CANADA'S PARTY OF SOCIALISM: HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CANADA 1921-1976
Volume 11 Number 3.
This officially-sanctioned history of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) was researched and written by Gerry Van Houten, whose work was supervised by a history commission of the CPC.
Canada's Party of Socialism consistently applies Marxist-Leninist analysis both to its treatment of CPC history and to its interpretation of Canadian history in general. This analysis is expressed in the very specialized terminology of Marxism-Leninism. Any reader who is not already familiar with the basics of Marxism-Leninism would be advised, therefore, to look elsewhere for a radical view of Canada's working-class past. For those who can understand (or ignore) the theoretical framework, there is much of value here. The work's major contribution is in preserving the names—and faces, for it is richly illustrated—of many of Canada's leading radicals, so it would be useful as a reference on labour history.
Of particular interest are the chapters dealing with the party's greatest period of influence, during the Great Depression. As well, chapter 13's analysis of the issue of French Canada provides a very different interpretation of a very familiar subject.
On the other hand, a reader unfamiliar with Canadian history would come away with some peculiar notions indeed. One example should suffice. In dismissing R.B. Bennett as a tool of "monopoly capitalism," the author ignores Bennett's unsuccessful 1935 program of reform that brought down on Bennett the wrath of those same "capitalists."
While Canada's Party of Socialism should be purchased by any post-secondary or public library attempting to maintain a balanced collection, prospective readers should be warned that the book must be read with critical awareness of its origin and underlying principles. It is not, therefore, a recommended purchase for high schools.
David Remski, Madonna H.S., Downsview, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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