Confusion in British Columbia

Earlier in the year the Socialist Party of Canada was formed, based on our Declaration of Principles, and with headquarters in Winnipeg. Shortly afterwards it was reported in the O.B.U. Bulletin (June 30th, 1932) that the I.L.P. of British Columbia had changed its name to the Socialist Party of Canada. A member of the latter body claimed in the same issue of the O.B.U. Bulletin that for the past two years the I.L.P. in British Columbia had been a strictly Socialist Party, and not open to the criticisms rightly levelled against the I.L.P. elsewhere in Canada. Had this been true the obvious course would have been for the two Socialist Parties of Canada to join forces, but later information has shown that the British Columbia body has changed nothing except its name. What motive the promotors had, except the desire to escape the discredit associated with the name I.L.P. we do not know, but there is no room for doubt about the anti-Socialist character of the organisation. In November, 1931, it ran candidates at a municipal election. The eight points of their programme mainly concerned the details of municipal administration, and contained no reference whatever to Socialism. Municipal control of public utilities was one demand. Another was “efficient organisation of our relief department.” As this headed the list it was presumably regarded as the most important. (See O.B.U. Bulletin, July 21st.)

The Vancouver District Council of the so-called Socialist Party of Canada, on June 16th, passed a resolution laying down policy for the City Council. This also contained no reference to Socialism. One funny passage in it instructs the Party’s representatives to be “non-committal” on the question of legalised sweepstakes OB.U. Bulletin, July 21st).

This fraudulent “Socialist Party” has published the first issue of a monthly iournal, The British Columbia Clarion. It reports a “Conference of Political Labor Parties.” held at Calgary on July 30th, and attended by the Party’s own delegsates, as well as by delegates of the I.L.P. in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and of the United Farmers of Canada. The Conference formed a National Labour Party described as “The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (Farmer, Labor, Socialist),” of which the “Socialist Party” will form a part. The Clarion contains many references to Marx, but is quite lacking in a grasp of the Socialist position. The printed Constitution of the party carefully prepared the way for the alliance with the I.L.P. and the farmers’ groups by declaring in Clause (1) that members shall not be allowed to retain membership of another political party, “except under special circumstances, at the discretion of the Provincial Executive.” Another clause allows the Provincial Executive to give “special permission” for members and branches to support or endorse candidates “other than an official nominee of the Party.”

In short, the British Columbia so-called Socialist Party bears every sign that it is being run by typical Labour leaders “on the make,” misusing the name of Socialism to mislead politically inexperienced workers.

Ed. Comm.

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