The Montreal Student Strike is Over, but Our Fight is Not

by November 21, 2012
filed under Activism

To understand who we have become, you first must understand who we were.

It’s kind of like, one day you wake up and you are in the middle of the most active youth driven class struggle in Canadian History. You find yourself in the biggest student strike this country has ever seen. You become familiar with everything that is happening. You become familiar with being a militant, and being a radical.

You become so familiar that every move you make, everything you say and almost every decision you decide is made with the movement in mind. Everything you do become relative to the fight, to the struggle, to the hope of revolution and to every contribution you make to it.

You become so used to all the good things that come with it, that you somehow become comfortable with the bad things. No longer do the police scare you with threats, no longer does tear gas sting or pepper spray burn. You have learned to run after being hit in the knee with a matraque, and you have become over all accustomed to the sound of their batons on their shields. You now unconsciously take note of every passing police car, often finding yourself memorizing the license plates of white vans, and taking note of a matricule is almost a reflex.

You become consumed by the reality you are facing. You take on an identity that you were born to have, and you become truly an anarchist – consumed by all the tiny flaws of our society and how you plan to fix them. We built this world, and it is a world we love regardless of the bullshit it drags with it.

And then one day you wake up, and that world no longer exists. The strike is over and it seems like everyone forgot about class struggle. You have a stack of fines, adding up to thousands of dollars and trials that may throw you in jail. You see people walk around wearing red squares and you resent them, because they are laughing and having fun and carrying on in their days like nothing ever happened. You see police, the way they look at you or even just as they pass down the street and you are filled with anger. Because those are the same police that took every last shred of innocence away from you, the same police that drew lines and the same police that crossed them. And they act like nothing ever happened.

As quickly as you were thrown into class struggle is as slowly as you will be able to transition out of it. And as hard as you try and as hard as you contemplate what role you are to take next, you are still obsessed with what could have come of the fight you almost won. And you cannot let go.

You wake up. Go to work. Come home. Sleep. And it becomes so daunting and so absolutely fucking boring that it drives you insane. Your friends tell you to step back or take a break, and all you can think is how much they are not committed to this fight. Somewhere deep down you know they are, but you want more, because for you, you have given almost everything you have.

You go to sleep only to be taunted by the nightmares, replaying the fucked up shit that you lived. The fucked up shit that happened, that we saw, that was done and that was excused. A minute does not go by in the day that I do not think about the movement, about what could happen. I do not hope our government will be gentle in their budgets, their laws or their taxes; I beg that they are exactly opposite of that. Because I know what they truly are, and I know what the state truly represent – what they are entirely capable of doing to a human being. The moment that they are up front about that is the moment I will be able to be in my world again; the moment I will be able to stop it again. And every passing minute that I spend thinking about the future of this struggle is every minute that I spend consumed by my anger.

We need to find a way to rebuild this movement, to relaunch this movement and to make this movement inclusive of every single person in this province and in this country. But at the same time we need to find a way to rebuild ourselves. We faced repression that people still can’t comprehend, that investigations still can’t prove, that medical reports still can’t credit. So it is time we take a breath, find a way to gain amnesty for these persecutions, and take a moment to sleep, to eat, to live and to love again.

We have spent over 6 months fighting a system and breaking that system. And I know, I know deep down inside, if we would have held on for just a few more months that system would not have been restored, but we didn’t. Mistakes were made and we lost it. But this spring is going to be revolutionary, and we need not forget that we knocked down their doors and we took everything they had. We may not have smashed the state, but we sure as hell fucking broke it.

Remember: We are the insurgence, and in every complexity and in every perfect flaw we are and will remain undefeatable, if so we choose to.

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