The Trek and Mr. Bennett

The Western Socialist
July 1935

Perhaps nothing illustrates the phenomenal growth of Capitalism in this country than the trek of the B.C. Relief Camp strikers. Little more than a generation ago the pioneers of Canada were lured westward with the magic watchword “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country”, and today the plight of their sons compels them to turn their faces toward the east, not in search of new horizons, but for a more generous dole. Truly remarkable “progress”.

According to press reports, their journey eastwards became one long triumphal tour, the good Babbitts of the towns and hamlets en route all seemingly striving to outdo each other in their welcome and in the celerity with which they provided arrangements to speed them on their way. The men were adding to their numbers as they moved along and a contingent of more than 1,000 was expected to join them in Winnipeg, where 4,700 single men are on relief.

Meanwhile, the prospects of having the nation’s capital cluttered up with destitute workers did not appeal to the Dominion authorities, so the trek was halted at Regina while their representatives presented their grievances to the entire cabinet at Ottawa. Upon the arrival of the delegation, Mr. Bennett listened to their demands for work and wages, etc., and flatly rejected the lot. He engaged in a dispute over the “criminal record” of one of the delegates, and announced that no movement against constituted authority would be tolerated by his government. At the moment of writing the main body at Regina are preparing to continue their journey.

Up to now the trekkers have had the “sympathy” of “that great power, public opinion”, provincial and civic authorities, for reasons of their own, showing “consideration!” for their cause. It should not be forgotten, however, that this consideration can quickly be turned into bitter hostility. The government is still a capitalist government, and the armed forces of the nation are still under the domination of the capitalist class. Control of political power, given it by the working class itself at election time, secures this domination.

However the Relief Camp strikers may fare in the future (and they have our best wishes), of this only can we be certain, that so long as the capitalist class dominate the state there can be no security for the workers, but only frustration and misery. Socialism alone will solve their problem and bring the dawn of a new day for humanity. Toward this objective we of the S.P. of C. invite you to join us.