Organizing our education struggle – Winter Camp for the Mob squads
An effort to strengthen ties, improve exchange of information, and sharing of skills between universities and CEGEPs in Montreal post November 10th led to the organizing of an extensive Winter Camp with a number of workshops over two days next weekend!
The workshops were based on the needs that a number of old and new mobilizers identified, which are meant to provide hard skills and facts that’d greatly help our mobilization effort as well as give an overview of the history and context of student movement.
Saturday, January 14, at GSA (2030 Mackay, Concordia University)
Sunday, January 15, at SSMU (SSMU building, McTavish street, McGill University)
with FREE meals and snacks!
Let’s march together towards victory!
(detailed schedule below).
10:00-11:15 History of student movement
11:30-12:30 History of student movement at Mcgill
13:30-15:15 Context of student hikes (Neoliberal policies in QC and beyond/ Austerity budget)
15:30-16:30 Arguments against the hikes
16:30-17:30 Practice debate
18:30-20:30 Managing stress – avoiding burnout
10:00-11:15 Workshop on General Assemblies (how to prepare/ chair/ manage)
11:30-12:30 History of student movement at Concordia
13:30-15:15 Mobilization for general strike (what/how to – departmental)
15:30-16:30 Security (basic pointers/ organization abc/ campus space)
16:30-17:30 Out-of-province and international students (info on fees/ how to mobilize)
18:30-20:30 Info materials – how to (making the tools work for you!)
————————–D E T A I L E D S C H E D U L E ————————–
10:00-11:15 HISTORY OF STUDENT MOVEMENT (WHAT DOES A STRIKE MEAN/WHY STRIKE) (Jaouad Laaroussi)
This workshop will explore the Quebec student movement since 1968. We’ll discuss how the general strikes in 1968 and 1974 laid a foundation for combative student unionism as a practice to fight for their rights. While we see a wave of concerted efforts by student unions in 1980’s, prevailing hegemonies took over the movement in the 1990s. The workshop will then examine the return of combative unionism around the general strike of 1996 (that succeeded in freezing the tuition fees for the next eleven (11) years!) and that of 2005, and the protests around summit of Americas.
These moments in the history let us appreciate the struggle; the take away from the workshop will be the analysis of what worked and what did not, and how the evolutionary path was laid. Understanding the history of student movement over the last four decades will allow us to appreciate where we are at and where we are (and should) be heading.
11:30-12:30 HISTORY OF STUDENT MOVEMENT AT MCGILL (Cleve Higgins)
This workshop would help current students learn and understand about what has happened at McGill in terms of student activism in the yesteryears. It would give an idea about what was tried in the past, what worked and was effective, and what did not. The workshop will also cover GRASPé (GrassRoots Association for Student Power) an independent student group at McGill that was committed to direct action, which not many students know about today!
12:30-13:30 Lunch (Hall building, 7th floor)
13:30-15:15 CONTEXT OF STUDENT HIKES (NEOLIBERAL POLICIES IN QC AND BEYOND) (Martin Robert)
This workshop, which will last about an hour, deals with the commodification of education. It will cover the main arguments against rising tuition, against the commodification of education and for a general strike as a mean of opposition to these politics. It will therefore be a mainly theoretical presentation, which aims to provide the participants with arguments that should help them defend the opposition to rising tuition in situations of mobilization.
The presentation will be followed by a lively discussion/debate!
15:30-16:30 ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE HIKES (Simon Tremblay-Pepin, Institute of Socio-Economic Research and Information (IRIS))
The session will elaborate on the arguments as to why this tuition hike is not necessary – basically refuting the arguments that the government and neo-liberal think tanks throw at as: universities are underfunded, so tuition fees needs to go up, students have to pay their fair share, and so on.
This workshop will empower us to challenge students (&non-students) to think critically and hopefully about the state of the education system and have meaningful and constructive dialogues as we mobilize.
16:30-17:30 PRACTICE DEBATE
Whether you’re a seasoned student activist or a new one, we all need to brush up on our arguments against the hike!
17:30-18:30 Dinner (Hall building, 7th floor)
18:30-20:30 MANAGING STRESS – AVOIDING BURNOUT (Kota Harbron)
This workshop aims to move beyond the familiar tea-and-bubble-baths conversations about “self care”. We will focus instead on care as a necessary part of any movement, the importance of kindness and looking out for each other, prefigurative politics, interdependence, prioritizing care & support and building these into our work as organizers (and humans).
10:00-11:15 WORKSHOP ON GENERAL ASSEMBLIES (how to prepare/ chair/ manage)
11:30-12:30 HISTORY OF THE STUDENT MOVEMENT AT CONCORDIA (Sabine Friesinger)
Concordia has a rich activist history that the administration won’t put in their brochures. Over the years, diverse students have come together to fight for their vision of the university, and won. The workshop will cover the highlights of the student movement at Concordia including the successful battle to freeze tuition in the 90s.
13:30-15:15 MOBILIZATION FOR GENERAL STRIKE (what/how to – departmental) (Max Larue)
What does it take to have a general strike at a school? What role the grassroots mobilization play, how important is it to have direct democracy at departmental and faculty levels? This workshop explores various means and together we’ll find the best strategy that’d work in our respective schools.
15:30-16:30 SECURITY (basic pointers/ organization abc/ campus space) (Jaggi Singh)
How do we avoid repression at the hands of the state or university security while building solidarity in our movements? This workshop will provide pointers as well as a space for open discussion.
16:30-17:30 OUT-OF-PROVINCE AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS (info on fees/ how to mobilize) (Joël Pedneault)
This workshop will focus on the specific realities of out-of-province Canadian students and international students. Topics will include: what the effects of the Quebec austerity budget are for these categories of students, systemic forms of discrimination affecting especially international students, why we should strive for free education for all regardless of origin or status.
18:30-20:30 INTRO TO GRAPHIC DEISGN (making the tools work for you!) (Victor Tangermann)
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn the basics of graphic design, using such technologically advanced novelties as Photoshop.