A Festival Of Life by George Metesky (Larry Gambone)
For 12 hours on October 7th, Montreal became the first semi-liberated territory in Canada as the Montreal Police withdrew their services in a strike for wage parity with Toronto. All the fears that the bourgeoisie have came true. Without the forces of “Law and Ordure” , “criminal anarchy” prevailed.
The masses freed at last from the repression of the state had a joyous festival. Consumer goods, so long out of reach for the poorer sectors of the population became free for the taking as the large department stores were liberated. Given this chance at freedom, the people began to regain some of the wealth that the rich had robbed them of.
Quebecois long burning with bitter anger at their English and American Masters, vented their rage upon the symbols of their oppression. Birks, Eatons, McGill University, radio stations, became the targets of massive “loot-ins” and fire-bombings. Special attention was paid to the Murray Hill Taxi Company which holds a monopoly over airport limousine services. For years a thorn in the side of independent taxi men as well as an example of Anglais imperialism, many buses and limousines were overturned and burned.
The FLQ resumed operations in a big way, by virtually declaring all-out war on the imperialists, as one bombing incident an hour was reported. Many gun shops had their stocks removed. One need not have much imagination to know what became of those weapons.
Like the Paris Commune, where the Communards remained drunk for two weeks on looted wine, liberated Montreal seemed from all reports, to have the air of a festival. People were happy! Power was in their hand for once. It was a festival – a festival of life – a prelude to revolution!
As during the revolt in France last May, the hold the rulers had over the population was extremely tenuous. Without the police to protect their stolen property, they had to call in the army. This is the first time the army has been called to police a city since the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. Claude Wagner, former Liberal attorney general said that the events in Montreal showed that Quebec is on “the verge of revolution” m and added, “ There is discontent in all strata of society and this discontent is only beginning to be expressed in a violent way.”
However much the bourgeoisie may whine about law and order or the Sacred Rights of Private Property, however much they try to repress the population, their time is limited. The revolt this October will be nothing in comparison to the festival of life that will be held in the future by an organized and conscious Quebec population.
Solidarity #3, November 1969