Tim Buck: Wikis

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Tim Buck (left) and others, Communist Labour and Total War Committee meeting, Maple Leaf Gardens, October 13, 1942

Timothy "Tim" Buck (January 6, 1891 – March 11, 1973) was a long-time leader of the Communist Party of Canada (known from the 1940s until the late 1950s as the Labour Progressive Party). Together with Ernst Thälmann of Germany, Maurice Thorez of France, Palmiro Togliatti of Italy, Earl Browder of the United States, and Harry Pollitt of Britain, Buck was one of the top leaders of the Stalin-era Communist International.

Contents

Early life and career

A machinist, Buck was born in Beccles, England and emigrated to Canada in 1910 reputedly because it was cheaper to book steamship passage to Canada than to Australia. He became involved in the labour movement and radical working class politics in Toronto. In 1921, he participated in the founding convention of the Communist Party of Canada. Not initially a leading member of the party, Buck came to prominence as a supporter of Joseph Stalin, and became General Secretary in 1929 after the old party leadership had been purged for supporting Trotsky and others had been removed for supporting Bukharin. Buck remained General Secretary until 1962, and was an unquestioning supporter of the Soviet line throughout his tenure.

National figure

With the onset of the Great Depression, the Conservative government of R.B. Bennett became increasingly worried about left wing activity and agitation. On August 11, 1931, the Communist Party offices in Toronto were raided, and Buck and several of his colleagues were arrested and charged with sedition. Buck was tried in November, convicted of sedition and sentenced to hard labour.

He was imprisoned from 1932 to 1934 in Kingston Penitentiary where he was the target of an apparent assassination attempt in his cell the night after a prison riot. While Buck was sitting in his cell listening to the mêlée outside, eight shots were fired into his cell via a window, narrowly missing the prisoner.[1] In late 1933, Minister of Justice Hugh Guthrie admitted in the Canadian House of Commons that shots had been deliberately fired into Buck's cell, but "just to frighten him." A widespread civil rights campaign ultimately secured Buck's release. His extensive testimony before the Archambault Commission contributed to the reform of prisons in Canada. As a result, Buck was hailed a heroic champion of civil liberties.

The Worker headline reporting on murder attempt on Buck

The Communist Party was banned in 1941 under the Defence of Canada Regulations and Buck and other prominent Communist leaders were forced underground and ultimately into exile in the United States. The political environment changed with the German invasion of the USSR and the Soviet Union's entry into World War II on the side of the Allies. As a result, Canadian Communists ended their opposition to the war and became enthusiastic supporters of the Canadian war effort. The party supported the government's call for conscription and established Tim Buck Plebiscite Committees which called for a "Yes" vote in the 1942 national plebiscite on conscription. The campaigning in support of the war helped change public opinion towards the Communists and resulted in the government's release of Communist leaders being held in detention and the return of Buck and other leaders from exile. While the ban on the party itself was not lifted it was allowed to organize the Labour-Progressive Party as a legal public face.

Electoral politics

Buck ran for a seat in the House of Commons on six occasions. He won 25% of the vote, placing third, when he ran in Winnipeg North in the 1935 federal election. He lost to Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) candidate Abraham Albert Heaps. In the 1937 Toronto municipal election he came within 200 votes of winning a city-wide election to the Toronto Board of Control. He won 26% of the vote when he ran in the Toronto riding of Trinity in the 1945 election, and 21% in the 1949 election, finishing ahead of the CCF on both occasions. In the 1953 election, he won only 8.7% of the vote and then just 3.7% of the vote when he stood one last time in the 1958 election.

Retirement

Buck retired as general secretary of the Communist Party of Canada in 1962, but remained in the largely ceremonial position of party chairman until his death in 1973. There was controversy within the party when a posthumous version of his memoirs was published in 1977 by NC Press based on interviews conducted for the CBC in 1965. In Yours in the Struggle: Reminiscences of Tim Buck, the former party leader criticized Nikita Khrushchev and was somewhat defensive of Stalin, although not departing from the international Communist movement's current perspective. Buck was later quoted as saying "for a time I gave the appearance of defending Stalin. I didn't defend what he had done; the fact is, nobody could defend the things that Khrushchev revealed."

See also

References

  1. ^ The Worker vol.11 Number 523,Saturday Dec. 17 1932, see image above

External links

Preceded by
Jack MacDonald
General Secretaries of the Communist Party of Canada
1929–1962
Succeeded by
Leslie Morris
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Timothy "Tim" Buck (6 January 189111 March 1973) was a long-time leader of the Communist Party of Canada.

Sourced

  • These men volunteered to fight against the German Kaiser's armies - not against Russian workers and peasants.
    • Referring to Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • [The Mac-Paps] covered the name of Canada with glory, from Jarama to the Ebro, in the greatest battles fought against fascism in the war.
    • Referring to the Canadian The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion who fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • Fascist organizations were being generously financed by big business in various parts of the Country
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • It was clear to me that the invasion changed the whole possibilities of the outcome of the war.
    • Referring to the German invasion of the Soviet Union Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • Less than three months after Japanese capitulation... he discarded all the democratic concepts expressed by his predecessors wartime undertakings... He ditched the Roosevelt thesis and put in first place his declared determination to use the all the power of the government to enable United States imperialism to dominate the post-war world and organize it in its own image.
    • Referring to United States President Harry Truman Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • In the course of waging that war, the people of Canada had shown that it was possible for them to maintain nearly a million men in uniform and at the same time expand all the facilities for production within Canada at an unprecedented speed, including building industries which had never existed in Canada before... and by and large the cost of production in Canada compared favourable with the cost of production anywhere else among the Allies... All of this was accomplished without any foreign investment, without and foreign loans... We were quite capable of self-development.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • Now the battle for Canadian independence does have to be fought again, but against a new form of servitude. Our struggle today is different from that of the colonial peoples, fighting against national enslavement imposed upon them by the armed forces of foreign imperialists. We are threatened with complete national enslavement to a foreign power, but that power is not, at least not yet, imposing its control by the force of arms. Canada is being sold into United States control by "her own" ruling class; the parasitic, speculative, Canadian manipulators of stock market deals, politics and governmental concessions, who are enriching themselves by trading the national future of Canada for junior partnerships in the United States monopolies.
    • Thirty Years – 1922-1952 The Story of the Communist Movement in Canada
  • [Canada's ruling circles seek] to ally themselves more closely with American imperialism without giving up the economic advantages of membership in the British Empire.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • For a time I gave the appearance of defending Stalin. I didn't defend what he had done; the fact is, nobody could defend the things that Khrushchev revealed.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • U.S. imperialism will be compelled to withdraw its troops, and to allow the people of Vietnam to settle their national affairs as they wish. Victory for the heroic people of Vietnam in their unwavering struggle to maintain their national independence will mark the end of the era during which great imperialist states were able to impose their will upon weaker peoples by brute force of arms. By virtue of that fact and the character of our epoch, it will open the floodgates for a great and widespread democratic advance all over the world.
    • Lenin and Canada
  • The key to the defeat and eventually the end of imperialism as a a whole is the unity of all socialist countries and progressive forces in capitalist countries.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • The Communist Party must be a revolutionary party our it will cease to be a Communist Party.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada
  • I am proud that I have devoted all my life to the struggle for the triumph of Leninism.
    • Tim Buck A Conscience for Canada

Unsourced

  • While speaking in Lloydminster Alberta/Saskatchewan, he was asked "Do you believe in God?" Tim Buck replied "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"

External links

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