With deep emotion and sadness the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) informs you of the untimely death of Comrade Louis Lang from cancer of the esophagus at the Gatineau Hospital at 1:30 am on November 13.
Louis was a founding member of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) in March 1970. He waged all the battles at the time of the Party’s founding side by side with the Party’s founder and leader, Hardial Bains, with whom Louis forged a profound political and personal friendship. From the time of the Party’s precursor organization, The Internationalists, he retained a life-long fidelity to the Necessity for Change! analysis at the centre of the Party’s work.
Comrade Louis was born in Györ, Hungary after the conclusion of World War II. His parents were Holocaust survivors; his mother a survivor of Auschwitz. This imbued Louis with a profound anti-fascist spirit. He arrived in Canada with his family at the age of seven and grew up in Montreal, attending Baron Byng High School.
He was a student in the Biology Department at McGill University and worked as a chemist before moving to Ottawa. In Ottawa he began working at the post office, where he remained for more than 40 years until his retirement in 2013.
While in Montreal, Louis was active in various progressive organizations and causes and could always be found fighting as one with the workers there, the student youth, women, and in support of the people of Vietnam against the U.S. war of aggression and for liberation; of the U.S. draft dodgers in Canada; of the people of Palestine against the Zionist assaults against their right to be, and all the injustices committed against them, as well as against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the military dictatorship in Chile and many other battles.
While attending McGill University, he joined the work of the precursor organization of CPC(M-L), The Internationalists, in 1968, supporting the motto that first come the deeds and then the word. He was a member of the McGill Student Movement and the Canadian Student Movement. In 1968, he was a founding member of the organization Les Intellectuels et Ouvriers Patriotes du Quebec (IOPQ) expressing in real terms his sentiment as an ardent Quebec patriot fighting for the national liberation of Quebec.
During these years, he participated in the fight against the racist discrimination against Black students, many from the Caribbean, at Sir George Williams University (today Concordia University); in the struggles of the Murray Hill taxi drivers; in the fight to end the colonial status of McGill which was not open to all Quebeckers; as well as in struggles in support of the cause of the peoples of South Asia, in recognition of the People’s Republic of China and many others. In this regard, he fought heroically in defence of democratic rights and was a founding member of the Comité pour les droits démocratiques du peuple (CDDP). He fought against the War Measures Act in 1970 and all the dastardly state-organized attacks against the Party and people as a result of the FBI’s Operation Chaos, which the Canadian intelligence agencies supported. He was a staunch defender of the hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples and an organizer of the Native People’s Caravan to Ottawa in 1974, which was viciously attacked by the police.
He was in the forefront of the workers’ resistance against the “wage and price controls” imposed by the Trudeau government in 1975 which unleashed a frontal attack on workers’ rights under the pretext of “controlling inflation.” This assault heralded the broad anti-social offensive of the period to come. Louis, as a full-time organizer of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), played a leading role in organizing a resistance movement among workers on an unprecedented scale, in particular postal workers, to the assault of the Trudeau government. The mass movement included a massive national demonstration in front of Parliament on October 14, 1976, the day that an estimated one million workers walked off the job to express their opposition to wage controls.
Two years later, Louis was President of the Ottawa local of CUPW when the postal workers organized one of the biggest strikes in Canadian history. The postal workers’ strike of October 1978 was against unilateral changes to working conditions to introduce new technologies that accelerated the tempo of exploitation and imposed impossible work schedules.
Louis participated as a leading cadre in all the major events in the Party’s life as it traced its line of march. He played a particularly important role when the Party adopted the stand that in Canada it is one working class with one program whose leading role is decisive to defend the rights of all. After the collapse of the former Soviet Union when the ruling elites escalated the vicious neo-liberal anti-social offensive to dismantle all civil society arrangements which favoured the public good, he led work to adopt the program to Stop Paying the Rich; Increase Investments in Social Programs during the Ontario Fight Back Movement against the assault waged by Premier Mike Harris. He participated in the formulation of the Party’s Historic Initiative whose aim is for the working class to constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people.
At the time of his death Louis was a member of the Central Committee of CPC(M-L) and of its National Executive Committee. He headed the Workers’ Commission of the Central Committee and was on the executive of the Workers’ Centre of the Party. Louis’ writing appeared frequently in the Party Press including The Marxist-Leninist (TML), Workers’ Forum and Renewal Update amongst other Party organs. He became a worker politician early on and participated in multiple federal and Quebec elections on behalf of the Party. He was often a Party representative on Elections Canada’s Advisory Committee of Political Parties and had a profound familiarity with Canada’s electoral laws and Constitution, always putting forward the program of the Party for political renewal and a modern constitution.
Louis was a member of the Ottawa local of CUPW until his retirement. He was honoured on November 3, 2013 with lifetime membership in the union. His feats as a member and president of his local are legendary, and will no doubt be rendered by the workers as colourfully as they deserve.
Louis was also a member of the steering committee of the solidarity organization Ottawa-Cuba Connections (OCC) and ALBA Social Movements-Ottawa, as well as a life-long friend and fellow-fighter of countless people across the country of all generations who will sorely miss him.
Louis had a life-long interest in scientific advances and achievements and followed them closely. He hosted a weekly radio program on CHUO at the University of Ottawa for many years, held weekly get-togethers with colleagues and friends, played hockey avidly and fund-raised for the little leagues.
His profound knowledge of the anti-fascist resistance movement during World War II made Louis sought after by the youth eager to learn and contribute to the cause of peace. The very last article he wrote for the Party Press was to oppose the Government of Canada building an anti-communist monument in Ottawa, which is inspired by and funded by Nazi collaborators from Ukraine and other parts of eastern Europe, facilitated by cabinet ministers and the agencies under their mandate. He called on the government to instead erect a monument honouring the memory of the victims of the residential schools, all the murdered and missing Indigenous women, and the victims of the racist foster care welfare system and of the deliberate state neglect of the social conditions and well-being of people living on reservations across the country.
Louis’ sudden passing is a great shock to his family, comrades, his union brothers and sisters and many friends. He is survived by his sons, Nick (Mélanie Beaudry), Philippe-Michel and Yannick; his former wife Danielle Désormeaux; his sister Julie Lang Lepeer (Leonard) and niece Lindsay; grandchildren Gabriel Aleksandor, Kayla, Néomie and Alexa-Rose; and grand nephew Jesse. Louis was pre-deceased by his father Sandor Lang and mother Rozsa. He lived in Aylmer, Quebec for the last 40 years.
Besides the contributions enumerated here, his achievements to open Canada’s path to progress were many and will be recounted in the course of time. By decision of the Central Committee of CPC(M-L), his name will be inscribed on the red spine of the Party Memorial located in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa this coming August.
The Party expresses its profound sympathies to Louis’ family and to all those who knew and appreciated him — his many comrades and friends in Ottawa, Gatineau, across Quebec, in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, the Prairies, Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and abroad.
Louis was a revolutionary since his adolescence and all his adult life. He could always be counted on to defend the principles involved in any matter of concern and take a staunch political stand without hesitation. He was known for his modesty, political acumen and revolutionary resolve under all conditions and circumstances.
The Party youth always said: “When you go into battle, make sure you have Louis at your side.”
A memorial meeting will be held as soon as COVID restrictions permit, time and place to be announced. In lieu of flowers the family welcomes donations to a cause of your choice.
Messages of condolences to the family and your memories of Louis can be sent to LouisLangMemorial@cpcml.ca.