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Crowdfunding a Book for the Revolution
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
Dear Readers and Supporters,
Funding for The People’s Book Project has essentially – despite a few select donations – come to a halt. At the moment, there are not enough remaining funds to sustain the Project past the next week or so. For this reason, I have started a crowdfunding initiative through Indiegogo, a large crowdfunding website, to attempt to raise funds for both the Book Project itself, and to facilitate a trip to Europe, specifically Greece and Spain, in order to undertake research and journalism from the front lines of the economic crisis and anti-austerity revolts. This was done in an attempt to shift the burden of financial support from those who have long supported my work – through my website(s) – to a new audience with a much wider reach than my own, which is very minimal, to say the least.
However, funding through Indiegogo is also currently not sufficient, so I am asking for your help in promoting this initiative, through Facebook, social media, networking, etc. The only way to increase financial support is to increase exposure, and I cannot do this on my own. If you have the means, or are so inclined, your financial contributions would be enormously appreciated as well, either through my website or on Indiegogo. However, it is in the networking, social media, and promotion that I need a great deal of help. I often see the same names who take it upon themselves to help promote my work through social media, and it is incredibly appreciated; just as I often see the same names who provide financial support. While both of these groups – with some overlap between them – are essentially the reason why I have been able to continue independent research and writing up to this point, I need to expand my exposure and bases of support, in order to continue the Project itself, but also to lift some of the burden from those who have consistently supported this Project as it approaches its one-year anniversary.
So, if you have not made a financial contribution, please consider doing so, and just as – if not more – importantly, please help in sharing my articles, book promotions, and the new Indiegogo fundraising page. Your efforts mean a great deal to me, and are enormously appreciated. So thank you for all you have done, and continue to do!
In looking at the objective for the first volume of the Book Project, with a focus on the global economic crisis and global anti-austerity and resistance movements, I feel that I should re-post some of the research and writing that has come about through the generous support of readers and supporters thus far, and of which a great deal will be going into the first volume of the Book.
Starting with the global economic crisis and anti-austerity resistance movements, the following articles, samples, and excerpts have been made possible due to the generous support of readers:
These articles are collectively but a small sample of the actual research and writing which has gone into the Project over the past two months, which has surpassed 300 pages in writing (with over 100 pages on Greece alone!).
On the subjects of education as social control, class warfare, and student movements, the following articles have been made possible: the series, “Class War and the College Crisis.”
Further into the subject of the Quebec student movement, the following work has been made possible due to reader contributions and support:
From the Chilean Winter to the Maple Spring: Solidarity and the Student Movements in Chile and Quebec
Quebec Steps Closer to Martial Law to Repress Students: Bill 78 is a “Declaration of War on the Student Movement”
Writing About the Student Movement in Québec: You’re Damn Right I’m “Biased”! … Confessions of a Non-Neutral Observer
On the issue of Empire, the following research, samples, and writing have been made available through reader support and donations:
An Education for Empire: The Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford Foundations in the Construction of Knowledge
Education or Domination? The Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford Foundations Developing Knowledge for the Developing World
The U.S. Strategy to Control Middle Eastern Oil: “One of the Greatest Material Prizes in World History”
All of this does not even begin to truly cover the amount of extensive research and writing which has been undertaken in the past year, a good deal of which will be integrated into the first volume of the Book. Again, ALL of this has only been made possible due to the support of readers.
Readers and supporters have also undertaken – of their own initiative – to kindly translate some of my articles into foreign languages, simply because they chose to do so, and for which they received no financial compensation.
Among the French translations of some of my articles are:
A Greek translation of my article:
An Italian translation of one of my recent articles on the European debt crisis:
And in Spanish translations:
So thank you, sincerely, for all of your support over this past year. I could not have done any of this without you, and it’s only possible – and will only be possible in the near future – because of your support. And I will thank you in advance for helping to promote my writing, research, and fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.
In Solidarity, now and always,
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer living in Montreal, Canada. His website (www.andrewgavinmarshall.com) features a number of articles and essays focusing on an analysis of power and resistance in the political, social, and economic realms. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, and is currently writing a book on the global economic crisis and resistance movements emerging around the world. To help this book come to completion, please consider donating through the website or on Indiegogo.
Organize, Imagine, and Act: How a Student Movement Can Become a Revolution
And so it seems that the student strike in Quebec is slowing down and nearing an end, as the college – CEGEPs – in Quebec have voted to return to class, with roughly 10,000 students having voted to continue the strike, a far reduction from the 175,000 students that were on strike in late April and early May. The strike began in February of 2012 in opposition to a planned 75% increase in the cost of tuition. The students mobilized massive numbers, held mass protests, undertook picket lines at schools, expanded the issue into a wider social movement, and were consistently met with state violence in the form of riot police, pepper spray, tear gas, beatings with batons, being shot with rubber bullets, even being trampled by horses and driven into by police cars. The government enacted Bill 78, assaulting the rights to freely assemble and speak, and put a ‘pause’ on the school semester to end picket actions. Now that the school semester is starting back up again, and an election looms in the coming weeks, the students are being led away from the streets and into voting booths. The ‘Maple Spring’ has become the ‘Fall Election’.
Meanwhile, in Chile, where a student movement that began in May and June of 2011, mobilized against a highly privatized education system, is continuing with renewed energy. There had been ups and downs of actions and mobilizations within Chile over the past 15 months, but in mid-August of 2012, the resurgence was seen as students began occupying high schools, blocking streets, and undertaking mass protests. Students who took part in the occupations were threatened with having their scholarships removed. In over a year of protesting, the students have not seen any meaningful changes to their educational system, or even inclinations that those in power were listening to their demands with anything other than disdain and contempt. The students have long been met with state violence, from the oppressive apparatus of a former military dictatorship, fighting an educational system which was established near the end of the military dictatorship. Riot police would meet students with tear gas, water cannons, batons, mass arrests, and other forms of assault. Police have subsequently stormed the high schools and arrested over a hundred students participating in the occupations. This caused the university students to get more involved, and they occupied the Universidad de Chile, which had not been occupied since the beginning of the movement the previous year (often known as the Chilean Winter).
In Chile, as in Quebec, protests and marches and even the right to demonstrate are frequently declared to be illegal. In both Chile and Quebec, when protests erupted into violence (which is more often than not incited by the police themselves), these are called “riots,” and they are used in the media and public discourse to portray the movements as violent, extremist, trouble-makers, vandals, and criminals. This is designed to reduce public support for the protests (which was far more successful in Quebec than Chile), and to subsequently dismiss the demands of the students. There are, in fact, a wider variety of similarities and interesting comparisons between the Chilean Winter and the Maple Spring. Chilean students and academics have even expressed solidarity with the Quebec student movement.
We face an issue here. The student movements don’t seem to be getting anywhere substantial in terms of establishing some sort of meaningful change. This is not to say they have not achieved anything; quite the opposite, in fact. The student movements have been successful at mobilization large numbers of people, organizing protests and indeed, in politicizing a generation, which is their most sincere and important success to date. Students have suffered under propaganda campaigns, violent repression, legal intimidation, and, most of all, the determination of an elite who view any and every minor concession as the ultimate unthinkable sacrifice which would ruin all of society. In short, elites are more stubborn than students could ever seem to be, and they have the means to hold their position and tire the students out if they can’t simply scare them away or crush them down. So, while symbolic actions and political radicalization are necessary achievements, the will to continue taking actions and the hope to manifest radical ideas becomes worn down, demoralized, and sapped of its strength. This is incredibly challenging to revive if the circumstances and courses of action do not change.
So perhaps it is time for a new tactic. Instead of having radicalization follow mobilization, students could begin to have radicalization guide mobilization. For any social movement to advance, grow, and become something not simply demanding reforms, or demanding something from power, it needs to provide something to the students, to the communities, and the public at large; it needs to create. This is the difference between a reformist movement and a revolutionary movement. In this context, the word ‘revolutionary’ is not used to imply a usurping of state power and violent overthrow of authority, but rather to transform on a radical scale our conception and participation in specific or all sectors of society. Thus, it is essential to provide new ideas for action, rather than discussing and debating the new terms of capitulation. It can make all the difference between a question of how little students will get from their demands, to a question of how much we can get from a new educational structure itself. A discussion of new ideas must replace – or coincide with – the articulation of ignored demands.
How is this possible? What might this look like?
For students, the fundamental issue is education. For the student movements, growth came from expanding the issue into a wider social one, and linking up with other organizations and causes. This expands the scope, and thus, the base of support for a student movement. However, established unions played a large role in guiding (or attempting to guide), fund, and organize in cooperation with student movements. While the cause of workers is an issue that must be engaged with, the established unions that have survived to this point, roughly thirty years into the global neoliberal era, have survived only because they function on a basis of cooperating with the established powers of society, the state and corporations. They are corporatist institutions.
Over one hundred years ago, unions were extremely radical, organized, massive, and revolutionary. The actions and ideas of radically organized labour were the impetus for 8-hour work days, weekends, pensions, job security, benefits, an end to child labour, and much more. Unions subsequently faced roughly a century of battering, violence, co-optation, and destruction. Those which remain are not radical, but only slightly reformist. I say ‘slightly’ because they do not mobilize to fight for new ideas or issues, but only to protect and preserve the reforms previously implemented as a result of radical labour agitation. Thus, union representative serve as a buffer for the blunt force of the state and organized capital and corporate interests which consistently seek to undermine and exploit labour. The major unions typically serve to soften the blow against workers as the elite bring down the hammer. Under this system, all rights, benefits, security and protections are slowly and inevitably worn down and thrown away. When the established unions provide funds and direction for the student movements, they tend to steer them away from radical or revolutionary paths, and promote a highly reformist direction, and which can only be undertaken through negotiation with and capitulation to the state and corporate interests. This gets us to where we are.
When it comes to engagement and interaction, solidarity, and cooperation with labour, it should, in fact, be the more radical – and radically organized – students who lead the unions back to a more radical direction, to take them back to their origins when they achieved successes instead of softened failures. If they refuse to follow a radical direction, then students should encourage and attempt to find means of supporting the organization of new labour organizations: provide assistance, direction, ideas and physical and moral support. Students could be mobilized into the streets for workers’ rights as well as educational rights.
The main point here is that for a movement to radicalize and become revolutionary, it must cooperate with, support, and be supported by other radical and revolutionary organizations and movements. If the more dominant force is reformist, established, and corporatist (by which I mean its functioning ideology is accepting of the state and corporate dominated society), then these organizations will attempt to co-opt, direct, and steer your movement into an area ‘safe’ for the elites, if not altogether undermined and eliminated. It is not necessarily done out of an insidious desire to destroy your student movements, but rather the result of an insidious ideology embedded within the very functions of their organizations. Thus, integration, mutual support, dependency and interaction with other social movements must take place at a radical and revolutionary level if you are to sustain that potential and desire within your own movement. It’s unfortunate, because it’s more difficult; but it’s true, all the same.
Therefore, what is required are radical ideas of organization: for the student associations and other associations they interact with to be more accountable, directly, to their constituents. Instead of elected delegates or representatives making all the decisions (which is how our governments function), the decisions must be made by the constituents, and the representatives merely carry them out and organize accordingly. The student associations in Quebec and elsewhere function more along these radical lines, while labour and other groups typically do not. If student associations do not function in this manner, that is the first issue which must be addressed: either demand the associations to change, or create new ones and thereby make the unrepresentative ones obsolete. Thus, for a student movement to become revolutionary, the first step is the radicalization of organization.
Now onto something more interesting: how to radicalize ideas and actions in education itself. This next step is about the radicalization of action. While the first step, in many instances – the radicalization of organization – had been achieved in several of the student movements, the actions themselves lacked radicalization. The actions were largely confined to mass demonstrations, picket lines, school occupations, and youth rebellion against state violence and repression. These are all important actions on their own: establishing solidarity, power in numbers, a public presence, a demonstration of will and power, the development of ‘self-esteem’ for a social movement. These are necessary, but if the actions do not evolve, the movement itself cannot evolve. Thus, what is required at this point is a discussion of new ideas of action. Typically, as is the case at the moment in Quebec, students are being told to stay out of the streets and go to the voting booth, where “real” change can be made. This is illusory and useless. Unless there is a radical party, the best that can be hoped for is to delay the inevitable assault on education, or perhaps achieve a minor concession, which would likely be more of an insult than incentive.
New ideas of action must come from the students themselves, and there are a number of initiatives that could be discussed and undertaken. Fundamentally, instead of demanding from power, create something new. If education is what you want, begin to do it yourselves. In the case of a school occupations, why should the students not simply begin to have discussions on issues, share knowledge, invite professors, academics, and others who are supportive of the movement to come talk and share their knowledge?
This does not need to only take place in occupied schools, though that would be quite symbolic, but could essentially take place in any public space. It would function as a type of grassroots educational system, designed to share and expand knowledge, not to prepare you for the workforce. Job opportunities are already vanishing everywhere for youth, and they will continue to do so as the economic crisis gets worse. These types of educational forums could potentially be designed to educate and share knowledge on issues of relevance to the student movements themselves: the history of education, protest and social movement history, political power, repression, the economic system – Capitalism, neoliberalism, etc. This could – and should – expand into much larger issues and areas of knowledge, including arts, the sciences, philosophy, etc. There are already people within society who have gained their knowledge through educational institutions, and thus, there are already people from whom to draw this knowledge from in a new forum, and in a new way.
To give an example, imagine a ‘class’ (or forum) on the history of social struggles. First, a physical space is required, so to set up in a park, public venue, rent a space, or occupy a space (such as a school lecture hall). The students should have previously discussed – likely through social media networks – which intellectuals and individuals they would like to invite to come speak to them about the issue. The invited speakers would share their knowledge on the history of social struggles, promote discussion, debate one another, and engage directly with the students. For every invited outside speaker, a student should be invited to speak also, to share their own knowledge and engage on an equal basis. The notion that students are there only to learn and not teach is an incorrect one, and it’s a misnomer that should be addressed and acted upon.
The public at large should also be accepted into these educational forums. The point should be to expand knowledge and discussion among the general population, not merely the students. But the students are the ones capable of providing this forum for the population at large. To add to this: such forums should be broadcast through social media, filmed and recorded, watched online both live and archived. Students could organize ‘subject collectives’, perhaps having a group of students organized along the lines of the larger student associations (through direct democracy), who would oversee the organization of each subject or issue: history of social movements, political economy, media studies, etc. Each ‘collective’ could establish its own website, where the wider community would be encouraged to engage, support, recommend speakers and issues and venues, watch archived or live-feed forums, debate in online forums, be notified of events and speakers, and be provided with educational material, reading sources, etc. The students could write papers which would then be posted publicly on such sites, to promote discussion and to actually use the knowledge instead of writing papers for a grade, which is a rather absurd notion. These sites could have news sections, providing relevant news and developments from around the world related to their issue. The collective itself – both within the community and online – then becomes a forum for the development and extension of knowledge to a much larger sector of society, locally and globally.
This is where the actions become even more important. For a social movement to survive and expand into a revolutionary movement, it must not isolate itself, and must engage and interact directly with the wider population. The best way to do this, and one which has the added necessary effect of increasing the movement’s support among the population, is to provide a service or need. In the case of a student movement: that need is education. Merely ‘opening up’ forums to the public may not be enough. Students or ‘subject collectives’ could individually organize smaller meetings and discussions, in neighbourhoods and venues all over the city, region, or country, where students themselves speak with and to the public on issues in which they have been getting their education.
In Quebec, where students have been consistently framed by the media and elites as “entitled brats,” this tactic would be a means to share our so-called ‘entitlements’ with the wider population, and at no cost to them. Thus, as students gain knowledge, they share knowledge with others. For example, a couple history students could hold a small forum at a cafe or in a small public location which they had promoted within the neighbourhood and on social media for people to freely come to listen and engage in a discussion about a particular history topic. Of course, knowledge in such circumstances should not simply be abstract or obtuse, but relevant to those who are engaging with it. So if the discussion is on a ‘history of social movements,’ students should share knowledge on this, but make it relevant to the current social movement, to the social conditions of the wider population, and ask questions and engage with others in the venue: to promote discussion and debate. Thus, instead of the public viewing students as ‘entitled’, they may come to view students as ’empowering.’
This type of tactic would especially have to be employed within poor communities, and oppressed communities, where students would have to be willing to listen and learn more than they would be inclined to speak and teach. This is because many student movements, simply by their position as being students, generally come from a more privileged sector of society than the really poor, minority, immigrant, or otherwise oppressed communities. These sectors largely remain in the sidelines of the student movements themselves. This must change, and for a very fundamental reason: there is a great deal to learn from these communities. Oppressed peoples have experienced and known for a much longer period of time what the majority of students are only just starting to learn and experience: the true nature and interest of power, the violent and oppressive state apparatus, the underbelly of the economic system, the reality of social existence for a great many people. In short, it would be a means through which to educate the students on deeper issues of social strife, by listening and speaking directly to and with those who exist within oppressed social spheres.
But there cannot be any taking without giving. So while oppressed communities may perhaps be willing to share their own knowledge with students and engage in discussion and debate, the students must provide something back to these communities. There is a very simple way to get this started: ask them what they need most in their communities. For example, if one community cited the cost and quality of food as a central issue, students could then leave the first meeting with the community with the intent to organize and plan around this issue. The students could hold their own discussions, meetings, debates, and share ideas on how to help resolve this specific issue within that specific community, and then propose various ideas to those community leaders. The ideas would be subject to critique, dismissal, support, etc, to go back to the drawing board with new suggestions or to get to work, putting action to the ideas.
So with the issue of food, for example, students could perhaps organize around the idea of establishing a community food garden, proposing it to the community, and, if approved and critiqued, they could find an area of land, get the support and materials they need, and work with members of that community to plant and establish such a garden, to help move toward some form of food sustainability, provided either free or cheap to those within that area. Potentially, there could be a student educational association which specialized in sharing knowledge about nutrition, horticulture, etc., and they could be brought in to share their knowledge, help in the endeavour, or even make it a staple feature of their functioning: to go to different communities to help establish food sustainability.
These are, of course, just ideas of actions, there is no reason to follow this specific outline. This is meant to merely promote the discussion of this concept: the actions, organizations, and objectives which would result from a radicalization of action are likely to be far more varied, interesting, and effective than these mere suggestions. However, I used these examples of actions and ideas to show how a student movement protesting against something (such as a tuition increase), can become a revolutionary movement for something.
These actions are revolutionary because they force people to question and reconsider their conceptions of education, its manifestation, its purpose, its institutionalization, philosophy, etc. The actions themselves engage directly with people, drawing from and providing to the population as a whole. This increases support among the population, but also greatly strengthens the ideas and actions of the students themselves. At such a conceivable point, it could not be called a ‘student movement,’ but could only be identified as a much wider social movement, which would help radicalize the wider society itself, which would in turn provide new ideas and actions to the students; solidarity in both words and actions.
These actions are revolutionary because they attempt to maneuver around power structures instead of expending all of their energy on directly battling the power structure itself. By going around the power structure – around the state, the schools, the corporations, etc. – the students would create a parallel educational structure within society, making the existing one increasingly obsolete. As this is done, the bargaining power of the state and other structures is reduced, because the students no longer rely exclusively upon them for an education. The state would most certainly attempt to repress such a movement, or perhaps even to offer much larger incentives, concessions, or even meet the previous demands of students in order to get them back in the schools and within an educational system that power controls. The state is well-established to deal with direct confrontations: that’s what police, armies, guns, badges and lawyers are for. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re demanding, or where you are demanding it, the state can simply tear gas you, scare you, disperse you, and wait you out. But to move around the power structure, and to create and establish something new, not under the control or direction of established institutions of power, the power structures become very nervous and insecure.
It would be foolish to think that the power structures would not respond with more state violence than they have up until present, they most certainly would. The primary difference, however, would be that the public support for the movement would have conceivably exploded, and in the case of increased violence, it would explode in anger and opposition to the state. In short, while the state would be likely to increase its tactics of intimidation and violence, the public response would likely be far more powerful than anything we have seen thus far. We saw an example of this in Quebec, when the government passed the repressive Bill 78 and a much larger segment of the population was mobilized in opposition to the government. However, this has now largely faded, and again, it’s about the difference between mobilizing against something and mobilizing for something. It’s the difference between opposition and proposition, demand and action.
The fundamental idea which I am arguing is that for a student movement to become a revolutionary movement, it must transform its demands of education into actions for education. If the issue is education, the answer is education. The inability of the student movements to have their demands met reveals a deeply-ingrained flaw in our society: that an institution does not reflect or respond to the demands of its supposed constituents. This fact makes that institution illegitimate. This flaw further manifests itself across the entire society. If the government itself, which is supposedly ‘representative’ of the people, does not reflect the intentions and interests of the population, then it is illegitimate. Most institutions do not even have a means for their constituents to have a say in who runs the institutions themselves. Some, such as governments or unions, may have elections in which people can choose candidates, but then all the other decisions are taken out of their hands. Other institutions, such as schools, corporations, banks, media, etc., do not even have a means for constituents to select leadership, let alone direction and action. University boards are populated with bankers, former government officials, corporate executives, foundation officials, and other established elites. Therefore, universities are geared toward meeting elite interests under their direction. This is flawed and wrong. Though, because most institutions function in this way across wider society, it tends to go unnoticed and is simply accepted as “the way it is.”
Students must now ask: Does it have to be this way? What other way could it be? What should change? How could that change? What is the intent of education? These questions lead to other, larger questions about the society as a whole, and, as a result, they make necessary the wider radicalization, organization, and revolution of society itself. It is a rather large idea, but I think it is also a logical one. As the economic and social circumstances for most people continue to deteriorate in the near future – and perhaps rapidly so as the global economic crisis accelerates – such ideas and actions will become all the more necessary and will generate much more support.
Since the beginning of the global economic crisis in 2007 and 2008, the world has seen a rapid acceleration of resistance movements, protests, and revolutionary struggles. The world is rumbling awake from a long lost slumber of consumption and consent as the situation of crisis reveals deep flaws in the structures, ideology, and actions of power. We are witnessing the rapid proliferation of global resistance movements, but it requires much more for them to become global revolutionary movements. It has only begun, but it requires new ideas and actions to move forward. It would potentially be very challenging to begin such actions now, but in the very least, student movements should begin to advance the discussion, to debate the direction, and to incite new ideas. These are, after all, the skills that an education is supposed to provide us with.
Perhaps it is time to put our education to use.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer living in Montreal, Canada. His website (www.andrewgavinmarshall.com) features a number of articles and essays focusing on an analysis of power and resistance in the political, social, and economic realms. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, and is currently writing a book on the global economic crisis and resistance movements emerging around the world. To help this book come to completion, please consider donating through the website or on Indiegogo.
Stand Strong and Do Not Despair: Some Thoughts on the Fading Student Movement in Quebec
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
As eight of the fourteen CEGEP preparatory schools have voted to return to class, and thereby end the strike which began in February, Quebec is beginning to witness the fading away of the first phase of the student movement, mobilized by the planned tuition increases, and which expanded into a broader social movement known as the ‘Maple Spring.’ As some students have returned to class, they were met with a heavy police presence, no doubt to ensure ‘order’ during such a “dangerous” situation in which students enter school property. After all, Bill 78, which was passed by Jean Charest’s government back in May (now known as Law 12), made student protests on (or within 50 metres of school property) an illegal act.
Bill 78 was, quite accurately, described as “a declaration of war on the student movement,” and included an excessive amount of violations of basic rights and freedoms. Regardless of the specific details of the illegalities of the Law, we – the people – do not need even our Charter of Rights and Freedoms to tell us what is right and wrong, just or unjust. The legal system itself, after all, has very little to do with ‘justice’, and far more to do with legalizing injustice. Not only was the Law a violation of legally guaranteed rights and freedoms, such as freedoms of assembly and expression, but it was an affront to a very basic sense of decency, an insult to a very common sense of democracy, and an attack on a very basic conception of freedom.
This Law remains in effect. The tuition is set to increase. And as students vote to end the strike, some are mourning the seemingly vanishing potential of the student movement to effect a real, true, and lasting change. But all was not for nothing, all is not lost, and resistance is not futile. We have witnessed but the starting actions, initiative, determination, and voice of a generation which, around the world, from Egypt, to Greece, Spain, Chile and Mexico, are standing up, taking to the streets, innovating new actions and forms of collective resistance and even revolution. Our generation is beginning – and only just beginning – to awaken our wider societies to resist and challenge a system which, in the wake of this new great global depression, which in the wake of new wars of aggression, has revealed its true nature: all for the powerful, and nothing for the people. It is a system which benefits the few at the expense of the many.
The most prominent symptom of this system is what we call ‘neoliberalism.’ I emphasize that this is a symptom, and not the cause, because neoliberalism was born of the very ideas, individuals, and institutions that have comprised and continue to comprise our system and structure of national and global power. Neoliberalism is but the malignant phase of a wider social sickness. Neoliberalism manifests itself by promoting the wholesale privatization of state and public assets, of resources, of industries, of services, of infrastructure, of roads, ports, electricity, railways, water, and yes, of education itself. It is the handing over of what is public – and thereby what is yours – to private hands: to corporations and banks. Neoliberalism is further represented by the deregulation of anything and everything that would benefit private corporate and financial interests. This means that everything from regulatory oversight of the institutions that plunged the world into economic devastation, however slight it may exist at present, will be completely dismantled. This means that any protections granted to workers, in the form of wages, collective bargaining rights, union rights, pensions and benefits… will be no more.
When economic crisis hits, there is a common scenario of reaction and response: the State moves in to bailout the banks and corporations that caused the crisis (in cooperation with the state itself, of course). As a result of the bailouts, the State buys the bad debts of banks and corporations and hands you, the people, the bill. The next phase is called “austerity.” Austerity is an economic and political euphemism for impoverishment. Austerity means that all social spending is reduced or cut entirely; so, no more public funding for social services, welfare, pensions, healthcare, education, public sector workers are fired, social housing is dismantled, and taxes are raised. The effect is obvious, more unemployment, lower incomes, higher costs for services, higher taxes, and a rapid acceleration of poverty.
The next phase, then, is what is called “structural adjustment” or “structural reform.” This means the privatization of everything, which also includes mass firings, deregulation, and an attack on labour, unions, and workers’ rights. The specific assault upon workers, by reducing their wages, eliminating pensions and benefits, and denying them the right to organize in unions, is called “labour flexibility,” meaning that the labour force becomes “flexible” to the demands of the powerful: it becomes a cheap source of easily exploitable labour for the corporations that now own everything they didn’t own already. Thus, when these corporations begin to open factories and employ the newly-impoverished population at sweatshop wages, this is called “investment.”
The result of “austerity” and “adjustment” is a massive program of social genocide. If you want to see the effects of austerity and adjustment, look to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where the Western nations, banks, corporations, and international financial institutions – like the World Bank and IMF – have imposed neoliberalism, austerity, and adjustment over the past 40 years. You witness the dismantling of healthcare, education, social services and protections, you see the exploitation of workers, the spread of disease and hunger, and widespread dehumanization. If you think this cannot happen in the Western industrialized world itself, look to Greece, where this system is currently manifesting itself at its most extreme, and where all the same effects that took place in the so-called ‘Third World’ are now coming to the ‘First.’ What our nations and dominant institutions of power have done abroad, they are now doing at home. And just as it spread abroad through a manufactured debt crisis, so too is that how it is now manifesting at home. In June, 146 Greek academics signed a letter of solidarity with the student and social movement in Quebec, writing: “We, Greek academics, declare our solidarity to your wonderful struggle, which is our struggle!” We must begin to recognize that their struggle is ours, as well.
The population of Greece is being punished into poverty, their healthcare system is in total collapse to the point where hospitals report shortages of aspirin, gloves, syringes, toilet paper, and band-aids; families abandon children on the streets because they can no longer care for them; people go hungry and children faint in school because their family had not eaten in several days; their taxes increase, they rely upon food banks and charity for the basics of survival; homelessness explodes, social housing is dismantled, pensions for the elderly vanish, and suicide rates rapidly accelerate. Why does this take place? Because the IMF and the European Union force Greece to impose ‘austerity’ and ‘adjustment’ in return for massive bailouts which only go toward paying the interest on debts owed to German, French, Dutch, and British banks. Each bailout becomes added debt with higher interest, and thus, Greece, just like the ‘Third World’, becomes enslaved to the global institutions of domination and exploitation.
The tuition increases in Quebec are but the first signs of austerity emerging in this province and country. At the national level, Stephen Harper has begun his campaign for austerity with his budget bill, cutting public sector workers, reducing spending on social services, and increasing subsidies to corporations. His government already bailed out Canada’s big banks back in 2008 and 2009 to the tune of $114 billion, approximately $3,400 for every man, woman, and child in Canada. That is almost the same amount that Quebec students will be forced to pay under the increases in tuition. Meanwhile, the banks announce record profits, and the government then cuts their taxes. Across Canada, student debt amounts to roughly $20 billion, yet Canada’s Prime Minister is planning to spend roughly $25 billion purchasing fighter jets from an American arms manufacturer so that Canada could jump at the opportunity to help the Empire bomb poor people in foreign countries so that our corporations and banks can freely plunder their resources. Our governments, through so-called “aid” programs, fund and train the militaries and police of oppressive foreign governments, so that they may establish ‘order’ over their populations while our corporations steal their wealth and future. The same tax dollars that help foreign governments crush their own populations pay the wages of the riot police that have beaten, tear gassed, pepper sprayed, attacked and arrested the students in Quebec. Again, what we do abroad is now being done at home.
In Canada, and in Quebec, we have seen but the start of austerity, but the vague rumblings of the captains of capital, the plunderers of people, and the exploiters of everything, who are now telling our corrupted parasitic political elites that the time has come: they now want it all, everything, and to leave us with nothing. The time has come for ‘austerity’ and ‘adjustment,’ the time has come, therefore, for impoverishment and exploitation. And mark my words, as they impose this system at home, they will blame us, the people, the entire way; they will blame us for amassing large personal debts, for buying mortgages we could not afford, for taking student loans we could not pay back, for spending credit on consumption, for living above and beyond our means. They will tell us, as Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, has told the Greek people, “it’s payback time.”
Payback time for what, you ask? It’s payback time for our naivete in believing our political leaders, for engaging in a culture constructed by corporations, for doing what we were told was the right thing to do, for doing what was expected of us, what was designed for us, for being passive, obedient consumers. Simply put: the elite feel quite strongly that the population is too stupid, too malleable, to ignorant and irrelevant to decide for itself the direction society should take, or the purpose their own lives should have. Thus, it’s payback time for the slight concessions, for the minor benefits, and for the mirage of democratic trappings that they have begrudgingly granted our populations over the past century: it’s payback time for the once-radical workers movements that challenged industry and government and won rights for workers; it’s payback time for social movements that demanded revolutionary change and got minor reforms; it’s payback time for all of our ‘demands’ as purportedly free and independent beings.
Our elites, much like Marie Antoinette, looked upon the massive unrest and anger of the population and declared, “Let them eat cake”: let them have elections, let them buy televisions, iPods, and game systems; let them choose between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative; let them buy a house and have a car, let them go to school and get a job, let them think and feel as if they are free and in charge… but do not let them take freedom or take charge. So now, it’s payback time for all the small concessions they have granted us, each one in their eyes, an unjust and undeserving sacrifice, always proclaimed to have catastrophic consequences to the economy and society and “free industry” and “enterprise.” So now, it is “all for them, and none for us.”
Now, we don’t even get our cake.
Greeks now know this story well. But here in Canada, and here in Quebec, we are only seeing the starting shots of a race to repression and poverty. The students have seen the reaction from elites, from police, and from the media, that even such a relatively small issue (as compared to the situation in Greece or Egypt or elsewhere) such as struggling against a tuition increase, can result in so much violence, demonization, condemnation, misrepresentation, propaganda, and repression. Our political elites have begun to show us their true colours, something which First Nations and other internally colonized peoples (such as the black population in the United States) have known for a great deal of time. We’re now starting to catch up, to see our elites for who and what they truly are.
Jean Charest is not the problem. Jean Charest is but the vile mucus and malingering bile coughed up from a sick and struggling society. Charest is nothing but a symptom of a deeply suffering society, of a society whose priorities are all wrong, of a society that is so bizarre and incoherent that it is capable of producing and supporting political leaders as obscene, arrogant, and repulsive as Jean Charest himself. But again, he is not the problem. Altering the symptoms is pointless if you do not address the sickness, itself.
The media is now telling Quebec students that the “answers” to our struggle lie in the ballot box, not the streets. That our solutions can come through voting for politicians, not taking collective action. It’s a funny thing, growing up in the West, where we were always told how our societies were so free and democratic, and that our youth went to go fight wars abroad so that youth at home would have the right to go out into the streets and protest, to struggle for rights and freedoms, that these were the very actions and definitions of our democracy. We were told that this was the expression of our freedom… unless of course, we decide to take that course of action ourselves. Then, we become criminals, vandals, even terrorists. It’s an ideal of democracy unless we decide to actually act upon it: then we are portrayed as violators of democracy. Our elites complain that they already gave us our damned cake, why do we feel that we are so “entitled” as to ask for more, like Oliver Twist asking for a mere extra bowl of non-nutritional work-house sludge. Poor Oliver was met with the aghast and shocked, “MOOOORE?! You want MOOORE?!” How dare you. How dare you step out into the streets and demand more equality, more freedom, more accessibility, more opportunity, more POWER. How dare you demand that the elites should follow the direction of the people. What the hell kind of society do you think you live in, a democracy?! Well, that’s what riot police are for: to put you in your place. That’s what Bill 78 was for. That’s what Jean Charest was and is for.
So, while we have witnessed but the starting putrefaction of our society in the form of austerity, we have also only witnessed but that starting signs of hope, of struggle, of resistance, and of action in an age of rage, and a coming world revolution. We have been fortunate enough to witness and partake in the beginning of what will be a long struggle, of what will be the defining feature of the world in which our generation is entering into as young adults. We have witnessed but the start at home of what has already been starting elsewhere in the world, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Greece, Spain, Italy, in Chile and Mexico; the start of our generation – both locally and globally – standing up to our rapacious elites, of rejecting their insane ideologies, and of opposing with both our bodies and our minds, their physical and psychological oppression.
They may look down upon us in disgust and with confused mental constipation, ask, “MORE?!”
But then we will look upon them, in larger numbers, in massive and ever-expanding varieties, in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around this small little planet, and look at these morally vapid, small little people, who place themselves at the top of our world, who support themselves with hallow values and empty ideas, and we will say, “No more.”
So, to my fellow students, to my brothers and sisters in Quebec and beyond, I can only say, do not mourn the fading strike, do not regret your struggles in the streets, and do not despair: we are only in the beginning of our lives, and in the beginning of our struggle. And look, simply, upon the mass mobilization, the manifestation, the hope, and yes, the energized frustration that we had accomplished thus far. The strike was but the start of a much wider, much larger and longer social struggle, which we can only see the vague, misty hints of, which we can only hear like a distant train, but fast approaching.
We have shown to those who rule over us, that if this was the reaction to the issue of tuition, just imagine how terrified they are about what we can accomplish, about what we can represent and implement, when they decide to undertake expanded austerity and adjustment. The people have given the powerful reason to fear our mass awakening. Make no mistake, that is an accomplishment, even if you cannot see or hear it, it is there, and you can feel it.
Do not despair. Our generation is but rumbling and grumbling awake from centuries of injustice, groggy and confused, unaware entirely of our surroundings, not knowing yet which direction to go, but we know this: where we are, and where we are being led, is not where we want to be or go, and we have stood up and said so. We are finding our freedom the only way any people have ever found it: by taking it and acting on it, not asking for it. You do not demand cures from cancers. You must find and create them yourselves.
The strike might end, but the streets won’t be empty for long. So stand strong, students and supporters. Your energy, ambition, and inspiration will be needed for some time to come. The whole world is waiting for it, even if they don’t know it yet.
The future is ours, but only if we recognize that it can be, and only if we decide that it will be. And only if we act as if it already is.
I’ll see you in the streets.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer living in Montreal, Canada. His website (www.andrewgavinmarshall.com) features a number of articles and essays focusing on an analysis of power and resistance in the political, social, and economic realms. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, and is currently writing a book on the global economic crisis and resistance movements emerging around the world. To help this book come to completion, please consider donating through the website or on Indiegogo.
146 Greek Academics Shows Solidarity With Quebec Students / Message de solidarité de la communauté académique grecque aux étudiants en lutte au Québec
The following is a message of solidarity for the students of Quebec signed by nearly 150 Greek academics. They provided French and English versions of their message of support (both listed below), along with a list of signatories.
Message de solidarité de la communauté académique grecque aux étudiants en lutte au Québec
Nous, enseignants aux universités grecques, expriment notre solidarité à la mobilisation extraordinaire des étudiants au Québec : la grève étudiante la plus longue et la plus massive dans l’ histoire de l’Amérique du Nord qui est en train de devenir une des campagnes les plus importantes dans le monde contre l’austérité.
La communauté académique en Grèce suit avec indignation, mais aussi avec espoir, la lutte des étudiants afin de bloquer l’augmentation des droits de scolarité universitaire et résister à l’attaque néolibérale sans précédent aux charges sociales.
Nous suivons avec indignation, parce que la répression draconniene exercée par le gouvernement a menacé non seulement la libre expression et les droits démocratiques, mais aussi la vie même des étudiants en lutte, ainsi que celle des enseignants, du personnel administratif des universités et d’autres citoyens solidaires. Les lois qui limitent fermement le droit de manifester menacent la démocratie et tentent de bâillonner toute voix qui résiste aux réformes néolibérales de l’éducation. Quand la démocratie est en jeu, la désobéissance devient une obligation.
Et nous suivons avec espoir, parce que la voix du mouvement étudiant de Québec donne au monde entier des leçons précieuses de combativité et de persévérance contre la marchandisation de l’éducation et pour la défense d’une éducation publique et démocratique.
Dans cette lutte, nous sommes nombreux. Notre mobilisation est trop forte pour contenir. Du Québec à Londres et à Rome, de Santiago à Vienne et à Athènes, la communauté académique mène le même combat. En Grèce, nous avons déjà réussi en 2006 à bloquer un amendement da la Constitution qui visait à abolir le caractère exclusivement public des universités. Ensuite, en 2011-2012, nous avons réussi à délégitimer et rendre inactive une loi qui visait une réforme néolibérale de l’éducation supérieure. Nous sommes nombreux et dès lors optimistes et confiants. Tous ensemble continuons le combat pour que l’éducation redevienne un bien public dans le monde entier.
Nous, les universitaires Grecs, déclarons notre solidarité à vos luttes magnifiques, qui sont nos luttes.
Message of solidarity of the Greek academic community to the students in struggle in Quebec
We, academics in the Greek universities, express our solidarity to the extraordinary student mobilization in Quebec: the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America, which is now evolving into one of the most powerful anti-austerity campaigns in the world.
The Greek academic community is watching in indignation but also in hope the struggle of Quebec’s students to block the tuition increases and to resist an unprecedented neoliberal attack on social welfare.
We are watching in indignation, because draconian government repression has threatened not only freedom of expression and democratic rights, but also the life itself of students, faculty and administrative staff as well as of other citizens who express their solidarity. The law-and-order administration, which restricts the freedom of protest, threatens democracy and attempts to silence every voice resisting neoliberal education reforms. When democracy is at stake, disobedience is a duty.
And we are watching in hope, because the voice of the student movement of Quebec offers valuable lessons to the world concerning resistance to education commoditization and the defense of public and democratic education.
In this struggle we are many. Our mobilization has become too strong to contain. From Quebec to London and Rome, from Santiago to Vienna and Athens, the academic community gives the same fight. In Greece, we were successful in 2006 in blocking a constitutional amendment aiming at abolishing the exclusively public character of universities. Recently, we managed to delegitimize and inactivate a law aiming at a neoliberal restructuring of higher education. We are many and therefore optimistic and confident. All together, let us continue the fight for rendering education a public good in the whole world.
We, Greek academics, declare our solidarity to your wonderful struggle, which is our struggle!
LIST OF SIGNATURES
1. Kyrkos Doxiadis, Professor of Social Theory, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
2. Vassilis Anastassopoulos, Professor, Department of Physics, University of Patras,
3. Nikos Barkas, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture Engineers, Dimokritos University of Thrace
4. Lela Gogou, Professor, Dimokritos University of Thrace
5. Konstantinos Kavoulakos, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Crete.
6. Dr Angeliki Spiropoulou, Lecturer in Modern European Literature and Theory, University of the Peloponnese
7. Evangelos Nikolaidis, Assistant Professor, University of Crete
8. Athina Stavridou, Lecturer, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
9. Dimitrios S. Patelis, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sciences, Technical University of Crete
10. Kostas Bassioukas, Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of Ioannina
11. Leonidas Oikonomou, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
12. George Tsimouris, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
13. Tasos Anastopoulos, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
14. Kostas Stamatis, Professor, School of Law, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
15. Dr. Yeoryios Stamboulis, Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Thessaly
16. Maria Karamessini, Associate Professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
17. Iphigenia Kamtsidou, Professeur Assistante de Droit Constitutionnel, Université Aristote de Thessalonique
18. Marianna Kondyli, Associate Professor, University of Patras
19. Dimitris Seremetis, Assοciate Professor, Department of Applied Economics, University of the Aegean
20. Kostas Gavroglu, Professor of History of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
21. Michalis Psimitis, Associate Professor, University of the Aegean
22. Vassilis Christophides, Professeur, Université de Crète
23. Dr. Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Lecturer, School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
24. Spyros Karavas, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology and History, University of the Aegean
25. Stavros Stavrides, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
26. Christina K. Kitsaki Assistant Professor, Agricultural University of Athens
27. Dimitris Psillos, Professor, School of Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
28. Alexandros Baltzis, Assistant Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
29. Dr. Christina Adamou, Lecturer in Film Theory, Film Department School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
30. Maria Giannisopoulou, Université de Crete
31. Pandelis Kiprianos,Professeur, Université de Patras
32. Alexandra Ioannidou, Associate Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
33. Dimitris Papalexopoulos, Professor, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
34. Dimitris Fassouliotis, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
35. Andreas Notaras, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
36. Dimitris Damigos, Assistant Professor, National Technical University of Athens
37. Aspasia Velissariou, Professor, School of Philosophy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
38. Eliza Anna Delveroudi, Professor, University of Crete
39. George Xylomenos, Assistant Professor, Athens University of Economics and Business
40. Rania Astrinaki, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
41. Dimitrios Anastassopoulos, Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Patras
42. Dimitris A.Sevastakis, Assistant Professor, National Technical University of Athens
43. Yannis N. Krestenitis, Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), President of The Union of Academic Teachers of AUTH
44. Alkis Rigos, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science and History, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
45. Dimitris Dialetis, Professor, Department of Philosophy and History of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
46. Stavros Konstantakopoulos, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science & History, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
47. Polymeris Voglis, Assistant Professor of History, University of Thessaly
48. Ilias Santouridis, Associate Professor, Technological Educational Institute of Larissa
49. Ada Dialla, Assistant Professor of History, Athens School of Fine Arts
50. Athena Athanasiou, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
51. Katia Fotinopoulou, Assistant professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
52. Anastasia Politou, Medical School, University of Ioannina
53. Spyros Georgatos, Medical School, University of Ioannina
54. Helen A.Thanopoulou, Associate Professor, Department of Shipping, Trade and Transport, University of the Aegean
55. Pavlos Pantazis, Assistant Professor in Clinical Social Psychology, School of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
56. Iraklis Mavridis, Lecturer, Department of Social Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
57. Efthymios Papataxiarchis, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of the Aegean
58. Spyros Marchetos, Assistant Professor, School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
59. Takis Geros, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
60. Nikos Kotaridis, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
61. Panagis Karazeris, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Patras
62. Panos Papadopoulos, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of Patras
63. Georgios Agelopoulos, Assistant Professor, Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki
64. Fragkiskos Kalavasis, Professor, Department of Preschool Education and Educational Design, Aegean University
65. Sia Anagnostopoulou, Associate professor, Department of Political Science & History, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
66. Maria Papadopoulou, Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Thessaly
67. Xenia Chryssochoou Professor, Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
68. Riki van Boeschoten, Associate Professor, University of Thessaly
69. Harris Athanasiades, Associate Professor of History of Education, University of Ioannina
70. Maria Paradeisi, Asssistant Professor, Department of Media, Communication and Culture, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
71. Maria Markou, Lecturer, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
72. Rena Klabatsea, National Technical University of Athens
73. Sofia Avgerinou, National Technical University of Athens
74. Yiannis Theotokas, University of the Aegean
75. Gerassimos Kouzelis, Professor, Department of Political Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
76. Giorgos Papakonstantinou, Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly
77. Spyros Benetatos, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
78. Angeliki Dimitrakopoulou, Vice-Rector, University of the Aegean
79. Pothiti Hantzaroula, University of the Aegean
80. Tonia Kioussopoulou, Associate Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete
81. Efi Avdela, Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete
82. Alexandros Koutsouris, Associate Professor, Agricultural University of Athens
83. Anna Matthaiou, University of Thessaly,
84. Cimon Anastassiadis, Professor, Technical Education Institute of Athens
85. Aliki Angelidou, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
86. Elena Tzelepi, Doctor of Philosophy
87. Anna Chronaki, University of Thessaly
88. Eugenios Angelopoulos, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, National Technical University of Athens
89. Manolis Dafermos, University of Crete
90. Spiros Kriwas, University of Patras
91. Yiannis Papatheodorou, Assistant Professor of Modern Greek Studies, University of Ioannina
92. Christos Dermentzopoulos, Assistant Professor of Anthropology of Art University of Ioannina – Dept. of Fine Arts and Sciences of Art
93. Giota Touloumi, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
94. Socrates Petmezas, University of Crete
95. Giorgos Divaris, Associate Professor of Faculty of Fine Art, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
96. Maria Nikolakaki, Assistant Professor, University of Peloponnese
97. Takis Politis, University of Thessaly
98. Ria kalfakakou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
99. Anna Spyrtou, Assistant Professor, School of Education Department of Primary Education University of Western Macedonia
100. Vicky Iakovou, Lecturer, University of the Aegean
101. Panagiotis A. Kanellopoulos, Assistant Professor of Music Education, Department of Early Childhood Education, School of the Humanities, University of Thessaly
102. Nikos Belavilas, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
103. Zambia Katsanevaki, (laboratory teaching staff) National Technical University of Athens
104. Tassis Papaioannou, Architect-Professor School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens
105. Giorgos Fourtounis, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science & History, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
106. Aglaia Kasdagli, University of Crete
107. Georgia Aslani, University of Ioannina
108. Michalis Spourdalakis, Professor Dept. of Political Science & Public Administration, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
109. Rea Delveroudi, Professeure Associée, Departement de Langue et de Litterature francaises, Universite d’Athenes
110. Aristotle Tympas, Assistant Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
111. Emmanuel Angelidis, Professor, Department of Political Science & History, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens
112. Antoniou Katerina, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Medical School, University of Ioannina
113. Savvas Christoforidis, Assistant Professor, University of Ioannina
114. Rosa-Maria Polymeni, Assistant Professor, Sect. of Zoology-Marine Biology, Dept. of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
115. Arvanitakis Alekos, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, National Technical University of Athens
116. Nikitas Mylopoulos, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Thessaly
117. Filareti Zafiropoulos, Ass. Professor, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Patras
118. Alexandra Koronaiou, Professor, Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
119. Rika Benveniste, Professeur, Dpt d’Histoire, Archéologie et Anthropologie Sociale, Universite de Thessalie
120. Thanasis Daradoumis, Assistant Professor, Department of Cultural Technology and Communication, University of the Aegean
121. Androniki Dialeti, Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly
122. Fotini Vaki, Lecturer, Department of History, Ionian University
123. Alexandra Mouriki, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Science and Early Childhood, University of Patras
124. Demosthenes Stamatis, Professor, Department of Information Technology, Technical Education Institute of of Thessaloniki
125. Giorgos Plakotos, Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology and History, University of the Aegean
126. Lina Venturas, Professor, University of Peloponnese
127. Evgenia Sifaki, Lecturer, University of Thessaly
128. Dimitris Chassapis, Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
129. Stephanos Dimitriou, Associate Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Ioannina
130. Jina Politi, Professor Emeritus, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
131. John Milios, Professor of Political Economy, National Technical University of Athens
132. Nikos Pasadakis, Associate Professor, Technical University of Crete
133. Angeliki Konstantakopoulou, Associate Professor of Balkan History, University of Ioannina
134. Theophanes Grammenos, Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Thessaly
135. Stavros Goutsos, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, University of Patras
136. Theano Fotiou professor National Techical University of Athens, School of Architecture
137. Evangelia Antoniou Lecturer of Midwifery, Midwifery Department, Technological education institution of Athens
138. Stratos Georgoulas, Assistant Professor, University of the Aegean
139. Ioannis K. Zarkadis, Assoc. Prof. School of Medicine University of Patras.
140. Leonidas Maroudas, Professor University of Patras
141. Kanellaki Sofia Assistant Professor of Psychology. Panteion University
142. Dimitris Papageorgiou, University of the Aegean
143. Emmanuel M. Papamichael, Associate Professor, University of Ioannina,
144. Costas Gaganakis, University of Athens
145. Alexis Benos, AUTH Medicla School, Thessaloniki, Greece
146. Tina Zormbala Department of Mathematics University of the Aegean
The Maple Spring and the Mafiocracy: Struggling Students versus “Entitled Elites”
It says a great deal about our society when hundreds of thousands of students – already largely indebted, a significant portion of whom live well below the poverty line, who already work what few jobs exist for a generation forgotten before we leave home – take to the streets in protest and are portrayed as “entitled”, “spoiled brats” as they attempt to “negotiate” their very chance of having a future in this society… with a government that supports and works with organized crime, which is beholden to an economic elite, and which supports only those who can already support themselves.
There is something deeply wrong with a society in which students who struggle for a very chance in life are insulted, degraded, beaten, arrested, humiliated and denigrated. First, we were told for years that we were “lazy” and “apathetic”: Generation MTV, Generation iPod, a techno-savvy but reality-detached deluge of pseudo-humanoids. We were seen as concerned only with ‘self’, worshipping of wealth, and with celebrities like Paris Hilton and whatever Car-crashian disaster is on reality TV this week, who could blame people for thinking this? Our media raised us. Television raised us. Advertising raised us. Public relations agencies raised us. They have told us what to wear, how to behave, what to drink, what to eat, what to listen to, dance to, sing to, who to speak to, who to admire, who to hate, what to spend time thinking about, what to be concerned about, what and how to think and be. We were set up to be Generation Obscurity.
But then, something changed: our circumstances.
For those of us who grew up middle class, we started to have a harder time getting by. We worked while we were in high school, but that was okay, the extra money was nice. But then we graduated and it was time to begin our lives. So we either worked full time, or went to school, and probably work part-time. School is expensive, and whether you live in Quebec, the rest of Canada, the United States, or a great host of many other places, school is more expensive for us than it was for our parents. Our minimum wage might seem higher, but the cost of living has soared since our parents were getting their first few jobs, so in real terms, we earn much less. So we lived and often continue to live at home while we go to school or even while we work. With rent so high, and cities so expensive, who can afford their own space in this crazy kind of place? School was still too expensive, even as we worked and as our parents helped however they could. After all, they were and are struggling too. So we got student loans. And now we’re deep in debt.
Suddenly, our world was thrown into a deep economic crisis. Most of us don’t know how this came to be, or who is responsible, all we know is that we only did what we were told to do: consume. And what did that do for us? We’re in debt. All we know is that even though we didn’t cause this global crisis, we are being held responsible for it. All we know is that we are told we are in a “recovery,” but we don’t feel like it. How many people truly feel more financially secure now than they did in 2007? Do you? I don’t!
But now we are told that we are in a “recovery” because those who caused the economic crisis are doing much better. In fact, many of them are doing better than ever! During the crisis, our government’s said we had to “bail out” the banks that had colluded with the governments to create the crisis in the first place. We were scared, so we sat back and watched as our governments gave banks blank checks. First, I should add, our governments worked with the banks in passing (or dismantling) laws and regulations, implemented policies, undertook joint programs, spent enormous sums of money between them, as our political leaders left office to sit in bank boardrooms, and as bankers left the private vaults to the public treasury. This relationship between big business, big banks, and big government (most emblematic in the central banking system, in which private banks with public powers control the very value of our currencies), is what created the economic crisis. And when that crisis erupted, those same governments gave those same banks more money than ever before, to ensure that they were rewarded for creating such a massive global crisis. At the same time, the governments then gave themselves even more power over the economy and their own social and political environments, all the while ensuring that the banks and corporations were involved in every decision, and would benefit from every outcome. So those who caused the crisis rewarded themselves with more money and more power than they had when they created the crisis in the first place.
At the same time, we, the people, have to pay for everything. We have to pay with increased taxes (remember, that bailout money has to come out of YOUR pockets), with rising prices for food and fuel, with inflated property prices (if they weren’t already collapsing, in which case, we face potential foreclosure), with increased debt – not even to consume, but simply to subsist – with decreased jobs, with unemployment, with increased homelessness, increased reliance upon food stamps, increased welfare and state assistance (which comes with intense scrutiny of your personal finances and life), and now, with austerity: further tax increases, less social services and support, mass layoffs and pay-cuts, decreased support for health care and education, increased tuition, and increased struggles. But remember, we have to suffer under austerity so that our governments can pay for all the rewards they gave to the banks for… making us suffer.
This is called “Capitalism.”
Now, take Canada as an example. Canada is perhaps the best example to use in this situation because, let’s face it: we have one of the better “reputations” among Western nations of the world (though largely undeserving), we are seen as peaceful (though we are now always at war), and compared to the rest of the industrialized West, we fared through the economic crisis much better than most. Our banks, in fact – with five Big Banks that dominate the economy – are consistently rated as among the world’s “strongest banks.” In April of 2012, Moody’s Investors Service rated Canada’s banks as the “safest in the world.” And we better believe Moody’s, because they failed to predict the economic crisis itself, and as their CEO even admitted when questioned about the agency being funded by Wall Street firms, “potential conflicts exist regardless of who pays.” For four years in a row, the World Economic Forum has rated Canada’s banking system as the most sound in the world. Even the Canadian Bankers Association praises Canada’s banks. Imagine that!
Unfortunately for their self-congratulations, it was recently revealed that Canada’s banks actually received a “secret bailout” in 2008, for a total of $114 billion, or $3,400 for every Canadian man, woman, and child. The bailouts took place between 2008 and 2010, funded by the Bank of Canada, the United States Federal Reserve, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The government continues to deny it gave the banks a bailout, instead, our Finance Minister insists, it was just “liquidity support,” which means… the government did not “bail out” the banks with public money, it just gave the banks public money… in “support.” Call it what you will, they gave them $114 billion. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada (our central bank), and a former executive with Goldman Sachs (what’s not to love?), even admitted that the Bank of Canada gave tens of billions of dollars to our private banks. The U.S. Federal Reserve provided $33 billion to Canada’s big banks, while the official numbers of what the Bank of Canada provided remain a “secret,” as the government has refused to respond to Access to Information requests on the subject. Available information, however, points to $41 billion given to our banks by the Bank of Canada by December of 2008. Even some foreign banks had access to money from the Bank of Canada. Thus, Canada’s big five banks – Royal Bank of Canada, T.D. Bank, Scotiabank, the Bank of Montreal and CIBC – received collectively over $114 billion in “bailouts.” Oh, excuse me, I mean, “liquidity support.” And now, these same banks have inflated a major housing bubble in Canada which is eerily similar to that which existed in the United States in 2007, with housing prices dangerously high, and the average household debt at $103,000. But don’t worry, these big five banks made “record profits” in 2011. So naturally, with record profits for banks, and record debt for Canadians, the banks have decided to increase their fees on you! And then their profits continued to increase! Naturally, the executives have been giving themselves bigger bonuses than ever.
This is called an “economic recovery.”
And remember, it’s the students in Québec who are “entitled.” People call the students “spoiled” and “entitled” because they pay less than $2,500 for tuition every year, and are trying to prevent a situation in which they will be paying roughly $4,000 per year. But the big banks, making record profits, got the equivalent of $3,400 from every single man, woman, and child in Canada. But that’s not called “entitlement,” that’s called Capitalism.
So, the banks are doing better than ever, and this means we are in a “recovery.” According to our governments and media, it doesn’t matter what situation you are in, only what situation RBC, CIBC, BMO, Scotiabank and TD are in. Starting in the year 2000, Canada’s corporations and banks started having their taxes cut significantly by the government, whether Liberal or Conservative. In 2000, corporate taxes were at 28%, and by 2006 it was at 21%. In the beginning of 2012, corporate taxes in Canada were at 15%. This was all, of course, done to create “jobs.” That is, after all, what we were told by our politicians who insisted it was the right thing to do. At the moment, Canada has a rather significant unemployment rate, and a much higher youth unemployment rate. In 2006, the unemployment rate for Canadians was 4.6%, and today it is at 7.3%. In 2006, the unemployment rate for Canadian youth between the ages of 15 and 24 was at 8.4%, but by 2012, that has increased to 13.8%. In the same period of time, corporate taxes were cut from 22% to 15%, with the stated purpose of creating “jobs.” Now, the unemployment numbers are themselves misleading, because they only actually refer to those who are on some form of government assistance, such as welfare or employment insurance. The rest of the unemployed are not counted. While the corporate tax cuts did not lead to more jobs, but rather, less… they did lead to more money for the corporations and banks. By 2011, Canadian corporations and banks had hoarded $477 billion in cash reserves as money that was saved from taxation. For every percentage decrease in corporate taxes, the government loses $2 billion in potential revenue. In response, the government turns to austerity measures, which means that you have to suffer and pay for everything, especially your own poverty. Poverty is, after all, very expensive.
In 2012, these record profit-making corporations are getting an extra $2.85 billion in additional income tax savings. Even as Stephen Harper cut the taxes further, he acknowledged that the corporations weren’t actually investing their saved money in “jobs” but that it was just “money sitting on the sidelines.” Since 2007, the cash reserves of Canada’s corporations have grown by 27.3%, reaching $583 billion in Canadian currency, and $276 billion in foreign currencies. So what can we conclude from this? Well, when politicians and corporations and banks say that they are pursuing a particular policy to create “jobs,” what they really mean is to create “profits.” So when a politician says, “We need to cut corporate taxes so that they can invest in jobs,” what is really being said is that, “We need to cut corporate taxes so that they can make profits.” This makes more sense, because this is what actually happens. So it’s not so much that politicians lie, but rather that they just speak a different language. So take note, and I guarantee this is a very accurate method, in political-speak: “jobs” = “profits.” So now when you listen to your [s]elected officials blather on, you’ll actually be able to understand what they are saying.
Oh, and in case you forgot, remember: it’s Québec students who are “entitled” and “spoiled brats.” Just making sure you remember that.
In Canada, we have a situation in which total national student debt is at $20 billion, and with tuition increases, this too will increase dramatically. But don’t worry, increased tuition costs and increased student debt is good for the banks, because they provide a lot of the loans and own the debt, and collect the interest and keep you in their pockets for the rest of your life. And remember, if the banks are doing well, the economy is doing well. You don’t matter… at all. Okay, so total student debt in Canada is at $20 billion, with the average student graduating with $27,000 in debt, few job prospects, high unemployment rates, and in a major social and economic crisis, but the Canadian government is buying 65 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. military contractor, Lockheed Martin, worth a total of $25 billion. So, we can bail out our banks to the tune of $114 billion, and we can spend $25 billion buying military machines to go bomb and kill poor people around the world, but students shackled with $20 billion in debt must be shackled with more. And if they try to do anything about the increases in tuition, and thus, the increases in their debt, Canadian politicians and the media refer to them as “entitled,” “spoiled brats.”
Here are a few numbers to show the current divide between the rich and everyone else in Canada, what we are told is a hallmark of a flourishing democracy and recovering economy:
– the 100 best paid CEOs made an average of $6.6 million, which is 155 times the average wage for Canadians at $42,988
– the tax rate for the richest Canadians dropped from 43% in 1981 to 29% in 2010
– in Quebec, the richest 10% made 24% more in 2006 than in 1976, while the poorest made 10% less
– with average student debt in Québec at $13,000 and $27,000 in the rest of Canada, the cost of “free education” in Québec would be less than 1% of the government’s budget
– for every $1,000 fee hike in tuition, the proportion of poor students drops by 19%, thus making education inaccessible for poor people
– with youth unemployment in Canada between 14-20%, and total student debt amounting to $20 billion, the percentage of students defaulting on government loans is at 14%
– the percentage of Canadians between 20 and 24 living with their parents is 73%
– the percentage of Canadians 25 to 29 living with their parents is 33%
This is called “democracy.”
With Jean Charest as Québec’s premier, attempting to nearly double student tuition from an average of over $2,000 to nearly $4,000, it might be interesting to look at what Charest paid for his education. Charest studied in Sherbrooke in the late 1970s, where he would have paid $500 for tuition, less than $2,000 in today’s dollars. In 1978, the minimum wage (for those students who needed to work to pay their tuition) in Québec was $3.50/hour. In today’s dollars, that would equal $12/hour, while the actual minimum wage in Québec today is $10/hour. Therefore, wrote McGill University professor Michael Hilke, “it was easier for students to pay for college back then.” But Charest calls us “entitled.”
In point 7 of my article, “Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Quebec Student Movement,” I provided sources and information regarding the deeply interconnected relationship between the government of Québec, especially with Charest’s Liberal Party in power, the corrupt construction industry, and the Mafia. Politicians, especially the Liberal Charest government currently in power, provide over-estimated public funds to the construction industry to do what costs significantly less in other provinces, and to build bridges and roads that fall apart, and it just so happens that the construction industry is owned by the Mafia. While public contracts are not the main source of revenue for the Mafia (who can compete with illicit drugs? … well, except for the oil and arms industries), getting massively over-estimated public funds allows the Mafia-connected construction businesses to throw fundraisers for the politicians and keep them in power. Thus, the interaction between the Mafia and the government is a mutually beneficial relationship, where money flows back and forth, designed to keep each party in power. But it’s unfair to blame Charest and the Liberal Party for collusion with the Mafia; they are simply carrying on a long political tradition of governments working with organized crime. So, the government supports organized crime and opposes organized students. Ultimately, both organized crime and organized polities serve the same interests. Can you guess whose? I’ll save you the effort, it’s really quite simple, and it’s not exclusive to Canada, this is a global phenomenon: follow the money.
Canada is a market leader in many aspects of the global trade in illegal drugs. In a 2009 report form the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Canada was revealed to be the leading supplier of ecstasy to North America, and one of the world’s major producers and shippers of methamphetamine for various markets around the world, which is so significant that it was revealed that 83% of all the meth seized in Australia came from Canada, whereas in Japan it was 62%. In 2006, only 5% of the meth produced in Canada was exported. In 2007, it was at 20%. That’s pretty impressive! In 2007, 50% of the ecstasy produced in Canada was exported, primarily to the United States, Australia, and Japan. In 2007, Canada was identified by Japan as the largest single source for seized ecstasy tablets, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. But it’s not Canada’s fault, we are simply partaking in an already well-established global drug trade, the most profitable trade in the world following oil and arms.
This of course is a result of our governments having undertaken prohibition against illicit drugs, just as the United States had done with alcohol, which history shows, didn’t work very well. Alcohol prohibition gave an incredible boost to the Mafia and organized crime in the United States and elsewhere, and of course, included in its silky spider web were corrupt cops, politicians, and financiers. When something is “illegal” it becomes far more expensive, and thus, far more profitable. So our governments have decided to continue their policies of prohibition for illicit drugs: to keep profits up, to support organized crime, to participate in organized crime, to keep the money flowing, keep the prisons full, and to declare a mythical “war on drugs” which accomplishes nothing but further militarization designed to wipe out the competition. So Latin American countries must suffer under our increased military and repressive presence. A few months prior to the NATO invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban had eradicated the opium trade in one year, wiping out the world’s largest opium crop. Following the invasion in October of 2001, and the installation of a puppet president Hamid Karzai in December of 2001, the new Afghan government began colluding with drug lords and opium production began to accelerate. In fact, the drug trade in Afghanistan reaches record highs nearly every year since the invasion. Between 2011 and 2012, opium production in Afghanistan increased by another 61%. In 2009, the New York Times reported that one of Afghanistan’s most powerful drug lords was the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and that he also happened to be working for the CIA at the same time. The CIA has a sordid history with the drug trade, from Indochina in the 1960s, to Afghanistan and the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s. More recently, in 2007 there was an under-reported incident in which a CIA plane which had been used for rendition flights (i.e., kidnapping and torture) had crashed in Mexico with 3.3. tones of cocaine on board, carrying Colombian cocaine for the major Mexican drug cartel, the Sinaloa cartel.
Since 2006, the government of Mexico has been waging a massive “drug war” against several of the large drug cartels in the country. This war has been financially and materially supported by the U.S., which has been providing arms, equipment, and intelligence assistance to the Mexican army. The war has been incredibly violent, and widely under-reported in our media north of Mexico. From 2006 to 2011, there were between 45-60,000 deaths related to the drug war. In 2009, the Mexican drug lord – Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera – who heads the largest drug cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, made Forbes’ billionaires list. Journalists in Mexico who cover the war repeatedly get tortured and murdered. Within a six-month period in 2010, more than 11,000 migrants were abducted by drug cartels, either to extort money or to be used as forced labour. An investigative report by NPR in 2010 revealed a deeper and darker side of the story: the war is “rigged.” As the United States gives billions of dollars to Mexico in military and judicial aid, the Mexican government works to support the Sinaloa cartel by destroying the competition. Testimony of top Sinaloa cartel traffickers in court revealed further links between the cartel and the Mexican army. Whether through bribes or other means, including the major participants themselves passing from high-ranking police and military positions directly into the cartels, the relationship between the Mexican government and the cartels, especially the Sinaloa cartel, runs deep. The drug trade through Mexico, which is heavily implicated in bringing cocaine from Colombia to the United States, produces profits of tens of billions every year. Even a top Mexican army general and a former deputy minister of defense have now been implicated in ties to drug cartels, something which is not new in Mexico.
A small scandal emerged for the United States government in 2011 when it was revealed that a U.S. operation “allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers.” Codenamed Operation Fast and Furious, it was run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which admitted “that 1,765 guns were sold to suspected smugglers during a 15-month period of the investigation.” A gun dealer in Arizona reported that he was concerned that his guns were being sold to drug cartels, fuelling the violence that has now killed over 55,000 people, and when he expressed these fears, he “was encouraged by federal agents to continue the sales.” Internal emails released from the ATF revealed that the bureau’s top officials were regularly briefed on the gun-running operation. It was later revealed that many Mexican drug cartel figures who were being targeted by the ATF also happened to be “informants” for the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who kept the ATF “in the dark” about their relationship with the cartels. At least six Mexican drug cartel figures were also on the payroll of the FBI. Some ATF agents have blown the whistle on the operation, stating that it went back as far as 2008, and that they were “ordered to let U.S. guns go to Mexico.” Memos from 2010 revealed that several top U.S. officials in the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr, regularly received updates about the operation. Three National Security officials in the White House also received updates. One of Mexico’s top drug traffickers, the right-hand man of the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, claimed in court testimony that he “was working all along as a confidential informant for U.S. agents,” specifically for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). U.S. weapons smuggling to Mexico is no small operation, as roughly 70% of the weapons seized in Mexico came from the United States.
In Congressional testimony, an ATF agent reported that the ATF was working on Operation Fast and Furious in cooperation with the DEA and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To add to that, an insider at the CIA revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (aka: the Cocaine Import Agency), “had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.” Over fears that the Zetas cartel could totally usurp control of the Mexican government, the CIA reportedly intervened in support of the Sinaloa cartel, with its close ties to the Mexican military. In a report with the Washington Times, it was revealed that the CIA would allow the Sinaloa cartel to smuggle cocaine into the United States on a 747 cargo plane, and in turn, the CIA approached the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious, ensuring that the trade “wasn’t one-way,” so that arms were funneled into Mexico from the U.S. as drugs were funneled into the U.S. from Mexico, all with CIA support. Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, undercover DEA agents were laundering millions of dollars in drug money for the Mexican cartels in the United States.
Within Mexico, the drug money spreads all across the economy, into skyscrapers, casinos, beach resorts, restaurants, the construction industry, and of course, political campaigns. But the 55,000 deaths in Mexico in the past six years have been good for the United States, particularly for gun sales and big banks. In fact, internal investigations revealed that Wachovia Bank, now a part of Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, laundered billions of dollars in drug money for Mexican cartels, even as they were receiving bailout money from the United States government. It was not only Wachovia, but also Bank of America that has been implicated in laundering Mexican drug money, worth up to $378.4 billion. Other banks have been implicated as well, in both the United States and Europe. The UN revealed in 2009 that drug money actually saved the major banks, as roughly $352 billion in drug money was absorbed into the financial system during the worst of the economic crisis in 2008.
So what do we make of all this?
We are told that this is called “democracy” and a “strong economy.” We are told that this is the “best system in the world,” which benefits everyone… just not you.
I prefer to use another word to describe it: Mafiocracy.
Now, I did not come up with this word, but it applies, and I can think of no better word to describe the relationship between big business, big banks, government and organized crime. So we are faced with a Mafiocracy, whether in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, or even in Québec. With collusion so deep and embedded between organized crime, state agencies, politicians, and financiers, it’s almost problematic to refer to organized crime as somehow separate, since it isn’t. So let’s call it what it is: a Mafiocracy. A local Mafiocracy, such as the one which exists in Québec between the local Mafia, the local government, and the local economic elite, is inter-related with the global Mafiocracy, atop of which sit the Kings of Capital and the High Priests of Globalization. We are in the age of Globalization, and the Mafiocracy has been significantly globalized and energized. As the Mafiocracy gets stronger, democracy gets weaker, until it is altogether gone and dead, without even a memory remaining.
The first time I heard the term “Mafiocracy” was in an incredible documentary about Argentina, entitled, “Social Genocide,” covering the country’s recent history of military dictatorships supported by the U.S., followed by the age of neoliberalism with liberal democratic governments more corrupt than the dictatorships that preceded them, with an elite so extravagant it would be almost comically-absurd if it wasn’t so disturbing. The film documents the relationship between democratically-elected leaders, narco-trafficking, organized crime, international terrorism, Western banking institutions, the IMF and World Bank, corruption feeding off of the national debt, the privatization of public wealth, and all the while demanding the population pay for the Mafiocracy through austerity and “structural adjustment,” what is translated in real terms into “Social Genocide.” When the people stood up in December of 2001, Argentina’s president declared a state of siege, which was responded to by the population who took their pots and pans out into the streets across the country and to the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, and they banged their pots and pans in the midst of police confrontations that killed 26 people, eventually forcing the president to flee from the city by helicopter. The Mafiocracy demanded the people suffer for its own excesses, for its wealth and power, and imposed a rigid, organized, structured and systematic program of “Social Genocide”: what economists, politicians and pundits refer to as “fiscal austerity” and “structural adjustment.” The people took their pots and pans into the streets and said ‘No More!”
For more than 100 days, hundreds and thousands of students in Québec have been on strike against a plan to increase tuition by roughly 75%. The Mafiocracy government, after two months of refusing to speak to the students and instead used state violence and repression against them, finally agreed to sit down and talk in April. They then cancelled the negotiations and threw out a new “proposal” which would actually increase the tuition hike. Obviously, this insulting gesture was rejected. Then there were other negotiations in early May, while the riot police were outside nearly killing a few students by shooting them in the face and head with rubber bullets, the government pressured the student leaders to sign a sham of an agreement, with extra pressure coming from the major union leaders, who only exist today because of their willingness to engage and collude with the Mafiocracy – particularly the government and big business – and so they told the students it was the best deal they would get. The deal did not include a decrease in the tuition increases. This entire process has taken place in the midst of a national media campaign against the student movement, which increased and evolved into a social movement, an anti-austerity movement, and at times, even a small rebellion against the Mafiocracy. The media framed the striking students as “spoiled brats” who were “whining and crying” about a loss of “entitlements.” The latest negotiations broke down last week. Why? Because after four days of negotiations, the only “compromise” the government engaged in, was to agree to reduce the overall tuition increases by $1. Yes, you read correctly: ONE DOLLAR.
This is what it means to negotiate with a Mafiocracy.
But the students continue to march, continue to inspire, and the movement – the Maple Spring – continues to expand beyond the students, far beyond the issue of tuition, and far beyond Québec. People walk through the streets, every day and every night, in defiance of a law passed by the Mafiocracy government which criminalized spontaneous protests. People step outside and bang their pots and pans, walk through the streets, through rain storms and sun shine, hot or cold. People are aware that they could again be pepper sprayed, tear gassed, smoke bombed, beaten with batons, trampled with horses, driven into with cars, shot with rubber bullets, or arrested en masse. But still, they go. And across Canada, and in fact, far beyond, people are taking their pots and pans and stepping out into their streets in solidarity.
Remember that description we once heard for the system of government we were supposed to be living under: “of, by, and for the people”? Is that the Mafiocracy? We were a generation reviled for our trivial technological obsessions, entertainment enslavement, and absolute apathy. So we defy those stereotypes and step out into the streets, day after day. We are no longer apathetic, and now we are called “spoiled” and “entitled.” But that’s okay; people – especially those in power, who speak through the media – always fear what they do not understand. Now the social gatherings of youth are not necessarily at bars and clubs, but in protests and casseroles (marching with pots and pans). Regardless of the outcome, we have come to realize that we are a powerful force when united, that we have to physically, intellectually, and emotionally put ourselves on the line to struggle for what is right. We realized that when our options are to either suffer or struggle, the choice is easy. We have a long way ahead of us, we struggle, we persevere, we protest, we push, we persist, we have not yet prevailed, but we are linking up with people – especially youth – across Canada and around the world. We are using the technology which in one sense had enslaved us to obscurity and apathy, and are now using it to mobilize and organize more than ever before.
We have taken the first steps which are required in a global struggle of people against a global Mafiocracy. We follow in the footsteps of those who have walked before us, whether they are in Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Spain, Iceland, or Chile. They cannot fight our fight for us, but we can all fight together. Our struggle is global, though we may experience it in the local. With every step forward, we realize the global implications of what we are starting to do, and the world is starting to watch. The people are waking up, walking out, and trying to reshape society so that it does not simply benefit the few at the expense of the many.
This is called Democracy.
For more information on the ‘Maple Spring’, see:
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People’s Book Project. He also hosts a weekly podcast show, “Empire, Power, and People,” on BoilingFrogsPost.com.
A Message from Chile: “The struggles of Quebec students, academics and workers are also our struggles”
NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES QUÉBÉCOIS! WE ARE ALL QUEBECERS! ¡TODOS SOMOS QUEBEQUENSES!
The following is a Declaration of Chilean academics and student leaders in solidarity with the Quebec student movement, written in French, English, and Spanish.
For a look at the similarities between the Chilean and Quebec student movements, see my recent article: “From the Chilean Winter to the Maple Spring.”
Les soussignés, lesquels sont des professeurs et des dirigeants étudiants chiliens, dénoncent devant l’opinion publique nationale et internationale la persécution envers le mouvement étudiant qui a lieu au Québec, au Canada, laquelle trouve son expression dans la Loi 78, adoptée le jeudi 19 mai par le gouvernement du premier ministre Jean Charest.
La Loi 78, surnommée la « loi matraque », est la plus dure à avoir été adoptée depuis la Loi des mesures de guerre d’octobre 1970; elle a été dénoncé par le président du Barreau de la province, ainsi que par Amnistie Internationale, la Ligue des droits de l’Homme, les quatre principales centrales syndicales et diverses institutions académiques. Elle limite les libertés fondamentales des citoyens du Québec et restreint certains aspects fondamentaux de la liberté d’expression, de la liberté de manifester et de la liberté d’association inscrites dans la Constitution et la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés.
Cette loi ne concerne pas seulement les étudiants en grève depuis quinze semaines contre la hausse des frais de scolarité, mais aussi tous les citoyens, en particulier les enseignants, les professeurs et les travailleurs, dont les droits d’expression et d’association sont touchés. Parmi ces mesures, nous dénonçons : celles qui empêchent les manifestations spontanées de tout groupe de plus de cinquante personnes; l’interdiction de manifester à moins de cinquante mètres des écoles; le renforcement du pouvoir des forces policières qui leur permet de décider si une manifestation est légale ou illégale, à tout moment, ou si quelqu’un en est l’instigateur. De même, toute expression publique de soutien aux manifestations se voit également punie.
Maintenant, par exemple, nul ne peut, au Québec, lors d’un conflit, empêcher des étudiants d’entrer dans les collèges et les universités, sous peine d’amendes individuelles et d’amendes pour l’association étudiante dont est membre cette personne, ainsi que pour les dirigeants syndicaux et étudiants. Ces sanctions varient de 1 000 à 125 000 dollars.
Les directions des associations étudiantes ont annoncé qu’elles iraient en appel de cette loi qu’elles jugent inconstitutionnelle et elles ont appelé à la solidarité de tous les citoyens.
Le peuple québécois a appuyé le peuple chilien pendant bon nombre d’années par sa solidarité active, et c’est pourquoi, aujourd’hui, nous ressentons le besoin d’exprimer et de manifester toute notre solidarité avec les organisations étudiantes et leurs dirigeants, ainsi qu’avec les centrales syndicales et l’ensemble du mouvement citoyen.
Nous le faisons par solidarité, mais aussi parce que nous percevons que toute attaque contre la liberté, et ce, peu importe l’endroit dans le monde où celle-ci se produit, constitue une attaque contre nos libertés. La « loi Hinzpeter » adoptée par le gouvernement chilien s’inscrit dans la même perspective répressive et antidémocratique.
La lutte des étudiants, des professeurs et des travailleurs du Québec est aussi notre lutte.
Le 24 mai 2012, Santiago de Chile
Premiers signataires :
1. Sergio Grez Toso, historien, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
2. María Eugenia Domínguez, journaliste, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
3. Gabriel Boric, président de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
4. Camila Vallejo Dowling, vice-président de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
5. Felipe Ramírez, secrétaire général de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
6. Andrés Fielbaum, secrétaire aux communications de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
7. Pablo Soto Arrate, directeur exécutif du centre d’études de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
8. Rodrigo Cárdenas Cabezas, secrétaire général de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université de Magallanes, à Punta Arenas.
9. Sebastián Aylwin Correa, vice-président du centre étudiant de l’École de droit de l’Université du Chili.
10. Francisco Figueroa, ancien vice-président de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH) pour 2011.
11. Loreto Fernández, ancien président du centre étudiant de la Faculté des sciences sociales de l’Université du Chili (2011) et actuel délégué à la protection de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
12. Conseil des étudiants en santé de l’Université du Chili.
13. Eloísa González Domínguez, porte-parole de l’Assemblée étudiantes du lycée Manuel de Salas, porte-parole de l’Assemblée de coordination des étudiants secondaires de Santiago (ACES).
14. Gabriel González, président du centre des élèves de l’Institut national (CAIN) 2012, Santiago.
15. Álvaro Fernández, président du gouvernement étudiant du Lycée professionnel (GELA) pour 2011-2012, à Santiago.
16. Matías Cárdenas, ancien porte-parole pour 2011 du Lycée professionnel, et actuel secrétaire exécutif du gouvernement étudiant du Lycée professionnel (GELA) pour 2011-2012, à Santiago.
17. Tamara Castro, présidente du centre étudiant du Lycée Carvajal de Prat, à Providencia, à Santiago.
18. Diego Bautista Cubillos Polo, secrétaire exécutif du centre des éleves Internado Nacional Barros Arana, à Santiago.
19. Jorge Silva, président du centre des élèves de Liceo José Victorino Lastarria, à Providencia, à Santiago.
20. Camila Hernández, présidente du centre étudiant, à Liceo Tajamar 2012, Providencia, Santiago.
21. Moisés Paredes, ancien porte-parole du Lycée Arturo Alessandri Palma, a Providencia, à Santiago, actuel représentant des élèves expulsés et sans matricule de ce collège.
22. Camila Fuentes, présidente du centre des élèves du Lycée 7, à Providencia (CELIS), à Santiago, pour 2012.
23. Sebastián Vielmas, secrétaire général (2011) de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université catholique du Chili (FEUC).
24. Pablo Oyarzún Robles, philosophe, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
25. Eduardo Flores Retamal, président du centre étudiant de médecine vétérinaire de l’Université du Chili.
26. Carlos Ruiz Encina, sociologue, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
27. José Aylwin, avocat, professeur à l’Université australe du Chili, à Valdivia.
28. Manuel Loyola, historien, professeur à l’Université de Santiago du Chili.
29. Ariel Russel García, conseiller de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH) de la Faculté des sciences agronomiques.
30. Diego Corvalán, conseiller de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH) et ancien secrétaire général du centre étudiant de la Faculté des sciences agronomiques.
31. Faride Zerán, journaliste, professeur à l’Université du Chili, Prix national de journalisme.
32. Felipe Portales Cifuentes, sociologue, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
33. Alexis Meza Sánchez, historien, ancien dirigeant de la Fédération des étudiants de l’Université de Concepción.
34. Carlos Ossandón Buljevic, philosophe, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
35. Pedro Rosas Aravena, historien, directeur à l’École d’histoire et des sciences sociales de l’Université ARCIS.
36. Jonás Chnaidemann, biologiste, professeur à l’Université du Chili et sénateur universitaire de cette même université.
37. Marcelo Santos, communicateur social, éducateur et conseiller en communication et démocratie.
38. Pierina Ferretti, sociologue, professeure à l’Université de Valparaíso.
39. Luis Casado, ingénieur du CESI, à Francia, expert-conseil de la Confédération minière du Chili.
40. Mario Matus González, historien, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
41. Jorge Pinto Rodríguez, historien, professeur à l’Université de la Frontera, à Temuco.
42. Ignacio Díaz Concha, secrétaire général du centre étudiant du baccalauréat à l’Université du Chili.
43. Víctor de la Fuente, journaliste, directeur de l’édition chilienne du Monde Diplomatique.
44. Carlos Sandoval Ambiado, historien, professeur de l’Université de Los Lagos et de l’Université Viña del Mar.
45. Germán F. Westphal, linguiste, citoyen chilien et canadien.
46. Isabel Cassigoli, sociologue, professeur à l’Université ARCIS.
47. Margarita Iglesias Saldaña, historienne, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
48. Ángela Vergara, historienne, professeur à l’Université d’État de Californie, à Los Angeles, aux États-Unis
49. Jorge Chuaqui K., sociologue, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso, président de l’Association nationale des usagers des services de santé mentale (ANUSSAM).
50. Félix J. Aguirre D., sociologue et politicologue, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
51. Julio Pinto Vallejos, historien, professeur à l’Université de Santiago du Chili.
52. Mauricio Barría Jara, dramaturge, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
53. Darcie Doll Castillo, docteure en littérature, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
54. Carlos Molina Bustos, médedin chirurgien et historien, professeur d’histoire à l’École de santé publique de l’Université du Chili et de l’Université Viña del Mar.
55. Francisco de Torres, porte-parole générale de l’Assemblée des étudiants diplômés de la faculté de philosophie et des sciences sociales de l’Université du Chili..
56. Isabel Jara, historienne, professeure à l’Université du Chili.
57. Pedro Bravo Elizondo, docteur en littérature, professeur à l’Université d’État de Wichita, au Kansas, au États-Unis.
58. José del Pozo, historien, professeur à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, au Canada.
59. Marco Rodríguez W., sociologue, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
60. Igor Goicovic Donoso, historien, professeur à l’Université de Santiago du Chili.
61. Gabriel Muñoz, coordonnateur de l’Assemblée des étudiants d’histoire de l’Université du Chili.
62. Bárbara Brito, conseillère de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH), faculté de philosophie et des sciences sociales.
63. Benjamín Infante, conseiller de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH), faculté de philosophie et des sciences sociales.
64. Manuel Jesús Hidalgo Valdivia, économiste.
65. Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton, politicologue, professeur à l’Université ARCIS.
66. Iván Ljubetic Vargas, historien, ancien professeur à l’Université du Chili, campus de Temuco.
67. Rodrigo Contreras Molina, anthropologue, professeur à l’Université de la Frontera, à Temuco.
68. Marcelo Garrido Pereira, géographe, chef du cours de géographie de l’Université académique d’humanisme chrétien.
69. Javier Sandoval Ojeda, ancien président de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université de Concepción, pour 1996-1997.
70. Mario Valdés Vera, historien, professeur de l’Université de Concepción.
71. Pablo Aravena Núñez, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
72. César Cerda Albarracín, historien, professeur à l’Université métropolitaine de technologie.
73. Paz López, coordinatrice académique en chef des études culturelles à l’Université ARCIS.
74. María Soledad Jiménez, historienne, professeure à l’Université académique d’humanisme chrétien.
75. Mario Garcés Durán, historien, professeur à l’Université de Santiago du Chili, directeur de ECO Comunicaciones.
76. Rodrigo Zúñiga Contreras, philosophe, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
77. Sergio Rojas Contreras, philosophe, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
78. Carmen Gloria Bravo Quezada, historienne, professeure à l’Université de Santiago du Chili.
79. Miguel Valderrama, historien, professeur à l’Université ARCIS.
80. Kevin Villegas, sociologue, professeur à l’Université Pedro de Valdivia, campus de Chillán.
81. Alonso Serradell Díaz, maître en citoyenneté et droits de l’Homme : éthique et politique, Université de Barcelone.
82. Catherine Valenzuela Marchant, enseignante, étudiante au doctorat en histoire, Université du Chili.
83. Viviana Bravo Vargas, historienne, doctorante en études latinoaméricaines à l’Université nationale autonome du Mexique (UNAM).
84. Enrique Fernández Darraz, sociologue et historien.
85. Florencia Velasco, baccalauréat en littérature et étudiant à la maîtrise en littérature de l’Université du Chili, responsable de la rédaction de Lom Ediciones.
86. Blaise Pantel, membre du corps professoral du département de sociologie et de science politique, Université catholique de Temuco.
87. Sebastián Ríos Labbé, avocat, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
88. Oscar Zapata Cabello, délégué étudiant du cours de chimie, faculté des sciences de l’Université du Chili.
89. Evelin Ledesma Cruz, bénévole et militante pour le Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), Montréal, Québec, Canada.
90. Laureano Checa, Institut universitaire de la communication et de l’image (ICEI) à l’Université du Chili.
91. Lorena Antezana Barrios, professeure à l’Institut universitaire de la communication et de l’image (ICEI) à l’Université du Chili.
92. Milton Godoy Orellana, historien, professeur à l’Université académique d’humanisme chrétien.
93. José Miguel Labrín, professeur de l’Institut universitaire de la communication et de l’image (ICEI) à l’Université du Chili.
94. Ximena Poo Figueroa, professeure à l’Institut universitaire de la communication et de l’image (ICEI) à l’Université du Chili.
95. José Alberto de la Fuente, docteur en littérature, professeur à l’Université catholique Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez.
96. Jorge Gonzalorena Döll, sociologue, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
97. Sandra Oyarzo Torres, sage-femme, professeure à l’Université du Chili.
98. Luis Castro, historien, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
99. Patricio Troncoso Ovando, ingénieur de production, ancien président de la Fédération des étudiants de l’Université technique Federico Santa María (FEUTFSM), campus de Talcahuano, de 2001 à 2003.
100. Gonzalo Ojeda Urzúa, sociologue, professeur à l’Université de Valparaíso.
101. Valentina Saavedra, ancienne présidente du Centre des étudiants d’architecture et actuelle conseillère de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH), faculté d’architecture et d’urbanisme.
102. Cristián Pozo, sociologue.
103. Francisco Herrera, philosophe, professeur à l’Université du Chili.
104. Eleonora Reyes, historienne, professeure à l’Université du Chili.
105. Jorge Weil, économiste, professeure à l’Université du Los Lagos, Osorno.
106. Aldo González Becerra, biologiste, professeure à l’Université Autonome de Madrid et chercheur au Haut Conseil de Recherches Scientifiques (CSIC), Espagne.
107. Luis Mundaca, dirigeant syndical de la Fédération des syndicats de Heineken – CCU Chili, secrétaire général du Centre des Parents et Gardiens du Lycée professionnel (GELA), Santiago
108. Rodrigo Roco, ancien Président de la Fédération étudiante de l’Université du Chili (FECH).
109. Virginia Vidal, auteur.
The undersigned Chilean academics and student leaders denounce before the national and international public opinion the persecution of the Quebec student movement in Canada, as expressed in Bill 78, enacted on Saturday May 19 by the Provincial Government of Premier Jean Charest.
Bill 78, the “truncheon law”, is the most severe piece of legislation since the War Measures Act was used during the October Crisis in 1970, and has been denounced by the President of the Quebec Bar Association, Amnesty International, the League for Human Rights, four major unions, and various academic bodies. The bill infringes on Quebec citizens’ freedoms by restricting fundamental aspects of their freedoms of expression, protest, and association, consecrated in the Canadian Constitution and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
This bill not only affects the students who have been on strike protesting against the tuition hike for the past 15 weeks; it also severely affects the rights of all citizens – especially professors, academics, and workers – whose rights to expression and association are also being affected. Among the measures, we denounce those that prevent the spontaneous demonstrations of any group of more than fifty people, the prohibition of protests within fifty meters of any academic institution, strengthening the power of police forces by allowing them to decide whether a protest is legal or not at any moment, or whether an individual is an instigator.
Similarly, it punishes all public expressions of support for these mobilizations. For example, no one may restrict students’ entry to schools and universities during times of conflict under penalty of heavy fines for individuals, the student associations to which they may belong, as well as for workers’ and student union leaders. These fines vary from $1,000 to $125,000.
The leaders of student associations have announced that they will file legal motions against Bill 78 for its unconstitutional nature and they have called for the solidarity of all citizens.
The people of Quebec have supported the Chilean people for many long years through their active solidarity. Today, we feel compelled to express and demonstrate our full solidarity with their student associations and leaders, unions, and citizens’ movement.
We do this not only in solidarity, but also because we understand that any attack against freedoms in any part of this globalized world, is an attack against our own freedoms. The Chilean government’s so-called “Hinzpeter law” adopts the same repressive and undemocratic measures as Bill 78.
The struggles of Quebec students, academics and workers are also our struggles.
Santiago, Chile, May 24, 2012
1. Sergio Grez Toso, historian, faculty member of the University of Chile.
2. María Eugenia Domínguez, journalist, faculty member of the University of Chile.
3. Gabriel Boric, President, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
4. Camila Vallejo Dowling, Vice-President, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
5. Felipe Ramírez, General Secretary, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
6. Andrés Fielbaum, Communications Secretary, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
7. Pablo Soto Arrate, Executive Director of the Learning Centre of the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
8. Rodrigo Cárdenas Cabezas, General Secretary, University of Magallanes Student Federation, Punta Arenas.
9. Sebastián Aylwin Correa, Vice-President, Law School Student Centre, University of Chile.
10. Francisco Figueroa, former Vice-President, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
11. Loreto Fernández, former President, Faculty of Social Science Student Centre, University of Chile (2011); current Delegate for Well-being, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH).
12. Health Students Council, University of Chile.
13. Eloisa González Dominguez, Spokesperson, Manuel de Salas High School Student Assembly; Spokesperson, Secondary-School Students of Santiago, Coordination Assembly (ACES).
14. Gabriel González, President, National Institute Alumni Centre (CAIN) 2012, Santiago.
15. Álvaro Fernández, President, Vocational High School Student Government (GELA), 2011-2012, Santiago.
16. Matías Cárdenas, former Spokesperson (2011),Vocational High School; current Executive Secretary, Vocational High School Student Government (GELA), 2011-2012, Santiago.
17. Tamara Castro, President, Carmela Carvajal de Prat High School Student Centre, Providencia, Santiago.
18. Diego Bautista Cubillos Polo, Executive Secretary, Barros Arana Internado Nacional Student Centre, Santiago.
19. Jorge Silva, President, José Victorino Lastarria High School Student Centre, Providencia, Santiago.
20. Camila Hernández, President, Tajamar High School Student Centre, Providencia, Santiago.
21. Moisés Paredes, former Spokesperson, Arturo Alessandri Palma High School, Providencia, Santiago; current representative of students who have been expelled and have lost their scholarship to this high school.
22. Camila Fuentes, President, Providencia 7 High School Student Centre (CELIS) 2012, Santiago.
23. Sebastián Vielmas, former General Secretary (2011), Catholic University of Chile Student Federation (FEUC).
24. Pablo Oyarzún Robles, philosopher, faculty member of the University of Chile.
25. Eduardo Flores Retamal, President, University of Chile Veterinary School Student Centre.
26. Carlos Ruiz Encina, sociologist, faculty member of the University of Chile.
27. José Aylwin, lawyer, faculty member of the University Austral of Chile, Valdivia.
28. Manuel Loyola, historian, faculty member of the University of Santiago de Chile.
29. Ariel Russel García, Advisor, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH) from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
30. Diego Corvalán, Advisor, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH); former General Secretary of the University of Chile Social Sciences Student Centre.
31. Faride Zerán, journalist, faculty member of the University of Chile, winner of the National Award for Journalism (2007).
32. Felipe Portales Cifuentes, sociologist, faculty member of the University of Chile.
33. Alexis Meza Sánchez, historian, former leader of the University of Concepción Student Federation.
34. Carlos Ossandón Buljevic, philosopher, faculty member of the University of Chile.
35. Pedro Rosas Aravena, historian, Director of the University ARCIS School of History and Social Sciences.
36. Jonás Chnaidemann, biologist, faculty member and university senator of the University of Chile.
37. Marcelo Santos, social communications, educator and consultant in communications and democracy.
38. Pierina Ferretti, sociologist, faculty member of the University of Valparaíso.
39. Luis Casado, engineer with CESI (France), advisor of the Mining Confederation of Chile.
40. Mario Matus González, historian, faculty member of the University of Chile.
41. Jorge Pinto Rodríguez, historian, faculty member of the University of la Frontera, Temuco.
42. Ignacio Díaz Concha, General Secretary, University of Chile Baccalaureate Student Centre.
43. Víctor de la Fuente, journalist, Director of the Chilean edition of Le Monde Diplomatique.
44. Carlos Sandoval Ambiado, historian, faculty member of the University of Los Lagos and of the University Viña del Mar.
45. Germán F. Westphal, linguist, Chilean-Canadian citizen.
46. Isabel Cassigoli, sociologist, faculty member of the University ARCIS.
47. Margarita Iglesias Saldaña, historian, faculty member of the University of Chile.
48. Ángela Vergara, historian, faculty member of California State University, Los Angeles, USA.
49. Jorge Chuaqui K., sociologist, faculty member of the University of Valparaiso, President of the National Association of Mental Health Services Beneficiaries (ANUSSAM).
50. Félix J. Aguirre D., sociologist and political scientist, faculty member of the University of Valparaiso.
51. Julio Pinto Vallejos, historian, faculty member of the University of Santiago de Chile.
52. Mauricio Barría Jara, playwright, faculty member of the University of Chile.
53. Darcie Doll Castillo, PhD in Literature, faculty member of the University of Chile.
54. Carlos Molina Bustos, surgeon and historian, faculty member of history in the School of Public Health in the University of Chile and the University of Viña del Mar.
55. Francisco de Torres, General Spokesperson for the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities Postgraduate Student Assembly at the University of Chile.
56. Isabel Jara, historian, faculty member of the University of Chile.
57. Pedro Bravo Elizondo, PhD in Literature, faculty member of Wichita State University, Kansas, USA.
58. José del Pozo, historian, faculty member of the Université de Québec à Montreal, Canada.
59. Marco Rodríguez W., sociologist, faculty member of the University of Valparaiso.
60. Igor Goicovic Donoso, historian, faculty member of the University of Santiago de Chile.
61. Gabriel Muñoz, Coordinator, History Students Assembly of the University of Chile.
62. Bárbara Brito, Advisor, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH), Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities.
63. Benjamín Infante, Advisor, University of Chile Student Federation (FECH), Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities.
64. Manuel Jesús Hidalgo Valdivia, economist.
65. Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton, political scientist, faculty member of the University ARCIS.
66. Iván Ljubetic Vargas, historian, former faculty member of the University of Chile campus in Temuco.
67. Rodrigo Contreras Molina, anthropologist, faculty member of the University of la Frontera, Temuco.
68. Marcelo Garrido Pereira, geographer, Head of the Geography Department at the University Academy of Christian Humanism.
69. Javier Sandoval Ojeda, former President of the University of Concepción Student Federation, (1996-1997).
70. Mario Valdés Vera, historian, faculty member of the University of Concepción.
71. Pablo Aravena Núñez, faculty member of the University of Valparaiso.
72. César Cerda Albarracín, historian, faculty member of the Metropolitan Technological University.
73. Paz López, Academic Coordinator, Masters in Cultural Studies, University ARCIS.
74. María Soledad Jiménez, historian, faculty member of the University Academy of Christian Humanism.
75. Mario Garcés Durán, historian, faculty member of the University of Santiago de Chile, Director of ECO Communications.
76. Rodrigo Zúñiga Contreras, philosopher, faculty member of the University of Chile.
77. Sergio Rojas Contreras, philosopher, faculty member of the University of Chile.
78. Carmen Gloria Bravo Quezada, historian, faculty member of the University of Santiago de Chile.
79. Miguel Valderrama, historian, faculty member of the University ARCIS.
80. Kevin Villegas, sociologist, faculty member of the University Pedro de Valdivia campus in Chillán.
81. Alonso Serradell Díaz, Master in Citizenship and Human Rights: Ethics and Policy, University of Barcelona.
82. Catherine Valenzuela Marchant, profesor, doctoral student in History at the University of Chile.
83. Viviana Bravo Vargas, historian, doctoral student in Latin American Studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
84. Enrique Fernández Darraz, sociologist and historian.
85. Florencia Velasco, BA in Literature and masters student in Literature at the University of Chile, Universidad de Chile, editor of Lom Editions.
86. Blaise Pantel, faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Political Science, Catholic University of Temuco.
87. Sebastián Ríos Labbé, lawyer, faculty member of the University of Chile.
88. Oscar Zapata Cabello, student delegate for the School of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences at the University of Chile.
89. Evelin Ledesma Cruz, volunteer and activist with the Committee on Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
90. Laureano Checa, faculty member of the Communication and Image Institute (ICEI) of the University of Chile.
91. Lorena Antezana Barrios, faculty member of the Communication and Image Institute (ICEI) of the University of Chile.
92. Milton Godoy Orellana, historian, faculty member of the University Academy of Christian Humanism.
93. José Miguel Labrín, faculty member of the Communication and Image Institute (ICEI) of the University of Chile.
94. Ximena Poo Figueroa, faculty member of the Communication and Image Institute (ICEI) of the University of Chile.
95. José Alberto de la Fuente, PhD in Literature, faculty member of the Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez Catholic University.
96. Jorge Gonzalorena Döll, sociologist, faculty member of the University of Valparaíso.
97. Sandra Oyarzo Torres, matron, faculty member of the University of Chile.
98. Luis Castro, historian, faculty member of the University of Valparaíso.
99. Patricio Troncoso Ovando, production engineer, former President of the Federico Santa María Technical University Student Federation (FEUTFSM) at the Talcahuano campus (2001-2003).
100. Gonzalo Ojeda Urzúa, sociologist, faculty member of the University of Valparaíso.
101. Valentina Saavedra, former President of the Architecture Students’ Centre, current Advisor for the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH) Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism.
102. Cristián Pozo, sociologist.
103. Francisco Herrera, philosopher, faculty member of the University of Chile.
104. Eleonora Reyes, historian, faculty member of the University of Chile.
105. Jorge Weil, economist, faculty member of the University of Los Lagos, Osorno.
106. Aldo González Becerra, biologist, faculty member of the Autonomous University of Madrid, researcher with the Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Spain.
107. Luis Mundaca, union leader of the Heineken Union Federation – CCU Chile, General Secretary of the Vocational High School Parents and Guardians Centre, Santiago.
108. Rodrigo Roco, former President of the University of Chile Student Federation (FECH), (1997).
109. Virginia Vidal, author.
Los abajo firmantes, académicos y dirigentes estudiantiles chilenos, denunciamos a la opinión pública nacional e internacional la persecución contra el movimiento estudiantil del Quebec, Canadá, expresada en la Ley 78, promulgada el jueves 19 de mayo por el gobierno del Primer Ministro Jean Charest.
La ley 78, llamada “Ley matraca”, es la más dura desde la Ley de Medidas de Guerra en Octubre de 1970 y ha sido denunciada por el mismísimo Presidente de la Orden de Abogados de esa provincia, así como por Amnistía International, la Liga de Derechos Humanos, las cuatro principales centrales sindicales y diferentes cuerpos académicos. Ella coarta las libertades fundamentales de los ciudadanos del Quebec, restringe en sus aspectos fundamentales la libertad de expresión, la libertad de manifestar y la libertad de asociación consagradas por la Constitución y por la Carta de Derechos del Quebec.
Esta Ley afecta no sólo a los estudiantes en huelga desde hace quince semanas contra el alza de aranceles, sino también al conjunto de la ciudadanía, particularmente profesores, académicos y trabajadores cuyo derechos de expresión y de asociación están siendo afectados. Dentro de estas medidas denunciamos aquellas que impiden las manifestaciones espontáneas de todo grupo de más de cincuenta personas; la prohibición de manifestar a menos de cincuenta metros de los establecimientos escolares; el reforzamiento del poder de las fuerzas policiales al permitirles decidir si una manifestación es legal o ilegal en cualquier momento, o si alguien es instigador.
Del mismo modo, se castiga toda expresión pública de apoyo a las movilizaciones. Ahora, por ejemplo, nadie en Quebec puede durante un conflicto impedir la entrada de los estudiantes a colegios y universidades, so pena de multas individuales y a la asociación estudiantil a la que pertenezcan, o a los líderes sindicales y estudiantiles. Estas multas varían de mil a 125 mil dólares.
Las directivas estudiantiles han anunciado que apelaran jurídicamente de esta ley por su inconstitucionalidad y han demandado la solidaridad de toda la ciudadanía.
El pueblo quebequense ha acompañado al pueblo chileno durante largos años con su solidaridad activa, es por ello que hoy nos sentimos convocados a expresar y demostrar nuestra más amplia solidaridad con sus organizaciones estudiantiles y sus dirigentes, con sus centrales sindicales y con todo su movimiento ciudadano.
Lo hacemos por solidaridad, pero también porque entendemos que cualquier ataque en contra de las libertades en cualquier lugar del mundo globalizado, es una ataque contra nuestras libertades. La llamada “ley Hinzpeter” impulsada por el gobierno chileno se inscribe en la misma perspectiva represiva y antidemocrática.
La lucha de los estudiantes, académicos y trabajadores quebequenses es también nuestra lucha.
Santiago de Chile, 24 de mayo de 2012.
Sergio Grez Toso, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
María Eugenia Domínguez, periodista, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Gabriel Boric, Presidente de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Camila Vallejo Dowling, Vice-Presidenta de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Felipe Ramírez, Secretario General de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Andrés Fielbaum, Secretario de Comunicaciones de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Pablo Soto Arrate, Director Ejecutivo del Centro de Estudios de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Rodrigo Cárdenas Cabezas, Secretario General de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas.
Sebastián Aylwin Correa, Vicepresidente del Centro de Estudiantes de la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Chile.
Francisco Figueroa, ex Vicepresidente de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH), 2011.
Loreto Fernández, ex Presidenta del Centro de Estudiantes de la Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Chile (2011) y actual delegada de Bienestar de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH).
Consejo de Estudiantes de la Salud de la Universidad de Chile.
Eloísa González Domínguez, Vocera de la Asamblea de Estudiantes de Liceo Manuel de Salas, Vocera de la Asamblea Coordinadora de Estudiantes Secundarios de Santiago (ACES).
Gabriel González, Presidente del Centro de Alumnos del Instituto Nacional (CAIN) 2012, Santiago.
Álvaro Fernández, Presidente del Gobierno Estudiantil del Liceo de Aplicación (GELA) 2011-2012, Santiago.
Matías Cárdenas, ex-vocero 2011 del Liceo de Aplicación, actual Secretario Ejecutivo del Gobierno Estudiantil del Liceo de Aplicación (GELA) 2011-2012, Santiago.
Tamara Castro, Presidenta del Centro de Estudiantes del Liceo Carmela Carvajal de Prat, Providencia, Santiago.
Diego Bautista Cubillos Polo, Secretario Ejecutivo del Centro de Alumnos Internado Nacional Barros Arana, Santiago.
Jorge Silva, Presidente Centro de Alumnos del Liceo José Victorino Lastarria, Providencia, Santiago.
Camila Hernández, Presidenta del Centro de Estudiantes Liceo Tajamar 2012, Providencia, Santiago.
Moisés Paredes, ex vocero del Liceo Arturo Alessandri Palma, Providencia, Santiago,actual representante de los alumnos expulsados y sin matrícula de ese colegio.
Camila Fuentes, Presidenta del Centro de Alumnas del Liceo 7 de Providencia (CELIS), 2012, Santiago.
Sebastián Vielmas, ex Secretario General (2011) de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad Católica de Chile (FEUC).
Pablo Oyarzún Robles, filósofo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Eduardo Flores Retamal, Presidente del Centro de Estudiantes de Medicina Veterinaria de la Universidad de Chile.
Carlos Ruiz Encina, sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
José Aylwin, abogado, académico de la Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia.
Manuel Loyola, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
Ariel Russel García, consejero de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH) de la Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas.
Diego Corvalán, Consejero de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH) y ex Secretario General del Centro de Estudiantes de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Chile.
Faride Zerán, periodista, académica de la Universidad de Chile, Premio Nacional dePeriodismo.
Felipe Portales Cifuentes, sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Alexis Meza Sánchez, historiador, ex dirigente de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Concepción.
Carlos Ossandón Buljevic, filósofo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Pedro Rosas Aravena, historiador, Director de la Escuela de Historia y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad ARCIS.
Jonás Chnaidemann, biólogo, académico de la Universidad de Chile y senador universitario de la misma casa de estudios.
Marcelo Santos, comunicador social, educador y consultor en comunicación y democracia.
Pierina Ferretti, socióloga, académica de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Luis Casado, ingeniero del CESI, Francia, asesor de la Confederación Minera de Chile.
Mario Matus González, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Jorge Pinto Rodríguez, historiador, académico de la Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco.
Ignacio Díaz Concha, Secretario General del Centro de Estudiantes de Bachillerato de la
Universidad de Chile.
Víctor de la Fuente, periodista, Director de la edición chilena de Le MondeDiplomatique.
Carlos Sandoval Ambiado, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Los Lagos y de la Universidad Viña del Mar.
Germán F. Westphal, lingüista, ciudadano chileno canadiense.
Isabel Cassigoli, socióloga, académica de la Universidad ARCIS.
Margarita Iglesias Saldaña, historiadora, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Ángela Vergara, historiadora, académica de California State University, Los Ángeles, Estados Unidos.
Jorge Chuaqui K., sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso, Presidente de la Agrupación Nacional de Usuarios de Servicios de Salud Mental (ANUSSAM).
Félix J. Aguirre D., sociólogo y cientista político, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Julio Pinto Vallejos, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
Mauricio Barría Jara, dramaturgo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Darcie Doll Castillo, Dra. en Literatura, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Carlos Molina Bustos, médico-cirujano e historiador, académico de Historia de la Escuela de Salud Pública de la Universidad de Chile y de la Universidad Viña del Mar.
Francisco de Torres, vocero general de la Asamblea de Estudiantes de Postgrado de la Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades de la Universidad de Chile.
Isabel Jara, historiadora, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Pedro Bravo Elizondo, Dr. en Literatura, académico de Wichita State University, Kansas, Estados Unidos.
José del Pozo, historiador, académico de la Université de Québec à Montreal, Canadá.
Marco Rodríguez W., sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Igor Goicovic Donoso, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
Gabriel Muñoz, coordinador de la Asamblea de Estudiantes de Historia de la Universidad de Chile.
Bárbara Brito, consejera de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH), Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades.
Benjamín Infante, consejero de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH), Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades.
Manuel Jesús Hidalgo Valdivia, economista.
Juan Carlos Gómez Leyton, cientista político, académico de la Universidad ARCIS.
Iván Ljubetic Vargas, historiador, ex académico de la Universidad de Chile sede Temuco.
Rodrigo Contreras Molina, antropólogo, académico de la Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco.
Marcelo Garrido Pereira, geógrafo, Jefe de la carrera de Geografía de la Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano.
Javier Sandoval Ojeda, ex Presidente de la Federación de Estudiante de la Universidad de Concepción, período 1996-1997.
Mario Valdés Vera, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Concepción.
Pablo Aravena Núñez, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
César Cerda Albarracín, historiador, académico de la Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana.
Paz López, Coordinadora Académica Magíster en Estudios Culturales, Universidad ARCIS.
María Soledad Jiménez, historiadora, académica Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano.
Mario Garcés Durán, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Director de ECO Comunicaciones.
Rodrigo Zúñiga Contreras, filósofo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Sergio Rojas Contreras, filósofo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Carmen Gloria Bravo Quezada, historiadora, académica de la Universidad de Santiago de Chile.
Miguel Valderrama, historiador, académico de la Universidad ARCIS.
Kevin Villegas, sociólogo, académico de la Universidad Pedro de Valdivia, sede Chillán.
Alonso Serradell Díaz, Máster en Ciudadanía y Derechos Humanos: Ética y Política, Universidad de Barcelona.
Catherine Valenzuela Marchant, profesora, estudiante de Doctorado en Historia, Universidad de Chile.
Viviana Bravo Vargas, historiadora, doctorante en Estudios Latinoamericanos en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
Enrique Fernández Darraz, sociólogo e historiador.
Florencia Velasco, Licenciada en Literatura y estudiante de Magíster en Literatura de la Universidad de Chile, responsable de edición editorial Lom Ediciones.
Blaise Pantel, docente del Departamento de Sociología y Ciencia Política, Universidad Católica de Temuco.
Sebastián Ríos Labbé, abogado, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Oscar Zapata Cabello, delegado estudiantil de la Carrera de Química, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile.
Evelin Ledesma Cruz, voluntaria y militante del Comité pour les Droits Humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), Montréal, Québec, Canadá.
Laureano Checa, académico del Instituto de la Comunicación y de la Imagen (ICEI) de la Universidad de Chile.
Lorena Antezana Barrios, académico del Instituto de la Comunicación y de la Imagen (ICEI) de la Universidad de Chile.
Milton Godoy Orellana, historiador, académico de la Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano.
José Miguel Labrín, académica del Instituto de la Comunicación y de la Imagen (ICEI) de la Universidad de Chile.
Ximena Poo Figueroa, académica del Instituto de la Comunicación y de la Imagen (ICEI) de la Universidad de Chile.
José Alberto de la Fuente, Dr. en Literatura, académico de la Universidad Católica
Cardenal Raúl Silva Henríquez.
Jorge Gonzalorena Döll, sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Sandra Oyarzo Torres, matrona, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Luis Castro, historiador, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Patricio Troncoso Ovando, ingeniero en Producción, ex presidente de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (FEUTFSM) sede Talcahuano, periodo 2001 al 2003.
Gonzalo Ojeda Urzúa, sociólogo, académico de la Universidad de Valparaíso.
Valentina Saavedra, ex Presidenta del Centro de Estudiantes de Arquitectura y actual consejera de la Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH) de la Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo.
Cristián Pozo, sociólogo.
Francisco Herrera, filósofo, académico de la Universidad de Chile.
Eleonora Reyes, historiadora, académica de la Universidad de Chile.
Jorge Weil, economista, académico, Universidad de Los Lagos, Osorno.
Aldo González Becerra, biólogo, académico de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid e investigador del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), España.
Luis Mundaca, dirigente sindical de la Federación de Sindicatos de Heineken – CCU Chile y Secretario General del Centro de Padres y Apoderados del Liceo de Aplicación, Santiago.
Rodrigo Roco, ex Presidente de la Federación de Estudiantes de Chile (FECH) (1997).
Virginia Vidal, escritora.
Québec Students Spark the ‘Maple Spring’
The following is a collection of my interviews and articles on the Québec student movement and the emergence of the ‘Maple Spring’
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of The People’s Book Project. He also hosts a weekly podcast show, “Empire, Power, and People,” on BoilingFrogsPost.com.
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