Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In a state of unrest, winning isn't everything

The Quebec student protests are seemingly over, for now. The conclusion of the Quebec election and the repealing of the tuition hike have everyone declaring the students won. Now, surely, they will be happy right?

However, much to everyone's surprise the students have returned (in smaller numbers) to make a new demand, free tuition.
One Quebec student group says that with tuition hikes officially off the table, it will now champion the idea of free education.
Now whether free tuition is a good idea or not? I'm not even going to go there. I'm amazed the students were able to come out as favorably as they did. At the same time though, I also know that the anger, while simmered, is not gone nor is Quebec's budget crisis gone.

What we have here is a stalemate of public opinion. We have a fresh minority government that wants to keep favor with the people and avoid riots. Riots are costly, I'm sure that Quebec incidentally had to end up paying amounts close to or in excess of the anticipated savings from students.

So what's really been accomplished or won in the end? Probably not as much as people on all sides were hoping but enough that for the moment the endless nights of riots, protests, and unrest has ceased.

However, the battle between the youth and the governments and the previous generations are really just heating up. As I've said before, the tuition fees were just a flashpoint, something many youth had in common which united them in a larger struggle of general unfairness and inequality. The generation which has to bear the brunt of the austerity measures is going to continue to feel the pinch which will sooner or later lead to another explosive response. This type of response now can happen anywhere, at any time. The reasons are numerous: More debt, less pensions, two tiered wages, and a bum-rush of upcoming QE inflation all provide fuel for the fire.

Revolutions tend to follow an exponential curve, starting slowly at first and gradually getting faster, until near the end they seemingly explode as we are seeing now in the middle-east (albeit the middle east seems fueled by a little outside help). From my point of view, the death of Occupy was the beginning of the revolution.

Let me explain what I mean, as I know many are thinking, well wasn't there a big Occupy protest just the other day? Yes, there was a protest which generally accepted the name: Occupy. The Occupy I view as dead ended November 2011 with the forced eviction of the tent cities. The tent city Occupy was a last-ditch attempt to either open dialogue, begin anew, or start the war. Governments decided to start the war with any continued pretense of dialogue to be superficial.

I know many when thinking of modern day revolution look to the middle-east, but the middle-east currently is an extreme case and at the climax of their exponential escalation. As with rebel groups, or even the Nazi's, the groups existed long before public opinion swayed in their favor. Hitler, while not an ethical example, is a textbook example of revolution. His popularity with the German people grew due to external circumstance and his oversimplified explanations for them. It's the external circumstance which is important here. The big "uh huh!" moment for the general population combined with overwhelming crisis.

Take for instance currently, the "rising" Neo-Nazi party in Greece right now. Faced with a bleak future, many Greeks are grabbing onto extreme ideology. Of course, I'm not saying all revolutions are lead by Nazi's, they can be lead by anyone, with any agenda, so long as there is desire to lead and their agenda is significantly different from the current status quo. This is necessary for a revolution to escalate.

Out of the ashes of Occupy we are going to see the revolutionary leaders rise - or at least, the revolutionary ideals. Whatever it is, you can be sure that this party is just getting started.

NYPD TARU video of Occupy eviction from Zucotti park, Nov 2011:

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you are right to say that the battle between youth and the government has only been heating up for the past times, but we have to admit that we, young people who simply go to school, are not in charge of making big changes. I mean we have to try, but things are always the way our authority wants them to be. If they want to raise tuition price, they will do it no matter what. You know, it amazes me how they want us to be educated nation while they keep on increasing prices that we cannot afford. It is just silly, but it is everywhere like this.
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