Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.
Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.
Massive crowds engulfed downtown Montreal this afternoon, marking the 100th day of student strikes and protests sparked (in part) by Quebec’s plan to raise tuition by 82 percent on May 22.
While estimates ranged wildly – from 100,000 to 500,000 in the streets – the number is less significant than the civil disobediencethat has thrust Montreal into the global revolution spotlight.
Authorities in Quebec, trying to counter the protests that have raged for over two months, passed “emergency” legislation last Friday that suspended the winter semester and effectively made protesting illegal. (The legislation, or Bill 78, stipulates that groups of 50 or more gathering must submit itineraries to the authorities in advance or be deemed illegal.)
Students and citizens in Montreal responded to the draconian legislation by streaming into the streets and defying Bill 78 in record numbers today. While the protests have been led by the significant student population in Montreal, the protests today contained cross-sections of the population.
Noting one of the more visible and noisy marches of the day, which was gatherings of both the young and old banging on pots and pans, Steve Faguy of The Gazette Tweeted the following:
I’ve covered quite a few protests. Never have I seen one that so resembled an actual popular uprising.
And writer Kris Holt had this to say regarding the emergent popular uprising:
Those on my street banging pots and pans are middle-aged or older. Much more than students now.
It seems that the legislature’s attempts to quell protesting in Montreal has had the opposite effect, as many today streamed into the streets specifically to defy the anti-protesting emergency legislation.
As one of the student leaders, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stated today:
“We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right,” he said, walking side-by-side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.“If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable.”
Absurd indeed – and that absurdity seems to have awakened popular support for the students’ plight, support that has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
The global revolution has officially arrived in Canada. And with student strikes and protests set for the summer, and with more of Montreal’s citizenry falling behind the students, it’s a revolution that may not be ending anytime soon.
Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Israel, New York City, Montreal…
…we are witnessing an historic global uprising, as peoples across the globe continue to rise up in numbers and demand their political rights, demand social justice, demand economic fairness.
It’s a struggle that is not just essential, but fundamentally human.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – MSNBC TV host Keith Olbermann announced Friday that he is leaving the network and has taped his last “Countdown” show.
MSNBC issued a statement that it had ended its contract with the controversial host, with no further explanation. Olbermann hosted the network’s most popular show, but his combative liberal opinions often made him a target of critics.
Olbermann did not explain why he was leaving.
“MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavours,” the network said.
A spokesman said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s president, would not comment on Olbermann’s exit. Spokesman Jeremy Gaines would say only that the acquistion of NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval this week, had nothing to do with the decision.
Olbermann was suspended without pay from the network for two days in November for donating to three Democratic candidates, which violated NBC News’ policy on political donations. Olbermann complained that he was being punished for mistakenly violating an inconsistently applied rule that he had known nothing about.
The host apologized to fans — but not to the network.
Olbermann, before leaving the show with a final signature toss of his script toward the camera, thanked his audience for sticking with him and read a James Thurber poem.
“This may be the only television program where the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice versa,” he said.
He thanked a series of people, including the late Tim Russert, but pointedly not Griffin or NBC News President Steve Capus.
Olbermann’s prime-time show is the network’s top-rated. His evolution from a humorous look at the day’s headlines into a pointedly liberal show in the last half of George W. Bush’s administration led MSNBC to largely shift the tone of the network in his direction, with the hirings or Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell in primetime.
But Olbermann was known for a mercurial personality behind the scenes and he was almost fired last year for the political donations. He quit a prime-time show on MSNBC in the late 1990s, complaining that management was making him report too much on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal.
He was particularly critical of Fox News Channel and his direct competitor, Bill O’Reilly, frequently naming him his “Worst Person in the World” in a segment popular with his fans. Bosses at NBC had discussed trying to keep the tone of the vitriol down.
MSNBC announced that O’Donnell, who had frequently filled in for Olbermann before starting his own 10 p.m. show, will take over Olbermann’s time slot starting Monday. “The Ed Show,” with Ed Schultz, would move to 10 p.m. Cenk Uygur of the Web show “The Young Turks,” will fill Schultz’s vacated 6 p.m. time slot.
Olbermann had signed a new four-year contract with MSNBC two years ago. It’s unclear what his plans are now.
He could give a boost to struggling CNN’s prime-time lineup, but Olbermann would mean CNN would make an abrupt shift in its nonpartisan policy. It was not immediately known how quickly Olbermann could switch to another job if he wanted to.
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I have read through all the blogs. The Huffington Post and The Daily Kos. There are theories and speculations about what happened and why, and what may happen next. Suffice to say Keith is finished at MSNBC, it is possible that Keith made a lump of money if they bought him out, but certain specifics may hamper being told what those finer points are.
Keith was a nightly event in this house. MSNBC as a whole network ran every night here, he will be missed. I hope he got away with enough money to keep him happy for a long time.
The theory that Comcast fired Olbermann to calm the heads at Fox is something I am sure of. We hope that Lawrence and Rachel and Ed keep their jobs, if they fall, then you know something is up with the stifling of political opinion …
Rachel was on Bill Maher tonight and she did not have much to say about the end of Countdown.
We shall see what we get over the weekend. Stay tuned…