DemocracyNow.org (May 25, 2012) – More than 400,000 filled the streets of Montreal this week as a protest over a 75 percent increase in tuition has grown into a full-blown political crisis. After three months of sustained protests and class boycotts that have come to be known around the world as the “Maple Spring,” the dispute exploded when the Quebec government passed an emergency law known as Bill 78, which suspends the current academic term, requires demonstrators to inform police of any protest route involving 50 or more people, and threatens student associations with fines of up to $125,000 if they disobey. The strike has received growing international attention as the standoff grows, striking a chord with young people across the globe amid growing discontent over austerity measures, bleak economies and crushing student debt. We’re joined by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for CLASSE, the main coalition of student unions involved in the student strikes in Quebec; and Anna Kruzynski, assistant professor at the School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia University in Montreal. She has been involved in the student strike as a member of the group “Professors Against the Hike.”
Red Square Revolt: Quebec Students on Strike
Lessons from Montreal: Documenting the tuition crisis for Americans
Sarah Leavitt • Thursday, May 24, 2012
A group of New Yorkers have taken an interest in Quebec’s student strikes and have created a documentary in the hopes of bringing the news of the tuition conflict to Americans.
“After Victoriaville, we could see things were going to get more intense and so we scheduled a trip,” Nate Lavey, one of the filmmaker’s, told OpenFile Montreal via email today. “We knew that the demo on Monday was going to be big, but we hadn’t planned on the government passing Loi 78, which has made the whole situation incredibly tense and dangerous for activists, students and professors.”
Lavey was inspired to make this documentary because of the dearth of coverage in the U.S.
“We had been disappointed by the lack of U.S., English-language coverage,” he said. “We knew radicals had been involved, but since many of them come from francophone backgrounds, their perspective on the strike wasn’t getting out, especially beyond Canada.”
Lavey and his team began shooting the documentary this past Saturday and worked hours on end to get it completed and online by Wednesday morning. After being unsuccessful in receiving funding from independent media outlets, they put their own money into the project. So why was it so important for them?
“We think it’s important that this story — and especially the perspective of radicals — make it out of Quebec. The strike is part of burgeoning anti-austerity movement that is sparking worldwide, so the lessons from Montreal are going to be relevant to people everywhere.”