This was read last night at a People’s Assembly in Madison, Wisconsin - one day after Scott Walker won the recall election. Immediately afterwards we marched from the Capitol to the UW Madison campus banging pots and pans and wearing red squares, the symbol of the Quebec student strike and movement.
Today is day 479 of our struggle here in Wisconsin. Many of us are tired; we may feel like it’s time to take a break. But now that the recall is over, we have the opportunity to begin a new chapter in the Wisconsin Uprising. For this, we should take inspiration from the student strike and anti-austerity protests currently occurring in Quebec.
Students in Quebec went on strike in February over the government’s plan to raise tuition by 75%. The strike continues today without any indication that it will end. This is significant because students in Quebec currently pay the lowest tuition in Canada. But the issue is not the money. The Quebec students recognize this as one more step towards increasing their debt, forcing them to work more hours, and making education unattainable for a large segment of the population. Raising tuition in Quebec is an attack on the 99%.
So what can we in Wisconsin learn from these brave students? What the students are doing is rejecting the idea of “shared sacrifice”, a phrase we’ve heard uttered by politicians from both parties. “Shared sacrifice” is meaningless when our wages and our standard of living has been declining for decades, while incomes at the top have been on the rise. Scott Walker thinks that we, the students, the public sector union members, the unemployed, and just about everyone else should pay for the economic crisis while the 1% maintains and increases their vast wealth. This is not shared sacrifice, this is class war! We need to stand up and fight back, and say “no” to concessions. If we don’t stand up now to say we won’t pay another dime, things are going to continue to get worse.
This is the essence of the pots and pans march. Every night, people - not just students - come out of their homes, meet up in the streets, and march together while making a racket. It’s angry but peaceful; bold and in-your-face but determined and persevering. We can take the Quebec idea and apply it right here in Wisconsin to say “no more cuts, no more compromise”. It’s time for working people in this state to take a stand against austerity, because “the notion… that [we] should not struggle against a bankrupt future is a bankrupted argument.”
The fight we are currently leading in Quebec is the same as the ones workers and students of Wisconsin and throughout the world are in.
We are only a small part of a global struggle against social and economic injustice.
We have to restart to think about concrete ways to ensure solidarity between our struggles.
Over the borders, over our own interests, over our differences, we can find a global link that unites us all.
We are eager to be free.
Free from domination, oppression and domination from the corporate elites.
We might only be writing the first lines of the story of a global fight, but one thing is for sure, we all know the end of that story.
In the end, our solidarity will beat their oppression!
Quand l’injustice devient loi, la résistance est un devoir!
Which means: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty!
(From the Quebec student organization ASSESolidarite, sent in by ASSESolidarite member Guillaume Lagault.)
Keep up the real fight, no matter what it takes.
Solidarity from the streets of london….
HELLO Quebec! So many of us are even now wearing the red felt. Sure we went home drunk and sad last night (well I did). But we woke up angry this morning. Radicalize, Organize, Mobilize! Solidarity Forever Quebec!
I’m a student from the University of Athens in Greece and I want to express my solidarity to you! Every day I look for photos, videos and articles of yours and I share them with me friends and my fellow students! Our hearts are with you! Keep fighting till the win!!!
Ce soir, nous marchions à Madison, WI avec des casseroles et des carrés rouges.
Tonight we marched in Madison, Wisconsin with pots and pans and red squares.
As soon as education is run for the purposes of profiteering, its meaning of purpose and principle becomes intrinsically devalued. Rather than being the publicly accessed priority to alleviate the talents, merits and intellects of all individuals in society as it should be, it merely serves to ensure collectivist neoliberal control via the methods of debt and wage slavery. The Quebec student movement is the western hemisphere’s in may aspects the parallel to the efforts for universal education seen in Chile. I am keen on a slogan of the latter movement: “If they won’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep.” In a broader sense, the defence of education from corporate profiteering and commercialization is a stand for basic human dignity and justice from hegemonic agendas a whole. The movement in Quebec serves as an example to the rest of the developed world on how to respond to them effectively.
- Jacob Richardson
I send my support and solidarity to the Quebec students. Education is a gift from one generation to another. Not a commodity to be bought and sold. You have my admiration for standing up and fighting back.
John McDonnell MP
Share this photo…
An invitation to an evening in support of CLASSE (Quebec) — please forward this invite to interested people and networks —
22 June 2012 - from 7pm
Centre for Possible Studies
21 Gloucester Place
Marble Arch, W1U 8HR
In response to an urgent appeal for support from CLASSE in Quebec - due to mounting legal costs because of the massive student strike and rebellion - Plan C London is hosting an evening of support and solidarity with films and discussion. The urgent appeal from CLASSE can be found here: http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/urgent-appeal-from-classe-in-quebec/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter