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Call for a Revolutionary
Workers’ Party (1946)

The Socialist Workers League, founded in 1938, was outlawed when World War II broke out in the fall of 1939. Illegality and the pressures of war decimated its membership, but small groups continued operating, mainly in Toronto and Vancouver. Some members joined the CCF and argued for left-wing policies there.

In 1945 the Trotskyists launched Labor Challenge, the first public newspaper they’d been able to publish since before the war, but did not create a public organization. They issued this public call for a Revolutionary Workers Party as an editorial in the September 1946 issue of Labor Challenge.

"Labor Progressive Party" (LPP) was the name used by the Communist Party of Canada from 1943 to 1959. The "Cooperative Commonwealth Federation" (CCF) was a social-democratic party, predecessor of today's New Democratic Party.

The Revolutionary Workers’
Party Must Be Founded — Now!


In our Mid-August issue, the editors of Labor Challenge printed the statement of Lloyd Whalen, a delegate from British Columbia to the Ninth CCF National Convention. Whalen's statement called for and outlined a revolutionary socialist program.

The statement of delegate Whalen on the key questions of program and his criticism of the CCF leadership is heartily endorsed by the editorial board of Labor Challenge. In the past 21 issues of our paper we have advocated just such a program and advanced practically the same criticisms of the CCF leaders. This program has found a growing response from our readers and the most advanced elements in the Canadian working class. This fact has been born out by the steady increase in influence and prestige of Labor Challenge. Around our paper and on the basis of its program of revolutionary socialism as applied to the key questions of the class struggle in this country and throughout the world have gathered the most advanced elements of the Canadian labor movement.

By means of our Marxist approach to the problems of the Canadian working people, Labor Challenge has been able to present the concrete steps or tactics, which in every important struggle of the Canadian workers since its appearance in June 1945, could have led to great victories. But it is not enough merely to have a correct program—to analyze the day to day struggles in the light of scientific socialism. It is necessary to build the indispensable weapon to carry out this program, to ensure its victory. It is necessary to build the revolutionary workers party.

Capitalism, as we have pointed out on numerous occasions, has been on the decline since before the First World War. Unable to solve any of the contradictions which are tearing it apart it is speeding to the atomic destruction of mankind in the Third World War—it has now entered the period of its death agony. After almost two decades of defeats, the workers have emerged from the most destructive war in the history of mankind to face with renewed confidence in their own powers a capitalist enemy whose rule is being shaken by insoluble contradictions and sharp class battles.

The leftward swing of the masses on a world scale is reflected in the growing struggles of the Canadian workers. These two facts must be the basis for any serious analysis of objective conditions.

But in the face of the favorable conditions far overthrow of the outlived capitalist system, the two traditional parties of the workers continue their treacherous role responsible for the defeats suffered by the workers since 1923. The Second and Third Internationals died long ago as revolutionary factors but reformist socialism and Stalinism live on to canalize the revolutionary struggles of the masses into the blind alley of nationalism and class collaboration.

The Stalinist Labor Progressive Party, in spite of its pseudo-left turn, continues to call for a coalition with the "left-wing" of the bourgeoisie. The LPP in the service of Stalin's diplomacy spreads poisonous pacifist illusions among the masses in a futile attempt to stave off war against the Soviet Union, which is inevitable if capitalism continues. The feverish twists and turns in the policy of the Canadian Stalinists are dictated, not by the needs of the revolutionary struggle of the workers for socialism, which has been replaced by the LPP with the struggle for reforms, but by the demands of its master in the Kremlin.

Although the CCF appears organizationally independent of the capitalist parties, on all important questions it takes a "left-liberal" position, merely giving lip-service to socialism which is postponed to some indefinite future. It supports the thieves' kitchen of UNO and has lined up with the Anglo-American imperialist anti-Soviet bloc. The CCF's defense of the "imperialist socialists" of the British Labor Party reveals its real role as an agency of capitalism in the ranks of the Canadian labor movement.

It is no accident that both these parties, the CCF and the LPP, betrayed every principle of international socialism and acted as recruiting agents to drive the masses into the Second Imperialist World War. And that in the trade unions they follow a policy of class collaboration. These two reformist parties act as a brake on the struggle of the working people for socialism. Democracy in the LPP is non-existent and in the CCP is tolerated, as in the "democratic" capitalist state, only in so far as it fails to threaten the control of the bosses, in the case of the CCF, the right wing parliamentary leadership. No possibilities exist for the ranks to convert the bureaucratized CCF or LPP into instruments of socialist revolution.

World capitalism is rotten-ripe for socialist transformation. Only the lack of an independent revolutionary workers' party based on a correct program and with mass influence holds back the overthrow of capitalism in a number of countries today. The building of the vanguard party is our most pressing task. With such a party victory is assured, without it, fascism, war and atomic destruction are inevitable. This is the essence of the lessons of the history of world labor.

We have the program, it has already been hammered out and tested in the fires of international class struggle. It is the program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, the program of the Fourth International which applied to the conditions of Canada is the program of Labor Challenge. The time has come to lift this stainless banner from the realm of propaganda into the world of action by founding the Canadian party of the Fourth International—the independent revolutionary workers' party which can lead the working people to victory.

Therefore, the editorial board of Labor Challenge, in consultation with the main supporting groups of our paper across the country, is taking immediate steps to call a representative conference of revolutionary socialists to found the new party as soon as possible.

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