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HIS312H1 (86)


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University of Toronto St. George
Ian Radforth

LECTURE – November 5 2013 – SOCIALISM AND REPRESSION Dangerous foreigners and state repression Socialism appeal Ethnic socialist organizations “hall socialism” socialist parties and ethnic minorities labor unions and ethnic minorities alarm and red scare repression - deportation powers, 1910 - heightened insecurities, first world war (1914-1918) - wartime state powers - 1919 year of revolt - the great depression (1930s) Introduction - Canada’s immigration boom o homesteaders find seasonal paid work o immigrant workers for the industrial frontier o immigrant workers in urban industries - some immigrants were active in Canada’s socialist and labor movements - labeled dangerous foreigners - public alarm and a red scare - state repression of immigrant radicals socialism appeal - explanation for exploitation, injustice - workers power as hope for better future - immigrants awareness of exploitation and injustice o intense exploitation on the job o discrimination and racism o policy bullying during strikes - isolation in ethnic ghettoes = little canadianization - socialism brought by some immigrants and spread - leaders = leftist exiles from Europe - flourishing socialism in some ethnic groups o fins, Ukrainians, eastern European Jews Finnish Example th - vibrant socialist movement in Finland early 20 century - some socialists immigrated to Canada - finish civil war, 1918 reds vs. whites o the whites won they formed the government and harassed the reds and the reds fled and some of them came to Canada as immigrants, they did not say I’m an active socialist fleeing my country instead they said that they were here to seek agricultural work because they knew this is what Canadian border patrols wanted to hear, and when they got in they found themselves in other job fields - oskari tokoi (socialist prime minister) and his cabinet - red exiles = key leaders in Canada - many Finns were apolitical on arrival in Canada (were not active on the leftist side) o became socialists here Ethnic Socialist Organizations - Finnish socialist organization of Canada (1911) renamed - Finnish organization of Canada - Ukrainian farmer – labor temple association (1917) - (Jewish) labor league (1926) renamed the United Jewish Peoples Order - others too : Hungarians, Poles Croatians etc. Hall socialism - meeting spaces built by ethnic socialists - held regular meetings of socialist organizations - held popular social events - theatre in foreign languages; dances; sports clubs - everyone welcome but “educated” by socialist leaders - success spreading socialism within ethnic groups, but not beyond - yet, in theory committed to working class solidarity and internationalism socialist parties built by ethnic minorities - social democratic party of Canada (1911-1920) o membership mainly Ukrainian, Finnish, and Jewish Leftists o Ran candidates in elections and sometimes won o Class analysis of capitalism o Imagined a socialist future of equality and democracy o Called for reforms such as votes for women o Never large - Communist party of Canada 1921 o inspired by Russian revolution, 1917 o ties to communist international (Moscow based) o membership mainly Ukrainian, Finnish Jewish o published newspapers in several languages o ran candidates in elections and sometimes won o very active in trade unions Ethnic socialists and trade unions in Canada - trade unions mostly hostile to “foreigners” - exceptions o Jews in clothing industry built their own unions o industrial workers of the world, est. 1905 in Chicago  one big union’: workers of the world unite!  Active among harvest workers, mine workers, lumber workers  Meetings with translators, leaflets in many languages  Strikes for immediate gains  One day: a general strike and workers’ control of industry  Severe state repression 1917-20 - Workers unity League o Created by communist party of Canada o Organized the unemployed o Organized the unorganized into labor unions o Leaders mostly from the ethnic minorities o Welcomed all workers as members o Internationalist: links around the globe and under Moscow o Some success, but Moscow shut it down 1935 Repression - 1910 immigration act o new powers to minister responsible for immigration o deportation of public charges and criminals o used against socialists  if unemployed or arrested for loitering, causing a nuisance - heightened insecurities, WWI, 1914 -1918 o British nationalism and fear of foreigners o fear sabotage of war effort o red scare 1917, fear of blosheviks in Canada wartime state powers - wartime measures act (1914) = homeland security - dominion policy surveillance and spies - borders tightened : border control - strikes declared illegal, police and army end them - press censorship - socialist and foreign language newspapers closed or seized at border - 14 socialist organizations outlawed; halls seized - registration of 80,000 enemy aliens (1914): report to local police - internment of 8579 “dangerous enemy aliens” 1919 = year of revolt - Winnipeg general strike closed the city and after 6 weeks firmly repressed - New law (section 98) of the criminal code) strengthened state in stopping socialist activism and punishing activists (20 year sentences if possible) - Deportations to Britain now possible - 200 activists arrested in Winnipeg several imprisoned or deported - passports required for international travel o Ottawa issued passports for British subjects domiciled in Canada - anti alien mobs allowed to harass foreigners (people opposed to all foreigners) o Ethnic socialists attacked in Winnipeg o Greek restaurants smashed in toronto Great depression of the 1930s - capitalism in crisis and another red scare the socialists seemed to be organizing and the government was anxious about that once again - 1931 leaders to communist party convicted od sedition - 8 sent to prison - one man Tom Cacic deported to Yugoslavia where Canadian authorities expected he would be tortured or killed (he escaped upon arrival in Europe) - countless socialists deported back to Europe during 1930s (total deportations 1930-1935 = 28,000) Conclusion - some of the “new immigrants” built a socialist movement in Canada during 1905 – 1939 - ethnic minorities crucial to Canada’s socialist movement - triggered a red scare and state repression - repression curbed socialist activities but failed to stop them PART TWO OF LECTURE - ETHNIC MINORITIES IN THE DEPRESSION AND DURING THE W
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