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Lecture 8

Labour Studies - Lecture 8 Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Labour Studies
David Goutor

Labour Studies March 5, 2013 Immigrant Labour – Organized Labour’s Responses (Part One) Mainstream Labour Movement Job Market Concerns  Always pessimistic  Even when it was good thought it would be bad the next year Exclusion and Racism  Mainstream movement joined in and lead some of opposition to immigration  Labour movement could not change views of government by themselves  Hostilities towards Asians was very high  Even organizations that saw themselves as more inclusive still would not accept immigrants  Some Exceptions o Cannot really say they are racist o Resisted against racism against Blacks o Included Blacks o Supported rebelled against anti-Aboriginals (Riel Rebellion) o Sympathetic to some people and not to others o Race is not a logical formation, not based on experience (based on prejudices) o Identify some things with some people Radical Movement  Connection to immigrant labour is strong  Wanted to organize all workers no matter where you were from or what skill level you had  Ex. Socialist Party of Canada Socialist Party of Canada  Immigrant Traditions o Fixated on revolution o Organized a lot of immigrants o Lots of immigrants that they organized already had experience with socialist parties  Politics sank deep into community life  Leaders were very proper, rigorous revolutionaries  Membership had concerns about being deported, job security, being vulnerable to bosses (wanted to act on this)  Leadership only wanted to focus on revolution  British Columbia o Where socialist party becomes strongest o Traditions were not always the best o Anti-Chinese feeling ran high in BC o Socialist Party of Canada did not resist this Labour Studies March 5, 2013 Immigrant Labour – Organized Labour’s Responses (Part Two) Industrial Workers of the World Aka IWW & Wobblies  Wobblies are main organization at this time  Made most noise in organizing immigrant workers and in radical activity  Frightened employers and political leaders “We Shall Be All”  Slogan of IWW  Membership, Structure, Activism o Means we shall be all members of IWW o Background does not matter, skill does not matter o As long as worked, IWW wanted to organize  Structure o IWW did not believe in breaking down organization at all o Did not break down by trade, by local o Was one organization o That is how to get the greatest strength  Activism o If joined, were not just a member o Were committing to being active o No difference between members and leaders o All people were expected to be activists and organizers o We shall all be part of the team even if we just joined Revolutionary Syndicalism  Revolutionary means trying to create a revolution  Syndicalism means action in the workplace  Individually may be poor and vulnerably  Collectively: system cannot survive without you  Labour intensive industries cannot function without the labour  If get together and pull all of labour out can bring system down Methods  Outreach o Very effective in going to even remote places o Wanted to spread organization o Organized women  Basics o Good to talk ambitiously about change when starting out o Also need to focus on basic things o Need to mobilize around basic issues Labour Studies March 5, 2013 o Not just about getting workers to think about basic issues o Take fact that employers will deny these things to get people to want to join and work together o Most basic bit of dignity for the workers  Culture
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