December 1, 2015

English Edition, No. 21

Preventing "Radicalization" in Educational Institutions

Attacking the Youth for Politics of War and Aggression



Preventing "Radicalization" in Educational Institutions

Attacking the Youth for Politics of War and Aggression

It was learned in mid-November that the recent initiatives at Maisonneuve College in Montreal will serve as a model of "counter-radicalization of young people." News reports said that a call was put out to several organizations and communities to inquire how they perceive the phenomenon of radicalization. The college announced that a group of teachers had produced leaflets for their classrooms to address the phenomenon and that the results of this research will be presented in January 2016 as a model for other schools.

At the request of the college, a plain clothes police officer has been on duty at the college three days a week since April. Ian Lafrenière, head of communications and media relations for the Montreal Police Service, said that if the officer detects information that indicates an immediate threat, she will report this and the police will conduct an investigation.

As part of the counter-radicalization program, at least one teacher has been released from 50 per cent of their teaching load (two courses) this semester to be at the disposal of the program.

In June, the college announced the closure of La Source, a quiet space for reflection and stress management. La Source was established in August 2012 when more than 250 people signed a petition for the space.

Around the college, posters have been put up on the doors to some stairwells that say: "The stairs and corridors are places of circulation -- gathering is prohibited."

The measures to "prevent radicalization" of the youth are characterized by the total absence of a definition of "radicalization," the identification of its causes and any discussion of the nature of terrorism in the world today. By default, terrorism is associated with religious beliefs, especially Islam. Meanwhile, wars of aggression to force regime change in countries the U.S. has declared "uncooperative" are not considered a source of violence and an example of extremism. Instead, the issue is made a matter of individuals, especially the youth, who are also recruited for these wars of aggression and state terrorism. State terrorism also includes sowing distrust, coercing or enticing people to spy on their neighbours and communities and the attack on the right to conscience, which includes ideological witch hunts.

It is precisely when the pro-war Harper government sought to justify the expansion and extension of the combat mission in Iraq and Syria, last winter and spring, that in Quebec, the media, the Couillard government and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre raised hysteria about "radicalized" students who were allegedly recruited for jihad in Syria. The media spoke of a "nursery of young jihadists" in CEGEP de Maisonneuve, which led to the program to "fight radicalization." In the end, these turned out to be nothing more than young people eloping abroad, to escape their families' disapproval of their future spouses.

Radicalization

Maisonneuve College is working in collaboration with the "Centre for Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence" (CPRLV) created in March 2015 by Mayor Coderre. The CPRLV recently inaugurated a website (info-radical.org) where students and citizens at large are invited to spy on their neighbours and "report confidentially any situation at risk involving a person who is radicalized or in the process of radicalization."

According to the Centre: "There is no universally accepted definition for the phenomenon of radicalization leading to violence." However, the CPRLV defines it "as a process whereby people adopt an extremist belief system -- including the intent to use, encourage or facilitate violence -- in order to promote an ideology, a political project or a cause as a means of social transformation."

Accordingly, violent radicalization would be:

"- The adoption of an ideology whose rationale becomes a way of life and a framework for meaningful action for the individual;

"- The belief in the use of violent means to promote a cause;

"- The merging of ideology and violent action."


Chart from the website of the Centre for the Prevention ofRadicalization Leading to Violence.
Click to enlarge.

The definition is obviously aimed at Muslim communities as well as a number of immigrant communities, particularly the youth. However, the program's Islamophobic obsession is such that it went unnoticed that the definition in fact applies to those elected representatives and governments who are promoting and collaborating with the wars of aggression and domination of the big powers in the name of regime change and democracy. It is they who support the fanaticism and extremism of wars of aggression and occupation but want to divert the anger of the youth who oppose the use of force to settle conflicts by creating amongst them a mistrust of certain stereotyped communities. One recent example of this is the Canadian mercenary killed in Syria while fighting in the service of war and aggression, and who was made a national hero when his body was returned to Canada. Fighting for the interests of the U.S. is draped in high ideals. Meanwhile, doubt is sown about Muslim and Arab communities to delegitimize any sentiment in favour of those who resist war and aggression and defend their sovereignty.

In that respect, the insidious introduction of police powers into the student body under the pretext of "combatting radicalization" with such biased definitions is an attack on the right to conscience. It is also an admission of the crisis of the democratic institutions in Quebec, Canada and elsewhere which do not allow citizens to be at the centre of solving the problems they and the society face. It is also a way to target specific communities, attack Muslims and prevent open political discussion.

It must not pass!


Screenshot from a video included in the "Information Kit on Violent Extremism" prepared for parents by the Université du Québec à Montréal's Psychology Department. Based on this criteria, most neo-liberal governments, such as those of Harper, Charest and Couillard, have fallen prey to "violent radicalization" -- intransigence, distancing themselves from a group (public sector workers, for example), obsession for a cause ("zero deficit") and violent media (special legislation, riot squads).


National Assembly Discusses Refugees

On November 17, the National Assembly adopted a motion presented by Montarville MNA Nathalie Roy together with Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion and Maka Kotto, MNA for Bourget, asking the federal government to unveil the plan, timelines, resources, and security measures for receiving Syrian refugees in collaboration with the provinces.

The motion was followed by a one-and-a-half hour debate on the subject. Everyone expressed in their own way their desire to welcome the refugees in the name of Quebec values, freedom and our democracy and the fight against the barbarians. Questions were raised regarding the necessary security and integration measures, and the capacity or lack thereof in the education, health, social services and community group networks to receive such a large number of refugees. Some echoed the demand for a guarantee that the federal government foot the bill.

The striking aspect in this expression of good will and determination to fight the barbarians and defend "our democracy, which is under attack" was the total absence of any reference to the state of anarchy and chaos created in the world and its causes. Humanity is facing a major, historically unprecedented problem but it would appear that it is not necessary to seriously examine it.

No party or member of the National Assembly has questioned the real reason behind the humanitarian crisis and what Quebec and Canada must do to stop such a mass exodus of populations from their countries. The refugee crisis is a direct consequence of wars of aggression in Iraq, Libya and Syria and the policy of regime change of the U.S. and their NATO allies, including Canada, to dominate this region of the world and advance their aim for world domination. Today it is the Syrians who are fleeing. Tomorrow, which country is to be taken hostage by calls for regime change? What role should the governments of Quebec and Canada play to stop the race for domination and destruction led by the United States to destabilize populations and entire countries?

No one raised the issue of the pro-war direction of the Canadian government and the equally war-mongering statements of Premier Philippe Couillard, calling for an armed and aggressive military intervention in Syria. Quebecers are being called upon to support the pro-war logic with one hand, while extending the other. It is the pro-war policy in the service of the U.S. striving for domination that is forcing civilians and entire populations to flee their bombed country.

Within the context of the events of November 13, in Paris and the arrival of thousands of Syrian refugees, it is even more urgent to take a firm, principled stand against the use of force in settling conflicts between peoples, demand that Canada withdraw from NATO and NORAD and all aggressive coalitions and work towards the establishment of an anti-war government.

Issues of war and peace are fundamental and must be discussed widely by the peoples of Quebec, Canada, as well as worldwide. Quebecers must place themselves at the centre of these discussions and ensure that they serve to open the path to progress and real peace.


National Assembly Motion on Refugees

On November 17, the following motion entitled "Request that the federal government put forward its plan, deadlines, resources and security measures for receiving Syrian refugees in collaboration with the provinces" was jointly tabled by Nathalie Roy, Member of the National Assembly Montarville and Kathleen Weil, Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion n Maka Kotto, MNA for Bourget and adopted by the majority.

* * *

"That the National Assembly expresses its solidarity and generosity in receiving those refugees who are presently the victims of the barbarity in Syria;

"That it takes note of the legitimate concerns expressed by the population, as well as by many municipal and provincial elected representatives with regard to the issued linked to security and the capacity of absorption of Syrian refugees;

"That it requests that the federal government reveals its plan and deadlines in receiving 25,000 refugees in the country, as promised, and that it assures the provinces that adequate resources will be made available;

"That it requests that the federal government takes the time required in order to ensure the establishment of the appropriate security and asylum measures;

"Finally, that the National Assembly requests that the government of Canada work in close collaboration with the provinces within their respective responsibilities."


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