Friday, August 14, 2009
CANADIAN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT:
THE HISTORY OF NEFAC IN QUÉBEC CITY (PART 6):
The following is part six of Molly's translation of the article in the Québecois anarchist journal Ruptures on the history of NEFAC (now the UCL) in Québec City. As before you can read the full article in French at THIS LINK. The following section takes us into the spring of 2004 when tensions with other Québec libertarians were cooling and joint projects became possible.
In the spring of 2004, La Nuit organized several actions with other Québec libertarian collectives . After two years during which tensions with other anarchists were sometimes been strong , our group made its "self criticism" and changed its attitude. We launched the idea of holding regular meetings bringing together members of different groups to develop common action. An internet list ("Intercollectif ") was set up for members of the "Assembly of Quebec Libertarians". On 14 April, on the first anniversary of the coming to power of Jean Charest, we broadcast a call to mobilization ( "generalize the resistance") along with La Rixe, Dada is hungryr and other "Québec libertarians". " We announced our participation in the "Block Charest " action organized by the REPAC at the corner of Charest(No, it's an old name; the bugger doesn't yet have streets named after him-Molly) and Langelier streets. The appeal was also signed by a half-dozen groups in Montreal.
The Assembly of Quebec Libertarians also mobilized for the mass demonstration on 1 May 2004 in Montreal, which brought tens of thousands of workers (close to 100,000) against the anti-social Charest governement . At the initiative of the CLAC (including the NEFAC-Montreal) and the Assembly of Quebec Libertarians, an anarchist contingent of several hundred people formed the tail of the event. Without waiting for the union march to begin (which was nearly four hours late!), we took to the streets, preceded by a PCR contingent, to assemble at Parc Jarry . On that site, the riot squad charged the anarchists and Maoists, but we had to retreat because of pressure from protesters .
In parallel, we continued to develop our contacts in the 'region' by participating in lectures on anarchism in Joliette and sending, on a regular basis, the journal Common Cause to a contact in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, who distributed them in Rivière-du-Loup and Cabano. On the 28th of June 2004, the 4th issue of Ruptures (a special issue on nationalism and the extreme right) was launched at the Dorchester Tavern on the evening of the federal election. The article on the extreme right in Quebec aroused many reactions. The PCR reacted strongly to the fact that its members were associated ,in the article, with a National-Bolshevik group and with the MLNQ, which was nevertheless the case. A few months after the release of this issue of Ruptures, it was the turn of Pierre Falardeau to attack us in the pages of Quebecers and Du Couac. Falardeau claimed that NEFAC was being paid by the RCMP, especially because we were associated collectives in the United States and Ontario and that we were against nationalism. This charge is so outrageous that many people take upon themselves to shut him up without our being obliged to do it ourselves!
The item above teems with local references that would be hard for an outsider to understand. I'll do my best to explain them here, but I hope that Québecois comrades will lend a hand where my ignorance is obvious.
First of all, the CLAC (Convergence des Luttes Anti-Capitalist) was a Montréal general assembly of various activist and other anarchist groups which attempted to coordinate actions in the Montréal area. To my knowledge it is defunct, but I have little idea of when it was formed and when it died.
"National-Bolsheviks" are a bizarre recruiting tool of fascists and Neo-Nazis desperate for recruits. They are most prominent in the USA (where pretty well every other weird thing is most prominent as well). Today they are minor compared to the oxymoron "national anarchism". There are, after all, more anarchists and therefore more weak minded anarchists today than there are Leninists(outside of Québec where the Leninist live off an historical inheritance). Molly's Blog was recently visited by one of these fascists crying the blues about how I didn't give his so-called "ideology" the dignity of a "critique". Quite frankly, aside from the cynical manipulations of the leaders I find little to "critique" in the political expression of personal inferiorities. One can hardly take this sort of thing seriously.
The Mouvement de Liberation Nationale du Québec (MLNQ) is an ultra-nationalist group founded by ex-FLQer and convicted murderer Raymond Villeneuve. One can easily imagine that the whole operation is a scam to enable Villeneuve to avoid actually having to take shit jobs-the only ones a convicted murderer could get- to survive. Whatever the above article may imply the MLNQ is a "left-wing"sect rather than a fascist group. In that it is similar to its occasional supporter Pierre Falardeau, also mentioned above. Falardeau is a Québecois film directer and general commentator. His "style" is such that he is best compared to someone like Rush Limbaugh with socialist pretentions. For long term anarchists another analogy would be "like a Bob Black with talent and ambition". To say the least such a personality who thrives on being outrageous for his income is hardly worried about being refuted. On to the next target in his schedule. It was actually a coup for NEFAC to be denounced by him, with his bizarre accusations. That's publicity you could never buy.
Here is where I get a bit hazy. I presume that the "PCR" refers to the "Parti Communiste Révolutionaire". The group that bears this name, however, was only founded in January of 2007. I do seem to have a memory of a previous group bearing this moniker, but aside from the fact that it was Maoist, and annoying, I cannot remember any details. One thing I will say for sure, the world of the left wing sects is an ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly (did I mention it was ugly ?) miniscule world composed of tiny gangs of generals without an army who substitute for their actual lack of effect with grandiose pretentions to having some grand overarching theory of both how society is, how it should be and the way to get there. In the "anarchist world" the picture is even more stark as the ambitions of some who are detached from reality extend to such crackpot dreams as "abolishing civilization". But the commie world is ugly enough. One thing I can guarantee for certain. There is an infallible guideline to the success of any left-wing organization, anarchist or otherwise. The more effort is devoted to either attacking (or "cozying up to") real political actors (such as the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québecois in a Canadian context)and the less to the nuts(anarchism) or the sectarians(Leninists) the more succesful such an anarchist organization is. The first requirement of any small aspiring political group is realism, and this means recognizing one's actual small size and not trying to pretend to have all the answers in one's pocket. Fail to do this and you will never progress beyond the level of a sect.
I hate to disagree with my Québecois comrades on this, but I suspect (never having read the original article) that they were rather wide-ranging in describing some commies as "right wing". I say this as someone who knows that communist tyrannies have a far worse historical record than fascist ones. In terms of mass murder Hitler was retail to Stalin's wholsesale, and Stalin in turn was a minor player compared to Mao. In sheer per capita murder the Kymer Rouge of Cambodia outperformed any example known in history. Québec had the unique historical chance of Maoism actually achieving significant numbers in a developed country. As such it is not surprising that one should meet the strange example of Maoists willing to associate with others (such as the MLNQ). Given enough penetration you can develop something as strange as a "friendly Maoist" (sorta like a polite wolverine to the rest of us). I don't think it is fair to describe the commies in the same way as nut-jobs such as the "National Bolsheviks" nor such outfits as the MLNQ who, only occasionally, let their racism slip by with off the cuff comments. If nothing else it is a sweeping generalization that obscures reality rather than illuminates it.
Be that as it may I stand ready to be corrected by others in Québec who have a better knowledge of its local politics than I do.