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The Pioneer Labour Press in Canada
Verzuh, Ron. Radical Rag: The Pioneer Labour Press in Canada (Ottawa: Steel Rail Publishing, 1988).
Canada’s trade unions have long claimed a prominent place in the struggle for social democracy. From the earliest years of that struggle, the labour movement’s press has been on the front lines. Radical Rag tells the colourful story of those pioneer days, recounting the war for social justice fiercely waged through the pages of labour’s weekly newspapers.
Radical Rag documents the efforts of labour journalists to help the young movement win the nine-hour work day, organize the industrial masses, end child labour, gain new rights for women workers, and many other progressive social advances now taken for granted.
From the Ontario Workman and The Palladium of Labour to The Industrial Banner and The People’s Voice, Radical Rag recaptures the essence of the pioneer labour journal, uncovering a rich social history in the golden age of labour journalism in Canada.
James S. Williams didn’t waste time stewing in jail after his arrest for seditious conspiracy in the spring of 1872. He and 12 other organizers of the Toronto printers’ strike, also arrested for their trade union activities, spent at least some of their time plotting the founding of the Ontario Workman, Canada’s first true labour newspaper.