Monday, February 25, 2008

Ninety years ago the government of Canada was in crisis as the supply of voluntary cannon-fodder for the trenches of the First World war was drying up. As news of the horrors of "industrial war" filtered back to Canada fewer and fewer were willing to sign up. The government responded with conscription despite the opposition of large segments of the population. This resistance to conscription was perhaps strongest in Quebec. A general background to the history can be found in this Wikipedia article. The government began to enforce the Military Service Act at the beginning of 1918, and this attempt was resisted vigorously in Quebec. The crisis came to a head on March 28 to April 1, 1918 when attempts to round up draft avoiders led to 5 days of riots in Quebec City. The comrades of the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) in Quebec have called for an anti-militarist demonstration on March 28 to commemorate this event. Their callout is reproduced below. For further information (en français) see the La Commune (Montréal) and Voix de Faits (Québec). The callout...

Quebec-city: Call for an anti-militarist demonstration by NEFAC :
Resistance to war, past and present:

90 years ago, Canada was engaged in an imperialist war in Europe. With the flow of volunteers drying up, authorities turned to conscription to continue to provide their share of cannon fodder. It was January 1, 1918. Opposition to conscription was virulent in Quebec and the army was reduced to chasing draft-dodgers in the cities, resulting in numerous incidents.
Quebec city was at the time witnessing a genuine popular revolt against conscription. From 28 March to 1 April 1918, crowds of several thousand people confronted the military, bare-handed, in the streets of the city core. Five days of riots ensued, during which a police station was put under siege, militarist newspapers were attacked, and an army office burned down. Five days that ended in a bloodbath in the working class neighborhood of Saint-Sauveur when the army charged the crowd, causing 35 injuries and 4 deaths.
Today, 90 years later, Canada is once again at war. The reasons are no different, it is once again an imperialist war waged in the name of democracy and freedom. But, then as now, people are not fooled. There may be no conscription but it is in our name, and with our money, that Canada is at war. Despite the incessant propaganda, a majority of Quebec's population opposes the war.
This popular opposition needs to have a voice! That is why we will march on March 28th, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the riots against conscription and to express our opposition to the war in Afghanistan.
Anti-militarist demonstration in Quebec City
Friday, March 28th
Rally at 5PM
In front of the Gabrielle-Roy Library
An initiative of NEFAC
This call is supported by:
Collectif Piranhas (piranha[at]
Gauche socialiste
Quebec Solidaire Taschereau riding association
To endorse this call and participate in the mobilization, send an email to

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