Friday, January 7, 2011

How the 'Reds' Got Their Man: The Communist Party Unmasks an RCMP Spy

By Andrew Parnaby and Gregory S. Kealey
Labour/Le Travail
Volume 40 (Fall/Automne 1997)

Mass Rally at Maple Leaf Gardens
celebrating release of Tim Buck, 1934
ON 11 AUGUST 1931, a special force of police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Toronto Police raided the offices of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) and the homes of its leaders. The officers seized party documents, correspondence, and publications, and later arrested party leaders Tim Buck, Malcolm Bruce, Tom McEwen, and six others under Section 98 of the Criminal Code for being members of an "illegal" organization.

Two months later in Toronto, they were put on trial. While the Crown's case included the mounds of material gathered by the authorities during their summer raids, its ace in the hole was the testimony of Sergeant John Leopold of the RCMP, aka Jack Esselwein, erstwhile member of the CPC and professional labour spy.

For the nine accused, the appearance of Esselwein as Leopold was perhaps not a complete surprise; it was only three years before that his picture appeared i n The Worker under ihe caption "Stool Exposed !" shortly after then Party Secretary "Moscow" Jack MacDonald had blown his cover. But it was the first time that any of them had seen their former comrade in full RCMP regalia.

Read more HERE (pdf).

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