Manif de bonhommes

By lambert strether

Here is a super piece of artwork (original) from the Montreal red square “manifs” (manifestation, demon­stration). I say “super” because I like funny and playful (and I also like strategies of civil resistance that lower barriers to entry so that “all walks of life” can participate, as they are so clearly doing here.) Be sure to use the scrollbar at the bottom to keep scrolling right, so you can see all the marchers in panorama!

[ARTWORK no longer functions; see original site:

To me, this artwork exemplifies the outpouring of creativity that we have also seen in Tahrir Square, Puerta del Sol, and Zucotti Park, and in many other places over the past year or so. I like to think the creativity is prefigurative.

Montreal readers will doubtless clue us all in to the iconography and deeper meanings!

NOTE Kindly used by permission of, and see also la maison de la bande dessinée de Montréal. All rights reserved.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Ms G

      Merci Lambert — most inspiring and beautiful. I can’t stop scrolling and re-scrolling across this most amazing parade.

    2. psychohistorian

      Thank you for posting this great and moving artwork.

      The energy that is pent up will not be denied.


    “The government passed Law 78, which makes demonstrations inside or near a college or university campus illegal and outlaws spontaneous demonstrations in the province. It forces those who protest to seek permission from the police and imposes fines of up to $125,000.

    If Canadians can continue to boycott university classrooms, continue to get crowds into the streets and continue to keep the mainstream behind the movement, the government will become weak and isolated. It is worth attempting in the United States.”

  2. auntienene

    This would make a really cool fabric. I want to turn it into dresses, shirts, tablecloths, a series of pillows, scarves. No kidding. We could wear our solidarity, but it would be more than just a slogan; it would be art, beautiful design.

    1. just me

      Does anyone understand where it comes from? Did anyeverybody add their own drawing and make a virtual wall parade? Can we do that too? I am LOVING this. How do they get the animated ones in with the still ones? Can we animate? I want to try this!

      (Non on the French speaking)

        1. just me

          I sent them a webmail, I figure their English is better than my French — Lambert, interview them! And scroll on through, delighted to see the Statue of Liberty in the parade holding a pot torch, followed by Lady Justice banging on her scales. I love love love this :-)

          1. just me

            They wrote back! In French!

            Votre message pour des informations à la Maison de la bande dessinée a été bien reçu — soyez patients, nous vous répondrons d’ici quelques jours…

            Envoyé automatiquement par le robot-facteur de

            Which Babel Fish tells me is:

            Your message for information in the home of the comic strip has been well received – be patient, we will answer you within a few days…

            Sent automatically by robot-factor

            J’ai développez! Quelle wonderful!

          1. just me

            omg Lambert, I am having a vision! What was the movie where the carrier goes through time and comes out someplace else? What if my dad’s Bonhomme Richard — omg, what if the real USS Constitution — the original Bonhomme Richard and John Paul Jones — all of the good guys we grew up on! — Captain Blood and the pirates! — came up through time to take on the evil powers that have corrupted the governments today? O. M. G. !! Like Star Trek! Like Toy Story! Like Close Encounters! (everyone gets a vision and goes to Montreal! Francois Truffaut!) Make a hash of it, Benjamin Franklin and the original bonhomme Poor Richard’s Almanac too — What if they went to Canada and banged on pots? This is too much fun to think of. THAT’S who we are, not those junk personhood imposters that have taken over the world. And I wonder how they’d do it, our good guys, when their guns don’t work? They’d still do it. They’d find a way. I am loving this. Maybe they’d just do what the Montreal(ites?) are doing, bang on pots. You going to arrest George Washington banging on a pot? Think of that. If all the signers of the Declaration of Independence or Magna Carta came back and assembled in Montreal, or Frankfurt or Brixton or Chicago or Oakland, they’d be arrested as a riot. Plus pots. We SOOO suck! And then what?

            (Apologies to your irony filter, but that was fun :-)

            P.S. Montreal’s motto: Concordia Salus, “well-being through harmony”


          2. just me

            Maybe they’d just spell out words on the deck! First Amendment, nothing more powerful! I could love America again!

          3. just me

            I think this movie needs Brad Bird. The Incredibles! (Come back superheroes!) Ratatouille! (Anyone can!) Iron Giant! (What if a gun had a soul and didn’t want to be a gun?)

          4. just me

            Actually my brain is very small…and easily blown away…but I ended up with a marching band halftime show on the deck of my dad’s carrier in Montreal, and it was so much fun. I’d love to hug him again. I used to play Soviet Army Chorus and Band records to bug him in the ’70s. Plus, you know what? If we all got so damned helplessly pissed that we all in a spasm of communal angst call forth our heroes from the grave to come here and fix things for us NOW — like, somebody’s bound to call forth Lincoln and somebody’s bound to call forth Robert E. Lee and pretty soon they’re either going to find themselves fighting together on the same team or else re-fighting their own old battles, or answering for themselves to other heroes… in Montreal… and all of us now people could end up gaping or getting popcorn. Clusterf*ck!! Clusterbl*st!! Beethoven!! Green Day!! I would SOOO buy a ticket.

            Needs Brad Bird.

          5. just me

            Plus this is weird. I went from NC to a Yahoo News slideshow of the shuttle Enterprise going to its new home at the Intrepid Museum — it felt like my movie — — love the people flotilla (The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming!) — and then side story took me to the Vietnamese napalm girl and her photographer being greeted by Queen Elizabeth at the London Science Museum that has the photo on display. Smiles and honor. Maybe the universe is a salt shaker. Maybe things come out right if you keep shaking.

  3. PQS

    Thanks very much….

    In this issue of the London Review of Books, the “Diary” is from Syria….

    Even amidst all the horror, many in Syria are using humor and satire to poke at the security forces and Bashar.

    From the article:

    ‘We’ve been brainwashed for years,’ one of the activists said. ‘It isn’t only the regime that’s oppressive. The regime has become part of all of us.’ Satire is important for ‘mental detoxification’, because it isn’t always clear what’s real and what isn’t.

    Mental detoxification. I love it.

    1. Less Bad

      Can’t match the horror of the mentally ill in solitary confinement in US prisons. But Americans have been brainwashed for years, and even though they may be casually aware that the US leads the world in locking people up, what passes for the media won’t report. In any war, the forth estate will assasinate the truth faster then Goldman Sachs absconding Libya. Mental floss for propaganda victims, I love it.

  4. joel3000


    An interpretation would be wonderful.

    I hit up a couple of my French speaking friends to see if they could help.

  5. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you, Lambert, and for your own creativity in posting this marvelous piece.

  6. tiger

    I am from Montreal.
    A few notes on the drawings, starting from the beginning (left side).

    – You will notice a guy with a black bandanna on his mouth, more aggressive type
    – naked ppl: yes there were a few actual naked chicks
    – red squares on everyone symbolizing adherence to the cause
    – animals too, symbolizing that everyone agrees with the movement, which is actually NOT true
    – raccoons are saying “we are wearing our masks” because law 78 forbids masks in these protests.
    – one sign says “vive le quebec libre” a reference to a famous cry for sovereignty, underlining one of the movement’s arm – that which is connected to the sovereignty movement
    – closer to the end the old minister education (who resigned a couple weeks ago) timidly holds up a sign that she agrees too.

    I am a huge supporter of occupy but I do not feel similarly about the protests here. Our protests are divided into two issues: tuition and bill 78 which was created by a desperate government. I am not nearly socialist enough to agree with the tuition thing, but most importantly, I believe that the education system needs massive reform regardless of who pays for it (students vs taxpayers etc). The university system is just too bloated. On bill 78 I agree a bit more but there, again, the Montreal police and government are very very nice compared to the A**holes in NYC, Washington D.C., DHS etc.

    There are many messed up things here in Quebec including 3rd world style road quality and 3rd world style health care. They should have protested over those 2 issues rather than protesting over the lowest tuition in the continent.

    The other problem is that people are largely divided. In favor are most French Canadians (minus the pretty sophisticated ones) and the very left wing.

    The slightly left-wing, any right wing, any sophisticated french and any anglo who isn’t very left wing mostly do not agree. The immigrants are divided between their surroundings (those who live in french society agree a bit more than those in english).

    Anyhow, all this to say to you Americans that, yes, it is VERY good that finally people in Quebec are waking up instead of just watching American Idol, but that the specific issue in Quebec is not nearly as obvious as the issues highlighted by occupy and NC. And it saddens me because there are things that this government has messed up, but they are barely being mentioned because so many of the protesters are not well educated (wait…do you see the irony in what I just said? “not well educated”).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks so much. I remember, very early in at least my reading, that the violence was less than that unleashed by a Stanley Cup victory (and I was on Ste Catherine’s Street the night they won the last one, and by American standards it was nothing. By Canadian standards, quite something). All that could change of course.

      I’d be interested if you could translate more of the signs.

      I’d also be interested in what’s happening off-island, i.e., in the rest of Quebec. The students are going back to their homes. What will they talk about….

    2. Frenchie Kaplan

      “I am not nearly socialist enough to agree with the tuition thing” Why not? It’s free, totally free, in other countries.
      What is it about peace, love, understanding, human rights, dignity, education that agitates the goombah to pull socialism out of their psyche?

    3. Moneta

      There are many messed up things here in Quebec including 3rd world style road quality and 3rd world style health care. They should have protested over those 2 issues rather than protesting over the lowest tuition in the continent
      I am from Quebec, now in Ottawa and 43, so I see both sides.

      Everybody keeps on focusing on the lowest tuition rates in North America excuse when you can’t only look at one single number. You really have to look at the whole Quebec package.

      First of all, the ROC (rest of Canada) university model is quickly moving toward the US model which itself is on the verge of bursting. And Quebec is being forced to follow Canada. Students see some of this and are trying to get the population to wake up.

      However, Quebec is trying to be socialist and the neo-liberal putsch coving from the US is giving them a hard time. Leaders and the elites want capitalism and free markets while most of the population wants socialism. This means that leaders have been doing a lot of opaque deals to get their “free markets” while making the population believe they are getting their social net. But the jig is up and scandals galore are now making headlines.

      The federal government has been dumping responsibilities on to the provinces which themselves have been dumping on the cities. Of course most corruption usually occurs at the muni level. So Quebec will be getting less money from the feds to fund services such as health care. Therefore, they need to get the money somehwhere… students are the last group to enslave so why not increase tuition fees that are low by NA standards and gain popular sympathy by repeating that meme.

      The thing is that:

      -youth unemployment is growing.
      -tax rates in Quebec are the highest in Canada… so when you graduate, theoretically you should be able to pay back your tuition fees
      -they don’t talk about other fees such frais afférents which elevate the bill and keep on growing
      -universities have been growing their brick and mortar like crazy without the demographics to warrant such growth (real estate and credit bubble maybe??) Now they are bleeding cash and don’t have the resources to pay for maintenance.
      -governments have been cutting corporate taxes but asking students to pay for research
      -the student cohort is the smallest it has ever been relative to the working population and governement is now thinking of squeezing them when all other generations got cheap education… they are investing in declining assets (elderly and health care) while trying to cut in appreciating assets (yuing and education)

      With Bill 78, they are trying to muzzle students. Harper is passing similar laws at the federal level.

      Boomer entitlements are costing a lot of money and governements are broke. So they are squeezing the easy targetsL students. Boomers can see that the future is bleak but they are clinging to hope… they keep on saying the kids and entitled and should just shut up.

      The kids might be entitled but so is the entire Canadian populations!

      And there needs to be a HUGE cleanup in education. Her ein Ontario, they are trying to pass a law or something like that on the minimum number of students per class in the hope of protecting teacher jobs.

      The whole thing is a mess. Everyone is clinging to entitlements which in the end will get cut.


      1. Moneta

        Another thing worth mentioning is that Canadian real estate is still up in the stratosphere so most Canadians do not seem to grasp the stakes.

        They often just repeat the mantra that children today need tough love because they were brought up without anyone ever saying no to them.

      2. tiger

        I agree, and am angry, about much of what you’re saying including:

        – the ROC (rest of Canada) university model is quickly moving toward the US model which itself is on the verge of bursting. And Quebec is being forced to follow Canada. Students see some of this and are trying to get the population to wake up.

        – governments have been cutting corporate taxes but asking students to pay for research

        – Boomer entitlements are costing a lot of money and governements are broke.

        In one of your items you say:

        “tax rates in Quebec are the highest in Canada… so when you graduate, theoretically you should be able to pay back your tuition fees”

        See, I agree with that too, except this precisely is yet ANOTHER way to protest in such a manner that will be inclusive, to fully include anglos AND the RIGHT-WING!

        The problem with these protests is many of them are too left-wing and too amateurish. They complain about not getting services because “it should cost less”. Rather, if the students were smart and harder-at-work the way Occupy is, they would explain to the population that the *total package* is a bad deal, that when you take your taxes and your work hours and everything, and you compare to what you’re getting, that you’re not getting as much as you could. By pointing out clearly how the 1% benefits, they would get the majority to sympathize as occupy has done. Unfortunately, as my uncle always says, while french canadians tend to excel at their trade and are even pretty smart of average, they one thing they mostly suck at is rhetoric. They cannot write, make a written argument…when you read op-eds in Quebec the quality is very far from Europe and U.S.. And when you watch Quebec news vs. France news here on TV, the contrast in quality levels is deep. And it shows in this student campaign.

        Look..when people here come to visit, or when I visit my family overseas, they mostly are negatively shocked at our road quality and health care system. The education system is a positive shock. It’s just not that expensive

        (Yes, I agree that left this way, the neo-liberals will get their way even in Quebec. But that’s not what I’m focusing on. Rather, my message is that the students here have built a movement with the wrong approach. They should have gotten most ppl’s support by complaining about health care and roads and taxes). The bill 78 was a blessing for them. An unintended consequence because this government is stupid and only care about the elites, just like all the buffoons in Brussels and DC.

        By the way, Lambert, I looked at all the signs and didn’t translate because it’s standard stuff (pro-youth, anti-prime-minister, things like “I’m sick of this”… I translated the special and funny ones :)

        1. Moneta

          Students are onto something but I don’t see how they could do better. I remember how I was when I was 20…. I had a general idea of how the system worked but not enough to find pragmatic solutions. I’m amazed at what thye have accomplished to date… iMO, it just goes to show how screwed up the system is.

          Boomers will cling to their entitlements until they get taken away one by one. Most are financailly illiterate and don’t understand the concept of malinvestment as a nation. Somehow, they don’t seem to grasp that they are too numerous for the amount of Gen-X there are to pick up the relay baton. they keep on looking at their parents and thinking that since they had better incomes than their parents, their old age should be better… they don,t see to graps that there were 5 of them for each retiree while we are going to 2/1. And in Quebec this ratio is worse than anywhere else in North America.

          I think Charest should just print. Right know governments are still trying to implement austeriy as if they are God but as more and more countries leave the Euro zone and start printing… it will be a big printing fest.

          1. tiger

            you’re right actually… maybe I’m forgetting that a decade has passed since I finished university. And indeed the boomers truly have no clue but speak as if they do. Either way we will get to a point in Canada where boomers will cry, and then it won’t be just the students, and us gen X’ers will prob be the ones to come up with solutions :P gonna be interesting…

          2. just me

            Is this a case of let’s you and him fight? Let’s you old and young people fight while we nonpeople (banksters and corporations) siphon all the money away? Don’t look now? (I’m not in Canada.)

          3. Moneta

            Charest’s government is currently plagued with real estate scandals. A commission was created to investigate… this student manif has been helping him out as the media has been stuck on the student manif and not the details of the investigation.

            So there is probably some kind of strategy behind it.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        A few points on so-called “Boomer entitlements”

        1. Social Security (and in the US our single payer system for elders, Medicare) are not “entitlements”; that’s a right wing talking point designed to legitimate looting them. Rather, they are social insurance programs. Private retirement programs don’t work because when the banksters blow up the financial system, as the historical record shows they constantly do, those who put their retirement money in banks lose it. Government programs like Social Security prevent that; they insure citizens against the bubbles and collapses engineered by financiers.

        2. I’m not certain that I like being viewed as an “asset” — the corporate term is “human resource” — and I’m not sure how many of the students would accept that frame either. “Do not bend, fold, spindle, or mutilate,” as it were. And even if I do accept it, it’s not clear to me why experience and earned wisdom can’t be viewed as assets. They certainly are in some cultures!

        3. I don’t accept intergenerational analysis as an analytical tool. It is, in fact, another right wing talking point designed to delegitimize social insurance programs. It also ignores that plenty of elders support youth as for example with (a) checks for this or that, housing, social networks, and so forth (not to mention the poor outcomes from parenting if children be views as, er, “assets”), and (b) in the manifestations themselves, as we see from recent election countdowns in Links, and also from images.

        4. Finally, I would argue that if the students remain isolated as students, and if the movement is constrained to only that stratum of society, it is bound to fail against the powers that are arrayed against it — even in the terms of student debt alone. Only a movement that incorporates “all walks of like” can succeed (for its own definition of success!) Fortunately, the less than adept Charest Liberal government managed to broaden the struggle to the entire Quebec society with Bill 78, and call into question not only the rule of law but its own legitimacy as well. Exactly like the Stamp Tax in another context… Viewing the conflict through the distorting prison of inter-generational conflict throws that advantage away.

    4. Travis Fast

      “…education system needs massive reform regardless of who pays for it (students vs taxpayers etc).”

      What possibly could that sentence mean? Students have been, are, and will be taxpayers for the rest of their lives.

      1. Moneta

        We’re all taxpayers however we have not been paying enough taxes… if we were, we would not have the deficits and debt we have now.

        We have been kicking the can down the road and boomers are trying to do the same but it won’t work… there’s a bulge that kills the population pyramid.

        1. F. Beard

          We’re all taxpayers however we have not been paying enough taxes… if we were, we would not have the deficits and debt we have now. Moneta

          Wow! What ignorance of MMT!

          As for “printing”, that’s exactly what should be done to make private debt go away but the new money should simply be given out to the entire adult population equally.

          1. Moneta

            I know of MMT. But our system is still functioning with fiscal deficits which need to be matched with bond issues.

            And as long as our leaders are following that reasoning, we have not paid enough taxes.

            The reason why you are actually entertaining gocusing on MMT is because of this reality.

            Money is based on trust and work and as long as too many individuals are expecting something for nothing, our monetary system will hiccup. And I don’t see how MMT will fix that.

          2. F. Beard

            Money is based on trust and work and as long as too many individuals are expecting something for nothing, our monetary system will hiccup. Moneta

            That’s pious propaganda whose likely source is the banks who do get something for nothing – the ability to “make” the money the rest of us must earn.

            And I don’t see how MMT will fix that. Moneta

            MMT, properly applied, would allow the debt to the counterfeiting cartel, the banks, to be paid off without disadvantaging non-debtors and would end this Depression.

        2. Moneta

          F. Beard,

          There is an infinite need for and supply of services. But goods are finite, in the short term anyway.

          Since human beings are materialists who are really attracted to scarce goods, I don’t know how we can get around the devaluing of services and the overvaluating of goods/hard assets.

          Thus, from that optic, it is no surprise that the rich always control hard assets and the money supply is based on collateral made of of these hard assets.

          IMO, MMT does not solve that problem unless we get huge brainwashing where humans finally value services over goods.

          Until then we will always have currencies that come and go.

      2. tiger

        …education system needs massive reform regardless of who pays for it (students vs taxpayers etc).”

        Maybe you did not understand. What I meant is that we have two issues here that need to be solved:

        (1) the UNDERLYING cost – how much should educating our students cost vs. how much it costs now. i.e. what are the opportunities to change those costs (technology, distance learning, taking less classes, bigger classes, pooling ressources..whatever). When I say ‘cost’ I don’t mean the “tuition”, I don’t mean how much the student has to pay. I mean the total cost. i.e. how much revenue does the university get per student from ALL sources (tuition + gov subsidies + donations). Roughly equal to the cost of goods sold on their income statement.

        (2) the proportion that students should pay. i.e. should tuition be = zero, should it be 20% 50% 5%? Should it depend on their income? On family income? etc etc. This is largely a political debate, depends on our view of socialism and of education’s importance.

        I am a capitalist who believes in some socialism (notably in education!), but the debate that we see everywhere in Quebec today is largely about point (2) above, that is to say, a debate about tuition and social values.

        What makes me angry is that we are seeing ALMOST NO debate about point (1), i.e. how we can ALL save $ by thinking of how we can make the underlying cost lower.

        Personally I think universities are a RETARDED combination of 4 things:
        i) education of kids
        ii) research institute
        iii) athletics
        iv) real estate.

        Imagine if IBM, the New York Yankees, The University of Phoenix Online and Boston Properties were to merge 4-ways and the resulting conglomerate were a publicly traded company that has these 4 divisions. EVERY single equity analyst that I know would be like WTF is this monster>????

        So I believe very strongly that
        1) athletics needs to be spun off of universities into separate companies with government subsidies for players contingent on good grades
        2) teaching can be done with books + study groups + tutors/tutorial companies + online.
        3) all course material should be online, tests quizzes and exams should all be standardized and run by government, labs for science classes should stay there with a guy/gal that runs the lab but would be occupied/rented by 3rd party study groups or tutorial companies.
        4) excess real estate should be sold off
        5) what you have left is a research institute. That’s what our universities deserve to be reduced to.

  7. Redgerrymander

    One great resource that’s worth following is

    A group of volunteers is translating French articles into English, which gives a sorely needed alternative view to the English-Canadian media, which has been very dismissive of the movement.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. I use that source in the “Montreal” section of the Election Countdown series. It seems to have slowed a bit for the summer, understandably, but frustrating for me; I have the sense of great dynamism under the “surface” of the French language that I do not have, but can’t get a good reading on it (so far). Additional sources appreciated….

  8. ambrit

    I saw a Dalek in there. Is that a very cunning reference to drones? (Are the Forcer of Order using them there?)
    As to Tigers lament about the appropriateness of the ’causes’ being promoted; Students everywhere are a traditional flash point for civil unrest. They contain the more avant garde and ‘educated,’ versus trained, element in the population. Complaining about tuition increases is a natural fit. Start thre fire and then, hopefully, watch it spread.

  9. Travis Fast

    A couple of observations from someone who lives and works in the province of Quebec in no particular order.

    Art, philosophy, and poetry and its digital dissemination have been at the centre of the student protests. Here is link to some more art:

    The first is in the form of a video letter to the students. It is one of the most powerful pieces of propaganda to come out of the protests. Inter alia, the author links the violence of the police and the arrogance and condescension of the press to humiliation: a humiliation which can only be resisted through persistence. This takes on special meaning in Quebec where the Conquest by the English and the subsequent subjugation of the people under the yoke of a paternalistic church and racist English Haute Bourgeoisie are widely understood in terms of a historic humiliation of a people that was only fought via persistence. We are, therefore here, rattling the blood and bones of our ancestors.

    The English Canadian press does not understand this as the English Canadian and French Canadian intelligentsia are not really on speaking terms as the English Canadian intelligentsia does not understand their role in that humiliation. Thus every missive by the English press reinforces the idea of humiliation.

    The video letter further makes reference to “a renaissance of the left which has been asleep for some years and who was put to sleep by the privileged few…” This is not a reference to the English it is an internal reference to those inside the francophone intelligentsia who in the wake of the Quiet Revolution, the historic election of the PQ in 1976 have profited greatly from the national struggle but have subsequently, and quietly moved towards an accommodationist stance with English Canada.

    Presently the Liberal Party is in power in Quebec under Jean Charest. The Liberals are a federalist party and have brought in many controversial policies. Some of which one must fairly note are a continuation of neoliberal reforms ushered in under the Party Quebecois (PQ).

    This is perhaps why later in the video specific mention is made of the police as the guard dogs of the profiteers and saboteurs of the public.

    The student movement is thus understood the potential revival of left nationalism. Hence the derision from the mainstream English Canadian intelligentsia which is by now a very conservative neoliberal force in the political life of Canada and Quebec.

    The next is a music video by Ariane Moffat against la Loi Speciale. This law was hastily passed by the Charest government giving the police and prosecutors extreme discretion and multiple means to pursue civil and criminal charges against students and any person or organisation who directly or indirectly supports them. The law is so extreme that the Quebec Bar Association not only denounced it they actually joined the protests and marched against it. On May 22, the law was used to arrest and detain more citizens in a single night than were detained during the whole of the FLQ (October)crisis of 1970.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for this comment and I hope you will return. I believe, about 25 clicks in, there’s a shambling zombie mumbling “Pa-ri-zeau”… Can you comment?

      One thing I’ve also noticed is the almost total absence of the blue flags (and blue face paint) I’ve come to expect. Instead, red (surely not of the maple leaf) and red squares. Can you comment on that? (I take the square iconography to indicate a city square, as of Tahrir, Puerta del Sol, Zucotti Park, etc., but maybe I’m just wrong.)

    2. Moneta

      Our Prime Minister Harper with his pro-West policies and censure is also pouring oil on the fire.

      To add insult to injury, the ROC is completely oblivious to what is happening and can’t stop insulting Quebec.

      Of course, the media, owned by the 1% (many bankers) is quite biased, withholding important facts, and coverage is much like CNN and Fox.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes, I’ve been watching the Gazette, Globe and Mail, MacCleans, etc., and it was amazing: One day the coverage was at least reasonable, and the next, it was like a switch had been thrown, everything was snark against Quebec. So the students hit a nerve..

        1. tiger

          Pa-ri-zeau – Jacques Parizeau was prime minister during the 2005 sovereignty referendum, forceful man, not too nice, drank that night and said something he shouldn’t have, but still has support like all kinds of old men everywhere.

          Red squares – were used in the 2005 protests too. The color is a socialism symbol and the square I do not know. The english media is for sure like the ROC but the french media I find is pretty even-handed, which is better than the US where MSM is rarely adequate.

          1. Moneta

            Lapsus… referendum was in 1995.

            IMO, the French press is not really being fair to both sides. It is not necessarily pro-student but anti-Charest.

            The boomers in the top 10-20% are essentially against the students.

            I have noticed that the students are getting increasing support from the crowd older than the boomers.

  10. Pornography Sells

    Americans remain asleep, we’ve got it all right here in the United States of ‘Murica:

    Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
    Disdain for the importance of human rights
    Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
    The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
    A controlled mass media
    Obsession with national security
    Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts

  11. Travis Fast

    Can’t say for sure but “Pa ri Zeau” is a reference to a PQ prime minister of Quebec: Jaques Parizeau. Now if you do a play on words “Pa ri zeau” becomes “pas de réseau”. Now you can translate that as “no water” or “no network”. In my brain they come to the same thing. In any case it amounts to an indictment of the old tired guard of the revolution tranquil (PQ).

    I think the red is reference to what you suggest but I also think it is a reference to the left. You need to check out Rene Levesque if you are going to understand the blood and bones being called on here. The iconography here is, not to put too a literary point on it, fecund.

    English Canada wants this movement dead. But they can’t kill it because it is in the folklore.

    I don’t say they, and now me, will win. I just say it is worth observing. Something is happening here.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yeah, Levesque’s got a boulevard named after him, used to be Dorchester Street??? Not so with Parizeau, heh heh. I’ll go do a little research on that..

      1. tiger

        Lambert, looks like you’ve been partying up here over the years!

        I am fascinated by the student-sovereignist connection here. That the movement is mostly French is easily understood because on average they are not as well off economically. But the loose sovereignist connection is not as easy to explain (a) because many French are not sovereignists and (b) because even if they are/were, it isn’t obvious why separating from Canada would solve this. The only connection I see is “philosophical anger”, meaning that this crisis is leading people to realize that they don’t want neo-liberal influence like Canada. But does that mean separation is due?? Heck, there are even people who think Greece, Spain and Germany should stick to the Euro. And the Quebec-Canada union is FOR SURE more complex to decide on than EU membership.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I was actually lucky enough to live there for a few years, though I didn’t know enough about the city at the time (it all seemed French) to situate myself where I would have to learn the language by speaking it. There are cities one can fall in love with, and I have never fallen out of love with Montreal (though perhaps I do not know it very well; that is a different question).

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