The Flin Flon Strike
The Western Socialist
Thirteen hundred miners in the little town of Flin Flon, in northern Manitoba, have been
on strike since June 9th, and have conducted their activities in a manner and with a
determination admirable to all those who understand their problems and have been
watching their progress.
As id frequently the case in such occurrences, the company officials have succeeded in
using the principal outside sources of information to broadcast, among other things, the
supremely silly nonsense that the strike has been caused by the machinations of
That Communists are engaged in the strike there can be no reason to doubt. All the
political parties in the country can claim supporters from the ranks of the working class,
and but little investigation would be required to show that the number of Conservatives
and Liberals on strike at Flin Flon to be far in excess of the number of Communists. Yet,
surely one would hesitate to place the blame or credit for such an event on the courtly
shoulders of His Majesty’s government or its loyal opposition.
Our correspondent at Flin Flon has provided us with an abundance of material concerning
the affair, but this has merely confirmed and added the details to what we had already
known. The Flin Flon strike did not originate in Moscow; it was bred in the conditions
under which the workers have been compelled to work. Had those conditions not existed,
agitators, whether from Moscow or the House of Commons at Ottawa, would have
exercised little or no influence in their decisions.
The Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company has been carrying on operations at Flin
Flon since 1930. Throughout this period a close check has been kept on the activities of
the workers. They have at no time been permitted to form themselves into any kind of
organization on the job, being placed, as a result at the mercy of individuals whose only
concern is the making of profits.
Mining is a precarious occupation under the most ideal of conditions, but where no
effective protest is permitted to exist, even the elements of care can be neglected with
positively dangerous consequences. Such a condition has existed at Flin Flon.
In addition the company saw fit July, 1932, to reduce the workers’ wages 18 per cent in
the case of single men and 15 per cent in the case of married men, less one per cent for
each child. This brought home to them the need for organization, and not being permitted
to organize openly they did so secretly.
The strength of their union was felt some weeks ago when a number of their members
were fired, at which time they presented their demands, finally calling a strike.
That they have formed themselves into a “disrespectable” union is by no means the
reason why their employers refuse to meet their representatives. The latter have placed a
ban on all forms of labor unionism, and are intent only in maintaining complete
dominance over the lives and working conditions of their employees.
It is the same old story, enacted and re-enacted, time and again, in the lives of the
workers throughout the world. No matter how much they produce, they are doomed to an
incessant struggle, so long as Capitalism exists, for just enough to live on.
The position of the S. P. of C. in this as in every strike is clear. These workers are
members of our class, their problems are ours, their losses and gains are ours. Our future
is inseparable from theirs, and in wishing them every success in their efforts to better
their conditions of life, we trust that through the sharpening conflict of the days to come
they will rapidly gain a firm grasp of the final and permanent solution to the whole of
their troubles – in the abolition of the wages system.