July 22, 2011

The police will fail at keeping us down


MONTREAL - In recent weeks, the student movement has been increasingly targeted by GAMMA, the newest haphazard concoction of the Montreal police.

The Guet des activit├ęs et des mouvements marginaux et anarchistes is mandated to monitor the activities of “fringe movements” and “anarchists.”

It is reminiscent of times when authoritarian forces arrested people simply for thinking too far on the left, when progressives were disallowed freedom of thought, expression and assembly. Whether the arrests were done for good reasons or not, and whether the people arrested were student activists or members of any political movement, is of little importance. The fact is that the police have created an illegal unit that goes against Quebec’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by arresting and closely scrutinizing any groups that it deems to be “marginal” or “anarchist.”

Must we fear to trespass the invisible frontiers of what is allowed to be thought? Shall we live worrying about an unjustified arrest? Or shall we walk our streets with pride in our ideals and our actions?

The police have already lost the trust of many Montrealers with case after case of racial profiling; did they really need to toss political profiling into the mix?

History tells us that you cannot crush revolutions; a revolution is a set of new ideas, not people. Revolutionaries are only the tools by which new ideas are propagated.

If the city of Montreal is alarmed by the rate at which non-mainstream groups are growing, it should start an open discussion with leaders of groups it finds intimidating, instead of feeling the need to bully, arrest and criminalize actors of social change.

The powers that be may be scared, but we are not. We will not be pushed into submission. We will not stand silent and be subjected to discriminatory acts of political profiling.

If the Montreal police have a problem with this, well – I’m sure they know how to find us.

Lenny Leprince is director of external affairs for the Dawson Student Union at Dawson College.

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