The “Fifth Column” Agitation of the Warmongers

What is behind the far-flung drive against the so-called “Fifth Column”? Baldly stated, under the guise of defending Canada from an invasion, the King government is introducing the full measures of fascist terror, oppression and exploitation.

Fascism means super-profits for the millionaires and starvation for the people. Fascism is the open dictatorship of the capitalist class, of Big Business over the people. Fascism is coming to Canada, as it came to the oppressed people of Germany and Italy, not from without, but from the only enemies of the people, from within — through the schemes of the capitalists and their government. Already the following steps have been taken toward establishing fascism in Canada:

Military Conscription -- introduced despite Liberal, Tory and CCF election promises.

National Registration -- first step towards regimentation of every man, woman and child.

Gestapo Terror -- the Communist Party and the score of labor and cultural organizations outlawed. All civil liberties dictatorialy [sic] abolished under the War Measures Act. Hundreds of Canadians taken from their homes and jailed by the police without trials, their only crime being loyalty, defense and utmost devotion to the interests of the people, and because they oppose this predatory war.

Strikes Outlawed -- and trade union leaders arrested for daring to protect workers and to ask for higher wages to meet higher living costs.

The Ralston Budget -- designed to make the workers, farmers and middle class pay the full cost of the war, while the capitalists reap tremendous war profits.

Under the slogan of “destroy the Fifth Column” the Canadian bourgeoisie hope to destroy the labor movement and all opposition to the war, and establish their “own brand” of fascism at home.


The basic reason why the full fury of their attack is directed against the Communists is that the Communist Party, first of all the labor organizations, stands opposed to the war, and is organizing and agitating among the masses to fight back against the war and its horrible results for the working people. The bourgeoisie are afraid of this vital, unconquerable force; they are afraid of the vengeance of the workers and farmers, whom they have twice plunged into imperialist war within a single generation. They are panicky at the thought that again, as in the last war, revolutionary movements will inevitably arise to sweep away the imperialist war-makers and establish the rule of the working class in the socialist state. […]

The Communist Party has been declared illegal. Other organizations, including thousands of progressive workers who are not Communists, have been banned. The last remaining free newspapers, like the People’s Advocate of Vancouver and the Mid-West Clarion of Winnipeg, are suppressed. Leading Communists in every province are hunted and tracked down by the sleuths of the RCMP. Every effort is being made to identify the Communists with the miserable fascists who are also rounded up. But all these efforts will prove unavailing. […]

Source: Unknown, "The "Fifth Column" Agitation of the Warmongers," The Clarion: Organ of the Ottawa District of the Communist Party of Canada, September 15, 1940. Notes: Vol.1, No.5

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