After imposition of the War Measures Act, the planned November issue of Young Socialist was set aside, and a new issue was written, entirely devoted to the October Crisis. The following are all of the articles that appeared in that issue.
Young Socialist, November 1970
On October 16, in the middle of the night, the Trudeau government abolished democratic rights won through centuries of struggle. All it took was a cabinet meeting.
In the name of democracy, the government abolished the right to trial, the right to legal counsel, the right of freedom of speech and assembly. In the name of democracy, a police state was established in Québec. In the name of democracy hundreds of Québécois—union leaders, folksingers, students, workers—were dragged off to jail and held incommunicado. In the name of democracy nearly 2,000 police raids were carried out.
The technique of the Big Lie was put into motion. In carefully planned sequence the campaign against dissent was escalated. There were rumors and "cabinet leaks" about a secret police report. There were open charges: the Front d’Action Politique—the labor movement’s party in the Montreal elections—was an FLQ front. There was a plot to overthrow the government. Blood would have run in the streets if the government hadn’t acted.
The methods of the reactionary American Senator Joe McCarthy were used with facility by Canada’s "Liberals." Terrorists oppose the War Measures Act: therefore all those who oppose it are terrorists. Terrorists favor independence for Québec; therefore all independentists are terrorists. In B.C., a teacher was fired for refusing to endorse a telegram of support to Trudeau.
But as time wore on, it became clear that the government was purely and simply lying. There was no secret report, no plot. The government’s actions demonstrated that it had little, if any, concern for the lives of Laporte and Cross.
Trudeau and his accomplices had only one aim: to behead the growing mass movement for independence and socialism in Québec.
As we go to press, Trudeau has pledged to introduce new repressive legislation within a week. The precise nature of this legislation is not clear: but Trudeau has made clear that it will be a further attack on civil liberties. It will be an attack first on the Québec nationalist movement, but ultimately on all who oppose the rule of our country by Canadian and U.S. corporations.
The first priority of all partisans of democracy must be to stop the government from destroying our rights. Our democracy was not handed to us on a silver platter: it was won in long years of struggle by the working people of Canada. The tradition of fighting for freedom must be upheld and extended.
Committees to oppose the War Measures Act have appeared on most campuses. These committees must be strengthened for the fight against Trudeau’s new anti-democratic laws. Mass meetings, teach-ins, rallies, petitions and demonstrations must be built to educate and organize the Canadian people against this attack. Every case of repression must be exposed and turned back.
The rulers of Canada have demonstrated that they can act quickly and decisively when their own interests are threatened, however slowly they might move on other questions. We must show the government that we too can move quickly and decisively, and that we will spare no efforts in opposing terrorism by the government against the people of Canada.
The following statement was issued by the Central Executive Council of the Young Socialists/ Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes, November 1.
The student movement has already taken the initiative in opposing the War Measures Act. This initiative must be continued.
In particular, the movement must take up and build the November 13 day of protest against the War Measures Act. This day, initially proposed by the Saskatoon Committee for Defense of Civil Rights, has been made the focus for major Québec actions by the Comité Québécois pour la defense des libertés.
It has been endorsed by this weekend’s conference of student council leaders, held in Winnipeg.
If there is one lesson which history teaches, it is that democracy and civil liberties do not rest on the good will of status quo politicians. Our rights were won by mass movements, movements which fought for democracy in the face of harsh repression.
Our rights are crucially important. Students and working people vitally need the right to organize, to meet, to speak, in order to advance their interests. For the government to wipe those rights off the books in a late-night Cabinet meeting is an attack on everyone who wishes any changes whatsoever in Canadian society.
The War Measures Act and all new repressive laws must be defeated! A mass movement can defeat them!
Demonstrate, November 13!
by Penny Simpson
Penny Simpson, a member of the Executive Council of the Young Socialists/ Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes, was treasurer of the mayoralty campaign of Manon Léger. She and Arthur Young, publicity director of the campaign, were arrested, only an hour after the imposition of the War Measures Act, October 16. After being held incommunicado for six days, they were released. No charges were laid.
We knew right away it was the cops. No friend bangs on the door like that at 5 a.m. Art opened the door.
In burst four cops. Three of them started searching the kitchen—god knows what for—and the fourth chased me around the bedroom yelling at me to get dressed and getting in between me and my clothes.
They didn’t have a warrant. Art asked—they said they didn’t need one. (We didn’t hear about the War Measures Act until much later.) The cops searched the place from top to bottom: the bookcase alone took an hour and a half. Every closet was emptied. Even dirty laundry was gone over.
Why? They only snarled when I told them we don’t keep machine guns in the breadbox. They seemed fascinated with a plastic lemon full of lemon juice (they didn’t believe it was lemon juice).
While they were searching, the phone rang. The plainclothesman warned me not to answer it, but I ran for it anyway. I shouted "They’re here!" before he could slam down the button.
In the end, they took a strange collection of things—a few books, stacks of personal papers, an old pack of file cards we hadn’t used in three years, and, of course, the plastic lemon. They were particularly fascinated by Peter Camejo’s pamphlet "How to Make A Revolution in the U.S." and by a page of a pad covered with arithmetic—they thought it was some kind of code.
But of course they took us too. And that wasn’t at all humorous.
Over three hundred people were arrested before dawn—we learned that later. They hauled us into the new Sureté du Québec prison. It was like an assembly line: fingerprinting and photographing on a mass scale. They separated the men and women; that was the last I saw or heard of Art for a week.
All the women were put in a big bare cage for the day. Everyone was put in the criminal files—no one was questioned. If you refused to be fingerprinted they offered to break your fingers for you.
After dark, we women were transferred to Tanguay Prison. The men were kept in Parthenais, a jail so new the heating system wasn’t on.
We were kept isolated from the ordinary convicts—in three sections. Each section had separate cells and a common room with tables and chairs, a TV and newspapers. All three sections ate together, so we were able to organize our lives without much interference from the guards.
(The men were kept in separate cells and only allowed out three times a day. The radio was turned off every time the news came on. They were given no water for washing for the first three days. Talk about your double standard…. )
Morale was fantastic. We organized games, gymnastics, and political discussions. The most popular discussion topic was women’s liberation. I don’t think the government realized the impact they had on us as women: here we were, completely isolated from our boy-friends, husbands and fathers, and managing very well, thank you. In that sense, jail was a liberating experience.
The most popular song in our section of the prison was the Internationale. We sang that anthem of the working class movement while doing our exercises. You’ve never really sung the Internationale until you have sung it in jail, led by Pauline Julien, Québec’s greatest chansonniere.
We were an odd collection. Some politically active women; some wives and girlfriends arrested with "their men"; a few big names like Pauline Julien and Michele Saulnier (acquitted in the 1965 Statue of Liberty "bomb plot"). There were two Americans who happened to be in Montreal on holiday.
One woman in her forties was arrested because her husband wasn’t home and the cops didn’t want to return empty handed. She had to leave her children alone, hoping the neighbours would look after them.
Having a TV really helped the morale. On Saturday night we watched the news—demonstrations of support in Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg! For some of the women, it was the first time they had realized that there was an active radical movement outside Québec that supported our struggle.
But as high as morale was, there was no overcoming the fact that we were being held incommunicado in prison. We didn’t know when we would be released, if ever. As far as people outside were concerned, we had simply disappeared: we couldn’t see lawyers, friends, anyone. It wasn’t until I smuggled a list of names out that people outside were certain who had been picked up.
And it was painfully evident that we had been arrested solely because of our ideas, solely to keep us out of circulation. During the whole week, we were questioned for only ten minutes. They weren’t even interested in finding out about terrorism or any terrorists we might know.
We were there purely and simply because the government wanted to smash the mass nationalist movement—our movement—and was willing to do anything necessary to achieve that goal.
We knew that in a gut-level way that we’d never known it before.
We’ve had unemployment and poverty and national oppression in Québec for two hundred years. All they’ve ever done about it is talk. It takes time, they say. The political process is slow. But when there is a danger that the almighty profits of the almighty corporations might get hurt, they hold a cabinet meeting and abolish democracy with the stroke of a pen.
The government may have hoped to smash the spirit of the Québec left, but they didn’t succeed with the women. If anything, we came out more determined than ever. One woman, who had never been in politics, announced that the next time they made her a political prisoner, she was going to deserve it.
She spoke for us all.
by Ian Angus
As time passes, increasing numbers of people are wondering just precisely why the Trudeau government proclaimed the War Measures Act on the morning of October 16. Who are the targets of the attack?
They say that it is the FLQ, the terrorists that they aim to stop. But it is the Québécois liberationists—student leaders, labor leaders, cultural figures—who are the victims of raids carried out under the War Measures Act.
Who was arrested in the pre-dawn sweep, October 16? With a few exceptions, those arrested were not terrorists—in fact many were opponents of terrorism. To date, not one charge has been laid against any of the victims of the Act, and government officials have indicated that from a total of 400 persons arrested perhaps only five or six will ever be charged.
Arthur Young and Penny Simpson, members of the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, were arrested at 5:10 a.m. October 16. Obviously their names were on the police list as first priority. They were not, as some were, accidentally caught in the confusion.
But Simpson and Young are Trotskyists—and have consistently opposed terrorism as a political strategy. The Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière has consistently opposed the methods of the FLQ.
It may be asked—did these arrests have anything to do with the fact that Simpson and Young were leading campaign workers for Manon Léger, the LSO candidate for Mayor? Did their advocacy of an independent socialist Québec influence the police action?
Also arrested were two candidates of the Front d’Action Politique (FRAP) the civic political party of the Montreal labor movement. The terrorists reject electoral action—how could FRAP candidates be considered part of a terrorist conspiracy?
Michel Chartrand, head of the Montreal Labor Council of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, was picked up, and is still being held without charge.
Michel Chartrand is not a terrorist. But he is a militant trade union leader, a man who has led many Québec workers through many strikes, and he is a socialist. Are these the activities and beliefs that the Trudeau government intends to outlaw?
Is it only a handful of terrorists that have the government worried, or is it also the developing pro-independence sentiment in Québec?
What will Trudeau’s new legislation be? All the indications are that it will give the government permanent sweeping powers to continue to attack the growing Québec independence movement and the developing radicalization in English Canada. But the rulers of this country are not untouchables. This move on the part of the federal government becomes less and less credible as the days go by. Opposition to the government becomes more and more visible. For we can see more and more clearly that the victims of this War Measures Act are we who have raised our voices in opposition to the injustices of our society. It is us that the new legislation will be directed against. We are the ones who have the responsibility of carrying the fight against it.
by John Riddell
Channel 10’s producer was polite but firm. "You can discuss your election program, Miss Léger," was the gist of his remarks, "but you may not mention the War Measures Act.
"I’m aware that you might wish to discuss Drapeau and Marchand’s attacks on the FRAP. But you may not mention them by name. We can censor the tapes of what you say whenever we want."
The Channel 10 interview was a bit stormy. Léger threw in repeated and pointed comments on the armed occupation of Montreal, the police state law, the loss of democratic rights—and was just as often interrupted by her interviewer, desperately trying to steer the discussion into safer waters: the Olympic Games perhaps.
When the Montreal council of the CNTU unions met October 20 the usual complement of radical leafleters was not present. Québec police had after all declared that even possession of political leaflets was in violation of the war measures law. Even the popular student magazine Quartier Latin submitted its articles for the approval of the police antiterrorist squad. But at the meeting, a supporter of Manon Léger was distributing her statement condemning the law.
Just before the Léger campaign meeting at the Universite de Québec two policemen drew Manon Léger aside for questioning. They had little success. "By the way," they warned her, "you can distribute those election leaflets in here—but its forbidden to distribute them on the streets."
"I got a Drapeau leaflet in my mailbox this morning," she replied, "Is it forbidden him too?"
"No, there are things forbidden to some candidates but no to others..." they said.
Four young people fanned out through the crowded cafeteria of the College du Vieux Montreal. Moving swiftly, they threw down stacks of La Lutte Ouvrière on every lunch table. Papers disappeared swiftly into bookbags and folders, and some students came up to ask for larger bundles for their classes.
"Have a copy of our election leaflet—we’re calling on the government to withdraw you guys so you can go home."
The soldier’s gun wavered uncertainly. It had been a dull day, standing guard at the Black Watch barracks at Bleury and Ontario, and the last thing he expected to see was a group of young socialists picketing the armories and handing out anti-government leaflets.
"Withdraw federal troops—and police repression—city hall to the workers" read the placards of the four protesters, and the officer on duty made an anxious call to police headquarters.
"Manon Léger, socialist candidate for Mayor of Montreal, was arrested today with four supporters while distributing electoral leaflets outside the Black Watch barracks at Bleury and Ontario.
"She was released with her supporters after being held for several hours. She was not charged under the War Measures Act, but it is understood she will appear in court next week on a charge of ‘sporting cockades, colors, flags or banners’ of a particular candidate less than a week before the election."
The October 26 elections returned Drapeau to power with 92 percent of the total vote; his party won every council seat.
FRAP spokesmen termed the 10 percent of the vote gained by their party encouraging and said the election was only a first step, FRAP was now launching its "winter offensive"—a broad campaign on urgent social issues like housing.
Manon Léger’s vote of 7,180 attracted considerable notice—it was a quarter of the total distributed among five opposition mayoralty candidates, one of whom was a fairly well-known bourgeois politician.
by Dick Fidler
The author is managing editor of Labor Challenge, the revolutionary socialist biweekly newspaper. He was editor of La Lutte Ouvrière for several years.
For most of us, the autoworkers’ strike against General Motors is for a cost-of-living wage bonus, job security, and other easily identifiable labor issues. But if you were to ask a GM worker at Ste-Therese, Québec why he went on strike, chances are he’d say it was mainly to be able to speak his own language on the job.
It may be hard to believe, but the world’s biggest corporation, with operations in dozens of countries, refuses union demands to make French the working language at its Ste-Therese plant—where 19 of every 20 workers are French-speaking! And until this month, GM even refused to negotiate in French with its workers because it "costs too much"—General Motors, whose profits last year were 19 times the annual budget of the United Nations Organization!
The situation of the Ste-Therese autoworkers goes a long way to explaining the present crisis in Québec. What’s involved is not just a couple of kidnappings, or the murder of a minister. It’s not just the 400-odd arrests, the 2,000 searches and raids, the 7,500 federal troops, the censorship of political literature, all of it associated with Trudeau’s dictatorial War Measures Act.
It’s the poverty and oppression experienced every waking moment by an oppressed nation of six million people—the "white niggers of America", as a young Québécois writer describes his people. It’s the constant humiliations of workers who must "speak white"—speak English—to earn their daily living. And, most important for us, it’s the powerful thrust forward of an entire nation on the move for its independence, its "souveraineté".
The Québécois are oppressed because their country is, in effect, a colony. What else can you call a nation with its own language, its own culture, religion, laws, historical traditions, its own territory—yet where four out of every five people work for foreigners who speak another language and insist the natives do likewise? A colonial system buttressed by a political regime, "confederation", that puts the Québécois in a perpetual minority, continually threatened with the loss of their language, culture, in short, their identity as a nation?
The governments—including the one at Québec City that Trudeau rendered redundant when he sent in the troops and suspended civil liberties—have documented the results of this exploitative relationship for all to see. Unemployment: almost twice the rate in Ontario, close to half the Canadian total. Poverty: wage rates 40 percent lower than Ontario’s for the same jobs; more than half a million people—10 percent of the population—on welfare, with an additional 20 percent subsisting at the poverty level. A gross unevenness of economic development between different regions within Québec, so that incomes in Gaspé, for example, are only half those in Montreal.
Those are statistics. But what can statistics tell us of the daily humiliation of being a Québécois in Canada, of coming up against the colossal arrogance of bosses who won’t even bother to speak the language of the majority? "A language spoken only after five o’clock in the afternoon is already dead," as they say in Québec.
It’s not that the English population of posh Westmount, Hampstead or Mount Royal is unable to learn French. Some can speak it quite well, in fact—on trips to Europe. But behind their colonialist hostility to the "French fact" is the basic fact that in Québec "Capital speaks English." Everything is designed to keep it that way, to ensure that the top management posts, the best jobs, the biggest salaries, go to the English element.
That is why the English-speaking rulers of Québec and their agents in the provincial and municipal governments have fought tooth and nail to keep the privileged English school system.
As long as there are English public schools, they will be used by immigrants and Québécois who will want their children to be educated in the language of business. But that is why, to counter anglicization, and to make French the language of commerce, many Québécois are demanding a French-only school system.
Even when a French Québécois manages to achieve a high academic standing, he or she will be paid much less than an English-speaking inhabitant of Québec with the same level of education, according to studies of the government’s Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. (By the way, whatever happened to the Bi and Bi commission…?)
But Québec is a colony with a difference. Situated in the heartland of North America, it is relatively industralized, urbanized ... and proletarianized. Remember Maria Chapdelaine, whose brothers took off for the United States to get jobs? Today, three quarters of a century later, they would head for Montreal, there to form part of the growing subproletariat of unemployed and partially employed youths who are now flocking to the separatist movement. Barely six percent of the Québec population now lives in rural areas. And much of this urbanization has occurred over the last 30 years.
The rapid transition from rural, parochial and French Québec to the urban, alienating environment of English-dominated Montreal has had a traumatic shock effect on the collective thinking of the Québécois.
The massive contradictions of Québec society—on the one hand, its industrialization; on the other, the effects of its exploitation by U.S. and English-Canadian imperialism—are felt most keenly by young Québécois. A belated reform in the educational system in recent years has sharply escalated school attendance and college facilities. But hundreds of thousands are graduating each year to find themselves without jobs—any jobs, let alone jobs commensurate with their abilities and training.
Their demands have undergone a corresponding development. In 1964,I marched with 4,000 other Québec students on the legislature in Québec City (a big demonstration in those days) to demand "la gratuite scolaire"—free university education. We still don’t have that. But in 1968, close to 50,000 students occupied their junior colleges and high schools when an official report confirmed that Québec was producing thousands more graduates each year than it could provide jobs for. And last year, virtually the entire senior student population of Québec demonstrated in the streets for a French unilingual Québec, and against Bill 63, the Union Nationale government’s move to entrench English school privileges.
Almost all Québécois students are independentists now; they want a sovereign Québec with all the political powers of any "normal" state. And a growing number understand that a French Québec will only come when all the leading industries are taken from foreigners and put in the control of the Québécois workers themselves—a socialist Québec.
Not far behind the radical-minded students are the heavy battalions of organized labor. The militant trade union struggles of recent years have mobilized not just the traditional industrial sectors but the most dispossessed—the Montreal taxi drivers, the Lapalme transport workers, the Liquor Board clerks—and newly organized sectors, including teachers, civil servants, even the Montreal police!
The workers have adopted the most advanced forms of struggle, in several instances occupying their factories to protest threatened closures. Key issues reflect the impact of the national question: wage parity with Montreal, and between Montreal and Ontario, is an increasingly popular demand, as is the demand that French be made the language of work at all levels in the enterprise.
For all Québécois, the rebirth in recent years of a distinctive Québécois national culture—popular songs, plays, books, magazines, pamphlets, films—has signalled the development of a new politicization which extends deep into the fabric of Québec society.
The near-absence of a distinctive class of Québécois capitalists has meant that, until very recently, this growing national and political consciousness has been channeled exclusively through the political parties of the petty bourgeoisie—first, the rural-based Union Nationale; later, in the early 1960’s, the urban-based Liberals under Jean Lesage and Rene Levesque.
But these traditional parties, themselves unwilling and unable to challenge even the restrictive constitutional framework of confederation, proved inadequate for the new urban middle classes, the educated technocrats who have linked their future to the provincial state bureaucracy and institutions, the new universities and the professions’. Increasingly thrust toward the ideology of independentism, they formed the Parti Québécois. Last April the PQ surprised many people by winning the support of one in three French-speaking Québécois, and about half the working class vote in east-end Montreal, the major concentration of political-minded Québécois workers.
These workers voted for the PQ not for its pro-capitalist program—the PQ welcomes foreign capital and pretends that Québec’s national inequality can be overcome simply through political independence—but because they now clearly see in political independence the path of their own liberation. The real working class dynamic of this politicization is revealed more clearly in the Front d’Action Politique (FRAP), the pro-unilingualist, pro-independentist political party formed by trade unions and citizens’ committees to contest the recent Montreal civic elections.
FRAP, which polled over 20 percent of the vote in many areas, sees itself as the first step toward labor political action on a Québec-wide scale. This is why important spokesmen for the ruling class like federal Regional Development Minister Jean Marchand and Mayor Drapeau went to such lengths to slander and villify FRAP during the FLQ kidnapping crisis.
The "quiet revolution" is no longer "quiet." But is it—or, more correctly, will it become—a revolution?
We’ve come a long way since 1963 and the first FLQ bombings. But the FLQ, ironically, has not advanced. It’s just operating in a changed political context, where thanks to the rise of the mass independentist movement the ruling class has less room to maneuver; a context even less favorable than 1963 to the success of such isolated acts of individual terror. And the FLQ is paying the price, as are all groups which lack a program capable of mobilizing the workers in mass action. The Front de Liberation Populaire (FLP) of Stanley Gray, for example, has disappeared from the scene following a brief, comet-like appearance amidst the constellation of ultraleft groups.
Revolutionary developments are on the agenda in Québec, all right. But what is required is to build the leadership that can reach out to where the action really is, to the growing mass movement for independence, to mobilize it around the socialist program which alone can guarantee the survival and emancipation of the Québec nation, through a workers’ government. The field is wide open.
(Source: Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Volume 3).
by Ken Wolfson
The Government of Canada imposed the War Measures Act upon the people of Canada at 4 a.m., Friday, October 16. As soon as people heard of it, demonstrations and rallies were organized throughout Canada. The following is an incomplete report of those actions from reports sent in by our correspondents.
In Vancouver, a community-wide Emergency Committee for the Restoration of Civil Liberties has been established on the initiative of members of the NDP and the labor movement. Heading the committee is well-known Canadian anti-war leader Claire Culhane. The committee, calling for repeal of the WMA, release of all persons detained under it, and opposition to further repressive legislation, is planning a major rally.
Demonstrations against the act have been held by the Vancouver Liberation Front, and by students at UBC and Simon Fraser. At the UBC rally, attended by 500 students, League for Socialist Action mayoralty candidate Gary Porter (he has since withdrawn from the race in favor of the NDP candidate, and is running for alderman) spoke. Porter said, "Mayor Campbell wants to use the execution of Laporte as an excuse to attack the U.S. draft resisters who have come to Canada because they oppose U.S. genocide in Vietnam. That is pretty strange logic. I want to challenge Mayor Campbell to defend that position in a public debate with me."
The Saskatoon Young Socialists organized a meeting the day the Act was introduced. Paul Kouri, who worked with the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes during the summer in Montreal, addressed a meeting of over 100 persons on the national oppression in Québec and the meaning of the Act. Following the meeting a petitioning campaign was initiated.
On Tuesday, October 20, the Students Council and Saskatchewan Association of Students sponsored a rally on the campus which attracted 800 students. Out of that rally the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Rights was formed, aiming to oppose the Act and any other repressive legislation. The Committee called a demonstration for Saturday, October 24, which was attended by 150 persons.
In Regina, the students union held a general meeting of 800 and 200 came to a hastily called demonstration on the same day. The president of the National Farmers Union denounced the Act.
Seventy-five students attended a meeting at Waterloo Lutheran University and expressed opposition to the War Measures Act. A teach-in was called by the political science department.
At Conestoga College in Kitchener-Waterloo the journalism students called a meeting to discuss the implications of the Act.
The student council at Waterloo University called a rally attended by 250.
The Hamilton Young Socialists had booked the YWCA hall but were then refused permission to use it. A public campaign by the YS forced the YWCA to give in. The meeting was successful, and comic relief provided by the local RCMP who insisted upon hiding behind the trees in front of the building.
On McMaster the YS held a meeting with Yvonne Raul, a member of the Parti Québécois. Raul outlined the history of Québec and detailed the oppression of the Québécois.
In Toronto, rallies were organized on Friday, October 16 at the University of Toronto (150 attending) and at York (300 attending). On Saturday, the Law Union, an organization of socially conscious lawyers, law students and others in the legal profession, called a demonstration at City Hall which attracted over 500. The Law Union has launched a petition campaign.
Teach-ins were called on the University of Toronto by the Political Economy department and at York University by the Student council, an ad hoc committee of professors and students and the Young Socialists. Civil Liberties groups have been formed at both campuses.
Also in Toronto, rallies, teach-ins and meetings were called at Centennial Community College and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
Three hundred demonstrated in Winnipeg and 100 in Ottawa against the War Measures Act.
Other demonstrations and actions have been held in London, Fredericton, and Edmonton.
The following are excerpts from an article by Derrick Morrison in the U.S. socialist weekly The Militant:
"OCT. 20—Demonstrations in solidarity with Québécois political prisoners and protesting the repression took place in a number of U.S. cities today.
"Called on very short notice, the actions coincided with cross-Canada demonstrations against Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau’s appropriation of dictatorial powers.
"At the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, nearly 400 students attended an outdoor rally. Among the sponsors of the rally were Joe Miller, regional organizer of the United Electrical Workers, Elvis Swan, business agent of the Shakopee Retail Clerks Union, and Mulford Q. Sibley, noted author and pacifist.
"New Yorkers picketed the Canadian consulate in an action called by the Ad Hoc Committee for Civil Liberties in Canada. Initial sponsors of the action included Prof. Noam Chomsky of M.I.T., pacifist David McReynolds, critic Susan Sontag, novelist William Styron, and others.
"In Worcester, Mass., 150 students attended a Clark University campus rally called by the Young Socialist Alliance.
"In Philadelphia, pickets gathered at the Canadian consulate.
"At Tampa, the University of South Florida Student Mobilization Committee sponsored a rally attended by 150 students.
"In Cleveland, Ohio, a score of protestors picketed the Canadian consulate.
"Seventy-five people rallied at the Government of Ontario Offices for Trade and Industry in Atlanta, Georgia.
"There was a picket line in Los Angeles and a rally of l00 took place on the San Diego State College campus."
(In addition to those mentioned above, we have received reports on demonstrations in Seattle, Madison, Berkeley, and Houston.)
TORONTO, OCT. 26—Penny Simpson, one of the first victims of the War Measures Act will be touring Eastern Canada throughout November, speaking on her experiences and describing Québec under the War Measures Act. Simpson was arrested on October 16 and held incommunicado for six days before being released without charge. At the time of her arrest she was the treasurer of the Manon Léger campaign for mayor in the Montreal civic elections. She has been an activist in the women’s liberation movement and the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes in Québec for a number of years.
Simpson will be the first of the victims of Trudeau’s repression to take the case of the Québec independentist movement out of Québec. The tour will include the following areas: Halifax, St. John’s, Fredericton, Moncton, Ottawa, Cornwall, Kingston, Peterborough, Sudbury, and Southwestern Ontario.
The primary aim of the tour will be to organize opposition to the War Measures Act and to the new legislation being introduced by the government.
More information on the tour is available from the War Measures Act Tour co-ordinator, at 198 Roberts Street, Apt. 5, Toronto, Ontario.
The War Measures Act has by no means been limited to Québec, although its main force has been felt there. Across Canada the student movement has met witch-hunting and censorship.
The University of Guelph student newspaper, the Ontarion was the first to be hit. On October 16, a few hours after the imposition of the War Measures Act, the newspaper was seized by Guelph police. The paper carried the FLQ manifesto, which had already been reprinted in many daily papers. Although the police claimed the paper violated section 62 of the Criminal Code, dealing with seditious libel, no charges were laid.
St. Mary’s University in Halifax received its newspaper, The Journal, with three articles and the editorial removed by the printer.
The Lethbridge University Meliorist was distributed despite threats of arrest and expulsion. The newspaper staff, supported by the Student Council, declared that they did not support the methods of the FLQ, but "we do support most of their antiimperialist, anti-liberal aims and we are against the repressive war measures act."
The Dean of Arts and Science, learning that the paper would carry an abridged version of the FLQ manifesto, recommended to the General Faculty Council that any student distributing the paper be expelled. The editor of the Meliorist has resigned in protest.
The McGill Daily editors were visited by police and warned not to print any more editorials critical of the War Measures Act, and the Carleton University newspaper was censored by the RCMP before printing.
As well as these attacks on the freedom of the press, a number of moves have been made to destroy opposition to the act in the school system. The B.C. government has announced that anyone "advocating the violent overthrow of the government" would not be allowed to teach in B.C. schools. The meaning of this in practice was seen when a teacher was fired for refusing to sign a telegram supporting the government. Similar repressive regulations are contemplated by the Toronto Board of Education.
MONTREAL, October 29: 2000 students, faculty and trade unionists rallied against the destruction of civil liberties in Québec tonight, at a mass teach-in at the Université de Montréal. The teach-in, called by the Comité Québécois pour la défense des libertés, resolved to build local civil rights committees in all the schools, CEGEPs and campuses across Montreal.
Several panels examined the scope, depth and purposes of the federal government repression in Québec. Michel Bodron, a CBC journalist, described the frightening extent of censorship on the CBC on Trudeau’s orders. The news, he said, was always half-an-hour to an hour delayed.
One of the most flagrant examples he gave was the fact that FRAP’s denial of Jean Marchand’s slander that it was an FLQ front was cut by the CBC. On the other side, Mayor Jean Drapeau was allowed to participate in the pre-screening of a film clip of one of his speeches.
The teach-in of 2000 signalled the revival of the Québec student movement, after the days of fear and intimidation since the army occupation. The political tenor was clear from the tumultuous applause which greeted Manon Léger, LJS-LSO mayoralty candidate, as she began to speak at the floor microphone. She and Arthur Young, editor of La Lutte Ouvrière and one of those arrested in the October 16 pre-dawn police raids, intervened forcefully with a call for action. Their call for the building of defense committees in all the schools was met with strong applause and support.
The Comité pour la défense des libertés has won wide support in labor, academic and legal circles, and is moving rapidly to establish local committees throughout the city.
The following statement was-issued October 21 by Carol Lipman, West Coast Co-ordinator of the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the largest student organization in the United States.
This week’s mass arrests in Québec, under the so-called "War Measures Act" are aimed at the entire Québec nationalist movement, trade union leaders, civil libertarians, and radicals of all political perspectives. All civil liberties have been suspended, and members of a broad range of organizations have been arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Included are TV announcers, newspaper editors, anti-Vietnam-war activists, socialists and lawyers who have defended previous political victims. The incidents alleged to have been committed by the FLQ have been used as a pretext for the wholesale attempt at political repression.
We demand the Trudeau government immediately free all the Québec political prisoners and revoke the "War Emergency" measures. These mass arrests establish precedents which threaten civil liberties of all North Americans. We protest the encouragement which the Nixon administration has given to Trudeau’s witchhunt.
Recent measures in this country, under the smokescreen of being directed against "bombers", including intensified persecution of the Black Panther Party, the indictments at Kent State, and a drive against all who would challenge the war-making status quo, should make the arrests of particular concern to all Americans. Nixon himself recently wrote to 900 college presidents listing student, political and antiwar organizations, such as the Student Mobilization Committee, as considered to be "dangerous and disruptive."
In light of the above, the SMC has called for demonstrations against the repression in Québec and to build mass actions on October 31 in every major city against the war in Vietnam. We believe that "an injury to one is an injury to all."
by Martha Ellis
VANCOUVER—Many West Coast residents remember the imposition of the War Measures Act in 1939 with great bitterness. In particular, Japanese-Canadians remember it as the time when they were forced into concentration camps by the Canadian government.
Shortly after Trudeau imposed the Act against the Québécois, I interviewed Larry Nozaki, a well-known Vancouver trade union activist and member of the League for Socialist Action. With his family, he spent several years in these so-called "interment" camps.
Larry’s grandfather came to Canada in the 1890’s to work on the railroad, and fought in the Canadian army in World War I; his parents were born in Prince Rupert, B.C. But at the beginning of World War II they were allowed only two trunks of clothing and some food as they were torn from their homes.
Larry has vivid memories of the "houses" built for the Japanese. "My grandparents lived in two rooms, and all the children slept in tiers, like bunks. The house was a wooden shack made with tarpaper and shingles. We didn’t have to find jobs: we were used to build the Hope-Princeton highway."
The ability of the government to carry out this mass imprisonment of Canadian citizens depended in large measure on the success of its racist propaganda. Only the CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, forerunner of the NDP) fought against the internment.
Not until 1949 did the Japanese begin to return to the coast.
by Ian Angus
As part of the repressive campaign initiated by the Trudeau government, attempts are being made in the press and elsewhere to identify Marxism and revolution with individual terrorism as practiced by the FLQ. Yet a study of the writings of the great revolutionary leaders of this century reveals not support for, but consistent opposition to terrorism as a revolutionary strategy.
This is particularly true of Leon Trotsky, the co-organizer, with Lenin, of the 1917 Russian Revolution. For the Russian Marxists; the question of terrorism was crucial, since for years terrorist groups dominated the Russian left. In 1881, for example, the terrorist Narodnaya Volya group assassinated Tsar Alexander II.
The critique of terrorism developed by the Russian Marxists had nothing in common with the liberal view that condemns all violence in the abstract. Lenin, in fact, described Narodnaya Volya as a "magnificent organization", and considered its leaders to be heroes of the Russian struggle for freedom. But the Marxists also saw that heroism itself was not enough. In 1909, Trotsky expressed this view succinctly:
Throughout Trotsky’s career this theme appears; revolutionaries must never isolate themselves from the people, must never substitute the politics of individualism for the politics of mass action. Terrorism’s tendency in this direction he saw as proof that it was essentially a form of liberalism, whatever the desires of its proponents. In 1910 he wrote:
Trotsky insisted that while terrorism may temporarily produce confusion among the rulers of society, it does long-term damage to the growth of a mass revolutionary movement:
When the Stalinist bureaucratic caste usurped power in the Soviet Union, Trotsky became the spokesman and leader of the fight for the re-establishment of socialist democracy. But the totalitarian clique, excluding the masses of the Russian people from decision making, succeeded in isolating the Left Opposition, and expelling Trotsky from the country. In 1932 Stalin accused Trotsky of organizing terrorism in the U.S.S.R., and in particular of masterminding the murder of Kirov, a minor Soviet official.
Once again Trotsky pointed out that terrorism is the product of the regime, not of its consistent opponents:
Marxism then, is not the basis of terrorism, but its opposite. In this sense, Trudeau’s comparison, in the House of Commons, of Canada today with Russia under Kerensky prior to the Bolshevik revolution, is misleading but accurate. The Bolsheviks triumphed not through individual acts of violence, but by consistently organizing and educating the masses of Russian workers. It was just such a mass mobilization that Trudeau feared.
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