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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Request for solidarity and support for the Legal Committee of the CLASSE

Sisters, brothers,

We write you during a dark time for democratic, human and associative rights in Quebec with the following appeal for your help and solidarity. As you have no doubt heard, the government recently enacted legislation that amounts to the single biggest attack on the right to organize and freedom of expression in North America since the McCarthy period and the biggest attack on civil and democratic rights since the enactment of the War Measures Act in 1970. Arguably, this recent law will unduly criminalize more law-abiding citizens than even McCarthy’s hearings and the War Measures Act ever could.

Among other draconian elements brought forward by this law, any gathering of 50 or more people must submit their plans to the police eight hours ahead of time and must agree to any changes to the gathering’s trajectory, starttime, etc. Any failure to comply with this stifling of freedom of assembly and association will be met with a fine of up to $5,000 for every participant, $35,000 for someone representing a ‘leadership’ position, or $125,000 if a union – labour or student – is deemed to be in charge.  The participation of any university staff (either support staff or professors) in any student demonstration (even one that follows the police’s trajectory and instructions) is equally punishable by these fines. Promoting the violation of any of these prohibitions is considered, legally, equivalent to having violated them and is equally punishable by these crippling fines.

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On June 15 (Fri) the Museum of Vancouver is hosting a dialogue, Is This Vancouver? Reflections on the 2011 Hockey Riot Boards. As we remember, the boards drew crowds post-riot, and “citizens” etched their reactions towards the unrest into multiple slabs of plywood. The riot was an affective response to a year of media hype and build-up and it disturbed Vancouver’s carefully polished identity as a benevolent and beautiful city. Taking issue with a tarnished reputation, the apologizers (along with the media narratives) aimed to rectify the city’s image by casting the rioters outside of it and anthropomorphizing the city into a scorned lover.

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