Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

Editorial: An Open Letter To Canadian Workers Of Both Nations

First Published: In Struggle No. 75, November 24, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Canadian bourgeoisie is just coming out from an electoral campaign in Quebec. It has set the country’s resources going, using all the mass-media, radio, television, and film, for a whole month. Today we know the results of this rivalrous struggle between two factions of the bourgeoisie: the victory of a separatist bourgeois government in the province of Quebec. But let us not forget, especially now, that the aim of the bourgeoisie is always to divide the proletariat to better dominate it.

And the coming to power of the P.Q., is one more divisive factor for the Canadian workers. For a long time, the bourgeois nationalist movement in Quebec has been propagating the idea that the nation’s interests come before those of the working class. In the same way, the most racist elements of the Canadian bourgeoisie, such as ex-minister Richardson, who is calling for English unilingualism, are undermining the unity of the Canadian working class.

Quebec workers, your principal enemy is the same, it is capitalism! Whether your “nationality” be Canadian or solely Quebecois, the bourgeoisie always exploits the proletariat. This is the sad experience of the workers of the defunct La Jour newspaper (Montreal) at the hands of the big shots of the P.Q., Parizeau and Michaud. As for the hopes you might have in the P.Q. that it will bring socialization and of greater justice, it is wise to remember another experience, that of British Columbia workers who elected to so-called “socialist” NDP government of Dave Barrett. Under him, they had to swallow some of the most anti-worker laws ever passed in the province: an overhaul Of the Labour Code which almost took away the right to strike and numerous special laws to force the workers back to work. Like the social democrats, the Bisaillons, the Chevrettes and the Payettes of the P.Q. wont be able to do any better than to “implore” the workers to be class collaborationists, and like every bourgeoisie to use bludgeons, when the workers refuse to defend the interests of the bourgeoisie, in order to defend their own real interests instead.

English Canadian workers, your principal enemy as well, will always be capitalism, the Canadian bourgeoisie, that bourgeois class very much divided on the solutions needed to solve the problems of the capitalist crisis and riddled with its own political crisis which is becoming more and more clear. It will also try to call for class collaboration and to get the English speaking working class, to adopt the interests of the exploiting class as its own by spreading racism, the feeling that one language, one race is superior to another, and by throwing the responsibility of the possible separation of Quebec onto the back of the Quebec nation as a whole. But let us never forget that it has always been this class which has engendered division by maltreating the national rights of the Quebec nation, by stopping it from developing its culture, and its language, and by giving it an inferior economic status.

There aren’t 56 ways for the proletariat of the two nations in Canada to settle the national question, there is only one: It is to recognize the right of the Quebec nation to self-determination up to and including political separation, and to struggle for Canadian workers to unite as close as possible, in particular in the same organizations, to wage the most rational and resolute war against the Canadian bourgeois State. The Quebec workers must put their confidence in their class brothers and sisters of the other provinces, and not in the factions of the bourgeoisie in their own nation, and English speaking workers must do the same. Resist the national divisions cherished by the bourgeoisie. The fundamental division in Canada is between the working class and the bourgeoisie.

The Canadian proletariat has already experienced its force of unity. But this indispensable unity in struggle is still fragile. Who can defend, deepen and develop it better than the Canadian workers themselves? We must get rid of the sabotage of the leaders of the labor aristocracy: stop the Laberges and Gérin-Lajoies [1] from defending the interests of the Quebec nation before those of the working class and stop the racist leaders of CALPA and CATCA [2] from defending their chauvinistic national privileges rather than respecting the right of Quebec workers to work in their own language .

Faced with this new situation, the Canadian proletarian Party takes on even more importance. It is the only possible alternative for the workers conscious of their class interests, conscious of their historical role, which is to free the Canadian people, including the Quebec nation, from capitalist oppression.

Comrades, workers, we all have the same objective: the unity of the Canadian proletariat. To get to it, lot us work side by side to fight English big nation chauvinism in English Canada and in anglophone milieu; and against the reactionary nationalism of the defenders of separatism in Quebec.



[1] Lebarge is the leader of the Quebec Federation of Labour, and Gérin-Lajoie is leader of the Quebec Steelworkers.

[2] MIA Note: CALPA is the Canadian Airline Pilots Association and CATCA is the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association. Both associations went out on strike in 1976 to stop implementation of bilingual air traffic control in Quebec.