Toronto is Nervous (1919)
Chapter 2 of Canadian Bolsheviks described the creation of the first
Communist groups in Canada, in Southern Ontario, and the outrage these
illegal organizations provoked in the press and conservative circles by
late night leaflet distributions in Toronto and other cities. Two of the
leaflets, Peace and the Workers,
and May Day, are posted on this site.
Peter Campbell of Queens University sent us the following commentary on
that uproar: it appeared in the April 18, 1919 edition of The Soviet,
published by Local #1 of the Socialist Party in Edmonton, Alberta.
Toronto Is Nervous
As "Reds" Bombard City With Leaflets
Twice Canadians Have Awakened to Find Bolshevist Literature on
Doorsteps – Police Are Helpless
Toronto is somewhat nervous over the inability of the police, despite
their best efforts, to discover the headquarters of the "Provisional
Council of Soldiers and Workers for Canada," a Bolshevist organization
which even the most skeptical have been forced to concede is a reality.
Twice in recent days, Toronto has awakened to find its doorsteps
decorated with printed four-page messages addressed to soldiers and
workers, explaining the principles of Bolshevism and calling upon the
population to rise and throw off the shackles of capitalism.
In labor circles a radical element has made its appearance. The same is
true of the soldiers’ organizations. In both instances the radicals have
reached numerical proportions enabling them to challenge the conservative
elements for supremacy.
Government officials who are watching the new movement are being relied
upon by the conservatives to suppress any really menacing organization.
These conservatives believe that there are scores of palliatives which can
relieve the situation.
But still Toronto is nervous. In spite of all its optimism it has to
face the actual fact that it has a Bolshevist organization in its very
midst, that tens of thousands of revolutionary circulars are being
distributed among its workers – and the police cannot find the sources.
It is too suggestive of the revolutionary efficiency of the publishers
of Belgian papers, circulated directly under the noses of the German
conquerors. So Toronto is nervous.