First Published: In Struggle! No. 174, October 2, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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IN STRUGGLE!’s New Brunswick tour on the national question began last Wednesday in Moncton (a service centre 60% English, 40% French), and then moved on to Saint John (98% English, industrial centre of the province).
In Moncton, work concentrated at l’Universite de Moncton, the province’s only French-language university. While many students were clearly concerned with the national oppression of Acadians, nationalism was not the dominant feeling. Students who had heard the Workers Communist Party’s position were quick to grasp the differences. “IN STRUGGLE! doesn’t want to push Acadians off into their own little corner of the province and Natives off in theirs and immigrants into theirs. We don’t want the working class of Canada in a series of little national territories , we want a united working class based on equality.” What happens when high unemployment forces thousands of Acadians to move to Moncton or Saint John? Regional autonomy doesn’t meet their need to live and work in their own language. The nationalist option doesn’t lead to unity or equality.
At the Saint John Vocational School, six Acadian students who signed the Declaration told how many students laughed and refused to listen when they tried to speak English.
This same reaction came when the supplement on the Acadlan national question in no. 173 of IN STRUGGLE! was distributed. Many students laughed and joked: “There is no discrimination, the French want everything, they are a conquered people.” Three English-speaking women signed the Declaration out of disgust for the chauvinist reactions of their classmates.
At the MacMillan Rothesay picket line, these workers on strike for six months learned the strength of unity when 3,500 British Columbia paper workers walked out to support their demands. All five workers present took the supplement, signed the Declaration, and took copies of the Declaration to circulate to other strikers.
So after only four days, over 1,000 copies of the supplement had been distributed and 110 signatures added to the Declaration. The fight for the unity of workers based on equality is on its way in New Brunswick.