We the undersigned, Chilean academics and student leaders, denounce to national and international public opinion the persecution of the student movement in Québéc, Canada, expressed in Act 78, which was enacted on Thursday, May 19 by the government of Prime Minister Jean Charest.
Act 78—or the “Loi Matraque” (Rattle Law)—is the harshest since the War Measures Act in October 1970. It has been denounced by the President of the Bar of that province, as well as by Amnesty International, the Human Rights League, the four main trade unions, and various academic bodies.
It co-opts the fundamental freedoms of the citizens of Québéc by fundamentally restricting freedom of expression, freedom to demonstrate, and freedom of assembly, which are enshrined in both the Constitution and Québéc’s Charter of Rights.
This law affects not only the students who have been on strike for fifteen weeks against higher tuition, but also all citizens—particularly teachers, academics, and workers, whose rights of expression and assembly are being affected.
Amongst these measures we denounce those that prevent spontaneous demonstrations of any group of more than fifty persons; the prohibition on protesting within fifty meters of a school; and the strengthening of police power by allowing police to decide at any time if a demonstration is legal or illegal, or if someone is an agitator.
By the same token, this law punishes any public expression of support for the demonstrations. For example, nobody in Québéc during a conflict may prevent the entry of students to colleges and universities, on pain of individual fines, fines to the student association or unions they belong to, as well as fines to union and student leaders. These penalties range from CA$1,000 to CA$125,000. Student leadership have announced they will challenge this law in court for being unconstitutional, and they have called for solidarity from all citizens.
The people of Québéc have for years stood by the Chilean people with their active solidarity. That’s why today we feel called to express and demonstrate our fullest solidarity with their student organizations and their leaders, with their labor unions, and with all citizen activists.
We do this for solidarity, but also because we understand that any attack against the freedoms of any place in the globalized world is an attack on our freedoms.
The so-called “Ley Hinzpeter” (Hinzpeter Law) driven by the Chilean government is part of the same repressive and undemocratic perspective.
The struggle of students, academics, and workers in Québéc is also our struggle.
Posted 11 months ago on May 29, 2012, 12:55 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
On May 22, 2012, an ongoing student strike, involving hundreds of thousands of university students in Quebec, reached its 100th day. In New York, hundreds of students, teachers, and Occupy Wall Street participants marched in solidarity with the students of Quebec.
We continue to march every night at 8pm eastern, in Montreal, in New York, and in dozens of other cities. Join us! Bang your pots at 8pm every night! Show your indignation for corruption, undemocratic practices, and debt slavery!
Thank you; you are a little late to the party, and you are still missing the mark a lot of the time, but in the past few days, you have published some not entirely terrible articles and op-eds about what’s happening in Quebec right now. Welcome to our movement.
Some of you have even started mentioning that when people are rounded up and arrested each night, they aren’t all criminals or rioters. Some of you have admitted that perhaps limiting our freedom of speech and assembly is going a little bit too far. Some of you are no longer publishing lies about the popular support that you seemed to think our government had. Not all of you, mind you, but some of you are waking up.
That said, here is what I have not seen you publish yet: stories about joy; about togetherness; about collaboration; about solidarity. You write about our anger, and yes, we are angry. We are angry at our government, at our police and at you. But none of you are succeeding in conveying what it feels like when you walk down the streets of Montreal right now, which is, for me at least, an overwhelming sense of joy and togetherness.
Police arrested ten members of labor unions, faith groups, neighborhood organizations, and Occupy Portland who refused to leave the University Station post office at closing time this evening. Unfurling two ten foot banners, reading “Occupy the Post Office” and “No Closures! No Cuts!” the protesters blocked the closure of the retail window while a rally of over a hundred supporters chanted outside. Earlier a line of demonstrators had marched through the office, delivering postcards addressed to the Postmaster General.
“The Postmaster General’s plan to close processing plants, delay mail delivery, and cut hours in the nation’s post offices will not fix the postal service’s financial crisis,” said Jamie Partridge, an arrestee from Occupy Portland. “Congress manufactured the crisis and Congress or the President will fix it. If the PMG can’t wait, he should step down and allow in someone who will protect the postal service.”
“People from across Portland are coming out to show that we value our public services and we will not allow those services to be sabatoged by corporate interests. Today we defend the Post Offices, but we know that these public services – our Post Offices, our libraries, our parks, and even our schools are all the target of corporate interests profit-driven machines, says Laurie King, organizer with Occupy the Post Office. “We are coming out to say that all communities deserve access to the mail service, and we will not have it handed over to the highest bidder.”
The Postmaster General is poised to close half the nation’s mail processing plants, including Portland’s Main Office, while reducing hours from 25% to 75% at 13,900 post offices. Donahoe is also pushing for an end to door-to-door and Saturday delivery. Organizers say that the financial problems that USPS is experiencing is due to a funding mandate passed by Congress in 2006 that requires the USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. This law was a product of ALEC and its Congressional members who focus on shrinking and privatizing public services. Community members are pressuring Congress to pass bills HR 3591 and S 1853 which will repeal the pre-funding mandate and protect the Postal Service.
“USPS is financially sound, the Congressional mandate to pre-pay benefits for 75 years is shackling the Post Office. This is clearly a part of Wall Street’s plan to privatize and destroy an honored institution of our community,” says Lataya Dailey, an organizer with Occupy St Johns. “The Postmaster is complicit in this plan to gut and cut our community Post Offices. We demand he resign immediately.”
This action was part of an on-going effort by a community coalition to support the Postal Service by Occupy St Johns, Occupy Portland, the Rural Organizing Project, and Jobs with Justice.
Occupy St Johns and Occupy Portland are part of the international Occupy Movement fighting against the inequality of wealth and power in our existing economic and political systems. Jobs with Justice is coalition of labor organizations and community groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just society. JWJ has been an active supporter of public infrastructure like the Post Office since its founding in 1992.