Little Fists for Social Justice: Anti-Semitism, Community, and Montreal's Aberdeen School Strike, 1913

Type of resource
Authors/collaborators
Title
Little Fists for Social Justice: Anti-Semitism, Community, and Montreal's Aberdeen School Strike, 1913
Abstract
In February 1913, when a teacher at Montreal's Aberdeen School made disparaging remarks about her Jewish pupils, five boys called a strike. Hundreds of Jewish children congregated in the park across from the school where they appointed strike leaders, established a negotiating committee, and resolved not to return to class until the teacher apologized. Some of them marched to the Baron de Hirsch Institute and the newspaper office of the Keneder Adler to demand that action be taken. The authors claim that the Aberdeen students showed maturity in their understanding of "the strike" as a strategic response to perceived injustice, their politicization with respect to relations between the Jewish and Anglo-Protestant communities, and class consciousness. They point out that the years 1912 and 1913 had been arduous for working-class Jews living along Montreal's Saint Lawrence Street corridor who experienced a lengthy tailors’ strike followed by an economic depression. The authors conclude that the youthful strikers were acutely aware of the difficulties of being both working class and Jewish. They argue that the collective actions of the Aberdeen School strikers reveal a close connection to the labour activism of their parents and to the "downtown" Jewish community, and shows that the students' response to the teacher's anti-Semitic comments is an example of the historical agency of children.
Publication
Labour / Le Travail
Volume
Vol. 70
Issue
no. 1
Pages
61-99
Date
December 2012
Language
en
Citation
MacLeod, Roderick, and Mary Anne Poutanen. “Little Fists for Social Justice: Anti-Semitism, Community, and Montreal’s Aberdeen School Strike, 1913.” Labour / Le Travail Vol. 70, no. 1 (December 2012): 61–99.
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