Making worlds with casseroles: The quebec student movement

A collection of essays (Wi: Journal of Mobile Media: Out of the mouths of “casseroles”: textes qui bougent au rythme du carré rouge) speaks of the radical possibilities emergent within the Quebec student movement.  The perspectives and positioning on/in the movement are many, but what runs through many of the reflections is the notion that the movement is constituted of a politics that is simultaneously an ethics and aesthetics.

It is described as engaging in a politics of possibility.  “The politics of possibility consist of struggles over what we are allowed to imagine as alternative to the present social order, which imagined social and economic relations are admissible to serious public political discussion.” (Bodies-Streets)  And one can perhaps go further in stating that at the heart of such a politics is possibility as a permanent ideal-reality.  What limits it, closes it, is authoritarian, if the closure is appropriated by a few.  In other words, “Who owns the rituals of closure?” becomes the central political question.  Exemplified in the last few months by the manifs casseroles, the movement creates “opportunities for encounters between people”.

“Walking with thousands of my neighbours down the middle of the street, in a space reserved by law for cars, in a procession banned by law because of its size, I greet the people I see night after night, we make music together, and I know an alternative social order is possible.  I know it physically because of where my body – and the bodies of my neighbours – have been together.” (Bodies-Streets)

“The demand of the political MUST be impossible,” the impossibility/possibility of constituting an emergent collective singularity that creates itself over and over in “a cacophony, a polyphony.” (Manifesto for Collective Action – Toward An Ethico-Aesthetic Politics)  No demands come from the movement; instead, a way or form of life appears, is suggested, presences itself.

This is a politics of the “enactment of eventness”, where nothing is produced other than the event itself, where the event is neither an end, nor a means to an end, but only a means. (Anarchopanda’s Soft Subversions)

We wait for the explosion, or the spark that leads to it; when what is necessary is the multiplication of sparks, without end … a rupturing of linear time and space, counter worlds.

“People are working every day, in their communities – based on neighbourhoods, workplaces, shared identities or even just friend groups – to consolidate a burgeoning organisational interface that forms an anti-authoritarian commons…. This anti-authoritarian commons is part of a political alternative based on two core principles of collective autonomy – self determination and self-organisation – where people are taking things in their own hands instead of leaving them to a corrupt and disconnected corporate and state leadership…. These actions and assemblies are the spreading rhizomatic sprouts of alternative political institutions.” (It didn’t start with Occupy, and it won’t end with the student strike! The persistence of anti-authoritarian politics in Quebec).

CLASSE quebec …

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