cc04f0cf49515fb52dedbd83ad33d65fOn Monday, March 26, the McGill student union (Students’ Society of McGill University, or SSMU) held a general assembly (GA) where a free education motion put forward by Socialist Fightback Students was passed. This motion commits the SSMU to support free education across Canada and the cancellation of all student debt. In addition, the motion stipulates that the SSMU must commit itself to mobilizing for a one-day student strike in fall 2018 via the creation mobilization committees and monthly democratic assemblies to allow the students to democratically decide the future of the movement.

In the weeks leading up to the GA, Socialist Fightback activists tabled on the campus, explaining the importance of this resolution to students and mobilizing them to come to the GA. Our campaign was also endorsed by several other student clubs including NDP McGill, the McGill Daily student newspaper, Black Students Network, Queer McGill, QPIRG, Students in Solidarity with Palestine, and Independent Jewish Voices.

The GA had a relatively low attendance of about 65 people and thus did not meet the quorum of 350 people, which is disappointing for a student union representing more than 24,000 students. However, it is not surprising that the GA had such low turnout—unfortunately, there was little done to mobilize for the GA other than making a Facebook event. When questioned about the low attendance, outgoing SSMU president Muna Tojiboev stated that the low attendance can be explained by the “non-controversial nature” of the motion presented, indicating that she thinks that our motion was so obviously correct that it would be absurd not to support it. While this argument may be true, a member of Fightback stated that the real reason for the low attendance of the event is due to students’ feeling of “disenfranchisement” and their disinterest in student politics overall, which is ultimately the responsibility of student leadership. In order to enthuse students to get involved, we must present them with a bold program of policies like free education so that they are inspired to join the fight for a better society.

Although the motion passed by a large majority, the struggle is not over. As the GA did not meet quorum, the motion will now be presented at the next SSMU Legislative Council (a body consisting of 30 student representatives and the seven SSMU executives) on Thursday, March 29. The outlook seems to be favorable for the motion considering that, as reported by The McGill Daily, “the executive team unanimously voted for the motion and will work together to implement the motion.” While this is good news, we need to keep the pressure on and make sure that the legislative council supports this resolution adopted by the rank and file. Socialist Fightback therefore calls on students at McGill to attend the legislative council meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. in room 603 of the McConnell Building at 3480 University Street, Montreal.

You can read the resolution here.

If you want to fight for free education, join Socialist Fightback Students!