Montreal, January 9, 2021
Today at 8 p.m., for the first time in our history, a province-wide curfew will be put in place. After ten months of a health crisis, our government has once again opted for a police-based solution. With alarms, sirens and flashing lights, the police will announce the time of its reign every night, at least for the next month. This strategy of intimidation and fear implemented won't be sufficient to camouflage the amateurism and ineffectiveness of the caquiste method of pandemic management.
This "suburban government" has once again decided to make grim calculations of profitability rather than implement measures based on social justice and science. Curfews in such a context cannot be justified as a health measure. It is a choice that could prove not only ineffective, but downright dangerous. The disproportionate effect of the decision will harm the most vulnerable people in our society, those who already routinely suffer violence and brutality from our "law enforcement" authorities.
Unsurprisingly, this government is following the strategy adopted almost everywhere else, one that fits perfectly within the logic of neoliberal capitalism. There is always a lack of resources for public services, but money is never lacking when it comes to the expansion of the state apparatus of repression.
As many have already mentioned, the curfew will at most have a symbolic effect. In reality, we are witnessing the continued degradation of the social safety net and the fostering of a climate of fear. Instead of solidarity, and at a time when our mental health has already been weakened by nearly a year of uncertainty, the government is encouraging denunciation, the search for scapegoats and individual guilt, thus absolving itself of all responsibility. In Montreal, we will have nearly a hundred more cops, while what we are asking for is more psychologists and interveners. What effect will this increased surveillance have on our collective paranoia? Isn't there any another alternative?
The radical left must not leave this fight in the hands of the right and its anti-scientific and individualistic discourse. In times of health crisis, we don't have the luxury of blindly agreeing to repressive and counterproductive measures while contenting ourselves with preventive half measures. We have wasted too much time; it is now more than necessary to act in order to make sure that such a critical discourse is heard. We cannot afford complacency. In the face of the security overbid, it is our duty to propose another political project, one that leaves no one behind and which is based on rigorous scientific data.
In all neighbourhoods, by all means, our voices must be heard. No police solution to the pandemic should be accepted. Let's resist the authoritarianism in place and to come, and let's fight against curfew! We should not expect anything from a government led by a sinister paternalistic accountant blinded by power and only serving its political base.
Let's not accept the prevailing defeatism, let's prepare for spring!