Sunday, September 09, 2012

UK students could learn from Quebec

My latest for The Guardian analyses the students' recent victory in Quebec:

So this is how it's done. Students in Quebec, in rebellion against their government over tuition fees, have scored an amazing victory in the province's general elections.
The Liberal government led by Jean Charest, which ran on a law-and-order platform against the students, has been defeated. Its plans to implement an 82% tuition fee increase are shredded for now, and the harsh emergency legislation it passed to quell the upsurge is history. Charest is resigning from politics. Two members of the leftist student group, Qu├ębec Solidaire, have been elected, and the party gained more than 6% of the popular vote.
For those used to student movements that erupt suddenly only to deflate within a few weeks or months, this defies belief. How, then, was such an effective action actually sustained, in defiance of police crackdowns and emergency legislation?