I was extremely hopeful for the student protests in Quebec which makes it very hard for me to accept that the protests have degenerated to the point where they can provoke nothing but annoyance. The protesters forgot that the only kind of political activism that has any hope of being successful is the one that can maintain the same very concrete, very practical demands over a sustained period of time. Protesting “against injustice” and “for world peace” is a waste of time because these are not the goals you can reach by marching and chanting.
Now the protesters seem to have abandoned the very important issue of the proposed unfair tuition hikes. The protests in Montreal this weekend have been aimed against the Grand Prix. Yes, you heard right. Somehow we have gotten from tuition hikes to the Grand Prix.
Crowds of undressed people march in downtown Montreal harassing peaceful citizens and tourists with the unseemly sight of their ugly naked bodies because they have something against the Grand Prix race. Once again, the protesters have not chosen to disturb the governmental buildings. They are targeting regular folks instead:
The Grand Prix race usually attracts 300,000 people to Montreal. CLAC, an anti-capitalist group, has promised that over the weekend it will repeatedly target Crescent Street, which is traditionally the most active bar and restaurant strip during race week.
“Nightly protests will disrupt this crass elite at play in [the west part of] downtown every night,” the CLAC group said on its website.
Marc-André Cyr, a historian of social movements and columnist for Montreal’s Voir weekly, said CLAC’s targeting of the Grand Prix is part of its campaign to disturb society’s wealthy classes.
Anybody who lived in Montreal for any amount of time understands how stupid the plan to target “the wealthy classes” on Crescent Street is. I lived around the corner from Crescent for years and I can tell you that there aren’t any wealthy classes there. All of the buildings in that area are occupied by cheap apartments rented by the students of nearby universities (I was one of those students) and bars. The only people with at least some money who go there are tourists. Who obviously cannot be blamed for any of Quebec’s problems.
I still remember going out to Crescent on weekends when I was a student at McGill University. I only wish I knew back then that visiting the bars on Crescent with $10 in my pocket and not a dime more to my name in the entire world made me a member of a “crass elite.”
Mind you, we have some pretty wealthy areas in Montreal. For some reason, however, the protesters are not heading there. Might that be because there aren’t any streets filled with bars there? One has got to wonder.
On Sunday, the protesters are planning to disrupt the subway system in Montreal. Because, apparently, all those filthy rich people take the metro to go on their crassly elitist jaunts.
This was such a wonderful opportunity for the people of Quebec to make an actual political statement and achieve something important. This was the perfect chance to say to the government, “We pay the taxes and you will do what we say.” Instead, this has all degenerated into a series stupid tantrums by a bunch of stupid idiots who are searching for wealthy classes in the subway. What a shame.