Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Charles Gagnon

For the Proletarian Party


This working paper is not the product of the isolated thinking of an individual militant. Rather it is the product of many (and often difficult) debates aimed at the resolution of the main contradictions that the militant groups are presently facing.

Like any political text, this one is bound up with the present situation, consciously and deliberately. Everyone involved in the discussions leading up to the final draft did so exactly with the aim of finding practical solutions to the difficulties arising from the struggles in which they are engaged.

Many militants and political groups are concerned right now with the question of the “worker’s party”. Those who go by the name of “Equipe du journal” (Newspaper Team) must henceforth be counted among these groups. Their goal is to publish a newspaper which will try to formulate more and more clearly the class interests of the proletariat. Coming out of the workers’ struggles as well as the repressive practices of the authorities, this would make possible the development of a true proletarian line.

The present pamphlet has been published and is distributed by this “Equipe du journal”.

Charles Gagnon,
Montreal, October 17, 1972

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In determining the primary tasks at each stage of the revolutionary struggle, one must take into consideration the present state of the relation of forces (where we are starting from) and the objectives we pursue (where we want to end up), always taking account of the general strategic line arising from study of the current historic movement. In our era, this movement is the rise of socialism and the decay of capitalism.

Quebec (and Canada, although in a somewhat different way) is an advanced yet dominated capitalist society. The currents of self-determination and socialism, which within the present-day anti-imperialist struggle are two aspects of the same movement, are found there. This tendency has its objective basis in the advanced level of the development of the productive forces and in the particular historical conditions in which this development took place in our country.

The century-old resistance of the Quebec people to capitalist development from the outside, undertaken for the profit of foreign bourgeoisies (because of our colonial situation in the 19th century), today takes the form of a strong popular movement for self-determination. This movement is so strong that the “national question”, or in other words the confrontation between the Quebecois autonomist tendency and the Canadian federalist tendency, is principal among those contradictions at the basis of the present political struggles. This is the case even if in the end the fate of not only the working class but of the whole Quebecois people (that is those classes and social strata exploited and oppressed by Canadian capitalism – and its Quebecois wing – and Yankee imperialism) is decided on the level of the fundamental contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

Le Duan, a revolutionary Vietnamese author, wrote:

“Our era is that of the passage of capitalism to socialism, the era of the struggle between two opposing social systems, the era of socialist revolution and national liberation, that of the collapse of imperialism and the destruction of the colonial system, that of a growing number of nations taking the path of socialism, that of the triumph of socialism and communism in the entire world. A definition of the content of our era is that the world is in the midst of proletarian revolution, that the fundamental question of the era is determining “which will win out” – socialism or capitalism on an international and national scale, that the class question and the national question are intimately linked and that because of this we must put in the forefront the revolutionary hegemony of the working class.”[7]

Presented schematically, the present historical movement towards socialism, with the destruction thus of colonialism and imperialism, must go through two major steps: (1) the seizure of power by the oppressed people, that is the overthrow of capitalism as an exploiting and oppressing force, and (2) construction of socialism, the establishment of new social relations through working class power.

The first “step” consists in the seizure of power by the revolutionary forces. From being a force that was economically exploited and politically dominated, the proletariat and the whole people with it, becomes the dominant force. Such a reversal of the situation must not be reduced to the simple taking of parliamentary power or even the presidency of the (bourgeois) state, as happened in Chile two years ago.

The second “step”, that of socialism, demands the absolute power of the proletariat for the elimination as a political force of the bourgeoisie and all parts of it, always ready to undertake the reconquest of power by armed or peaceful counter-revolution.

Of course these “steps” are more exactly the two major aspects, each in its turn dominant, of the same process or movement.

Such is the meaning of revolution in the capitalist world, including Quebec, even if the question of self-determination is frequently presented as the only important political question at this stage. Its solution is seen to assume on the part of the workers movement the elaboration and application of tactics which take into account the existence and activity of the nationalist fractions of the petty and middle bourgeoisie, which together make up the bourgeois nationalist movement and whose main enemy is the Canadian bourgeoisie.[8]

In opposition to the claims of the petty-bourgeois nationalists, the social-democratic reformists and the opportunists of every hue, we must clearly affirm the historic necessity of the revolutionary workers’ party in Quebec. This is indeed the principal aspect of the political struggles to be led at the present stage to overcome the ideological confusion in which the petty-bourgeois opportunists try to keep the working class and the whole Quebec people with the evident goal of perpetuating the reign of capitalist exploitation and, at the same time, of keeping the very foundations of national oppression (against which they claim to struggle) in place.


[7] Le Duan, The Role of the Vietnamese Working Class and the Present Task of the Unions. Hanoi, Foreign Languages Press, 1969, pp. 18-19 (French edition).

[8] The contradictions underlying the present day Quebec nationalist movement will be studied in greater detail in an article being prepared.