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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Labour at the Lakehead

Ethnicity, Socialism, and Politics, 1900-35

In the early twentieth century, politicians singled out the Lakehead as a breeding ground for radical labour politics. Michel S. Beaulieu returns northern Ontario to its rightful place as a birthplace of leftism in Canada by exposing the conditions that gave rise to an array of left-wing organizations. Cultural ties among workers helped bring left-wing ideas to Canada, but ethnicity weakened the left as each group developed a distinctive vocabulary of socialism and as Anglo-Celtic workers defended their privileges against Finns, Ukrainians, and Italians. At the Lakehead, ethnic difference often outweighed class solidarity – at the cost of a stronger labour movement for Canada.

316 pages

Table of Contents


Part 1: The Roots of Revolution?

1 Early Socialist Organizations at the Lakehead, 1900-14

2 Repression, Revitalization, and Revolutions, 1914-18

Part 2: From Winnipeg to the Workers’ Unity League

3 “The Hog Only Harms Himself if He Topples His Trough”: The One Big Union, 1919-22

4 “Into the Masses!”: The Communist Party of Canada at the Lakehead, 1922-25

5 Bolshevization and the Reorganization of the Lakehead Left, 1925-27

6 Turning to the Left, 1928-30

Part 3: The Great Depression and the Third Period

7 “Class against Class”: Socialist Activities, 1930-32

8 Wobbly Relations: The Communist Party of Canada, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Lakehead, 1932-35

Epilogue: 1935




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