First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 5, February 9, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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3,000 people across Canada have participated in the widest anti-imperialist campaign ever undertaken by the League.
This past month, the five members of the League’s delegation to Kampuchea held 22 public talks in 16 cities. Meetings were organized for the first time in Halifax, Ottawa, Windsor and Winnipeg. In many cities, other groups and individuals organized or sponsored the events. They included: the Committee of Patriots of Democratic Kampuchea in Canada, CAPT, IPANA, the University of Regina Students’ Union and well-known anti-imperialist James Endicott.
The delegation members were also invited to address hundreds of students in classes at universities and colleges in several provinces.
Wide media coverage of the tour reached over a million Canadians and also helped push forward local work. In Quebec City, for example, workers at Davie Shipbuilding who heard comrades on a morning radio show bought The Forge to find out more about Kampuchea.
“Pot Pot plans prolonged guerilla war”; “Cambodian invasion likened to Hitler attack on Poland.” Headlines like these appeared in over 20 newspapers across the country, including major dailies like the Toronto Star and Montreal’s La Presse, which carried interviews with the League comrades.
On over 15 television shows and 25 radio programs, the comrades took the opportunity to explain all aspects of the war in Kampuchea. To build this wide support, the campaign had to answer the basic question on people’s minds: what does Kampuchea mean for us in Canada and how can we help?
We showed that by defending the Kampuchean people, on the frontlines against Soviet aggression, we can slow down the Soviet superpower’s world offensive and thus help delay the outbreak of world war. This is part of our internationalist duty, just as Canadian workers came to the defence of democratic Spain against the fascists of the ’30s.
The slides, films and lengthy question periods at the support meetings helped paint a vivid picture of the Kampuchean people’s determination to defend the progress made in three years of socialist reconstruction.
“Before, I just got demoralized thinking about Kampuchea,” said a Quebec City woman worker. “Now I’m sure the people will win.” A woman in Halifax and a man in Moncton each gave $50 donations at support meetings. A Chilean in Hamilton pointed out: “We have to use the aggression against Kampuchea to expose the USSR to those people in the third world who still fall for its socialist mask.”
This intensive, one-month campaign has laid a good basis for the long and patient educational work that must continue in the coming months.
More use must be made of the wide variety of material available – slide shows showing the progress in Kampuchea, speeches by Pol Pot on economic and defence plans, the Black Paper detailing Vietnam’s crimes – to answer people’s questions in a concrete way.
In several cities, people put together educational displays using maps, pictures and Forge articles. In unions and community and student associations, demands should be raised to end all “relief aid” to Vietnam. We must call on Ottawa not to recognize Hanoi’s puppet regime in Phnom Penh but to establish relations with the Pol Pot government.
The Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) in Moncton has already decided to cancel fund-raising activities for Vietnam. Efforts should be made in all cities to bring together anti-imperialists and progressives – academics, peace activists, third ,world service groups – to continue support work for the Kampuchean people in a permanent way.