Striking university students in Québec are well into their 15th week of continuous protests. Their strike, which began primarily in opposition to student debt and the proposed 75% tuition hike, has since expanded to encompass wider critiques of both the university system itself and larger issues of austerity and neoliberal economic reform.
And now we have the resignation of Québec's Minister of Education, Line Beauchamp. Beauchamp, in her desperation to avoid it being framed as the huge student victory it is, said she was not resigning because of the student strike. Right.
Student organizers have a wealth of strategic analysis and history to pull from when we start any campaign. Everything from power mapping to the classic Tactic Star, I'm sure we've all been to our share of workshops to hone our activism. However, the point I want to make today is that college and university administrations across the country do the same thing.
The Middle East and North Africa are currently in the midst of a surge in youth population: a baby boom started in the late '70s through the 1980s means that a huge proportion of these countries' populations are under the age of 30. As we saw in Iran in 2005, in Egypt in 2008 (the April 6 general strike) and across the North African nations this past month, youth are a destabilizing influence on the sclerotic and brittle institutions of authoritarian political and economic rule. Almost two-thirds of the Egyptian population are under the age of 30.