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Distributing the Partisan

This post is mainly an info-blurb.  Recently, because of some of the questions and comments I have received from friends and comrades about why I sympathize with the PCR-RCP more than other Canadian groups, I have started to write a semi-biographical and meandering discussion of how and why I became interested in this organization.  (Oddly enough, if I was just to continue participating in the loose-knit "movementist" community, in my union local's working groups, or in any other acceptable Toronto leftist organization, I doubt I would ever be asked this question: what is part of normative activity, even within the critical left, is always reified.)  As I had explained my "philosophical" biography in the previous entry, I supposed it would be appropriate to follow with another "political" biographical entry.  Since that entry's draft still requires organization and focus––and now will most probably be two entries––I have decided, in the meantime and since it has been days since I last posted, to write a small blurb on something that was tangental to the post-in-progress.

Due to my involvement with the Toronto Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee (PRAC-Toronto), I have been helping distribute the Partisan, a free and non-sectarian revolutionary newspaper that is produced in collaboration with the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (PCR-RCP, and as many of you who read this blog already know, not to be confused with the problematic RCP-USA south of the border).  One of the reasons for the free distribution of this paper––which is now being handed out in numerous Canadian cities––is to disseminate communist ideology, and an anti-capitalist analysis of  current events, as a counter to all the free pro-capitalist propaganda people can pick up at street and subway news stands.  Since the articles printed in the Partisan, despite coming from a Maoist position, generally represent positions that most anti-capitalists should be able to support, the idea is that even people who might not entirely sympathize with the PCR-RCP would be willing to participate in its dissemination.

Another reason that I have found distributing this paper important is that it actually provides an opportunity to talk with people who are otherwise ignored by left-activist cliquedom––people who did not necessarily have the privilege to go to the same universities, or get accepted into affinity groups and popular left organizations––but who might, because of their everyday experience, be interested in the possibility of anti-capitalist revolution.  The point is to not disseminate the Partisan within already left-wing contexts (i.e. demonstrations, protests, marches, fundraising events), paper-pushing to the converted with a paper that is basically a revolutionary news alternative rather than some sectarian party organ.  Rather, just as the Metro distributes its culture industry anti-worker rag at subway stations every day, we think it's actually important, as people who claim they are communist, to spread a revolutionary paper just as the bourgeoisie spreads its paper.

When I have participated in the distribution of this paper (as I mentioned in my anti-Canada Day post), despite the odd encounter where some bourgie asshole tells me "fuck off," I've often been surprised at the willingness demonstrated by some to not only take a paper that I'm proclaiming is revolutionary and communist, but to sometimes stop and engage in a discussion.  Being able to actually talk about communism in the street––not at demos or universities––and to do so in a way that is not a dogmatic pitch (we're just doing the same as the Metro distributers are doing, only when some people take our paper they want to talk about the content) is important.  Those of us who still believe that communism is a vital alternative for the long nightmare of capitalism need to make communism part of everyday discourse as best as we can.  In other countries this is understood as important; we need to do the same here, but in a way that is not offensively antiquated and cultish––as the newspapers pushed by certain sectarian groups and cabals, usually only at leftist gatherings, sometimes make us seem.

So if anyone is interested in distributing the Partisan––anyone in any communist or anti-capitalist group that can sympathize with the need for a revolutionary newspaper––feel free to check out the link on the PRAC-Toronto website to find out how you can participate.  You can even download a pdf copy of the most recent issue there to see if it's something you want to distribute.


  1. Another comrade is always sure to get me a copy of The Partisan. I think it's a great read. I haven't had the last few issues, so I'll have to go find it! (I'm sure that won't be too hard).

    I actually hate Metro - I only pick it up for the Sudoku and crossword puzzles. (maybe those would increase the Partisan's readership?)

  2. Ha! Revolutionary crosswords and Sudoku... the possibilities are endless... Sometimes we do have funny cartoons (or rather one cartoon)!

  3. "The point is to not disseminate the Partisan within already left-wing contexts (i.e. demonstrations, protests, marches, fundraising events), paper-pushing to the converted..." I think this point is never stressed enough. All groups are guilty of this in the US and Ive written multiple blogs ragging on groups for pushing their papers on the liberal protesting events then getting excited that they are selling papers which must mean that their party is growing. Not to mention that when you force your members to sell papers you are teaching them to be good capitalist. All revolutionary papers should be free!

  4. Actually, I think your post on this was at the back of my mind when I wrote this since I read it a while back; I was probably unintentionally and unconsciously channelling it... Yeah, it took me a while to even want to hand out this specific paper, despite its differences with the other and very expressly sectarian and opaque papers that are pushed at rallies. Handing them out outside of that context, though, feels very different and not dogmatic - especially since it's not being sold.

  5. I hate paper pushing to the converted. We in the Uhuru Movement make and sell the Burning Spear and our goal is to sell to the masses to bring them some revolutionary news and views.

    I don't know if they should all be free though. I think the cost of production should be taken into consideration.

    We sell our papers for 1$ each, and subscriptions are 10$ for 2 years, and while we only publish quarterly, our costs are barely enough to cover production of the paper itself, because of course we ain't out to make serious money off of it.

    Other groups, like the tankies in the PSL and WWP have subscriptions that are way more expensive than ours - 25$ for 1 year - but they publish way more frequently (Workers World I am pretty sure is published 51 out of 52 weeks of the year).

    Most revolutionary groups work on a pretty shoe string type budget anyway, so I think it's not realistic to always give materials away for free, or at least not all of the time.

  6. Yeah, production costs are always an issue... But traditionally there have been ways around these things: if the paper gets popular than those who agree in the message can choose to "buy subscriptions" as political supporters; those handing out the paper can have fundraisers; and I know from other past initiatives in other groups that there have been ways to make information accessible in this manner. Basics News, for example, which is another excellent counter-bourgeois news source––but one that does not explicitly label itself as communist, though it definitely has communist sympathies--is a free community newspaper that functions according to these alternate methods of funding.

    At the same time, as members of the PCR-RCP have pointed out when it comes to their party newspaper, *Le Drapeau Rouge*, sometimes if you sell the paper (but again, never pushing it at the converted), then you know that people are actually committed to the politics because payment does represent some sort of desire to be supportive.


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