Radio — The Red Hand Coalition and the fight against austerity in Quebec


On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I talk with Joël Pedneault of  the Red Hand Coalition, one of the main province-wide formations opposing austerity measures in Quebec, about the trajectory of resistance to those measures in recent years — from before and through the student strike that brought down a government, to the lull in the year that followed, and into the resurgence that has just begun as a new Liberal government seeks once again to impose austerity on the province.

Within this resistance, there are numerous centres of activity. There is a formation comprised of the largest labour bodies in the province and the more conservative student unions. There are other formations calling themselves Spring 2015 Committees which are autonomous from formal organizations and which anticipate animating the most militant wing of the upcoming wave of action. And in between these two is another coalition, formally known in English as the Coalition Against User Fees and Privatization, but also called the Red Hand Coalition. It is comprised of a number of other trade unions, much of Quebec’s active and politicized community sector, and ASSE, the most radical and most active of the province’s student federations. Joël Pedneault, who was an organizer with ASSE during the student strike, now works for a popular education organization and in that capacity is part of the Red Hand Coalition. He speaks with me about the coalition’s origins, about its involvement in various phases of anti-austerity struggle in Quebec, about the broader political context, and about what promises to be a busy, militant spring for social movements in the province.

To learn more about the Red Hand Coalition, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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