Quebeckers take to the streets with pots and pans: a charivari

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82 Responses to “Quebeckers take to the streets with pots and pans: a charivari”

  1. Er, over here in Bavaria, a Charivari is mainly a little chain for men, more here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charivari_(Schmuckkette)

    It is also a french potato salad, and a radio station in Munich. http://www.charivari.de/
    But you’re right, it’s also known as “Katzenmusik” (“cat music”), which means any kind of noisemaking. I didn’t know that one.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

       The English-language wiki entry shows it as having different implications and levels in different places–it’s covered the extremes between sustained harassment of someone that’s accused of violating community customs to simple pranks on newlyweds.

  2. Edward says:

    Sounds like it is time to bring down the Quebec Government, I mean really thet can just declare the protest illegal in the middle of the demonstration, what a load of bull.

  3. Nawel says:

    “This form of protest was widely used in Chile after Pinochet banned public protest”. That’s right. We called this “caceroleo” or “cacerolazo” [from cacerola = casserole :-) ]
    Last year we had quite a few against the repression of the student’s movement, and against Sebastian Piñera’s government.

    • Andre Nantel says:

      Actually we may have Chilean student striker to thank for this idea as some of their representatives were in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. I guess that the idea was seeded back then.

      I have to say, this has completely changed the dynamics of the protests…and for the better.

      • Nawel says:

         oh yeah… I think that was Camilo Ballesteros, one of the leading spokepersons from the students movement

      • Albie Farinas says:

        This is where it all starts…..  This is where social polarization ends….  It’s noise, designed to crowd out the noise, it’s unstop-able  by decree and gives no quarter to authority….   An refined and effective form of collective civil disobedience that is not open to debate…..  It speaks louder than reason…..

    • Dmian says:

      Here’s the Wikipedia entry for “Cacerolazo”: 
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cacerolazo

  4. Margaret says:

    My 72 year old mother in law would beg to differ as to the righteousness of this form of protesting.  From what I understand, many of her friends and neighbors would rather the kids either drop of school and pursue something else or just suck it up and get back to their studies.

    • Rindan says:

      It is perfectly valid to say that the students should suck it up.  I don’t know enough about the disagreement to have an opinion on their complaints one way or the other.  It doesn’t matter.  It isn’t valid in a free society to ban protesting.  You can think the students are twats for protesting whatever they are protesting and still join them because the government just declared protesting illegal.

      As the old saying goes “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

      Fuck the students.  People in Quebec should be pissed that their government has approved a law generally associated with dictators, tyrants, and autocratic regimes.

    • onereader says:

      Would the 72 years old be happy if the government decided not to raise tuition and get that money from cuts to old people’s pensions? I’d think the students’ protests would stop immediately.

  5. avraamov says:

    Not a single black face in that whole film. Interesting.

    • Alex says:

      Purely circumstantial. There is a strong black (mainly Haitian) community in Montreal, many of which take part in the peaceful protests.

    • Tommy Timefishblue says:

      1:53, 2:19, 3:15.

    •  there was at least one, but by and large Montreal is very Caucasian.

      • Alex says:

        “Caucasian” is a very broad term. Quebec City is very Caucasian. Not so much for Montreal. 

        • Jardine says:

          75% is pretty friggin white. (83% for the metro area).

          • Alex says:

            I should have phrased this better. 

            How do you define white or Caucasian? All I’m saying is that Montreal is a very cosmopolitan city with hundreds of ethnic groups. Most of them happen to fall into the Caucasian branch, (Lebanese, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Moroccan, ect)By saying “Caucasian” you’re implying that it’s a town full of “pure laine” Quebeckers. French Canadians are in the minority on the island.Yes, there is a lot of white people in these clips, and they have many different origins.

    • magnetiquewolf says:

      Montreal has a significant black community. Some may hesitate to take part in political/protest activities as they are often unfairly targeted by authorities. 

    • Sigmund_Jung says:

      What do you mean? That blacks are prohibited from participating because they have to harvest the cotton fields? That they are OK with Bill 78, so they do not protest? 

      This comment makes no sense.

      • Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet says:

        Really?  It makes perfect sense to me.  If you have been unfairly targeted by police over time you may be hesitant to engage in confrontations with police, whereas people of privilege may feel less threatened and more willing to risk protest.  I (a white middle aged Minnesotan) feel very comfortable confronting police when necessary, but then again I have friends on the force and my dad is a lawyer.  I feel an obligation to protest and speak out as a result, because otherwise who will speak?

        • Sigmund_Jung says:

          It may be so in Minnesota, but that’s not what I see in Montreal. The city is cosmopolitan and have people from all over the world. Montrealers are proud of being egalitarians in many ways, so I don’t see why a black person would feel hesitant about doing anything.

  6. Jason Carl says:

    That is an awesome song. Tension/Release. 

  7. I’m in Montreal (close to the Jarry station mentioned in the article, actually) and no one calls this a charivari here. They call it “le tintamarre” or “mouvement des casseroles”.  

    And WTF at the “no black face” commentary? There’s a TON of blacks living right in my neighborhood. Several little Caribbean/Haitian shops right on Jarry St. So they didn’t participate that particular day,  what’s your point?

  8. doctorak says:

    The atmosphere at these demos is tremendous. You get the impression of taking part in a zombie uprising taking the streets, but at the same time getting the feeling you are the living walking among a dead society.

  9. magnetiquewolf says:

    absolutely beautiful.

  10. Erik says:

    That’s just Montreal and that was 4 nights ago. Now it’s gotten much bigger. Much MUCH bigger. Thousands now gather in their neighborhoods and march out in the streets, blocking traffic. Also, cities around Montreal and across Quebec are starting a pots an’ pans uprising, every night at eight o’clock. There’s a revolution simmering here in Quebec and we hope it brings this corrupt mafia infested government down. Police brutality abounds every night due to Bill 78. More to come.

    • magnetiquewolf says:

      I hope it spreads to the rest of Canada, if not the rest of the Americas…

    • Alex says:

      The “police brutality” you’re talking about is actually decreasing as the days go by. There was one arrest in Montreal yesterday, (May 26).  All pots and pans protests are considered illegal due to the law, yet the SPVM is tolerating them. The law is useless.

      • Erik says:

         Hi Alex,
        Police brutality doesn’t need to be in quotes. It  still is a strong reality. They’ve simmered down due to all the bad press they’re getting. Many students are posting videos on YT  to protect the protesters. The police are now hiding (taping over) their ID number and some (all?) refuse to identify themselves. Yet, the one who’s to blame is Jean Charest who decided that letting this situation go out of hand and then using violence to control the students and then downplay their image as spoiled brats who deserve to be hit, arrested and fined. In 100+ days of protest, the one”s most guilty of violent acts remain the police and our PM.

        • Alex says:

          And to that, I have no objections. I shouldn’t have limited my definition of police brutality to the number of arrests. Police brutality is still an issue, although I’d be willing to argue that the pots and pans phenomena has considerably decreased the tension between the SPVM and the citizens. 

  11. jaytkay says:

    Shivaree  is an old Cajun term, isn’t there a Hank Williams song about a shivaree?

  12. morgane says:

    i live on the other side of le pont Jacques-Cartier. And yes, the casserole protests have reach the suburbs. I  mean if the ‘burbs do it the govt is REALLY done…

    ….sadly,splitting the vote between “the left” (Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire) and the right (the Liberals and the CAQ) in four ways means the bad guys might get re-elected. This keeps me awake at night. The Parti Québécois leader is nnpopular. She was in previous govts and was Minister of Health and Social Services when she had a special law voted to end a nurses’ strike in 1999…

    i know there’s different shades of horror but we’re fucked here in Québec. And don’t start me with Harper!

    (Iceland needs  immigrants, right?)

    time to go out with my pots and pans (it’s at 8pm every night)

    • kevin casey says:

       I’m very worried about this too, I’m also unsure what to do as an Anglo Montrealer. Both the PQ and Quebec Solidaire are separatist parties, and the liberals and CAQ are unfit to govern. I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for the separatists, but there’s no federalist, left wing option.

      • Funk Daddy says:

        The NDP last considered restoring their provincial Quebec party in 2006, but my, have not things changed since then? 

        Give them a call or an email, you can probably find an MP near you.

        Because you’re right, that is a hole needs pluggin. The more people demonstrate a need the more people will move to fill it.

  13. please spread to the USA, please spread to the USA….

    • omnivore says:

      The core of the original protest is the idea that government is an integral part of society, and they have an obligation to provide for the populace. In exchange, the population is taxed HEAVILY. The students are right : the model for tuition in Quebec (like that of health care throughout Canada) is that all share the cost, since society benefits from healthy, educated people. Money for education comes primarily from general taxation, not individual payments.

      The USA has a very very long way to go before even a hint of these ideas are acceptable. Most liberals I know in the USA reject most of the premises of  the society that the students are part of. I happen to agree with the students, but I grew up in, and maintain close connections to Montréal. But this is not a brand.

      This is what the most radical parts of American society looked like before Reagan made all political discourse – left and right – in the US essentially libertarian.

  14. nibornesnej says:

    Seeing the general public get involved and defy this law makes me have hope for the future here in Canada.  I feel proud of what the students have started. I am not surprised that this kind of enlightened attitude is coming from Quebec, that is what comes from good affordable education.  I believe what they have is worth fighting for.  I hope it inspires students everywhere to ask for more.  If PM Harper can tuck away an extra 10 BILLION dollars more for military jets than he let on to the public, perhaps he can  find a little pocket change to help out with some education.  I know, I know, he doesn’t like smart people, just obedient ones.  Merci Montreal! Merci Quebec!

  15. Petzl says:

    When they outlaw saucepans and wooden spoons, only the outlaws will have saucepans and wooden spoons.

  16. anyone know the artist/name of song?

  17. I was wondering if such Tahrir Square protests that partially inspired me to write/compose “Unknowable : A Mini Comic For Your Intuitive-Self”  would arrive HERE in my birthplace of Montreal.
    TRUE, the impetus for both differ, however they share the same popular distaste for what said local governments are attempt-ing/-ed to do to the populace at large. My only hope is that all this doesn’t somehow PLAY INTO the hands of the elitists…. I guess time will only tell…

    @ morgane : We’re NOT fucked … yet

    @google-bf78d0f9316f3d910d05a11ccd5bbd1f:disqus  margaret : Well, from what I saw when my girlfriend and I joined the march the other night, it seems the folks in their homes/apartments were really supportive. In fact, it was one of these moments where I felt that sense of “camaraderie” with the other folks in my “cartier” (french for neighborhood) Even as we passed by a seniors residence, the residents themselves came out to bang pots/pans on their walkers (!) or with their canes…so… it would seem your Mother-In-LAw hasn’t felt the zeitgeist … yet

    all : In the meantime, stay sharp, and use your intuition.

    http://stucklessportfolio.blogspot.ca/2011/07/publication-20102011-unknowable-mini.html

    • omnivore says:

       “quartier” je pense. But “Cartier” – as in the name of the french/breton explorer of Québec is pretty good as a pun.

  18. Genre Slur says:

    Man, I really wish this would happen in Calgary. Sigh. The city is also known as ‘Big Sleep’. Interesting fact: Pixar filmed all of the star-liner ‘Axiom’ scenes – for the film WALL-E – in Calgary. True story! Also, the Buy ‘N’ Large (BnL) corporation is based on our Provinces’ Legislative Assembly.

  19. Rachael Hoffman-Dachelet says:

    In some parts of rural Minnesota Shiveree is what you call the shenanigans on the wedding night such as stealing the bride, or banging pots under the window of the newly-weds so they can’t have a restful night.  

    • IamInnocent says:

       As if they intended to sleep ?

    • uncletoby says:

      That’s what I always thought a shiveree was.  When one of my grandfather’s brothers was married (in rural Pa.) he and his bride were treated to a shiveree.  Things got a little out of hand when someone got the bright idea to introduce a stick of dynamite into the proceedings (there was always dynamite around on the farm).  The stick rolled a little too far and ended up blowing off the porch of the newlyweds’ house.

  20. SoulDaYondah says:

    How about a coast to coast nightly charivari over bill 38?

  21. unit_1421 says:

    Now, let’s end this meeting on a high note!

    Seriously, though, who knew Canada could be this exciting?

    • Funk Daddy says:

      My first visit to Canada was punctuated by the Queen’s Park riot, with which I had not much sympathy for as it was announced in advance. I’m of the opinion that riots need spontaneity and flashpoint as when announced it is too simple a thing to mischaracterize the act or use it to distract from the issue at hand.

  22. atimoshenko says:

    Representative democracy is dependent on a rock-paper-scissors dynamic: citizens obey laws, laws are created by governments, and governments answer to citizens. Today, more and more governments seems interested in replacing this with a dynamic in which the government simply rules everyone else. Good on the Quebeckers for starting to remind their lot of their standing – that public servants serve the public.

  23. Shinkuhadoken says:

    I sure hope Quebec doesn’t separate from Canada. We need more people willing to stand up to government oppression.

  24. I guess it follows; if you are going to harm the population you serve, then you need to increase police powers as well, cause they are going to pus back.

  25. Ryan Lenethen says:

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité

  26. Alana Muir says:

    Reading the bill that they’re protesting gave me another idea for any of the Quebecois who are here to consider.  The bill states that you have to get police permission for protests and gatherings of more than 50 people.  So, flood the police with reports of gatherings.  Every lecture class at every school.  Every church service.  Every club meeting, sporting event or any other situation where 50 people might meet together. See how good of an idea they think it is then.

  27. Bill says:

    Some bread and cheese and fine white wine
    Designer chic is a matter of time
    Could this be the real thing?
    Or is this just another fling?
    Seen by millions nationally
    L’oumo Vogue, Playgirl, G Quarterly
    Because he’s down on his etiquette
    Shari Vari is really it

    *chorus*
    Shari Vari
    Shari Shari Vari

    Smoking on his cigarette
    Listening to his car cassette
    Cruising with his hot playmate
    In his Porsche Nine Two Eight
    Heading for the highest heights
    For the climax of the night
    The people there they just won’t quit
    Because the music’s really it

    < *chorus*
    Shari Vari
    Shari Shari Vari

    *chorus*
    Shari Vari
    Shari Shari Vari

    Smoking on his cigarette
    Listening to his car cassette
    Cruising with his hot playmate
    In his Porsche Nine Two Eight
    Heading for the highest heights
    For the climax of the night
    The people there they just won't quit
    Because the music is really it

    *chorus*
    Shari Vari
    Shari Shari Vari

  28. That would be the proverbial pot to piss in serving another function.

  29. urbanspaceman says:

    Am I correct in thinking that if a law like Law 78 were passed in one of the United States, most people would simply knuckle under to it? And would the Supreme Court declare police misconduct to be free speech?

  30. SoulDaYondah says:

    Casserole night in Canada, 30th of may 8h00, wherever you want!

    http://www.facebook.com/events/420350397995306/

  31. Joseph Sackman says:

    When there is a protest here in the USA, the public is treated with a cacophony of chaotic cookoos via the media. The French Canadians protest on the other hand, you get a black and white cinematic piece, along with a melodic soundtrack to inspire you to join their lovely little happy protests. 

  32. Margaret says:

    Lovely.  Thank you.  I was just trying to point out that the ideas shared here aren’t necessarily shared by Quebeckers as a whole.  In fact, most of people aren’t joining in like the video would like to suggest.  This post makes it seem like there aren’t mixed reactions among the populace. It’s not some big solidarity movement.

  33. rhombus says:

     Yeaah only a mean bitch would be fed up with crowds of people banging pots and pans for hours every night…

  34. Tommy Timefishblue says:

    If it were shared by Quebeckers as a whole, there wouldn’t be a protest. They would all just be high-fiving about how great everything is. This post could only make it seem like there aren’t mixed reactions if the reader is a complete idiot.

  35. Genre Slur says:

    You know the saying from that John Carpenter film?
    “They Live. We Sleep.” As a matter of course, the sleepers are not going to like anyone trying to wake them up.

  36. Funk Daddy says:

    It hardly matters what she would beg to differ, rhombus. 

    If she had not thought ahead to get a permit she had best keep it to herself. Right?

    Yeah. That’s what these supposedly illegal protestors could say to anyone that wants to silence them during their protest. Papers Please! Did you get permission to express yourself regarding our illegal protest? No? Back inside with you!

  37. rhombus says:

     They have a right to protest, and the law banning protesting without notice and approval is outrageous, I just feel as though this particular form of protest they have chosen (being noisy as shit at night) is not a particularly good one.

    They can accomplish the same thing being much less obnoxious.  And also they won’t exactly win the hearts of the public with that kind of tactic, and the public at large is generally what you need on your side to affect any kind of change.

    That being said this is all my personal opinion, and I don’t live in Quebec so I don’t know, maybe most people there enjoy ambient background kitchen appliance banging noise for hours at a time.

  38. Funk Daddy says:

    In practice that’s not a recipe for change of the sort resultant of oppressive governance.

    If ever one is mr quiet mouse, reading about the new law in the paper, and see no effect or response in their own cozy little world, tell me again why people who for the most part tend their own gardens, usually out of necessity or convenience, why should they do anything at the polls? 

    You say the masses are needed for change in governance, but where does that occur without outspoken words and a portion of them taking to the streets to alert the rest?

    Surely you have an example? Because many an oppressive law depended on the meek, the comfortable and the harried, in my examination, all of which must be diverted for change.

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