We are tired of demanding change from those who never intended on listening. We will no longer be deceived. We will prefigure a democratically-led university for ourselves.
We are occupying McGill to create a festive, autonomous space for learning. A space which belongs to all rather than to the corporate elite. At present, McGill University, as controlled by the Board of Governors, serves capitalist, white-supremacist, settler-colonial and imperialist structures of power.
When we say McGill is capitalist we mean that it upholds the market's senseless production, consumption, and environmental exploitation. Under this inflexible model, students, staff, and faculty suffer from exhaustion and mental health issues. Just this semester, in pursuit of profit, McGill prioritized a return to in-person classes over the safety of community members, forcing many to go on strike or to unionize.
This negligence is not surprising; Capitalist McGill is busy with other things:
- It is a high-cost, exploitative landlord, charging many students over $1500 for a one-bedroom.
- It is a stockholder, managing an investment pool of $1.4 billion across the military industrial complex, banking sector, and fossil fuel industry
We, as students, pay this private entity, the university, to train us for professions that serve human and environmental exploitation. Any other purpose for the university has been deliberately rendered unimaginable. The continuity of corporations relies on the commodification of knowledge, wherin education becomes an instrument of profit.
McGill is controlled by Senior executives from the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Power Corporation of Canada, the National Bank of Canada, Metro Inc., HSBC Bank Canada, and Redbourne Properties Inc. They all sit on the Board of Governors and represent its single largest voting bloc.
The university's structure mirrors the exploitative and hierarchical logic of corporations. By forming an industrial complex of grants, research, public relations campaigns, and donations, McGill has become University Incorporated.
When we say this structure is also white-supremacist, we mean that, in a white supremacist society that thrives on the exploitation of racialized communities and entire nations, McGill's education is not revolutionary but reformist and complacent.
For two years, White-Supremacist McGill has refused to #TakeJamesDown as demanded by Black and Indigenous students, faculty and staff, choosing instead to protect the university's slave-owning founder and his public statue. Scholarships, prizes, and buildings continue to bear the name of James McGill and the legacy of slavery. University administrators have also failed to meet the Black Student Network's demands regarding the funding of Black History Month and a Black Canadian Studies Department staffed by Black scholars.
Financed by James McGill's colonial enterprises, the university was founded on, and continues to operate on, the unceded, traditional lands of the Kahnistensera from the Kanien'kehá:ka Nation. The land acknowledgements that Settler-Colonial McGill boasts on its brochures and at its public events are empty words as it refuses to meaningfully engage with the Kahnistensera and their demands. The university demonstrates no comittment to upholding Indigneous soveignty. McGill finances colonial projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline trespassing on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory and refuses to repay the money it received from the Six Nations Trust Fund in 1850, totalling $1.7 billion today.
Instead, McGill chooses the most profitable investment, regardless of the violence it enables. Imperialist McGill is unbothered by the bombing of Yemeni civilians (Lockheed Martin), the violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers (Re/Max and Oshkosh Corporation), the invasion and occupation of Iraq (Oshkosh Corporation), and the genocidal carceral regime against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities (Puma, Foot Locker, Nordstrom, and Kohl's).
It is time to end this exploitation and violence. It is time to take back power from the elites, bankers, and bastards that form the Board of Governors. Let's take power into our own hands.
Hold regular assemblies in our student associations and wake up their stale charters with combat, direct democracy, class struggle, solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomy. Organize to further defy the university, government, and capital; to destroy the bank and the office; to build the community assembly, the union, and strikes.
Divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies starts NOW!
Divestment from colonial projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline trespassing on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory starts NOW!
Democratization starts NOW!
This is a democratizing act: our autonomous spaces are governed horizontally and non-hierarchically, with all those participating having equal say. A democratic university would be goverend along these lines; control in the hands of students, staff, and faculty.
In an autonomous space, we hold REGULAR ASSEMBLIES where we discuss how this process of democratization should be executed. We are here to provide mutual aid, and to build a united front between staff and students.
We host teach-ins, reading groups, discussion sessions on student and popular class-struggle-based movements. We celebrate and learn outside of the top-down classroom control.
We enact the change we want to see: we are pausing the destructive agenda of capitalism and of the university. JOIN US! There is much to be done to achieve the change we envision. Democratization is a process belonging to all; a process for all to enact NOW.