Tribute to Lifelong Communist Charles Boylan

The Role of the Communists as the Greatest Defenders of the Human Right to Conscience

Charles Boylan speaks at Federation of Post Secondary Educators 2016 AGM.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Education and Training Employees Association (ETEA — a composite local of about 12 private sector locals teaching ESL) recently designated an annual sum of $500 for the Charles Boylan Human Rights International Solidarity Award.

After Kevin Drager, President of the ETEA moved the motion to establish the fund, Jean Ardila, Vice-President of Local 1 of ETEA over which Charles served both as President and Vice-President, took the floor and said, “Charles Boylan is a communist, and when some U.S. visitors asked whether he was ‘a straight out-front communist’ and whether that had some impact on the union, everyone laughed (his politics are known to one and all). The reason I want to emphasize that Charles is a communist is because in our union, Charles has always stood for the most important of all human rights, the right to conscience. So when you see that Charles Boylan Memorial Human Rights Award, you have to write the word ‘communist’ in there.”

Jean’s remarks were vigorously applauded.

On May 17, a letter from Charles Boylan was read out to the AGM of the 10,000 member strong Federation of Post Secondary Educators (FPSE). The reading of the letter was received with a standing ovation.[1]

Standing ovation following reading of Charles Boylan’s letter to FPSE 2017 AGM.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is pleased that the ETEA, Local 21 of the FPSE, to which Charles has devoted so much of his efforts in the past 20 years, created this award and also that the FPSE recognizes Charles’ contribution.

CPC(M-L) considers it a very timely and fitting recognition of the principles Charles has devoted his life to uphold. Defence of the right to conscience is crucial to the fight for human rights. Recognizing that this defence is a quality communists uphold is also an important contribution to the fight to affirm the rights of all.

The leader and founder of CPC(M-L) Hardial Bains pointed out that the right to conscience, to hold opinions, to express and practice them, is not merely an idea; it is a fundamental human right. It is a question of science and civilization, of the well-being of the people, freedom and progress, of the advance of society. It is not fortuitous, he said, that only progressive people deal with the question of conscience in a sincere, open and honest manner.

The anti-social offensive is taking society in a direction opposite to that required by human beings, which is why today our security lies in the fight in defence of the rights of all. Today, all people require a society which recognizes that all people have rights by virtue of being human and provides the rights of all with a guarantee.  Instead, the ruling elites are establishing as a norm that only the claims of the tiny economic elite have any legitimacy. Without addressing this problem, no amount of talk about human rights will contribute to the cause of human progress. This is why, speaking further about the right to conscience, Hardial Bains emphasized: “It is a broadly accepted view that freedom is the recognition of necessity. Can our conscience be independent of this? What is necessary now is that a new society be created which does not have the evils of capitalism. What kind of conscience is it that does not recognize this?”

Congratulations Charles on a well-deserved award! Anyone can be brave after the fact, after all the dangers have been overcome, but only a few are there to confront the situation in broad daylight. This acute sense of personal worth and involvement puts you, Charles, in the category of the most trusted activists of CPC(M-L).


1. BC Worker is posting below the letter Charles Boylan sent to the 47th AGM of the FPSE, addressed to FPSE President George Davison and read by Kevin Drager, President of ETEA/FPSE Local 21.

Kevin said, “For those who don’t know him, Charles Boylan has been a member of ETEA for close to 20 years. He is recently retired due to health issues. I can in no way do justice to his voice. Those of you who have heard it can imagine Charles’ booming voice in this message. This is his message to us:”

Dear Brother George,

Please bring my militant greetings to our sisters and brothers assembled at the 47th AGM and Convention of our union, FPSE. You are a fighting force for public higher education and enlightenment, and your actions show your responsibility to this important cause for the nation. These days of retrogression with globalization and neoliberalism being the slogans of the degenerate rich and corrupt oligarchies ruling egoistically over human kind can only be met with determined resistance, determined consciousness that humanity, working people, are their own liberators. No matter how small or even trivial our struggles sometimes appear, the very act of organizing, of pulling our forces together into fighting collectives is the pulse of life that will help us open a path forward for society, for humanity.

Is it right that we are waiting on three “leaders” to determine whether we have a government willing to invest in post-secondary education, health care and other social programs, or further cut what has been fought and won in the past? Should not the people be setting the agenda and taking control over our collective lives and ensuring that every person is guaranteed basic human rights: food, clothing, shelter, livelihood, culture, political empowerment and freedom of conscience simply because we are human beings!

Sisters and brothers, I wish you all the best in your deliberations fully aware you are our activists, our fighters and the champions of your fellow workers, the students and the interests of society as a whole.

I would be with you but for my illness. […]

Charles Boylan
Retired Member
Local 21 ETEA

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