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Part One - Sylvia Bradley-Currie’s Political Standpoint

Sylvia Bradley-Currie was a worker-intellectual, a revolutionary thinker and activist. Her philosophical world view was dialectical and historical materialism, Marxism-Leninism. She was a member of the Labour Progressive Party (later the Communist Party of Canada) from 1952 to 1978, a member of the Committee of Canadian Communists from 1978 to 1994 and a member of Canadians for Peace and Socialism from 1994 to her death April 6th 2009. In her youth she was an activist builder of the National Federation of Labour Youth (NFLY) and later in her life of the Canadian Peace Congress. (CPCon)


Sylvia was always contemporary, fully aware of the modern human condition and concerned about its future. She opposed Canadian participation in imperialist wars and actively campaigned for the withdrawal of US-NATO forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. She condemned the current world wide economic crisis as a classic case of recurring capitalist boom and bust and supported the struggles of the labour movement against its ruinous affects on wage earners. She believed the environmental crisis was resolvable and not the end of the world. She considered nuclear war as the greatest threat to human life and fought for the complete abolition of all nuclear weapons and systems of delivery.


She considered the rise of China as essentially progressive. She deplored the overthrow of socialism in Europe and studied closely post- Soviet Europe and the slow resurgence of the left. She defended socialist Cuba and condemned US meddling in the affairs of South America. She critically evaluated the Obama phenomena hopefully but without any illusions and believed that US imperialism was a system incapable of reform that must be replaced if there was to be peace in the world. She condemned Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and defended the right of all of the oppressed to fight for their freedom and independence. She loved Canada and had confidence in its people to uphold its independence and sovereignty. She openly opposed the rise of right wing reaction in Canada considering the Harper Conservatives to be a sinister movement representing a separate interest of wealth and privilege, of sell out and war, inimical to the needs and interests of the Canadian people.  


Sylvia never concealed her ideas. She fought for them. 

Sylvia from her youth to old age had a firm and unwavering political standpoint. Her basic political views took shape in the aftermath of WW2. The defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union and the allied forces ushered in a period of hope for world peace as embodied in the UN Charter. Instead of peace, US imperialism using its superiority in nuclear weapons embarked on a quest for world domination.    


The former colonial countries were winning their independence. The socialist states of Eastern Europe were beginning to build new non-capitalist economies. The Soviet Union was beginning to rebuild after the devastation of Nazi invasion.


The ruling circles in Canada instead of opting for a policy of a world of peace and international cooperation supported the aims of US imperialism for global supremacy in the role of junior partner, and that policy has not changed to this day.


The world was polarized. On the one hand there arose mass movements for socialism, national liberation and peace and on the other hand powerful finance capitalist interests that promoted militarism, a nuclear arms race and world supremacy.


The psychological terror of anti-communism and the cold war was launched by the extreme right in all capitalist countries in March 5th 1946 following the Fulton Missouri Iron Curtain speech of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The aim was to paralyze and defeat the ideas of the progressive forces calling for nuclear disarmament and peace and socialism.


The result was an entire era of intense cold war ideological, political and economic conflict that dominated international and Canadian politics. Sylvia Bradley-Currie grew up and lived through that era.


Sylvia Bradley’s immediate family, her Mother and several of her Mother’s sisters and their father, Sylvia’s maternal grandfather Mathuis Gehl were all socialists. This led Elsa Gehl, Sylvia’s mother and Josephine, Hilda and Ella Gehl, Sylvia’s aunts into the ranks of the Communist Party. Sylvia’s earliest recollections of politics were gained from people who were in the labour and farm struggles in the Dirty Thirties, in movements of solidarity with the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War and the Soviet Union. The entire family was pro-Soviet and militantly anti-fascist.


Sylvia Bradley was one among a large group of adolescents and youth who were predisposed from childhood to a partisan viewpoint on the side of the working class and revolutionary struggles. It was but a step when it came to making a commitment to join the LPP/Communist Party as the only party that had a clear program for peace and socialism in Canada.


Sylvia’s attitude to the Canadian capitalist state, capitalist parties (Liberal and Conservative) and social reformism (CCF-NDP), her support for organized labour and farmers struggles, her stance on nationalism, patriotism and racism, her ideas about full equality of rights for women, about love, family, children, ethics, morals, religion and art were determined by her exposure to and study of the dialectical historical materialist view of history and development. Her world view was her own confirmed by life experience and her independent character and spirit, firmly established in Marxist-Leninist fundamentals.


Sylvia had many opportunities to abandon her ideas and follow a different less onerous path in life. She confronted choices and at each critical turning point in her life she opted to continue to participate in the struggle for peace and socialism.


Like many others who took a similar path it was not easy and she paid a price in abandoned hopes and dreams for upholding her beliefs which she never regretted.