Annie Buller

Annie Buller (married name Guralnick), political activist, union organizer (born 9 December 1895 in Ukraine; died 19 January 1973 in Toronto, ON).



Annie Buller
Annie Buller addressing a crowd before the Estevan Riots, SK, 1931
Canadian Communist Party
Canadian communist leaders, pictured in 1942. Front row, left to right: Henri Gagnon, Fred Rose, Tim Buck, Émery Samuel and Sam Lipschitz. Back row, left to right: Gus Sundqvist, Bill Kashtan, Évariste Dubé, Jim Litterick, Sam Carr, Willie Fortin, Stewart Smith and Stanley B. Ryerson.

Annie Buller’s Jewish parents immigrated to Montreal when she was a child. During the First World War, she became active in the Socialist Youth Movement (see Socialism). She studied Marxism at the Rand School of Social Science in New York City. She then established the Montreal Labour College with Becky Buhay and Bella Hall Gauld. Buller joined the Workers’ Party of Canada in 1922 and devoted herself to full-time party organizing and managing party publications.

Did you know?
The Workers’ Party of Canada was first conceived in 1921 at a secret meeting in a barn in Guelph, Ontario. Gathered there were 21 Canadians and three representatives from Communist International, an organization dedicated to creating a global state led by the Soviet Union. This group established the Workers’ Party in February 1922. Two years later, it rebranded itself as the Communist Party of Canada.

In the early 1920s, Buller went to Cape Breton to organize mine workers. She then moved to Toronto, where her son Jim was born. There, she organized for the communist-led Industrial Union of Needle Trades Workers in the early 1930s. While serving on the union’s executive board, she helped lead a general strike of Toronto dressmakers in 1931. She organized support for coal miners in Estevan, Saskatchewan that same year. Buller was jailed after a riot in which the RCMP killed three strikers (see Estevan Coal Miners Strike, 1931). She was again arrested while working as a business manager for the communist paper The Western Clarion in 1939. This arrest led to her internment until 1942.

After the war, Buller concentrated on Communist Party organizing. She managed party publications such as the Tribune and National Affairs. She also participated in the party’s National Women’s Commission and the Housewives’ Association campaign to roll back prices. She retired from full-time party work in the late 1950s but remained politically active until her death.


Further Reading

  • Joan Sangster, Dreams of Equality: Women on the Canadian Left, 1920-50 (1989); Louise Watson, She was Never Afraid: The Biography of Annie Buller (1976).