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Alex Shepherd (1897-1970)

From The Western Socialist, No. 3, 1970

by J. Milne

Alex Shepherd of Winnipeg, who joined the Party more than fifty years ago, died on March 21, two days before his 73rd birthday, after a lengthy illness.

Over the years, Alex had been among the Party’s most active members, having frequently held offices in the Winnipeg Local and the General Executive Committee. He fought the notorious "Conditions of Affiliation" (known also as the "21 points") of the early 1920s, which launched the Leninist aim to rule or wreck the working class movement, and he did much to hold the Winnipeg membership to Socialist principles. He supported the adoption of the Socialist Party of Great Britain Declaration of Principles in the early 1930s and helped found "The Western Socialist" in 1933, remaining as one of its editors until the second world war caused the journal to be moved to the United States. It was a frequent practice of his to go walking in the evening, carrying an armful of Party leaflets to be dropped into mailboxes along the way.

In his earlier years Alex was also active in the trade union movement and was a member of the machinists’ Local that triggered the Winnipeg general strike. He became a member of the strike committee, whose authority started and stopped activity in the area, earning for themselves the hatred of those whose exclusive right to issue orders had been for the moment usurped.

In later years Alex served regularly as a delegate from his union on the Trades and Labor Council where he was frequently referred to as the delegate from the Socialist Party of Canada, since he examined all issues only from the standpoint of their usefulness in pressing Party views.

The movement has lost a tower of strength.

Our sympathy goes to Paula Shepherd whose home has always been open to visiting Socialists and whose hospitality is known across the country and in other countries.


A Brief Comment From the Editorial Committee

The Editorial Committee of The Western Socialist enjoyed a warm relationship with our late Comrade Alex Shepherd. His last several letters to our Headquarters, written even while in intense suffering from his final illness, reveal the great depth of his interest in and affection for our joint organ. His last two articles, critiques of the New Democratic Party of Canada, appeared in Numbers 5 and 6 of The Western Socialist for 1969. The Editorial Committee, in particular, and the entire World Socialist Movement will miss Alex Shepherd.

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