Cecil-Ross Society

Cecil-Ross Society

The Cecil-Ross Society was a communist educational foundation operated by some former members of the Communist Party of Canada after they were forced to terminate their association with the party in 1992 in a political and legal dispute following the fall of the Soviet Union. The society had been founded by the Communist Party some years before in order to hold various party assets.

The society was chartered under the Societies Act by George Hewison and other leaders of the Communist Party of Canada. The name came from the intersection of Cecil Street and Ross Street in Toronto which was for many years the location of the Communist Party's headquarters.

The Communist Party had split as the result of a new programme adopted in 1992 which marked the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism as the party's ideology. An orthodox left minority in the CC, led by Miguel Figueroa, Elizabeth Rowley and former leader William Kashtan, resisted this effort and, after being defeated at the party's 1992 convention, several members of the opposition were expelled by the Central Executive. They, in turn, sued the party and, as the result of a court settlement, the Hewison group relinquished the name Communist Party of Canada, but retained the Cecil-Ross Society and were permitted by the settlement to transfer to it roughly half of the party's assets and the rights to the party's weekly paper "Canadian Tribune" which ceased publication.

The Cecil-Ross Society was not a political party and was restrained by the strictures of the Societies Act only being allowed to utilize its resources for educational and research purposes rather than for party political activity.

The society attempted two publishing endeavors, the magazines "New Times" and [http://www.pance.ca/ginger "Ginger"] , both of which were shortlived. The society also created an oral history archive by recording the memoirs of veteran Communists.

After several years, the Cecil Ross Society disbanded its central organization and divided its remaining funds amongst its local branches throughout the country. Most of these branches no longer exist though one reportedly remains in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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