This spring, students across Quebec will strike against austerity. The Spring 2015 movement has united students and workers in the fight for free and accessible education, and is benefitting from the lessons learned in the Maple Spring of 2012. Coming from outside the traditional student organizations, the Spring 2015 committee has already organized a number of actions to promote the upcoming strike. For instance, over 80,000 students went on strike against austerity on Halloween 2014. This is all leading up to February, when students in Quebec will be convening special general assemblies to vote-in strike mandates. Combined with commitments from a number of labour unions to also support the movement, this spring is shaping up to be very exciting in Quebec.
And in the rest of Canada? Despite the fact that austerity measures have hit students in the rest of Canada even harder than in Quebec –Ontario, for instance, has the highest tuition fees in the country and the lowest per-capita funding for education- virtually nothing is being done. The main student associations (the Canadian Federation of Students and Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) are nearly silent on the movement developing in Quebec. Just like in 2012, they are not mobilizing for a strike or even for solidarity actions, and instead have a strategy of conciliatory government lobbying. And despite the fact that we’ve had three years to learn from the example of the Maple Spring, the CFS and CASA have been content to maintain their bureaucratic and anti-democratic structures, which have proven to be ineffective at protecting the interests of students.
Enough is enough.
The Revolutionary Student Movement is calling for a pan-Canadian day of action against austerity and in solidarity with the Spring 2015 movement on March 24, 2015. We call for the creation of mobilization committees on campuses across Canada with the intent of organizing actions –strikes, demonstrations, walk-outs, etc. – on March 24. These mobilization committees will be safe and accessible to all people that wish to participate; in short, any sort of oppressive behaviour (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, national chauvinism, etc.) will not be tolerated within these committees. The committees must strive to be anti-colonial, feminist and LGBTQ2S+ inclusive, expressed in the committees’ political leadership and in their actions.
Let’s use this opportunity to build a student movement across Canada that is not afraid to fight, and not afraid to win. Let’s use this opportunity to build a student movement that is not content with simply begging the government for scraps by lobbying. And let’s use this opportunity to show the students of Quebec that the rest of Canada stands behind them in their struggle.
Abolition of tuition at all levels of education! Cancellation of all outstanding student debt!
Students should no longer have to pay for education. Students who could not afford post-secondary education should no longer be punished by high-interest student loans.
Open access to post-secondary education for all!
Free tuition alone cannot guarantee accessibility. We demand guaranteed admission to every post-secondary institution for all students. Good quality post-secondary education should not simply be for the elite; everyone should have access to the schools and programs of their choice.
Education in the service of the people, not profit!
Education should serve the interests of people, not corporations or profit. Research should be done for the benefit of all, not the benefit of private firms. We demand that a democratic and scientific education should replace the imperialist, settler colonial and patriarchal curriculum in post-secondary schools. Education should prepare us to struggle for justice and liberation, not simply prepare us to work.
Access to post-secondary education for all indigenous people and an anti-colonial aspect to all programs!
We recognize that Canada, as a settler colony, is built on stolen land and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Increased funding must be made available for all indigenous people to have access to post-secondary education, as well as for the creation of indigenous colleges and universities. We demand that education preserves the cultures and languages of indigenous people within post-secondary education, and a necessary anti-colonial component to all programs.
Democratic control of post-secondary institutions!
Universities and colleges should be run by the people they serve, not by unelected boards of governors filled with representatives of the big banks and large corporations. We demand the abolition of boards of governors, and their replacement with representative bodies composed of students, faculty, support staff, and members of the community. All representatives should be determined by the university’s community, and subject to recall at any time.
By uniting across Canada and Quebec, we can build a movement that will shake society to its foundations. We can win a truly liberating and democratic education system that serves the people. So what are we waiting for?
See you in the streets on March 24!
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