On April 22, there were 50,000 people in Montreal for Earth Day.
Earth Day began in 1970 as radicalization against the the Vietnam War began raising awareness about environmental destruction. More recently, these celebrations have helped mobilize people against Harper's war on the earth, and other environmental injusitices.
Earth Day in Vancouver has helped build opposition to tar sands pipelines, and in Montreal against the "Plan nord" of exploiting natural resources on indigenous land. Last year, April 22 took place in the context of the historic Quebec student strike, and drew 300,000 people--linking the student strike, environmental justice movement, and locked out workers from Alma. With rank-and-file resistance and solidarity, the Alma workers resisted austerity and Quebec students won their strike--the latter toppling the government in the process, and increasing support for the left electoral alternative Quebec solidaire.
Since last year, Idle No More has emerged to radicalize the environmental movement and lead the fight against Harper. As the Quebec student union ASSE wrote in January, "Last year the streets of Quebec vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet, as our student strike against an increase in university tuition fees blossomed into the political awakening of a society. Today, malls and public squares and railways across Canada are vibrating to another rhythm, the drum beat of a surging and inspiring movement of Indigenous peoples, for cultural renewal, for land rights, for environmental protection, and for decolonization...Now is the time for overcoming old divides by building new alliances. For too long native and non-native peoples have been pitted against another, precisely because this elite feared nothing more than the discovery of our mutual interests."
Earth Day in Montreal this year united Idle No More activists, students, workers, and members of Quebec solidaire. This can help build momentum for the solidarity spring and sovereignty summer.
If you like this article, register now for Marxism 2013: Revolution In Our Time, a weekend-long conference of ideas to change the world. Sessions include "What would it take to shut down the tar sands", "indigenous sovereignty, Idle No More and the fight against Harper", and "Quebec, First Nations and Canadian imperialism."