If you would like to volunteer and join the effort, please contact us at the above email before embarking on any translation work, in order to avoid any redundancies. We cannot accept translations that have not been cleared with us first.
For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Renaud Picard June 17, 2012
Many groups have denounced the association of the spirit of Bill 78 with Fascism as inappropriate. They say it misrepresents the definition of Fascism and is akin to identifying the Liberal government with the ideological monstrosities of Nazism.
But what exactly do we know about Fascism? What is the basis for claims to the real definition of the term? We know that Fascism has not always been Nazism. We also know that the Nazi salute started out as a Fascist salute in Italy. We know that Fascism, in fact, took many different forms in Europe during the 1930s.
These facts are well established and to suggest otherwise would be embarrassing, disgraceful even. Why then this tendency to reduce any association between Bill 78 and Fascism to a simple analogy between the Liberal Party and Nazism? Why assimilate the Fascist salute solely to its Nazi expression? Most likely, it is to avoid the accusation of brushing it aside, but also, perhaps, to make the severity of the analogy seem irrational and absurd.
But the fact is that Italian Fascism was not genocidal. There was even a difficult collaboration with the Nazis during the deportation of Jews. However, Mussolini was clearly Fascist: his supporters saluted him with arms extended and heels clacking, and his laws imposed severe constraints on democratic expression.
In its initial stages, Fascism was not based on Nazi genocidal goals. It represented, rather, a political attack on modern democracy, in the guise of an ideological cleansing of the nation. It manifested a deep contempt towards any political parties seeking to liberate the old European nations from hierarchical structures. But there was no project of racial extermination.
It is important to recall the Italian and Spanish versions of Fascism never crossed over into Nazism. They never transformed the idea of the ideological cleansing of the nation into racial or ethnic cleansing. They were perhaps contracted forms of Nazism, forms that anticipated the horrors to come, but they were at no time instigators of the genocide. Their regimes were based on contempt for political adversaries, not on the extermination of a race.
This is why in 1951 Camus wrote in The Rebel: “Any form of contempt, if it intervenes in politics, sets the stage for Fascism.” Camus wasn’t meaning to trivialize the Jewish genocide; he was simply recalling that Nazism had been preceded by Italian Fascist contempt. He was also warning future generations that reducing Fascism to its later, more extreme forms blinds us to its primary, more common manifestations. He was saying that Fascism was not only genocidal; it was, first and foremost, based on contempt against political adversaries.
It so happens that this contempt is now dangerously present in the Liberal Party. There is contempt in Charest calling casserole demonstrations a menace; there is contempt also in Minister St-Pierre assimilating the red square to violence; there is contempt, finally, when the government takes pride in the preventative arrest of political adversaries.
This is not to say that the Liberal Party has become a Fascist regime. It is to say that a certain culture of contempt associated with Fascism in the past is taking root within its ranks. Ultimately, it means we have to denounce not so much the details of Bill 78 but rather the political spirit that founded it.
Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.