Friday, May 18, 2012

Degrowth conference

Currently I'm at the international Degrowth in the Americas conference here in Montreal, where students have spent a lot of the last few weeks demonstrating against rising educational fees and debts. Many at our conference are vocally supporting the students and many of us are wearing red felt squares like badges to show our support.

I presented a paper on the chapter by Eduardo Galeano that never made it into the Life Without Money book due to complicated copyright issues. Also, I led a participatory symposium on Money and Degrowth — Future Scenarios, on which a report will appear in a few weeks. Last night I walked back to my digs with police cars and fire engines blaring and sparkling along the streets.

The students here have been on strike from well before May Day, because of educational fee rises and debts. Each night they go on long walks rousing popular support and tying up police resources. When it is warm they will march half-naked. As they walk their route appears on the maps at the following URL, so you can follow their route and know where they are to join them. Each march is archived after each day ends and there are regular video reports through CUTV:

http://manifencours.diametrick.com/

Last night they had called for pop up demos by red-topped demonstrators on all the corners of the city and had a map displayed where people could sign up to signal where they would be, but somehow it seemed to fall through. Many students have been arrested and some have been held without a clear idea of what's happening to them. The minister for education was replaced a couple of days ago.

For an idea of the actions see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqvHlA5vD2M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJb9nX1aWG0&feature=relmfu

For background see:

http://concordiastudents.ca/general-assembly-of-the-concordia-wide-community/
http://www.rightnow.io/breaking-news/ggi-studentdemos-manifencours-classe-mcgill_bn_1335383400174.html
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Striking+students+storm+university+Montreal/6634504/story.html
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/17/where-are-the-grown-ups-in-the-montreal-student-strike-check-the-front-lines/

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