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Canada & Quebec: Idle No More movement -- the high stakes of Indigenous resistance

By Geneviève Beaudet and Pierre Beaudet, translated from the French original at Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme by John Bradley

January 25, 20133 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native [Indigenous] resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec.

With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45.[1] Its origins lay not in the work of established organisations such as the Assembly of First Nations (although the AFN supports the initiative), but in a grassroots mobilisation that has arisen in several parts of the country. This process echoes other recent citizen mobilisations such as the student carrés rouges in Quebec and the worldwide Occupy movement.

France launches war in Mali to secure resources, stamp out national rights struggles

"The military attack in Mali has been condemned by groups on the political left in France, including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party [its newspaper pictured above]) and the Gauche anticapitaliste (Anti-Capitalist Left). The latter is a tendency within the Front de gauche (Left Front). Shockingly, the Left Front leadership group has come out in favour of the intervention."

By Roger Annis

January 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.

Canada: The creative potential of Indigenous social initiatives

Speech by Art Sterritt, introductory comment by John Riddell

December 15, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- Speaking in Toronto, on November 17, 2012, at a conference against tar sands pipelines, Art Sterritt (pictured above) of the Coastal First Nations in British Columbia gave a dramatic account of his peoples’ initiatives for ecological justice in the province. Sterritt is among the main spokespersons of the powerful campaign in B.C. against tar sands pipelines.

Sterritt’s talk (below) offers insight into three important issues in current Canadian social struggles:

Free public transport and beyond

By Stefan Kipfer

December 3, 2012 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada) -- Epochal crises allow us to see clearly the irrationalities of capitalism, notably its systematic inability to develop to the fullest human capacities and provide the basis for sustainable and respectful relationships to the rest of nature. The current world economic crisis has thrown to the dustbin of history the aspirations and capacities of millions of human beings – those laid off, driven off the land or relegated to permanent precariousness. At the same time, the crisis has intensified the exploitation of those still connected to gainful employment and driven up, at least temporarily, the ecologically destructive extraction of ‘resources,’ particularly in the global South and the peripheral areas of the global North.

Quebec: Major victory for student mobilisations, environmental activists

For more analysis of Quebec politics, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

September 21, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and on September 20 students and environmentalists won major victories.

At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Québécois government had cancelled the university tuition fees increase imposed by Jean Charest's defeated Liberal government, and would repeal the repressive provisions of Law 12 (formerly Bill 78) Charest had imposed in his efforts to smash the province’s massive student strike. Among other things, this will remove the restrictions on public demonstrations and the threat of decertification of student associations.

In addition, Marois has ordered the closing of Gentilly-2, Quebec’s only nuclear reactor, while promising funding to promote economic diversification to offset job losses resulting from the shutdown. And she will proceed with her promise to cancel a $58 million government loan to reopen the Jeffrey Mine, Quebec’s last asbestos mining operation.

Quebec’s election: an initial balance sheet

"Québec solidaire was the only party supporting free education from kindergarten to university. But leaders of this spring’s massive student strike either placed their hopes in a victory for the PQ, which promised to reverse Charest’s fees increase (while indexing future fee increases to the cost of living) or, in the case of the more militant wing of the movement, chose not to intervene in the election."

For more analysis of Quebec politics, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

September 7, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The results of the September 4 general election in Quebec has produced mixed reactions among supporters of all the major parties. Québec solidaire, the left-wing pro-independence party, increased its share of the province-wide vote to 6.03% (263,233) from its 3.78% (122,618) in the 2008 election.

Bolivia: Who's the real 'outlaw'? Behind Bolivia’s nationalisation of a Canadian mine

By Paul Kellogg

September 5, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For Canada's Financial Post, the actions of the Bolivian government in nationalising a Canadian mine this northern summer confirmed the country’s status as an “outlaw nation” (Grace 2012). But for less-biased observers, the reality was a little different.

Responding to pressure from local Indigenous communities the Bolivian government confirmed on August 2 that it would expropriate the operations of a Canadian-owned mining project. This represents, in the short term, the success of local social movements in putting an end to violence created by the tactics of the corporation, and in the long term, one small step towards ending 500 years of foreign powers stripping the country of its natural resources.

Quebec: 'Share Our Future' – the CLASSE manifesto; CLASSE rep explains struggle (video)

July 27, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV -- Guillaume Legault is a leading member of Quebec's CLASSE, a radical student organisation at the forefront of a months-long student strike against tuition fee hikes. Legault toured Australia and New Zealand in July-August 2012 as a guest of the socialist youth organisation Resistance. Above is Legault's address to the Resistance national conference, held in Adelaide.

[August 3, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document is the manifesto of Quebec's militant student union, Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale (CLASSE). For more on the student struggle in Quebec, click HERE.]

Québec solidaire agrees to talks on electoral agreement with other pro-sovereignty parties

By Roger Annis

June 21, 2012 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On June 20, the National Coordination Committee of Québec solidaire issued a statement in response to a "Call for a United Front" in the next election in Quebec, saying it is open to a “limited and timely electoral arrangement” with two other pro-Quebec sovereignty parties. The statement is titled (translation), "Defeat the Liberals, yes. But above all, build a progressive Quebec!"

The call has received close to 11,000 signatures online. It urges the three pro-sovereignty parties – Parti québécois, Québec solidaire and Option nationale – to enter into an electoral agreement such that only one candidate of the parties would contest electoral districts against the ruling Liberal Party and the right-wing Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec (CAQ).

The mandate of the current Liberal government ends in 17 months. Widespread speculation has it calling an election as soon as August.

Quebec student mobilisations: Debate opens on strategic perspectives

By Richard Fidler

June 7, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Despite massive mobilisations throughout Quebec in opposition to Law 78 and the Quebec provincial government of Premier Charest, the student struggle is once again at an impasse.

At the end of May, the government terminated the latest round of negotiations with the four college and university student associations without offering any concessions on the students’ key demands: for repeal of the tuition fee increases and repeal of its “bludgeon law” aimed at smashing student unionism in the province.

The student negotiators had bent over backwards to find some acceptable compromise. They agreed not to discuss Law 78 pending an agreement on the fees. They put aside the proposal of the CLASSE, the most militant student group,[1] that a tax on banks be substituted for the fee increase, proposing instead that the funds in question be found through increasing the existing education savings program. All to no avail.

Québec solidaire leader Amir Khadir arrested, home raided: 'I'm proud to stand with my people'

Quebec solidaire leader Amir Khadir was arrested and handcuffed at a protest on June 5, 2012, in Quebec City.

For more coverage of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

STOP PRESS: June 7, 2012 -- Rabble -- According to a report in La Presse and Radio Canada, at 6 am this morning, Montreal police arrived at the home of Quebec National Aseembly member Amir Khadir and his wife, Nima Machouf, with arrest and search warrants. They arrested the couple's daughter, Yalda Machouf-Khadir, and her partner, Xavier Beauchamp. The two are among 11 student activists arrested in early morning police raids in the city. 

Quebec student strike: hot summer of protest ahead; Interview with CLASSE leaders

"Pots and pans" protests -- casseroles -- have erupted in neighbourhoods across Quebec and are spreading in the rest of Canada.

For more analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

June 4, 2012 -- Rabble -- On Saturday, June 2, several tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Montreal in answer to the Quebec government breaking off negotiations two days earlier with the province's striking student movement.

According to the CLASSE student association (Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity), which called the march and is the largest of the four student groups that were involved in talks, the march began with 5000 or so people rallying at Parc Jeanne Mance and then swelled to 25,000 as it wound its way through city streets. A banner at the front of the march read, "This isn't a student strike, it's the awakening of society."

Quebec: Up to 400,000 defy anti-protest law; protests spread


For more analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

May 22, 2012 -- Real News Network -- Today marked one of the largest protests ever to be recorded in Quebec's history. We are joined with Jérémie Bédard-Wien, who is a student organiser and who was on the ground today in Montreal.

Jérémie, would you please describe for us what events have unfolded?

Quebec: Students mobilise against draconian law aimed at breaking four-month strike

For more coverage and analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, visit Life on the Left.

By Roger Annis, Montreal

May 19, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The strike of post-secondary students in Quebec has taken a dramatic turn with the May 18 approval by the provincial government of a special law to cancel the school year at strike-bound institutions and outlaw protest activity deemed disruptive of institutions not participating in the strike.

Details of Bill 78 were unveiled the day before and debated in a special, overnight session of Quebec’s National Assembly. They include a ban on demonstrations within 50 metres of a post-secondary institution and severe financial penalties on students or teachers and their organisations if they picket or otherwise protest in a manner declared “illegal”. Demonstrations of ten or more people must submit their intended route of march to police eight hours in advance.

Quebec students call for a social strike in solidarity with their struggle

April 28, 2012 -- The following is a statement issued recently by CLASSE. CLASSE is the largest of the student coalitions or federations leading the student strike movement that has spread across Quebec. It represents more than half of the 180,000 students now on strike. The statement was translated by Richard Fidler for the Life on the Left web site.

* * *

Toward a social strike: It’s a student strike, a people’s struggle

Hike in tuition fees is part of “the cultural revolution”

Massive student upsurge fuels major debates in Quebec society

 

DSC_0160 (2)

Photo by Marc Bonhomme.

By Richard Fidler

April 23, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  A crowd estimated at 250,000 people or more wound its way through Montréal April 22 in Quebec’s largest ever Earth Day march. They raised many demands: an end to tar sands and shale gas development, opposition to the Quebec government’s Plan Nord mining expansion, support for radical measures to protect ecosystems, and other causes. And many wore the red felt square symbolising support to the province’s students fighting the Liberal Party government’s 75 per cent increase in post-secondary education fees over the next five years. The Earth Day march was the largest mobilisation to date in a mounting wave of citizen protest throughout the province.

Britain: The challenge of George Galloway’s ‘Bradford Spring’

George Galloway campaigns in Bradford West.

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

April 4, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission by the author -- In the end, it wasn’t even close. Britain’s most prominent anti-war politician, George Galloway, is back as a member of parliament for his Respect Party, after receiving support so overwhelming that he had, in the words of a reporter for The Guardian, “annihilated the Labour vote”.

Canada: Thomas Mulcair, the New Democratic Party and the social movements

"Thomas Mulcair is a man of the establishment, not of the social movements."

[Read more on Canada's New Democratic Party HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

March 27, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Canada's social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) has a new federal leader. Thomas Mulcair, has no roots in the social movements, a long history of being a senior Liberal Party member and is someone  openly committed to pushing the NDP considerably to the right. The implications for all interested in progressive social change are sobering.

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