Quebec Independence

Ryan Daum rdaum at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Sat Oct 21 16:05:31 MDT 1995


On Fri, 20 Oct 1995, Scott Marshall wrote:

> gains.        It's time to take the future into our own hands, to fight for
> democratic solutions to our problems, including the constitutional dilemma!

a) I agree that the Quebec people have hithero been left out of the
constitutional debate and that what is needed is such a voice, a
democratic solution the problems, etc.  b) However, this "democratic
solution" is the self-determination of Quebecois -- their right to
choose.

 >
>        The people of Quebec have the right to decide their future, within
> their present boundaries, through a democratic vote. Quebec is much more
> than "just one province." It is a nation, with a common language and
> territory, and a unique history and culture. Their choice must be respected
> - there must be no threats or violence directed against Quebec!
>

So far so good, at least the CPC recognizes the existence of a Quebec
_nation_ -- and it makes the claim that we must recognize that right to
self-determination ... but then this group of English Canadians
(historically Canadian nationalist and without any presence in Quebec...)
contradicts themselves by saying:

>        But in our view, the referendum will not resolve the crisis in the
> interests of working people.

First the CPC upholds the right to self-determination, and then attacks
the concrete manifestation of that right: a referendum...

> A "Yes" vote, leading to
> separation, would make it much more difficult to achieve a truly democratic
> solution. It would feed the forces tearing Canada apart, opening the way
> for U.S. imperialism to absorb Canada - including Quebec.

This, to me, is Canadian nationalism in its worst form: it is a group of
Marxists otherwise committed to anti-imperialist principles, condemning
third world invasions, the gulf war, etc. making the most
self-contradictory comments: Quebec has the right to choose, they are a
nation, but the referendum is wrong, Quebec choosing the "wrong" side
would prevent a "truly democratic solution" (what's "truly democratic," if
not the right to choose in the first place?) -- It would feed the forces
tearing Canada apart (No kidding?) and open the way to U.S. Imperialism??

U.S. Imperialism has openly said it is _against_ the separation of
Quebec.  It sees such a break as being disastrous for the hegemony of
capital in North America.  It is against the breakup of Quebec in the
same way that it is against the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico.  The claim
made by the CPC is completely unqualified -- what about separation would
feed American imperialism?  What feeds American imperialism is the
federal Canadian state and its anti-Quebec, anti-native peoples,
anti-working class leadership.  Not claiming anything good about the
PQ/BQ, I will however say that:

	a) The trade unions in Quebec support a Yes vote.
	b) The popular movements (anti-poverty groups, women's groups,
etc.) support a Yes vote.
	c) The far left, the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) and much
of the independent left support a Yes vote.
	d) The majority of the mostly francophone working class supports
Quebec separation.

> change, a "No" vote can only delay and deepen the crisis. This is no choice
> at all!
>

I agree strongly that there are _very_ serious problems with the
referendum process, its question, its format, and especially its
leadership!  However, blindly, and in an ultraleftist fashion, abstaining
from the vote, or condeming that vote as not a "true democratic solution"
is not the alternative.  The mass of the people in Quebec are
participating in this election: so must we.  The mass of the working
class in Quebec sees its own choices, its own _control over its own
affairs_ as being centrally linked the the national question!  So must
we!

>        But there is another alternative. Many Canadians are looking for a
> democratic way forward. In our view, that option is a new equal and
> voluntary partnership between Quebec and English-speaking Canada.

It is my position and the position of the group I belong to (Socialist
Challenge / Gauche Socialiste) that no such equal and voluntary
partnership will not be formed until Quebec has excercised, concretely, its
right to determine its own future.  That's the Quebec working class, not
the PQ, the BQ, the Liberal party, the Quebec chamber of commerce, or the
Communist Party of Canada, the Liberal Party, or the NDP, etc.

> Working
> people and our organizations have to take the lead in this critical debate.
> For example, the Canadian Labour Congress and the National Action Committee
> on the Status of Women recognize Quebec's right of self-determination,
> though regrettably they have yet to speak up strongly.
>

Why hasn't the CPC joined the independent campaign to support the right
to self-determination?

>        That's why our Party renews our urgent appeal for a "people's
> option" - a democratically-elected Constituent Assembly. Composed of equal
> representation from Quebec and the Rest of Canada, and the full
> participation of the First Nations, such an Assembly could hammer out a
> new draft constitution for consideration by all Canadians, based on the
> real equality of Quebec and the rest of Canada, and guarantees of full
> aboriginal rights. Such a process could win back for working people some of
> the power now held by the big corporations.

This is not exercising the right to self-determination!  At no point in
such a process have the Quebecois been offered the opportunity to decide
whether or not they are a sovereign nation!!  Your process by default
includes Quebec in federation without the option of Quebec determining
itself as a separate nation.  It's just imperialism under another name.

______________________________________________________________________________
== Ryan Daum -- rdaum at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca -- http://www.ualberta.ca/~rdaum ===
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--                 Defend Quebec's right to self-determination!             --
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