CONTENTS (So far)
1911 Anarchist Commune
Coops and Communes
IWW and Alternative Unions
Resistence to War
The Comox Project (See side bar listing)
THE ZOOT SUIT CULTURE of the 1940's
The Zoot Suit sub-culture existed in Vancouver in the 1940's. We even had our very own zoot suit riot in 1944, but more on that later...
The culture originated in the USA in the 1930's, based on the styles and musical preferences of African-American and Mexican-American youth. Jewish and Italian kids soon got involved as well. They all dug swing music, spent their time jivin', drinking beer, smoking marijuana, just hangin' out and having a good time. They didn't take shit either, many of them packed a blade. They had lots of attitude. All this put them, not to mention their ethnicity, in immediate conflict with the uptight, racist, puritan Anglo world. What really PO'd the squares was the way they dressed. Just for a Zooter hipcat or chick to sashay down the drag was to give the middle finger to the square world. The zoot suit was a highly exaggerated, detourned version of square dress togs. "This is what I think of your white-ass respectablility!" it screamed.
I am sure that when Ginsburg and Kerouac wrote about hipsters back in the 1940's they had Zooters in mind. For these were the cool, hip young of their day. These were the ones who sneered at the anally retentive square world and lived for experience, "lived for kicks."
Even more outrageous to decent misogynist bourgeois respectability were some of the Mexican-American or Pachuca women. Dressed in a gender-bending adaptation of the male zoot suit, these original Riot Girrls formed gangs with names like the Slick Chicks and the Black Widows.
Given the brutal racism of the era, it didn't take long for the newspapers to whip up a shit-storm of hate and fear about Zooters and Pachucos. With the US entry into WW2 came animosity between the young, mostly Anglo, military men and the Zoot Suits. Many of the military stationed in Los Angeles were from the South and one can imagine their opinion of Blacks and Mexicans, especially "uppity" ones. The Zooters, in turn were not particularly keen on the war, since they had enough trouble dealing with the home-grown racists, without having to go overseas to fight them. "Zoot Suit riots" broke out all across North America as service men hunted down and assualted Zooters, smashing up their hang-outs and stripping them of their distinctive garb. See
In Montreal Zooters were mainly French and Italian, and most likely some Jews. The sailors stationed nearby were mostly Anglo and remember at this time "the English" universally regarded French Canadians with utter contempt. Some Zooters sneered at the military guys, calling them suckers for joining up. It should be noted that wars have never been popular among Francophone Quebecois, one of their most endearing qualities. In June 1944 sailors went on a rampage through Montreal and Verdun, beating and stripping Zooters, (both men and women) and smashing up night clubs. And though it wasn't entirely a French-English brawl, it soon became one, as the Francophone press sympthized with the victimized Zoots and the Anglo press egged-on the military bully boys. See http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/index_e.aspx?DetailID=227
In Vancouver, Zoot Suiters were mostly Italians and once again, the military were mainly Anglo. There is an element of class conflict too, since the Zooters lived in the very poor Strathcona District. They were also believed to be draft-evaders. It seems that a drunk sailor fell down some stairs and blamed his injuries on a Zooter. From July 30 to August 7 1944, sailors attacked Zooters, sometimes with large crowds watching who viewed the thuggery as a form of entertainment. Arrested sailors were released, but Zooters were given six months hard labour, a form of justice trade unionists, First Nations people and environmentists have come to know and love so well. See http://fearlesscity.ca/aggregator?page=10
I believe that in our neck of the woods, the Vancouver Zooters influenced the "greasers" of the 1950's. It should be noted that greaser is a 1960's term, we always thought of ourselves as "Hoods", and our young world was divided between us, the cool ones and the squares or sucks. (for suck holes) At any rate, when I was 13 or 14, back in the mid-late 1950's drape pants and ducks ass hairdos were the thing. Cats and chicks still jived, but to rock a billy or Black R 'n B, not swing. There was still jive talk. All of this came from those pioneers of hipness, the Zoot Suiters. Many of us Hoods morphed into Beats and Hippies as we got older and thus the counter culture evolved.
See story also at
Albert Leon and the 1911 Anarchist Commune at Nootka
These two stories came from the Colonist, 1911-10-10, p. 1 and 1911-12-08, p. 3
1.After a search across the continent and up into British Columbia, the secret service operatives today captured Albert Leon, a Russian Jew and political refugee, as he was about to leave New York for South America. Leon is alleged to be at the head of an extensive counterfeiting gang which has flooded the Pacific Coast with spurious $10 bills during the last year.
Photo of Albert Leon
Leon arrived in North America about 3 years ago. He took up a section of land near Los Angeles, California, where it is believed the 1st spurious notes were made. In Dec, 1910, he went to Nootka, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and it was charged that most of his counterfeit work came out of his plant there...
Vancouver Island has lost from among its residents of many diverse nationalities a genius whose ability to manufacture spurious currency has successfully been pitted against the shrewdest of American bank cashiers. In his 2-story house on land he had but a few months ago secured at Nootka. Leon has been busily engaged turning out the artistic counterfeits which have been circulated far and wide throughout the United States. Recently counterfeit bills have been in circulation on the Canadian side of the line, and it is possible that Leon did not confine his attention wholly to the currency of Uncle Sam...
Swanson, another one of the suspects under arrest at Chicago, was earlier in the year also at Nootka, staying some time, but he left evidently with a quantity of the spurious bills which it was his work to dispose of throughout the United States.
Leon was a man involved in old world criminal work, and one of the smoothest of any known for years. His work would indicate that he was a past master in the art of photography. Leon is described as a man of about 27, 5' 6" and prepossessing looking. He is an accomplished linguist, a good musician and well educated. At Nootka he kept much to himself and had little to do with any of the residents of that lonely spot. Oct 11, 7 - photograph: Albert Leon
2. Counterfeiters Paraphernalia - Mr W A Glover, of United States Secret service, has returned from Nootka bringing the complete counterfeiting outfit which Albert Leon, arrested recently at New York, left in the woods near the Indian settlement on Vancouver Island. Mr Glover said on his return that at Nootka he found 4 Russians who told him of plans by Leon to establish a colony of Russian anarchists on the Vancouver Island coast. Leon was 29, highly educated in a Russian university, and compelled to flee to America because of political troubles there. Among his possessions was found a chart and with this Glover located the counterfeiting outfit where it had been cached.
Glover was sent to Nootka under instructions from Captain Thomas B Foster, of the United States secret service, who had received a tip from the E, and after 11 days' search discovered not only the counterfeiting outfit, but also the inner details of the Russian's remarkable career.
Glover left on the island coast 4 Russians, fellow-countrymen of Leon, who alone remain of the anarchistic colony which Leon proposed to organize with himself as head. From information gathered, Glover found that the extensive circulation of counterfeit notes was to obtain funds to finance the project. At the present time 10 subjects of the Czar are on their way to the colony to form the nucleus of the settlement, having been summoned before Leon's arrest in the E, and still in ignorance of the fact that he is in custody.
They told Glover before his return that John Wilson had been made chief, now that Leon was gone, and they also assured him that no more counterfeiting would be done by them. All of them were highly informed, plentifully supplied with money and writers of revolutionary propaganda. They declared that they had fled from Russia to escape prison or exile to Siberia, and that Leon had preceded them.
Back from the village in the woods Leon built his cabin, dug a little garden and cleared a small tract. In the upper story he constructed a darkroom for his photographic processes, which was pronounced by the secret service men to be almost perfect. When he left the island for the last time, he took all his outfit presses and chemicals, and concealed them in a ravine, marking the place by means of a chart. It was only upon obtaining this chart that the government was able to find them again, and thereby cinch its case against him.
Leon's method of manufacture was by photography, and Engineeraving. (??? Eds) Among his effects were found 50 or more books, highly scientific, showing a trained mind. Photographers who examined his outfit in the federal building Seattle, declared that he was only an amateur, but very highly skilled.
After making a perfect copy of a treasury note by means of the lens, Leon transferred it to metal, Engineeraving his dies. In the same manner the treasury seal was copied, as well as charter numbers to be stamped on the notes. Then, by a printing press which he invented, he stamped the money on a fine paper, pasted the 2 backs together, strewing silk threads between. The monastery product was so perfect that it could not be distinguished from the real notes except by experts.
Inventory of the outfit made by the several service men included more than 1,000 pieces, ranging from a complete set of drawing instruments to a hydrometer, chemicals of every description, camera, dark cloth, delicate scales and dies.
The buried outfit, together with a trunk of personal effects of Leon which was left with Canadian officials, was found only after a day's search within a radius of 100' from the proper spot, showing the care with which it was hidden. Had not Glover pushed his stick into a bundle of leaves at the foot of an immense tree, and struck the trunk, it would probably never had been located.
Because of the accident to Tees, Glover was unable to get away from Nootka I until the revenue cutter Tahoma had been ordered in to pick him up at Nootka village.
With the transportation of the outfit East to be used as evidence in Leon's trial, the connection of the Northwest with Leon's extensive operations will cease. His trial will be one of the sensational ones of the winter in New York.
While researching the New York Times for “Albert Leon”, I found their story of his arrest, which agrees in particulars with the Colonist. The only additional information being that Leon was a vegetarian and an artist. Phony $10 bills were passed by his group at a number of banks throughout the US. His two assistants had English names, not Russian. Was the Russian anarchist colony a front for a counterfeiting ring or was it for real? The illegal wing of the anarchist movement did engage in counterfeiting at the turn of the century, so the claim that the money was to go to the commune may well be true.
The brief article that acccompanied the Colonist photo of Leon, Swanson and several other members of the group were said to have revealed the counterfeiting plot after having undergone the "Third Degree". In other words, the information was extracted through beatings and torture. "Third Degree" is allegedly in reference to William Burns (1860-1932) , known as "Third Degree Burns", who in that era was director of the Bureau of Investigation, predecessor of the FBI.
A clipping from the Los Angeles Times states that Leon had lived in the "Baltic Provincers" of Russia and had counterfeited money there to pay for arms for the insurrection – presumably the 1905 revolt. On December 12, 1912 Leon was sentenced in Chicago to 10 years in Levenworth. There was also a bank robbery that occurred in Hazelton BC a year later. The robbers were killed in a shoot-out and were described as “Russian revolutionaries.” I have not yet been able to verify this story. But if it is true as I report, were they connected with Albert Leon's group?
LG Jan 13 09
According to " Shoot-out at New Hazelton" in PIONEER DAYS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA Vol 3, on November 13, 1913, four Russians robbed the Union Bank in that town and got away with $18,000. This was quite a sum in those days, perhaps equal to $400,000 in today's money. Then on April 3 of the following year, the group came back with three extra members and attempted to hold up the bank again. A gun battle broke out with some of the local people and three of the bandits were shot dead. Three were captured and one escaped, never to be seen again. The three were later given 20 year sentences and at the end of their terns were deported to the USSR. Only two names were mentioned however. These were Zarackmet Kalaeff and Boris Manukoff, both young men by their photos.
Was there any relationship between Leon's group and these bank robbers, since only two years separate the dismanling of the counterfeiting group and the bank job? Travel British Columbia's web site also mentions Hazelton's "mysterious anarchist bank robbers", but this seems to relate to another individual, one Oliver Spence. But this is a good story in itself...
Powell Madeira, in an article for the Dawson Creek Inquirer wrote;
Former anarchist bank robber Oliver Spence has returned to Hazelton,
after a decade of living reclusively in his riverboat on the Skeena River.
Readers will undoubtedly recall how Spence was once the darling of the
town after a series of bank robberies in which he stole money from local
officials and gave to the needy. After managing to elude capture for
three months by hiding in the houses of some woodland supporters,
he was finally caught while trying to bathe in the Bulkley River. After
one week in prison, he emerged a changed man. No longer an anarchist,
he spent the next five days building his own riverboat. Upon completion,
he left Hazelton behind and lived on the Skeena River in complete isolation.
No reasons were ever given for his sudden change.
Spence is now living in a hastily-constructed mansion on Cunningham
Road. Visitors say he has dyed his golden locks purple, and eats only
strawberries covered in syrup. When asked about his plans, Spence
remains ambivalent, but says he is interested in running for mayor.
Old John (This article describes the life of one of Denman Island's squatters.)
By Cindy Critchley (From The Flagstone, May 2009)
Some while ago, Jude Kirk suggested that I write a story about a special Denman island character who died long before I arrived on the island. The following account of "Old John's" life is based on stories told to me by Jude, and Betty Snell as well as on an article written by Doras Kirk and published in the October 31, 1980 issue of the Comox District Free Press, and loaned to me by John Kirk.
John Carlson was born in Moss, Norway in July 1888. He told Doras Kirk: "We were very poor... Mother would often send me down to the waterfront to shoot seagulls for the pot." In his early teens he was sent to work, in return for room and board, on an uncle's farm in Michigan. A quarrel led to John beating up another labourer, and hopping a freight train to Vancouver to escape the consequences.
Squatters Cabins Denman Island 1964
He worked at a variety of jobs. He was working on a bridge on the Prince Rupert road when scaffolding collapsed and he fell fifty feet to the rocks below. Lucky to survive, he suffered a broken leg that caused him to limp for the rest of his life. (He sometimes told people that all the good doctors had gone to WW I and left only a horse doctor, who did a poor job of setting his leg.) He was discharged from Prince Rupert hospital with no money and no home. He nobbled around on a driftwood crutch for two or three months, living off clams and sleeping anywhere he could find, often under an overturned boat on the beach. One rainy day as winter approached, a kindly logger invited him into his shack to dry off, and when he heard John's story he offered to share his home and food. Although his health improved, John couldn't find work because of his disability and eventually made his way back to Vancouver where some friends helped him.
Later, when faced with joining the army or logging in the Queen Charlotte Islands he returned to the north coast. He told a story about the doctor knocking the windows out of the logging camp bunkhouse to improve air circulation during the flu epidemic. Another job John tried was that of "coal passer" - feeding the fire that powered a big fishing boat.
During a stint logging in the Beaufort Mountains and admiring the view, the fish packers at Deep Bay inspired an idea. He saved and managed to buy a row boat, and built a shack to live in on Hornby Island. The owner had promised to sell him that acre, but when he died in the 1950's, John was left without a home. He cut up his cabin, rafted it to Denman and reassembled it at what is now known a "Betty's Beach", opposite Chrome Island. The land, owned by the federal government, was designated as an "Admiralty Reserve" because of the trees which were suitable for use as masts on naval vessels. Early in the century, the area became home to a small collection of fisherman. It became known as Princetown, named after one of the original residents:
John rowed to Bowser for his mail and became friend with the lightkeeper on Chrome Island. During an episode of severe abdominal pain, he rowed over to his friend for help and was taken to the hospital. John later told everyone that these were great doctors, because they had identified and treated gall bladder problems that had plagued him undiagnosed for 30 years.
John befriended all those who came by. He always offered coffee, boiled upon his wood stove and served with tinned milk (and occasionally rum) in mugs that had only been rinsed lightly. He enjoyed pinching the girl's bottoms, playing matchmaker, and dispensing advice - including some very unreliable methods of birth control. He did a great impersonation of sea lions, and loved to tell stories including ones about: "1910 in San Francisco was worse than the depression." "My niece in Sweden invited me to live with her in 1974, but I only lasted two weeks." "I shot a cougar here once." "Don't know why people say you can't row to Vancouver - it only takes two days!"
During his last years, he could usually be found sitting on the edge of his bed, from where he could see visitors coming down the hill through a window installed for him by Tom Babb. Without getting up, he could feed his wood heater from the stack of firewood that friends split and stacked nearby - Betty says he instructed her in how to split wood from that same vantage point. When friends would offer to pick up supplies for him he would always ask for a "jelly roll" which he always pronounced "yelly roll". Betty once asked John: "If you had a chance to live your life over what would you do differently?" He replied: "Well... I'd get married." He loved cats, and Jude Kirk remembers that one day she counted twenty-seven - on shelves, in the rafters, and absolutely everywhere in the little cabin. "Old John" died in St. Joseph Hospital on August 12, 1980, following a major stroke at home. He was buried in the graveyard and his home was burned to the ground
Betty caught the cats, finding homes for some and delivering others to the SPCA. There was one white cat that she sometimes saw but could never catch. One day, that cat delivered two kittens to her door, before running off. Betty kept those ones.
General Stuff on Hippies
1967 Time Magazine on Hippies
Hippies In BC
Hippies Invade Vancouver Video
Vancouver Media Attacks on Hippies
How Hippies Shaped Vancouver
Individual Hippies and 1960's Counter Culture People
1. XSTRO EAMON, VANCOUVER'S JOHHNY POT SEED
While looking at newspaper clippings to do with the Comox Project, I found a story about one Xstro Eamon being convicted for “trafficking” in marijuana. (Why this bizarre language – how about “selling”?) This was, in fact, the “Beatnik Guilty of Trafficking” article used to smear the peace marchers. I had heard about Xstro. He was almost a legend among the younger beatniks in Vancouver. It seems he had turned them all on and was instrumental in bringing weed to the city, though of course, it had been around for decades before.
His “straight” name was Bruce Hawkins and he was 26 years old at the time of his bust. (Sheesh, he'd be knockin' 70 now, if he is still alive, poor bugger!) He was convicted by a jury and going to be sent to have a psychiatric examination. (At that time if you were a Beat or a pothead you must be nuts!) Anyway, he had cojones, cause when the hammer-banger sauntered in, he refused to stand up like a good little boy. He did this during his preliminary hearing and was cited for “contempt of court.” (Is they anything more contemptible than a court?) Seems he was set up by a UBC student named Bruce Abbey, who introduced him to a narc pretending to be another UBC student. (And Abbey, if you ever read this you remain an asshole to this very moment.) He was also the crown witness and was asked by Hizzoner, (none other than J.O. Wilson) “What is a beatnik?” Now while Abbey was a stool pigeon, he wasn't stupid. He described a beatnik as “a sort of anarchist...and rebel...” Close enough!
What happened to Xstro, how long they threw him in the slammer for, I don't know. Back in those days he could have gotten 5 years. I certainly never encountered him or heard any mention of him in all the years (1967-86) I was involved in Vancouver's counter-culture. Sure would be great to know, for he was an early casualty in the Establishment's war on the counter-culture.
Peter Light writes:
“I could tell you more about Xstro.
He participated in the direct fore-runner of the Comox Project - the La Macaza Project - and had only preceded Christian Sivrel and me to Vancouver from Montreal by a few months, and then was arrested a few months after that, so he was only in the Vancouver scene for a short period of time. His reputation for turning everyone on is mythological, but fits his charisma and legend.
I was in the courtroom when he wouldn't stand - three times - until they took away his chair, so that he couldn't sit!!! The first time, he was given one month contempt. The second time, three months. the third time, six months.
He received seven years for importing - the minimum sentence possible - receiving maybe an eighth of powdered pot at a time in each airmail envelope sent by a friend in Mexico. He was busted by the combined efforts of the FBI, the RCMP and Interpol. At the time, he had never seen as much as an ounce of pot and didn't know how to roll a joint. He served four years - and a total of one year of that in the "hole" - for refusing to work in the prison system, for intervening when guards were abusing prisoners, etc. He was fearless, highly principled, calm and level, tall and gentle, matter-of-fact here- and-now truth speaker in the tradition of Allan Ginsberg. When he laughed, his whole face was lined with laughter. My mother liked him.
He got out of jail about 1968 or '69. I saw him then. He turned up unannounced at my parents home immediately after being released. Coincidentally, we were in town and there. He paid us a visit in Storm Bay in the mid 70's. He had been east visiting family and trying to track down his young wife and daughter; flew into LA from Mexico hallucinating from lack of food and sleep; met by cops at the airport, jailed, placed in cell down the row from Charlie Manson.
I never saw him again. Christian Sivrel, now Dorje, who still lives in Vancouver and is the little, slightly bearded guy in the photo you have of "how peaceniks really looked," reported that a mutual friend, Michele Jutra, phoned his parents many, many years ago and they had not heard from him, and presumed him dead. The last anyone heard, he was rumoured to be smuggling drugs - coffee across the Mexican border!”
2. P. X. Belinsky, Counter Culture Hero - Www.boppin.com/2007/09/i-got-this-at-classic-books-on-st.html
COOPS AND COMMUNES
* A cooperative community in 1954, Delta Coop in Argenta See: http://bcics.uvic.ca/galleria/bc.php?tourtype=1&story=24
* The New West Coop. Begun in 1967 and still going today, See:
* Watson Thomson And An Intentional Community of 1948
“Watson Thomson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, graduated from Glasgow University with an M.A. in 1923 and tutored in Jamaica for three years. One year after his return to Scotland, where he taught high school and teacher training, he travelled to Nigeria to become a Superintendent of Education. After this job, he returned to London and worked on publicity for the European Federation. During this time, 1931 - 1937, he was actively involved as the co-editor of the important English weekly, New Britain.
Thomson travelled across Canada in 1937, lecturing and founding the Workers' Education Association in Calgary. He soon became a staff member of the Alberta Extension and a regular commentator for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation until 1944. In 1941, he was appointed Director of Adult Education at the University of Manitoba, and three years later, held the same post for the Province of Saskatchewan.
During the War, Thomson was a strong spokesman for those suffering, and published a pamphlet urging Canada to open its doors to people persecuted by the Nazis. After the War, he became interested in the concept of "intentional community" and began organizing one, while writing Pioneer in Community. He lived on a co-op farm from 1948 - 1950 and also lectured at the University of British Columbia.
He continued teaching at UBC from 1950 to 1960, and was internationally known for the specialized English courses he devised for Engineering and Forestry students. In 1960, he retired from his position as Associate Professor because of illness and was awarded Associate Professor Emeritus in 1964. Still writing, he published Turning Into Tomorrow in 1966. He died in Vancouver, 1969" See http://www.stfx.ca/academic/adulted/historical_ homepage/Card 4 Worker's Education/watson_thomson.htm
Peter Light remembers;
My father met Watson in 1936; I spent vacation time
on the co-op, which was located at Fry's Corner, Cloverdale,
as a 5-7 year old; Watson's son was Colin Thomson, who
showed up unexpectedly at Comox [Comox Project, LG] for
the teach-in, and who was the spear-head in the purchase
of the property at Storm Bay.
IWW and ALTERNATIVE UNIONS
1. History of the Muckamuck restaurant labour dispute (SORWUC)
from: Labour/Le Travail, Fall, 1997 by Janet Mary Nicol
2. SORWUC - The “Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada” was a feminist union founded in 1972 on IWW principles. See;
RESISTENCE TO WAR
A. The Pre-history of the CONTEMPORARY Anti-War Movement
1.Sailors Desert from HMS Chameleon [Colonist, 1863-05-21]
2. Swedish Loggers Block Recruiting...[Colonist, 1916-02-16 ]
3. IWW Resistence to WW1
B. Anti -War Movement 1960s - on
A. The Pre-history of the CONTEMPORARY Anti-War Movement
1. Sailors Desert from HMS Chameleon
“May 18, in mid-day and before the eyes of everyone, a boat's crew, belonging to Her/His Majesty's Ship Chameleon, and numbering 13 men, took one of the ship's boats from alongside, and pulled out of the harbor. Chameleon fired upon them several times, but they paid no attention, and succeeded in getting clear off. After some consultation, 1st Lieutenant, went after the deserters in a plunger, leaving orders for 2 boats to follow him in a stated time. He, himself, landed on the opposite shore, and after waiting until dusk, kindled a fire. This done, the Lieutenant concealed himself in the bush. The ruse was successful. The deserters saw the fire and pulled towards it. When they came near enough to see that it was deserted, they seem to have suspected nothing, but landed at once, and proceeded to cook their suppers and make themselves as comfortable as possible. They passed a merry evening, and at length lay down to sleep. The other boats then advanced, in accordance with previously received orders, and being joined by the 1st Lieutenant, captured the whole of the deserters with perfect ease. Jun 18, 3 - Court Martial - Petty Officer's - 4 years penal and dismissed with disgrace; 11 seamen - 24 to 48 lashes each and 18 mo to 2 year imprisonment with hard labour in HM jail in England.” [Colonist, 1863-05-21, p. 3]
2. Swedish Loggers Block Recruiting...
“The majority of the nation of Sweden employed in the logging camps of the East Coast of Vancouver Island... are pro-German in their sympathy. So says Lt. R.J. Hurde, of the 102 Battalion CEF, who returned yesterday after having made a three week recruiting tour of the section...
At Minstrel Island, a Swede, backed up by an American of anarchistic turn of mind, threatened to throw the officers back into their launch when they landed... In the little community the ringleader's countrymen appeared to have the upper hand because of their numbers... In the neighborhood of Herriot Bay, ...a logger, who set out to join them [the recruiters, eds.] ... was met and upbraided by Swedes, and persisting in this determination to offer his services, was badly punished.
Lt, Hurde states that several other instances illustrating the feeling of the Swedes, were related to his party. In one case 4 Canadian loggers, having been worked to a high pitch of indignation by the anti-British agitation of the Swedes... paid a visit to [their] camp... A battle royal ensued to which the Canadians emerged the victors...
One of the recruits... [named Carmichael] had been pestered by a Swede because of what the latter termed his foolishness in going into the ranks... informing him that he would have to polish an officer's uniform and other tasks that were termed menial. Carmichael... lost it and the results were disastrous for the meddler.
Where [the Swedes] were in a majority they... had the other inhabitants bullied into submission... Canadian loggers were disinclined to leave their positions knowing that the vacancies would be taken by such men – individuals who were opposed to the Empire's cause and who scorned the suggestion of taking up arms for their adopted country.”
[Colonist, 1916-02-16, p. 5]
There are a host of problems with this story. First off, nowhere does it show sympathy for Germany among the Swedish loggers. What it does show is opposition to the war, and the politics behind this is hinted at in the reference to the American of anarchistic turn of mind, undoubtedly an IWW member, since the Wobs were trying to organize the woods at this very time. The example of recruit Carmichael shows oppostion to joining the army based upon anti-authoritarian principles, not pro-German feeling. Swedish loggers would have been sympathic to the IWW and the Socialist Party, both of which saw the war as a bosses war and of no interest to the working class. The media propaganda of the day was that anti-war sentiment was pro-Kaiser, the same way a generation later, opposition to atomic weapons was slandered as pro-Russian.
The Swedes are accused of bullying and violence, yet the only violence reported here is that of the pro-war faction. This tactic will also be repeated in the 1960's where the student demonstrators were deemed violent, yet the vigilantes, cops and troops who beat, tortured, or even killed them, were not. Resorting to hostility and violence when one is unable to rebut rational arguments, as the example of Carmichael suggests, is also not that uncommon and was probably the source of the other "Canadian loggers" anger.
The article also scape goats the Swedes, ignoring the fact that thousands of Anglo-Canadians were opposed to the war. Many of these fled to the hills when conscription came in 1917, the most famous of whom was Ginger Goodwin.
3. IWW Resistence To WW1 (From THE IWW IN CANADA...by
G. Jewell 1975, IWW General Administration /Chicago)
Repression was intensified and Canada a number of Wobblies were
jailed in 1918. The "Vancouver World" of August 5, 1918
outlined the "facts" in the case of Ernest Lindberg and George Thompson:
**Two IWW Prospects Caught in Police Trap-- Couple Declared
Active at Logging Camps Arrested and German Literature is Seized
... "Lot of Good Rebels Quitting, stated letter...Message in German
to Tenant of House is postmarked Glissen.**
Lindberg, accused of delivering speeches in a logging bunkhouse,
after which a number of workers quit their jobs and returned into
the city, was held under the Idlers Act. Thompson, **who is alleged
to be a firebrand and whose connection with the pro-German element
is said to be close**, was charged with having banned literature
in his possession, including copies of the Week, LaFollette's
Magazine (LaFollette: anti-war Progressive US Senator), and of
the Lumber Worker, as well as letters written in German.
The World went on to editorialize:
** For some time past the Dominion authorities have been alive to the
situation existing in the camps, and have been desirous that the ringleaders
of the movement which is responsible for draining of the logging centres,
should be found... By the arrest of Lindberg and Thompson, the authorities
believe they have succeeded in locating two main workers in the IWW
cause, although there are others who will be carefully watched and
apprehended in due course... The IWW is the short term used for
the Industrial Workers of the World, an American organization with
very extreme policies, Bolsheviki principles, and far reaching aims for
the betterment of the conditions of the masses. Like other large
organizations, it has two factions, the red flagging element generally
regarded as dangerous as inciters against the observance of law and order.
The organization is disowned by all but the lowest type of union labour men,
as well as by Socialists.
On September 24, 1918, a federal order in council declared that while
Canada was engaged in war, 14 organizations were to be considered unlawful,
including the IWW and the Workers International Industrial Union
(DeLeons' expelled Detroit faction of the IWW).. Penalty for membership
was set at 5 years in prison.
IWW organizer Dick Higgins was tried under the War Measures Act in
Vancouver, but a defense by the Socialist Party of Canada kept him
out of jail. In the USA, two of those receiving minor sentences were
well known British Columbia unionists who had been temporarily
organizing in the USA, as headlined in the B.C. Federationist September 1918:
B. Anti -War Movement 1960s - on
1. Influence of Viet Nam War Resistors on BC Society