Socialist Party of Canada


Socialist Party of Canada

Infobox_Canada_Political_Party
party_name = Socialist Party of Canada
party_wikicolourid = Socialist
status = defunct
class = fed
party_
leader = none
president = n/a
foundation =1904/June, 1931
dissolution = 1925/Current party not electorally active
ideology = Socialism
headquarters = Box 4280 Victoria, B.C.
Canada V8X 3X8
int_alignment = World Socialist Movement
colours = Red
seats_house = none
website = [http://www.worldsocialism.org/canada/ http://www.worldsocialism.org/canada/]
The Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) is the name of two different but related parties that have existed in Canadian history. The current Socialist Party is an electorally inactive and unregistered federal political party in Canada. The first Socialist Party of Canada existed from 1904 to 1925; the second has existed since June 1931 when it was relaunched by some members of the first party, but has not run a candidate at the federal level since 1961.

First Socialist Party of Canada: 1904 - 1925

The founding of the Socialist Party of Canada began at the Socialist Party of British Columbia 4th annual convention on December 30 and 31, 1904. Delegates at the convention were urged to consider organizing the nucleus of a federal party, noting the acceptance of the platform with Socialist Parties and organizations in other provinces. Socialist organizations quickly approved the party formation, and the new party executive met for the first time on February 19, 1905.

The party had a revolutionary Marxist orientation: it saw attempts to reform capitalism as counterproductive to the goal of overturning the capitalist system entirely and replacing it with a socialist model. The SPC was strongest in British Columbia, and won seats in the province's legislature.

In 1907, a moderate faction of the SPC split off to form the Social Democratic Party of British Columbia (SDPBC). In 1911, the SDPBC became the Social Democratic Party of Canada (SDPC). The SPC and the SDPC were bitter rivals for several years.

In Winnipeg, the Manitoba branch of the SPC was initially a rival to the city's reformist labour groups. The SPC may have been responsible for defeating of centrist labour candidate Fred Dixon in the election of 1910. The resulting backlash from trade union groups weakened the SPC in Winnipeg for a number of years.

As a result of the Russian Revolution and the Winnipeg General Strike, a number of the SPC's supporters became attracted to Bolshevism and the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky. Those who rejected Leninism moved towards an evolutionary or gradualist socialist position. In 1920, a split occurred when many of the party's members left to join the Federated Labour Party of Canada, which was formed by the British Columbia Federation of Labour. Other SPC members joined Labour and Independent Labour parties that were being formed throughout the country. ("See Labour Party".)

From 1903 to 1912, a number of SPC members were elected as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in British Columbia. The apex of the party was in the 1912 election when it fielded 17 candidates, winning two seats in the legislature, and 11% of the popular vote. The pressures of having such a large caucus (up from two the previous election) caused fissures in the party, and it was wiped out in the next election. It never won another seat in BC.

The party was a marginal political force in Manitoba until 1920, when George Armstrong was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Winnipeg on a "united labour" list. Armstrong was defeated in 1922, due in part to opposition from communist politicians in the city.

In 1921, most of the Marxist members left the SPC to join the Workers Party, which was the legal wing of the new Communist Party of Canada. In 1925, the Socialist Party formally disbanded. Many of its remaining members joined the Independent Labour Party.

Provincial and territorial wings

At the founding of the first Socialist Party of Canada, it had over sixty local affiliates including provincial and territorial wings. Some provincial wings had more success than the federal party, such as the Socialist Party of Alberta's election of an MLA to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Other provincial sections never ran candidates. Some of these wings and organizations were founded prior to the federal party.
*Socialist Party of Alberta
*Socialist Party of British Columbia
*Socialist Party of Manitoba
*Socialist Party of Ontario
*Socialist Party of Yukon
*Socialist Party of Northwest Territories
*Socialist Party of Quebec

econd Socialist Party (1931 - present)

A new Socialist Party of Canada was founded in June 1931 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by several former party members. While it claimed continuity with the original party, this claim was disputed by various members of the original party. The new party adopted the policies of the Socialist Party of Great Britain which rejected Leninism, social democracy and trade unionism in favour of a belief in "revolutionary Marxism and democratic revolution."

The Socialist Party did not make great headway, as the fractured groups of the left coalesced to form the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. While the Socialist Party of Canada (British Columbia) (which was founded in 1932 by Ernest Winch independently of the SP of C founded in Winnipeg) [ [http://eprints.cddc.vt.edu/marxists/history/canada/socialisthistory/Docs/SocialistParty/A%20False%20Report.htm Socialist History Project ] ] joined and eventually merged with the CCF to form the BC CCF, the Winnipeg-based SP of C remained outside of the CCF (and its successor, the New Democratic Party), rejecting its evolutionary socialist approach as being "reformist". The SPC remained independent of the broader socialist movement, and spread its message by holding town hall meetings, open air rallies, and distributing literature at farmers markets and street corners. It viewed itself as the party for the underdog.

In October 1933, the party launched the "New Western Socialist Journal", a periodical, to help bring publicity to the party. The first two issues criticized the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Communist Party of Canada for allegedly compromising with capitalism. The SPC never found a reason to change its attitude towards the two parties.

During World War II, the SPC campaigned against the war, stating that working class blood should not be shed. During the war, while the Communist Party was outlawed, the SPC continued to hold anti-war demonstrations and rallies. The party was investigated by the Government of Canada, but was never taken as a serious threat.

The Socialist Party continued to publish socialist manifesto leaflets through the years. When funds permitted, it ran candidates in elections. In the late 1970s, the head office was moved from Winnipeg to Victoria, British Columbia. The membership of the Socialist Party continued to decline, and the party admits that it never managed to live up to the "success and glamour" of the old party. The party has not wavered from the original policies that it adopted seventy years ago.

The Socialist Party promotes the ideal of utopian socialism. It seeks to achieve this by distributing socialist material around the world. The party believes it must spread the word to the world, and that socialism must be implemented everywhere at the same time in order to work.

The bulk of current party members are in British Columbia and Ontario. It publishes a journal, "Imagine", and distributes the literature of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

The Socialist Party of Canada is a member of the World Socialist Movement along with its "companion parties", the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the World Socialist Party (Ireland), World Socialist Party of Australia, World Socialist Party (New Zealand), and World Socialist Party of the United States.

Election results by year

General elections

By-election May 29, 1961

Note:
*The Library of Parliament does not differentiate the results of both parties.

Breakaway groups

*Socialist Party of North America (1911–?)
*World Socialist Party of Canada

ee also

*List of political parties in Canada
*Socialist Party of Canada (in Manitoba)

References

External links

* [http://www.worldsocialism.org/canada/ Socialist Party of Canada home page]
* [http://www.worldsocialism.org/canada/constitution.1997.pdf Socialist Party of Canada Constitution]
* [http://www.worldsocialism.org/canada/historym.pdf History of the Socialist Party of Canada] , by J.M. Milne (1973)
* [http://www.socialisthistory.ca/Docs/Imposs/Impossibilists1.htm The Impossibilists] A short history with selections from the press of the Socialist Party of Canada and the One Big Union, 1906-1938


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Socialist Party of Canada (British Columbia) — Infobox Canada Political Party party name = Socialist Party of British Columbia party wikicolourid = Socialist status = defunct class = prov party leader = president = foundation = 1901 (refounded 1932) dissolution = merges with other parties to… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Party of Canada (in Manitoba) — The Socialist Party of Canada was a revolutionary Marxist organization, founded in 1904 as a merger of the Socialist Party of British Columbia and related groups in Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. Although strongest in British Columbia, the SPC was …   Wikipedia

  • World Socialist Party of Canada — The World Socialist Party of Canada was a political party active in the 1960s. It was formed by members who broke away from the Socialist Party of Canada.References*Peter Newell. Impossibilism in Canada . Socialist Standard , May 2004 …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist party (disambiguation) — Socialist Party may refer to: Action * Arab Socialist Action Party * Arab Socialist Action Party – Arabian Peninsula * Liberal Socialist Action Party * National Socialist Action Party * Sardinian Socialist Action Party * Senegalese Party of… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Party of Ontario — The Socialist Party of Ontario (later Socialist Party of Canada) was a provincial political party in Ontario, Canada, that merged in 1905 into a national political party, the Socialist Party of Canada (SPC). History The Socialist Party of Ontario …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Party of North America — The Socialist Party of North America was a political party founded in 1911, and the first in North America to adopt the Object and Declaration of Principles of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The party was formed when the Toronto local of… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Party of Northwest Territories — The Socialist Party of the Northwest Territories was a short lived branch of the Socialist Party of Canada that was formed in 1902. The party never ran any candidates and was abolished in 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan were carved out of the …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Party (Panama) — The Socialist Party (in Spanish: Partido Socialista, PS) was a Panamanian left wing political party created in 1933 by intellectuals and labor unionists who split off from the Liberal Party and rejected the Communist Party. [1] The PS was led by… …   Wikipedia

  • Communist Party of Canada — For other uses, see Communist Party of Canada (disambiguation). Communist Party of Canada Active federal party Leader …   Wikipedia

  • Progressive Party of Canada — The Progressive Party of Canada was a political party in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s. It was linked with the provincial United Farmers parties in several provinces and, in Manitoba, ran candidates and formed governments as the Progressive Party …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.