Malgré le consensus pour s'opposer aux politiques d'austérité et de déconstruction de l'état québécois de l'actuel gouvernement libéral du Québec, les divers acteurs (mouvement étudiant, milieu communautaire, syndicats et autres) semble avoir du mal à communiquer et à coordonner leurs actions.

Comment faire pour organiser le mouvement de contestation, mettre l'emphase sur les objectifs communs et ne pas tomber dans le piège de la division/démotivation?

Translation: How to organize anti-austerity movement? The case of Quebec

Despite the large agreement to condemn the actual austerity policies and attack against the social network and other solidarity institutions by the Quebec's Liberal government, students, community workers and unions seems to be unable to work together and to act in a coordinated manner.

How could we structure this protest movement on the common ground of our shared views and avoid division?

  • Please ask in English; this site is an English-language site.
    – cpast
    Apr 7 '15 at 4:31
  • I noticed that but I did not find any rule that forbidden posts in other language. This forum have very useful features and I'd like to test it with a french community.
    – jvtrudel
    Apr 7 '15 at 5:39
  • See this blog post and this Meta.SE post. English is a requirement on any site not specifically created for another language.
    – cpast
    Apr 7 '15 at 5:45
  • This blog is very old, is this policy still valid. Moreover, it is for programming forum and the meta post say that every site may have their own policy. Anyway..., do you know other forum with the same functionality of stackExchange?
    – jvtrudel
    Apr 7 '15 at 6:08
  • 1
    I got very interesting answer. I'll translate my question.
    – jvtrudel
    Apr 7 '15 at 6:25

I apologise for being unable to reply in French.

The capacity to take common political action depends on the capacity to build one of the following:

  • long term trust between different actors
  • actual solidarity (commonality of interests within the same "class")
  • mercenary power deals between institutionally acting agents

Social actors who have recently started working together around a topic may have very different interests. Students may view anti-austerity measures from the perspective of service consumers, or recently activated ideological believers. Unionists may view anti-austerity measures from the perspective of unemployment fear, or long term ideological motivations. As they haven't worked together before, they lack trust. Trust can work in cross-class alliances, and within the working class. It takes time to build.

The difficulty of mobilising class actions, means that solidarity is rarely achieved in protest movements. Even if unionists believe students to be workers, the achievement of solidarity within a union is a great accomplishment. Achieving solidarity across industries is more difficult. Solidarity only really works amongst the working class, and it takes a very long time to build. In the case of student organisations, they flower quickly and fade quickly.

Finally, institutional deal making happens between organisations that have alienated memberships. People trade away bits of the dreams that motivate their members in order to force commonality to achieve a limited outcome. Quite often smaller groups resent this, particularly when they view the limited outcome to have been the institutional interest of another group all along. (Let's compromise: you implement my solution). These "splinter" groups then operate outside of what institutions have agreed. One common example of this is the "black block's" maintenance of its freedom of action in larger protests.

Coordinating actions requires a lot of meetings. These can often become dysfunctional, and fail to represent attempts to build trust or solidarity or make deals. The meeting meant to organise actions becomes the meeting that organises meetings. However, if the groups or people going to meetings are honest, direct, and take actions based on collective decision making, or awareness of how different groups will take separate action, trust or solidarity can be slowly built.

  • Your answer is very instructive and correspond to my own observations. Which kind of action could produce and/or maintain mutual trust?
    – jvtrudel
    Apr 7 '15 at 6:27

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