Socialist Action (Canada)

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Socialist Action
Federal Secretary Barry Weisleder
Founded 1994 (1994)
Youth wing Youth for Socialist Action
Political position Far-left
International affiliation Fourth International (unofficial)

Socialist Action/Ligue pour l'Action socialiste (SA/LAS) is a revolutionary socialist political organization in Canada. Its members write for and distribute the North American monthly newspaper, Socialist Action, published in San Francisco. It has a youth affiliate called Youth for Socialist Action (YSA),[1] and is in political solidarity with the Trotskyist Fourth International (FI) but is not recognized by the FI as either an official or sympathizing section.[2]

Origins and international solidarity[edit]

SA/LAS was formed in 1994 by a group of socialists expelled from, or who quit Socialist Challenge/Gauche Socialiste when the latter renounced the Leninist strategy of revolutionary party building. In June 1995, SA/LAS was recognized by the Fourth International at its Fourteenth World Congress, as an “organization of partisans of the FI in the Canadian state”. The Quebec-based Gauche Socialiste is the official FI section in Quebec. Socialist Challenge, its former component in English Canada, dissolved in 1995 into the New Socialist Group where it forms the Fourth International Caucus which is recognized as the FI's official section in English Canada.

Work in the New Democratic Party[edit]

SA/LAS members and supporters play a leading role in the New Democratic Party Socialist Caucus (SC). Socialist Action federal secretary Barry Weisleder has served as chairperson of the Socialist Caucus since its inception. The Socialist Caucus seeks to turn the labour-based party sharply to the left.[3] SA/LAS and the SC played a significant role in stopping removal of the term “socialist” from the NDP constitution at its federal convention in Vancouver, B.C. in June 2011.[4][5] In September 2011, Socialist Action federal secretary Barry Weisleder won the nomination to be the Ontario NDP's candidate in Thornhill in the 2011 provincial election. Within 48 hours, the party's provincial secretary rescinded the nomination without explanation.[6][7]

Political programme[edit]

SA/LAS is active in the labour, anti-war, feminist, queer liberation, environmental protection, anti-poverty and international solidarity movements.[8] Major examples of its internationalist work include solidarity with revolutionary Cuba, with Venezuela and other Latin American countries seeking social justice and independence from foreign domination, and with the Palestinian people striving for a unified, democratic-secular homeland.[9][10] SA/LAS demands an end to the wars of occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya, restoration of diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran, and that Canada leave NATO.[11]

The Quebec question[edit]

SA/LAS defends Quebec's right to national self-determination, and upholds the right to self-government of aboriginal peoples.[12] In Quebec, LAS members participate in the mass leftist party Quebec Solidaire, which stands for Quebec independence and opposes the neo-liberal business agenda.[13]

The labour movement[edit]

SA/LAS strives for transformation of today's unions into militant, democratic labour organizations capable of resisting and reversing the employers' programme for labour concessions and government austerity policies operating chiefly to the detriment of workers, minorities, women, youths and the poor.[14] The organization stands for public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under workers' and community democratic control.[15]


External links[edit]