Tuition Hikes Shall Not Pass!

Philippe Lapointe—
Academic Affairs Secretary, ASSÉ

Great Britain, Chile, South Korea, the rest of Canada, and now Québec. The flood of tariffs threatens to drown every single island of knowledge accessibility to please the rising tide of knowledge merchandising.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the G20 and the right wing think-tanks join up to promote the ideology of private, student-financed education.

The concept of user as payer is described as a solution to the lack of funding for universities. However it’s never pointed out that repeated tax cuts and the “income reduction” strategy used by neoliberal governments is responsible for the state disengagement in public university funding.

They also fail to address the reorientation of our universities. Universities are currently split between two models: one dedicated to teaching and academic research, and another dedicated to applied corporate research.

If the first model lacks funding and suffers from overcrowded classrooms, lack of teachers and aging libraries, it’s because the second model overflows with income.

Before reinvesting massively in the universities, we should secure the use of the funds toward free public education. If it is essential that university education be accessible for everyone, it is crucial that it respects its original mission: education. Not only do we refuse to pay for a right, but we will not pay to benefit corporations.

Education is neither a luxury nor an individual investment. It’s a right and a social choice. This hike, as well as the whole concept of tuition fees, spoils the accessibility to public education by imposing a material barrier between knowledge and students. It cannot and shall not pass.

Organize. Your student association is yours. Take it, participate in the general assembly, and if there is none, petition for one. Whatever your association is, make sure it is a democratic arena for discussion and decision-making.

Once this is done, get your association to work. A Mob Squad, an Anti-Tuition Council, or whatever name you want to give it. The important thing is that people hear what you have to say—and as often as possible.

Rise Up. On Nov. 10, stand up, walk to Émilie-Gamelin Park and join students from all over Quebec in an epic demonstration to express your opposition to the tuition hikes.
We have to be as numerous as possible. This is an ultimatum, the final notice to the government to say, “Hell, no!”

The demonstration needs to prove that we have the upper hand in the discussion. We need to prove that our potential for action is strong enough to flood Montreal’s streets and overwhelm the government’s policies. We need to show the population that we are resolute, that we are serious and that we aren’t afraid to act to defend our rights.

Resist. Once we are organized and risen to send our ultimate message, we have to think about the next step. In the quite likely eventuality that the government does not bend, there’s only one way to resist against tuition hikes—a general strike.
This winter we shall be prepared to occupy our campuses, disrupt the status quo, take the streets and reaffirm our opposition to the hikes. It is time to debate in your local general assembly if you are prepared to vote for a strike this winter and join thousands of students in a common cause for accessible public education.

Students, hear this call to organize, rise up and resist. This trend needs to be opposed everywhere. Facing this attempt to sabotage education, we have our answer—a general strike.

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