Graduate Theses & Dissertations

That '70s Strike Support
This thesis examines three Ontario strikes during the 1970s: the Dare Foods, Ltd. strike in Kitchener, Ontario, 1972-1973; the Puretex Knitting Company strike in Toronto, 1978-1979; and the Inco strike in Sudbury, 1978-1979. These strikes highlight gender issues in the Canadian food production, textile, and mining industries in the 1970s, industries that were all markedly different in size and purpose, yet equally oppressive towards working women for different reasons, largely based on the regional character of each city the strikes took place in. In Kitchener, the women’s movement worked closely with the Dare union local and the left to mobilize against the company and grappled with the difficulties of framing women’s inequality within the labour movement. At Puretex, immigrant women workers were subject to electronic surveillance as a form of worker control, and a left-wing nationalist union needed to look outside of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) for allies in strike action. At Inco, an autonomous women’s group formed separate from the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) but struggled to overcome a negative perception of women’s labour activism in Sudbury. Ultimately, these strikes garnered a wide variety of support from working women and feminist groups, who often built or had pre-existing relationships with Canadian and American trade unions as well as the left-wing milieu of the 1970s. This thesis uses these strikes as case studies to argue that despite the complicated and at times uneven relationship between feminism, labour, and the left in the 1970s, feminist and left-wing strike support was crucial in sustaining rank-and-file militancy throughout the decade and stimulating activist careers for women in the feminist movement, in unions, and on the left. Author Keywords: 1970s, feminism, labour, left-wing, militancy, working-class
Struggling for a New Left
This study examines the emergence of the New Left organization, The New Tendency, in Windsor, Ontario during the 1970s. The New Tendency, which developed in a number of Ontario cities, represents one articulation of the Canadian New Left’s turn towards working-class organizing in the early 1970s after the student movement’s dissolution in the late 1960s. Influenced by dissident Marxist theorists associated with the Johnson-Forest Tendency and Italian workerism, The New Tendency sought to create alternative forms of working-class organizing that existed outside of, and often in direct opposition to, both the mainstream labour movement and Old Left organizations such as the Communist Party and the New Democratic Party. After examining the roots of the organization and the important legacies of class struggle in Windsor, the thesis explores how The New Tendency contributed to working-class self activity on the shop-floor of Windsor’s auto factories and in the community more broadly. However, this New Left mobilization was also hampered by inner-group sectarianism and a rapidly changing economic context. Ultimately, the challenges that coincided with The New Tendency’s emergence in the 1970s led to its dissolution. While short-lived, the history of the Windsor branch of The New Tendency helps provide valuable insight into the trajectory of the Canadian New Left and working-class struggle in the 1970s, highlighting experiences that have too often been overlooked in previous scholarship. Furthermore, this study illustrates the transnational development of New Left ideas and organizations by examining The New Tendency’s close connections to comparable groups active in manufacturing cities in Europe and the United States; such international relationships and exchanges were vital to the evolution of autonomist Marxism around the world. Finally, the Windsor New Tendency’s history is an important case study of the New Left’s attempts to reckon with a transitional moment for global capitalism, as the group’s experiences coincided with the Fordist accord’s death throes and the beginning of neoliberalism’s ascendancy. Author Keywords: Autonomist Marxism, Canada, Labour, New Left, Rank-and-file Organizing, Working-Class History
Class Struggle, The Communist Party, and the Popular Front in Canada, 1935-1939
This thesis is an attempt to provide a critical history of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) during the Popular Front era, roughly November 1935 to September 1939. This study contains a detailed examination of the various stages of the Popular Front in Canada (the united front, the height of the Popular Front, and the Democratic front), with special attention paid to the CPC’s activities in: the youth movement, the labour movement, the unemployed movement, the peace movement, and the anti-fascist movement. From this I conclude that the implementation of the Popular Front, the transformation of the CPC from a revolutionary party to a bourgeois party, was not a smooth process, but instead was punctuated and resisted by elements within the CPC in what can be considered a process of class struggle internal to the CPC itself. Author Keywords: Canada, communism, Great Depression, labour, Popular Front, socialism
Dissent Denied
In June 2010, the Group of Twenty (G20) met in Toronto, Ontario. The summit drew large-scale protests that culminated in mass arrests and extensive civil rights violations. Given these outcomes, this thesis examines the security spectacle of the summit to assess the evolving state of public order policing and social movement protest in Canadian law and politics. Connecting the securitization of the summit to the politics of neoliberalism, I argue these overlapping forces helped foment the criminalization of political dissent during the 2010 Toronto G20. Author Keywords: mega-events, neoliberalism, public order policing, securitization, security, social movements
Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Rise of State Schooling in British Columbia, 1849-1900
This dissertation examines the historical relationship between settler colonialism, capitalism, and the rise of state schooling in what is now known as British Columbia between 1849 and 1900. It aims to “unsettle” conventional views of Canadian schooling history by bringing accounts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous education into one analytical frame, and it shows how the state used different forms of schooling for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children—company, common, public, mission, day, boarding, and industrial schools—to assist colonial-capitalist social formation in the Pacific Northwest. In combining interdisciplinary insights from Indigenous studies, historical materialism, political economy, and critical pedagogy, the dissertation highlights the ways in which state-supported schooling facilitated capitalist accumulation by colonial dispossession. The central argument of the dissertation is that between 1849 and 1900, colonial, provincial, and federal governments strategically took on greater responsibility for schooling as a way of legitimizing the state and supporting the emergence of a capitalist settler society. Author Keywords: Capitalism, Education, Indian Residential Schools, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Violence
Union Organizing in the Canadian Banking Industry, 1940–1980
In this dissertation, I examine union organizing in the Canadian banking industry between 1940 and 1980. By demonstrating that bank workers consistently sought to unionize throughout the twentieth century, I challenge claims that bank employees and other private sector white-collar workers have low rates of unionization because they are not interested in unions or suffer from false consciousness. This research also suggests, however, that many bank workers saw themselves as different from blue-collar industrial workers; the lived reality of bank work as precarious, poorly paid, and rife with gender inequality intersected with ideas about professionalism and aspirations of advancing up the career ladder. Banks, unions, and workers drew on these ideas and experiences in their arguments for and against unionization. I also look at why previous organizing efforts did not establish a strong union presence in the banking industry. Most of these attempts failed, I argue, due to several key issues, including the banks’ anti-union activity, federal and provincial labour board decisions, and labour movement disputes over ideology, jurisdiction, and strategy. The banks consistently opposed unionization and used a variety of tactics to thwart union organizing, both overtly and covertly. The state, in the form of labour legislation and labour boards, provided unions and workers with some means by which to compel the banks to recognize unions, negotiate contracts, and deal with employee grievances; however, state action and inaction more often worked to undermine union organizing. The attitudes and strategies of high-ranking labour movement officials also shaped the outcome of union drives in the banks. Between 1940 and 1980, the mostly male labour leadership repeatedly used top-down organizing strategies and appointed male organizers with no experience of bank work to oversee union drives in a sector with an increasingly feminized workforce; labour leaders’ inability or unwillingness to reflect on this approach and to support grassroots campaigns and alternative strategies hindered bank union organizing. I thus highlight the intersection of gender and class and reveal how these factors have historically shaped the labour movement bureaucracy, union organizing, and the relationship between labour and the state. Author Keywords: banks, gender, labour bureaucracy, trade unions, union organizing, white-collar workers
Class Struggle and Solidarity in Neo-Liberal Times
The lengthy and raucous 1986 Gainers meatpacking plant strike in Edmonton, Alberta was one of the most important events in recent Alberta labour history. In the midst of the economic crisis of the 1980s and the rise of neo-liberal ideas, the strike marked a backlash by both the labour movement and ordinary citizens against attacks on workers and unions. Characterized by widely covered picket line violence, repressive police and court actions, and government unresponsiveness, the strike generated massive solidarity within and beyond the labour movement. This solidarity originated in a rejection of the neo-liberal new reality of Alberta typified by high unemployment, anti-union laws and practices, and lack of government welfare support, and it generated a provincial change the law campaign, national boycott, and rising class consciousness. The working class mobilization during the Gainers strike was a watershed for the Alberta labour movement. Author Keywords: Alberta Federation of Labour, Gainers strike, neo-liberalism, solidarity, working class
Reshaping the Terms of Debate
The Reagan era instigated a fundamentally conservative shift in the political, economic and discursive climate of America. As Ronald Reagan is a highly divisive symbolic figure in American politics, much of the historiography of his presidency has been characterized by polarized interpretations. Over the past decade there has been a noticeable shift towards more favourable and triumphal interpretations of the Reagan era. This thesis seeks to analyze the ideological shifts that have characterized the trajectory of historical writings on the Reagan era. Through employing a careful textual analysis of key works by Michael Schaller, Gil Troy and Sean Wilentz, amongst others, this study demonstrates how historiography serves us less as an objective means of understanding the past and more so as an expanding collective historical artifact that illustrates the changing currents of intellectual and political discourse. In doing so, the notion of scholarly objectivity itself is thrown into question. Author Keywords: Cold War, Conservatism, Historiography, Neoliberalism, Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan
Not In Their Classrooms
This dissertation examines the rise of teachers' union militancy in Ontario through a case study of the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario (FWTAO) and the Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation (OPSTF) between 1970 and their amalgamation into the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) in 1998. It uses the archival records of the two unions, relevant legislation, media records, personal collections, and interviews to explore how these two professional organizations became politicized, militant labour unions able to engage with the state and the trustees of boards of education. The Introduction situates the public education project within nation building in a capitalist-democracy and outlines the theoretical influences informing the dissertation. Chapter 1 follows the two unions during the 1970s as they developed into labour unions. The 18 December 1973 one-day, province-wide, political strike achieved the right to strike and established a unique labour regime for teachers. Chapter 2 examines the advance of the unions during the 1980s as they developed labour militancy. At the same time, neo-liberalism was ascending and the post-war social accord was coming to an end resulting in attacks on unions and cuts to social programs. How gender affected the elementary teachers' unions between 1970 and 1990 is developed in Chapter 3. The FWTAO campaigned for women's equality on a platform of liberal feminism while the OPSTF followed a unionist path in an effort to convince women teachers to join them. Chapter 4 scrutinizes the effect of neo-liberal ideology on education during the 1990-1995 Bob Rae NDP government and the impact the Social Contract had on teachers. The development of teacher resistance to the neo-liberal state is explored in Chapter 5. Alliances with other labour organizations during the Days of Action campaign culminated in a two-week, province-wide strike in the fall of 1997 against the Mike Harris Conservative government. The Conclusion brings together the findings of the dissertation and suggests future research exploring teacher union strength in the Canadian context. Author Keywords: Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario; FWTAO, neoliberalism, Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation; OPSTF, teachers' strikes, teachers' unions, women's union
Sponsoring Private Schools in an Informal Empire
This thesis analyzes the history of the Inter-American Schools Service (IASS), which ran under the auspices of the American Council on Education beginning in 1943. The program was defined as a private initiative aimed at spreading U.S. democratic values throughout the hemisphere for the mutual benefit of both the United States and Latin America. Yet the program was ultimately one facet of the United States' informal imperialism and a tool for the consolidation of U.S. hegemony, which came at the expense of Latin Americans' pursuit of the very values the IASS was said to facilitate. This theme is explored through a general discussion of cultural policy in the twentieth-century United States as well as the specific history of the IASS program and its relation to U.S. policies of intervention in Guatemala and Bolivia. Author Keywords: American Schools, Cultural Imperialism, Guatemala, Hegemony, Informal Imperialism, Inter-American Schools Service

Search Our Digital Collections

Query

Enabled Filters

  • (-) ≠ Reid
  • (-) ≠ Master of Science
  • (-) ≠ Furgal
  • (-) = Palmer

Filter Results

Date

2009 - 2029
(decades)
Specify date range: Show
Format: 2019/12/08

Author Last Name

Last Name (Other)

Show more

Subject (Topic)