Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The antimilitarist left demonstrates in Quebec City

Québec antiwar

By the Collectif anarchiste La Nuit (NEFAC-Québec)

About 300 antimilitarists paraded in the streets of Québec City on Friday, March 28. Exceptionally, the major anticapitalist groups in the capital city marched together accompanied by delegations from several other cities including Montréal and Sherbrooke to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the anti-conscription riots and to demonstrate their opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

Antimilitarist Québec

“Québec is not only a garrison city, it also has a proud antimilitarist past,” said Mathieu of the Fédération des communistes libertaires du Nord-Est (NEFAC). It is not on the program of an insipid 400th anniversary,[1] of course, but 90 years ago the inhabitants of this city rose up in opposition to conscription. For five days, workers’ struggles ignited the neighborhoods in the city center, ending in a bloodbath in the Lower Town when the army opened fire upon a crowd of civilians, killing four and wounding 35. It is this popular history, long a forgotten page in the history books, that we want to recover,” added the libertarian activist.

Resistance to the war

Canada is today involved again in an imperialist war. Remarkably, despite an ongoing military propaganda campaign, popular opposition is standing up, poll after poll. Unfortunately, this opposition to war finds little space in which to express itself. “Many people in Québec are opposed to the mobilization of their taxes in this militarist adventure, and it must cease!” said Antoine of Gauche socialiste. “They are making war in our name, without asking us our opinion. The opposition to the war must be able to express itself, and that is why we participated in Friday’s demonstration.”

Gathering in Saint-Roch

The demonstration began at 5 p.m. with a gathering in Saint-Roch, in front of the Gabrielle-Roy library. After several speeches and chants, the antimilitarists took to the street, marching through the Saint-Sauveur neighbourhood to the corner of Saint-Vallier and Saint-Joseph streets, where there is a monument to the memory of those who died in 1918. The march ended at Durocher Park, and was followed by an antimilitarist conference organized by Alternatives à l’AgitéE.

The organizers

The March 28 demonstration was an initiative of the Fédération des communistes libertaires du Nord-Est (NEFAC). It was organized jointly by the Collectif anarchiste La Nuit, the Collectif Piranhas and Gauche socialiste. The following groups formally supported and joined in it: Québec Solidaire Capitale-Nationale, the Regroupement autonome des jeunes, PCR-Québec, Personne n’est illégal-Montréal, Bloquez l’empire-Montréal, the Association des Étudiantes et des Étudiants en Histoire, la Convergence l’Autre 400e, the newspaper Droit de parole and the PCQ-Québec.[2] This broad anticapitalist diversity probably made this demonstration one of the largest open mobilizations of the political far left of the capital city since the Summit of the Americas.


[1] Québec City is celebrating this year the 400th anniversary of its founding by French colonizers led by Samuel de Champlain.

[2] Respectively, the Federation of libertarian communists of the North-East (NEFAC), the Anarchist collective La Nuit [the Night], the Piranhas Collective, Gauche socialiste [Quebec section of the Fourth International], Québec Solidaire (National Capital [Québec City] section), the Autonomous coalition of youth, the Revolutionary Communist Party-Québec (PCR-Québec), No One is Illegal-Montréal, Block the Empire-Montréal, the Association of History students, the 400th other convergence, Droit de parole [Free speech] and the Quebec Communist Party (PCQ-Québec).

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