To accurately describe this moment, to ask ourselves if this is a victory, is a difficult task. After months of organizing, mobilizing and protest actions, the Liberal tuition increase has been put on ice (for now), loi 12 has been caliced, and Charest is in the metaphorical nord. These are concrete gains, yet with the same breath, the elections, and the disingenuous sham of electoral politics, have quieted a growing social movement, prevented it from truly catalysing the change we wish, and hoped, to see. Just as our neighbourhoods were getting organized, the elite called their elections, the media turned to the blah blah of the bad and the worse, and the rest is, well, the rest… Summer is over and a grey pall now hangs over the province. Many of us are feeling tired, sick, disheartened, even bored.
So perhaps it’s the wrong question to ask right now, and a good time to remember what we are fighting for. In romantic and idealistic terms; a more just world, free from the austerity economics imposed by an elite class, with space (both physical and metaphysical) to create, learn, share and love. We fight with the desire to always, always stand on the side of freedom. To live “as if” we were free.
With this in mind, it is perhaps also important to remember not only the role art plays in politics, but the role politics plays in art. That raised fists are images as much as anything else. That 100,000 in the street is also rare poetry.
To remember that both art and politics are defined by movements. So let’s not celebrate victories, but let us celebrate our movement. Let’s come together again to celebrate the time we spent together, in assemblies and in the streets. In our cafes and concert halls. To continue to stand in solidarity for all those that were abused by the police and the state, all those still recovering from serious wounds, all those still facing unjust charges. And to continue to define who we are, and what we’re fighting for, in words, images and sound. To continue to move forward.
Kevin Lo - for Howl! arts collective