Origin of “The Goglu”
The French word Goglu1 means Bobolink in English, the name of a songbird. Like the songbird, the newspaper that bore the name was mostly found in the far-flung reaches of Quebec, in the countryside.
Illustration of a goglu from a cartoon in “The Goglu” of January 31st, 1930.
Adrien Arcand’s “Goglu” was a satirical political review which produced a “Patrotic Order” of nationalist French-Canadians in Quebec, which in turn became a federal political movement. Arcand himself wrote much of the Goglu’s content under the nom de plume of Emile Goglu. Thus, the founder of “The Goglu”, and patron of the “Patriotic Order of the Goglus”—the celebrated Emile Goglu—was an alter ego of the (sometimes brutally) funny and politically incorrect Adrien Arcand, himself. The illustration of the goglu above is from a cartoon in “The Goglu” of January 31st, 1930.
The broad goal, by the time it became a federal party, was to eliminate political parties entirely, and their inherent corruption, by implementing a Catholic form of corporatism.
Together with his friend, Joseph Ménard, Arcand produced three popular tabloids, “Le Goglu”, “Le Miroir” and “Le Chameau” (the Bobolink, the Mirror and the Camel). All three, conservative in orientation, were calculated to inform and awaken French-Canadian opinion to political regimes the authors felt were ruining their province.
The targets of Arcand’s “Goglu” cartoon-review were corrupt politicians, mostly the liberals and their socialist “Clique” who relied on wealthy Jewish immigrants for votes and power. As a consequence of Jewish patronage, according to Arcand’s Goglu, the red liberal Clique was passing laws authorizing “trusts” or cartels. With these, the Jews were buying up, consolidating and taking over French-Canadian business while assuming control of the real assets of the Province, the heritage developed by French-Canadians, themselves, for centuries.
Founding of “The Goglu”
The “Goglu” was founded by Adrien Arcand and Joseph Ménard. Arcand was director from August 8th, 1929 to March 10th, 1933 when the Goglu ceased publication. Ménard was director from November 30th 1946, when Goglu resumed publication. “Le Goglu” was print-produced by “Adj. Ménard, Le Progrès de Villeray”.2
Arcand had been fired from La Presse in 1929 after more than a decade of loyal service, because he had set up a Catholic trade un-ion for journalists.3 Arcand had written a legal affairs column and acted as a theatre critic for La Presse.4
Thrown onto his own resources, Arcand launched a weekly paper of his own, “Le Goglu”, writing most of the content of the first issue and signing it, “Emile Goglu”.5
Arcand was Jack of all trades for the publication, in which he indicated that he was by turns director, editor, elevator boy, pho-tographer, circulation agent, distributer and floor sweeper.6
In 1983, Arcand’s National Unity Party of Canada reports (translation):
“The success of the paper was mind-boggling. It quickly achieved the phenomenal print-run of 85,000 copies sold. It was snatched up in the most remote villages. Old folks, for whom the name of Adrien Arcand means nothing, nonetheless remember The Goglu with enthusiasm.”7
In fact, the masthead of the Goglu reports it was the second-largest French paper in America. (See, for example, Vol. I, No. 36, April 11th, 1930.) The NUPC continues (translation):
“Conservative in inspiration, The Goglu did nothing to feather the nest of Alexander Taschereau’s corrupt Liberal regime. Its pages were ornamented with sizzling caricatures at which the public rejoiced.” 8
Not everyone, however, appreciated Adrien Arcand’s brand of humor. The press and workshop of the Goglu were sacked and burned on Sunday morning before the Quebec provincial elections of August 24th, 1931.9 It was burned and sacked on other occasions, as well. Two of the fires were nine months apart.
On April 11th, 1930, the Goglu was based out of 987 Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal with a telephone number of LAncaster 1907.
In the Goglu of May 30th, 1930, under the front-page headline “LA CLIQUE MET LE FEU” (“THE CLIQUE SET THE FIRE”)— meaning Taschereau’s liberals—Arcand (Emile Goglu) triumphantly said (translation):
“As our readers have noted, and once again will note this week, the Goglu is the most stalwart bird and always emerges unscathed from traps that are set for it, from attacks waged against it. Likewise, the valiant “Miroir” and the funny little “Chameau” have published and will publish again, to the greatest bewilderment and definitive downfall of the Clique.”
But, “In the meantime,” says the National Unity Party of Canada, writing in Scandale, Arcand had:
“engaged in battle against the creation of a Jewish school system with a confessional committee inside the Council of Public Instruction. At issue was a bill tabled by the Provincial Secretary, Athanase David, under the zealous care of MLAs Cohen and Bercovitch.”10
The Jewish Schools Law
In the early 1930s, Adrien Arcand and his “Patriotic Order of the Goglus”—and “Le Goglu”—were making waves in Quebec, exposing the efforts of the liberals to parcel out the constitutional rights of the self-governing French-Canadians to the Jewish newcomers.
Financed by the conservative party, the “Goglu” favored Camillien Houde for mayor of Montreal in 1930. But, on the eve of the election, having benefited from the Goglu’s support, Houde disavowed the Goglu for its intention to undermine the Taschereau government’s project of separate Jewish schools for the Jewish community.11
Arcand’s comrade-in-arms, Joseph Ménard, typically precedes Arcand’s public talks on the rostrum with a little warm-up speech. On November 3rd, 1930, as recorded in Christian or Jew?12, Ménard encourages a boycott of the Jewish money power avidly dispossessing French Canadian business and industry that had been rooted in the country for hundreds of years.
Ménard supports the call to financial arms by pointing to the cartoons published in the Goglu. Says Ménard (translation):
“Meanwhile, through caricature, we wanted and we want to inspire the horror of the Jew in our people. We want French-Canadians to understand that they give enormous strength to the Jews by going and buying from them and that, as a race, they do not have the right to be so stupid.”
However, in 1983, Arcand’s still-living National Unity Party of Canada cites Quebec historian Robert Rumilly in evidence that the call to arms was actually made by the Catholic Church, by one of its priests directly to Adrien Arcand:
“Monsignor Georges Gauthier, Auxiliary Archbishop of Montreal, had unequivocally denounced the [Jewish Schools] bill in Saint Joseph’s Oratory. He expressly asked Mr. Arcand to alarm his readers on this danger, which the latter did (this fact is confirmed in tome xxxi of (translation: History of the Province of Quebec by Robert Rumilly, p. 176)13.”
Publication of the “Goglu” ceased between March 1933 and November 1946. When it resumed, its director, Joseph Ménard, defined the paper as being on the right and gave his support to the Union Nationale party of Maurice Duplessis. The issues of this second era contained a novel by installments.
Surviving issues of “Le Goglu”, preserved on microform reels, have yielded up articles, caricatures and editorials from the 1930 battle of Joseph Ménard, Adrien Arcand and their Patriotic Order of the Goglus against the Jewish schools bill sponsored by liberal premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau. A quick selection of all is included in the present compilation.
Some of the Goglu issues from the microform reels are online at Google Newspapers (archive), see “G”. Le Miroir is also on microform along with Le Chameau. Only Le Miroir is also at Google Newspapers, see “M”.
1 At page two of her Master’s Thesis, Entre Création et Destruction: Les Comportements des types du Juif et du Canadien Français dans les caricatures antisémites publiées par Adrien Arcand à Montréal entre 1929 et 1939, published in December 2012, a student at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Josée Desforges, misidentifies the primary meaning of Arcand’s “Goglu”. Desforges, as we will see, confuses connotation with denotation. And this despite the existence of cartoons and other materials in the Goglu itself and in Le Miroir, including theatre announcements showing Simone Devarennes in her role as the Songbird, which very clearly identify Arcand’s denotation (his direct or intended meaning): the Goglu is a songbird. I’m going to take a little tour now, over into literary land. Excuse me for a moment.
What is the difference between connotation and denotation? If a poet writes using a clear word to denote something, such as a songbird; but the etymology of the word also contains a root from which other words branch off, it can be argued (the success of the argument depends in part on the ingenuity of the critic) that one or more of those other words, sharing the same root as the word the poet denoted, may also have been intended by the poet as an implied or underlying or additional meaning of the term that the poet denoted. In other words, the connotation must be credibly linked to the denotation to be able to argue that the poet likely intended it. Desforges ignores the clear denotation of Goglu: (a Bobolink, being a songbird), and substitutes a connotation of her own as its primary meaning, then proceeds to criticize Arcand based on her own substitution of a connotation for his denotation. Said Desforges (translation):
“The term goglu comes from the word gogue, drawn from old French, meaning a pleasantry. However, “pleasantry” seems a bit weak to qualify the violence of the images in the Goglu, which are recorded in a major output of antisemitic caricatures circulating in Montreal in the 1930s.”
The fact that gogue is “a bit weak” to characterize Arcand’s often brutal or violent cartoons is evidence instead that Desforges does not understand the difference between denotation and connotation, and that she has it wrong.
In reading the cartoons in his Goglu, do we find that Arcand intended a “pleasant” jest, or did he intend less pleasant satire? What is satire? Satire is witty language (or an image) used to convey insults or scorn, especially by saying one thing but implying the opposite. Satire includes caustic remarks, irony and sarcasm, all of which we find in Arcand’s Goglu. Therefore, it is not that Arcand’s use of the word Goglu is “weak” because of its possible etymology involving another word, gogue (selected by Desforges), and which merely means a “pleasantry”, but Desforges’s argument is weak in trying to link the word gogue to Goglu, in particular to substitute gogue for Goglu, in defiance of the direct and clear meaning of Goglu chosen by Arcand, i.e. a Bobolink or songbird.
If he intended satire, as the cartoons and editorials in his journal strongly suggest, then it would be less likely that Arcand—in addition to relying on his denotation of the songbird—also intended to rely on the word gogue that branches off (or so Desforges implies) from the same root, as a linked connotation.
Arcand may have used his denotation of the image of the Bobolink to create new meaning—in this case political meaning—linked quite specifically to a body of satire created by him and his colleagues; satire quite capable of being violent, rather than being mere inoffensive “pleasantry”.
For Arcand, each individual man and woman of Quebec may appear to be insignificant, but when transformed into a body united toward a political goal, they become a force to be reckoned with. Arcand is telling his readers, you may be just a little bird on your own, but join us and move the world.
Moreover, in his introduction to Adrien Arcand’s 1930 public talk, “Christian or Jew?”, Joseph Ménard specifically answers the objection of Ms. Desforges as to the “violence of the images”. Says Ménard:
“In this struggle there will be room for all true patriots. Everyone can choose his means of attack or defense. For us, we chose that of violence. To great ills, great remedies. We believe the struggle impossible against a devious and immoral enemy if we fear to give the hardest blows. This is to say that we will not hesitate to use violent means when the time comes to enforce our laws. Meanwhile, through caricature, we wanted and we want to inspire the horror of the Jew in our people.”
2 La presse québécoise, des origines à nos jours: 1920-1934 by André Beaulieu, Jean Hamelin et als. Published in 1984 by Les Presses de l’Université Laval. ISBN 2-7637-7036-3
3 Adrien Arcand devant le tribunal de l’histoire : Scandale à la société Ra-dio-Canada (1983), Section 1, “Adrien Arcand : Esquisse biographique(biographical sketch), pages 6 et 7. (That biographical sketch has already been produced here in English as “A Short Study of the Life of Adrien Arcand”, free download on the free ebooks tab.)
4 “Chrétien ou Juif, essai d’Adrien Arcand” by Cameron Nish in Dictionnaire des oeuvres littéraires du Québec, Editions Fides, 1980; republished at the web site of the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (accessed October 10th, 2018).
This dictionary entry by Cameron Nish (BA, MA, PhD History, a professor at Sir George Williams, Montreal, and Laval Universities) is rather astonishing. Said Nish (translation): “In 1934, when the ancestor of the Canadian Nazi party (also called the fascist party) was established in Quebec under the name National Social Christian Party, Arcand was the leader. Four years later, he was elected to the head of the National Unity Party of Canada (the Canadian Nazi party), which he led until his death.”
In a public address at New York’s Hippodrome stadium in 1937, Arcand denied he was a Nazi, stating:
“Many times I have read in the press of this country and of my own, in all manners of titles, that I am a Nazi and in the pay of Chancellor Hitler. So was it said of my good friend (Henry Hamilton) Beamish. Well, Mr. Beamish began his work 40 years ago, and since Chancellor Hitler is 44 years old, Mr. Beamish must have begun to receive Hitler’s money when the latter was only 4 years old! It shows the stupidity of the people who can find just that answer to the broadcasting of truth.
“Being not a German nor in Germany, I cannot be a Nazi. And I am no more in Hitler’s pay than the great Edouard Drumont of France who fought the same fight for 50 years; no more in Hitler’s pay than dozens of general and local councils of the Church that had to legislate in Christian self-defense against the Jews; no more in Hitler’s pay than the great Edward the First of England who expelled the Jews from his country in order to save it; no more in Hitler’s pay than the great French kings Philip the Bold, Philip the Handsome [the “Fair”], Charles VI, Saint Louis and Louis the XIV, who had to defend their people in the same way: no more in Hitler’s pay than the great Pharaohs, Caesars and other princes of history, namely Saint Stephen of Hungary, Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. Like them and like many of you, my friends and I are only patriots defending their homelands and traditions.” (From a speech recorded in “The Greatest War in History Now On! International Jewish System Against National Patriotism”. (New York City, Oct.-Nov. 1937. No publisher indicated.)
Indeed, my desktop dictionary (WordWeb 6.8, Princeton) says that a Nazi is: “a German member of Adolf Hitler’s political party”. Adrien Arcand was not German; he was therefore, as he said, not a “Nazi”. The other use for the term, says WordWeb, is “A defamatory or abusive word or phrase”. It is hardly becoming to an “historian” to use abusive epithets in lieu of historical facts. Mr. Nish appears to be distorting history by dealing in propaganda, to the extent that latter word is now pejorative. The historian appears to have an agenda. He is therefore abusing history as a political tool. As well, since when is fascism an equivalent word for German National Socialism, i.e., “Nazism”, as Nish contends?
Elsewhere, Arcand emphasized that his party advanced Catholic social doctrine, not socialism. For example, writing at page 43 of “Fascism or Socialism?” (Fascisme ou Socialisme?) in 1933, a public address to launch his first political party, Arcand points out under the bold header, ‘There is no Christian Socialism’ (“Il n’y a pas de ‘socialisme chrétien’“) (translation):
“Contrary to what some illusionists claim, there is not nor can there be Christian socialism. This myth was confounded by the highest Christian authority, that of the Vatican … Moreover, the great doctrinarians of socialism, among others Proudhon, Millerand, Jaurès, have affirmed that any claim to Christian socialism is as illusory as it is idiotic.”
What is intriguing is that Cameron Nish somehow became the possessor of Adrien Arcand’s private papers, which he deposited with the National Library and Archives of Canada in Ottawa, and over which Nish originally had joint control with Gérard Lanctôt, former successor to Arcand as leader of the National Unity Party of Canada. See online the Canadian Archives Branch of the National Archives of Canada, file name r000001045.pdf, “Restricted papers”, “Fonds Adrien Arcand”, 11 April 2011, call number MG30-D91; authority for restriction: “Cameron Nish and Gérard Lanctôt”. Then see file name r000001046.pdf, “Fonds Adrien Arcand”, MG 30-D91, Finding Aid No. 1293 prepared in 1981 by Louise Ouellette of the Social and Cultural Archives.) There are four main divisions to the Arcand Fonds: Correspondence, Texts by Adrien Arcand, Texts by various authors, and Various files.
In 1983, Gérard Lanctôt signed a detailed complaint and public exposé of the CBC television series, “Empire Inc.” which portrayed Adrien Arcand and his political party, the NUPC, then led by Lanctôt, as Nazis. (See footnote 3, above.)
The present translator notes with dismay the quite socialist tone to the quotation posted by Cameron Nish at his Facebook page: “Never a rose so red as where a forgotten Caeasar bled” (accessed 10 October 2018).
Further odd facts include that in 1970, shortly after Arcand’s tragic death in 1967, Gérard Lanctôt’s son, Jacques Lanctôt, emerged as a communist FLQ terrorist in the 1970 twin kidnapping event that served as a pretext for communist Pierre Elliott Trudeau to announce “War Measures” Canada-wide. That essential “trigger” allowed Trudeau his first attempt at replacing Confederation with a new constitution, Trudeau’s “Victoria Charter”. Without a crisis for distraction, he could not have tried it, because it is treason. His Victoria Charter was an early draft of a parliamentary and constitutional coup d’état on Canada at which he finally succeeded in 1982. Look online for Barry Lee Strayer’s “The Patriation and Legitimacy of the Canadian Constitution” (1982), a pair of Cronkite lectures in which Strayer, who advised Trudeau for 20 years, admits—by virtue of citing Hans Kelsen—that the patriation was not a lawful constitutional amendment, but a Southern Rhodesian-style coup d’état.
In addition, the Parti Québécois is communist, not “separatist”, as clear from its 1972 manifesto, Quand nous serons vraiment chez nous (see pages 101-103 where the PQ admits the real reason for Quebec “secession”: “…without the necessary instruments, a [communist] Plan will never be anything but a more or less inadequate study, presented more or less well, but rigorously platonic. The missing instruments are precisely those which result from sovereignty.” Look online for an English translation, “When We Are Truly At Home”, in the sidebar at “Canada How The Communists Took Control” (nosnowinmoscow.wordpress.com), same pagination.
Gérard Lanctôt, leading Arcand’s anticommunist party, seems not to have figured out that the PQ was communist. He did, however, notice that the PQ “served high finance”. Of course, the game plan in those days was for communists, including the FLQ, to call the PQ merely “bourgeois”; and for mainstream press to call it merely “separatist”.
Another observation: the private papers of Arcand in Ottawa, now controlled by Cameron Nish, are few and far between given Arcand’s enormous productive capacity as an author. Most of Arcand’s known talks and books are missing from the fonds, including his political manifestos. Even Lanctôt’s 1983 complaint about the “Nazi” allegations of the CBC is absent. The longest Arcand text in the fonds owned by Nish is only 47 pages. The others are all 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and 18 pages long. All those mentioned take up only a single page of the inventory, page 37. None of Adrien Arcand’s major work from before and after WWII is there; although there are two interesting titles, “La révolution mondiale” (The World Revolution) (18 pages) and “La République Universelle” (The Universal Republic) (17 pages), the latter available elsewhere and certainly a quite important talk. But, in the archive controlled by Nish and originally deposited via Lanctôt—who must have had access to it all—there is no remote hint of the lifetime of work that anticommunist Arcand undoubtedly produced.
A nine-year gap from circa 1954 to circa 1963 (in terms of manuscripts) begs the question: “What is missing?” Did Arcand’s personal and political documents undergo a purge before (or after) they made it to Ottawa? If so, who purged them? But the more important question is this: why would Gérard Lanctôt, leader of an anticommunist party who had objected to the Nazi label misattributed by the CBC, commit the personal papers of Adrien Arcand to a man who now, like the CBC in “Empire Inc.”, has labeled Adrien Arcand, the NUCP, and necessarily Lanctôt himself, as Nazis? And this, by the twist of equating the general term fascist with the particular acronym of Nazi, employed by Nish as a term of abuse.
5 Supra, Note 2, page 7.
6 Supra, Note 1.
7 Ibid., p. 8.
8 Ibid., p. 8.
9 Ibid., p. 8.
10 Ibid., p. 8. An MLA is an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (of Quebec).
11 Supra, Note 1.
12 Christian or Jew? (Do the Jews form a “minority” and must they be treated as such in the province of Quebec?) Preceded by a speech delivered by Mr. Joseph Ménard at the Monument National on November 3rd, 1930. Adj. Ménard, publisher, 987, St. Laurent Blvd., Montreal (no date; also no accent on Ménard, it’s added here under pressure from everyone else who’s adding the “é”), pp. 9-10.
13 L’Histoire de la Province de Québec, Robert Rumilly, tome xxxi, p. 176
14 Supra, Note 1.