Hammer, Sickle and Four logo
The Internationalist
June 2019

The ICL Against Asylum
for Refugees in Quebec

Quebec is now governed by the right-wing nationalists of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), whose prime minister François Legault has announced his intention to reduce immigration by 20% this year, one way or another. Canada has currently suspended the expulsion of Syrian and Haitian refugees – a diplomatic maneuver by this minor imperialist power rather than a truly humanitarian act. But this angered the CAQ: Quebec has a veto on overall immigration, but not on the entry of refugees. In January, Legault asked Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to pay more than $300 million to cover the costs of asylum seekers. He had already complained that the border was a “sieve.” In other words, he does not want refugees, French-speaking or otherwise.

But according to République Ouvrière (No. 3, Winter/Spring 2019), the newspaper of the “Ligue Trotskyste” in Québec and Canada, part of the centrist International Communist League (ICL), “Legault’s anti-immigrant measures, including the recent cancellation of 18,000 immigration applications, are an integral part of his racist attacks to divide workers. This poison must be fought in the working class. However, the struggle for Quebec to have its independent state cannot be separated from the struggle to control its borders. Thus, Legault’s current demand that immigration, which is now under federal jurisdiction, be brought back under the jurisdiction of Quebec is legitimate from this standpoint” [English translation in Workers Vanguard, 31 May 2019].

Thus the ICL openly supports the “legitimate” right of a bourgeois government to turn back refugees in order to control the borders of an independent state, which, moreover, does not even exist! Since the CAQ is not (or is no longer) in favor of separation, Legault’s application is not in fact a preparation for an independent Quebec. Even if this were so, genuine Marxists assume no responsibility for the organization of the repressive apparatus of the bourgeoisie when they support the call for independence. The ICL, on the other hand, quite simply supports Quebec's “nation-building.” This is a betrayal of the internationalist principles of communism!

Although the ICL fulminates against the European Union, its U.S. newspaper, Workers Vanguard (30 October 2015) declared: “Marxists do not take a position on refugee ‘burden sharing’ between capitalist governments.” On this occasion, they were justifying why they did not oppose the “Dublin III” regulation, which requires that asylum-seeking refugees be processed in the first EU country they enter. This “administrative” rule is in fact a refugee expulsion measure, which stipulates that those who go to Northern Europe are to be “transferred” to Greece or Italy where they will be imprisoned prior to being deported. Genuine revolutionary Marxists must clearly oppose Dublin III, just as we oppose deportations of immigrants and refugees in general.

Having failed to conduct a real examination of the roots of its betrayal in Haiti, where it supported the invasion of U.S. imperialist troops and occupation of the black republic to impose “order” after the devastating earthquake in 2010, the ICL was doomed to repeat it. That is what it is now doing, aligning with the most retrograde elements of the bourgeoisie, including fascists and racists, while hyperventilating around the dangers of “open borders” and “unlimited mass migration.” A nightmare that it shares with the Trumps and Legaults of the world. ■