IWW Montreal invites you to the Workers' Resistance and Revolutionary Unionism conference : the IWW and the One Big Union in Quebec (1919-1929), Thursday the 27 November at 7 p.m.Café Atomic, 3606 East Ontario.
Born in the wake of the “workers' revolt” of 1919, la One Big Union (BOTH) has marked union history in Canada. Largely influenced by revolutionary industrial unionism, the OBU offered workers an organizational and political model the opposite of that put forward by the American Federation of Labor. Not without difficulty, OBU manages to establish itself in Montreal in different industrial sectors from 1919. She also leads unionization campaigns in the Laurentians and Abitibi-Témiscamingue with minors, leafminers and lumberjacks.
The organization multiplies public meetings,organizes events, publish newspapers, leaflets and brochures to reach workers. Police worry about these activities. Bolshevik Revolution and Winnipeg General Strike Fanned “Fear of Red”, including in Quebec. Double agents constantly spy on the actions of
main activists of the OBU. This repression, combined with the counter-offensive of other union organizations and the divisions caused by the establishment of the Communist Party of Canada, weakens the One Big Union. Despite major efforts to maintain its presence in the province, the union will not resist the effects of the economic crisis of 1929. Far from being anecdotal, the establishment and development of the OBU in Quebec can be analyzed as the expression of a part of the working class realizing its strength and its own interests at a particular time in its history. Through this conference, we will present the debates which agitated the left circles in the aftermath of the First World War, emphasizing their impact on the labor movement.
Mathieu Houle-Courcelles is currently doing a doctorate in history at Laval University. Mathieu is interested in the itinerary of libertarian socialist activists in the interwar period in Montreal. He is the author of the book In the footsteps of anarchism in Quebec (1860-1960), published in 2008 at Lux Éditeur. Involved for almost 15 years in the housing right movement, Mathieu militates within the Popular Committee of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and of the Popular action front in urban redevelopment (FRAPRU).