Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Here is part two of my translation of Rupture's article on the history of NEFAC in Québec from 2001 to 2008. The full text in French can be seen at THIS LINK.
All-out activism:
My first year as a member of NEFAC was at least as loaded! By the end of summer, we produced the first issue of a newsletter of the Local NEFAC Union called "La Nuit" (in homage to the anarchist newspaper of the same name produced in Montreal from 1976 to 1986). This bulletin prefigured the "Cause Commun" of a few years later : a newsletter that appears on a regular basis and which is distributed in demonstrations and in public places. "The Local Union group replaced the Emile Henry collective of NEFAC in Quebec, following the departure of several people and the arrival of others. The first issue of "La Nuit" addressed the issue of patriarchy and wage slavery , two themes that will recur periodically in our publications.

As with almost all the radical left, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 took us by surprise. The Local Union, nevertheless, issued a NEFAC communique, written by our comrades in the United States, during a protest in Quebec City at the end of September. We took this opportunity to announce a series of upcoming events, including the upcoming release of a new NEFAC publication ... in French. On the 13th of October the first number of Ruptures finally came out. Published in 1000 copies, it was all produced in Quebec, thanks to the collaboration of a few supporters and sympathizers. The launch took place in the basement of the Church of St. John the Baptist, in the presence of a hundred people. Ruptures has not gone unnoticed, especially the text "We are platformists," which raised many reactions and taunts on the part of the anarchist "mileau". Among "exs" of CASA, many turned their backs on the NEFAC and some unhealthy competition developed between the "organized" (that's us) and the "unorganized" (the others) militants and activists . It was also a time of schism with two friends who soon increased (for a time) the ranks of the "ultra-left" in Montreal, with various texts and pamphlets denouncing their former comrades.
The Fall was marked by several other public activities, some organized under the People's University of the Popular Committee of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, others independently. The weekend of November 23, we presented not one but two public lectures: on Friday with Gaetan Heroux, of the OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty), and Sunday with Nivardo Juan Rodriguez, of Juventudes Libertarias (Bolivia) , at Lucien-Borne. Despite a limited mobilization, the room was full! The Summit of the Americas is making itself felt ...
On the 1st and 2nd of December 2001, NEFAC organized a weekend of reflection on patriarchy in Montreal on the Loyola campus, west of the city. This was the first public event jointly organized by various groups since the Quebec Summit of the Americas. The program, somewhat charged, was developed by groups in Quebec City and Montreal. Several former members of CASA were present, and present also, were a large number of supporters and sympathizers of the Montreal region and the United States. Despite numerous logistical problems and a lack of political preparation, the event was a success in terms of participation. It l prepared the ground for the second issue of Ruptures which came out in April 2002.
In the winter, the NEFAC began the first tour "of the region." The invitation was launched for anarchists living outside Montreal and Quebec City to organize events with us in their corner of the country. Members of the Local Union of Quebec went to Sorel on 25 March 2002 for a conference to present an introduction to anarchism at the Café-Bistro Le Cinoche. On 24 April, we went to Saint-Georges-de-Beauce at the invitation of students of the college to conduct a workshop on globalization. Nearly forty people were present. On 6 May, I went to Sherbrooke to present a conference on education to a small libertarian group of cégépiens and cégépiennes(CGEP students-Molly).
These activities did not prevent us from holding more public events in Quebec. On 2 April, we were mobilizing a caravan to the G8 meeting in Kananaskis (Alberta). A large crowd rushing to listen to various speakers and presenters, including Jaggi Singh. Three weeks later, on 20 and 21 April, the NEFAC held another weekend of debate in Quebec on this time on social class and class struggle. People from everywhere attended this meeting, including a group of students from St. Jerome. On 5 May, we returned with an "internationalist" conference in Quebec. Chekov Feeney of the Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland), Laurent Scapin of Alternative Libertaire (France) and Phoebus (for our group) presented the different realities of the anarchist movement and the different horizons that were opening for organization. It was during this period that the Local Union of Quebec became the anarchist La Nuit Collectif . The name change reflected a desire to clarify our method of organization and our goals and to break the vicious "activist" circle" in which we had plunged . The idea of "closed" affinity groups "closed" (such as Émile-Henry) was set aside. From the moment a person shares our political views, a formal process of integration is set in motion, leading to the membership (or not) of the person after three meetings. The group's objective is to participate and create a libertarian "pole" in Quebec, to develop a strategy to implement in our living, work and study and to support social struggles. The collective's action is based on an analysis of the situation in the short, medium and long term. We also want to alternate the meetings between theoretical ones and ones of more technical stuff. (Molly Note- I had a little trouble translating the figure of speech "poutine plus technique". I went with the rather neutral "stuff", even though my imagination began to run away with me at the possible implications, some them quite hilarious. Til the next installment)

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