The Need for a Militant Student Movement: The Legacy of the 2012 Quebec Student Strike

The Need for a Militant Student Movement: The Legacy of the 2012 Quebec Student Strike

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In the spring and summer of 2012 Quebec students engaged in a heroic struggle that shook the province to its core. The youth, who are more sensitive to the effects of unemployment and austerity, tend to enter into struggle first and can serve as a barometer for the state of society. This was exactly the case in 2012.Ostensibly a response to a 70% tuition hike, the eruption of the student strike and mass demonstrations were a reaction against the symptoms of a capitalist crisis developing in Quebec for many years, a crisis that would not only affect the students but that would inevitably envelop the workers as well. In response to the austerity-crazed Liberal government of Jean Charest, the organizers led the biggest student strike in Canadian history, constantly connecting the fight against tuition increases to a wider fight against capitalism. At its peak over 300 000 students were on strike and there were multiple street demonstrations of hundreds of thousands; the elan was palpable. The Quebec students ultimately succeeded in their immediate goals and then some: not only did they successfully beat back the tuition hikes (having to resist the courts and police in the process) but they also brought down the Charest government.
While there were immediate gains out of the Quebec Student Strike, in the near-decade since both students and workers have been victims of austerity government after austerity government. The current right-wing CAQ government of Legault is certainly no exception. With the pandemic further increasing the federal and provincial deficits the question posed is simple, who pays? Will it be the bosses or will it be the youth and workers? The students can play a significant role in this fight, as exemplified in 2012. We believe that the current task for all student activist must be to learn from the lessons of 2012 and build a militant movement, filled with the ideas of Marxism, to lead this struggle.
Come join Socialist Fightback at McGill at this online event on Wednesday, July 28 at 7 PM to discuss the lessons of the 2012 Quebec Student Strike. We will give an introduction on the topic and then be opening the floor for discussion for attendees to speak and ask questions.
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Date and time

July 28th, 2021



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