Commentary by Kevin Paul, McGill law student on the current conjuncture. First published in McGill Daily on 30th August, 2012
“First, if the September 4 election indeed leads to major concessions on student demands by the newly elected party, it is the rapport de force that we have created with the state, and not our engagement in the electoral process, that will be responsible for our gains. The Parti Québecois (PQ), which leads in the polls, has promised a temporary tuition freeze, but not out of any genuine commitment to accessible education: in 1996, then-Education Minister, now-PQ leader, Pauline Marois presided over an attempt to raise fees by 30 per cent (a strike put an end to the plan).
It was the crisis generated this past spring, not the lobbying of political parties or scripted appeals to the electorate, that made it politically opportune for the PQ to oppose the Liberals’ plan to raise tuition at all costs. It was massive student mobilization that ultimately forced the election call and made the tuition hike an election issue. And it was sustained economic disruption that triggered the more visibly repressive measures that have cost Charest support from the segment of his base that favors a veneer of social peace above the machinations of accelerating neoliberal exploitation. Finally, it will be continued mobilization, through strikes, mass demonstrations, and economic disruption, that will force a PQ government to keep its promises.”
The entire commentary is published on McGill Daily, 30th August, 2012 http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2012/08/elections-are-not-a-solution/
Elections are not a solution
Out of the voting booths, into the streets
Written by Kevin Paul
In mid-summer, almost four months after the Quebec student strike of 2012 had entered uncharted territory as the longest in the province’s history, Premier Jean Charest played his final card. With CEGEP students prepared to renew strike mandates despite threats of a lost semester, and the Special Law lying in shreds under the feet of a hundred thousand illegal demonstrators, Charest called a provincial election, over a year before his term was set to expire. On September 4, Quebec residents will enter voting booths. Read more »