mail iconContact the collective

mail icon Return to top

illustration

Section VII :pdf
What Next? The Strike Creates New Possibilities

 

What lessons were learned in the process of striking? What political dynamics did the strike reveal that were less understood beforehand? How has the strike changed the way we understand the future of social movements in Québec? Our understanding of ourselves as activists?

The two short chapters in this section point towards new possibilities opened up by the student strike. Although it may be too soon to predict its long-term effects, the strike opened up new horizons even before it ended, as reflected by the manifesto adopted by a special CLASSE congress in the summer of 2012, which we have chosen to reprint. Written collectively after the strike had been underway for months, the manifesto represents an aspirational view of the movement which acknowledges that the stakes had already gone far beyond tuition. Although these aims were not always achieved, the manifesto speaks to a desire for a breadth of action—potentially reaching every aspect of society—that we felt we were beginning to attain as non-students came down into the streets with their pots and pans.

In her ode to disobedience and indignation—a word made popular in Québec in response to the Spanish Indignados movement—Laurence Guenette engages with themes raised in preceding chapters, calling attention to the transformative learning that occurs through social movement activism and reminding us of the potential, and indeed necessity, of collective disobedience. Many students and militants went through burnout or extreme financial or emotional precarity during and after the strike; however, we also realized we could never be the same. Laurence's piece reflects this type of understanding of the strike's effect on our lives, but we should not forget that a fresh sense of militancy or determination can be a challenge to sustain if we do not make the conscious decision to care for each other and our communities as we struggle.