The Quebec left and sovereigntism...now what?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
The Quebec left and sovereigntism...now what?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Sovereigntism has been the organizing principle of the Quebec left for as long as Quebec has HAD a left.

Yet last night's vote might be an indication that, beautiful and praiseworth as the goal of national self-determination is,  sovereigntism may not be an idea that can gain majority support within Quebec for the forseeable future.

If that is the case tying the left project to sovereigntism as a primary goal may be problematic for the left in Quebec, a left that, aside from that, seems to have large and growing support.  It may deprive the left of victories they could otherwise gain, at least in the short run.

How do people here, and I'd say that clear deference should be given to the wishes of Quebecois Babblers on this, think that the left(both QS and the left-wing of the PQ)should respond to last night's election result?  What changes in tactics or theory are needed?

Also is it possible to work for some realization of Quebec self-determination by other means than either independence or "sovereignty-association"?  Is there some way to bridge the gap between people in Quebec who are sovereigntists of the left and people in Quebec who are of the left but do not see sovereignty as something that needs to happen soon, or needs to happen at all? 

And, for those who remain committed to sovereignty, what steps do you feel need to be taken to rebuild majority or even near-majority support for the idea?  What needs to be done, as you see it, to make currently non-sovereigntist Quebecois, at least those of the left, cease to feel that sovereignty is something to be frightened of, or something that(as some feel)would only give aid and comfort to the Right in the ROC?

I'd ask that the "start a Quebec NPD" crowd steer clear of this discussion, since pushing for that at this moment will cause hard feelings and the establishment of such a party will likely meet stiff resistance at this point, given the "I told you so" tone that such advocates have already begun to take.

And finally, I want to make it as clear as it can possibly be that my intent in starting this thread is not about advancing a "Give Up, Already!" against sovereigntists.  It's simply about trying to start a respectful discussion of what should be said and done next.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Respectfully, I'd just point out that if there ever is a Quebec provincial NDP, it will be a federalist, not sovereignist party, because otherwise it will sink the federal NDP. Therefore, if a Quebec wing of the NDP is ever launched, it will be a party of the left, and thoroughly federalist.

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

Yet last night's vote might be an indication that, beautiful and praiseworth as the goal of national self-determination is,  sovereigntism may not be an idea that can gain majority support within Quebec for the forseeable future.

I'm not sure how you drew that conclusion. Last night was not a referendum over independence. Do you think people who voted for CAQ were voting against independence? If so, I beg to differ. Even some of their star candidates (and their leader) are independentists. Likewise, not everyone who votes PQ (and certainly not QS) was voting for independence.

Quote:
If that is the case tying the left project to sovereigntism as a primary goal may be problematic for the left in Quebec, a left that, aside from that, seems to have large and growing support. 

No one I know is "tying the left project to sovereigntism as a primary goal", except some people like Option Nationale and the SPQ Libre and Aut'journal and such crowds. They indeed have very little support.

So as a start, I'd like to ask whether you've read the "sovereignty" section of the QS platform (see page 13 of [url=http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/QS-Plateforme-... document[/url])? If not, have a read and tell me how it relates to your premise. I just think that before we have a debate, there's an objective basis for it.

 

Brachina

51 percent of CAQ lean left and 43 percent of,Liberals lean left and yet both groups voted for right wing parties in rejection of the PQ.

Drew your own conclusions from that.

At this point it doesn't matter, the NDP Quebec wing is on hold for time constraints so,its not like you have a choice in the matter unless the UCQ grews real fast, any time soon.

lagatta

Historically, NDP Québec wings have broken with at least the concept of centralist federalism. I'm a bit fuzzy about the much earlier break from the CCF or early NDP - this is "senior moment" ism - it involved historic Québécois trade-unionists and I believe the break was called something like le Parti socialiste du Québec - and the later Québec NDP was the forerunner of the PDS - (Parti de la démocratie socialiste), which eventually led to the UFP, one of the founding groups of QS.

There is a wiki article about Le Parti socialiste du Québec: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parti_socialiste_du_Québec that confirms my fuzzy memory of things that happened when I was very small. I knew several of those militants, much older than me.

The central NDP was unable to control these evolutions, which were simply the outcome of the dynamics of class struggle in Québec.

Indeed it would be interesting to explore other ways of resolving the national questions - nowadays these involve Indigenous nations as much as Québec - and perhaps Acadia.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fascinating history, lagatta. I'm wondering - is it really possible that Thomas Mulcair (and others...) are truly ignorant of all this????

 

ETA: Maybe Mulcair (and others...) actually know their history, and intend to draw up an NDP charter for Quebec that spells out specifically that the party is federalist. I think it's going to be a nightmare - like herding cats.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Yet last night's vote might be an indication that, beautiful and praiseworth as the goal of national self-determination is,  sovereigntism may not be an idea that can gain majority support within Quebec for the forseeable future.

I'm not sure how you drew that conclusion. Last night was not a referendum over independence. Do you think people who voted for CAQ were voting against independence? If so, I beg to differ. Even some of their star candidates (and their leader) are independentists. Likewise, not everyone who votes PQ (and certainly not QS) was voting for independence.

Quote:
If that is the case tying the left project to sovereigntism as a primary goal may be problematic for the left in Quebec, a left that, aside from that, seems to have large and growing support. 

No one I know is "tying the left project to sovereigntism as a primary goal", except some people like Option Nationale and the SPQ Libre and Aut'journal and such crowds. They indeed have very little support.

So as a start, I'd like to ask whether you've read the "sovereignty" section of the QS platform (see page 13 of [url=http://www.quebecsolidaire.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/QS-Plateforme-... document[/url])? If not, have a read and tell me how it relates to your premise. I just think that before we have a debate, there's an objective basis for it.

 

OK, I read that, and actually like the way it's formulated. I would have voted QS if I lived in Quebec.  And I'm not trying to pick a fight or push a hidden agenda...I don't have any preferred answers to the questions I raised in the OP.  It's good that you've chosen to post in this thread but please...trust me.  I'm not a federalist infiltrator.

As to why I thought sovereigntism might not be retaining its previous support levels...last night, the two main parties that explicitly self-identify as sovereigntist(PQ and QS) received less than 40% of the vote between them.  If you can't get above that level of support for the two parties that are more or less considered to represent the center-left to left in Quebec, this poses, as I interpret it, problems if your objective is to create a radical future for Quebec, no matter what flag that future is created under.

That's all I was saying and all I was asking.  There's nothing in that for you to be suspicious about, U.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

 ...this poses, as I interpret it, problems if your objective is to create a radical future for Quebec,

I want a socially progressive, not "radical", however you define that,  future for Quebec.