Front de Libération du Québec
Source: FLQ: Un Projet Revolutionnaire, Texts assembled by R. Comeau, D. Cooper, and P. Vallières. VLB Éditeur, Montreal, 1990.
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.
This, the first manifesto of the FLQ was distributed on April 16, 1963. It appeared two years later in an issue of La Cognée, the official organ of the group.
Since the Second World War, the diverse dominated peoples of the world have broken their chains in order to acquire the freedom to which they have a right. The immense majority of these peoples have defeated the oppressor and today live freely.
After so many others, the Québécois people have had enough of submitting to the domination of Anglo-Saxon capitalism.
In Quebec, as in all colonized countries, the oppressor furiously denies his imperialism, and is supported in this by our so-called national elite, which is more interested in serving its personal economic interests than in serving the vital interests of the Québécois nation. It persists in denying the evidence and works at creating multiple false problems, wanting to turn the subject people away from the only one that is essential: INDEPENDENCE.
Despite this, the workers’ eyes every day open a little bit more concerning reality: Quebec is a colony.
We are politically, socially, and economically colonized. Politically because we don’t possess the political levers vital to our survival. The colonialist government in Ottawa in fact has all jurisdiction in the following domains: economy, foreign trade, defense, bank credit, immigration, criminal law, etc. In addition, any provincial law can be refused if Ottawa wills to do so.
The federal government, being totally owned by the interests of Anglo-Saxon imperialists, and who have an overwhelming constitutional and practical majority in it, serves to constantly maintain and accentuate Québécois inferiority. Whenever Anglo-Saxon and Québécois interests come in conflict, Quebec’s interests are invariably put at a disadvantage. Be it militarily as in the case of conscription; demographically in the case of the favoritism in assimilation shown to Anglo-Saxons; internationally, with the total supremacy of Anglophones in the diverse diplomatic domains, always, without exception, the government in Ottawa has imposed Anglo-Saxon interests to the detriment of those of Quebec. On certain occasions, the resort to force has not been disdained. Our peoples’ blood has flowed for the benefit of colonial capital. Politically, the people of Quebec are thus a colonized people.
It is also so economically. One sentence alone is enough to prove it: more than 80% of our economy is controlled by foreign interests. We furnish the labor, they pocket the profits.
Even socially Quebec is a colonized country. We are 80% of the population, yet the English language dominates in the most diverse domains. Little by little French is relegated to the rank of folklore, while English becomes the language of the workplace. The contempt of the Anglo-Saxons towards our people remains constant. The “Speak white, Stupid French Canadian” [in English in the original], and other epithets of this kind, are very frequent. In Quebec itself, thousands of cases of English unilingualism are arrogantly displayed. The colonialists consider us inferior beings, and let us know this without any shame.
The historical background of the problem: When on September 8, 1760 Monsieur de Vaudreuil, Governer of New France, signs the act of capitulation of Montreal, the die is cast. A short while later, England was to officially take possession of the French colony, as well as the 60,000 French Canadians who were there. It is then that the history of Anglo-Saxon domination in Quebec began. Our country was rich, and the financiers of London were already casting an eye on the future profits. In order for Anglo-Saxon supremacy over Quebec to become uncontested, it was necessary — at whatever cost — to assimilate these 60,000 colonials in one way or another. This then seemed to them quite simple. In fact, what was this handful of men before the overwhelming strength that England then represented? Suddenly, the American Revolution took place. It was necessary, for a certain time, to treat the French Canadians with care. But the process of assimilation wasn’t abandoned. One day the Anglo-Canadians overstepped their limits: then there was the Rebellion of 1837. They crushed it in blood. Then there was the Durham Report. Since it has shown to be impossible to assimilate the Québécois by force, the latter said, let’s set out to do it differently; progressive elimination demands more time, but remains every bit as effective. The Act of union having been a failure, the Confederation was created, a perfect means of assimilation, whose very name was a falsehood. Since the advent of this latter, all the efforts of the people of Quebec to obtain its fundamental rights have been blocked by colonialism.
In 1963, though we are more than five million, assimilation still pushes forward in its insidious progress. While in 1940 we were 40% of the Canadian population, we are now only 28%. This alone interests them. Time is in their favor, and they know it.
Even so, the colonialists have forgotten one thing, something that is nevertheless essential. It is currently happening. Patriots have realized that they are colonized, dominated, exploited. The have also realized that only immediate and total action can break their chains. An action where the petty personal profits, the rotten mentality of utopian compromise at any price, the national inferiority complexes are thrown overboard.
The Québécois patriots have had enough of fighting for almost a century for things of no importance, of expending their vital energy in obtaining illusory profits that are always put in doubt.
It’s enough to think of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed, of the wretched poverty of the fishermen of the Gaspe Peninsula, of the thousands of farmers across Quebec whose revenue is barely more than $1000 a year, of the thousands of young people who can’t pursue their studies due to lack of funds, of the thousands of people who have no recourse to the most elementary medical care, of the poverty of our miners, of the general insecurity of all those who have a job: This is what colonialism has given us.
In Quebec we also have the unjust and paradoxical situation that is exemplified in the comparison between the neighborhoods of St Henri and Westmount. On one side we find a mass typically Québécois, poor and miserable, while on the other side an English minority shows-off the most shameful of riches. Our progressive economic defeat, a foreign domination more and more complete, don’t demand provisional and short-term solutions. The Patriots say NO TO COLONIALISM, NO TO EXPLOITATION.
But it’s not enough to refuse a situation; it must be remedied. Our situation is one of national urgency. It is now that it must be remedied.
Let us acquire the vital political levers; let us take control of our economy; let us radically purify our social framework; let us tear off colonialist restraints; let’s throw out the imperialists who live by the exploitation of the workers of Quebec. The immense natural riches of Quebec must belong to the Québécois!
In order to do this there is one solution and one solution alone: the national revolution in the midst of INDEPENDENCE. Otherwise the people of Quebec cannot hope to live free.
But it’s not enough to want independence, to work within the existing indepedantiste political parties. The colonialists will not so easily let go such a tasty morsel. The independantiste political parties can never have the power needed to defeat colonial political and economic power. What is more, independence alone will resolve nothing. It must at all costs be completed by the social revolution. The Québécois Patriots aren’t fighting for a title, but for facts. The Revolution doesn’t happen in salons. Only a total revolution can have the strength necessary to carry out the vital changes that will impose themselves in an independent Quebec. The national revolution, in its essence, doesn’t allow any compromise. There is only one way to defeat colonialism, and that’s to be stronger than it! Only the most aberrant naïveté can lead one to believe the contrary. The time of slavery is over.
PATRIOTS OF QUEBEC, TO ARMS! THE HOUR OF NATIONAL REVOLUTION HAS COME!
INDEPENDENCE OR DEATH!