Statement on the April 14 Quebec general elections

Statement of the Internationalist Workers' Group

In the midst of yet another mobilization for capitalist war, Quebec Premier Bernard Landry has called on the population to participate in one the most cynical events of life under capitalist peace: a general election. For the next few weeks, the whole ideological apparatus of the state will be mobilized to convince workers that they have a stake in this travesty.

All three major parties, the Parti Quebecois (PQ), the Liberals and the Action Démocratique (ADQ) are instruments of ruling class domination. They speak of justice, progress and common sense but their practice and their program are all about cuts to health, education and social services. Their real goal is the ever-greater exploitation of the working class and the general looting of society. Though many political pundits claim that Quebec nationalism is at a low ebb, all three major parties are in fact nationalist formations trying to renegotiate a better deal for the Quebec bourgeoisie inside the Canadian Federation. The PQ hopes to achieve this through 'sovereignty-association' while the Liberals want to do it by a new, more favourable allotment of taxation rights between the provincial and federal levels of government. The ADQ, a nationalist split from the Liberal Party, supported 'sovereignty-association' at the last referendum but it seems that it would be content with a new tax scheme now. All this nationalism feeds the lie that Quebec workers are different, that our particular 'values' must be upheld and that we are all one great united family, united under God and our state, our nation and our bosses.

One new smaller party claims it stands opposed to this three party circus. The Union des Forces Progressistes (UFP) is a ragbag team composed of the Quebec Communist Party Stalinists (1), hard-line disappointed ex-PQ separatists and the most openly right-wing Trotskyist formations: the International Socialists (2) and Gauche Socialiste (4). The UFP does not claim to be socialist but a defender of 'progressive values'. It aims to follow the path of Lula's Workers' Party, IMF-endorsed victory in Brazil, although in the short run it will probably get no more support than the British Socialist Alliance. Though it battles with the PQ to attract the leftist vote, in reality it differs so little from its big brother that it tried to negotiate some kind of an electoral agreement with it until a few weeks before the election announcement. Its main particularity is that it is the only true separatist party in the election. Thus, in a world where merchandise and capital move ever more freely from country to country, these so-called progressives struggle for new frontiers to impede the free circulation of human beings! While an unthinkable UFP victory would only lead to a formal reorganization of the national form of capitalist rule, workers would have to deal with the hindrance of yet new borders, more frontiers to divide them. Despite its 'progressive' chatter, the UFP is nothing more than a bourgeois electoral racket and deserves absolutely no proletarian support.

As with all capitalist elections, workers must boycott the whole process. Electoralism, democracy and Parliament are nothing more than fig leaves that dissimulate the reality of bourgeois dictatorship over society. If elections could indeed be a means to transform society, the ruling class would have outlawed them long ago. Rather than isolating ourselves in the polling booth to choose which capitalist faction to submit to, workers should unite in the workplaces and in the streets to wage the political battle to overthrow the capitalist class and smash its state. The Internationalist Workers' Group calls on all class-conscious workers to abstain from the bosses' electoral circus, to accelerate the pace of the class struggle and help us lay the foundations of the International Party of the Working Class.

Not a single vote for war! Not a single vote for exploitation!

The Internationalist Workers' Group

(1) The characterization of this Party as Stalinist is in no way an exaggeration as it is led by a small Maoist nucleus (the ex-Groupe Communiste Ouvrier) that follows the line of the ultra-Stalinist Party of Labour of Belgium.

(2) Canadian affiliate of the British Socialist Workers Party's international trend.

(3) Quebec affiliate of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International.