This week’s short-run book is a facsimile of Saving the World from Democracy, a publication made by the joint Defense Committee of several labour organizations just one year after the brutal suppression of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. The book contains eyewitness accounts, court transcripts, speeches, and newspaper articles that retell the formation of a coalition of activists, rank and file workers, unemployed soldiers returning from the First World War, and others. Among their demands are many that resonate today.
This is the fourth week of this project, and we’re really happy with the response. We’re making short runs of books that are public domain, open copyright, public property, or possibly just bootlegs. These are books we haven’t made before and don’t plan to make again — once the run sells out, that’s it. Any money left over after paying our costs is going to one of several organizations serving vulnerable people on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We have been pleased to send small amounts so far to Carnegie Community Action Project, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Two notes this week: Canada Post is dealing with abnormally high volumes right now, so shipments are taking longer than normal. Don’t worry, books are on the way (some of last week’s have not been delivered yet). The second note is a content warning: a few of the speeches and newspaper articles quoted in the text of Saving the World from Democracy contain racist language or ideas. While it would perhaps be easy to excuse this by saying “those were different times”, it is important to remember that these words and ideas were part of, or an expression of, an explicitly racist set of social relations whose legacy is still evident today. Thankfully these instances in the book are few; in more than equal incidence the book critiques the xenophobic rhetoric employed against labour organizers and grassroots workers as “aliens”, although this critique is not extended to represent BIPOC workers.
Softcover, 5×8″, 280 pages, red cover, $10 plus shipping.