The City and the Reds: Leftism, the Civic Politics of Order, and a Contested Modernity in Montreal, 1929-1947

Type of resource
Author/collaborator
Title
The City and the Reds: Leftism, the Civic Politics of Order, and a Contested Modernity in Montreal, 1929-1947
Abstract
The author argues that from 1929 to 1947 the city of Montreal was renegotiating the boundaries of belonging. She examines the relationship between the left and the city during this period of crisis. Attempts to impose order on the chaos of the period – from deportation to an all-out war on leftism – serve as fault-lines in notions of citizenship and exclusion. Reinterpreting Montreal's history in this period, the author challenges notions of Montreal's left as lacklustre. She also probes the contours of municipal and clerical definitions of 'Montrealer.' Complicating existing scholarship on Montreal's left as compliant, the author broadens the definition of leftism and recasts leftists as resistant to state and clerical repression – not as passive victims of Montreal's Grande Noirceur but as active participants in modern planning for the future of the city. She argues that Montreal's leftists, though cast as enemies by the state, contested their status as 'outsiders' by engaging with modernity on their own terms. While there were crushing defeats, there were also significant victories. In these diffuse, linguistically diverse communities, she find Montreal's left developing an alternative vision of the city. Moments of convergence between Montreal's French-Canadian students and the Anglophone-dominated Communist Party of Canada bear witness to the power of the left to challenge state-sanctioned repression. These leftists saw themselves as part of a larger global movement for change, peace, and a better tomorrow – one which concentrated on challenging narrow notions of belonging in Montreal.
Type
PhD dissertation
University
Queen's University
Place
Kingston, ON
Date
2015
Language
en
URL
Citation
Elie, Christine. “The City and the Reds: Leftism, the Civic Politics of Order, and a Contested Modernity in Montreal, 1929-1947.” PhD dissertation, Queen’s University, 2015. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol2/OKQ/TC-OKQ-13779.pdf.
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