Friday, July 21, 2006

A Classy Look at Neighbourhoods in Montreal (courtesy of the RCP-OC)

A while back i was at some event or demo or something and got a flyer from the Red Youth Front (Front Rouge des Jeunes), an affiliate of the Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committee), a local Maoist group. (NOTE: the RCP-OC is not the same as the American RCP, for those who keep track of such things).

Anyways, said piece of paper came home with me, got put in one pile of similar papers, shuffled back and forth across m office for who-knows-how-long, until finally today i read it while (trying to) clean up this mess!

All of which is to say: it’s a nice little flier, an explanation of the slogan (provided at the bottom) that “it is right to revolt!”

A list of statistics if you will. Here they go (translation provided by yours truly):

A Look at Life In the Working Class Neighbourhoods

A Look at Life in the Bourgeois Neighbourhoods

Average Revenue
Hochelaga: $28 193
Montreal-North: $35 233
Parc-Extension: $27 877

Average Revenue
Outremont: $90 613
Westmount: $142 604
Town of Mount Royal: $116 271

Life Expectency
Centre-Sud: 71,6 years
Pointe St-Charles: 73,9 years

Life Expectancy
Hampstead: 82,0 years
Westmount: 82.1 years

Average Value of an Apartment
Saint Henri: $120 539

Average Value of a House
Westmount: $553 775

Deaths Caused by Respiratory Illnesses
Montreal-East & Pointe-aux-Trembles: 133

Deaths Caused by Respiratory Illnesses
West Island: 66

Percentage of Single Parent Households
Saint-Michel: 39,8%
Hochelaga: 51,1%

Percentage of Single Parent Households
Pierrefonds: 21,1%
West Island:  16,2%

Rate of Suicide (per 100,000)
Petite-Patrie: 20,6
Centre-Sud: 42,0

Rate of Suicide (per 100,000)
West Island: 6,2
Hampstead: 6,9

Unemployment Rate
Pointe-St-Charles: 15,3%
Parc-Extension: 20,8%

Unemployment Rate
Pierrefonds: 6,3%
Westmount: 5,5%

Dropout Rate
Hochelaga: 49%

Dropout Rate
Westmount: 2%

Violent Crime Rate (per 1000)
Saint Henri: 24,6

Violent Crime Rate (per 1000)
West Island: 4,6

Of course such a list still relies on several bourgeois patriarchal assumptions – about who is in a “household”, about what gets reported in the ways of “violent crime” – which serve as ideological gerrymandering the same way many of Montreal’s communities have actually been gerrymandered in order to diminish working class power… but nevertheless it’s a nice little list. Still more useful than useless.

It would be nice to have gender factored into it. Ditto with nationality. I don’t know if the RCP-OC would do so – like most leftists i imagine they consider the former to be tantamount to dark matter, and like many of the better leftists in Quebec nationality gets only cursory attention methinks from a desire to not inadvertently give solace to the nationalists… but still, one can hope.

Or maybe someone else can go better?


  1. Isn't this the organization Duceppe belonged to 30 years ago ?

  2. No it's not, though it is Maoist, and Duceppe belonged to a Maoist goup, the Parti Communiste Ouvrier (Workers Communist Party) many years back, before the RCP-OC existed.

    IMO the RCP-OC is one of the more interesting communist groups in Quebec, partly because of their militancy, and partly because of their opposition to Quebec nationalism (indeed, the two are connected in an indirect way).

  3. RCP-OC opposes Quebequois nationalism?

    Do you have any links on their positions about this?

    Also, does anyone know their relations/thoughts on the RCP in the USA?

  4. i would be shocked if there was nothing on their site, as opposition to Quebec nationalism has historically been what has been one of the most visible positions setting Maoists in Quebec apart from social-democrats and trots, and this from way back in the En Lutte!, WCP daze of the 70s.

    In fact, just went to their site and found the relevant section of their programme here.

    Comrades from outside of Quebec often have an (understandable) assumption that there is some connection between the radical left as a whole and the nationalist movement in Quebec, as seems to be the case in let's say Puerto Rico or the indigenous nations, or the Black nation... i believe this comes from a (currently incorrect) impression that Quebecois suffer similar kinds of oppression as members of oppressed nationalities elsewhere in North America.

    While it would be a gross distortion to claim that the radical left has unanimously rejected the idea of "national liberation" in Quebec, all but the most dishonest or ignorant elements would have to acknowledge that the Quebecois are in nowhere close to the same situation as the aforementioned oppressed nationalities.

    Add to this far-less-than-clearcut situation the fact that whenever the PQ (the nationalist provincial political party) has held office it has used its connections in the pro-nationalist sections of the left to sabotage any real working class, anti-racist or feminist opposition to its policies, and you can begin to see why the most militant sections of the radical left almost all broke with the "national liberation project" at different points over the past thirty years.

    And in this, the Maoists (specifically those in Charles Gagnon's group En Lutte!) were the first, way back when in the 70s.


    As to the RCP-OC's relationship with the RCP-USA, i could not say. From what i can see (and i am most definitely an outsider) it seems friendly, to say the least.

  5. i just uploaded a translation of an interesting text about Charles Gagnon, which may help flesh out your understanding of Quebec Maoism and Quebec nationalism.

  6. Thank you so much, K.

    Maybe I should just google-jockey for the intormation, but do you know any even semi- comprehensive history of RC politics in Quebec?