Saturday, July 10, 2010

Popular Left University to be held in Montreal in August

By Pierre Beaudet

The popular movement in Quebec remains a sleeping giant. It was able to organize powerful mobilizations in the last decade and put tens of thousands of people in a fighting mood. It is still able to bring the labor movement, the vast feminist community and youth organizations together. It is now working with a new political "animal," Quebec Solidaire, which is progressing as a mass political/electoral party.

All for the good one could say.

At the same time, the movement is ambiguous on many fronts. The growing part of the population, growing out of the formal labor market, is often left out. This includes many immigrants. The movement has yet to establish a convergent strategy with First Nations who are still suffering from the process of colonization. Many on the left are still hesitant politically as they are tempted to support the "least worst" which means voting for the much-transformed on the right PQ. More fundamentally, the popular movement is not yet a counter-hegemonic force, able to move the agenda from the critique of neoliberalism to sustainable and achievable alternatives. One could say, give time to time …

Faced with these huge challenges, there is a lot of thinking and talking happening. Many new collectives have been set up to reflect, animate, learn, educate, and link intellectuals and activists. It is noticeable in the growth of new left publications and initiatives (including the monthly À Bâbords, the web journal Presses-toi à gauche and many others). In addition, the network established back in 2007 with the Quebec Social Forum is still functioning.

One of these collectives is the Collectif d’analyse politique (CAP), who is more known for its journal, Les Nouveaux cahiers du socialisme (NCS), published twice a year. Cap and NCS are as the word says socialist, pluralistic, composed of young "lions" and "old" timers, working on theoretical directions (capitalism, post-capitalism, ecosocialism) and popular analysis and education. This fall, NCS will publish its 4th journal focusing on women's organizations and struggles. (The first three issues were on class, crisis and State.)

On August 24-25-26, CAP and NCS are organizing a three day popular university. This is a different format that the Social Forums as it is based on an organized program within an organic perspective, with well-prepared sessions. It is complementary to the WSF. The first day will focus on capitalism and state. On the second day, the discussion will turn towards social movements. And finally the last day will open post capitalist and ecosocialist perspectives. Attendance will be mixed: "young in age" and "young at heart" activists, feminists and trade unionists, left academics (they are still there) and popular educationists.

For more information and interested activists (who can function in French), check out the web page of CAP/NCS:

Note: NYC uses google translate to read many international articles. Try it!

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