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(en) Canada, Victoria, BC, a brief explanation of the demo that went down February 4th

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 5 Feb 2004 09:01:19 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Hey, Today [February 4th] in Victoria there was a large demonstration in
support of lower tuition fees and access to education that took part
across the country, organized by the largely NDP-influenced [re: social
democratic party] Canadian Federation of Students [CFS].
from Seattle out, and there was a number of anarchists who turned up for
the demo, with several hundred leaflets being distributed.
Even though at least two of the demonstration co-organizers were
anarcho-communists, the CFS organizers were hostile to the anarchist
contingent, attempting to block the placement of the FNAC banner. In
addition, I was slated to speak at the rally, but was dropped from the
speaker's list after an individual who was President of the Provincial
NDP until fairly recently had me removed on the charge of being too
radical to speak at the demonstration [in full contradiction to any
working concept of "democracy" in the so-called student movement]. When
the marshals at the demonstration tried to prevent the FNAC banner from
being at the front, students carrying other local banners refused to
move in front of banner.

When the demonstration arrived at the legislature, the CFS contingent
tried to steer the march around to the back of the legislature. Instead,
the contingent with the FNAC banner removed the barrier to the
legislature lawn and marched across it to the front of the legislature
building, and was followed by the entire march in doing so. After much
confusion and a sizable contingent of students trying to keep the march
in front of the legislature, the CFS marshals succeeded in moving the
demonstrators to the back of the legislature [behind the building, out
of sight out of mind] where the demonstration was permitted to be held.

To give a brief analysis, the demonstration was largely orchestrated -
with most demands hinging around reducing education. Only one speaker
[an instructor whose politics weren't widely known] managed to deliver a
"radical" speech linking the current phase of educational under-funding
and restriction of access to a broader neo-liberal agenda that had been
in place even during the previous reign of the NDP in the province. In
organizing and during the demonstration itself, the CFS and NDP [who had
no official role in the demonstration itself, aside from a small banner
from a university campus club] carried out a systematic campaign of
marginalization against radicalization of the demonstration. This
including refusing radical speakers, tearing down radical posters put up
around campuses for the event, and attempting to regulate and approve
materials and media communications through a centralized process
accountable to a select few.

The digital camera we brought to take photos didn't work, but given the
large number of cameras present and the massive media coverage of the
event, photos of the march and banner will be posted shortly when they
become available.


Victoria, BC, Canada

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