Declaration: Somebody Arrest Me

Declaration made by CLASSE, May 21st 2012. Originally published in French here:

You can sign on to the declaration here:






Having familiarized ourselves with Bill 78, adopted by the Assemblée nationale du Québec on May 18, 2012. Adopted on the 95th day of an already historic student struggle, the special law flagrantly has the objective of suffocating this mobilisation.

Since its adoption, the vocabulary of indignation regarding this has been depleted. Legal practitioners, artists, editorialists, intellectuals and personalities from all walks of life have unanimously denounced this front-line attack on the fundamental and inalienable rights of freedom of expression, of association, and of demonstration. Despite this unanimity and the strength of these condemnations, the government of Québec is staying on its course and refusing to repeal its unjust law.

Facing this obstinacy to trample on the fundamental principles of democracy itself, it is important now to pass to action: this law must be blocked.

In a situation of injustice, inaction is synonymous with complicity. To submit oneself to this law is to accept it. To accept this law is to sanction its content. We are currently witnessing a historic face off between the government and youth. Power is looking at us, attentively. This law is a test. If we submit ourselves to it, we are acknowledging the efficacy of its repression: the government wins. If it wins once, it will do it again. We cannot open the door to this possibility.

This arm of iron is the visible face of a more profound conflict. If youth do not take on their historic role of shielding against authoritarianism, who will? “If youth cool off, the whole world will chatter their teeth,” wrote Georges Bernanos.

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Report from the frontline in Québec

Shit has gone mental here. The days are peaceful enough, but the nights get crazy. At night, the police have basically lost control of the streets: riot police will move in and secure a corner or an area but once they move from there, it’s retaken within minutes so there’s this sort of cat and mouse game. There have been hundreds of arrests in the past couple of days but (predictably!) it’s only made people more furious and still thousands of people are coming out every night. It’s too early to say anything definite about this, but at least some business owners are turning on the police and one of them (the police attacked drinkers on the terrace of his bar) is trying to organise other business owners in the area to get together and sue the police. Another restaurant/bar owner was arrested in his own business, and yet another was beaten and arrested. I just read a report from somebody who works at I think a cafe judging from the location who saw a young woman beaten beaten with truncheons AFTER being detained. When her boss told the police to stop it and that they were hurting this girl, the police pepper sprayed the guy. So another business owner is against the police, so they’re losing their natural allies. There are plenty of reports (unconfirmed) about police refusing to go to work. There’s essentially no such thing as a “peaceful protest” here anymore because as soon as people assemble, the police declare it to be a riot and so anybody there (whether or not they were participating or just in the area or whether or not they actually DID anything) can be arrested and fined–fines seem to be in the range of $400-600, but they will all be contested. Anonymous has been taking down the websites of various state security forces. The mayor, who has been supporting the government’s actions, today called for the government to resume negotiations with the students because that’s the only way to resolve the conflict. I hope that’s what happens, because I really fear that the Premier is going to call on the Prime Minister to declare martial law: I think he’s too proud to back down now. But who the fuck knows. Had the windows open last night because it’s hot out and my eyes stung slightly from all the pepper spray lingering in the air.

The media in the rest of Canada is barely covering this at all. Plenty of volunteer translators are offering their services.

Fight til death!