Quebec National Question

105 posts / 0 new
Last post
Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 17 2005 04:44
Quebec National Question

Since folks were discussing Scottish Nationalism on another thread in this forum, I'd thought I'd post NEFAC's latest on Québec National Question.

---

Dear comrades,

It appears that a brief communique on our 12th conference has been badly misunderstood by a few international comrades. A rumor is circulating saying that NEFAC decided to take a position in favor of Quebec Indepedance. We are surprised to learn this! If we indeed adopted a discussion paper on the issue of the Quebec National Question, we did not take a position in favor of independance. We are as anti-nationalists as ever. In order to put the record straight we are distributing the text that was adopted at our recent conference.

In solidarity

The NEFAC International Secretary

* * *

Notes on the Québec national question

[Adopted for discussion at the 12th NEFAC conference. A more indepth position will be developped by the Quebec Regional Union with this as a basis and submitted to a future NEFAC conference.]

For nearly 50 years, the national question has been at the heart of debates among the left in Québec. If there are (and there will probably always be) anti-authoritarians who choose to take a position in favor of Québec's independance, other anti-authoritarians will take positions which do not necessarily support the survival of the Canadian state. We choose to oppose both Québécois and Canadian nationalism without denying the reality of national oppression.

Canada as we know it was formed with the specific goal of assimilating its francophone population, which doesn't share the same history as other communities of European descent on this continent, into a political ensemble that is, by majority, Anglophone. Francophones, whose social standing after the British conquest of Nouvelle France (1759-1763) was changed from colonizer to colonized, were historically denied the status of a nation and were kept in a position of social-economic inferiority by a "colonial democracy" ready to use any means at its disposal to maintain its "territorial integrity." With the national oppression of Francophones a clear reality, Canada indeed became a "prison of peoples." And, just in case we need something to refresh our memories about the past, we can recall The Sponsorship Scandal, with which the Canadian government illegally spent billions to “sell Canada to Quebec” after the narrow “no” victory at the 1995 referendum. If we need another reminder, there is The Clarity Bill, with which the Canadian government was empowered to overrule the Quebec government to dictate what kind of question and what kind of majority would be necessary for a referendum on sovereignty. Francophone survival and existence in Québec today is a direct result of our active resistance to the British project of assimilation.

And there are other pieces to Canada's history. This country was built, from coast to coast, on the "pacification" (with the use of force, it goes without saying) of entire populations, not just of the indigenous and the french speaking métis in the prairies but also of the working class, regardless of whether it was francophone, anglophone or allophone. The nationalist version of Québec's history almost exclusively deals with francophone resistance to the will of central power (for example, in the opposition to the draft) but there is no mention that, elsewhere in this country, people generally took part in many of the same oppositional social struggles. This complicit silence is the product of nationalism. It goes hand-in-hand with an analysis that gives individuals the same interests based on linguistic, racial or territorial characteristics while denying the reality of class oppression.

There have been moments where social and national issues have merged in one progressive and liberatory struggle. The insurrection of Les Patriotes in 1837-38, which fought for an independent liberal republic is one example. The independence movement of the 60's and 70's, which fought on both national and class fronts, is another. But these moments have been rare. Nationalist ideology has mostly allowed French-Canadian (and Québécois) elites to create a balance of power against the monopolistic fraction of the mostly anglophone Canadian ruling class. First reactionary in its religious form, then "progressive" when it cotailed popular movements, and finaly simply neoliberal after a few years in power, nationalist ideology has been able to adapt its discourse to stay "fresh" during changing times. Sadly, the left hasn't managed itself in the same way.

***

The idea that the national question was the key to social change in Québec, that national liberation and social liberation should come together as part of the same movement, dates back to the 1960's. At that time, proof was abundant that francophones were systematically in a position of social-economic inferiority at home and compared to the anglophones of the rest of Canada. A simple walk from west-end Montreal to east-end Montreal was enough to make one notice how evident the oppression was. It was the independent leftist magazine Parti Pris, in an international context of decolonization that popularized the analisis of Québec as a colony to liberate. Their political program rested on 3 pillars: the secularization of society, independence and socialism. Parti Pris thought that the national question and the social question could be dealt with in one anti-colonialist socialist revolution. From this foundation, numerous writings were developed to analyse Québec in the context of national oppression. "Stage-ism" was then introduced -- independence first, socialism second -- as was the transitional program, a series of "just" demands that were meant to raise conscisnous and lead to a break with capitalism.

In the last 30 years, the joint action of the labor movement and a sovereignist party in power corrected the most outrageous forms of national oppression. For example, there is no longer a wage difference between workers from Québec and Ontario employed by the same corporation. Francophones are now present in every economic area and at all levels, from foreman to CEO. Despite some failures, French is now respected as the common language in Québec. Progress has been made in every social area where Québec used to be behind the rest of Canada (to the point of producing envy amongst Anglo-Canadian progressives).

What remains is the question of political independence. An honest analysis of the national liberation movements of the 60s which provided inspiration for the strategy of progressive independence should show that they all failed. Despite seizing power, despite formal independence, decolonization failed and there was no true national liberation or social liberation. Neocolonialism dominates everywhere, as colonialism once did. Countries which for a while escaped the imperialist orbit return to it under the imperatives of globalization. Those on the left who believe that a sovereign Québec could follow a different path than the one traced by neoliberalism are greatly mistaken. If countries like Brazil, South Africa and France have failed to break free, how would a small state whose main economic partners are party to NAFTA show any better success?

***

One of the central aspects of the revolutionary critique of nationalism is that it's an essentially bourgeois ideology whose goal is to unite two classes with antagonistic interests in a competition against other nations, all the while giving the leadership of the political struggle to a section of the ruling class. This is exactly what happened and what continues to happen in front of our eyes in Québec. It is only in countries without a national ruling class and without a professional political class that revolutionaries have been able to take control of nationalist movements. But thanks to the defectors of the Québec Liberal Party who founded le Mouvement souveraineté-association and then the Parti Québécois (P.Q.), we now have both in Québec. For 30 years revolutionaries have tried to take control of the "Québec national movement" and to give it a progressive orientation -- but the left remains marginal. Maybe this is because it is impossible to break away from the P.Q. without breaking away from nationalism. There will always be some activists who will argue that one must support the P.Q. if one supports Quebec independance because, in the last analysis, the P.Q. is the only party that is able to realize it. And they are right!

* * *

Brought into this movement by their unions and religious and political "elites", many working people have devoted their lives to defend the only possible solution to solve this identity crisis "once and for all": the sovereignty of Quebec. But this is a false solution to a real problem. Social, political and economical inequality is the result of the domination of a parasitic class over all others, not the result of national oppression. We must recognize that it was mainly the politicians and business owners that first benefited from Quebec nationalism, not the working and popular classes. (Between 1960 and 1990, with the help of the provincial state, the francophone ownership of business in the province rose from 15% to 65%. This new 'Quebec Inc.', as it is sometimes called, is far from being limited to small business as some have reach the status of world-class corporations, like Bombardier and Quebecor World.)

Why continue to talk about the national question in 2004? Because on the left, independence, coupled with a strong and responsible state, is often seen as a sine qua non condition of social progress. Because in the hand of the ruling class, nationalism is a poison that breeds xenophobia and racism, that creates divisions and forges false alliances between the elite and the rest of the population. The "historical" project of the working and popular classes is not nationalism, it is internationalist socialism. The answer to inequality will never come from a state but from a re-appropriation of the collective wealth by those producing it. Quebec's sovreignty is trapped in a bourgeois deadlock. The nationalist movement is no longer progressive. Social struggle has been conveniently postponed by most nationalist politicians (that is when they dont actively suppress it when in power).

Any revolutionary involvement worthy of the name find its roots in a revolt against all forms of injustice, oppression and exploitation. From there, it is easy to understand why almost a whole generation of revolutionaries gave their support to the struggle for the independance of Quebec. From there, it's also easy to understand, for those who choose to open their eyes, why more and more revolutionaries, including us, are no longer thinking of independance as a central strategic axis. We'll concentrate on the class war. Along the way, down the path of social revolution, libertarian communism, with its emphasis on federalism and democracy, will offer an opportunity to address the whole range of national questions existing in Canada -- the Quebecois, what's left of the french canadians, the Indigenious and others.

We are admittedly in favor of the complete destruction of the Canadian federal state, which is only a political fiction after all, and for the self-determination of all the peoples that are imprisoned in it. But why stop there? We are also for the complete destruction, in the same movement, of all the other states of the region, starting with the American state. Though traces of national oppression remain, in particular in the economic structure of Quebec (why the hell did we end up with textile while Ontario got auto?), there's no politically justifiable reason to make this issue a key organizing point. On the other hand, the social question remains in full. What is the right to self-determination worth without social and economical equality? You'll forgive us if we focus on this.

Based on a text from Rupture no 4, summer 2004.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Dec 18 2005 05:39
Quote:
If countries like Brazil, South Africa and France have failed to break free, how would a small state whose main economic partners are party to NAFTA show any better success?

France was occuppied by foreign imperialist forces? Not since WWII, I thought.

The difference between Brazil or South Africa and Quebec is the level of economic development at the time in which independence was or would be won, respectively. Quebec, being an advanced capitalist society, would, if I had to guess, be a "Junior Partner" in American imperialism, much the way Canada currently is.

But what'd be the difference, then? If Quebec is an advanced capitalist society now and would be an advanced capitalist society after winning independence, what good is there?

The benefits are twofold:

First is the breakup of Canada. People living in the Canadian nation (which excludes First Nations and Metis, conquered nations in their own right) would see ***CANADA*** being torn to bits. This makes ***CANADA*** much less a thing to identify with. If people in an imperialist society no longer identify with their own imperialism, we have a better chance of having them listen to us, which can only be a good thing.

Second is the answering of the "national question". Great. Quebec is no longer part of Canada. Quebec is Quebec. Thing is, it'll still be capitalism and things will still suck for the working class. What's the difference then? There won't be any way for the shittiness of being a worker in capitalism to be blamed on English Canada. People are clearly convinced that things will be just fine when Quebec is independent, and when they aren't, they'll look for another possible cause. This is when our message, that it's capitalism itself that is the problem, will have a lot more weight.

Quote:
Maybe this is because it is impossible to break away from the P.Q. without breaking away from nationalism

The only two Montreallers I know personally are both anarchists and both separatists. Neither supports the PQ. Separatism isn't synonomous with the Parti Quebecois.

Quote:
Brought into this movement by their unions and religious and political "elites", many working people have devoted their lives to defend the only possible solution to solve this identity crisis "once and for all": the sovereignty of Quebec.

It's true that the time of those people would be better spent fighting capitalism than fighting for Quebec sovereignty, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to go out of your way to oppose it.

Quote:
(Between 1960 and 1990, with the help of the provincial state, the francophone ownership of business in the province rose from 15% to 65%. This new 'Quebec Inc.', as it is sometimes called, is far from being limited to small business as some have reach the status of world-class corporations, like Bombardier and Quebecor World.)

Economic development!?!?

The horrors.

Without a highly advanced means of production, communism is impossible. One of the things that makes capitalism historically progressive is its ability to achieve this end. Being dominated by a foreign imperial power inhibits this, which makes national independence a progressive thing.

Quote:
nationalism is a poison that breeds xenophobia and racism

It sure can be, but not always.

Progressives should, then, try to fight those negative tendancies within nationalism while still acknowledging its progressive historical role.

Quote:
The "historical" project of the working and popular classes is not nationalism, it is internationalist socialism.

That's ture. Unfortunately, material conditions have to be right for this to happen, and, I think, one of those conditions is not being occuppied by foreign imperialists.

Quote:
Social struggle has been conveniently postponed by most nationalist politicians (that is when they dont actively suppress it when in power).

Of course social struggle has been ignored by nationalist politicians... that's what politicians do! The fact that nationalist politicians are a bunch of slimey pricks would only be relevant to the paper if it were simply against nationalist politicians (fuck, I'm against 'em too!), but it's not, it's a public opposition to Quebec independence.

Quote:
more and more revolutionaries, including us, are no longer thinking of independance as a central strategic axis.

It's fine to not see nationalism as "a central strategic axis". I'm not sure who was arguing that.

But, again, the position paper isn't "against nationalism as a central strategic axis", but against Quebec independence.

Quote:
We are admittedly in favor of the complete destruction of the Canadian federal state, which is only a political fiction after all, and for the self-determination of all the peoples that are imprisoned in it.

What the hell?!? Are they for Quebec independence or aren't they? What on Earth do they mean by "self-determination"?

Quote:
there's no politically justifiable reason to make this issue a key organizing point

Depends on what they mean by "key organizing point". If they mean "that's the only issue you're active in fighting over", then they're right. If they mean "you spend any time whatsoever fighting over that issue", then they're clearly wrong for the reasons I gave at the beginning of my post.

Quote:
What is the right to self-determination worth without social and economical equality?

I dunno. Ask the Palestinians roll eyes

Quote:
You'll forgive us if we focus on this.

I certainly will.

What I won't forgive is putting out a paper which makes a clear stand against independence (albiet poorly).

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 15:42
STI wrote:

France was occuppied by foreign imperialist forces? Not since WWII, I thought.

I raised the exact same question when I read this paper. I think it's written badly if we were both confused. What they were trying to express there was that politicians in France, Brazil and South Africa have all claimed to try and find a way out of neo-liberal capitalism--but that they have failed to do so.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 15:59
STI wrote:
The only two Montreallers I know personally are both anarchists and both separatists. Neither supports the PQ. Separatism isn't synonomous with the Parti Quebecois.

So, it's fair to say that you know a lot fewer Quebeqois than the people who drafted this statement? Also, I'll point out it's a draft and still needs some work; but something similar was already published as an opinion in Ruptures (NEFAC's french-langauge magazine).

Quote:
It's true that the time of those people would be better spent fighting capitalism than fighting for Quebec sovereignty, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to go out of your way to oppose it. It's fine to not see nationalism as "a central strategic axis". I'm not sure who was arguing that. But, again, the position paper isn't "against nationalism as a central strategic axis", but against Quebec independence. What the hell?!? Are they for Quebec independence or aren't they? What on Earth do they mean by "self-determination"? What I won't forgive is putting out a paper which makes a clear stand against independence (albiet poorly).

The NEFAC is not against Quebec independence. It's very likely that Quebec seccession from Canada will come to another referendum vote with in the next few years. When that happens, NEFAC isn't going to be pushing for people to "vote for" or "vote against". If the people in Quebec want to vote for independence, then so be it. Rather, NEFAC is going to focus on other things. In regards to the politics surrounding the national question, NEFAC will oppose efforts by nationalists to target different immigrant communities as being "pro-Canada", "anglo" or whatever.

Personally, I tend to think the breakup of Canada might not be a bad thing. An independent Canada may very well break up the PQ. But, not neccessarily. Since I live nowhere near Quebec, I don't have much stake in that struggle. It's sort of like how I can agree with the late Edward Said that a bi-national single state might be a better solution in Palestine/Israel, than a domininant Israel and a divided group of Palestinian bantustans; but since I don't live there... I don't think my opinion particularly matters or has much of a claim on validity.

I'll try to encourage some Quebeqois NEFACers to respond to your points.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Dec 19 2005 16:39
Quote:
What they were trying to express there was that politicians in France, Brazil and South Africa have all claimed to try and find a way out of neo-liberal capitalism--but that they have failed to do so.

Ah. Gotcha. Thank you wink

But that's only an argument against sovereignty as a means of combatting neo-liberalism, something I've only ever heard just now.

Capitalism is getting older and less able to afford the concessions it used to give out. Neo-liberalism is a huge trend in the world for a reason, so it'll continue to be futher implemented whether Quebec is an independent nation-state or not. It therefore has nothing to do with the National Question.

Quote:
So, it's fair to say that you know a lot fewer Quebeqois than the people who drafted this statement? Also, I'll point out it's a draft and still needs some work; but something similar was already published as an opinion in Ruptures (NEFAC's french-langauge magazine).

True, they probably know more Quebecois than I ever will, but their statement was that "It's impossible to break away from the P.Q. without breaking away from nationalism". My point was that it isn't so.

Quote:

The NEFAC is not against Quebec independence. It's very likely that Quebec seccession from Canada will come to another referendum vote with in the next few years. When that happens, NEFAC isn't going to be pushing for people to "vote for" or "vote against". If the people in Quebec want to vote for independence, then so be it.

NEFAC has a really confusing, almost inconsistant position on this. Here's the section of their "Aims and Principles" on National Liberation:

NEFAC wrote:
We do not support the ideology of national liberation movements, which

claims that there are common

interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in

the face of foreign domination. Although we support working class

struggles against political and economic imperialism, racism, genocide

and colonization, we are opposed to the creation of a new ruling class.

We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a

social revolution waged against both the imperialists and the local

ruling class. This social revolution will have to spread across national

borders. We further reject all forms of nationalism as this only serves

to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working

class has no country, and national boundaries will be eliminated. We

must encourage and develop international

solidarity which will one day lay the basis for a global social

revolution.

They seem to be very good at coming up with "the ideal situation" - a working-class insurrection in Quebec against capitalism at the same time as Canadian imperialism. Problem is that their "ideal situation" is, I would bet, not going to happen.

This just doesn't seem to be the way conquered nations revolt. Sure, they could surprise everyone and do it, but given the fact that it simply seems more likely for sovereignty to be won a good while before proletarian revolution, what side are they on?

NEFAC's position appears to be in favour of independence... but against all the things required to make it happen. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The same position could reasonably apply to the Iraqi insurgency - sure, nobody likes the religious fundamentalism or the Iraqi nationalism, but actively fighting imperialism the way they are is historically progressive, and I therefore support the insurgents. What I'm left wondering is whether or not NEFAC is willing to accept the fact that independence will require some stuff that they don't like (Quebecois nationalism, some possible franco-centrism, etc.), but recognize it's progressive historical role in bringing both Quebec and Canada closer to proletarian revolution. That isn't made all too clear in their blurb.

Quote:
In regards to the politics surrounding the national question, NEFAC will oppose efforts by nationalists to target different immigrant communities as being "pro-Canada", "anglo" or whatever.

That'd be a good thing. Nationalism is certainly capable of being reactionary, and fighting this reactionary current within a context of a growing possibility for sovereignty will be worthwhile.

Quote:
I'll try to encourage some Quebeqois NEFACers to respond to your points.

That'd fucking rock. Thanks comrade.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 19:56
STI wrote:

But that's only an argument against sovereignty as a means of combatting neo-liberalism, something I've only ever heard just now. Capitalism is getting older and less able to afford the concessions it used to give out. Neo-liberalism is a huge trend in the world for a reason, so it'll continue to be futher implemented whether Quebec is an independent nation-state or not. It therefore has nothing to do with the National Question.

I think that's a problem with a couple of anglophones who are not even from Canada discussing the issue. We don't know all the context or previous discussions in the broader left about the issue. It might be a weakness in the position paper that it needs to provide more information about the arguments it is addressing.

I believe that there are leftists and radicals in Quebec do argue that their reason to support an independent Quebec is specifically because they would then be able to use the independent Quebec nation state as a way of combatting neo-liberalism. I know that during the opposition to the MAI that many of the anglophone opponents to MAI (and later the WTO) often phrased it as a struggle between Canadain sovreignity and global capitalism. Carving out an anti-capitalist position that was not FOR an increase in state power has been a challenge for all anarchists in the movement against neo-liberal economics.

Quote:
True, they probably know more Quebecois than I ever will, but their statement was that "It's impossible to break away from the P.Q. without breaking away from nationalism". My point was that it isn't so.

Well, anarchists regularly "demand the impossible". Maybe it would be better to say "improbable". It might be improbable that the francophone working class will break with the PQ, unless independence is achived. Until then, maybe the PQ can continue to rally folks to their banner. Maybe. Maybe not.

Quote:
NEFAC has a really confusing, almost inconsistant position on this.

Nationalism is a really confusing, inconsistant position for internationalist socialists.

*snip Nationalism section of the NEFAC A&P*

Positions evolve over time. Our A&P is also quite more inconsistent on the issue of workplace organizing than the recently more indepth paper we just issued. NEFAC's A&P were drafted and ratified in spring-summer 2000. The recent note on the Quebec National Question is more recent, that is first discussed collectively as of fall 2005.

We have had a draft of a revised Aims & Principles, but we ran into some disagreements we couldn't resolve and so that has dropped in the background for awhile and we've focused on other things. The new draft is much longer and goes into far more detail about the question of nationalism. I'll see if I can dig up the draft.

Quote:
They seem to be very good at coming up with "the ideal situation" - a working-class insurrection in Quebec against capitalism at the same time as Canadian imperialism. Problem is that their "ideal situation" is, I would bet, not going to happen.

Well a revolt only against Canadian imperialism will fall short of the abolition of capitalism. That has been the experience of most national libeation struggles. They throw off the yoke of direct colonial rule for a yoke of neo-liberal neo-colonial economic rule. Capitalism still reigns. How much should we struggle to create smaller and smaller political entities (defined by what? ethnicity? language? culture? geography?) before targeting capitalism?

Quote:
This just doesn't seem to be the way conquered nations revolt. Sure, they could surprise everyone and do it, but given the fact that it simply seems more likely for sovereignty to be won a good while before proletarian revolution, [b]what side are they on?

You're right that conquered nations don't revolt against both the imperialist conquerer AND capitalism (or the national/local bourgiose) at the same time. That's exactly the problem with national liberation and exactly why anarchists have had such trouble with it.

We saw something similar in Cuba where the anarchists had a conflicted and ambigous position on nationalism. The CNT-FAI of Spain, however, didn't appeal to Catalan nationalism, though there was an existing catalan nationalist party that partipated in the republican resistatnce. The Makhnovischina, while opposing Austrian, White, Bolshevik, local bourgiose oppression did not push Ukranian nationalism (Makhno didn't even speak Ukrainan--which was a fault!).

Quote:
NEFAC's position appears to be in favour of independence... but against all the things required to make it happen. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The same position could reasonably apply to the Iraqi insurgency - sure, nobody likes the religious fundamentalism or the Iraqi nationalism, but actively fighting imperialism the way they are is historically progressive, and I therefore support the insurgents.

A good example to bring that up. While NEFAC hasn't made a decision as a federation on the question of "supporting the Iraqi insurgency", the popular position is one in which we oppose the imperialism of the U.S. but do not support many of the elements of the current Iraq insurgency; just as we did not support the Ba'ath party while in power, nor do we support Al Qaeda. We would rather put forth what minimal support we can offer to the likes of the Iraqi Union of the Unemployed, the Iraqi Trade Unions and Work Councils, or the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan.

Wayne Price (from NEFAC in NYC) wrote an article addressing thi s issue recently.

The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"?

http://nefac.net/en/node/1956

As is is, there is little we can do to "support the resistance", but we can do much to oppose the U.S. imperialist ambition in the U.S. So, that's what we try to do. What happens in Iraq when the U.S. is no longer there is largely something that the Iraqis will have to work out (which is what we mean by self-determination). That's not to mean that we are indifferent, just that we have limited capacities and ofcourse favor those who tend to agree with us more on issues like class struggle, feminism and secularity.

If a resurgent Taliban was successfully opposing the U.S. backed Karzai-government in Afghanistan, could you with a straight face call them "historically progressive"?

Quote:
What I'm left wondering is whether or not NEFAC is willing to accept the fact that independence will require some stuff that they don't like (Quebecois nationalism, some possible franco-centrism, etc.), but recognize it's progressive historical role in bringing both Quebec and Canada closer to proletarian revolution. That isn't made all too clear in their blurb.

I think the issue is that considering the changes in the last 30 years between francophone oppression by anglophones, and the relationship of Quebec to Canada have changed so much that; while in the past Quebecois nationalism was progressive, that might no longer be the case. That is, Quebec independence NOW may not bring us any closer to a proletarian revolution. Infact, whose to say that Quebec independence would lead to both reaction among Quebeqois nationalists and Anglophone Canadian nationalists and push both nation-states towards increasing authoritarian nationalism, even fascism or war (as ridiciulous as it now sounds for Quebec and Ontario to be at war).

So, NEFAC is ambigious about the question. Not for, and not against. That is not the same as being apathetic.

Quote:
That'd be a good thing. Nationalism is certainly capable of being reactionary, and fighting this reactionary current within a context of a growing possibility for sovereignty will be worthwhile.

Well the reason it comes up is after the last failed referendum, a certain pro-independence group (the name escapes my memory at the moment) published a list of english-speaking immigrant communities as "bad immigrants" for perhaps voting against independence. There are some Quebec-indepence folks who border on a more fascist mentality.

So, I think NEFAC's position is one of being netural to the question of a change in sovereignty while opposing reactionary elements (on either side. I can imagine any say anglo-nationalists that want to return francophones to a subordinate position would be resisted with as much resistance as NEFAC would be capable of). We're not going to spend our energy puting up "Vote No!" or "Vote Yes!" posters on Quebec independence, particularly when we'd rather be pushing for a general strike because of economic issues (just as much a possibility as the Quebec independence).

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 20:01

I believe this article is from Nicolas Phebus (Quebec City, NEFAC) and helps provide some more perspective.

---

The Quebec Left Today

Will the election of Jean Charest's Parti Liberal du Quebec change anything for the Quebec Left? Unlikely. The Social Left's conservatism is paralleled by the Political Left's conservatism. Both are already playing the old broken record of 'the neo-liberalism onslaught' and 'the downturn in workers' struggles' to explain their own defeats and limitations.

The Quebec Left is a paradox in itself. From the outset, the future could look bright. A new party, the Union des forces progressistes (UFP), has been born to 'represent' the old and new social movements. The non-aligned leftist press has a larger press run now then ever before (1). Huge struggles have been waged in the last couple of years and new one are highly likely. But while the social and labour movements are more developed in Quebec than elsewhere on the continent (2), the Political Left, despite the so-called 'unity' process, is at an all time low. In fact, no single organised current is in a position to have a lasting influence outside of the local realm.

Whining

The victory of the Quebec Liberals is lived like a major disaster by many leftists. It's true that in their first months in power, the Liberals have made major cuts as well as other anti-social moves. But the fight back is already taking shape. A major demonstration of tens of thousands of day-care workers and parents was organised within weeks of the change of government, effectively slowing Liberal plans to change the '$5 a day' day-care program (3). Early actions by tenant unions also secured new money to help the victims of the housing crisis and to save existing social housing programs (4). Public sector unions are also gearing-up for the next round of contract negotiations. In an unusual move, the membership of the (independent) civil servant union agreed to raise dues to help build a strike fund. The problem is that, instead of building on these developments to boost the fighting mood, most of the Left is whining about the brutality of the Liberals. The question is whether we will nurture defeat or victory.

Nationalists and Social-democrats

The main current of the Left in Quebec is a politically unorganised nationalist and social democrat current. Representatives of this group can be found in the grass roots movements and at the very top of most mass organisations. While this reformist current has a diverse origin - from covert and open Parti Quebecois (P.Q.) supporters to former Marxist-Leninist cadres to Leftwing Catholics - it has blended together to form the leadership of the social movements. What both have in common is a crass pragmatism that has led most of them down the path of open class collaboration with the P.Q.. Few are willing to have an independent political life outside of their jobs as professional activists, but when they do, they generally support the P.Q. as a 'lesser evil'. Some of them do it openly, like the leadership of the F餩ration des travailleurs du Qu颥c (FTQ); others do it by default, like the leadership of the Conf餩ration des syndicats nationaux (CSN) (5), whose call to beat the right-wing ADQ was a de facto call to vote P.Q..

The newest development is the UFP, which has convinced some of those people, and even some organisations (6), to openly support them or to be given the chance to address their mass memberships. However, since the UFP is not organised to reap the fruits of these developments (more on this latter), I do not think that it will go anywhere. Part of the collateral damage of the election is that the worst wing of this current - those heavily compromised with the P.Q. - will become once again politically noticeable. Already, many formerly mute bureaucrats and apparatchiks are talking about struggle and action...The question is: are they willing or even able to lead the kind of struggles necessary to beat a newly elected government?

The union of the electoral left

Few people within the nationalist and social democrat current have been faithfull enough to their old ideals to refuse the path of class collaboration and renewed support for the P.Q.. Among them are the people doing L'Aut'Journal - a nationalist pro-labour newspaper - who rejected the P.Q.'s latest turn to the right, and, at the end of the 1990s, launched an organising project that led to the short-lived Rassemblement pour une alternative politique (R.A.P.). L'Aut'Journal soon lost its control over this initiative, and this opened the door for a much more ambitious 'unity of the left' project. Within a few years, a new party was born, l'UFP, which united the social-democrats of the RAP, the 'socialists' of the Parti de la d魯cratie socialiste (PDS), and the 'revisionists' of the Parti communiste du Qu颥c (PCQ).

It's hard to gauge the level of support for the new party. If we evaluate it based on electoral statistics, the level of support is pretty small (40,561 votes or just over 1 per cent). They claim to have more than a thousand members, but this does not mean much as l'UFP is not organised to have any impact in the social movements. Despite their claim to be "a party of the ballot box and of the street", they are mostly organised on an electoral basis (i.e. their clubs are organised according to provincial ridings boundaries) (7). Furthermore, while the party may be a 'party of activists' (a significant number of which are professional activists and elected officials) it is not (yet?) an 'activist party'. Their actual relationship to social struggles is similar to a traditional social democrat party : they issue supportive press releases and sometimes show-up on picket lines or at a demo with a banner. Otherwise, they do participate in Anti-Glob and Anti-War Trusts (also know as coalitions), where they play the game of respectable leftists (as opposed to those irresponsible, ultra-left anarchists), but that's about it. L'UFP may well be the 'next big thing' in student or Anti-Glob/Anti-War circles, but in the wider society, it's influence is yet to be felt.

Social anarchism

The rest of the left is even smaller, consisting of isolated radical militants, the maoists of the Red Flag (8) and the anarchists. Anarchism, taken as a whole, is probably as wide as the UFP (9) but it is not nearly as geographicaly wide-spread and it is neither organised nor united. Despite all of this, a small number of anarchists have been able to organise a few good things in the last couple of years, effectively helping struggles to move forward and to raise the profile of anarchism in the province.

Anarchists have done great work on three fronts. The first one is Anti-Glob. The fact that anarchists have been able to organise a distinct and lasting radical tendency within Anti-Glob cannot be underestimated. CLAC work, for example, not only opened-up space for radicals in the Anti-Glob mobilisations-such as the Summit of the Americas-but also had a lasting influence on the whole globalisation debate and on the issue of appropriate protest tactics.

On the immigration front, activists from No One Is Illegal - which started as a CLAC Working Group - have been able to plug into several immigration struggles, to gather support for these struggles from the social movements and to initiate the biggest demos around these issues in a few decades (if not ever). This is the first time that anarchists have established themselves on this front despite several previous attempts.

Finally, there is the housing and anti-poverty front. Anarchists have been involved in anti-poverty organising for a long time and have championed direct action for years. But it was only in the wake of the Summit of the Americas that they have been able to have an influence on the mainstream community-based movements. Key to that was the successfull establishment of a political squat by the Comite des sans-emploi in Montreal during the summer of 2001. This action opened a window of opportunity for radical grass roots activists in the mainstream tenant movement. Similar actions followed and we can now see formerly marginalized radical groups working openly in coalitions with mainstream community groups, something unthinkable only a few years back.

While these are small and fragile successes, they are something that we can build upon. While there's no easy recipe, we can see a recurring pattern emerging. First, there is no single strategy that works. What seems to work is a sometimes conflicting mix of two strategies. On one hand, there is a network of anarchists who choose to build radical, openly anti-capitalist actions and support groups to radicalise struggles from without. On the other hand, there are anarchists who would rather work inside the existing mass organisations in order to radicalise them from within. Up until now, it has been the joining of the two tendencies that seems to have strengthened anarchism within the social movements. But the real key lies elsewhere, namely, in our relation to people in struggle. We need to ask ourselves : is our participation in struggles merely a publicity stunt (to be seen) or are we there to help move struggles forward?

Which way forward?

Right now, outside of the formal leadership of the social and labour movements, no one on the left is in a position to have an influence on the class struggle. So, which way forward?

First, whether we like it or not, everyone is fully divorced from the organised working class (10). A small band of anarchists, the NEFAC collectives, and a few communists in the PCQ are the only ones who seem to be trying to make these connections. Visiting picket lines seems to be outside of the political culture of almost everyone on the Left. So, we NEFAC militants, have started doing strike support. We still lack the members and the support inside the unions, but at least we are trying to do something about it. If the left is ever to go somewhere in Quebec, it must undergo a total paradigm shift. It's not the working class who failed the left but the other way around. The organised working class outside of our tiny ranks does not need us; we need them. Unless we understand this, we'll go nowhere.

[Nicolas Phebus is a community organiser and a member of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communist in Quebec City. www.nefac.net]

Notes:

(1) While the number of titles is decreasing, the press run is increasing dramatically. The two flagships of the nationalist and social democrat left, Recto-Verso (a bimonthly) and L'Aut'Journal (a monthly), have a press run of 80,000 and 35,000, respectively. In comparison, the biggest titles of the 1960's, Quebec Presse (a weekly) and Le Jour (a daily) sold around 30,000 copies each. Today's lefty papers are free, which makes a difference.

(2) The government estimates the number of 'autonomous community groups' at 4,000 while the unionisation rate is currently at 40.7% (27.7% in the private sector).

(3) This is a provincial day-care program where parents pay $5 per day and the government pays the rest. Under this program, the number of kids in day-care has increased by 100% in 5 years, reaching180,000 recently.

(4) The liberal government is supposed to build some 13,000 units of social housing in the next 5 years. However, they also plan to cut back in the maintenance and repair of the already-existing public housing stock.

(5) The Quebec Federation of Labour has 500,000 members, while the Confederation of National Trade-Unions has 270,000 members.

(6) An handfull of unions endorsed UFP candidates, the biggest being the Montreal Area Central Council of the CSN, which has 80,000 members.

(7) The exception being Quebec City where, in addition to riding clubs, there is a city-wide club and another one at Laval University. Other localities also have city-wide clubs.

(8) Apparently about 50 people.

(9) Sceptics should remember that anarchism's biggest 'cultural manifestation', the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, is still unmatched.

(10) To be fair, L'Aut'Journal is an important exception to this. They seem to be the voice of the 'fighting wing' of the union bureaucracy.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 21:10

Alright, as I said before NEFAC's Aims and Principles are five years old from the very start of the organization; and everyone in the organization agrees that they need to be revised to reflect our growth in theoretical cohesion.

One of the drafts for revision had a nice section on imperialis, neo-colonialism amd war that among other things dealt with the Quebec national question. I'm going to quote it with the caveat that NEFAC has never voted on what is below, though a number of people in NEFAC had a hand in drafting it. I'm sure we'll open this back up one day. I'm sure you can grasp some of the difficulties involved with trying to find unity over such broad theoretical ground, and it's even harder with practical issues like an international border and two langauges.

Quote:
Imperialism, Neo-Colonialism and War

Imperialism refers to the systematic subjugation, by direct or indirect means, of the majority of the world's peoples by the ruling classes of a handful of militarily and economically powerful countries. Large conglomerations of capital overgrow national borders and seek increases in profit and power through the exploitation of less economically advanced regions of the world. The historic role of imperialism can be seen in such events as the partition of the African continent and the scramble for colonies by advanced capitalist nations in the years leading up to the historical conflicts between major imperialist powers in the two world wars. Imperialism has evolved from the direct rule of overseas colonies by particular imperialist countries to the domination of formally independent ex-colonies by transnational capital and such agencies as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

While the Canadian and Quebecois economies are largely dependant on economic relations with the United States, we do not beleive that the either are a colony of the US. The Canadian ruling class has always been a junior partner of a greater imperialist power (first British, now American), but at the same time has always pursued an imperialist agenda at home and abroad. Of course, compared to the greatest imperialist power of all time, Canadian imperialism is weaker as it is "only" the sixth strongest economy in the world but at the same time, Canada does not qualify as a 'colony' (the same is true for the Quebecois ruling class, despite the fact that it barely existed thirty years ago).

In the context of North American colonialism, the native population was removed, either through physical displacement or through genocide, and the settler population took their land and resources and physically replaced the native population with settlers. We recognize that "the Americas" are an occupied territory taken by force, coercion and genocide. We recognize that the reservation system is a form of apartheid and that indigenous communities are and should be treated as sovereign nations where settlers have no right to interfere internally or to invade. The principle of self-determination for indigenous people is an integral part of the anarchist federalist program and we support indigenous struggles on a principled basis. We seek to establish equitable, community-to-community social relationships between settlers and indigenous peoples based upon the recognition of the sovereignty of indigenous peoples over their land

and natural resources.

The basis of colonialism is the theft by one nation of the land and wealth of other nations. It is generally carried out by military occupation and by the direct implantation of settlers from the home country. Colonizers steal the land, labor and natural resources in their colonies. They deliberately distort and disallow the independent economic development of colonies they control and profit from. To cement their control over the minds of the oppressed, colonizers also attempt to steal away and destroy peoples' very cultural and historical traditions, replacing them with the ideals and neuroses of white ruling class culture.

Neo-colonialism is based on the withdrawal of most of the colonial military occupational forces, the granting of formal political independence, and the allowing of selected native leaders in the colony to govern "their" own people. But while granting political independence, the colonizer maintains economic domination of the colony. After generations of actively stunting the growth of the colonial economy, and dismantling self-sufficient agriculture and production for domestic needs, the colonies are forced to maintain ties with colonial powers in order to feed their own people and to continue their very existence.

We stand resolutely opposed to all forms of imperialism and colonialism. We support the struggles of the people of oppressed nations against imperialist domination; however, we believe that an end to such domination and it's counterpart- neo-colonialism- can only be won through class struggle, not nationalism. While revolutionary struggles against imperialism and colonialism have always had specific national characteristics as oppressed people free themselves from physical and mental shackles, to avoid the pitfalls of national consciousness and neo-colonialism, these movements must be anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, and internationalist in outlook and in action if they are to be successful. A truly successful de-colonization struggle must become international in scope and result in the defeat of capitalism in every region of the globe. Having said this, it has been the case that every national liberation movement to date has been viciously attacked by western imperialism which has often successfully deformed and destroyed the libertarian potential of many of these liberation struggles. It is our duty as revolutionaries to open a second front here at home against world imperialism and to derail any intervention by "our" ruling class. It is also vital for us to critically engage with and offer meaningful support to the most radical and liberatory elements within the anti-colonial struggle.

While we do not support the underlying ideology of national liberation movements, which claims that there are common long term interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination, we support the right of all peoples to self determination and self government. Working people in an culturally or economically oppressed country or region will not see their counterparts in an oppressor nation as allies or comrades in struggle if they are benefiting from their oppression or tied to their own ruling class through national chauvinism, economic privilege or racism. Real working class unity on an international and regional basis can only be achieved by working to eliminate all forms of national oppression and (neo)-colonial domination within the working class of the oppressor nation.

We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a global social revolution and civil war waged against the ruling classes of both the imperialist nations and the neo-colonial ones by an international working class revolutionary movement. Without offering our political support to the regimes that "our" ruling class goes to war against, here in North America we actively work to defeat the ability of "our" military to intervene elsewhere in the world, including on native land here as well! In any war waged by the US or Canadian ruling class, we call for the military defeat of the forces of "our" state, and encourage "our" soldiers to turn their guns around against the real enemies of world peace and justice--the bosses and bureaucrats here at home! We oppose all forms of military intervention by the United Nations, which is a fig leaf for the interests of global imperialism and which by it's very nature as a tool of neo-colonialism is not capable of progressive military intervention anywhere.

suitsmeveryfine's picture
suitsmeveryfine
Offline
Joined: 19-11-05
Dec 19 2005 21:46

I made a Swedish translation if somebody is interested:

http://www.socialism.nu/index.php?page=forum&section=thread&id=14526 (pm me if you want an odt- or pdf-document)

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 21:56
suitsmeveryfine wrote:
I made a Swedish translation if somebody is interested:

Ha. Awesome. Want to do the workplace position paper to? I'm curious to how the SAC will view it.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Dec 19 2005 22:03
Flint wrote:
suitsmeveryfine wrote:
I made a Swedish translation if somebody is interested:

Ha. Awesome. Want to do the workplace position paper to? I'm curious to how the SAC will view it.

Oh, Riff-Raff looks interesting too!

suitsmeveryfine's picture
suitsmeveryfine
Offline
Joined: 19-11-05
Dec 19 2005 23:00
Flint wrote:
suitsmeveryfine wrote:
I made a Swedish translation if somebody is interested:

Ha. Awesome. Want to do the workplace position paper to? I'm curious to how the SAC will view it.

surprised) The SAC already seems to be feeling some theoretical competition. They adopted an extra-union policy not too long ago in which an important part was a rip off of one of our workplace articles (which unfortunately hasn't yet been translated into English).

Quote:
Want to do the workplace position paper to

Sorry, I don't think I have the time -- loads of other stuff are waiting to be translated. (Btw I emailed a pdf-file to NEFAC-Québec.)

Quote:
Oh, Riff-Raff looks interesting too!

Thanks, but I don't think this is the right thread discussing the magazine...

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Dec 21 2005 04:33

I hadn't seen this somewhat equivocal position paper before. I prefer the shirts NEFAC was selling that said "Ni Québec ni Canada"! Simple and to the point.

I've lived in Montreal for 5 years. I'm an anglophone, but I can tell you that the VAST majority of the anarchists here (most of whom are francophone) don't support Quebec nationalism. A lot of the francophone anarchists were separatists early in their political development, and then became anarchists in a process of rejecting national liberation. This is one of the most refreshing things about Quebecois anarchists--as compared with, say, US anarchists.

To respond to STI:

"There won't be any way for the shittiness of being a worker in capitalism to be blamed on English Canada."

Sure, but it could be blamed on the international anglo corporations, or it could be blamed on immigrants, or on different political parties, or on any number of things. There will never be a time when there are no more excuses. Nationalism just leads to more capitalism.

Phebus
Offline
Joined: 21-12-05
Dec 21 2005 15:36
STI wrote:
Quote:
If countries like Brazil, South Africa and France have failed to break free, how would a small state whose main economic partners are party to NAFTA show any better success?

France was occuppied by foreign imperialist forces? Not since WWII, I thought.

It's not the first time this was brought up by english speakers (in french no one ever asked about that).

The sentence just before reads: "Those on the left who believe that a sovereign Québec could follow a different path than the one traced by neoliberalism are greatly mistaken". I tough that it was preatty clear that we were talking about breaking free of neoliberalism. Apparently not.

The reference is to the first term of french president Miterrand who tried to implement different policies only to be faced with a movement of capital leaving France. He backed off. As for Brazil, look at what Lula is doing (same for South Africa under the ANC governement).

Btw, Brazil and South Africa are not, and have not been occupied by foreing imperialist force for a long time.

Phebus
Offline
Joined: 21-12-05
Dec 21 2005 16:08

Is this position paper against independance? First of, it's not yet a position paper. It was submitted for discussion at a conference. A more detailed paper will be submitted sooner or latter to NEFAC and this will be the position paper (if adopted). Now, is it against independance?

Well, it is certainly against nationalism. Can we separate independance and nationalism? We dont think so. What the paper does is analyse the socio-historical situation of Quebec in order to develop a revolutionary strategy. Many people have argued, and continue to argue, that social revolution and independance where linked. That you cant have a social revolution without first having independance. So a lot of revolutionaries have been independantistes (and sometime preatty nationalists). We argue that there's no need to link social revolution and independance. That the national question is no longueur the central issue in Quebec (that would be the social question). Furthermore, we argue that a focus on the national question have come in conflict with the social question. We also say that in order to have a social revolution, we must beat nationalism. We say we dont oppose independance, we just say we're not gonna fight for it (and we're gonna fight against nationalism).

Do independance have an historicaly progressive role? Will it bring us closer to proletarian revolution. Well, in traditional marxism, they say that you first need a bourgeois revolution before you have a proletarian revolution. Let's put aside the fact that anarchists have historicaly disagreed with this. In Quebec, a lot of revolutionaries have used this argument of the bourgeois revolution to argue in favor of supporting independance (hence the historical progressive role). What we say is that the process wich the bourgeois revolution was suppose to bring about is over, our bourgeois revolution was the quiet revolution of the 1960's. There is a Quebec state and a Quebec based bourgeoisie. Capitalism is mature in Quebec. A "bourgeois revolution" --independance-- would not have a progressive role, it would just mean that we have one more full fledge nation state. It would bring nothing to us.

We've also been asked wich side are we on. Well, we argue that there's nothing progressive in nationalism these day's, that it's a struggle between two factions of the bourgeoisie. We're not taking a side in this bourgeois quarrel. We say that we will respect the right to self determination of Quebec BUT that we dont take sides. We could also say that we take the working class side (wich we argued have no interest one way of the other).

We also argue against the past and current leftists arguments in favor of indendance. I've already touched on most of the historical argument (progressive role of independance). These day's another argument is that in order to break free of neoliberalism, we need to become independant. That to have a real leftist politic, we need to control all of the tool's of the state. Well, in addition to disagreeing on the core of the issue (this is a statist and reformist position and we are anarchists after all) we also say that this does not make sense. No other state on earth have been able to break free of neoliberalism without breaking with capitalism. That's one argument against independance as a leftist axis and in favor of anti-capitalist politic's instead of reformism.

So what is the position? Well it's a nuanced anti-nationalist position that take into account the history of Quebec. Is it equivocal? I dont think so.

* * *

As a side note, about breaking with the P.Q.. We argue that it's impossible to break with the P.Q. on a MASS SCALE without breaking with nationalism. A lot of leftists argue that they can only win the working class support (and vote) if they support independance. We say that at the end of the day, people will support the P.Q. if the core issue is independance because they are the only one really capable of doing it.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Dec 21 2005 19:51

First of all, Flint and Phebus, it was super-cool of you to take all that time making such thorough replies. Thank you! You've definately made me more open to joining NEFAC than I was a few days ago.

Flint wrote:

I believe that there are leftists and radicals in Quebec do argue that their reason to support an independent Quebec is specifically because they would then be able to use the independent Quebec nation state as a way of combatting neo-liberalism

It sounds reasonable to assume that a lot of people would hold that position, especially given the social-democrat character of le Parti Quebecois and le Bloc Quebecois. But it's certainly not the only reason to support separation and, I have to agree, not a very good one.

Quote:
Well, anarchists regularly "demand the impossible". Maybe it would be better to say "improbable". It might be improbable that the francophone working class will break with the PQ, unless independence is achived. Until then, maybe the PQ can continue to rally folks to their banner. Maybe. Maybe not.

If it's improbable that the Quebecois working class won't break from the PQ unless they win independence, wouldn't independence be beneficial, since it would facilitate the breaking-away of the working class from the party? Such an outcome would most likely turn more people on to communism.

Quote:
Positions evolve over time. Our A&P is also quite more inconsistent on the issue of workplace organizing than the recently more indepth paper we just issued. NEFAC's A&P were drafted and ratified in spring-summer 2000. The recent note on the Quebec National Question is more recent, that is first discussed collectively as of fall 2005.

We have had a draft of a revised Aims & Principles, but we ran into some disagreements we couldn't resolve and so that has dropped in the background for awhile and we've focused on other things. The new draft is much longer and goes into far more detail about the question of nationalism. I'll see if I can dig up the draft.

That would rock.

Quote:
Well a revolt only against Canadian imperialism will fall short of the abolition of capitalism. That has been the experience of most national libeation struggles. They throw off the yoke of direct colonial rule for a yoke of neo-liberal neo-colonial economic rule. Capitalism still reigns.

True, it still does, but it is much closer to being overthrown after Canadian imperialism is kicked out.

Quote:
How much should we struggle to create smaller and smaller political entities (defined by what? ethnicity? language? culture? geography?) before targeting capitalism?

We should always target capitalism. It was never my intent to suggest that we shouldn't.

But, to answer your question, as far as it is practical. If a First Nations separatist movement arose, I'd support that. Not as an end to itself, but because those conquerred nations are more likely to overthrow capitalism if they're independent.

Quote:
You're right that conquered nations don't revolt against both the imperialist conquerer AND capitalism (or the national/local bourgiose) at the same time.

And that's why I'm in favour of separatism.

Quote:
The CNT-FAI of Spain, however, didn't appeal to Catalan nationalism, though there was an existing catalan nationalist party that partipated in the republican resistatnce

Question is, though, would the CNT-FAI have supported Catalan sovereignty had the situation been closer to Quebec's present one? And would that have been the right choice?

Quote:
The Makhnovischina, while opposing Austrian, White, Bolshevik, local bourgiose oppression did not push Ukranian nationalism (Makhno didn't even speak Ukrainan--which was a fault!).

I'm not arguing that we should push nationalism on anybody. I support separatism simply because of its progressive historical role, and nationalism is part of the baggage that comes with that separatism. I'm not in favour of nationalism, just the effect it would have on class struggle in Canada and Quebec.

Quote:
A good example to bring that up. While NEFAC hasn't made a decision as a federation on the question of "supporting the Iraqi insurgency", the popular position is one in which we oppose the imperialism of the U.S. but do not support many of the elements of the current Iraq insurgency; just as we did not support the Ba'ath party while in power, nor do we support Al Qaeda.

So, their position on Iraq is the same as their position on Quebec: they support its effects, but not what it takes to get there.

So, then, if the two are inseperable (be it Quebecois nationalism with Quebec independence, or Ba'athism and some religious fundamentalism with the defeat of US imperialism), will they or will they not support it? That's the decision that really matters, as far as I'm concerned. I know where I stand. Now I'm just waiting for NEFAC to figure out where they do.

Quote:
We would rather put forth what minimal support we can offer to the likes of the Iraqi Union of the Unemployed, the Iraqi Trade Unions and Work Councils, or the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan.

All good groups to be supporting, no question there (I was actually really impressed by NEFAC's support for RAWA before 9/11. Good shit, no doubt).

But the question wasn't about whether NEFAC is more supportive of the IUU or the unions than they are of the Ba'athist or Sunni insurgents, but whether they do or do not those Ba'athist and Sunni insurgents.

Like that old song goes, "Which side are you on?"

That's the litmus test, as far as I'm concerned.

Quote:
Wayne Price (from NEFAC in NYC) wrote an article addressing thi s issue recently.

The U.S. Deserves to Lose in Iraq but Should We "Support the Iraqi Resistance"?

That article is hella-long, so I won't be able to read & respond to it until a while later. I'm excited to get to it though, it's cool to finally be able to see where NEFACers actually stand on issues (nefac.net and The Northeastern Anarchist are kinda frustrating in that sense).

Quote:
As is is, there is little we can do to "support the resistance", but we can do much to oppose the U.S. imperialist ambition in the U.S. So, that's what we try to do

Absolutely, but when you're opposing US imperialist ambition, what message will you be sending? Will it be "Bring the troops home" or will it be "Victory for the resistence".

The latter will do more to demoralize the soldiers and will probably hasten war-weariness on the "home front", which is why I support it.

Quote:
What happens in Iraq when the U.S. is no longer there is largely something that the Iraqis will have to work out (which is what we mean by self-determination). That's not to mean that we are indifferent, just that we have limited capacities and of course favor those who tend to agree with us more on issues like class struggle, feminism and secularity.

I agree fully. My question is: what's your position with regards to the resistance groups with whom you don't agree on issues like class struggle, feminism, and secularity? Mine is one of critical support - sure it'd be nice if this or that resistance group would become pro-feminist, but the lousy fact of the matter is that a lot of them won't. This makes them less progressive than they would otherwise be, but still historically progressive. They therefore have my support.

Quote:
If a resurgent Taliban was successfully opposing the U.S. backed Karzai-government in Afghanistan, could you with a straight face call them "historically progressive"?

Yes. They'd be less progressive than they could potentially be, should they change their positions on women's rights, religion, etc., and if they were to ask me, I'd encourage that change of position, but, compared to the alternative - US imperial occupation - they are progressive.

It'd be ideal if every national liberation group was a secular, pro-equality, class war band who never attacked civilians. The problem with reality, though, is that it isn't ideal. Sometimes the people on the progressive side of a war are real dicks in a lot of ways, and that's when tough decisions have to be made. I've decided to side with the progressives despite their shortcomings. Whether or not NEFAC does the same is yet to be seen, I guess.

Quote:
I think the issue is that considering the changes in the last 30 years between francophone oppression by anglophones, and the relationship of Quebec to Canada have changed so much that; while in the past Quebecois nationalism was progressive, that might no longer be the case.

Whether or not Quebecois nationalism is in itself progressive isn't my concern - I'm more interested in the effects of that nationalism, which are progressive. There's no doubt that some aspects of Quebecois nationalism are negative and reactionary (the language laws enforced by the Quebec government are probably more of a problem for immigrants than anybody else, for example), but I'm willing to critically accept that because of the progressive effect that separation, the result of Quebecois nationalism (among other things), will have on Canada and Quebec.

Quote:
That is, Quebec independence NOW may not bring us any closer to a proletarian revolution.

I briefly outlined in one of my earlier posts how Quebec independence would be beneficial for the prospects of proletarian revolution in both nations (the defeat of imperialism and the breakup of Canadian identity on the one side, and the removal of both an obstacle to total liberation and of a scapegoat for the problems that are characteristic of capitalism on the other side).

Quote:
Infact, whose to say that Quebec independence would lead to both reaction among Quebeqois nationalists and Anglophone Canadian nationalists and push both nation-states towards increasing authoritarian nationalism, even fascism or war (as ridiciulous as it now sounds for Quebec and Ontario to be at war).

It does sound ridiculous, and for a reason.

The Canadian public was against war in Iraq. How likely do you think it is that they'll be in favour of war in Quebec?

On the Quebec side, there very well may be some backlash against the anglophone population (and possibly against the mostly non-separatist First Nations). This is what makes national liberation such a fucking tough issue for us lib-lefters: there's no "all good" team and "all bad" team. That's where critical support becomes the best position to take.

Like I said before, it's a completely worthwhile and respectable thing to fight the reactionary aspects of national liberation, but to completely oppose that national liberation - or even just not support it - is akin to "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".

Quote:

So, NEFAC is ambigious about the question. Not for, and not against. That is not the same as being apathetic.

My beef isn't that I think NEFAC is being apathetic, my beef is with that ambiguity. If NEFAC were to ask me, I'd suggest that they put out a paper in favour of national liberation which would also state a clear opposition to the reactionary aspects and outcomes of that movement. Critical support.

Quote:
Well the reason it comes up is after the last failed referendum, a certain pro-independence group (the name escapes my memory at the moment) published a list of english-speaking immigrant communities as "bad immigrants" for perhaps voting against independence.

It would be foolish to be anything but well-aware of the dangers of nationalism and national liberation movements, and we should definately fight against that potential for reaction. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't support the national liberation in itself, because, even with its negative aspects, it's still more progressive than the alternative, ie: Canadian occupation.

Quote:
There are some Quebec-indepence folks who border on a more fascist mentality.

Some, definately. But I'd expect those types to be a pretty small minority of those supportive of separation. We should nevertheless fight that fascist mentality while retaining support for that national liberation, though, as the two aren't intrinsically linked.

Quote:
So, I think NEFAC's position is one of being netural to the question of a change in sovereignty while opposing reactionary elements (on either side. I can imagine any say anglo-nationalists that want to return francophones to a subordinate position would be resisted with as much resistance as NEFAC would be capable of). We're not going to spend our energy puting up "Vote No!" or "Vote Yes!" posters on Quebec independence, particularly when we'd rather be pushing for a general strike because of economic issues (just as much a possibility as the Quebec independence).

I don't think neutrality on such an important issue is a good move. It gives an impression of fear of unpopularity or outright apathy, even if that isn't actually the case.

There's no need to be actively campaigning for separation. In all honesty, I'd be satisfied if NEFAC were to release a position paper or something expressing support for national liberation, as well as a recognition and criticism of its reactionary aspects. That'd be enough.

I really enjoyed the Phebus article. It was a good read and had some decent stuff to say. It didn't talk much about NEFAC and separation, though, just briefly about how the PQ is pretty sucky.

Good article nonetheless, though.

Quote:
Alright, as I said before NEFAC's Aims and Principles are five years old from the very start of the organization; and everyone in the organization agrees that they need to be revised to reflect our growth in theoretical cohesion.

Agreed. The last few issues of NEA are leaps and bounds ahead of the first one. I'm excited to see what ends up being released.

Quote:
I'm sure you can grasp some of the difficulties involved with trying to find unity over such broad theoretical ground, and it's even harder with practical issues like an international border and two langauges.

Oh, hell ya. Especially with collective responsibility (which I think is a good idea), it must be a warzone coming out with clear positions on hot issues. NEFAC's trinational unity definately has my respect.

Quote:
(the same is true for the Quebecois ruling class, despite the fact that it barely existed thirty years ago).

What exactly is meant by this part? That it does not qualify as a colony, or that it is a junior partner in American imperialism (or something else that I totally missed)?

Quote:
The principle of self-determination for indigenous people is an integral part of the anarchist federalist program and we support indigenous struggles on a principled basis.

Fuckin' right!

Quote:
however, we believe that an end to such domination and it's counterpart- neo-colonialism- can only be won through class struggle, not nationalism. While revolutionary struggles against imperialism and colonialism have always had specific national characteristics as oppressed people free themselves from physical and mental shackles, to avoid the pitfalls of national consciousness and neo-colonialism, these movements must be anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, and internationalist in outlook and in action if they are to be successful.

Are the authors seriously saying that they think it'll be anarchist revolution in the third world that does away with neo-colonialism?

It'd be nice, but it just ain't in the cards. The best possible situation in driving out imperialists in the third world for good is, for all its downfalls, Leninist (usually Maoist/Castroist) revolution.

Communist revolution simply isn't possible in the third world. The urban proletariat doesn't make up enough of the population, the means of production aren't advanced enough, and all too often, people in the third world are far too "backward" to make a communist revolution.

We should have no illusions about what a Leninist revolution would do, of course. They'd kick out the imperialists, modernize the economy more quickly than a local sovereign bourgeoisie would (granted, that local sovereign bourgeoisie would do it faster and more comprehensively than would happen under imperialist rulership, where only one or two sectors of the economy are developed and the rest is left to rot), and, eventually, join the ranks of advanced capitalism. This has already happened in the Soviet Bloc and China, and is happening in Cuba.

It's not the ideal outcome, but like I said before, reality isn't ideal. It's unfortunate that the third world can't just "do communism", but they can't.

Quote:
A truly successful de-colonization struggle must become international in scope and result in the defeat of capitalism in every region of the globe.

Eeep. That's basically not going to happen until the fifth wave of successful proletarian revolutions. If you and I are lucky, we might see the first, which would start in today's advanced capitalist societies (Europe is looking a lot more promising than North America at the moment, but I really don't know what the future holds). The best thing we can do is, like it said in the paper, raise hell at home every time our ruling class tries to keep another nation in its grasp. If we can do this effectively, it will allow foreign, once-dominated societies to modernize and industrialize much more quickly than they would otherwise have, even if it is the doing of their own domestic bourgeoisie. This will bring them closer to proletarian revolution faster than would happen under imperial domination.

Quote:
It is also vital for us to critically engage with and offer meaningful support to the most radical and liberatory elements within the anti-colonial struggle.

True, if we're going to practically support resisters (ie: funding, housing exiles, whatever), it should be the most progressive ones, but we should still support, if critically and only in word, those resisters with whom we don't necessarily see eye-to-eye, because of their progressive historical role, especially when they make up the bulk of the resistance.

Saying "I don't want the resistance to win unless Group X [who, in this example, is clearly not militarily powerful enough to take power] is the one who runs the show" is, in effect, the same as supporting the occupation.

Quote:
While we do not support the underlying ideology of national liberation movements, which claims that there are common long term interests held between the working class and the native ruling class in the face of foreign domination, we support the right of all peoples to self determination and self government.

The authors support the right of people to self-determination, but do they support, even if critically, the movements for that self-determination (even if those movements have a lot of "baggage")? This is really what the whole issue boils down to. Do the authors support Quebecois independence only so long as the movement for that independence is free of things they don't like (however rightly), or do they critically support the Quebecois independence movement despite its negative aspects, which they would struggle against, because that movement is historically progressive?

Quote:
We believe that the defeat of imperialism will only come about through a global social revolution and civil war waged against the ruling classes of both the imperialist nations and the neo-colonial ones by an international working class revolutionary movement

Would you be able to elabourate on what is meant here? I'm having trouble coming up with a mental picture of what this exerpt is trying to describe.

Quote:
Without offering our political support to the regimes that "our" ruling class goes to war against, here in North America we actively work to defeat the ability of "our" military to intervene elsewhere in the world, including on native land here as well! In any war waged by the US or Canadian ruling class, we call for the military defeat of the forces of "our" state, and encourage "our" soldiers to turn their guns around against the real enemies of world peace and justice--the bosses and bureaucrats here at home! We oppose all forms of military intervention by the United Nations, which is a fig leaf for the interests of global imperialism and which by it's very nature as a tool of neo-colonialism is not capable of progressive military intervention anywhere.

Sounds good.

Very good paper, all-in-all. After reading that, NEFAC looks a lot better than they used to (assuming they adopt that position). Not perfect ( wink ), but definately good.

I'd rather be drinking wrote:
I've lived in Montreal for 5 years. I'm an anglophone, but I can tell you that the VAST majority of the anarchists here (most of whom are francophone) don't support Quebec nationalism. A lot of the francophone anarchists were separatists early in their political development, and then became anarchists in a process of rejecting national liberation.

I don't think the rejection of national liberation is a positive thing. Of course, you're free to disagree with me, but you'll have to respond to the points I made on the issue.

Quote:

Sure, but it could be blamed on the international anglo corporations

It was my understanding that the majority of workers in Quebec have been employed by fracophones since the Quiet Revolution. If this is the case, then I'd expect "international anglo corporations" (American multinationals?) to have pretty much the same relationship with Quebec workers as with, say German workers.

Quote:
or it could be blamed on immigrants

There's no plausible way for immigrants to be the cause of the exploitation and alienation of capitalism, because immigrants aren't stratified above Quebecois workers like the Canadian state and the Quebecois owning class currently are. I don't think this fact will escape workers in Quebec.

Quote:
or on different political parties

True, but that could only last for a few years, especially with voter turnout as low as it is these days.

As far as I can recall, Quebec has one of the lowest levels of voter turnout in the country, so it's pretty likely that, given the lack of faith in the bourgeois electoral system demonstrated by the low turnout, workers in an independent Quebec wouldn't be duped into blaming one party or another for all too long.

Quote:
There will never be a time when there are no more excuses

But there will be a time when there are no more plausible excuses. To a lot of people (50% less a few hundred in the last referrendum), it makes sense that imperial domination is the primary cause of their problems. I think that's one of the ways being conqurred affects a person's outlook.

For some reason, it seems to me that you and I wouldn't be having this discussion if it were Palestine rather than Quebec that was the primary focus of the thread.

Quote:
Nationalism just leads to more capitalism.

Indeed it does! I've never done anything but agree with that sentiment. I just think it needs to be expanded a little:

"Nationalism just leads to more capitalism, but that capitalism will be closer to being overthrown after nationalism's end - national liberation - is achieved".

Phebus wrote:
The sentence just before reads: "Those on the left who believe that a sovereign Québec could follow a different path than the one traced by neoliberalism are greatly mistaken". I tough that it was preatty clear that we were talking about breaking free of neoliberalism. Apparently not.

Ah. I think I got it. The statement was in disagreement with the position that Quebec independence is a means of stemming the tide of neo-liberalism?

Quote:
Btw, Brazil and South Africa are not, and have not been occupied by foreing imperialist force for a long time.

And you'll notice that, compared to their neighbours, Brazil and South Africa are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of economic development (and are therefore closer to proletarian revolution).

If we use the five-world model (rather than the skewed and basically useless three-world model), the above fact is clear. SA is the only country in the southern half of Africa (if not the entire continent) which is classified as "third world", with the rest being fourth- and fifth-world.

Brazil is in a similar situation, with only Cuba (which is classified as second-world along with all the other socialist and former-socialist states, but should probably be classified as third-world - a problem with the three-world model that was retained in the five-world model), Mexico, and maybe Venezuela (if I remember correctly) are at the same level of economic development as is Brazil.

So, no, national liberation won't in itself make capitalism and neo-liberalism "go away", but it demonstrably brings those liberated nations closer to proletarian revolution.

Quote:
We argue that there's no need to link social revolution and independance.

And I argue that there is (namely that the former can't happen until the latter has been achieved), and my reasons have been outlined both in this post and earlier in the thread. I'd be happy to discuss those points and their validity (or, it might turn out, lack thereof) if you put forward some criticisms of them rather than simply re-stating that you don't agree.

Quote:
Furthermore, we argue that a focus on the national question have come in conflict with the social question.

Depends on what you mean by "focus". I don't think it's a good idea for anarchists to make independence a central focus of our work, there's a lot better things we could be doing. If that's what you mean by "focus", then we're in agreement.

But, even if you're not "focusing" on independence, do you support it (despite all its negative aspects?).

Quote:
We also say that in order to have a social revolution, we must beat nationalism.

True. But only once the progressive effects of that nationalism are exhausted (ie: when Quebec is an independent nation-state).

I see it as being akin to the old bourgeois revolutions in Europe. If all of today's anarchists were to wake up in France in 1789, I'd argue that we should fight for the overthrow of the nobility and the establishment of capitalism, but push that movement for capitalism to as radical a degree as we can. Why? Because it's the best we can do. Sure, the end result won't be what we want, but we'll be a whole lot closer than we were before.

I think the same position should be taken with the National Question. We should support the progressive effects of nationalism but fight against its reactionary aspects.

I think our differences on the subject result from one fundamental difference in position: I don't think proletarian revolution is possible in Quebec (or any other conquered nation which is a viable nation-state) until independence is won, and you think it is. That's the key issue in this discussion, I think.

Quote:
We say we dont oppose independance, we just say we're not gonna fight for it (and we're gonna fight against nationalism).

I don't think NEFAC's time and resources would be best spent campaigning for separatism, of course. But "not opposing" something isn't the same as supporting it, if only in writing. That's what I would like to see from NEFAC: public support for Quebec's independence and criticism of the reactionary effects that it may have.

So, the question still remains: Do you support independence?

Quote:
Will it bring us closer to proletarian revolution. Well, in traditional marxism, they say that you first need a bourgeois revolution before you have a proletarian revolution. Let's put aside the fact that anarchists have historicaly disagreed with this

Does that position apply even to societies without widespread industrialisation?

If so, then it is completely incorrect. In such a case, a bourgeois revolution absolutely must precede a proletarian revolution, because, without that bourgeois revolution (and the effects that it will eventually have on the means of production), the proletarian majority necessary for proletarian revolution simply won't exist, making proletarian revolution impossible.

Quote:
What we say is that the process wich the bourgeois revolution was suppose to bring about is over, our bourgeois revolution was the quiet revolution of the 1960's.

The thing with the Quiet Revolution was that it wasn't a "revolution" as such.

I think history will show that the QR was the beginning of the rise of the Quebecois bourgeoisie, the point at which Quebec became a viable nation-state, the signification that the bourgeoisie of Quebec had developed class-consciousness. A revolution is, by definition, though, the usurption of the rulership of one class by another. The Canadian state (and thus the Canadian ruling class) is still the sovereign of Quebec (though to a lesser degree), so the QR could not have been a bourgeois revolution. Until the Quebec state is "top dog" in Quebec, having both internal and external sovereignty (both of which it lacks to varying degrees), the bourgeois revolution in Quebec will not be complete.

I once read a storybook (with pictures and all) that was supposed to be a metaphor for Canada from the 60s to the 80s. It took place in a swamp (a swamp called Canada, no less). One of the many events that took place through the book was the growing trend of separationism among the frogs in the swamp (yes, you read that right, it was frogs roll eyes ). At first the beavers in the swamp (English Canada) scoffed and talked about how the frogs could never be separate from the beavers, since the beavers owned the dam and were the only ones who knew how to make dams. Eventually, though, the frogs built their own dam (ie: the Quiet revolution). They still didn't have sovereignty, though.

So, in Quebec, the dam is built and more can be made. The Quebec bourgeoisie is now "fit to rule", except that they don't. It will only be at that point when Quebec will have underwent a complete bourgeois revolution.

Quote:
There is a Quebec state and a Quebec based bourgeoisie.

Indeed, but that state and that bourgeoisie don't yet have full control over Quebec. A good deal of Quebec's internal sovereignty and all of its external sovereignty are under the control of the Canadian state. The Quebecois bourgeoisie doesn't fully rule yet.

Quote:
A "bourgeois revolution" --independance-- would not have a progressive role

I've already talked about how it would be progressive. Again, if you're interested in discussing those points, that's cool. I'd love to be proven wrong on this issue (hell, it's a lot less that needs to be done before we can have communism!), but simply re-stating that it isn't progressive wouldn't serve that end.

Quote:
it would just mean that we have one more full fledge nation state. It would bring nothing to us.

It would bring us (both in Quebec and in Canada) closer to the material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution.

That's definately something.

Quote:

We've also been asked wich side are we on. Well, we argue that there's nothing progressive in nationalism these day's, that it's a struggle between two factions of the bourgeoisie. We're not taking a side in this bourgeois quarrel. We say that we will respect the right to self determination of Quebec BUT that we dont take sides. We could also say that we take the working class side (wich we argued have no interest one way of the other).

But the working class does have an interest in independence: being closer to proletarian revolution. That's what's progressive about separation (not nationalism, but the effect of nationalism in this case). It's not simply a "bourgeois quarrel", it's a struggle between progression and reaction.

The struggle between the Canadian bourgeoisie and the Quebecois bourgeoisie isn't a struggle between two factions of the same body. It's not the same as if, say, Donald Trump and Sam Walton were fighting each other, because neither outcome would bring anybody closer to the material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution than the other outcome. That is just not the case with Quebec.

Quote:
These day's another argument is that in order to break free of neoliberalism, we need to become independant. That to have a real leftist politic, we need to control all of the tool's of the state. Well, in addition to disagreeing on the core of the issue (this is a statist and reformist position and we are anarchists after all) we also say that this does not make sense. No other state on earth have been able to break free of neoliberalism without breaking with capitalism.

Agreed. Expecting separation to bring Quebec "more left" politically, even if only in a bourgeois context, is a bad choice. That's not why I'm in favour of separation, though.

Quote:
So what is the position? Well it's a nuanced anti-nationalist position that take into account the history of Quebec. Is it equivocal? I dont think so.

Those are just adjectives describing the nature of the position, not a statement of the position.

The Question still remains: Does NEFAC support separation or does it not? Not "Does NEFAC support the right to self-determination" or "does NEFAC oppose nationalism's reactionary effects", but:

Does NEFAC Support Separation?

I eagerly await your reply.

Quote:
We argue that it's impossible to break with the P.Q. on a MASS SCALE without breaking with nationalism.

So then break with nationalism but support the progressive effects of that nationalism, while criticizing and fighting against the reactionary effects of nationalism. That's what I'd do.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Dec 31 2005 22:31

Alright, I finally have some time to read the "Should we support the Iraqi Resistance?" article and respond to it.

It's long and it gets a bit repetitive in places, but I think it's worth the time it'd take to read.

Quote:
This does not imply any hostility to the ranks of the U.S. military forces, mainly soldiers or Marines

This is the typical soft-liberal line regarding the war. The problem is that it doesn't do anything to further the cause of defeating American imperialism.

I want the troops to be demoralized, humiliated, and downtrodden. I want them to lose. Not out of personal contempt or some moralistic ntion that they "deserve to die", but because that will further the cause of victory over imperialism, which will in turn further our cause of proletarian revolution.

Quote:
After all, they did not decide to invade Iraq. It was not their choice

It was their choice to join, it was their choice to obey. The only troops I'm not hostile toward are the ones who desert or, better yet, shoot their officers!

I'm sure you're familiar with the Nuremberg principle. Obedience to orders is the equivalent of making the decision yourself.

Quote:
Probably most joined the military for economic reasons (the so-called poverty draft).

If they really didn't want to be part of US imperialism, they would have gotten a job at McDonald's.

It's not the most dignified job in the world, but it's leaps and bounds ahead of being the strong-arm of the most reactionary power in the world.

Quote:
Many do not support the war.

Then they should act against it.

Otherwise, it makes no objective difference.

Quote:
Of those in the Reserves or National Guard, almost none expected to be fighting in a foreign war

If you don't want to go to war, joining the armed forces in any capacity is a monumentally stupid move.

But sure, say they really didn't want to go to war, when shipped off, they still went and still shot their guns at Iraqis. If they're doing that, I really don't care whether or not they "expected" to (an incredibly unreasonable expectation, given the current political culture of the US over the last few years).

Quote:
Furthermore, if the U.S. is so defeated that it is unlikely to soon wage war on other countries, this would be in the interests of these and future U.S. military ranks who would otherwise be put in harm's way in such wars.

Well, I'm sure those class-traitors will think twice before shooting your commie head in. After all, you're "looking out for their safety" roll eyes

And besides, what do you think will be more likely to deter potential future wars: the US "cutting its losses" and pulling out now, or a humiliating defeat. If the imperialists can "save face" on this one, they'll be more able to convince the public to go to war again. If they straight-up get beaten, they'll be less able to go to war period, much less with the support of the public.

Quote:
Nor does this imply any political support for the leadership of the Iraqi resistance. Probably most of the fighters in the resistance (also called insurgents) are motivated by a just desire to get rid of foreign occupiers. The movement is heterogeneous. But their leadership seems to be mostly Islamicist authoritarians, who want to establish a theocratic dictatorship and are explicitly pro-capitalist.

Indeed they are.

But they are objectively anti-imperialist. That's why I support the resistance unambiguously. I'll still criticize the "unsavoury" aspects of it (religion, Ba'athism, etc), but support the resistance anyway.

Quote:
hey are in alliance with Ba'athists, supporters of pseudosocialist nationalist dictatorship. Both groupings are antiunion and antiworking class; the Islamicists are also viciously against rights for women. Both tendencies have much in common with fascism. Their methods include legitimate attacks on foreign troops and the forces of the puppet regime, but also terrorist attacks on Iraqi civilians. There would be no great advantage for the Iraqi people if such forces get to establish their state.

Yes there would: the end of foreign occupation!

And there'd be a great advantage to us too: the defeat of the imperialism of our domestic ruling class (and all the good effects that has).

Quote:
Our sympathies should be with those Iraqis who work to build labor unions, organizations of the unemployed, and women's organizations--working against both the U.S. occupation and the main leadership of the resistance.

Sure we should. But the problem is that those guys aren't as likely to win as the alleged "bad guys". So, then, when we stop thinking about the ideal and start thinking about the reasonably likely, we're left with one question:

Do you support the resistance or don't you?

Bush was right when he said that we're either with him or against him.

You should know what answering "no" to the above question objectively amounts to.

Progression is about comparison. Compared to fuedalism, capitalism is progressive. Compared to US occupation, victory for the fundamentalists is progressive.

And besides, do you really think those guys would be any worse than US imperial domination? Not likely.

Quote:
It is more difficult to fight against the ruling regime of our own society. But this is what most needs to be done.

Full agreement there. Aside from sending funds to insurgents or going over there and fighting alongside them, fighting "within the belly of the beast" is the only thing we can do to help the defeat of US imperialism. That should be the nature of our practice.

But, in word, should we support the resistance as a progressive opposition to US imperialism?

Quote:
The Iraqis are under the guns of the U.S. and its friends. They may chose to negotiate with the U.S. Many have chosen to participate in the governing structures set up by the U.S. military, including being part of the U.S.-managed elections. At least the ranks of these participants apparently thought that this was the best way to get rid of U.S. rule. As internationalists, U.S. militants may agree or disagree with such tactics. But in no way does this justify our letting up our complete opposition to U.S. intervention in Iraq. Whatever some Iraqis feel that they are forced to do, the movement inside the U.S. must insist that the U.S. get out of Iraq.

Very nice.

Quote:
Bring the Troops Home Now!

More on those poor, poor troops.

A better slogan would be "Victory for the insurgency!"

Why? It makes the soldiers feel bad. If they don't think the public supports them, they'll be more likely to mutiny or desert.

Quote:
That he was vigorously supported by people calling themselves revolutionary socialists and internationalists was also shameful.

And fucking how! The only thing more frustrating than so-called radicals who support those backstabbing assholes is trying to get the plastic wrap off a new CD.

Quote:
Our key slogan should be, “Bring the Troops Home Now!”

I disagree. It should be "Victory for the Resistance!" That message would do more to demoralize the troops, radicalize the anti-war movement (possibly making it anti-imperialist), and speed up the process of a US defeat in Iraq.

Your slogan smacks of implicit support for the troops themselves (strong-arms for imperialism and class traitors, if you ask me), which is a confusing message at best.

Quote:
This is similar to those in the movement against the Vietnam war in the sixties, who called for “Victory to the National Liberation Front!” (the so-called Vietcong) and waved NLF flags in antiwar demonstrations. In this part of my essay I will discuss the presentation of one version of this position.

I happen to think that those anti-war activists were spot-on with that message. It probably exacerbated the demoralization of the troops in Vietnam, which was a positive development.

Quote:
Of course, such slogans are not raised by the more moderate right wing of the movement, composed of liberals, social democrats, Stalinists from the tradition of the pro-USSR Communist Party, and moderate pacifists. This liberal sector aims to win over the Democratic Party and the union officialdom and therefore would not say anything that might upset these pro-imperialist forces

Those guys suck.

Quote:
Merely recognizing the right of the Iraqis to resist is not enough for him.

Or me.

If I'm watching the Stanley Cup, I don't "recognize the right of the Maple Leafs to try to win", I actively support victory for the Leafs.

Quote:
D’Amato says he is aware of “weaknesses and limitations of the Iraqi resistance” including “self-defeating and even reprehensible tactics used by some resistance groups....” But, he writes, “...One need not offer political support to the Iraqi resistance in order to support its main goal, driving the U.S. out of Iraq

Bang-on.

Quote:
“Americans have no right to make decisions about what kind of society the Iraqis will have--that decision should be up to the Iraqis themselves.”

More than that, any government the victorious Iraqis would set up would be much better than US imperialist domination.

Quote:
“We do not [have to] endorse specific resistance organizations.”) Interestingly, however, I never see these arguments applied to Afghanistan. I suppose that “Support the Taliban!” is too gruesome a slogan, considering the Taliban’s history. Yet the Taliban is genuinely resisting the U.S. occupiers and their puppet government. Isn’t it also fighting “a legitimate war of national liberation?” No doubt most of the Taliban ranks are motivated by a desire to throw out the occupiers of their country--as well as to oppress women with the most misogynist laws in the world. True, at one time the Taliban forces were allied with the U.S. against the Russian invasion, but this was also true of some of the Muslim authoritarians in Iraq--and the Ba’athists under Saddam Husein were allies of the U.S. against Iran. So why doesn’t the ISO and others call for “support the Taliban?”

There are probably a number of reasons for that.

First is propably pussilminity. Too much of the anti-war movement is too weak-kneed to come out and say "Yeah, these guys are, for all their shortcomings, historically progressive". That doesn't mean they shouldn't. If anybody asks me what I think of the Afghani resistance, I tell them I support it and why. If others don't do the same, that's their own mistake.

Second, there's a lot more emotional reaction to the war in Afghanistan, what with being more closely tied to 9/11. Would-be supporters of the Afghani resistance may shy away from it because of fear of being "socially unacceptable" or whatever. They *should* support the Afghani resistance, though.

Third, there's simply a lot more opposition to the war in Iraq than in Afghanistan. The ISO and others might see that they simply "can't afford" to take such a controversial stance. Again, just because they have that reason not to, doesn't mean that they shouldn't.

Or that we shouldn't.

Quote:
Why isn’t it enough to help the iraqis by calling for immediate

withdrawal of U.S. and all other troops?

I don't know about the D'Amato's position, but I know that mine is pretty

simple: It isn't enough to simply call for the withdrawl of the troops for three reasons. First is because that won't happen. The imperialists will have to be defeated, not begged into withdrawl. Second is that an uncompromisingly anti-soldier message will further the demoralization of the troopos and the polarization of the anti-war movement between "anti-war" and "anti-imperialist". Third is that "bring the troops home" provides an implicit support for imperialism "in some cases, just not this one".

Quote:
Wouldn’t U.S. withdrawal provide the Iraqis with all the national self-determination they need?

Yes it would, but simply saying "Bring those poor, poor troops home" doesn't make that end any closer (or at least not as close as a more solid pro-defeat message would).

This is clearly not a disagreement about "what we want" - an Iraq free of US imperialism - but how to get there.

Quote:
Why isn’t it enough to defend the right of Iraqis to resist the U.S. occupation, without endorsing “the” resistance?

Because it isn't as effective.

Quote:
And anyway, what does it mean to “support” the resistance?

Publically advocate their victory, essentially.

Instead of having a sign that says "Bring the troops home", have one that says "Victory for the Iraqi Resistence", and have literature that critically reflects that message.

Quote:
Should U.S. radicals go to Iraq to join resistance groups (which would promptly kill them for being irreligious socialists)?

If anybody were to do that, I'd do plenty to make the trip more viable for them. I doubt the resistance groups are so thoroughly stupid as to kill potential comrades-in-arms for something like religious or politcal differences. After all, Sunni resisters don't kill Shiite resisters. It'd be silly. They basically can't afford to do it.

Quote:
True, “Americans” should not “make decisions” about how Iraqis should live--but may U.S. militants have opinions “about what kind of society the Iraqis will have?” If not, then why should we have opinions about whether they should resist occupation? That is, after all, also an opinion “about what kind of society” they should have.

Since when can we "not have opinions"? We can advocate whatever we want, as long as we know that it's not our decision

Quote:
One topic that is rarely discussed by the pro-resistance left is the class orientation of the resistance. (I find it ironic that an anarchist should have to point this out to Marxists; but these days it is often anarchists who hold to Marx’s best insights.)

Oh, come on now. Sure, the resistance isn't proletarian. Of course it isn't. Iraq is... oh my god... fundamentally different in its class makeup than the advanced capitalist world. Proletarian revolution in Iraq is simply not possible. The material conditions necessary for proletarian revolution are simply not present, like it or not. One of the things that are required for proletarian revolution is the absence of a foreign dominator and a vigourous local bourgeoisie. That can't exist under US occupation. That, coupled with effect that Iraqi victory would have on the situation over here, is why I support the resistance.

Quote:
. It is also important to point out that this leadership is pro-capitalist, and that, if it wins it will establish an authoritarian capitalist state

...An authoritarian capitalist state which will, the author fails to notice, will be closer to proletarian revolution than if it were occupied.

Quote:
The jihadists have been open about being pro-capitalist and antiunion

And the coalition forces lie about it. What's your point?

Quote:
The victory of the armed resistance, as presently led, would settle a new capitalist state on top of the Iraqi working people. It would be a defeat for the Iraqi workers.

Are you fucking serious?!? You seriously, honestly think the resistance would be worse than occupation!?!?

You want to talk about shameful.

Quote:
pretty soon the new rulers of Iraq would establish a new relationship with U.S. and world imperialism,

That's a lot less likely than under occupation.

Quote:
It would not lead to the overthrow of imperialism for Iraqis or other oppressed nations.

I guess no national liberation struggle has ever led to the creation of an independent local bourgeoisie, eh?

Quote:
From a working class perspective, one needs to offer political opposition to the leadership of the Iraqi resistance.

Sure we do. That's not the same as not supporting the resistance, though.

Critical support. Maybe the author should get acquainted with the term.

Quote:
The jihadis, theocrats, semi-ex-Ba’athists, and Sunni supremacists are a pro-capitalist enemy of the Iraqi working class.

Less so than the coalition occupation, though.

That's the comparison that matters. If the IUU or whoever were powerful and violent enough to have a significant chance of taking power, that'd be great. But they aren't, so we have to take a side.

I side with the resistance. If you don't, you've practically supported the occupation. Not a very "anarchist" thing to do.

Quote:
They would settle a heavy yoke on the Iraqi workers and peasants

Compared to what occupation would do? Give me a break.

Quote:
While we should defend any Iraqis against the occupation, both groups of leaders, of would-be new rulers, should be politically opposed as enemies of the working class.

I don't know about anybody else, but I've heard about all I can stand of this "oppose the leaders" stuff. I mean, no shit we should oppose the leaders, but that's a total dodge! It doesn't answer the question: should we or should we not support the resistance?

It's a "yes or no" question. It would be nice if the author would try answering it instead of just dancing around.

Quote:
The only mention of working class interests in D’Amato’s article is a remark that working class struggle would help the national resistance. “No doubt, the best means to unite Iraqis into a strong, democratic national movement would be on a class basis....A unified national liberation movement in iraq that linked independence with a program of fundamental social change would tremendously strengthen the struggle....” That is, he does not claim that the national liberation struggle would be good for the workers--apparently he is not much interested in that--but that the workers’ organizing would be good for the national struggle.

We're lucky, then, that D'Amato doesn't have a monopoly on pro-resistance ideas.

Quote:
I believe that each struggle could help the other--although working class liberation is ultimately primary

The unfortunate fact of the matter, though, is that proletarian revolution simply isn't possible until capitalism is more fully developed in Iraq - something which will happen much more quickly (try period) and more "nicely" under even the most nasty of the resistance factions than under US occupation.

Quote:
But for the national movement to be re-organized “on a [working] class basis,” would require that the workers oppose and replace the current pro-capitalist leadership of the national movement. D’Amato does not say this.

I would be thrilled if this would happen, but it just plain won't. The Iraqi working class is just too "backward" to control their own destinies. It sucks, but it's reality.

Quote:
There has been some effort for people in the imperialist countries to give aid to the Iraqi workers. For example, U.S. Labor Against the War sponsored a tour of the U.S.A. by spokespeople for the two Iraqi union federations and the oil workers union, including a meeting with the head of the AFL-CIO. Expenses were paid for and funds were raised. There was some controversy about one of the federations, due to its leaders’ collaboration with the occupation authorities, but overall it was a practical example of internationalism.

As long as there's no friendliness with collaborators, I see absolutely no problem with that kind of activity. The issue isn't whether or not we should limit ourselves to exclusively supporting the armed resistance, though. It's [/b]whether or not we should support the resistance.[/b]

It'd be nice to hear the author's position.

Quote:
Union officials in Iraq have been persecuted by the occupation (which still carries out Saddam’s laws against unions in the state-owned oil industry),

So much for any notion that an independant Iraq, even if led by

Ba'athists, would be worse than occupation.

Even more reason to support the resistance.

Quote:
and also have been assaulted and murdered by resistance forces

The resistance is bound to have some (even a lot) of reactionary aspects - all of which should be bitterly opposed by progressives - but that doesn't change the fact that victory for the resistance is, compared to its alternative, historically progressive.

After all, do you expect occupation forces to be any better?

Quote:
In any case, this union leader, whatever his full politics, plans to use his union--its class power--to fight for Iraqi freedom.

More power to him.

Quote:
Yet many who have this position also support Democratic Party pro-imperialist politicians

How about a Straw Man?

Just because some people who support the resistance also support the Democrats doesn't mean the two go hand-in-hand or that anarchists are somehow barred from supporting the resistance.

Quote:
But in the past the leaders of the first coalition have endorsed Democrats. They invite them onto their antiwar platforms. They have recently called for lobbying Democrats. The ISO supported Nader in the last election, despite his pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist program, including gradually replacing U.S. troops in Iraq with U.N. troops

Fuck 'em all!

But that doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of resistance-supporters who don't support the Democrats or the Greens or the fact that we can support the resistance.

And this guy wants to talk about red herrings.

Quote:
It is relatively easy to take a radical-sounding position about the Iraqi resistance (which cannot be acted on), but it is much harder to take a truly radical position of complete opposition to all pro-imperialist politicians right here at home

But not impossible. Personally, I'm supportive of the resistance (in ways outlined earlier), and opposed to the whole noise of the electoral system and all the weasels who take part in it. There's no reason why the author or NEFAC could not do the same.

Quote:
All the major tendencies in the U.S. peace movement, including the liberals, the ANSWER Coalition, and such groups as the ISO, fail to draw a class line in the U.S. between the workers and the pro-capitalist politicians.

Then NEFAC should.

Quote:
So far I have discussed the need to be in total opposition to the U.S. aggression in Iraq, to hope for its defeat, to oppose all politicians who waffle on the war

...But not support the most important element of US defeat in Iraq.

Quote:
The idea of supporting the armed resistance is, as I have said, not about immediate action in the U.S. or other imperialist countries. There is no way we could implement it here, that is, beyond building a movement for immediate and complete military withdrawal, which does not depend on this slogan.

Saying "Bring the troops home" is in no way disheartening to the troops. It does nothing to demoralize them. It sends the message that the folks at home aren't "against them", just "against the war". So what? The troops already know that. If they find out that the public is actively in favour of their defeat, morale will take a much harder hit. If that happens, the chances of US defeat in Iraq (or better yet, mutiny!) increase, which is what we want.

Your slogan is in no way anti-soldier. That's the problem.

Quote:
Almost all of those who use the “support” slogan are Leninists of some sort or other, and probably most are some variant of Trotskyist (including, but not only, the ISO, which I have been quoting).

*Sigh.

Almost all of those who say 'Bring the troops home' are whiney liberal pricks. What's your point?

We can't judge a position based on "who else supports it", it absolutely must be evaluated by its own merit. Believe it or not, sometimes Leninists, for all their fuck-ups and shortcomings, get something right. It would be immensely stupid for us not to take a correct position just because "a bunch of Leninists share that position".

I really, honestly, cannot believe I'm having to respond to this stuff.

Quote:
Lenin was willing to turn the workers’ guns against Kornilov, in practical coordination with Kerensky’s government. But he did not want to call it “support,” not any kind of support.

That a situation wherein an imperialist force is being opposed by local resisters of "questionable" character is a radically different situation than the Russian revolution should be self-evident.

Quote:
Essentially the same approach was also raised by a revolutionary minority of anarchists, the Friends of Durruti Group. Fed up with the class compromises of the anarchist union leadership, they called for completing the revolution by overthrowing the republican capitalist state and replacing it with a national defense committee elected through the mass unions.

But, in the absence of an Iraqi "Friends of Durruti", who should we support?

The resistance, or the occupation?

Again, the author ignores the fact that the Spanish Civil War was just plain different than the Iraqi occupation. The FoD and CNT were just plain stronger than any similar element in Iraq today. Also, the material conditions for proletarian revolution were quite obviously more present in Spain than in today's Iraq. Proletarian revolution simply isn't an option.

Quote:
It was a difficult period to be a revolutionary libertarian-democratic socialist.

As though it was ever easy tongue

Quote:
regarded the Stalinist bureaucracy as a new ruling class.

We should never have any illusions regarding the nature and inevitable outcome of Leninist revolutions (relatively quick industrialization followed by an eventual emergence into modern capitalism, on a much more level playing field than before the revolution). That said, or rather because of that, we should support them in the Third World, as they are the most historically progressive of all the viable options.

Quote:
However, he made clear, “The victory of the NLF is a hard fact, but no one’s victory changes our political opinion of him. We remain revolutionary opponents of the NLF...and do not foster illusions....We combat glorification of the NLF.....” (same, p. 206) This is what it meant to Draper to give military but not political support, namely to “remain revolutionary opponents.”

I don't know about Draper specifically, but there were plenty of people in those days who advocated "Victory for the NLF". It's totally possible to advocate victory for a national liberation movement while not full-out supporting absolutely everything they stand for (ie: "critical support"). That's what I'd like to see with the Iraqi insurgency.

Quote:
There is no necessity whatsoever for us to align ourselves with any bureaucracy

It's here that I think Potter is mistaken. By not supporting victory for the insurgency, we are, in effect, giving political support to the occupation, as those are the only two viable outcomes of this conflict. It is a "for or against" situation. Bush wasn't lying.

Quote:
We do a positive disservice to the cause of socialism if we participate in the general mystification concerning the class nature of the Russian, Chinese, or North Vietnamese regimes

Indeed! That's not the issue, though. I'm fully aware of the nature of Leninist revolution, but I support those guys over imperialist occupation every day of the week. Why? They're the "best game in town".

Same goes for the Iraqi insurgency.

Quote:
Revolutionary socialists should clearly and constantly propagate their conception that socialism means the political, organizational, and ideological autonomy of the working class.

So, then, how's this for a strategy: we tell people, very clearly, "We support victory for [National Liberation Group A], and at the same time are well aware of their real nature. They aren't "socialists" and they won't bring about a classless society. We support them because they're miles ahead of imperialist occupation." That's the absolute best we can do.

Quote:
For example, another way to phrase it is to say that between the imperialist army and the nationalist-led forces, we should be on the side of (we defend) the nationalists, but between the nationalist-led forces and the workers, we are on the side of the workers.

How does that amount to "Bring the poor, poor class traitors home so we can give them a big hug" instead of "Victory for the Nationalist forces"?

The author seems to be forgetting that there isn't a huge workers' insurrection going on in Iraq like there was in Spain. If such a situation were to develop, everybody would have to re-evaluate (and, in my case, change) their position. It ain't so, though.

There's a difference between "what's desirable" and "what is" - a difference that sometimes appears to be lost on the author.

Quote:
The point is, it is possible to be in solidarity with oppressed people--to defend democrats against fascism or defend oppressed nations against imperialism--while being in revolutionary opposition to their leadership and their programs.

So, then, critical support.

There still hasn't been any rational justification for not flat-out advocating victory for the insurgents.

Quote:
This is the problem with the way this formula is used by the ISO and others. They use it as an excuse, a cover, not as an approach to revolutionary politics. First they propagate the slogan, “Support the resistance!” This is interpreted by almost everyone as meaning uncritical political support, being on the side of the feudalists, Sunni supremacists, theocrats, woman-haters, and union-busters

So then we can do it differently than the ISO. We can say "Victory for the Resistance", and, in publications, advocate victory for the insurgents (and clearly explain why) while in no uncertain terms go over exactly what we object to within the resistance and what we think should be done to remedy those problems.

Would that be so hard?

Quote:
But whenever this comes up, they respond, “Oh, we are not for ‘political support’ of the resistance leaders.” As I have quoted D’Amato.

Well bully-bully for D'Amato.

What are you going to do?

Quote:
They said that they were in revolutionary opposition to these enemies of the working class!

And as soon as a workers' resistance force comparable in size to the CNT or the Bolsheviks, I'll support them instead of the nationalists.

"Is" verses "I'd like to be". Again with the same problem.

Quote:
Which leads to my conclusion that we should defend the right of the Iraqis to resist the occupation, and say that the occupation should be defeated, but that we should not endorse any particular organization nor use the slogan of “Support the resistance.”

Why? Because the resistance isn't a bunch of perfect anarcho-communist supermen? When it comes to national liberation, you're never going to agree with everything the anti-occupationists are for. That doesn't deminish their historically progressive role in defeating imperialism.

And I don't think we should say "Support the Resistance", I think we should say "Victory for the Resistance".

Quote:
Historically, the attitude of anarchists toward national liberation movements has been ambiguous. There are aspects of the socialist anarchist program which have been interpreted as supportive of national self-determination and aspects which have been interpreted as opposed to national self-determination. I believe that anarchists have been correct to oppose nationalism as a political program, which includes the advocacy of new national states. But anarchists should be supportive of the MOTIVES which lead oppressed people toward nationalism, particularly the desire to oppose imperialism and oppression. And anarchists should support the right of nations to self-determination, which is NOT the same as supporting nationalism.

But it's the same old shit again! Dodging the real question.

Do you support national liberation?

Yes or no?

Not "do you support nationalism?" or any other silly side-issue (as though critical support is impossible).

Do you support national liberation?

Apparently, this is some kind of $64,000 question.

Quote:
The term national liberation implies more than this, an end to economic and political domination by imperialism--something which is not fully possible without the overthrow of world imperialism.

Immediately following the Cuban revolution, how much foreign economic imperialism was there? Sure, now things are going "back to normal", but all this is fully within the predictable nature of Leninism.

The same would happen in Iraq, should the nationalists win, but to a lesser degree. That Iraq's historical progression and economic

development would happen more quickly and more humanely with independence than under occupation should not be a question.

Quote:
But if national self-determination means the right to make a choice, then nationalism as such is a particular choice, the choice of a national state. It is possible to support the right of a people to make a choice without agreeing with the immediate choice they make.

More issue-dodging.

Do you support national liberation? Not "the right to self-determination". National liberation.

I still don't even know whether or not I agree or disagree with NEFAC's position on national liberation - it's just too damn hard to figure out where they stand! You'd think they have workshops on dancing around issues.

Quote:
National liberation must be differentiated from nationalism

The former is the effect, the latter is one of the causes.

Quote:
which is the class program of the bourgeoisie

The local bourgeoisie, who have a progressive role to play (I talked to a relatively lengthy degree about this progressive role in some earlier posts with regards to the Quebecois bourgeoisie. The same applies to an even greater degree in Palestine, Iraq, or any other Third- Fourth- or Fifth-world nations).

Quote:
Nationalism is a political program. It says that the working class and poor people of a country have more in common with their capitalist rulers than they do with the workers and poor of other countries. Patriotic nationalism denies that workers of one country have common interests with the workers and oppressed of all countries against the rulers of the world. Similarly it denies, or at least downplays, the existence of other, nonclass, forms of oppression, such as the oppression of women, within the nation.

All of those are true, and should all be fought against by anarchists, including (if not especially) those who support struggles for national liberation. The positive effects of nationalism, though, remain unmentioned (another sign of the author's lack of objectivity in approaching the issue). The effect of nationalism in oppressed nations, national liberation, results in the foreign ruling class and their local collaborators being kicked out (or shot) as well as a quicker and more well-rounded development of the economy, which brings that nation closer to proletarian revolution. Yes, it does bring with it some "bad" things, but, all things said and done, it is progressive.

Quote:
The Kurds have long been oppressed by the Iraqi state, for example.

That they have. I'd support a Kurdish movement for national independence, unlike the author (or maybe he would? I still have no idea).

Quote:
Throughout the world, the First Nations (so-called primitive peoples) have been trampled on by established nations, including formerly oppressed “Third World” nations (the First Nations have sometimes been called the “Fourth World”).

Yes, First Nations definately are oppressed nations in their own right. I therefore, because of its historically progressive effect, support struggles for First Nations' liberation, while attacking all the reactionary elements involved in it (the ridiculous Aboriginal mysticist garbage or romanticization of all aspects of First Nations life before colonization, with its potential as a springboard for primitivism).

Tell me, was the Oka standoff a good thing?

Quote:
Nationalism has justified this oppression due to its idealization of the unified nation.

And it has also freed nations from the yoke of imperialist oppression.

Also, you have to remember that women, minorities, and others would still be oppressed if nationalism didn't exist. The only difference is that it would probably be worse and would last longer.

You gotta remember both sides of the issue.

Quote:
In theory, there could be an antiauthoritarian nationalism, one which advocates a nation organized into a federation of self-governing industries and communes

Not if you have decent theory, no. Nations dominated by imperialism are, for the most part, undeveloped economically. It is therefore impossible for some classless society of self-governing industrial councils. The material conditions just aren't there. It's unfortunate, but it's what we have to work with.

Quote:
The Iraqi resistance is presently fighting to create a new, capitalist, Iraqi state

And?

Quote:
Nations have generally been formed around states. These states exist to serve the interests of the national capitalists against other national capitalists and against their own working people.

That's true, but there's no other option, really. Like it or not, that's the reality of the situation.

Quote:
As a program, nationalism has not been very effective. While most countries have won their own national states, most of them remain poor and oppressed.

Compared to the nations that don't get rid of imperial domination?

Quit being silly.

Quote:
Imperialist colonialism, which denied self-determination to most countries, has been replaced by imperialist neocolonialism. So-called Third World countries mostly have their own states, but they are poverty-stricken and subordinated to the world economy, which is dominated by corporations of the U.S. and other imperialist powers.

Hey, just like Iraq currently has its own "state", or Nepal, or the Phillipines, or Colombia, or Peru, but there are naitonal liberation movements in those places. People get what you're saying and fight against it.

I hope you'll pardon them if getting what they want isn't always "nice".

Quote:
Political independence has been achieved, but economic independence has not. Real national liberation has not arrived--and cannot be achieved without international socialist-anarchist revolution.

Are you serious? Cuba didn't achieve independence from US economic imperialism?

This is getting ridiculous. I'm having a hard time figuring out whether or not the author even believes the stuff he's saying.

Quote:
Anarchists oppose the program of establishing new states; we aim to smash existing states.

It's nonsense statements like those that make me not want to call myself an anarchist.

Anarchists should recognize that proletarian revolution isn't always possible "tomorrow" in every place in the world, that material conditions have to be right. One of those conditions is freedom from imperialist domination, both political and economic. Another is that an advanced capitalist economy be present. Neither of those exist in the "Third world" (and the latter may not in the First, for all we know). We should therefore support anything that gets a place closer to those material conditions.

Like national liberation movements.

Quote:
Anarchists oppose all forms of oppression and encourage oppressed groupings within nations to assert themselves. As decentralists and pluralists, anarchists oppose the suppression of “minority” cultures, races, and peoples by unified national cultures.

And for all those nice words, we still have no idea whether or not the author supports struggles for national liberation.

Quote:
Anarchists demand the liberation of all existing colonies and support struggles for national independence in Africa and around the world as long as they express the will of the people in the nations concerned

Nice.

Quote:
However, anarchists also insist that the usefulness of ‘self-determination’ will be very limited as long [as] the state system and capitalism--including Marxist state capitalism--are retained....

Even ignoring the typical slander against Marx (thoguh Leninists are more to blame for this than anarchists), this just begs an important few question. What does Igariwey mean by "usefulness"?

Quote:
A viable solution to the myriad of problems posed by the national question in Africa, such as internecine civil conflicts, is realizable only outside the context of the state system.

Unfortunately, this is not possible given Africa's current level of economic development.

As a white guy living in North America, with all the limitations inherent in that perspective, I think the absolute best possible course for Africa to take would be the kicking out of all foreign imperialists by national liberation movements (led, yes, by the local ruling classes), with strong proletarian elements to combat the reactionary currents within those movements and to fight to make the development of capitalism in Africa as beneficial and empowering for the working class as possible.

It will take a long time, yes. It won't be fun. But, unfortunately, that's class society. Proper material conditions are an absolute necessity for working class control, and in Africa, they appear to be a long way away. Not because "they're African", but largely because of foreign imperialism and its effects.

Quote:
Anarchists are decentralists, or rather, believers in a decentralized federalism. We advocate a socialist society of collective communities, cooperative associations, and directly-democratic workplaces, self-managed by face-to-face, assemblies. We believe that such assemblies should be associated together in voluntary federations, from the region, to the nation, to the continent, to the world. This includes the right of the lower levels of the federation to secede.

This programme is only practicible in societies with an advanced capitalist level of economic development. It simply does nothing for anybody else. What, then, should anarchists have to say about the rest of the world? You know what I think.

Quote:
He argued that workers of oppressed nations would not trust the working class of their imperialist oppressors, unless the latter were willing to give up their national privileges and support the oppressed nation in its right to self-determination.

Wow. Good point, Vlad. I hadn't thought of that one.

Quote:
He declared, “We do not advocate preserving small nations at all costs; other conditions being equal, we are decidedly for centralization and are opposed to the petty-bourgeois ideal of federal relationships.”

Well, this is where Vlad and I disagree.

Quote:
Kropotkin, for example, was not only opposed to capitalism but to the domination of any nation by another. He wrote, “True internationalism will never be attained except by the independence of each nationality, little or large, compact or disunited--just as [the essence of] anarchy is in the independence of each individual. If we say, no government of man over man [Note], how can [we] permit the government of conquered nationalities by the conquering nationalities?” (quoted in Miller, Kropotkin, 1976, p. 231).

He may have been on to something.

Quote:
The nationalism of the oppressor countries is wholly reactionary

Oh hell ya. No disagreement here.

Quote:
The nationalism of the oppressed nations contains, however distorted, a positive aspect, namely opposition to imperialist oppression. This does not mean that anarchists should accept nationalism--nationalism meaning the program for a national state. But we should be in solidarity with the desire of the oppressed people to expel occupiers and to decide their own fate. Anything else is a capitulation to the nationalism of the imperialist state.

So, then, should we support national liberation struggles? I hope that somewhere in that paragraph is a "yes".

Quote:
They are, we say, making an error, but they should have the RIGHT to make that error.

This is where we disagree again. I don't think they're making an error. I think it (national liberation, even if there are negative aspects of that movement such as nationalism or even Islamic fundamentalism) is absolutely necessary. It's more than a "right". It's a historical inevitability and necessity.

Quote:
demonstrating in practice that libertarian socialism is the best program for ending imperialist domination.

I don't think it is, and we'd just be lying to people if we told them that (and impeding them in their struggle for liberation). We should do our best to point out the inevitable outcome of their approach, be it Maoist, capitalist, or otherwise, and we should support them by actively fighting against the imperialism of our own ruling class.

In the future, when places like Iraq or Palestine are up to the same level of economic and social development as we are now, a good number of workers may come across a website where it is mentioned that anarcho-communists played a big role in fighting US imperialism, which in turn played a big role in independence for their countries. This may open them up to our ideas - but not on a large scale for a long while.

Quote:
Anything else is a capitulation to the nationalism of the imperialist countries. However, this does not necessarily mean endorsing any particular organization. It does mean building the biggest, strongest, most militant movement we can which demands “U.S. and U.K. Out of Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!”

Well, we don't have to endorse any specific group. We can simply shout for "Victory for the Resistance". I think that's much more progressive and effective than "bring the troops home".

Quote:
We should have a defeatist attitude toward the U.S., but not toward the Iraqis. For this reason, I think that it is misleading to use the common anarchist slogan, “War Between Classes, Not Between Nations!” or similar slogans. While abstractly correct, it implies an equivalence between the Iraqi nation and the U.S. which does not exist. The slogan appears to deny the difference between imperialist and oppressed nations and to refuse to be on the side of the oppressed.

Good insight.

Quote:
we should argue that only an internationalist anarchist perspective would lead to real national liberation.

No we shouldn't, because it isn't true.

Quote:
This does not require us to endorse the slogan, “Support the resistance!” We should not use slogans which imply that we are in political agreement with reactionary nationalists.

So then we should encourage victory for the resistance while being sharply critical of those aspects of the resistance which we don't agree with (like Sunni chauvanism, sexism, Islamic fundamentalism, etc).

Quote:
Winning an independent Iraqi state, with a national ruling class and a capitalist (even state-capitalist) economy may have some benefits, but it will not really solve the problems of the Iraqi workers and peasants

If by "the problems" you mean all the things that make living in a class society shitty, then no, it won't solve all their problems.

What it will do, though, is bring them closer to [/b]being able to solve those problems period.[/b] And it's the only way it can happen. Some options are better than others (personally, I'd rather see a Maoist state-capitalist government than a local market capitalist one, as the former would modernize the economy much more quickly, be a lot harsher on religion, sexism, and the sort, and would likely result in a lot less total human suffering than the latter), but the anarchist option simply isn't viable for Iraq right now.

Quote:
Only an international proletarian revolution will do that--one based on the autonomous action of the workers and peasants of the world.

I sure hope the author doesn't mean to suggest that the workers of France and Mali are going to overthrow capitalism at the same time!

Do you have any idea how long we would have to wait if that were the case!?!?

Quote:
Anarchists are openly in revolutionary opposition to that leadership and its program. We are closest to those Iraqis who are building unions, organizations of the unemployed, women’s organizations, and secular democratic student associations, what has been called the “civil resistance.”

And we should encourage those groups to get their hands on some AK's and start kicking imperialist ass!

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Jan 1 2006 20:44

Look ostie. There are lots of things that might or might not happen if Quebec gained it's independence. It might mean that all sorts of investment pulls out of quebec, and the economy bottoms out which triggers some kind of anti-capitalist movement. It might mean that the economy gets fucked and working class quebecois don't have any time to organize cause they're spending it all working. It might mean that anglos are afraid of Quebec and move out, which might lower the rent. It might just mean that there's a new border to get cought trying to cross. We can't say independence would put anti-capitalist struggles in any better (or worse) position. Just the same way we can't say economic upturns or downturns or development do.

Your argument seems to me to be roughly equivalent to the people who say we should vote Democrat in the US, because when the Democrats are in power, at least they can't act as opposition, and people can't say to themselves, "We'll just wait four years for the Republicans to get out." There will always be excuses--even "plausible" ones.

I agree with you on one thing. You're either for national liberation or against it. I'm against it. But I disagree that there's an important distinction between national liberation and any other kind of nationalism. Nationalism often tries to portray "our nation" as historically wronged or oppressed by other nations. Musollini said that Italy was a "proletarian nation". Hitler talked about the wrongs forced on germany after WWI. Zionism was a national liberation movement of sorts.

Nationalism is a bourgeois ideology and movement that offers us nothing.

(And of course I don't mean that I'm for imperialism by being against national liberation. But it is essential to an anti-capitalist perspective to be able to be against imperialism without letting anti-imperialism become your perspective. Like we're against racism, fascism or sexism, but we're not anti-racists, anti-sexists or anti-fascists.)

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 2 2006 22:02
Quote:
There are lots of things that might or might not happen if Quebec gained it's independence. It might mean that all sorts of investment pulls out of quebec, and the economy bottoms out which triggers some kind of anti-capitalist movement. It might mean that the economy gets fucked and working class quebecois don't have any time to organize cause they're spending it all working. It might mean that anglos are afraid of Quebec and move out, which might lower the rent. It might just mean that there's a new border to get cought trying to cross. We can't say independence would put anti-capitalist struggles in any better (or worse) position. Just the same way we can't say economic upturns or downturns or development do.

I don't think class stuggle in Quebec would be advanced because of any of those factors. I already explained why Quebec would be closer to proletarian revolution if independence were gained, and if you'd care to read it I'd be more than happy to respond to whatever you have to say about it.

Quote:
Your argument seems to me to be roughly equivalent to the people who say we should vote Democrat in the US, because when the Democrats are in power, at least they can't act as opposition, and people can't say to themselves, "We'll just wait four years for the Republicans to get out." There will always be excuses--even "plausible" ones.

Not quite. Whether the democrats or republicans are in office, the same class (the American bourgeoisie) holds power in America.

If Quebec is part of Canada (ie: dominated by Canadian imperialism), the Canadian bourgeoisie is still in power over Quebec's bourgeoisie. The domestic bourgeoisie would be in power after separation - a different body altogether.

You still havn't replied to my claim regarding why proletarian revolution isn't possible in a nation dominated by foreign imperialism - the big idea behind this whole thing.

Quote:
Nationalism often tries to portray "our nation" as historically wronged or oppressed by other nations.

And if that's true?

Quebec has been oppressd by Canada, and has been since the Conquest.

Quote:
Musollini said that Italy was a "proletarian nation".
Quote:

So what?

What does "proletarian nation" even mean?

Besides, Moussolini said a lot of things. He could easily have been wrong or lying.

Quote:
Hitler talked about the wrongs forced on germany after WWI.

Germany was "wronged" after WWI.

Germany wasn't a conquerred nation, though.

Quote:
Zionism was a national liberation movement of sorts.
Quote:

Not really. Israel wasn't, before WWII, a viable nation-state. It had to be carved out (by western imperialists, for western imperialists) at the expense of the Palestinian nation.

Quebec, on the other hand, is a viable nation-state.

The two situations are incompatable.

Quote:
Nationalism is a bourgeois ideology and movement that offers us nothing.

Except, uh, all the stuff I've already mentioned in this thread roll eyes

Quote:
And of course I don't mean that I'm for imperialism by being against national liberation.

The two are, in practical terms, inseperable. By being against national liberation, you're siding with the imperialists.

Quote:
But it is essential to an anti-capitalist perspective to be able to be against imperialism without letting anti-imperialism become your perspective

Anti-imperialism (including critical support for national liberation) is an integral part of any effective anti-capitalist perspective.

Otherwise, you'll just be yelling "Proletarian revolution" in conquerred third-world nations - a massive waste of time.

Quote:
Like we're against racism, fascism or sexism, but we're not anti-racists, anti-sexists or anti-fascists

We are if we're worth our salt.

We're not exclusively anti-racist or anti-sexist, but we absolutely must be those things, just as we must be active and effective anti-imperialists.

Effectiveness includes support in word and deed for national liberation movements.

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Jan 3 2006 09:19

I agree that whether the Democrats and the Republicans are in power the same class is ruling (the bourgeoisie). But they don't represent the exact same bourgeois. The Republicans tend to be more tied to energy companies while the Democrats tend to have more links to pharmaceuticals for example. This is not that different from being dominated by a Quebecois or a Canadian bourgeois. They don't have all the same interests, but are both from the same class. Being ruled by someone who speaks the same language as you doesn't put an anti-capitalist movement in any better position than being ruled by someone who doesn't?

I do think that proletarian revolution is possible in the "third world" and in "oppressed nations". But I think that's because the whole framework of "oppressed nations" ("proletarian nations") and "third world" is not very accurate. Every country in the world has rich and poor. Whether the local bourgeois are powerful internationally or weak internationally the possibility of the proles from that country revolting is there. When they revolt they will have to fight both the local and the international bourgeois. Anti-imperialism (which is to say support for national liberation) is an alliance between the proles and the local bourgeoisie, and has nothing to do with getting rid of capitalism. Look at the revolts that happened in the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq after the first gulf war. Proletarian revolts that were against the Baathists, the US invasion and also fought against the Kurdish nationalists.

Communist revolution will destroy imperialism, but not because it has anything in common with national liberation.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 5 2006 17:10
i'd rather be drinking wrote:
I agree that whether the Democrats and the Republicans are in power the same class is ruling (the bourgeoisie). But they don't represent the exact same bourgeois. The Republicans tend to be more tied to energy companies while the Democrats tend to have more links to pharmaceuticals for example.

They're both part of the same class, though.

It's not so with Quebec's bourgeoisie and Canada's.

Quote:
They don't have all the same interests, but are both from the same class. Being ruled by someone who speaks the same language as you doesn't put an anti-capitalist movement in any better position than being ruled by someone who doesn't?

It's not about them "speaking the same language", it's about nationality.

But that aside, I already explained how the proletarian revolution would be closer in both Quebec and Canada if Quebec were to separate. You have yet to speak to the points I brought up.

Quote:
Every country in the world has rich and poor. Whether the local bourgeois are powerful internationally or weak internationally the possibility of the proles from that country revolting is there.

It's not simply a matter of the local bourgeoisie "not being strong internationally", it's about them not being the ruling class at all.

Proletarian revolution doesn't just happen whenever it wants to, the material conditions for revolution have to exist. One of those conditions, I think, is internal and external sovereignty on the part of the local bourgeoisie. This does not exist in Quebec, so it would therefore be beneficial to have that be the case.

Quote:
hen they revolt they will have to fight both the local and the international bourgeois. Anti-imperialism (which is to say support for national liberation) is an alliance between the proles and the local bourgeoisie, and has nothing to do with getting rid of capitalism

If you assert it again and again, it must be true.

Quote:
Look at the revolts that happened in the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq after the first gulf war. Proletarian revolts that were against the Baathists, the US invasion and also fought against the Kurdish nationalists.

I havn't heard anything of the proletarian nature of the Kurdish revolts. Do you have a link or something going into a bit more detail?

Quote:
Communist revolution will destroy imperialism, but not because it has anything in common with national liberation.

I don't think communist revolution is possible until national liberation wins some serious victories over imperialist nations.

Revol68 wrote:
sorry but the very notion that Quebec is oppressed anymore than anyother part of Canada is just fucking nonsense

Except that it:

1)Is a nation, unlike New Brunswick or Saskatchewan; and

2)Does not have full internal or any external sovereignty.

Quote:
I mean what a nerve whinging about apparent Canadian imperialism, I mean why not take it further and destroy Quebec itself I mean the French speakers didn't exactly get there vis a vis cultural exchange trips with the natives.

And I support the First Nations fighting for independence as well. The only reason they havn't been mentioned much this thread is that the topic is the Quebec Naitonal Question. If there were a thread on First Nations' independence movements, I'd be there giving them the same support.

Quote:
As far as i'm aware Quebec is lot better off than some other parts of canada, it isn't a wasteland of shanty towns, a site of cheap labour and raw material nor excluded from ciruits of capital.

Red Herring. That has nothing to do with the fact that Quebec is a nation and is dominated by an imperialist power.

Quote:
The only Quebec canadian I met who wanted independence was a lil sub cultural prick who banged on about the 'masses' and pop music and went bananas when I mentioned that the Ramones where perhaps the pinnacle of pop.

Another red herring. Just because the only separatist you know was a tool doesn't mean that separatism isn't progressive.

Quote:
All the others I've met have been of the opinion that it's a useless distraction meant to only further divide working class people and to fill in the real class fractures in Quebec and Canada in general.

And I would disagree with them.

Would you care to actually discuss anything, or would you rather just fling around anecdotal evidence and irrelivant points?

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Jan 5 2006 20:13

I went back and reread all your responses Sti. There seem to be 2 arguments you have for supporting nationalism. One, it would solve "the national question" in Quebec, which I have already argued against. I don't think solving this puts anti-capitalist struggles in a better or worse position. You just exchange one kind of boss for another. And in Quebec's case, you can't even argue that there is no native ruling class. There are plenty of PQ or Quebecois Liberals who fuck over the Quebecois working class, whether or not they have their own state, or do it as part of a provincial government. Quebec and Canadian bourgeoisie are the same class. In fact, as I understand it, most big Quebecois companies don't support separatism. They don't want to cause problems for business with English Canada. The backbone of separatism seems to be the bureaucracies in the unions, community groups and the PQ (a rather large, but entirely reactionary force).

The only other argument I found that you have for nationalism is that it would weaken Canada and Canadian imperialism. It would definitely weaken Canada, but it would strengthen Quebec. Instead of one state, you'd have 2. Whereas the Canadian government wouldn't be as able to project it's power into Quebec, the people of Quebec would be directly under the power of a Quebecois government. Who knows what kinds of anti-Quebec, Canadian nationalism could be whipped up during this process. I honestly don't think it would put anti-capitalist struggles in a better or a worse position. What would be worse, is if "anti-capitalists" started supporting nationalism (i.e. Quebecois capitalism).

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Jan 5 2006 20:59

i'm going to montreal this weekend, will bring back the answer to all these issues.

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 6 2006 17:59
Quote:
if you would care to define a nation and what gives it some sort of given rigth exist and have it's own polity I will surely engage in debate.

Nation: A people whose collective identity is based on common descent, language, religion, sense of history, customs and traditions, who usually (but do not always) inhabit a specific territory.

That's from my polisci textbook and is pretty much the best definition I could find.

It doesn't have a "right" to exist - but this isn't about what's right! This is about what's historically progressive.

Quote:
. One, it would solve "the national question" in Quebec, which I have already argued against.

And I argued against your arguments. I'm still waiting for a reply.

Quote:
I don't think solving this puts anti-capitalist struggles in a better or worse position. You just exchange one kind of boss for another

That's not why I'm saying it would bring Quebec closer to proletarian revolution (ie: "help the anti-capitalist struggle"). I don't have any illusions about the Quebecois bourgeoisie - they probably won't be any nicer or easier to fight against than the Canadian bourgeoisie. But, so long as a foreign bourgeoisie controls a nation, the local would-be-rulers will have a progressive role to play in overthrowing those imperialists. With only two classes remaining - the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, a classless society is the expected result of any future revolutions in that nation.

And of course is replaces one boss with another! The bourgeois revolutions against fuedalism did too. Would you have been against those?

Quote:
. And in Quebec's case, you can't even argue that there is no native ruling class. There are plenty of PQ or Quebecois Liberals who fuck over the Quebecois working class, whether or not they have their own state, or do it as part of a provincial government.

If they don't have their own state, don't have full internal sovereignty, and have no external sovereignty, they aren't really ruling, now, are they?

Rather, there is another ruling class in Quebec, the Canadian bourgeoisie. They control part of Quebec's internal affairs and all of its external. When all is boiled down, the Canadian bourgeoisie control the legal violence. They're the ones who, if they really wanted, could send in the armed forces and control things. Quebec's state (currently controlled by quislings for the Canadian bourgeoisie) has what, a police force?

Quote:
Quebec and Canadian bourgeoisie are the same class.

Since one is dominating the other in an international occupation, such is obviously not the case.

They're separate bodies with interests which are at times overlapping but at others are opposed. It is this opposition of interests which proves that the Quebecois bourgeoisie (or the bourgeoisie of any conquerred nation) are a separate class to themselves.

Quote:
In fact, as I understand it, most big Quebecois companies don't support separatism

Well bully-bully for most big Quebecois companies.

That doesn't mean they're part of the Canadian ruling class.

Quote:
They don't want to cause problems for business with English Canada.

So then they're against it because they don't think they're strong enough to manage on their own, not because they are fundamentally united with the Canadian bourgeoisie.

Quote:
Canada. The backbone of separatism seems to be the bureaucracies in the unions, community groups and the PQ (a rather large, but entirely reactionary force).

There may be some highly reactionary things about those groups, but, when it comes to separation, their position is progressive.

Quote:
It would definitely weaken Canada, but it would strengthen Quebec. Instead of one state, you'd have 2

Yes. And then Canada's bourgeoisie would be weakened and defeated, hence easier to fight.

It's not like "more state" is being created, there's still the same amount of government, it's just broken up into more than one piece - more than one group controls it.

Quote:
Whereas the Canadian government wouldn't be as able to project it's power into Quebec, the people of Quebec would be directly under the power of a Quebecois government.

That it would. What's your point?

Quote:
Who knows what kinds of anti-Quebec, Canadian nationalism could be whipped up during this process.

So, you mean, Canada might fight to keep its colonial possession?

What a shocker!

That means Quebec would have to fight for its independence. It's called a bourgeois "revolution" for a reason.

Even the current Governor-General knows that.

Quote:
I honestly don't think it would put anti-capitalist struggles in a better or a worse position. What would be worse, is if "anti-capitalists" started supporting nationalism (i.e. Quebecois capitalism).

I've already said a dozen times in this thread that we should fight against the reactionary elements involved (of which nationalism is very significant), so I agree with you on that.

But that isn't a reason to abandon separatism on the whole.

magnifico
Offline
Joined: 29-11-05
Jan 6 2006 18:25
Quote:
Rather, there is another ruling class in Quebec, the Canadian bourgeoisie. They control part of Quebec's internal affairs and all of its external. When all is boiled down, the Canadian bourgeoisie control the legal violence. They're the ones who, if they really wanted, could send in the armed forces and control things. Quebec's state (currently controlled by quislings for the Canadian bourgeoisie) has what, a police force?

Surely the central government has exactly this same relationship with other regions of canada. why would it be progressive for quebec to be independent but not other regions? because their ancestors came from a slightly different part of europe hundreds of years ago?

actually, you're right. i've now decided to throw all my energies into the popular front for the liberation of northamptonshire. once we have overthrown the colonialist british government and their quisling rulers-by-proxy in the county council and replaced them with a native northamptonshireish bourgeoisie it will become clear to all that the next step is revolution. historically progressive my arse roll eyes

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Jan 6 2006 19:36
STI wrote:
i'd rather be drinking wrote:
I agree that whether the Democrats and the Republicans are in power the same class is ruling (the bourgeoisie). But they don't represent the exact same bourgeois. The Republicans tend to be more tied to energy companies while the Democrats tend to have more links to pharmaceuticals for example.

They're both part of the same class, though.

It's not so with Quebec's bourgeoisie and Canada's.

[Apparently you're thinking of joining NEFAC, so i hope you take my criticism in a comradely way.]

I recognize the words you're using - but any attempt to make sense of them meets with failure.

face it - you have a reactionary position that leads to class collaboration. You've openly said that you think the Taliban driving out the U.S. would be historically progressive.

The ICC is a least right about one thing: anti-imperialism is a dead-end ideolgy for the proletariat.

In the name of anti-fascism, and anti-racism, you're saying that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan can't make social revolution and should accept the Taliban and Ba'ath as their overlords.

In addition, the idea that urban, industrial proletariat are the only ones capable of making social revolution is clearly ridiculous - explain the revolutions in Russia and the Ukraine, Spain, Korea, Mexico, and the rest.

Your politics are as "lib-left" as those of the workers' world party, who supported martial law in poland and the tiananmen square massacre because they thought that the Chinese and Russian sections of the bourgeoisie (though they may not have been willing to own up to the fact that that's what they were) needed to become powerful enough to rival the western section of the bourgeoisie.

Pragmatism is a dangerous road. To paraphrase what you've said, you advocate supporting the resistance group which has the highest capability to take power, even if "critically", rather than an actual revolutionary organization which is weaker. You've even said that the Taliban should retake Afghanistan; the fact is, the leadership of the taliban, along with las FARC in colombia, the Ba'ath party in Iraq, Fatah and Hamas and any of their equivalents should be shot as the capitalists that they are, by the working class in those countries (and especially women workers in the case of the taliban and Hamas).

As for your comment about only leninism being able to overthrow neo-colonialism, who do you think agreed to it in the first place? The history of Africa and Asia are most illuminating on this point.

As the ICC points out, "Every state is an imperialist one." (Though they think this holds true only since 1914 - i'm undecided on that point). Regardless, to me the concept of an anti-imperialist state is as ridiculous as the concept of an anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-fascist, or anti-capitalist one, but you seem to think that these entities can exist; please explain.

Red and Black regards

OliverTwister

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Jan 6 2006 19:49

Hi

Quote:
anti-imperialist state

We've been here before. Whilst Iceland can hardly be described as anti-imperialist, are you saying that it is imperialist? I've seen Internationalists argue that Norway is full of latent expansionist potential.

Love

LR

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 7 2006 22:58
magnifico wrote:
why would it be progressive for quebec to be independent but not other regions?

If somebody starts up a Manatoban Separatist Movement, I'd support it - I just don't expect it to happen. The reason I don't spend any time arguing in favour of Manatoban independence is because it isn't really an issue right now. If it ever were, that'd be different.

Quote:
actually, you're right. i've now decided to throw all my energies into the popular front for the liberation of northamptonshire.

And you'll have my support.

Quote:
historically progressive my arse

I think we can write off your entire post as a complete waste of time.

OliverTwister wrote:
face it - you have a reactionary position that leads to class collaboration.

When the peasants and artisans fought with the merchants against the nobility, you would have called that "class collaboration" too. It was still historically progressive, though.

What makes class collaboration in an imperialist society different from that in a conquerred nation is that there are only two classes in the former, but three - the working class, the local bourgeoisie, and the imperial rulers - in the latter.

Quote:
You've openly said that you think the Taliban driving out the U.S. would be historically progressive.

Compared to imperialist occupation, yes.

And I explained why, at that. I have yet to see that explaination attacked, much less effectively.

I'd be happy to discuss those reasons, should anybody criticise them.

Quote:

The ICC is a least right about one thing: anti-imperialism is a dead-end ideolgy for the proletariat.

As an end to itself, I agree. Anti-imperialism must be a (though certainly not the only) means to the end of proletarian revolution.

Quote:
you're saying that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan can't make social revolution

That's indeed what I'm saying. Would you care to argue against it?

Quote:
should accept the Taliban and Ba'ath as their overlords.

Straw man.

I said that we should fight against reactionary currents within national liberation movements before and after independence is won.

But if the Taliban or the Ba'athists are the only ones practically capable of taking power from the occupatying forces, better them than nobody.

Quote:
n addition, the idea that urban, industrial proletariat are the only ones capable of making social revolution is clearly ridiculous - explain the revolutions in Russia and the Ukraine, Spain, Korea, Mexico, and the rest.

"Social revolution" is one hella-ambiguous term. If it can be used to describe Russia, Mexico, and Spain all at the same time, it doesn't have much definate (ie: usefull) meaning.

Would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean?

Quote:
Your politics are as "lib-left" as those of the workers' world party, who supported martial law in poland and the tiananmen square massacre because they thought that the Chinese and Russian sections of the bourgeoisie (though they may not have been willing to own up to the fact that that's what they were) needed to become powerful enough to rival the western section of the bourgeoisie.

Well, since I would have supported Polish resistance to Russian occupation and would have sided with the protesters in Tienamen Square, I don't know how I could be identified with such a group.

Quote:
To paraphrase what you've said, you advocate supporting the resistance group which has the highest capability to take power, even if "critically", rather than an actual revolutionary organization which is weaker.

Try again.

I support national liberation, and I would "hope" and even "advocate" that the best group possible would take power, but since "the best group" won't be taking power in Iraq or Afghanistan, there remains a question:

Do I support the occupation or the less "savoury" groups?

I support the defeat of imperialist occupation, even if it means the best groups, who wouldn't be in control either way, aren't the winners.

Quote:
You've even said that the Taliban should retake Afghanistan

In the absence of any better group capable of defeating the occupation, yes.

But we already know that I've said that. Do you care to argue against the reasons that I've given for that position?

Because, up until now, there hasn't been much discussion.

Quote:
the fact is, the leadership of the taliban, along with las FARC in colombia, the Ba'ath party in Iraq, Fatah and Hamas and any of their equivalents should be shot as the capitalists that they are, by the working class in those countries (and especially women workers in the case of the taliban and Hamas).

No shit!

But that isn't the issue.

The issue isn't "are the FARC and Hamas nice guys?".

The issue is "Who will you support, the occupation or the not-nice guys?".

You may not like either option, but in the absence of a victory for left-wing revolutionaries, which side are you on?

Say what you will about my position, but at least I have a clear answer to that question, unlike nearly everybody else who's participated in this thread.

Quote:
As for your comment about only leninism being able to overthrow neo-colonialism, who do you think agreed to it in the first place?

I didn't say they're the only ones who could do it (I know you're trying to be comradely, and so am I, but it's really difficult when my actual views are misrepresented mroe often than not).

I said that, of all the forces which fight (and can win) against imperial domination in the Thrid World, Leninists (especially Maoists) will do the best job of kicking out foreign exploiters, will develop the economy the fastest, and will make the best lot for women, homosexuals, etc.

Quote:
The history of Africa and Asia are most illuminating on this point.

You'll have to be a bit less vague if you want to have a discussion.

The histories of Africa and Asia could fill several bookshelves.

What about which parts of the histories of those places proves whatever point you're trying to make.

Quote:
Regardless, to me the concept of an anti-imperialist state is as ridiculous as the concept of an anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-fascist, or anti-capitalist one, but you seem to think that these entities can exist; please explain.

No I don't. You've yet again butchered my position.

magnifico
Offline
Joined: 29-11-05
Jan 8 2006 16:09
STI wrote:
Quote:
actually, you're right. i've now decided to throw all my energies into the popular front for the liberation of northamptonshire.

And you'll have my support.

black bloc grin

Anyone else with us?

What about if I wanted my town to be an independent state? Or my street? Or my house?

Do you really think that all seperatism is progressive, regardless of the context?

By your logic we'd just spend all our time fighting seperatist battles and ending up with smaller and smaller countries, which seems pretty stupid and pointless to me.

The working class has no country red n black star

STI
Offline
Joined: 17-05-05
Jan 9 2006 02:49
Quote:
Do you really think that all seperatism is progressive, regardless of the context?

Yes, I just don't think all kinds of separatism are possible, so they really aren't worth much of your time.

Quote:

By your logic we'd just spend all our time fighting seperatist battles and ending up with smaller and smaller countries, which seems pretty stupid and pointless to me.

Not all kinds of separatism will happen, because there's no cause for them (such as national liberation), so we wouldn't end up with smaller and smaller countries, because people wouldn't want to.

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
Jan 9 2006 22:57

i can report the montrealers were quite content with their condition, realizing the benefits of large federal transfers of capital between quebec and other provinces as need arises (that's the theory anyway), while having bashed their way to a degree of cultural autonomy (as they define culture). the bloc has never, so far as i know, received more than 49% on their separatist referenda. but then they never framed the question in terms of internationalist border-busting working-class solidarity.