Looking for Banners from Québec’s ‘carré rouge’ Protest Movement for December Exhibit

During the six-month student strike, hundreds of banners were created to denounce tuition fee increases and protest the privatization of public institutions. These banners lead demonstrations through the streets of Québec’s cities. They affiliated neighbourhood resistance and demanded an end to police repression. Banners hung from l’Îlot voyageur and the Berri street overpass, and they fluttered above the demonstrators at CLASSE’s demonstrations the 22nd of every month.

Include Your Banner in a installation/exhibit representing the Québec Protest Movement!

contact: widge [@] burningbillboard.org

[en français]

Many banners hung over the facades of university and CEGEP buildings, while others blocked the entrance to Jean Charest’s Montréal office. If you have a banner tucked away somewhere and would like to include it in this giant quilt of dissent, I will humbly accept it and include it in the Counterpoint Quilt.

Devant les bureaux de Premier Ministre Jean Charest à Montréal, printemps 2012. Photographe inconnu.

One of my interventions as a striking student was to collect posters related to the strike for the Centre de recherche en imagerie populaire (CRIP). The creative abundance of the student movement that surpassed the poster, which inspired me to create a vaste digital archive on Facebook of visual artifacts from the strike: Imagerie d’un printemps érable. I have since changed my MA research-creation project to the production of a living archive of these artifacts that is (self)representative of Québec’s protest movement during the period of the strike.

I invite you to look through the 26 photo albums to see more than 2100 images of posters, banners, placards, digital images, stencils, graffiti, installations, performances and other visual representations of the Québec Maple Spring. If you have information about any of the visual artifacts – like the photographer, the person who made the poster, the date of the demonstration is was used in – please let me know so I can add these details to the archival information.

Banderoles au CÉGEP du Vieux-Montéal. Photographe inconnu.

As I mentioned earlier, I am creating a protest quilt (Counterpoint Quilt) for an exhibit at Darling Foundry in December (details coming soon). I want you are your group’s participation in the protests to be represented within this work of installation art that I plan to organize a traveling exhibit to various campuses throughout Québec and elsewhere. The creation and display of the quilt aims to generate an affective source of collective forward momentum that nourishes the movement in a cyclical loop of (self)representation and renewal. This work of collective dissent will reveal the strength and creativity of a vigorous political battle that we can claim victrory due to our resilience and our omnipresence on the streets.

Lors d’une manifestation au début de la grève étudiante 2012. Photographe inconnu.

The banners I am looking for were made by student associations, community groups, APAQs, teachers unions, artist collectives and others active in the 2012 student protests and larger social movement like the ones seen above. If you have one or more banners to donate to this work of protest art, I will include it in the Counterpoint Quilt. Any other information you may have about the banner: the group that made it, the date it was made and for which particular demonstration/action, etc, would be appreciated.

I want your role in the protest movement to be represented in Continue reading

April 14 Family Demonstration Gathers up to 25,000 People to the Streets of Montréal

For everyone who missed yesterday’s family march against tuition increases and in support of a larger social movement against privatization of public services, here is a photo of seniors against tuition increases.

(2012 © Jacques Fournier)

Below are 2 videos from Occupy Montréal media.

The first is from yesterday’s march that gathered up to 25,000 people on the streets of Montréal.

This video includes images taken from a variety of recent protests from the student movement. The audio is from a passionate speech given by Julien Lavoie. The entire speech can be read on page 9 of Fermaille, the student publication from the Association Étudiante du module d’études littéraires (AEMEL-UQAM).

Kinetic Typography: We Must Stop Being Afraid of Words

This animation was made to help create solidarity between anglophone and francophone students across Québec in light of the contrasting scale and strength of our respective strikes. This contrast also seems to exist with regards to our respective “cultures of resistance”. In a province that has seen much mobilization surrounding language issues and sovereignty, the apparent omission of this debate from the larger contestation articulated during this student movement speaks to the possibility of a desire for unity along different lines. As Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois illustrates, these lines are class, race, ethnicity and gender; or a total view of class that includes these subject-positions in order to make the axes of power transparent in all systems of oppression. While there is room for the question of nationalism to become more visible in the broad, collective reflection we are hoping for, and naming “Printemps Québécois” (or “Printemps Érable,” or “Occupy Montreal”), the power of our uprising is to be found in its scope.

Yet the contrast between, say, UQAM’s strike and our strike still remains. So while we are definitely reshaping the political culture of Concordia, we need to find ways to excite, provoke and awaken the anglophone student body that has much catching up to do to match the fervour, courage, activism and solidarity found in many French-speaking universities. Along with collective and physical mobilization, picketing, marching and occupying, we should make sure the range of the conversation being had across the province does not get lost in translation (or in mainstream anglophone media.)

Nadeau-Dubois is relied upon much less frequently in the Gazette, CBC, or CTV than in francophone media. While the tuition increase will be fought by the students collectively, he is a very eloquent spokesperson to have represent our interests in media settings that are typically hostile (and hostile to dissent that is not voiced by elected representatives, officials, heads of institutions.) He is also a skilled orator who speaks with passion and conviction. This video uses kinetic typography to amplify this energetic quality.

by Tim Powell, Graduate Diploma Student, Communication Studies, Concordia University.

People Counting: 72,000+ protesters at Montréal Demonstration Against Tuition Hikes

On March 22, students, teachers, union representatives, politicians, parents and other concerned citizens converged onto the streets of Montréal to demonstrate their opposition to the current Québec government’s tuition increases and in support of accessible education. Students from universities CÉGEP’s throughout Québec (and elsewhere) made their way to Montréal to show that the strength of a social movement is in its numbers. But exactly how many people marched in the streets, who decides and how are they counted?

Official route for the March 22 demonstration.

It was a beautiful day with temperatures hovering above 22°C with a 10-minute shower toward the end of the afternoon that was unseasonably refreshing.

The main gathering place was Dorchester Square/Place du Canada at the corner of Peel street  and René-Lévesque boulevard (A on map) with a final destination, 5.5 kms later, at the Old Port of Montréal (G on map).

The official route went north on Peel, east along Sherbrooke street then south along Berri street. The size of the crowd and the funnel effect leaving Dorchester Square led protesters to add a secondary route out of the Square on Metcalfe, a street parallel to Peel. Like all flowing masses, the march branched out again along paths of least resistance off the main route, to head eastward along Ste-Catherine street, creating two parallel streams of social discontent. The levees of predisposition could no longer contain the flood of dissent.

Students and faculty from Communication Studies at Concordia University gather at Jean Belliveau sculpture before heading as a group to the protest. 2012 @ Krista Geneviève Lynes.

When our group of 35 students and faculty from Communication Studies at Concordia reached Peel street — after meeting at the Jean Belliveau sculpture on avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal — we could feel the mass of people from the successive ebb and flow of cheers that sent waves through the crowd. No one was immune to the gathering’s effervescence. But how many people were there and how many more were on their way?

Demonstrators (including a fiusha-haired member of Concordia's Media Studies MA program) march on in what has been called "possibly the largest mass protest in Québec history." 2012 © Eduardo Fuenmayor.

The Gazette claims in its headline that, “Thousands of students protest tuition increases in Montreal” before upping the quantity estimate tenfold in the first sentence of the article which begins: “Tens of thousands of activists filled Montreal’s Continue reading

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