In a new article for the Guardian, political theorist Peter Hallward traces the genesis and continuing success of the anti-austerity student demonstrations in Quebec, urging organizers worldwide to take up the same model.
Hallward attributes the rapid growth of the demonstrations to the students' ability not only to articulate an immediate aim--stopping tuition hikes--but also to situate that aim within a larger pushback against heightening neoliberal attacks on public programs. CLASSE, the radical student coalition spearheading the protests, has ballooned in numbers to a membership of over 100,000, and now claims to represent 70% of striking students. CLASSE has called for the unconditional abolition of tuition fees, to be phased out over several years and compensated by a bank tax, at a time of record bank profits.
The hardline roots of the student protests have ensured the creation of a "practical, militant community of interest" that has organized the single biggest act of civil disobedience that Canada has ever seen. The result of months of careful preparation and hundreds of general assemblies, these massive student strikes have become too strong to contain, showing signs of radiating out to other parts of Canada--and, Hallward hopes, the rest of the world. "After a couple memorable springs," he concludes, "it's time to prepare for a momentous autumn."
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.
After the Occupy Wall Street "People's Library" was brutally dismantled by the police, Paolo Mossetti of Through Europe asked some of his favourite writers, activists, and academics to help him compile a list of books that would recreate, though only virtually, the library's shelves.
Here is the second part, with contributions from Simon Critchley, Stephen Duncombe, Alex Foti, Peter Hallward, John Hutnyk, Esther Leslie, Bertell Ollman, Matteo Pasquinelli, Aaron John Peters, Nina Power.
The third part of the reading list will be online next week.
José Antonio Gutiérrez of the Latin American Solidarity Centre has reviewed Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment for the Irish Left Review:
This new edition provides an additional chapter which updates us with the events in Haiti after and around the earthquake. These fateful events don't alter the conclusions Hallward arrived at in the first edition; if anything they're re-enforced and proved right. The speed at which a humanitarian tragedy was turned into an opportunity to further deepen military occupation, allowing the US take over the island, proves that Haiti has not lost its appeal for the "Humanitarian Interventionists" in any way. Also, the widespread acceptance of the occupation as a positive action by most of the world's media shows that popular perception has come to accept that it is natural to keep Haitians at gun point, even in the most extraordinary and tragic circumstances. Lastly, it sadly proves through the series of logistical blunders, such as the primacy of military over humanitarian aid, the state of neglect in which the victims were abandoned for weeks before they saw any meaningful help (with the exception of understaffed Cuban doctors), and by the fact that most aid which was promised by foreign donors (both agencies and governments) has not been delivered more than one year later, that Haitian people's lives are a very low priority on the international community's agenda. This year's anniversary of the earthquake was one of shame for all the self-proclaimed "friends" of Haiti.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned to Haiti after seven years of exile in South Africa. Aristide and the remarkable Lavalas movement twice won landslide victories in democratic elections, and twice were ousted in US-backed coups.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (along with actor Danny Glover) travelled on the plane with Aristide and is blogging live updates on the Democracy Now site.
However, Aristide's return does not mean that US intervention in Haiti has come to an end—according to the Press Association:
US President Barack Obama had tried to keep the controversial figure away from his country until it holds a presidential election on Sunday, fearing he could destabilise the process.