People’s University at the Peoples’ Social Forum 2014

August 21 – 23, 2014 University of Ottawa, FSS Building

The People’s University is an opportunity to learn, to reflect, and to debate ideas. It is open to young and old alike, both within and outside the academic world. The discussions will take place in workshops and plenary sessions with the aim of fostering a deeper understanding of a variety of topics in a spirit of camaraderie and open-mindedness.

To learn more about the Peoples’ Social Forum, or to register, visit their website.

Organized by Les Nouveaux Cahiers du socialisme in conjunction with Canadian Dimension magazine. Additional partners: Peoples’ Social Forum, University of Ottawa, Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN, CSQ, FTQ, STTP, ATTAC, and more.


Download the program in PDF

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The Harper Revolution: Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism

Time FSS 4007 FSS 4006 FSS 4004 LPR 286 LMX 106
10:30am - 12:00pm


University Inc.

Facilitator: Isabelle Bouchard

Speakers: Paul Hamel, Marie-Pierre Boucher, and Jean-Michel Savard


Capitalism is making us sick

Facilitator: Marie-Claude Goulet

Speakers: Jill Eisen and Cory Verbauwhebe


The recolonization of Indigenous lands

Facilitator: Geneviève Beaudet

Speakers: Shannon Chief, Neecha Dupuis, and Ben Powless


The uses of “free-trade”

Facilitator: Ghilslaine Raymond

Speakers: Jim Stanford and Claude Vaillancourt


Poverty and structural crises

Facilitator: Jean-Paul Faniel

Speakers: John Clarke, Sigrid Kneve, Frédéric Paré, and François Saillant

12:00pm - 1:00pm


Imperialism and capitalism today

Facilitator: Thomas Chiasson-Lebel

Speakers: Leo Panitch and Michel Husson



Peoples’ Social Forum march and rally

Gathering on Parliament Hill.

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Strategies, Resistance, Convergence

Time FSS 4007 FSS 4006 FSS 4004 LPR 286 LMX 106
9:00am - 10:00am


Ecosocialism and Emancipation

Facilitator: Andrea Levy

Speakers: Ian Angus and Jonathan Durand-Folco

10:30am - 12:00pm


Union and citizen coalitions

Facilitator: Véronique Brouillette

Speakers: John Cartwright, Dominique Daigneault, Danielle Casara, Marie-Eve Duchesne, and Hassan Husseini


Engaging in parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics

Facilitator: Stéphane Chalifour

Speakers: Judy Rebick, Manon Massé, and Jean Trudelle


Fighting pipelines

Facilitator: David Welch

Speakers: Clayton Thomas-Muller, Ben Powless, Tyler McCreary, Marie-Josée Béliveau


Citizen movements from the Québec student strike to Idle No More

Facilitator: Xavier Lafrance

Speakers: Maude Barlow, Melissa Mollen Dupuis, and Jérémie Bédard-Wien


Intellectuals and activists: resistance, repression, resolve

Facilitator: Andrea Levy

Speakers: Alain Deneault and Richard Brooks

1:00pm - 2:30pm


A fair tax system

Facilitator: Ghislaine Raymond

Speakers: Linda McQuaig, Alain Deneault, and Dennis Howlett


The role of intellectuals in social movements

Facilitator: Philippe Hurteau

Speakers: Alexa Conradi, Melissa Mollen Dupuis, and Simon Tremblay-Pepin


The future of the World Social Forum

Facilitator: Raphaël Canet

Speakers: Gustave Massiah

2:00pm - 4:30pm


Fighting to Win

Facilitator: Benoît Lacoursière

Speakers: Judy Rebick, Clayton Thomas Muller, Tony Clarke, Françoise David, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Jacques Létourneau, and Donna Larivière

The contemporary period is marked by a major paradox. On the one hand, vast popular movements are raising the banner of justice and democracy all over the world. Not only do they take to the streets, but they also win many battles of ideas and discredit the ongoing expropriation of wealth by the 1%. Virtually every week we see a new awakening, a new Spring — Arab, Québécois, Turkish, Thai, Brazilian, Spanish, Greek, American. On the other hand, opaque systems arising from the intersection of political power and the economic elites, step up their assaults on the people, behind the thin veneer of ostensibly democratic institutions.

Building social movements requires patience, determination, and strategy. Alliances are forged; innovative means are deployed to outsmart the adversary. Small victories are won. But the opposing side wields a wide variety of tools. The media has become a veritable weapon of mass destruction aimed at vilifying and criminalizing the very idea of social justice. In many election campaigns, the game is rigged to produce the semblance of a changing of the guard: the extreme right, the civilized right, and the centre that now presents itself as the left. There is little debate, little space, yet despite that, the voice of the people manages to break through from time to time, as in the case of Québec Solidaire, Syriza (Greece), MAS (Bolivia) and elsewhere.

These are some of the issues we want to address in this session, and here are several questions to launch the discussion:

  • Why have recent social movements such as the Québec student movement and Idle No More succeeded in winning the support of broad segments of the population, in consolidating direct democracy, in developing strategies and acting in a disciplined and concerted way to avoid falling into the numerous traps set by the regime?
  • How can we intervene in the political and institutional arenas with the aim of reaching a wide public, without compromising our radical spirit and making accommodations with a rotten system, and without coming off as big talkers with nothing concrete to propose? What are the political alternatives?
  • Since the emergence of Idle No More, those who were invisible have become visible. First Nations have organized themselves as a force to be reckoned with. What will transform the nascent solidarity with the First Nations into a movement of people capable of leading key struggles in Canada? How can we re-envision the State through the prism of social emancipation and the right of peoples to self-determination?
4:30pm - 7:30pm
People's Tribunal on the sacking of employment insurance program

Adjudicator: Martin Gallié

Speakers: Steve Poulin, Pierre-Antoine Harvey, Stéphane Corriveau, Hans Marotte, and Jacques Beaudoin


Special Event

Social and cultural event

Starring Mehdi Hamdad of the Mehdi Cayenne Club

Room 216, 2nd floor of the University Centre on the University of Ottawa campus (building code UCU)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Struggles Ahead

Time FSS 4007 FSS 4006 FSS 4004 LPR 286 LMX 106
9:00am - 12:00pm

Movement Assembly

Fighting back against imperialism and militarism

With Steven Staples, Greg Albo, Donald Cuccioletta, Christine Jones, Raymond Legault, snd Dylan Penner

10:30am - 12:00pm


From the proletariat to the precariat

Facilitator: Marie Blais

Speakers: Mostafa Henaway, Wayne Lewchuk, and Marie-Pierre Boucher


Censoring Science

Facilitator: Pierre Mouterde

Speakers: Katie Gibbs, Christian Rouillard, and Yves Gingras

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