Red Flag Express №14

Let’s unite against this racist system

In face of such incredible stupidities that were said at and following the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodations, the famous “Salut à toi” (“Welcome to you”) song by the French band Bérurier Noir has never seemed more relevant. Its message is one that all of us in the RCP would like to take up and pass along to all immigrants, recently arrived or not, to all refugees from all countries, and especially from countries oppressed by imperialism: Welcome to you, immigrant, refugee! Wherever you come from and whatever your beliefs are, you just arrived in imperialist country. But you have new brothers and sisters in the same social class!

And to all workers, unemployed or exploited here in Québec, we add at the same time: Here’s to you, workers born here! Whatever area you come from, be you catholic or non-believer: you have social class brothers and sisters! They are much closer to you than these distant blood brothers who exploit you and have their pockets full of your money.

It must be said that the Bouchard-Taylor commission is an initiative of Québec’s ruling class—the bourgeoisie. Despite the “working-class” character of the participants, it has been organized, thought up and lead by the bourgeois State. The commission reflects its values. It shows the desire of this bourgeoisie to give a “legitimate” and popular character to the present and future attacks against refugees and immigrants, in an international context of imperialist wars, which skilfully associates any resistance to an “attack against our democratic values.”

That’s why the debate about accommodations in Québec reflects the same type of crisis that can be seen in France, Britain or United States. This one-sided “debate” takes place in a context where Canadian soldiers take part in Afghanistan’s occupation; where war in Iraq rages on following the American imperialist invasion; where imperialist countries must maintain support for their war using fear and security obsession; and where, finally, for all these reasons, Canadian imperialist businesses make millions with war and new security measures.

The “Quebecker values” that are talked about during the commission, these are first of all the values that the bourgeoisie and big shot decision-makers have always pushed down our throats. They are reflected in everything the media talks about and are taken up again – consciously or not – in what the commission’s participants say. These are the dominating values in all imperialist countries: they start with the supposed superiority of white culture over those in the rest of the world; they materialize in colonialism and scorn for Natives; scorn for oppressed peoples; hypocritical concern about women’s rights—in theory—and contempt for them in reality.

It’s not surprising at all that these bourgeois and reactionary values influence each one of social classes. These are the dominant values; those presented all day long in the mass media. That’s why we hear proletarians repeat them, workers like you and me, including some who have never met an immigrant in their whole life! But that’s what we’ve been taught in the Journal de Montréal, on TQS, TVA or CBC, with ignorant report after ignorant report about a Muslim sugar shack party, or about a madeup crisis about wearing the veil in voting offices.

This sudden outburst of anger targeting the immigrant (and that has no relation to reality!) has taken a worrying degree of intensity for the bourgeoisie itself. They want the people to agree when they limit immigrants and refugees’ rights, but they still need their workforce for their businesses! That’s why some intellectuals, and even some journalists, wish to bring the debate back to its primary objective: set the best rules to allow the bourgeoisie to get richer, but without creating social chaos. Racism is all right, but just enough to make it easier to rule over us…

We’re not making this up. It’s a reality that, since September 11, immigrants and asylum-seeking refugees’ rights have continuously lost ground. All immigration laws and regulations in Canada and Québec, as well as those regulating the refugee status, have been revised in order to limit entry into the country, to favour investing immigrants—the richest ones. It’s a class war that the Canadian bourgeoisie is engaging in with the immigration question. We must respond to it with fervent solidarity with our immigrant and refugee comrades!

We also didn’t make up the fact that Canada is at war and that it must absolutely see to it that support for the troops increases. To realize this, any reason is good to “demonize” the enemy, which, in this case, is Arab and Muslim. In this context, is it surprising that the main target, if not the quasi-only target, of all racist attacks heard at the Bouchard-Taylor commission is the Arab and Muslim community? Is it surprising that the sudden discourse—hypocritical and paternalist—aiming to “protect the rights of women” in Québec by preventing women from wearing the veil, reflects exactly the discourse—also hypocritical and paternalist!—used by the imperialists to justify Afghanistan’s occupation?

There is not a single Québec national identity. It differs depending on our social class origin. We must not let the bourgeoisie dictate our identity and values! The only values we defend and that the poor, the exploited, the workers with or without jobs—in short, that all proletarians must defend in this currently one-sided debate are those:

Of proletarian internationalism:

  • Wherever we come from, workers are all united by their living conditions, because they all put up with the same exploitation to varying degrees.
  • Instead of letting ourselves be divided, we must become aware of this unity and build the struggle against exploitation and the imperialist system that organizes it at the global scale.

Of absolute equality for all nations and languages:

As the RCP writes in its Programme, “we shall oppose ourselves to any forms of privilege and national exclusivism, such as unilinguism. The struggles targeting the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus, in order to fight national oppression and for equality, are part and parcel of a general resisting movement against capitalism. This reinforces the revolutionary camp.”

The bill proposed by the PQ which seeks, among other things, to impose conditions in exercising civil rights, must be fervently denounced. It’s a project aiming only to reinforce the idea that the Québec nation—as defined by the bourgeoisie—must impose its views to the whole population, especially those not of Quebecker stock. Evidently, and as we see in the reasonable accommodations debate, “nationalism and chauvinism reinforce class collaboration, weakens the proletariat and turns us away from revolution. This reinforces the bourgeoisie, both in Québec and in Canada.”

The actual capitalist society cannot put in place such principles; this would mean a time and money investment not profitable at all for it! It’s not easy of course, but by changing the foundations of a profit-seeking society to a classless society seeking to satisfy each and everybody’s needs, many things will become possible!

Againt division, let’s unite!

In general, in our demands and slogans, in every struggle taking place, on every political question, we must ask ourselves: What divides us? What unites us? The immigrant proletariat, the refugees, have the same interests and endure the same exploitation than workers of Canadian stock. We must struggle alongside to break the chains of division, the chains of racism and build together the proletarian revolution. In Québec, we must also break with the class collaboration that nationalism has made us agree to since way too long!

(Translated from Le Drapeau Rouge, No. 69)

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