On Monday May 23, 1921, a small group of people gathered in a barn on the outskirts of Guelph to found the Communist Party of Canada. It was three years after the Russian Revolution, and there was already widespread concern about the spread of Marxist ideas, but economic stagnation, a global pandemic, and societal disillusionment post World War I made people hungry for some kind of change to the status quo. Sound familiar?
True, some things have not changed in the last century, but a hundred years ago 257 Metcalfe Street was the boonies, instead of the heart of Ward 2. On that day, lot of the people that came to Guelph for the founding of the Communist Party were already accustomed to being targeted by police and arrested for their political activism, but locals like Alderman Lorne Cunningham and Guelph Workingman’s Association member Fred Farley were there as well.
In the last century, it’s been hard to separate communism from the atrocities of Stalin, the anti-democratic actions of Castro in Cuba, and the still growing authoritarian tendencies in modern China. It makes running as the Communist Party candidate hard in the handful of ridings their candidates try to represent in Federal and Provincial elections, including Guelph. One person who knows that all too well is Tristan Dineen, a community activist, and the Communist Party candidate for Guelph in the 2015 election.
Dineen joins us this week to talk about why working with the Communist Party of Canada appealed to him, and why he’s running again in the next Federal Election. He will also talk about the misconceptions of the Communist Party, and how people currently working with the party have to answer for history. Plus, Dineen will discuss Guelph’s place in the history of the Communist Party, and whether there should be some form of official commemoration on this, the 100th anniversary of the party’s founding.
So let’s talk about Guelph’s communist past, present and future (?) on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
The Communist Party of Canada will mark their 100th birthday in a virtual event they’re live streaming online at 1:30 pm on Sunday May 30 at their YouTube channel. You can read Terry Pender’s article about the founding of the Communist Party in Guelph at the Waterloo Region Record’s website.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.