Canadian Labour in The Honest Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

For the aboriginal population of British Columbia, industrialization and capitalism threatened and later undermined traditional ways of life. Trading was soon replaced by wage labour systems. Shifting from barter to a labour market unraveled the essential social institutions of traditional aboriginal society. Potlatches once served as a "bulwark which enabled the aboriginal people to resist acculturation," (p. 252). Lutz, unlike Kealey or DeLottinville, examines the effects of colonialism on industrialization. Colonial power structures legitimized the social hierarchies that form the backbone of capitalist infrastructure.

The ways capitalism transformed traditional aboriginal society from being barter-based to being wage labour-based closely resemble the ways capitalism transformed traditional European skilled labour culture. As Kealey points out, the European artisan model of labour persisted until the Industrial Revolution. Skilled labourers like coopers and smiths once apprenticed their work, entering into careers that offered a high degree of control over the means of production and the fruits of labour. Industrialization and capitalism changed the essential features of the artisan model. Just as aboriginal skilled labour became integrated into the capitalist labour market, so too was European skilled labour. Marketable skills like pelting or molding derived wage value instead of direct product value. The wage labour model, integral to capitalism, created or exacerbated class conflicts.

DeLottinville is concerned less with the ways capitalism transformed skilled labor than either Kealey or Lutz. What DeLottinville focuses on is the way capitalism transformed social and cultural norms among the working class dock labourers in Montreal. The "daily routines of casual labourers on the docks" grew into a subculture that became politically active because of their ability to socialize together (DeLottinville, p. 208). DeLottinville illustrates the shift from a fragmented working class to a highly publicized and politicized one. In this sense, all three authors show how labourers use common concerns about capitalism to organize into unions. Lutz does not include aboriginal labor unions into the central argument about the British Columbian fur trade. The author does, however, show how colonial politics or the politics of the dominant culture influenced the economic and social development of the province and later, the nation. Clinging to Potlatch and other traditional economic and social institutions assisted aboriginal solidarity against the colonial capitalists. Understanding the threat that an organized aboriginal labor forced posed, the European colonial government banned potlatch. Lutz therefore demonstrates with remarkable clarity the ways wage labourers are systematically oppressed in a capitalist society.

Organization and unity remain central to Canadian labour history and current labour politics. In his article about skilled labour in Toronto, Kealey also notes that upper management and capitalist bosses combated labour unions among skilled workers by unraveling traditional labour models. In particular, factories depersonalized labour. Coopers who took great pride in their work or typesetters in theirs became mere cogs in a large capitalist machine. Through labour unions craftsmen continued to bond, enhanced by a social code embracing "manliness" and elite artisan skills (Kealey p. 117). Skilled labourers in Toronto distinguished themselves from the unskilled, creating social solidarity in the same way the Montreal dock workers established theirs and the aboriginal peoples of British Columbia maintained theirs.

Even though skilled labourers were and are viewed as a qualitatively different class from unskilled workers, their concerns about working conditions are largely mutual. Interestingly, Kealy states that skilled labourers like coopers took for granted control over wages just as First Nations skilled workers took for granted the perpetuation of the potlatch tradition. As a distinct class of labourers, craftsmen enjoyed a level of security not experienced by the unskilled dock workers DeLottinville describes. Similarly, the false sense of security the artisans in Toronto felt was mirrored by that of the aboriginal skilled labourers in British Columbia.

All three of the working class groups described in the articles were losing control over the means of production and losing social solidarity in the midst of industrialization. Fragmentation of subcultures, whether craftsmen, dock workers, or First Nations, inhibits the potential for political enfranchisement. On the other hand, worker solidarity threatens the capitalist institutions.


DeLottinville, P. "Joe Beef of Montreal: Working-Class Culture and the Tavern, 1869-1889." In Canadian Working Class History: Selected Readings, pp. 190-214.

Kealey, G.S. "The Honest Workingman and Workers' Control: The experience of Toronto Skilled Workers, 1860-1892." In Canadian Working Class History: Selected Readings, pp. 112-142.

Lutz, J. "After the Fur Trade: The Aboriginal Labouring Class of British Columbia 1849-1890" in Canadian Working…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Canadian Labour In The Honest" (2008, August 08) Retrieved December 7, 2016, from

"Canadian Labour In The Honest" 08 August 2008. Web.7 December. 2016. <>

"Canadian Labour In The Honest", 08 August 2008, Accessed.7 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • History of Canadian Labor The

    " (Turkstra, 2008) VII. CHURCH & LABOR ALLIANCE ENDS The alliance between labour and the church began to notably weaken and in 1921 the printers' strike in Toronto "was the final blow that ended the alliance between the churches and labour." (Turkstra, 2008) Turkstra states that this conflict centered around the Methodist Book Room and the refusal of the superintendent S.W. Fallis to agree to the demand of workers for a 44-hour

  • Workplace Stress Define Workplace Stress

    The person no longer finds it possible to perform their job or manage their personal life. Withdrawal from others, anger, grief and rage are some of the emotions felt. There are often suicidal or homicidal thoughts and over-reaction to minor events, agitation, frequent accidents, carelessness, forgetfulness and paranoia are the emotions. The victim has muscle tremors, loss of appetite and feels extreme chronic fatigue. At this point, only significant

  • Employee Satisfaction Hygiene Factors and

    Motivation of workers is posing very big challenges to organizations. Herzberg ensures that an organization rewards its employees depending on the behaviors that the management would like to encourage.One of the widely known writers on motivation of workers is Frederick Herzberg. He is widely known for the two-factor theory that he came up with. The two factor theory is widely referred to as the hygiene motivation theory. As stated above,

  • Injury and Illness Prevention Within the Workplace

    Unlike our predecessors in the mines and mills and factories - and even offices - we today expect our workplaces to be safe. We consider this a birthright - that our employers should design and monitor the workplace in such a way that we are allowed to do our job without any undue risk for ourselves. And yet, of course, this is not a birthright but rather a legal protection

  • Employee Motivation Study Proposal Axis

    The design of this study will be conducted in a fashion that is different from the typical survey design. This study will be examine the effects of each pay scenario independently from the others. Employees will self-assign themselves to a group based on their answer to a particular question in the survey, which is worded in such a way that they will have the perception that they are voting on

  • Thoughts on Book Readings

    American Culture) Thoughts on Book Readings All of the readings included in Beyond Borders: Thinking Critically about Global Issues help us appreciate American culture and U.S. history from several diverse perspectives. The book urges us all to reach beyond comfortable representations of the United States -- who we are, what our role has been in shaping the world, and how we have exercised power through our actions and interactions with others

  • Relationships in the Workplace Are Often Positive

    Relationships in the workplace are often positive in nature and allow for employees to enjoy their work experience. It is not uncommon for life-long friendships, romances, or even marriages to be born out of the relationships of coworkers. However, these same relationships can also create a very uncomfortable work environment. Perhaps the most controversial workplace relationship is the office romance. Detrimental effects of these types of relationships range from sexual harassment

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved