Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

The League’s position on the national question:

Unity of the Canadian proletariat for the socialist revolution, right to self-determination for the Quebec nation

First Published:The Forge Vol 2 No 11, May 26, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The proletariat must subordinate the resolution of the national question to the struggle for socialist resolution in Canada. It most consolidate its unity across the country, struggle against national oppression in all its forms and win over the oppressed masses to its cause.

The CCL (ML) defends a Marxist-Leninist line on the national question. We put forward:

1. Capitalism is the source of national oppression and only socialist revolution can put an end to this oppression and to all forms of oppression.

2. The principal contradiction in Canada is that which opposes the whole proletariat to the whole bourgeoisie. This means that we subordinate the national question to the class question. Our strategic objective is the Canada-wide socialist revolution. At the present time independence for Quebec would only serve to hold back and sabotage this revolution.

3. We are fighting the national opression of the Quebec nation. We are struggling to have the Quebec nation’s right to self-determination up to and including separation recognized.

4. We are against separation for Quebec at the present time because it would benefit only the bourgeoisie and one or other of the superpowers and not the working class or the Quebecois people.

6. We fight all manifestations of national oppression whether they concern language, territory, wages, culture, living conditions. etc. We fight for full equality of rights for all nationalities such as the Quebecois, the Indians, the Inuit, the Metis, the Acadians, the Franco-Ontarian minority, etc.

6. We fight great nation chauvinism and narrow nationalism, two forms of bourgeois ideology used to divide the proletariat.

At the present time great nation chauvinism represents the principal danger on a country-wide scale. But the task of communists belonging to different nationalities is, above all, to combat nationalism in whatever form it takes in their respective nationalities.

7. The Quebec nation. because it is an oppressed nation, constitutes a reserve for the socialist revolution in Canada in the same way that all movements against national oppression in the era of imperialism constitute a reserve for the socialist revolution.

But the Quebec nation is by no means homogeneous. It is made up of classes. The Quebec middle bourgeoisie is a fraction of our principal enemy and is in no way an ally of the revolution. It is a reactionary class. The Quebec people who suffer oppression inflicted by the Canadian bourgeoisie are the ones whose interests are served by an alliance with the working class. The present struggle between the fractions of the bourgeoisie does nothing but divide the working class and the people and turn them away from their strategic objective, the socialist revolution.

We have also drawn up a series of demands and propositions which follow from our strategic analysis and are based on the concrete situation and the different forms of national oppression.

8. As concerns job discrimination: the multinational proletariat must take up the struggle for the right to equal work and equal wages and against all discriminatorv hiring practices in Quebec and in the rest of Canada.

9. As concerns territorial rights: we demand that the boundaries of Quebec’s territory be respected at the same time as we maintain our support for the just territorial demands of the Native people in Quebec as well as in the rest of the country.

10. As concerns the language of work and the unions: we demand the right of the Quebecois to work in their own language. We demand as well that they he able to express themselves, to he informed and to participate in union affairs in French. Translation must he furnished for all minorities in unions in Canada.

Unions in Quebec should function generally in French and at the same time provide translation for workers who speak other languages to ensure their full participation in the union. All documents and meetings as well as the higher bodies of Canadian unions must ensure translation for participating nationalities.

ll. On the question of language rights. we demand the right of nations and national minorities in Canada to communicate with and he served by all government institutions across the country in their own language. This includes courts and health services

Concretely, in health services in Quebec and elsewhere, this means the elimination of two hospital systems and the establishment of a single system of hospitals and health institutions with translation service assured for all who use them.

12. On the language of education, we demand public, secular education throughout Canada with equal access to education and equal conditions (resources, teaching aids, number of teachers etc.) for all nations and national minorities. in their own language. This right applies to the entire country including Quebec, although its concrete application depends on the particular situation in a given region (density of the population of the minority. etc.).

In Quebec we demand a single, secular school system. This system must not violate the rights of minorities. Marxist-Leninists are opposed to the current segregation in Quebec schools. Dividing anglophones and francophoncs in different schools right from their childhood only sows division and mistrust which later become chauvinism and narrow nationalism.

It’s for this reason that anglophones should attend the same schools as francophoncs and still he allowed to take their courses in English. Making the courses available in the same school will help break down national divisions among the proletariat from an early age.

Indians, Inuit and English Canadians must have the right to an education in their own language. Inuit and Indians most have the right to choose their second language without restriction, although we can encourage them to adopt French as a second language in Quebec.

Immigrants arriving in Quebec from outside Canada must integrate into French schools. This is only natural since they have chosen to live in a francophone nation. The bourgeoisie’s immigration policies attempt to assimilate and liquidate the Quebecois nation by artificially building up the English-Canadian minority. Immigrant workers have nothing to gain from being used as pawns in the bourgeoisie’s chauvinist strategy. On the contrary it is in their interest to integrate themselves with the working people of their new country.

As for immigrants already living in Quebec who have adopted the English language, the most just policy at the present time is to permit them to remain in English schools if they so wish. English Canadians and Native people moving to Quebec from other parts of Canada must have the same right to an education in their language as those already living in Quebec and as Quebecois or francoplmnes elsewhere in Canada, because they are part of an established nationality of the country.

Finally, in order to apply its program. the proletariat needs its multinational Marxist-Leninist party to lead the struggle against national oppression as well as to lead the working class struggle for socialism and to unify these struggles into a revolutionary movement.