About OOTOUB and the Winnipeg General Strike Stories
Lately this blog has started to include some fiction as well as book reviews and paintings. This is the outcome of years of wrestling with the subject, “Bloody Saturday” of the Winnipeg general strike, and its significance in my life both politically and personally.
Reading the blog you will figure out quickly that I consider myself a Marxist. I’ve organised unions and solidarity campaigns, walked picket lines and sold newspapers at rallies, conventions, Demos and strike actions. As well, I’ve made an attempt to educate myself.
But my grandfather was a strike breaker during one of the most intense periods of class struggle in Canadian history. He joined the R.N.W.M.P. at the age of 18, and was sent to Winnipeg to ride down the workers and soldiers protesting on June 21, 1919. Before his basic training was even finished. That experience would shape the man he would become and in turn echo through my father into myself.
The fiction I’ve started to write is the result of the intersection of that contradiction between what he was a part of and what it is that I believe in. He died well before I was born but in an attempt to contextualise my present I am driven to look into the past. I never knew the man, yet the choices he made have had a massive significance in my life.
My interest is the result of a collision of the personal and political. It is expressed from a class perspective. Historical fiction in this case is means to both express that perspective in relation to “Bloody Saturday,” and it is also an attempt to get to know my grandfather by trying to put him into a human context.
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Tag Archives: Western Canadian History
A while back I made a few posts of some small format acrylic paintings. There were two more in that series, or “fit” really, of painting. I hesitate with the word series because these two paintings thematically belong in series … Continue reading
I gave it five stars on Goodreads because I am glad to have read it. The sketch it provides of a typical Mounted Policeman’s life during a particularly transformative period in the North West and Canada is still useful if … Continue reading
Any story set during the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is going to wind up advancing a perspective on those events. One of the characters which embodies the authors sympathies is fictional Mayor Charles Ross. Over the course of the story he seeks to balance between the workers and the capitalists of the infamous “Committee of One Thousand.” To paraphrase the Marxist Trotsky, however, and as the experience of the Mayor’s character attests, the danger of seeking to walk down the middle of the road is that you are likely to get hit by traffic going in both directions. Continue reading
The Alberta Legislature was completed between 1907 and 1915. In 1905 Alberta became a Province of Canada and the Legislature building sits a stones throw from the sight of Fort Edmonton, a key Hudson Bay trading post that had occupied … Continue reading
We happened upon this church when driving south from Batoche along highway 225, where it intersects highway 312 just east of the bridge, going from pavement to gravel. Interestingly, the bridge marks the spot where Gabriel Dumont operated a ferry … Continue reading
I believe Canada would look a lot more like South Africa had the numbers been different back at the end of the 19th century.
Flipping through the Illustrated War News from April 18, 1885, I came across this interesting image.