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Maurice Spector

The Canadian Trials and the Opposition

Maurice Spector Addresses the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Canada

(November 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 31 (Whole No. 90), 14 November 1931, p. 2.
This article is also included in the Canadian Socialist History Project archive.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Toronto, November 9, 1931

Central Executive Committee,
Communist Party of Canada

Dear Comrades:

In the issue of the Worker of November 7th under the heading The Spotlight on the Trial there appears the following reference to the undersigned: “... During the trial he (Maurice Spector) was in court but not in the prisoners dock ...” The implication is drawn tending to prejudice readers of our party organ, that I somehow voluntarily retired from the revolutionary party to escape the prisoners’ dock. This is no time for recrimination. I am prompted to address you, however, not as a matter of mere self-justification but in the interest of our common cause, an objective statement of the facts.

Involuntary Exemption from Persecution

May I therefore be permitted to recall that my momentary exemption from the list of the accused is not of my own choosing? Had the capitalist authorities precipitated their attack on the legality of the party on any occasion prior to the Sixth Congress, the personnel of the comrades in the prisoners’ dock would to some extent have been different, and as a member of the Central Committee, I should inevitably have shared the honor of indictment. I never withdrew from the Communist Party in whose organization and development I am proud to have participated. I was excluded, against my protests, by the Central Committee for reasons well known to you and to be found in the struggle over questions of principle and strategy ensuing in the Comintern after the death of Lenin.

Since my exclusion I have never ceased to be a member of a Communist committee and subject to its discipline. From the fundamental program of Bolshevism we have not, we believe, deviated a hair’s breadth. We were never more convince! than to-day that the working class can conquer political power and reconstruct society on socialist foundations only by means of the proletarian dictatorship in the form of Soviet Power, and under the leadership of the Communist Party. Never were we more convinced that the world is in the throes of the epoch of the collapse of capitalism and the development of the social revolution. To the October Revolution as the prologue of the World Revolution, to the Soviet Union as the first proletarian state in history, we have never ceased to give our unwavering allegiance. Nor to the Communist International which we have always regarded as the organization of the revolutionary vanguard of the working class.

Why Revolutionists Are Proscribed

The Communist Party of Canada is under indictment not for any advocacy of “force and violence” but for organizing the resistance of the working class to the burdens of the economic crisis, against unemployment and wage cuts. That is not to say that we make a secret of our program which flows from the scientific analysis of the motive forces of history. It is capitalism not Communism which engenders revolutionary crises. It is the unbearable contradiction between a mode of production ripe for socialization and the fetters of capitalist private property relations. But constitutional questions are primarily questions of power and the workers’ conquest of political power demands as prerequisites a sufficient degree of the demoralization of the ruling class in a given country and a sufficient degree of class consciousness in a majority of the working class. In this sense there is no immediate revolutionary crisis in Canada. But the attempt of the authorities to stem the tide of revolutionary organization by proscribing revolutionists will prove as futile as the anti-socialist legislation of Bismarck or the corresponding provisions of the Criminal Code of Czarist Russia.

What follows is a matter of course. In an Open letter to the Militant (August 29, 1931) immediately on the arrest of the comrades, inducted under section 98 of the Criminal Code, we publicly declared on behalf of the Canadian group of the Communist League of America (Opposition) our complete solidarity with the party in its struggle against the capitalist attack on its legal existence. In that connection we wrote that “there can be no question of the position every class-conscious worker must take up to wards this trial – absolute and militant struggle against the forces of reaction The workers must organize in a broad united front, whatever their political and industrial affiliations, to protest against the wave of terror which the capitalist authorities have unleashed against the militants of the working class.”

Reinstate the Left Opposition!

We are all aware that the Communists of the Left Opposition entertain significant internal differences with the official leadership of the Comintern touching principle and policy. We do not seek to minimize the importance of these differences for the correct Marxian development of the party. But the hour of common peril and crisis demands the utmost concentration of revolutionary forces. Confident that our differences can be resolved by the processes of party democracy and on the basis of the heritage of Marx and Lenin, we appeal for reinstatement in our full membership rights, prepared to submit to the requirements of party discipline.

In this spirit the members of our group have taken an active part in the work of defence of the arrested comrades, as delegates to the Workers Rights and Anti-Deportation Conference from various labor organizations. We shall remain at. the disposition of the party for any tasks it may assign.


With Communist Greetings,
(Signed) Maurice Spector

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