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Commentary :: Education
Quebec Student Strikes and Globalization
30 Aug 2012
The tuition controversy is neither an isolated case nor caused by economic factors. Instead, it stems from deliberate top-down political decisions to gradually implement part of a wider agenda--the privatization 1 of public higher education, as has already occurred in California, in the continued unfolding of a worldwide, anti-democratic process of corporate empire building called globalization.
2012 Quebec Student Strike

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid (They Pass Around for Free: search: Jonestown )

If you’re one to quaff the corporate media Kool-Aid, you might think that the Quebec student strike was caused by an isolated instance of unanticipated budget pressures creating the need for a one-time hike in students’ financial contributions towards their post-secondary education in order to meet shortfalls. Gulp.

On Media Propaganda
There was a movie once where a character with some kind of slight mental handicap went around parroting things she heard in ads, as if they were important, or true... “Nine out of 10 dentists surveyed recommend...etc.” Clearly no one would take such an unfortunate individual seriously, to say the least. Why then is it any more acceptable in discussion of current events to repeat media news and opinion (marketing) in the same way? News is just big corporate business selling ‘eyeballs’ to other big business for ad revenue. It’s natural that viewers of this closed-circle exchange get nothing but the corporate spin on events, reported as if in a historical vacuum, and approved by shill regulators. To the extent that the content fails to reflect this point of view, or to promote the corporate agenda, systemic censorship comes into play as the ad revenue control valve closes off (see Manufacturing Consent). Ultimately, it’s corporate public relations, which is of course as much a form of marketing as advertising is. And like a crook on the witness stand, media suffers from day-to-day memory loss (‘I don’t recall’), or plays dumb, conveniently failing to connect the dots that would reveal the bigger picture.

In fact, the tuition controversy is neither an isolated case nor caused by economic factors. Instead, it stems from deliberate top-down political decisions to gradually implement part of a wider agenda--the privatization 1 of public higher education, as has already occurred in California, in the continued unfolding of a worldwide, anti-democratic process of corporate empire building called globalization.


Jean Charest: We will not be ruled by the street. (We will be ruled by the corporate boardrooms.)

If Germany is again to be great, all classes of our people must come to the realization that leaders are necessary who can act without concern for the caprices of the masses.--Carl Duisberg, 1925 speech to the central organization of German industry - the Reichsverband (source)


Gangrenous Body Politic:
Protest (for Education) = Terrorism = Islam (see Macleans cover, June 4, 2012)


That is why the actual amount of what is surely only the first round of tuition hikes is irrelevant (though the subject of fruitless negotiations once the Quebec government finally deigned to briefly meet after months of massive street protest the democratically elected social actors concerned--student association reps). Seen within the wider trend more evident elsewhere in the empire, it’s apparent that this increase is only the tip of a wedge that will continue to drive tuition much higher in future, ending equal access to education as a right.

For years now, this foot-in-the-door approach has been the modus operandi of introducing in increments corporate-rule policy dictates throughout the Western domains from the EU to North America, and even reaching to Asia (through ASEAN) as enactment of the corporate agenda further encroaches on public power. Effects of this global trend already seen to varying degrees in the US, Mexico and the EU are indicators of what Quebec can expect--higher education as a corporate tool for greater political control, higher revenue, leveraging of the public sector for private profit, and the offloading of corporate costs onto the backs of the public.

In addition to examples from abroad (see US, Mexico, EU below), the trend patterns are also visible nationally in Canada, with a policy of consistent defunding over the past 20 years (-25%) driving tuition costs higher (+20% source). These political decisions to shift from subsidies towards a pay-for-access system will consolidate social control by 1) favoring access to higher education for the privileged class 2) burdening less privileged students with onerous debt, a safety chain to the office cubicle. This is the ideological aspect of the changes underway--a ‘safer’, economic class-based education system. From this point of view, educating the masses (as opposed to training them for work) is comparable to arming the enemy. From students’ point of view, the hikes constitute the opening salvo in a class war.

Political background

The origin of the widespread attacks on public education internationally for over a decade now was in elite policy decisions in response to the ‘Troubles’ or social unrest of the late 60s, according to Noam Chomsky (video), notably with robust student activism in the US and Europe. Education’s functioning as pacification and indoctrination was seen by Western corporate leadership to be evidently failing. Public education was managing to function somehow as empowerment--a dangerous risk to the political order of the status quo. A bricks and mortar example of this concern can be seen in the reaction to the May 1968 student and worker strike in Paris: in the aftermath of the social upheaval that saw President de Gaulle flee the country, the heavy concentration of students in the Paris Latin Quarter was permanently dispersed with the Sorbonne dissolved into a dozen independent universities, scattering what had been a hive of lucid student and faculty activism.

Politically-minded changes, such as restrictions on political speech, have already been noted at public universities in Quebec. In Montreal, secret security committees keep tabs on student life and have banned the showing of controversial political documentary films (The Link newspaper, Concordia U.). Even on the architectural level, limited or no public space for free discussion (‘keep moving’) is another restriction. A stress on physical culture (sports) over intellectual life, symbolized by the centerpiece multi-story fishbowl gym as a prominent focal point in the campus landscape, instead of the library, subtly suggests the importance of power (force) over understanding--a decidedly fascist touch.

Knowledge or Power? Concordia U. Fitness Center, level 1


Subliminal Messages

Department Store, Montreal: “Obey”


Student debt

CA$14,000 : Average student loan debt in Quebec (
CA$25,000 : Average Canadian student loan debt after graduation
US$23,300 : average debt for all (US student) borrowers in 2011 (New York Times).
US$1 trillion total student loan debt in US.

The US Example (it’s the model!)

In the US, where private university costs are the highest in the world, public state-college tuition has risen dramatically. But this transformation began life, as in Quebec, as a modest proposal for one-time increases. At the once civically vaunted state University of California, state-subsidized tuition stood in 2000 at US$3550, a little higher than Quebec’s current CAD$2890. A similar initial hike of $1450 was proposed and then introduced over 2000-2003. So far the parallel is clear. When the initial hikes ended, more increases followed in the subsequent years. Since the end of the first stage of hikes in 2003, tuition at the U of C has again increased 160 percent (more than doubled), now standing at a minimum of US$13,000 for in-state residents not including room and board, with more increases threatened.

As in Canada, the impetus for raising tuition fees in California has been state defunding. In its 2011-12 budget, U of C core costs funded by the State of California have fallen under 50 percent with the remainder having to come from student tuition. This means that what was one of the US’s best public universities is no longer public but gone private. As this stark example shows, the threat is real--affordable public higher education is being extinguished. The funding cuts are not the result of separate local or national crises or policies but a reflection of a global power’s international agenda taking shape throughout the empire. The harsh lesson seems not to have been lost on the protesting Quebec students, despite the regional blinders of local media talking heads.

Lesson 1: Fascist Propaganda in Prefab Videos

Increased tuition is just the beginning of the transformation of public education. Funding pulled from public higher ed is going to subsidize the alternative, preferred model--for-profit colleges and universities, which have already been introduced in the US.

In public schools, to make up for budget shortfalls, middle- and high schools accept loans of A/V equipment and high-tech infrastructure in exchange for subjecting one-in-four students nationally to compulsory viewing in the classroom of advertising-based content (like infomercials or in-flight magazines) on ‘Channel One News’. The pre-packaged Video News Release ‘lessons’ for school kids include insidious, crypto-fascist propaganda sponsored by the US Army. 2 This spread of commercialization like dry rot to both the form and content of public education has already cropped up in some Quebec schools with classroom airing of the Youth News Network (YNN). Instead of dispensing knowledge, the new content resembles behaviorist training to manipulate students’ values in line with corporate needs (be a good sado-masochistic slave).

Mexico -- Students Win Fight over Free Education

Further south once more, in Mexico where free education is constitutionally guaranteed, the Zedillo government in 1999 proposed amendments to introduce university tuition. A nine-month strike led by students at the renowned National University in Mexico City (UNAM) shut down the occupied university and succeeded in achieving a government climb-down. In 2006, court-appointed 3 president Calderon, with a finance minister from the IMF, announced plans to transform universities (this time without introducing tuition fees) in line with World Bank/IMF dictates calling for “public-private partnerships” (privatization) as well as teaching and research links to private industry.

Charest Govt Plans Echo World Bank/IMF Agenda

It’s striking that Quebec Premier Charest’s 2011 budget that proposed the controversial tuition hikes also includes plans for $850 million in future corporate funding for public higher ed, with strings attached. The government’s final offer in negotiations with the striking students, which was rejected on May 6, 2012, included a proposal for an external council to study “internationalization” of the universities and “public-private partnerships” with industry (privatization). In other words, a revelation-in-part of the same World Bank/IMF agenda seen in Mexico and Europe (see ‘EU’ below) to ‘standardize’ the higher education system along American lines. Furthermore, the government’s emergency law 78 attacks freedom of association and (students’) collective bargaining rights, a mainstay of IMF ‘structural adjustments’ imposed on targeted countries.

The Canadian difference from its southern neighbor has been a point of national pride. But under the pressures of ‘globalization’ that difference is fast eroding, with ongoing attempts to dismantle public higher education being another example of the process, along with merged border security, NAFTA, Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement (2007) and North American military integration from Canada to Mexico with the creation of NORTHCOM (2002), among other agreements.

With its own separate identity, Quebec has always been sensitive to issues of self-determination, evident in the massive protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit in Quebec City in 2001 as well as the referenda on independence. Far from a bunch of enfant-rois as they say in Westmount, Quebec (and Canadian) students are correct to fear the worst, with the despotic American way threatening not just their schools but their very sovereignty, within Canada, on the path to a North American Union.

Free Trade Area 
of the Americas map 
logo showing merged US, Canada, Mexico et al.

University tuition in North America

CA$2,890 present average annual tuition and fees in Quebec before proposed hike of $1625
CA$5,366 average annual tuition for Canadian students (Stats Canada)
$18,000 average annual US public university tuition and fees.
$35,000 average annual US private university tuition and fees. (2008; US News)


EU--Sacking the Temples of Learning

The post-1968 shattering of the ancient Sorbonne into a dozen scattered pieces stands as glaring precedent and reminder of the challenge that public education poses to the forces of reaction, a rigid wall absorbing wave upon wave of crashing generational hopes for change.

In Europe today most countries still enjoy free university education (even for foreign students in Norway)--a legacy (together with public health service) of the postwar Communist party participation in coalition governments following the defeat of German fascism. But with gradual integration since then under a federal European Union, this cherished gain is being dismantled, following other public services, with the introduction of tuition fees through implementation of an anti-democratic, EU-driven standardization process since 2003.

Ostensibly dictating a one-size fits all ‘European Higher Education Area’, the internationalization push is better seen as belonging to the globalization trend, with elements of its corporate agenda already being adopted in Quebec. 4

Besides ending free tuition and equal access at university, one of Europe’s greatest social gains, the European ‘reforms’ are said to politicize education, narrow curricula, limit student aid, recast the university in line with a business model, cut costs, standardize ‘values’, and kill democratic control.

The “high school”-style reforms, which included “reduced course lengths”, a higher exams burden (rote learning), “peculiar” teaching dictates, compromised autonomy and “dumbed-down” degrees were met with student protests in Europe, including campus occupations by German and Austrian students in 2009 (Times Higher Ed ).

According to a 2009 University of Alberta Conference on the European reforms, they were “effectively promoting and accelerating globalization in higher education...
Trends and developments in the [reforms] that would jeopardize institutional autonomy...are of concern.” 5

Attacks on equal access to public higher education, on its integrity and its quality will ultimately mean a blight on the mass of youth, an attack on human dignity, a planned degradation to go with debt slavery, an attack on liberty.

The name given these 'reforms'? Attaching university to the corporate meat grinder for pre-processing of cookie-cutter grads, laden with debt, interest payment tribute to the banks and students pre-trained at their own expense, as ready-made consumable commodities in the know-how market...?

“The Bologna Process.”
Profit meat


CA$ 114 Billion : Amount of ME TOO 'bailouts' to untroubled (--Canadian Banking Association) Canadian banks from 2008-2010, a period during which they together reported CA$ 27 Billion profits. BMO, CIBC and Scotiabank received ‘bailout’ amounts as high as their market capitalizations, meaning that they could have been purchased and nationalized. Ottawa has refused to release details of the hand-outs. (CCPA)

2 1/2 Number of times-over full annual tuition for all Canadian university students could be paid with annual proceeds (CA$27b) from already ‘purchased’ bailout banks.

90 years : Period over which the Canadian bank ‘bailouts’ would have paid full tuition, with the hike, for all Quebec university students.

CA$ 8 Billion : Amount of Quebec annual debt service payments (a subsidy to banks); sufficient to pay every Quebec university student’s tuition and fees six times over, annually.

5 : Number of times-over the Canadian annual debt service payments (CA$50B) would pay full tuition annually for all 1.9 million Canadian university students.

30 : Percent reduction in average annual university tuition in Canada that could be paid for all students nationwide with the CA$2.8 Billion annual federal and provincial subsidies to the oil industry.

Those who would deny their children the same benefits they themselves enjoyed [show] the ultimate greed. Philippe Rioux, Lettres à mes étudiants in Ecole de la Montagne Rouge street sheet


Money for Scams not Schools

Has Quebec PM Charest really drunk the globalist Kool-aid? Is he another leader cum implementer--servant of the corporate boardrooms?

Consider his government’s announcement of $385m per year (through 2020) spending on development of a carbon market for Quebec, to be linked with the state of California’s. This is 88 percent of the contested tuition hike amount. A carbon market is the trading of permits to release CO2 under a system ostensibly designed to limit alleged greenhouse gas climate warming. Despite the record-setting volume of hot air hyping man-made climate change and much global gearing up to save the world, another sky is falling scenario has turned out to be a myth and a con.

Historical cycles in climate temperature have been shown not to correlate with atmospheric CO2 levels but with variations in the sun’s radiant energy (source), as anyone would expect. The best-known data showing a locked-in upward trend in temperature since the 20th century was shown to have been based on flawed data and methodology (article). Separately, leading climatologist proponents of global warming (at the UK’s Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia) were exposed as frauds in the 2009 Climate Gate scandal (see article) in which their private email correspondence was hacked and released. In one such email, a scientist (Dr Phil Jones) implied that though his data actually showed climate cooling since 1998, it would be impossible to publish since it contradicted the ‘consensus’ on ‘settled science’ (science is never settled). Not aligned with progress but with reaction, our corporate leaders are taking us back to the pre-science era of dogma and medieval forms of censorship as they exploit the unknown to trade in myth, an ancient theocratic practice.

As Chomsky has pointed out, a good rule of thumb to follow when testing bits of info debris from the propaganda storm for verity is that the louder and more repeated it is (global warming, the 911 Muslim terror conspiracy) the more likely it is to be professional myth making (marketing and cloak and dagger manipulation). In our brave new totalitarian world, truth is not broadcast, it is whispered. Big Lie ‘facts’ are manufactured, precisely by volume and repetition, à la Goebbels. As for wild weather, there must be some other explanation (search : HAARP).

So why propagate the man-made warming fraud? Because of a little agenda item of the well overripe American empire called World Government. The greenhouse gas climate warming myth is a ruse to introduce a global tax (on carbon emissions) as an international revenue source for world government under the corporate new world order. The tax, which would hit developing nations hardest (high polluters), would also thereby counter development, together with energy rationing, synergistically perpetuating US hegemony, as the new tribute payments roll in, transferring more public funds into private hands. In addition to regulating energy use, the scheme also seeks to regulate land use as well as transportation at the international level. The carbon market scam would also provide a new unregulated casino chip, representing a virtual commodity--and thus a fresh opportunity for more, lucrative financial fraud as a follow-up to derivatives.

Consider also BC's experience in the fledgling carbon market, revealed in an exposé by the Vancouver Sun. BC's participation in the carbon market saw CA$ 5 million in ‘carbon offsets’ paid annually from “hospitals, universities, and schools” to industry like “gas drilling rigs, pulp mills, sawmills, and hotels.” Under the scam, the public sector must pay for its carbon emissions with the money going (through an intermediary) to polluters ‘to fund emissions reduction projects,’ many of which the expose found to have been already funded by taxpayer dollars. Another public-to-private funds transfer scheme swindling the taxpayers under the corporate welfare state’s longstanding and relentless logic of destroying collectivity for the benefit of individuals.

Silencing Independent Academe

Which brings us to another synergy to the attempted break-up of public education.
With the latest agitations of the global corporate Leviathan, the tranquil island of academe finds itself in danger of being swamped and drowned by the stormy rising waters of the monster’s sea of influence. Even with corporate governance and paid research already in place, the still independent voice of academic integrity poses an intolerable challenge to paid opinion and undermines completion of the information monopoly needed to convincingly impose predatory corporate para-reality.

From Billboards to Papered-over Reality

A celebrated reference point in the schoolbook histories of Western society’s progressiveness was the freeing of slaves. Under the new corporate totalitarianism, the old achievement is turned on its head thanks to a modern innovation made possible through the formidable weapon of information control: the slaves think they are free.


1 Fly-by-night language note: now called ‘public-private partnerships’ (creeping privatization).
2 A sampled video short from the “Glory Road” segments sponsored by the US Army (source) features a martial arts champion (a Ms. Neuenswander-Welsh) and “Fight Night” actress, active in charity work, pictured striking blows at an opponent, and then teaching orphans to fight. “People want to help. They just don’t know how to do it.” Voiceover: “Rebecca found that by using her own strength she was able to help build a strong life for others.” Inference: the unfortunate are where they are because they are weak. They must become strong to improve their lot. Subtext: Violence (fighting, war) is natural. And it is natural for the strong to dominate the weak.
This is fascist ideology (Nietzsche for 12 year-olds) being taught in schools to American children by the US Army, sponsor of the ‘Glory Road’ segments.

[Charity is used as a cover to make the case for war fighting. One of the recipients of charity mentioned was Nicaragua. Maybe they wouldn’t have had as many orphans if the country hadn’t been illegally attacked over a period of 10 years by US-backed terrorists, condemned by the International Court of Justice (1986), with 30,000 killed. Or perhaps the charity should be arming the orphans, to make them “stronger” for the next round of ‘fighting’ if Nicaragua should again manage to organize politically for the collective good.]
3 As in the US in 2000, a close presidential election saw the intervention of the Supreme Court to deny a recount, effectively awarding the presidency to Calderon despite its acknowledgement of irregularities.
4 “This process is divided into three major reforms. First, standardize studies into three cycles. Second, establish a single system for calculating university credits that are transferable between institutions. Third, institute quality assurance, under the management of agencies external to the universities.
In Quebec, the first two reforms are already in place, apart from the non-compliance of the CEGEP network, hence the repeated calls for its abolition – most recently from the CAQ of Sirois-Legault...”
Pierre Dubuc (L’aut’journal) via article goes on to say that the Charest government, in its May 5, 2012 offer to negotiating student reps, had also proposed to implement the third reform, dealing a blow to autonomy, with ‘internationalization’ and creation of external (to the universities) control for ‘quality assurance’ with power over curricula, research, university structure, and establishing ‘partnership’ links to business. [In exchange, universities would receive $850 million in corporate funding--this last element was already included in the Charest government’s 3/2011 tuition hike budget.--MB] 

5 Canadian Perspectives on the Bologna Process, U of Alberta Conference held March 19–20, 2009 (pdf)

Canadian defunding stat source:
Chomsky higher ed video:
U of Californis budget:
Times Higher Ed:
Climate temp. correlation:
Hockey stick graph flaws:
Climate gate:
Climate gate e-mail:
Vancouver Sun carbon market exposé:
See also:

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