students are back in the streets to fight austerity
The Montreal student body is divided over the immediate future of its notorious activism. One side — Comité Printemps — wants to revive the pot-banging spirit of 2012 and fight the Liberal government’s new austerity measures all summer. The others — ASSÉ — want to commence protests in the fall, just in time for a federal election that could potentially complete a full decade of Stephen Harper’s dogma.
And though the students may be at loggerheads internally, they are also the only ones in Canada — maybe even the entire North American continent — who truly give a damn about what happens to our future. Their noise in 2012 brought down the provincial Liberal government and gave hope that young demos may actually not collapse under crippling student debt and that the playing field would level off a bit for everyone else.
However, under the Parti Québécois, conditions did not change and the buds of the student cause withered away in the caustic egotism of the elected. Debt was still looming and the “belt tightening” seemed unavoidable just the same. The Parti Québécois shat the bed.
The Liberals are back in power now, so the students are back in the streets for a second time in less than five years: pissed at anything that reeks of legislative assembly. The hundreds of student arrested in March, April and May on grounds of illegal assembly in Montreal are only a symptom of a more insidious gut rot ailing not only Quebec, but Greece, France, Spain and definitely the United States. The tools of a modern democracy are not cutting it anymore. Elections and government sanctioned protests are ineffective because our elected leaders do not speak the populist language. They speak a language of coercion and violence — and it is the only one they understand.
Montrealers are not lashing out against the (expected) failed promises and hopes of campaign platforms anymore. They are aiming at a mental virus pervasive in almost all governments: the compulsion to bulldoze civilization into accepting austerity measures that will somehow rid us of the ailments our profit-optimizing system created.