Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The FLQ and the Quebec October Crisis

A Classless Society

The socialist doctrine held that the wealthy ruling class exploited the working class. It sought liberation for workers by the overthrow of capitalism, which it believed was destined to breed a wealthy minority that oppressed the majority. The socialist goal was creation of a classless society where oppression based upon race, gender or ethnic origin would be eliminated.

Schoeters applied these socialist principles to the province of Quebec. He saw that wealthy Anglos owned many of the big businesses, and that French-Canadians populated their employee rosters. He concluded that the Quebecois were oppressed by the Anglo bourgeoisie, even if most of them didn't realize it.

He may have had a point. One economic study indicated that minority Anglos controlled 80 percent of Quebec's industry.

In some respects, Schoeters' life had striking parallels to that of Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Oswald was smitten by the communist revolution and moved to Russia as a young man, abandoning his U.S. citizenship. Like Schoeters, Oswald later became a vocal supporter of Castro and the Cuban revolution. And like Oswald, Schoeters would later be suspected of clandestine connections to the KGB, the Russian spy agency.

In Quebec, Georges Schoeters found two young French-Canadian acolytes, Raymond Villeneuve and Gabriel Hudon. Schoeters had 10 years on each of them, and the younger men were awed by his travels abroad, Castro connection and socialist chops. Schoeters bragged that he was a member of the Belgian resistance during World War II.

He apparently could talk for hours about the need for a French-Canadian revolution, and he convinced his apprentice radicals of their ethnic oppression.

The three became active in Quebec's left wing social-democrat political party as well as the province's nascent independence movement. Together, they founded the Front de libération du Québec in 1962.

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