democratic atmosphere, the occupiers attempt to ratify the decision to continue by voting every three or four days.

Our guide kept repeating the slogan "Charest to the discussion table, and nobody else!"

There has been no delay in making this message heard far and wide, with dozens of student associations maintaining the strike at the time of writing. The workers’ movement has proven itself the most attentive to the situation (several informal discussions have taken place with the unions, regarding the indefinite strike and its demands). We can expect a similar occupation in another major Cégep in Montréal, if not "even more extreme", confides our guide. Obtaining this kind of support from even more colleges is of key importance if the student movement is to gain the population’s attention.

The most recent polls show that monsieur Charest’s popularity is plummeting; in particular, his politics are not much appreciated by the unions, which are seething with anger. The strikers of February 24th and 25th have recognized that they are part of a larger social class where theirs are not the only rights to be attacked and that they are each one among many.

For more details, visit http://www.asse-solidarite.qc.ca.

March, 2005