Generation Rising

The Time of the Québec Student Spring

By Shawn Katz  Preface by Anne Lagacé Dowson  Photographs by Mario Jean  

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First there was the Arab Spring, then the Indignados, then Occupy Wall Street. And then there was the Printemps érable — the Maple Spring. In 2011, proclaiming the need for austerity, Québec’s governing Liberal Party announced a draconian increase in tuition fees. Enraged that the government would destroy a legacy of public education, so hard won during the 1960s Quiet Revolution — a legacy from which they themselves had reaped benefits — the youth of Québec took to the streets in a student strike under the banner of the carrés rouges. They fought not merely for education, but for the future: a future they watch being destroyed by the unrelenting march of capitalism, intent on the merciless exploitation of citizens and natural resources.

Generation Rising is the story of the most important mass mobilization in Québec’s (and Canada’s) history. It is the story of six months of brutalization of youth by the police forces of the capitalist class, as the students went toe-to-toe against the corrupt and autocratic elite in an effort to construct a horizontal, participative and grassroots democracy. It is the story of the Internet generation deploying its mastery of social media to harness the forces of hundreds of thousands, and ultimately defeat a battle-hardened premier.

At the end of it all, Québec’s first social media mobilization had laid the foundations for a brave new future, where the old world of order and authority might finally be swept aside to make way for a new, twenty-first-century democracy.

Le combat est avenir — the fight is the future, and the battle has just begun.

“Makes valuable contributions to discussions about the price, cost, and value of education, the nature of democracy, and the meaning of prosperity … a solid primer.”

— Quill & Quire, July/August 2015

  • EPUB
  • ISBN: 9781552667583
  • April 2015
  • $22.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • Kindle
  • ISBN: 9781552668108
  • June 2015
  • For sale worldwide

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  • In Generation Rising, Shawn Katz provides history of student politics in Quebec since the Quiet Revolution. The book’s astonishing level of detail reflects the author’s thorough research and makes up for a dearth of writing in English about the topic.

    — Montreal Review of Books, November 2015 (full review)


  • Introduction — The Fight of a Generation
  • Keepers of the Commons: The Québec Student Movement Through Time
  • From Books to Boardrooms: The Corporatization of the University
  • There is no Alternative: The Corporate Coup D’État and the Rise of the Resistance
  • Jean Charest: Of Corruption, Élite Rule and the Winter of Representation
  • Preparing the Soil: In the Corridors of the Movement
  • We Are Thirsty: The Voices of the Printemps érable
  • You Can’t Stop the Spring: The Irrepressible Force of a 21st Century Revolt
  • For the Future, For us All: A Generation’s Struggle to Rescue the Commons
  • The Iron Boot of Jean Charest: Crush a Flower, a Thousand Will Bloom
  • War on a Generation: A Legacy of Debt
  • New Democracy Rising: The World of the Network Generation
  • Conclusion — Nous sommes à venir: The World to Come
  • References
  • Index


  • Shawn Katz

    Shawn Katz is a Montréal writer and past editor of Rover, where he has been a cultural journalist since 2010. He has degrees in political science and communication and culture.

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