Students Target Quebec Economy
Refusing to let their strike falter after 22 March’s momentous day of action, and concluding that economic pressure is the only kind to which the Charest government will respond, students have continued to take the streets over the past two weeks, conducting daily actions designed to interrupt the flows of capital that sustain the state and the private sector. CLASSE has supported the strategy, calling for successive weeks of locally organized economic disruptions in order to raise the pressure on the government, which has so far refused to negotiate on the issue of the tuition hike.
Actions have targeted sites tied to the governance of postsecondary education, such as the Federation of Cégeps, occupied by students on 26 March, as well as state-owned corporations like the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). Students blockaded the SAQ head office on 27 March and its Montreal distribution center on 5 April. Access to the Port of Montreal was blocked for a second time in less than a week on 28 March. Private-sector targets have included a National Bank shareholders’ meeting, interrupted in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on 4 April, and an office tower housing a number of companies linked to the Plan Nord, which was briefly blockaded the morning of 2 April.
On 29 March, students organized a “Grande Mascarade,” consisting of four simultaneous demonstrations that wound through downtown Montreal, with most participants masked, in response to the recent crackdown by police and city officials on protesters concealing their identity.
After a long weekend’s pause, students will resume economic disruptions Tuesday.