Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cold War and the Crowsnest Miners

The Cold War and Working-Class Politics in the Coal Mining Communities of the Crowsnest Pass, 1945-1958

Tom Langford and Chris Frazer
Labour/Le Travail
Spring 2002

THIS IS A STUDY of working-class politics durrng the early years of the Cold War in Canada: we compare what transpired on either side of the British Columbia- Alberta border, in the Crowsnest Pass region of the Rocky Mountains.

Read Spirit of the Crowsnest HERE.
By the end of World War II, the coal mining communities straddling the Crowsnest Pass had  produced a socialist workers' movement that seemed resilient and united, and that had strong ties to the communist movement. Our objective is to explain why the socialist workers ' movement on the British Columbia (BC) ) side of the border proved to be much more resilient in the face of Cold War pressures than its companion movement in Alberta (AB). The study concludes that the difference in cross-border resilience was largely due to the successful pursuit of labour unity politics in die BC Crowsnest and to die collapse of a labour unity strategy in the Alberta Crowsnest.

The Cold War represented the strengthening of reactionary elements within dominant social groups (locally and nationally), and opened the door for aggresssve attacks against militant working-class politics and left-wing movements. The comparative methodology and localized focus of our research demonstrates that such periods of intense struggle do not lead inevitably to the defeat of workers' movements. However, the success of leftist resistance to reactionary offensives depends, then, as now, on working-class unity around struggles, organizations, and public figures that enjoy widespread public sympathy and loyalty.

Read HERE.

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