Grow your labour library this May Day

For May Day this year, we’ve collected a reading list of some of our most essential reads for your labour library. In this reading list, we present you with a collection of BTL books that honour the militancy and dignity of the Canadian labour movement. These books on labour struggles and histories acknowledge the experiences of workers from a range of perspectives: from Portuguese women cleaners in downtown Toronto to migrant farm workers across Ontario. Some of these books delve into the legal frameworks that shape working conditions in Canada while others piece together graphic histories of labour actions and strikes. Together these books offer the perfect collection to read while celebrating International Workers' Day: as our own book, May Day, asserts, “we are all part of this historical struggle; it’s our history and our future."

May Day

A Graphic History of Protest

By Robin Folvik, Mark Leier, Sean Carleton and Graphic History Collective

Paperback

$6.95 $5.5620% off
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Ebook

$5.99 $4.7920% off

Library

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May Day is a graphic pamphlet that traces the development of International Workers’ Day, May 1st, against the ever-changing economic and political backdrop in Canada. Recognizing the importance of work and the historical struggles of workers to improve their lives, with a particular focus on the struggles of May 1st, the comic includes the reader as part of this history.

Law at Work

The Coercion and Co-option of the Working Class

By Harry Glasbeek

Paperback

$26.95 $21.5620% off
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Ebook

$25.99 $20.7920% off

In a series of illuminating essays, the renowned Harry Glasbeek unpacks how law has been used to ensure that workers' aspirations are kept in check. This thought-provoking book is an indispensable resource for those seeking to understand the hidden dynamics of worker oppression, empowering readers to question prevailing narratives and envision a future where the law truly serves the interests of all.

Harvesting Freedom

The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada

By Gabriel Allahdua, with Edward Dunsworth

Paperback

$24.95 $19.9620% off
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Ebook

$23.99 $19.1920% off

This deeply personal memoir takes readers behind the scenes to see what life is really like for the people who produce Canada’s food. The book shows Canada’s place in the long history of slavery, colonialism, and inequality that has linked the Caribbean to the wider world for half a millennium—but also the tireless determination of Caribbean people to fight for their freedom.

Cleaning Up

Portuguese Women’s Fight for Labour Rights in Toronto

By Susana P. Miranda, with Franca Iacovetta

Paperback

$29.95 $23.9620% off
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Ebook

$28.99 $23.1920% off

This fascinating book uncovers the little-known, surprisingly radical history of the Portuguese immigrant women who worked as night-time office cleaners and daytime “cleaning ladies” in postwar Toronto. Richly detailed and engagingly written, the book is an archival treasure about an undersung piece of working-class history in urban North America.

Showdown!

Making Modern Unions

By Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana

Paperback

$29.95 $23.9620% off
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Seventy years ago, thousands of North American workers took a stand for a better life. And they won. Based on interviews and other archival materials, this graphic history illustrates how Hamilton workers translated their experience of work and organizing in the 1930s and early 1940s into a new kind of unionism and a new North American society in the decades following World War II.

1919

A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike

By Graphic History Collective and David Lester

Paperback

$19.19 $15.3520% off
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In May and June 1919, more than 30,000 workers walked off the job in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although the strike lasted for six weeks, it ultimately ended in defeat. The strike was violently crushed by police, in collusion with state officials and Winnipeg’s business elites. One hundred years later, the Winnipeg General Strike remains one of the most significant events in Canadian history. This comic book revisits the strike to introduce new generations to its many lessons, including the power of class struggle and solidarity and the brutal tactics that governments and bosses use to crush workers’ movements. 

Revolution at Point Zero

Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle

By Silvia Federici

Paperback

$18.95 $15.1620% off

This format can only be shipped to Canada.

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Authored by world-renowned Marxist-feminist philosopher, Silvia Federici, this book collects forty years of research and theorizing on the nature of housework, social reproduction, and women’s struggles on this terrain. Beginning with Federici’s organizational work in the Wages for Housework movement, the essays collected here unravel the power and politics of wide but related issues including the international restructuring of reproductive work and its effects on the sexual division of labor, the globalization of care work and sex work, the crisis of elder care, the development of affective labor, and the politics of the commons.

Mr. Block

The Subversive Comics and Writings of Ernest Riebe

Edited by Graphic History Collective, with Paul Buhle and Iain McIntyre

Paperback

$34.95 $27.9620% off
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Before the Golden Age of comic books, there was Mr. Block: a bumbling, boss-loving, anti-union blockhead, brought to life over a hundred years ago by subversive cartoonist Ernest Riebe. A dedicated labour activist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World, Riebe dreamed up his iconic, union-hating anti-hero to satirize conservative workers’ faith in the capitalist system that exploits them. This wickedly funny anthology of Riebe’s writings and comics is a treasure trove of radical 20th-century art and an essential addition to the bookshelves of comics lovers, historians, and labour activists alike.