The 99% in 1919


Following our look into the Winnipeg General Strike and contemporary protests, what does section 2 (c) do for our democracy in Canada?

Are the grievances of the 99% the same as those in 1919? Why or why not? Are the 99% justified?
Advertisements

20 thoughts on “The 99% in 1919

  1. In the Winnipeg General Strike, the main issues were low wages, long working days, and not being able to join a union. I think the Winnipeggers were right to have wanted higher wages and shorter working days. They would be able to make ends meet easier and they would be able to spend more time with family and friends instead of working all the time. However, they are not the same issues that we have to deal with today. We already have high wages and short working days. We are also allowed to join any union we want. Instead, the main issues today are health care, education, and the bipole project. Section 2c of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows every Canadian citizen to have the freedom of peaceful assembly. It allows us to gather peacefully and talk about certain issues. In our democracy in Canada, we use that freedom to peacefully settle issues without any violence.

  2. The Winnipeg General Strike was one event in Manitoban history that will never be forgotten. Thousands of people protested on the streets because of the fact that they were not getting payed enough, they had long working days, also because they were not able to join a union of their choice. Many people got hurt in the riots that happened during the Strike, some even got killed.Citizens of Winnipeg were protesting for the reason of the fact that they had low wages. I think that that was a right idea to protest for, for the reason that families were big and food costed a lot at this time. If only the men of the family worked, very little money would come in the house to feed a family of around 6 or 7. I also feel bad to those hard worker who worked for more then 8 hours a day. It is very hard to work that long on a job, it is even harder to wake up the next morning for another 12-16 hour job. Many things have changed since the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.Today, we have many peaceful things that almost no country in the world has. Here in Winnipeg, it has improved quite a bit since the Strike. Today the minimum wage starts at around 10 dollars an hour, in 1919 the minimum wage was 2-3 dollars a day! Also since then the prices of things has also increased. Today if you work for a company, your job hours are less then or equal to 8 hours of work a day. Also today, we are able to join and be apart of what ever union we want to be a part of. As long as what we are doing is legal, there are no questions asked.In our Canadian Charter of Rights, section 2c, which is the right to have freedom of peace and assembly. This right allows us Winnipeggers to gather in a peaceful manner and talk about certain issues without any violence. This right makes our assembly much like a democracy. In this way of legislature, everyone gets a say in what happens and everyone is equal in what they can say or do. -Shrey Gupta

  3. I believe that the people on strike in 1919 were definitely doing what was right. They weren't getting enough wages, they weren't allowed to join any union they wanted, and they could barely afford to feed their families. Their issues aren't exactly the ones we have today, although a lot of people in Winnipeg still have money issues. More so, we worry about the quality of education and healthcare in our city. The people on strike in 1919 were standing up for what they believed in. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms state that any Canadian has a right to peaceful assembly, which is exactly what these people were doing – most of the time. Certainly they didn't deserve to be hit with baseball bats or shot. If the Charter had been written and active in 1919, they would have had the right to be heard peacefully, but who can say if things would really be different?

  4. Following the conclusion of World War I, in 1919, more than 30,000 organized and unorganized Winnipeg workers refused to work. To revolt against the minimal wages, unfair hours of labour, and inability to join unions, a strike was put in place by the workers. In the form of a strike, citizens were able to exercise their freedom of peaceful assembly, found in section 2 (c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Following their protest, Winnipeg's 'wealthy elite' created the "Citizens' Committee of One Thousand". They declared the strike to be a violent, Soviet revolutionary conspiracy, run by a small group of foreigners. To break up the anticipated scheme, the "Citizens' Committee of One Thousand" hired 2,000 untrained special constables. They stood in place of the police force to deal with the strike. On the 21st of June, 1919, these 2,000 men and the North West Mounted Police, lashed out at the strikers with baseball bats and firearms. The 'Bloody Saturday' ended with the death of two men and twenty-seven others who were injured. The abrupt and rather harsh ending didn't bring about any beneficial changes for the strikers. The majority still suffered, even after their actions in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. Their freedom of peaceful assembly was cut down, as well as their democracy. It was hardly fair for protestors to be challenged by the special constables and Mounted Police, which ended with several casualties. In a democratic society, people should be given the privilege of being able to have their say and right to protest peacefully against unjust policies. As for today, the grievances of the 99% are quite different in comparison to those in 1919. The issues that people face today are primarily related to the environment, economy, and health system. In peaceful protests today, people are not struck down for voicing their opinion.

  5. Following the conclusion of World War I, in 1919, more than 30,000 organized and unorganized Winnipeg workers refused to work. To revolt against the minimal wages, unfair hours of labour, and inability to join unions, a strike was put in place by the workers. In the form of a strike, citizens were able to exercise their freedom of peaceful assembly, found in section 2 (c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Following their protest, Winnipeg's 'wealthy elite' created the "Citizens' Committee of One Thousand". They declared the strike to be a violent, Soviet revolutionary conspiracy, run by a small group of foreigners. To break up the anticipated scheme, the "Citizens' Committee of One Thousand" hired 2,000 untrained special constables. They stood in place of the police force to deal with the strike. On the 21st of June, 1919, these 2,000 men and the North West Mounted Police, lashed out at the strikers with baseball bats and firearms. The 'Bloody Saturday' ended with the death of two men and twenty-seven others who were injured. The abrupt and rather harsh ending didn't bring about any beneficial changes for the strikers. The majority still suffered, even after their actions in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. Their freedom of peaceful assembly was cut down, as well as their democracy. It was hardly fair for protestors to be challenged by the special constables and Mounted Police, which ended with several casualties. In a democratic society, people should be given the privilege of being able to have their say and right to protest peacefully against unjust policies. As for today, the grievances of the 99% are quite different in comparison to those in 1919. The issues that people face today are primarily related to the environment, economy, and health system. In peaceful protests today, people are not struck down for voicing their opinion.

  6. The reason and main issue the Winnipeg General Strike started was because of the low wages and the length of the work day. The people of Winnipeg were right in two main ways. One, is so they could spend time with family and others and supply their family with food and other things. The workers won little in the strike, and it was another 20 years before collective bargaining was recognized in Canada. Today we have higher wages and shorter work days, all depending on what job you have. Section 2(c) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which lye's under the Fundamental Freedoms states that we, the citizens of Canada, have the freedom of a peaceful assembly. This allows us to gather in groups and talk about certain things that are happening without any violence. This also allows the group members to have a say in what they are talking about and can get their own personal opinion heard without violence and in a peaceful manner.

  7. Working 10 – 16 hours a day and not being paid a fair wage seems tragic in modern society. To us, working this hard without much pay is unlikely and many people wouldn’t believe that this was the average working life of Winnipeggers in 1919. In 1919, people had to work long days, weren’t paid enough, and weren’t allowed to join unions of their choice. Eventually, the Winnipeggers of 1919 became fed up and decided something had to change. Many people protested and went on strike; because of this, many people were injured by their own police. The Winnipeggers of 1919 and the Winnipeggers of today’s grievances are both similar and different. While both groups had and may have trouble making ends meet, the Winnipeggers of today are much more fortunate. The Winnipeggers of today have shorter days, more pay and can join any union they want. These things were out of reach for the Winnipeggers of 1919; they had to protest for these to happen. Section 2(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that everybody has the freedom of peaceful assembly. This means that everybody can gather together and discuss issues; as long as it happens without violence. Peaceful assembly represents democracy because it is by the people and for the people. Like peaceful assembly, democracy allows the communication of different ideas that benefit the people. This ensures the safety of people today; they won’t have to worry about being beaten by a police officer just for voicing their opinion.

  8. I think the workers of 1919 were perfectly justified in their decision to strike. Their wages were nothing compared to today’s standards, and the conditions that they faced, such as working more than halfway around the clock and not being able to join a union, reminded me of slavery. The government’s violent response also made me feel like Winnipeg was some sort of labour camp. In fact, the way the government handled the situation was, in my opinion, more characteristic of a dictatorship than a democracy. No one should ever be arrested or even killed for voicing their opinions. If the government didn’t agree with them, they could have just simply ignored them. However, the video we saw in class also mentioned a Russian revolution that was happening at the time and the government feared that the same was happening in Winnipeg. I still don’t see how people who refuse to work resemble a revolution. I guess that if they had waited for the strikers to start the violence, it would have been too late, so the government decided to start the violence themselves. Anyways, from the public perspective, the then-Conservative government certainly got what they deserved two years later in the election of 1921 (where they lost more than 100 seats!). I think this goes to show that although it might not seem like it at times, democracy really does give power to the people. I just think that it’s really ironic that democracy means that people control their own government, yet this strike is a crystal-clear example of the opposite happening.In section 2c of the Charter, it states that every Canadian has the freedom of peaceful assembly. This means that we should be able to get together and protest (assuming we don’t kill anyone) without getting thrown in jail, hit with baseball bats, or shot at. However, the difference is that back in 1919 there was no Charter, so people (especially new immigrants) essentially had no rights. Business owners were greedy and took advantage of the cheap labour; otherwise the strike would have never happened. Luckily though, today we have the Charter and unions which protect us from unreasonable working standards and allow us to express our opinions.

  9. Although it has been almost a century since the Winnipeg General Strike, it still remains as one of the most historic events in Manitoba, let alone Winnipeg. Back in 1919, the 99% of Winnipeggers were more than displeased with the fact that they had to work long hours (more than 10) and only get paid 2 to 3 dollars per day. Also you couldn't join a union that they agreed/believed in. I strongly believe that the 99% of the people in 1919 had the rights to argue about this; they were just trying to fight for their right. So not only did they get their freedom of choice taken away from them, they also couldn't feed their families because they weren't paid enough. People were frustrated with this and this lead to people starting a strike. The Winnipeg police and the other 1% were not happy about this situation, thus, the Winnipeg police hired thugs to go around and "fix" this issue, but let's face the truth here; it did not do Winnipeg any good.In a way, the issue of "Occupy Winnipeg" is quite similar to the strike of 1919 in an aspect that the 99% of Winnipeggers are just trying to voice their opinions to the city on what they believe, but on the other hand, it is a completely different situation because the society has changed now. How? Not only do we not have thugs roaming around the city pointlessly harming people, the people in 1919 had it a lot worse than the citizens in 2011. Now, minimum wage is over 10 dollars per hour (not day), and we work shorter hours. Also, we have the right to join whatever union our hearts' desire. Therefore, I believe that saying the 99% back then had fewer grievances we do now is a lie; the 99% now get to protest in a much more peaceful manner.Freedom of peaceful assembly is what every Canadian is promised in section 2c of the Canadian Charter of rights, which means that we're allowed to state our opinion in any way just as long as it is not violent. Democracy put into simple explanation is that it gives everyone the right to get an equal chance in what they have to say in an issue. So when you combine those ideas together, democracy in the section 2c allows citizens express what they need to say. In the end, democracy symbolizes the peaceful assembly, and although this is enforced a lot now, back in 1919, the citizens were troubled because their right to have a peaceful assembly was stripped; their democracy was taken away from them.

  10. Nowadays there are many different unions that we, as Canadians can join. But in 1919 during the Winnipeg General Strike things weren't the same way. So much to the fact, that prompted North America's first "general strike". Today we have union's like CAW-TCA, back then they didn't have as many and there were restrictions on them for the citizens. Today the average hours that our parents work is from 8-4 or 9-5 with above minimum wage. During the 1919 General Strike though people were working 12 to 14 hour days and yet only got a few cents. These were some of the reasons that prompted the start of the General Strike. People felt cheated by the government, they felt betrayed in a way. They slaved for the government and yet the government didn't pay them adequately. Section 2 c of the Constitution clearly states the freedom of peaceful assembly. This would have contradicted what the government was saying to the citizens of Winnipeg in 1919. The restrictions that they put on union's back then wouldn't have stood, if the constitution was in place. A result of the government treating the citizens of Winnipeg like this started virtually the whole working population of Winnipeg to go on strike. We are very fortunate today to have a constitution that protects us from stunts like these.

  11. Glancing back at the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, we can see that without the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly (Section 2c of the Canadian Charter); we would never have achieved what we have today. With the ability for peaceful assembly, our Canadian democracy comes one step closer to being an actual "democracy"; giving the people the right to stand for what they think is just. Instead of merely voicing our concerns on a small scale overall, we are granted the opportunity to generate significant change, allowing the people to have their say on how everything should be run. In relation to the Winnipeg General Strike, the main issues of 99% of the population were minimal wages, long working days, and the inability to join a union; three major issues that inevitably had to be dealt with. Set in correcting theses issues, thousands or workers both organized and unorganized began a peaceful protest, refusing to work until changes were made. However blinded by their personal gain, the other 1% of the population begged to oppose, concluding that the peaceful assembly was irrational and malicious. Hiring what could almost be considered as the common street thug, the 1% amassed a force that they labelled the “Special Police”, their job to quell what they called a riot. Now in comparison to today, we find ourselves challenged with various other conflicts such as ethnicity, sexism and ageism, as through the gathering of a peaceful assembly, the 99% in 1919 were eventually successful in justifying their issues. Due to section 2c of the charter, we officially have the right for peaceful assembly, having no fear of being stuck down by opposition like in the past.- Joshua Ilse

  12. In the summer of 1919, Winnipeg’s labour force went on strike. Almost 30 000 workers walked off the job. The strikers were protesting against low wages, long working days, and the inability to join unions of their choice. With their low wages and the rising cost of living, workers were in every way justified in their agreement to go on strike. They had families to feed and bills to pay. As well, they were extremely overworked and underpaid. When they gathered in downtown Winnipeg, they were attacked by the Mounted Police and the special police who were carrying baseball bats and firearms. The riot resulted in several severe injuries and two deaths. The grievances of the 99% in 1919 are both complementary and contrary to those of today. The grievances differ because present day workers have already gained higher wages, an eight hour working day, and the right to join any union of their choice. Now workers’ demands are more luxurious. People are protesting for healthcare benefits and retirement pensions. However, wages still remain an issue because the standard of living is high in Canada.Section 2 (c) of the Charter guarantees Canadian citizens the right to peaceful assembly. This allows people to have a part in their democracy by gathering and voicing their opinions in a non-violent way. In a democracy, the power is said to be given to the people. Democracy, in this case meaning the ability to have a say in self-government, ensures the well-being of people as they take part in establishing policies that will benefit their interests. Unfortunately, the workers that took part in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike did not have the protection of section 2 (c) of the Charter. Even so, their “freedom of peaceful assembly” and democracy was ignored. Although the conclusion of the Winnipeg General Strike seemed unsuccessful, it proved to be a defining point in labour relations. It projected attention to labour and management issues that are still discussed today.

  13. Winnipeg General StrikeThe main issues in the Winnipeg General strike in 1919 were low wages, long working days, and they could not participate in unions. Around 35 000 people walked off the job and began protesting. Winnipeggers were working over 10 hours a day, and could barely afford food for their families. On June 21st 1919, the strike headed for the worst. It was called bloody Saturday. Two people were dead, 34 wounded and 80 were arrested, just because they wanted better pay. Section 2c of the Canadian Charter allows every Canadian citizen to have the right to peaceful assembly. This allows us to protest, and argue our point. As long as this is peaceful and no blood is shed, nobody can do anything about it. In 1919 this certainly did not happen. Winnipeggers were fighting for what was right. Just because the government did not like it and the 1% of fancy folk did not like it, the peaceful protest turned into a riot. -Marko Roslycky

  14. "Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."This is exactly what the people of Winnipeg did in the year of 1919, they stood up to the big man and said "you will push me around no longer." 30,000 fought and they fought hard. They fought for shorter working days, fatter pay checks and the freedom to join whatever union they wanted. Now they should have been able to protest whatever they wanted and not receive consequences, but if that happened we would't be studying this in class. So, violating their right of peaceful assembly and protest (section 2c of the charter) the police fought back, murdering 2 and injuring many. 99% of Winnipeg was upset and unhappy at the other 1% and yet the outcome of the strike was not a good one. Throwing Winnipeg's economy into a decline and deporting, jailing and not accommodating the protestors, the strike was not a successful one. The protestors went back to work without a pay increase and Winnipeg remained divided between the lower class north end and the upper class south end.

  15. Throughout Canada large corporations had made vast fortunes on the Great War which ended in 1918, and yet wages were very low and food prices ever climbing. In addition the small wages people did manage to make came from extremely long work days, in most cases more than 9 hours. The young men returning home from the war were greeted by unemployment, high cost of living, and a municipal government controlled by a rich minority. Of course the government could not have been oblivious to the problems facing Winnipegers, Manitobans, and Canadians. The Electrical workers of Winnipeg had already striked in 1918 with hydro workers and fire alarm personnel joining in. The were all fired, but this hardly dissuaded them and caused sympathy from other civic unions. The frusterations and angers that many Winnipegers felt erupted at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday May 15, 1919. It is estimated that around 22,000 workers from the private and public sectors walked of their jobs, nearly the entire working population of Winnipeg. The strike was non-violent and the police remained on job at the request of the strike commitee. Their demands were a decent pay, an 8 hour work day and the right for unions. The strikers werereformists not bolshevik revolutionaries. They had resonable demands and the governments response when 25,000 strikers assembled on June 17 was to order special police on horseback to charge the crowd. Many strikers were arrested, 2 were killed, and 4 were deported. 9 days later on June 17 at 11:00a.m. the strikeres officialy returned to work, none of their demands were met, the strike leaders were put to trial. Two strike leaders became prominent politicians in later years. In my opinion the strikers were righteous in their demands and resonable in their protest and demonstrations. The government reacted poorly and fearfully, causing two deaths (for which no charges were laid).

  16. >-[Brett Swope]-<I will be doing my blog in the form of short answers1.) What is the Winnipeg general strike?In 1919 many citizens of Winnipeg went on strike for three main reasons these three reasons are as follows one unreason ably low wages two long eight hour working days and three not being able to join a workers union. 2.) What does section 2c do for our democracy? Section 2c of the charter of rights and freedoms is very important to Canadian democracy; it ensures us (Canadian Citizens) the right to peaceful assembly (nonviolent protest). This is very important for our democracy because it allows the citizens to steer the government without being a part of it.3.) Are the grievances of the 99% the same as those in 1919? I believe that the grievances are essentially the same as in 1919. When workers go on strike to this day it is generally because of poor working conditions for the employees. The main issues are still long hours low pay and no unionization making it impossible to present change to the companies leaders in a practical way4.) Are the 99% justified? I personally believe the 99% (represents the employees as opposed to the employers represented by 1%) are justified in striking because when faced by the errors of leadership it becomes the duty of the common man to tear off the shackles of tyranny and appoint new leader ship…. Or just get them agree not to do whatever it is that there doing anymore.

  17. Striking is sometimes the only way for the workers to be heard. The managers and bosses sometimes are not reasonable. In 19191 the Winnipeg Strike was a final resource for the workers in Winnipeg to be heard. What the Winnipeggers were asking for were higher wages, shorter workdays, and the right to join any union they wanted. The people of Winnipeg fought long and hard for these rights. The 99% in 1919 did not have the same issues as we have today. Nowadays we have other issues, because of the general strike higher wadges, shorter workdays and the right to join any union, are no longer problems. Our biggest issues today, in my opinion, are health care, the problems with not having enough doctors for smaller injuries like broken bones and sprained ankles, and the environment, the problems with our resource’s being finite. We need to address these issues, and those in 19191 did not have these problems because of the smaller amount of people. The General Strike is an excellent learning experience and proves that is you fight something long and hard, sometimes you will get what you want, and sometimes you won’t, but its worth the try.

  18. On Thursday May 15, 1919, 99% of Winnipeg’s work force had gone on strike. This momentous day in Manitoba history is called the Winnipeg General Strike. The Winnipeg General Strike occurred because the wages and working conditions were poor and people weren’t allowed to join unions. Most Winnipegers were working 10-16 hour day with little to no pay. They couldn’t support their families or even pay their bills. When they went on strike, they gathered in downtown Winnipeg. They were protesting peacefully, but still the government ordered for the special police to attack the workers. The special police were armed and the riot ended up with two dead and several very injured. In my opinion the 99% had a very good reason to go on strike. I think they deserved higher wages and shorter working day. They were working hard and got very little in return. Section 2(c) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows the citizens of Canada to assemble peacefully. Back in 1919, the people of Winnipeg didn’t have this and so they had to fight to get it. The people of Winnipeg nowadays have the right to gather and voice their concerns as long as it is peaceful and no blood is shed. We are so lucky to have the Charter and not have to worry about what the strikers did. Even though the strikers didn’t get what they had wanted immediately, their efforts have brought the country to where it is now and hopefully we will continue to better Canada for future generations.

  19. The Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 was due to poor working conditions and low wages. Money is a necessity and when families don't have money, they don't have anything but a better life to fight for. What causes a problem like this is the greediness of power (from the 1%). The business owners had the power to put their workers on the street and make their lives miserable. The workers had no other options so they had to work in a system that was exploitive. I am completely on the side of the protesters. The fact that there were violence coming out of this, especially from police officers (AKA hired goons) really proved the worst ending to this tale. That was a different time, yet this type of violence still happens in the modern day. I certainly hope that this won't be the end to occupy wall street too. The peaceful protesters see that the future is nearing; a modern day Winnipeg in 1919. To me, this is what capitalism can turn into; a place of greed, beggars, and choosers.Since my group is doing communism for our types of government project, I hope I can relate it to this situation. Communism was an idea brought up by author, Karl Marx. Its sole purpose was to stop a political system from forming into a place where there is the 1% and the 99%. Instead, it would leave everyone with an amount that they can live happily on, and that everybody would work together to get farther. The problems with it, is that it can cause everyone to be living in poor conditions and possibly in a dictatorship. Also, nobody wants to be exactly like everyone else, people want to be different. To end this blog, I want to leave you guys with a quote from the movie/graphic novel V for Vendetta."People shouldn't be scared of the government. The government should be scared of the people"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s