The Time of the Québec Student Spring
Preface by Anne Lagacé Dowson
Photographs by Mario Jean
First there were the Indignados, then Occupy Wall Street. And then there was the Printemps érable – the Maple Spring. In 2011, proclaiming the need for austerity, Québec’s governing Liberal Party announced a draconian increase in tuition fees. Enraged that the government would destroy a legacy of public education, so hard won during the 1960s Quiet Revolution — a legacy from which they themselves had reaped benefits — the youth of Québec took to the streets in a student strike under the banner of the carrés rouges. They fought not merely for education, but for the future: a future they watch being destroyed by the unrelenting march of corporate capitalism, intent on the merciless exploitation of citizens and natural resources.
Generation Rising is the story of the most important mass mobilization in Canada’s history, and one of the most powerful anti-austerity campaigns in the world. It is the story of six months of brutalization of youth by the police forces of the capitalist establishment, as the students went toe-to-toe against the corrupt and autocratic élite in an effort to construct a horizontal, participative and grassroots democracy. And it is the story of the Internet generation deploying its mastery of social media to harness the forces of hundreds of thousands, and ultimately defeat a battle-hardened premier.
At the end of it all, Québec’s first social media mobilization had laid the foundations for a brave new future, where the old world of order and authority might finally be swept aside to make way for a new, twenty-first-century democracy.
Le combat est avenir — the fight is the future, and the battle has just begun.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“An engagé handbook of Quebec social and political history… An impassioned plea for a generation.”
— Anne Lagacé Dowson, journalist and political commentator
“An insightful account of the role of today’s student movements in the struggle for democratic control over our common resources.” (Read more.)
— Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, The Monitor, July/August 2015
“Makes valuable contributions to discussions about the price, cost, and value of education, the nature of democracy, and the meaning of prosperity… a solid primer.” (Read more.)
— Quill & Quire, July/August 2015
“Generation Rising is a good read and will become a valuable resource for all those of us who continue to work for social justice.”
— Lucia Kowaluk, Order of Canada, Order of Quebec
“A panoramic history of student politics in Québec… Katz gets carried away and carries us with him.” (Read more)
— Montreal Review of Books, fall 2015