Historians who have examined the BC socialist and labour movement have generally overlooked the First World War period, assuming that the left uniformly opposed the war. In reality, close attention to archival sources and newspapers has revealed that the war created a crisis of commitment for BC leftists between their commitment to socialist internationalism and thus opposition to the war, and their support for the British Empire and the war it was engaged in. Eventually, the need for socialist internationalism to protect ethnic Canadian socialists led the BC Federation of Labour to elect a new anti-war leadership coalition. This coalition built several new organizations, including the Federated Labour Party and the One Big Union, as well as led the general strikes in Vancouver and Winnipeg in 1918 and 1919. This study is the first to demonstrate the central importance of socialist internationalism to the success of the post-war left.
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