There is a growing demand for revolutionary ideas as more and more Canadians realize that capitalism has failed. A recent study showed that 35 per cent of the population support moving away from this system, and in the current context it is not hard to see why. It is with this in mind that Fightback magazine recently went fortnightly, meaning we doubled our rate of publication to provide a Marxist analysis on current events every two weeks!
To celebrate this important move forward and discuss next steps, we organized launch meetings in cities from the East Coast to the West. We held launch meetings in Toronto, Montreal, southern Ontario, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, Calgary and Kingston. During these events more than 400 people participated, more than 50 people took out a subscription to the paper, and we sold well over $2,500 worth of literature! There will also be an event in Edmonton in January.
On the evening of 26 November, over 100 people gathered at Cecil Community Centre in Toronto to discuss and listen to impassioned speeches. Many of the participants had never attended an in-person event before and had come out after seeing our posters and social media. Overall the mood was exciting and celebratory. More than a dozen participants took out a subscription to our paper and we sold over $1,000 worth of Marxist literature! These results are indicative of the general mood of enthusiasm in the room and the thirst for Marxist ideas.
The first speaker was Alex Grant. Alex is the founding editor of Fightback. Alex spoke about how our publication was founded over 20 years ago, emphasizing the role that the paper has played in getting us to where we are today. He explained that at the beginning, “we were just a bunch of crazy kids that wanted to overthrow capitalism.” But with the correct ideas combined with youthful audacity, revolutionary optimism and a newspaper to organize around, we have gotten to where we are today. We have gone from being the smallest organization on the Canadian left to the largest.
The next speaker was Joel Bergman from the Fightback editorial board. Joel spoke about how the revolutionary press has been used historically to build the forces of Marxism. Many on the left today argue that Marxists do not need a newspaper, and they criticize us for organizing our activities around the paper. Many of these people even call themselves Leninists. The fact is, using a paper to promote your ideas in the labour movement is as old as the labour movement itself, and no Marxist insisted more on the need to organize on the basis of a nation-wide Marxist newspaper than Vladimir Lenin.
Joel explained how Lenin and the Bolsheviks used their publications to organize the forces of Marxism in Russia, and what Lenin had to say about the role of the paper in his famous writings, Where To Begin? and What Is To Be Done?. Lenin explained that the revolutionary paper is the scaffold around which you build the Marxist party and Joel commented that with this advance we are putting flesh on the bones of our revolutionary organization.
Our final speaker was Marco La Grotta. Marco is an organizer with Fightback and a frequent contributor to the newspaper. Marco spoke about our recent achievements as an organization and the need to get organized today. He spoke about our comrades' role in the successful union drive at Ripley’s Aquarium. He spoke about the fact that in 2019, we organized a strike vote for a student strike at Ryerson University. This was the first student strike vote to happen in English Canada in more than 20 years! After the speeches we sang “The Internationale”, a socialist anthem that goes as far back as the First International of Marx and Engels. Everybody commented about how inspiring the event was with many deciding to join the struggle right there and then.
With more than 120 participants and a fantastic mood, the Montreal launch was a resounding success! People started pouring in even before the announced starting time, so much that we feared we would not have enough room for everyone.
The first speaker of the night was Fehr. He gave an overview of the history of La Riposte socialiste and Fightback in Montreal, how we went from not even a handful of people in the mid-2000s to being the largest Marxist group in the city. Fehr was followed by Benoit, an editor of our French-language paper La Riposte socialiste. Benoit spoke about the role of the workers' press historically in the Marxist movement. The final speaker was Julien, who is also an editor of La Riposte socialiste. Julien spoke about the early days of Fightback and tied it to the present fight for socialism.
We sold a dozen subscriptions to our publications, including our English-language paper Fightback and our French-language paper La Riposte socialiste. We also made more than $500 of literature sales and about $200 in donations at the door.
The speeches, size and organization certainly had quite the effect on all the participants, with people commenting that they were impressed and inspired, and a few asking how they could help. One participant sent us an email after the event saying they “came back with a revived sense of hope”.
At the end of the night, as is our tradition, comrades sang “The Internationale” in English and French.
60 people came out to our launch meeting in Waterloo. We had participants from Waterloo as well as Guelph, Hamilton and Windsor.
Speeches were delivered by Skye from our Guelph chapter, Bilal from Windsor and Hannah from our Waterloo chapter. The speeches were well received. Five participants took out a subscription and we sold over $550 worth of Marxist literature! The event was a fantastic opportunity to promote our paper and it also served to build connections between the regions that will be vital in future movements where they can lend each other support.
Thirty people came out to our launch meeting in Ottawa! Speeches were delivered by comrades Jordan, Christian and Leyla. The speeches were well received and four participants agreed to get involved in the organization. Comrades sold almost $100 of literature and an attendee took out a subscription to the paper.
Twenty attended our launch meeting in Victoria.
Comrades Adam, Tristan and Mackenzie gave speeches on the importance of the paper in building the revolutionary organization and winning over working people to Marxism.
After the speeches, attendees discussed a wide variety of important topics such as how to build a revolutionary organization, the disruptions and shortages in the economy, the nature of speculative assets and the basics of Marxist theory.
Many of the participants expressed enthusiasm about getting involved with the organization.
This enthusiasm is reflected best by the fact that 10 participants, or half those in attendance, took out a subscription to our paper!
Over 20 people attended the launch meeting in Vancouver! Comrade Beck gave a lively speech about the paper, then everyone mingled and had lively discussions about socialism. Subscriptions were sold, though many in attendance were already subscribed. Many of the participants decided to get more involved with the organization and the overall energy was exciting. One participant talked about how nice it was to have friendly and welcoming interactions out in the real world, far different from how conversations go with online leftists.
More than 20 people attended the launch meeting in Halifax. Four participants took out a subscription to our paper and we sold over 100 dollars of Marxist literature!
Over 20 people showed up for our launch meeting in Calgary! This is very impressive given that Calgary is a new area of work for us. Four participants took out a subscription to our paper and many more purchased our literature. Some of the participants also expressed that they’d like to get involved with our chapter in Calgary.
Despite being a very new area of work, our members in Kingston organized a launch meeting for the fortnightly paper. Four people came out and one participant took out a subscription to the paper.
Demand for revolutionary ideas
Capitalism is in crisis and there is a growing demand for revolutionary ideas. It is our job to provide the ideas that the movement needs in order to win. The enthusiasm of our launch meetings shows that we have the momentum necessary to achieve this goal.
With a fortnightly paper we can respond to the needs of the movement more quickly. But a fortnightly paper is not enough to revive the Canadian labour movement from the sorry state it is in today. Eventually we must convert Fightback into a weekly paper, before we get to being a daily publication that can go head to head with the capitalist press. To get there, we will need your help. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the paper at www.marxist.ca/subscribe. And if you are in Edmonton, make sure you attend our upcoming launch event. Contact us if you want to help out and join the fight against capitalism.