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The creation and organisation of cheap wage labour in the British Columbia fishing industry 1986

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THE CREATION AND ORGANISATION OF CHEAP WAGE LABOUR IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA FISHING INDUSTRY by ALICJA MUSZYNSKI B .A . , McGil l Un i ve rs i t y , 1971 M.A. , The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology We accept t h i s thes is as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November 1986 © A l i c j a Muszynski, 1986 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head o f my department o r by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Alicja K. Muszynski Department o f Anthropology and Sociology The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date November 20, 1986 HI ^ ABSTRACT This thesis i s concerned with the manner in which labour has been employed in the B r i t i s h Columbia f i s h i n g industry , and with the more general h i s t o r i c a l development of a labour force which provides labour power at wages below f u l l subsistence costs . The phrase "cheap labour" refers to t h i s labour fo rce . The thes is b r i e f l y traces the emergence of capi ta l ism in feudal England and argues that labour power was priced in two ways. Organised male c raf t workers fought for the "family wage"; that i s , for wages that would cover not only the i r own costs of production and reproduction, but also those of the i r dependents. This meant, however, that when women and chi ldren worked for wages, these were not designed to cover the i r subsistence requirements. They were employed as "cheap labour." With European co lon isa t ion , gender c r i t e r i a were extended to incorporate rac ia l c r i t e r i a . It i s argued that cheap labourers came to be dist inguished by race and e t h n i c i t y , in addit ion to gender and age. The d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of labour based on b io log ica l c r i t e r i a was adopted elsewhere, and the main body of the thesis i s concerned with how t h i s process occurred within B r i t i s h Columbia's f i s h i n g industry . The B.C. industry began with canners who had to recru i t a new labour force in regions without large supplies of European workers. The thesis i i i traces how canners employed native peoples and Chinese male labourers. The argument i s advanced that these groups were paid wages below the costs of subsistence, and that the groups survived because they were embedded in p r e - c a p i t a l i s t soc ia l r e l a t i o n s . They subsisted through a combination of wage labour and unpaid work. The thes is examines Marx's labour theory of value for i t s u t i l i t y in explaining the development of a "cheap labour fo rce . " Although the theory must be re-worked to incorporate two forms of labour power, i t provides a more appropriate model than that of the dual labour market theor ies . The method of h i s t o r i c a l mater ia l ism, which Marx employed, can be used to re-work the labour theory of value. In p a r t i c u l a r , the method allows for an analysis of resistance by labourers (for example, through trade union organizat ion, such as the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers' Union). These theoret ica l appl icat ions are discussed in the t h e s i s . iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract i i L i s t of Tables vi Chapter 1. Introduction 1 Dual Labour Market Model 10 S p l i t Labour Market Theory 14 Beyond the Concept of Reserve Army of Labour 19 Methodology 25 2. Structured Inequal i ty : The Missing Link in Marx's Labour'Theory of Value 32 The Concept of Value 32 The Commodification of Labour Power 38 Costs of Producing and Reproducing Labour Power 41 Social and Co l lec t i ve D iv is ion of Labour 46 The Concepts of Surplus Labour and Surpl us Value 54 The Role of the State in Structur ing Unequally Paid Labour Forces 65 3 . The B. C. Canning Industry: H i s to r i ca l Backdrop 83 Pre - Indust r ia l Fishery 83 Markets, Financing and Transportation 1871-1902 84 Corporate Control of Salmon Canning.. 89 Canning Technology and the Labour Process 102 Conclusion 112 V Page 4. The P a r t i a l Transformation of Coastal Peoples from F ishers , Hunters and Gatherers to Cheap Wage Labourers 115 Native Economies 115 The Potlatch as Means of Redist r ibut ing Surplus 117 From the Fur Trade to European Settlement 122 Native Cannery Workers (1871-1902) 128 Conclusion 140 5. Transformation of Chinese and Japanese Peasants into Contract Labourers 147 Origins of Chinese Cannery Workers 149 Racism 161 The Chinese Contract System in the B. C. Salmon Canning Industry 164 Origins of Japanese Fishers 175 Japanese Contracted Labour 178 6 . State Involvement in the Relations between Capital and Labour 187 Capital Formation and State Involvement 189 State Ideology and Racism 195 Labour and the Welfare State 206 7. The Development of Class Consciousness through Trade Union Organisation 214 Unionisation of Shoreworkers 1937-1949 217 The 1950s: Decade of Company Retrenchment and Pass iv i ty among Seasonal Labourers 231 The 1960s and 1970s: Decades of Increased Mi l i tancy among Shoreworkers 243 Conclusion 258 8 . Conclusion 262 Bibliography 270 vi LIST OF TABLES Table Page I. Population of B r i t i s h Columbia 1871-1901 129 I I . Number of Canneries by Location for the years 1871-1902 130 I I I . Number of Canneries in B.C. 1925-1948 226 IV. Number of Shoreworkers and Fishers in the B.C. F ishing Industry 1936-1947 227 1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction In understanding the h i s t o r i c a l formation and organised resistance of salmon cannery crews in the B r i t i s h Columbia (B.C.) f i sh ing industry , i t i s necessary to understand that there are two ways of p r i c ing labour power. Labour power can be priced in the labour market above costs necessary to meet the i n d i v i d u a l ' s s u r v i v a l , or i t can be priced at costs which e i ther meet bare subsistence requirements, or f a l l below them. Understanding how these d i f f e r e n t i a l wages have a r i s e n , and how they have been inext r icab ly connected to b io log ica l c r i t e r i a ( s p e c i f i c a l l y , gender, age and race/ethnici ty) requires an understanding of how capi ta l ism f i r s t developed in feudal England and how i t subsequently spread to other parts of the world. Wages are not necessari ly the only means labourers use to meet subsistence needs. Depending on the par t i cu la r economy, various re la t ions of production that characterised the economy pr io r to the development of cap i ta l i sm continue, although in a modified manner that r e f l e c t s the dominant c a p i t a l i s t mode of production.''' And these pre- c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions allow subsistence requirements to be met through a combination of monetary and non-monetary means. Thus, the exact 2 quantity of wages necessary to ensure subsistence f luc tuates , p a r t i a l l y in accordance with the degree of dependence of the indiv idual labourer on the commodity market, where wages are subst i tuted for goods such as food, shelter and c l o t h i n g . Another factor determining wages for s p e c i f i c groups i s t h e i r a b i l i t y to c o l l e c t i v e l y bargain with employers. H i s t o r i c a l l y , the group of labourers who, through persistent organised st ruggle , was able to command wages above costs necessary to ensure indiv idual survival emerged from organised g i l d c r a f t s production in feudal England. The "regime of g i l d monopoly" u l t imately proved an obstacle to c a p i t a l i s t industry (Dobb, 1978: 229). [N]ot u n t i l the l a s t quarter of the [nineteenth] century did the working c lass begin to assume the homogeneous character of a factory p r o l e t a r i a t . . . t h e horizon of in terest was apt to be the trade and even the l o c a l i t y , rather than the c l a s s ; and the survival of the i n d i v i d u a l i s t t rad i t ions of the ar t i san and the craftsman, with the ambition to become himself a small employer, was for long an obstacle to any f i rm and widespread growth of trade unionism, l e t alone of c lass consciousness (Dobb, 1978: 265-266). In the same paragraph, Dobb notes that the "surv ival of t rad i t ions of work from an e a r l i e r epoch" meant that a "premium was placed on the grosser forms of petty exp lo i ta t ion associated with long hours and sweated labour, ch i ld ren ' s employment, deductions and truck and the disregard of health and safety . " Thompson's analys is of the roots of the B r i t i s h working c lass corresponds, at least on t h i s subject, to that of Dobb. But t h i s c o n f l i c t between the art isans and the large employers was only part of a more general exp lo i t i ve pattern. The dishonourable part of the trade grew, with the displacement of small masters (employing a few journeymen and apprentices) by large 'manufactories' and middlemen (employing domestic outworkers or sub-contract ing) : with the col lapse of a l l meaningful apprenticeship safeguards. . .and the in f lux of u n s k i l l e d , women and 3 c h i l d r e n : with the extension of hours and of Sunday work: and with the beating down of wages, p iece- rates and wholesale prices (Thompson, 1979: 275). While neither Dobb nor Thompson d i f f e r e n t i a t e s labour along the l i n e s of gender, age or race/ethnic i ty , such d iv i s ions (at l eas t regarding age and gender) can be deduced from the i r h i s t o r i c a l accounts, to which Engels 1 f i rs thand report can be added. For example, in his preface to the English publ icat ion of 1892, in discussing the Factory Acts and the emergence of the "Trades' Unions," he notes: They are the organisations of those trades in which the labour of grown-up men predominates, or i s alone app l icab le . Here the competition neither of women and chi ldren nor of machinery has so far weakened the i r organised st rength. . .That the i r condit ion has remarkably improved since 1848 there can be no doubt...They form an ar istocracy among the w o r k i n g - c l a s s . . . But as to the great mass of working-people, the state of misery and insecur i ty in which they l i v e now i s as low as ever, i f not lower. . .The law which reduces the value of labour-power to the value of the necessary means of subsistence, and the other law which reduces i t s average p r i ce , as a r u l e , to the minimum of those means of subsistence, these laws act upon them with the i r r e s i s t i b l e force of an automatic engine which crushes them between i t s wheels (Engels, 1977: 33-34, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . While such a descr ipt ion did not preclude men from membership in the "great mass of working-people," women and chi ldren were excluded from membership in the working-class "a r i s toc racy . " Feminist scholars have shown that the basis of exclusion has often been framed in b io log ica l terms. To understand the roots of t h i s ideology, i t i s necessary to study p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production in western Europe, and how power st ructures , legit imated through patr iarchy , have 2 been erected from them. Capital ism brought new re lat ionships of property and domination. I t brought into being a c lass which did not own the means of production, ' f r e e ' labourers who had to s e l l t h e i r labour power on the market. I t started to dissolve a l l previous forms of 4 ownership. But men s t i l l owned the i r women body and soul long a f te r they themselves ceased to be the property of other men. . .Pat r iarchy , the power of men as a sex to dispose of women's capacity to labour, espec ia l l y in the fami ly , has not had a d i rec t and simple re lat ionship to c lass exp lo i ta t ion (Rowbotham, 1976: xxxv). Rowbotham (1976: 2) points out that women did engage in trades that were protected against competition from men, generally in areas l inked to women's household production; for example, in the production of food, drink and c l o t h i n g . With the spread of i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n , however, women were forced out of the more p ro f i tab le t rades. "Women's work became associated with low pay." One of the frequent complaints in the early stages of the indus t r ia l revolut ion was that although women and chi ldren could f ind work, the men could not. This had very d i rec t e f fec ts on authority in the fami ly . But as Engels points out in his Conditions of the Working Class in England of 1844, wage-labour in ear ly nineteenth century capi ta l ism brought not freedom, but a reversal of the economic posi t ion of men and women. They were s t i l l t i e d not by a f fec t ion but by economic necessi ty . Because other social changes had not accompanied the a l te ra t ion of economic power in the fami ly , the man f e l t degraded and humiliated and the woman went out to work for less pay, and consequently greater p r o f i t for the employer. For although the factory system began to undermine the economic and socia l hold of the working-class man over the women in his fami ly , patr iarchal authority continued in society as a whole. The ru l ing c lass could benef i t from the assumption which was s t i l l strong that women belonged to men (Rowbotham, 1976: 55-56) . Men responded to the competitive threat of cheap female labour by pressing for l e g i s l a t i o n to exclude them from the more highly paid jobs and indus t r ies , "men managed to exclude women from the s k i l l e d , highly paid jobs where they were organised. Consequently, women and foreign workers, the I r i s h and l a t e r the Jews, were forced into low paid work" ( i b i d . : 59, emphasis added). 5 Barrett (1984: 135) draws attent ion to the connections between women's d i rec t par t i c ipa t ion in wage labour and the i r i nd i rec t pa r t i c ipa t ion through dependence on men's wages. "The notion of women's dependence on the male wage has bolstered arguments for a family wage system in which a male breadwinner earns a wage adequate to support a wife and fami l y . " The h i s t o r i c a l evolution of the concept of the family wage can be d i r e c t l y connected to the struggles of organised male wage earners to better t h e i r material condi t ions . When men earn "family wages" they are receiv ing money to cover costs beyond the i r own subsistence requirements. In r e a l i s i n g t h i s concession from c a p i t a l , wages are not then establ ished to cover spec i f i c costs . Male breadwinners are not asked for proof that they actual ly support dependents. They are paid more in accordance with the idea of the i r general social and economic ro le as providers. But the idea has i t s dark s ide . For i f men are seen to adopt t h i s r o l e , the wages earned by women and chi ldren need no longer be based on the i r subsistence requirements. These are to be met out of men's wages. Here i s the basis of the s p l i t between that group of western European male labourers paid wages above costs of indiv idual subsistence requirements, and that group that comes to be defined as cheap labour, paid wages that barely meet subsistence requirements, or f a i l a l together. In understanding how t h i s s p l i t occurred h i s t o r i c a l l y , i t i s necessary to understand how the s p l i t i s reinforced by b io log ica l arguments such that cheap labour i s eas i l y i d e n t i f i e d along gender, age and/or race/ethnic i ty , and how cheap labour can survive on such inadequate wages, through p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production. 6 S i m i l a r l y , i t cannot be doubted that the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n within the labour force developed on the basis of d e f i n i t i o n s of s k i l l has made a substantial contr ibut ion to women's oppressed s i tuat ion as wage workers. Women have frequently f a i l e d to es tab l i sh recognit ion of the s k i l l s required by the i r work, and have consequently been in a weak bargaining pos i t ion in a divided and i n t e r n a l l y competitive workforce. This i s d i f f i c u l t to construe as simply an e f fec t of c a p i t a l ' s need for a d i f fe ren t ia ted workforce, since we need to know precisely how and why some groups of workers succeed in estab l i sh ing d e f i n i t i o n s of the i r work as s k i l l e d . Some l i g h t i s thrown on t h i s problem by looking at the ways in which the c a p i t a l i s t labour force developed during the long t r a n s i t i o n period (Barret t , 1985: 165-166). To i l l u s t r a t e her point , Barrett uses Babbage's account of rates of pay in a pin factory , as contained in Braverman's study (1974: 80) . "The most in terest ing aspect of these f i gu res , however, i s that they demonstrate Marx's point that wages depend on costs of reproduction rather than the value of goods produced." Thus, women were paid hal f the rates men received, for the same task. An even greater discrepancy occurred between rates paid boys and those received by men, again for the same task. "This huge dif ference i s not accounted for by var ia t ion in output; i t re f lec ted the assumption that some workers require more wages to reproduce themselves than others and suggests that Marx was correct to point to the ' h i s t o r i c a l and moral element' in the determination of the value of labour power" (Barret t , 1985: 166-167). Unfortunately, Marx did not develop t h i s l i n e of reasoning. He did not explore the re lat ions of production in feudal Europe that served to place a d i f fe ren t value on the labour of women and ch i ldren compared to that of men. Nor did he explore the manner in which, under c a p i t a l i s m , the labour power of ind iv iduals i s valued not only according to impersonal market forces , but also according to b io log ica l c r i t e r i a . 7 Consequently, Marx's labour theory of value must be re-examined, and t h i s i s the task undertaken in the fol lowing chapter. To c l a r i f y the argument developed there, there are three concepts that fol low from these introductory remarks requir ing c l a r i f i c a t i o n . The term inequal i ty w i l l be used in a s p e c i f i c fashion, to refer not so much to ind iv idua ls as to structures within which unequal re la t ions are formed and which then serve to confer status or exp lo i t ind iv iduals by v i r tue of membership in a cer ta in group. The idea that cer ta in groups are i n f e r i o r to others , not because of the labour they perform, but simply because of b io log ica l c r i t e r i a , has a long history in western Europe. O'Brien (1981), for example, demonstrates how women's b io log ica l reproductive functions were connected to those productive a c t i v i t i e s assigned to women in the social d i v i s i o n of labour. And because women were judged to be i n f e r i o r to men (an idea developed in western European philosophy and ramified in c u l t u r a l , s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and legal i n s t i t u t i o n s ) , the i r productive a c t i v i t i e s , even when these had no re la t ion to procreative funct ions , were also devalued. That i s , work which bears the label "women's work" bears a stigma. C a p i t a l i s t employers made use of t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n when they employed women in wage labour. And the power of women in r e s i s t i n g , as has been demonstrated, was paradoxical ly l im i ted because of the leg i t imat ion the d i s t i n c t i o n had achieved in the p o l i t i c a l and lega l . rea lms . And working-class men also operated with t h i s f i xed not ion. And again, paradox ica l ly , the i r fears of the economic threat posed by women's cheaper, devalued labour re f lec ted h i s t o r i c a l and st ructural circumstances. Many men reacted by advocating further exclusion of women from labour organisat ion, thus 8 simultaneously producing and reproducing the structures of inequa l i t y . The concept structured inequal i ty w i l l be used in the sense noted here. I t incorporates not only women, but also leads to further categories of cheap or devalued labour by age and/or race/ethnic i ty . The l a t t e r category must, in tu rn , be connected to an understanding of co lon ia l and imperial expansion by western European powers. Underlying co lon ia l and imperial expansion was a r a c i s t ideology towards colonised peoples, often grounded in b io log ica l arguments ( for example, manifest dest iny ) . Ideological j u s t i f i c a t i o n s , based on b io log ica l c r i t e r i a , to create groups of cheap labourers cannot, however, be enforced i f those labourers cannot subs is t . Connected to the concept of structured inequal i ty are the concepts of subsistence requirements and d i f f e r e n t i a l wages. D i f f e r e n t i a l wages, fol lowing from the previous ana lys i s , simply means that groups are not always paid wages that cover the costs of producing and reproducing the labour fo rce . If a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production operated, wages would somehow have to meet t h i s requirement (as Marx demonstrates in his discussion of s o c i a l l y necessary labour in his labour theory of va lue) . Throughout the global economy, however, p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production continue. Those groups who receive wages below costs necessary for the survival of the group (subsistence requirements, or costs of production and reproduction of labour power) must e i ther starve or meet t h e i r needs through a combination of wage labour and unpaid work in p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production. Another a l te rnat i ve developed f a i r l y recently i s services and payments provided by the c a p i t a l i s t welfare s ta te . 9 The term subsistence requirements means the survival needs of s p e c i f i c categories of labourers (separated by structured inequal i ty into v i s i b l e groups marked by b io log ica l d i s t i n c t i o n s ) . Subsistence requirements can be met through wages, when wages are exchanged for commodities, or through unpaid work (for example, a housewife grows a vegetable garden to feed hersel f and her fami l y ) . This d e f i n i t i o n raises a serious problem with Marx's labour theory of value. I f a l l subsistence requirements were met through wage labour, then i t would be possible to quantify labour power (and i t would approach a universal base, since i t would cover a l l unsk i l l ed labour groups). But that assumes a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. As long as p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions remain important, q u a l i t a t i v e c r i t e r i a (since work goes unpaid) must supplement q u a n t i f i c a t i o n , and d i f fe rent groups of labourers have d i f fe rent ways of meeting subsistence requirements, depending on the s p e c i f i c sets of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions any one group uses. And these d i f fe rent paths to s u r v i v a l , in turn , r e f l e c t structures of inequa l i t y . For example, native peoples in B r i t i s h Columbia have recourse to a d i f fe rent set of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production than do European women l i v i n g in nuclear family households in the province's towns and c i t i e s . Nuclear family households are simultaneously connected to the c a p i t a l i s t economy and separate from i t . They are connected by means of a re l iance on commodities produced by the c a p i t a l i s t economy but themselves are not part of indus t r ia l production (Baxandall , Ewen and Gordon, 1976; Weinbaum and Bridges, 1976). Following a deta i led c r i t i q u e of the labour theory of value as indicated in these introductory remarks, the case study examines the 10 l i n k s of native peoples, Chinese and Japanese male labourers to pre- c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production. The argument i s made that these t i e s enabled salmon canners to hire each of these groups for wages which could not f u l l y cover the costs of producing and reproducing the labour power of the group (ensuring a future generation of labourers) . The concept of cheap labourers i s not new, although the attent ion i t i s receiv ing i s a f a i r l y recent development (since the 1960s). S p e c i f i c a l l y , there are three sets of explanatory models currently in use: dual labour market model, s p l i t labour market theory, and reserve army of labour. How do these contribute to the analys is developed here? Dual Labour Market Model The model i s a product of research begun in the 1960s on segmented labour markets by, among others, Bluestone, Gordon, Doeringer and Pi ore. They observed that "urban blacks and other working poor people appeared to be operating in a labour market d i s t i n c t from that of urban white males. I t was not j u s t that blacks and others in what was labeled the 'secondary labor market' were paid l e s s ; the labor market i t s e l f seemed to work d i f f e r e n t l y for them" (Edwards, 1979: 165-166). In an edited c o l l e c t i o n of essays by the group, Reich, Gordon and Edwards define labour market segmentation "as the h i s t o r i c a l process whereby po l i t ica l -economic forces encourage the d i v i s i o n of the labor market into separate submarkets, or segments, d ist inguished by d i f fe rent labor market c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and behavioral ru les" (Gordon, 1977: 108). Although the model points to structures of inequa l i t y , in t h i s case those associated with labour markets, there i s a serious problem with 11 i t . Although analyses in t h i s l i t e r a t u r e are descr ip t i ve ly r i c h , none develops a theoret ica l formulation of the h i s t o r i c a l process that has resulted in the formation of a dual labor market. There i s a common point of departure from the labour market condit ions of the 1960s, in the United States . Edwards (1979: 194) in f a c t , argues that t h i s dual labour market was created not during the early phase of indust r ia l c a p i t a l i s m , but a f te r i t achieved maturi ty . "B lacks , Hispanics, and women entered the wage-labor force during the regime of monopoly c a p i t a l i s m . " During American c a p i t a l i s m ' s f i r s t century i t inher i ted and recrui ted a highly heterogeneous labor fo rce , but i t reshaped i t s wage laborers into an increasingly homogeneous c l a s s . In the twentieth century . . . the dichotomizing of the economy into core and periphery has introduced a new structural d i v i s i o n into the condit ions of employment...[and] i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d rac ia l and sexual d iscr iminat ion ( i b i d . : 163). While t h i s may be true for cer ta in industr ies in the United States , i t does not hold for the B.C. f i s h i n g industry , where cheap labour was employed from the s t a r t , the second half of the nineteenth century. And i t ce r ta in l y does not f i t the h i s t o r i c a l accounts of the indus t r ia l revolut ion in western Europe. There are several other problems with the model. By concentrating on labour markets, the authors ignore production except as i t takes place within c a p i t a l i s t indus t r ies . There appears to be an assumption of a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, in which a l l subsistence requirements must be met through wage labour and other commodity markets. Further , Edwards associates the s p l i t not with re lat ions between d i f fe rent groups (c lass struggle within and between classes) but with the jobs they hold , "fundamental di f ferences are not so much among 12 the workers as among the jobs that workers hold. . .we must look to the job structure" ( i b i d . : 166). There i s an element of technological determinism here. He argues s p l i t labour markets occurred as a resu l t of technological development. The nature of control c a p i t a l i s t employers must exert over the i r labour forces changes as the f i rm increases in s ize and as jobs become more complex. Thus, early indus t r ia l f irms and those that continue to operate on the periphery of the economy u t i l i s e p a t e r n a l i s t i c methods of c o n t r o l , or "simple" c o n t r o l . Larger f irms are a product of advanced monopoly capi ta l ism and operate at the economy's core, requir ing more complex types of c o n t r o l , or " techn ica l " c o n t r o l . Edwards complicates matters even further by del ineat ing a t h i r d labour market, one that arose as a resu l t of complexity associated with the c e n t r a l i s a t i o n of c a p i t a l , an increase of bureaucratic functions requir ing a large number of w h i t e - c o l l a r and professional people, leading to "bureaucratic" control ( i b i d : 20 -21, and 178). His i s bas i ca l l y a descr ipt ive account of American industry and the types of jobs created within i t . Because the model i s based on an empirical account of various aspects of American i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n , the authors sometimes arr ive at contradictory conclusions. Thus, Edwards f inds three, not two, labour segments. At least he formally adopts a c lass perspective and t r i e s to use i t . P io re , on the other hand, departs from a Marxian analys is al together . In Birds of Passage, while adopting a dual labour market hypothesis to examine migrant labour, he subst i tutes status for c l a s s . He argues migrant labourers are "but one part of a broader c lass of i ndus t r ia l labor" characterised by marginal commitment to indust r ia l 13 work. " P a r t i c u l a r l y , they view t h e i r attachment to the job , and often to the labor market, as temporary and define themselves in terms of some other a c t i v i t y from which they derive the i r personal and social ident i t y " (1979: 87 ) . In addit ion to migrants, he includes youth (and, in e a r l i e r per iods, c h i l d r e n ) , housewives and peasant workers in t h i s larger category. His stress on "personal and social ident i t y " leads him to make some highly dubious conclusions, none of them supported by evidence. "Housewife-workers are l i k e peasant-workers. Their major socia l and economic a c t i v i t y i s as a wife and a mother, and they define themselves in these terms. The job i s a source of income to supplement other family earnings. Sometimes i t becomes a permanent part of the family budget. But often housewives work for spec i f i c consumer items" ( i b i d : 88, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . Pi ore f a i l s to make a connection between unpaid production and cheap labour power. Among many other feminist w r i t e r s , Armstrong and Armstrong (1975) disprove the hypothesis that most housewives engage in wage labour pr imari ly for non-economic motives. Pi ore, in reaching such conclusions, appears to be adopting the very ideology that serves to define cer ta in groups as cheap labour. Like the migrant or peasant-worker, the housewife-worker can separate hersel f from the job and view i t as purely instrumental . L ike these other workers, too, she has a commitment that l i m i t s her in te res t in job security or career opportunity, and she has a source of other income, in the form of her husband's earning, which serves as a cushion in times of economic adversity ( i b i d . : 89) . C l e a r l y , a model that allows one of i t s founders to make such dubious statements i s problematic at best. The major problem here i s a lack of theoret ical d i r e c t i o n . In describing the various job structures 14 and the groups who are channelled into them, the model becomes c i r c u l a r . Because segmentation e x i s t s , cer ta in workers become i d e n t i f i e d with cer ta in types of jobs . The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the workers and of the i r jobs become the same, and a v ic ious cycle appears for which the model does not o f fe r any reso lu t ion . S p l i t Labour Market Theory Bonacich has t r i e d to push the f indings of the dual labour market model in a new d i r e c t i o n . She re jects the model because i t i s s t a t i c . "Dual labor market theory tends to see a c lus te r of var iables hanging together with technology at the core" (Bonacich, 1979: 36) . Unfortunately, she does not question the basis of the model beyond i t s dependence on technology as the main var iab le . For technology, she subst i tutes "the dynamics of c lass struggle" ( i b i d . ) . While th i s enriches her analys is immeasurably, i t does not resolve the theoret ical l i m i t a t i o n s of the o r ig ina l model. Let us examine the points of s i m i l a r i t y and divergence between her analys is , and the one put forward in the fol lowing chapters. The problematic i s the same. Bonacich refers to a s p l i t labour market as "a di f ference in the pr ice of labor between two or more groups of workers, holding constant the i r e f f i c iency and product iv i ty" (1976: 36) . " S p l i t labor markets develop dynamics which can perpetuate or increase the o r ig ina l pr ice d i f f e r e n t i a l . The chief part ies to the in teract ion are c a p i t a l , higher priced labor and cheap labor" ( i b i d . : 39) . S p l i t labor market theory i s a theory of race and ethnic re la t ions which emphasizes the material bases of rac ia l and ethnic 15 antagonism. It t r i e s to explain why race and e thn ic i t y (or other s i m i l a r "group" categor ies , such as gender) sometimes are invoked as bases for inv idious treatment, by looking at the p o l i t i c a l and economic in terests surrounding these categor ies. Put simply, i t i s a "c lass" theory of race and e thn ic i t y (1979: 17). Well worth emphasising i s her ins istence that the basic dynamic behind rac ia l tensions over wage labour i s c lass struggle, and not primordial group sentiment. "Ethnic , national and rac ia l s o l i d a r i t y and antagonism are a l l s o c i a l l y created phenomena...which c a l l upon primordial sentiments and bonds based upon common ancestry. But these sentiments and bonds are not j u s t natural ly there. They must be constructed and act ivated" (1980: 11) . What f i t s the evidence better i s a picture of a c a p i t a l i s t c lass faced with (rather than creating) a labor market d i f f e r e n t i a t e d in terms of bargaining power (or p r i c e ) . Capital turns toward the cheaper labor pool as a more desirable work force , a choice consistent with the simple pursuit of higher p r o f i t s . Higher priced labor r e s i t s being d isp laced, and the r a c i s t structures they erect to protect themselves are antagonist ic to the interests of cap i ta l (1976: 44) . This i s only p a r t i a l l y t rue . A c a p i t a l i s t employer may face a s p l i t labour market. But in making a choice to h i re in one part of i t rather than another, or to hire from both but segregate labour in s p e c i f i c job categor ies , the c a p i t a l i s t reproduces the structures in new ways. During that process of production and reproduction, o ld c o n f l i c t s are reaff i rmed, new ones may be set in motion, or attempts may be made to resolve the s p l i t in a s p e c i f i c industry . This type of f lux becomes evident when one studies an industry over i t s ent i re h i s to ry . Thus, in the B.C. f i sh ing industry , salmon canners created t h e i r labour forces from groups categorised as cheap labour. But they further cemented and s p l i t these d i s t i n c t i o n s by f i l l i n g s p e c i f i c jobs from one group of 16 labourers rather than another. For example, native women washed f i s h , for piece rates lower than wages paid to Chinese male butchers. Jobs became typed according to the race and gender of the group hired to do them. This structure affected others. Thus, middlemen contractors (both Chinese and native) had a new f i e l d of employment to which they could rec ru i t cheap labour groups from various geographical areas. Given employment opportuni t ies , native v i l l a g e s changed t h e i r c y c l i c a l economic a c t i v i t i e s to incorporate wage labour in the canneries. And the segregated job and wage st ructure , once in place, did not remain s t a t i c . For example, as Chinese male labourers developed s k i l l s important to the industry , they began to demand higher wages. Canners responded by mechanising the butchering operations, and t h i s changed the job structure in a new d i r e c t i o n . Rapid urbanisation led to the in f lux of new groups of cheap labourers ( for example, East Indian women), and t h i s had serious consequences for those groups in p lace. F i n a l l y , white male f i shers began to organise the ent i re industry , beginning with the small sector of higher priced white male labour in the plants and spreading to include a l l categories of cheap labour. In the process, the Chinese male labour force was d isp laced, when negotiated union agreements displaced the Chinese contract system as the means of p r ic ing labour power. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to use s p l i t labour market theory in describing these types of processes. The theory serves to describe what i s found, but not to explain i t . Part of the problem here l i e s in the global patterns chosen by Bonacich. For example, in her a r t i c l e on U.S. black/white race r e l a t i o n s , she covers the ent i re American economy. In 17 an a r t i c l e published three years l a t e r , she has expanded her f i e l d of in terest to include a l l non-white groups c l a s s i f i e d as cheap labour in the United States , including the Chinese and Japanese. In a future pro ject , she plans to include a study of how women are used as cheap labour. Her newer in terests also point her to a study of middlemen minor i t ies and the growth of small businesses, for example, by Koreans in the United States. Her work i s enriched by a h i s t o r i c a l account of the processes leading to s p l i t labour markets. She traces these to the development of capi ta l ism in western Europe, where a "white" p r o l e t a r i a t emerged, with r e l a t i v e l y high wages, while imperialism and the underdevelopment of the t h i r d world led to the creat ion of cheap "colored" labour. These two processes const i tute the s p l i t labour market (1979: 24, Figure 1) . When she turns to a study of female wage labour, she w i l l most l i k e l y add a dimension to her model to incorporate gender inequa l i t y , both in western Europe and elsewhere. She also notes the importance of connecting cheap labour to i t s o r ig ins in p r e - c a p i t a l i s t economies. "The phenomenon of sojourning tends to lower the pr ice of labour for a number of reasons. Migrant workers often leave the i r fami l ies behind in the v i l l a g e , f reeing employers from having to pay for the maintenance and reproduction of the family" ( i b i d . : 22) . However, she then goes on to make the fol lowing statement. Undoubtedly cap i ta l sometimes plays a part in maintaining the temporary status of immigrant workers precisely because of i t s cheapening e f f e c t s . S t i l l , as capi ta l ism develops, problems of constant personnel turnover may outweigh these benef i t s , espec ia l l y i f the ava i lab le non-immigrant labor force i s very cost ly and troublesome. It should not be su rp r i s ing , therefore, to f ind cases of cap i ta l attempting to break the sojourner's bond to the pre- 18 c a p i t a l i s t v i l l a g e and t i e him/her permanently to wage labor ( i b i d . : 23) In B r i t i s h Columbia, the provincia l state became an important party to disputes between cap i ta l and white male labour. However, c a p i t a l i s t s themselves took sides that ref lected the i r degree of dependence on cheap labour. Salmon canners were opposed to r e s t r i c t i n g Chinese and Japanese immigration, but the i r opposition lessened in correspondence to the a v a i l a b i l i t y of other cheap labour groups. Perhaps because of the seasonal nature of the industry , salmon canners do not appear to have t r i e d to make permanent wage labourers out of sojourners. By re ly ing on Chinese contractors , they appear to have had l i t t l e to do with indiv idual labourers. The solut ion adopted to el iminate the threat of sojourners to more highly paid labourers was to r e s t r i c t the immigration of cer ta in groups to the province. But there i s a more serious point of disagreement with Bonacich's argument. She concludes that the spread of capi ta l ism erodes and eventually el iminates p r e - c a p i t a l i s t sectors . While t h i s may or may not be true in the long run, she does not pay attent ion to the connections between p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production and the formation of cheap labour forces . "Within a c a p i t a l i s t economy, the household can be seen as a p r e - c a p i t a l i s t remnant. I t i s a sector of retarded economic development, s t i l l organized on the p r inc ip le of unpaid labor . " "Household production i s s i m i l a r to 'nat ive ' economies in colonized t e r r i t o r i e s . I t i s a backward sector from which people 'migrate' into the c a p i t a l i s t labor market" ( i b i d . : 5 2 ) . The argument to be developed in the fol lowing chapters i s that p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production 19 are not simply "remnants." They allow c a p i t a l i s t s to pr ice labour power below costs of production/reproduction. In p r e - c a p i t a l i s t modes of production, people mainly work for the i r own subsistence. . .As a r e s u l t , the c a p i t a l i s t employer need not pay the worker his or her complete subsistence, but only that part of i t which i s necessary to sustain the worker at that moment. In other words, the subsistence of his fami ly , inc luding health care, education, and housing, can be l e f t out of the wage c a l c u l a t i o n . This enables employers in t r a n s i t i o n a l economies to "earn" extraordinary rates of surplus value and at the same time to undersell competitors who use f u l l y pro letar ian ized work-forces (1980: 18) . This i s precisely the manner in which cheap labour and i t s connections to p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production w i l l be used. The point of disagreement stems from Bonacich's too f a c i l e dismissal of pre- c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions as merely backward. There i s an important dynamic whereby c a p i t a l i s t wage re la t ions serve to simultaneously erode and reproduce "backwardness," or underdevelopment. The proponents of both dual labour market and s p l i t labour market models use Marxian c lass analys is as the i r point of departure. But nowhere do they undertake an invest igat ion of the basis of that model, Marx's labour theory of value, in order to see i f and how the more recent understanding of cheap labour can be applied to i t . Rather than beginning from an assumption that cheap labour f i t s non-problematically within Marxian c lass ana lys i s , the task in Chapter 2 i s to explore the o r ig ina l theory and tes t i f for f i t . Beyond the Concept of Reserve Army of Labour Cheap labourers are often characterised as belonging to a " r e l a t i v e surplus populat ion," or reserve army of labour. 20 It i s , however, precisely t h i s coincidence between nonmarket status and real or potential market posi t ion which const i tutes the major problem for the reserve army formulation. Why should b lacks , women, or other groups be concentrated in the indust r ia l reserve army? Moreover, how do we account for the h i s t o r i c a l persistence of that concentrat ion?. . ,[W]hat i s often c r i t i c a l for the part of the indus t r ia l reserve army composed of blacks and women i s that these people are f u l l - or part - t ime part ic ipants in something other than a c a p i t a l i s t labor process - for example, housework or welfare t ransfer programs. In other words, par t i c ipa t ion in those other organizations provides the means for material existence when an indiv idual i s not engaged in value-producing a c t i v i t i e s ; and, at the same time, par t i c ipa t ion in those organizations confers a status separate from c lass pos i t ion (Thomas, 1982: S89). Connelly i n i t i a l l y developed the concept in order to understand the connections between women's household and wage labour (Connelly, 1978; Connelly and MacDonald, 1983). In the i r more recent work, however, Connelly and MacDonald (1985) have begun to develop a theoret ical understanding of the use of women as cheap labourers that transcends the concept of reserve army. They are studying the "modes of production" l i t e r a t u r e and questioning i t s a p p l i c a b i l i t y to an understanding of how cheap labour i s structured in the Nova Scotia f i s h e r y . By moving in t h i s d i r e c t i o n , they are addressing the c r i t i q u e raised by Thomas. The concept of reserve army of labour i s useful as a concept. I t can be used to point to the ways in which spec i f i c groups straddle non- monetary and monetary spheres of production, becoming ava i lab le as cheap labour i f and when jobs are opened to them. While Marx argued the reserve army served to depress the wages of permanently employed labourers, s p l i t labour markets buffer the more highly paid and secure white male labour force from competition from the "secondary" sector . In the l a t t e r , women compete with other groups for the leas t desirable 21 and lowest paid jobs . Connelly 's c l a s s i c , Last Hired F i r s t F i r e d , demonstrates how Canadian women have part ic ipated through the i r dual connection to both household and c a p i t a l i s t production. Problems ar ise when one attempts to expand the concept into a theory, for reasons s i m i l a r to those associated with the dual labour market model. The concept i s essent ia l l y a s t a t i c one. And here i s precisely where Marx's labour theory of value i t s e l f becomes problematic. Marx developed the theory, assuming a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production and equating wage labour with the white male wage labour fo rce . Although he recognised the existence of cheap labour, he did not analyse i t s importance beyond serving to keep wages close to subsistence l e v e l s , by means of competition for jobs . He did not see i t as part of the working c l a s s , using instead terms l i k e lumpen-proletar iat , a residue of unemployed labour power. These introductory remarks make i t c lear that t h i s lumpen- p r o l e t a r i a t i s an integral part of c a p i t a l i s t production, precisely because i t i s s i tuated on the margins of the c a p i t a l i s t economy. In t h i s respect Marx was both co lor and gender b l i n d . He associated the p r o l e t a r i a t with the western European male working c l a s s . Researchers who study cheap labour in a l l i t s manifestations and who adopt a Marxian c lass analys is need to understand the potential contradict ions involved, contradict ions that stem from a l i m i t a t i o n in Marx's theoret ical conceptual isat ion of labour power. The fol lowing chapter attempts such a c r i t i q u e . The remainder of the thesis i s a demonstration of the theoret ical argument developed in Chapter 2. The B.C. f i sh ing industry lends i t s e l f 22 well to such a demonstration because wage labour of any kind was scarce when c a p i t a l i s t s f i r s t decided to prosecute the f i s h e r i e s . In other words, they had to create a labour force . I n i t i a l l y they employed native f i s h e r s , but soon European men vo luntar i l y entered the industry as f i s h e r s . Rather than employing the l a t t e r for the inside work, canners segregated the two types of labour ( f i sh ing from processing, although some overlap did occur, pr imari ly around work that bridged the two, such as mending and making nets and the work of tendermen). European f i shers res is ted p r o l e t a r i a n i s a t i o n , i n s i s t i n g they be able to negotiate the pr ice of the i r catches. Shoreworkers sold the i r labour power for wages, negotiated e i ther ind i v idua l l y or , more frequently in the early per iod, through contractors who engaged to hire plant labour forces for indiv idual p lants . And f i shers and shoreworkers tended to come from d i f fe ren t gender and r a c i a l groups. While native men (sometimes with the help of native women, although the women were not hired by canners to f i s h ) , European and Japanese men f i shed , native women and c h i l d r e n , Chinese men (sometimes boys were included) and Japanese women worked inside the p lants . The l a t t e r groups did not share tasks with one another, but were segregated, each group performing a d i s t i n c t i v e set of tasks in each plant or cannery. In Chapter 3, a short history of the industry i s given to provide a backdrop to the rest of the t h e s i s . In Chapter 4, the re la t ions of production and exchange c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of native peoples as a whole are b r i e f l y examined. The in te r re la t ionsh ip between those re la t ions and c a p i t a l i s t f i sh ing in terests i s then examined in some d e t a i l . Chapter 5 mirrors Chapter 4, 23 examining the use of Chinese labour, and, b r i e f l y , Japanese labour as well (Japanese men were f i s h e r s , but the i r employment in the early period bore s i m i l a r i t i e s to that of Chinese men). Because inequa l i t i es l inked to gender and race h i s t o r i c a l l y predate indus t r ia l cap i ta l i sm, and technica l l y are not a feature of the economic laws of c a p i t a l i s m , they must be enforced outside the economic sphere. Legal bar r iers reinforce economic d isc r iminat ion , and the B.C. state has played an important ro le in denying p o l i t i c a l r ights to nat ive , Chinese, Japanese and East Indian peoples. While Chapter 2 concludes with a short theoret ica l discussion of the c a p i t a l i s t s ta te , Chapter 6 b r i e f l y examines the p o l i c i e s of the B.C. and federal states in denying l i b e r a l democratic r ights to s p e c i f i c populations. C a p i t a l i s t s t ry to employ labour power as cheaply as poss ib le , below i t s costs of production and reproduction, and pressure the i r p o l i t i c a l representatives to pass and enforce l e g i s l a t i o n to guarantee gender and rac ia l d i f ferences remain unequally structured in terms of p o l i t i c a l and economic opportuni t ies . In t h i s they are r e s i s t e d . Chapter 6 concludes with a discussion of the granting of the franchise to a l l groups a f te r the end of the second world war. I t took decades of st ruggle, but the groups against whom the state discr iminated were f i n a l l y able to employ the p r inc ip les of l i b e r a l democracy to rea l i ze p o l i t i c a l r i g h t s . However, the erosion of p o l i t i c a l inequal i ty threatened the structures of economic inequa l i t y . Another e f fec t of c lass struggle was the emergence of the welfare s ta te . As workers struggle to rea l i ze economic gains and end gender and rac ia l d i sc r iminat ion , c a p i t a l i s t s involve the state in the increasing costs of 24 labour power. Social services forced by both workers and c a p i t a l i s t s on the state mean that employers continue to pay labour power below the costs of i t s production and reproduction. Class struggle becomes entrenched with in the p o l i t i c a l as well as the economic spheres. And since the end of the war, the state has constantly been c a l l e d upon to mediate even those struggles that do take place on the factory f l o o r . While Chapter 6 analyses some of the p o l i t i c a l struggles that affected the organisation of f i s h plant labour forces , the next chapter discusses the i r organisation into an indust r ia l trade union. Canners scored the i r greatest v i c to ry , in being able to employ labour to the i r own best advantage, in the early period of the industry . While f i shers were f i r s t to organise unions, shoreworkers struggled with employers and contractors in a var iety of other ways. However, t h e i r struggles mirrored the d i v i s ions establ ished by canners, as did the early union e f f o r t s of f i s h e r s . During the second world war, f i shers came to r e a l i s e they would have to overcome those d i v i s ions in order to r e a l i s e the i r i n t e r e s t s . With the help of a leadership drawn from the ranks of the Communist Party , they began to organise an indust r ia l union. The immediate resu l t was not a un i f ied membership with equal representation and par t i c ipa t ion from a l l sectors . Shoreworkers were organised along the li(e>i)s establ ished by canners, and union agreements mirrored these r a c i a l and gender d i v i s i o n s . The push to end them had to come from both union leaders and the grass roots , and the f i r s t bat t les were actual ly fought at the level of the union l o c a l s . Because f i shers were at the foref ront of union organis ing, the i r in terests predominated for several decades. The history of the struggle between f i shers and shoreworkers 25 within the union, and the struggle of the union with the f i s h companies i s out l ined in Chapter 7. The thesis concludes by bringing forward some of the theories and concepts that were l e f t out of the argument, posing questions requir ing further research and thought. Methodology There are bas ica l l y two aspects to t h i s study, which at some point become inseparably intertwined. The f i e l d work on shoreworkers in B r i t i s h Columbia was undertaken in conjunction with a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded study, the Fish and Ships Research project . The project lasted approximately four years (from 1981 to 1984). I ts mandate was to invest igate the B r i t i s h Columbia f i sh ing industry , to ident i f y problems experienced and the future prospects of an industry characterised by many as being in a state of c r i s i s . The project was a c o l l e c t i v e enterpr ise , and many of the ins ights gained here owe much to hours of discussion with group members. Pat Marchak served as both project leader and thesis advisor , and served in a number of indispensable roles for me. I am very grateful to her for being both c r i t i c and supporter, ro les that are not necessari ly contradictory . However, any f a u l t s with the study are ent i re l y the author 1 s own. Before becoming involved with the pro ject , a cer ta in ideological predisposi t ion had been developed, stemming p r i n c i p a l l y from the works of E.P. Thompson (1978, 1979) and Raymond Williams (1977). There i s a growing body of l i t e r a t u r e attempting to theorise the a c t i v e , rather than passive involvement of labourers in producing and reproducing the 26 various structures that form the c a p i t a l i s t economy. What i t stresses i s the consciousness and resistance of labourers, or how the working c lass produces and reproduces i t s e l f . This was a point of or ientat ion in turning to a study of shoreworkers in the B.C. f i sh ing industry . I was p a r t i a l l y employed throughout the three years the project was funded. In the summer of 1981, I was assigned to do an ethnography of Steveston. However, while Steveston had been an important center of f i s h i n g a c t i v i t y in the early history of the industry , and while i t was s t i l l an important port and employment center, a s p l i t had occurred between labour and residence. H i s t o r i c a l l y , Steveston was an important f i sh ing v i l l a g e , espec ia l l y for Japanese f i shers and t h e i r f a m i l i e s . However, in the 1980s, many i f not most of the f i shers using the wharf f a c i l i t i e s , and the labourers in the huge B.C. Packers' Imperial Plant located on the waterfront , did not reside in Steveston. Rather, the community i t s e l f was part of Richmond and the Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t . I soon concluded that an ethnography of Steveston was not necessari ly an ethnography of a f i s h i n g community, and began to search for other methods, c h i e f l y h i s t o r i c a l , to understand how the s h i f t had occurred. For example, I jo ined the Steveston H i s to r i ca l Society and attended some of the monthly meetings over the next two years . Two other project members were assigned to do ethnographies of Prince Rupert in northern B r i t i s h Columbia, and Tof ino/Ucluelet , on the west coast of Vancouver Is land. The fol lowing summer, in 1982, I spent f i v e weeks in Prince Rupert, along with several group members. The previous f a l l , the survey portion of the project had been s tar ted , and we had begun to formally interview shoreworkers in the greater Vancouver 27 area. The t r i p to Prince Rupert was undertaken to continue administering quest ionnaires, to v i s i t p lants , and to ta lk with various people connected to the industry (plant foremen, union organisers, f i s h e r s , senior shoreworkers and newer a r r i v a l s , for example). The two largest f i s h p lants , both owned by B.C. Packers, are located in Steveston and Prince Rupert. The northern Skeena r i v e r had been an important center of salmon canning a c t i v i t y , providing many nearby native v i l l a g e s with work. But only one p lant , Cass iar , was s t i l l operat ing. We v i s i t e d the area and spoke to loca l h is tor ians and par t i c ipants . We were also given tours of B.C. Packers' Prince Rupert P l a n t , Seal Cove and the Co-op p lant , a l l located on the Prince Rupert waterfront. A number of v i s i t s were made to Imperial in Steveston, and Canf isco 's Home p lant , located j u s t outside Vancouver's China and Japan towns, was also v i s i t e d . Most of these plants were in f u l l operation at the time they were v i s i t e d , and we were thus able to observe labour a l l o c a t i o n and the various tasks performed, espec ia l ly on the salmon canning l i n e s , but also on herring roe popping l i n e s , the salmon roe preparation for the Japanese market, and fresh f i s h and f i l l e t i n g operations. Back in Steveston, Duncan Stacey gave us an extensive tour of the old Scottish-Canadian cannery, which he i s in the process of turning into a museum that d isplays the various technical aspects of f i s h i n g and processing, and the i r h i s t o r i c a l evo lut ion . I t was impossible to understand the current structure of the plant labour forces without t ry ing to piece together the i r h i s to ry . While there i s a very r i c h l i t e r a t u r e on f i sh ing and on the technical aspects of processing, l i t t l e had been done on shoreworkers themselves. After 28 gett ing my feet wet, I turned to various h i s t o r i c a l documents, t ry ing to piece together t h i s missing body of h i s t o r i c a l information. I have not broken down the period of time studied, as h is tor ians usual ly do, because I was pr imar i ly interested in t ry ing to reconstruct a tota l p icture of the changes the labour force has undergone. The d e t a i l s , and some that appear in the fol lowing chapters may require further research and cor rec t ion , s t i l l need the careful attent ion h is tor ians bring to t h e i r c r a f t . Lacking such s tud ies , I have attempted to reconstruct a very rough history that t r i e s to out l ine the major events and turning po ints . Again, I owe thanks to cer ta in i n d i v i d u a l s . Alex Gordon, and his wife Margaret, gave many hours of the i r time piecing together A lex ' s involvement as the f i r s t United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers' Union shoreworker organiser, from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. George North, ed i tor of The Fisherman (the union paper) during that period was also very supportive of the research. And, f i n a l l y , Keith Ralston provided both support and a h i s t o r i a n ' s precis ion for deta i l in t ry ing to reconstruct the h i s t o r i c a l record (although he would disapprove of the time span covered here as too long) . Throughout, the members of the Fish and Ships Research Project l i s t e n e d , c r i t i c i s e d , and encouraged. In addit ion to the growing body of h i s t o r i c a l work on the industry , a number of primary sources were used. The Fisherman was exhaustively combed for i t s record of how f i shers organised shoreworkers, and how shoreworkers came to f igh t for the i r own interests within the union. The point of view of salmon canners was obtained by looking through the company f i l e s of J . H . Todd and Sons L t d . , a medium- 29 sized f i sh ing f i rm and a pioneer in the industry absorbed in the mid- 1950s by B.C. Packers and Canadian Fishing Company (Canf isco) . In a d d i t i o n , some of the f i l e s of Henry Doyle, a pioneer canner prominent in establ ish ing B.C. Packers, the largest company in the provincia l f i s h e r i e s , were examined. To gain an idea of the struggles waged in the Vancouver labour movement, the minute books of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council (1933-1948) and the Hote l , Restaurant and Culinary Employees and Bartenders Union, Local 28 (1933 to 1948), were perused. 4 The period was chosen for comparison with the formation of the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers Union in 1945, and an examination of the impact of the second world war on union organisat ion. When i t was rea l i sed that a h istory of the industry as a whole was necessary, in addit ion to looking up secondary sources, the Sessional Papers were researched for the period 1871 to 1930; in p a r t i c u l a r , a l l of the annual reports of the f i s h e r i e s o f f i c e r s and Indian agents responsible for B r i t i s h Columbia were studied. There was a stage when the more information was obtained, the greater the confusion in making sense of i t a l l . To understand the industry , and the part played by shoreworkers, t h e o r e t i c a l l y , the concepts of reserve army and s p l i t labour market theory were explored but rejected because they d idn ' t allow for an understanding of the history here as a process. That understanding came only with a going back to the o r ig ina l source, Volume One of Marx's C a p i t a l . The elements of an explanation can be drawn together using Marx's understanding of the evolution of the labour process within the c a p i t a l i s t mode of 30 production. However, there i s a missing l i n k in the theory which must be developed. That i s the task of the next chapter. 31 A formal d e f i n i t i o n of mode of production i s provided in Chapter 2 . A shorter d e f i n i t i o n that helps elaborate these introductory remarks i s provided by Burawoy (1978: 268): "Throughout the three volumes of C a p i t a l , Marx i n s i s t s that the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production i s not j us t the production of things but simultaneously the production of soc ia l re la t ions and also the production of ideas about those r e l a t i o n s , a l i v e d experience or ideology of those r e l a t i o n s . " The l i t e r a t u r e on patriarchy i s extensive and problematic, in that many debates are raging over i t s connection to cap i ta l i sm. Two excel lent studies that give a history of the debate are Bar re t t ' s Women's Oppression Today (1985) and a c o l l e c t i o n of essays edited by E isenste in , C a p i t a l i s t Patr iarchy and the Case for S o c i a l i s t Feminism (1979). During the course of a j o i n t session, when we were de l i ver ing papers at the Canadian Agr icu l tu ra l and Rural Studies Conference, held in June, 1986, at the University of Manitoba, Pat Connelly acknowledged that there are l i m i t a t i o n s in using the concept of reserve army of 1abour. 4 A l l four sources may be found in the Special Co l lect ions section of The University of B r i t i s h Columbia l i b r a r y . The minutes of Local 28 were examined because the industry employed a large number of Chinese men, a source of contention within the union (over whether or not they should be organised). However, the recording of the minutes of meetings was very uneven. In p a r t i c u l a r , a number of c r i ses occurred and no minutes were kept. Thus, the omissions were in some ways more in terest ing than the information noted, and would require far more research to trace the source and nature of the c o n f l i c t s . 32 CHAPTER 2 Structured Inequal i ty : The Missing Link in Marx's Labour Theory of Value The Concept of Value Marx's most complete discussion of the transformation of labour under capi ta l ism i s contained in Volume One of C a p i t a l : A C r i t i c a l Analys is of C a p i t a l i s t Production (1967). Central to his argument i s the concept of value, the expression of products of human labour in terms of u t i l i t y (use va lues) , of exchange (exchange values) and/or of both. In the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production,''' re la t ions involv ing the exchange of products become the dominant form fo r expressing value; that i s , value i s attached to the products of human labour. However, both the products and t h e i r value are expressions of the capacity of human beings to labour; that i s , the i r a b i l i t y to add something extra to material r e a l i t y ( in other words, value) . When value i s attached d i r e c t l y to the things (objects) created rather than to the creators (subjects) or to the i r a b i l i t i e s / c a p a c i t i e s , then the p o s s i b i l i t y ex i s ts for the producers (subjects) to become separated from the i r products (ob jects ) . "Every product of labour i s , in a l l states of soc ie ty , a use-value; but i t i s only at a d e f i n i t e h i s t o r i c a l epoch in a soc ie ty ' s development that such a product becomes a commodity, v i z . , at 33 the epoch when the labour spent on the production of a useful a r t i c l e becomes expressed as one of the objective q u a l i t i e s of that a r t i c l e , i . e . , as i t s value" (Marx, 1967: 61) . Labour does not simply involve an act ing upon or transformation of material r e a l i t y (nature) . The labourer develops consciousness of her/himself through the process of labour (as both subject and object , since the labourer acts upon material r e a l i t y but i s , at the same time, constrained by i t ) . And, most important, the labour process i s seldom a s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t y . I t i s cooperative because human beings cannot survive alone. Cooperation, in tu rn , involves d i v i s i o n of labour, a c ruc ia l concept to be explored in more deta i l in a l a t e r sect ion . As long as producers remain in control of both the i r labour power and the products of that labour, soc ia l condit ions favour cooperation and e g a l i t a r i a n r e l a t i o n s . However, when value i s s o c i a l l y recognised as res id ing in products and the products of human labour become detached from those who produce them, then the condit ions not of cooperation but of exp lo i ta t ion e x i s t . Products are simultaneously al ienated from producers and appropriated by non-producers, precisely because value now adheres to the products (objects) , and not to the labour process i t s e l f . C a p i t a l i s t exp lo i ta t ion involves the further stage of using the objects of labour to exp lo i t the very people who create them, precisely through the predominance of exchange over use values. S p e c i f i c a l l y , c a p i t a l i s t exp lo i ta t ion involves the separation of producers from the means necessary to ensure survival (that i s , the production and reproduction of labour power). C a p i t a l i s t s (non-producers) acquire control over those means through the i n s t i t u t i o n of pr ivate property (private 34 ownership of the means of subsistence encoded in law, and enforced through the power of the s t a t e ) . C a p i t a l i s t s acquire control over the products of labour by forc ing producers to acquire the i r means of subsistence in exchange r e l a t i o n s , by buying back the products of labour as commodities. Value now v i s i b l y adheres to objects in exchange (expressed in money form) al lowing c a p i t a l i s t s to control both the production and the exchange of products/commodities. For Marx the value of a commodity expresses the par t i cu la r h i s t o r i c a l form that the social character of labour has under c a p i t a l i s m , as the expenditure of social labour power. Value i s not a technical re la t ion but a socia l re la t ion between people which assumes a pa r t i cu la r material form under cap i ta l i sm, and hence appears as a property of that form (Mohun 1983: 507) Marx's discussion of value here d i f f e r s from the way the term i s used in the introductory chapter. The e a r l i e r discussion raises the problem of the missing l i n k . As Mohun notes, the value of a commodity expresses the social character of labour. Labour i s pr imari ly a cooperative a c t i v i t y , otherwise Marx could never posi t labour power as s o c i a l l y necessary (as an abstract e n t i t y ) . As a social process, therefore, i t i s possible that the products of cer ta in groups of producers can be valued not only in terms of use and exchange c r i t e r i a , but also in terms of who produces them. Although the labour of a l l members of a soc iety , or community, or household, i s s o c i a l l y necessary ( in the abstract sense of labour necessary to produce and reproduce society without taking indiv idual labour into cons iderat ion) , i t does not fol low that the same value attaches to the products i f i nega l i ta r ian re la t ions ex i s t and are structured by i n f l e x i b l e c r i t e r i a , such as gender, age and race. 35 In western Europe before 1750, not only did men and women engage in d i f fe rent types of labour a c t i v i t y , producing d i f fe ren t but s o c i a l l y necessary products, but "women's work," that i s , the very labour process engaged by the female gender, was valued less highly than the labour process of males. In p a r t i c u l a r , women's labour and the products of the i r labour were connected to the most important d is t inguish ing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c between males and females, b io log ica l reproduction. The s p e c i f i c tasks associated with the b io log ica l production and reproduction of labour power became designated "women's work" and devalued because they were seen to be tasks associated with b io log ica l rather than social or cu l tu ra l functions (O'Br ien, 1983). As exchange mechanisms developed, men increasingly entered exchange r e l a t i o n s , while women were confined to producing use values, and remained bound to the household. "Pr ivate property transformed the re la t ions between men and women within the household only because i t also r a d i c a l l y changed the p o l i t i c a l and economic re la t ions in the larger society.•.With t ime, production by men s p e c i f i c a l l y for exchange purposes developed, expanded, and came to overshadow the household's production for use" (Sacks, 1975: 215). In some cu l tu res , women themselves enter the exchange network as products. Men exchange women for other forms of wealth. Rubin (1975: 204-205) notes: "We need, for instance, an analys is of the evolut ion of sexual exchange along the l i n e s of Marx's discussion in Capital of the evolution of money and commodities." Marx does acknowledge the h i s t o r i c a l use of humans themselves as commodities; in p a r t i c u l a r , in his discussion of slavery in the co lon ies . However, he l i n k s the commodification of human beings and the 36 commodification of the i r labour power as part of the same process, slavery predating but contr ibut ing to c a p i t a l i s t e x p l o i t a t i o n . In f a c t , because more labour can be extracted from the second process (expressed as surplus labour necessary to create surplus value) , he argues the p ro le ta r ian isa t ion of labour i s the more exp lo i ta t i ve r e l a t i o n . The end resu l t i s a b lu r r ing of the d i s t i n c t i o n between the two, as indicated in the fol lowing passage. Whilst the cotton industry introduced ch i ld - s lave ry in England, i t gave in the United States a stimulus to the transformation of the e a r l i e r , more or less patr iarchal s lavery , in to a system of commercial e x p l o i t a t i o n . In f a c t , the ve i led slavery of the wage-workers in Europe needed, for i t s pedestal , slavery pure and simple in the new world (Marx, 1967: 759-760). I t can be inferred from t h i s quote that Marx viewed the use of women and chi ldren as commodities by men through patr iarchal family r e l a t i o n s , the slavery of the co lon ies , and wage labour as comparable forms of e x p l o i t a t i o n , tending towards the l a t t e r . He connects the concept of surplus value to the commodification of labour power, to re lat ions of exp lo i ta t ion l imi ted to those between c a p i t a l i s t employers and wage labourers. P re -ex i s t ing re la t ions of e x p l o i t a t i o n , within the European family or in the co lon ies , are seen as leading to t h i s purely c a p i t a l i s t form but are not acknowledged to determine the new form of e x p l o i t a t i o n , leading to a d i f fe rent valuation of labour power with in c a p i t a l i s t e x p l o i t a t i o n . The oversight i s p a r t i a l l y due to Marx's focus on only one type of wage labourer, European men. Although he c i tes numerous examples of how women and chi ldren are exploi ted under c a p i t a l i s m , the pro letar ian condit ion cur iously belongs to men. There are many passages ind icat ing t h i s paradox, but the fol lowing suf f i ces to 37 i l l u s t r a t e the problem. "For 'p rotect ion ' against the 'serpent of the i r agonies, 1 the labourers must put the i r heads together, and, as a c l a s s , compel the passing of a law, an a l l -powerfu l soc ia l bar r ie r that shal l [ s i c ] prevent the very workers from s e l l i n g , by voluntary contract with c a p i t a l , themselves and the i r fami l ies into slavery and death" (Marx, 1967: 302). The act ive force i s c lear l y the male working c l a s s . Marx does not develop the point that exp lo i ta t i ve re la t ions within the family structure the a v a i l a b i l i t y and value of labour power to c a p i t a l i s t employers d i f f e r e n t l y . Although the commodification of labour power ( forc ing labourers to t reat the i r a b i l i t y to labour as an object to be exchanged for means of subsistence) exp lo i ts a l l workers, the "free" labourer remains responsible for the production and reproduction of his own labour power. This i s not the case for those who are themselves owned as commodities. The slave owner assumes r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the production and reproduction of the labour power of his s laves , as does the husband/father for his wife and c h i l d r e n . In f a c t , the European male working c lass used t h i s to bargain over the pr ice of i t s labour power. I f men c o l l e c t i v e l y with in society are responsible for the production and reproduction of the members of the i r f a m i l i e s , then the value of the i r labour power incorporates the family u n i t , and not simply men as indiv idual labourers. And because men are responsible for women and c h i l d r e n , the labour power of the l a t t e r i s valued below the costs necessary for i t s production and reproduction. 38 The Commodification of Labour Power The di f ference between the way Marx employs the term value and the dimension added in the present analys is can be traced to the process whereby labour power i s i t s e l f commodified. Value i s not something i n t r i n s i c to a s ingle commodity, considered apart from i t s exchange for another, but rather r e f l e c t s a d i v i s i o n of labour of independent commodity producers, the social nature of whose labour i s only revealed in the act of exchange. Value therefore has a purely socia l r e a l i t y , and i t s form can only appear in the soc ia l re la t ion between commodity and commodity (Mohun, 1983: 509). Marx uses his concept of value to demonstrate that , h i s t o r i c a l l y , exchange re lat ions widen the sphere of social r e l a t i o n s . When production remains confined to meeting immediate needs, then social organisation need not be extensive. When exchange networks begin to be estab l i shed , as long as production i s s t i l l pr imari ly oriented to f u l f i l l i n g the needs of the loca l community, exchange re la t ions tend to occur only at the social boundaries between communities, or are undertaken by marginal groups, l i k e nomads (Marx, 1967: 88; Wolf, 1982). However, the very process of exchange gradually reor ients social re lat ionships un t i l production i t s e l f becomes oriented to exchange (Wolf demonstrates how t h i s process took centur ies , gradually incorporating the ent i re globe) . This t rans i t iona l stage i s complete when products assume the commodity form. Products no longer express u t i l i t y , but are now expressed as equivalents of one another. The commodity money comes to assume the expression of equivalency, al lowing the measure of a l l other commodities in terms of money (Marx, 1967: Part I ) . Thus, the r e l a t i o n that predominates i s exchange of objects rather than the i r production. These objects assume value only in the process of exchange 39 or c i r c u l a t i o n , and that value i s a comparative expression (commodities are compared to one another through pr ices attached to them). "The value of a commodity can only be expressed af ter i t s production, in the use value of another commodity, which, in developed c a p i t a l i s m , i s money, the universal equivalent of value" (Mohun, 1983: 511). Production precedes exchange, and more important, the two processes are separated. Value now only comes into the picture during the second process, when products c i r c u l a t e as commodities. The money economy, the s i t e of commodity c i r c u l a t i o n , i s separate from the s i t e of production. There i s a time lag between the two processes. And here i s the manner in which indus t r ia l cap i ta l i sm develops. Before value i s attached to commodities, extra value i s created and appropriated during production. But value i s nothing more than the expenditure of labour on material r e a l i t y , changing i t to meet the needs of subsistence. Exchange re la t ions mask t h i s f a c t , and t h i s i s c ruc ia l for the emergence of indust r ia l c a p i t a l i s t production. Since value now attaches to products rather than labour, i t becomes possible to commodify labour i t s e l f . The c ruc ia l d i s t i n c t i o n here i s between labour, the a c t i v i t y of producers, and labour power, the i r a b i l i t y to engage in that a c t i v i t y . As c a p i t a l i s t s acquire control over production, they begin to make t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n , buying not actual labour but simply the a b i l i t y of people to labour. The resu l t i s a complete severance of the labourer from the products of her/his labour, since the employer now dictates how labour i s to be expended (Marx, 1967: Ch. V I ) . The employer i s not interested in labourers being able to survive through production (survival i s taken care of on the money market when wages are exchanged for commodities). 40 Rather, the employer wants to create something extra for himself , and he can only do t h i s by employing labour, since only labour can create value. Labourers w i l l not vo luntar i l y come to c a p i t a l i s t employers, but must be forced by having the i r means of production taken out of the i r c o n t r o l . The only way l e f t for them to survive i s to o f fe r the i r labour power for s a l e . This sale occurs before the expenditure of labour, and i t s value i s determined by market forces . Labourers compete with one another to f ind employment, and t h e i r wages become the product of impersonal market forces (the same that determine the pr ic ing of any commodity), subject to c lass struggle. However, i f th i s were the end of the process, then there would be no way for the employers to acquire extra value for themselves. Our c a p i t a l i s t has two objects in view: in the f i r s t place, he wants to produce a use-value that has a value in exchange, that i s to say, an a r t i c l e destined to be s o l d , a commodity; and secondly, he desires to produce a commodity whose value shal l [ s i c ] be greater than the sum of the values of the commodities used in i t s production, that i s , of the means of production and the labour- power, that he purchased with his good money in the open market. His aim i s to produce not only a use-value, but a commodity a l so ; not only use-value, but value; not only value, but at the same time surplus-value (Marx, 1967: 186). The value of labour power i s determined by the costs necessary to produce and reproduce i t . That value i s not only s o c i a l l y determined (the a b i l i t y of producers to meet t h e i r subsistence needs), but, in the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, i s determined by the exchange re lat ions between wages and commodities necessary for subsistence. However, commodities alone are i n s u f f i c i e n t to assure survival needs, because the production and reproduction of labour power takes place outside 41 indust r ia l production. This marks another c ruc ia l di f ference between commodities in general and the commodity labour power, but Marx f a i l s to analyse the impl icat ions of the d i f ference . [T]hough labour power appears as a commodity for sale on the market, i t i s not produced l i k e other commodities. The production of labour power i s an aspect of the b io log ica l and social reproduction of workers as human beings. This complex process of reproduction involves socia l re la t ions which are in general d i f f e r e n t from c a p i t a l i s t or commodity r e l a t i o n s . In well developed c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t i e s , for example, labour power i s reproduced by household labour which does not receive a wage; in less developed c a p i t a l i s t countries labour power i s often reproduced through surviv ing n o n - c a p i t a l i s t modes of production. These processes have the i r own log ic and ideology; the pure log ic of c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions cannot assure in and of i t s e l f the reproduction of labour power (Foley, 1983: 266). Because a separate log ic operates in the production and reproduction of labour power, wages alone cannot meet survival needs. Unfortunately, Marx tended to ignore t h i s c ruc ia l f a c t , mainly because he was looking at the operation of a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, one in which the production and reproduction of labour power i s i t s e l f somehow incorporated within c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s . The cap i ta l given in exchange for labour-power i s converted into necessaries, by the consumption of which the muscles, nerves, bones, and brains of ex is t ing labourers are reproduced, and new labourers are begotten. Within the l i m i t s of what i s s t r i c t l y necessary, the indiv idual consumption of the working c lass i s , therefore, the reconversion of the means of subsistence given by cap i ta l in exchange for labour-power, into fresh labour-power at the disposal of cap i ta l for e x p l o i t a t i o n . I t i s the production and reproduction of that means of production so indispensable to the c a p i t a l i s t : the labourer himself (Marx, 1967: 572). Costs of Producing and Reproducing Labour Power At t h i s point , the d i s t i n c t i o n Engels makes between labour and work proves to be a useful one. In a footnote, Engels notes: "The English 42 language has the advantage of possessing d i f fe ren t words for the two aspects of labour here considered. The labour which creates Use-Value, and counts q u a l i t a t i v e l y i s Work, as dist inguished from Labour; that which creates Value and counts quant i ta t i ve l y , i s Labour as dist inguished from Work" (Marx, 1967: 47, footnote 1 ) . Weinbaum and Bridges develop the s ign i f icance of the d i s t i n c t i o n : "Just as in a l l soc ie t ies people work while in c a p i t a l i s t soc ie t ies people labour, so in a l l soc ie t ies people reproduce themselves, but in c a p i t a l i s t soc ie t ies they consume. In c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t i e s , the market serves as the bridge between the production of things and the reproduction of people" (Weinbaum and Bridges, 1976: 90) . In a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, there would no longer be a d i s t i n c t i o n between work and labour, because a l l labour would create commodities capable of meeting a l l of the subsistence needs of the population. To date, such a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production does not e x i s t anywhere in the world. Therefore, to the extent that work continues, the costs of producing and reproducing labour power are not only borne in the indus t r ia l workplace, through the expenditure of labour, but also take place outs ide, through the expenditure of work. And while i t i s possible to attach a pr ice to labour, since i t i s a commodity, work does not enter the sphere of monetary exchange and thus remains without a p r i c e . Marx argues labour power f inds i t s pr ice on the market through the operation of impersonal market forces , and measures i t in terms of the costs of commodities necessary for s u r v i v a l . But there i s an added cost that remains unmeasured, and i t i s precisely t h i s cost without value over which male labourers and c a p i t a l i s t s struggle in negotiating 43 wages. Labourers want the f u l l costs of producing and reproducing family labour included in the wage (although there i s no quant i tat ive measure of that cost , nor a standard for how many people are to be included in the family u n i t , costs involved for each age group, e t c . ) . C a p i t a l i s t s , on the other hand, t ry to pay wages close to market ra tes , or below market ra tes , since they use the argument of the "family wage" to pr ice the labour power of women and chi ldren below necessary costs of production and reproduction. In other words, they turn the arguments used by male labourers against them, in pegging wages of a s i g n i f i c a n t proportion of the population below the wages of male p ro le tar ians , causing a downward pressure on the l a t t e r . Although work occurs outside c a p i t a l i s t production, i t becomes dependent on i t ( for example, the i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n of housework involves unpaid work in the home, but the objects necessary for work are produced in fac to r ies and must be purchased with wages). The c ruc ia l point here (and the missing l i n k in Marx's labour theory of value) i s that , to the extent that work continues to produce and reproduce labour power, less labour i s necessary, thus al lowing the c a p i t a l i s t to pay wages below the costs of production and reproduction. As noted, i t i s here that c lass struggle becomes important. In Great B r i t a i n , when women and chi ldren were l e g i s l a t e d out of fac to r ies through the successful p o l i t i c a l organisation of male labourers, men assumed the costs necessary not only for the i r own s u r v i v a l , but also those of the i r f a m i l i e s . To the extent that women and ch i ldren no longer laboured, t h e i r time was freed to work without pay in the home, thereby lessening the costs of production/reproduction. 44 Men negotiated with employers for a "family wage," thereby cheapening the labour power of women and chi ldren even further because women and chi ldren were not organised by men. Men viewed the paid labour of women and chi ldren as a threat to themselves, and used p o l i t i c a l methods to keep them out of wage labour, rather than drawing them into economic organisat ions. The ideology associated with structured inequal i ty played an important ro le not only in determining how male labourers would perceive the i r i n t e r e s t s , but also in determining how employers would structure t h e i r labour forces . For the male working c l a s s , consciousness of s i m i l a r i t i e s in the condit ions of a l l people who must labour for wages was obscured by sex is t (and rac i s t ) ideas of the value of the labour of men compared to that of women and chi ldren (and extended to peoples from other countries used by c a p i t a l i s t s as cheap labour) . The end resu l t i s the valuation of labour power using two d i f fe rent types of c r i t e r i a , that set which pr ices the value of labour power above the costs of production and reproduction of indiv idual labour power, and that which sets i t below those costs . The two types of c r i t e r i a , however, are a h i s t o r i c a l product and do not form part of the log ic of capi ta l ism i t s e l f (except to the extent that c a p i t a l i s t employers w i l l always seek to minimize the i r costs of production). Therefore, attempts to eradicate the d i s t i n c t i o n between the two types of labour process become the object of c lass st ruggle , within the working c lass as well as between c lasses . The women's movement has fought t h i s b a t t l e , and continues i t . But not only women are involved. When European c a p i t a l i s t s expanded indus t r ia l production outside western Europe, they sought to pro le tar ian ise the peoples 45 indigenous to the new areas in the same way as European women. Instead of using a sex is t ideology, they were able to employ the r a c i s t ideas associated with co lon i sa t ion . Once again, p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t i e s served the i r purposes w e l l . I t was more d i f f i c u l t to use gender c r i t e r i a outside western Europe because gender inequal i ty did not necessari ly e x i s t in other parts of the globe, and was seldom structured in a manner s i m i l a r to the home country. Both Leacock and Engels argue gender inequal i ty i s h i s t o r i c a l l y grounded in the transformation of s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l , and economic re lat ions from a basis in cooperation to one of exp lo i ta t ion (Engels, 1981; Leacock, 1954 and 1981). In developing indust r ia l production outside western Europe, ex i s t ing re la t ions of production were not necessari ly destroyed. In creat ing a cheap labour force , i t was to the c a p i t a l i s t s ' advantage i f the work necessary to human survival could continue apace, as long as i t did not in ter fe re with the a b i l i t y of employers to hire labour power when needed. In other words, re la t ions of production ex i s t ing pr io r to i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n continued but were transformed, made dependent on c a p i t a l i s t exchange r e l a t i o n s . For example, in B r i t i s h Columbia, as natural resources were exploited by c a p i t a l i s t s or destroyed in the process of i ndus t r ia l expansion, native peoples had a more d i f f i c u l t time in acquir ing or using those resources to survive. They therefore became dependent on commodities and required money (wages) to buy them. The two means of r e a l i s i n g subsistence could , however, occur simultaneously, meaning employers could pay native labourers below the costs of the i r production and reproduction. I t also meant native labourers could be hired for short periods of time, an important factor 46 in many resource extract ion industr ies l i k e f i s h i n g . The c a p i t a l i s t state also played an important r o l e , in a l ienat ing control over land and resources, and in p a r t i a l l y maintaining the native population when i t could no longer sustain i t s e l f . Social and Co l lec t i ve Div is ion of Labour Social d i v i s i o n of labour character ises a l l human s o c i e t i e s . In most, gender i s used as a way of assigning d i f fe rent sets of tasks to men and women, centred around b io log ica l reproduction. Physio logical di f ferences are reinterpreted to enforce socia l and cu l tu ra l d i f fe rences , d iv id ing tasks necessary to human survival such that tasks themselves become typed as masculine and feminine. As long as l i t t l e surplus i s created, tasks may be gender typed without resu l t ing in one gender being exploited by the other. As Engels saw, the power of men to exp lo i t women systematical ly springs from the existence of surplus wealth, and more d i r e c t l y from the s tate , soc ia l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n , and the control of property by men. With the r i se of the s tate , because of the i r monopoly over weapons and because freedom from c h i l d care allows them to enter spec ia l i zed economic and p o l i t i c a l r o l e s , some men - espec ia l l y r u l i n g - c l a s s men - acquire power over other men and over women. Almost a l l men acquire i t over women of the i r own or lower c lasses , espec ia l l y within the i r own kinship groups. These kinds of male power are shadowy among hunters (Gough, 1975: 70) . Structured gender inequal i ty stems from the socia l d i v i s i o n of labour, but emerges h i s t o r i c a l l y only when surplus i s regular ly produced, and with the development of a c lass of non-producers which, with the help of the s ta te , appropriates that surplus. In the countries covered by t h i s case study, in the nineteenth century, gendered i n e q u a l i t y , along with classes and state s t ructures , existed in western 47 Europe as well as in China and Japan, although par t i cu la r household configurations d i f fe red within each country. P r io r to the extension of co lon ia l rule to North America, the native economies along the P a c i f i c northwest coast possessed neither c lasses nor a state or s tates . However, the further north one t r a v e l l e d , the more s t r a t i f i e d were social r e l a t i o n s . As explained in Chapter 4, the T l i n g i t had a very s t r a t i f i e d soc ie ty , including s laves , and i t i s possible that a c lass structure was nascent. However, there was no regular pattern of exp lo i ta t ion comparable to western European, Chinese or Japanese soc iety . Most l i k e l y , there was a mix of both cooperative and exp lo i t i ve condi t ions , and the posi t ion of women probably re f lec ted both aspects of soc ia l r e a l i t y . I t probably also varied according to the economic condit ions pert inent to each t r i b e . The important point for t h i s thesis i s that structured gender inequal i ty cannot be assumed. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to reconstruct a picture of the social re la t ions pertinent to the various peoples l i v i n g on the northwest coast , because anthropological work among them began long a f te r co lonia l rule had al tered s o c i a l , economic and p o l i t i c a l re la t ions among the very people studied, a point Leacock returns to constantly in her work. Whether or not e g a l i t a r i a n condit ions are a feature of the social d i v i s i o n of labour, i t i s characterised by the producer c o n t r o l l i n g the making of her/his products. That i s , the producer i s responsible for a l l the operations involved in making par t i cu la r a r t i c l e s , although a number of producers might share s p e c i f i c parts of the process. Here l i e s the c ruc ia l d i s t i n c t i o n between the social and the c o l l e c t i v e d i v i s i o n of labour. Industr ia l c a p i t a l i s t production i s marked by the 48 separation of producers from t h e i r products. The c a p i t a l i s t employer takes control over how products are made. His concern i s to employ the means of production ( a l l the inputs necessary to produce commodities, inc luding labour) as cheaply as possible and to increase the margin between input costs and sale of commodities. The two types of d i v i s ion of labour become amalgamated, but the d i v i s i o n of labour in production develops at the expense of the socia l d i v i s i o n of labour. At the same time, production in pa r t i cu la r labour processes i s broken down into i t s constituent elements, each becoming a separate production process; in t h i s manner the social d i v i s ion of labour develops at the expense of the d i v i s i o n of labour in production. But the forces of production developed by cap i ta l increase at such a pace that both d i v i s ions of labour expand, cont inual ly demarcating and rev is ing the l ines drawn between them (Mohun, 1983: 132). I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the products considered to be "women's work" in England were the f i r s t to be reorganised in f a c t o r i e s . As Marx i l l u s t r a t e s throughout the f i r s t volume of C a p i t a l , women and chi ldren formed the bulk of the labour forces employed at the s ta r t of the indust r ia l revo lut ion . Tasks were broken down into component parts requir ing l i t t l e s k i l l or physical strength. At the same time, control of the labour process i t s e l f was taken from the labourer and assumed by the employer or manager. The indiv idual c r a f t worker was replaced by the c o l l e c t i v e worker; that i s , the making of a commodity now involved a large number of labourers, each performing a minute and d i s t i n c t part of the whole process. As Braverman has documented, gradually only the c a p i t a l i s t employer, and his top managers, knew what was required to make the ent i re product. Not only the means of production, but also the forces of production (especia l ly knowledge), were appropriated from producers. 49 As indus t r ia l production expanded, the products t r a d i t i o n a l l y made by men were also appropriated and reorganised with in f a c t o r i e s . Here the concept of s k i l l becomes important. Male c r a f t workers t r i e d to reta in control over both the i r products and the i r labour power by c o n t r o l l i n g the knowledge necessary to production. They were better placed than women or chi ldren because they had developed organisations or g i lds in feudal times to control the entry of workers into s p e c i f i c trades and to r e s t r i c t the knowledge needed to pract ise a par t i cu la r trade to g i l d members (Dobb, 1978: 116-117). Men came to control s p e c i f i c c r a f t s by employing legal sanctions to control entry and membership. Crafts f a l l i n g under the designation of "women's work" were not protected in t h i s manner, not because they did not involve special knowledge, but because women did not have access to legal protection and r e s t r i c t i o n , and because they were excluded from the developing market exchange networks. For example, in the t r a n s i t i o n to factory employment, cottage industr ies increasingly came under the control of middlemen contractors , who supplied cottagers with necessary supplies and co l lec ted the f in ished a r t i c l e . Their p r o f i t was rea l i sed by the dif ference between the costs they incurred in supplying cottagers and the sale of the f in ished a r t i c l e s . Dobb notes that sometimes cottagers were able to assume t h i s middleman funct ion . These were men who i n i t i a l l y disposed of the i r own labour as well as that of the i r wives and c h i l d r e n . "The important influence in determining the degree to which the domestic producers became dependent was probably the producer's own economic status rather than the proximity or distance of the sources of raw material suppl ies . And here i t i s probably true to 50 say that i t was the possession of land that was the basis of such independence as the domestic craftsman in t h i s f i r s t period of c a p i t a l i s t production retained" (Dobb, 1978: 149-150). Possession of land was in turn a factor determined by the a b i l i t y of former peasants to acquire control over land and make a success of c a p i t a l i s t ag r i cu l tu re , becoming yeoman farmers. Both in feudal and c a p i t a l i s t ag r i cu l tu re , however, men (with rare exceptions) cont ro l led agr icu l tu ra l production, as well as t i t l e to the land. Marx ignores t h i s social determination of what work i s judged to require s k i l l . In f a c t , he leaves s k i l l out of his discussion of labour power, concentrating on i t s quant i tat ive expression, as s o c i a l l y necessary labour t ime. S k i l l for him simply means that the costs of producing and reproducing labour power increase, since s k i l l involves extra t ra in ing and education (Marx, 1967: 172). Braverman picks up t h i s discussion by i l l u s t r a t i n g how c a p i t a l i s t control over the forces of production gradually allow c a p i t a l i s t s to define s k i l l requirements, and he demonstrates how they embody s k i l l in machinery (dead labour) and transform actual labour into a c t i v i t y supplementary to machine production. "From the moment that the tool proper i s taken from the man, and f i t t e d into a mechanism, a machine takes the place of a mere implement" (Marx, 1967: 374). "This i n i t i a l step, removing the tool from the hands of the worker and f i t t i n g i t into a mechanism, i s for Marx the s ta r t ing point of that evolution which begins with simple machinery and continues to the automatic system of machinery" (Braverman, 1974: 186). 51 There are two stages in indust r ia l production: machinofacture and modern industry . "In manufacture, the revolut ion in the mode of production begins with labour-power, in modern industry i t begins with the instruments of labour" (Marx, 1967: 371). The p ro le ta r ian isa t ion of women and chi ldren took place in the f i r s t stage. For reasons already given, the i r labour power came cheap. However, p ro le ta r ian isa t ion also involves men, although acquir ing control over the i r labour power proved more d i f f i c u l t . The p ro le ta r ian isa t ion of male c r a f t workers involved acquir ing control over the knowledge and tools necessary for the pract ice of the i r c r a f t s . This marked the second stage of indus t r ia l production, when knowledge was removed from the a c t i v i t y of labourers and incorporated in the products of the i r labour, in machinery. Along with displacement of knowledge, male c r a f t workers were subst i tuted by women and chi ldren when labour involved simple machine tending. Craftsmen retained c o n t r o l , developing trade union organisations to c o l l e c t i v e l y protect the i r labour from further eros ion, in those industr ies requir ing the i r s k i l l and knowledge. Class struggle can here be seen as a three-pronged b a t t l e , between c a p i t a l i s t and craftsman, and between craftsman and his wife and c h i l d r e n , and between c a p i t a l i s t and cheap labour. Marx argues convincingly that where abundant cheap labour i s a v a i l a b l e , there i s l i t t l e incentive to mechanise production. Before the labour of women and of ch i ldren under 10 years of age was forbidden in mines, c a p i t a l i s t s considered the employment of naked women and g i r l s , often in company with men, so far sanctioned by the i r moral code, and espec ia l l y by the i r ledgers, that i t was only a f ter the passing of the Act that they had recourse to machinery. The Yankees have invented a stone-breaking machine. The English do not make use of i t , because the 'wretch who does t h i s work gets paid for such a small portion of his labour , that machinery would increase the cost of production to the 9 52 c a p i t a l i s t . In England women are s t i l l occasional ly used instead of horses for hauling canal boats, because the labour required to produce horses and machines i s an accurately known quant i ty , while that required to maintain the women of the surplus-population i s below a l l c a l c u l a t i o n . Hence nowhere do we f ind a more shameful squandering of human labour-power for the most despicable purposes than in England, the land of machinery (Marx, 1967: 394-395). There i s a clue here as to the l i n k between the male working c lass (with dependents) and the "surplus-populat ion" or reserve army of labour. When male workers lose the struggle over "family wages," and when they lose control over c r a f t knowledge through mechanisation of t h e i r c r a f t work, then male c r a f t workers sink to the same pos i t ion as t h e i r wives and c h i l d r e n . But the structure of inequal i ty d ictates in t h i s instance that those women and chi ldren w i l l be hired in preference to men (except where l e g i s l a t i o n forbids the i r employment). Thus poverty means that there are e i ther no jobs or that the jobs ava i lab le pay wages below the costs necessary for the production and reproduction of even indiv idual labour power. Since those costs are included in the negotiations between organised male workers and c a p i t a l i s t employers, and since they include unvalued work done in the household, i t i s impossible to set a f igure for the costs of producing and reproducing the labour power of women and chi ldren when they enter paid labour. Hence the condit ions described by Marx in the passage c i t e d . Marx was not unaware of the contradict ions involved, although he d id not analyse them beyond the argument out l ined in the fol lowing passage. The value of labour-power was determined, not only by the labour-t ime necessary to maintain the indiv idual adult labourer, but also by that necessary to maintain his fami ly . Machinery, by throwing every member of that family on to the labour-market, spreads the value of the man's labour-power over his whole fami ly . 53 It thus depreciates his labour-power. To purchase the labour-power of a family of four workers may, perhaps, cost more than i t formerly did to purchase the labour-power of the head of the fami ly , but, in return , four days' labour takes the place of one, and the i r pr ice f a l l s in proportion to the excess of the surplus- labour of four over the surplus- labour of one. In order that the family may l i v e , four people must now, not only labour, but expend surplus- labour for the c a p i t a l i s t . Thus we see, that machinery, while augmenting the human material that forms the pr inc ipa l object of c a p i t a l ' s exp lo i t ing power, at the same time ra ises the degrees of exp lo i ta t ion (Marx, 1967: 395). Rather than developing his argument in the d i rec t ion out l ined here, Marx in the next paragraph notes instead that now the workman s e l l s his wife and c h i l d r e n . Instead of meeting with the c a p i t a l i s t as an independent owner of a commodity, "the one possessing money and means of production, the other labour-power," the labourer now "has become a s lave-dealer" ( i b i d . : 396). As noted previously , the solut ion for Marx does not involve ending i n e g a l i t a r i a n re la t ions between pro letar ian men and the i r wives and c h i l d r e n , but resides instead in the male working c lass taking control over the means of production. As many feminist c r i t i c s have pointed out, such a resolut ion to c lass struggle may perhaps end c a p i t a l i s t e x p l o i t a t i o n , but not necessari ly the exp lo i ta t ion of one gender by the other. Up to t h i s po int , the discussion has been l i m i t e d to the internal dynamics of working-class struggle, in an attempt to demonstrate the two processes h i s t o r i c a l l y involved in st ructur ing two types of labour power ava i lab le for c a p i t a l i s t e x p l o i t a t i o n . But c a p i t a l i s t exp lo i ta t ion has i t s own dynamic which needs to be included in the ana lys i s . The key concept here i s the creat ion of surplus value. 54 The Concepts of Surplus Labour and Surplus Value Industr ia l c a p i t a l i s t s employ means of production and the commodity labour power to produce commodities sold in the market. The sale of commodities rea l i ses a value higher than the costs involved in the i r production. The key to Marx's labour theory of value i s that the extra value rea l i sed by c a p i t a l i s t s (which Marx c a l l s surplus value) can only be created by the expenditure of l i v i n g labour power, or the transformation of constant cap i ta l ( including dead labour embodied in machinery) by var iable c a p i t a l . While constant cap i ta l simply t ransfers value to the commodity, only var iable capi ta l can add value to i t : " that part of c a p i t a l , represented by labour-power, does, i n the process of production, undergo an a l te ra t ion of value. It both reproduces the equivalent of i t s own value, and also produces an excess, a surplus- value, which may i t s e l f vary, may be more or less according to circumstances" (Marx, 1967: 209). The paradox l i e s in the fact that , although labour power as a commodity rea l i ses i t s f u l l value in the market p lace, yet i t produces extra value for the c a p i t a l i s t , over and above i t s p r i c e . Part of the resolut ion in the contradict ion l i e s in the time lags involved: between the time when the rate of wages i s set and labour power actual ly h i red , between the time labour power i s expended and wages for i t are paid (wages are paid af ter labour power i s expended and both occur a f te r contracts for wages are negotiated) and, most important, pr ices for commodities are set a f te r they are produced. C a p i t a l i s t s can only r e a l i s e surplus value (or p ro f i t ) by making use of a l l these time lags ; fo r example, by making labour more productive between the time wages are 55 establ ished and commodities so ld . C lea r l y , the impersonal market forces constantly act to eradicate the p o s s i b i l i t y of surplus, and c a p i t a l i s t s employ a var iety of means to keep that from happening. In order to accomplish that end, they must constantly make labour more productive, expand the scope of indust r ia l production ( for example, by i n d u s t r i a l i s i n g new sectors of the economy), l i m i t competition which forces prices downwards ( resu l t ing in the evolution of advanced monopoly c a p i t a l i s m ) , and a var iety of other methods. Unlike previous modes of production, the c a p i t a l i s t economy can never remain s t a t i c , i t must expand or d i e . I ts a b i l i t y to expand i s determined in turn by a var iety of economic and c lass forces . Per iodic c r i ses occur. Marx predicted that at a cer ta in stage in i t s development, cap i ta l i sm would reach a c r i s i s point , and, with the help of a c lass conscious p r o l e t a r i a t , would s e l f destruct . C r i s i s theories (using, for example, the concepts of organic composition of cap i ta l and cap i ta l accumulation; f a l l i n g rate of p r o f i t ; and under-consumption) t ry to explain why capi ta l ism continues to be such a f l e x i b l e system (why i t hasn't se l f -dest ructed already) and t ry to assess the nature and importance of the various economic c r i ses that have occurred and are occurr ing . While the theories focus on the role of c a p i t a l , they do study, although in a very l imi ted way, the role of labour in helping prec ip i ta te economic c r i ses and in resolv ing them. As mentioned, the creat ion of surplus value i s made possible by paying the commodity labour power for only a portion of the labour ac tua l l y expended in production. Although the commodity labour power rea l i ses i t s f u l l pr ice on the labour market, unpaid labour i s secured, and t h i s unpaid labour Marx c a l l s surplus value ( i b i d . : 534). As 56 discussed in a previous sect ion , surplus value or ig inates from the di f ference between labour power and i t s transformation into actual labour a c t i v i t y . To explain how surplus value i s created, Marx div ides the time labour i s employed into necessary and surplus labour t ime; that i s , the labourer works beyond the time necessary to produce and reproduce labour power. In previous modes of production, non-producers appropriated surplus labour d i r e c t l y . Producers were aware which part of the i r labour belonged to them and which part was taken from them (for example, peasants had to work spec i f ied periods of time for the l o r d , or had to give up f ixed amounts of t h e i r produce). Marx c a l l s t h i s the creat ion of absolute surplus value. The di f ference in c a p i t a l i s t i ndus t r ia l production i s that another method of extract ing surplus value i s developed. Labour i t s e l f , not simply the length of i t s employment, i s made more productive. In the f i r s t stage, machinofacture, employers simply extended hours worked without paying proportionately higher wages, thus extract ing absolute surplus value from labour. But there are physiological l i m i t s to t h i s type of e x p l o i t a t i o n . As long as there i s a large surplus population, there are pressures to keep wages down and reinforcements are ava i lab le when current labour i s exhausted. U l t imate ly , however, employers using labour in t h i s way w i l l k i l l the sources for surplus c reat ion . A far more e f fec t i ve method, marking the t r a n s i t i o n to mature c a p i t a l i s m , i s to make labour i t s e l f more productive, by allowing indiv idual units of labour power to create more commodities in a given amount of t ime. And labour i s made more productive by increasing the 57 aids necessary to labour in production, that i s , through machinery 2 ( i t s e l f a commodity). With the aid of machines, less labour time i s needed to create the same number of commodities, or , conversely, more commodities can be created in the same amount of time. Therefore, the time necessary for labour power to meet i t s own needs, necessary labour t ime, shr inks , while surplus labour time expands. At t h i s point , absolute and r e l a t i v e surplus value become ind is t ingu ishab le , because the working day i s not shortened in proportion as labour i s made more productive. "Relat ive surplus-value i s absolute, since i t compels the absolute prolongation of the working-day beyond the labour-t ime necessary to the existence of the labourer himself . Absolute surplus- value i s r e l a t i v e , since i t makes necessary such a development of the productiveness of labour, as w i l l al low of the necessary labour-t ime being confined to a portion of the working-day" (Marx, 1967: 511). At the same time, because more commodities can be produced with the expenditure of less labour power, costs of production w i l l f a l l (once the increased costs of constant cap i ta l in the form of new machinery, for example, have been absorbed). I f the employer i s the sole producer of these commodities, pr ices may remain at the i r o ld l e v e l s . More l i k e l y , however, competition w i l l force pr ices to r e f l e c t lower costs of production. When the commodities themselves are part of the goods workers must buy to r e a l i s e subsistence, f a l l i n g pr ices w i l l further cheapen the pr ice of labour power, since the same amount of consumer goods can now be purchased with lower wages. But i f the pr ice of commodities f a l l s , then so does the p r o f i t rea l i sed by the c a p i t a l i s t . To r e a l i s e the same p r o f i t , the c a p i t a l i s t must produce more goods, 58 which may lead to a c r i s i s of overproduction, which may lower pr ices fu r ther . In such a c r i s i s consumption cannot keep up with production, the basis for theories of underconsumption. Theories based on the f a l l i n g rate of p r o f i t analyse the problem of f a l l i n g p r i ces , and, therefore, the need to create more surplus, in turn l inked to the need to exp lo i t labour even more ( for example, by making i t more productive than formerly, which w i l l in turn eventually resu l t in another c r i s i s , t h i s time at a higher level of labour p roduct i v i t y ) . These theories tend to analyse the place of labour in the contradict ions between explo i ted labour (necessary to create surplus and thus r e a l i s e a p ro f i t ) and the consumption needs of labourers; in other words, labourers buy back the products they make and, in order for c a p i t a l i s t s to r e a l i s e a p r o f i t , labourers must be simultaneously exploi ted and must be able to consume commodities at pr ices above production costs . There i s a fundamental contradict ion at the heart of the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, and i t i s t h i s contradict ion that c r i s i s theories explore. While Marx did see the underconsumption of the masses as a chronic state in c a p i t a l i s t soc iety , i t only became a factor in c r i s i s given the dynamics of accumulation and the problem of the r i s i n g organic composition of c a p i t a l . Engels states t h i s posi t ion very c l e a r l y : "The underconsumption of the masses, the r e s t r i c t i o n of the consumption of the masses to what i s necessary for the i r maintenance and reproduction, i s not a new phenomenon. I t has existed as long as there have been exp lo i t ing and exploi ted c l asses. . .The underconsumption of the masses i s a necessary condit ion of a l l forms of society based on e x p l o i t a t i o n , consequently also of the c a p i t a l i s t form; but i t i s the c a p i t a l i s t form of production which f i r s t gives r i s e to c r i s e s . The underconsumption of the masses i s therefore also a prerequis i te condit ion for c r i s e s , and plays in them a role which has long been recognized. But i t t e l l s us j u s t as l i t t l e why c r i ses e x i s t today as why they did not ex i s t before" (Wright, 1979: 138-139). 59 The ro le of the working c lass in p rec ip i ta t ing c r i ses stems from the development of r e l a t i v e surplus value. As labour i s made more productive, less labour power i s needed to create the same number of commodities; in other words, dead labour displaces l i v i n g labour. But dead labour cannot r e a l i s e surplus value. Less var iable cap i ta l i s needed, which means fewer labourers need be h i red . But j u s t as dead labour does not produce surplus value, neither does i t consume the commodities made. Ris ing product iv i ty can resu l t in both a f a l l in wages and/or a shrinking employed labour force (thus swel l ing the ranks of the surplus populat ion) . Various mechanisms determine which course w i l l actual ly happen, but the overal l e f fec t can be one of underconsumption or overproduction, thus l i m i t i n g cap i ta l accumulation and r e a l i s a t i o n of p r o f i t . Whether or not such analyses provide answers to Engels 1 question as to why c r i ses occur cannot be gone into here. But an important point can nevertheless be made about the role of the working c lass in such theor ies . Most, i f not a l l , posi t a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. Even when acknowledgement i s made that the production and reproduction of labour power i s affected by factors l i k e unpaid work in the home and the existence and exp lo i ta t ion of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production, attent ion i s then focussed on the a b i l i t y of labourers to buy commodities, thus al lowing c a p i t a l i s t s to r e a l i s e both the i r costs of production and a p r o f i t . When demand of labourers for these products f a l l s , then the potential for an economic c r i s i s ensues. I f capi ta l ism was the only mode of production in existence g l o b a l l y , then the ro le of the working c lass in p rec ip i ta t ing economic c r i ses through i t s i n a b i l i t y 60 to consume the products of i t s labour would cer ta in l y esca late . One shock absorbent for economic c r i ses i s surely the a b i l i t y of labourers to retreat into re la t ions of production outside cap i ta l i sm, and the i r a b i l i t y to r ide out economic storms. In a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, i t i s possible to quantify labour. However, i t i s not so easy to quantify work, since i t i s d ist inguished from labour precisely in that i t has no exchange value, and i s therefore quant i f iab le only to the extent that labour and work can be compared (for example, by t ry ing to set a pr ice on housework by estimating costs i f a l l the tasks done in the household were instead performed in the market p lace) . This also assumes that labour power i s i t s e l f uniformly pr iced , and t h i s leads to c i r c u l a r arguments. For example, many tasks taken out of the home and performed for exchange value receive lower rates of pay because they are also done in the home, by women, whose labour in the home has no value ( for example, paid domestic labour i s done at a pr ice often far below even minimum wages). The fact of two labour processes helps to c l a r i f y t h i s problem. While the labour power of the organised male working c lass i s quant i f iab le , the labour power of the rest of the working c lass i s determined by non- quant i f ied fac to rs ; that i s , the qual i ty of work and i t s a b i l i t y to reduce costs of production/reproduction. In add i t ion , the two types of labour power then meet and further redefine wages. Male workers are threatened by the lower pr ices attached to other types of labour power, while cheap labourers try to gain higher wages by comparing the i r labour and s k i l l s to those of h igher -pr iced labourers. Insofar as they t ry to quantify labour power without taking these important d i s t i n c t i o n s into 61 t h e i r c a l c u l a t i o n s , c r i s i s theor is ts miss an important dynamic in the a b i l i t y of c a p i t a l i s t s to exp lo i t labour. For example, almost a l l hold the rate of exp lo i ta t ion constant. The law of value w i l l tend to ensure that the value produced by workers across d i f fe rent industr ies w i l l be the same, and competition in the labour market w i l l tend to ensure a uniform value of labour power at least for unsk i l led labour. Thus we can ta lk about a common rate of surplus value across an economy, where the rate of surplus value (sometimes c a l l e d the rate of exp lo i tat ion) i s defined as the r a t i o : s/v = amount of surplus produced var iable cap i ta l l a i d out If s k i l l e d labour i s seen as a mult ip le of u n s k i l l e d , producing value proportionate to the extra pay received, the rate of surplus value w i l l be constant across s k i l l e d labour too (Himmelweit, 1983: 473-474). In t h i s kind of a n a l y s i s , q u a l i t a t i v e d i s t i n c t i o n s are l o s t . And, more important, s k i l l e d labour becomes at best a d i f fe rent expression of unsk i l l ed labour (and thus comparable in quant i f ied terms). The rate of exp lo i ta t ion i s held constant, but the whole dynamic of cap i ta l i sm involves constant change. To the extent, then, that these theories overlook such important dif ferences between q u a l i t a t i v e and quant i tat ive d i s t i n c t i o n s , they can be accused of being economistic, of remaining s t a t i c descr ipt ions of an imagined pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production that misses the dynamics of h i s t o r i c a l processes and the contradict ions between c a p i t a l i s t and n o n - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production. Although Shaikh c r i t i c i s e s c r i s i s theor ies , he seems to adopt the economists' fasc inat ion with measurable var iab les . He too seems to posi t a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. The time workers actual ly put in (L) i s determined by the length of the working day. The time necessary to reproduce themselves (V), on the other hand, i s determined by both the amount of goods they consume ( the i r "real wage") and the labor-t ime i t takes to produce these goods. The mass of surplus value (S) and 62 the rate of exp lo i ta t ion (S/V) can therefore be increased in two ways: d i r e c t l y , by lengthening the working day L so that surplus labor time i s d i rec t l y increased; and i n d i r e c t l y , by lowering the necessary labor - t ime V so that more of a given working day i s spent in surplus labor - t ime. This l a t t e r method of increasing S and S/V requires that e i ther workers' real wages be reduced or that the product iv i ty of t h e i r labor be raised so that i t takes them less time to produce the i r means of consumption, or both (Shaikh, 1978: 232). While in his c r i t i q u e of various types of c r i s i s theory, Shaikh acknowledges the importance of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production, when he turns to economic formulations, V (time necessary for workers to reproduce themselves) i s determined by "real wages" and the labour-t ime necessary to produce them. There i s no room in such c a l c u l a t i o n s , or so i t seems, for unpaid work performed outside the workplace but contr ibut ing to V by lowering costs of production and reproduction of labour power. Perhaps the argument would be put forward that the minimum wage, i t s e l f a product of state intervent ion in the economy, represents the pr ice of unsk i l l ed labour power at any given point in time. While such a ca lcu la t ion may prove u s e f u l , i t does ignore two issues . F i r s t , much paid labour occurs outside the o f f i c i a l marketplace; for example, the huge p r o f i t s made in drug t r a f f i c k i n g occur precisely because the sale of these commodities i s i l l e g a l ( I l l i c h , 1982). Second, within the o f f i c i a l economy (that i s , those items included in the ca lcu la t ion of Gross National Product) , labour power may be paid a minimum wage, but employers f ind other means of cheapening that labour power even fur ther . The example that springs to mind here i s the current movement by Canadian department store chains to turn a l l of t h e i r permanent f u l l - t i m e sales s t a f f into part - t ime workers. This allows employers f l e x i b i l i t y in h i r ing s t a f f only when 63 needed, and not being obliged to pay into employee benefit programs required by state leg is lat ion . In other words, the dynamic of how labour power is actually employed i s l e f t out of discussions that focus on econometric models alone. It is not that such models are not useful, but there is a danger of relying on them alone, since they have the advantage of neatly quantifying social rea l i ty . What is missed from that social real i ty is equally important. The qualitative differences between the two labour processes can be used to uncover the historical developments whereby capi ta l is ts separate sk i l led craft labour from cheap labour power. For example, the B.C. fishing industry was prosecuted by capital ists because a market for canned salmon developed alongside the creation of a Br i t ish proletariat, separated from i t s means of subsistence, and rel iant on new food 3 sources. Clearly, Br i t ish labourers could not afford to pay high prices for tinned salmon. And c lear ly , i f salmon canners were to pay their labour forces the same rates as those paid Br i t ish labourers, there would be no way to make a profit (especially taking into calculation the high costs of transporting a heavy, bulky art ic le to another part of the world). It was precisely because canners found other sources of labour power (other than European labourers immigrating to Canada in the hope of obtaining even higher wages than those in their home country) that they could make salmon canning a profitable venture. Chinese and native canning crews could not afford to buy back the commodities they produced, but that was not the intention of canners in engaging in the industry. The market lay elsewhere, and the concern of B.C. salmon canners, as with a l l cap i ta l i s ts , was to create as large a 64 margin as possible between the sale of the commodity and i t s costs of production. The argument being made here i s that such dynamics must be included in evaluating the role of the working c lass in economic c r i s e s . To the extent that work proceeds outside the indust r ia l workplace and contr ibutes to s u r v i v a l , labourers can be not only hired more cheaply but they can also buttress the e f fec ts of economic c r i s i s much better than i f they were t o t a l l y r e l i a n t on wages and commodities bought with those wages. Returning to the example of the B.C. salmon canning industry , canners often allowed native cannery crews to take those 4 species of salmon inadvertently captured but not usable in canning. Such f i s h had no exchange value to the canners but i t had use value as a source of sustenance to the i r labour forces . While the B r i t i s h p r o l e t a r i a t exchanged wages for canned salmon, native peoples continued to rely on the i r a b i l i t y to acquire the natural resource for free (that i s , outside c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of e x p l o i t a t i o n ) . Of course, the discussion here cannot explain how c r i ses in consumption are resolved in the production of consumer commodities by s k i l l e d c r a f t labour. C lea r l y , cheaply paid labourers cannot af ford such commodities, unless p r e c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production allow them to take care of the majority of t h e i r needs through unpaid work, al lowing them to spend the wages they do earn on these commodities ( th is rarely happens).^ The movement described here goes in only one d i r e c t i o n , production of commodities using cheap labour power for consumption by highly paid labourers, most of them res id ing in North America and western Europe. Many basic consumer industr ies (for example, t e x t i l e s and food processing) involve cheaply paid labourers 65 (the indust r ia l revolut ion began precisely in t h i s manner). Consumer markets therefore take into consideration that there are d i f f e r e n t l y pr iced labour fo rces , those who can af ford cer ta in commodities and those who cannot, but who are employed in making them. Some commodities, of course, can be produced so cheaply that a l l labourers can afford them. Many of these are indispensable for subsistence (one reason why agr i cu l tu ra l product iv i ty had to be raised before the indust r ia l revolut ion could begin) . The only point being stressed here i s that there are dynamics at work within the working c lass important to c r i s i s theor ies . Another important factor to be considered in the a b i l i t y of c a p i t a l i s t economies to pul l themselves out of economic c r i s e s , as both Wright and Shaikh point out, i s the increasing involvement of the state in advanced cap i ta l i sm. The Role of the State in Structur ing Unequally Paid Labour Forces The existence of two d i f fe rent wage labour forces i s not part of the log ic of c a p i t a l i s m . If a pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production ex i s ted , then labour power would f ind i t s value in the wages determined by market forces . The existence of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production introduced h i s t o r i c a l l y another factor in the valuation of labour power, the d i f f e r e n t i a l value of the labour process of d i f fe rent groups through f i xed c r i t e r i a l i k e gender and race. In tu rn , f r i c t i o n s developed with in the working c l a s s , as groups fought not to have the i r labour power devalued. The arena where such batt les were fought was the s ta te . Economic inequal i ty within the working c lass requires state intervent ion precisely because the inequal i ty i s not a product of 66 economic c a p i t a l i s t forces but rather the use by c a p i t a l i s t s of non- economic valuations in st ructur ing labour forces. Marx intended to devote one volume of Capital to a discussion of the s ta te , but never managed to undertake the task. Engels, in The Or ig in of the Family, Pr ivate Property and the State , connected the h i s t o r i c a l emergence of classes with the need for a structure to enforce and legi t imate appropriation of surplus by non-producers. And "the world h i s t o r i c a l defeat of the female sex" was in turn a product of the emergence of c lasses and a state (Engels, 1981: 120). The most recent Marxian work on the role of the state in capi ta l ism stems from the publ icat ions of Mil iband and Poulantzas, and the ensuing debate.^ The debate revolves around the question of how a p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n can play a ro le in economic c lass r e l a t i o n s , and, perhaps even more important, whether the working c lass can e f fec t radical s o c i a l , economic and p o l i t i c a l changes by using the state (a view which assumes the state to be neut ra l , the "state in c a p i t a l i s t society") or whether the state acts in the interests of the dominant c lass and neutra l ises working c lass struggle by channell ing i t into p o l i t i c a l rather than economic arenas ( " c a p i t a l i s t state") (Wright, 1979: 195). Mi l iband 's o r ig ina l study was labe l led instrumental ist and Poulantzas' s t r u c t u r a l i s t , but more recent work has demonstrated the complementarity of the two approaches, as well as the d i f ferences . Two d i f fe ren t approaches have, in recent years , been used. . The f i r s t r e l i e s on a number of ideological and p o l i t i c a l fac tors : for instance, the pressures which economically dominant c lasses are able to exercise upon the state and in society ; and the ideological congruence between these classes and those who hold power in the s ta te . The second approach emphasizes the ' s t ructura l const ra ints ' to which the state i s subject in a c a p i t a l i s t soc iety , and the fact 67 t h a t , i r respect i ve of the ideological and p o l i t i c a l d ispos i t ions of those who are in charge of the s ta te , i t s p o l i c i e s must ensure the accumulation and reproduction of c a p i t a l . In the f i r s t approach, the state i s the state of the c a p i t a l i s t s ; in the second, i t i s the state of c a p i t a l . However, the two approaches are not exclusive but complementary (Mi l iband, 1983: 465). The point of agreement between the two theor ies , and the place from which most recent work begins, i s the acknowledgement of the increased and increasing role of the state in advanced monopoly c a p i t a l i s m . In the case study undertaken here, the point has been made that p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s are important in enforcing and st ructur ing s o c i a l l y determined re la t ions of inequa l i t y . Engels makes t h i s point ; for example, by demonstrating how the Roman s tate , through the formulation and enforcement of laws surrounding marriage and w i l l s , elevated the patr iarchal family form to a dominant p o s i t i o n . I ts essent ia l features [the patr iarchal family] are the incorporation of unfree persons and paternal power; hence the perfect type of t h i s form of family i s the Roman. The o r ig ina l meaning of the word "family" ( fami l ia ) i s not that compound of sent imental i ty and domestic s t r i f e which forms the ideal of the present-day p h i l i s t i n e ; among the Romans i t did not at f i r s t even refer to the married pair and t h e i r chi ldren but only to the s laves . Famulus means domestic s lave, and fami l ia i s the tota l number of slaves belonging to one man. As la te as the time of Gaius, the f a m i l i a , i d est patrimonium ( fami ly , that i s , the patrimony, the inheritance) was bequeathed by w i l l . The term was invented by the Romans to denote a new social organism whose head ruled over wife and chi ldren and a number of s laves , and was invested under Roman paternal power with r ights of l i f e and death over them a l l (Engels, 1981: 121). Thus, while economic re la t ions become re lat ions of inequal i ty with the h i s t o r i c a l evolut ion of c lasses in various modes of production, p o l i t i c a l re la t ions serve to legi t imate the par t i cu la r form of economic exp lo i ta t ion pract ised by the ru l ing c lass and provide an ideology, a system of b e l i e f s , to j u s t i f y e x p l o i t a t i o n . But the system of b e l i e f s , 68 p a r t i c u l a r l y in n o n - c a p i t a l i s t modes of production, i s not r e f l e c t i v e only of economic r e l a t i o n s . Non-economic forms of e x p l o i t a t i o n , l i k e the patr iarchal fami ly , j u s t i f y economic e x p l o i t a t i o n . The c a p i t a l i s t mode of production ra ises economic exp lo i ta t ion to new heights, and economic re la t ions come to predominate over others, and to determine them more v i s i b l y . While the l i b e r a l democratic state r e f l e c t s the new forms of e x p l o i t a t i o n , older forms, l i k e patr iarchy , do not simply disappear. They continue u n t i l el iminated by organised struggle and resistance by exploi ted groups, exploi ted both p o l i t i c a l l y and economically. Of pa r t i cu la r importance to the present study are the struggles focussed on granting p o l i t i c a l r ights to groups excluded from p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n : women, native peoples, Chinese, Japanese and East Indian residents of Canada. P o l i t i c a l exclusion enabled c a p i t a l i s t employers to t reat the labour power of these groups in special ways. Because they could not c a l l on legal sanct ions, these groups could be exploited as cheap labour in a way that p o l i t i c a l c i t i z e n s could not be. The various groups did eventually win p o l i t i c a l recogni t ion , not without many decades of struggle. However, p o l i t i c a l "personhood" threatened the a b i l i t y of c a p i t a l i s t employers to exp lo i t them as cheap wage labour. I t was precisely at t h i s point in t ime, a f ter the end of the second world war, that the state began to play a d i rec t ro le in the production and reproduction of labour power. That i s , both employers and organised labourers c a l l e d on the state to f i l l the gap between wages and the a b i l i t y of labourers to produce and reproduce the i r labour power. The d e t a i l s of these various struggles as they affected B.C. shore plant 69 labour forces are given in Chapter 6. While i t i s outside the scope of t h i s study to explore the theoret ica l debates on the role of the s ta te , cer ta in parts of the debate are useful in understanding the h i s t o r i c ro le of the prov inc ia l and federal states in the provincia l f i s h e r i e s . They w i l l be summarised in the remainder of t h i s sect ion . For the purposes of the present study, then, the state can be defined in part as a set of v i s i b l e i n s t i t u t i o n s cont ro l led by a group working on behalf of the long-term interests of the ru l ing c lass or c lass f r a c t i o n s . Agency i s a t t r ibuted to the state because p o l i c i e s are made and enacted in i t s name. At the same time, because of the " r e l a t i v e autonomy" (a concept developed by Poulantzas) of the state (or the p o l i t i c a l ) from the c a p i t a l i s t c lass or c lass f ract ions (the economic), c lass struggle takes place with in the s ta te , and dominated c lasses can exert pressure to p a r t i a l l y r e a l i s e the i r in te res ts .^ However, the state remains wedded to the pursuance of c a p i t a l i s t c lass i n t e r e s t s . Here, Poulantzas 1 analys is becomes important. For the state must be defined as more than a set of i n s t i t u t i o n s . I t i s also a set of re la t ions that evolve with in the c a p i t a l i s t economy. A c loser look at Poulantzas 1 work i s necessary to elaborate t h i s part of the d e f i n i t i o n . According to Poulantzas, "a h i s t o r i c a l l y determined social formation i s dependent on the coexistence of several modes of production. In t h i s sense, the state of such a formation resu l ts from a combination of several types of s ta te , the product of the d i f fe rent modes of production which come into combination in t h i s formation" (Poulantzas, 1978: 144). 70 Because of the coexistence in a c a p i t a l i s t formation of several modes of production and of several forms of the CMP [ c a p i t a l i s t mode of production] and because of the complex a r t i c u l a t i o n of instances, each with i t s own time-sequence, the dominance in a c a p i t a l i s t formation of one form of the CMP over another i s not expressed in a simple development ( i b i d . : 154). In understanding the evolution of the provincia l f i s h e r i e s , and the par t i c ipa t ion of the various groups and classes in them, the importance of the state must be taken into considerat ion. D i f ferent states were involved as the prov inc ia l economy was transformed from a hunting and gathering mode of production, through the fur trade and co lonia l settlement eras , and the succeeding c a p i t a l i s t stages. The economy of the native peoples, where there was no state formation, was penetrated in the name of the B r i t i s h state and colonised. State formations changed as the area that became known as B r i t i s h Columbia was transformed from a colony to a province. In tu rn , state formations r e f l e c t economic r e l a t i o n s . For Poulantzas, three elements comprise the level of the economic: labourers, means of production, and the non-labourers who appropriate surplus labour. "These elements e x i s t in a s p e c i f i c combination which const i tutes the econmic in a given mode of production, a combination which i s i t s e l f composed of a double re la t ion of these elements" (Poulantzas, 1978: 26) . This double re la t ion consists of "real appropriat ion" (that i s , the re la t ion of the labourer to the means of production) and a " re la t ion of property" whereby the non-labourer intervenes as owner of the means of production, of labour power, or of both. This second re la t ion in turn defines the " re la t ions of production" ( i b i d . ) . 71 This theoret ical conceptual isat ion of "property" as a point of entry between the non-labourer and the labourer through appropriation of the means of production (one point of entry) helps c l a r i f y the role of Q both the federal and prov inc ia l states in Canada. I n i t i a l l y , the B r i t i s h intervened in the native economy by claiming a l l land to be B r i t i s h crown property. Since the state i s not a person, such a claim can only be understood as made on behalf of cer ta in classes in Great B r i t a i n , i n i t i a l l y those associated with the trading companies developing the fur t rade. However, because the i n i t i a l c laim was put forward in the absence of a resident c a p i t a l i s t c l a s s , i t determined the nature of c a p i t a l i s t development of the provincia l economy, in the g continued extract ion of resources rather than secondary manufacturing. Resources were i n i t i a l l y extracted to be processed in B r i t a i n , and t h i s development continued when the prov inc ia l economy subsequently became dependent on central Canada and the United States . At the same time, the state has retained a dominant presence in Canadian c a p i t a l i s t development (Naylor, 1975). In the case of the prov inc ia l f i s h e r i e s , a f te r confederation in 1871, the F isher ies Act was extended to B r i t i s h Columbia. The federal state claimed the r ight to manage the f i s h e r i e s in the "common i n t e r e s t . " ^ In actual p rac t i ce , t h i s meant the opening of the f i s h e r i e s to c a p i t a l i s t exp lo i ta t ion and managing the resu l t ing c o n f l i c t s (espec ia l l y those between canners and f i shers ) as well as t ry ing to preserve the resources from tota l destruction (managing the long-term interests of those d i rec t l y involved in the indust r ies against the short-term interests of canners, many of whom demanded the r ight to unl imited capture as long as markets and p r o f i t s were good). 72 Poulantzas argues that in the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the economic and of the p o l i t i c a l occurs in r e l a t i v e autonomy, with the economic assuming a dominant r o l e . The very existence of the state in the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production i s an ind icat ion of unresolvable cont rad ic t ions . According to Engels: "It i s a product of society at a cer ta in stage of development; i t i s the admission that t h i s society has become entangled in an insoluble contradict ion with i t s e l f . " (as quoted in Poulantzas, i b i d . : 48) The ro le of the state i s one of cohesion, o r , using a metaphor borrowed from Gramsci, the state acts as a cement ( i b i d . : 207). Because the social formation i s d i v i s i v e , based as i t i s on the double r e l a t i o n noted, there ar ises the necessity of providing an ideological j u s t i f i c a t i o n for e x p l o i t a t i o n , of unify ing the various d i v i s i v e forces at the p o l i t i c a l l e v e l , while al lowing the i r continuation at the economic. This ideology i s developed at the level of the p o l i t i c a l , within the s ta te . As w i l l be demonstrated, in B r i t i s h Columbia t h i s ideology was i n i t i a l l y based on racism. The state representing co lon ia l settlement excluded non- white peoples from membership (native peoples, Chinese, Japanese and East Indians were a l l denied the f ranch ise ) . The white settlement in B r i t i s h Columbia perceived i t s e l f as a cohesive group in terms of a perceived threat by these other peoples. Prov inc ia l p o l i t i c i a n s played an important leadership ro le in a r t i c u l a t i n g r a c i s t f e e l i n g s , and in enacting l e g i s l a t i o n to exclude non-white peoples from p o l i t i c a l pa r t i c ipa t ion and to bar them from entry into the province (Ward: 1978). 73 In order to comprehend how racism was used as an ideology "cementing" the white population of B r i t i s h Columbia, i t i s useful to develop Poulantzas' concept of c l a s s . Poulantzas argues th is concept, l i k e that of the s ta te , cannot be understood as a concrete set of ind iv iduals ("agents") but, rather as a set of r e l a t i o n s . More exact ly , social c lass i s a concept which shows the e f fec ts of the ensemble of s t ructures , of the matrix of a mode of production or of a social formation on the agents which const i tute i t s supports: t h i s concept reveals the e f fec ts of the global structure in the f i e l d of social r e l a t i o n s . In t h i s sense, i f c lass i s indeed a concept, i t does not designate a r e a l i t y which can be placed in the structures: i t designates the e f fec t of an ensemble of given st ructures , an ensemble which determines social re la t ions as c lass re lat ions (Poulantzas, 1978: 67-68) . Further, a par t i cu la r social formation "consists of an overlapping of several modes of production, one of which holds the dominant r o l e , and i t therefore presents more classes than the 'pure' mode of production" ( i b i d . : 71) . To understand the role of classes or groups that survive from p r e - c a p i t a l i s t modes of production, Poulantzas introduces the concept of "pert inent e f f e c t s . " These can only be understood in terms of s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l s i t u a t i o n s . In tu rn , the presence of a "c lass" i s expressed at the p o l i t i c a l level through "pertinent e f f e c t s . " These s t ructures , having t h e i r e f fects on the ensemble of the f i e l d of c lass struggle, often prevent the independent p o l i t i c a l and ideological organization of the classes of non-dominant modes of production, and resu l t precisely in the po lar i za t ion of these c lasses around classes of the dominant mode. The 'pert inent e f f e c t s , ' however, permit the precise locat ion of the threshhold from which an under-determined c lass e x i s t s , and indeed funct ions, as a soc ia l force : the same holds for autonomous f ract ions of a c lass ( i b i d . : 82, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . 74 This concept of "pertinent e f fec ts " can be applied in understanding the d iv i s ions within labouring groups in B r i t i s h Columbia, along rac ia l l i n e s . The antagonism of white labourers towards Chinese and Japanese labourers can be understood in terms of a d i f f e r e n t i a l c lass s i t u a t i o n , a "pert inent e f f e c t . " Chinese contractors , middlemen between employers and labourers, recru i ted cannery labour. As demonstrated in Chapter 5, these middlemen could provide cheap labour power because of pre- c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions ex i s t ing in China. On the other hand, European male workers acquired pa r t ia l control over the i r means of production because these, in the form of natural resources, were cont ro l led not by indiv idual c a p i t a l i s t s but by the s ta te . This s i tuat ion was a product of the colonia l status of the province, a h i s t o r i c a l s i tuat ion not defined within a "pure" mode of production. Thus, while European male workers maintained par t ia l control over resources as f i shers (although t h i s control has always been mediated by the federal s t a t e ) , Chinese cannery workers suffered a double re la t ion of exp lo i ta t ion (by cannery employers mediated through Chinese cont ractors ) . At the p o l i t i c a l l e v e l , th i s economic disjuncture between the s i tuat ion of f i shers and cannery workers (stemming from d i f fe ren t re la t ions to the means of production and to non-labourers) was channelled by way of an ideology of racism into a l l i a n c e s between c lasses . A par t ia l a l l i a n c e was secured between white f i shers and canners, and both groups formed a l l iances based on t h e i r perceptions of the rac ia l s i tuat ion with the provincia l s ta te . The prov inc ia l s ta te , in tu rn , a r t i cu la ted t h i s rac ia l ideology, and provided channels for expressing discontent by means of rac ia l 75 accusations (rather than the far more dangerous ones rooted in c a p i t a l i s t economic e x p l o i t a t i o n ) . The s i tuat ion of native peoples provides yet another set of "pert inent e f f e c t s . " As demonstrated in Chapter 4, the i r economic base (means of production) was pre-empted by the B r i t i s h crown and then p a r t i a l l y returned to them ( in the form, for example, of aboriginal land c la ims , including f ishery s i t e s ) . Canners were thereby enabled to rec ru i t yet another cheap labour force; one, however, that was not eas i l y subordinated. In terms of race r e l a t i o n s , native peoples have developed a var iety of a l l i a n c e s . At times they have a l l i e d themselves with employers, at times with white f i s h e r s , at times with Japanese f i s h e r s , but almost always against the provincia l state which, af ter Douglas, has consistent ly refused to recognise the r ights and claims granted them by B r i t a i n and taken over by the federal state (F isher , 1980: 146-174). In add i t ion , the s i tuat ion of native f i shers has d i f fe red from that of cannery workers, based on d i f fe rent r e l a t i o n s , even within f a m i l i e s , to the means of production. This has led to s p l i t s within the group and d i f f e r e n t i a l a l l i a n c e s to the other groups and classes mentioned. I t i s not enough, however, to consider only the continuation of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions with in the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. The pa r t i cu la r c a p i t a l i s t stage of development of a pa r t i cu la r social formation i s also important. The structural s i tuat ion described here belongs to the early c a p i t a l i s t development of the province. Although canners owned the fac tor ies and machinery (although even here, once the technology had developed to a cer ta in stage, canning l i n e s could be 76 leased from machinery manufacturers), they did not own the resource (unt i l i t was caught and appropriated e i ther d i r e c t l y by employing f i shers as wage workers or i n d i r e c t l y by buying the f i s h from them, and here again the s i tuat ion d i f fe red according to the race of the f isher ) nor did they own the habi tat . The employment of factory labour through contracts re f lec ted t h i s par t ia l ownership, since i t meant that canners were dependent on f i shers for the supply and since they were forced to bu i ld the i r fac tor ies near the source of capture, often moving them or c los ing them during low production periods. The nature of the resource (the fact that salmon return in yearly and seasonal cycles) and the state of the forces of production (the absence of re f r igerat ion techniques to preserve the f i s h , thus al lowing for more control in where and when i t i s processed) were also important determining fac to rs . These d i f fe rent "pert inent e f fec ts " have also resulted in d i f fe rent forms of struggle. While native peoples have c o l l e c t i v e l y struggled against the state (at the p o l i t i c a l l e v e l ) , white f i shers have generally focussed t h e i r struggles around economic issues . And Chinese workers and Japanese f i shers have used community organisat ions, with roots in p r e - c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , in the i r st ruggles. Poulantzas i d e n t i f i e s three types of c lass pract ice - economic, p o l i t i c a l and i d e o l o g i c a l : "the concepts of power and domination, in the i r re la t ion to the concept of c l a s s , by no means cover only the level of p o l i t i c a l s t ructures , but also the ensemble of the f i e l d of social r e l a t i o n s , i . e . economic, p o l i t i c a l and ideological c lass pract ices" ( i b i d . : 331, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . In analysing c lass st ruggle , he concentrates on the economic and p o l i t i c a l leve ls (since the ideological 77 i s , for him, encapsulated within the p o l i t i c a l ) . Marx termed the leve ls of struggle " c l a s s - i n - i t s e l f " (economic, or t rade-union, struggle) and " c l a s s - f o r - i t s e l f " ( p o l i t i c a l struggle) ( i b i d . : 74-75) . For Poulantzas, as for Lenin, "the p o l i t i c a l struggle must always have p r i o r i t y over the economic struggle" ( i b i d . : 92, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . The objective of p o l i t i c a l struggle i s state power. However, according to Poulantzas' own argument, the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production i s i t s e l f characterised by a ser ies of contradict ions in the socia l formation, requir ing the state as cohesive force to contain i t . Further, since neither the state nor classes are objects , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to understand how the objective of p o l i t i c a l struggle can be state power. Indeed, at the end of his work, he stresses that "the state i s in fact only a power centre" ( i b i d . : 351). Presumably, then, to acquire power presupposes changes in the soc ia l formation at the level of the economy, since the state i s necessary because of contradict ions determined there. The complexity of t h i s problem can be demonstrated by looking at the types of struggle that have taken place in the B.C. f i sh ing industry.** White f i shers have generally organised along trade union l ines (Gladstone, 1959; Ralston, 1965). Native f i shers have followed a more diverse path, using both p o l i t i c a l and economic organisat ions. Indeed, some native organisations ( for example, the Native Brotherhood) have incorporated both economic and p o l i t i c a l objectives (Drucker, 1958). Both groups have influenced shoreworkers. However, j u s t as the state influenced the re la t ionsh ip between labourers and non-labourers, i t has also had a determining e f fec t on labour organisation with in the p lants . I n i t i a l l y , as demonstrated in Chapters 4 and 5 , i t played a role in 78 securing plant labour through immigration p o l i c i e s al lowing the entry of Chinese workers and refusing to in ter fe re in the operations of Chinese contractors . State p o l i c i e s were also important in transforming the native economy, resu l t ing in the pa r t ia l release of native workers to labour in the canneries. While f i shers engaged in a d i rec t bat t le with canners, beginning at the turn of the century (Gladstone, 1959; Ralston, 1965), internal labour re la t ions in canneries were marked by an absence of state regulation (Garrod, 1984). The s i tuat ion changed dramatical ly during the second world war, when state involvement in the f i s h e r i e s escalated, resu l t ing in labour l e g i s l a t i o n , including recognit ion of a trade union, the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers' Union (Muszynski, 1984). Union agreements displaced the Chinese contract system in payment of workers and determination of wage and working condit ions (although Chinese contractors continued to rec ru i t a portion of the labour force for some canneries) . In conclusion, in the B.C. f i sh ing industry , p o l i t i c a l and economic re lat ions have been c losely intertwined. In order to examine these re la t ions in greater d e t a i l , i t i s necessary at t h i s point to turn to the case study i t s e l f . The fol lowing chapter presents a b r ie f history of the industry , to s i tuate the various events described in t h i s chapter. The rest of the thesis then focusses on demonstrating the nature of the labour processes used, developed and transformed by salmon canners in the i r search for cheap wage labour; the process of state involvement in the industry ; and organised struggle by f i shers in the industry , resu l t ing in the formation of an indust r ia l trade union, as 79 well as the process by which shoreworkers began to f igh t within the union structure for the i r own i n t e r e s t s . 80 Mode of production can be defined as fo l lows: The s p e c i f i c economic form, in which unpaid surplus labour i s pumped out of d i rec t producers (and also that th is ) determines the re lat ionship of ru lers and ru led , as i t grows d i r e c t l y out of production i t s e l f and in tu rn , reacts upon i t as a determining element. Upon t h i s , however, i s founded the ent i re formation of the economic community which grows up out of the production re la t ions themselves, thereby simultaneously i t s s p e c i f i c p o l i t i c a l form. I t i s always the d i rec t re lat ionship of the owners of the condit ions of production to the d i rec t producers - a re la t ion always natura l ly corresponding to a de f in i te stage in the development of the methods of labour and thereby i t s social product iv i ty - which reveals the innermost secret , the hidden basis of the ent i re socia l structure (Capital I I I , ch . 47, sect . I I ) . (Himmelweit, 1983: 336-337). 2 In commodity production, Marx dist inguished between two "departments:" Department 1 involved producer goods while Department 2 involved consumer goods. The two play d i f fe rent roles in the capi ta l accumulation process, a fact that , according to Shaikh, Marxian underconsumption and d ispropor t iona l i t y theories tend to overlook (1978: 226). "The market for t h i s a r t i c le . . . depends int imately upon the condit ion of the manufacturing and mining classes in Great B r i t a i n and elsewhere, affording to them, as i t does, in a convenient form, a very acceptable change from the uniformity of the i r ordinary d iet" (DMF, 1880: 280). *"0f course, from accidental causes, some s a c r i f i c e of f i s h for mercanti le purposes has occasional ly happened; but, in such cases the cannery proprietors have usually presented the f i s h gratuitously to the natives around, who have cured the f i s h by drying for the i r own consumption" (DMF, 1879: 292). The CBC news programme, The Nat ional , on May 12, 1986, presented a short c l i p on the expanding South Korean economy. I t invest igated the Hyundai automobile p lant . Labourers are paid a f rac t ion of the wages received by the i r North American counterparts, approximately $3 per hour. They also work extremely long hours (possibly without overtime pay), 72 hours per week for a plant foreman. The point was made in the c l i p that they cannot af ford to buy the cars they make. C lear ly the consumer market i s the more highly paid American and European labour fo rce . But Korean competition undermines the American (and possibly European) automobile industr ies and the i r a b i l i t y to keep operating, and, thus, u l t imately the a b i l i t y of North American labourers to buy cars . This case i s useful because i t i l l u s t r a t e s c lear l y that there are 81 two types of labour forces employed in the same industry, one serving the other but undermining i t s very ab i l i t y to consume the commodities produced more cheaply. 6 Poulantzas published Pol i t i ca l Power and Social Classes in 1968, almost at the same time as MiIiband's The State in Capital ist Society (1969). The two engaged in a debate over their different conceptualisations of the state. The debate is reprinted in R. Blackburn, Ideology and Social Studies (1972). The debate widened. See, for example, Amy Beth Bridges, "Nicos Poulantzas and the Marxist Theory of the State," in Po l i t i cs and Society (1974); David A. Gold, Clarence Y.H. Lo and Erik 01 in Wright, "Recent Developments in Marxist Theories of the Capital ist State," in Monthly Review (1975); Ernesto Laclau, "The specif ic i ty of the p o l i t i c a l : the Foulantzas-Miliband debate," in Economy and Society (1975); and Poulantzas' rejoinder, "The Capital ist State: A Reply to Mill*band and Laclau," in New Left Review (1976). For a Canadian analysis and application of the debate, see the work edited by Leo Panitch, The Canadian State: Po l i t i ca l Economy and Po l i t i ca l Power (1977). ^ As the capi ta l i s t mode of production develops, the state takes on an increased role, part ial ly in response to economic crises and contradictions, part ial ly to contain and channel working-class discontent. State welfare policies (the welfare state in advanced capitalism) can be understood in this context. For an excellent analysis of the Br i t ish welfare state, see Ian Gough, The Po l i t i ca l Economy of the Welfare State (1979). Q There have been a number of studies examining the concept of property as i t applies to the f isher ies. Are they to be understood as "common property," "state property," or "private property?" For one of the most recent analyses, see Marchak in Uncommon Property: The Fishing and Fish Processing Industries in Br i t ish Columbia (in press). g Because f ish is a highly perishable resource, i t s extraction requires onsite processing. It is signif icant that state involvement has largely been confined to the manner of capture of the resource and i t s protection. State legislat ion was notable by i t s absence in labour relations within the canneries. This point is developed later in the chapter. "The very individualism of capitalism, the fact that a l l subjects are formally free and equal to pursue their own ends, requires a separate structure, the state, to represent their 'common interest ' . What results are the separate institutions of the modern state, and their apparent autonomy from the relations of exploitation" (Gough, 1979: 40). The Commissioner of Fisheries, in 1875, interpreted the 1868 Fisheries Act as follows: "The whole tenor of that statute is an authoritative denial of any other private claims to fishing privi leges, either absolute or incidental, express or implied, in the public 82 navigable waters of the Dominion" (DMF, 1876: x x x v i i ) . Further on the same page, the statement i s made that the f i s h e r i e s are a public property which the Crown i s now empowered by Act of Parliament to control temporari ly , but not in any case to a l i e n a t e . In exerc is ing t h i s authority the leading object of a l l concerned has been to preserve and improve these publ ic f i s h e r i e s . The next aim has been to promote the interests of p ract ica l fishermen, and to protect them in the j u s t use of the f i sh ing p r i v i leges secured to them by Common Law. The f i r s t f ishery o f f i c e r for the province was appointed in 1876, Alex C. Anderson, who was also an Indian agent and a j u s t i c e of the peace. He had also worked for the Hudson's Bay Company and had forty years of experience with native people (DIA, 1880: 130 and DMF, 1882: 204). ^ Panitch (1981) also examines the complexity or in te r re la t ionsh ip between economic and p o l i t i c a l struggle by examining the role of trade unions as par t ic ipants within state re la t ions (corporatism). Gough c r i t i c i s e s Marxist theories of the state ( including that of Poulantzas) , part ly because they pay l i t t l e attent ion to the role of working-class struggle in " a l t e r i n g the parameters of state act ion" (1979: 157). 83 CHAPTER 3 The B.C. Canning Industry: H i s to r i ca l Backdrop While h i s t o r i c a l events continuously inform both the theoret ical work and case study f ind ings , a short overview of the industry w i l l help s i tuate events discussed in greater deta i l and sometimes separated from other events that occured at approximately the same time or depended on s t i l l others discussed elsewhere. For example, the recruitment of a native labour force i s treated separately from that of Chinese and Japanese labourers, although the two came to be used simultaneously and in competit ion. The role of the state i s discussed in a separate chapter, as i s the formation of an indus t r ia l trade union. In r e a l i t y , the various structures and organisations p a r t i a l l y "determined" one another. Pre - Indust r ia l Fishery * Native peoples exploited the r i ch f i s h e r i e s resources long before European co lon i sa t ion . They developed a number of techniques to catch and process the various species of f i s h (Drucker, 1963: 35-41) . Preservation ensured a winter food supply. "The year 1793 marks the beginning of another era - that of the in terest in the coastal trade 84 that was ult imately demonstrated by land-based companies" ( i b i d . : 31) . "The s a l t ing of salmon was begun soon af ter 1800 by the Northwest Company, l a t e r the Hudson Bay Company..., which exercised a monopoly of the f i s h i n g . . . a n d by 1835 was shipping three to four thousand barrels of s a l t salmon each year to the Hawaiian Is lands. These early trading companies depended very largely upon salmon for the i r food supply" (Rounsefell and Kelez , 1938: 701). Rounsefell i s here describing early commercial development of the Fraser River . Demand for salmon in t h i s processed state was i n s u f f i c i e n t , however, to allow the Hudson's Bay Company to market i t commercially on an extensive sca le . Markets, Financing and Transportation 1871-1902 The introduction of a f u l l y c a p i t a l i s t enterprise was dependent on further developments in processing techniques. "From Maine and New Brunswick the salmon canning industry made the big leap in 1864 to the easterm rim of the P a c i f i c Ocean, and.. .salmon canneries spread in about twenty years from the southern l i m i t of salmon habitat in the r i vers that flow into San Francisco Bay to the northern l i m i t in Alaska, leapfrogging in a frenzy of development from the Sacramento to the Columbia, from the Fraser to the Skeena, and f i n a l l y into the r i ch salmon streams of B r i s t o l Bay, Alaska" (Ralston, 1981: 299). A large market for canned red salmon developed in Great B r i t a i n , a resu l t of the i n d u s t r i a l revolut ion and a working c lass which could not grow i t s own food. "Who canned the f i r s t salmon on the P a c i f i c coast i s s t i l l con t rove rs ia l . George and Wil l iam Hume, operating a cannery on the Sacramento River , usual ly are given c red i t for t h i s achievement because 85 they were known to be canning in 1864, but B r i t i s h Columbians claim the Humes were preceded by at least four years by Captain Edward Stamp, the province's ' f i r s t i n d u s t r i a l i s t ' " ( P a c i f i c Fisherman, 1952: 1 6 ) . 4 The United States industry soon dominated (Ralston, 1981: 300). Entrepreneurs in B r i t i s h Columbia followed the American pattern . They were forced to can a species s i m i l a r in colour , texture and taste to the red k ings , i f they wanted to s e l l in the same market. Af ter i n i t i a l l y experimenting with red spr ings, B.C. canners used sockeye salmon. Eventual ly , other processing techniques were adopted. Other species of salmon, and other types of f i s h , notably hal ibut and herr ing , were marketed. But the cap i ta l o r i g i n a l l y employed in salmon canning enabled those entrepreneurs to gain a s i g n i f i c a n t degree of control over the ent i re provincia l f i sh ing industry . C a p i t a l i s t penetration of the B.C. f i s h e r i e s re f lected a wider movement of cap i ta l into new indust r ies . Several developments in the world economy were important for the timing of t h i s par t i cu la r encroachment. In the 1880s and 1890s, cap i ta l in the United States was reorganised into corporat ions. These developed around a new marketing approach. Transportation and food industr ies were the f i r s t arenas for these giant corporat ions. Food and transportat ion were in turn l inked to the growth of large urban centers , in which food could not be grown and thus had to be transported from food producing areas, often located thousands of kilometers from these c i t i e s . However, since food can be highly per ishable, technological innovations were c r u c i a l . In general , the i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n of the food industry provided the indispensable basis of the type of urban l i f e that was being created; and i t was in the food industry that the marketing 86 structure of the corporation.. .became f u l l y developed. The canning industry had come into being in the 1840s with the development of stamping and forming machinery for producing t i n cans on a mass b a s i s . The expansion of t h i s industry to embrace national and internat ional markets did not come, however, unt i l the 1870s, when further technical developments, including rotary pressure cookers and automatic soldering of cans - not to speak of the development of r a i l and sea transport - made i t possible (Braverman, 1974: 262). B r i t i s h Columbia consented to j o i n Confederation, in 1871, on condit ion that the federal government construct a r a i l system jo in ing the two seaboards with in ten years . That same year , the Department of Marine and F isher ies undertook the regulation of the B.C. f i s h e r i e s . Observers reported that these were l i t t l e developed. "In speaking of the f i she r ies of B r i t i s h Columbia, one may almost be said to be speaking of something which has no existence. With the exception of a small attempt at putt ing up salmon in t i n s on the Fraser River , and one or two whaling enterprises of a few years standing, no attempt whatever has been made to develope [ s i c ] the actual ly marvellous resources of t h i s Province in the way of f i s h " (DMF, 1872: 16). A l i t t l e more than t h i r t y years l a t e r , B r i t i s h Columbia was the top f ish-producing province in Canada, with an estimated f i s h catch valued at $9,850,216. Salmon was the most highly valued f i s h in the Dominion, at $8,989,942, the great majority of i t canned in B r i t i s h Columbia (DMF, 1906-7: x x i - x x i i ) . The B.C. salmon canning industry began independently of the e a r l i e r Sacramento and Columbia River canneries. Local commission merchants with d i rec t trade connections to Great B r i t a i n provided f inanc ing . The Fraser River , the largest sockeye-producing stream in the province, was the f i r s t to be exp lo i ted . 87 Before the advent of the l im i ted companies in the 1890s, the Fraser R iver ' s indust r ia l organization was characterized by low leve l s of indus t r ia l concentrat ion, small firms run by ind iv iduals or partners, and by a high incidence of local propr ietorsh ip . . .Long- run operating c a p i t a l , which was espec ia l l y important to the industry because the salmon market had an eighteen-month cycle from the time the t inp la te was ordered unt i l the season's pack was s o l d , was supplied by commission agents, who made advances in the form of overdrawn accounts on goods in t r a n s i t . These agents provided canning and f i s h i n g supplies and a d i s t r i b u t i o n system to the markets as well as cap i ta l (Stacey, 1982: 6 ) . By the mid-1880s, both the Columbia and Fraser Rivers experienced overexpansion, and canners began searching for salmon-producing streams in Alaska and northern B r i t i s h Columbia. At that time, the Fraser River canning industry consisted of th i r teen f i rms , each t i e d to brokerage houses (Reid, 1981: 323). V i c t o r i a was the f inanc ia l center of the province, and in the years between 1871 and 1891, salmon canning, sawmil l ing, and the north P a c i f i c seal hunt replaced the fur trade and gold mining "as the leading staple industr ies in the V ic tor ia -centered B.C. economy" (McDonald, 1981: 370-371). By 1881, salmon canneries and sawmills employed the largest labour forces ; ten years l a t e r , 85 percent of provincia l exports were products of the mines, f i s h e r i e s or f o r e s t s . Fraser River canned salmon was the fastest growing export industry . In the 20 year period ending in 1896, "the value of canned salmon exports shipped to external markets increased f i ve times as fas t as the value of fo rest product exports" (McDonald, 1981: 371-372). Between 1876 and 1896, there was a change in the nature of f i nanc ia l control of the industry . T. E l l i s Ladner, one of the pioneers, noted that cannery owners exercised less control than pr inc ipa l agent shareholders. The in terests between the two d i f f e r e d . 88 Agents were not so much concerned with competition between canners as with f inanc ia l control over the product and a commission appropriate to t h e i r investment. However, the advent of eastern Canadian banks to B r i t i s h Columbia changed the s i tuat ion for those canneries not already too involved in the old order. The more independent of the f i s c a l agent the cannery man was, the more he was able to control his own business. He could purchase materials at the lowest pr ice and he could finance the introduction of modern plant methods and increase his p r o f i t s through improved operations (Ladner, 1979: 92) . The movement of eastern Canadian banks into the province resulted in a s h i f t of f i s c a l control from V i c t o r i a to outside the province. The banks tended to locate regional o f f i c e s in Vancouver, c lose to the new transportat ion terminals . Subsequently, V i c t o r i a declined as the f inanc ia l cap i ta l of B r i t i s h Columbia. The Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Bank of Commerce became the pr inc ipa l backers in the salmon canning industry . By 1901, t h i s new f inanc ia l cap i ta l source enabled companies to become independent from f inanc ia l agents, through incorporat ion. The s h i f t in f inanc ia l control was p a r a l l e l l e d by a s h i f t in transportat ion from the ocean to the r a i l . By the la te 1880s, transcontinental l i n e s were completed across Canada and the United States. However, American canners gained by the s h i f t while Canadian canners found i t d i f f i c u l t to s h i f t to the new means of t ransportat ion . American f re ight rates were cheaper than Canadian. There was a much larger population in the eastern and southern s ta tes , and there markets became valuable to American canners, espec ia l ly when i t came to canning cheaper grades and species. B.C. canners could not compete since these markets were closed to them. "Pr io r to 1939, foreign markets, ch ie f l y 89 Commonwealth, absorbed 65 per cent of the B.C. canned salmon production, leaving 35 per cent to be marketed on the Canadian domestic market" (Gladstone, 1959: 7 3 ) . 5 However, the growth of Vancouver as a railway terminus did stimulate other exports. Canned salmon f a i l e d to hold i t s dominant place, and was replaced by forestry products bound for p r a i r i e markets (McDonald, 1981: 383). Corporate Control of Salmon Canning The prov inc ia l salmon canning industry has been per iod ica l l y marked by the formation of corporations intending to assume s i g n i f i c a n t control over the industry . B.C. salmon canners have always had to contend with f a i r l y weak domestic markets, a dependence on overseas markets in which the province never acquired a leading r o l e , and sale of a product that i s f a i r l y uniform (one for which strong brand names have to be created in order to compete success fu l l y ) . The A n g l o - B r i t i s h Columbia Packing Company ( A . B . C . ) , incorporated in Apr i l 1891, in London, England, was the f i r s t attempt to control the industry . Henry B e l l - I r v i n g , the company's agent and chairman of i t s loca l committee, acquired options on, nine canneries which he promptly sold to A .B .C . The "English syndicate," as the corporation came to be c a l l e d , began with large amounts of i t s cap i ta l subscribed in Canada, although control resided in Great B r i t a i n . A boat l i cens ing program was in e f fec t during t h i s per iod, on the Fraser River . By acquir ing addit ional canneries, A .B .C . could pool boat l i c e n c e s , and reduce competition from both canners and f i s h e r s . B e l l - I r v i n g argued: 90 My company do [ s i c ] not intend t h i s year to work a l l i t s canneries because we cannot get enough boats to supply a l l the canneries with f i s h - i t i s proposed to run hal f the canneries on the Fraser River and use the f i s h from those boats of canneries not running to put in the other canneries and double up, thus reducing expenses, but I think i t most essent ia l that there should be a f i xed number of l icenses to the canners . . . so there should be no danger of being frozen out by an [ s i c ] combination of fishermen, as canners have money invested and not the fishermen, and i f i t was not for the canners the fishermen would have a very small market indeed - the loca l market and which i s a mere nothing to them (DMF, 1893: 330). A .B .C . acquired two addit ional f i rms , and the company became "the largest producer of sockeye salmon in the world" (Ralston, 1965: 25) . But t h i s merger was part of a pattern. In 1889, the B r i t i s h Columbia Canning Company was incorporated in London. I ts p r inc ipa ls included the pioneers on the Fraser River : F indlay , Durham, and Brodie. They owned four canneries, three of them located in the north. Another pioneer, Alexander Ewen, also expanded, and, by 1889, he owned the largest cannery on the Fraser . In 1891, V i c t o r i a Canning Company of B r i t i s h Columbia, Limited L i a b i l i t y , was incorporated ( i b i d . : 26) . J . H. Todd, a V i c t o r i a merchant and also an o r ig ina l entrant , remained outside these mergers. Thus, by the beginning of the 1891 season, f i ve major groups were competing on the Fraser. A .B .C . bought out a l l the American-owned concerns, which represented 30 percent of total f i xed cap i ta l by 1881 (Ralston, 1981: 300). Local entrepreneurs were involved in the formation of both B r i t i s h - backed companies. Together, A .B .C . and V i c t o r i a Canning Company contro l led over 60 percent of the Fraser R iver ' s sockeye pack. Except for A . B . C . , a l l the companies were f i n a n c i a l l y l inked to V i c t o r i a (Ralston, 1965: 19). 91 A major reason why these various groups bought and consolidated cannery operations was to buy boat l icences to secure f i s h suppl ies . Attempts at ol igopsonist ic control stemmed from the overcrowded condit ions on the Fraser. The number of f i shers had r isen dramatical ly , and, in the period 1872 to 1888, the numer of canneries increased from three to twelve. Introduction by the federal state of l icence l i m i t a t i o n on the Fraser increased the pressure to consol idate. In 1889, 1890, and 1891, the number of l icences was l im i ted to 500, and each cannery was a l l o t t e d an average of 20 l icences (Stacey, 1982: 13). The program met with resistance by both canners and f i s h e r s , and, in 1892, was abol ished. Pred ic tab ly , the end of l icence l i m i t a t i o n led to new entrants , both f i shers and canners. Unt i l the turn of the century, technological development was minimal, operations labour intensive and labour i t s e l f was cheap. Gregory and Barnes (1939: 30) described the s i tuat ion throughout the P a c i f i c northwest. The greater number of canneries pr io r to 1893 was owned by s ingle propr ietors or partnerships . . .Except for the more elaborate ones they could readi ly be moved from one s i t e to another to adjust to changing f i s h i n g condit ions and competit ion. They were devoid of much machinery; the i r costs were low, and most of the early packing and handling pr io r to 1903 was done by hand.. .Often the canneries were enlargements of s a l t e r i e s that preceded them. On both sides of the border, there was a trend towards a f i s h pack div ided between a> small number of large companies who dominated the industry , and a large number of small f i rms . While A .B .C . i n i t i a l l y acquired some measure of power, wi th in ten years the s i tuat ion had come f u l l c i r c l e . "By 1901 the level of concentration had reverted to i t s pre-merger pos i t ion" (Reid, 1981: 320). 92 The new cycle of competition led to another bid for c o n t r o l . This time the pattern d i f fe red in that , with the a v a i l a b i l i t y of bank c a p i t a l , canners could assume greater control over the i r operations. V i c t o r i a Canning Company, Alexander Ewen, and George Wilson, representing three of the large f i rms , jo ined forces together with Aemilius J a r v i s and Henry Doyle. J a r v i s held important t i e s with central Canadian f i n a n c i e r s , stemming from 1892, when he establ ished Aemilius J a r v i s and Company, Investment Bankers. Doyle, on the other hand, through his connection with Doyle Fishing Supply Company of San Francisco, developed deta i led knowledge of the salmon canning industry . And because he had conducted his business in the United States , he appeared to prov inc ia l canners to be an impart ial partner, without in te res ts in s p e c i f i c p lants . In order to receive f inanc ing , the p r inc ipa ls had to obtain control over 60 percent of the operating p lants . Canners s e l l i n g to B r i t i s h Columbia Packers were asked to commit themselves to not pa r t i c ipa t ing in the industry for at least seven years . J . H. Todd provides an in terest ing example. Henry Doyle gained his act ive support for the new merger. However, when most plants had been purchased, Todd pul led out of the agreement. With much of the competition e l iminated , Todd could gain substant ia l l y from the new balance of power (Reid, 1981: 315-319). Doyle had witnessed two s i m i l a r mergers in the United States . In 1893, the Alaska Packers Associat ion was formed, succeeding a merger the previous year , when 90 percent of the producers combined the i r operations. In 1899, another combine formed, the Columbia River Packers Assoc iat ion . In B r i t i s h Columbia, a heavy pack carryover occurred in 93 1901, resu l t ing in many canners becoming indebted to the banks. The Bank of Montreal held half of the salmon canners' accounts while the Canadian Bank of Commerce held 40 percent (the remainder was held by Mol son's Bank which, in 1942, was taken over by the Bank of Montreal) . In 1902, the three banks approved the proposed amalgamation. Ja rv i s had already formed a syndicate and was acquir ing subscript ions from central Canadian businessmen. The new company was formally chartered 8 Apr i l 1902 in New Jersey, and c a l l e d The B r i t i s h Columbia Packers' Association of New Jersey (Lyons, 1969: 230-233). In the United States , " i n s t i t u t i o n a l bar r ie rs" and lack of "widespread c r e d i t markets" hampered the c e n t r a l i s a t i o n of cap i ta l (Edwards, 1979: 42) . Legal problems were overcome with New Jersey law and " s t r i c t in terpretat ions of the Sherman Ant i t rus t Act" ( i b i d . : 43) . Then, between 1898 and 1902, there was a large merger wave which " d r a s t i c a l l y transformed the structure of large business in the United States" ( i b i d . ) . Within t h i s wave can be s i tuated the mergers in A laska, on the Columbia River , and in B r i t i s h Columbia. The modern corporation had emerged. "The V i c t o r i a merchant community, t rad i t i ona l source of cap i ta l for the coast canning industry , was the pr inc ipal casualty of the reorganizat ion, with canneries previously contro l led on Vancouver Island now owned by the larger corporation centred in Vancouver" (McDonald, 1981: 389). In the salmon canning industry , i ndus t r ia l cap i ta l displaced mercantile c a p i t a l . In the 1890s, new low-cost salmon producing areas emerged in Alaska and on Puget Sound in the United States . Puget Sound production intercepted runs headed for the Fraser . Reid (1981: 326) estimates 94 that , while in 1890, 97 percent of Fraser f i s h was canned on the r i v e r , by 1900 the proportion had f a l l e n to below 40 percent. With lower Fraser River production, ownership of northern plants became very important. S i n c l a i r notes "the northern canneries had shown h i s t o r i c a l l y much larger p r o f i t s per case than those on the Fraser. Any company, therefore, wishing to control the Fraser River f ishery would be f i n a n c i a l l y stronger i f i t also possessed northern plants" (as quoted in Reid , 1973: i i ) . Upon formation, B.C. Packers took possession of 29 of 48 canneries on the Fraser, and a further 12 in the north. By 1902, then, one- th i rd of p re -ex is t ing canneries were closed while remaining plant capacity was doubled by concentrating machinery and equipment from i d l e p lants . Up to t h i s t ime, salmon canning had been organised on an assembly - l ine, manually - intensive bas is . Af ter the turn of the century, machines began to be introduced at various points on the assembly l i n e . Mechanised l i n e s , in tu rn , increased the amount of cap i ta l required to enter canning, and allowed the combination of several l i nes in one plant . The m u l t i l i n e cannery was superior to the s i n g l e - l i n e operat ion. Production did not have to stop when a change was made to a d i f f e r e n t - s i z e d can, and surplus bui ld ings in id led plants were ideal for storage. Stacey (1982: 10) estimates that , by 1905, 15 plants nearly equalled the capacity of the 29 purchased three years e a r l i e r on the Fraser . In the twentieth century, the two largest and most dominant corporations were B.C. Packers and Canadian Fish Company (Canf isco) . The l a t t e r was formed as a hal ibut f ishery company, but , in 1909, was taken over by an American f i r m , New England F i s h . In 1918, Canfisco 95 purchased a salmon cannery (Home plant) in Vancouver, and entered salmon canning. The companies became major r i v a l s . In addit ion to these two, several medium-si zed companies operated salmon canneries at s t rategic locat ions along the coast. Mention has been made of J . H. Todd & Sons L imi ted . Another strong contender was Nelson Brothers F isher ies L imi ted , incorporated in 1929. The two brothers who operated the company, however, had been in the industry since 1919, when they began t r o l l i n g on the west coast of Vancouver Is land. They purchased the i r f i r s t salmon cannery in 1933, S t . Mungo on Fraser River , and subsequently purchased canneries in other locat ions . In 1940, they began operations in Prince Rupert. In 1943, they bought Port Edward, located near Prince Rupert, from B.C. Packers. In 1955, they closed St . Mungo and b u i l t Paramount plant in Steveston, on the Fraser (Lyons, 1975: 405, 459, 522). In the l a t t e r part of the 1950s, Canfisco and B.C. Packers j o i n t l y took over J . H. Todd & Sons. A decade l a t e r , they took over Nelson Brothers. Paramount i s today part of Imperial p lant , one of the two largest operations in the province, both owned by B.C. Packers. Oceanside plant in Prince Rupert was acquired from Canfisco, r e b u i l t and enlarged, and renamed Prince Rupert P lant . Unt i l that a c q u i s i t i o n , Port Edward was the major northern operation of B.C. Packers. Although Canfisco appeared to be f i n a n c i a l l y solvent , i t s parent, New England F i s h , began to experience severe f inanc ia l problems at the end of the 1970s. George Weston L t d . , a central Canadian food conglomerate, in 1962, acquired control over B.C. Packers. In 1980, Weston bought the majority of Canf isco 's northern operations (UFAWU, 96 1984: 13) . Thus, since 1980, B.C. Packers has acquired a dominant pos i t ion in salmon canning, although other f i rms , l i k e Canf isco, continue to operate. The Prince Rupert Fishermen's Co-op began to consider canning salmon in the early 1950s, and i t s plant in Prince Rupert i s current ly the major contender with B.C. Packers in the north. In add i t ion , there was in the 1970s increasing foreign investment, centred around the roe herring market. From the mid to the end of the 1970s, Japanese demand for the B.C. product escalated, opening both a new f ishery and leading to an in f lux of Japanese c a p i t a l . The investment has been mainly concentrated in the roe herring (and salmon), as well as in the fresh/frozen f i s h markets. I t can be readi ly seen that the industry i s complex, and complexly d i f fe rent at d i f fe rent points in t ime. The focus in the thesis i s on the plant labour forces that developed from the salmon canning l i n e s . Mention of the role of the co-ops and Japanese investment w i l l be made in re la t ion to the organisation of the labour forces ( in Chapter 7 ) . The important point to bear in mind in t h i s connection, i s the important ro le of the salmon canning companies in the provincia l f i s h i n g industry . In large part , they have determined the nature of the labour process in both salmon canning and in other processing techniques. Unt i l the turn of the century, salmon canning was the major form of c a p i t a l i s t production. Af ter that t ime, the canneries were expanded to include other processing techniques, with large parts of the labour forces rotat ing from one to another, since new technologies and new f i s h e r i e s could be alternated with salmon canning ( for example, herring precede salmon and can stretch the length of employment a v a i l a b l e ) . 97 Before concluding the discussion of corporate formations and the i r attempts to dominate the industry , b r ie f mention must be made of the importance of the two world wars to the industry . Both wars created unusual demands for canned B.C. salmon, as well as other f ishery products ( l i k e canned herring and vitamin A extracted from the reduction of p i lchard and herr ing) . In tu rn , heavy market demand (as well as guaranteed packs in the second war, secured by the federal government and sold to the B r i t i s h ) i n f l a t e d p r i ces . By the end of the f i r s t world war, a new cycle of competitors had eroded the dominant pos i t ion of B.C. Packers. The f i r s t world war cut the f i sh -supply ing nations of northern Europe from the i r western European markets, and Canadian f i s h e r i e s products f i l l e d the gap. In add i t ion , as meat became scarce in war-torn countr ies , f i s h was subst i tuted, further improving market demand. And, as Europeans consumed canned f i s h , North Americans turned to fresh and frozen salmon, ha l ibu t , and, to a lesser extent, other ground f i s h . Newly developing re f r ige ra t ion technology was applied not only on f i s h boats, but also in the construction of cold storage f a c i l i t i e s . In 1913, a second transcontinental r a i l r o a d was completed, terminating at the port of Prince Rupert. Because of i t s proximity to r i c h , unexploited hal ibut banks, i t s ocean and r a i l l i n k s , and the infusion of pr ivate cap i ta l investment in cold storage f a c i l i t i e s , the c i t y became the centre of the hal ibut f i shery , and the second major urban centre in the provincia l f i s h e r i e s (next to Vancouver).** The f i r s t world war also created a heavy demand for canned herring and p i l c h a r d . Coupled with a developing market for the cheaper canned 98 f a l l salmon, Vancouver Is land, r i ch in a l l three f i s h e r i e s , emerged as a t h i r d major f i s h i n g area. However, because sockeye production there was poor, the area remained r e l a t i v e l y undeveloped. The wartime boom was s h o r t - l i v e d , and, with the sudden signing of the a rmis t i ce , a l l three markets co l lapsed. As mentioned, wartime prosperity eroded the dominant posi t ion of B.C. Packers, through excessive competition and over-expansion. Federal f i s h e r i e s o f f i c e r s stationed in the province noted the trend with great alarm. I t would appear, however, that the investor and those who think they can earn a l i v i n g by entering the f i sh ing industry are turning the i r attent ion exc lus ive ly to canning operations as being a medium for gett ing r i ch quick, but i t must be remembered that wh i l s t canneries no doubt produce p r o f i t not equalled in many other l i n e s of commerce, s t i l l they have the i r of f seasons . . .un l imited canneries would mean unl imited f i s h i n g , with the resu l t that the f i s h e r i e s would be depleted, and the smaller investor would go to the wall while only the big companies would remain in operation. The preva i l ing pr ice for canned salmon can hardly be c a l l e d normal, and when commerce again assumes normal condi t ions , the pr ices to the fishermen and manufacturers w i l l no doubt reach a level (DMF, 1917: 244). By the beginning of the war, B.C. Packers' production had already f a l l e n to 25 percent of the prov inc ia l canned salmon pack, and i t f e l l further during the war years . Between 1919 and 1925, i t accounted for only one-s ixth of the canned pack (Gregory and Barnes, 1939: 95) . Gregory and Barnes note that the three combines of the P a c i f i c northwest f i s h e r i e s , Alaska Packers Associat ion (Alaska and Puget Sound), Columbia River Packers Associat ion (Alaska and Columbia R i ve r ) , and B.C. Packers ( B r i t i s h Columbia) continued to exert considerable power, but, throughout the war, they found s t i f f competition from smaller f i rms. Post-war expansion was severely c u r t a i l e d by two recessions in the 99 1920s, which were espec ia l l y severe in t h i s industry , and by the depression in the fol lowing decade. The col lapse of wartime markets and the recessions forced many of these small operations out of business. A l l three combines moved in to buy up the smaller concerns, but the i r expansion placed them in jeopardy. The combines experienced a d i f fe ren t set of d i f f i c u l t i e s from the small f i rms . In economic hard t imes, small operators could cut losses because they generally leased t h e i r equipment. The large f i rms , however, held huge inventories in the form of pack carryovers, equipment and cannery propert ies . Gregory and Barnes (1939: 102) described the e f f e c t on B.C. Packers: The B r i t i s h Columbia Packers Associat ion. . .approximated the unfortunate experience of the American companies during these post- war years . An old f i r m , i t purchased a large number of high-pr iced canneries in the la te 1920s, paying for them in newly issued stock and also in cash. The consol idat ion proved unsuccessful and the company was forced into bankruptcy in the early ' t h i r t i e s ' . I t was taken over by banks and can manufacturing companies which had advanced considerable amounts of c r e d i t . Subsequently a number of i t s canneries were c losed. B.C. Packers managed to survive bankruptcy, and the year 1928 represents another round in the cycle of buying up and c los ing p lants . In 1930, quick freezing methods were introduced in fresh/frozen processing, but i t was not unt i l the wartime demand in the next decade that the technique became widely adopted. Fish boats and packers, equipped with re f r ige ra t ion u n i t s , could now transport f i s h over long distances. Economies of scale became feas ib le because i t was no longer necessary to es tab l i sh processing f a c i l i t i e s close to points of resource capture. Instead, operations could be combined and concentrated in urban areas, close to marketing o u t l e t s . In turn , as canning technology 100 began to require more capi ta l investment, t h i s new re f r igerat ion technology provided a new avenue of entry for small operators. The large canning companies, l i k e B.C. Packers and Canf isco, retained dominance by consol idat ing these various technologies in huge p lants . When fresh f i s h markets were strong, they could d iver t salmon from the can, and vice versa when markets changed. L ike the f i r s t , the second world war created a r t i f i c i a l markets. The United Kingdom r e l i e d heavily on the B.C. f i s h e r i e s for canned salmon and herring (canned herring production only proved feas ib le during wartimes), vitamin A supplements from f i s h reduct ion, and f i s h meal for f e r t i l i z e r used in domestic food production for wartime needs. Beginning in 1941, the B r i t i s h Minist ry of Food negotiated with the Canadian government for guaranteed packs and p r i ces . Two-thirds of Canadian production of canned salmon was procured. The fol lowing year , the B r i t i s h government purchased the ent i re provincia l pack of canned salmon and herring (canning herring had ceased af ter the f i r s t war and ceased again in 1948) (Muszynski, 1984). The diversion of canned salmon to wartime markets stimulated domestic and American demand for fresh/frozen f i s h . This became the new entry point for small processors. While in the pre-depression period small operators establ ished largely manually-operated canneries on remote streams, now they b u i l t small cold storage f a c i l i t i e s to take advantage of fresh/frozen f i s h demand. However, B.C. Packers and Canfisco retained the i r dominant pos i t ions . They were less dependent on pr ices for fresh/frozen products than were small operators, who generally lacked large cold storage f a c i l i t i e s in which to store the 101 product and wait out g luts on the market. The large firms consolidated t h e i r operations in m u l t i - l i n e and mult i -product p lants . The core of t h e i r business revolved around establ ished brand names for canned salmon. If canned salmon markets weakened, they had a double advantage. They could switch to other processes, l i k e fresh/frozen f i s h . Or they could store the i r canned salmon packs and wait for pr ices to r i s e . Guaranteed packs and prices lasted unt i l 1948, when the B r i t i s h could purchase only a f rac t ion of the pack due to a d o l l a r shortage. The Canadian state intervened and bought a portion of the canned herring pack for overseas r e l i e f a i d . During the war years , only small amounts of canned salmon were released on the domestic market. Domestic demand was strong through 1948, with two-thirds of the pack consumed domest ical ly , an increase in excess of 70 percent of pre-war demand (B.C. Packers, Annual Report 1948). However, the fol lowing year and thereaf ter , market demand slackened. In 1949, the canners c o l l e c t i v e l y engaged in a "no brand" advert is ing campaign to reintroduce the product to Canadian consumers. J . H. Todd & Sons L t d . appear to have experienced special d i f f i c u l t y in t h i s respect, and i t might be one reason for the company's absorption by the big two. I t should also be mentioned that buying we l l -es tab l i shed firms had a further advantage than simply e l iminat ing the competit ion. The cannery men were employed by the new owners. The Nelsons, in p a r t i c u l a r , have f igured in important posi t ions with in the B.C. Packers' organisat ion. This was a good way of using the expertise of one's competitors to advantage. By the end of the 1940s, then, the major processing techniques included canning, reduction, f i l l e t i n g and cold storage. Beginning in 102 the 1950s and continuing in the 1960s, B.C. Packers not only bought out smal ler , we l l -es tab l i shed r i v a l s in conjunction with Canf isco, i t also began to close out ly ing canneries. Operations were consolidated and concentrated in three central f a c i l i t i e s located in Steveston, Prince Rupert and Namu (central d i s t r i c t ) . This process had severe impacts for native labour fo rces , espec ia l l y those l i v i n g in the north, as discussed in the fol lowing chapter. Events over the next two decades, the 1970s and 1980s, have been b r i e f l y discussed and w i l l be elaborated in reference to labour organisation and res is tance. Br ie f mention should be made of the various associat ions f i sh ing companies formed to promote the i r c o l l e c t i v e i n t e r e s t s . The f i r s t associat ion was formed in 1892 when the f i sh ing companies formed a Canners Associat ion with headquarters in V i c t o r i a . In 1902, the Fraser River Associat ion opened i t s headquarters in New Westminster, on the Fraser . In 1908, t h i s Associat ion became the B r i t i s h Columbia F isher ies Assocation un t i l 1923, when i t became a branch of the Can Manufacturers' Assoc iat ion . In 1937, i t re-emerged as the Salmon Canners' Operating Committee, with a f i n a l name change in 1951, to the F isher ies Associat ion (Gladstone, 1959: 100). This group has been the body with which the trade unions in the industry have had to negotiate. Canning Technology and the Labour Process As mentioned e a r l i e r , ex i s t ing technology lay the foundation upon which the prov inc ia l canning industry was b u i l t . Discovery of the method of r o l l i n g out th in sheets of metal into t i n p l a t e formed the basis of the canning industry . Canning involves organisation of labour 103 around assembly l i n e production of a standardised product. I n i t i a l l y , labour was assigned to tasks on the assembly l i n e s that were labour in tens i ve . Gradual ly , machines were introduced at various points . The ent i re l i n e has never been wholly mechanised. This has meant that bottlenecks occur when a new machine i s introduced at one point , speeding that pa r t i cu la r process. Canning salmon begins when the f i s h i s landed at the dock (generally in f i s h packers by tendermen) and ends with shipment of the canned product. Labourers working ins ide the plants were never given the ent i re task of processing the f i s h from s ta r t to f i n i s h . "It i s of course only by an organised system of act ion and the minute subdivis ion of labour that the operations of the industry , from the cut t ing up of the t i n p la tes , the shaping, the soldering up to the f i n a l l a b e l l i n g of the cans, a f ter the inser t ion and cooking of the contents, can be prof i tab ly car r ied on" (DMF, 1879: 297). Tasks requir ing the most labourers occurred at the s ta r t of the process, in the preparation of the f i s h (washing and butchering) and in making the t i n cans. Canners required large labour forces prepared to work for cheap wages, long hours and short seasons. I n i t i a l l y , they used two groups, native women and Chinese men. Attempts were made to bring in European women and c h i l d r e n , but, i n i t i a l l y , without much success. For example, in 1870, Governor Musgrave requested f i ve thousand do l la rs in order to a s s i s t the introduct ion of female immigrants into B r i t i s h Columbia (Sessional Papers, 1871: IV, 4(18) , 4 ) . Attempts were also made to br ing chi ldren from England as labourers. " B r i t i s h Columbia i s much in want of a c lass of beings much too numerous in England, that i s boys and 104 g i r l s , say from ten or eight to f i f t e e n years o ld for help on the farms and in the c i t i e s . What I desire i s to have a l o t of these chi ldren sent out from England from among disease, f i l t h and immorality, to good, healthy frugal homes in t h i s beauti ful cl ime" ( i b i d . , 1883: XVI, 12(93), 11) . I t was further suggested (and approved by the Minister of Agr iculture) that expenditures incurred in transporting these chi ldren could be deducted from the i r wages. A member of the B.C. parliament at t r ibuted the scarc i ty of female white labour as being the cause for employing Chinese men. Senator MacDonald noted that i f the same number of women were avai lab le in B r i t i s h Columbia as l i v e d in Ontario, "they would do a l l that kind of l i g h t work, and then, of course, I would be in favour of doing away with Chinese labour a l together . " In f a c t , when the female population l i v i n g in urban areas increased, the numbers of Chinese men employed decreased. MacDonald went on to note that the pr ice of white male labour in B r i t i s h Columbia was too high because these men came to the province with "old C a l i f o r n i a ideas . " They came in search of gold at a time when money was p l e n t i f u l and labour scarce, "where labour i s cheap, advantage w i l l be taken of the circumstance, no matter by whom i t i s furnished, whether by black or by white - no matter what the colour of the employees may be" ( i b i d . , 1885: XVII I , 12(54a), pp. x x i i , xxix & xxx) . In 1885, the Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration was published. Employers l inked the use of labour at cheap wages with rac ia l c r i t e r i a . Most of the Chinese who o r i g i n a l l y came to B r i t i s h Columbia, in the early 1870s, were miners. Although some laboured on t h e i r own account, they came to be used as cheap replacements for white 105 men. Thus, the superintendent of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company (Limited) noted that his company was suf fer ing from a s t r ike by white labourers when Chinese labourers became a v a i l a b l e , "and we accepted the Chinese as a weapon with which to se t t le the dispute. With a l i t t l e more trouble we might, I th ink , have obtained Indians to answer our purpose equally w e l l . " While approximately 400 white labourers received no less than $2 per day, the labour force of some 150 Chinese men received from $1 to $1.25 per day. Dunsmuir, the propr ietor of the Wellington mines, t e s t i f i e d that the Chinese performed the manual labour white men refused to do. "White men decline to do the work given to the Chinese, and could not l i v e in t h i s country at the present pr ices of products on the wages paid the Chinamen" ( i b i d . : xvi & x v i i i ) . White male labourers expressed the fear that low wages would depress the ent i re wage scale of the prov inc ia l economy, thus keeping white labourers from the province. Commissioner Gray disagreed, concluding that , with the exception of 130 Chinese men employed as boot-makers in V i c t o r i a , Chinese labour in no way inter fered with s k i l l e d labour. "They are made, so far as provincia l l e g i s l a t i o n can go, perpetual a l i e n s , and with the Indians are by pos i t i ve terms denied the p o l i t i c a l and municipal franchises attached to property and person, conceded to other B r i t i s h subjects , born or natura l i zed , when of s u f f i c i e n t age to exercise them" ( i b i d . : x i ) . The commissioners concluded that , without Chinese labourers, several industr ies would not only not have succeeded, but possibly might not have been s ta r ted . The example given was the canned salmon industry . 106 New Westminster on the Fraser r i v e r , c i r c a 1883, had a population of approximately 300 permanent Chinese s e t t l e r s . During the salmon f i s h i n g season, which lasted from two to three months, t h i s population swelled to between 1200 and 1500. Chinese labourers were recru i ted from Oregon, Washington, C a l i f o r n i a and V i c t o r i a , for the inside labour required in the canneries. Each cannery contracted a Chinese agent who hired the ent i re plant labour force . Native labourers were also hired by contractors (native as well as Chinese) while the few white s k i l l e d labourers and supervisors were hired d i r e c t l y by the canners. The commissioners concluded, in the i r 1885 report: It i s fortunate that , in a young and sparsely set t led Province, t h i s cheap labor can be obtained, for i t enables those whose minds are capable of higher development, and whose ambition looks to more ennobling industry - to fol low pursuits in which they w i l l r i s e - rather than t o i l and slave in groveling work, which wears out the body without elevat ing the mind ( i b i d . : x i x ) . In the previous chapter, an argument was made for the h i s t o r i c a l development of two d i s t i n c t but in te r re la ted labour processes. Evidence presented in t h i s royal commission by employers, white male labourers and the commissioners themselves, a t tests to t h i s f a c t . The commissioners also noted cheap labour encouraged c a p i t a l i s t s to bring money into the province, and employ i t in f i xed rather than labour cos ts . "The evidence shows most d i s t i n c t l y that the pr ice of white labour of the lowest kind i s at such a f igure that he cannot use his cap i ta l to advantage and with safety , while with the pr ices charged by the Chinese for s i m i l a r labour, he can" ( i b i d . ) . However, the construction of a transcontinental r a i l r o a d threatened t h i s labour supply. And, for reasons discussed in the fol lowing 107 chapter, native labourers also presented problems to salmon canners, espec ia l l y on the Fraser. As canners faced labour problems, they began to mechanise the l i n e s . The contract pr ice per case has decreased. The pr ice now i s cheaper than formerly. In the ordinary work the machine has taken the place of the ordinary work and the men employed in these places are experts in the i r l i n e s . There i s a competition among the cannery contractors to get the experts, which has a tendency to ra ise the wages...The wages paid to Chinese ten years ago in the cannery business was much less than now (Mar Chan, Chinese contractor , Sessional Papers, 1902: XXXVI, 13(54), 142). While mechanisation on an extensive scale did not occur unt i l a f ter the turn of the century, machines were used before then. For example, the introduction of several " labor -saving contr ivances," c i r c a 1881, in some Fraser r i ve r canneries, reduced by about 30 percent the cost of manipulating cans (DMF, 1882: 202). The f ishery inspector noted in his report the use of a " t r a v e l l i n g platform worked by an endless cha in . " The conveyor b e l t , although a very pr imi t i ve piece of equipment, was of central importance in fragmenting the labour process into boring and repet i t i ve tasks , a point made by Braverman (1974). The conveyor be l t allowed tasks to be fragmented and labour a l located to each task. Along t h i s assembly l i n e , machines were gradually introduced. Thus, in 1881, retor ts and soldering machines were adopted. By the turn of the century, labour requir ing between 300 and 400 people a decade e a r l i e r could now be performed by 120 (Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration, 1902: 136). While mechanisation reduced the tota l number of labourers required, i t also introduced a new category of s k i l l e d labour required to tend the new machinery when in use, and to overhaul i t each season since i t lay 108 i d l e during the winter . This s k i l l e d labour corresponded to c r a f t s k i l l s developed by European men. There was never a time in t h i s Province when white people were avai lab le for doing the labour ins ide the canneries. By the introduction of machinery we have had to employ more high c lass labour. I t turns out the low c lass of or ienta l labour and brings in a high c lass of white labour to look af ter the machines...Under ex i s t ing circumstances the canneries could not be car r ied on without or ienta l labour (testimony of Alexander Ewen, in i b i d . : 139). S k i l l became attached to machinery rather than to manual operations. Chinese men had developed expert ise in several of the salmon canning operations; for example, butchering salmon, making cans, detecting defective f i l l e d cans simply by sound (by tapping each can with a n a i l ) . When the industry was new, the labourers hired for the jobs developed these s k i l l s (they were not imported from other indust r ies since many of the o r ig ina l Chinese labourers were peasants). However, as racism grew in the province, Chinese immigration was increasingly c u r t a i l e d . Chinese labourers o r i g i n a l l y recru i ted because they were ava i lab le in large numbers and for cheap wages, were, by the turn of the century, s k i l l e d , scarce and therefore could command higher wages. Rather than meeting the i r demands, canners mechanised the l i n e s , d isp lac ing s k i l l e d Chinese labour and introducing s k i l l e d white machinemen. At the turn of the century, of an estimated 20,000 employed in the f i s h e r i e s , hal f worked in the canneries. Of t h i s number, an estimated 6,000 were Chinese men working in 74 canneries (49 of them located on the Fraser ) , receiv ing from $35 to $45 per month. That they had become a scarce and s k i l l e d labour force i s evident in the fact that canners 109 extended the season for the most s k i l l e d Chinese workmen by h i r ing them to make the cans as well as process the f i s h , in spi te of t h e i r access to a can-making factory on the Fraser r i ve r ( in New Westminster). The canners claimed they could make the cans at least as cheaply as they could buy them. Can-makers were paid as much as $50 to $60 per month, with about 30 hired per cannery ( i b i d . : 135 & 141). The Fraser River was located close to growing urban centers with large China towns. As the salmon canning industry expanded, northern streams (especia l ly those on the Skeena and Nass r ivers ) were exp lo i ted . Crews had to be transported by boat from the south. This was expensive, and canners therefore made greater use of native workers. Eng l ish - speaking native men were hired to contract ent i re v i l l a g e s to move unto the cannery s i t e for the f i sh ing season. Payment was generally made on a family basis at the end of the season. Many native men began to f i s h for the canning companies. Canners t r i e d to use these men as cheap sources of labour. In the early period, towards the end of the nineteenth century, while Japanese and European f i shers bargained over f i s h p r i ces , native f i shers were hired for wages. Canners endeavoured to secure native f i shers as a reserve, a l ternat ing between outside work on the grounds and ins ide work in the f a c t o r i e s . However, t h i s pattern was of short durat ion. Apart from working in the net l o f t s , men res is ted employment on the canning l i n e s . This was assigned to native women, c h i l d r e n , and, in times of heavy runs, the e l d e r l y . Thus, while the labour of native f i shers was diverted to work for the canners, i t s nature remained unaltered, espec ia l l y in the early 110 per iod , before the f i sh ing f l e e t s were mechanised (begun with the conversion of boats from s a i l to engine power). However, the labour of native women was p ro le ta r ian ised . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , women processed the salmon, c h i e f l y through drying and cur ing . In the d i v i s i o n of labour ins ide the canneries, native women (and the i r chi ldren) occupied the lowest pos i t ions . They were pr imari ly employed washing f i s h and f i l l i n g salmon t i n s (work they s t i l l perform today), for which they were o r i g i n a l l y paid piece rates . Unlike the Chinese, they were never guaranteed work for the season, but were ca l led in when needed. This was the great advantage of having ent i re v i l l a g e s relocate to the canneries during the f i sh ing season, espec ia l ly in the remote northern areas. Native women received the lowest wages. For example, in 1885, men working in the canneries averaged 30 do l la rs per month, while native women received an average of 13 d o l l a r s , and native boys were paid seven do l la rs per month. U l t imate ly , however, machinery was judged preferable even to cheap labour, since machines " w i l l make us independent of any par t i cu la r c lass of labour" ( i b i d . : 162-163). As noted e a r l i e r , the industry had "taken off" by the turn of the century. In 1903, and again in 1905, canners were forced to l i m i t boat catches to 200 salmon per boat da i ly at the height of the runs, because of the d i f f i c u l t y of securing enough inside labour. Most of the machines introduced to that date were placed towards the end of the assembly l i n e ( for example, retor ts cooked the f i s h in the cans, and soldering machines attached the l i d s to the f i l l e d cans) . However, most of the manual work occurred at the beginning of the l i n e , in washing and butchering the f i s h . The bottleneck was overcome with the invention and I l l in t roduct ion , around 1905, of the "Iron Chink" or Smith butchering machine.^ Two machine operators could now perform the work of 51 expert Chinese butchers (DMF, 1906-7: l x i ) . The introduct ion of the "Iron Chink," the only machine developed s p e c i f i c a l l y for salmon canning, transformed the l i n e , since a machine now contro l led the f i r s t stages of the process, the butchering and cut t ing up of the f i s h . The speed of the l i n e could be paced to the machine, and the ent i re l i n e could be organised mechanically (Stacey, 1982: 20-24) . By 1907, the i ron butcher was s u f f i c i e n t l y developed to automatically clean the f i s h and supply two or three l i n e s . With the introduct ion of machinery, more canning l i n e s could operate simultaneously, and overal l input increased. At the same time, however, cap i ta l costs increased, g iv ing larger operators an advantage over small ones. The use of i ron butchers stimulated adoption of other machines to speed the process at other points . By 1912, the sanitary can and double seamer were added. Stacey estimates the adoption of t h i s equipment led to a 30 to 35 percent reduction in the labour fo rce . American Can Company introduced them to B r i t i s h Columbia, and was able to a t ta in a v i r tua l monopoly over t h i s type of can-making machinery ( i b i d . : 23) . Apart from iron butchers, i t leased most of the machines on the l i n e s to the canneries, and in t h i s way made some small canning operations v i a b l e . Many plants ceased t h e i r local can-making operations, and American Can became the chief supp l ie r . Local can-making operations continued in the north, because i t was cost ly to ship empty and bulky cans to remote canneries. Many out ly ing canneries continued to be manually in tens ive , and did not use i ron butchers. The invention of 112 col lapsed cans did not prove feas ib le due to problems with proper seal ing (and potential problems of botul ism), and pre-formed cans became standard in the province. Thus, a ser ies of machines were introduced at various stages to overcome bottlenecks and labour shortages. These machines were usually fed by other machines inter-connected by conveyor b e l t s . Workers monitored the process, and maintained, repaired and adjusted the machinery. The machinemen, many holding engineering t i c k e t s , became ever more important. Yet, un t i l very recent ly , canning operations have employed large numbers of manual labourers to wash the f i s h being fed to the i ron butchers, as well as f i l l i n g cans. Native women provided the or ig ina l labour, and, l a t e r , women from other ethnic groups jo ined them. The vast majority of these women have been recent immigrants, the i r job opportunit ies l im i ted by the i r i n a b i l i t y to speak Engl ish . As the technology changed, new jobs were f i l l e d by these women, and Chinese men increasingly displaced as the jobs they f i l l e d were mechanised. Conclusion A d i s t i n c t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the salmon canning industry i s i t s unchanging nature. The basic assembly l i n e process has remained constant. The s i g n i f i c a n t changes have been connected to the gradual introduct ion of machines that displaced manual s k i l l e d labour. Machinery, espec ia l l y the iron butchers, allowed canners f l e x i b i l i t y in choosing the i r labour forces . The small core of s k i l l e d machinemen required to tend and overhaul these machines were European men permanently employed and paid d i r e c t l y by the canners. The seasonal 113 labour force could be drawn from native v i l l a g e s and the growing urban centres , and was predominantly female. Machines in place by the f i r s t world war did not change greatly thereafter . The major changes involved re f in ing ex i s t ing machines to increase output and in tens i fy the labour process. C a n - f i l l i n g machines were adopted in the 1960s, d isp lac ing female labour. In the mid-1980s, machines were introduced to wash f i s h mechanically. I f adopted on a large sca le , the l a s t intensive manual process w i l l have been mechanised. However, fol lowing the second world war, introduct ion of machinery has been heavily res is ted by the union (see Chapter 7 ) . While the technological changes may be unimpressive, the i r impact on the labour process was revolut ionary. Not only was s k i l l taken from the labourer and incorporated in machines, machines themselves came to d i rec t the labour process. In turn , t h i s made labour power more productive and eventually resulted in fewer labourers needed to produce the same or more commodities. Thus, the t r a n s i t i o n from the stage of machinofacture to indus t r ia l production was gradual, involv ing d i f fe rent segments of the assembly l i n e at d i f fe ren t per iods, al lowing the basic process of production to continue while transforming the content from manual to machine production. 114 Information contained in t h i s chapter i s taken from two published sources: "Class Formation and Class Consciousness: The Making of Shoreworkers in the B.C. F ishing Industry" (Studies in P o l i t i c a l Economy, 1986), and "Major Processors to 1940, and Early Labour Force: H i s t o r i c a l Notes" (Chapter 2 in Uncommon Property, edited by Marchak, Guppy and McMullan, forthcoming), both by Muszynski. 2 "Fishing was the basis of Northwest Coast economy" (Drucker, 1963: 35) . Drucker (1963: 7) notes "the seasonal aspect of the pr inc ipa l 'harvests ' of f i sh . . .made for periods of intense a c t i v i t y , put a premium on the development of techniques for the preservation of foodstuf fs , and, once such techniques had been developed, permitted lengthy periods of l e i s u r e . " 4 There has been considerable debate over who f i r s t canned salmon in B r i t i s h Columbia. Cobb (1930: 471), for example, c red i ts James Symes in 1867, although his was an experiment. ^ Gladstone (1959: 66) also makes the point that , although Canada i s a large producer of f i s h , per capi ta consumption i s smal l . ^ Gladstone (1959: 80) notes that the introduction of ref r igerated cars by the C.P.R. "opened up vast markets in eastern Canada and the U.S.A. As a consequence, the movement of the industry northward developed Prince Rupert as a f i sh ing centre unt i l i t has became the major hal ibut port in the world. I t owes t h i s posi t ion not only to i t s r e l a t i v e l y close proximity to the hal ibut grounds, but also to the r a i l r o a d . " ^ The name "Iron Chink" appeared on the plates of these machines and can be found on them. They were so c a l l e d because of the Chinese labour they d isplaced. 115 CHAPTER 4 The Par t ia l Transformation of Coastal Peoples from F ishers , Hunters and Gatherers to Cheap Wage Labourers The development of the B.C. salmon canning industry i s an in terest ing case study because i t i l l u s t r a t e s how c a p i t a l i s t s used pre- c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production to structure cheap labour forces . Cheap labour forces can be created when p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production are transformed under cap i ta l i sm, simultaneously releasing labour power for indus t r ia l employment while subsistence needs continue to be p a r t i a l l y met within p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production. Labourers can then be employed for wages below the costs necessary for the production and reproduction of the i r labour power, precisely to the extent that those costs are borne outside c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production. Native Economies In order to understand how B.C. salmon canners used native labour, i t i s necessary to b r i e f l y describe the p r e - c a p i t a l i s t economies of the area that became known as B r i t i s h Columbia. P r io r to European contact, native peoples formed a f a i r l y dense concentration of diverse cultures and social groupings. Duff (1977:8) 116 notes: "Except for barren and inaccessib le areas which are not u t i l i z e d even today, every part of the Province was formerly within the owned and recognised t e r r i t o r y of one or other of the Indian t r i b e s . " While the population as a whole was la rge , the core economic uni t consisted of "small l o c a l i z e d groups of people who l i v e d together throughout the year" (Duff, 1977: 16) . Membership followed kinship rules of descent and exogamous marriage, but the rules varied greatly from one t r i b e to another. The t r ibes also possessed varied concepts of ownership r ights to the land and resources. In general , s t r a t i f i c a t i o n increased as one t rave l led from the Fraser r i ve r north to Alaska. There were no p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of the nature of a state or a kingdom. The power of any one clan was defined in terms of i t s re lat ionships to clans connected to i t through kinship.''" I ts power was t i e d to i t s a b i l i t y in exchanging wealth through pot latches. The i n s t i t u t i o n of the potlatch served to red is t r ibute food and wealth throughout the area, and prevented any one group from amassing too much wealth, and, consequently, power. I t also served as a means of 2 conferr ing rank, or of s t r a t i f y i n g groups. The northern coastal t r i b e s , espec ia l l y the T l i n g i t and Tsimshian, had the most r i g i d l y defined socia l and economic re la t ionsh ips . Mat r i l i nea l households or l ineages were the basic economic u n i t s , and they jo ined larger t r i b a l groupings. The basic economic units operated autonomously during the summer, going to the indiv idual hunting and gathering grounds. They assembled in the larger groupings in the winter , in a common v i l l a g e . Along the central coast , loca l b i l a t e r a l k in groups c lustered into named t r i b e s . They also shared a v i l l a g e for 117 part of the year . The Kwakiutl adhered most c losely to t h i s pattern, while the Coast Sa l i sh organised in a looser web of b i l a t e r a l kinship t i e s (Duff, 1977: 16) . In summary, the coastal t r ibes had developed a wide var iety of soc ia l groupings around comparable economic units based on variously defined kin assoc iat ions . The tota l economic system consisted of a large number of loosely associated u n i t s , some in te rna l l y s t r a t i f i e d by rank, each claiming r ights to cer ta in key f i s h i n g , hunting, and berry and root gathering s i t e s . This par t i cu la r economic organisation appears to have made ideal use of the environment, in terms of a hunting and gathering mode of production. To use f i sh ing as an example ( f i s h was a basic s t a p l e ) , the resource ( for example, salmon, herr ing, eulachon) concentrated in par t i cu la r spots along the coast at various times in the year . The supply varied from year to year (sockeye salmon, for example, run on four year cycles with two good years and two poor ones). Thus, most units could rea l i se some years of great abundance and some years of near s tarvat ion . The pot la tch , universal among a l l t r i b e s , served as a medium of r e d i s t r i b u t i n g surplus among a l l groups. The Potlatch as Means of Redist r ibut ing Surplus The potlatch was a feast given by one clan to which members of another were i n v i t e d . It was marked by a period of ceremonies and f e a s t i n g , and highl ighted by the hosts giv ing the i r wealth to the guests. In exchange for wealth, guests gave prestige to the i r hosts. However, wealth could only be acquired through the indiv idual group's access to resources. "In the l a s t instance the potlatch was an 118 i n s t i t u t i o n for va l idat ing claims to resources, land t i t l e s , and the r igh t to acquire surplus products from the use of c lan lands" (Averkieva, 1971: 334). Sutt les argues the i n s t i t u t i o n involved more than t h i s set of r e l a t i o n s . He studied the Coast S a l i s h , organised along b i l a t e r a l kinship l i n e s . Residence was p a t r i l o c a l , with brothers, cousins and brothers - in - law forming extended fami l ies with claims to cer ta in local resources. One or more extended family formed a v i l l a g e or community, and communities were l inked together through marriage and kinship (Sut t les , 1960: 296). Co-parents - in - law formed a key re lat ionship binding groups together. The parents - in - law exchanged wealth at the wedding and continued to exchange wealth for the duration of the marriage. Sutt les argues the wide f luctuat ions in the product iv i ty of cer ta in resources and in indiv idual s k i l l involved in processing them led to interdependence among these u n i t s . Co-parents - in -1 aw brought food to each other. The food was then shared in a feast with one's own people. The group bringing the food acquired prest ige . The potlatch involved feast ing at a higher l e v e l , l i n k i n g communities rather than i t s basic u n i t s . Sutt les makes a d i s t i n c t i o n between food and wealth. Food was given f r e e l y , could not be refused, nor could i t be offered for sa le . However, wealth was acquired on the basis of a group's or community's a b i l i t y to acquire surplus food, thus releasing cer ta in ind iv iduals to concentrate on creat ing wealth in the form of blankets, shel l ornaments, f ine basketry, hide s h i r t s , bows and arrows, canoes and waging warfare to capture slaves (Sut t les , 1960: 301). 119 Wealth was c red i t for food received, and the potlatch served to red is t r ibu te wealth. "The rather pronounced dif ferences in resources among communities, plus year - to -year f luctuat ions in quant i t i es , must have put a premium on intercommunity cooperation" ( i b i d . : 302). However, access to p a r t i c u l a r l y productive s i tes could mean one group could amass surplus and thus convert i t into wealth. The potlatch was a system to red is t r ibute wealth and keep i t from becoming concentrated in a few hands. The host community gave away i t s wealth in exchange for prestige and a reaff i rmat ion of group t i t l e to i t s t e r r i t o r y and resources. I t served to legi t imate i t s control over these through i t s a b i l i t y to use them product ively , generate surplus, convert i t into wealth and then share i t . The communities to whom the wealth was given recognised the host community's ownership t i t l e by accepting the g i f t s . Sutt les concludes the potlatch did not so much represent a drive for high s tatus , nor production to secure surplus, nor cooperation of the pot latching community, but rather was part of a larger socioeconomic system enabling the ent i re social network to maintain a high level of food production and to equalise food consumption ( i b i d . : 304). I t i s important to remember, however, that the pot la tch , l i k e any other important socia l i n s t i t u t i o n , contained contradict ions and was subject to change. While the stress here has been on i t s r e d i s t r i b u t i v e aspects, the pot latch was also used by ind iv iduals to acquire power, both within the i r own group and more widely. And Piddock (1969) argues the fur trade encouraged the l a t t e r tendency by introducing new forms of wealth procurable by the indiv idual rather than the group. 120 Using S u t t l e s ' argument, Piddocke examines pot latching among the Kwakiut l . He demonstrates the changes that took place af ter European contact . The fur traders introduced a non- t radi t ional source of wealth in to t h i s network of economic exchange. I n i t i a l l y , the Kwakiutl attempted to incorporate t h i s wealth through pot latch ing . The s i tuat ion was further complicated by two fac to rs . F i r s t , European contact resulted in the decimation of large numbers of native peoples, espec ia l l y through the spread of epidemics l i k e smallpox. Among the Kwakiut l , many ranks became vacant. Individual traders acquir ing wealth through the fur trade held potlatches to acquire these ranks. Rather than sharing wealth, the potlatch now became a means whereby ind iv iduals sought power. As more wealth was generated through the fur trade, the frequency and in tens i ty of potlatches grew, to the h o r r i f i e d fasc inat ion of miss ionar ies , government o f f i c i a l s and some anthropologists . Wealth was no longer shared, but actual ly destroyed to demonstrate prest ige. Duff quotes part of a speech made in 1895 by an old Kwakiutl ch ie f : "When I was young I saw streams of blood shed in war...Now we f igh t with our wealth" (Duff, 1977: 59) . Establishment of fo r ts presented a second d i f f i c u l t y . Those groups most heavily involved in the fur trade changed the i r residence, moving to the f o r t s . When Fort Rupert was created in 1849, four communities moved to i t , es tab l ish ing permanent residence. (A s imi la r move was made by the Tsimshian when seven communities relocated to Fort Simpson.) The re lat ionship among the four had to be re-worked, and the method employed was the pot la tch . Potlatches became contests to see which indiv idual could throw away more wealth and thus acquire power. 121 Whereas, o r i g i n a l l y , potlatches served to estab l ish and cement bonds between communities, they became, in the post-contact per iod, a means of acquir ing power, often in the hands of ind iv iduals rather than the group (Piddocke, 1969: 1 5 3 ) . 4 The reason the potlatch has received so much attent ion here i s to demonstrate the interdependence of a wide variety of small economic units exp lo i t ing the avai lab le resources. Although the technology was that of a hunting and gathering economy, the ent i re socioeconomic system generated considerable surplus used to develop a r i ch and diverse cu l tu re . Economic inequal i ty and exp lo i ta t ion ex i s ted , and were more pronounced among cer ta in t r i b e s , but the ent i re economic organisation depended on cooperation. Any external inf luence upset the equ i l ib r ium, and, at best , required adjustment with in the system, as appears to have occurred in the f i r s t phase of European contact. However, the fur trade introduced an ideology of indiv idual gain and prest ige , and the means whereby an i n d i v i d u a l , rather than the group, could acquire wealth. This i s not to deny that indiv idual ism existed in pre-contact t imes. Averkieva (1971) has noted the tendency among the T l i n g i t towards patr iarchal pr ivate property r e l a t i o n s , while Wolf (1982: 186-189) notes the existence of a n o b i l i t y and of s lavery . However, the Europeans influenced the d i rec t ion of change. Moreover, European economic re la t ions d i r e c t l y contradicted those of native peoples in B r i t i s h Columbia. This was not evident during the i n i t i a l contact period because the indus t r ia l revolut ion was j u s t beginning to change the mode of production in western Europe, and because the Europeans i n i t i a l l y did not intend to develop provincia l resources other than fu r . Since 122 coastal peoples r e l i e d on f i s h as a basic s tap le , the i r economic organisation was not i n i t i a l l y threatened. From the Fur Trade to European Settlement The trading company represented European power during the period of the fur t rade. Af ter amalgamating with the North West Company in 1821, the Hudson's Bay Company held a monopoly pos i t ion in what became known 5 as B r i t i s h Columbia. The colony of Vancouver Island was created in 1849, when the B r i t i s h government granted t i t l e to the company. The f i r s t governor resigned short ly a f ter taking o f f i c e and was succeeded, in 1851, by James Douglas. The year 1858 marked a t r a n s i t i o n from the predominance of the fur trade to a growing emphasis on settlement. That was the year a second colony was created, the mainland of B r i t i s h Columbia. Douglas resigned his post with the Hudson's Bay Company to become governor of both co lon ies . The colonies were united in 1866, and, in 1871, entered confederation. The second hal f of the nineteenth century marked an economic t r a n s i t i o n . The fur traders organised economic re lat ionships oriented to overseas markets, and were interested in the colonia l economy only in terms of i t s ext ract ive capac i t i es . The native peoples occupied an important posi t ion as suppl iers of the resource. The year 1858 marked the beginning of the gold rush, and the entrance of a new type of foreigner into the co lon ies . Gold seekers had no use for the native peoples except in subsidiary ro les ; for example, as guides or p r o s t i t u t e s . And, for the f i r s t t ime, the two groups competed d i rec t l y over resources. Thus, gold miners working the Fraser canyon disrupted 123 the salmon f i sh ing and processing operations of native groups on the r i v e r . The c o n f l i c t led to v io lence. "Some of the miners came up from C a l i f o r n i a boasting that they would 'c lean out a l l the Indians in the l a n d , ' and there were instances of the kind of indiscr iminate k i l l i n g of Indians that was a feature of the American west" (F isher , 1980: 98). Unlike the American west, however, the Indians held the i r ground, and Douglas intervened to d i f fuse the s i t u a t i o n . The gold rush was s h o r t - l i v e d , but i t represented the f i r s t stage of a new economic re lat ionsh ip between Europeans and resources, one of d i rec t access. Gold miners were a largely t ransient populat ion, unl ike the s e t t l e r s who followed them. The s e t t l e r s were interested in one t h i n g , land. Access to i t was mediated by European governors of the colony, who disposed of i t under the assumption that i t belonged to the Crown. "Absolute t i t l e (a European concept) has been vested in the Crown ever since B r i t a i n , Spain, Russia, and the United States , without consult ing any Indians, se t t led the questions of sovereignty over t h i s continent" (Duff, 1977: 66fn) . The B r i t i s h state recognised an ob l igat ion towards native peoples, but i t was founded on the assumption that they were i t s subjects. As native peoples themselves were to point out time and again, however, they never entered, e i ther vo luntar i l y or through armed struggle, into any such ^relationship with a foreign power. The concept of European t i t l e to the lands of B r i t i s h Columbia was imported by the Europeans who came to s e t t l e there. In other words, they simply assumed the land belonged to them and they took i t . While the s e t t l e r s and the prov inc ia l government denied any ob l igat ion to the o r ig ina l inhabi tants , the colonia l government under Douglas (but not his 124 successors) and the federal government did recognise an obl igat ion to "ext inguish" aboriginal t i t l e , by t reat ies and a l loca t ion of reserve lands. C lear ly such concepts of pr ivate property re lat ions to land and resources were foreign to the native inhabi tants . Their concepts of ownership were based on acknowledged r ights to use the land and i t s resources, r ights that had to be negotiated by one group with i t s neighbours. And the r ights car r ied with them an ob l igat ion to share surplus in return for recognit ion of t i t l e (for example, through the pot la tch ) . However, the European code of r ights was u l t imately backed by armed force , and there are numerous instances in the various government reports of the use of armed vessels to " s e t t l e " disputes over land r i g h t s . The native population was at a disadvantage because i t s weaponry was i n f e r i o r to that of the Europeans and there was no cohesive p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n that could negotiate on i t s behalf in V i c t o r i a , Ottawa, and London. The f i s h e r i e s were to play a c ruc ia l ro le in the c o n f l i c t , since they were v i t a l to the coastal native economies. And the f i r s t major c a p i t a l i s t thrust in the north was made by salmon canners. The missionary Duncan took on the role of intermediary on behalf of the northern Tsimshian. At his request, Indian Reserve Commissioner O 'Re i l l y t rave l led to the mission v i l l a g e of Met lakat la , in 1881, to conduct hearings. The reason for the urgency was "the Indian f i s h e r i e s were being taken possession of by whites for cannery purposes, and that i f steps were not taken to secure to the Indians the i r f i s h e r i e s , they would suffer great i n j u s t i c e " (Metlakatlah Commission, 1884: l xxv i ) . The 125 Metlakatla Indians demanded the ent i re peninsula in question, including Turner's f ishery on the Skeena, the locat ion of Inverness cannery (the f i r s t constructed in the north) . O 'Re i l l y rep l ied he had no power to deal with lands sold to the whites. While he did his best to reserve the s i tes demanded by native groups, prov inc ia l administrators la te r claimed he had been too generous and cut back the s ize of many of the o r i g i na l a l l o c a t i o n s . In the end, s e t t l e r s and c a p i t a l i s t s received the major concessions. Salmon canners establ ished the i r plants pretty well where they wished, occasional ly running into disputes with local groups. The native population was assigned s p e c i f i c t racts of land and s p e c i f i c f ishery s i t e s . Thus, the overal l socio-economic system enforced through the potlatch was truncated. However, native economies were not destroyed, but continued alongside c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production. As the o r ig ina l native system was dismembered, indiv idual native economic units became dependent on c a p i t a l i s t re lat ions of production. Had the prov inc ia l pol icy of ignoring native claims to the land and resources triumphed, and the native population e i ther exterminated or absorbed with in European co lon i sa t ion , then i t s mode of production would, in f a c t , have disappeared. But dominion pol icy was to recognise some form of aboriginal t i t l e , enough to enable native groups to continue the bat t le for legal r i g h t s . In add i t ion , although no new t r e a t i e s were made, reserves continued to be l a i d aside. Therefore, a land base with in the developing c a p i t a l i s t mode of production was secured. The Indian agents appointed by the federal government t r i e d to induce the native population to become c u l t i v a t o r s . But they had l i t t l e success, part ly due to the nature of the land i t s e l f . Much of the 126 coastal land cannot be c u l t i v a t e d , and the reserves were often l a i d out on land the s e t t l e r s did not value, land not worth c u l t i v a t i n g . The native population continued i t s t rad i t i ona l economic pursu i ts , incorporating wage labour, espec ia l ly that offered by canners, into i t s t r a d i t i o n a l pattern. The hunting and gathering economy ( f i sh ing i s here incorporated as part of hunting) was marginal ised. The land and resource base was appropriated by s e t t l e r s and c a p i t a l i s t s , and held for them by the s ta te . But there was enough of i t l e f t for native use to enable the native population to preserve some form of i t s p r e - c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. I ts entry into c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , therefore, was p a r t i a l . In one way, t h i s made i t an ideal labour force for salmon canners. The native people, at l eas t in the early per iod, were f a i r l y numerous, w i l l i n g to work i r regu lar hours and short seasons (since these corresponded to the i r own economic a c t i v i t i e s ) , and, above a l l , since they did not depend t o t a l l y on wages to subs is t , and were not conscious of themselves as p ro le tar ians , accepted very low wages. Especia l ly in the early per iod , wages were seen in terms of tota l revenue accruing to the v i l l a g e . While an indiv idual might not earn very much, cer ta in l y not enough to support him/herself , the tota l for the group was enough to procure the necess i t ies i t had come to need from the c a p i t a l i s t economy ( for example, staples l i k e l a r d , tea , as well as c loth ing and f u r n i t u r e ) . And, in la te r years , while younger men appear to have begun regarding the i r incomes as the i r own property, native women s t i l l appear to have pooled the i r money (evidence w i l l be provided short ly using oral h istory accounts). 127 However, the very factors making native people an ideal cannery labour force also made them d i f f i c u l t to d i s c i p l i n e and subordinate. Cannery work was adopted into the seasonal migratory pattern , and, for many people, was one wage employment among several p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Native women and c h i l d r e n , for example, began to migrate to the hop f i e l d s in Washington state af ter the cannery season ended. Espec ia l ly in the 1870s and 1880s, when other populations were s t i l l smal l , many had the i r pick of employment opportuni t ies , although a l l tended to be seasonal or short-term (for example, work on railway construction or in sawmil ls ) . And winters were generally spent back home on the reserve. Thus, although many coastal people became pr imari ly dependent on cannery work for a wage income, they were not t o t a l l y dependent, not in the beginning at any ra te , and they continued to have non-monetary means of subs is t ing . Gradual ly , however, many of them did begin to develop careers in the canneries, and the encroaching c a p i t a l i s t economy made i t increasingly d i f f i c u l t to subsist so le ly on the land or f i s h e r i e s . While the forces of production o r i g i n a l l y remained f a i r l y undeveloped, meaning canneries were b u i l t close to the resource in remote areas, jus t as native people became dependent on them, re f r ige ra t ion and other techniques allowed plants to be moved to urban areas. Rather than canners seeking the resource, now the resource was brought to them, close to major t ransportat ion routes. As canneries in remote areas were c losed , the coastal v i l l a g e s which had incorporated work there into seasonal migration were l e f t without a major source of wage income. 128 Native Cannery Workers (1871-1902) By the 1880s, most coastal v i l l a g e s included salmon canneries as part of the i r seasonal migrat ion. While Table I provides population f igures for t h i s period of t ime, Table II i l l u s t r a t e s the number of canneries by geographic l o c a t i o n . The Fraser River canneries, from the i r inception in the 1870s, almost guaranteed employment to the Coast Sa l i sh l i v i n g in the v i c i n i t y , while the Tsimshian were secured places in the Skeena and Nass River p lants . But soon the ent i re coast was involved, including the t r ibes l i v i n g on Vancouver Island and along the central coast . The Indian agent for Cowichan agency on Vancouver Island noted that , in the summer of 1881, several v i l l ages in the southern part of his d i s t r i c t were almost deserted as men, women and chi ldren found employment on the Fraser r i v e r . He estimated they would return with over $15,000 in wages (DIA, 1882: 160). Meanwhile, the Indian agent for Fraser r i ve r moaned the Indians went o f f to the commercial f i s h e r i e s , neglecting the c u l t i v a t i o n of reserve land. There i s no c lass of labourers to compete with them at the f i s h e r i e s or at steamboating on the Fraser River . Their women, a l s o , who are very industr ious , are prof i tab ly employed at the f i s h e r i e s during the f i sh ing season, making nets and cleaning f i s h for the canner ies . . .The Indians love working in batches together, and much prefer the above kind of employment to agr icu l tu ra l labour (DIA, 1882: 166). 129 Table I Population of B r i t i s h Columbia 1871-1901 YEAR INDIAN CHINESE TOTAL MALE TOTAL FEMALE TOTALa 1871 not known 1,548 7,504 3,012 10,586 1880-81 25,661 4,350 29,503 19,956 49,459 1890-91 25,618b 8,910c 63,003 35,170 98,173 1901 25,488 19,482d 114,160 64,497 178,657 SOURCES: Figures for 1871: Annual Report of the Department of Marine and F isher ies 1872 (22). Further categories were al so given: Whites: 8576; Negroes: 462. The s ize of the Indian population was estimated at between 35,000 and 40,000 (a f igure that proved to be too high) . Census of Canada for 1880-81, 1890-91 and 1901. a Differences between the total and the f igures under Indian and Chinese were broken down into the various European countries of o r i g i n , where the remainder of the population or ig inated . By 1901, they ("whites") formed the major i ty . b The 1880-81 census did not give a f igure for t h i s group. The f igure i s taken from Duff (1977:45). c The f igure actual ly represents people born in China. Emigration of Chinese had only recently become l e g a l , however, and thus most of the Chinese were, at t h i s time, born in China. d In the 1901 census, Chinese and Japanese were counted together, r e f l e c t i n g the l a t e r a r r i v a l of Japanese immigrants, as well as the tendency of the European population to lump them together as " o r i e n t a l s , " despite the fact that these two groups or ig inated from d i f fe rent countries and did not ident i f y with each other. Adachi breaks the category down as Japanese: 4,597 and Chinese: 14,885 (1976:38). 130 Table II Number of Canneries by Location for the Years 1871-1902 YEAR FRASER RIVER SKEENA RIVER NASS RIVER CENTRAL COAST VANCOUVER ISLAND TOTAL 1871 1 - - - - 1 1875 3 - - - - 3 1880 7 2 - - - 9 1885 6 2 - 1 - 9 1890 16 7 3 6 - 32 1895 21 7 1 6 1 36 1900 42 10 1 11 1 65 1902 42 10 2 12 1 67 SOURCE: C ice ly Lyons, Salmon: Our Heritage (1969), pp.146-147, 164; and pp.705-/06. Canneries underwent a great number of changes in owners and loca t ions . Sometimes a cannery would change names when ownership changed, while at other times several canneries might bear the same name. Therefore, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain the precise number of actual canneries in operation in any one year (canneries also occasional ly closed one or several seasons and then re - opened). These f igures are approximate and should be used as an ind icat ion of o v e r - a l l trends and espec ia l l y the escalat ion in the numbers b u i l t by the turn of the century on Fraser River , Skeena River and along the central coast . For example, Ralston's f igures (1965:2) for the number of canneries on the Fraser accord with those of Lyons unt i l 1890 (he l i s t s 17 in 1890; 28 in 1895; 45 in 1900 and 49 in 1901). Unfortunately, he did not provide a l i s t of canneries on r i vers other than the Fraser. 131 In the fol lowing year , 1882, 1300 Indian men were employed on Fraser r i v e r , earning an average da i l y wage of $1.75, for a season l a s t i n g approximately 90 days. Most of them f i shed . Four hundred Indian women were employed cleaning and canning salmon for $1.00 a day (DIA, 1883: 61) . While such a short season could not provide s u f f i c i e n t employment to feed a European fami ly , the pooled wages for a whole v i l l a g e represented a considerable amount of money. The canners required a large supply of labourers on hand to process a l l the f i s h caught ( re f r igerat ion techniques at t h i s time were almost non ex is tent , and f i s h had to be immediately processed or i t would s p o i l ) . Catching capacity tended to outs t r ip canning capaci ty , and f i shers were sometimes l i m i t e d in the number of f i s h they could land in a twenty-four hour per iod. Native contractors were sent to the coastal v i l l a g e s to persuade everyone to relocate at the canneries for the season. They had problems holding the labour supply, espec ia l l y in these years of ra i l road construction and the scarc i ty of wage labourers in a th in l y populated province. In 1883, the canners caused much discontent among the i r employees when they held wages un t i l the second run ended. When the f i r s t run of salmon i s over on the Fraser River , the Indians are t o l d by the managers or owners of the f i s h e r i e s , that they have no more work for them unt i l the second run commences, which often i s a delay of two weeks; they retain the Indians' money as secur i ty that they may not go home or engage in any other occupation u n t i l they want them again, therefore, the Indians are obl iged to remain i d l e about New Westminster for that length of time or f o r f e i t the i r wages. Some Indians come hundreds of miles to labor at the f i s h e r i e s , and to have them subject to such unfai r treatment i s ce r ta in l y a great grievance and one they b i t t e r l y complain of (DIA, 1884: 46) . 132 Locations near European settlements also caused incomes to be diverted from buying commodities useful to the v i l l a g e , to the c u l t i v a t i o n of indiv idual v i c e s , espec ia l l y gambling and alcohol ism. There was a booming business in New Westminster, V i c t o r i a and on Puget Sound, cater ing to these a c t i v i t i e s . In add i t ion , native women were recrui ted as prost i tutes in these centres, containing a heavy concentration of s ingle European men. One of the chief reasons Indian agents sought to keep the native population on the reserves was to keep i t away from the c i t i e s and the i r attendant v i ces . Salmon canners found a more subordinated labour force among Chinese male labourers. In 1884, there was less work avai lable due to increased employment of Chinese men inside the canneries. "The Indians from a l l parts of t h i s agency [Lower Fraser] complain very much t h i s spring and summer of how they are undermined in the labor market by Chinamen, espec ia l l y in a l l kinds of l i g h t work, where the Indian women and the i r boys and g i r l s used to be employed" (DIA, 1885: 104). Chinese men displaced native women in cannery work as well as taking the i r place in domestic work for pr ivate f a m i l i e s , doing washing and i r o n i n g / The canners, in tu rn , had to compete with r a i l r o a d construct ion, which, in the mid-1880s, imported large numbers of contracted Chinese labourers. In these years , therefore , large numbers of native women were hired to work in the Fraser r i v e r canneries, but the s i tuat ion on that r i ve r was temporary. Fraser r i v e r canneries were located close to growing urban centres, in which Chinese contractors operated and which also contained growing China towns with an abundance of Chinese labour. In the north, native peoples continued to be hired in large numbers because they l i ved 133 in the area and i t was extremely cost ly to transport labourers from the southern part of the province. The sheer number of native peoples congregating at New Westminster, on Fraser r i v e r , each spring created problems. In 1885, 3,000 came from a l l over the coast , seeking cannery employment and camping along both banks of the r i v e r , from New Westminster to the mouth of the Fraser. Indian agents were not b l ind to the potent ia ls of such a large gathering. Indian a f f a i r s require careful handling, as , although t r i b a l feuds and jea lous ies have for long kept d istant bands from u n i t i n g , s t i l l the present labor f i e l d s throw the d i f fe rent bands together, and they hear each other 's grievances, and although a fee l ing of discontent i s not l i k e l y to make any upr is ing on the land question poss ib le , s t i l l i t i s t h i s fee l ing which encourages those murders of i so lated miners and s e t t l e r s which were so common a few years ago (DIA, 1886: 81) . This comment indicates one reason for the preference in h i r ing Chinese instead of native labourers. The native population was dispersed over a large area and s t i l l c o n t r o l l e d , in a l im i ted way, i t s own means of subsistence. V i l l a g e and community organisation was strong. Most native labourers camped near the canneries according to v i l l a g e groupings, and often worked alongside community members. In other words, they were only a p a r t i a l l y subordinated labour force , unl ike Chinese labourers, organised under the Chinese contract system. Geographical distance served to separate Chinese labourers from p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production. A s imi la r method could not be employed for native labourers, nor was i t desirable since salmon canners, espec ia l l y in remote areas, required proximate labour supplies (thus cutt ing costs of transport ing labourers) . As previously 134 discussed, the potlatch was the i n s t i t u t i o n binding the socioeconomic structure of the native population. Indian agents and missionaries t r i e d to stop the ceremony for years , with varying degrees of success. In 1885, the potlatch was l e g a l l y banned by special amendment to the Indian Act . C a p i t a l i s t penetration of the native economies was probably more successful than legal p roh ib i t ion , but i t does indicate a degree of awareness by the European population of i t s s ign i f i cance . Banning the potlatch served in fact to provide a point of res istance. Especial ly among the Kwakiut l , the pract ise continued in secret , and Indian agents complained b i t t e r l y of i t s persistence. The Tsimshian also r e s i s t e d . They refused to allow any Indian agent to come and reside with them, and the Indian Act could not be enforced in the north for many years . An agent was only appointed in 1887, and he establ ished his residence at Met lakat la , a mission v i l l a g e . The Tsimshian also prevented surveyors from establ ish ing boundaries. Armed cru isers were sent from V i c t o r i a , and native leaders arrested (DIA, 1887: x - x i ) . Northern native groups could r e s i s t more e f f e c t i v e l y because European settlement had not penetrated that f a r , and contact with Europeans was not extensive. In the south, however, urban growth made subsistence increasingly d i f f i c u l t . For example, in 1886, the Fraser r i ve r salmon run f a i l e d . The native population was caught between both modes of production. I t could not acquire the f i s h through t rad i t iona l methods since the f i s h were absent. And i t could not supplement with food commodities because i t could not earn the cash income. To the extent that other food sources were not pursued because v i l l a g e s relocated to the Fraser and to the extent that potlatching as a means of 135 d i s t r i b u t i n g food was no longer pract ised , native people faced s ta rva t ion . In European soc iety , sexual inequal i ty structured labour in such a way that a d i f fe rent value was assigned to the labour power of each gender. As noted in Chapter 2 t h i s allowed indust r ia l c a p i t a l i s t s to employ female labour power below i t s costs of production and reproduction. In B r i t i s h Columbia, salmon canners were pr imari ly of European ex t rac t ion , and they brought with them an ideology that valued the labour power of men and women d i f f e r e n t l y , as well as that of non- European races. While native labourers, male and female, were paid lower wages than European labourers, women (and chi ldren) were paid the lowest wages. While gender and rac ia l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s have nothing to do with the operation of c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production in the abst ract , they have everything to do with the way those re la t ions are pract ised . Structures of inequal i ty are used to structure labour forces , paying labourers as low a wage as poss ib le . These structures of inequal i ty allow large groups of labourers to be paid below the costs necessary to produce and reproduce the i r labour power. While gender and rac ia l d i v i s ions are introduced in the work place, p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production are necessary to allow these labourers to surv ive . Women appear to have played a c ruc ia l ro le in the maintenance of the native economy. The Cowichan Indian agent remarked: "The Indian women and ch i ldren are always the most eager to go to the h o p - f i e l d s , where they always earn considerable sums of money, and, amongst these Indians, the w i f e ' s purse i s generally en t i re l y separate from the 136 husband's" (DIA, 1887: 92) . Women used wages to buy c lo th ing , f u r n i t u r e , stoves and sewing machines, as well as staples l i k e f l o u r , tea and sugar. Many young native men spent the i r incomes in the urban centres , causing people on the reserves to rely on the earnings of the women and c h i l d r e n . Cowichan Indian agent Lomas provided an ins ight fu l summary of the e f fec ts of wage labour on v i l l a g e l i f e . A l l the younger men can f ind employment on farms or at the sawmills and canneries, and many fami l ies are about leaving for the hop f i e l d s of Washington Te r r i to r y ; but the very o ld people who formerly l i v e d ent i re l y on f i s h , berr ies and roots , suffer a good deal of hardship through the s e t t l i n g up [ s i c ] of the country. The lands that once y ie lded berr ies and roots are now fenced and c u l t i v a t e d , and even on the h i l l s the sheep have destroyed them. Then again, the game laws r e s t r i c t the time for the k i l l i n g of deer and grouse, and the f ishery regulations in ter fere with the i r old methods of taking salmon and t rout . With the younger men the loss of these kinds of food i s more than compensated for by the good wages they earn, which supplement what they produce on the i r al lotments; but t h i s mode of l i f e does away with the i r o ld customs of lay ing in a supply of dr ied meat, f i s h and berr ies for winter use, and thus the old people again s u f f e r , for Indians are often generous with the food they have taken in the chase, but begrudge g iv ing what they have paid money f o r , without sui table return (DIA, 1888: 105, emphasis added). ~~ The quote i l l u s t r a t e s the dilemma of a people caught in two d i f fe rent economic sets of r e l a t i o n s . By the end of the 1880s, a pattern had emerged. In the early spr ing , the men went hunting and t rapping, while the women and old men prepared gardens, planted potatoes, e t c . However, as Lomas ind ica tes , the y i e l d from these sources had shrunk. Thus, when the salmon canneries opened in May or June, the ent i re v i l l a g e , except for the very o l d , was deserted as people sought to supplement t h e i r food supplies with food bought with wages. Af ter the canning season, many fami l ies t rave l led to the hop f i e l d s where they could extend t h e i r wages (especia l ly women, who did 137 not have as many employment opportunit ies as did young men). Af ter the canning season, other groups t rave l led to the i r f i sh ing stat ions to catch and dry f i s h for the i r own use. On reserves with land unsuitable fo r farming, people purchased potatoes and vegetables from others , and concentrated on manufacturing a c t i v i t i e s during the winter months, including bui ld ing boats and canoes and household fu rn i tu re . And women able to af ford sewing machines made clothes for the i r fami l ies and to trade or s e l l ( kn i t t ing machines were also used to make, for example, the famous Cowichan sweaters). However, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of wage employment was p a r t i a l l y caused by the small s ize of the urban populat ion. In the 1890s, the s i tuat ion began to change. I r o n i c a l l y , salmon runs at the end of the decade were phenomenally la rge , but the employment of native peoples declined in proportion to the tota l labour force employed. In 1894, Superintendent Vowel 1 concluded: I t i s noticeable that within the l a s t few years there has been a f a l l i n g of f in the gross earnings of the natives of B r i t i s h Columbia, which may be accounted for by the gradual in f lux of s e t t l e r s of every nat iona l i t y into the province, which increases each year . The Indians do not now, nor can they expect to in the future , make as much money as formerly in any l i n e of industry or enterpr ise where the natives used to be the only people avai lab le for such employment and pursu i ts ; whitemen and Japanese, and others, are at the present time to be seen in a l l d i rect ions and in great numbers competing with them in the labour market, and in the occupations of f i s h i n g , trapping and hunting, e tc . (DIA, 1895: 202) The trend Vowel 1 notes was p a r t i a l l y suspended in the f i sh ing industry over the next few years because the enormous supply of f i s h led to the erect ion of new canneries. Native people were employed in large numbers, but t h e i r proportions lessened, especia l ly on the Fraser. Contractors could o f fe r cheap Chinese and Japanese labour (Japanese men 138 competed with native and European f i s h e r s ) . Canners kept jobs segregated by race and gender, so that encroachments made by spec i f i c groups of labourers were perceived in rac ia l terms, rather than as a method allowing employers to keep labour costs minimal. As indicated in Table I I , between 1885 and 1890, the number of canneries increased from 9 to 32, most located on Fraser r i v e r . Fishery o f f i c e r s feared overf ishing would exhaust salmon stocks, as had occurred on the Columbia r i ve r system. In 1892, a f ishery commission was appointed to invest igate the problem. The evidence submitted gives some ind icat ion of the s ize and composition of cannery labour forces , although there was considerable v a r i a t i o n . Overa l l , the average Fraser r i ve r plant employed approximately eight white men (foremen, f iremen, and watchmen in charge of the r e t o r t s ) , 100 Chinese men, 40 to 50 native women, and 18 to 20 boys (native and Chinese). One canner paid native women a d o l l a r a day while white boys received two d o l l a r s . Chinese men were generally paid monthly by t h e i r contractors . In Wadham's cannery, for example, the "boss Chinaman" received 50 to 70 cents a case or a l i t t l e over one cent per can. In t h i s case, the Chinese contractors hired native women "and of course these Chinamen pay the Klootchmen." He goes on to note " i t would not pay any white to do the work the Chinamen do for the pay, or anything l i k e what the canneries would be w i l l i n g to p a y . . . a white man would starve to death." Native women received ten cents an hour (12-1/2 cents at Wadham's), while Chinese men received between $30 and $45 a month. White salmon (which, unl ike the red f i s h , had no value in the can) was given free to the Indians 139 (testimony of F. L. Lord, B. C. Fishery Commission Report, 1893: 178- 179). Numbers employed in any one day, however, varied a great dea l . The canners retained a core of white and Chinese men to whom they guaranteed steady employment (white men were hired d i rec t l y on to company payro l ls and paid by the canners). Around t h i s core, they required a number of casual labourers who could be c a l l e d in at any t ime, and who might have to work around the c lock . This was the reason i t was so handy to have native fami l ies camped near the p lants . In f a c t , one pioneer canner, Alexander Ewen, claimed i t was necessary for canners to have l icensed boats in order to o f fe r employment to native men to f i s h , thereby making sure they brought the i r fami l ies to the cannery. "The real reason that you want to have those boats of your own and get Indian fishermen as they bring the i r fami l ies around and you have Indian women and boys, and some of the men, not fishermen, to work in the canneries, and when t h i s extra f i sh ing comes on you can take o f f your own boats and get o f f to work in - the cannery" ( i b i d . : 117). The resu l t of the commission hearings was the abol ishing of l icensed boats on the Fraser r i v e r . The end of the decade witnessed a ser ies of phenomenal runs to the r i v e r . In 1896, for the f i r s t t ime, a P a c i f i c f i s h , salmon, generated the highest commercial revenues in the Canadian f i s h e r i e s . By 1901, 77 canneries were operating in the province, and thousands of f i s h e r s , of a l l n a t i o n a l i t i e s , earned the i r l i v e l i h o o d on the Fraser alone. This was the golden age of the provincia l salmon canning industry . During these years , a l l avai lable labour, inc luding nat ive , Chinese, Japanese, and European, was in 140 demand, although job structure continued to mirror gender and rac ia l d i v i s i o n s . Conclusion The salmon canning industry i s extremely v o l a t i l e , dependent not only on a large supply of salmon, but also on a market in which prov inc ia l canners never dominated. In the early per iod, the chief market was the B r i t i s h working c l a s s . Several countries competed in supplying t h i s market. Upon i t s formation, B.C. Packers closed a number of the canneries i t had bought, and assumed a dominant posi t ion in the industry . However, the two world wars served to erode that p o s i t i o n . The wars created a high demand for canned salmon in countries a l l i e d to Canada (as a source of cheap protein eas i l y preserved). New entrants f locked into the industry to take advantage of the high p r o f i t s which could be made. Af ter the second world war, Superintendent Vowel l 's predict ion was f i n a l l y and irrevocably borne out. One af ter another, salmon canneries operating for the better part of the century, began to cease operations. The native population in the north suffered espec ia l l y severely , since that part of the province was se t t led at a l a t e r stage than the south. Canning operations were increasingly combined and moved near large urban centres (Vancouver and Prince Rupert). Canners could now rec ru i t women from newly immigrating overseas populations (Japanese, East Indian, Portuguese, to name the most important), in addit ion to native women.^ 141 By the 1950s, native women could boast of three generations of women in the i r fami l ies who had worked in the same canneries. When the plants c losed , the most mobile and best workers, relocated to canneries s t i l l operat ing. But the majority was forced back on reserves with no paid employment. The state f i l l e d the gap with unemployment insurance, welfare and old age pensions. I t i s f i t t i n g to conclude with the testimony of native women cannery workers. Kinship could be traced according to which women worked in which cannery. Mary Hopkins, born in the 1800s, i s a re t i red cannery worker. I am Be l la B e l l a ; my mother i s from there. They a l l worked in canneries, my mother, my grandmother. I started when I was s ix teen . Be l la B e l l a , Rivers I n l e t , l a t e r when I got married Butedale, Klemtu. Oh, I l i k e i t . I r ea l l y enjoyed working in that cannery here. We used to hand f i l l e t the herr ing . Every summer I worked, worked long hours. Lots of f i s h ; s ta r t at eight in the morning and sometimes stop at two, three, four in the morning, no time to res t . We got l o t s of money then. A l l the women were working. When the canneries were c losed , there i s [ s i c ] no more jobs for us. A l l the women have time. We were rea l l y sad when we heard i t ; some of them c r i e d . Now we only get welfare. I get old-age pension (S te l t zer and Kerr , 1982: 47) . This woman judged her wages to be good. Since f i l l e t i n g i s the most highly s k i l l e d job for women in f i s h p lants , i t commanded higher wages than, for example, washing f i s h . She also notes a l l the women worked, resu l t ing in a r e l a t i v e l y good income for the v i l l a g e . And working twenty hours in a row when one i s paid by the hour, even without overtime pay, would resu l t in a high money income for that period of t ime. The testimony of other women reveals that many thought they were paid poorly . However, in a way, i t becomes r e l a t i v e , r e l a t i v e to the options ava i lab le and to the other a c t i v i t i e s pursued by women to support themselves and the i r f a m i l i e s . Wages had to be placed in the 142 context of overal l subsistence a c t i v i t i e s . Cannery work allowed them to pursue other, non-monetary means of earning the i r l i v e l i h o o d . However, cannery work was essent ia l because some form of wage income had become necessary to supplement other subsistence a c t i v i t i e s . When that source of money income disappeared, other income sources were also gone and the native economy was no longer s u f f i c i e n t to support the population. State social assistance f i l l e d the gap. Klemtu cannery, located on the central coast , closed in 1968, having operated for approximately 40 years . Brenda Assu reca l led how people used to congregate at Cassiar cannery, located on the Skeena r i ve r in the north, from Kitwanga, K i tsegeucla , Hazelton and probably Kispiox (Skogan, 1983; 37) . Cassiar was the only operating cannery l e f t in the early 1980s, i t s future in doubt since i t had gone into receivership . Sunnyside on the Skeena, was b u i l t in 1916, c los ing in 1969. Mabel Ridley reca l led how people came to work from upr iver , from K i t k a t l a , Port Simpson, Hartley Bay, and K i t imat . Most of them worked in the cannery a l l the i r l i v e s . In addit ion to being a cannery worker, she was also a midwife. I learned these things [midwifery] from my mother and my s i s t e r . At Sunnyside, when they f i r s t c a l l me, I stay up a l l night maybe t i l the hard labour s tar ts and the baby i s born sometimes at f i v e or s ix in the morning. Then I go to my house and tend to my own family and go to work. I was f loor lady at Sunnyside for twenty years (Skogan, 1983: 38) . E l izabeth Spalding began to work in 1916, when she was eight years o l d . Her mother was a f ra id to walk from the reserve to Port Essington (on the Skeena) by herse l f , so she took her daughter. She brought a box for her to stand on, and the women showed her how to do the work. She's 143 been in the industry almost 60 years . She reca l led Japanese women working there, with the i r babies strapped to t h e i r backs. "We don't know what rest i s when we're young. When there 's l o t s of f i s h we jus t qui t for two hours to sleep then work again. Af ter a while we were paid around f i f t y do l la rs a t i c k e t , but now they make real l o t s of money. Cheap in my time" (Skogan, 1983: 6 3 - 6 4 ) . ' F i n a l l y , Leona Sparrow recorded the l i f e h i s t o r i e s of her paternal grandparents, both of whom were Sa l i sh (Fraser r i v e r area) . Rose Sparrow also remembered Japanese women working in the canneries with the i r small babies strapped to the i r backs, while older chi ldren were kept in boxes in the corners of the cannery, where the women could keep an eye on them. Native women generally had e i ther an older daughter or a grandmother to care for young c h i l d r e n . Rose's twelve-year old daughter looked a f te r the c h i l d r e n , one of whom was born at a Skeena r i v e r cannery. Rose l e f t work at eight and the baby was born four hours l a t e r . She was allowed to return home to breast feed the baby because t h e i r home was close to the plant (Sparrow, 1976: 93-94) . "Cheap in my time" i s perhaps a f i t t i n g epitaph. An attempt has been made here to demonstrate how the native economy was transformed but not destroyed when c a p i t a l i s t s began to prosecute the provincia l f i s h e r i e s . The more general argument i s that indust r ia l c a p i t a l i s t s w i l l attempt to pay labour power below the costs necessary to i t s costs of production and reproduction. They can do t h i s i f p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production continue within capi ta l ism and i f structured inequal i ty e x i s t s . The l a t t e r serves to s p l i t the working c lass into organised workers who seek wages to cover the i r own and the i r 144 dependents' costs of production and reproduction, and those groups disadvantaged along a var iety of dimensions. Up un t i l the second world war, native people, Chinese, Japanese and East Indian peoples were a l l considered to be non-people by the s ta te . While European male workers used p o l i t i c a l means to achieve economic gains, these groups were i n v i s i b l e p o l i t i c a l l y . The impl icat ions of these h i s t o r i c , non- c a p i t a l i s t d i v i s ions are that Marx's concept of the value of labour power as uniformly determined (thus reduced to a s ingle f igure in any one period of time) must be rev ised . The value of labour power i s determined not only in the economic marketplace but also in the course of c lass struggle. Where structured inequal i ty predates c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , advantaged groups within and outside c lass re la t ions w i l l use d i s t i n c t i o n s l i k e gender and race in c lass struggle with c a p i t a l i s t employers. 145 The term clan i s used here in a very loose fashion, to mean a group larger than the basic economic uni t or house group but smaller than the t r i b e . Many, but not a l l , of these groups shared a common place of residence for part of the year . A loose equivalent i s community. D i f f i c u l t y in using precise terminology stems from the wide d i ve rs i t y of groups covered in t h i s ana lys i s . Within the anthropological l i t e r a t u r e , there has been debate over the pot la tch , i t s uses and meanings. Many anthropologists have demonstrated the purpose of the potlatch in conferr ing rank, s tatus , and power. See, for example, the c o l l e c t i o n of essays on the subject in McFeat (1978, 72-133). Wolf (1982: 190) also stresses the importance of the potlatch in both social s t r a t i f i c a t i o n (creation of an "ar istocracy") and estab l ish ing kinship t i e s . There i s another body of anthropological work, however, that began to explore the meaning of the potlatch not as an i n s t i t u t i o n through which t i t l e s are a l located and a l l i a n c e s formed (a s t r a t i f i c a t i o n system), but as a socioeconomic system for r e d i s t r i b u t i n g resources (especia l ly food). Now the two purposes need not be contradictory . In what fo l lows, attent ion i s given the second interpretat ion because i t provides a framework for understanding the northwest coast as an economic uni t of production and r e d i s t r i b u t i o n . 3 Wolf (1982: 190-192) appears to miss the importance of th i s temporal s h i f t by t reat ing the potlatch as i f i t were one uniform social p rac t i ce . The potlatches he describes occurred during the fur trade per iod. 4 The ch iefs thus used the i r p ivotal posit ions in the fur trade to accumulate potlatch wealth, to augment t h e i r a f f i n a l connections through auspicious marriages, to extend t h e i r trading networks, and to reinforce the i r social prerogatives. Some ch iefs used the labor of the i r slaves to increase the production of wealth objects . The basic deployment of soc ia l labor in the soc ie t ies of the northwest coast nevertheless remained predicated on the kinship mode (Wolf, 1982: 188-189, emphasis added). 5 The d e t a i l s on the fur trade presented here are taken from F i s h e r ' s Contact and C o n f l i c t (1980). ^The Indian agent for Fraser River blamed the Chinese merchants for s e l l i n g brandy to the Indians (DIA, 1884: 45) . The Cowichan Indian agent complained the V i c t o r i a Indians "seem to have a l l the vices of the whites" (DIA, 1883: 55) . The agent for Coquitlam noted a Chinese had 146 been convicted for keeping young Indian women in New Westminster for prostitution (DIA, 1883: 61). ''Most of the history published on the fishing industry gives primacy of place to the Chinese as the f i r s t employees inside salmon canneries. However, a reading of the reports of the Indian agents during the 1870s and 1880s indicates that perhaps native people were f i r s t used in many of the salmon canneries in Br i t ish Columbia. Here i s an area that requires much closer investigation by B.C. historians. o This information was kindly provided by informants in Prince Rupert and Steveston, who showed us seniority l i s t s and identif ied the racial and ethnic origins of the employees, allowing us to devise rough estimates. In Prince Rupert, the oldest and most senior women in one of the salmon canneries were native (a number had been there thirty to forty years). The most junior women were Portuguese and East Indian (this seemed to hold for a l l f ish plants, canneries and fresh f i sh ) . 147 CHAPTER 5 Transformation of Chinese and Japanese Peasants into Contract Labourers A salmon canner's ch ief concern, one d i r e c t l y connected to the r e a l i s a t i o n of p r o f i t , was having a cheap and adequate supply of labourers on hand to process an e r r a t i c and seasonal catch. Real isat ion of surplus was connected to extract ion of surplus labour and to payment of wages below costs of production and reproduction of labour power. Native peoples had been engaged in f i sh ing and processing for the fur trading companies, and continued to be engaged by salmon canners.''' Coastal peoples migrated seasonally and the i r economy centred around f i s h i n g . With the encroachment of white settlement and the creation of reserves, a b i l i t y to subsist sole ly from f i s h i n g , hunting and gathering was c u r t a i l e d . Canners offered wages and these became incorporated into the old economic patterns. Now v i l l a g e s included a sojourn at a cannery as part of t h e i r annual migrat ion. Subsistence a c t i v i t i e s rooted in a f i s h i n g , hunting, gathering mode of production continued apace, although they were increasingly l imi ted by the encroaching c a p i t a l i s t mode of production developing in the province. At the same time, native peoples struggled with c a p i t a l i s t s , se t t l e r s and various co lon ia l and state bureaucrats over r ights to land and resources. The clash between the 148 two modes of production resulted in a changed, but not an o b l i t e r a t e d , native economy. Salmon canners could pay native people cheap wages, espec ia l l y the women and chi ldren working inside the i r p lants , but they were not able to subordinate t h i s labour force . The very factor enabling employers to pay cheap wages, p a r t i a l re l iance on means of subsistence l y ing outside the c a p i t a l i s t economy, allowed labourers to exercise a measure of choice and independence. And the continued bat t le over r ights and ownership over f i sh ing s i tes resulted in confrontations between canners and native groups, mediated by state agents. The core of the cannery labour force was found elsewhere. Salmon canners used the labour of a group t o t a l l y separated from i t s means of subsistence, but only p a r t i a l l y proletarian!"sed because i t s re lat ions of production were rooted in a p r e - c a p i t a l i s t mode of production. Chinese contractors entered into an employment re lat ionship with canners on behalf of the employees actual ly working in the canneries. These contractors took on the burden of h i r i n g , reta in ing and d i s c i p l i n i n g the work force necessary to process the season's catch at indiv idual canneries. The salmon canners dealt with these indiv idual contractors rather than with the ent i re labour fo rce . Contractors were generally paid by the case (a number of var iat ions to t h i s system ex is ted , since each canner negotiated separately, but the general pattern was as described here). The contractors had to pay the i r labourers from th is sum. The uncerta int ies inherent in a f luctuat ing supply of f i s h were thus passed from the canners to the contractors . In turn , the contractors passed these on to the i r labourers. They provisioned the 149 Chinese crews, and, in poor seasons, often cut back on food supplied to the workers. The process whereby t h i s system was adopted in the B.C. f i s h i n g industry forms the subject of t h i s chapter. Af ter the Chinese contract system was in place, Japanese came to be hired by a s i m i l a r process. Japanese immigration came l a t e r , towards the end of the nineteenth century. While Chinese men were hired to work ins ide the canneries, Japanese men were hired as f i s h e r s . I t was not un t i l the end of the f i r s t decade of t h i s century that Japanese men began to bring the i r wives over from Japan, and the women subsequently were employed to work inside the p lants . Origins of Chinese Cannery Workers Chinese immigration to Canada began in -1858 (Wickberg, 1982: 5 ) . Most came to B r i t i s h Columbia by way of the United States, pr imar i ly from C a l i f o r n i a and the c i t y of San Francisco, where the f i r s t China town in North America was establ ished. O r i g i n a l l y , they were miners who followed the gold rush, to C a l i f o r n i a in 1848 and to the Fraser r i ve r in 1858, men who laboured on the i r own account. "Subsequently, however, large numbers of Chinese came d i r e c t l y from China, espec ia l ly between 1881 and 1885 when the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway was constructed" (Bolar ia and L i , 1985: 82) . Chinese migrants came predominantly from the southern coastal province of Guangdong and the neighbouring coastal province of Fu j i an. Both areas were in the van of western e f f o r t s to break down the cu l tu ra l and commercial bar r ie rs surrounding China from the early nineteenth century. Canton, the Guangdong provincial c a p i t a l , was the point of contact with European commerce before the disastrous F i r s t Opium War in 1 8 3 9 . . . I t was through the or ig ina l treaty ports in Guangdong and Fuj i an and the B r i t i s h and Portuguese possessions of Hong Kong and Macau that Chinese went abroad. 150 . . .The overwhelming majority of Chinese migrants to Canada have come from a small area of eight contiguous counties in the heart of the Canton de l ta . . . (Wickberg , 1982: 7 ) . The f i r s t Europeans known to have establ ished trade with China were the Portuguese, who came to China in the sixteenth century. They developed a network of exchange involv ing three cont inents, Europe, China and South America. The Chinese state was i n s u l a r , and generally hos t i l e to foreign t rade. Government o f f i c i a l s tended to confine traders to coastal ports . Canton emerged as an important port , with a resu l t ing impact on the surrounding countryside in Guangdong province. The peasantry began to spec ia l i se in the production of sugar, t e x t i l e s , porcelain and metal wares. These were exchanged for tobacco, sweet potatoes and peanuts, cu l t i va ted in South America. The foods were adopted into the peasantry's d i e t , and prosperity from foreign trade led to an increase in the s ize of the population (Wolf, 1982: 256). In 1644, there was a change in dynasty, resu l t ing in a t ightening of imperial control over foreign t rade. The Manchus were a l i en ru lers who had a d i f f i c u l t time leg i t imat ing t h e i r power. While they despised foreign t raders , they needed the gold and s i l v e r coming into China. In 1757 they decreed that Canton was to be the only port open to foreign t rade. Trade was contro l led by a group of merchant f irms c a l l e d the Cohong. When Canton became the only port open to t h i s t rade, they acquired a monopoly over i t . The emperor charged the Cohong with regulat ing the a c t i v i t i e s of foreign traders in China (Chan, 1983: 22- 23) . China enjoyed a favourable balance of trade largely through European demand for tea . In 1644, the Dutch introduced the beverage to 151 England. The Manchu dynasty f e l l short ly thereaf ter , and the emperor re -establ ished foreign trade. By t h i s time, England was the chief t rading company, but i t continued to deal mainly with the port of Canton. While European demand for tea was great, there was no equivalent good demanded by the Chinese. The B r i t i s h therefore had to pay for Chinese products with s i l v e r , leading to a drain from Europe and from the s i l v e r mines of Mexico, cont ro l led by the B r i t i s h . Wolf estimates that , between 1719 and 1813, o n e - f i f t h of a l l the s i l v e r produced in Mexico and about the same amount from European s i l v e r stocks ended in China. China became the "tomb of American treasure" (Wolf, 1982: 255). In searching for a r t i c l e s desired by the Chinese, the Europeans had discovered the high pr ices fetched by sea ot ter sk ins , and the native coastal population of North America was drawn into the trade network contro l led by European co lon isers . In 1776, the American revolut ion cut England of f from i t s s i l v e r supplies in Mexico. In 1773, the East India Company had establ ished a monopoly over the sale of opium, and the B r i t i s h introduced i t in China. Opium addict ion burgeoned in China, and the balance of payments s h i f t e d , with s i l v e r now leaving China. The outflow of s i l v e r from China soon affected the country at la rge . The government set tax quotas in s i l v e r , the peasants paid in copper cash. As s i l v e r grew scarce and rose in p r i c e , ever larger amounts of copper were required to meet taxes. Opium thus did more than undermine the health of Chinese addic ts ; i t began to subvert the social order in the countryside. (Wolf, 1982: 258) The peasantry in southern China was h i t espec ia l l y hard, since i t had prof i ted from foreign trade. As the balance sh i f ted to England, taxat ion increased. Along with opium, the B r i t i s h sought to establ ish 152 markets for the i r manufactured products, such as t e x t i l e s . These flooded into China at prices t e x t i l e producers in Canton could not match. While the Portuguese had developed trade networks involv ing the exchange of goods between countr ies , the B r i t i s h were interested in creating markets for the i r manufactured products and supply centres in resources necessary to c a p i t a l i s t production at home. Thus, while the peasantry in southern China had benefited in the e a r l i e r trade networks, i t was now disadvantaged. Instead of creat ing valued commodities, i t was reduced to producing agr icu l tu ra l surpluses convert ible into copper and s i l v e r . I t received nothing in return. E a r l i e r population growth now acted as a severe drain on the a b i l i t y of the peasants to survive on the land. Many were forced to leave, and sought wage employment in Canton. But industr ies there were also depressed, and the eventual solut ion was emigration. However, emigration was prohibited between 1672 and 1858. Foreign pressure determined both i t s l e g a l i s a t i o n and i t s pattern. The Chinese state res is ted both England's attempt to colonise the country and the introduct ion of opium. The resu l t was the Opium War, begun in 1838 when the B r i t i s h navy sank three Chinese gunboats. In 1842, a defeated China was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing. "The impact of Western m i l i t a r y and economic invasion was to disrupt the feudal autonomous system in China and replace i t with a neocolonial structure" ( L i , 1979: 322). One of the immediate consequences was that Canton l o s t i t s p r i v i leged p o s i t i o n , now that other ports were engaged in trade with Europe. Foreign penetration was matched by internal d is in tegrat ion of dynastic control over warlords. As warlords fought 153 with one another and with the state for control of various parts of the Chinese empire, the peasantry had to finance the wars through increased taxat ion (Wickberg, 1982: 9 ) . Oppression resulted in a ser ies of peasant revo l t s , the most famous occurring in 1850, the Taiping Rebel l ion . The Quing dynasty, with foreign a i d , eventually crushed i t in 1864, with a loss of an estimated twenty m i l l i o n l i v e s (Chan, 1983: 35) . One of the provinces involved was Guangdong. In addit ion to a l l of these d i sas te rs , the area experienced, from 1848 to 1850, a severe drought. The resu l t of a l l of these forces was the uprooting of a huge peasant population, which could no longer subsist on the land. "The penetration of foreign capi ta l ism in China accelerated the breakdown of the Chinese economy. On the one hand, i t destroyed the loca l handicraft industr ies in v i l l a g e s and c i t i e s , and replaced them with a commodity market; while on the other hand, i t drove many peasants and handicraftsmen to bankruptcy, and produced a large pool of surplus labour" (Bolar ia and L i , 1985: 83) . One solut ion chosen by peasants was emigration. Johnson and Wickberg (Wickberg, 1982: 5) note that Chinese emigration was of two forms: coo l ie broker and chain migrat ion. Most Chinese emigrants were s ingle men. The Chinese contract system was an extension of the f i r s t form. Immigration involved a debt re la t ion to a broker who paid the passage fare from China. The immigrant was indebted to the broker and was not free to seek employment on his own unt i l the debt was repaid. "Passage loans were often made by Chinese clan associat ions establ ished in C a l i f o r n i a , known as the "s ix companies," 154 and l a t e r by c a p i t a l i s t employers such as the ra i l roads who recrui ted for labor in China" (Boswell , 1986: 358). Mention has been made of the Cohong merchants of Canton, who contro l led foreign trade un t i l the Opium war. The merchant c l a s s , in China as well as in Japan, occupied an i n f e r i o r p o s i t i o n , well below art isans and peasants, and cer ta in l y below the scholar -gentry . Merchants' status rose in proportion as c a p i t a l i s t development took hold . In the meantime, however, they continued to act as middlemen between the Chinese economy and the nascent capi ta l ism overseas. When the i r monopoly over trade goods leaving Canton was broken, the merchant c lass in Canton turned to supplying labourers for the plantations in Hawaii, Cuba, the West Indies and South America. The trade, being i l l e g a l , involved forceful abduction of Chinese peasants, and, in t h i s sense, the coo l ie trade was s i m i l a r to the system of slavery i t d isp laced. However, i t was s h o r t - l i v e d . Slavery was abolished in America in 1808, although i t did not end un t i l 1865, fol lowing the end of the C i v i l War. The coo l ie system f lour ished b r i e f l y when the slave trade dried up, but i t also came to an end when the Chinese state made emigration l e g a l . To be e f f e c t i v e , however, the countries importing labourers also had to put a stop to abuses. In the 1870's Spain and Portugal agreed to regulate Chinese immigration. The United States chose a d i f fe rent t a c t i c . Just as England had wanted to open China as a market for i t s goods and a suppl ier of raw materials for i t s indust r ies , so the United States wanted to open China as a source of labour supply. I t achieved i t s dnd in 1868, with the signing of the Burlingame t reaty . Henceforth, Chinese were to be allowed to migrate f r e e l y . A most- 155 favoured-nation clause included B r i t a i n and i t s former colonies within the terms of the t reaty . These ser ies of events ended the coo l ie system in that peasants were no longer fo rc ib l y and i l l e g a l l y transported from China. But the system of contract ing cheap labour in China to meet demand in America, continued. The contract labor system demanded more accountabi l i ty than the cool ie t r a f f i c (which saw hundreds of indentured workers die of scurvy, malnutr i t ion or f logging en route to the New World), i f for no reason other than that the investment outlay was greater . The worker's value was also considerably higher because he had signed on by choice and was t r a v e l l i n g as a free emigrant. A f te r 1870, the contract type of labor was the only legal way a Chinese laborer could work in B r i t i s h colonies and former co lon ies . (Chan, 1983: 45) As stated e a r l i e r , most Chinese immigrants to North America in the nineteenth century came from eight contiguous countries in the v i c i n i t y of Canton. In the 1870's they chose the i r dest inat ion , but they often had l i t t l e choice in terms of being forced to leave China. Many had incurred debts of various k inds, and even more had d i f f i c u l t y subs is t ing , being close to s tarvat ion . The "s ix companies" contro l led emigration. "As a conduit of low-paid labor and a coercive c o l l e c t o r of debts, the "s i x companies" functioned as middlemen in the interests of the c a p i t a l i s t c lass" (Boswell , 1986: 358). Boswell also argues that the companies acted as an u n o f f i c i a l arm of the state "by enforcing contracts and "po l i c ing Chinese behavior." The peasants had to work for an agreed period of time for these contractors in order to c lear the i r debts. Most planned to return to China r i ch men. They l e f t the i r fami l ies behind, planning to ease poverty at home with remittances from pay cheques abroad. But a whole system of indebtedness developed between the labourer and his wages, marked by., the establishment of a 156 c lass of merchants and agents abroad, connected to the merchant c lass resident in China. The Chinese l e f t from Canton, and a l l of them passed through Hong Kong on t h e i r way overseas. The appointment of consuls provided a connection for Chinese merchant contractors , since many of the consuls were involved in the trade in labour. The United States held an inquiry into Chinese immigration in 1876, and some of the evidence co l lec ted was appended to the Canadian Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, published in 1885. The testimony of a San Francisco merchant, Thomas H. K ing , who resided for ten years in China, was act ive in the Consul's o f f i c e in Hong Kong, and ass isted the placement of Chinese on ships leaving for North America, provides some clues as to how the system worked. Apparently the laws of the United States government enabled the Consul to exact fees from each labourer. Nearly a l l of them, except for a few boys and Chinese returning to C a l i f o r n i a , appeared to be under contract . The contract bound them for three to f i ve years , but few of them appeared to know the condit ions of the i r labour overseas. Part of the contract s t ipu lated that they would be cared for i f s i c k , and would be sent back to China at the expi rat ion of the i r contract , or the i r bodies would be shipped back i f they d ied. Money advanced to cover the cost of the voyage had to be repaid with in terest running as high as f i ve per cent per month. The contractors also arranged for wages to be remitted to family in China, and t h i s led to further abuse. He claimed a l l s a i l i n g vessels to China had condit ions in the i r charters s t ipu la t ing no labourers were to be taken except those supplied by the companies. Although force was not exerted, many peasants came unwi l l i ng l y , to c lear 157 debts or to support family and fr iends at home or to better the i r own condi t ion . The contractors at the San Francisco end were o r i g i n a l l y agents of Chinese firms in Hong Kong, connected in turn to firms in Canton. The companies in San Francisco were known as the "Six Companies," representing the s ix d i s t r i c t s around Canton where labourers were recrui ted (Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, 1885: 188-89). The companies appear to have been a curious combination of p r o f i t - making business and benevolent assoc ia t ion . The Chinese peasant knew no English and had no means of disposing of his labour power in America. Contractors acted as middlemen between c a p i t a l i s t s in search of labour and the peasant requir ing work. And the i r influence over the peasants did not stem solely from a debt re la t ionsh ip . I t was rooted in the pre- c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions found in China before European contact. Chan, in Gold Mountain, argues convincingly that Confucianism and the c lass structure in China had patterned a hierarchy of authority modified by the merchant c lass to su i t condit ions in North America. The Confucian system of values placed central importance on the fami ly . The family ( including ancestors) represented a microcosm of soc iety , and both were ordered in a r i g i d structure of author i ty . The grandfather, t y p i c a l l y the oldest l i v i n g male, governed a patr iarchal hierarchy that stressed the subordination of the son to the father , wife to the husband, younger brother to the older brother and in c i v i l soc iety , the subject to the r u l e r . . . The authority of the oldest male adu l t , whose central purpose was to enrich the family and enhance i t s prosper i ty , gave him almost total control over the destiny of his immediate household and fami l ies re lated by kinship as well as those with clan t i e s . (Chan, 1983: 100-101) 158 As demonstrated e a r l i e r , the wider economic and p o l i t i c a l fabr ic of Chinese soc iety , espec ia l l y in the south, was d is in tegrat ing in the l a t t e r part of the nineteenth century. But family and kin t i e s pers is ted . The peasantry, as Wolf (1969) demonstrates in his Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century, could be a very conservative force . The motive of many peasants in emigrating was to help the i r fami ly , and most planned to return . The object of Chinese peasants in emigrating was to pay of f debts and ease economic constraints on the i r fami l ies in China. The merchant c lass developed a middleman posi t ion between economic a c t i v i t i e s in the two countr ies , China and Canada. But i t establ ished i t s power over the peasantry by founding associat ions f a m i l i a r to i t . For example, merchants did not simply loan peasants fare overseas but also guaranteed the return of the i r bodies to China i f they died before returning. The labour contracts often included such c lauses. Thus, a re lat ionship sprang up between the two classes that or ig inated in c a p i t a l i s t demand for cheap labour, but that preserved t i e s that had been developed for centuries in China. Another factor f a c i l i t a t i n g the development of such a re lat ionship was the racism encountered by the Chinese in the United States , A u s t r a l i a , New Zealand and Canada. C a p i t a l i s t s used Chinese labour because i t was cheaper than any other labour force ava i lab le to i t . The Chinese peasant subsisted close to the margins of starvat ion in China and he t rave l led alone. Thus, his needs were marginal , well below standards the white male working c lass had achieved. A central argument of t h i s thesis i s that the "free" labourer must be supported outside c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production. The merchant c lass provided that 159 support, at leve ls c lose to those labourers were accustomed to in China, in a peasant economy ex i s t ing close to the margins of subsistence, one in which starvat ion and death were not infrequent occurrences. In f a c t , a chief clause in labour contracts negotiated with salmon canners was the provis ioning of the crew by the contractor . And the contractor could undercut the pr ice of any other labour force by recouping potent ial losses through food supplied to his crews. C a p i t a l i s t employers had an in terest in the system, since i t provided them with a cheap labour fo rce . But the white working c lass was threatened by such a system, and the h o s t i l i t y was expressed in r a c i s t hatred towards 4 Chinese as a race, not as exploi ted workers. Again t h i s worked to the advantage of the c a p i t a l i s t . The only reason for encouraging Chinese immigration, as employers stated repeatedly in the various commissions held on the subject , was the a b i l i t y and wi l l ingness of the Chinese to labour at wages refused by white male labourers. An equally important reason was the lack of European female and c h i l d labour. A few Chinese women did come to North America in the second half of the nineteenth century. Most of them were p ros t i tu tes , espec ia l l y the f i r s t Chinese women who emigrated. While the f o r c i b l e abduction of Chinese peasants ended with the coo l ie system, women continued to be sold into s lavery , to work as p ros t i tu tes .^ The patr iarchal nature of the Confucian system relegated women to an extremely low status . When peasants found i t d i f f i c u l t to surv ive, female babies were frequently k i l l e d to reduce the number of mouths to feed. Chan (1983: 82) notes, "women were expendable from the day of the i r b i r t h . . .Women in China served no useful purpose except as sexual objects , baby makers or beasts 160 of burden." Gendered d i v i s i o n of labour in t h i s patr iarchal society devalued work performed by women and served to structure inequal i ty between the sexes. While male peasants began to be treated as i n d i v i d u a l s , women continued to be bought and sold as commodities, fetching pr ices ranging from $500 to $2,500, for the San Francisco p ros t i tu t ion trade. The " c r i b s , " each of which held up to s ix women, were s la t ted c r a t e s , often located out of doors, measuring approximately 12 feet by 14 feet with a c u r t a i n , p a l l e t , wash bas in , mirror and usually two c h a i r s . A woman forced into c r i b p ros t i tu t ion would work for s ix to eight years ; at the end of her usefulness, when she was ravaged by disease, physical abuse or s tarvat ion , she was allowed to escape to the Salvation Army, the hospital or the gutter . T y p i c a l l y , she would be dead within s ix months. (Chan, 1983:81) P r o s t i t u t i o n was also handled through Chinese merchant companies, and there i s some evidence that women acted as merchants in the trade. K ing , t e s t i f y i n g at the 1876 commission in San Francisco, referred to them as "bawds." However, they appear to have been l inked to p ros t i tu t ion in China, advancing money to p r o s t i t u t e s , who came under contracts s i m i l a r to those of male labourers (Royal Commission, 1885: 192). Many of those fo rc ib l y abducted were young g i r l s , not more than th i r teen years o l d , as well as boys. P ros t i tu t ion was not the monopoly of the Chinese. Fur traders had transformed the sexual independence of native women in t h i s d i r e c t i o n , the commodification of sexual r e l a t i o n s . Women were also brought over from Europe and the eastern United States , but they appear to have exercised more choice than did most Chinese women. In the male-dominated society of the P a c i f i c north-west, i t i s ind icat i ve of structured gender inequal i ty that the largest group of non-native women was o r i g i n a l l y engaged as p r o s t i t u t e s , many of them 161 sold into the trade. Their proportion of the tota l non-native female population began to decl ine when s e t t l e r s establ ished fami l ies in the area. However, as in the case of the Chinese peasant who went from forced abduction to unwi l l ing cheap labour, so most white women also had l i t t l e choice when they had to work except to labour for cheap wages. This argument w i l l be developed at the close of the chapter, a f te r more evidence has been presented. Racism The European working c l a s s , s e t t l e r s and municipal and provincia l o f f i c i a l s a l l protested against employment of Chinese workers. Commissions were held in both the United States and Canada as p o l i t i c i a n s attempted, f i r s t to l i m i t , and then to abol ish Chinese immigration. The major defendants of continued immigration were the c a p i t a l i s t s , and the reasons they gave for the i r need of cheap labour i l l u s t r a t e s the in te r re la t ionsh ip between gender and race in structur ing cheap labour forces under cap i ta l i sm. The universal reason put forward by c a p i t a l i s t s for employing Chinese men was the absence of white women and c h i l d r e n . And Boswell (1986: 359) notes: "The Chinese were p a r t i c u l a r l y welcomed in posit ions that the white miners (who were almost a l l male) considered female work, such as cooking, housekeeping, or laundry." Colonel F. A. Bee, consul for the Chinese government, explained the P a c i f i c states had embarked on capi ta l ism when c i v i l war broke out in 1860. Their sources of supply from the east were broken, forc ing them to become s e l f - r e l i a n t . Previously raw material had been sent east for 162 processing, but now industr ies were establ ished to process them on s i t e . In the eastern United States (and central Canada), women were employed in these manufactures; for example, boots and shoes, c l o t h i n g , underwear, c i g a r s , matches (Palmer, 1983). But women were not avai lab le in C a l i f o r n i a , and employers hired Chinese men in the i r place (Royal Commission, 1885: 16-17) . However, in the patr iarchal nuclear fami ly , women were subordinated to men and did not generally aspire to improve the i r p o s i t i o n . Whereas subordination of European women had taken centur ies , the pos i t ion Chinese labourers found themselves in was recent. As several p o l i t i c i a n s complained, the Chinese proved to be "too good" at the i r work. S i r Matthew Begbie, Chief Jus t ice for B r i t i s h Columbia, summarised the problem. The Chinaman i s in every respect the reverse of an European, except that he i s a man . . . Yet they as evidently despise a l l our attainments and ways; and, what i s most annoying, they come here and beat us on our own ground in supplying our own wants. They are i n f e r i o r , too, in weight and s ize of muscle, and yet they work more steadi ly and with better success on the average than white men. (Royal Commission, 1885: 70) The white male working c lass feared the Chinese labourers because they were prepared to accept wages well below white male standards. In times of high unemployment, the white male working c lass saw the employment of Chinese as taking jobs away from i t . An example was given in Chapter 3 of how employers used Chinese labourers as s t r i k e breakers, further undermining the condit ion of the organised working c l a s s . But there i s evidence that c a p i t a l i s t s also feared the Chinese. The president of the Immigration Associat ion of San Francisco, A. R. Br iggs , maintained several industr ies were contro l led by Chinese c a p i t a l i s t s ; for example, the manufacturing of c i g a r s . Or ig ina l l y 163 employed as cheap labour, they learned the manufacturing processes. A few managed to accumulate cap i ta l and invested in the i r own f a c t o r i e s . Raising necessary capi ta l would, of course, be f a c i l i t a t e d by connections with the Chinese merchant community at home and abroad. Briggs asserted they dominated c igar manufacturing in C a l i f o r n i a . "That i s to say, c igars are made almost wholly by Chinese workmen, and many of the fac tor ies are in the hands of Chinese, and owned by them. They do the same thing in t in -ware , boots and shoes, and c lo th ing" (Royal Commission, 1885: 7 ) . The c a p i t a l i s t mode of production establ ished in the P a c i f i c north- west was imported from England. The Europeans encountered a large native population whom they eventually managed to conta in , k i l l i n g of f large numbers and r e s t r i c t i n g the rest on reservations and reserves. There remained the problem of creat ing an indigenous working c l a s s . The European working c lass consisted of s ingle males who quickly managed to become e i ther commodity producers working for themselves or to command high wages when working for others. The solut ion would eventually involve the creat ion of large urban centres dominated by immigrants from Western Europe, but, in the in te r im, c a p i t a l i s t s b u i l t up the i r industr ies by using Chinese labour. P o l i t i c i a n s and s e t t l e r s promoting immigration of women and chi ldren from Europe complained that i t was d i f f i c u l t to induce white women to come when the jobs they could do were f i l l e d with Chinese workers. Even domestic labour, the epitome of "women's work," was dominated by the Chinese. While European women had t i e s to family i n s t i t u t i o n s and cu l tu ra l pract ices developed in feudal Europe, the Chinese labourers were connected to the merchant c lass and 164 k in re la t ions in China. And the developing merchant community in North America, Hong Kong, and China was becoming powerful, developing a network of c i r c u l a t i o n of capi ta l from one country to another. European c a p i t a l i s t s , workers, and p o l i t i c i a n s were threatened by such developments. C a p i t a l i s t s could be Chinese j u s t as well as European. However, t e r r i t o r i a l control was vested with Europeans, and the state was charged with ensuring that indigenous industr ies would be contro l led by Europeans. B r i t a i n had conquered China as well as North America, and co lonia l ism guaranteed ultimate p o l i t i c a l as well as economic control for white men. The economic re lat ionships involved in the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production are neither sex is t nor r a c i s t in or of themselves. However, when consideration i s given to the manner in which the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production was estab l i shed , f i r s t in England (where sexism preva i led) , then in the rest of the world, through m i l i t a r y conquest involv ing r a c i s t rat ionales for dominating foreign peoples, the inherent sex is t and r a c i s t nature of cap i ta l i sm becomes apparent. Both sexism and racism are required i f one group (white men) i s to reta in economic and p o l i t i c a l power in the world economy, and i f cheap labour underl ies economic wage re la t ionsh ips . The Chinese Contract System in the B.C. Salmon Canning Industry The f i r s t salmon canner employed Chinese labour in 1872, at Eagle C l i f f near Por t land, Oregon.** Canning on the Fraser can be dated at 1867, when James Symes experimented in his sal tery (Stacey, 1982: 2).The only piece of machinery used was a large iron k e t t l e to bo i l the t i n 165 cans. Native f i shers had been supplying salmon to the Hudson's Bay Company fo r ts for many decades, and continued to supply canners. And since the manner of preserving the salmon by s a l t i n g and curing was o r i g i n a l l y an extension of native processes, the f i r s t labourers employed within the canneries may have been nat ive . Once the industry became big business, however, a d i f fe ren t type of labour force was required, one guaranteed to remain in place as long as supplies of the raw material l a s t e d . A subordinated work force was needed, and, for the reasons out l ined in Chapter 4 , the native population did not meet the requirements. The Honourable Jus t i ce Crease stated: The Indians could not be depended upon at f i r s t on account of t h e i r numbers, which in those days were threatening, nor afterwards on account of the i r r e s t l e s s , nomadic propensi t ies , which prevented them from s e t t l i n g down to any permanent, industr ious avocations. (Royal Commission, 1885: 142) Native labour continued to be used. Native f i shers continued to supply the resource, although, espec ia l l y in the south, they eventually had to compete with European and Japanese f i s h e r s . And native women and chi ldren were employed in the canneries to clean f i s h and in various supplementary tasks ( ch i ld ren , for example, wiped cans) . But the central tasks were given to Chinese men. As demonstrated, most of these men were of peasant background, with few s k i l l s d i r e c t l y appl icable to processing f i s h in f a c t o r i e s , unl ike native people. But, unl ike the l a t t e r group, they were a subordinated labour force . They had no other means of subsistence except through jobs provided by contractors . They also had l i t t l e else to do except work. Their f r iends and fami l ies were in China. Racist exclusion prevented them from becoming involved in the social and cu l tu ra l a c t i v i t i e s of the larger society . Language barr iers 166 were another l i a b i l i t y . China towns did develop, f i r s t in V i c t o r i a and l a t e r in Vancouver, providing some form of community l i f e . But most of these men were poor, alone, and planning to return to China. They therefore had l i t t l e option but to work, and work hard. O r ig ina l l y hired because they were a r e l i a b l e and cheap labour fo rce , they eventually became a highly s k i l l e d one. As mentioned, the f i r s t salmon canneries were operated as experiments. But, as the industry grew, cer ta in functions became c ruc ia l to the overal l operat ion; for example, butchering the f i s h , cooking i t , making the cans, test ing cans for defects . The Chinese labour force became expert in these various tasks . From the s t a r t , canneries were organised as assembly l i n e s . An indiv idual repeated the same job continuously, although the jobs themselves could be rotated depending on the volume of f i s h to be processed. Some tasks were performed by native people in one cannery, and by Chinese in another; for example, f i l l i n g cans. The native labour force was proportionately larger in the north, due to the costs of transport ing Chinese crews from V i c t o r i a and Vancouver. But within s p e c i f i c canneries, groups were segregated along gender and r a c i a l l i n e s . Chinese men worked together on cer ta in tasks , while others were assigned exclusively to native women. Further d i v i s ions prevai led among the native labour forces , with women from one v i l l a g e working together in a group. This pattern of jobs segregated by race and gender s t i l l p r e v a i l s . I t made trade union organisat ion , begun in the la te 1930s by f i s h e r s ' unions, espec ia l ly d i f f i c u l t . Workers tended to ident i f y with t h e i r own gender and r a c i a l or ethnic a f f i l i a t i o n . Employers had structured the labour force along these l i n e s , and sought 167 to keep workers from u n i t i n g . Union organisation forms the topic of Chapter 7. A l l of the prov inc ia l salmon canneries came to re ly on a core of expert Chinese workers. And most used the Chinese contract system*^ In the two royal commissions held to invest igate immigration of , f i r s t the Chinese, and then also the Japanese, whose reports were published in 1885 and 1902, salmon canners and others affirmed over and over again that , without the Chinese, the prov inc ia l salmon canning industry could not have developed. In 1884, the permanent Chinese population of New Westminster was 300, but i t swelled to between 1200 and 1500 hundred during the f i sh ing season, when Chinese labourers came from Oregon, Washington s ta te , C a l i f o r n i a and V i c t o r i a to work in the p lants . A member of parliament res id ing in New Westminster stated: I have been informed by Chinamen themselves that they give bonds, before leaving China, to Chinese companies to work for them for a term of from f i ve to ten years , and a l l that the Company have to do in order to carry out the i r part of the contract i s to furnish them with the bare necess i t ies of l i f e and t h e i r c l o t h i n g , and the Company have a l l t h e i r earnings. Af ter they serve the i r t ime, of course they go then and work for themselves and make as much money as they possibly can and go back to China as quickly as poss ib le . (Royal Commission, 1885: xxv) Another member of parliament explained: "If you require 1,000 Chinamen to perform a par t i cu la r work, you do not apply to indiv idual Chinamen, or inser t an advertisement in the newspapers in order to a t t r a c t men from a l l sections of the country, but you go to one of these Chinese companies, and make arrangements with them" ( i b i d . : x x x i ) . By 1900, an estimated 6000 Chinese were employed in prov inc ia l canneries. B e l l - I r v i n g t e s t i f i e d on behalf of A . B . C . , the English syndicate owning 168 canneries on the Fraser River , two on the Skeena and one on Rivers I n l e t . In 1900, the s ix canneries on the Fraser employed from 700 to 1200 hundred inside workers ( th is indicates the tremendous var ia t ion resu l t ing from a f luc tuat ing supply of f i s h ) . Of the 1200, 180 were white, 300 were Indian women and the rest were Chinese. A cannery on Skeena River employed 75 Chinese, 25 white men and 75 Indians (men and women). The cannery on Rivers In let employed 90 Chinese and 90 Indians (men and women) (Royal Commission, 1902: 143 and 145). There i s evidence that the Chinese, although a subordinated labour fo rce , were not passive. For example, a f te r the prov inc ia l government attempted to pass an act levying a labour tax on Chinese in V i c t o r i a , a l l of the Chinese servants, in 1878, employed in that c i t y went on s t r i k e . The act was disallowed by the federal government. Briggs noted that , in San Francisco, when Chinese labourers began to r e a l i s e the value of the i r labour they tended to organise "very much as the whites do in trade organisat ions, and s t r ikes among those people are as frequent and as arb i t rary as among the whites" (Royal Commission, 1885:8) . Af ter the turn of the century, head taxes and other state regulations were cutt ing back the number of Chinese allowed into the country. And the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of canneries, as well as the resu l t ing competit ion, led to a demand and scarc i ty for Chinese workers, resu l t ing in the i r a b i l i t y to command higher wages. But the s k i l l component was only acknowledged a f te r the turn of the century. In the beginning, Chinese were employed because they worked cheaply and because white men refused to do that type of work. 169 A f ishery commission was held in the early 1890s, and a number of canners described the mechanics of the contract system. F. L. Lord, owner of Wadham's cannery, t e s t i f i e d that Chinese contractors also employed native women. He had t rave l led to the Columbia River canneries, and asserted he had never seen a white man employed in the type of work done by the Chinese, "a white man would starve to death" (B.C. Fishery Commission Report, 1892: 178). Rithet t e s t i f i e d that the salmon canning business could not have been car r ied on without Chinese labour. I t was impossible to obtain white labour for such a short period of time and the work i t s e l f d id not require "able bodied men"; i t could be done by Chinese, women and boys ( i b i d . : 275). The Chinese contract system pers isted unt i l around 1949, when i t was gradually replaced by negotiated union agreements ( in a modified form i t has continued into the 1980s). Leg is la t ion introduced during the Second World War required employers to place workers on payrol ls and record indiv idual wages. This rendered the contract system obsolete, since canners paid one lump sum to the contractor . In the 1980's, a contractor employed by B. C. Packers in Prince Rupert described his former job . "My job was a labour contractor - to supply a l l the labour and be in charge of cannery production. Got paid by the case. No, you d i d n ' t have to be Chinese to work for the contractor . My father hired Indians too. Local people . . . My job was to look a f te r a l l the processing and make sure they did i t r ight" (Skogan, 1983: 76) . Canners did not hire indiv idual workers. Contractors gave advances to the crews h i red , c a l l e d "China gangs." The core of the labour force , the s k i l l e d men, were hired for the season. Other labourers, especia l ly 170 native people, were hired as required. Native women were paid by the hour or by the piece ( for example, when they worked f i l l i n g cans or mending nets ) . The native workers looked af ter the i r own food suppl ies , but the Chinese "bosses," sent to supervise the labour gangs, arranged provisions for the men, h i r ing a cook for them. The costs of provisions were charged out of the men's wages. When the salmon pack was l i g h t , contractors often sought to avoid losses by cutt ing back on the number of meals served or by charging the Chinese workers extra for food and other necess i t ies (Royal Commission, 1902: 135). The canners supplied accommodation. The men were housed in bunkhouses, usually in very overcrowded condit ions and with pr imi t i ve f a c i l i t i e s . The Japanese men were housed separately , also in bunkhouses (except in the case of f i shers t r a v e l l i n g with f a m i l i e s , but t h i s was a l a t e r development). White employees enjoyed the best f a c i l i t i e s , often separate cottages, on yet another part of the cannery grounds. F i n a l l y , the native population camped in the i r own groups, in tents or accommodation provided by the canners. Several fami l ies were often housed in two or three bedroom cottages. By the turn of the century, the provincia l Chinese and Japanese population was concentrated in the f i s h i n g industry . The Chinese Board of Trade of V i c t o r i a estimated that , out of a to ta l of 3263 Chinese labourers in that c i t y , 886 were cannery men, the largest category (the second highest number, 638, was employed in miscellaneous labour while an addit ional 530 were domestic cooks and servants employed by whites) (Royal Commission, 1902: 12). The f i sh ing industry employed an estimated 20,000 workers, 10,000 in work around and inside the p lants . 171 Of the 10,000, 6000 were Chinese. "The process of canning (making cans, f i l l i n g , cooking, soldering and boxing) i s almost exc lus ive ly done by contract . The contracts are made with boss Chinamen who hire t h e i r own help in the i r own way." The advantages to the canner are: F i r s t , the contractor takes the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of employing s u f f i c i e n t hands to do the work thereby saving a l l the inconvenience and trouble which would otherwise f a l l upon the employer; second, the work i s done by experts who have been t ra ined to the business; t h i r d , the canner knows exactly what "the processions" w i l l cost per case; four th , any loss f a l l s upon the contractor ; f i f t h , he avoids the trouble of furnishing suppl ies , and the expenses of providing accommodation su i table for white men; s i x t h , the Chinese boss i s able to get more work out of the men and to have i t done more s a t i s f a c t o r i l y than when they work by the day for the cannery employer. ( I b i d . : 135) By the turn of the century, most canners acknowledged that i f white men were to do the work, they would have to be t ra ined . But Chinese labour was becoming scarce, as well as expert. The Automatic Can Company, located in New Westminster, and employing white workers (many of them boys), supplied only about one-tenth of the Fraser River supply. The company could probably manufacture cans more cheaply, other things being equal . But the canneries needed to secure s k i l l e d labour for the s ta r t of the season, and t h i s was done by employing Chinese to make cans. As the cost was included in the cost per case given the contractor , i t i s ent i re l y possible that the costs of making cans on s i t e were lower than purchasing them. But as mentioned in Chapter 3 , the major reason for maintaining can-making f a c i l i t i e s was to secure an adequate supply of Chinese s k i l l e d labour for the coming season. The canners also began to replace manual operations with machinery, since they were no longer guaranteed an abundant supply of cheap labour. By 1900, machines had displaced an estimated f i f t y percent of the labour 172 force hired in indiv idual p lants . The overal l labour force continued to climb for a few years because of the phenomenal salmon runs and continuing erect ion of canneries (unt i l 1902). By using machines, canners could lower the contract pr ice per case. But the wages paid to indiv idual Chinese workers rose. In add i t ion , these men were in demand on Puget Sound ( I b i d . , testimony of Mar Chan, Chinese contractor : 141- 142). The f i r s t cannery began operations on Puget Sound in 1891, establ ished by a Fraser River canner. A number of Fraser River canners, seeking to escape f ishery regulations in B r i t i s h Columbia, b u i l t canneries on the American side of the border. In the end, when American canners took over, the process proved s e l f - d e f e a t i n g . By 1896, there were 14 canneries in the area. Traps were legal on Puget Sound, but i l l e g a l on the Fraser . Fraser River canners had to employ f i s h e r s , while the i r American counterparts could capture the resource far more cheaply using t raps . F ish could also be kept a l i v e in the traps for several days, thus al lowing canners to spread processing over a longer period of t ime. In add i t ion , Puget Sound canners had access to the American market, unl ike t h e i r counterparts who were r e l i a n t on overseas markets demanding qual i ty f i s h . A local U. S . market existed for the cheaper f a l l species, thus al lowing a longer period of processing. Thus, machinery was cheaper, as were the costs of production, meaning Puget Sound canners could pack more cheaply than Fraser River p lants . A longer packing season gave a longer period of employment, making the southern plants more a t t rac t i ve to Chinese workers. And because the contract system was used there as w e l l , overal l labour costs were twenty 173 per cent lower than on Fraser River . The longer season allowed contractors to bid for smaller pr ices per case packed. On Puget Sound, canneries operated from the f i r s t of May to the end of November. On Fraser River , the average season lasted from four to eight weeks ( i b i d . : 153). Two-thirds of the American plants were located close to urban centres, al lowing canners access to yet another labour fo rce , white women and c h i l d r e n . Fraser River canneries were located seven to twelve miles from c i t i e s , meaning that most of the labour force had to l i v e on s i t e ( i b i d . : 165-166). The commissioners concluded that , although wages of indiv idual Chinese workers were higher than in the past, the proportion of the tota l wage payrol l going to Chinese workers was s t i l l very low. They also concluded enough Chinese were ava i lab le to work in the salmon canneries, and r e s t r i c t i o n s on further immigration would not harm the industry . By the turn of the century, European settlement had increased and the urban population had begun to grow rap id l y . The population in Vancouver, incorporated in 1886, was only 2000 in 1886; 8000 in 1888; but escalated to 178,657 by 1901 (Adachi, 1976: 38) . A new labour force was becoming ava i lab le to do the work previously performed by native and Chinese workers. The number of white male workers increased, and they now had f a m i l i e s . Women and ch i ldren became ava i lab le to work, but bar r ie rs to the i r h i r ing had been establ ished. "The occupations which usual ly af ford work for boys, g i r l s and women are a l l occupied to a great extent by Chinese and Japanese, with the resu l t that steady employment i s largely closed to the youth of the country and to women 174 who have to seek employment of some kind to earn a l i v i n g " (Royal Commission, 1902: 211). I t i s rather i ron ic that the United States had forced China to agree to the free emigration of i t s populat ion, for no sooner did immigrants begin to ar r ive than the American author i t ies were attempting to stop i t . In 1881, a treaty was r a t i f i e d between the two countries al lowing the United States to l i m i t the number of labourers entering from China. In 1884, emigration of Chinese labourers to the United States was suspended for ten years , and renewed for a further ten-year term in 1892, at which time resident Chinese were forced to reg is ter with the American author i t ies ( i b i d . : 249-250). In B r i t i s h Columbia, a large number of Chinese labourers were required to complete the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway. Once construction was completed, a ser ies of head taxes were imposed on Chinese immigrants. In 1885, each immigrant had to pay $50; in 1900, the amount was raised to $100; and in 1903, to $500. In 1875, the Chinese were denied the prov inc ia l vote (the native population was also disenfranchised) . In 1895, the Japanese were included. The three groups won the r ight to vote only a f te r the Second World War. While these various measures were designed to c u r t a i l immigration, the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 (also known as the exc lus ion ' act) stopped i t a l together . The act was repealed in 1947 (Bolar ia and L i , 1985: 86-87, 106). The provincial government had been passing laws to exclude the Chinese since the 1880's , but foreign diplomacy forced the federal government to repeal most of the prov inc ia l l e g i s l a t i o n . 175 Origins of Japanese Fishers In the minds of most white people l i v i n g in B r i t i s h Columbia at the turn of the century, there was l i t t l e di f ference between the Chinese and the Japanese people. They were lumped together under the category " o r i e n t a l , " labourers accepting wages on which the white working c lass could not surv ive . However, when the Japanese began to immigrate, Chinese workers perceived them as a threat because Japanese contractors undercut the wages of Chinese as well as those of white workers. By the time the Japanese began to enter in large numbers, Chinese workers had been in the province for several decades. The two groups did not compete in the f i sh ing industry , since Japanese men worked as f i shers while Chinese men continued to labour inside the p lants . Eventual ly , when Japanese f i shers began to bring brides over from Japan, the women worked in the p lants . But they tended to do jobs already assigned to women. They became expert f i l l e t e r s , and they also did manual can f i l l i n g , a job paid by the piece. Apparently, many native women avoided t h i s par t i cu la r task on the Fraser , since they preferred hourly wages ( for example, washing f i sh ) (Sparrow, 1976: 132). There are a number of s i m i l a r i t i e s between events in Japan with o those described for China, leading to emigration of the peasantry. Japan also closed i t s doors to foreign contact for several centur ies . The Portuguese were also the f i r s t Europeans to v i s i t Japan, in the sixteenth century. While merchant a c t i v i t y was also held in low regard by the ru l ing c l a s s , the Togugawa Shogunate, which came to power in 1603, feared the re l i g ious rather than the mercantile inf luence of the 176 fore igners . Out of an estimated population of between 15 and 20 m i l l i o n , by 1600, some 300,000 had become Catho l i c , due to the e f f o r t s of Portuguese and Spanish miss ionar ies . In 1614, an edict was proclaimed banning C h r i s t i a n i t y and expel l ing the p r i e s t s . I t was fol lowed, in 1624, by a ban on Spanish ships and t raders , and the law was further tightened in 1638, when only Dutch traders were allowed to enter , and they were confined to a small i s l a n d . ' In 1637, the death penalty was imposed on any Japanese t ry ing to leave the country, o r , having l e f t , t ry ing to enter . Some of the f i r s t Japanese to land on the B.C. coast were the products of ship wrecks, a common occurrence because l i m i t s were placed on tonnage in bu i ld ing boats, in an e f f o r t to l i m i t distances t r a v e l l e d . I so lat ion produced a period of peace and s t a b i l i t y , marked by an increase in the s ize of the populat ion. I t ended in 1853, when Commodore Perry anchored a squadron at the mouth of Yedo Bay, forc ing the Japanese to sign the Treaty of Kanagawa. American ships were to be allowed to trade at two por ts , and a consul was to be appointed. S imi la r agreements soon followed with the B r i t i s h , Russians and Dutch. In 1876, the Togugawa Shogunate f e l l and the Mei j i emperor was restored. The new state encouraged rapid i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n and westernisat ion. However, emigration was s t i l l i l l e g a l . In an act ion reminiscent of the Chinese coo l ie trade, in 1868, 153 Japanese were pirated to the Hawaiian Is lands. The Japanese state played a more d i rect role in emigration than did the Chinese. In 1884, Japan signed a convention with Hawaiian sugar p lantat ion owners to import Japanese labourers under contract . 177 Legal isat ion of emigration soon fol lowed, and, in 1885, the f i r s t group arr ived in Honolulu, 943 farmers. Over the next nine years , 28,000 labourers reached Hawaii, employed on three-year contracts . By 1908, 178,927 of them entered Hawaii. In 1877, Manzo Nagano arr ived in B r i t i s h Columbia. He was a s a i l o r and engaged in f i sh ing on the Fraser River with an I t a l i a n partner. He was fol lowed, in 1884, by 13 more, men who set t led in New Westminster and Steveston. Immigration then began in earnest. As in China, most immigrants were from the peasant c l a s s , and they came from the same area in Japan. A large community of Japanese f i shers chose Steveston as the i r home and most of them came from the same small v i l l a g e , Mio, located in Wakayama prefecture. There, peasants and f i shers had a d i f f i c u l t time subs is t ing . Labour product iv i ty was approximately one-half the national average. A rocky coast and stormy weather made f i sh ing d i f f i c u l t . When offshore f i sh ing r ights were given to a neighbouring area, 70 f i sh ing boats in Mio l o s t employment. In 1887, a Mio carpenter v i s i t e d Steveston and was soon followed by most of the young men from his v i l l a g e . Mio became known as "America-mura" and prospered on the basis of remittances sent back from Canada. Many of the young f i s h e r s , i f they had the means, returned to Mio during the winter season. The events that created a large surplus population with l i t t l e means of subsistence to keep i t a l i v e at home were s i m i l a r in the two countr ies . As Japan became involved in the internat ional economy, the state embarked on a program of rapid i n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n . But f inancing was done on the backs of the peasantry. Rice remained the standard of 178 value and landlords began to drain the peasants of the i r produce. Many were taxed to the point of exhaustion. The rate of in fan t i c ide and abort ion, which increased in these years , t e s t i f i e s to the i n a b i l i t y of many fami l ies to feed a l l the i r members. The end resu l t was a ser ies of agrarian r e v o l t s ; Adachi counts at least 190 in the years between 1867 and 1877. The new indust r ia l developments were superimposed on a b a s i c a l l y feudal economy. As la te as 1885, at l eas t 70 percent of the households were a g r i c u l t u r a l . Unable to pay taxes, many peasants were forced to s e l l t h e i r land, becoming tenants or leaving the land to search for work in urban areas. But the population had increased considerably, from 35 m i l l i o n in 1872 to 44 m i l l i o n in 1900, and the towns could not absorb the surplus. Japanese Contracted Labour As in China, therefore, overseas economies absorbed a large part of t h i s surplus. The merchant c l a s s , despised in feudal Japan, began to acquire power when indust r ia l development was promoted by the s ta te . And merchant companies sprang up to handle labour contracts for overseas work. Although the government t r i e d to regulate emigration, these firms acquired e f fec t i ve c o n t r o l . An emigration company had to apply to the Japanese Foreign Of f ice for permission to send out a spec i f ied number of labourers. Each labourer had to supply a passport, a c e r t i f i e d copy of his family reg is ter and undergo scrut iny by the loca l p o l i c e . Labourers were expected to return af ter a spec i f ied period of t ime. Companies s p e c i a l i s i n g in labour contracting were formed o r i g i n a l l y to meet the demand for cheap labour on the Hawaiian sugar p lantat ions . To prevent 179 abuses, the Japanese government, in 1884, s t ipu lated that these "agents" be incorporated under the authority of the Min is ter of Home A f f a i r s . The companies continued to grow, and abuses apparently continued. By 1900, there were 12 companies and 17 by 1907. In 1908, a l l but three were suppressed. S imi la r to Chinese contracting o u t f i t s , the Japanese firms were in the business to make a p r o f i t . They frequently induced peasants and labourers to s e l l the i r land and belongings, and, i f the emigrant lacked s u f f i c i e n t money for the fa re , the f i rm advanced him a loan. A commission of up to 25 yen per head was co l lec ted for services such as assistance abroad and a guaranteed return t r i p i f the labourer became sick or impoverished. I t was claimed during the Royal Commission proceedings of 1900 that emigration companies, agents of steamship companies, brokers and boarding house keepers were a l l int imately connected in an unbroken chain to exp lo i t the s i t u a t i o n . If to the l i s t were added the contractors and the gang "bosses," operating in Canada to lead the men to work, then the "organized scheme" was further extended. (Adachi, 1976: 25-26) Adachi notes that , by 1900, Japanese labour was d isplac ing Chinese, for example, in r a i l r o a d construct ion. The men were young, s ingle and knew no English (although t h e i r level of education was generally higher than that of the Chinese). The Japanese contractor in Canada acted as an intermediary between the employee and employer. Although the immigrants o r i g i n a l l y worked i n d i v i d u a l l y , when t h e i r numbers began to r i s e , a Japanese contractor would organise groups of men and negotiate contracts on the i r behalf , "assuming upon himself the expense of maintaining them, a l l the while reta in ing for himself a p r o f i t on the t ransact ion" ( i b i d . : 31) . A commission of ten cents a day was charged 180 fo r each day worked. The cheap boarding and lodging houses in Vancouver's Japan town were a major rec ru i t ing ground for contractors . "Indeed in the early years , as the immigrants stepped from boat to lodging house to gang, there did not seem to have been a real break from the i r homeland" ( i b i d . : 32) . A comparison can be made here between the s i tuat ion of the contractor phys ica l ly maintaining Chinese and Japanese labourers and that of European men maintaining the i r wives and chi ldren in the nuclear household. The labour of Chinese, Japanese, white women and chi ldren becomes ava i lab le as cheap labour, mediated through the contractor on the one hand, and the husband/father on the other. Obviously, i t i s much cheaper to maintain s ingle Chinese and Japanese men than i t i s to reproduce the labour not only of the current generation of workers but also that of the next generation. In the case of contract labour, the next generation was being reproduced in China and Japan. Another point of di f ference i s that white women were providing the work necessary to maintain the " f ree" male labourer, while Chinese and Japanese labourers maintained t h e i r contractors not with d i rec t work (use value) but i n d i r e c t l y through the p r o f i t s contractors made (often absolute surplus value, since contractors could often only make a p r o f i t by cut t ing back on food and working the i r labour force a l l that much harder) . The two sets of s i tuat ions contain many obvious d i f ferences , but when one considers them in the l i g h t of the c a p i t a l i s t ' s need for cheap labour, s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t i e s begin to emerge. And i t i s important to note here that the labour contract prevai led while the men had no fami l ies with them. When Chinese and Japanese men began to bring wives over from 181 t h e i r homeland, a d i f fe rent wage re lat ionship with employers was created. Their wives now supported them, not the contractor . And the men could now exercise a measure of c o n t r o l , unl ike the previous s i tua t ion in which they were he lp less . And so the i r own wives and ch i ldren became ava i lab le as a cheap labour force , as demonstrated by the entry of Japanese and Chinese women into the salmon canneries in the present century. The labour of these women undercut that of white women because the i r households, l i k e those of native women, preserved pre- c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s . They resided in the i r own communities in extended f a m i l i e s . Older people were ava i lab le to look af ter c h i l d r e n , and a number of people working for low wages could c o l l e c t i v e l y contribute a decent income to the household, unl ike women in nuclear households where there were usually only two wage earners. Salmon canneries today continue to employ women from newly immigrant groups (many organised in extended households), and women comprise over f i f t y percent of the seasonal plant labour force , depending on the year . At the turn of the century, the Japanese contractor often had a wife helping him. She usually did the cooking and laundry for the gangs (Knight and Koizumi, 1976: 30) . In an oral history account, one man r e c a l l s that , when he married a picture bride in 1906, the canner promoted him to become the boss of a boarding house (probably a bunkhouse), in charge of 40 to 50 men. "The 'boss' earned a commission according to the catch of his 'boys' and negotiated with the company on t h e i r behalf , while his wife cooked and served as a mother-substitute for the 'boys'" (Marlatt and Koizumi, 1975: 11) . The boss also 182 cont ro l led between 20 and 30 boats and received the advances made by the canners for labour. Towards the end of the f i r s t decade of the twentieth century, Japanese women began to emigrate. Many were "picture b r ides , " never having seen t h e i r husbands before coming to Canada. A man would write to his family in Japan and request that a marriage be arranged. The family would search for a su i table mate and send a p ic tu re . Upon approval , the marriage was registered in Japan, and the marriage ceremony repeated in Canada. These were years of tightened immigration control on Chinese and Japanese populations, and th is was often the only way a woman could enter the country, i f she had no re la t i ves in Canada. Many of these women helped the i r husbands on f i s h boats, as did native women (most boats at t h i s time were g i l l n e t t e r s , requir ing two people to handle them). Cannery bunkhouses contained only men, even i f a woman looked af ter the i r needs (Skogan, 1983: 83) . Japanese f i shers with wives would have to seek separate accommodation. In the south, Steveston began to develop as a f i sh ing v i l l a g e . Gasoline engines introduced at t h i s time made travel over long distances faster and eas ie r , and thus f i shers would commute from the i r homes in urban centres. The commissioners invest igat ing Chinese and Japanese immigration, in May of 1900, v i s i t e d Steveston. They found "a busy hive of men" almost a l l of whom (except for supervisors) were Chinese and Japanese. The Chinese were busy making cans, while the Japanese were bui ld ing and repai r ing boats for the coming season (Royal Commission, 1902: 357). Japanese immigration escalated from 691 in 1896-1897 to 9033 in 1899- 183 1900, although the l a t t e r f igure was unusual. Most of the emigrants had been bound for Honolulu but the port was closed due to an outbreak of bubonic plague. The United States was not accepting Japanese immigrants, and, rather than return home, the vessels continued on to B r i t i s h Columbia. The tota l number of Japanese immigrants from 1896 to 1901 was 13,913 ( i b i d . : 327). Many of them entered the f i sh ing industry . They began to hold a large proportion of f i s h i n g l i cences . In 1896 they held only 452 of a to ta l of 3533, but by 1901 they held 1958 out of a to ta l of 4722 l icences (and each l icenced f i she r usually employed an unlicenced boat pul ler ) ( i b i d . ) . Japanese f i s h e r s , unl ike white and native f i s h e r s , f ished under contract to the canners. The men l i v e d on company premises and were dependent on boats, advances and provisions on the canners and contractors . They were a subordinated labour force , unl ike the independent white and native f i s h e r s . White f i shers had grown in number over the years , and had become a m i l i t a n t labour fo rce , pressing canners for higher f i s h pr ices (they were paid by the piece at t h i s t ime) . In 1900 and 1901, two major s t r i kes occurred (Ralston, 1965). The canners used the Japanese f i shers as s t r i k e breakers. In f a c t , canners probably employed the Japanese from the s ta r t as a means of c o n t r o l l i n g f i sh ing on the Fraser , once l i m i t s on l icenses were l i f t e d , al lowing independent f i shers to enter the industry . The rac ia l hatred marring the history of the provincia l f i s h e r i e s dates from t h i s per iod, culminating in the forceful evacuation of Japanese people from the coast a f te r the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Tes t i f y ing at the Royal Commission hearings in 1900, the canners argued Japanese f i shers were indispensable, for the same reason Chinese 184 cannery workers had proven to be indispensable. Both groups provided cheap labour power. I t could be argued that the Japanese were hired on the f i sh ing side of the business for the same reason Chinese had been hired e a r l i e r for cannery work. White f ishers on the Fraser were becoming a m i l i t a n t and organised group, often able to a l l y themselves with native f i shers against the canners. At th i s point in time, the Japanese were a subordinated group and had l i t t l e option but to act as s t r i k e breakers. They had no other means of subsistence except through work found by contractors . When they began to f i s h as independents, there i s evidence that they too became m i l i t a n t . European, native and Japanese f ishers can a l l point to instances when one group was s t r i k i n g while another group broke the i r s t r i k e , as well as instances when a l l three groups acted cooperat ively . When the Japanese returned af ter the Second World War, racism in the industry became less marked. But when the Japanese returned, they no longer laboured for contractors . The industry had changed. The modern period w i l l be examined in Chapter 7 af te r an analysis of the role of the state in the industry . 185 Some of the f i r s t salmon canneries were extensions of sal t e n e s (Gregory and Barnes, 1939: 30) . "The nineteenth century added canning to the older methods - dry ing , s a l t i n g , smoking, and p i c k l i n g - of extending the range over which f i s h could be transported" (Ralston, 1981: 297). 2 During the same period [early nineteenth century] , the indus t r ia l revolut ion of Europe had completely transformed many European agr i cu l tu ra l soc ie t ies to indus t r ia l nations. B r i t a i n , France and other countries were seeking internat ional hinterlands for exporting the i r f in i shed products, and for extract ing raw materials and cheap labour to be used for indust r ia l production. China became a t t rac t i ve to these indust r ia l nations as a weak country with a large potential makret [ s i c ] for trade (Bolar ia and L i , 1985: 83) . 3 I t must be emphasised that Chinese labour i s only being examined here from the perspective of i t s employment in salmon canneries. Boswell (1986), among others, notes how Chinese also operated as independent placer miners, as small manufacturers and merchants and in other types of wage s i t u a t i o n . These other pursuits are not examined here except as they re late to salmon canning. ^Boswell (1986) argues in a s i m i l a r ve in . "Chinese women t r a d i t i o n a l l y did not leave the i r home v i l l a g e and only about 3 per cent of the Chinese immigrants were women. The ' s i x companies,' which kept records on the i r clan members, estimated that 80- 90 per cent of the approximately 6,000 Chinese women in C a l i f o r n i a in 1876 were p r o s t i t u t e s , many of whom were f o r c i b l y imported" (Boswell , 1986: 359). ^ George W. Hume was the f i r s t salmon canner to employ Chinese. This was at Eagle C l i f f in 1872. At t h i s period the white laborers in the canneries were recrui ted from the r i f f r a f f and cr iminal element of Port land. He had a Chinese working for him and through t h i s man secured a Chinese gang from Port land. This labor proved so sat is factory that the custom soon spread to the other canneries. I t was not found that the Chinese could do the work any better or quicker than the white laborer , but they proved more r e l i a b l e in the i r work and gave less trouble (Cobb, 1930: 430). It should be pointed out that B r i t i s h Columbia had a larger native population than did the P a c i f i c U.S. s tates . However, there were larger urban settlements on the U.S. side of the border from which labour forces could be drawn. A l l the evidence points to a movement of Chinese / 186 labourers from the U.S. to Canada. Before r e s t r i c t i v e l e g i s l a t i o n , Chinese labourers migrated throughout the P a c i f i c northwest in search of jobs which were generally seasonal. ^ Cannery labor i s supplied largely through the contract system. In the large c i t i e s along the coast are agencies, mainly owned by Chinese, which make a specia l ty of furnishing labor for canning. In the agreement between the canning company and the contractor the company guarantees to pack a cer ta in number of cases during the coming season, and the l a t t e r agrees to do a l l the work from the time the f i s h are del ivered on the wharf unt i l they are ready to ship at the end of the season for a cer ta in f i xed sum per case. . .The company transports the Chinese to the f i e l d of work and ca r r ies them to the home port at the end of the season. I t provides them with a bunk house and furnishes f u e l , water, and s a l t . The contractor sends along with each crew a "boss," who has charge of the crew and furnishes the i r food, the company transporting t h i s free (Cobb, 1930: 500). Q The h i s t o r i c a l account that fol lows i s taken from Adachi (1976), The Enemy That Never Was. Q During the off -season , the percentage of women employed had f a l l e n as low as 5.3 per cent ( in December 1981) ind icat ing that the permanently-employed labour force i s male (UFAWU, 1984: Table A, p. 28a). 187 CHAPTER 6 State Involvement in the Relations between Capital and Labour The second chapter closed with a b r ie f theoret ical discussion of the s ta te . An attempt was made to incorporate recent work in t h i s area and to demonstrate both the agency of the state (the Mil iband perspective) as well as i t s st ructural r o l e , made necessary because of the fundamental contradict ions within c a p i t a l i s t and between c a p i t a l i s t and p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production (the concept of "pertinent e f fec ts " developed by Poulantzas) . The s ta te , in i t s various manifestations ( c o l o n i a l , f e d e r a l , prov inc ia l ) has played an important ro le in the B.C. f i s h e r i e s in both respects. I t has acted as an independent p layer , or agent, and i t has simultaneously been forced to take such a role because of the contradict ions and struggles over the f i s h e r i e s , involv ing f i shers and canners, native peoples and commercial f i s h e r s , competing uses by c a p i t a l i s t s over resources encroaching on the f i s h e r i e s , and, increasingly since the end of the second world war, between canners and unionised shoreworkers. And, to complicate matters fu r ther , the federal and provincia l states have played s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f fe ren t r o l e s , representing d i f fe ren t c lass interests and a l l i a n c e s . For example, while prov inc ia l l e g i s l a t o r s developed immigration p o l i c i e s 188 r e s t r i c t i n g the entry of non-white groups and denying p o l i t i c a l pa r t i c ipa t ion to those groups already resident in the province, the federal state acquired from Great B r i t a i n the management of "Indian a f f a i r s " and the saltwater f i s h e r i e s (the major prov inc ia l f i s h e r i e s ) . In add i t ion , d i f fe ren t c lass f ract ions exercised power through the two s ta tes , leading to considerable c o n f l i c t at the level of the p o l i t i c a l . Shoreworkers were immediately affected by two sets of state p o l i c i e s . The p o l i t i c a l cl imate in B r i t i s h Columbia promoting racism included a refusal to recognise aboriginal r i g h t s . Previous chapters have traced the evolution of various sets of p r e - c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , "pert inent e f f e c t s , " re leasing various groups (native peoples, Chinese and Japanese peasants) to work for wages s i g n i f i c a n t l y below those of the European male working c l a s s . Although canners made use of these re la t ions to extract a surplus and pay wages below the costs of production and reproduction of labour power with in a c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, the preservation of those p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions was external to the economics of c a p i t a l i s m . I t required p o l i t i c a l inter ference. However, even at the level of the p o l i t i c a l , there was cont rad ic t ion . While the prov inc ia l state continuously agitated against p o l i t i c a l l y recognising any of these groups (making them p o l i t i c a l l y i n v i s i b l e and thus denying them the r ight to struggle over economic issues through the s t a t e ) , the federal state had to recognise native r i g h t s . To the extent that the native economies were preserved and simultaneously made dependent on money and commodity markets, the s i tua t ion proved useful to canners. In add i t ion , the Indian Act defined the manner in which native peoples could par t i c ipate in p o l i t i c a l 189 st ructures . Their par t i c ipa t ion was structured d i f f e r e n t l y from that of the ordinary c i t i z e n , whose r ights were denied them. And, to complicate matters fur ther , the federal s ta te , through i t s t i e s to Great B r i t a i n was forced to maintain f r iendly t i e s with China and Japan. In turn , these re la t ions were threatened by the r a c i s t l e g i s l a t i o n enacted in B r i t i s h Columbia. Before discussing the p o l i t i c a l role of racism in the f i s h e r i e s , the l i n k s between canners and the state w i l l be b r i e f l y explored. Capital Formation and State Involvement In Chapter 3 , a b r ie f h istory of cap i ta l formation was given. Missing from that h istory i s the role played by the s ta te . The federal state became an important player in the industry a f te r Confederation, when i t assumed state r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the management of the f i s h e r i e s . But cap i ta l formation in the nascent salmon canning industry re f lected the older co lon ia l t i e s , l i n k i n g what became B r i t i s h Columbia in a t r iangular re la t ionsh ip with San Francisco merchants and B r i t i s h markets through merchant cap i ta l centred in V i c t o r i a (Ralston, 1981). The federal Canadian state ref lected a new pattern of capi ta l formation, l inked to the western movement of banking cap i ta l and the bui ld ing of a federa l ly subsidised transcontinental r a i l r o a d . I n i t i a l l y , salmon canners developed t i e s with loca l merchants and loca l p o l i t i c i a n s . Salmon canners ear ly organised a s s o c i a t i o n s , ~ l i k e the Salmon Canners1 Assoc iat ion , to represent t h e i r interests p o l i t i c a l l y . * The various f i s h e r i e s reports also give evidence that salmon canners par t ic ipated d i r e c t l y , s i t t i n g on the boards of various 190 trade counc i l s , such as the one in New Westminster, the early urban centre of the Fraser River f i shery . These counc i l s , in tu rn , car r ied weight with the prov inc ia l s ta te . The connections between c a p i t a l i s t and l e g i s l a t o r were often d i r e c t . Thus, McDonald (1981: 374-375) notes tha t , unt i l 1898, p o l i t i c a l ideals were based on "the exp lo i ta t ion of regional resources through the provis ion of publ ic concessions to pr ivate i n t e r e s t s . V i c t o r i a businessmen const i tuted both the governments that granted and the interests that received these concessions. While V i c t o r i a merchants contro l led hinter land trade and development, V i c t o r i a government promoted hinter land development." As noted in the e a r l i e r chapter, salmon canners assumed more d i rec t control over cap i ta l f inancing with the westward movement of the banks, d isp lac ing the old mercantile in terests centred in V i c t o r i a . However, the new changes also led to an ec l ipse of the importance of the salmon canning industry in the provincia l economy. "While salmon canning represented the persistence into the twentieth century of B .C . ' s t r a d i t i o n a l maritime connections, the industry 's ro le as a leading agent of provincia l economic growth belonged to the nineteenth" ( i b i d . : 380). McDonald l i s t s markets as one of the main reasons the industry was unable to maintain i t s dominance. Railroads displaced ocean t ransport , and salmon canners were unable to make the necessary adjustments. While transcontinental ra i l roads opened a new market in the southern states for American canners, B.C. canners were unable to develop a s imi la r domestic market. One reason was the small s ize of the Canadian populat ion. But an equally important factor was the lack of state a id 191 in subsidis ing r a i l costs to help lower costs and thus help to develop such a market. The or ig ins of the Canadian federal state were c lose ly connected to the bui ld ing of a transcontinental ra i l road and to the f inanc ia l in terests connected with the project . And, j u s t as in B r i t i s h Columbia, f inanc ia l and state in terests were often embodied in the same people: "the re lat ionship between the f i r s t post-confederation cabinets and the f inanc ia l bourgeoisie and the railway enterpreneurs [ s i c ] was not only close - they were often the same people" (Panitch, 1977: 11). The federal state became involved in cap i ta l accumulation in a d i rec t manner, in f inancing the rai lway. And, because f inancing involved B r i t i s h i n t e r e s t s , dependence on Great B r i t a i n continued. In add i t ion , to begin to meet the debts incurred in i t s construct ion, the federal state encouraged immigration to s e t t l e the p r a i r i e regions (Fowke, 1957). In tu rn , t h i s led to skewed or uneven development. Central Canadian industr ies were encouraged in developing a western market for the i r goods, while western producers were encouraged to ship unprocessed or semi-processed natural resources, l i k e wheat and lumber, to the east by r a i 1 . And, as indus t r ia l cap i ta l developed in the United States, the Canadian economy became increasingly dependent on the American. Af ter the f i r s t world war, Canadian resources were increasingly in demand to fuel American industry . Since natural resources were generally managed by provincia l s ta tes , regional in terests began to a l l y with the American rather than the federal Canadian state (Stevenson, 1977: 78) . However, American investment in natural resource extract ion led to a new form of 192 dependency, with unprocessed or semi-processed resources manufactured into f i n a l commodities across the border. Thus, both the federal and the prov inc ia l states have been involved, often in d i f fe ren t ways, in developing Canadian economic dependence. I t has been the very lack of re la t i ve autonomy of the s ta te , the sheer depth of i t s commitment to pr ivate cap i ta l as the motor force of the soc iety , which, when combined with a weak indigenous indus t r ia l bourgeoisie and a strong f inanc ia l bourgeoisie cast in the mould of an intermediary between staple production in Canada and indus t r ia l empires abroad, explains the lengths to which the state has gone in promoting pr ivate cap i ta l accumulation not only for the domestic bourgeoisie but for foreign c a p i t a l i s t s as well (Panitch, 1977: 16-17) . One of the casual t ies of these new developments was the B.C. salmon canning industry . Upon completion of the r a i l r o a d , t a r i f f s were put in place to favour the movement of s p e c i f i c types of goods in s p e c i f i c d i r e c t i o n s . The end resu l t was that American t r a f f i c was favoured over Canadian; eastern t r a f f i c over western; the movement of raw materials east and f in ished goods west; and long-distance over loca l t r a f f i c (Naylor, 1975: V o l . I I , 26) . In B r i t i s h Columbia, such trade patterns helped stimulate the movement of timber and minerals in an unprocessed or semi-processed condit ion out of the province. No attempts were made to help promote domestic f i s h consumption un t i l 1908, when the federal state undertook to pay one- th i rd of the expenses on less - than-car load l o t s of fresh/frozen f i s h from the P a c i f i c to the eastern boundary of Manitoba (the A t l a n t i c provinces received the same subsidy for shipments to eastern and central Canadian markets). F ish i s a home product. I t costs nothing to c u l t i v a t e , and the cap i ta l invested in the f i s h e r i e s in comparison with the y i e l d , i s smaller than in any other food producing industry . F ish should, consequently, be a cheap food in a l l parts of the country, but to 193 make i t so, adequate transportat ion f a c i l i t i e s at moderate p r i ces , must be ava i lab le (DMF, 1917: xv ) . Because f i s h e r i e s o f f i c i a l s tended to view the prov inc ia l salmon canning industry as over-developed in comparison to other f i s h e r i e s , no attempts were made by the state to develop domestic markets for canned salmon. Salmon canners continued to re ly on foreign markets in which other countries dominated. And the federal state v i r t u a l l y handed the hal ibut f ishery to American i n t e r e s t s . The New England Fishing Company, which establ ished a base in Vancouver in 1894, was given special p r i v i l e g e s . From 1897, U.S. f i s h i n g vessels coming to B.C. ports were allowed to ship the i r f i s h in bond to the United States (DMF, 1919: LIV, 10(39), 8 ) . Beginning in 1915, a f te r the railway to Prince Rupert was f i n i s h e d , t h i s p r i v i l ege was extended. F ish caught in American bottoms could be shipped to the United States over Canadian r a i l s . The intent of state o f f i c i a l s was to develop Prince Rupert as a railway terminus, port , and centre of the hal ibut f i s h e r i e s , by encouraging buyers to locate the i r businesses there. The resu l t was American domination of the Canadian hal ibut f i shery . Problems were also encountered with Americans over the lack of a duty on fresh f i s h (other than sockeye salmon) shipped to the United States . American canners, unl ike the i r B.C. counterparts, had a domestic market for the cheaper grades of canned salmon, a market protected from Canadian competit ion. Thus, American canners could af ford to pay Canadian f i shers higher p r i ces . While f i shers benef i ted, Canadian canners lacked both the market and the opportunity to process f i s h caught by Canadian f i s h e r s . Dependency of the Canadian on the 194 American economy i s i l l u s t r a t e d in the fact that the federal state was unable to negotiate the removal of the American duty on Canadian canned salmon, preventing Canadian canners from developing an American market for the i r products (DMF, 1918: 231). These par t i cu la r examples i l l u s t r a t e the wider contradict ions inherent in the Canadian federal and state structures as applied to the B.C. f i s h e r i e s . In f a c t , the f i s h e r i e s have more than once been a major bat t le ground between the Canadian and U.S. s tates . The two countries almost went to war with each other, in the nineteenth century over control of the A t l a n t i c f i s h e r i e s . On the P a c i f i c , the two sides have struggled over the Puget Sound and Fraser River salmon f i s h e r i e s . While the capture of salmon with the use of traps was generally forbidden in prov inc ia l waters ( J . H. Todd received special p o l i t i c a l d ispensat ion, al lowing him to use traps of f Vancouver Is land) , i t was allowed on the American side of the border. There are many complaints in the f ishery reports that Canadian federal laws and enforcement of regulations were far more str ingent than American, meaning that Canadians were in e f fec t preserving the resource for American industry . A treaty regulat ing salmon catches on Puget Sound and Fraser River was continuously blocked by the American s ta te , and took many decades before i t became law. The whole area of competing state as well as c a p i t a l i s t c lass interests in the f i s h e r i e s i s enormously complicated. The major reason for introducing i t here at a l l i s to point to that complexity and to sketch a few of the in terests involved on the side of c a p i t a l . 195 State Ideology and Racism The production re lat ions between classes determine the way in which people interpret the i r social world, that i s , the i r ideolog ica l perspective. The mode of production by which subsistence i s created d i f f e r s from one epoch to another, and i t i s the s p e c i f i c mode at any time which determines the organization of the society and moulds the perception of l i f e i t s e l f (Marchak, 1981: 97-98) . In the previous sect ion , state involvement in cap i ta l accumulation was very b r i e f l y sketched. Another important function of the state i s the creation and dissemination of an ideology serving to unite c lasses opposed to one another in production re lat ions (Poulantzas refers to t h i s as the level of the economic). From the mid-nineteenth to the mid- twentieth centur ies , an ideology of white supremacy united B r i t i s h Columbians against perceived economic, cu l tu ra l and m i l i t a r y threats from non-European groups. From the mid-nineteenth century, B r i t i s h Columbia was composed of three d i s t i n c t groups: Europeans, Chinese and native peoples. By the end of the century, the population of people native to the province had been devastated to the point where i t was no longer perceived to be a threat . That a deep and permanent rac ia l cleavage divided B r i t i s h Columbia i t s white residents were well aware. In assessing the or ig ins of t h i s rac ia l d i v i s i o n , however, they could largely ignore the native Indian population for i t had long since been pushed aside and seemed to languish in decay. The Asian community, on the other hand, was a dynamic, growing segment in west coast soc iety . I ts continued expansion promised only to broaden the rac ia l f i ssure which already fragmented t h i s soc iety . Cultural p lu ra l i sm, then, was unacceptable to the white community. Within i t the plural condit ion generated profound, i r r a t i o n a l rac ia l fears . P lura l ism s t i r r e d a deep longing for the soc ia l cohesion which could only be achieved, i t seemed, by a t ta in ing rac ia l homogeneity (Ward, 1978: 92-93) . 196 Ward of fers a psychological explanation for the rac ia l ideology developed in B r i t i s h Columbia. While much of his f indings w i l l be used in t h i s sect ion , i t i s argued that those f indings can be interpreted with in a socioeconomic framework, based on structural rather than purely 3 psychological c r i t e r i a . Whites, Chinese and native peoples came from profoundly d i f fe ren t economic, cu l tu ra l and social sets of r e l a t i o n s . And they did not come to par t i c ipate in the nascent provincial c a p i t a l i s t economy on equal terms, as demonstrated in the l a s t three chapters. Nor were they segregated economically, but competed unequally over jobs and wages. Thus, the European working c lass was threatened economically by the employment of other groups at wages i n s u f f i c i e n t for t h i s group to produce and reproduce i t s labour power. Europeans par t ic ipated f u l l y wi th in a c a p i t a l i s t mode of production, while other groups were only p a r t i a l l y integrated. And those European men engaged in dependent commodity production or organised in strong c r a f t unions, held a bargaining edge with employers denied to other groups. However, ideo log ica l l y they a l l i e d themselves with European state and capi ta l in terests rather than with the i r pro letar ian c lass in terests un t i l the period of the second world war, when those alignments began to change. The European male working c lass was well aware of the economic threat posed by cheap labour fo rces , even i f those labourers were segregated in terms of actual jobs , sometimes indus t r ies . For wages are determined in the market place and not on the basis of s p e c i f i c tasks . I f most of the wage labour force could labour at costs of production and reproduction of labour power below that necessary for the reproduction of European labour power, then European labourers were threatened, even 197 i f , in the short run, they could extract higher wages on the basis of s k i l l s or employment as dependent commodity producers. However, the recognit ion that the threat was based in the log ic of cap i ta l i sm rather than the colour of a person's s k i n , or in the i r gender, required the development of c lass consciousness. The classes in power struggled to prevent c lass consciousness from emerging, and instead pointed to physical and cu l tu ra l d i f fe rences . In the short term, they were successfu l . While the numbers of native people decl ined, Chinese, Japanese, and East Indian labourers migrated from countries containing many m i l l i o n s . The threat of numerical dominance by non-white major i t ies was used to increase the paranoia of Europeans. From 1858 unt i l the exclusion act of 1923, Chinese immigration was marked by s i g n i f i c a n t peaks. Mid- nineteenth century B r i t i s h Columbia was a gold-mining f r o n t i e r , punctuated by gold rushes whereby the population swel led, only to ebb once the gold fever was spent. In t h i s per iod, the Chinese formed a s i g n i f i c a n t proportion of the populat ion. By the early 1880s, they formed over 20 percent. Large numbers were further brought in for r a i l r o a d const ruct ion . By 1921, however, European immigration far outnumbered Chinese, and the l a t t e r formed less than s ix percent of the prov inc ia l population (Ward, 1978: 15). At t i tudes against the Chinese began to harden in the 1860s, when an economic depression l e f t many miners unemployed. The f i r s t attempts at legal d i sc r iminat ion , however, were not made unt i l a f te r confederation. Prov inc ia l p o l i t i c i a n s were successful in passing a b i l l to exclude the Chinese from the prov inc ia l f ranchise . In 1878, the Chinese Tax Act was 198 passed. A l l Chinese residents over 12 years of age had to pay a quarterly tax of ten d o l l a r s . Salmon canners protested against the tax . And Chinese labourers in V i c t o r i a went on a s t r i k e l a s t i n g several days, refusing to work for white employers. The issue was set t led when the B.C. Supreme Court declared the act u l t r a v i res provincia l j u r i s d i c t i o n . Employers using large Chinese labour forces found themselves in c o n f l i c t with prov inc ia l p o l i t i c i a n s ag i tat ing for r e s t r i c t i o n s . As noted in an e a r l i e r chapter, salmon canners t e s t i f i e d at the royal commissions held in 1885 and 1902 that the industry would not have succeeded without Chinese labour. Although they were paid wages one- t h i r d to one-half below those paid to the i r white counterparts, they had developed important s k i l l s in cer ta in indus t r ies . "The Chinese cannery worker at the turn of the century was t y p i c a l . . . H e possessed s i g n i f i c a n t indust r ia l s k i l l s , a fact acknowledged by his employer, and he stood on a middle rung in the province's labour hierarchy" ( i b i d . : 16). Immigration r e s t r i c t i o n s reduced the number of Chinese labourers a v a i l a b l e . S k i l l e d labourers who remained in the province could command higher wages. Salmon canners responded by d isp lac ing s k i l l e d Chinese butchers with machines. I t i s probably s i g n i f i c a n t that the "Iron Chink" was adopted a f te r 1905, a f ter head taxes were ra i sed , and Chinese immigration further r e s t r i c t e d . Although the prov inc ia l state continued to enact r e s t r i c t i v e l e g i s l a t i o n a f te r 1878, i t was blocked by the federal s ta te . Large numbers of cheap labourers were required to complete the r a i l r o a d . In 1882, Onderdonk informed Prime Min is ter Macdonald Chinese labour was essent ia l to complete the ra i l road with in a reasonable time frame. Not 199 only were e f f o r t s by the prov inc ia l state to r e s t r i c t immigration defeated, larger numbers of Chinese labourers were allowed entry. Even a f t e r completion of the r a i l l i n e , CPR interests continued to run counter to p o l i c i e s favouring r e s t r i c t i o n . I ts steamship l i n e developed a luc ra t i ve t ranspac i f i c passenger t rade, and immigration quotas threatened to reduce p r o f i t s (Ward, 1978: 35, 59) . Although the federal state was often forced to n u l l i f y provincia l l e g i s l a t i o n , i t also developed an ideology of exc lus ion. While federal l e g i s l a t i o n tended to be couched in non- rac is t language, the intent was s i m i l a r . Macdonald had to cede to railway interests and thus could not, for the moment, l i m i t immigration. He d i d , however, upon pressure from eastern labour unions, introduce an amendment to the Franchise Act , preventing any "person of Mongolian or Chinese race" from voting in federal e lect ions ( i b i d . : 40) . The federal state was capable of being j u s t as r a c i s t as the p r o v i n c i a l , " for the purposes of the act , the term 'person' was not intended to include Qhinese or Mongolians" ( i b i d . : 179). From 1885 u n t i l 1947, the year Chinese and East Indians were granted the federal and prov inc ia l f ranchises , they, as well as native peoples, were not considered persons by the s ta te . At the p o l i t i c a l l e v e l , they simply did not ex i s t (except, in the case of the l a t t e r , as wards of the federal s ta te ) . In the 1890s, Japanese immigrants began to ar r i ve in s i g n i f i c a n t numbers. Prov inc ia l p o l i t i c i a n s extended l e g i s l a t i o n to incorporate new groups. Thus, the Japanese were disenfranchised in 1895, and, in 1907, East Indians were included. "In p a r t i c u l a r , a l l natural ized and 200 Canadian-born A s i a t i c s were str ipped of the f ranchise , and rendered p o l i t i c a l l y impotent" ( i b i d . : 55) . In a ser ies of "Gentlemen's Agreements," Japan had agreed to vo luntar i l y r e s t r i c t emigration to cer ta in countr ies . In 1902, Japan signed a diplomatic a l l i a n c e with Great B r i t a i n , and emigration r e s t r i c t i o n s were extended to Canada. For t h i s reason, the Japanese were o r i g i n a l l y considered less of a threat than the Chinese. However, r e s t r i c t i o n s were l i f t e d in 1907, and, in that year , a s i g n i f i c a n t number of Japanese immigrants entered v ia Hawaii. Since 1903, Chinese immigration had been r i s i n g . Several emigration agencies in Vancouver negotiated contracts with large Canadian corporations to provide them with Japanese labour. In 1905, Japan defeated Russia, and from that date onward, began to be perceived as a m i l i t a r y threat . A l l of these events resulted in the 1907 r i o t of whites against the Chinese and Japanese communities in Vancouver. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the target was property ( i b i d . : 59-70) . "The r i o t placed the Laur ier government in a rather awkward p o s i t i o n . I t was forced to placate both Japan and B r i t i s h Columbia simultaneously" ( i b i d . : 73) . Negotiations concluded with Japan again agreeing to vo luntar i l y r e s t r i c t emigration, to 400 per year . Racial issues were not paramount only in B r i t i s h Columbia at t h i s t ime. They formed an important issue in the e lect ion campaigns waged by both the federal l i b e r a l and conservative p a r t i e s . Future Prime Min is ter Robert Borden pledged the Conservative party w i l l ever maintain one supreme consideration to which a l l material considerations must give way; and i t i s t h i s : B r i t i s h Columbia must remain a B r i t i s h and Canadian province, inhabited and 201 dominated by men in whose veins runs the blood of those great pioneering races which b u i l t up and developed not only Western, but Eastern Canada, ( i b i d . : 75) . The fol lowing year , in 1908, the federal government approved an order in council e f f e c t i v e l y c los ing the doors to further Japanese and East Indian immigrants. A l l immigrants were prohibited from entering Canada unless they came from the i r own country of b i r t h or c i t i zensh ip by "a continuous journey and on through t i c k e t s " purchased in the i r home country. There was no d i rec t steamship route from e i ther Japan or Ind ia . The order provided e f fec t i ve r e s t r i c t i o n while avoiding the d i s tas te fu l and increasingly unacceptable pract ice of ind icat ing undesirable immigrants by race or n a t i o n a l i t y . Henceforth t h i s order and the Lemieux agreement, together with the Chinese Immigration Act , formed the new foundations of the Liberal government's Oriental immigration r e s t r i c t i o n pol icy ( i b i d . : 76) . The East Indian community successful ly challenged the l e g a l i t y of federal immigration r e s t r i c t i o n s , r e s u l t i n g , in 1914, in the Komagatu Maru inc ident . The sh ip 's passengers were prevented from disembarking in Vancouver. A loca l newspaper proclaimed: "There are 300,000,000 natives of India behind them, who have the same r ights as these" ( i b i d . : 90) . Ward demonstrates most of these immigrants were, l i k e Chinese and Japanese immigrants, of peasant background. They also l e f t the i r fami l ies behind, hoping to earn enough in Canada to ameliorate condit ions of fami l ies l e f t behind in the home country. Very few, i f any, East Indian men were employed in the f i s h e r i e s . However, when they began to bring t h e i r fami l ies into Canada, East Indian women found employment in the f i s h p lants . In the 1980s, they occupy the lowest ranks in terms of wages and s e n i o r i t y . 202 Unlike Chinese labourers, who did not bring t h e i r fami l ies to Canada for several decades, Japanese men did so more qu ick ly . From the early 1890s to the 1920s, Japanese men came to represent a s i g n i f i c a n t proportion of the province's f i s h e r s . I n i t i a l l y , immigration was conf ined, as for the Chinese, to unattached young men. But the s i tua t ion began to change between 1910 and 1930. Thus, while in 1911, the ra t io of Japanese men to women was about f i ve to one, by 1921 i t was two to one, decreasing further a f te r that year . In comparison, the proportion of Chinese men to women in 1911 was 28 to one, and by 1921 had only decreased to 15 to one ( i b i d . : 109, 187). Japanese women immigrated at a time when the fresh/frozen f i s h markets and re f r ige ra t ion techniques were being developed. Many of them entered the f i s h e r i e s , and gained a reputation in the industry as highly s k i l l e d f i l l e t e r s , espec ia l l y in the Fraser River area. As the proportion of Japanese to white and native f i shers rose, the federal state was pressured to l i m i t t h e i r numbers. I t eventually adopted a pol icy of e l iminat ing them altogether from the provincia l f i s h e r i e s . Japanese immigrants did not enter the industry only as f i s h e r s ; they also developed industr ies of the i r own. In p a r t i c u l a r , they developed a luc ra t i ve business dry sa l t ing f i s h for export to A s i a . Federal f i s h e r i e s o f f i c i a l s developed p o l i c i e s aimed at putt ing control of t h i s industry in white or native hands. "In view of the pol icy of the department looking to the e l iminat ion of the Or ientals the industry should be t o t a l l y in the hands of the white population and Canadian Indians by 1927" (DMF, 1924-25: 54) . The f i s h e r i e s department did not 203 have to develop a s i m i l a r pol icy to el iminate the Chinese because prov inc ia l l e g i s l a t i o n had taken care of the matter. In the salmon canning industry , the state was notable through i t s absence. While the federal state acquired management of the f i s h e r i e s , the prov inc ia l state was responsible for the canneries themselves (although who could receive fees from l i cens ing them was a bone of contention for several years ) . In the 1920s, the prov inc ia l government began to use labour l e g i s l a t i o n as a means of r e s t r i c t i n g employment of Asian labourers. "The minimum wage law enacted in 1926 was intended to enforce a basic wage in selected indus t r ies ; i f t h i s were done i t would el iminate that competitive edge which Or ientals enjoyed" (Ward, 1978: 137). However, t h i s was not necessary in the salmon canning industry . White male labourers never expressed much interest in doing the work assigned to Chinese and native female labourers. They found employment in other areas, as machinemen and reduction plant workers (a highly mechanised part of the indust ry ) , and were employed d i r e c t l y on company p a y r o l l s . The seasonal labour fo rces , on the other hand, were employed on contracts and thus did not compete with permanently employed s t a f f . And, when other groups, espec ia l l y non-English speaking women who had moved to the c i t i e s , became ava i lab le for the seasonal jobs , the Chinese could be el iminated through prov inc ia l l e g i s l a t i o n . Unt i l the 1930s, the Canadian labour movement tended to be r a c i s t in i t s outlook and organisat ion. The s i tuat ion began to change during the depression years , but, in the f i s h i n g industry , there was a l a s t surge during the second world war, when Japanese Canadians were fo rc ib l y ev icted from coastal B r i t i s h Columbia. Many f i shers ac t i ve l y promoted 204 t h e i r removal, and benefited mater ia l ly by acquir ing Japanese f i sh ing vessels at nominal p r i ces . Working-class pressure during the depression and war years forced changes in labour l e g i s l a t i o n . Trade unions and c o l l e c t i v e bargaining were l e g a l l y recognised. In the f i sh ing industry , f i shers and Communist Party trade unionists organised an indus t r ia l trade union covering the ent i re prov inc ia l f i s h i n g industry . Minimum wage l e g i s l a t i o n was enacted and extended to cover most i ndus t r i es , making systems l i k e the Chinese contract inoperat ive. As part of the new l e g i s l a t i o n , employers had to l i s t the i r employees by name on company p a y r o l l s , thus e l iminat ing the advantages of contract ing labour out to middlemen. Along with labour l e g i s l a t i o n improving wages and condit ions of work, groups began to press for an end to discr iminatory l e g i s l a t i o n . However, immigration laws continued to be phrased in ways that selected groups and ind iv idua ls allowed entry into Canada. Nevertheless, in 1947, the federal state repealed the Chinese Immigration Act , although numbers continued to be l i m i t e d . In the same year , Chinese and East Indian Canadians were granted the federal and provincia l f ranchise , extended, in 1949, to include Japanese Canadians. Within c a p i t a l i s m , the franchise i s c ruc ia l to par t i c ipa t ion not only in p o l i t i c a l , but also in economic l i f e . Macpherson notes that , within c a p i t a l i s m , democracy i s redefined: "the old idea of democracy, as rule by and for the poor, had been converted to the idea of democracy as the r ight to get into the competition" (Macpherson, 1979: 47) . The state inf luences re la t ions of power. And, in a society where access to the means of labour i s blocked, power becomes defined in these terms. 205 So in any society where the legal i n s t i t u t i o n s give a l l the property in land , or any other means of labour, to one section of the people, a l l the others must pay for access to the means of labour.. .Whatever form the payment takes, i t i s a t ransfer of a man's powers (or part of the produce of these powers) to another man, and i t i s compulsive ( i b i d . : 41) . Thus, to enter into these power r e l a t i o n s , even in a re la t ion of dependency, as a s e l l e r of labour power, requires recognit ion by the state that one i s an indiv idual capable of entering into a contractual r e l a t i o n . When the state refuses to recognise whole groups on the basis of t h e i r race, then these groups are powerless p o l i t i c a l l y as well as economically. While European male workers bargained with employers through the s ta te , these other groups remained peripheral to c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of product ion . 4 When they eventually achieved p o l i t i c a l personhood, by acquir ing the r ight to vote, they could then j o i n organised workers to press for better wages and working condi t ions . But th i s eroded the capab i l i t y of employers to h i re wage labour at costs below the costs necessary to produce and reproduce labour power within a wholly c a p i t a l i s t economy (approaching the pure c a p i t a l i s t mode of production envisaged by Marx). This did not mean, however, that c a p i t a l i s t s were now w i l l i n g to pay those costs in f u l l . The state took on another funct ion , developing socia l services and programs to maintain labourers as p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production were increasingly eroded. Thus, the welfare state occupies a contradictory locat ion in p a r t i a l l y producing and reproducing labour power. This not only allows c a p i t a l i s t employers to pay wages below those costs , i t also allows pre- c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , l i k e those incorporated in the nuclear family and 206 the native economy, to continue, even when they can no longer supplement wages by providing unpaid work to maintain and reproduce labour power. Labour and the Welfare State There i s a log ic to c a p i t a l i s m , which Poulantzas demonstrates by i d e n t i f y i n g the st ructural components. However, in spi te of i t s l o g i c , the c a p i t a l i s t economy i s an unplanned one. "The secret of capi ta l ism i s that nobody plans i t " (Gough, 1979: 29, emphasis in o r i g i n a l ) . The re la t ions that develop between classes are formed on the basis of the intervent ion of non-labourers in the control of labourers over the i r means of subsistence. Although there i s an order and log ic to these r e l a t i o n s , there i s no conscious p lan . Neither can the state plan the economy, in spi te of the claims of p o l i t i c i a n s to be able to do otherwise. The state i s i t s e l f a set of re la t ions that develop out of the economic contradict ions between labourers and non-labourers. Those who exercise power in the name of the state can only hope to channel re la t ions in a cer ta in d i r e c t i o n , one that w i l l ensure the long-term interests of the c a p i t a l i s t c lass as a whole. Their task i s made a l l the more d i f f i c u l t because, although re la t ions between capi ta l and labour develop l o g i c a l l y , capi ta l ism i t s e l f i s i l l o g i c a l . The c a p i t a l i s t mode of production i s rooted in the continual expansion of the forces and means of production, in the continual creat ion of surplus convert ib le into p r o f i t . F i r s t , exp lo i ta t ion takes place automatically with in the economic system: that i s , the extract ion of surplus labour does not require the p o l i t i c a l coercion, open or l a t e n t , of feudalism or conscious control by means of the market. Second, and due to t h i s , the c a p i t a l i s t economy has a momentum or dynamic of i t s own which 207 i s again bas ica l l y outside the control of any agent or c l a s s . Together these indicate that under capi ta l ism the 'economy' becomes separated from p o l i t i c s , the 'p r i va te ' sphere from the ' p u b l i c . ' The notion of a d i s t i n c t p o l i t i c a l sphere i s , therefore, pecul iar to capi ta l ism ( i b i d . : 39-40) . The "paradox i s that the modern state expressing a 'common w i l l ' . . . o n l y appears with the anarchic unplanned system of cap i ta l i sm" ( i b i d . : 175). A l l of these factors combine to make possible a number of p o l i t i c a l dec is ions , a l l constrained by structural circumstances e x i s t i n g at any one time. Thus, c lass struggle at the p o l i t i c a l level becomes poss ib le ; in f a c t , desirable since the state can then d i f fuse c lass cont rad ic t ions . The evolution of the welfare state within advanced capi ta l ism can be understood as simultaneously a product of working-class struggle as well as a means of containing that struggle, of acknowledging i t and allowing i t expression within the system. But the welfare state also develops because two contradict ions become acute: structured unemployment and the production and reproduction of labour power with in the fami ly . Gough defines the welfare state as "the use of state power to modify the reproduction of labour power and to maintain the non-working population in c a p i t a l i s t society" ( i b i d . : 44 -45) . The divorce of labourers from control over the i r means of subsistence resu l ts in t h e i r being forced to o f fe r the i r labour power for a wage in order to subs is t . But the more the forces of production are developed, the more c r a f t s k i l l s become embodied in machinery and technology, d isp lac ing large sectors of the working c lass (Braverman, 1974). Structural unemployment i s chronic in advanced c a p i t a l i s t economies. 208 In add i t ion , the c a p i t a l i s t mode of production transforms pre- c a p i t a l i s t r e l a t i o n s , and disrupts the s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y of communities founded on p r e - c a p i t a l i s t re la t ions of production and subsistence. But these communities also perform necessary services in producing and reproducing labour power. Since these services are not taken on by the c a p i t a l i s t c l a s s , the state steps i n : [I]n terms of the use value consumed in the course of reproducing labour power, an increasing portion of them are [ s i c ] now provided d i r e c t l y by the state and are not purchased at a l l by the fami ly . Yet these services contr ibute to the da i l y and generational reproduction of the working c lass in jus t the same way as commodities. If they are excluded from the value of labour power, i t i s c lear that the l a t t e r i s progressively diverging from i t s o r ig ina l d e f i n i t i o n - the tota l labour necessary to reproduce the worker and his/her family (Gough, 1979: 117). The development of capi ta l ism resu l ts in increasing s t ra ins in those areas of l i f e not d i r e c t l y within the market economy. The state helps a l l e v i a t e some of those s t r a i n s , but at the same time i t helps to commodify services previously undertaken in the non-wage (pre- c a p i t a l i s t ) sectors . "For our purposes we may assume that the proportion of to ta l use values provided by the welfare state i s increasing by comparison with the c a p i t a l i s t and domestic sectors" ( i b i d . : 182). The development of the welfare state in the post-war period had important e f fec ts on the composition of labour forces in shore p lants . Recognition of trade unions and c o l l e c t i v e bargaining displaced the services previously provided by contractors . At the same t ime, by dupl icat ing services previously provided with in the fami ly , the state p a r t i a l l y released the labour power of women. Coupled with developing technology within the home, women could labour for wages. Indeed many 209 had to because a s ingle income was no longer s u f f i c i e n t to maintain a fami ly . Since the second world war, women, espec ia l l y married women, have entered the paid labour force in increasing numbers (Armstrong and Armstrong, 1978). But women tend to receive wages l inked to the i r unpaid work in the home, segregated into job ghettos. In the f i sh ing industry , new jobs requir ing large numbers of workers on assembly l i nes became 'women's work' ( for example, pu l l i ng herring roe) . In other words, as Chinese men disappeared from the industry , women f i l l e d the s l o t s for large numbers of casual workers. And the work formerly done by native women (such as cleaning f ish) continued to be done by women. The development of the forces of production within the f i s h processing industry also enabled canners to close remote plants and consol idate f a c i l i t i e s in or near urban centres. The growth of c i t i e s enabled them to rec ru i t the labour of women. Women from native communities had to e i ther move to the c i t i e s or lose employment. As more and more plants in the central and northern areas closed in the 1950s and 1960s, native communities l o s t an important source of income and became ever more dependent on state a id for s u r v i v a l . The welfare state has also resulted in the state becoming more d i r e c t l y involved in the economy, in capi ta l accumulation. And the economic, p o l i t i c a l and ideological leve ls become ever more intertwined. As Panitch has noted, in Canada, the federal state has always been d i r e c t l y involved in capi ta l accumulation. However, i t s evolution af ter the second world war forced i t to take on increased leg i t imat ion funct ions , as i t was forced to negotiate with capi ta l and labour, making concessions to the l a t t e r . The functions of the prov inc ia l states also 210 changed. Some, espec ia l ly B r i t i s h Columbia, became increasingly coercive in the i r re la t ions with organised labour (Mi lner , 1977: 88) . The prov inc ia l states also became more heavily involved in capi ta l accumulation, as resources under prov inc ia l control became increasingly valuable (Stevenson, 1977: 86 and 108). Before the 1930s, social l e g i s l a t i o n in Canada was minimal ( F i n k e l , 1977: 346). While the federal state was able to r e s t r i c t trade union a c t i v i t y during the depression, i t was unable to stem i t during the war years . At the same time, trade unionists changed t h e i r recruitment p o l i c i e s and began to organise mass-production indus t r i es , many under state control for the war e f f o r t . The switch from organising s k i l l e d c r a f t workers to indus t r ia l workers swelled membership r o l l s . "Government labour p o l i c i e s during the war were extremely repressive. But i t proved impossible to prevent unionizat ion under wartime condit ions of f u l l employment and even labour shortages" ( i b i d . : 358). The organised labour movement demanded par t i c ipa t ion not only at the indus t r ia l (economic) l e v e l , but also at the p o l i t i c a l . Co l l ec t i ve bargaining was not j u s t a means of ra i s ing wages and improving working condi t ions . I t was a demand by organized workers for a new s tatus , and the r ight to par t i c ipate in decision making both in industry and government...Eventually t h i s demand for a new status in soc iety , was met by the introduct ion of a new l e g i s l a t i v e framework for c o l l e c t i v e bargaining which has been modified only s l i g h t l y since that time (MacDowell, 1978: 175). While c r a f t workers had always been able to negotiate on the basis of the i r s k i l l s , many mass-production workers did not possess s k i l l s acknowledged as valuable by employers. This made legal recognit ion of trade unions in these industr ies c r u c i a l . The fact that the federal state had guaranteed production in many of these indus t r i es , including 211 the B.C. f i s h e r i e s , for the war e f f o r t caused i t to intervene d i r e c t l y . While i t vo luntar i l y agreed to hold wages at f i xed l e v e l s , i t was less w i l l i n g to negotiate with labour. This led to a number of s t r ikes in key industr ies in Ontario (such as steel) and the e lect ion of the CCF as the o f f i c i a l opposit ion in that province. The federal government capi tu lated in February, 1944, with o rder - in -counc i l P.C. 1003, l e g a l i s i n g trade unions. I t has been viewed as a turning point in the development of our indus t r ia l re la t ions system since i t became a model for post- war l e g i s l a t i o n . . . I t guaranteed the r ight to organize and bargain c o l l e c t i v e l y , es tab l i sh ing a procedure for the c e r t i f i c a t i o n and compulsory recognit ion of trade unions with majority support, recognized the exclusive bargaining agency p r i n c i p l e , defined unfa i r labour p rac t i ces , provided for remedies, and outlawed company unions ( i b i d . : 194). The B.C. f i s h i n g industry was involved in the heightened labour unrest of the 1930s and war years . Fishers became aware that c r a f t organisations based on type of gear used in f i sh ing served to div ide them in negotiations with canners, un i f ied through the Salmon Canners' Operating Committee, which negotiated on behalf of most canneries in the industry . In the early 1940s they created an indus t r ia l union, and began to rec ru i t shoreworkers as well as f i s h e r s . In 1945, union organisers used the new l e g i s l a t i o n to create the UFAWU, and, for the f i r s t t ime, labour l e g i s l a t i o n was systematical ly applied with in salmon canneries. Throughout the period from 1907 to 1934, the Province c lea r l y had the const i tu t iona l authority to regulate labour in the f i s h - processing and f ish -canning sectors ; yet the app l icat ion of the various Factory Acts , Hours of Work Acts , and Minimum Wage Acts a l l e x p l i c i t l y excluded protection and regulat ion in the f i s h canning sector , and the Workmen's Compensation Act seems to have been appl ied such that Asian and Indian labour had unequal access (Garrod, 1984: 17) . 212 Leg is la t ion by i t s e l f serves no funct ion . I t must be t ranslated into regulations and enforced. The prov inc ia l state enacted r a c i s t l e g i s l a t i o n cont inual ly in the post-confederation per iod. But much of i t was blocked at the federal l e v e l , and also challenged by the groups against which i t was d i rec ted . While Chinese, Japanese and East Indian Canadians had no voice p o l i t i c a l l y , they could s t i l l negotiate with the federal state by putt ing pressure on diplomats and consuls from China, Japan and India. And Canada had to maintain f r iendly re la t ions with these s tates , and was thus forced to make concessions. While labour l e g i s l a t i o n was draf ted , as long as the Chinese contract system was operat ive, i t was not enacted for the majority of shoreworkers. I t was only through the struggle of workers that i t came into e f f e c t . This forms the topic of the next chapter. 213 For example, in the 1891 f i s h e r i e s report , the Deputy Min is ter noted members of the Canners' Associat ion sent a long "remonstrance" urging the removal of l i m i t s on f i s h i n g l icences on the Fraser r i v e r , and arguing each cannery be allowed at leas t twenty-f ive boat l i cences . "On the other hand, the department bel ieves to grant the canners' request would create a monopoly" (DMF, 1892: l x i i ) . Salmon canners organized c o l l e c t i v e l y well before the twentieth century, changing the i r name in 1951 from the Salmon Canners' Operatating Committee to the F isher ies Associat ion to r e f l e c t the i r expanding in terests which now involved other f i s h e r i e s besides salmon and other processing techniques besides canning. 2 He may be worth r e - s t a t i n g here that racism refers to structured inequal i ty whereby a group i s discr iminated against on a number of l eve l s ( p o l i t i c a l , economic, i d e o l o g i c a l , soc ia l ) on the basis of skin colour and rac ia l a f f i l i a t i o n . Bonacich (1979) makes a s i m i l a r argument, as noted in the introductory chapter here. 4 This i s a major di f ference between European s ingle men and the i r Chinese and Japanese counterparts. In the early per iod, European men also l e f t the i r fami l ies in the i r countries of o r i g i n , and thus wages could technica l l y cover only the i r own needs. However, the European working c lass had been struggl ing over the concept of a "family wage" for over a century, and European immigrant men bargained with employers on t h i s bas i s . In tu rn , th i s re f lec ted d i f fe ren t re la t ions of production in the countries of o r i g i n of the various groups, as well as power re la t ions between the Canadian federal and prov inc ia l states and those of other countr ies . 214 CHAPTER 7 The Development of Class Consciousness through Trade Union Organisation The analysis thus far may have a deterministic quality to i t . Salmon canners, in developing a capi ta l i s t industry, made the best of the circumstances presented to them. They secured a proletarian labour force without paying i t the fu l l costs of i t s production and reproduction. While engaging in a capi ta l is t enterprise, they nevertheless used pre-capital ist relations of production to secure cheap wage labour. And they appear to have had the upper hand in their dealings with their factory labour forces. As long as the Chinese contract system was in fu l l operation, shoreworkers appear to have had l i t t l e influence with their employers. In effect , their employers consisted of both middlemen contractors and salmon canners. When Chinese employees did organise, in 1904, by forming the Chinese Cannery Employees' Union, their purpose was to deal with contractors who l e f t for China after being paid by the cannery operators, without paying their labourers (Gladstone, 1959: 296-297). Use of contractors enabled employers to stay out of labour negotiations. And, when Chinese labourers began to request higher wages after the turn of the century, ; salmon canners responded by mechanising those processes involving 215 s k i l l e d Chinese labourers, and subst i tut ing more doci le labourers in new tasks that developed around the exp lo i ta t ion of new f i s h e r i e s and the development of new processing techniques. As the urban population began to expand, a new supply of labour became a v a i l a b l e , in the form of newly immigrant women, l i k e the Japanese, and, l a t e r , East Indian women (also I t a l i a n and Portuguese). In the early part of the twentieth century, groups l i k e the Chinese and Japanese were struggl ing on the p o l i t i c a l f ront . Within the salmon canneries, employers appear to have been successful in keeping groups div ided along rac ia l and gender l i n e s . Threats to jobs were thus perceived as threats from other labouring groups, l i k e women or the Chinese, rather than o r ig inat ing from the structure of the industry . Indeed the p o l i t i c a l cl imate in B r i t i s h Columbia encouraged such reasoning, as demonstrated in the l a s t chapter. However, in the 1930s, t h i s cl imate began to change, both in the wider prov inc ia l p o l i t i c a l arena and in the labour re la t ions in f i s h p lants . Unlike the salmon canning crews, f i shers had a history of m i l i t a n t organisat ion, stemming to well before the turn of the century (Gladstone, 1959; Ralston, 1965). I t was the European f i shers who used the idea of union organisation to organise struggle with salmon canners. Native f i shers were e r r a t i c in the weapons they used, since they retained re la t ions of production pre-dating capi ta l i sm and made use of these re la t ions to press the i r demands. These sometimes came into c o n f l i c t with those of European f i s h e r s , espec ia l l y over native f i sh ing r ights to the resources. In the early per iod, Japanese f i shers were employed under contract to undermine the autonomy of both European and 216 native f i s h e r s . Canners, at the s ta r t of the industry , had t r i e d to secure native f i shers as wage labourers. Although the pract ice continued for a longer period of time in the north, where l i cenc ing also lasted for a longer period than on the Fraser , native f i shers appear to have res is ted t h i s form of p r o l e t a r i a n i s a t i o n . The f i s h i n g industry , u n t i l the end of the second world war, was marked by rac ia l c o n f l i c t s that divided f i s h e r s . Another source of d i v i s i o n was the type of gear used to capture the resource. G i l l n e t t e r s , se iners , and t r o l l e r s often saw the i r in terests in terms of the method of capture rather than uni t ing across gear types. These d i v i s ions are. s t i l l prevalent today. F i n a l l y , c lass in terests also proved d i v i s i v e . Some f i shers were able to earn considerable incomes and began operating as smal l - sca le c a p i t a l i s t s , employing boat crews as wage labourers or on a share bas is . Again, gear type was a fac to r , as was the par t i cu la r f ishery or f i s h e r i e s one prosecuted. Despite a l l of these c o n f l i c t s , f i shers were generally far more m i l i t a n t than shoreworkers. They had a measure of independence, since they bargained each season d i rec t l y with canners over the pr ice of f i s h , while seasonal cannery labourers had l i t t l e , i f any, contact with them. Most of the struggles shoreworkers i n i t i a l l y undertook were in support of f i s h e r s . This was espec ia l l y marked in areas where f i shers and cannery crews were re la ted ; for example, where both groups came from the same v i l l a g e s . In the 1930s, f i shers became more m i l i t a n t , as did shoreworkers. The l a t t e r would support f i s h e r s ' demands, and, i f successfu l , would sometimes receive concessions for themselves. 217 Thus, i t i s not surpr is ing that f i s h e r s , with the help of trade union organisers a f f i l i a t e d with the Communist Party , undertook to organise shore p lants , p a r t i c u l a r l y since indust r ia l organisation gave f i shers an added weapon in negotiations with canners. And, in the early per iod , the interests of f i shers predominated with in the union. However, gradually shoreworkers themselves began to organise around issues important to t h e i r condit ions as wage labourers. This chapter explores the re lat ionsh ip between f i shers and shoreworkers within the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers' Union (the UFAWU), and traces the evolution of c lass consciousness among shoreworkers. There are and have been a number of other organisations important to various groups of cannery workers, espec ia l l y the Native Brotherhood. Attention w i l l focus, however, on the UFAWU, for two reasons. F i r s t , an analys is of t h i s type has never been done and i s important to understanding the industry and the nature of the c lass struggles that have taken place with in i t . Second, since the thes is concentrates on the salmon canning industry , i t i s appropriate to examine the trade union organisation most important to i t . Other organisations w i l l be mentioned only with in t h i s context. Unionisation of Shoreworkers* As noted, shoreworkers were a r e l a t i v e l y unorganised labour fo rce , compared to f i s h e r s , who had establ ished a number of strong c r a f t unions. The UFAWU was the product of a number of e a r l i e r f i she rs ' unions. Following a s t r i k e in 1931 in Barkley Sound by unorganised salmon seiners and g i l l n e t t e r s , the Fishermen's and Cannery Workers' 218 Industr ia l Union was formed. In 1935, the union signed f i s h pr ice and cannery agreements with the Deep Bay Fishing and Packing Company for the Deep Bay cannery located on Vancouver Is land, but the agreements terminated the fo l lowing year with the demise of the union. I t was reorganised in 1936, and two separate unions emerged, the Salmon Purse Seiners Union of the P a c i f i c (SPSU) and the P a c i f i c Coast Fishermen's Union (PCFU) (North, 1974: 9 -22) . In 1937, they j o i n t l y founded the union paper, The Fisherman, to provide a forum in which further organisation among f i shers could be encouraged. In 1940, the SPSU jo ined with the United Fishermen's Federal Union (UFFU) (The Fisherman, 1940: March 26, 1 ) . The UFFU was i t s e l f the product of a number of e a r l i e r unions which underwent several name changes in the 1930s. In 1941, the PCFU merged with the UFFU (1941: March 25, 1 ) . That same year the UFFU helped found the Fish Cannery, Reduction Plant and A l l i e d Workers' Union, or Local 89, as i t came to be c a l l e d . The UFFU shared o f f i c e space with Local 89 and gave i t f inanc ia l ass is tance. The two could not unite because the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada i n s i s t e d on a separate charter before i t would grant j u r i s d i c t i o n for the organisation of shoreworkers (1941: Ju ly 15, 1 ) . Both unions were a f f i l i a t e d with the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council (VTLC). The Trades and Labour Congress f i n a l l y agreed to grant a prov inc ia l charter in 1945, when the two unions merged to become the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers' Union (UFAWU) (VTLC, 1945: March 20, 312). I t can be readi ly seen that the impetus for organising shoreworkers came from f i s h e r s . In the la te 1930s, they were interested in aiding shore plants organise because i t would give them added leverage in 219 negotiating f i s h p r i ces . Fishers needed shoreworkers because the key to shutting down the industry lay in c los ing down the p lants . Otherwise, plants could operate by processing catches bought from non-unionised Canadian f i shers and from American f i s h e r s . However, only a handful of employees were needed to close the p lants , those occupying key pos i t i ons , espec ia l l y the reduction plant workers and cannery machinemen. In tu rn , these groups were composed mainly of white men whose interests were s i m i l a r to those of the unionised f i s h e r s ( f i shers occasional ly worked in the plants and vice versa) . B i l l Gateman was hired as the shoreworker organiser for Local 89. He proceeded to h i re on a piecemeal bas i s , and thus, i n i t i a l l y , union agreements re f lec ted the rac ia l and gender d iv i s ions prevalent in the industry . The s i tuat ion appears to have been common in industr ies marked by r a c i a l and gender d i v i s ions of labour. Previous to his appointment to Local 89, Gateman was the Business Agent for the Hote l , Restaurant and Culinary Employees and Bartenders Union, Local 28. There, too, i t appears from the minute books that the major portion of organised labour consisted of a small core of white waiters and bus boys ( in addit ion to the bartenders, who appear to have been mostly white males). From there, organisers attempted to r e c r u i t waitresses and kitchen workers. Many of the l a t t e r were Chinese. They appear to have had l im i ted success. For example, the Business Agent's report at the Ju ly 17, 1938, meeting recorded: "Restaurant Owners oppose the inc lus ion of cooks in the agreement. This question was discussed for quite a whi le ; and a motion made to take a secret vote on whether the members are in favor of accepting the agreement without the Cooks. 220 Result of b a l l o t s showed 29 Yes, 18 No." A motion was moved, seconded, and unanimously car r ied to sign the agreement, with a recommendation that every e f f o r t be made "by a l l members to organising the Chinese" (Local 28: 139). E a r l i e r that year , in March, a delegation of Local 31, Japanese Camp and M i l l Workers, a union composed ent i re l y of Japanese labourers , approached Local 28. Both l o c a l s were a f f i l i a t e d with the VTLC. Local 31 requested that Local 28 include Japanese employees in i t s new agreements. "After discussing the whole matter in a frank way, the Executive decided that our pol icy i s that we cannot guarantee employment for Japanese employees in the new Hotel" ( i b i d . : 120).The hotel referred to was the newly constructed Hotel Vancouver. D i s t inc t ions based on race were a common feature in a l l industr ies employing large numbers of labourers from s p e c i f i c rac ia l groups, and they inev i tably posed problems for union organisers. Gateman began to organise Vancouver Island plants f i r s t . As early as 1937, Deep Bay cannery had a union agreement. The leading edge of Local 89 's organisation campaign was the Kildonan cannery and reduction p lant , and, by August, 1941, every plant along the west coast of Vancouver Island had establ ished loca l s (The Fisherman, 1941: Aug. 5 and 19, 4; Sept. 2, 2; 1942: Mar. 31 , 1 -2 ) . The operation of reduction plants became very luc ra t i ve during the war years . These p lants , generally s i tuated next to canneries, were mechanised, operated by a small number of employees tending machinery. When labourers other than cannery machinemen and reduction plant workers asked to j o i n the union, Gateman t r i e d to es tab l i sh separate l o c a l s for them. The companies, however, refused to negotiate with 221 them. I n i t i a l l y , the unions attempted the strategy of j o i n t production boards, lobbying the federal government for a board to plan production and prices for the war e f f o r t on a j o i n t b a s i s , including representatives from the government, the UFFU and Local 89, and the Salmon Canners1 Operating Committee (SCOC). Local 89 offered to guarantee a "no s t r i k e pol icy" in return for a seat on the board. The unions pointed out "there had actual ly been times when through the medium of the cannery workers' organizat ion, they had acted as a rest ra in ing force against spontaneous s t r i kes in the plants in order to bring about amicable negotiations on wage questions with the operators concerned" (1942: Feb. 17, 1 ) . The federal government f l a t l y refused, forc ing Local 89 to negotiate separate plant agreements. The pol icy of Local 89 was then narrowed to focus upon the reduction plants and key cannerymen. The union has always been w i l l i n g ; in f a c t , would prefer , to conduct negotiations only for the steady employees. While i t i s true our proposed agreement did cover casual labour and female labour which i s seasonal and consequently very t rans ient , t h i s was done because a large number of the female employees who worked in canneries l a s t year are members of the union and wish to be represented by i t but we do not propose to represent the majority of th i s c lass of labour (1942: May 26, 1 ) . The spontaneous s t r i kes referred to above had escalated during the 1930s, as f i shers expressed increasing discontent over negotiations with canners, and shoreworkers often supported t h e i r demands. The Deep Bay cannery was organised in t h i s manner. Unt i l the 1930s, the wages and working condit ions of shoreworkers had not improved substant ia l l y from those at the turn of the century. They worked short seasons, long hours, and continued to be paid as l i t t l e as 15 cents per hour (1937: 222 2 Ju ly 31, 1 ) . There was no minimum wage act to cover them. Their only recourse to protest condit ions when they became unbearable was to organise a spontaneous s t r i k e . However, these s t r ikes were sporadic and i s o l a t e d . Many were fought in order to a t ta in par i ty with wages and condit ions at nearby p lants . I f one cannery went on s t r i k e , f i s h could be processed at a nearby p lant . The war years served to deepen the discontent that surfaced during the depression years . Salmon packs were secured at guaranteed pr ices and both salmon and herring runs were phenomenal during these years . Canners began to r e a l i s e substantial p r o f i t s . They also extended production, not only to other f i s h e r i e s , l i k e canned herr ing , but also i n t e n s i f i e d work on the salmon canning l i n e s . The numbers of seasonal plant workers h i red , espec ia l l y women, increased. And demands by women for better wages, as well as for un ion isat ion , became more frequent. For example, in October 1941, 600 tons of herring were unloaded at Imperial p lant , on the Fraser , in one day. Labourers had to work long s h i f t s with no overtime pay. That week, 400 men and women staged a spontaneous s t r i k e at Imperial . They voted to return to work the fol lowing s h i f t when the company offered them an increase of f i ve cents per hour (bringing women's wages to 40 cents and men's to 50 cents per hour) (1941: Oct. 28, 1; Nov. 18, 4 ) . Only a f te r the dispute was se t t led did they j o i n the union. This was the pattern during these years . Labourers would become so d i s s a t i s f i e d that they would walk out or s t r i k e . Following a settlement, Local 89 would rec ru i t the disgrunt led labour forces . 223 Although "female and common labour" was s a c r i f i c e d in order that the loca l could concentrate on organising permanent employees, the excluded groups continued to demand organisat ion. For example, in October, 1942, a meeting for " a l l steady, cannery men" was c a l l e d in Steveston (on the Fraser ) . So many women packed the h a l l , that not a l l could obtain admission. A l l of the women were turned away. "It was explained that the meeting was s p e c i f i c a l l y c a l l e d for steady cannery men, whereupon the women and miscellaneous workers asked when i t would be possible to hold organisation meetings to enrol them into the Union" (1942: Oct. 27, 4 ) . They were to ld t h i s would be done in the "near fu ture . " In the same issue of The Fisherman, an a r t i c l e noted the government's adoption of the pol icy of "equal pay for equal work," but f i shers were assured that "older unions and males generally do not need to fear that the employment of women w i l l undermine the i r wages sca les . " Although many European f i shers and plant workers held r a c i s t and sex is t ideas about the r ights of a l l labourers to decent wages and working condi t ions , the unions faced even more formidable opposition from the canners. Employers were res is tant to any type of union organisat ion. However, when they began to r e a l i s e that the labour movement was gaining strength, and was pressuring various leve ls of government for trade union recognit ion and unionised agreements, they t r i e d to r e s t r i c t organisation to the small handful of permanent employees. On 28 August 1941, Gateman sent a l e t t e r to the SCOC informing the companies of the establishment of the union and requesting a meeting (1941: Dec. 9 , 4 ) . Meetings were held in September and November, at 224 which time the companies demanded formal proof that the union represented a majority of the employees for whom negotiations were in process. The reduction plants were selected as an opening wedge in bargaining with the SCOC, since they had been the focus of the i n i t i a l campaign and contained a small and stable labour fo rce . When proof of representation was submitted, the companies continued to s t a l l by postponing meetings and generally avoiding dealing with Local 89. In January, 1942, the union appl ied to the Department of Labour for a c o n c i l i a t i o n commission under the Industr ial Conc i l i a t ion and A rb i t ra t ion Act (1942: Jan. 6, 4 ) . A c o n c i l i a t o r was appointed in February, and in May a reduction plant agreement was signed. I t had taken almost one year to negotiate on behalf of 150 permanent 3 employees. Local 89 then turned to negotiating for the key cannery- men, and a s i m i l a r pattern was repeated, requir ing the use of a t h i r d party to act as c o n c i l i a t o r . An agreement ret roact ive to 1 November 1942 was signed (1942: Nov. 24, 1 ) . The whole process was repeated the fol lowing year . An a r b i t r a t i o n award was handed down in August, and Local 89 was successful in estab l ish ing an 8 a.m. s ta r t ing time and extra pay for hours worked beyond the guaranteed 230 per month. However, the employers refused to accept the award, and that season the cannerymen worked without a signed agreement. In 1944, the War Labour Relations Boards were estab l ished, easing the union's task. Cannerymen won the nine-hour day, although the 8 a.m. s tar t ing time continued to be a bone of contention. Reduction plant workers and cannerymen sought and won a guaranteed month (guaranteed to be paid for a set number of hours per month), a reduction 225 in the number of hours const i tu t ing a guaranteed month, with overtime pay. In order to preserve the guaranteed month, overtime was negotiated at straightt ime ra tes . By 1947, guaranteed hours had been reduced to 192 per month. Tables III and IV give some ind icat ion of the number of canneries and shoreworkers (compared to f ishers ) for t h i s period of time. In 1944, only a t iny f rac t ion of shoreworkers had union agreements. Women were covered on a plant bas i s , generally in the fresh f i s h sector , where they worked as highly s k i l l e d f i l l e t e r s , and where t h e i r numbers were quite smal l . Women never received guaranteed monthly hours. Therefore, negotiations on t h e i r behalf focussed on wage hikes and the establishment of overtime pay. In 1944, the Vancouver and New Westminster plants of Edmunds and Walker L t d . signed an agreement containing an overtime clause at time and one-half and wage rates based on a 48 hour, s ix -day week. This was claimed to be the f i r s t such agreement in the history of the Canadian f i sh ing industry (1945: Mar. 15, 1 ) . The work in fresh f i s h plants was more evenly d is t r ibuted between the sexes, espec ia l l y during the war years . I t was generally recognised that women were performing the same work as men on the dressing tables and in the freezer rooms, but receiv ing lower rates of pay (1942: Oct. 27, 4 ; 1949: May 17, 1 ) . Thus, the p r i n c i p l e of equal pay for work of equal value could be c a l l e d upon, unl ike the canning l i n e s , where sex segregation prevai led . Prince Rupert, the centre of the groundfish industry , became an important centre for the organisation of fresh f i s h workers. Union organisation was made easier because fresh f i s h plants were concentrated in a small area on the waterfront. 226 Table III Number of Canneries in B.C. 1925-1948 Year Nass Skeena Rivers Fraser Outlying Total River River In let River D i s t r i c t s 1925 3 13 11 10 28 65 1930 3 11 12 8 25 59 1935 3 9 8 10 13 43 1940 2 7 4 10 15 38 1945 1 7 1 10 10 29 1948 0 7 1 12 7 27 SOURCE: Department of F i s h e r i e s , Ninth Annual Report, 1925-1938; Nineteenth Annual Report, 1938-1948. 227 Table IV Number of Shoreworkers and Fishers in the B.C. F ishing Industry 1936-1947 Year Number Employed in Primary Sector (Fishing) Number Employed in Secondary Sector (Plants) Total 1936 11,393 6,596a 17,989 1937 11,184 5,574b 16,758 1938 10,314 6,103 16,417 1939 9,609 6,271 15,880 1940 10,444 7,449 17,893 1941 10,217 7,914 18,131 1942 12,199 6,939 19,138 1943 11,903 6,011 17,914 1944 12,426 6,150 18,576 1945 13,292 6,038 19,330 1946 13,665 6,079 19,744 1947 12,461 5,473 17,934c a) Of the 6,596 workers employed in the secondary sector , 3,859 were male and 2,737 were female. b) Of 5,574 workers, 3,250 were male and 2,324 were female. c) This was a decrease of 9% over 1946; while employment in the primary sector decl ined 6%, i t declined by 10% in the secondary sector . SOURCE: B r i t i s h Columbia, Report of the Prov inc ia l F isher ies Department, 1937-48. 228 I t was the Native Brotherhood that signed the f i r s t agreement covering an ent i re cannery crew. In 1943, i t signed with f i ve companies for plants employing native workers. When the UFAWU began to negotiate on behalf of a l l cannery employees, the Native Brotherhood tended to adopt the same agreements for i t s membership, with the UFAWU recognising j o i n t membership for native labourers. While the Native Brotherhood spearheaded organisation of native cannery workers, Local 89 began a serious attempt to organise an estimated 1200 Chinese cannery workers in May 1944, when a Chinese organiser was h i red . A sub- local under his leadership was planned (1944: May 23, 4 ) . He was able to organise approximately 200 workers by rec ru i t ing in the Chinese section of Vancouver (1944: June 13, 1) . Chinese organisers were appointed un t i l 1949, by which time very few Chinese labourers were l e f t in the industry . An enormous number appear to have disappeared over the space of a few years . In 1946, the organiser estimated between 1000 and 1500 Chinese were employed in the f i s h canneries, the i r numbers exceeding those in any other basic industry , with the possible exception of forestry (1946: Sept. 13, 3 ) . He judged the organisational dr ive in northern canneries that year to be unsuccessful . The Chinese workers expressed concern that agreements covering themselves and women had not been signed. They also questioned the union's strategy of organising on a sectional rather than on a plant-wide basis (UFAWU, 1946: V o l . 190, p. 2 of l e t t e r dated Aug. 19) . In 1948, the organiser estimated Chinese labour had been reduced between 229 30 and 35 percent. Many had returned to China and many were e l d e r l y . However, the organiser at t r ibuted the main reason for the decl ine to be the companies' avowed pol icy in being more se lect ive in h i r ing Chinese labourers (UFAWU, 1948: V o l . 190, p.2 of report ) . The union opposed the Chinese contract system. In c e r t i f y i n g labour, the union would have been forced to negotiate with the contractors , since they paid the labour force. The union could only bargain for them with the SCOC when they were placed on company payrol ls (UFAWU 1947: V o l . 190, l e t t e r dated March 18) . However, provincial labour l e g i s l a t i o n was being enacted forc ing employers to l i s t the i r employees by name and pay them d i r e c t l y . The SCOC saw the wr i t ing on the w a l l , and, in 1947, advised the companies to accept UFAWU c e r t i f i c a t i o n . "This Agreement, which i s now ready for s ignature, i s an en t i re l y new departure from the pract ice in e f fec t for so many years respecting the employment of Chinese workers. I t i s our view that these workers should be considered as d i rec t employees of the company, and, in f a c t , th i s i s the ru l ing of the Prov inc ia l Department of Labour" ( J . H. Todd, 1947: Box 21, l e t t e r dated June 24). Forced to recognise Chinese workers as employees covered by union agreements, many companies stopped employing them ( J . H. Todd, 1948: Box 21, l e t t e r dated June 17). Despite union c e r t i f i c a t i o n , the Chinese contract system was not abol ished. Rather, i t was modified to meet prov inc ia l standards. Contractors continued to rec ru i t seasonal labour, and to provide for i t s d i rec t supervis ion. The foremen, or "China bosses," were not placed on the cannery payrol l but were paid d i r e c t l y through the company's head o f f i c e ( J . H. Todd, 1947: Box 21, l e t t e r No. 21 dated July 8 ) . The 230 consequence for Chinese workers was that they were now covered by two contradictory systems. Under the old Chinese contracts , although the i r wages were substandard, they were hired and paid for the ent i re season. Many workers also depended on contractors f inding them work during the rest of the year . Union agreements did not sever t h i s re la t ionsh ip . However, under UFAWU agreements, they l o s t the i r seasonal guarantees, although the union managed to secure monthly guarantees (UFAWU, 1948: V o l . 190, notes dated July 15-Aug. 20) . And when employees came d i r e c t l y on the p a y r o l l , employers began to pick and choose, discarding the more aged workers. As the various groups of seasonal labourers became c e r t i f i e d , they were covered by special supplements to the master agreement. While the master agreement set out general working condi t ions , the supplements l i s t e d wages for s p e c i f i c categories of workers. In 1946, cannery women were f i r s t included. The companies dist inguished fu r ther , keeping the wages and categories of native and white women separate. Thus, while white women were paid by the hour, native women were paid piece rates in jobs l i k e hand f i l l i n g cans of f i s h ( J . H. Todd, 1947-1949: Box 21 contains cannery agreements for Inverness, Klemtu and Empire canneries) . In 1947, agreements covering Chinese cannery labour were f i r s t signed, and a separate supplement was drawn up for them. In 1949, they were included in the Male Cannery Workers' Supplement, c l a s s i f i e d into four groups. While the top wage in Groups I and II was $245 per month, Chinese labour was paid under Group IV, where the top wage was $183 per month ( i b i d . : f i l e labe l led "1949 quest ionnaires") . 231 Thus, by 1949, the ent i re salmon cannery labour force in the province was unionised (providing workers voted for c e r t i f i c a t i o n , generally the case) . However, the d iv i s ions salmon canners had introduced to enable them to pay indiv idual groups of labourers as cheaply as that par t i cu la r group could stand, were incorporated into these f i r s t union agreements. Fishers were interested in an indust r ia l union, and the best strategy was to organise the most stable labour force , those workers judged by canners to be indispensable. Without the war and the intervent ion of the prov inc ia l and federal governments in passing l e g i s l a t i o n and act ing as a r b i t r a t o r s , i t i s un l ike ly Local 89, and i t s successor the UFAWU, would have succeeded at a l l . But i t now became the task of union organisers to eradicate rac ia l and gender d iscr iminat ion contained in union agreements. They began with rac ia l d i sc r iminat ion . The 1950s: Decade of Company Retrenchment and Pass iv i t y among Seasonal Labourer's Evidence of the d i f f e r i n g condit ions and interests between organised European labour and seasonally employed cheap labour i s abundant for the period of the 1950s, when f i s h e r s ' in terests and those of the small core of permanent employees prevai led with in the union. However, both the UFAWU and the f i s h i n g companies experienced a number of d i f f i c u l t i e s fo l lowing the end of the war. Once the war ended, markets became problematic. In 1948, herring canning ended. I t had prolonged employment of seasonal workers since i t preceded salmon canning. During the 1930s, companies had begun to close 232 out ly ing p lants . The trend halted somewhat during wartime prosper i ty , but resumed af te r the war. Whereas, in 1944, 6,150 shoreworkers were employed, by 1952, the number f e l l to 3,947, and continued in the fol lowing years (The Fisherman, 1954: June 8 , 1 ) . In 1944, there were 31 canneries with 100 canning l i n e s . In 1957, they were reduced to 17 with 58 l ines (1958: March 14, 3 ) . Operations were consolidated and cent ra l i sed near urban centres. The closure of canneries in the north, along the central coast and on Vancouver Island ended employment for many native v i l l a g e s , as evident from the oral h i s t o r i e s of native cannery workers given in Chapter 4. The UFAWU began to mobil ise seasonal labourers around th is i ssue. Because native women were pro letar ian ised more r a d i c a l l y than native f i s h e r s , c lass consciousness created cleavages within many native households. General ly , native women have been stauncher UFAWU supporters than many of the i r male k i n , who have espoused the causes of native organisations l i k e the Native Brotherhood. While the UFAWU and Native Brotherhood negotiate j o i n t l y for c o l l e c t i v e agreements, the union has focussed on the pro letar ian interests of shoreworkers and f i s h e r s , while the Native Brotherhood has had a wider mandate. Native f i shers have in terests t i e d to t h e i r aboriginal claims and status . In add i t ion , large boat owners who hi re wage labour are members, but are excluded from UFAWU membership. These c o n f l i c t s hav