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Writer & Historian

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Labour

Revisiting the 1950s Red Scare – A Book Review and Interview

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October 18, 2019
Revisiting the 1950s Red Scare – A Book Review and Interview

Raymond Caballero, McCarthyism vs. Clinton Jencks (Norman, OK, University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), 320 pages, $29.95 (paper). Just when books about the history of Communist trade unions seem to have waned, Portland historian Raymond Caballero brings to life the horrors of the Second Red Scare in the 1950s through an account of the trials and tribulations...
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Union Hall Named National Historic Site – A Labour History Update

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July 29, 2019
Union Hall Named National Historic Site – A Labour History Update

Parks Canada officially designated the Rossland Miners’ Union Hall as a national historic site on July 20, 2019. The subject of my 2013 documentary film Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout, the 1898 building has been the meeting place for many historic events in the history of the B.C. labour movement. The Parks Canada web...
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Labour History Can Inspire Workers – An Op-Ed Article

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April 18, 2019
Labour History Can Inspire Workers – An Op-Ed Article

“Marches, rallies, sit-ins – it all matters. It toughens people. It creates solidarity. That why it’s important to know the history of unions, co-op organizers, and civil-rights fighters. When you realize there are a lot of people who came before you, you don’t feel alone. You’re standing on their shoulders even though they’re no...
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The Raiding of Local 480 – A Labour History

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November 26, 2018
The Raiding of Local 480 – A Labour History

My article, “The Raiding of Local 480: A Historic Cold War Struggle for Union Supremacy in a Small Canadian City,” has been published in Canada’s foremost labour history journal, Labour/Le Travail 82 (Fall 2018): 81-117. Abstract This brief history highlights one of the most hard-fought but little-explored labour wars in North American history, one that...
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Invoking Labour History to Win in West Virginia – A Strike Analysis

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March 14, 2018
Invoking Labour History to Win in West Virginia – A Strike Analysis

“A union movement in America will always be a scandal (because) the subversive thing about labor is not the strike, but the idea of solidarity.” – Tom Geoghegan in Which Side Are You On? The nine-day West Virginia teachers’ strike that ended on March 7, 2018, revealed how workers can and will invoke labour history to...
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Proletarian Cromwell – A Labour History Essay

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May 17, 2017
Proletarian Cromwell – A Labour History Essay

Canadian labour historians have often cited politically inspired poems to portray first-hand the misery of the workplace, the poverty experienced by working families, the inequality perpetrated by the capitalist system, or to describe the agency of the working class in seeking justice against those who exercise hegemony over them. But few have been inclined...
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Hail a Canadian Labour Hero – A Book Review

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April 5, 2017
Hail a Canadian Labour Hero – A Book Review

Jon Bartlett and Rika Reubsaat, Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932-33 Miners’ Strike (Vancouver: New Star Books, 2016), 126 pp., $19 paper. Arthur “Slim” Evans has long been a notable figure in Canadian labour history, most often associated with the famed On-to-Ottawa Trek that he led in 1935 in an effort to improve conditions in the...
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Sandon – A Podcast About a BC Ghost Town

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December 17, 2016
Sandon – A Podcast About a BC Ghost Town

There isn’t much to see when you visit the former mining metropolis of Sandon, BC, just east of New Denver in the Slocan Valley. But you can almost smell the labour history as you stroll through what’s left of BC’s version of Deadwood, the US mining town that was so authentically depicted on TV...
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The Reddest Rose – A Partial Biography

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September 27, 2016
The Reddest Rose – A Partial Biography

Harvey Murphy is not a name that echoes loudly throughout the annals of 20th-century British Columbia labour history. In fact, the tireless trade union organizer, negotiator, and active Communist Party of Canada (CPC) bureaucrat has almost disappeared from most histories of the Canadian labour movement. A brief study at the very active life of the...
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Trail BC’s Fighting Ladies’ Auxiliary – A Podcast

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August 12, 2016
Trail BC’s Fighting Ladies’ Auxiliary – A Podcast

  In June 1944, about thirty women in Trail, BC, were chartered as Ladies Auxiliary Local 131. By 1946 there were 25 such auxiliaries across Canada. Back then, Steel Local 480 was a Mine-Mill union fighting for certification against a company union set up decades earlier by Cominco president S.G. Blaylock. Local 480 was...
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Books