I understand that youth and high spirits make people do silly things but if you want your political activism to be effective, you need to grow up. The student protests of Quebec were fighting for very important goals. However, as often happens, brainless idiots are likely to destroy the movement from within. See the following piece of news:
The student association at CEGEP du Vieux Montréal has come up with a unique response to the Quebec government’s controversial Bill 78 – and it involves purchasing assault rifles.
At a general meeting held Tuesday, the association expressed unhappiness with the “intimidation” and “state violence” in the Liberal government’s “anti-democratic” Bill 78. Those present then proceeded to approve the purchase of 47 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles – as a joke.
The student protest movement in Quebec (which, as I hope everybody remembers, I whole-heartedly support) has failed completely at winning over the sympathies of those parts of the population who pay the very high taxes which always made the cheap higher education in the province possible. The people who work very hard during the day get annoyed when they can’t get home at night because the area has been cordoned off due to the protests. The protesters have not managed to connect with these upper middle-class folks and have not even tried to show to them that their interests and those of the students are indissolubly linked.
We live in a world transformed by the technological revolution. The success of any protest depends on how well you manage to sell the protest in the media an on social networks. Ultimately, the winners will not be the ones who manage to bring the greatest number of people into the streets. The winners will be the ones who create the neatest, coolest, more attractive, most clickable and linkable image of themselves.
I’m sure that these jokes about assault rifles were super fun and there was a good round of laughter shared when they were made. However, this is a very powerful way of alienating the tax-paying full-time working people of the province. The only way to get the protests to be successful is to keep repeating, “We pay the taxes, we want our taxes to buy us something.” This idea will not fly if the actual tax-paying part of the equation is completely alienated.