April 21, 2012

Fascism rears its ugly head among forces against Québec student strike

The original article, click to read a PDF
Students, unions and other progressive voices in Quebec are condemning the statements of a high-level Québec civil servant from last week, but the provincial Charest Liberal government doesn`t seem particularly bothered that one of their staff proposed pro-fascist movements inspire the resolution of the student strike.

Bernard Guay, head of the tax office in the Municipal Affairs Department, recently wrote a vehement online letter against the on-going student protests, which have rocked the province.

The letter was published on the website of the Quebec City-based Le Soleil -- but generated such an outcry, including a street protest outside the paper`s offices, that the newspaper withdrew it and apologized to readers. You can read the original article, in French, here in PDF.

The text was titled, in rough translation, "For an end to the student strikes." Among other things, Guay urged opponents of the student strike to:

  • draw on the "fascist movements" of the 1920s 30s to deal with "leftists" what the author terms "their own medicine";
  • find the  "means" to remedy this "wasteful and anti-social" situation by  cabal, by organizing a secret political clique or faction (his word was `cabal`)
  • the cabal would mobilize masses of students to cross their picket lines, and also assault the wearers of the symbolic red square
  • when you see someone in the street wearing a red square, confront them, respond to the `bullying` of the students with a challenge
  • "people who oppose the views in the left-wing controlled media (sic) must develop their own media... (such as the) popular radio stations in the regions of Quebec (which) worry our leftists, so they are constantly trying to discredit them by calling them trash-radio."

We must do everything, he says, to "overcome the tyranny of Leftist agitators" he writes.

Municipal Affairs Minister Laurent Lessard said Guay's comments were .... criminal? ... worthy of resignation? ... no just "inappropriate." They sat down and had a chat which counted as an administrative sanction. Lessard refused to elaborate.

Needless to say this is a complete violation of the civil services`codes of conduct. Moreover, the government just spend the last several days endlessly demanding that the students denounce any form of violence in the strike before negotiations take place. At the same time, police brutality at demonstrations continues to outrage people.

The latest news is that today, Saturday April 21st, Member of the National Assembly Amir Khadir narrowly escaped arrest. His crime? Marching with the students and, in response to heavy-handed actions by the police to their rally, proposing to negotiate a different approach.

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