Communist Party of Canada CPC

Communist Party of Canada (CPC)

 

established on May 31-June 1, 1921, at the Founding Congress in Guelph as an illegal party. A congress held in February 1922 proclaimed the founding of a legal party, which took the name of Workers’ Party of Canada (WPC). In 1924, after the government repealed the reactionary legislation that had banned the activity of all progressive working people’s organizations, the WPC was renamed the Communist Party of Canada. The party joined the Comintern that same year.

From the first years of its existence the CPC waged a vigorous struggle for the unity of the working class. At the time of the world economic crisis of 1929–33, the Communist Party headed a mighty movement of the working masses against the advance of reaction. In 1931 the government jailed the members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPC, headed by T. Buck, who was general secretary from June 1929 to January 1962 and national chairman of the party from January 1962 to March 1973. The CPC was forced to go underground, but by mounting a wide campaign of protest, the Canadian Communists brought about the release of their leaders (1934) and the legalization of the party (1936).

The CPC took the lead in forging united actions in the struggle against fascism and headed the movement to aid republican Spain. After World War II (1939–45) broke out, the Canadian government outlawed the CPC and other progressive organizations in June 1940. In 1941, after the USSR was attacked by fascist Germany, the Canadian Communists, then in the underground, came out in favor of creating a national front of Canada’s antifascist forces. A clandestine conference of CPC leaders held in June 1943 decided to create a legal Marxist-Leninist party to conduct large-scale work among the masses; established at the Founding Congress held in August 1943, the party took the name of Labor Progressive Party (LPP). The LPP proclaimed that its goal was the building of socialism in Canada. It advocated increasing war production and the speediest opening of a second front in Europe against Hitler’s Germany and its allies.

In the postwar years, when reaction was on the offensive, the LPP launched a broad campaign against the domination of the Canadian economy by US monopolies and the further “integration” of the Canadian and US economies. At the Sixteenth Congress (October 1959), the party again assumed the name Communist Party of Canada (CPC). The congress adopted the party program, The Road to Socialism in Canada, and party rules. In domestic politics the program called for a struggle to nationalize American and Canadian monopolies, reduce military expenditures, and redistribute the national income in favor of workers, farmers, and the petite bourgeoisie; in foreign policy the program called for a struggle for national independence, the strengthening of peace and friendship among peoples, the banning of nuclear weapons and Canada’s withdrawal from NATO, the dismantling of American military bases on Canadian soil, and the strengthening of economic relations with the countries of the socialist camp. The program stated that the CPC favors a peaceful transition to socialism within the framework of historically established Canadian parliamentary institutions because a peaceful transition to socialism (which is desirable) depends not only on the will of the people but also on the alignment of forces at a given moment.

The Twentieth Congress of the CPC, held in April 1969, worked out the concrete tasks for the Canadian Communists in the contemporary epoch and the party’s tactics for achieving a unity of the country’s democratic forces in the struggle against monopolies. The new party program adopted in November 1971 at the Twenty-first Congress of the CPC stated that the main task was to create a united front of left-wing forces strong enough to defeat reaction. Documents of the CPC advocate supporting the struggle of the French-Canadian population for equal rights with the English Canadians and set the task of working out a new Canadian constitution providing for equality of the English-Canadian and the French-Canadian nations (natsiia, nation in the historical sense).

Delegations of the CPC participated in the work of the International Conferences of the Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The party approved the documents adopted by the conferences.

According to its rules the CPC is organized on the principles of democratic centralism. The supreme body of the CPC is the National Congress, which elects the National Executive Committee. W. Kashtan is the general secretary of the CPC. The central organ is the newspaper Canadian Tribune, and the

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Canada
CongressPlaceDate
First Founding (Communist Party of Canada) ...............GuelphJune 1921
First (Workers’ Party of Canada; second, CPC) ...............TorontoFebruary 1922
Second (WPC; third, CPC) ............... February 1923
Third (WPC; fourth, CPC) ............... April 1924
Fifth (CPC) ............... September 1925
Sixth (CPC) ...............TorontoJune 1927
Seventh (CPC) ............... May-June 1929
Eighth (CPC) ............... July 1934
Ninth (CPC) ...............TorontoOctober 1937
First Founding (Labor Progressive Party; tenth, CPC) ...............TorontoAugust 1943
Second (LPP; 11th, CPC) ...............TorontoJune 1946
Third (LPP; 12th, CPC) ...............TorontoFebruary 1949
Fourth (LPP; 13th, CPC) ...............TorontoJanuary 1951
Fifth (LPP; 14th, CPC) ...............TorontoMarch 1954
Sixth (LPP; 15th, CPC) ...............TorontoApril 1957
Seventh (LPP; 16th, CPC) ...............TorontoOctober 1959
Seventeenth (CPC) ...............TorontoJanuary 1962
Eighteenth (CPC) ...............TorontoMarch 1964
Nineteenth (CPC) ...............TorontoMay 1966
Twentieth (CPC) ...............TorontoApril 1969
Twenty-first (CPC) ...............TorontoNovember 1971
Twenty-second (CPC) ............... May 1974

theoretical organ is the journal Communist Viewpoint. (See Table 1 for a list of congresses of the CPC.)

SOURCES AND REFERENCES

Buck, T. 30 let kommunisticheskogo dvizheniia v Kanade. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from English.)
Buck, T. Nasha bor’ba za Kanadu: Izbrannye proizvedeniia, 1923–1959. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)
Buck, T. Izbrannye proizvedeniia, 1925–1971. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from English.)
Questions for Today: Documents and Commentary of the Communist Party of Canada, 1952–1964. Toronto, 1964.
Communist Viewpoint, 1971, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 1–73.

IU. A. ALEKSANDROV

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