We’ve all seen the Anti-austerity demonstrations, and police riots used to disperse them, in Europe and the growing protests in the United States against systemic state violence aimed primarily at the poor and people of colour, but what about what’s happening right here in Canada?
Last month, thousands were in the streets of Montreal and Quebec City manifesting and expressing their discontent with deep social spending cuts – a made in Quebec austerity plan. Few in the rest of Canada however saw or read anything, save some cursory and dismissive accounts in major press outlets. True, English Canada is kept largely in the dark on most Quebec issues, but was there more to the silence this time?
Stefan Christoff is a Montreal-based writer, community organizer, musician and publisher of ‘Le Fond de l’air est Rouge,’ an anthology of texts about Quebec’s 2012-13 Spring, Winter, Spring, and Summer of discontent. Written from the streets and cafes and produced in collaboration with Rabble.ca, Media Co-op, and Al Jazeera, Le Fond chronicles the movement that knocked premier Jean Charest from office, and apparently has not entirely run its course as popular unrest roils yet, just below the media radar.
Stefan Christoff in the first half.
And; there’s nothing below the surface in Baltimore now. The national guard was called out Tuesday following clashes with police by citizens upset by the gruesome death in custody of Freddie Gray. Gray suffered a broken spine following his arrest by Baltimore police. The circumstances of his injury are still unclear; what is clear however is the anger felt in black communities across the U.S. as a spate of police killings of unarmed black men breaks through corporate press filters, thanks mainly to the proliferation of cell phone video and social media.
Breaking the media silence for decades too has been Mumia Abu Jamal, a Philly-based radio journalist who despite his 1981 conviction for the murder of a policeman (in a highly controversial case) produced radio commentaries with Prison Radio from death row for thirty years, and continues, now his death sentence has been reversed, to criticise the systemic racism of American Justice. Mumia was rushed to hospital earlier this month, suffering a coma due to undiagnosed diabetes. Though out of immediate danger now, the denial of proper medical care to the troublesome activist is of concern to his many supporters.
Linn Washington Jr. is a journalist, educator, and co-director of the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, or MURL, that sends journalism students into neighbourhoods not usually featured in mainstream reportage. Linn is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University, a columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune, (America’s oldest African-American owned newspaper), and is a regular contributor to the web news site, ThisCantBeHappening.net. In addition to two journalism degrees from Temple, Linn also holds a law degree earned at Yale.
Linn Washington and the The Public Execution of Mumia Abu Jamal in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what’s good to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Stefan Christoff and English-Canada’s press wall maintaining Quebec’s media solitude.