By J. Peter Campbell
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Extra resources for Canadian Marxists and the Search for a Third Way
In the late winter of 1909-10 Winch took a rather sudden turn toward socialist politics. In February 1910 he paid his initiation fee in the Bricklayers' Union. A letter he sent home at this time suggests that someone in the union convinced him to start thinking about getting involved in politics and helping society's disadvantaged. As a result, he suddenly switched from reading fiction to non-fiction. Iz About this time as well he went to a socialist meeting in the City Hall. "16 Although not specifically identified as a member of the Socialist Party of Canada, the speaker Winch heard was very likely from that party.
He fell seriously ill, however, and lost the business. Tragedy struck the young Winch family in 1906 with the death of their infant son. 10 34 Canadian Marxists and the Third Way It was in 1910 that Winch began the long process of political education which would culminate in his involvement in the labour revolt of 1919. At the age of thirty-one, however, he had little, if any, background in trade unionism, socialist politics, or the study of Marxism. He came from Britain, but it was in Canada that he became fully conscious of himself as a member of the working class and began to understand and accept his links with his fellow workers and responsibilities to them.
The assumption was that significant numbers of capitalists would see the futility of resisting a well-educated, well-organized working-class majority and go over to the winning side. Unlike many Marxists who came after them, Marxists of the third way remained true to the vision of Marx and Engels, who argued that "in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour ... "89 One of the decisive tests for Marxism of the third way was the labour revolt of 1919, and in particular the Winnipeg General Strike.
Canadian Marxists and the Search for a Third Way by J. Peter Campbell