Inspired by the ongoing student movement, we have assembled this special issue of wi to provide a common space for short reflections on the on-going student demonstrations against the latest provincial budget in Quebec, as well as the imposition of “Bill 78”, the so-called “special law” passed on May 18th 2012 that extended the powers of the police in the province in contravention of the Quebec and Canadian Charters of Rights and Freedoms. The majority of submissions are from professors and students living and working in Quebec who offer their first-hand accounts of the current situation. This is the first installment of contributions that we will publish over the course of the summer focussed on elaborating the multiple reasons that so many social groups and collectives have begun to support this movement. In the meantime, even the mainstream media have begun to notice that “this is more than about tuition”, to paraphrase the headline of today’s edition of the Globe and Mail. For those of us living in Quebec, this has been evident from the beginning. This is a struggle over our values as a society and we are at a watershed moment that must be understood as part of a larger resistance to both federal and provincial budgets and policies that are decimating social services and public institutions .
The members of the Editorial collective, like many others involved in education, have all been writing to the world outside, to friends, colleagues, and others, trying to explain what is going on. We have spent much energy working on cogent, thoughtful, yet passionate, interventions on listservs and the like. Facebook, Youtube, etc. are overflowing with ad hoc commentary and media sharing. The spirit behind this special issue is the dissemination of constructive and proactive responses that we hope will linger longer than your average Facebook post, although as we have all remarked, the situation in Quebec changes daily.
The pieces collected herein include many images, sounds and links to websites and online videos. Much of this content, of course, was collected through the use of mobile media devices. But the link to wi‘s mandate runs deeper. The fluidity and dynamism of the carré rouge movement is integral to its success. The continuously remarkable mobilisation of Quebec’s students and their supporters against the neoliberal strategies of the Charest government has deeply inspired each of the contributors to this collection.
We sent an invitation out to 50+ colleagues on Sunday May 27th. Responses began coming in immediately. The texts have received light copy editing, but remain otherwise as they were submitted. We will continue to update these pages over the summer. We have received indications from many more writers that they would like to participate and so we are already planning a follow-up to this edition.
As a final note, many thanks to Kevin Yuen Kit Lo for providing the graphics integrated into the site as well as the downloadable versions of the texts.
Owen Chapman, Alison Loader, Magda Olszanowski, Kim Sawchuk and Ben Spencer.
Montreal, June 2nd 2012