Organized labour and the Quebec student strike

Followers of RFR are encouraged to read Roger Annis’ latest on the Quebec student strike published at

Roger, who was featured on RFR’s May 16 and May 23 episodes, unpacks various aspects of the student strike, including the important statement by student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois who argues that the student strike has hit its limits in terms of protest and disruption; limits that can only be transcended through the active involvement of organized labour. This analysis underpins the call from CLASSE, the student union spearheading the strike, for a “social strike” in which labour and students organize wider actions to bring Charest’s Liberal government to its senses – or its knees.

Unfortunately, the call for a “social strike” is being rebuffed by sections of labour’s leadership. In the past week, letters from CLC president Ken Georgetti and FTQ president Michel Arsenault were published online, revealing the extent to which the upper echelons of organized labour are unwilling to organize support and solidarity for the student strike. Despite this, numerous union locals and larger union bodies have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the student strike, notably the CLASSE legal defense fund.

Last but not least, Roger also looks at the possibility of an election call which will dramatically alter the political landscape and potentially the fortunes of the student movement. New pressures are arising for the Parti Quebecois, Option nationale (a social-democratic, nationalist split from the PQ) and Quebec solidaire to forge an electoral alliance to oust the Liberals. QS, the only party in Quebec to support the student strike and freezing of tuition fees, has responded to the plea with a principled open letter which may prevent such an electoral alliance.

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