Hardial Bains
- Party Founder and Leader -

Hardial Bains (August 15, 1939 - August 24, 1997) was the founder of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and its leader until his untimely death in August 1997.

The most important feature of Hardial Bains as a political personality was his dedication to the solution of the most important problems facing the society at any time. By sticking to the present, he worked to tackle the most critical problem on the basis of maximum ideological mobilization and maximum political mobilization. That problem today is the vesting of sovereignty in the people so that they can exercise control over their lives. Hardial Bains believed that unless this problem is sorted out, nothing else can be sorted out. In this way, his vision, writings, leadership and methods of work remain the spiritual weapons and guides to action for the work of the Party today.

Hardial Bains dedicated the last more than seven years of his life to working out how to vest sovereignty in the people. From September 1990 when he submitted his brief on electoral reform to the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing (known as the Lortie Commission) to 1997 when he gave the call Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Funding for Social Programs!, he worked out theoretical positions and found practical ways to provide this problem with a solution. During the Referendum on the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, he led the Committee to Vote No on October 26, at which time he published two books dealing with the constitutional problem in Canada, The Essence of the Consensus Report on the Constitution and A Future to Face. Another book published in 1993, A Power to Share focuses on the renewal of the political process and is a further contribution to this work. Following the Referendum on the Charlottetown Accord, he spearheaded the founding of the National Council for Renewal which then founded the Canadian Renewal Party as a non-partisan political association to continue the work of empowering Canadians.

For Hardial Bains there was a living link, a dialectical one, between sovereignty and people exercising control over their lives. He established that this sovereignty for which people must fight points to the immediate necessity of a modern constitution and a political mechanism which places the electorate above their representatives. Such a modern constitution and the political mechanism can only be the work of the people themselves.

Hardial Bains always took up practical tasks towards the solution of this problem so as to raise the level of discussion in the polity. All political parties, political activists and other concerned people should cooperate, exchange opinions on vital problems facing society and occupy the centre-stage, he said. This will go a long way to counter the monopoly media which disorients the polity so much and disrupts it, causing serious damage to the interests of the people, Hardial pointed out.

Hardial Bains took up the task to empower the people after he had worked extremely hard to develop the movement for enlightenment from 1984-85 onwards. It can be said that this work was a prelude to the work of the present to empower the people. Besides other things, he worked out in theory and practice new journalism, both Party and non-Party. He linked this journalism in an inseparable manner with the concerns of the people, on one hand, and the achievements of social science, on the other. By doing so, he affirmed that journalism must serve the solution of the problem facing society.

Hardial Bains had a long history of political activism in Canada as a communist which began early on. After migrating to Canada from India as a young man in 1959, he did his post-graduate studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from 1960-65, where he got involved in the political movement of the time. He established The Internationalists in 1963 and was elected President of the B.C. Students' Federation in 1964.

Hardial Bains taught for a period in the sixties and in February and March of 1967, under the auspices of the Necessity for Change Study Programme, he delivered a series of important lectures which contained the main ideas on change and progress which he was to develop and fight for over the decades that followed.

His most celebrated pamphlet at that time was entitled Necessity for Change. He established the Necessity for Change Institute of Ideological Studies in 1967 which was later to be registered as the Ideological Studies Centre (ISC) for which he worked professionally for the rest of his life.

Some of his other main activities include founding the Committee to Defend Democratic Rights in Montreal in 1969, following which 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 1980. He also always worked very closely with the women and youth, engaging them in broad ideological and political work involving both Party and non-party activities.

Going through his political life from the time he founded The Internationalists in 1963 in Vancouver to the time of his death, it is not difficult to see the milestones in his work. From the Necessity for Change analysis in 1967 to the founding of CPC(M-L) in 1970, Hardial Bains steadfastly dealt with the problems of the political movement and society. He never worked for laurels, for power for himself. On the contrary, he subordinated his own interests to those of the collective and society and harmonized them.

As National Leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (the name under which the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is registered for electoral purposes) Hardial Bains was one of the few political personalities in Canada who devoted so much of his energies, for close to four decades, to opening the door to the progress of society. To really appreciate his work from his post-graduate days at UBC in the early sixties to a brief period as a teacher and a whole life of organizing, it is crucial to look at him as a person whose only aim in life was the solution of the problems facing society at any given time. He repeatedly explained that self-centred and self-ingratiating personalities can thrive only in conditions where the present is turned into the last stage in the development of human society. This, however, is not the case. Human society has yet to develop to the higher stage of socialism and communism. As was the case in the past, so today the life of a people is the life of creating the higher stage of human society.

During the last thirty-five years of his political life in Canada, Hardial Bains made other definite contributions besides those mentioned above.

As National Leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), not only was he at the forefront of the struggle to empower Canadians to take control of their lives, he led the struggle against the anti-social offensive, for a pro-social program and for socialism. In spite of all the claims made in the 1989-91 period that it was socialism which failed when the former Soviet Union collapsed, Hardial Bains brought forth what socialism really is and how it is the present and future of humankind. He was convinced that it is only socialism which will triumph and that capitalism will certainly be overthrown.

Most importantly, he spearheaded the ideological struggle against the revision or dogmatic rendering of communist ideas. His book, Communism 1989-1991, a collection of essays, shows how the abandonment of progressive ideals and socialism was at the heart of the conflict in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Hardial himself fought against this abandonment since the 1960s.

Because of his activities, Hardial Bains is much admired by his colleagues and those he met in the course of his political activities. At the same time, he was slandered, reviled and persecuted by the Canadian state and establishment forces and denied citizenship until 1988. To the day he died he was denied entry to the U.S. on the basis of fabricated evidence.

Reading and Discussing the Works of Hardial Bains

On March 30, 1997, the Central Consultative Forum of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) adopted a resolution that the entire CPC(M-L) must study the writings of Hardial Bains as a contribution to the development of a new coherence, both ideological and theoretical as well as organisational and practical. The writings of Hardial Bains in the form of essays, speeches, resolutions, reports submitted to the plenums of the Central Committee and to National Congresses, plus all the authoritative writings of CPC(M-L), make up a great treasury, a wealth of material from which the new coherence can be crystallised at the present time.

The resolution acknowledges that since 1967 the writings and contributions of Hardial Bains have guided and led CPC(M-L), the vanguard party of the Canadian working class, in carrying out its plan to prepare the subjective conditions for socialist revolution in Canada and open a path for society. CPC(M-L), always a party of revolutionary action, has for nearly four decades met and overcome the obstacles and attacks organised by the bourgeoisie and its state. It has persisted in providing leadership to the working class and democratic movements and the movement for enlightenment. The guidance to and summation of the struggles over these years are expressed in the writings of Hardial Bains. His writings express the thinking required to overcome the hurdles in building the Party in the course of waging class struggle for the emancipation of the working class and the workers and oppressed peoples of all over the world. Hardial Bains' writings contribute to the general body of working class experience, especially as concerns building a united Marxist-Leninist party in the concrete conditions faced by the Canadian working class in the period of the bi-polar division of the world and after. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the concrete conditions of the present period of retreat of revolution, Hardial Bains' writings on the current Canadian and international situation are an important contribution to the development of contemporary Marxist-Leninist thought.

Selected Works by Hardial Bains

• Modern Communism, Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)

Modern Communism, Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) by Hardial Bains reflects the outlook, general line and the framework of the work of CPC(M-L) during this period of historic shift, this defining moment for the world.

Hardial Bains explains, "With this book, CPC(M-L) is presenting itself to the workers, women, youth and students, Aboriginal peoples and national minorities, calling upon them to come to know what CPC(M-L) is and what it stands for, without any preconceived notions. They must look into the conditions of life in order to establish the truth of what CPC(M-L) stands for and draw the warranted conclusions on that basis. This can be accomplished primarily through class struggle, not through bookish learning. Far from adhering to the dogmatic rendering of communism, to the spectre which imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie conjure up at all costs, they must make their decisions about Modern Communism and CPC(M-L) by themselves, rejecting the phantasm which all the Powers of Old Europe and North America have conjured up in a desperate bid to mislead the people and save their crumbling empires. In order to achieve victory, they must participate in the work of CPC(M-L). This is the crucial ingredient so as to bring about the changes which are the order of the day.

"The work is at the takeoff point for the greatest revolutionary developments that humankind has ever witnessed. CPC(M-L) is the most decisive conscious force or this revolutionary transformation in Canada, a detachment of the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement, contributing towards the same internationally. Let all workers, women, youth and students, and all the enlightened forces join CPC(M-L). The act of joining CPC(M-L) will itself be a great leap forward for the creation of a new and affirmed humanity, in which every act of human beings becomes another act for that affirmation, the measure of what is truly human.

"Let no one hesitate, as the period for the victory of the New over the Old is here. Let everyone engage in the creation of the conditions for the best expression of their own humanity, so that they can realize their aspirations to scale the heights which humanity has never reached before in order to affirm itself. Let the dawn of human progress break! Let the sum of all humanized humanity rise! Let it shine for all!"

• Necessity for Change!

The Necessity for Change! pamphlet by Hardial Bains begins with a determined and thoroughgoing offensive against ideological subversion and blocks to development through social forms. It does so by giving the most revolutionary call, “understanding requires an act of conscious participation of the individual, an act of finding out,” placing action in the first place and understanding in its service.

The Internationalists first published the Necessity for Change analysis as a pamphlet in 1967. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) reprinted it in 1998 with a Preface written by the author in May 1997 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its original publication.

The Necessity for Change! pamphlet is based on a speech given by Hardial Bains during the Necessity for Change Study Programme organised by The Internationalists in February-March 1967. The Central Committee of CPC(M-L) explains in the Foreword to the 1998 edition that "This small pamphlet, with its fighting call that Understanding Requires the Conscious Participation of the Individual, An Act of Finding Out, opened the eyes of the participants in the Necessity for Change Study Programme to the broad reality from which they must derive their theoretical and ideological nourishment. It struck a mortal blow at the prevailing dogmatism and scholasticism which holds opinions divorced from this broad reality. The demand that the entire thinking must begin with this-sidedness of life, this broad reality, was the sound beginning of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement that was directed against revisionism and opportunism of all hues. 

"It is very exciting and necessary to establish what happened to this idea adopted thirty years ago. How has it evolved? How does it appear at this time? What relation does it have with the demand that basic organisations must be organs of class struggle at their level and constitute the mainstay of CPC(M-L)? What relation does it have with the demand of our times that all work must be based on the collectives of the people and on the modern definition of rights, which recognizes that all humans are born to society and that society is duty-bound to recognize their claims upon it?"

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