Subway Smokeouts and Social Justice

The Quebec Student Strike and Social Justice Movements

As we continue our COMM506 journey we see how technology layers and adds scale to the way we act as a society.  The Girls Near Me app is dangerous on its one, it’s the social actions behind it that make it unpalatable. But as we said in class, the base concept of the application may not have been. It’s not the tool that is evil, it is the way we choose to use them. The tools amplify and scale up our social behaviours.

Our collective actions online have enabled collaborative behaviours online- social movements have more capabilities to manoeuver as leaderless democracies. The linking of the networks no longer has to be chains- they are strengthened by the interconnected ties. The networked nature of our organizations can now cross physical lines and formed new types of democracy.

Recently in the news has been the striking of the Quebec students. Has this movement turned to an armed uprising? Is their goal to effect social change and reduce tuition fees, or is it geared towards more terrorist tactics intent on disruption? How does a conscious effort for democracy go wrong? The marginalized get hijacked by other segments of society. This piggy-backing by anarchists are at the edges of the movement, but they can take centre stage in getting issues addressed. The irony in this situation is that their actions, now that they have been stepped up to subway smokeouts are only furthering the chasm between the two groups. Dialogue is less and less likely as actions escalate and the groups cut each other off from each other.

Sometimes attention has to be called to certain matters, I get that. But is invoking the fear of everyday citizens the right kind of drama? Making something media-worthy on the internet these days is pretty tough, granted, with all of our produsage and pro-amateur endeavours. Is it right to embrace a variety of tactics to get the attention of the masses in order to have your agenda highlighted? Lots of questions, but I don’t have too many answers I’m afraid. We are struggling to have democracy be relevant.

During the video played, I couldn’t look away from the police officers. How many of them really wanted to go forward and disperse the crowds with violence? There was more fear in the police’s eyes than the protesters huddled against the pepper spray. Didn’t know a movie was made about it Battle in Seattle.

Embedded journalism versus citizen journalism activists. What is being portrayed and what is happening on the scene can be very different.  In comparison, the Seattle protests in 1999 was very different from the Occupy movement- embedded media made sure that the public saw a tolerant approach to dispersing the protests. You’d really have to look for indy footage that contradicts mainstream media imagery. But government still invoked laws like having to take down their camps for safety and hygiene reasons. So maybe it was just a loophole to shut down the action.

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