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Resolution of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada
Since early February, college and university students across Québec have been confronting the Charest Liberal government’s attack on accessible education with a magnificent and historic student strike that has rocked the province. The student strike has been marked by its high level of support from the people of Québec, the unity of the students, and the sheer scale of the mobilization.
In a lesson of the power of unity and militancy, the four main Québec student union centrals have set aside their differences to combat a tuition increase of $1625 over five years. The students have also been clear that their campaign is part of the broad struggle against austerity measures and about a projet social for a different and better society with accessible and free education.
Over three hundred thousand students have engaged in limited strike action, and close to two hundred thousand students are currently out of class and in the streets. Multiple demonstrations and occupations are taking place daily across Québec, with a record and enormous mobilization of over two hundred and fifty thousand protestors on March 22. Another massive action is planned on Earth Day under the slogan “for a Québécois spring!”
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada gives our full solidarity and support to this magnificent struggle, to the student organizations, and the people of Québec. In the critical labour and people`s fight‑back against the corporate anti‑people agenda of budget cut backs and privatization, attacks on labour unions, the right to strike, pensions, environmental destruction, etc. across the country, the Québec students directly are on the front‑line.
Our Party fully endorses the slogan “Just one minute longer” adopted by the National Executive of the Communist Party of Québec (PCQ), calling upon the students to bravely continue to hold out and stay united against the Charest Liberals. We also support the proposal of the PCQ`s newspaper Clarté, that the trade union movement throw it`s active support behind this struggle and convene an Estates General of progressive forces against the Charest Liberals, with labour the core, to formulate the way forward with a general, political strike.
The Québec government, big business and right‑wing forces (with the collusion of the top‑level of many university administrations) have attempted to break the student strike through police brutality, court challenges, unilateral decrees, an expensive media blitz of misinformation, and an anti‑democratic strategy of standing “tough” and refusing to seriously negotiate with the students.
But the Charest Liberal government has not succeeded and have instead lost the broad support of the people of Québec. The final report of the Charbonneau Commission (examining links between the construction industry, politicians, and organized crime) is inevitably around the corner. Despite all their bluster, the Charest Liberal`s are in an increasingly precarious position.
It is essential that Québec labour step‑up now, amplifying the moral pressure that the students have wielded with the economic pressure of a new Common Front and general political strike. The people`s options are also very difficult, but there is no other way forward than a united fightback. On the other hand, as the left‑wing political party Québec Solidaire said just this week, we can make a sharp break with the programme of the monopoly corporations and win a people`s agenda including the elimination of tuition fees.
The students are now entering the eleventh week of their strike, an increasingly tough and important juncture. To detract solidarity, media coverage of the student strike outside of Québec has been limited and has made great efforts to focus on a handful of altercations involving the protestors. In reality, it is the notoriously violent Sureté du Québec (and other security forces) that are repeatedly tear gassing and pepper spraying demonstrators, have blinded a student with a sound bomb, and are now arresting large numbers of protestors at demos.
We call for labour, student, community and progressive organizations to send messages of support to the Quebec students, and for emergency solidarity actions to be held across the county to break the silence in English‑speaking Canada about this incredible people’s movement!
We repeat our long‑standing demand for free education from cradle to grave, a living stipend for students, the abolishment of student debt and replacement of loans with grants, the right of students to organize autonomously without interference, rolling back privatization by restoring and expanding all public funds to education, and the de‑militarization of research and development.