The Quebec student movement has provided a beacon of hope for working people and youth across the world. The attempt by the Charest government to nearly double tuition fees in the province has sparked massive resistance. After some 16-weeks of student strikes and mass demonstrations, the government is shaking. This experience displays that mass mobilization, not lobbying, is the most effective method of fighting for accessible and free education.

Tuesday, May 22nd saw the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Between 250,000 and 350,000 youth and workers came out onto the streets of Montreal and openly defied the emergency law that requires police approval of protest routes eight hours in advance. A widely publicized “official route” was broken; the crowd turned away, following an unannounced path.

Over the past two weeks, the student strike in Quebec has entered a new stage. What originally began as a strike against a 75% increase in tuition fees has rapidly progressed into a movement against the Liberal government itself. Premier Jean Charest’s government has clumsily fallen over itself, trying to suppress or divide the movement, with little success. Instead of killing the movement, every action by the government has only given the movement new life.

Fightback, the Marxists in English Canada have taken the initiative to spread the inspiring Quebec Student strike across the country. They are doing this in solidarity with their comrades in Quebec organized around La Riposte. The comrades launched an open letter calling on the Canadian Federation of Students, the main student federation in English Canada, to organize strike ballots for free education and to support the Quebec movement.

16 May: The past two weeks of the Quebec student strike have brought an intense roller-coaster of events. The Quebec government put forward an offer that would “find a way out of the crisis”, but which did nothing to resolve the issue of the proposed tuition increase. The offer was massively rejected in assembly after assembly across Quebec.

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