(photos, videos & articles) Report-back: Demonstration against the xenophobic Charter (October 20, 2013)

Montreal, October 21, 2013 — Yesterday more than 1000 protesters marched against the proposed Quebec Charter of Values, in a grassroots effort called “Ensemble contre la charte xénophobe” (Together against the xenophobic Charter). The demonstration is part of a wave of demos and actions against the Charter (there are anti-Charter demonstrations every Sunday this month), and today’s demo emphasized a pro-feminist, pro-queer, anti-oppression struggle against the Charter, based on the Basis of Unity included below.

The organizers of the demonstration felt it was important to describe the proposed Charter publicly as xenophobic, racist and sexist, and not to shy away from openly naming the oppressive nature of the proposed charter, despite the discomfort it causes mainstream Quebec society. The lead banner of the demonstration read: “Ensemble contre le racisme, le sexisme, la xénophobie et toute autre forme d’oppression.

Importantly, the demonstration also openly defied the anti-protest P-6 by-law. Demo organizers did not collaborate with Montreal police and did not share their demo itinerary with them. The demo constituted another act of civil disobedience against the by-law. Despite fears and false rumours in the days before the demonstration, the protest was able to march along Ste-Catherine Street — Montreal’s main downtown artery — for two hours without interference.

The demonstration organizers want to note that the large Canadian flag that was being carried in the middle of the demonstration was not consistent with the demonstration message; the flag-bearers were asked to not make the demonstration falsely seem like it was a partisan federalist event, but they refused, and insisted on trying to exploit the demonstration for a message not consistent with the demo’s Basis of Unity. We would like people who were not at the demo, but might see photos of the large Canadian flag, to be aware of this incident.

Musical resistance was an important part of today’s effort. The Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble and the Raging Grannies both joined the effort. Also, a demo music mix highlighted songs of liberation, inclusion and resistance, including from well-known Québecois artists, as well as music from all over the world, in French, English, Arabic, Spanish, Creole, Yiddish, Bengali and Punjabi. The demomusic mix is linked here: http://nooneisillegal-montreal.blogspot.ca/2013/10/compilation-de-musique-music-mix.html

The demonstration was organized and endorsed by members of the following Montreal-area groups: À Deux Mains / Head and Hands *  Artivistic * Association facultaire étudiante des sciences humaines (AFESH-UQÀM)  * Centre communautaire des femmes sud-asiatiques / South Asian Women’s Community Center (SAWCC)
  * Centre de lutte contre l’oppression des genres / Centre for Gender Advocacy * Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble / L’Ensemble de l’insurrection chaotique
 * Collectif Québécois – Musulmans Contre Intégrismes et Islamophobie * Geograds (Geography, Planning and Environment Graduates Association at Concordia) * Graduate Students Association (GSA) at Concordia * Groupe de recherche d’intérêt public à Concordia / QPIRG Concordia * Groupe de recherche d’intérêt public à Concordia / QPIRG McGill
 * Immigrant Workers Center / Centre des travailleurs et travailleuses immigrantEs (CTI)
 * Montréal Nord Républik * No One Is Illegal / Personne n’est illégal-Montréal
 * Réseau de la Commission Populaire de Montréal
 * Solidarité sans frontières / Solidarity Across Borders
 * Tadamon * and more.

– La Charte de valeurs est-elle xénophobe (Santiago Bertolino) ? Entrevue avec Jaggi et Stella du groupe organisateur Personne n’est illegal. Ils nous expliquent leurs points de vue personnels sur la charte des valeurs québécoises :
– Manifestation et marche: Ensemble contre la Charte xénophobe (ACAB Media):
– Protest Against Quebec Charter of Values (Mariam Esseghaier):

Media Articles:

– (TVA, avec vidéo) Plus de 1000 personnes défilent à Montréal:
– (TVA, avec vidéo) Une autre manifestation se tiendra cet après-midi (entrevue avec Joël Pedneault):
– (CTV, with video) Diverse group protests against values charter:
– (Radio-Canada) Nouvelle manifestation contre la charte:
– (24 heures) Une autre manifestation anti-Charte:
– (Métro) Autre manif contre la Charte des valeurs:
– (La Presse) Manifestation à Montréal pour dénoncer la Charte des valeurs:
– (Le Devoir) Manifestation à Montréal pour dénoncer la Charte des valeurs québécoises:
-> If you have more photos, articles or videos from today’s demonstration to share, please send them to nooneisillegal@gmail.com
-> If you would like to get involved with the efforts of Ensemble contre la Charte xénophobe, please contact nooneisillegal@gmail.com

Basis of Unity of “Ensemble contre la Charte xénophobe”:

We are opposed to the proposed Quebec Charter of Values.

From the outset, the proposed Charter and related debate fails to recognize that Quebec and Canada are built on stolen Indigenous land, and constituted through the dispossession and genocide of Indigenous peoples. We assert our solidarity and support with Indigenous struggles for self-determination and cultural integrity.

We are for equality between all genders but we also assert our support for struggles against patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism and all forms of oppression.

We oppose those aspects of the Charter that attack the personal dignity and self-determination of our fellow Quebec residents, including their ability to work and survive in major sectors of the economy.

We assert that the introduction of the Charter of Values is both hypocritical and xenophobic. It is hypocritical because ostentatious symbols of one religion will remain untouched (specifically the Duplessis crucifix in the National Assembly as well as the cross on Mont-Royal). It is xenophobic because Charter supporters are appealing to sensationalized and false fears of other cultures and traditions, as part of an electoral calculation to win the votes of bigots.

We reject the monolithic portrayal of our communities and we assert the diversity of our cultures and traditions as well as our multiple identities.

We also reject the Charter as sexist as it is based on stereotypes of women who choose to wear the hijab. We reject the notion that women of faith need to be saved, and instead we support the women who are on the frontlines of their own struggles for liberation, as subjects, not objects or victims, of their own transformation.

We support struggles against poverty, precarity, social exclusion, assimilation, borders, racial profiling, sexism and gender violence. We unite to build across differences and struggle against all forms of oppression, whatever their source.