First Published: People’s Canada Daily News, Vol 7, No. 187, August 6, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Parti Quebecois has once again revealed its ugly nature by using reactionary cultural nationalism to prop up its “independence” fraud. On August 4, during the study of Bill 101, the new PQ language legislation, in a Parliamentary Commission, Claude Charron, a “radical” student leader of the end of the 1960’s, and now Minister responsible for sports and recreation, declared, after the Union Nationale refused to vote against the first article of Bill 101, (which states that French is the official language of Quebec) that the Parti Quebecois is now the legitimate heir of the party of the fascist Maurice Duplessis, Union Nationale: “I can now affirm that the Parti Quebecois is the true successor of the Union Nationale.” This follows an earlier announcement that the Parti Quebecois had decided to dust off the statue of Maurice Duplessis, the former Quebec premier who died in 1959, which was sitting in the basement of the National Assembly, and to hold an official ceremony on Deptember 9 to use that opportunity to commemorate the memory of that reactionary anti-people element. When Rene Levesque announced on May 31 that this statue would be dusted off and erected in front of the National Assembly, he said that “Duplessis played an outstanding role in Quebec’s political history”.
Union Nationale was formed in 1935 and formed the government in Quebec for the first time in 1936 with a demagogical programme based on a fascist corporatism programme, the Programme de restauration sociale, drafted by a group of reactionary nationalists and fascists under the aegis of the Jesuits. This party held power from 1936-39, 1944-60 and finally 1966-70. This party always stood for vicious attacks on the working class, anti-communist rantings and ravings, and the sellout of the natural resources to U.S. imperialism, especially iron ore in northern Quebec. This party was also branded by the bourgeoisie as the “champion” of “provincial autonomy” and the defender of the “French fact” in Canada.
The reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada is engaged in a dogfight over the so-called independence of Quebec. The section of the bourgeoisie for which Rene Levesque and his Parti Quebecois are the main spokesmen, has advanced the line of reactionary cultural nationalism to further its sectional class ends. This line is used in order to split the Canadian people and to divide the people within Quebec and to attack the immigrant populations in Quebec.
The fascist line of reactionary cultural nationalism takes many aspects:
1) promotion of a feudal culture using symbols of feudalism like the “fleurdelisé”;
2) resurrection of such fascist and arch-national chauvinist elements as the former Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis and the Canon Lionel Groulx and
3) raising the issue of language as a major issue for the Quebec people.
The Parti Quebecois is promoting feudal symbols like the “fleurdelisé” as representing the genuine aspirations of the Quebec people. The “fleurdelisé” was adopted as the official flag for Quebec in 1948 by the fascist Maurice Duplessis. The “fleurdelisé” is a symbol of feudalism: the blue was the colour of the French merchant fleet under the Old Regime; the white was the national colour of France under this Regime; the cross represents the French colonialist regiments who came to New France to fight against the British colonialists from 1755 to 1760; and the fleur de lis is a symbol of the French royalty. During the festivities of Quebec’s “national day” of June 24 of this year, the Education Minister announced that from now on all the Quebec students will be required to pay homage to the “fleurdelisé” in special school ceremonies. Part of the promotion of this feudal culture is to praise what they call the manifestations of the “French civilization of Quebec”, a feudal “folklore” historically used by the reactionary nobility and the clergy to promote backwardness and obscurantism amongst the Quebec people and preserved by the British colonialists when they conquered New France. This is a culture full of feudal kings, princesses, nobles and priests and in no way represents the true aspirations of the Quebec people.
The Parti Quebecois has also undertaken a campaign to resurrect such political fossils like the Canon Lionel Groulx, a fervent admirer of fascists like Mussolini and Salazar, and Duplessis, an anti-working class, anti-communist and a fascist mystifier. The PQ also recently participated in a ceremony to hail the 10th anniversary of de Gaulle’s speech in Montreal in 1967 where he shouted: “Long live free Quebec”. The editorials on the Five-Point Programme for Unity in Action Against the Main Enemy correctly pointed out: “Beginning with the festivities on June 20, Rene Levesque has been promoting the hangmen and assassins of the people of Quebec and of the progressive forces as the ’national heroes’ of Quebec.” (Today’s Struggle – Tomorrow’s Bright Red Future. (Toronto: Norman Bethune Institute, 1977), p. 20)
The third aspect of this line is that the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada is waging a whole campaign to channel the genuine democratic sentiment of the Canadian people into national and social chauvinism and make them believe that the issue of “languages” is vital for the future of Canada. On the one hand, the federal government has presented the “Official Languages” Policy as part of the federalism fraud of Trudeau and the reactionary bourgeoisie. The reverse side of the same coin is the promotion by the PQ of Bill 101, the “Charter of the French Language” in Quebec. It is the bourgeoisie as a class which is the cause of the exploitation of the people in Canada and which is the cause of the subjugation of the nation of Quebec and which is the assassin of the Native people of Canada. Rene Levesque is also part of this bourgeoisie and he is also attempting to split the proletariat in Canada. However the reactionary bourgeoisie strives to cover up these features of Canadian society with its propaganda that the main split in Canadian society is language, and that the cause of disunity in Canada lies in the question of two languages, two nations, etc. The reactionary bourgeoisie strives in this way to divert people from the path of revolutionary struggle against the main enemy, for the overthrow of the rule of the reactionary bourgeoisie and of the U.S. imperialist domination of Canada.
Neither of these decadent and reactionary cultural symbols whether it is the “fleurdelisé”, Duplessis or Groulx are the symbols of the genuine national liberation of Quebec. They are symbols of reactionary cultural nationalism promoted by the bourgeoisie to fool the people and are the instruments of capitulating to the reactionary bourgeoisie and to U.S. imperialism and of keeping the people of Quebec in total subjugation. None of these people has ever defended the true aspirations of the Quebec people nor have they ever hidden that their hearts beat to the same rhythm as scum of the earth like Mussolini, Salazar and Franco. The Quebec people must reject these symbols of national and social oppression. The PQ is calling ghosts and fossils to its aid but is bound to miserably fail because the Quebec people have utter contempt for these reactionary cultural symbols. The Quebec people must reject the line of reactionary cultural nationalism and fight for genuine national liberation under the bright red banner of the proletariat leading the struggle for genuine independence, democracy and socialism in Canada. The proletariat and people have everything to gain and nothingto lose by rejecting the line of reactionary cultural nationalism. The proletariat and people in Quebec will never become the cannon fodder for reactionary cultural nationalism being widely promoted by the PQ government and will never participate in a reactionary programme to split the Canadian people and thus serve the interests of the reactionary bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism.