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Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, CLASSE co-spokesperson August 9, 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/356382/pourquoi-je-demissionne
Photo cation: Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is leaving his role as co-spokesperson of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) after six months of social struggle.
To each one of you who mobilized this spring,
To members of the CLASSE,
This letter is meant to inform you that I will be leaving my role as co-spokesperson of the CLASSE. After nearly six months of struggle by your side, I believe that the CLASSE is in need of fresh faces. After having taken part in the Coalition’s national tour through all four corners of Quebec, I know that our struggle is now entering a new stage. A stage that necessitates a renewal: it is time for me to bow out. I have done my share as spokesperson, it is now time for others to take over.
I am leaving with my head held high, with the conviction of having done my duty and of having participated in a historical popular movement. I am a student, I am an activist, and it’s in this capacity that I will henceforth continue to promote my ideals. The CLASSE, with or without me, will continue to accomplish great things: I am not, and have never been, a leader. Through leaving, I will prove this beyond doubt.
I am leaving, but the movement will carry on. What I am leaving is not the mobilization, the struggle, nor the CLASSE: I am leaving my role of spokesperson. I will still be at your side, in the street and in assemblies. I am leaving with the feeling of having fulfilled a commitment, along with the feeling of having participated in the building of this magnificent mobilization as well as my abilities allowed. The CLASSE needs new blood, and my colleagues are formidable people, ready to carry the torch.
This decision is neither motivated by bitterness, nor by despair. On the contrary, I am more convinced than ever of the necessity to maintain the mobilization of the past six months. The climate of social and political ebullience to which we’ve contributed in Quebec must imperatively be maintained in the coming months and coming years. The criticisms that were raised by Quebec’s youth this spring are far too profound to be settled by a 35-day electoral campaign.
One single regret
We have asked serious questions and the elections cannot answer them fully, even if the Liberal government is scrapped. We have not just contested the tuition hike. We have called into question the atrophied and corrupt institutions that needed to be challenged, and we have contested the Liberals’ insistence on the economy.
I am leaving with one single regret. I regret leaving my role while Jean Charest is still leading Quebec, a premier who is contemptuous and violent towards Quebec and its youth. Shale gas, corruption, Anticosti. Mont-Orford, tuition hike, health tax: this government’s list of cheating, lies, scandals, and attacks on the population is too long.
And when the youth rose up against these absurdities, Mr Charest could only answer with the severity of a truncheon and the acidity of tear gas. To my generation’s imagination, he answered only with repression and contempt. Facing an abounding mobilization founded on principles, he only answered with personal and degrading attacks.
Since the beginning of our strike, he did not miss a chance to break us, either as a movement or as people. The special law and the brutality of the police were coupled with damages to reputation, stalking, denial of the right to free speech, unjustified police interrogations, nominal attacks at the National Assembly, the constant innuendo that our organization was at the borderline of terrorism: all these jabs appeared to be permitted, no matter their effects on the youth. For a premier who so wishes the student movement denounce violence and intimidation, I have found that Jean Charest has exhibited extraordinary violence towards students and myself. I now need to take a break from all these attacks.
This lack of respect towards youth and its spokespeople is only matched by the general contempt of the common good reigning within the Quebec Liberal Party. This government has no right to offer a lesson in democracy: it is the very embodiment of corruption and of the hijacking of public institutions.
At the core, this premier is only a symbol of this congested society, the sole aspiration of which is to stoop to the same level of stupidity as its neighbors. American and Ontarian universities are not the best examples, no more than are their health care systems. We do not wish to follow their lead, one that will bring us to the commodification of our lives.
Thankfully today, while writing these lines, I am sincerely convinced that this will not happen. It will not happen because we, as members of Quebec’s youth, now know what we must demand of ourselves. It will not happen because we are hundreds of thousands, children of this strike, to fight against their deadly project. And we will not lose steam.
Power’s arrogance will have only had the effect of reinforcing our confidence in ourselves. The solidarity woven through clouds of gas will not be soon undone. Outstretched hands will not let go of one another. And we shall walk still, for years if it takes it, and far beyond this strike, so that one day, Quebec’s people may take back the reins from the wheelers and dealers and the money.
Together, let’s stop the hike.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.