Last night around 300 of us marched through the streets of Toronto, from George Brown over to Ryerson banging pots and pans. About 40 of us made the trip from Hamilton in a chartered bus, something that’s becoming quite a trend of late. Both Hamilton and Toronto are holding further “Casseroles” tonight. See ya tonight, 8pm in Gore Park, for my new favourite kind of ‘pot march’.
These marches started out as a statement of solidarity with striking students in Quebec and against the draconian anti-protest legislation they’re now facing. As the mobilization starts taking hold, it’s starting to become to become about much more than that. Ontario students pay some of the highest tuition fees in Canada, where 5% yearly increases are becoming the norm. Far too many are leaving school with few job prospects and enormous debts, much like young people who’ve been taking to the streets around the world. Student organizers with the Canadian Federation of Students and others are starting to return from Quebec where they’ve seen first-hand what’s possible. Plans are afoot for a serious organizing drive next fall, with a possible strike vote coming as early as next winter. Whether that’s possible in the dramatically different political culture of Aglophone Canada remains to be seen, but the fact that people are attempting it shows how quickly an action like the Quebec strike can spread to neighbours. Resistance is contagious, and that’s always one of the best reasons to take to the streets.