Subject : ON "LATE
CAPITALISM" AND ITS DISCONTENTS : FROM THE CENTER FOR THE ADVANCED STUDY
OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Recently several members
of our research center saw the documentary film, Darwin's Nightmare,
about the ravaging effects of neo-liberal "reforms" on the shores of
But this is only one part
of the story. This documentary film also illustrates how lending institutions
like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund often
operate to destabilize the societies where capital loans are made. In the
Tanzanian city of
But, by the very logic of
capitalist expansion, these crises generate new investment opportunities --in
this case, it is the European military industries which profit from the social
instability. As artificial scarcity leads to wars, new employment opportunities
are created for the indigenous population. Giant cargo planes with a capacity
of 55 tons are sent to pick up maximum loads of Nile perch, but they do not
arrive empty : Military arms are sent from Europe down to Africa, thus guaranteeing
future employment in warfare, followed by investment opportunities in
humanitarian aid which will eventually be sent to war zones. "Last
Christmas," said one Russian pilot arriving in Mwanza,
"I brought the African children guns; and then flew to
Obviously, there is no
compelling reason to stop this vicious circle, which as the movie points out is
not a circle at all, but rather a spiral downward towards massive devastation
of whole regions of
In his book, Parecon: Life After Capitalism, Michael Albert argues that media control over public opinion must be broken if citizens are to become free to acknowledge world crises, such as the deterioration of Lake Victoria and the lake cultures in the area, and to create an alternative to this 500-year-old political economy, which has run its course and today presents a imminent danger to life on earth.
Below are several articles CEIMSA received recently describing some of these imminent dangers and the little-publicized protests against them.
Item A. is an interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott, author of The New Nuclear Danger, George W. Bush's Military Industrial Complex, by Scott Harris, executive producer of the nationwide radio program, Between The Lines, in which Dr. Caldicott discussed the key that role America and Russia must play in nuclear disarmament in the next few years.
Item B. is an article written by our research associate, Professor Edward Herman, in which he offers readers an up-date on the human rights violations and blatantly illegal foreign policies coming out of the George W. Bush White House and the Republican-led Congress.
Item C. is a critical essay by George Monbiot on the historical continuity of the World Bank, placing the Wolfowitz nomination in its historical perspective. Monbiot's work is a useful reminder that demonizing individuals is not necessarily the path toward radical structural change.
When I was a Fulbright
scholar in the former
Historians of the
And finally, item F. is the "smoking
gun", yet another proof that media censorship is wearing thin. One of the
slogans from the late 1960s anti-war/anti-capitalist social movement was : "THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED!" This
seems to have been a prophetic statement, as today we can witness, thanks to
the communication revolution, the precise extent of censorship in the
mainstream media against genuine democratic movements. Tom Reeves' article,
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
from Michael Albert
Threat of Global Nuclear Weapons
Proliferation Met by
by Dr. Helen Caldicott and Scott
Harris, interviewed by Between The Lines on
The Bush administration has taken a
hard line against nations they say are engaged in the development of nuclear
weapons. Targets of harsh rhetoric coming from the White House include
Talks to renew the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, begin in May, but the Bush administration and other nuclear powers are reported to be unconcerned about its future. If the NPT is abandoned, its demise could pave the way for an unprecedented explosion of nuclear weapons proliferation across the globe.
Dr. Helen Caldicott is a pediatrician and anti-nuclear weapons activist. She founded the Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility in 1978 because of her grave concern over the medical impact of nuclear weapons on the human race. Caldicott, who went on to found the Nuclear Policy Research Institute in 2002, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Dr. Caldicott about the current danger of nuclear weapons proliferation and the U.S. effort to militarize outer space.
The administration used 9/11 to say, "Well we probably need some more
nuclear weapons." This plan was actually initiated during the
People in glass houses can't throw
stones. As Jesus said, "instead of the mote in the other
person's eye, look instead at the mote in your own eye." And so
I see the solution to this terribly
detrimental problem being that
Between The Lines: Dr. Caldicott, your group which you founded back in 2002, the
Nuclear Policy Research Institute, is sponsoring a conference in
Dr. Caldicott: OK, the conference I've organized is called, "Full Spectrum Dominance," which is the term that the U.S. Space Command uses to put weapons in space, and to fight war in space and to fight war from space down to earth -- and literally vaporize "cities" and effect very many killed. They are intent on anti-satellite weapons and they're building them right now -- and the two companies that are most involved in this are Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Missile Defense is supposedly contrived
to knock out
Between The Lines: Where does citizen
activism come in to this very bleak world where international law seems to be
pushed aside by the Bush administration in setting an example for the rest of
the world? Treaty after treaty, whether it's global warming or nuclear
non-proliferation or biological or chemical weapons treaties, seem to, again,
be ignored or decimated by the world's remaining superpower, the
The earth is in the intensive care unit. We have an acute clinical emergency on
our hands, like we did in the early 80's when Reagan got into office. And there's
an aphorism that says, "In a dark time, the eye begins to see," and
this is a very, very dark time. I believe in the wisdom and intelligence of the
American people. I believe they will do the right thing. And we just have to
now get off our chairs and decide that we will save the earth -- and in five
years move toward bilateral nuclear disarmament with
Dr. Helen Caldicott is author of "The New Nuclear Danger, George W. Bush's Military Industrial Complex," published by the New Press. Contact Dr. Caldicott's Nuclear Policy Reserach Institute at (202) 822-9800 or visit their website at http://www.nuclearpolicy.org .
Scott Harris is executive producer of Between The
Lines, which can be heard on more than 35 radio stations and in RealAudio and
MP3 on our website at http://www.btlonline.org
. This interview excerpt was featured on the award-winning, syndicated weekly
radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines for the week
from Edward Herman
The Normalization of Torture, Death Squads and Contempt for the Rule of Law
By Edward Herman
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/PDF/EndingSecretDetentions_web.pdf [Complete Report]).
Gonzalez' appointment was an announcement that the United States under Bush is now openly and proudly an outlaw regime in which torture is acceptable and a feature of state policy, and was to be used further (as it has been), despite its illegality in a host of international agreements (and U.S. law) and the widespread view that it is deeply immoral. As Amnesty International noted in its 1974 Report on Torture, "One of the shared values of the humanist tradition was the abolition of torture. This principle found its way into the post-war declarations on human rights and laws of war without any dissent of debate" (p. 30). In elevating Gonzales, the Bush administration has officially rejected that humanist tradition and associated human rights and laws of war principles, not without dissent but with little or no debate.
It should be emphasized that
Of course, another brazen statement
was the invasion of
Aggression by Saddam against Kuwait in 1990 and alleged efforts to create a "Greater Serbia" by Milosevic - which I consider unadulterated baloney [see Diana Johnstone, Fools Crusade, pp. 32-40] - caused great indignation and harsh sanctions and military responses by the Great Powers, but a really major aggression based on lies by the Godfather, although it received a plaintive wee protest about "illegality" from Kofi Annan, was swallowed and the aggressor's further pacification and takeover of Iraqi affairs was even sanctioned by Kofi Annan and the Security Council (UN Security Council Resolution 1546 , adopted unanimously, gives the "multinational force in Iraq" the authority to "take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance [sic] of security and stability in Iraq," and it "welcomes" the "security partnership between the sovereign Government of Iraq [i.e., the U.S.-appointed Allawi government] and the multinational force…").
The Bush government's contempt for basic morality and the rule of law is also displayed in the appointment of John Negroponte to be chief of the new intelligence bureaucracy. Negroponte was part of the war management apparatus during the Vietnam War, and helped organize the killing of millions and destruction of that country in that failed attempt to save it for a minority government under our control.
He played a sinister role in the war
against Nicaragua as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, maintaining warm
relations with and bribing a military-dominated government that allowed the
contras to work from Honduran bases in their terrorist activities, tolerating
and almost certainly giving sub rosa support to the
murder of hundreds of dissidents at the El Aguacate
air base and by the CIA-trained death squad Battalion 3-16. Negroponte's
predecessor Jack Binns claimed that 30 Salvadoran
nuns who fled
Negroponte has denied knowledge of any of these serious human rights violations, but the leading Honduras newspapers "carried at least 318 stories about military abuses in 1982 alone," and he contradicted himself by boasting that he "personally intervened …to secure the release of politically sensitive detainees." "Instances of disappearances, harassment and abductions of political dissidents all escalated under Negroponte, yet the annual Human Rights Reports prepared by the ambassadorial staff …were masterpieces of cunning redaction or invention, consistently downplaying human rights abuses and denying that any evidence existed of systematic violations by manipulating language and statistics."
There is a "huge amount of
material implicating him in playing a sedulously deceitful role after being
So Negroponte is an established liar, lying to congress as well as to the public, willing to violate national and international law, including the 1983 Boland amendment barring military aid to groups working to overthrow the Sandinista government, and he is a proven efficient manager of death squads (see ibid.; also Sam Smith, Undernews, Feb. 17, 2005: http://www.prorev.com/indexa.htm ; Marjorie Cohn, "Negroponte, Director of Intelligence Manipulation," Feb. 21, 2005: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/022105B.shtml )
This background of course made
Negroponte a logical Bush appointment as ambassador to
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs
calls him "an-ends-justifies-the-means operator" and describes him as
"the anti-Christ of democracy, repeatedly dragging its noble cause through
the offal." His appointment signifies an advance over the puny tricks of a
J. Edgar Hoover, with a potential for blowing back to this country some of the
uglier forms of dissident control that Negroponte has been involved with in
There was some sharp media criticism
of the Gonzalez appointment; virtually none of the appointment of Negroponte
(see FAIR's Media Advisory: "Media Omissions on
Negroponte's Record ,"
Under a general heading on his
appointment which refers to him only as "Longtime Diplomat," David
Sanger's article "An Old Hand In New Terrain" only reaches
Negroponte's human rights record in the 16th of 20 paragraphs, where Sanger
tells us that Negroponte was "immersed in" U.S. aid to Honduras, with
not one word about human rights violations or what precisely Negroponte did there.
Then, "He has spent the ensuing two decades vigorously defending himself against allegations that he played down human rights
So, not a word of what those human rights violations charges were, no suggestion that he might have had an active role in those violations rather than merely playing them down, not a trace of investigative effort seeking evidence about the truth or falsity of those charges, and an implicit defense of anything he might have done as based on loyal support of Reagan's program (unspecified as to ends or methods). Saddam Hussein needs somebody like David Sanger to write up a news account of charges of his human rights violations, exposure of which might have undermined the reputation of the Iraqi state.
Despite some reservations on the
Bush regime's policies and actions in its aggression/occupation and torture -
and as just noted there are few if any on the appointment of death squad supervisor
Negroponte--the Democrats, mainstream media, and much of the intellectual class
still identify with this outlaw regime, and automatically side with it in its
struggle to pacify Iraq, accommodate Sharon and the Israeli occupation, and
move on to a war with Iran. Completely destroy a city (Fallujah),
openly bombing one hospital and occupying another to prevent
"propaganda"? No problem - no suggestion of illegality, immorality,
or qualification of who are the good guys. Ditto for the use
of cluster bombs, napalm and depleted uranium in
from George Monbiot
With Wolfowitz : Have we forgotten what the World Bank is for?
by George Monbiot
It's about as close to consensus as the left is ever likely to come. Everyone this side of Atilla the Hun and The Wall Street Journal agrees that Paul Wolfowitz's appointment as president of the World Bank is a catastrophe. Except me.
my fellow progressives lament, the World Bank will work for
The World Bank and the IMF were
conceived by the
Both the undemocratic voting
arrangement and the
No one was in any doubt at the time
that these two bodies were designed as instruments of
From the perspective of the world's
poor, there has never been a good president of the World Bank. In seeking
contrasts with Wolfowitz, it has become fashionable
to look back to the reign of that other Pentagon hawk, Robert McNamara. He is
supposed to have become, in the words of an Observer leader, "one of the
most admired and effective of World Bank presidents".(8)
It was he who argued that the Bank
should not fund land reform because it "would affect the power base of the
traditional elite groups".(10) Instead, as Catherine Caufield
shows in her book Masters of Illusion, it should "open new land by cutting
down forests, draining wetlands, and building roads to previously isolated areas."(11)
He bankrolled Mobutu and Suharto, deforested
Except for the language in which
The nationality of the Bank's president, which has been causing so much fuss, is of only symbolic importance. Yes, it seems grossly unfair that all its presidents are Americans, while all IMF presidents are Europeans. But it doesn't matter where the technocrat implementing the US Treasury's decisions comes from. What matters is that he's a technocrat implementing the US Treasury's decisions.
Wolfowitz's appointment is a good thing for three reasons. It highlights the profoundly unfair and undemocratic nature of decision-making at the Bank. His presidency will stand as a constant reminder that this institution, which calls on the nations it bullies to exercise "good governance and democratisation" is run like a mediaevel monarchy.
It also demolishes the hopeless reformism of men like George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz who, blithely ignoring the fact that the US can veto any attempt to challenge its veto, keep waving their wands in the expectation that a body designed to project US power can magically be transformed into a body which works for the poor.(16) Had Stiglitz's attempt to tinker with the World Bank's presidency succeeded, it would simply have lent credibility to an illegitimate institution, thus enhancing its powers. With Wolfowitz in charge, its credibility plummets.
Best of all is the outside chance that the neocons might just be stupid enough to use the new wolf to blow the Bank down. The former British minister Clare Short laments that "it's as though they are trying to wreck our international systems."(17) Well, what a tragedy that would be. I would sob all the way to the party.
Martin Jacques argued convincingly in
the Guardian last week that the
1. Eg Joseph Stiglitz 15th March 2005. This War Needs the Right General. The Guardian.
2. Leading article,
3. See for eg
Armand van Dormael, 1978. Bretton
Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. Macmillan,
4. Harry Dexter White, quoted in New Economics Foundation, 2000. It's Democracy, Stupid: the trouble with the global economy - the United Nations' lost role and democratic reform of the IMF, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. NEF, World Vision and Charter 99.
5. Harry Dexter White,
quoted in Armand van Dormael, 1978. Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. Macmillan,
6. Joseph Stiglitz,
2002. Globalization and its Discontents.
8. Leading article,
10. Robert McNamara, quoted in Catherine Caufield, ibid.
11. Catherine Caufield, ibid.
12. The Bank funded a project to log 45,000 acres of lowland forest. The region has never recovered.
13. Eg the Polonoroeste scheme, initiated by the Bank in 1980.
14. The Indonesian transmigration programme, first funded by the Bank in 1976.
15. See for eg
International Rivers Network, September 2004. Risky Business for
16. George Soros,
2002. On Globalization. Public
17. Clare Short,
quoted by Larry Elliott,
18. Martin Jacques,
from Craig Aaron
Payola Pundits Just The Tip of the Iceberg
BY CRAIG AARON
If the past few months are any indication, reporters will be lucky to beat out telemarketers and used car salesmen in this year’s poll. The latest blow to the reputation of the Fourth Estate is the unmasking of several "payola pundits"—commentators who praised Bush administration policies without disclosing they were on the federal payroll.
First came Armstrong Williams, a syndicated columnist and ubiquitous TV talking head on Fox and the Sinclair stations, who took $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. His contract—first exposed by USA Today in January—required him "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts" and conduct softball interviews with then-Education Secretary Rod Paige.
The Washington Post and Salon identified two other syndicated columnists on the take, both of whom were paid to promote the president’s "marriage initiative." Maggie Gallagher insists she would have disclosed her $21,000 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, "but it never occurred to me." Michael McManus halfheartedly apologized to readers of his syndicated column, aptly titled "Ethics and Religion."
All three payola pundits seemed shocked at the public outrage. Perhaps that’s because pay-to-sway is the m.o. inside the conservative echo chamber. Williams and the others had been shilling for corporations and conservative think tanks for so long that a little extra taxpayer money for "something I believed in," as Williams put it, didn’t seem so out of the ordinary.
But the Armstrong Williams scandal is about more than a few bad apples who simply "forgot to mention" their government contracts. Framing the issue as a lapse of journalistic ethics or the decline of professional standards conveniently lets the White House off the hook. The real story here is in an extensive effort by the Bush administration to manipulate public opinion by any means necessary.
On a daily basis, every appearance by the president and high-level administration officials is carefully staged to get past the "filter"—those reporters who don’t parrot the official spin—whether it’s at a Bush campaign rally (sample audience question: "Thank you for not joining the International Criminal Court.") or a White House press conference (where James Guckert—a.k.a. Jeff Gannon, the right-wing propagandist who somehow held a White House press pass for two years—asked the president, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?").
While the president tells reporters
"our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet," the
actions of his administration suggest otherwise. A report by the Minority
Office of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the Bush
administration spends more than double the amount the
The White House propaganda mill goes beyond the use of payola pundits. The administration has distributed phony news stories to local television stations trumpeting Bush’s policies on education, Medicare (also produced by Ketchum), and the war on drugs. Now they are using the official letters we get reporting our estimated future Social Security benefits to "notify" people about Social Security’s alleged crisis.
The Bush administration’s
perception-management efforts reach their apex in the Defense Department. Media
strategy was a part of war planning at the highest levels before the invasions
And that’s just the government. By definition, most mainstream journalists are already on the corporate payroll—from GE to Disney and on down the list. Most of the big-name reporters—some of whom won’t even vote, lest they be accused of bias—don’t hesitate to accept $50,000 to give a speech at a corporate event. It’s not just conservatives: PBS’s Charlie Rose emceed the annual meeting of Coca-Cola shareholders a few years back.
Consider the fact that studies show PR—press releases, press packets, stories planted by PR firms, and the like—accounts for as much as 70% of what passes for news, and Armstrong Williams looks like less of an anomaly. Perhaps the question shouldn’t be who else is on the take—but who isn’t?
Craig Aaron is the communications director at Free Press, a media democracy organization (www.freepress.net ). He was formerly managing editor of In These Times and an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch.
from Mike Whitney
Pope TV and the
by Mike Whitney
The 24 hour a day barrage of coverage
about the Pope’s death shows a dramatic shift in the way that news is
covered. If a story is inoffensive to the political establishment or if it
serves their greater interests (like Schiavo) then it
becomes an immediate mega-story that swallows up most of the front page and
consumes the majority of TV time. In this way, the national dialogue is
controlled by PR firms working closely with
The changes in news coverage can be
explained by a poll that ran 3 months ago in Washington Post poll which showed
in stark terms how unpopular Bush’s war in
The results of that poll sent tremors through the political establishment, and their trepidation is reflected in way that the news is now presented. Ball-players on steroids, Schiavo and a dead Pope are just the first of what will certainly be many similar entertaining distractions.
For the most part, Iraq has been buried by the media; a tacit admission that even supporters are now experiencing both doubt about the wisdom of the war and overall fatigue from the constant flow of bad news from the front. The casualties, the chaos, the lack of reconstruction, and the demoralizing stories of torture are slowly grinding down even the most ardent Bush fan. Beyond the legal and moral questions, the war is starting to look like it was simply a stupid idea conjured up by fanatics. This perception is not likely to change.
The Bush team has a serious problem and
limited options. There’s no light in the Iraqi tunnel, so the only choice
is to manage the information. This explains why the media would rather provide
a front-page pictorial of Bush performing his ablutions in front of the
velvet-encrusted Pope than show a close up of the helicopter that went down in
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a living God. And, no doubt in my mind that Lord, Jesus Christ was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that,” Bush said.
Or this, “The tides of moral relativism kind of washed around the Pope, but he stood strong as a rock.”
Imagine someone who just killed 100,000 human beings and authorized the use of torture on prisoners palavering about “moral relativism”?
Never the less, the fable-making media can be expected to maintain its present tack; inventing a narrative from whole-cloth and exploiting whatever novelty appears in real-time to steer the public away Bush’s ruinous war. It’s what they do best.
The Streetwalking Media
The press is the only institution in American life that is protected by an amendment. The founders wisely understood that safeguarding the free flow of information was imperative to the preservation of democracy. But the idea of a free press seems nothing more than a myth at this point. The entire institution is like an aging hooker locked in a conjugal embrace with her corporate bedfellow. The media jettisoned whatever freedom or credibility it had years ago; choosing instead to serve the narrow interests of its boardroom bosses. Now the news is tailored to meet the needs of its clientele; shaping events to spread the good news about free markets, consumerism and preemptive war. Whatever news cannot be packaged and presented in a manner that serves the objectives of its sponsors is simply left on the cutting room floor. What we see now when we turn on the evening news isn’t a free press, but the front-lines of information warfare: “Who owns the news, who controls what you know?”
Information has been weaponized to rob Americans of their personal liberty, plunder the treasury and dupe the people into foreign adventures. The ideal of an “informed public” actively engaged in the democratic process by exposure to a broad variety of viewpoints is pure baloney. The daily news increasingly aims for uniformity in their storyline to promote conformity of thought among its readership. Diversity is a threat to the system. This being the case, we shouldn’t be surprised that Rumsfeld is deliberately targeting reporters; it is the logical extension of the prevailing political ethos. Information is power, and now that power is the exclusive province of seven media giants who are inextricably linked to the White House.
See No Evil
Don’t talk about a “free press”. The American media showed their true colors in their handling of the decimation of Falluja. The entire media stood by with their hands over their mouths while a city of 250,000 was bombed to the ground in the greatest single war crime in the last decade. The story of Falluja is a tale of cluster bombs, napalm, depleted uranium, banned weapons, families crushed in their homes, dogs devouring dead citizens on the city streets, and masses of displaced people victimized by a vengeful and implacable enemy. It’s a story of unspeakable crimes, of absolute impunity, and unfathomable cynicism.
Even today, a full 6 months after the siege, the story of Falluja cannot be revised enough to fit into the imperial register; so the silence continues.
This is the reality
from Tom Reeves
Lessons for US Radicals:
Students Rise Again in Québec
By TOM REEVES
Right next door to the apathy that
is almost universal on
Between 60,000 and 100,000 militant
students marched in Montréal on March 16. Thousands more marched in
The strike began February 23 with a
walkout by 30,000 CEGEP and University students, organized by the most radical
of the three major student associations, CASSÉÉ (a coalition of the Association
for Student Union Solidarity--ASSÉÉ--and unaffiliated student groups). The
motivating grievance was a drastic cut in student stipends from the
All during March, the cities of Montréal and Québec were swarming with student militants. The daily protests have often been quite creative, including hunger strikes, streets barricaded with tires and garbage, and "bed-ins" (more intimate than sit-ins). There was also an assortment of cultural events ranging from dance and film showings to "24 hours of radical philosophy" at UQAM, the university in Montréal with a primarily working class student body. Everywhere, from the fashionable cafés of St. Denis to the gay village, the tourist-filled Old City and the Parc LaFontaine (Montréal's Central Park), the red felt patch symbolizing resistance was visible, not only on students, but on many sympathizers among the gentry of the Plateau and the queens along St. Catherine's. March was cold this year, and students often wore scarves and hoods and quilted parkas, but seemed undeterred by the winds and snow. Drivers in cars blocked by demonstrators waited patiently and smiled or waved at the students. Call-in shows were full of supportive comments--and opinion polls showed more than 70% of Québecers still supported the strike at the end of March, after all the disruptions.
The political ferment throughout
Québec this spring has not been seen there at least since 1975--during the
drive for independence--and recalls for many the student uprisings in the
The provincial Liberal government of
Jean Charest--elected by a slim margin two years ago--already had the highest
disapproval rating of any sitting government--about 70%. Other strikes by workers
and social service agencies staged a variety of protests against proposed cuts
in housing assistance and the "$5 day care" available to all
And the strike has been a huge success. On April 3, the Liberal government caved almost completely on the student stipends--promising to restore immediately $70 million this year, and to return to the $103 million for coming years. They also shelved immediate plans for privatization and decentralization (seen as an attempt to divide students).
The FECQ (CEGEPS) did not take a
stand, urging members to decide for themselves. FEUQ (Universities) favored
accepting the proposal, seeing it as a complete victory. Campus by campus votes
were taken, and some already began to reopen by April
6. Others--including the largest unit at UQAM in Montréal--extended the strike
at least until April 15. The elite campus of the
CASSÉÉ took the lead in attempting to broaden the student strike toward a more general protest against Liberal cutbacks. They declared a second round of so-called "echo" demonstrations in solidarity with all workers and social services against the "neo-liberal" platform of Charest--with major demonstrations planned for April 14. Although eschewed by traditional labor unions, CASSÉÉ joined a wide range of other "civil society" groups including the anti-globalization network,CLAQ, in calling for a day of mobilization, that some called a general strike. Meanwhile, groups of anarchist students held sit-ins at Walmart (waging a struggle against unionization), the state liquor warehouse (under strike from workers) and the Stock Exchange. Police counter-actions brought several minor injuries and arrests.
Whether most faculties and campuses
will continue the strike is unclear, as is public reaction to a broadened set
of social protests, but all agree that significant organizing has begun, with
important consequences for all labor and for
I asked my Québec friends why they
think so little of this gets reported in the
Tom Reeves was co-author with Karl Hess of THE END OF THE DRAFT (Random House, New York, 1970). He was National Director of the National Council to Repeal the Draft from 1968-1972. He has written about a range of U.S. foreign policy and other political issues for CounterPunch, Z, Rabble, Interconnect, Dollars & Sense, the NACLA Report and other print and internet magazines.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research at CEIMSA-IN-EXILE