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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 Continue reading →

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 Continue reading →

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 Continue reading →

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 Continue reading →

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 Continue reading →

Anonymous Takes on US Anti-copyright Law with “Operation Blackout”

[Montréal, Québec, Canada -14°C] Yesterday, January 19, 2012, the “group” Anonymous (twitter: @anonops) returned to the public scene in response to the US Department of Justice shutting down of file-sharing MegaUpload’s website. They didn’t just shut down and disrupted a few minor websites, they went after the Department of Justice, Motion Picture Association of America, Universal Music, Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, Recording Industry Association of America, Federal Bureau of Investigation, HADOPI law site, U.S. Copyright Office, Universal Music France, Senator Christopher Dodd, Vivendi France, The White House, BMI, Warner Music Group.

Why were these particular sites targeted? Because of their support or influence toward the US Congress vote for the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA and the Senates vote for the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The online protest movement against these two pieces of legislation was massive on January 18, when websites like Wikipedia, Google, WordPress, and many others went on strike to voice their opposition to the proposed censorship laws.

Mapping Occupy Montreal’s Indignation

[Montréal, Québec, Canada -3°C] Occupy Montréal is now in its 35th day with below zero temperatures. As other occupations in other Canadian and American cities get violently evicted from their encampment, Montréal’s “indignated” continue onward. Support from people who are not actively living on-site is evident in the postcard below. the Occupy Montreal have also mapped out their encampment revealing an organized collectivity, despite the challenges. This postcard is part of my Did you get my postcard? series.