PWM was led by Jack Scott, a CP member since the 1930s and a BC/NWT labour organizer. Scott and other PWM members created the Canada-China Friendship Association–the first China friendship society in North America or Europe. Scott is the only Canadian anti-revisionist to have met Chairman Mao zedong.
Although, PWM had a few members in Toronto, the bulk of its membership was in Vancouver where it carried out most of its activities and published its monthly magazine Progressive Worker. In the 1965 federal election, the PWM ran a candidate in the Vancouver East riding and got 275 votes. Other PWM members were active in the Vancouver District Labour Council.
The PWM held that the Canadian economy was dominated by U.S. imperialism and that the struggle of the working class should be directed at breaking the domination of the United States over the Canadian economy. In keeping with this position, a key PWM activity was promoting independent Canadian unions against the international unions in the Canadian Labour Congress. The PWM also held the position that Quebec, being a separate nation, would develop its own struggle for socialism and took a “hands-off” attitude towards recruiting members in Quebec.
The PWM dissolved in 1970. Some members went on to form a short-lived, progressive community newspaper named New Leaf. Scott and other members went on to form the Vancouver Study Group which later became the Red Star Collective (RSC). The RSC was active the Vancouver area during the 1970s and continued to hold the position that Canada was a neo-colony of the U.S. This brought it into conflict with the newer Marxist-Leninist groups which held that Canada was fully developed capitalist economy that had reached the stage of imperialism.
Initially RSC willingly debated with these groups and participated in three National Conferences of Marxist-Leninists organized by In Struggle!. However, relations became strained as polemics became more intense and in 1978, the RSC announced that it was boycotting the fourth National Conference of Marxist-Leninists. The RSC also supported the “Theory of Three Worlds” and the new Chinese leadership that took control after Mao’s death. Scott, however, denounced the Chinese Communist Party during the 1980s as it became more reactionary.
Jack Scott: A Revolutionary Life by Bryan Palmer ((with notes from Al Birnie and Ralph Stanton)
Jack Scott Memorial (a video in two parts first broadcast on January 19, 2001)