By Michael R. Welton
|Christian McLeod's latest in his Tommy Douglas|
'pop art' series, "Metallic Tommy", 48 x 36 images,
oil on canvas, 2009.
A few veteran prairie and west coast activists from the 1930s and 1940s remember him, some with great fondness, but he has essentially drifted into obscurity. This is unfortunate, because Thomson's priorities, aims, strategies, values, achievements, and failures throw light on a moment of highest importance in the social history of Canada. Using Watson Thomson's adult educational work with Tommy Douglas' CCF from late 1944 to early 1946 as an anchor point, this case study has several goals.
First, to explicate Thomson's transformative-communitarian socialist vision and thereby confront the inadequacies of the communist/social democratic framing of the history of the Canadian left; second, to illuminate the tensions on the left at an axial moment in its history; third, to examine the specific failings of the social democratic imagination and political will; and finally, to insert Watson Thomson into the social history of adult education and western Canadian radicalism.
Read this article HERE.
* Norman Penner. The Canadian Left' A Critical Analysis (Toronto 1977), and Michael Welton, "In Search of a Usable Past for Canadian Adult Education," CASAE History Bulletin, May 1985.
Michael R. Welton, "Conflicting Visions, Divergent Strategies: Watson Thomson and the Cold War Politics of Adult Education in Saskatchewan, 1944-6," Labour/Le Travail. 18 (Fall 1986), 111-138.