Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Canada 1944

This pamphlet was first published in 1910 as the Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Canada. During the ten-year period ending in 1920, five editions, totalling more than 25,000 copies, were issued. The growing insistence of members and sympathisers impels us to place the Manifesto once again in the hands of the working class. The present edition consists of 5,000 copies.

This pamphlet was first published in 1910 as the Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Canada. During the ten-year period ending in 1920, five editions, totalling more than 25,000 copies, were issued. The growing insistence of members and sympathisers impels us to place the Manifesto once again in the hands of the working class. The present edition consists of 5,000 copies.

Some changes have been made. The section on History remains unaltered. One or two minor errors in the section on Economics have been corrected. But a new section on Politics has been written. This was considered desirable in view of the importance which reform parties and programs have assumed in the minds of the Canadian workers since the Manifesto last appeared. More and more, during the last quarter century, has the advocacy of touch-up jobs to capitalism gained prominence. More and more have these touch-up jobs become described as socialism. More and more has it become necessary for the socialists to try and clear away the misconceptions resulting from this activity. Hence our more detailed remarks on Politics.

Even so, however, our comments are necessarily brief. The space provided by one small pamphlet is not sufficient to permit an exhaustive treatment of the mischievous activities at present diverting the attentions of the workers from matters that really concern them. For example, nothing has been said about the Communist Party (the “Labor-Progressive Party”) and the immense harm which it has brought to the working class movement. Nothing has been said about the Social Credit Party, which has gained a great deal of support during recent years on the strength of a completely false money theory. Nothing has been said about various other groups which claim to represent working class interests. Our references to political opposition groups have been confined to the capitalist and labor parties in general and to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in particular. For a statement of our views on other groups the reader is invited to consult other literature obtainable from the S. P. of C.

This is the second time that the Manifesto has been issued in the midst of war. The fourth edition made its appearance during the first world war. Then, as now, the banner of international socialism was held high and the hand of fellowship extended to the workers of the world. Then, as now, the socialists kept the issues clear while the “saviors of labor” were herding the workers along the road to destruction. The following paragraph from the Preface to the fourth edition is especially worthy of being preserved:

“Another illusion that has been dispelled is that the strength of the European Social-Democracies, arising out of their opportunist mode of propaganda. These parties have waged their campaign upon the ‘political issues of the day’, thus aligning themselves with that section in the Socialist movement which would sacrifice sound principles to immediate successes. They have numbered their adherents by the million, and have educated them not at all. They have sown the wind – they are reaping the whirlwind. In conflict with them for a generation are those who would sacrifice immediate successes to sound principles, who have been content to be fewer in numbers if clearer in understanding, who have given transient political issues the ‘go-by’ and have harped upon the Social Revolution, who have expounded Economics and the Class Struggle, when the others were shouting against taxes and tariffs, who have earned for themselves the name of ‘impossibilist’ and have been content therewith. The war has justified them. Where there are any ‘impossibilists’ or ‘near-impossibilists’ in Europe, they have stood firm. The ‘practical socialists’ are cutting one another’s throats in the trenches.”

What was true of World War I is equally true of World War II. While the Social Democracies of today, the C. C. F. of Canada and the labor parties of other countries, have taken their stand on the side of the ruling class, the S. P. of C. and its companion parties have reaffirmed their adherence to socialist principles, declared their conviction that no interest is at stake justifying the shedding of working class blood, and, in the words of the S. P. of C. War Manifesto issued on September 3rd, 1939, called upon the workers of the world “to unite in the Greater Struggle, the struggle for the establishment of Socialism, a system of society in which the ever-increasing poverty, misery, terror and bloodshed of capitalism shall be forever banished from the earth.”

What will be the outcome of the present war? Our statesmen promise a finer world than we have known – after the guns are silenced. The statesmen of the first world war made the same promise. On the other hand the Party Manifesto, more brutally perhaps, but more honestly, promised “an outbreak of peace as cataclysmic as was the outbreak of war”. The statesmen were wrong; the Manifesto was right.

The statesmen will be wrong again, if the future of the world is to remain in their keeping. The war has accelerated the development of the means of production to a degree hardly conceivable a few years ago. When these means of production have become transformed from war time to peace time purposes, when the tens of millions of workers now in uniforms or engaged in war production seek a place in peace time industry, when the devastation of war has been cleared away and the surpluses of wealth begin again intensified by the frantic efforts to dispose of the ever-expanding wealth in an ever-shrinking market, the workers will find a post-war world much like the pre-war world, except that their lot will become even harder to bear.

There can be no finer world for the workers – until they pay heed to the message of socialism.
DOMINION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
June, 1944.

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There are no short cuts to socialism. It can be reached only through the conscious political organization of the working class.