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George Hewison (born 1944) is a former long-time member of the Communist Party of Canada and trade unionist. A second-generation member of the party, Hewison grew up selling the party press and joined the party at the age of 17. His father "Red Jack" Hewison, had immigrated to Canada from Scotland and had been a founding member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation but was disillusioned by the CCF during the Cold War and joined the Labour-Progressive Party (as the Communist Party was known) when CCF leaders supported a raid by Hal Banks and the Seafarers International Union against Hewison's union, the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union in 1953.
Hewison succeeded William Kashtan as general secretary in 1988 at a time when the Communist world was being convulsed by Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms in the Soviet Union. He was leader of the Canadian party when the USSR and the Soviet bloc collapsed. The Communist Party of Canada had long been uncritical supporters of Moscow and was severely disoriented by the collapse of Soviet Communism in Eastern Europe. Hewison and other leaders of the party attempted to open a discussion about the causes for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the significance for Communists in Canada and internationally. He was challenged by a minority faction, led by previous leader William Kashtan and future leader Miguel Figueroa among others who accused him of "revisionism". Hewison was unanimously re-elected leader at the party's next convention in 1992 which produced a new manifesto called "Communists and the New Decade" (1990s). The minority faction, which had been defeated at the convention, continued to resist the direction the Hewison leadership was heading and finally forced the party and its elected leadership into court. An out-of-court settlement took place between the group around Hewison and those around the minority faction which coalesced around Figueroa, and others. In the meantime, hundreds of party activists disgusted with the paralytic debate between the factions, left the party. During the inner-party squabble, the membership plummetted from 1500 to 800. The out-of-court settlement mandating the splitting of the old party's assets, with the minority assuming the name "Communist Party of Canada", and the out-going leadership undertaking to leave the Communist Party . The Canadian Tribune and the Cecil-Ross Society (a society with strict injunctions on use of funds) were allotted to the group around Hewison who were to leave the party. Those funds were allocated according to the rules of the Societies Act. Prior to the split, the long-standing financial support from the Soviet Union to the Communist paty of Canada was discontinued. This had created a different crisis for the party in terms of its ability to finance a large staff, headquarters, maintain a print shop, a publishing house and two weekly newspapers (Canadian Tribune and Pacific Tribune). The leadership which left the party attempted to broaden the appeal for their press by including the broader left. For a variety of reasons, the New Times, which was meant to be a broad left periodical, failed after several issues. The Cecil-Ross Society also attempted to publish another magazine in BC, Ginger, but it failed after two issues.
In recent years, Hewison has supported himself through a gas station and convenience store he owns near Peterborough, Ontario and continues to investigate the history of Twentieth Century communism, including the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and its significance to Canada. He can currently be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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