Labour at the Lakehead: Ethnicity, Socialism, and Politics, 1900-35 by Michel S. BeaulieuLabour at the Lakehead: Ethnicity, Socialism, and Politics, 1900-35 by Michel S. Beaulieu

Labour at the Lakehead: Ethnicity, Socialism, and Politics, 1900-35

byMichel S. Beaulieu

Paperback | January 1, 2012

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In the early twentieth century, politicians and policy makerssingled out Port Arthur and Fort William (present-day Thunder Bay) asbreeding grounds for revolution, as places where new immigrantssuffered harsh conditions in dockyards, lumber mills, and railwayyards, much to the benefit of radical labour organizations.

This intensely engaging history reasserts NorthwesternOntario’s rightful reputation as a birthplace of leftism inCanada by exposing the conditions that gave rise to an array ofleft-wing organizations, including the Communist Party, the One BigUnion, and the Industrial Workers of the World. Yet, as Michel Beaulieushows, the circumstances and actions of Lakehead labour, especiallythose related to ideology, ethnicity, and personality were complex;they simultaneously empowered and fettered workers in their strugglesagainst the shackles of capitalism. Cultural ties helped bringleft-wing ideas to Canada but, as each group developed a distinctivevocabulary of socialism, Anglo-Celtic workers defended their privilegesagainst Finns, Ukrainians, and Italians. At the Lakehead, ethnicdifference often outweighed class solidarity – at the costof a stronger labour movement for Canada.

An original account of working-class politics at the beginning of“Canada’s century,” Labour at the Lakeheadreveals that ethnic differences often outweighed classallegiances – at the cost of greater solidarity forCanada’s left.


Michel S. Beaulieu is the director of the Centre for Northern Studies and an associate professor of history at Lakehead University.
Title:Labour at the Lakehead: Ethnicity, Socialism, and Politics, 1900-35Format:PaperbackDimensions:316 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:January 1, 2012Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774820020

ISBN - 13:9780774820028

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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’ UnityLeague

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

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

5   Bolshevization and the Reorganization of the LakeheadLeft, 1925-27

6   Turning to the Left, 1928-30

Part 3: The Great Depression and the ThirdPeriod

7   “Class against Class”: SocialistActivities, 1930-32

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

Epilogue: 1935





Editorial Reviews

“This work is an original and important examination of working-class politics in a crucial period, and in a key locale, in Canadian history. Michel Beaulieu explores with care and insight the relationships between Finnish, Anglo-Celtic, and other workers in the harsh environment of the Lakehead and lumber camps that gave rise to an array of radical labour organizations. The extraordinary amount of energy and passion that was directed toward creating movements that could challenge capitalism and its attendant inequities forms the backbone to this challenging and vivid story.” - James Naylor, Department of History, Brandon University