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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 done.

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 revolutionary movement.

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 mass strike.

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 abstract formulae.

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 bread.

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 dedicated.

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!

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