Manifesto of the FLQ (1970)
The Front de liberation du Québec is not a messiah, nor a modern-day Robin Hood. It is a group of Québec workers who have decided to use every means to make sure that the people of Québec take control of their destiny.
The Front de liberation du Québec wants the total independence of all Québécois, united in a free society, purged forever of the clique of voracious sharks, the patronizing “big bosses” and their henchmen who have made Québec their hunting preserve for “cheap labour” and unscrupulous exploitation.
The Front de liberation du Québec is not a movement of aggression, but is a response to the aggression organized by high finance and the puppet governments in Ottawa and Québec (the Brinks “show,” Bill 63, the electoral map, the so-called social progress tax, Power Corporation, “Doctors’ insurance,” the Lapalme guys …)
The Front de liberation du Québec finances itself by “voluntary taxes” taken from the same enterprises that exploit the workers (banks, finance companies, etc. …)
“The money power of the status quo, the majority of the traditional teachers of our people, have obtained the reaction they hoped for; a backward step rather than the change for which we have worked as never before, for which we will continue to work” ( René Lévesque, April 29, 1970) .
We believed once that perhaps it would be worth it to channel our energy and our impatience, as René Lévesque said so well, into the Parti Québecois, but the Liberal victory clearly demonstrated that that which we call democracy in Québec is nothing but the democracy of the rich. The Liberal party’s victory was nothing but the victory of the election riggers, Simard-Cotroni. As a result, the British parliamentary system is finished and the Front de liberation du Québec will never allow itself to be fooled by the pseudo-elections that the Anglo-Saxon capitalists toss to the people of Québec every four years. A number of Québecois have understood and will act. In the coming year Bourassa will have to face reality; 100,000 revolutionary workers, armed and organized.
Yes, there are reasons for the Liberal victory. Yes, there are reasons for poverty, unemployment, slums, and for the fact that you, Mr Bergeron of Visitation Street and you, Mr Legendre of Laval who earn $ 10,000 a year, will not feel free in our country of Québec.
Yes, there are reasons, and the guys at Lord know them, the fishermen of the Gaspé, the workers of the North Shore, the miners for the Iron Ore Company, Québec Cartier Mining, and Noranda, also know these reasons. And the brave workers of Cabano that you tried to screw again know lots of reasons.
Yes, there are reasons why you, Mr Tremblay of Panet Street and you Mr Cloutier, who work in construction in St Jerôme, cannot pay for “Vaisseaux d’or” with all the jazz and oom-pa-pa like Drapeau the aristocrat, who is so concerned with slums that he puts coloured billboards in front of them to hide our misery from the tourists.
Yes, there are reasons why you, Mrs Lemay of St Hyacinthe, can’t pay for little trips to Florida like our dirty judges and parliamentary members do with our money.
The brave workers for Vickers and Davie Ship, who were thrown out and not given a reason, know these reasons. And the Murdochville men, who were attacked for the simple and sole reason that they wanted to organize a union and who were forced to pay $2 million by the dirty judges simply because they tried to exercise this basic right – they know justice and they know the reasons.
Yes, there are reasons why you, Mr Lachance of St Marguerite Street, must go and drown your sorrows in a bottle of that dog’s beer, Molson. And you, Lachance’s son, with your marijuana cigarettes …
Yes, there are reasons why you, the welfare recipients, are kept from generation to generation on social welfare. Yes, there are all sorts of reasons, and the Domtar workers in East Angus and Windsor know them well. And the workers at Squibb and Ayers, and the men at the Liquor Board and those at Seven-Up and Victoria Precision, and the blue collar workers in Laval and Montreal and the Lapalme boys know those reasons well.
The Dupont of Canada workers know them as well, even if soon they will only be able to express them in English (thus assimilated they will enlarge the number of immigrants and New Quebeckers, the darlings of Bill 63 ) .
And the Montreal policemen, those strongarms of the system, should understand these reasons – they should have been able to see we live in a terrorized society because, without their force, without their violence, nothing could work on October 7.
We have had our fill of Canadian federalism which penalizes the Québec milk producers to satisfy the needs of the Anglo-Saxons of the Commonwealth; the system which keeps the gallant Montreal taxi drivers in a state of semi-slavery to shamefully protect the exclusive monopoly of the nauseating Murray Hill and its proprietor – the murderer Charles Hershorn and his son Paul, who, on the night of October 7, repeatedly grabbed the twelve-gauge shot gun from his employees hands to fire upon the taxi drivers and thereby mortally wound corporal Dumas, killed while demonstrating.
We have had our fill of a federal system which exercises a policy of heavy importation while turning out into the street the low wage-earners in the textile and shoe manufacturing trades, who are the most ill-treated in Québec, for the benefit of a clutch of damned money-makers in their Cadillacs who rate the Québec nation on the same level as other ethnic minorities in Canada.
We have had our fill, as have more and more Québecois, of a government
which performs a-thousand-and-one acrobatics to charm American millionaires into investing in Québec, La Belle Province, where thousands and thousands of square miles of forests, full of game and well-stocked lakes, are the exclusive preserve of the almighty twentieth century lords.
We have had our fill of a hypocrite like Bourassa who relies on Brinks armoured trucks, the living symbol of the foreign occupation of Québec, to keep the poor natives of Québec in the fear of misery and unemployment in which they are accustomed to living.
We have had our fill of taxes which the Ottawa representative to Québec wants to give to the Anglophone bosses to encourage them to speak French, old boy, to negotiate in French: Repeat after me: “Cheap labour means manpower in a healthy market.”
We have had our fill of promises of jobs and prosperity while we always remain the cowering servants and boot-lickers of the big shots who live in Westmount, Town of Mount Royal, Hampstead, and Outremont; all the fortresses of high finance on St James and Wall streets, while we, the Québecois, have not used all our means, including arms and dynamite, to rid ourselves of these economic and political bosses who are prepared to use every sort of sordid tactic to better screw us.
We live in a society of terrorized slaves, terrorized by the big bosses like Steinberg, Clark, Bronfman, Smith, Neaple, Timmins, Geoffrion, J. L. Levesque, Hershorn, Thompson, Nesbitt, Desmarais, Kierans. Compared to them Remi Popol the lousy no-good, Drapeau the Dog, Bourassa the lackey of the Simards, and Trudeau the fairy are peanuts.
We are terrorized by the capitalist Roman church, even though this seems less and less obvious (who owns the property on which the stock exchange stands?) ; by the payments to pay back Household Finance; by the publicity of the overlords of retail trade like Eaton, Simpson, Morgan, Steinberg, and General Motors; we are terrorized by the closed circles of science and culture which are the universities and by their bosses like Gaudry and Dorais and by the underling Robert Shaw.
The number of those who realize the oppression of this terrorist society are growing and the day will come when all the Westmounts of Québec will disappear from the map.
Production workers, miners, foresters, teachers, students, and unemployed workers, take what belong to you, your jobs, your right to decide, and your liberty. And you, workers of General Electric, it’s you who makes your factories run, only you are capable of production; without you General Electric is nothing!
Workers of Québec, start today to take back what is yours; take for yourselves what belongs to you. Only you know your factories, your machines, your hotels, your universities, your unions. Don’t wait for an organizational miracle.
Make your own revolution in your areas, in your places of work. And if you don’t do it yourselves, other usurpers, technocrats and so on will replace the handful of cigar smokers we now know, and everything will be the same again. Only you are able to build a free society.
We must fight, not singly, but together. We must fight until victory is ours with all the means at our disposal as did the patriots of 1837-38 (those whom our sacred Mother church excommunicated to sell out to the British interests) .
In the four corners of Québec, may those who have been contemptuously called lousy French and alcoholics start fighting their best against the enemies of liberty and justice and prevent all the professional swindlers and robbers, the bankers, the businessmen, the judges, and the sold-out politicators from causing harm.
We are the workers of Québec and we will continue to the bitter end. We want to replace the slave society with a free society, functioning by itself and for itself; a society open to the world.
Our struggle can only lead to victory. You cannot hold an awakening people in misery and contempt indefinitely. Long live Free Québec!
Long live our imprisoned political comrades. Long live the Québec revolution!
Long live the Front de liberation du Québec.
1999 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College