SEP public meeting

The Quebec student strike, the working class and the struggle for social rights

The Socialist Equality Party is holding a public meeting in Montreal Thursday, August 16 to draw the lessons of the six-month-long Quebec student strike. Based on those lessons, the meeting will elaborate a socialist strategy to make the strike the catalyst for a cross-Canada counteroffensive of the working class against the dismantling of all public services and for the defence of jobs and worker rights. (See meeting details below.)

The students’ six-month-long strike is at a crossroads. The entire establishment, including the trade unions and the establishment-aligned student associations FECQ and FEUQ, are working to suppress the strike.

While the Liberal government is preparing to use the police and courts to break the strike, the trade unions are instructing their members to obey the Liberals’ draconian Bill 78 and seeking to divert the opposition movement behind the big-business Parti Quebecois.

CLASSE, the group that initiated the strike, has itself increasingly adapted to this campaign. It has refused to criticize the unions for opposing a “social strike” and in deference to them has dropped altogether the call for a broader mobilization. It has also lent support to the attempt to corral the students behind the PQ, saying the defeat of Charest would be a gain, if not an outright victory, for the students.

The strike’s fatal weakness has been its protest and nationalist orientation—its restriction to a protest campaign based on acceptance of the existing social-economic order, limited to pressuring the Charest government and Quebec’s elite, and confined to Quebec.

If students are to prevail, they must turn to the international working class and fight to mobilize it on a socialist strategy.

Speakers at the meeting will include SEP National Secretary Keith Jones and WSWS correspondent Richard Dufour. All youth and workers are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting and participate in the question and discussion period that will follow the speakers’ presentations.

Thursday, August 16, 7:30 p.m.
Centre St.-Pierre, Room 204
1212 Panet
(near Beaudry Metro Station, on the Green Line)