Next Monday, October 22, Francis Dupuis-Déri, Professor of political science at UQAM, will attend a conference group alongside François Parenteau, of les Zapartistes, and Josée Boileau, editor in Chief of le Devoir. The importance of citizen and community action in the current context will be on the menu. Interview with the observer of social movements.
Several times during the last spring, journalists asked to Francis Dupuis-Déri if he was surprised by the energy of the student movement. It tasted so simply answer: “How is it that, since 30 years he did there not had more aggressive moves that have reacted to setbacks in social policy?”, he says to to the duty.
Although many people remained mobilized on several fronts in a lower brightness, socially disadvantaged groups have taken for their cold during the last decades, up to suffer significant setbacks with regard to their rights and their access to resources under the Harper Government. “Over the past 30 years, the right is in power and the so-called progressive social forces are fall-back position and defensive position.” The struggles of today fit into this general context. Of course, the community are well placed to know that things go wrong. »
Themselves accuse the coup. Many, including women and international cooperation organizations, groups have seen their federal funding to stop. It is believed that ideological reasons lie behind this sunset, in view of the positions adopted by affected agencies.
“It’s a direct attack on the political autonomy of groups.” This plays on the strategy. There are some who are saying: ‘ too bad, it will live without subsidy and we will still do the defence of rights. ” But we can imagine legitimately say other groups: “Damn.” We’ll be more discreet to not be typing on it. ” »
Mr. Dupuis-Déri displays, on the other hand, his hope to see “a sort of radicalisation with a rise of anger of groups who feel aggrieved. More and more, talking of civil disobedience within community organizations, he assures. On February 16, the blocking of the tour de la Bourse by the Coalition opposed to pricing and privatization of public services, which include several networks and community-based organizations, appears it as a manifestation.
“It’s a revival,” he notes. Groups are realizing that it’s beautiful petitions, vigils and banners, but maybe that should be a little disturbing the order of things. »
A return to the sources, somehow. Because, after all, the bulk of the community, in addition to the religious groups from charities, originated in the 1960s and 1970s and ‘of a movement that was related to demonstrations, mobilizations of the street, to challenge, to civil disobedience, etc.” In the years 1980-1990, they calmed because they had experience, salaries, grants, legal recognition, but also because were asked to offer services mainly. And, with it, came a bureaucratization and guidance that were that they were less turbulent. But I think that it is. In any case, in some people, there is a willingness to return it. The student strike can be a source of inspiration at this level. »
Several stakeholders are also asking the question: what is the student strike will affect or nourish Community action? Try to answer this question, it is to fall a little in the “science fiction”, warns Mr Dupuis-Déri. Does, it recalls the career paths observed in the past among the actors of the student movement.
The people at the head of student associations often continued in politics, while, frequently, the activists, who were involved in radical student movements, pledged later in the community.
In addition, a fringe of the new generation has became aware to the fact that democracy cannot be reduced to vote every four years and she has intensively bathed in direct and participatory democracy. Mr. Dupuis-Déri argues that, “despite the fact that it was routinely criticized as decision-making process, she showed that it worked to make decisions, to mobilize and to collectively adopt strategies”. But the democratic axis is one of the fundamental bases of Community action. This aspect of its mission is a bit neglected in some groups from the professionalization of the medium and the pressure of more greater demand for services.
It should not throw the stone to the people involved in the first line, says Mr. Dupuis-Déri. “Poverty, it does not stop weekend.” And the people are poor in the morning to the evening. And the night too. “It turns so complex both responding to the emergency and ensure that these are not only employees and stakeholders who are mobilizing.
Unlike the Union and student movements representing people relatively integrated “in the economic system”, the community revolves around the people most excluded and marginalized by society.
“Many people who live in precarious conditions or difficult have a political intelligence. They are aware that there are problems in Quebec society, he says. But after that, the problem is: what is people are aware that they can have an impact on their social reality? This is the great challenge. More we are in a difficult situation, more it is marginalized, it is excluded, less is hoping to be able to act on the environment and on society. And this is not just an illusion, a desperation or ignorance, it is a social reality. […] The work of community-based, in part, is to try to raise awareness to the people that their problems are not only individual but also collective. And that solutions are also, no doubt, collective, beyond the individual service you need to give them. The collective solution, it passes through social mobilizations. And the groups that I know, they are. But it is more difficult to present in a student Assembly at UQAM and saying: “Let’s go to the general strike.” »
Citizen participation, he stressed the need to put the different movements in competition. “I tend to say that, from a political point of view, it is quite important and even essential that, as a citizen, everyone agrees politically.” But, after that, from a more psychological point of view, I consider that it is important that the people are not forced [...] and so they are, depending on their sensitivities, their experiences, their concerns and priorities, the place where they want to engage. »
And the community is appropriate to answer some of them.
The importance of citizen and community action in the current political context, a group conference on Monday, October 22, at 19 hours at Cafe Campus.