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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000


We are the offspring of modest French-Canadian families, working class or petit bourgeois, French and Catholics from the day we set foot on these shores, steadfast out of resistance to the conqueror, out of stubborn attachment to the past, out of sentimental pleasure and pride, and other drives.

As early as 1760, this colony was cast behind slick walls of fear ( the normal refuge of defeated people) and abandoned there, for the first time. Our leaders sailed away, or sold themselves to the highest bidder, as they have done ever since, whenever they had a chance.

We are a small and humble people clutching the skirts of priests who'ev become sole guardians of faith, knowledge, truth and our national heritage; and we have been shielded from the perilous evolution of thought going on all around us, by well intended but misguided educators who distorted the great facts of history whenever they found it impractical to keep us totally ignorant.

To hell with holy water and the French- Canadian tuque!

Fear of prejudice- of public opinion - of persecution- of general reprobation

Fear of being alone without God or a society that inevitably isolates us

Fear of ourselves- of our brothers- of poverty

Fear of established order- of absurd laws

Fear of fresh relations

Fear of the surrational

Fear of internal drives

Fear of opening the floodgates of our faith in man in the society of the future

Fear of anything that might trigger a transforming love

Yellow fear- blue fear- white fear: links in our chains

Only a stone man could have remained indifferent, faced with a pathetic nation resolutely pretending to be happy in a cruelly extravagant psychological reflex- a cellophane undershirt covering the poignant despair of our times. ( how could anyone not scream, reading the news of that horrible collection of lamp shades made of tattoed skin stripped from wretched prisoners at the request of an elegant lady; or stifle a moan at the endless lists of concentration camp torments? Who would not be chilled to the bone at descriptions of Spanish jails, gratuitous reprisals, cold- blooded revenge?) In front of the cruel lucidity of science, how could anyone suppress a shudder?

And now, after the reign of overpowering mental anguish comes the reign of nausea.

We must break with the conventions of society once and for all, and reject its utilitarian spirit. We must refuse to function knowingly at less than our physical and mental potential; refuse to close our eyes to vice and fraud perpetrated in the name of knowledge or favors or due respect. We refuse to be confined to the barraks of plastic arts - it's a fortress, but easy enough to avoid. We refuse to keep silent. Do what you want with us, but you must hear us out. We will not accept your fame or attendant honors. They are the stigmata of shame, silliness and servility. We refuse to serve, or to be used for such purposes. We reject all forms of INTENTION, the twoedged, perilous sword of REASON. Down with both of them, back they go!


We are forced to accept the past along with our birth, but there is nothing sacred about it. We don't owe the past a thing.

Let those moved by the spirit of this adventure join with us.

Within the forseeable future, men will cast off their useless chains. They will realize their full, individual potential according to the unpredictable, necessary order of spontaneity- in splendid anarchy.

Until then, we will not rest or falter. Hand in hand with others thirsting for a better life, no matter how long it takes, regardless of support or persecution we will joyfully respond to a savage need for liberation."

Source: Borduas, Paul-Emile, Refus Global. Trans. Ray Ellenwood. Toronto: Exile Press, 1985.