“Idealism, you have to have a lot of it. Especially at the beginning. Because it reduces to cooking. This word from a French environmental friend is full of wisdom. Cooking is the shock of reality, the constraints of political life, the strength of the status quo. The important thing is to stay the course despite the obstacles. And not, in the name of the quest for power, to deny its original ideal.
With Québec solidaire (QS), we knew what to expect. The party had inscribed its anti-capitalist identity on its baptismal font. The charge was clear: “The capitalist system produces social inequalities, destroys the environment and reinforces sexism and racism by keeping many groups and people in poverty. A whole manifesto, presented in 2009 by Françoise David and Amir Khadir, which called for “going beyond capitalism” and criticizing those, the social democrats, who simply wanted to reform or re-found it. They passed, wrote QS, “beside the real questions”.
Climate news proves this trial right. The capitalist enterprise having to attract and retain its shareholders, produce even more and always offer a competitive return, the system would only be sustainable if the resources were infinite. But since they are not, the very logic of capitalism leads us towards deforestation, resource depletion, climate catastrophe. Many citizens feel that there is something flawed at the base. A poll last August revealed that 35% of us want to “move away from capitalism”. Only 25% are actually attached to the system. The others don’t know what to think.
The question that kills the planet
Realizing that capitalism is the problem is just the first step. The question that kills (the planet, among others) is how to get rid of it and what to replace it with. In its program, updated in 2019 and still in force, QS had chosen the hard way: “Québec solidaire aims, in the long term, for the socialization of economic activities. »Vast program. This means that all the large companies (Walmart, Bell Canada, Cascades, Bombardier, etc.) would become collective property, therefore removed from the dogma of growth. Rest assured, added QS, “a certain place in the private sector will be maintained, particularly with regard to SMEs”. But the QS program insisted on the urgent need to nationalize the mines, the logging companies, part of the banking system.
These things take time. It will be, he wrote, “in the long run.” We will limit ourselves, in a first term, to the nationalization of CHSLDs, renewable energy, the nationalization / creation of a state bank and, said QS in 2018, of intercity public transport.
This weekend, QS delegates were also invited to focus on commitments “achievable in a first term” or which would be “the first step of a more ambitious project”. Strangely, not a line of proposal was devoted to the original “more ambitious project”: the exit from capitalism.
This has not gone unnoticed by those who believed and still believe in the primary identity of their party. “We are increasingly alarmed by what we believe to be a significant shift from the radical roots of our party in favor of a reformist and nationalist leadership,” write members of the Tendance Marxiste collective, a constituent group of QS. We believe this is a fatal mistake which is leading the party to a dead end. “
In recent weeks, they have launched a campaign to “bring QS back to its anti-capitalist roots”. They listen again and again and with tears in their eyes to the old speeches where a Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois who was not wearing a jacket and tie sang the praises of “the class struggle”.
In their attempt to have the provisions of the program relating to the nationalization of mines and the forestry industry introduced into the platform, MP Ruba Ghazal was adamant. “Yes, at Québec solidaire, we want to resort to nationalization to encourage certain sectors – for example for private CHSLDs and the strategic minerals sector in certain situations, and so on. -, but not do it like that in a systematic way, ”she argued. She was strongly supported at the microphone by Manon Massé, the very one who, in a moment of bewilderment in 2018, admitted to being a Marxist.
Systematic nationalization is precisely the exit strategy from capitalism provided for in the solidarity program. The vote this weekend is therefore a major renunciation. The words of Mmy Ghazal and Massé are cut-and-paste arguments served by Jacques Parizeau to PQ militants of the 1970s who wanted, like their French socialist friends at the time, to nationalize massively to “break with capitalism within 100 days” of their seizure of power. .
In a last stand, the Marxist Collective attempted to impose, for 2030, a GHG reduction target of 65%. At this level, one activist quite rightly said, “that means that we are leaving the capitalist framework and we have a controlled economy”. The majority of activists said no.
In doing so, they buried their party’s anti-capitalist mission. Nothing distinguishes them, fundamentally, from the formerly hated Social Democrats. They fell into line. They no longer ask “the real questions”. It is a great day for capitalism. I’m not saying that the existence of QS, so far, has prevented him from sleeping. But now he can sleep even deeper.
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