Socialist Party of Canada

Leaflet No. 1 (1934)

The Socialist Party of Canada was first organized in 1904 by small groups of workers scattered throughout this vast country.

From 1904 until 1922 it made history in Western Canada and its official organ, The Western Clarion, became known the world over for the soundness of the Marxian ideas it presented. The party members made themselves felt throughout the labor and trade union movement of this continent, and the propaganda was a bugbear to aspiring labor politicians and political tricksters of all parties. In 1909 it refused to join the Second International and the correctness of this position was proven at the outbreak of war in 1914, when the International collapsed, and its affiliated parties supported their various home governments in war. The Socialist Party of Canada took the position that the World War was a commercial one, brought about by conflicting economic interests of rival national capitalists, and that it was no concern of the working class. This stand was not popular, but again events proved the position to be sound.

The economic depression of 1920-21 forced many active members to go to the U.S. in search of employment. Others had put time in jail as a result of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, and the Russian Revolution convinced many younger members that world revolution was at hand, and that educational propaganda was no longer a necessity. These all contributed to the temporary disappearance of the Socialist Party in 1922. Our end was a temporary victory for the Communist Party and Third International, who desired the S.P. of C. out of the way. Many old members continued to be active in the workshops, in their respective unions, at street corners and upon the market square but they are hampered by lack of organization and a headquarters. When these are arranged for lectures and study classes will once again be started.

The Communist Party came into being in 1922. It was composed of individuals and various groups who claimed that world revolution was impending. Propaganda and organizers from Moscow helped spread this viewpoint. Twelve years have past and the falsity of this position is apparent. They were to lead the workers into the Soviet Millennium? When the workers are Socialists they will not require leaders, and a non-socialist working class cannot be led into Socialism by any number of Communist parties. The Communist Party have organized demonstrations, they have peddled popular nostrums and reforms but have signally failed to gain the confidence and support of the workers.

Many of those who helped form the party have long since been disillusioned and have quit the organization. They exploited considerable nationalist support from non-English speaking sections of the population, but these also are becoming apathetic to the Communist slogans. Socialism will not be ushered in by slogans; it can only be brought about by class conscious workers who know what they want and how to get it.

The Independent Labor Party grew out of the Labour Representation Committee and the Dominion Labor Party. It follows reform lines similar to those of the I.L.P. of England, and must continually drag new bogeys before the working class to hide the failure of their old ones. The latest appeal for support is to protest against wage cuts and cuts in Mothers’ Allowances. The I.L.P. in England also protested against wage cuts before they got into power, but under Ramsey McDonald’s Labor Premiership they assisted the capitalists to reduce wages, cut the pay of Government employees and for good measure slashed the dole of the unemployed British worker 10 per cent. If the need should arise, they would do the same for the Canadian worker.

The workers have their trade and industrial unions. These are their only weapons to resist wage cuts. Under certain conditions the unions can bolster their working conditions and prevent attacks upon the pay envelope. Labor politicians, whose chief concern is to build up reputations for themselves, cannot help them. The workers must also face the fact that the power of their economic organizations are very limited. The only remedy for their misery is Socialism, under which the means of production will be socially owned and controlled, and economic action cannot bring this about.

The workers’ condition will steadily worsen until they abolish Capitalism. To do this they must understand where the power of the capitalist class lies. This coercive power is centred in the state machinery, which in turn is controlled through parliament, and so long as the workers allow this institution to be controlled by the capitalist class, whether through Conservative, Liberal, or so-called Labor parties, so long will they face the poverty problem.

The Capitalist system is sick, and cannot deliver the goods. There is now approaching 100,000,000 workers unemployed in the world today. Statesmen, economists and experts are scratching their heads to find a way out, but there is no way out – under the system. Reforms – whether Labor or Communist – cannot help them. They must change the system and establish Socialism. Support Socialism as presented by the Socialist Party of Canada.