Socialist League (Canada)


Socialist League (Canada)

The Socialist League (or Forward Group) was a Canadian Trotskyist group formed in 1974 by Ross Dowson and approximately twenty other former members of the League for Socialist Action after their faction was defeated at the 1973 LSA national convention. Dowson had previously been the leader of the LSA. The group published a newspaper, "Forward" and soon became better known as the "Forward Readers Group" or the "Forward Group".

Dowson and his followers differed with the rest of the Trotskyist movement in Canada through their adoption of a Canadian economic nationalist perspective, influenced by the views of the Waffle, a Marxist tendency within the New Democratic Party (NDP) within which the LSA was active.

They argued that Canada was an economic colony of the United States and thus an oppressed nation where other Marxists viewed Canada as a fully capitalist nation, if only a "junior partner" participating in the oppression of the developing world.

The Socialist League viewed its competitors on the left as extremists and ultra-leftists and was especially critical of their views on the New Democratic Party. The Socialist League was an entrist formation and supported full participation by socialists in the NDP where the LSA and particularly the Revolutionary Marxist Group were increasingly critical of the NDP and came to support running their own candidates against NDP nominees in some ridings during provincial and federal elections. Instead, the Socialist League formed the Left Caucus within the NDP and worked to build a leftist tendency within the party. The Caucus' strategy was to ally with "centrists" within the NDP such as, in the mid-1980s, Judy Rebick with whom it participated in the Committee for an Activist Party. For a time Forward had influence in a few NDP riding associations such as in the suburban Toronto riding of Oriole where it helped Rebick win the NDP nomination for the 1987 Ontario election and nearby York Mills where Socialist League member Gord Doctorow was the NDP candidate in the 1985 Ontario election.

The Socialist League remained aloof in 1977 when the RWL and LSA and its Quebec counterparts fused to form the Revolutionary Workers League. The group grew initially through the 1970s and was able to recruit a number of student youth, particularly at York University but it declined through the 1980s and became largely inactive after Dowson suffered a stroke in the 1988. "Forward" ceased publication in the mid-1980s, although the "Left Caucus Bulletin" continued to appear until the mid-1990s.

Prominent members of the Socialist League included Dowson, Harry Kopyto, Lois Bedard, Gord Doctorow, Alice Klein, Wayne Roberts, Michael Hollett and Ellie Kirzner. Klein, Roberts, Hollett and Kirzner left "Forward" in the late 1970s, and founded the alternative newspaper "NOW Magazine" in Toronto.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Socialist Action (Canada) — Socialist Action is a Trotskyist political group in Canada. It is aligned with the US group of the same name and is in solidarity with the reunified Fourth International but is not recognized by the FI as a sympathetic group. The Canadian… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Challenge (Canada) — In 1977, supporters of the Revolutionary Marxist Group and a separate Quebec organization, the Groupe Marxiste Revolutionnaire, united with the League for Socialist Action and the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière to form the Revolutionary Workers… …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist League — may refer to one of several organisations: *Socialist League (Australia) *Socialist League (Finland), a Trotskyist organisation affiliated with the International Socialist Tendency. *Socialist League (Canada), a Trotskyist group founded in 1974… …   Wikipedia

  • League for Socialist Action (Canada) — See also the League for Socialist Action (UK). The International Left Opposition (Trotskyist) of Canada, the Workers Party of Canada, Socialist Policy Group, Socialist Workers League, Revolutionary Workers Party and the League for Socialist… …   Wikipedia

  • Communist League (Canada) — The Communist League in Canada was founded as the Revolutionary Workers League/Ligue Ouvrière Révolutionnaire (RWL) in 1977 as the result of a merger of the League for Socialist Action (LSA), the Revolutionary Marxist Group (RMG) and the Groupe… …   Wikipedia

  • National Socialist League — Part of a series on Nazism …   Wikipedia

  • Socialist Action — may refer to one of several socialist (mostly Trotskyist) political groups in several countries.In alphabetical order (after country):*Socialist Action Group (Australia) was a breakaway group from the Trotskyist Socialist Alternative (Australia) …   Wikipedia

  • 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 Workers League — The Socialist Workers League was a group of Israeli Trotskyists, founded in 2002 and dissolved in 2004. The SWL was built as a result of a split initiated by Trotskyists who were part of the Israeli Committee for One Democratic Republic of… …   Wikipedia

  • CANADA — CANADA, country in northern half of North America and a member of the British Commonwealth. At the beginning of the 21st century, its population of approximately 370,000 Jews made it the world s fourth largest Jewish community after the United… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


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.