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Learning-to-resist

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    Greetings Troublemakers. Welcome to Trouble....
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    my name is not important.
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    This year marks the 50th anniversary
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    of the tumultuous events of 1968,
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    when an unprecedented wave of revolt
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    broke out in multiple countries around the world,
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    sending a collective shiver
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    down the spines of the ruling class.
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    This was arguably the closest
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    that humanity has ever come to a global revolution,
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    and the reverberations of this shock
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    lasted well into the next decade,
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    as capitalists scrambled
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    to restructure the international economy
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    and states passed a series of reforms
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    aimed at desperately reasserting their legitimacy.
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    While there were many different local factors
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    and a wide cross-section of participants to the riots of '68,
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    a recurring theme was the leading role
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    played by a generation of insurgent youth,
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    fed up with the alienation and misery
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    of everyday life under capitalism.
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    Some of the most iconic scenes of '68 played out in Paris,
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    where tens of thousands of university
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    and high-school students took to the streets,
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    erected barricades
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    and fought pitched street battles with the cops.
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    Inspired by the bravery
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    and uncompromising militancy of these youth,
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    millions of workers joined the fray,
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    launching the biggest wildcat strike in history,
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    and nearly toppling the French state in the process.
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    Students also played a key role
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    in kicking-off protests that year in
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    Italy, Spain, West Germany,
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    Sweden, Poland, Yugoslavia, Mexico,
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    Brazil, Colombia, Argentina,
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    Jamaica, and the United States.
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    Five years later,
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    students at the Athens Polytechnic played a decisive role
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    in toppling the fascist military junta in Greece.
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    Sadly, the revolutionary upsurge of the 60's and 70's
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    was ultimately put down,
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    and is now confined to the annals of history.
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    But student unrest has persisted,
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    and today it continues to play a key role
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    in fomenting political crises
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    and articulating broader critiques
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    of capitalism and the state.
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    Over the next thirty minutes,
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    we'll explore contemporary student struggles
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    from so-called Puerto Rico, Montreal and Chile,
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    and speak with current and former student organizers
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    as they share their experiences
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    of launching strikes, occupying buildings,
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    taking to the streets
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    and making a whole lot of trouble.
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    Considering that the economic crisis
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    is not only seen in Puerto Rico, but globally,
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    universities as a whole
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    in almost all parts of the world are being affected.
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    The case of Puerto Rico
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    can be seen as more problematic
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    considering that this country is a colony of the USA.
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    The economic disaster,
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    both in the empire and in the colony
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    is exacerbated more in terms
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    of general education.
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    And mainly in the aspect of higher education,
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    which has led to seeing the future as
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    something very tragic.
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    Each year there are less students.
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    And obviously that’s because of the crisis.
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    Every year more people leave the country
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    - especially young people.
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    More youth join the army.
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    They go study at institutes.
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    They go study in the US.
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    Historically, the University of Puerto Rico,
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    which is the public university of the country,
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    is and continues to be,
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    generally speaking,
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    a bastion of critical thought.
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    To be able to talk about the 2010 strike
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    - or, specifically about how the strike began in 2010 -
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    we have to go back and talk about the 2005 strike.
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    In 2005, a new increase in tuition was taking place.
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    We're talking about a 33% tuition increase.
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    The strike was sparked because of that.
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    It was sparked so that education could stay accessible.
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    It was also the strike in which the campus was occupied
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    and shut down.
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    The organizing was typical
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    of traditional leftist socialist political organizations
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    - very centralized -
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    which created resentments and tensions.
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    We cannot call it a failure,
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    although the tuition freeze was not won.
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    Yes, the tuition hike was carried out...
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    the strike ended in a very chaotic way
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    But it led many to an awareness of what we want.
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    At the beginning of 2009
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    we started to re-organize the university.
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    We began to realize that we had to break down
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    these traditional centralized and hierarchical structures.
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    We began to decentralize.
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    We began to form affinity groups
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    - they were called action committees.
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    From there came the idea of creating a university union.
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    Action committees were organized by faculty,
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    in the case of the Rio Piedras campus.
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    And they allowed us to have a strike committee
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    overnight, without even having a strike.
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    Then we started to push the assembly to strike.
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    And in the assembly, it was already organic.
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    We were no longer going with the purpose
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    of convincing people.
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    We were going to vote for the strike.
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    And so the strike started.
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    And the strike was like a snowball.
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    As the snowball kept rolling, it kept growing.
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    And from there 11 campuses were occupied.
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    To be able to carry out the strike and be successful,
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    we had to sacrifice our studies.
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    So the occupation of the campuses,
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    of each of the faculties, was that.
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    To create the impossibility for normality.
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    We're on strike... therefore there are no classes.
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    Making a fortress of the Rio Piedras campus
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    - as did our comrades did in the other campuses -
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    was done to avoid a confrontation with the cops
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    That would have kicked us out,
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    and then the strike would have ended.
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    That still happened.
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    But inside, there was an atmosphere of freedom.
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    An atmosphere of coexistence
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    and social transformation.
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    That's where that idea comes in.
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    We learned to make barricades.
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    We learned to confront the police like never before.
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    "Out! Out! Cops get out!"
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    We learned to think strategically.
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    We learned to attract the people, the public.
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    Not only was the campus taken,
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    the streets were taken too.
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    I think that 2010 and 2011 transformed people.
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    It allowed the strike of 2017
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    to be a different strike.
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    There was a consciousness,
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    and the genie was out of the bottle.
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    <
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    on the so-called ‘PROMESA’ bill,
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    which would establish a means for Puerto Rico
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    to restructure its 72 billion dollars in debt
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    but would also impose a Financial Control Board
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    - or what I and other people call it -
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    a colonial control board
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    over the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.>>
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    The Fiscal Control Board
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    overrules the government of Puerto Rico
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    and decides the austerity measures to be imposed
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    on the people.
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    And one of the first things it did
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    was propose cuts to the University of Puerto Rico.
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    The cuts - first they were $300 million
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    now they are $450 million.
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    One of the things that was discussed in the fiscal plan
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    was a tuition increase.
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    In 2016, when us students found this out,
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    we began to organize.
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    And we went on strike
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    in 2010-11 committees were organized by faculty.
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    In 2017, we did the same thing.
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    But new committees were created,
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    such as the athlete's committee,
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    the seed-garden committee,
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    and other committees and working groups,
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    such as the gender working group.
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    The strike was also connected to the crisis
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    that the country was going through.
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    it was tied to the fight against the Fiscal Control Board,
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    to the struggle for independence.
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    The majority of our protests
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    were outside the university.
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    The fact that we were on strike
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    helped a lot with organizing May Day,
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    and the tactics that were used.
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    Black bloc tactics were used,
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    and striking students were able to
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    organize that black bloc.
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    They were able to make contacts with other people
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    who were not students,
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    but who could participate in the strike, because
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    even though it was a student strike
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    it was open to the people.
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    On May 22nd 2012,
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    over 200,000 people took to the streets of Montreal,
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    in the largest act of civil disobedience
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    to ever occur in the territories ruled
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    by the Canadian state.
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    This demonstration was part of the so-called Maple Spring,
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    a massive general strike involving over 300,000 students
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    of Quebec's universities and CEGEP's,
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    or Collèges d'enseignement général et professionnel,
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    a province-wide network
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    of publicly-funded vocational colleges.
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    Like many other demos that occurred
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    in the weeks and months that followed,
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    the May 22 manif was illegal.
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    Those marching that day were doing so
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    in open defiance of the so-called Special Law,
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    Bill 78, a repressive piece of legislation
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    that had recently been passed by the Liberal government,
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    and which had sought to criminalize all demonstrations
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    whose routes were not submitted to the police in advance.
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    Quebec has a long and storied history of student radicalism,
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    and the province has seen no less than ten
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    student-led general strikes in the past fifty years.
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    But the 2012 strike lasted nearly eight months,
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    making it by far the longest,
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    and largest such strike in Quebec history.
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    The social upheaval provoked by this movement
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    ended up toppling the provincial government of Jean Charest,
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    and rolling back the proposed tuition increase
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    that it had originally been launched to oppose.
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    And yet... the fact that the end of the strike
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    still felt like a crushing defeat,
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    despite ostensibly achieving its goals,
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    is a testament to the conviction
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    it had inspired in its participants
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    that an entirely new world was within their grasp.
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    In Quebec specifically,
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    the student movement is a big political force
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    and it has a continuity through history
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    of social and political organizing.
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    The francophone student movement in Quebec
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    goes back to the 60's,
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    where in Quebec we had this movement
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    called “the Quiet Revolution”.
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    Because most of the universities were controlled
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    either by the Church,
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    or by the anglophones.
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    So only really rich francophones could go
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    to universities and colleges.
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    The CEGEPs were founded by actual occupations of colleges
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    demanding for accessible schooling.
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    And it led to a huge wave of francophones and poor people
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    getting access to so-called higher education.
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    One of the interesting aspects
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    about the Quebec student movement
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    is that there's a certain level of institutionalization
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    of student unions.
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    Students are able to follow through
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    from struggle to struggle.
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    So for example in 2005,
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    where students might have been involved
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    at the CGEP level, at the college level
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    – in 2012 they would have been at the university level
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    and they could have been involved
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    in transferring their experience
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    and their knowledge to younger generations of activists.
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    It has had a lot of impact on the youth in general,
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    and the way school is held in Quebec.
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    ASSE is a federation of local student unions
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    that was created in 2001 to fight off the influence
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    of the two other main student union federations,
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    that were more on the political lobbying scene.
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    ASSE has always seen the government as an enemy
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    that needs to be combated.
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    We don't wanna negotiate with these people.
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    We wanna force them to act.
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    What ASSE is about is really grouping together
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    local student unions and providing spaces
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    in which these local student unions
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    are able to interact with each other, exchange information
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    — and most importantly, take collective action.
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    So how it works is that
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    you've got many different colleges and universities
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    that are members of the ASSE, and in between
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    – like in colleges and universities specifically –
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    the unions are separated by faculties.
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    If a student union wants to become a member of ASSE,
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    it has to organize on the principle of direct democracy.
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    There is no talk of doing lobby work with politicians,
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    for example,
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    there's no talk of even doing a demo
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    without it being voted in a GA.
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    I don't think striking would have been possible
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    without this kind of organization.
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    A general assembly, or a GA,
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    is just the practice of getting together as a group
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    to discuss matters at hand that concern you.
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    Everybody can come in and can vote
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    and propose whatever they want.
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    There has to be some procedures,
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    but the idea is to have the structure as open as possible
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    for everybody to be able to speak
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    on different subjects and matters
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    and propose what they want.
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    It's so important that students have this space
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    to meet and organize together.
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    Having a general assembly go on strike
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    means that the whole faculty goes on strike.
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    The whole collective is bound to that decision.
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    And that meant we could block the whole campus.
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    I was one of the people you could say
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    was politically born in 2012.
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    As was the case for thousands of people in Quebec.
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    What happened then was magical.
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    It was a social upheaval like you don't see very often,
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    and it schooled us to street politics,
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    to radical democracy,
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    to what can really be obtained
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    by making strong bonds and fighting together.
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    The 2012 strike was a result of, I would say,
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    at least three years of grassroots organizing.
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    We knew in 2009
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    that the government was planning to raise up tuition fees.
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    So we had time to prepare.
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    Our goal was to go step-by-step,
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    and then to have increasingly radical actions.
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    And eventually,
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    when the government decided to raise the tuition,
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    we were able to tell the people
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    “we've done everything.”
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    Y'know, we've done petitions. We've sent letters.
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    We called everybody.
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    We did all these things that we knew wouldn't work.
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    And now the only thing we have left to do
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    is to go on a general strike.
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    So there's this whole build up
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    that was really important to the success of that strike.
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    What the student strike does,
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    by massively shutting down campuses
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    in universities and colleges
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    is it frees up students to
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    not only organize within the struggle,
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    but also think about the issues that are outside.
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    And at the beginning, people were saying
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    “oh, y'know... these people are striking against tuition fees.
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    It's a very student-centric struggle.
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    They only want to protect themselves.”
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    But eventually they saw that what we wanted
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    was more radical than just striking against tuition hikes.
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    We were for a really different society.
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    And the strike was only a representation of that.
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    The context of 2012 really opened space,
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    opened cracks within people's daily lives
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    to consider other methods of struggle,
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    other methods of organizing.
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    The 2012 strike was about student debt,
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    which is incredibly high for everybody.
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    But then it also gave us a chance
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    to touch on debt in general.
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    Why is everybody so in debt?
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    Why is everybody so poor,
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    when they're working all their lives away?
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    During the summer of 2012
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    we saw the emergence of assemblies,
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    of, like, neighbourhood assemblies,
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    which were called APAQs
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    – Assemblées Populaire Autonome de Quartier.
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    So basically autonomous neighbourhood assemblies.
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    I think it was a gateway for
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    a lot of more in-depth thinking
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    about the current situation,
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    which everybody shares.
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    Everybody can realize, y'know, we're being fucked over.
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    And eventually,
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    after maybe five months of all the universities
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    and the colleges being paralyzed,
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    the government decided to pass a special law
  • 15:55 - 15:57
    banning public demonstrations.
  • 15:57 - 16:00
    And that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • 16:00 - 16:03
    People started banging pots on their balconies one night,
  • 16:03 - 16:05
    and then the night afterwards,
  • 16:05 - 16:07
    everybody was in the streets banging pots
  • 16:07 - 16:08
    against the general law.
  • 16:09 - 16:12
    So Jean Charest is sending Quebeckers to the polls.
  • 16:12 - 16:14
    We really faced a wall when the government decided
  • 16:14 - 16:16
    that they couldn't go on,
  • 16:16 - 16:17
    and decided to call an election.
  • 16:17 - 16:20
    It was taken back from us by sold-out politicians
  • 16:20 - 16:24
    that gained capital on our struggle.
  • 16:24 - 16:26
    A lot of people just thought... we had won.
  • 16:26 - 16:30
    Because everybody was gonna vote on something,
  • 16:30 - 16:31
    and elections would solve everything.
  • 16:31 - 16:36
    We have to beware of elections as a way to solve struggles.
  • 16:36 - 16:37
    Because it didn't solve anything.
  • 16:37 - 16:40
    Following 2012 there was three years
  • 16:40 - 16:42
    of very brutal repression in the streets,
  • 16:42 - 16:45
    specifically targeting student organization,
  • 16:45 - 16:47
    in the hopes of breaking down the student movement.
  • 16:47 - 16:48
    And so in 2015,
  • 16:48 - 16:50
    there was an independent group that formed
  • 16:50 - 16:52
    within the walls of UQAM
  • 16:52 - 16:54
    – Université du Québec à Montréal –
  • 16:54 - 16:56
    to start organizing again and fight back.
  • 16:56 - 16:58
    It was an anarchist strike,
  • 16:58 - 17:02
    in the sense that it was a refusal to let the institutions
  • 17:02 - 17:05
    and the corporations instrumentalize us
  • 17:05 - 17:07
    and put words in our mouth.
  • 17:07 - 17:11
    So 2015 was really about the heritage of 2012.
  • 17:11 - 17:14
    But it was also a message to the ones coming up
  • 17:14 - 17:16
    that it was still possible.
  • 17:16 - 17:19
    We still have the structures to get up and fight together.
  • 17:22 - 17:23
    Without a doubt
  • 17:23 - 17:25
    the most sustained student movement
  • 17:25 - 17:26
    in the so-called Americas
  • 17:26 - 17:29
    can be found in the territories ruled by the Chilean state.
  • 17:29 - 17:31
    Since the 2006 protests
  • 17:31 - 17:34
    popularly known as the Penguin's Revolution,
  • 17:34 - 17:37
    through the Chilean Winter of 2011-2013,
  • 17:37 - 17:39
    and continuing to today,
  • 17:39 - 17:40
    the Chilean student movement
  • 17:40 - 17:43
    has represented a consistent pole of radical activity
  • 17:43 - 17:44
    in the southern Andean country,
  • 17:44 - 17:47
    drawing in hundreds of thousands of participants
  • 17:47 - 17:48
    and helping to topple multiple governments,
  • 17:48 - 17:50
    seemingly without breaking stride.
  • 17:50 - 17:51
    While its roots lie
  • 17:51 - 17:53
    in the militant youth wings
  • 17:53 - 17:55
    of the socialist and communist parties
  • 17:55 - 17:57
    that once formed an important pillar of support
  • 17:57 - 18:00
    for former president Salvador Allende,
  • 18:00 - 18:02
    student radicalism was effectively suppressed in Chile
  • 18:02 - 18:05
    during the long years of the Pinochet dictatorship.
  • 18:05 - 18:07
    Today's student movement is still struggling
  • 18:07 - 18:09
    against the economic legacies of this period,
  • 18:09 - 18:12
    in which the regime embraced neoliberal shock doctrines
  • 18:12 - 18:14
    that led to one of the most heavily privatized
  • 18:14 - 18:16
    education systems in the world.
  • 18:16 - 18:19
    While the demands of today's reconstituted student movement
  • 18:19 - 18:21
    began with relatively humble requests,
  • 18:21 - 18:22
    such as free bus passes
  • 18:22 - 18:24
    and the waiving of onerous fees
  • 18:24 - 18:26
    for university admission tests,
  • 18:26 - 18:28
    they have since evolved into militant calls
  • 18:28 - 18:30
    for free post-secondary education
  • 18:30 - 18:32
    that have brought the entire capitalist system into question.
  • 18:35 - 18:37
    Education in Chile is deeply segregated by class.
  • 18:39 - 18:44
    The level of privatization caused students to go into debt.
  • 18:44 - 18:49
    Families would be spending such a large portion
  • 18:49 - 18:52
    of their earnings to pay for education
  • 18:52 - 18:54
    that people started to realize that it was a right
  • 18:54 - 18:56
    that they were being deprived of
  • 18:56 - 18:58
    and that they had to begin to mobilize.
  • 18:59 - 19:02
    Traditional universities, especially state universities,
  • 19:02 - 19:06
    have a long tradition of student organizing and mobilizing,
  • 19:06 - 19:11
    where student federations are established organizations
  • 19:11 - 19:14
    and are “accepted” by the rectories
  • 19:14 - 19:16
    and the government as a valid interlocutor
  • 19:16 - 19:19
    when discussing student issues.
  • 19:19 - 19:23
    The private universities that were established in 1981
  • 19:23 - 19:24
    are institutions that,
  • 19:24 - 19:26
    generally speaking,
  • 19:26 - 19:29
    have only had university federations since the 2000s.
  • 19:29 - 19:31
    It was at that moment that the students began
  • 19:31 - 19:33
    to demand their right to organize
  • 19:33 - 19:35
    in a federation that was legitimized
  • 19:35 - 19:37
    by the rectories of those institutions.
  • 19:37 - 19:40
    The university federations are grouped in CONFECH.
  • 19:41 - 19:44
    The CONFECH is the federation of Chilean students
  • 19:44 - 19:46
    and is like the main body
  • 19:46 - 19:50
    bringing together the different university federations
  • 19:50 - 19:53
    of the majority of Chilean universities,
  • 19:53 - 19:55
    whether they be private or public.
  • 19:56 - 20:00
    The movement of 2011 was a really defining moment.
  • 20:00 - 20:04
    People felt and believed in a struggle of their own,
  • 20:04 - 20:07
    and seeing that the demonstrations
  • 20:07 - 20:09
    began to attract many students,
  • 20:09 - 20:11
    a much deeper analysis began to take form
  • 20:11 - 20:12
    with regards to education.
  • 20:14 - 20:16
    The main slogans that guided the mobilization
  • 20:16 - 20:18
    cover different areas.
  • 20:18 - 20:20
    The first has to do with free education,
  • 20:20 - 20:23
    the demand that higher education
  • 20:23 - 20:25
    be free and accessible for all students,
  • 20:25 - 20:29
    regardless of the socio-economic level of their families.
  • 20:29 - 20:30
    The second has to do
  • 20:30 - 20:33
    with the forgiveness of debts incurred by Chilean families
  • 20:33 - 20:35
    during the process of educating their children.
  • 20:35 - 20:37
    The third has to do with the orientation
  • 20:37 - 20:40
    that education has in our country.
  • 20:40 - 20:42
    And there, the CONFECH’s demand
  • 20:42 - 20:44
    is to advance the creation
  • 20:44 - 20:46
    of a national development project,
  • 20:46 - 20:48
    in which the universities
  • 20:48 - 20:51
    – and in particular the public and state universities –
  • 20:51 - 20:55
    play a strategic role in the design of public policies,
  • 20:55 - 20:57
    in conjunction with the state.
  • 21:03 - 21:06
    It was at that point that secondary students
  • 21:06 - 21:08
    also came together with their own demands,
  • 21:08 - 21:11
    and the need to coordinate
  • 21:11 - 21:14
    with high school students was sparked,
  • 21:14 - 21:17
    since they also had been resisting, since 2006
  • 21:17 - 21:19
    – which was known as the Penguin's Revolution.
  • 21:19 - 21:21
    We could see a level of support
  • 21:21 - 21:23
    that no other kind of social movement
  • 21:23 - 21:24
    during the last decades had seen,
  • 21:24 - 21:26
    since the end of the dictatorship.
  • 21:26 - 21:28
    There were even polls that pointed to
  • 21:28 - 21:32
    over 80% of the population supporting student demands.
  • 21:32 - 21:33
    We saw demonstrations
  • 21:33 - 21:36
    of up to one million people in the capital,
  • 21:36 - 21:38
    with entire families participating,
  • 21:38 - 21:40
    with workers' unions participating,
  • 21:40 - 21:42
    with people in the streets
  • 21:42 - 21:43
    who were not affiliated
  • 21:43 - 21:44
    with any political organization supporting.
  • 21:44 - 21:46
    The student demands
  • 21:46 - 21:49
    had resonated with a great majority of the country.
  • 21:49 - 21:52
    For example, the fight against indebtedness,
  • 21:52 - 21:56
    but also the struggle for a less classist educational system
  • 21:56 - 21:58
    that contributes to the development of the country,
  • 21:58 - 22:01
    and not just to the profits of the ruling class.
  • 22:03 - 22:07
    Within what was called the anarchist movement,
  • 22:07 - 22:09
    it was thought that the participation of anarchists
  • 22:09 - 22:11
    within the dynamics of the student movement
  • 22:11 - 22:13
    – for example in the election leaders,
  • 22:13 - 22:15
    participation in voting,
  • 22:15 - 22:17
    participation in assemblies, etc –
  • 22:17 - 22:19
    was something that did not correspond
  • 22:19 - 22:21
    to the principles of the anarchist movement.
  • 22:21 - 22:24
    As of 2003, we decided that it was something
  • 22:24 - 22:26
    that did not correspond to our current reality,
  • 22:26 - 22:28
    that as a libertarian movement
  • 22:28 - 22:31
    we had the responsibility to nourish the student movement
  • 22:31 - 22:33
    with our political perspective.
  • 22:33 - 22:36
    And that if it meant that our comrades
  • 22:36 - 22:38
    had to take on representational roles
  • 22:38 - 22:41
    in an attempt to to democratize those spaces,
  • 22:41 - 22:42
    it had to be done.
  • 22:43 - 22:45
    There were different visions.
  • 22:45 - 22:46
    On the one hand,
  • 22:46 - 22:48
    there were groups that were very, like, platform based,
  • 22:48 - 22:50
    and who called themselves anarchists.
  • 22:50 - 22:52
    But they were groups that, after all,
  • 22:52 - 22:55
    also sought leadership positions.
  • 22:55 - 22:57
    And on the other hand,
  • 22:57 - 22:58
    there were young people who were looking
  • 22:58 - 23:01
    for a much more horizontal organization,
  • 23:01 - 23:05
    a much more direct manifestation, or, direct action.
  • 23:05 - 23:08
    Beginning with small affinity groups,
  • 23:08 - 23:12
    a movement that unites from below.
  • 23:12 - 23:14
    I think it served to effectively keep up the pressure.
  • 23:14 - 23:17
    So that it wasn’t so easy to impose the direction
  • 23:17 - 23:19
    that this movement could take.
  • 23:19 - 23:21
    It was already super distorted
  • 23:21 - 23:24
    by the filters of the political parties
  • 23:24 - 23:27
    that directed the assemblies in some way.
  • 23:27 - 23:29
    f we did not resist in some way,
  • 23:29 - 23:31
    we were going to let it be much easier
  • 23:31 - 23:32
    for them to control things.
  • 23:32 - 23:34
    At the end of the day,
  • 23:34 - 23:37
    you realized that it served to link you with other people
  • 23:37 - 23:41
    who were not even part of your student organizations.
  • 23:41 - 23:43
    But who also had their own networks.
  • 23:43 - 23:45
    And it allowed you to see what the mistakes were,
  • 23:45 - 23:48
    or the things that don't really make sense
  • 23:48 - 23:51
    in the spaces in which people were mobilizing.
  • 23:51 - 23:55
    I think it's possible to draw several lessons
  • 23:55 - 23:58
    from the experience the Chilean student movement
  • 23:58 - 24:00
    has accumulated during the last decade and a half.
  • 24:00 - 24:03
    One of them has to do with the ability
  • 24:03 - 24:05
    of the student movement and its political organizations
  • 24:05 - 24:08
    to protect its internal democratic structures.
  • 24:08 - 24:11
    That allows students in the country
  • 24:11 - 24:13
    to be represented democratically,
  • 24:13 - 24:17
    and grants legitimacy to their spaces of representation.
  • 24:17 - 24:21
    The other lesson has to do with the need to move
  • 24:21 - 24:23
    from economic demands to political demands.
  • 24:23 - 24:28
    Questioning not only the way in which neoliberalism
  • 24:28 - 24:30
    expresses itself concretely in terms of education,
  • 24:30 - 24:33
    but by questioning the foundations
  • 24:33 - 24:35
    of neoliberal educational policy.
  • 24:35 - 24:37
    And what that means, is questioning, for example,
  • 24:37 - 24:40
    the role that banks and the private sector
  • 24:40 - 24:43
    play in education to the detriment of the public sector.
  • 24:43 - 24:45
    Another lesson has to do with the ability
  • 24:45 - 24:47
    of the student movement to exercise,
  • 24:47 - 24:50
    or establish ties of solidarity with other social movements.
  • 24:50 - 24:52
    During 2011-2012,
  • 24:52 - 24:56
    we forged a process of coordination
  • 24:56 - 24:58
    and relationship with labour unions,
  • 24:58 - 25:00
    with neighbourhood organizations,
  • 25:00 - 25:02
    with environmental organizations,
  • 25:02 - 25:05
    with organizations that fought for
  • 25:05 - 25:07
    and demanded gender equality,
  • 25:07 - 25:09
    and with an endless number of other social groups
  • 25:09 - 25:11
    within Chilean society
  • 25:11 - 25:16
    that share with us a critique of neoliberal society.
  • 25:16 - 25:18
    Because that allows their political demand
  • 25:18 - 25:20
    not to be exhausted within the educational demand,
  • 25:20 - 25:23
    but rather to be projected into a political project
  • 25:23 - 25:25
    that overcomes the student struggle,
  • 25:25 - 25:27
    and that is ultimately related to
  • 25:27 - 25:29
    the struggle against the neoliberal model
  • 25:29 - 25:31
    – and therefore to the construction
  • 25:31 - 25:33
    of a different political alternative.
  • 25:39 - 25:41
    Students that go to school in areas without
  • 25:41 - 25:43
    an established radical student movement
  • 25:43 - 25:45
    often face structural and political obstacles
  • 25:45 - 25:48
    to the types of grassroots organizing required
  • 25:48 - 25:49
    to call general strikes,
  • 25:49 - 25:52
    or otherwise coordinate mass mobilizations
  • 25:52 - 25:53
    of thousands of rowdy youth
  • 25:53 - 25:55
    eager to throw down against the cops.
  • 25:55 - 25:56
    In so-called Canada,
  • 25:56 - 25:58
    student unions outside of Quebec
  • 25:58 - 26:01
    are run according to the logic of representative democracy,
  • 26:01 - 26:03
    whereby decision-making is heavily concentrated
  • 26:03 - 26:05
    in the hands of a small executive body,
  • 26:05 - 26:08
    whose members are elected to annual terms.
  • 26:08 - 26:10
    These schools also lack institutions
  • 26:10 - 26:12
    of popular participation and direct democracy,
  • 26:12 - 26:14
    such as the general assemblies
  • 26:14 - 26:16
    that proved so crucial to helping to kick off
  • 26:16 - 26:18
    the 2012 student strike in Quebec.
  • 26:18 - 26:19
    Making matters even worse,
  • 26:19 - 26:22
    many of these local student unions are grouped into large,
  • 26:22 - 26:25
    reformist student blocks like the CFS,
  • 26:25 - 26:27
    or Canadian Federation of Students,
  • 26:27 - 26:29
    who are heavily invested in the status quo.
  • 26:29 - 26:31
    Each year, the CFS national executive
  • 26:31 - 26:34
    collects millions of dollars out of students' tuition fees,
  • 26:34 - 26:37
    which they then funnel into harmlessly lobbying politicians
  • 26:37 - 26:39
    and paying their own bloated salaries.
  • 26:39 - 26:41
    Not only do groups like the CFS
  • 26:41 - 26:44
    occupy a space where a potentially revolutionary
  • 26:44 - 26:46
    national student federation could exist,
  • 26:46 - 26:48
    but they often employ a ruthless mix of lawyers,
  • 26:48 - 26:50
    fear-mongering campaigns
  • 26:50 - 26:53
    and procedural red tape in order to maintain their control
  • 26:53 - 26:55
    and ensure that no radical threats to their position
  • 26:55 - 26:56
    are allowed to emerge.
  • 26:56 - 26:58
    But resistance has to start somewhere.
  • 26:58 - 27:00
    The secret is discovering where to begin.
  • 27:02 - 27:06
    These are very transforming times in one's life.
  • 27:06 - 27:08
    So it's a time to learn how to act together
  • 27:08 - 27:10
    and take control on the world,
  • 27:10 - 27:11
    which needs you.
  • 27:11 - 27:14
    It's going bad out there.
  • 27:14 - 27:18
    And there is such poor political culture.
  • 27:18 - 27:20
    And the only way to break that
  • 27:20 - 27:23
    is to learn to speak to one another on common grounds
  • 27:23 - 27:26
    and find what can spur us towards action.
  • 27:27 - 27:29
    There's really a deep interconnection
  • 27:29 - 27:30
    between student organizing
  • 27:30 - 27:34
    and anti-capitalist and anarchist organizing in Montreal.
  • 27:34 - 27:35
    The student movement in Quebec
  • 27:35 - 27:39
    has existed and has organized grassroots struggles
  • 27:39 - 27:42
    long before student unions were officially recognized.
  • 27:42 - 27:45
    And certainly within the student movement,
  • 27:45 - 27:48
    these ideas of direct democracy
  • 27:48 - 27:50
    – they don't come out of the ether.
  • 27:51 - 27:52
    In the coming years,
  • 27:52 - 27:56
    we will confront the austerity measures
  • 27:56 - 27:58
    of the Fiscal Control Board
  • 27:58 - 28:00
    and US Congress.
  • 28:00 - 28:03
    But I think that we're stronger now
  • 28:03 - 28:06
    because students are more organized.
  • 28:07 - 28:09
    I think one of the things, also,
  • 28:09 - 28:11
    that anti-capitalists can bring to the student movement
  • 28:11 - 28:14
    – and they have brought it, and it's been welcomed, also –
  • 28:14 - 28:17
    is this analysis that striking for student issues
  • 28:17 - 28:19
    is really important.
  • 28:19 - 28:21
    But ultimately, blocking a tuition hike
  • 28:21 - 28:24
    isn't going to overthrow society.
  • 28:24 - 28:26
    It's not going to overthrow capitalism
  • 28:26 - 28:28
    and it's not gonna really solve
  • 28:28 - 28:31
    the day-to-day problems that students face.
  • 28:31 - 28:33
    What the student movement does,
  • 28:33 - 28:35
    by organizing a political struggle,
  • 28:35 - 28:39
    is that it exposes the state, and its policies
  • 28:39 - 28:41
    and the government for what they really are.
  • 28:42 - 28:45
    To be able to defend the right to mobilize,
  • 28:45 - 28:48
    we have to be capable of formulating a political discourse
  • 28:48 - 28:50
    that allows us to count on
  • 28:50 - 28:51
    the substantial support of the people,
  • 28:51 - 28:53
    so that our demands are understood.
  • 28:53 - 28:55
    So that the tactics utilized
  • 28:55 - 28:57
    - be they street battles,
  • 28:57 - 28:58
    street demonstrations,
  • 28:58 - 29:01
    or university building occupations,
  • 29:01 - 29:03
    is understood by the citizens.
  • 29:03 - 29:05
    To achieve that, it's important to
  • 29:05 - 29:07
    publicize our objectives.
  • 29:07 - 29:10
    To publish videos explaining why we are mobilizing
  • 29:10 - 29:13
    - the reasons why we are mobilizing -
  • 29:13 - 29:16
    and connect the demands of the students
  • 29:16 - 29:21
    with the hardships that workers endure every day.
  • 29:23 - 29:26
    If we don't fight to transform our country,
  • 29:26 - 29:29
    we won't be able to fight for a real education.
  • 29:29 - 29:31
    The independence of Puerto Rico would be
  • 29:31 - 29:33
    one aspect of our success.
  • 29:33 - 29:35
    Quality public education is
  • 29:35 - 29:37
    one aspect of our struggle.
  • 29:37 - 29:39
    The education of the street is
  • 29:39 - 29:41
    another aspect of our struggle.
  • 29:41 - 29:44
    I can say that many of the comrades who
  • 29:44 - 29:47
    were involved in the 2010-11 strike,
  • 29:47 - 29:49
    and the one in 2017,
  • 29:49 - 29:50
    understood that.
  • 29:50 - 29:52
    That's why they are organizing alternative projects.
  • 29:53 - 29:55
    New organizations emerge
  • 29:55 - 29:58
    that were not tied to past political groups.
  • 29:58 - 30:01
    These new organizations emerge
  • 30:01 - 30:04
    to meet the needs of the students.
  • 30:06 - 30:09
    Give priority to grassroots organizing more than
  • 30:09 - 30:12
    groups that direct from the top.
  • 30:12 - 30:19
    Otherwise it becomes an imaginary mobilization.
  • 30:21 - 30:23
    One of the big stumbling blocks, I think,
  • 30:23 - 30:26
    that has to be broken down elsewhere
  • 30:26 - 30:29
    is that representative student democracy
  • 30:29 - 30:32
    is really just a breeding ground for politicians.
  • 30:32 - 30:35
    And we know, like, what politicians are about.
  • 30:35 - 30:38
    And they're not about defending students
  • 30:38 - 30:40
    and defending student issues.
  • 30:41 - 30:42
    It's hard to bring a new student union
  • 30:42 - 30:47
    that was used to the more lobbying sphere,
  • 30:47 - 30:48
    to a more grassroots organizing.
  • 30:48 - 30:50
    Because you have to organize.
  • 30:50 - 30:52
    You have to mobilize people.
  • 30:52 - 30:54
    It's a lot of work, but it's also very rewarding.
  • 30:54 - 30:56
    You talk to people, you politicize them,
  • 30:56 - 30:59
    and you have the impression you're really changing things.
  • 30:59 - 31:01
    This mindset is very different from
  • 31:01 - 31:05
    the other big student federations in Canada and Quebec
  • 31:05 - 31:07
    that tends to see the government as,
  • 31:07 - 31:10
    not an ally, but something that can be reasoned with.
  • 31:11 - 31:15
    We've heard about how CFS has used legal devices
  • 31:15 - 31:17
    and lawyers and courts
  • 31:17 - 31:21
    to try and keep student unions under control.
  • 31:21 - 31:23
    But I think it's becoming more and more clear
  • 31:23 - 31:27
    to students across Canada that the CFS is really
  • 31:27 - 31:30
    more about control and money
  • 31:30 - 31:32
    than actual student organizing.
  • 31:34 - 31:35
    Organizing with the people,
  • 31:35 - 31:38
    and having a broad movement
  • 31:38 - 31:39
    is a really strong thing.
  • 31:39 - 31:42
    It might sound cheesy,
  • 31:42 - 31:46
    but I truly believe that it can be a gateway
  • 31:46 - 31:48
    for better friendships,
  • 31:48 - 31:50
    deeper relationships
  • 31:50 - 31:52
    with the people you share your life with,
  • 31:52 - 31:56
    your spaces with... your neighbourhood with.
  • 31:56 - 31:59
    It was the massive student movement,
  • 31:59 - 32:02
    plus the support of the people for our political demands
  • 32:02 - 32:05
    that allowed us to confront the repression
  • 32:05 - 32:08
    with a violence of self-defense
  • 32:08 - 32:10
    that was legitimized
  • 32:10 - 32:13
    by a large group of the population.
  • 32:14 - 32:16
    Police and state repression
  • 32:16 - 32:19
    transformed us.
  • 32:19 - 32:21
    It radicalized us.
  • 32:21 - 32:24
    Changing us from student fighters
  • 32:24 - 32:25
    into street fighters.
  • 32:25 - 32:26
    Do it!
  • 32:26 - 32:29
    You guys are what's coming.
  • 32:34 - 32:36
    As the global political climate
  • 32:36 - 32:38
    continues to accelerate from bad to worse,
  • 32:38 - 32:39
    prospects for our collective future
  • 32:39 - 32:41
    are looking pretty bleak.
  • 32:41 - 32:43
    Today's generations are faced
  • 32:43 - 32:46
    with a myriad of seemingly intractable problems,
  • 32:46 - 32:48
    rooted in an increasingly authoritarian
  • 32:48 - 32:50
    and repressive international capitalist regime,
  • 32:50 - 32:52
    and whose dire consequences
  • 32:52 - 32:54
    pose existential threats to the planet
  • 32:54 - 32:56
    and even humanity itself.
  • 32:56 - 32:57
    Many of the radicals of '68
  • 32:57 - 33:00
    have now been incorporated into the very systems of control
  • 33:00 - 33:02
    they once rose up to oppose.
  • 33:02 - 33:04
    If we hope to alter the dangerous trajectory
  • 33:04 - 33:05
    we now find ourselves on,
  • 33:05 - 33:08
    it is vital that a new generation of revolutionaries
  • 33:08 - 33:10
    rise up to address these challenges head-on.
  • 33:10 - 33:11
    So at this point, we’d like to remind you
  • 33:11 - 33:13
    that Trouble is intended to be watched in groups,
  • 33:13 - 33:15
    and to be used as a resource
  • 33:15 - 33:17
    to promote discussion and collective organizing.
  • 33:17 - 33:19
    Are you a student that's interested in carrying out
  • 33:19 - 33:21
    revolutionary anti-capitalist organizing
  • 33:21 - 33:23
    on your university or college campus,
  • 33:23 - 33:24
    or even in your high school?
  • 33:24 - 33:26
    Consider getting together with some comrades,
  • 33:26 - 33:28
    organizing a screening of this film,
  • 33:28 - 33:31
    and discussing a strategy for where you might get started.
  • 33:31 - 33:33
    Interested in running regular screenings of Trouble
  • 33:33 - 33:35
    at your campus, infoshop, community center,
  • 33:35 - 33:37
    or even just at home with friends?
  • 33:37 - 33:38
    Become a Trouble-Maker!
  • 33:38 - 33:39
    For 10 bucks a month,
  • 33:39 - 33:41
    we’ll hook you up with an advanced copy of the show,
  • 33:41 - 33:44
    and a screening kit featuring additional resources
  • 33:44 - 33:46
    and some questions you can use to get a discussion going.
  • 33:46 - 33:49
    If you can’t afford to support us financially, no worries!
  • 33:49 - 33:50
    You can stream and/or download
  • 33:50 - 33:52
    all our content for free off our website:
  • 33:54 - 33:57
    If you’ve got any suggestions for show topics,
  • 33:57 - 33:58
    or just want to get in touch,
  • 33:58 - 34:02
    drop us a line at trouble@sub.media.
  • 34:02 - 34:03
    We're stoked to announce
  • 34:03 - 34:04
    that we reached our fundraising goals
  • 34:04 - 34:05
    for the upcoming year,
  • 34:05 - 34:08
    meaning that we've been able to grow the subMedia team.
  • 34:08 - 34:09
    The next couple of months
  • 34:09 - 34:10
    will be a bit of an adjustment period,
  • 34:10 - 34:11
    but you can all look forward
  • 34:11 - 34:13
    to Stim's return with a brand new show
  • 34:13 - 34:15
    sometime in the not-too-distant future,
  • 34:15 - 34:18
    as well as an increased output of videos
  • 34:18 - 34:19
    throughout 2018 and beyond.
  • 34:19 - 34:21
    We're really excited about it,
  • 34:21 - 34:22
    and wanna give a big shout-out
  • 34:22 - 34:24
    to all those who kicked in to make it possible.
  • 34:24 - 34:26
    Stay tuned for part two of this series next month,
  • 34:26 - 34:28
    as we take a closer look at another batch
  • 34:28 - 34:30
    of student movements from around the globe.
  • 34:30 - 34:32
    This episode would not have been possible
  • 34:32 - 34:34
    without the generous support of Josh and Christian.
  • 34:34 - 34:36
    Now get out there... and make some trouble!
Title:
Learning-to-resist
Video Language:
English
Duration:
35:02

English subtitles

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