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The Death of Jacques Parizeau and The Class Nature of Sovereignty

parizeau 0602The former premier of Quebec and Parti Québécois leader Jacques Parizeau passed away on June 1, 2015. People across the political spectrum have spent considerable efforts waxing political and nostalgic about the last “great statesman”.

What happened to the Quebecois Spring?

Anti austerity march in Montreal March 21 2015 photo by Canadian Press 3The momentum and élan that was built up amongst students and organized workers for a showdown with the Liberal government heading into the spring of 2015 in Quebec has dissipated. A feeling of disappointment hangs in the air as everyone is asking “what happened to the Quebecois spring?”

Police repression at UQAM marks sharpening of Quebec movement

Students occupy UQAM with picket signsThe past few days have seen some significant developments in the movement of students and workers in Quebec. ASSÉ's rank-and-file impeached the union's executive after the exec pushed for an end to the ongoing student strike. And, just this week, Montreal police stormed the campus of the Université du Québec à Montréal after students protested political expulsion of some students.

Quebec students must bring the workers into the struggle!

Quebec students marching behind an anti-austerity bannerThe mandate for the two-week student strike is coming to a close this week, and ASSÉ’s weekend congress will be dominated by debates over the way forward. Much controversy has arisen over the fact that the ASSÉ executive has put forward a proposition to end the strike and wait for possible strike action on the part of the unions in the fall. On the other hand, the #printemps2015 committee has denounced this move and is pushing for a continuation of the strike. The sizable night demonstrations and the large numbers of students on strike show that there is an overwhelming desire among the youth to fight back against austerity and that there is a lot of energy and passion looking for direction. But what is to be done?

Thousands on the street as Quebec student strike begins

Protesters march with a banner that reads, "Refuser le desastre annonce"

On Mar. 21, thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal to protest austerity. On the following Monday, the student strike was officially kicked off with over 50,000 students commencing strike action, which will continue for the next two weeks leading up to a big demonstration on Apr. 2. Another 150,000 students will vote for strike actions in the coming days. Many people believe this is the beginning of another “Maple Spring”, as was seen during 2012, with hundreds of thousands on the street for several months.

Quebec: No backing down! For a 24-hour general strike against austerity!

Protesters holding a sign that reads, "Vers la greve sociale!"As the Quebec Liberal government ploughs forward with its austerity measures, workers and students are mobilizing to fight back. The spirit of 2012 is in the air as trade union leaders have promised an escalation of actions to protest the cuts, and a “hot spring and summer”. The call for strike action, and even a general strike of all the workers of the province, has been gaining steam, even forcing many union leaders to comment on the issue. If the union leaders are prepared to go the distance, the stage is set for a big showdown in the fight against austerity.

100,000 workers in the streets of Montreal: A glimpse of what is to come

With each passing day, the stage is being set for a big showdown between workers and Quebec’s Liberal government. Since the government announced that they would attack municipal workers’ pensions, tens of thousands of workers have been taking to the streets, participating in various actions and mobilizations across Quebec. The attack on pensions is also just a part of a much wider austerity package which is targeting childcare services, health care, and a myriad of other social services, all of which are part of the general social wage in Quebec won by the labour movement over decades of struggle. 

 

Austerity threatens to unleash the power of the working class in Quebec

Philippe Couillard and the Liberals were elected just six months ago, but in that time, they have already trashed all of the promises that they made to Quebeckers. From an election that was won on the theme of “the economy, jobs, healthcare, and eduction,” the Liberals have instead gone to work hacking away at pensions, healthcare, daycare, public sector jobs, and education funding. Union leaders in the province are talking about massive mobilizations and a “New Quebecois Spring” for 2015. What does this movement need to do to win?

Quebec Liberals target pension funds: Solidarity with the municipal workers!

On 18th August, firefighters stormed Montreal City Hall, chasing the mayor from room to room and protesting against the recently announced cuts to their pensions. The police officers, whose pensions will also be affected, let the workers enter City Hall and looked the other way as the building was ransacked. Municipalities in Quebec are at war with city employees and this action shows the looming storm in the struggle against austerity.