By Darrell Rankin

Do you wonder what the US war machine thinks about the Quebec student protests?

Usually I love it when top imperialists say what they actually think, except when the stakes are high and the ideas threaten actual violence of some sort.
An article by David T. Jones (Allowing student protests to continue threatens Quebec democracy,, June 15, 2012) offers a glimpse into the thinking of the US military establishment about the Quebec student protests. Jones is a retired U.S. State Department senior officer who served the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

Jones had a long career getting the ear of top US military officers and is an author and frequent commentator on US Canada relations. His articles at the American Diplomacy blog cover issues such as the top level of the US general staff, ruptures in NATO, Quebec separatism, and the “good news” of Harper’s election.

He tries to establish that there is a plan in Quebec for “seizure/displacement of power” a union backed coup d’etat that would protect Quebec’s unions, for the wrong reasons. He believes that the unions are corrupt and up to no good, ignoring the actual source of the construction corruption scandal under investigation in Quebec.

In fact Jones presents the tuition struggle as a “red herring.” He says the real “stake” in the struggle is “the legitimacy of Quebec’s governing authority” and “radical students, supported by union funding and presumably organizers, are seeking to force the resignation of the Charest government and early elections.”

His greater worry is that “students elsewhere (may) determine Quebec has provided a `learning experience.'” The common reactionary interest of the corporate ruling class in both Quebec and Washington is fully expressed by Jones, especially against the spread of protest movements that take aim at corporate greed and support democratic aims.

Most alarmingly, he offers free advice to the Charest government: “If you want to end demonstrations/wars, you need overwhelming force with mass arrests, quick trials (no “catch and release” policy), and jail sentences…” Jones is very critical of Charest’s “feckless” efforts.

The article is actually a call or alarm for Washington to help Charest hold on to power. Either Jones is a loony tunes to whom no one will listen, or we should expect that the US will work openly or secretly to protect the incompetent Charest government.

Charest is actually following much of Jones’ advice, using truncheons, mass arrests and lethal plastic bullets. Jones’ extreme reactionary views require us to increase our efforts to develop another kind of international class solidarity in support of the students and unions fighting for a just society in Quebec, and to say to the U.S.: Hands off Quebec!

(The above article is from the July 1-31, 2012, issue of People’s Voice, Canada’s leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers – $45 US per year; other overseas readers – $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People’s Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)