Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Party of Labour

Gagnon & Vallieres: Rats from a sinking ship

First Published: Canadian Worker, Vol 4, No 6, October 1972
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In reality, Vallieres admits he is powerless against the present government. – Pierre Trudeau

(Montreal) – On December 13 the FLQ, where things have been relatively quiet lately, was rocked by a bomb blast of a different kind: FLQ ideological chief Pierre Vallieres declared in a long letter to Montreal newspaper Le Devoir that the FLQ should dissolve itself and that “revolutionaries” (like him) should forthwith support Rene Levesque’s Parti Quebecois. It was a cruel day for Vallieres’ followers and a great day for the bosses. All of a sudden, the underground guru dropped his revolutionary mask, leaving his rotten politics in full view. Did Vallieres, frustrated by the failure of FLQ-style “armed struggle”, make a deal with the cops or the bosses? Well, several days later, his buddy, lawyer Robert Lemieux began to make noises about when and how his favourite client would resurface.

Long before the October crisis, the Canadian Party of Labor denounced Vallieres counter revolutionary ideas, and particularly his advocacy of FLQ nationalist terrorism. During the hottest days of the crisis, the CPL published and circulated widely a special issue of Canadian Worker/L’Ouvrier entitled “FLQ Plays Bosses’ Game.” In it, CPL said:

Has the ruling class been weakened by the Cross and Laporte kidnappings? Have we workers moved ahead in our struggle against the rotten boss system and for socialism as a result? NOT A BIT!

FLQ actions have never had anything to do with working-class struggle. While workers have been fighting year after year, and needing better organization and class unity more than ever...the FLQ has spent its time planting bombs in letter-boxes, factories, statues and stock exchanges.

The bosses aren’t playing up the FLQ kidnappings for nothing. There’s no better pretext for beefing up the cops pushing the coordination of local, provincial and federal police forces, tightening up the screws of repression of the workers.

...The hard truth – whether the FLQ likes it not not – is that their actions aid the enemies of workers everywhere. Their actions are counter-revolutionary.

What is the result of FLQ actions? Give the bosses the chance they never miss; set off a wave of anti-Quebec racism among English-Canadian workers, and turn us against each other, the better to rake in the PROFITS. We need unity. The bosses and the FLQ lead us into isolation.

One year ago, CPL’s stand on the FLQ and the War Measures Act provoked nothing but outrage and indignation on the “left” in Quebec. Now the milk has curdled. FLQ actions were a dismal failure, and FLQ style politics is farther from the needs of workers in Quebec than it ever was. What else is new? Vallieres’ political development shows nationalism for what it is: bourgeois infighting, cut-throat competition for the biggest slice of the pie. This nationalism also points up a strange kind of collaboration among brother “enemies”: Trudeau encourages Quebec nationalism, since he knows that national divisions are the main obstacle to working-class unity all across Canada, while Levesque and Co. use it by channeling the class hatred of Quebec workers to the advantage of their section on the ruling class.

Vallieres’ turnabout is a natural upshot of the entry of yet another boss gang onto the nationalist political scene: Marcel Pepin of the CNTU, Louis Laberge of the QFL, and their pack of hacks. Maybe these are Vallieres’ future comrades-in-arms... One things is certain: they are the forces who want their version of Chilian state capitalism to carry the day in the PQ against the more “moderate” Levesque-Parizeau clique. Workers, naturally, have nothing to expect from this basket of snakes. The idea of setting up a “labour” party by the union misleaders (a position favoured by Vallieres’ ex-comrade Charles Gagnon) shows just how deep divisions are in this den of thieves. And in the meantime, has Devior editor Claude Ryan, to whom Vallieres addressed his confession, managed to tune down his anti-worker, pro-clerical hysteria? Is he one bit less dangerous than when the journal Parti Pris (where Vallieres cut his nationalist teeth) attacked him in 1963?

Now that would-be bosses like Vallieres have given up on their version of violence and dumped the FLQ, it’s more clearly than ever up to the working class. The FLQ is dead and gone, but in place of its boss-serving terrorism, (MIA note: missing in original.)

But Vallieres, in his self-criticism, unleashed the most reactionary part of his outlook: nationalism. In so doing, he joins hands with Claude Ryan and Rene Levesque, whom he now recognizes as the authorities on national liberation. Of course, years ago, Vallieres was chummy with the likes of Trudeau and Gerard Pelletier. So what!

Another kind of violence will grow and flourish: the masses organized violence of the exploited millions crushed by the capitalist system. Today the working class (which Vallieres never misses a chance to insult) has thrown the bosses into a panic. When workers, led by their revolutionary communist party, pick up the gun, it won’t only be against the imperialists and big bosses like Trudeau – but also against worms like Vallieres who’ve rendered such faithful service in sidetracking workers’ struggles through the years.

As for the FLQ, the cops and national fascists will haggle over the remains.