First Published: People’s Canada Daily News, Vol 7, No. 193, August 13, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Parti Quebecois government is taking another step to move forward with its “independence” fraud. A White Paper, and later a bill that will give it the legislative form, will be tabled within the next few days in the National Assembly regulating the holding of referendums. This bill is to create an umbrella legislation setting up the rules for the holding of referendums, including the much-publicized referendum on “independence” by which Rene Levesque and his party are aiming to engineer a reactionary “secession” of Quebec under the orders of a section of the reactionary bourgeoisie. These rules are inspired by the model established during the British referendum campaign in 1975 on British participation in the European Economic Cminunity. This model includes grouping the pro and the anti-“independence” forces into two committees for the period of the referendum campaign.
For several years now and particularly since the formation of the Parti Quebecois, there has been a lot of discussion amongst the people on the question of independence and self-determination for Quebec. This question has been brought forward with touch more intensity with the election of the Parti Quebecois government on November 15, 1976 and the promotion on a large scale of the “independence” swindle on behalf of this section of the reactionary bourgeoisie of which the main spokesman is Rene Levesque. Moreover, the labour aristocrats, the revisionists and the opportunists of all hues have come up to confuse what are the real issues and have taken up the propaganda of the reactionary bourgeoisie in the working class movement.
When examining the question of independence and self-determination for Quebec, the Marxist-Leninists look at it in the light of the definition and character of our epoch. CPC(M-L) has always upheld the view that the definition and character of our epoch is the transition from capitalism to socialism. This is the epoch in which capitalism is at its highest stage, the stage of imperialism in decay, the era of the disintegration of capitalism and the victory of the proletarian revolution and the national liberation struggles on the world scale over the dark forces of imperialism, social-imperialism and the bourgeoisie of every country. Imperialism sharpens the fundamental contradictions and accentuates all the antagonisms in the society including the antagonism between the aspirations of the people for genuine national liberation and imperialism, colonialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie. This epoch marks the end of the historic role of the bourgeoisie. With the development of capitalism into its highest stage, imperialism, the bourgeoisie takes up all the obscurantist and reactionary features of feudalism in order that it can continue to exploit and oppress the proletariat and people. The bourgeoisie is now a decadent, moribund and corrupt class which is at its tether’s end.
Upholding this correct assessment, we wrote in the article “Hold High the Banner of Marxism-Leninism and Proletarian Internationalism and Denounce the opportunist Theory of ’Three Worlds’ printed in PCDN of July 26, 1977, that “the strategy and tactics of the proletariat in Canada are based on recognizing this central and fundamental point. This is why we place the international proletariat at the centre of the present situation and consider class struggle as the motive force of historical development. Lenin and Stalin characterized our era as the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. This carrying out of the proletarian revolution is a universal law and the main trend of our era.”
The bourgeoisie in Canada is a class of national betrayal. The reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada is the social base of the U.S. imperialist domination over Canada and has not only sold out the natural resources of Canada but it uses the whole state apparatus to provide every kind of facility and infrastructure for the U.S. imperialists to plunder and exploit the land and labour of the Canadian people. It appropriates the product of the labour of the proletariat. The section of the reactionary bourgeoisie which promotes “independence” for Quebec is no exception. At the same time it proclaims it is the standard-bearer of “independence” for Quebec, the Parti Quebecois has repeatedly promised not to work for economic independence. For example, the PQ has now abandoned any pretention that it will nationalize the U.S.-owned asbestos industry in Quebec. Moreover it has stepped-up the sellout of the natural resources of Quebec, particularly the energy, to provide cheap prices for electricity to the U.S. imperialists and the branch plants of foreign monopolies in Quebec. Through its activities as traitor to the nation, the PQ facilitates and increases the U.S. imperialist domination over Quebec and furthers the exploitation and oppression of the people.
The reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada, a sellout and traitorous class, has nothing to do whatsoever with the aspirations of the Quebec people for genuine national liberation and self-determination for Quebec. This bourgeoisie cannot lead, nor does it aim to lead, any movement for independence, genuine self-determination and national liberation. The referendum for “independence” is not in any way such a movement. Nor is it in any way against foreign domination and oppression of the Quebec people. Lenin teaches us that “no political measure can prohibit economic phenomena”. Canada and Quebec are under the domination of U.S. imperialism on the economic, political, social and cultural front. Whatever political form Quebec adopts, whether it will stay in Canada or not, or with a special status in Conferederation, in an economic association with Canada or not, there is no prohibiting or repealing its dependence on the finance capital of the U.S. imperialists, or preventing that capital from flowing into Quebec.
The proletariat has thus the historic mission to liberate itself from exploitation of man by man and free the people from any kind of national and social oppression. The struggle for genuine self-determination is in fact the struggle against foreign domination and against the Anglo-Canadian colonial state, which is the instrument of the oppression of Quebec, the same state which disinherits the Native people, attacks the immigrants and oppresses the entire Canadian people. The struggle of the Quebec people for genuine national liberation is thus part and parcel of the proletarian revolution in Canada and not “a step towards” and something detached and isolated from that revolution.
Parading as “genuine Marxist-Leninists”, the opportunists have come out to support the reactionary scheme of the bourgeoisie to split and divide the people, and to revise Marxism on the question of genuine self-determination and the struggle for national liberation. The counter-revolutionary theories of the opportunists are twofold: 1)they give illusions that the PQ is for independence, and 2) they say that the struggle for national liberation in Quebec is in contradiction with the proletarian revolution in Canada. A section of these opportunists presents national chauvinist propaganda along the same lines as Rene Levesque, trying to stir up the same reactionary cultural nationalism: they present the propaganda that the language bill and other measures of the reactionary PQ government to split the ranks of the proletariat on the grounds of language, are not sincere, are not going far enough on the question of language rights. In this way, the whole issue is raised in terms of the “independence” fraud, that the issue facing the Quebec people is the issue of language, thus splitting the struggle of the entire Canadian working class and people for the overthrow of the rule of the reactionary bourgeoisie and the U.S. imperialist domination of Canada.
The opportunists also proceed from the same premises of the “two nations” as the reactionary bourgeoisie and conclude as well that the reason to oppose the “independence” fraud of Rene Levesque is that this is not the time for the Quebec people to be fighting for independence, and instead the struggle for national liberation should be postponed and subordinated to the struggle of the Canadian proletariat for socialism. In this way, these opportunists try to bring into contradiction the aspirations of the Quebec nation for national liberation and the aspirations of the entire Canadian people for independence, democracy and socialism. In this way the issue is raised that the struggle for national liberation of the Quebec people is separated and detached from the struggle of the Canadian people for proletarian revolution. They thus blunt the sharp edge of proletarian revolution by excluding U.S. imperialism as the main external enemy of the entire Canadian people and by denying the fundamental Marxist-Leninist principle of the character of our epoch by opposing proletarian revolution to national liberation struggle.
The PQ is part of the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada; it is part of the same Anglo-Canadian colonial state that is the instrument of oppression of Quebec. Rene Levesque and the Parti Quebecois are traitors to the Quebec nation and, as part of the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada, exhibit all the reactionary features of the bourgeoisie in Canada. The struggle against the “independence” fraud of Rene Levesque is the present concrete expression of the struggle for genuine national liberation and for genuine self-determination. This struggle means not only the struggle against the reactionary bourgeoisie but also the struggle against U.S. imperialism which exploits and oppresses the entire country, for only the struggle against the main enemy under the leadership of the proletariat will ensure that the Quebec people win national liberation and self-determination. In order to achieve this, the proletariat has given birth to its own Party, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist). This Party is the heir of the best fighting traditions of the entire Canadian people and has the genuine national liberation and self-determination of Quebec as one of its strategic aims.