In various countries, mainly Europe, the question of whether to allow the Islamic veil for women has become one of these themes. In Belgium, in France, the issue of the hijab has become the pretext for strengthening secular and republican ideology, in other words, the ‘democratic’ state. This, too, was the case in Canada in French speaking Quebec. On September 14, in an appeal to religious organizations, a street demonstration took place in Montreal. On this occasion, our K-IC comrades deem it necessary to reproduce the following text from 2007 on their blog.
Fraction of the International Communist Left
An irrational accommodation: capitalism
For several months, the press and bourgeois media spearheaded a massive campaign to divide immigrant workers from their Québécois and aboriginal counterparts. The pretext: reasonable accommodations for Jews and Muslims. Even if, for example, no Islamic religious organizations requested the right to wear the veil during voting, the media kept on about it. The whole point of this divisive debate is to have us forget that the vote is utterly useless for the proletariat, regardless of their origin. Amongst politicians, this has culminated in the creation of the Bouchard-Taylor commission given the task of touring Quebec. Everyone - bourgeois, petit bourgeois and workers are invited as "citizens" to offer their opinion. This campaign serves to fuel the worst of bourgeois ideology: racism, xenophobia, and nationalism, of 'every man for himself'. The capitalist class has only one aim in mind: to prevent the proletariat from affirming its solidarity and its unity as an international working class. While making believe that the Québécois proletariat would have something to safeguard, to defend against all immigrants from Arab countries or elsewhere, all this media hoopla endeavors to do is to make them believe that the immigrant situation (1) is separate from the working class, from the misery of its own condition as an exploited class.
We have even heard that "lady of the manor" Pauline Marois, speak to us of "Our identity" as nationalists. This "Identity" being the right to be exploited by our own home-grown business people... The bourgeois elites, as always, stand in the way of any real workers solidarity, which must extend beyond nationality. This "faith" in the "secular" bourgeois State as ultimate judge of peace and social cohesion, is just the kind of crap that's thrown out for the unions. Behind this whole debate about reasonable accommodation is the defense of "secularism" which is in fact the defense of the special status given to the capitalist state and bourgeois democracy.
The government has no intention of diminishing the importance of religions, to the contrary – its aim is to reinforce them. It will be under the staff of "our secular State" that courses on all religions will flourish in the schools in the autumn of 2008. Religion will always be the opiate of the masses.
In the face of worldwide misery and barbarism in full putrefaction, there is but one prospect for the working class – to firmly reject the competitive rationale of its own exploiters, of "every man for himself". No matter what their origin, language, colour of skin, or religion, the proletariat has no interest in common with national capital. It can only really defend its interests, by developing everywhere its solidarity with the international working class, by resisting any attempt to foster division as immigrants, Canadians, Quebecois and aboriginal peoples.
Only the assertion of its common interests in struggle will permit the proletariat to gather all its resources, to affirm itself as a world class united in solidarity, to bring down the capitalist Moloch before it destroys the planet.
Some internationalist communists of Montreal
(1) Note: from 1840 to 1930, 900,000 French Canadians emigrated to the USA. It is alarming to read the racist report of an American functionary:
« With some exceptions the Canadian French are the
Chinese of the Eastern States. They care nothing for
our institutions, civil, political, or educational.
They do not come to make a home among us, to dwell
with us as citizens, and so become a part of us; but
their purpose is merely to sojourn a few years as
…They are indefatigable workers, and docile… All they
ask is to be set to work, and they care little who
rules them or how they are ruled. To earn all they can
by no matter how many hours of toil, to live in the
most beggarly way so that out of their earnings they
may spend as little for living as possible, and to
carry out of the country what they can thus save: this
is the aim of the Canadian French in our factory
Massachusetts Report on statistics of labor Boston 13