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The Winnipeg General Strike

The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most famous and influential strikes in Canadian history, and became the platform for future labour reforms. Almost 30,000 workers left their jobs and even essential public employees such as firefighters and police went on strike. The RCMP were called in and the strike came to a violent end on what is referred to as "Bloody Saturday."

This is a selection of our current The Winnipeg General Strike titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

City on Strike

- by Harriet Zaidman

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The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike was a key moment in Canadian history when demands of workers and returning soldiers all played out in the bloody streets of Winnipeg. The governing elite condemned the strike organizers as "Bolsheviks" and unleashed waves of violence. The country hasn't fully healed since. City on Strike is a riveting middle-grade fiction focusing on a 13-year-old boy and his younger sister, part of a poor but hardworking immigrant family in Winnipeg's North End. And like so many others, it's a family that gets drawn into the chaos that terrible spring. "History often repeats itself " author Harriet Zaidman says "In 1919 more than 30,000 people in Winnipeg went on strike. Those in authority wanted to maintain their power and profits, so they spread lies and stirred up racism to create divisions in society. Today there are still those who make harmful statements about different groups. These negative comments prevent society from being united and making advances. Canadians need to know the history of the Strike, which teaches us that we need to look behind the message, to make choices that unify society and give everyone a chance to fulfill their potential."

Papergirl

- by Melinda Mccracken

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Ten-year-old Cassie lives with her working-class family in 1919 Winnipeg. The Great War and Spanish Influenza have taken their toll, and workers in the city are frustrated with low wages and long hours. When they orchestrate a general strike, Cassie -- bright, determined and very bored at school -- desperately wants to help. She begins volunteering for the strike committee as a papergirl, distributing the strike bulletin at Portage and Main, and from her corner, she sees the strike take shape. Threatened and taunted by upper-class kids, and getting hungrier by the day, Cassie soon realizes that the strike isn't just a lark -- it's a risky and brave movement. With her impoverished best friend, Mary, volunteering in the nearby Labour Café, and Cassie's police officer brother in the strike committee's inner circle, Cassie becomes increasingly furious about the conditions that led workers to strike. When an enormous but peaceful demonstration turns into a violent assault on Bloody Saturday, Cassie is changed forever. Lively and engaging, this novel is a celebration of solidarity, justice and one brave papergirl.

The Gratitude of Wasps

- by C.m. Klyne

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Following the violence and death on Bloody Saturday, June 21, 1919 that crushed the Winnipeg General Strike, corrupt sedition trials imprisoned strike leaders. So-called aliens were deported as the iron-fist of an unforgiving establishment sought to invoke control over a resistant workforce. Hammond Cullers, a crusading crown attorney, uses the trials to further his vendetta against the infant unions and as a tool to pave the way to political power. Can an unlikely coalition of defence attorneys, anarchists and suffragettes prevent another defeat by a perverse group of business and industrial power brokers? Follow CM Klyne's story as he explores how political trickery, questionable legal practices and personal agendas combine to destroy those who would change a world steeped in tradition and conformity. The Gratitude of Wasps challenges us to think about our Canadian values and beliefs, our culture of ethnocentricity and whether we can embrace the diversity that has brought us to our current cultural realities. This timely story is a reminder that our country is an alloy rather than an element. CM Klyne lives with his wife Patricia in Manitoba's Interlake. After teaching English Language Arts for over thirty years he went back to reading and writing and gave up on his golf game. It was a good decision. He continues to work at refining his craft of story-telling and bringing history to life. Klyne's passionate belief in civil and human rights is reflected in his first novel, The Silent March. The final book of the trilogy will examine a time when the Canadian government enacted laws which abrogated its citizens' rights.

Grace and the Secret Vault

- by Ruth Latta

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"Grace and the Secret Vault" is an historical novel set in 1919, centring upon Grace Woodsworth, a thirteen year old girl living with her family in Gibson's, B.C. In 1919, Canada was reeling from the consequences of the "Great War". Grace, the central character, is critical of her father's social activism because of its impact on their family. During the course of the novel she comes to a better understanding of her parents' principles. When her father is caught up in a General Strike in Winnipeg in the spring of 1919, she finds a way to help him and her family.

The father in the story is J.S. Woodsworth and the novel is based on real characters and events. In the mid-1960s to mid- 1970s, Grace, as Grace MacInnis, became a strong voice on women's issues and other social issues in the House of Commons.

"Grace and the Secret Vault" is short-listed for the 2017 "Northern Lit" award for English fiction, presented annually by Ontario Library Services North and Northern Ontario libraries.


Author Bio:

Ruth Latta lives and writes in Ottawa, ON. . For more information about her published novels, short story collections and non-fiction books, visit http://ruthlatta.blogspot.ca and http://ruthlattabooks.blogspot.ca She is the co-author of the biography, Grace MacInnis; A Woman to Remember. In 2011 her collection of short stories, Winter Moon, won the "Northern Lit" award for English fiction from Ontario Library Services North and Northern Ontario libraries.

We're Going to Run This City

- by Stefan Epp-koop

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Stefan Epp-Koop's "We're Going to Run This City: Winnipeg's Political Left After the General Strike" explores the dynamic political movement that came out of the largest labour protest in Canadian history and the ramifications for Winnipeg throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Few have studied the political Left at the municipal level--even though it is at this grassroots level that many people participate in political activity. Winnipeg was a deeply divided city. On one side, the conservative political descendants of the General Strike's Citizen's Committee of 1000 advocated for minimal government and low taxes. On the other side were the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party of Canada, two parties rooted in the city's working class, though often in conflict with each other. The political strength of the Left would ebb and flow throughout the 1920s and 1930s but peaked in the mid-1930s when the ILP's John Queen became mayor and the two parties on the Left combined to hold a majority of council seats. Astonishingly, Winnipeg was governed by a mayor who had served jail time for his role in the General Strike.

Fox

- by Margaret Sweatman

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Fox moves on quick and elegant feet through the terror and exhilaration of Winnipeg's 1919 General Strike, the most turbulent period of the city's history. In a novel of remarkably vivd, kinetic power, the collision of the wealthy and working classes after the First World War becomes a backdrop for the heady conflict between desire and human idealism.Fox is a brilliant contemporary filter for the social gospel of the day. Clamouring newspaper headlines and the passionate rhetoric of the new Left echo throughout the Establishment - the languid, dreamlike crescentwood world of Eleanor and MacDougal, Mary and Drinkwater. The cushion of luxury is scant protection when words like 'sedition' and 'Marxism' explode in their midst, confronting them with the bigotry , greed and ambition of the post-war years.

Confrontation at Winnipeg

- by David Bercuson

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Why was Winnipeg the scene of the longest and most complete general strike in North American history? Bercuson answers this question by examining the development of union labour and the impact of depression and war in the two decades preceding the strike.

When the State Trembled

- by Reinhold Kramer

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The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, which involved approximately 30,000 workers, is Canada's best-known strike. When the State Trembled recovers the hitherto untold story of the Citizens' Committee of 1000, formed by Winnipeg's business elite in order to crush the revolt and sustain the status quo.

This account, by the authors of the award-winning Walk Towards the Gallows, reveals that the Citizens drew upon and extended a wide repertoire of anti-labour tactics to undermine working-class unity, battle for the hearts and minds of the middle class, and stigmatize the general strike as a criminal action. Newly discovered correspondence between leading Citizen lawyer A.J. Andrews and Acting Minister of Justice Arthur Meighen illuminates the strategizing and cooperation that took place between the state and the Citizens. While the strike's break was a crushing defeat for the labour movement, the later prosecution of its leaders on charges of sedition reveals abiding fears of radicalism and continuing struggles between capital and labour on the terrain of politics and law.

The Silent March

- by C. M. Klyne

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1919 Winnipeg was in the grip of a city-wide general strike. Elite city power brokers, known as the Committee of One Thousand, plotted to destroy the strike, and protect Winnipeg and Canada from the encroachment of Bolshevism.

At the same time bacteriologist Dr. Anna Williams toils against the deadly Spanish influenza that is ravaging the planet. Fighting a male-dominated world of science Anna faces more than one enemy!

Into this mixture arrives the sociopathic, malevolent Earle Nelson who perceives himself on a mission from God to set the world right at whatever cost. These forces are intertwined brilliantly culminating in what became known as Bloody Saturday.

Canadian history comes alive in this compelling drama!

Winnipeg 1919

- by Norman Penner

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On May 15, 1919 workers from across Winnipeg, ranging from metal workers to telephone operators, united to spark the largest worker revolt in Canadian history. Even the Winnipeg police voted to join the strike, although they remained on duty at the request of the strike committee in order to prevent martial law. Approximately 30,000 workers walked off the job over the next six weeks, and the city was overtaken by lively demonstrations and marches in what the media, the city's leaders, and the federal government called a "Bolshevik uprising." The clash ended violently when RCMP on horseback charged and shot into a crowd of striking workers resulting in deaths, beatings, and arrests. The strike was called off and workers returned to their jobs without having earned the rights to higher wages and collective bargaining. Following the strike, union leaders published this account of the events leading up to and during the strike. Their volume is the most significant primary source describing the workers' experience of the strike. This book offers the full document in its original format along with an introduction to the 1974 edition by labour historian and activist Norman Penner. His essay has had a major impact on later research. This volume also includes a new introduction by historian Christo Aivalis discussing how the lessons learned in 1919 remain relevant today. Also included in this book are the key documentary photographs of strike events, including a minute-by-minute sequence showing the final RCMP fatal assault on the strikers.

The Winnipeg General Strike

- by Michael Dupuis

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A strike gripped Winnipeg from May 15 to June 26, 1919. Some twenty-five thousand men and women waked out, demanding higher wages, improved working conditions and union recognition. Red-fearing opponents insisted radical labour leaders supported by the fanatical allegiance of foreigners were attempting to usurp constituted authority and replace it with a soviet style government. For six weeks Winnipeg seethed with animosity and tension as both sides used any means, including spies and informants, to win the battle. What was happening behind the scenes? What secrets have remained to this day?

About the Author: Michael Dupuis is a retired Canadian history teacher and writer. Since 2005, he has published work in several academic journals, commercial magazines, and newspapers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. His writing concentrates on the role played by journalists in historical events, including the Winnipeg General Strike, the Titanic disaster, the Halifax Explosion, the On to Ottawa Trek, and the Regina Riot. In 2011, he was a consultant for Danny Schur's Winnipeg General Strike documentary "Mike's Bloody Saturday" and an advisor to the CBC for the television special Titanic: The Canadian Story. In 2012, he contributed the chapter "Canadian Journalists in New York" in Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon. He holds a BA (English) and MA (history) from the University of Ottawa, and a BEd from the University of Toronto. Michael resides in Victoria, B.C. “The new book by historian Michael Dupuis, ‘The Winnipeg General Strike Ordinary Men And Women Under Extraordinary Circumstances’, is an important contribution to the modern history of the Canadian labour movement, adding new insight into the Winnipeg General Strike and its state-sponsored opposition. As Canada marks the centenary of this strike, the book serves equally as education, inspiration and a cautionary tale.” - Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

1919

- by GRAPHIC HISTORY COLL

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In May and June 1919, more than 30,000 workers walked off the job in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They struck for a variety of reasons?higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and more power for working people. The strikers made national and international headlines, and they inspired workers to mount sympathy strikes in many other Canadian cities. Although the strike lasted for six weeks, it ultimately ended in defeat. The strike was violently crushed by police, in collusion with state officials and Winnipeg?s business elites.

One hundred years later, the Winnipeg General Strike remains one of the most significant events in Canadian history. This comic book revisits the strike to introduce new generations to its many lessons, including the power of class struggle and solidarity and the brutal tactics that governments and bosses use to crush workers? movements. The Winnipeg General Strike is a stark reminder that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common, and the state is not afraid to bloody its hands to protect the interests of capital. In response, working people must rely on each other and work together to create a new, more just world in the shell of the old.

Notable Trials

- by Norman Larsen

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A COLLECTION OF 15 FASCINATING TRIALS
Strikes, sedition, libel, the fur trade, murders,
abortion, wrongful convictions!
The earliest of the 15 trials is from 1845. Within six days after a murder, the accused man was convicted and executed in front of 1,000 witnesses. In the most recent case, from the 1980s, a man was tried for murder three times and convicted twice before the police declared him innocent - almost 20 years after the murder. The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike is one of the most written-about events in Canada's history, but very little of it is about the trials that followed the Strike. Six men were sent to prison for conspiring to overthrow the governments of Canada, Manitoba and Winnipeg. Their convictions were set up by prosecutors who crossed legal and ethical lines to pack the juries, and by a presiding judge who was openly biased against the accused men throughout the trials (much to his later regret). All but one of the 15 trials took place place between 1845 and 1985 in what is now downtown Winnipeg. This book of quotations and commentary tells the stories of these trials. With one exception (a case of slander), the trials are criminal matters on such topics as sedition, libel, murder, abortion and wrongful convictions.
Norm Larsen’s 30 years practicing law in Winnipeg included four years in private practice with Joseph Zuken and Roland Penner, seven years with Legal Aid Manitoba, and 13 years as a legislative drafter with Manitoba Justice. He retired in 2000 and lives in Winnipeg.

Magnificent Fight

- by Dennis Lewycky

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In May 1919, 30,000 Winnipeg workers walked away from their jobs, shutting down large factories, forcing businesses to close and bringing major industries to a halt. Mounted police and hired security, at the behest of the ruling class, violently ended the protest after six weeks. Two men were killed. What started as trade union revolt, the Winnipeg General Strike became a mass protest and was branded as a revolution. In Magnificent Fight, Dennis Lewycky lays out the history of this iconic event, which remains the biggest and longest strike in Canadian history. He analyzes the social, political and economic conditions leading up to the strike. He also illustrates the effects the strike had on workers, unions and all three levels of government in the following decades. Far from a simple retelling of the General Strike, Magnificent Fight speaks to the power of workers' solidarity and social organization. And Lewycky reveals the length the capitalist class and the state went to in protecting the status quo. By retelling the story of the Strike through the eyes of those who witnessed it, Lewycky's account is both educational and entertaining.