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Socialist Party of Canada
The Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) was formed in 1904 when the Socialist Party of British Columbia merged with the Canadian Socialist League. The party had a revolutionary Marxist orientation and saw attempts to reform capitalism as counterproductive to the goal of overturning the capitalist system entirely and replacing it with a socialist model.The Socialist Party was strongest in British Columbia and elected members to the province's legislature.
In 1907, a moderate faction of the SPC split off to form the Social Democratic Party of British Columbia which, in 1911, became the Social Democratic Party of Canada and the two parties were bitter rivals for several years.
In Winnipeg, the local SPC organization was initially a rival to the city's reformist labour groups. The SPC may have been responsible for defeating of centrist labour candidate Fred Dixon in the election of 1910; the resulting backlash from trade union groups weakened the party in Winnipeg for a number of years.
As a result of the Russian Revolution and the Winnipeg General Strike a number of its supporters became attracted to Bolshevism and the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky. Those who rejected Leninism moved towards an evolutionary or gradualist socialist position and in 1920, a split occurred when many of the party's membership left to join the Federated Labour Party of Canada, a party formed by the British Columbia Federation of Labour and other joined Labour and Independent Labour Parties that were forming throughout the country. (see Labour Party)
From 1903 to 1912 the Socialist Party elected a number of MLAs to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly in the early part of the twentieth century. Their apex was in 1912 when they elected 17 candidates and won 11% of the popular vote. The pressures of having such a large caucus (up from two the previous election) caused fissures in the party and they were wiped out in the next election and never elected another MLA in B.C.
The party was a marginal political force in Manitoba until 1920, when George Armstrong was elected to the provincial legislature for Winnipeg on a united labour list. Armstrong was defeated in 1922, due in part to opposition from Communist politicians in the city.
In 1921 most of the Marxist members were lost to the formation of the Workers Party which was the legal wing of the new Communist Party of Canada and in 1925 the Socialist Party formally disbanded with many of its members joining the Independent Labour Party.
The historical Socialist Party is unrelated to the current Socialist Party of Canada .
- The Impossibilists A short history with selections from the press of the
Socialist Party of Canada and the One Big Union, 1906-1938
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