For a Better World

The Winnipeg General Strike and the Workers’ Revolt

James Naylor (Editor), Rhonda L. Hinther (Editor), Jim Mochoruk (Editor)

Canada’s largest and most famous example of class conflict, the Winnipeg General Strike, redefined local, national, and international conversations around class, politics, region, ethnicity, and gender. The Strike’s centenary occasioned a re-examination of this critical moment in working-class history, when 300 social justice activists, organizers, scholars, trade unionists, artists, and labour rights advocates gathered in Winnipeg in 2019. Probing the meaning of the General Strike in new and innovative ways, For a Better World includes a selection of contributions from the conference as well as others’ explorations of the character of class confrontation in the aftermath of the First World War.

Editors Naylor, Hinther, and Mochoruk depict key events of 1919, detailing the dynamic and complex historiography of the Strike and the larger Workers’ Revolt that reverberated around the world and shaped the century following the war. The chapters delve into intersections of race, class, and gender. Settler colonialism’s impact on the conflict is also examined. Placing the struggle in Winnipeg within a broader national and international context, several contributors explore parallel strikes in Edmonton, Crowsnest Pass, Montreal, Kansas City, and Seattle.

For a Better World interrogates types of commemoration and remembrance, current legacies of the Strike, and its ongoing influence. Together, the essays in this collection demonstrate that the Winnipeg General Strike continues to mobilize—revealing our radical past and helping us to think imaginatively about collective action in the future.

About the Authors

James Naylor is the author of The Fate of Labour Socialism: The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Dream of a Working-Class Future (2016). He is a professor of history at Brandon University.

Rhonda L. Hinther is an Associate Professor of History at Brandon University and an active public historian. Prior to joining BU, Hinther served as Director of Research and Curation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and, before that, as Curator of Western Canadian History at the Canadian Museum of History. Her most recent book, a 2019 Wilson Prize Finalist, is entitled Perogies and Politics: Canada’s Ukrainian Left, 1891-1991 (2018).

Jim Mochoruk has taught at the University of North Dakota since 1993. His books include The People’s Co-op: The Life and Times of a North End Institution (2000) and “Formidable Heritage:” Manitoba’s North and the Cost of Development, 1870 to 1930 (2004). Originally from Winnipeg, Jim is currently working on a book-length study concerning the social and economic history of Winnipeg—and its many real and imagined communities—in the inter-war period.

Other contributors: Mikhail Bjorge, David Frank, Gregory S. Kealey, Tom Langford, Benoit Marsan, Adele Perry, Sharon Reilly, Myer Siemiatycki, Jeff Stilley, David Thompson, Henry Trachtenberg, Cal Winslow, Joel Wolfe

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