Rename Victoria Day Patriots’ Day – Let Us Celebrate the People’s Patriots and End the Ignominy of Monarchical-Patriotic Legends
An assembly of some 6,000 Quebec patriots, the Assembly of the Six Counties, was held October 23-24, 1837 despite public assemblies being banned by the British colonial government.
On May 22, 2023, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) issued a call for Victoria Day to be renamed Patriots’ Day. We are re-publishing the appeal below for your information. CPC(M-L points out that in issuing the call “the aim is to engage people in discussion on the peoples’ patriots and debunk the monarchical-patriotic legends handed down to the younger generations in order to stop them from conceptualizing a constitution and democratic process of their own making, which opens a bright future for all. In this vein, the celebration of Victoria Day is, to put it bluntly, a national humiliation. Canadians oppose everything she represents. In fact, the First World War long ago smashed the euphoria of empire to smithereens in the blood-soaked trenches of Europe.”
Victoria is long dead but to this day she is hailed as Empress of India and commended in innumerable ways. Through the personas of subsequent kings and queens and the conquests, treaties and institutions established in her name and since then in the name of her successors, and crimes carried out, everything is done on the basis of attempts to sneak in what she stood for which is called patriotic, to be saluted rather than condemned. The Constitution imposed in 1867 in her name, and subsequently its patriation in the name of Elizabeth II, relegate Canadians to subjects under a rule they did not adopt. All of it is based on monarchical-patriotic legends and the practices they generate to justify and legitimize their rule.
For instance, the claim is made that for Canada to sever its longstanding ties to the monarchy and become a republic, “it would require agreement between the House of Commons, the Senate and all 10 provinces.” This is the stipulation in the very Constitution which was patriated from England in 1982 by the government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau with the incorporation of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an amending formula. Besides the ruling class, nobody ever agreed to the imposition of the Constitution adopted by the Imperial Parliament in 1867. So too the addition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and amending formula were never agreed to by the Canadian and Quebec people either. To this day, the Quebec nation has not even signed the Constitution of 1982, despite the fact that it is said to be a “founding nation” of Canada. Nonetheless,”Official Canada” presumes Quebec is subservient to it. This presumption characterizes the thought material of a ruling class and system of rule and governance imposed by the British during colonial times. Its origins lie in the conquest of territories which were inhabited by Indigenous Peoples but were declared the possessions of the British Empire through the use of force, deceit, cultural genocide and the imposition of a sovereign power represented to this day by a foreign monarch and its representatives, not the representatives of the people..
A legend holds a false idea to be true and uses it as the basis of other ideas. The Constitution imposed in 1867 and its “patriation” in 1982 are the basis for the rules which govern this country. It is presumed that nothing can be done outside of them if so decided by the people even though these rules block the empowerment of the people, which is needed in this modern time to complete the democratic revolution. The claims of foreign monarchs and prime ministers about what can and cannot be done, who can and cannot govern, are informed by this presumption and are self-serving.
All kinds of things are based on presumptions spawned by monarchical-patriotic legends. This includes nonsense of what it means to be a “legitimate” Canadian or Quebecker, or the promotion of racist and misogynist warmongers as heroes, or the giving of medals modeled on the British orders of the British Empire and the like. It is done without Canadians or Quebeckers having a say in the matter. This is a fundamental violation of their right to conscience and to identify themselves and affirm their own right to be. It is a means to condemn resistance and the patriots who wage it. Now is the time to settle scores with this old conscience of society and bring forward the thought material and solutions given rise to by all those patriots who fought within Canada and internationally for their right to be, peace, freedom and democracy.
It is “the people” who should define “the people,” not the state established by the British empire in days gone by, perpetuated by those who benefit from the structures of power and privilege it established. To perpetuate their rule, those who benefit from the structures of power and privilege of the state, which is a constitutional monarchy with a foreign monarch as head of state, base themselves on the declaration that they are legitimate and anyone or anything they do not approve of is illegitimate. With this they impose a set of values and standards onto the people and declare those who do not accept them as “fringe” or “extremists” for refusing to. Who sets the standards and the values is a “mystery of state’ — it is done through the prerogative powers of the sovereign and those said to be entitled to wield the sovereign power which, today, nobody can honestly say is the legislatures and parliaments! The false presumptions spawned by the monarchical-patriotic legends give rise to the celebration of Victoria Day which is, frankly, a national humiliation for the country called Canada which does not formally even enjoy the sovereignty understood to lie in the people according to the republican form of government.
This is also the case for Quebec, a nation within the country called Canada whose nationhood is not recognized in the form of its right to self-determination up to and including secession if it so desires. Reducing matters of principle to the kind of divisive politics which are common today, all dealing with matters of identity and the right to be, causes great harm to the people whose struggles are bound within the confines permitted by the outlook and definition of rights spawned by the British empire in the first place.
For the nations of the Indigenous Peoples, nation-to-nation relations are to be respected. Yet so long as this principle is subordinated to the final decision-making of the Crown as a result of the Constitution which makes it so, genocidal decisions continue to be taken in the name of high ideals. The rulers do not and never have in fact recognized the essence of the treaty relations and hereditary rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Like any union, Canada can only be strong if it is freely constituted and entered into and it can only be considered freely entered into if the constituent parts of Canada, Quebec and the Indigenous Peoples are not subjected to force or undue economic, political and cultural “persuasion” to remain within the union.
The use of the prerogative powers of the British Empire and its Imperial Parliament to impose the Act of Union in 1840 and then Confederation in 1867, its creation of the North West Mounted Police in 1873 to conquer the north west on behalf of the British empire against the expansion north of the United American states, the use of the prerogative powers of the office of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Queen of England to patriate the constitution – all of these are based on and in turn spawn monarchical-patriotic legends whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the form of rule established in the first place by Imperial Britain. Under that form of rule and its institutions the people have no say in the decision-making process, including the electoral process which is said to be a form of representation. The people do not decide the candidates, the mudslinging campaigns, the agenda set, the lack of an informed vote, the divisions promoted, the money spent, and certainly not the result. Whoever is represented, it is not the people.
The form of representation in fact represents what the sovereign who wields the supreme power stands for, not what the people stand for. It is a form of rule which not only carried out broad genocide of the Indigenous Peoples in the past in order to steal their territories and make them subject peoples but continues to do so in the present as well. Their heroic and ongoing resistance to this attempt to wipe them out as peoples is the only thing standing between their survival as peoples and their extinction.
The British monarchy was enriched by the brutal enslavement of people yet Canadians are called on to be loyal to the King and the system of governance which carries his name because we are told we are ridiculous if we don’t let by-gones be by-gones. The rendering of history according to which the crimes committed by the British empire are in the past, not in the present in the form of the perpetuation of the constitutional order which permitted their commission in the first place, and today glorifies them, is also a monarchical-patriotic legend which must be put to rest once and for all. The outlook based on these legends perpetuates the constitutional rule which converts everyone into “loyal subjects” of a foreign monarch today and everything that entails as concerns where the supreme decision-making power lies.
The tacit presumption is that they correctly render what took place in the past even though they taint events with their own self-serving empire-building interpretation which creates a Canada in their own image. Their interpretation of events makes those who Canadians consider patriots out to be traitors. Meanwhile, the kings and queens and their governors general and police and personalities they consider worthy are called heroes. They are given awards and titles and made out to be people Canadians should emulate.
This is true of any ruling class where the people have no say over the modus operandi of those who take decisions. In Canada specifically the rendering of the facts themselves is the fruit of a monarchical-patriotic process of thought which imbues the brains of successive generations with nonsense. The constitutional arrangements condemn us to remain within that realm of thought. The presumptions are to be successfully digested since Confederation imposed a constitution adopted by the Imperial Parliament in 1867 which was patriated holus bolus in 1982, with the addition of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and an amending formula. None of the foundational constitutional arrangements are ever discussed. History lessons describe them but never discuss them. They were never adopted by the people. Quebec, said to be a founding nation of Canada, is not even a signatory to the Constitution 1982.
On the basis of the Victorian thought material the actual experience of the people and their memory are erased, to be forgotten, relegated to oblivion. We are supposed to accept the taboo on discussion and the limitations imposed by the conception of rights and freedoms given rise to by a civil society based on the Victorian ideals of duty, order and civilization.
The current status of Canada as a constitutional monarchy, with a foreign monarch as head of state to boot, is a national humiliation, an embarrassment but this is ignored by the acceptance of monarchical-patriotic legends. The fictional persona presented to us as represented by our head of state, Charles III, is said to embody the values which unify the nation. How can values which we do not espouse unify the nation? It is a ridiculous presumption we are supposed to accept because we are supposed to accept that there is nothing we can do about it. We are powerless. The aim of erecting this fictional person of state is to hide the actual relations between humans and humans and humans and nature and what they reveal, which is the need to empower the people. Today, the call of history is to complete the democratic revolution by making sure constitutional arrangements vest the supreme power in the people, not in the narrow private interests which rule over the society for private gain.
Renaming Victoria Day Patriots’ Day will not on its own abolish the Monarchy. However it will contribute to debunking these monarchical-patriot legends which are meant to keep people constrained to the existing order and all its trappings. All across the country, the working people and peoples from all walks of life are bringing forward their own demands which require new arrangements suitable to the conditions today. A modern society emerges from the requirements of the material conditions today, not by reshuffling the monarchical-patriotic legends of the past and institutions based on them..
It is high time Canada settles scores with this old conscience of society by bringing forward the thought material and pro-social, pro-people direction given rise to by all those patriots who fought within Canada and internationally for their right to be, peace, freedom and democracy. Let us rename Victoria Day Patriots’ Day by ourselves celebrating our patriots, the patriots which the Indigenous Peoples and the peoples from all over the world who inhabit this land consider their heroes. These are the contributions we consider worthy of celebrating and memorializing, engraving on stamps, coins and bank notes, not the graven images of kings and queens and those who emulate them no matter who they are.