Over the past few weeks, Occupy Wall Street activists have organized marches and other symbols of unity for ongoing status quo–shattering movements in Quebec and Mexico. As a result, the protest communities in North America have expressed unprecedented levels of solidarity between activists, who often share nothing but a common language of struggle and solidarity.
It’s easy for, say, an NYU student buried in debt to inherently understand obstacles facing a Quebec student (whopping 82 percent tuition hikes over the next five years), or for a Quebecer to discern why the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico doesn’t want a monopolistic party that ruled for seven decades to once again return to power, or glean why students aren’t crazy about the idea of Televisa and TV Azteca controlling 95 percent of Mexico’s TV market.
Corporate and political monopolies and the consequences of austerity are realities all too familiar to young people, whether they live in Quebec or the United States or Mexico.
NYC March in solidarity with the Quebec student strike (May 22, 2012)
To hear the motivations for the 100 days of protest launched by the “red square” revolutionaries—the symbol chosen because they are “in the red” because of student debt—is to hear echoes of student movements within the US.
Student activists from CUNY explained why they choose to protest at Alternet:
For the majority of us seeking degrees, higher education is indeed dying a slow and painful death. Too little considered, however, is the role we as students are playing in its demise. The combination of tuition hikes, a lack of democratic governance in our schools, ballooning student debt, and the intimate relationship between our financial institutions and our academic ones are certainly killing higher education—but what is killing the student movement is our own complacency with these policies. While here in America, students on many campuses have limited themselves to mourning, elsewhere in the world they have taken to the streets—and there is much we can learn from their activism, in order to better our own.
That “take to the streets” mantra appears to be gaining momentum.
Last night, OWS groups marched to show support for university students in Quebec. Around 200 demonstrators in New York City gathered at Union Square and proceeded on a route through the city, ending in Times Square. (photo by @Jeff5mith)
There were some reports of aggressive behavior from police. Independent journalist Jesse Myerson tweeted, “Officer St. Jacques. Badge 2433. Keeps hitting me with his club. Told him I’m press. ‘I don’t really care.’ #again”