Collection RC0042 - League for Socialist Action : Revolutionary Workers League : Communist League of Canada and Associated Organizations collection

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League for Socialist Action : Revolutionary Workers League : Communist League of Canada and Associated Organizations collection

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  • 1961-2004 (Creation)
  • 1961-2004 (Creation)

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Physical description

77 cm of textual records

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Administrative history

This organization originated in the 1920s as part of the Communist Party of Canada, from which its founders were expelled in 1928 because of their support for the political positions of Leon Trotsky. Banned during World War II the organization was relaunched in 1945 as the Revolutionary Workers Party, Canadian Section of the Fourth International.

By 1963 it was known as the League for Socialist Action, with members in Toronto and Vancouver. The following year a branch was established in Montreal under the name Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière. A youth wing, the Young Socialists, was established in 1964; its branch in Quebec was known as the Ligue des Jeunes Socialistes. Following a positive response from the New Democratic Party Socialist Caucus during 1967-1968, a section of the League emerged as the "Waffle" Caucus of the N.D.P. in 1969. The "Waffle", however, proved to be a broad, heterogeneous formation, encompassing a wide spectrum of views, from liberal-reformist and patriotic to revolutionary socialist and inter-nationalist and the N.D.P. soon found itself unable to tolerate the more revolutionary Marxist and Trotskyist elements within the party. The main body of the League for Socialist Action and the International Socialists continued working through the N.D.P. but many more extreme members became discouraged by their apparent lack of progress.

In the spring of 1972 the "Waffle" was proscribed as an organized left wing within the party. One section went on to found the Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada while others, wishing to remain inside the party formed the Left Caucus "to continue the struggle". The 1973 convention of the adult organization saw the emergence of a minority grouping, the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, which went on to join the Revolutionary Marxist Group. In 1977 supporters of the Revolutionary Marxist Group and a separate Quebec organization, the Groupe Marxiste Revolutionnarie, united with the League for Socialist Action and the Ligue Socialiste Ouvrière, as well as both youth groups, to form the Revolutionary Workers League. In the late 1980s the League changed its name to the Communist League of Canada.

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Scope and content

The collection consists mainly of mimeographed and printed materials. There is a very small amount of correspondence. The collection has been supplemented by serials which have been catalogued for Research Collections.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual (16-1993) was acquired from Katherine Riddell Rouillard in October 1993. Additional material (42-2004) was acquired from John Riddell in December 2004. There was an existing collection at McMaster University before the Rouillard acquisition, and it has been added to this collection as boxes 4-6. The second accrual (2014-014) was donated by Ken Hiebert via the University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections department in May 2014.


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No further accruals are expected.

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