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Archiving the Ephemeral: Enriching Protest Movements with Oppositional (Art)efacts

(by École de la montagne rouge, 2012)

(by École de la montagne rouge, 2012)

The Printemps québécois ended 2 1/2 years ago. It was the largest protest movement in Québec history that lasted six months and was punctuated by more than 600 demonstrations, actions, occupations and blockades that dominated public discourse and pervaded private conversations. The Maple Spring thrived as a period of heightened politicization for a youthful generation that is stereotypically qualified as apathetic, self-­centred and apolitical. From the first mass protest, until the strike’s unofficial end after the September 4, 2012 election, the province was galvanized in a societal debate that effectively polarized the population to an extent possibly not experienced in Québec since the 1995 independence referendum. During both periods, half of the population sought change while the others opted for the status quo. What these two moments of political activity have in common is that they did not happen in a vacuum without the influence of past struggles and they did not end abruptly with a referendum nor election vote, respectively. The links between past, present and future mobilizations is often made via the artefacts left behind by the movements that created them, and by the availability of these artefacts before, during and after subsequent mobilizations.

Questions I began to ask myself during the 2012 student strike include: What role can protest artefacts have in inspiring the ongoing strike, future social movements and strengthen an activist’s oppositional consciousness? How can the artefacts transcend time and space to become part of a movement’s oppositional cultural heritage?

I attempted to answer these questions beginning in May 2012, by creating the Artéfacts d’un Printemps québécois Archive (Artéfacts Archive), a mostly­ digital collection of 3000+ visual artefacts from the 2012 student strike: its posters, protest signs, banners, stencils, videos, publications, etc. Its raison d’être is to provide a storage of material for future use to help perpetuate the inclination for dissent during a movement’s post­ protest debriefing period of self-reflection when oppositional consciousness may be tempted to subside.

Oppositional cultural artefacts are ephemeral objects that rarely outlive a protest movement’s activity. Their specificity give them a limited lifespan due to their relationship to a particular time, at a particular place and often for a specific issue or event. Oppositional artefacts are created and discarded in flux with social/political upheaval, which is why their collection needs to be deliberate and systematic — as a media activism gesture — to help define our collective oppositional cultural heritage. Their preservation is of little interest to public institutional archives mandated to collect, preserve and disseminate a society’s cultural heritage. Institutional archives seek control over the access, interpretation and reuse of an archive’s contents, presumably to safeguard status quo monopolies of knowledge.

If we choose to access our cultural heritage from material traces gathered within institutional archives, we would only have access to a very limited, non­representative selection of artefacts about protest movements and the injustices they address. This is why the creation of our own archives of oppositional artefacts is necessary to access autobiographical representations rather than rely on hegemonic representations as defined by our opponents.

Self-­representation, and access to it, can accelerate (r)evolutionary processes by providing movements with ample material for post-­protest debriefing and a better understanding how to proceed.

I am interested in the inspired creativity during the preparation for protest: when posters are designed, when protest signs and banners are produced, when strike votes are debated and won in general assemblies, when stencils and spray paint are bought, or when tactics are prepared. I am also interested in oppositional performance: when the posters are wheat­-pasted onto walls, when financial districts are blockaded, when banners are dropped from rooftops, when marching against the traffic by the thousands along undeclared routes, when bank windows are smashed. But my main interest, that which gives the Artéfact Archive its raison d’être, is the potential role that collected artefacts can have after oppositional performance, which can vary from a single demonstration or blockade, to a lengthy protest period like the six­-month Printemps québécois. This post­-performance period is the crucial debriefing phase when a review of the performance happens, when critical analysis of successes and failures is developed and when activists can further develop their oppositional consciousness in preparation for subsequent resistance against ongoing oppression. Considering the intensity and longevity of the Printemps québécois, I argue that its debriefing phase will be long-­lasting and will influence oppositional movements for many years.

For an archive to be useful, it needs to be created. The first phase of the Artéfacts Archive project consisted of the assemblage and sorting of oppositional cultural artefacts into an online digital collection. The archive began as a prototype housed on Facebook. As a result of censorship of some of the archive’s artefacts and a desire to have more control of its disposition, I created a BETA version hosted on wordpress.com. Due to its limited design capabilities, I transferred the archive to a self-­hosted website with its own URL (printempserable.net). Its development is ongoing with the objective of transforming it from my individual Master’s research­ creation project into a collective endeavour that better reflects the needs of the archive and the community it seeks to benefit.

David Widgington installs "Pièce de résistence" at Encuantro 2014 at Concordia University.

David Widgington installs “Pièce de résistence” at Encuantro 2014 at Concordia University.

The second phase consists of artefact (re)distribution back into the activist community that created them to nourish the ongoing debriefing period. I refer to this phase as archival activation. It began early on during the strike with the Facebook prototype when imagery was shared and commented on throughout social media on a daily basis. It continues within Facebook and through its website as current issues are linked to archival imagery, discussed in blog posts, etc., to link issues addressed in 2012 with ongoing struggles and to boost an oppositional consciousness that was particularly vigorous during the Printemps québécois. Another method of archival activation brought actual artefacts (not just digital visual representations) into public spaces. Three protest banner exhibits, Bannières Contestataires, were organized at three different Montréal locations in 2013 and two separate multimedia installations, Printemps CUBEcois, were exhibited at Concordia University in 2014.

A set of sixty­-six Reaggregational Trading Cards was also created to portray the diversity of the archive’s artefacts and to highlight some of the more prominent symbols the strike: the red square, Anarchopanda, Banane Rebelle, Matricule 728, government corruption, Bill 78, l’oie spéciale, the casseroles, injunctions, police brutality, international solidarity, Plan Nord, eye injuries, corporate media disinformation, P­6 and of course tuition hikes. These cards were handed out like a game at parties, film screenings, in demonstrations and other gathering places where activists might be inspired to continue their debriefing with an archival nudge.

The first Bannières Contestataires exhibit had twenty-­six banners on display at La SAT on March 13, 2013. It helped define the Artéfacts Archive‘s raison d’être. Passionate discussion ensued around the appropriateness of exhibiting protest banners in a museum or gallery context when they were designed to be carried within a demonstration, particularly when protests were ongoing. For some, the word “archive” (as the banners were labelled as collected by the Artéfacts Archive) was synonymous with institutionalized memory, capital ‘H’ history and dust.

What distinguished the SAT event from this interpretation that sees archives as belonging to the past and of eventual interest in the future, was the purpose and context of the event. The Artéfacts Archive is situated as oppositional creative commons that encourages — even facilitates — access, sharing, re­use and sampling of its collection. Many of the banners on display have been reused in subsequent protests. A member of Mères en colères et solidaires who attended the event, came up to me before leaving to remind me that their banner needed to be returned the following week because the collective had plans to reuse it.

(photo par Carol Gélinas)

(photo par Carol Gélinas)

It was a one­-night gathering of activists to linger around multiple exhibits that included the Artéfacts Archives‘ banners, as well as photographs, alternative media displays, performances and video projections created by and for activists. It was a deliberate convergence to reflect on past protest and inspire future action. It was an activist “safe space” to regroup — reaggregate — in a post­-strike context to informally debrief while surrounded by oppositional cultural artefacts that stimulated conversations.

Another, more significant effort of archival activation was the creation and exhibition of the Printemps CUBEcois multimedia installation. The massive (13ft high x 17ft wide) cube was wrapped both inside and out with forty protest banners that were all previously used within demonstrations. A doorway gave access inside the cube to the “Pièce de Résistance” banner within: a mural­-size protest scene collage that uses a sampling of imagery from the Artéfacts Archive that were printed and projected onto sewn strips of canvas. The scene covered an entire inside wall and is my own retelling as a striking student at the time. It is an attempt at self-representation, which is key to building upon a movement’s own oppositional cultural heritage.

The Printemps CUBEcois embodied the purpose for the Artéfacts Archive and its potential motivational role on future protest movement choreographies with the cube’s conceptual “safe space” interior, within which activists can meet, speak freely and find the solidarity necessary to consider future collective acts of resistance and dissent. Being surrounded by oppositional cultural artefacts encourages the review of past actions, the discussion of evolving issues and the advancement of arguments. The cube provided a debriefing gathering space for activists to reinforce solidarity, to build collective confidence and, ultimately, to consider future oppositional performance. Ideally, the oppositional cultural heritage, activated via the Printemps CUBEcois, may help link the debriefing phase of the Maple Spring with current/upcoming battles to better battle against the abuses of neoliberal capitalism and resist its systematic oppression.

I offer the Artéfacts Archive to the oppositional movements, to which I belong, that was hyper-­activated during the Maple Spring. It is our shared digital collection of artefacts that we should draw from as required. It is a storehouse for our collective actions, ideas and creativity. Although the artefacts are expected to jog memory in anyone who figuratively recognizes themselves in the collection, the archive was not created for nostalgic purposes, nor for History’s retelling of events. History will continue on its way along well trodden paths. The contents within the Artéfacts Archive is our storehouse of oppositional material for future use, to be borrowed, reused, altered or adapted to aid opposition during ongoing struggles or for those yet to come.

Originally published in the 4th edition of Free City Radio.

Images from Artéfacts d’un Printemps québécois Archive

Charlie Hebdo : victime de guerre ?

En guise de commentaire :

« La droite chrétienne frappe ses cibles depuis le ciel avec des drones. La droite musulmane frappe ses cibles depuis le sol avec des humains. De tout bords, des gens meurent. La droite en Occident sème l’islamophobie et utilisera certainement cette attaque à des fins politiques. Pour nous faire peur. Pour nous faire avaler les mesures visant à assurer notre “sécurité”. Et la gauche nous dira qu’en solidarité avec ceux et celles qui ont été tués à Charlie Hebdo, nous sommes tous Français, que nous sommes tous Charlie, sans aucune nuance , faisant bloc contre “eux”, les autres, les méchants. Que dire des 66 journalistes tué.e.s, 119 journalistes kidnappé.e.s et 853 journalistes emprisonné.e.s dans le monde en 2014. Que dire de leur liberté d’expression au quotidien. Ils sont plus difficilement récupérables qu’un coup d’éclat. Mais ces journalistes sont aussi terrorisé.e.s.

George Bush l’avait dit après le 11 septembre : “You are either with us or against us” dans un élan nationaliste et dangeureux auquel l’Occident fait écho depuis le 7 janvier. Le monde est en guerre ! Les pouvoirs économique et politique font du chemin en divisant par la xénophobie et l’ignorance, en s’enrichissant par la dépossession et l’injustice, et en nous regroupant contre un ennemi qui, soit-disant, existe partout, parmi nous. Ce n’est pas la peur, ni la provocation qui mettra fin à cette guerre. C’est nos libertés qui s’éteindront davantage.

Je n’embarque pas dans le jeux du nous contre eux.

Je cherche les nuances, alors je ne suis ni Français, ni Américain, ni Canadien… ni Charlie. »

===
Trois lectures éclairantes :

1- Ces morts que nous n’allons pas pleurer;

2- Je ne suis pas Charlie. Et croyez-moi, je suis aussi triste que vous;

3- « Charlie Hebdo », pas raciste ? Si vous le dites….

===

de David Pope

de David Pope

de André G. Gagnon

de André G. Gagnon

 

Ça tire versus Satire de Stéphane

Ça tire versus satire de Stéphane

 

"On Satire" by Joe Sacco Jan 2015.

“On Satire” by Joe Sacco. Jan 2015.

Noam Chomsky Speaks in Montreal for 50th Anniversary of Canadian Dimension Magazine

Noam Chomsky speaks in Montréal 26 Oct. 2013

Noam Chomsky speaks in Montréal 26 Oct. 2013

[Montréal, Québec, Canada 1°C] On Octobre 26, 2013, Noam Chomsky was invited by Canadian Dimension Magazine to give a talk at Concordia University and Université de Montréal as part of the magazine’s 50th anniversary events. Chomsky spoke at Concordia earlier in the day and gave an evening talk at Ud’M, which I recorded and make available here.

The talk started with an introduction of Canadian Dimension by Andrea Levy, Coordinating Editor and member of the magazine’s Montréal editorial collective.

It was followed by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, former spokesperson of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) during Québec’s 2012 six-month student strike and author of recently published, Tenir tête, who introduced Noam Chomsky to the sold-out event.

And finally, what everyone was waiting for, Noam Chomsky took to the stage to an elated crowd. He ends his talk with, ” It’s not enough to just observe the world but also to act to change it. To remedy its severe ills.”. The very interesting question period begins at 53:46.


Franco Nuovo talks to Noam Chomsky on Radio-Canada’s Dessine-moi un dimanche:

À la recherche banderoles des manifesta(c)tions du printemps québécois pour exposition en décembre

Joignez votre banderole dans une exposition et dans une courtepointe géante pour représenter le mouvement du printemps québécois

contactez: widge [@] burningbillboard.org

[in English]

Pendant les six mois de la grève étudiante, des centaines de banderoles ont été créées afin de dénoncer la hausse des droits de scolarité et manifester contre la privatisation des institutions publiques. Ces banderoles ouvraient les manifestations tout au long des rues du Québec. Elles ont affiché la résistance de quartier et ont revendiqué l’arrêt de la répression policière.

Banderole sur l’Ilot Voyageur à Montréal. Photographe inconnu.

Des banderoles ont été suspendues à l’Ilot Voyageur et au viaduc de la rue Berri. Et elles ont survolé les manifestants lors des marches organisées par la CLASSE tous les 22 du mois. Plusieurs banderoles ont tapissé les façades des CÉGEPs et des universités au Québec tandis que d’autres ont bloqué l’accès aux bureaux de l’ancien Premier Ministre Jean Charest à Montréal.

Si vous possédez une de ces banderoles nichées quelque part et que vous acceptez qu’elle soit représentée dans une exposition et dans cette courtepointe géante de dissension, je l’accepterai avec humilité et l’inclurai avec fierté au projet ‘Contrepoint(e)’.

photo: Collectif Emma Goldman (http://ucl-saguenay.blogspot.ca/)

En tant qu’étudiant en grève, mon intervention était de récolter les affiches reliées à la grève pour le Centre de recherche en imagerie populaire (CRIP). L’abondance et la créativité du mouvement étudiant a surpassé mes attentes et m’a incité de créer une archive plus vaste sur Facebook intitulée: Imagerie d’un printemps érable.

Depuis, j’ai transformé mon projet de recherche-création à la maitrise en Études des médias à l’Université Concordia vers la production d’une archive vivante d’artéfacts représentatives du mouvement de contestation lors de la grève étudiante de 2012.

Je vous invite à feuilleter plus de 25 albums photos afin de voir plus de 2100 images d’affiches, de bannières, de pancartes, d’images numériques, de pochoirs, de graffitis, d’installations, de performances, et autres représentations visuelles du printemps érable. Si vous avez de (more…)

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

Include Your Banner in a Giant Quilt representing the Québec Protest Movement!

[en français]

contact: widge [@] burningbillboard.org

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.

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 25+ 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 giant protest quilt (Counterpoint Quilt) for an exhibit at Darling Foundry in December. 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 this work of art! If you know of anyone else who has a banner from the student strike rolled up on their office floor, or of a person or organization who made any of the banners represented in the slideshow above, please let me know, so I can contact them.

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click on an image below to access a slideshow:

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Dig Where You March: Scratching the Surface of a Student Struggle with Archived Imagery

[Montréal, Québec, Canada 19°C] The following is an article within a special open-wi issue of wi: journal of mobile media on the Quebec student strike, the ongoing remarkable demonstrations and the odious bill 78.

Plan Nord: The North Challenges Charest Government

By Frédéric Dubois for Mining Watch Canada

The month of May is almost over. In Quebec it’s been a month marked by massive student demonstrations, mass arrests and tens of thousands of kids in pajamas and septuagenarians on their balconies hitting wooden spoons on pots and pans. May 2012 will be remembered in Québec as a month where a strong 3-month student strike turned into a general social movement.

The month of May may also prove to be a game-changer for the mining industry in Québec. Under-reported in the mainstream media, one event should be looked at to understand why opposition to Charest’s aggressive resource extraction agenda has shifted in Québec. The Forum Plan Nord 2012 – The North Matters took place in Québec City at the beginning of May. The event regrouped about 300 people from distinct sectors – environmental groups, women groups, First Nations communities, universities, unions, and many more. Even a few civil servants and company representatives attended. But unlike most conferences about mining, this one was organised by a First Nations group. The Sustainable Development Institute of the First Nations of Québec and Labrador timed the conference to underline the first anniversary of Jean Charest’s unilateral announcement of the Plan Nord.

Photo credit: Alex Drainville, Creative Commons licence BY-NC 2.0

The Plan Nord is a mega-development project initiated by the government of Québec for the northern regions of the province. Public investment-wise, it comes only second to Alberta’s tar sands.  It is essentially a marketing and political plan to fast-track global mining corporations interested in extracting iron ore, gold, uranium, diamonds and other natural resources from the territory of Québec, north of the 49th parallel. It is the “project of a generation”, as Jean Charest put it to the people of Québec in May 2011, forecasting investments of $ 80 billion over the next 25 years. Most of those investments will come from infrastructure such as power lines by the province’s public utility Hydro-Québec, roads by its Ministry of transportation, but also train tracks and ports by a special Plan Nord Fund under the responsibility of Investissement Québec (iQ). The Plan Nord is a legacy project that, according to Ghislain Picard, Québec regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, ” will probably just profit the Québec Liberal Party’s next election campaign.”

The Forum Plan Nord, whose subtitle was “Towards a sustainable development of our communities – Aboriginal and Québécois perspectives”, managed to connect the dots between (more…)

Don’t Kid Yourself: We all pay for the defunding of higher education

a guest post by Erika Shaker.

I went to McGill in the late 80s and early 90s when tuition fees were less than $1,200 a year, so with summer jobs and some parental help I graduated from my first degree debt-free. For my MA, which I took in Ontario, I worked part-time and graduated after one year with a debt of $10,000.

By way of comparison: my partner went to university in Ontario after grants were eliminated, and when the first round of tuition fee hikes were implemented. He completed a BA and then an MA, and graduated with a debt load (and compound interest) requiring monthly payments of around $650 for 10 years.

We know we benefited, and are benefiting from, our education. Both of us have found employment that allows us to make use of what we studied, and each of us paid back our loans. But that debt (particularly my partner’s), until it was fully repaid, impacted every major decision we made as a couple and then later as a family. And we still live with those decisions: when we bought a house, when we had kids, how many kids we could afford to have, the fact that we don’t own a car, how often we see our families who live out of town. (The other determining factor is the high cost of child care outside of Québec.)

“Have you set up RESPs yet?” we’re often asked. Are you kidding—with both kids still in child care? And since we have fundamental issues with the RESP system, the public money it represents and how, like the RRSP system, it’s geared to the wealthiest families who can most afford to save, we’ll be exploring other ways—once child care expenses go down—to save for our kids’ education so that they can start their adulthood as debt-free as possible.

Of course, if our house needs major repairs it promises to throw a huge wrench into “the plan”. Because for many of us, life is as precariously balanced as a three-legged stool: alter one element (like when I broke my leg last year, rendering me immobile for several weeks) and the whole thing threatens to topple.

Our societies are likewise delicately balanced: educated societies are healthy societies; equitable societies are safer societies. There is no one panacea—these elements work together. And they need to work well together—which requires accountability, sufficient financing, transparency, and effective administration. So the question is not “health care or education, what’s it going to be?”; the question is, what do we need in order to create an equitable, healthy, educated and engaged society, and what’s the best, fairest, most efficient way to get it?

It is within this context that we need to examine the rhetorical criticisms levied against the Québec student strike and the people involved.

Discarded placards in Place Jacques-Cartier, Old Montréal after 200,000 people marched through the streets against Québec’s tuition increases on March 22, 2012. photo by David Widgington

Tuition fees in Québec are the lowest in the country. What have they got to complain about?

It’s less surprising that Québec students are protesting than (more…)

Art That Moves You: David Lester’s “The Listener”

The power of art should never be underestimated. All works of art, regardless of their form as mediated expression, offer a message to those that contemplate them. Some works of art are conceived as more deliberate acts of communication with specific intentions. Others allow room for nuance interpretation. Art can inspire to kill for social change and it can inspire to risk death for social change. Without question, art is a potent tool for societal inspiration.

Leni Riefenstahl’s film Victory of Faith documents the Nazi Party’s 1933 Fifth Party Rally in Nuremberg and her later Triumph of the Will was made at the Nazi Party’s 1934 Nuremberg congress. Both indisputable examples of how the power of art can move an entire population to commit collective murder on the scale of the Holocaust. Riefenstahl’s films represent the art of manipulation, preying on popular anxiety for the purposes of deliberate and exacting propaganda for political gain and popular domination.

Other artistic initiatives like the abstract sculptures as created by The Listener‘s protagonist, Louise Shearing, leave more room for interpretation, yet with their own deadly consequences. Vann, a young Cambodian doctor turned activist, was profoundly affected by her first political sculpture of French feminist Louise Michel. As the graphic novel’s foil character, Vann provides the contrast that moves the protagonist forward. He is the mirror within which the protagonist can see herself and which allows the central character to evolve. This literary and narrative tool is perfectly embodied in Chapter 12.

Detail of page 272 from the graphic novel, The Listerner by David Lester by David Lester © 2011

In this climactic chapter, Walter, a Holocaust survivor and close friend of Vann, visits Louise to tell her more about the young Cambodian genocide survivor, who, until viewing Louise’s sculpture, wondered why artists were so important to eradicate. Walter tells Louise, “Art held a fascination for [Vann] because very few Cambodian artists survived the genocide.” He continues, “… your art inspired Vann, but it was his decision to act in the (more…)

The Institut du Nouveau Monde and Minalliance: A Disingenuous Alliance

Open Letter

by Collective of Authors

by Joe Ollmann

There are times when credulousness becomes guilty and there are times when false pretense looses its ability to convince. The collaboration announced between the Institut de nouveau monde (INM) and Minalliance, to organize public “conversations” about the future of mining in Québec, is clearly one of these times.

What are these organizations? The Institut du nouveau monde, primarily funded by the Government of Québec, presents itself as an organization that favours civil society participation in all types of debates of social importance. As for Minalliance, it is nothing more and no less than the public relations arm of the mining industry, mandated to charm the people of Québec with their aromatic “positive contributions” to the development of Québec in a way that oddly reminds us of what the father of public relations, Edward Bernays, called “propaganda”.

In March, the two groups are organizing a tour of Québec to hold public consultations about our mining future… funded entirely by Minalliance. Nothing, these days, escapes private sponsorship, not even processes of public deliberation on the future of our collective resources and wealth. In this context, the very notion of what can be regarded as public territory is financed by private mining corporations, which have the most to gain by influencing the debate in their favour. On the one hand, it is very disconcerting that the industry defines — through Minalliance — the boundaries of political debate, for which it is directly concerned. On the other, the Institut du nouveau monde’s endorsment of the process in the name of civil society leaves us further perplexed. This initiative takes on false pretenses of a formal public commission, that would we would otherwise expect to be sanctionned by the state, if only the Government of Québec could accept to be compromised by the fact that it is itself the promoter of the “Plan Nord”.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers recently influenced the content of an exhibition at (more…)