quebec referemdun

Ryan Daum rdaum at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Sat Oct 21 16:26:39 MDT 1995


On Sat, 21 Oct 1995, Jim Jaszewski wrote:

> 	I too remember many particulars of the '70's movement -- and
> today's is thoroughly reactionary in comparison.  What we have here is not
> the social democratic movement of yesteryear, but a completely petit
> bourgeois attempt to cynically capture power for narrow ends... 

A) Completely petit-bourgeois is an unqualified statement.  While the 
leadership is barely even social democratic anymore, there are real 
reasons why, for example, the Quebec labour movement is behind the 
PQ/BQ.  I don't support their policy, and wish they'd put their voices 
behind a more left wing campaign for self-determination, but it is true 
that they see themselves as getting nothing out of federalism but Paul 
Martin's Neo-Liberalism, English Canadian AND American imperialism.  They 
believe, and I think rightly, that a nation state under the control of 
Quebecois will jar the North American market and provide an opening for 
a struggle against neo-liberalism -- at least in Quebec.

Already the PQ/BQ has been forced to promise the working class certain 
things after the referendum.  It has promised better labour laws, lower 
taxes, and maintenance of social programmes.

This is a hell of a lot more than the federal government has offered.


> 	This time around, my main concern is for the Rights of the
> aboriginal peoples in that geographic area -- and the present leadership
> of Que'bec shows every sign of heading to a confrontation with disastrous
> results.  I have _NO_ faith in Parizeau or even Bouchard (a former
> Conservative minister under the odious Mulroney)!!  Those in the
> leadership who maintain the `vision' of Le'vesque are being accused of
> being spies for the French government! 

I respect your concern for the rights of aboriginal peoples -- I think 
this is the _key_ issue, and they reason why we _can't_ support the 
PQ/BQ.  But it is no reason not to support independence and 
self-determination as principles, as powers, for the Quebec working class.

You _cannot_ counterpose the two peoples without getting yourself into 
hot water.

What we need is a regrouped and restructured left in Canada and Quebec 
which does not subordinate the rights of the Quebecois to any agenda.  It 
does not say: oh, wait, hold on, Quebecers, we need socialism first.  Nor 
does it say: oh, please don't separate, we need you to fight American 
imperialism.  It would say: let's be comrades against capitalism, and 
being comrades, I respect your right to self-determination and 
independence and I hope you respect the rights of natives in that process.

> 	The Prime Mover in this case being the same kind of petit
> bourgeois nationalism you'll find in any squalid east-european country... 

The Prime Mover here is, like everywhere else, resentment against 
neo-liberal policies, against capitalist globalization, exploitation, 
de-industrialization.  We cannot abstractly say: independence is wrong 
because its leadership is wrong.  The independence movement is not 
socialist or social democratic because a) the socialist movement 
worldwide is in shambles, and cannot even be conceived of as an 
alternative for more people -- it is our duty to fix that by getting 
together! and very important: b) the "socialist" movement in Canada has 
more than often made stupid statements like the CPC article that came 
over here, and demanded that Quebecois subordinate their interests to the 
"higher purposes" of popular front Canadian nationalism.  (i.e. support 
for "loyal capital" in the case of the NDP's policies)

______________________________________________________________________________
== 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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