Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2021-01-05

"Audacity, audacity, still more audacity": Tim Buck, the Party, and the People, 1932-1939

Document type Article
Author Manley, John
Journal Labour / Le Travail
Volume 49
Date 2002 Spring
ISSN 0700-3862
Pages 9-41


In 1932, when Communist Party of Canada (CPC) general secretary Tim Buck, six other CPC leaders, and one unfortunate rank-and-file member began lengthy sentences in the Kingston, Ontario, penitentiary, the party seemed to have reached its nadir. In fact, martyrdom proved to be a springboard for sustained political revival and was a particular boon to Buck. Until then, he had been considered a mediocrity, his status dependent almost entirely on Moscow's grace and favor. During his three years in prison, the underground party successfully reinvented Buck as the "dauntless leader of the Canadian working class"; shortly after his release in November 1934, his five-month-long coast-to-coast tour attracted a total audience of over 100,000. Buck proceeded to dominate the party for the remainder of the decade - the Popular Front years.