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Books: Recalling when BC’s oppressed noticed their Solidarity compromised


Early Eighties resistance to province’s draconian legal guidelines that led to requires a common strike was a fancy and delicate united entrance

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Solidarity: Canada’s Unknown Revolution of 1983

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David Spaner | Ronsdale Press (Vancouver, 2021)

$24.95 | 240pp.


From July by means of November of 1983, activists in B.C. mounted a fierce resistance motion, often called Solidarity, to a draconian set of recent legal guidelines introduced in by the provincial authorities, legal guidelines that launched a concerted assault on staff, girls, the poor and the marginalized.

“Revolution,” the outdated saying goes, “is the festival of the oppressed.”

For months in 1983, the pageant appeared to be in full swing as organized labour, feminist teams, anti-poverty teams, human rights advocates, gays and lesbians and allies marched, occupied workplaces, petitioned, picketed and sang. David Spaner’s Solidarity: Canada’s Unknown Revolution of 1983 tells their story.

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1000’s of B.C. residents (together with, full disclosure, this reviewer) attended raucous mass conferences and poured into the streets, giving a brand new technology of activists a style of what solidarity felt like. Because the momentum of resistance grew, voices had been heard calling for a common strike.

However the resistance was a fancy and delicate united entrance. It included comparatively conservative management in lots of commerce unions and within the labour umbrella group the B.C. Federation of Labour. Additionally within the ranks, extra radicalized membership and in some instances management in a number of unions, and a broad array of common organizations just like the feminist teams in Ladies In opposition to the Funds. These teams — the Solidarity Coalition — had been linked in an uneasy partnership with the extra conservative and B.C. Fed-funded Operation Solidarity.

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Victory appeared potential, however then the management of the B.C. Fed, alarmed at that prospect of basic change, despatched the Worldwide Woodworkers of America’s chief Jack Munro to chop take care of Premier Invoice Bennett’s Social Credit score authorities. In commerce for concessions on a number of anti-union parts in its bundle, the federal government obtained an settlement from the Fed, which had supplied a lot of the funding and infrastructure for Solidarity, to finish additional resistance.

The pageant was over, and the circus was leaving city.

Spaner was a participant within the occasions of 1983, and his perspective is unapologetically pro-Solidarity. His completely researched e-book consists of intensive interviews with many others who led and took part in Solidarity. Some readers will criticize Spaner’s resolution to not embrace interviews with enterprise and authorities figures, however he makes no excuses for his resolution to make this e-book basically an oral historical past of the Solidarity 1983 occasions, informed within the voices of the activist opposition. His e-book rescues an essential second in B.C. historical past from mainstream amnesia and does so in fashionable, efficient prose.

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Extremely advisable.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes your suggestions and story suggestions at tos65@telus.net


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