CANADIAN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT:
THE HISTORY OF NEFAC IN QUÉBEC-PART FOUR:
This is part four of Molly's translation of the History of NEFAC in Québec article from the journal 'Ruptures' of the Québecois UCL (see our Links section under 'Platformism' for links to the various UCL locals in Québec). When this task is finally completed I will collate all the translations into one article. Many thanks to the francophone who pointed out a couple of errors in the previous part of this series. They have been corrected. Hopefully I won't make too many more.
Struggle on Three Fronts:
Struggle on Three Fronts:
The new orientation taken up by NEFAC was to mark the activity of the collective in its second year. While we continued to participate in the mobilization of the political left (3) or the libertarian left (4), our action would take place mainly in the field of anti-fascist struggle and solidarity with workers.
Towards the end of the summer of 2002, a new section of RASH (5) would appear in Quebec, involving several members of La Nuit. We were aware of the Nazification of part of the punk scene of Quebec and decided to intervene in our own way. Meanwhile, increasing evidence suggested that groups of boneheads were active in the western suburbs. Our group was contacted by a group of students from the CEGEP F.X. Garneau. The activists invited us to present a conference on 2 December 2002 on the issue of racism and extreme right within the institution (6). As written by Red Roady a few years later in the pages of Ruptures: "What was our surprise to see arriving at the gates of the conference a dozen neo-Nazis who were obviously going to harm the good running of the event. After a battle, the young racists went stuttering back in their bourgeois suburb. " This was the beginning of a long series of altercations that continued for more than 5 years with different groups of extreme right (Quebec Radical MLNQ, boneheads, NSBM, nationalist skins ...). Such a climate did not favour new members ... The debates with most of the libertarian left who simply could not see the necessity of the anti-fascist fight "in the streets" and / or disapproved of some of the means used were sometimes lively. That which these militants refused to see was that is that we also did popular education in settings where the left is absent (7). But in retrospect, I think we fell several times into a certain machismo, notably during debates about tactics to be used to fight against the fascists.
On 24 January 2003, our group began one of the largest campaigns of its short history. For some weeks weeks, nearly 800 workers of car dealers in the region of Québec were locked out. Their employers wanted to break the union and impose significant new rollbacks in working conditions. This conflict occurred in a climate of general indifference, partly because of the union affiliation to the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD). We decided to go to the picket lines, and then write a text explaining the causes of conflict and calling for solidarity with those locked out. A worker also contacted our group to obtain copies of the text for distribution to clients and customers of the garages (which remained open despite the conflict). On 15 February 2003, we are organized a libertarian contingent, along with other collectives, in a demonstration against war. Rather than distribute a text on our opposition to imperialist intervention, we choose to distribute our newsletter "La Nuit" with the text on the lockout. Throughout the conflict, we increased our visits to the picket lines. We contributed within our means to publicize the issues of the conflict to the people of Quebec.
The third issue of Ruptures came out in March 2003. In particular it had a history of social class and a debate on revolutionary strategy with Maxim "Tony" Fortin, a Quebec libertarian who a few months earlier published a pamphlet criticizing the analysis and the strategy of NEFAC. The content and tone of this issue of Ruptures reflected the mindset of NEFAC at this time: a certain "siege mentality " in terms of the rest of the anarchist movement and a strong penchant for quite incantatory formulas . A little awkwardly, we tried to emphasize the importance for anarchists of leaving the activist "ghetto" militant popularizing anarchism within the working class. But we were often the only ones who thought that way and criticisms of our so-called "Workerism" were numerous. The relative success of our campaign with workers in their struggles seemed to confirm the correctness of our positions. Over the next two years, we would try again with new experiments in developing other solidarity campaigns (groceries, daycare, etc..) with variable results.
In May, our group organized two events for which we produced a magnificent "colour poster", a first for the NEFAC. On May 1, we held a "red and black" demonstration in which about forty people took part in a pouring rain. A dozen anarchists from Saint-Georges, members of Uraba (Union of self-resistance of the Beauce) walked with us, as well as members of the local Communist Party of Quebec (?????-Molly ). Two days later, we were organizing a conference on the premises of the CSN with two syndicalist NEFAC members from the United States as part of the tour "Anarchy at work" coordinated by our colleagues in Montreal. Barely a dozen people participated in the encounter ... which was a failure. It was far from our successful crowd of the previous year. One fact became obvious: the new direction taken by the NEFAC was not "taking" as easily as topics related to globalization or the mobilizations against the summits.