Our Founder, Our Leader
Hardial Bains’ long history
of political activism as a communist began early when he was still in India.
He recalls the first time he began participating in communist affairs at
the age of nine or so:
“I remember the
day I first picked up the red flag. I was a child then, barely conscious
of the world around me. Today, an experienced person, I know that the red
flag which I hoisted for the first time so many years ago is still the
hope of humanity. This red flag must not be set aside. We must continue
to build the communist party around the strategic aim of ending all exploitation
of persons by persons through the revolutionary transformation of the society
from capitalism to socialism to communism.
After moving to Canada in 1959
as a young man, Hardial Bains pursued his post-graduate studies at the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver from 1960 to 1965. He got involved
in the youth and student movement which had risen up against the U.S. domination
of Canada, against imperialist aggression, and against the decadent education
system. Hardial Bains established the Internationalists in 1963 and was
elected president of the B.C. Student Federation in 1964.
“Forty-three years, to
be precise, have passed since the time I first picked up that red flag.
I remember well the pride I felt as I made that flag from some cloth which
had been dyed red and a bamboo stick. I remember marching out of my house,
shy but determined to catch up with the others in their demonstration.
Since that time, not a few have defiled the red flag, the sacred banner
of the struggle of the people for their national and social emancipation,
the flag of socialism, communism and revolution. As I look back and bring
my memories to the fore with the benefit of hindsight and investigation,
I have come to the conclusion that the problems the world is facing today,
and which it has faced during the past more than four decades, are the
result of the betrayal of this red flag by phony socialists and phony communists.”
Hardial Bains obtained an
M.Sc. degree in microbiology and took up a lectureship at Trinity College,
Dublin for two years (1965-67). He was known for his excellence in teaching
and his concern for his students. There he founded the Irish Internationalists.
In February and March of
1967, under the auspices of the Necessity for Change Study Programme, Hardial
Bains delivered a series of lectures which contained some of his main ideas
on change and progress; he developed these ideas further from that
time. His first celebrated pamphlet was entitled Necessity for Change.
He founded the Necessity for Change Institute of Ideological Studies in
1967; it was later registered as the Ideological Studies Centre, and he
directed its research projects for many years.
Upon his return to Canada
in May 1968, there was never any question whether or not Hardial Bains
would become a political activist in Canada. His deep commitment to the
international working class ensured that he would engage in the struggles
of the working class wherever he was. He felt that while India had made
him a communist, it was the Canadian working class that matured him and
turned him into the sincere and forthright figure that he was.
Hardial Bains spearheaded
the ideological struggle against the revision or dogmatic rendering of
communist ideas. In his collection of essays, Communism 1989–1991, he argues
that the abandonment of progressive ideals and socialism was at the heart
of the conflict in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He himself
had fought against this abandonment since the 1960s. It was this ideal
which led him to campaign for the creation of a new communist party. His
most recent book is Modern Communism: The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
When anyone asks what most
distinguished Hardial Bains, it was his dedication to solving the significant
problems facing society and working on the basis of maximum political mobilization.
He consistently spoke against an empirical and opportunistic analysis of
a situation and urged everyone to seek the truth through analysis of facts
and not to express opinions about any theory or historical development
without investigating. No action could be taken randomly.
For him, there was a living,
dialectical link between sovereignty and the people exercising control
over their lives. He stressed that people cannot affirm their sovereignty
without a modern constitution and a political mechanism which places the
electorate above their representatives. In September 1990, Hardial Bains
submitted, on behalf of CPC (M-L), a brief to the Royal Commission on Electoral
Reform and Party Financing (known as the Lortie Commission). He published
two books dealing in depth with the constitutional problem of Canada, The
Essence of the Consensus Report on the Constitution and A Future to Face.
Another book, A Power to Share (1993), focuses on the renewal of the political
process. Following the October Referendum on the Charlottetown Accord in
1992, he initiated the organization of the National Council for Renewal,
and subsequently the Canadian Renewal Party, as a non-partisan political
association pursuing the policy of empowering Canadians. His death came
at a point when he was still concentrating on this key issue based on his
belief that unless this political question is resolved nothing else will
Hardial Bains’ most treasured
legacy to the Canadian working class and people is the programme which
has made the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) the standard-bearer
of the working class. He presented this economic and political program,
Paying the Rich — Increase Funding For Social Programs!, to the Canadian
electorate in the June 1997 Federal Election.
In order to circulate the
political and economic agenda of CPC (M-L) widely among Canadians and to
contribute to the development of enlightened public opinion, Hardial Bains
refined the theory and practice of new journalism, both Party and non-Party.
He challenged in practice the control of the media by the monopolies and
included a large number of people in this project. He linked journalism
in an inseparable manner with the concerns of the people, on one hand,
and the achievements of social and physical sciences on the other. In doing
so, he emphasized that journalism must help readers grasp the concrete
events at any time.
One of the practical steps
Hardial Bains took was to develop the editorial policy for a new publication
named All-Parties Political Forum. With the political inventiveness with
which he discovered what was needed, he set for this publication the objective
of raising the level of discussion in the polity. His hopes for the All-Parties
Political Forum reflected one of his most cherished principles, that the
people should unite politically regardless of their ideological orientation.
He believed that all political parties, activists and other concerned people
should cooperate and exchange opinions on vital problems facing society
and occupy the centre-stage.
While dealing with the questions
of sovereignty and renewal, Hardial Bains defended democratic and minority
rights. To achieve these goals he organized the Committee to Defend People’s
Democratic Rights in Montreal in 1969. Later on he built similar organizations
across the country, including the East Indian Defence Committee (EIDC)
in 1973, and the People’s Front against Racist and Fascist Violence in
Over the last thirty-five
years of his political life, Hardial Bains’ work has been characterized
by its broad appeal. While paying close attention to the task of mobilizing
the working class, he persisted in analyzing the difficulties of the Canadian
working class, women, youth and students, and the Canadian polity as a
whole. Never underestimating the role of the individual, he firmly advocated
the concept that change could come only through the collectivity of the
working class and people.
In 1989, Hardial Bains’ fiftieth
birthday was celebrated at a Party function for the first and only time,
because it came in the course of a week-long social and political gathering
of Canadian communists and their families and friends. In a speech he delivered
on August 19, 1989, he said:
“... there has
been a suggestion that this is a celebration of one man’s birthday. This
is not the case. This is a celebration of the birth of a movement which
the Canadian working class and people gave rise to, and that movement is
more than a quarter of a century old. I personally as an individual do
not matter because individuals do not set the course of things. It is the
social force.... This is not the era of knights and individual heroes.
It is an era of the collective work of the working class and its allies.
It is the era of the Party, the era of imperialism and the social revolution
of the proletariat, as Comrade Lenin said. So in this meeting, we celebrate
the developments, the progressive movement, the strengthening, stabilization
and consolidation of a political movement. And we have that political movement
here, our Party, its allies, its mass organizations, especially the Mass
Party Press of which we are very proud.”
Hardial Bains repeatedly explained
that self-centred and self-ingratiating personalities could thrive only
in conditions where the present state of human society is put forward as
the last stage in its development.
Because of his communist
ideals and enlightened outlook, Hardial Bains was much admired by his colleagues
and by those he befriended in the course of his political engagements.
At the same time, he continued to be slandered, reviled and persecuted
by the Canadian state and establishment and was denied citizenship until
1988. He was refused entry into the U.S. on the basis of fabricated evidence.
As National Leader of the
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), Hardial Bains stood at the
forefront of the struggle for sovereignty. He stood against the anti-social
offensive and spearheaded the development of a pro-social programme for
the working class. In spite of all the analysts who claimed that it was
socialism which failed when the former Soviet Union collapsed, Hardial
Bains continued to expound what socialism really is, and how it constitutes
the present and future of human kind. He passed away with the strongest
conviction that socialism will triumph in Canada and elsewhere and that
capitalism will certainly be overthrown.
Hardial Bains turned fifty-eight
on August 15, 1997. He has six children and lived in the National Capital
Region. His wife, Sandra, is a political personality in her own right.
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