Sunday, August 16, 2009

This is part seven of our translation of the article 'La NEFAC à Québec', published in the Quebecois anarchist journal 'Ruptures'. The full article in the original French can be seen at THIS LINK.
In the fall of 2004, the movement for housing rights in Québec mobilized. The FRAPRU and the RCLALQ decided to organize a major joint action; for two days, dozens of militants will "camp" in downtown Quebec City to demand a major construction of social housing and mandatory rent control. For some years, members of NEFAC were involved in various popular groups in the fight for the right to housing. We proposed to the Regional Union of NEFAC (which included the collectives in Quebec) to mobilize for the "Camp of the badly-housed ". In Montreal, the NEFAC succeeded in securing the support of the CLAC. Some members of Quebec, Montreal and St George participated in the camp. At the closing event (which brought nearly 1,000 people together on 30 October), a "red and black"contingent was formed, distributing a pamphlet on the housing issue and stick up posters along the march.

On 19 November 2004, the employees' union of SAQ(Note 1) launched a general strike across the province. The timing (one month before Christmas) was not insignificant: the goal was to create a balance of power at the time of year when the SAQ realized its best sales. Unfortunately, the conflict was harder than expected. The solidarity was not always met with from the customers and thousands of consumers visited branches that remained open. The various groups of NEFAC organized several actions in support of the strikers. In Quebec, we went to one of the branches operated by scabs took action to "slow down" the tills" (ie having several grocery baskets full of bottles and refusing to pay the bill in solidarity with the strikers ). La Nuit also produced a poster that was massively glued to the stores (open and closed). One afternoon, we went to the store on Boulevard Charest to distribute a leaflet to customers and visit the few pickets who braved the temperature and the bad mood of the consumers.

When the strike at the SAQ ended, we began an extensive tour of conferences with Ashanti Alston, a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army who had become an anarchist. From the 9th to the 15th of February 2005, we went to Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Joliette, Chicoutimi ... This tour, developed during a retreat of NEFAC in the summer of 2004 in the region of the Eastern Townships, was a success across the board.

A week later, on the 21st of February 2005, the longest strike in the history of the student movement began. Some comrades of the student collective at Laval University were fully involved in their association. Other non-student members participated in direct actions at their side. The NEFAC published several texts during the conflict and produced an assessment of the involvement of its members in Cause Commune (No. 6, May-June 2005). At the end of the student strike , La Nuit along with some Quebec libertarians co-organized a day against patriarchy and masculinism on the 10th of April 2005 at the Lucien-Borne Centre. Dozens of people take part in the event, which enrolled itself in the mobilization against the "Man Talk" Congress ", an international masculinist international meeting being held in Montreal from the 21st to the 24th of April.

On May 6 2005, came the launch of the fifth issue of Ruptures. It was a dossier on counter-power and the social movements which were written down as a continuation of the Ashanti Alston tour, but also the struggles in which we are involved in the last year. At the end of May we benefited from the visit to Quebec of two activists of the French libertarian organization No Pasaran to organize a conference on anti-fascism at la Page Noir. Some twenty people were there.

On 1 July 2005, we were moving from words to action by organizing a small counter demonstration to the action that the MLNQ organizes each year to the Hotel de Ville de Quebec. To the amazement of the fifty ultra-nationalists present on the scene, we shared with everyone a tract entitled "fascist pigs(Note 3) out of our streets!" denouncing the positions of their leader, Raymond Villeneuve. This presence made us worthy of a report (unsolicited) on the RDI(Note 2) and criticisms on the part of the Montreal revolutionary left (which never does not understood the threat posed by right-wing extremism ...). Without mistakes, we can say that NEFAC's campaign against the MLNQ (initiated by our colleagues in Montreal in 2002) greatly contributed to the marginalization of this organization and its supporters until its clinical death in 2007.

We ended our summer activities by hosting two anarchists from Mexico City on August 23 2005 as part of the "Spreading Utopia" tour , lectures on free radio and the anarchist movement in Mexico that aimed to raise funds for various projects such as Biblioteca Social Reconstruir, the libertarian radio of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Carlo Giuliani Caravan.
Note 1: The 'Société des alcools du Québec'(SAQ) is the government liquor monopoly in Québec. Sort of like the Liquor Commissions, Liquor Boards and Liquor Control Boards in other provinces. In Québec the SAQ doesn't have a monopoly over beer, unlike in most other provinces. Québec liquor laws are famously liberal as compared to other provinces (you can pick up beer and wine at corner stores and supermarkets), but the government just cannot forebear from letting such a cash cow go. The strike mentioned above dragged on into February of 2005 when it was settled with a partial victory for the workers involved. Since then the SAQ has been involved in a price fixing scandal in which it pressured its European suppliers to raise their prices in order to maintain a larger profit.

Note 2: The Réseau de lìnformation(RDI) is a French language cable TV news channel operated by the CBC and Radio Canada. It is equivalent to the English language CBC Newsworld.
Note 3: The translation of "fachos" gave me some difficulty. It is has no reference in my Larouse nor in the Google translate system. Using other online translators I found that it has a more disparaging connotation than simply "fascist". I have chosen to translate it as "fascist pigs", as per slang in the English language. My apologies to any porcine readers who may feel that this is directed at them.

1 comment:

Nicolas said...

Facho is just french slang for fascist. Does not mean to be an actual fascist, it's more of an insult that can be directed at any autoritarian. Fascist pig is fine.