PARTIPRIESTS and FRÈREQUISTES? Parti Pris, the Front de libération du Québec, and the Catholicity of Québécois Anticlericalism, 1963-1970
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On March 7 1963, some bombs exploded at a few military barracks in Québec. These blasts announced the start of a campaign mounted by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ). The founders of Parti Pris responded in intellectual solidarity with the FLQ’s motives by publishing their first issue in October. By 1968, Parti Pris ceased publication. After the October Crisis in 1970, the FLQ was widely discredited. Although many Partipristes and Felquistes dispersed into more generalized circles of local activism and party politics, they defined, informed, and mobilized a new generation of Québécois towards national liberation between 1963 and 1970. During their time of influence, Partipristes and Felquistes consistently pointed to a Catholic morality in Québec that revered passivity as a root cause and symptom of their colonial oppression. Some historians have suggested they were aberrant apostles of rupture with Québec’s history and traditions. This sort of reading finds some basis in declamations of the radicals themselves. But this thesis argues that both Parti Pris and the FLQ were developments of, and not definitive breaks with, Québec’s Catholic tradition. By analyzing the writings of Partipristes Paul Chamberland, André Major, and Pierre Maheu alongside those of Felquistes Pierre Vallières and Francis Simard, it claims that no historical appreciation of their lives and generation can sidestep the Catholicism that shaped them as individuals and the social milieu to which they responded.