Maurice Spector: Speech to the Workers' Party Founding Convention
The Workers Party of Canada was founded in Toronto, February
17-20, 1922, at a convention attended by 63 delegates from Quebec,
Ontario and the western provinces, and by fraternal delegates from a
variety of organizations ranging from the Guelph Labor Council to the
Rocky Mountain Labor Party to the One Big Union.
The text of Maurice Spector’s closing speech to delegates appeared
in The Worker, March 15, 1922. We have added some paragraph breaks to
make it more readable.
Closing Address of Maurice Spector
at Workers’ Party Convention
We are all aware that the calibre of our party has yet to be proved.
We all know that the definition of our aims is not the same as their
fulfillment, but we feel confident at least that all a convention could
do towards laying the basis for such a party as we aspire to, has been
For the first time in the Canadian labor movement the
class-conscious, militant workers of both East and West have resolved to
build a united party for political action on a national scale. Thereby
it has been demonstrated once and for all that the cant of "East is East
and west is West, and never the twain shall meet," has no place in the
The divergences between the East and the West in the past were due to
the lack of an international centre, a common source of inspiration. The
Russian Revolution, as the first act of the world revolution, broadened,
deepened and unified our conceptions of the social revolution and of the
ways and means of its preparation. And because the militant workers of
both East and West recognize in the Communist International the great
school of international revolutionary strategy, because they have gained
in international perspective, this convention has almost unanimously
repudiated the attitude of a certain fraternal delegate who came to
oppose our policies, not with other positive policies, but with merely
negative criticism and a narrowly sectional outlook.
Policies of the Workers Party
What are these policies of ours? Broadly, our aim as the vanguard of
the working class in this country is to wrest control of the organized
labor movement from out of the grasp of the labor bureaucrats, to
consolidate this labor movement and make of it a fit instrument for the
achievement of working-class emancipation.
Too long has organized labor suffered from the treachery of the
dictatorial Gompers machine.
Too long has revolutionary Russia had to suffer the foul abuse of
these spiritual cripples who "represent" Labor.
In Canada we have suffered too long such a spectacle as Moore and
Halford linking up the Trades Congress to the yellow Amsterdam
International without experiencing the slightest organized opposition
from the militants.
History is With Us
In our struggle to change this state of affairs, history is with us.
Capitalism is today in mortal agony. The character of the labor movement
throughout the world is changing, becoming militant. Even the
"Anglo-Saxon Temperament," supposedly so conservative and
constitutional, is no exception. It is giving way to the "Anglo-Saxon
Temperament" of the great Chartist days. British Imperialism is no
longer able to bribe the upper layers of the working class. Consider the
susceptibility of our own workers of the Canadian West to the general
The Activities of the Workers Party
But though history is with us we must be careful not to bungle the
part in events that history has assigned to us. Although we live in an
epoch of the collapse of capitalism and the social revolution, it is not
enough to proclaim the principles of proletarian dictatorship and
workers’ power if we hope to succeed in rallying the masses to fight for
these principles. We must beware of turning these principles into
The Socialist parties on this continent have not in the past carried
on consistent political activity. The S.P. of C. has mistaken a study
circle for a political party and courses of lectures on Marx’s Capital
for revolutionary activity. The S.P. of A. and the I.L.P. have aped
bourgeois respectability and considered electioneering as the highest
form of political action. The Workers’ Party wants neither the village
chapel atmosphere of the S.P. of C. nor the "democratic" conceptions of
the S.P. of A.
The Workers’ Party will strive to be a party of action – a party of
the masses. Revolutionary political activity to us means disciplined
work in the labor unions, agitation in election campaigns, agitation
from the floor of Parliament, mass demonstrations, organization of the
unemployed, and participation in the everyday struggles of the working
class. For we realize that only through their mass experiences with the
Capitalist dictatorship in the everyday struggle will the working class
be rallied by its vanguard to the struggle for proletarian dictatorship.
The struggle for power will inevitably grow out of the struggle for
The United Front of Labor
The Workers’ Party recognizes that in face of the great offensive of
Capital unity has become a matter of life and death for the working
class. The Workers’ Party has arisen from sheer necessity. No other
political force has hitherto proved capable or even expressed a sincere
desire to establish a united front of the toilers against the incessant
predations of vested interests. To establish that united front will be
the great mainspring of our activity. The establishment of a united
front is the great immediate task to which the Workers’ Party is
If, therefore, we work steadily along the lines mapped out by our
program, there is no reason why we should not one year from now be able
to report substantial progress in our endeavor to become a integral part
of the Canadian Labor Movement and to make the Canadian Labor Movement
an integral part of the revolutionary movement of the world.
Long live the Workers Party of Canada!