Tuesday, May 03, 2011


The internets will be this generation's Cité Libre, methinks:
Cité Libre was an influential political journal published in Quebec, Canada, through the 1950s and 1960s. Co-founded in 1950 by editor and future Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau, the publication served as an organ of opposition to the conservative and authoritarian government of Maurice Duplessis.

The journal published contributions by intellectuals such as Trudeau, Gérard Pelletier, René Lévesque, Pierre Vallières and other intellectuals and activists. In doing so, the journal gained a reputation for its radical viewpoints at a time when anti-Duplessis views were difficult to get into print. The journal was anti-clerical and often criticised the strong influence that the Roman Catholic Church then had in Quebec. It also favoured civil libertarianism, as shown by its opposition to such measures as the Padlock Law (adopted by Duplessis in 1937) and its support of the Asbestos Strike. Editor Trudeau helped form the Rassemblement, a group devoted to turning the public against Duplessis. This group, combined with Cité Libre, helped foster the intellectualism that revived the Quebec Liberal Party, which defeated the Union Nationale in 1960. Many of the themes raised by Cité Libre found fruition during Quebec's Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. A number of the journal's contributors went on to take leading parts in that movement. As the 1960s progressed, Quebec society became divided between Quebec nationalists and sovereigntists such as Lévesque and Vallières and Canadian federalists such as Trudeau and Pelletier. This caused a rift among the journal's board members, ultimately leading to the magazine's evolution into a federalist journal. As well, the journal abandoned its earlier interest in socialist ideas and became more and more liberal in orientation. The division among Quebec's left, as well as the entry of a number of Cité Libre figures into electoral politics, led to the journal's demise in 1966.
Let a thousand ideas bloom. Among and from the many, not the few usual suspects. Grassroots, baby. That's where it all has to come from.