Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Plea for Social Justice - Extracts from the Speeches of J. S. Woodsworth, M.P., in the House of Commons, 1930-33 (Part III)

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: A Plea for Social Justice - Extracts from the Speeches of J. S. Woodsworth, M.P. , in the House of Commons, 1930-33 (Part III) 

This booklet published in 1933 (selected by Grace MacInnis) has nearly 80 pages of extracts from the speeches of Canadian Socialist icon J. S. Woodsworth. Woodsworth, a critical figure in the history of the Canadian left, was the first leader of the CCF, the precursor to the NDP.

As the booklet is quite lengthy we broke it up into 3 posts of which this is the final one.

To see the first part, click here.  For the second, click here.

The third part today shows the sections "Canada's Constitution", "Finance: The Power Behind the Constitution" and "Humanity First".

The booklet is a fascinating and remarkable piece of and look at Canadian leftist and social history.

This final part shows clearly that Woodsworth felt that Canadian democracy was being undermined by and was often beholden to the interests of the banks and financiers. He also showed how the law was not being equally applied to workers and the wealthy.

Finally it ends with a stirring quote about capitalism from the manifesto of the League for Social Reconstruction that reads:
In the advanced industrial countries it has led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small irresponsible minority of bankers and industrialists whose economic power constantly threatens to nullify our political democracy. 
The result in Canada is a society in which the interests of farmers and of wage and salaried workers - the great majority of the population - are habitually sacrificed to those of this small minority. 
Unregulated competitive production condemns them to alternate periods of feverish prosperity, in which the main benefits go to speculators and profiteers, and of catastrophic depression, in which the common man's normal state of insecurity and hardship is accentuated. 
We are convinced that these evils are inherent in any system in which private profit is the main stimulus to economic effort. 
We therefore look to the establishment in Canada of a new social order which will substitute a planned and socialized economy for the existing chaotic individualism and which, by achieving an approximate economic equality among all men in place of the present glaring inequalities, will eliminate the domination of one class by another.

(Click on images to enlarge)

(Unfortunately pages 73 & 74 are missing)

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via

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