GLOSSARY of Canadian Socialist & Labor Parties & Tendencies - 1894-1971

(Notes typewritten and corrected in RD's hand, found in 1972)

1984: Socialist Labor Party: SLP
1904: Socialist Party of Canada: SP of C
Post 1904: Industrial Workers of the World IWW
Post 1904: Socialist Party of North America: no details
1919: One Big Union: OBU
1921 Communist Party of Canada  CPC,  1939-1960s —Labor Progressive Party; LPP
1933: CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) CCF
1939:Labour Progressive Party LPP
1959: Combined Universities Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CUCND
1960's: Student Union for Peace Action, SUPA
1960's:Company of Young Canadians CYC
1961: Young Socialists-Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes: YS-LJS
1961: League for Socialist Action / Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière: LSA/LSO
1964: Progressive Workers Movement: PWM
1965: Canadian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist): CCP-ML
1965: Canadian Liberation Movement CLM
1968: Canadian Party of Labor: CPL
1969: New Democratic Party -Waffle: Waffle:

1894: Socialist Labor Party: (SLP)

Was the first generally Marxian socialist formation on the North American continent. Its leading figure, Daniel LeLeon, led a vigorous struggle on both sides of the border against reformist and class collaborationist tendencies that swept up the North American Left at the turn of the century. The SLP's sectarian counterposing of the ideal industrial union to the prevalent union structures, and its rigid doctrinarism soon became its chief hallmark, which led to its divorce from the real processes of the working class movement and its decline into an educational sect. It too provided some of the early cadre of the Communist Party of Canada. At one time it was composed of a network of groups across Canada but today (1972) it has been reduced to a few handfuls in three or four centers which are completely outside the processes of radicalization, and which conduct classes on fundamental principles and circulate the US-published Weekly People.

1904: Socialist Party of Canada:

It played a key role in the early days of Canadian socialism. It conducted socialist propaganda on a broad and successful scale in pre-World War I years, particularly in Ontario and B.C. It contained a wide spectrum of opinion in its ranks from gradualists and parliamentarists to academic Marxists and revolutionary socialists. The SP of C suffered several splits, one of which led to the formation of the Social Democratic Party (no details -ed.).

Later - following World War I - many of its cadre helped form the Communist Party. In later years it suffered defections to the CCF. It continued a fitful existence until today it appears to have completely disappeared.

Post-1904:

Socialist Party of North America:

One of the breakaway groups from the SP of C which shortly afterwards joined with others in 1921 to help form the Communist Party.

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW):

Arising at the turn of the century and spreading across the continent, the IWW (also widely known as the ''Wobblies'' - derived from the inability of Chinese worker militants to pronounce the English ''d'' - ed.) was the pioneer of the concept of industrial unionism. Noted for the militant direct action of its members, who while unionists, were also advocates of revolution, of fundamental social change. They were the first socialist group in America that attracted and fielded a real corps of activists who were sustained by the movement and who devoted their full time to the cause. Their main strength was in the US, but as late as 1911 they claimed 10,000 members concentrated amongst workers in basic industry in Alberta and BC. On the eve of World War I they were subjected to a massive organized assault and prosecution by the giant corporations and their allies in government.

In 1918 Ottawa declared the IWW an unlawful organization, with anyone holding membership in it subject to 1-5 years imprisonment. Among their many martyrs was balladeer Joe Hill. Under the influence of the Russian Revolution many of them played an important rĂ´le in the formation of the Communist Party of Canada before it disappeared from the scene. (See a recent partial history in: '' James P. Cannon and the origins of the American Revolutionary Left 1890-1928'' Chapter 3, by Canadian labor historian Bryan D. Palmer, 2007, University of Illinois Press -ed.)

1919:   One Big Union:

The OBU was formed out of a massive schism between the Western Canadian affiliates of the Canadian Trades and Labor Congress and its Eastern-based leadership. Broad discontent with the conservative policies of the TLC and its domination by the Eastern sectors of the union movement found expression in the Western Labor Conference held in Calgary in 1919 on the initiative of the Vancouver Labor Council. Along with firm identification with the concept of industrial unionism, the 6-hour day and 5-day week, and a general strike to win it, the 239 delegates adopted a series of resolutions hailing the formation of workers' councils (the soviets) in Petrograd, demanding withdrawal of all Canadian troops from the forces of the allied intervention, and expressing solidarity with the German revolutionary struggles and its spokespersons Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht.

The central committee struck off by the delegates was instructed to conduct a referendum on a call for a general strike for June 1st (1919) and the principle of One Big Union, (the CC becoming) known as the General Executive Board of the OBU. However, the Winnipeg General Strike broke out, which saw an enlarged strike committee rule this Mid-West city for 41 days. The smashing of the strike through the imposition of Section 98 by the federal government and the arrest of its leaders, some of them leaders of the OBU, combined with a series of punitive actions by the leadership of the TLC against dissident locals, lead to the rapid dissolution of the OBU. A scattering of locals isolated in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay carried on under the leadership of R.B. Russell until they finally joined the Canadian Labor Congress in about 1956.

1921:   Communist Party of Canada (CPC):

Formed under the inspiration of the establishment of the first workers' state in Russia in 1917 by elements drawn from the IWW, the OBU, the SLP, the SP of C, and the SP of NA, etc. it first adopted the name Workers Party in 1922, and then the name Communist Party in 1923. With a corps of able and articulate spokespersons, through a firm identification with the immediate demands of widening layers of the workers, linking them up with a communist objective, the Communist Party soon established itself as the dominant force on the Left. It endorsed the famous 21-points of admission to the Communist International and became the Canadian section of the Third International. It's chairman Maurice Spector was the first Canadian elected to the Executive Committee of the Comintern (the leading body of world communist parties under the revolutionary authority of the CPSU in Moscow -ed.)

The great struggle in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), personified by Stalin on one hand and Leon Trotsky on the other, soon overflowed into the Comintern and into the youthful Canadian party. Spector sided with Trotsky's struggle which he characterized to the CPC political committee upon his return from the 6th World Congress as one designed to halt the destruction of the Leninist party, its democratic centralist structure and its Leninist doctrine with the (directly contrary) Stalinist theory of ''socialism in one country.''. The expulsion of Jack Macdonald, the party's general secretary in 1928 which followed on the heels of Spector's expulsion, according to William Rodney in his book Soldiers of the International '' marked the end of an era in the history of the Communist Party of Canada.''

While deprived through its Stalinization of its revolutionary program, the great crash of 1929 and the radicalization that flowed in its wake highlighted by the rise of the CIO together with the prestige that it gained by its association with the Soviet Union, nevertheless carried the CP forward. However, its support of the Stalin-Hitler Pact caused considerable disaffection as no doubt did its support of the no-strike pledge (during World War II -ed.) , its appeal for a ''yes'' vote on conscription and its open support of the Liberal party against the CCF. But by the end of World War II its leader Tim Buck could (still) boast a membership of over 15,000 with wide influence in a score of unions.

This edifice commenced to crumble with the revelations by Soviet leader Nikita Khruschchov of the crimes committed by Stalin, his frame-up murders of Lenin's closest co-workers and leaders of the October Revolution and his horrendous violations of soviet democracy. This resulted in one giant blow in the defection of the majority of the (Canadian) Communist Party's central leadership. This process of demoralization and defection has continued with the Russian Army's invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the independent stand taken by Yugoslavia and the dispute of the Soviet leadership with the leaders of the Chinese Peoples Republic. (CPC membership was) now down to 2,000.

The new radicalization commenced in Canada as the CPC had become branded in the eyes of widening layers as an apologist of the worst features of the Soviet regime and it was confronted with the rise of a mass labor party formation - the New Democratic Party. (Ed. Note: Further handwritten notes reviewing articles in the CPC's theoretical journal "Communist Viewpoint" are found in this archive: notes on CV articles on the founding of the Young Communist League (YCL) in 1970 in response to the youth radicalization; notes on various YCL attacks on Trotskyism; notes on C. McFadden's keynote address to the founding convention of the YCL: ''The Sixties was the decade of revolt, the CPC and YCL are out of touch;'' a note on Stalinist 'theoretician' Stewart's article entitled ''The Ultra-Infantile-Anarchist Left in Canada''; notes on a Nov-Dec. 1959 CV article on structuring the YCL; notes on an article by CV writer W.C. Beeching on the need for a ''Worker-Student (anti-monopoly) Alliance;'' notes on a CV Jan-Feb. 1972 review of the ''New Radicalism: Anarchism or Marxism'' by Gil Green (portraying the new radicalism as anarchist, and the New Left as infantile, utopian, anarchist, and both left- and right-opportunist) (and RD's reference note on this subject: Gad Horowitz: ''Canadian Labor in Politics,'' 1968).

(Editor's Note: The CPC adopted the name Labour Progressive Party — LPP — during the WWII years until the 1960's)

1933:    CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation):

Organized in Regina through the fusion of farmers' movements co-op organizations and political protest groups that moved left under the impact of the Great Depression. While it rapidly made connections with other currents, largely petty-bourgeois and liberal-reformist, in the West particularly in Saskatchewan and BC, it sank extensive roots. As early as 1935 it polled a plurality of votes in BC. While committing itself in the Regina Manifesto to ''stand resolutely against all participation in imperialist war,'' the outbreak of World War II saw the parliamentary leadership underwrite the war.

By 1943 the CCF had developed sufficient roots in the working class that the Canadian Congress of Labour convention endorsed the CCF as its political arm. By the end of the war and with the anticipation of broad changes by wide layers of the population, there resulted a real growth in the CCF's influence. By 1944 it won office in Saskatchewan. Furthermore, by 1948 it was apparent that the party's base of support had shifted and it had become a labor party formation.

In the meantime unity negotiations between the Canadian Congress of Labor and the Trade and Labor Congress, which had rejected politics, were underway. This unification took place in 1956 resulting in the formation of the Canadian Labor Congress which adopted a resolution on political education.

In 1958 the Congress and CCF officers issued a call for a ''new party'' endorsed by their respective conventions in 1960. (The ''New Party'') soon to become the New Democratic Party was officially launched in 1961 ( as the successor to the CCF) -- in a wave of great anticipation.

From its beginning the CCF has always numbered in its ranks a scattering of elements who consider themselves Marxists. One of the founding leaders, M.J. Coldwell, (later attributed) some of the radical concepts of the Regina Manifesto to Trotskyist elements. This veteran leader of the CCF in his book Some Reminiscences, the CCF 25th anniversary souvenir, states that at the founding convention in Regina in 1933 ''we had a small group from Toronto who were in reality Trotskyites.'' (Over twenty years later) In a report to the 1955 convention the BC (CCF) executive blamed Trotskyism in the movement for the failure of the BC party to win office in the 1952 election.

Longstanding efforts by the party's leadership to rid themselves of the radical strictures in the Regina Manifesto were successful at the 1956 Winnipeg convention with the adoption of a clearly liberal-reformist declaration of principles. The Winnipeg Declaration of Principles saw the final victory of the top leadership over those forces in the party who for years had been trying to uphold the principles of the party's foundation convention in 1933 embodied in the Regina Manifesto.

1936:   League for a Revolutionary Workers Party:

A split-off from the Workers Party, which soon developed a whole series of positions in opposition to the WP. While identifying itself with the concept of a Fourth International it condemned its actual formation by Trotsky in 1938 and associated itself with the so-called London Bureau supported by centrist currents. It opposed entry into the CCF on the principle that the vanguard must retain an independent and public organization at all times. After a period of intense activity it burned itself out and with the advent of World War II disappeared without a trace.

1939:   Labour Progressive Party — LPP

The CPC (Communist Party of Canada) adopted the name Labour Progressive Party — LPP — during the WWII years until the 1960's)

1961:   League for Socialist Action-Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière:

While its main orientation is toward the New Democratic Party and the CCF before it, the LSA-LSO has its origin in the early communist movement. It claims identity with the Workers Party, the name first chosen by the Marxist-Leninists who gathered in Guelph in 1921, and again taken up by the relatively small group of workers and students gathered together by Maurice Spector and Jack Macdonald to commence the struggle to build anew a Canadian Marxist-Leninist party. This core of Canadian revolutionary socialists had early associated themselves with Trotsky's call for the formation of an international Left Opposition to win the Communist Parties of the world back to the Leninist path and then, following the debacle suffered by the German Communist Party and by the rise of Hitler, to embrace Trotsky's call for a new party and a new international - the Fourth International.

Its tiny forces, constantly harassed by the Communist Party as counter-revolutionary and fascist agents, published their press The Vanguard and conducted educational work under grave difficulty. The defeats, prior to World War II, in China, Germany, France and Spain only tended to further isolate them.

In 1937 they formally dissolved their independent organization to enter the CCF where they hoped to join with a growing socialist wing and win cadre. In 1938, following a series of expulsions of the supporters of the Socialist Policy Group, they reconstituted themselves as the Socialist Workers' League around the publication Socialist Action. But the SWL was almost immediately confronted by World War II which it alone of all the various tendencies opposed as an imperialist war on the part of Canada and the Allied Powers. Its paper was suppressed and one of its spokesmen was the first victim of the War Measures Act (with the jailing of comrade Frank Watson).

As World War II came to a close the Canadian Trotskyists launched a monthly paper, Labor Challenge, directed primarily to the forces gravitating to the CCF. In 1946 it launched an independent organization called the Revolutionary Workers' Party (RWP) which took on a skeletal cross-Canada form. But in 1952 the Trotskists again dissolved their public organization to enter the CCF. After a series of expulsions (from the CCF) they reappeared with additional forces in 1955 as the Socialist Education League (SEL) with the paper Workers' Vanguard. In 1961, on the eve of the formation of the New Democratic Party, the SEL of Toronto joined a parallel organization in Vancouver called the Socialist Information Center (SIC) to launch the League for Socialist Action.

1960-1965:   Young Socialists-Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes:

A youth organization in political solidarity with the LSA-LSO, as the continuation of the Young Socialist Alliance organized in about 1958 (in solidarity as well with the sister-YSA in the US, and circulating their US journal Young Socialist -ed.) With the formation of the NDP and the New Democratic Youth, the YSA gave up its independent organization to move fully into the work of building the NDY, taking the message of labor and socialism into the developing youth radicalization. Following a series of expulsions engineered by the NDP right wing in July 1965, delegates representing some 60 Young Socialists formed around the paper Young Socialist Forum (later the Young Socialist -ed.) , uniting to hold the first cross-Canada convention.

1964:    Progressive Workers Movement:

The rupture in relations between the Peking and Moscow regimes set off widespread dissension in the Communist Party of Canada. In 1964 (in B.C.) Jack Scott and a group of others with connections in and around the NDP were expelled from the CPC for pro-Peking ''factional activity.'' Shortly after, they formed the PWM. The main political capital of the group was the widespread interest in China and its progress, and the pole of attraction that the Chinese left criticism of the Kremlin's policies gave to it in radicalizing layers of the youth.

However along with its identification with Stalin, PWM took an ultra-leftist direction. It characterized the NDP as a capitalist party, the international unions that many Canadian unionists are affiliated to as CIA fronts, Cuba a capitalist state and the rising anti-Vietnam war movement as petty-bourgeois. By 1970 according to an editorial in its press which had deteriorated to a monthly newsletter, it admitted to having been reduced to a group of seven people.

1965:   Canadian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist):

Which, for a period had a loose working relationship with the Vancouver-based PWM, comes out of the Internationalists - a group of radical students centered on the University of British Columbia campus in 1963-1965. Since then this group, the most completely identified with the Mao regime in China, has colonized Montreal and Toronto and has become, while small, the only cross-Canada Maoist group - even spreading into the United States around Cleveland. Unlike PWM or CPL they support the Quebec national struggle, although they label all the present forces as fascist or dominated by the pro-imperialist bloc of the rising French-Canadian bourgeoisie, and have already structured a Communist Party of Quebec (M-L). They subscribe to the two-stage theory of the revolution and project a national-democratic anti-imperialist struggle as being on the order of the day in Canada. In the 1971 Ontario elections they urged ''don't vote NDP'' by widely circulating a poster declaring ''Don't vote - They are all the Same.'' Their chief slogan is ''Escalate Peoples' War.'' While not developed in any realistic programmatic sense to mobilize effective actions, this slogan has served to thrust them into innumerable confrontations with the police resulting in many arrests which they boast about as proof that Canadian capitalism is merely a paper tiger, and their victory is at hand.

1968:   Canadian Party of Labor:

CPL comes out of a split from the original Maoist organization, the Progressive Workers' Movement, in late 1968, over the nature of the Vietnam War. In concert with a Maoist organization called Progressive Labor in the United States a group of Maoists largely concentrated in Toronto and one or two other Ontario centers condemned the National Liberation Front as being revisionist and in the process of liquidating the Vietnamese struggle because of their opening up of negotiations with the US through the Paris peace talks. The Vancouver-based PWM refused to accept this line and the Eastern Maoists broke to form CPL. Their main characteristic is their (blanket -ed.) rejection of nationalism as ``fundamentally reactionary.'' They denounce Quebec nationalism but at the same time through their designation of the international unions affiliated to the CLC as agents of US imperialist policies, they attempt to promote Canadian national unions. What influence they had in the campus Left has been largely dissipated by their concept of the ''workers' and students' alliance'' that demands student radicals desert the campus arena to take over picket lines and attempt to win workers strikes for them.

(Maoist tendencies not described here include Canadian Liberation Movement (CML) as well as Quebec Maoist formations - the ''CPQ (M-L)'' mentioned above and ''En Lutte'' being two; see some polemics in the LSO Quebec Journals section of this website - ed.) (Ms notes add that also not mentioned are other then current organizations: the New Democratic Youth (NDY), the CSM, the TSM and the (Trotskyist sectarian Workers' League).

1969:   Waffle:

Appeared on the scene with the publication of the document ''For an Independent Socialist Canada,'' presented as a resolution in the discussion preparatory to the federal convention of the NDP in Winnipeg, October 1969. The statement was prepared and endorsed by a number of prominent radicals some of whom came out of the experiences of the New Left to join the NDP and advocate within it a more radical, a socialist policy. Perhaps the chief stimulation was the rising Canadian nationalist or anti-imperialist opposition to growing domination of the Canadian economy and society by US capitalism.

This broad left formation immediately captured the support of wide forces in the NDP who had been already undergoing a process of radicalization. The Waffle candidate for federal leader of the party, Jim Laxer, at the April 1971 convention won the support of 37% of the delegates - (a bloc formed from) a slight majority of the constituency delegations and about 100 delegates from trade union affiliates.

The Waffle, particularly in its leadership, is composed of a wide spectrum of opinion on many key questions confronting the Left but there is no question that it has distinct Marxist overtones. The Waffle is the expression of the revival of Marxism as a broadening current in Canada's mass labor party formation.

Further handwritten notes:

(CUCND) Combined Universities Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, launched by students and faculty in Montreal, held its first demonstration on Christmas Day 1959 in Ottawa. Commencing as a broad liberal coalition it radicalized in the process of its actions and with the acceptance by Prime Minister Lester Pearson in late 1963 of nuclear arms (US military's ''Bomarcs'' on Canadian soil - ed.) Became a cross-country movement largely of university students - (producing) a petition of 120,000 names opposing nuclear armament of Canada

(SUPA) Student Union for Peace Action, came out of CUCND marking a further process of the radicalization of student activists. However it moved off the campuses and took on a multi-issue character being involved in, as well as anti-nuclear arms protests, black communities in Nova Scotia, Indian communities in Nova Scotia, Doukhobors in British Columbia, and city poor in Kingston (Ontario)

(CYC) Company of Young Canadians - set up by the Canadian government with extensive funds at its disposal, it siphoned off many militants from SUPA by picking up many of its projects and giving them a defined reformist goal.

Canadian Union of Students (no details)

(end of transcribed notes -other extensive notes on YCL and CPC press found in archives)

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