This comprehensive history of the left in British Columbia from the late nineteenth century to the present explores the successes and failures of individuals and organizations striving to make a better world. Nineteenth-century coal miners and carpenters; Wobblies, Single Taxers, and communists; worker militancy in two world wars; the New Democratic Party; the Squamish Five; the Solidarity movement of 1983; and the Occupy movement of 2011 are all part of an historical provincial left that is notable for its breadth and dynamism. Moreover, the political and union initiatives of the traditional left are seen in conjunction with broader movements, including the struggles for women’s suffrage and equality, human rights, Canadian nationalist visions, racial equality, and environmental health. Ginger Goodwin and Dave Barrett (as well as WAC Bennett and Gordon Campbell) are present, as are reformist liberals and green activists. Drawing on extensive published scholarship and primary newspaper sources, Dr. Hak’s thorough examination of the British Columbia experience offers an historical context for understanding the contemporary left and a framework for considering future alternatives.
About the author
Gordon Hak has published two books on the history of the forest industry. Unions and left-wing politics were important in these studies, and expanding the focus resulted in The Left in British Columbia. Gordon has taught for many years at Vancouver Island University, formerly Malaspina University-College, in Nanaimo. He lives with his wife Joanne in Victoria.
“Here is an indispensable book — a mature, well-researched, subtly theorized, and clearly written guide to the past and present of British Columbia’s left.” —BC Studies
“A superbly researched look at the left's colourful local past, and how it still resonates in the here and now.“ —Times Colonist