The militancy of western Canadian workers during the first two decades of this century culminated in 1919 in secessions from the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada and the American Federation of Labor, the establishment of the One Big Union, and a wave of strikes. In part because of its innate drama, in part because it profoundly affected the course of socialist politics and trade union organization in the nation, the unprecedented outburst has attracted many students in the intervening years.
English Studies in Canada June/September 2015
This article describes and analyses one of the most influential socialist newspapers of the early-twentieth century in Canada, the Western Clarion (Vancouver, 1903-25). Emphasis is placed on the selective use of various literary forms to define community interests and popularize the platform of the Socialist Party of Canada, and on how such communication practices shaped and were shaped by the maintenance of identity and group formation. At stake is a more complete record of Canadian literary history as well as a better understanding of literature and the politics of progress during a critical period of nation building.
In this piece Phinneas Gage recalls the challenges of organizing under punitive back to work legislation and the effect it had on shop floor organising. As tensions grow over a dispute about the safety of various parking arrangements around renovated facilities the shop again begins to mobilise. Then tragedy strikes and the workers are reminded that sometimes the cost of a partial victory can be as great as any defeat.
“The most important thing,” my friend said on our way home, “is to destroy the state. The Syrian revolution went very far and a big reason for this is that we were able to completely destroy the state in many areas. Even if we can’t prevent the counter revolution, destroying the state makes whatever comes after much weaker.”
An article by Len Wallace about a possible general strike in Ontario. Originally appeared in the Industrial Worker #1589 (March 1996).