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Lecture 13

lecture 13/14

Course Code
Ian Radforth

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LEECTURE 13: Radicalism and Repression
Left wing radicals/socialists
Minority, but significant- published a lot of newspapers etc.
Labelled as dangerous foreigners
To the stability of Capitalism
Outside British tradition
Government worked hard to suppress- there was a struggle
Reasons for Immigrant Radicalism
Came from experiences @ work: did the dangerous jobs. Insecurity, felt exploited,
dream of economic success failing= anger and interest in changing the system
discrimination: often shunned, lowest of low in terms of status/power= isolation from
feeling that needs not met, raw power of state against
also , hard work of leftist activists: exposed to Marxism at home, so took up activities
in new context (many from peasant backgrounds while these guys exposed in cities
to socialist ideas, so wanted to educate others)
wanted international workers movement
Ukrainian, Jewish, Finns
unusually active with the Left
(also some Brits, Russians, Croatians)
From rural areas, not involved in
After WW2 socialist movement, Russian Revolution= on own big fight to see Red
(socialist) vs. Whites would control
1980-90: war- whites won, taken over by conservatives

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Reds fled at this point- some to Canada
Experienced in radicalism
Hall Socialism
oRadical activity within ethnic community halls
oFinish (socialist) organization of Canada
Ukrainian Labour Farmer Temple Association
Jewish Labour League
= centres of community life
Recreational activities- theatre , dances etc
Important meeting places where could feel at home
Also subject to the msgs of the Red leaders, so began to educate rural folk and
sometimes had success
Left Wing Political Parties
Social Demographic Party of Canada est. 1911
No particular ethnic group
Candidates in election, able to propagandize
Sometimes had places in provincial government
Never a mainstream party though
Communist Party of Canada est. 1921
Also brought together many
Inspired by Russian revolution **

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Wanted world movement that took leaders of Moscow
Bulk were Ukrainians, finns, Jews
Also ran in elections
Active in labour movement
the worker newspaper
Unions and Radical Immigrants
Mainstream craft unions: most unions were craft unions- highly skilled workers (with
specific skills) employer needed their skills so joined in collective. Not heavily peopled by
immigrants.** Conservative, exclusive* . Some exceptions- Jews in cities formed unions,
mainly in garment industry, fighting for wages etc.
IWW Industrial workers of the world, Wobblies est. 1905
Another exception
Found in Chicago, mainly in western Canada
Thought everyone should be in one union= more strength
Believed in the STRIKE as a tool, forget ballots because many dont have a voice
Esp. during building of railway in BC, harvest workers, lumber industry...
Workers from many backgrounds /languages*: issued newspapers etc. In different
Interested in lowest of society- immigrants, sojourners..
Gave them sense of purpose
(victims of police repression)
Workers Unity League est. 1929, communist led unions:
Est. by orders of Moscow
Capitalism in crisis- depression, can now make sure socialism rises (not fascism
which was a threat)
Made some headway- but never mainstream
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