Resisting the State

Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists

By Scott Neigh  

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The freedoms and liberties that every community, workplace and individual in Canada enjoys are due to the many struggles and social movements in our country’s history. Yet the stories, accounts and histories of the movements to overcome racism, sexism and poverty, for example, remain largely untold, thanks to the single, simplistic national story taught to the masses in school. Deftly combining history with accounts from activists and participants in social movements, two new books from Scott Neigh introduce us to the untold histories of two crucial issues in contemporary Canadian society that challenge all of us to engage in the struggles that will shape our shared tomorrow.

In Resisting the State, Neigh draws attention to the broad range of struggles against the Canadian state, detailing the histories of these movements and providing readers with a richer understanding of the Canadian state and why so many people – including military draftees, welfare recipients, workers, Indigenous people, psychiatric survivors, immigrants and refugees – have struggled against the Canadian state and continue to do so.

“This work is a treasure that provides a portal to Canadian history, bringing it alive and urgent through the voices and profound insights of veteran social justice activists, an indispensable guide for present and future generations to carry on these struggles.”

— Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, veteran activist and author

“Never doubt that a few committed people can change Canada (and the world) for the better. Scott Neigh’s oral histories show not only the power of committed idealism, but also how the history of our whole country has been shaped in large part by brave Canadians who refuse to accept the misery and injustice that surrounds us. Read these books to learn how the history of social change organizing is indeed the history of Canada – and then go out and start making your own history.”

— Jim Stanford, union economist and peace activist

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  • Foreword: Encounters with a Radical History from Below (Gary Kinsman)
  • Introduction
  • Unlikely Rebels—Isabel & Frank Showler on Pacifism During the Second World War
  • Canada on Trial—Charles Roach on Place and the Law
  • Urban Colonization and Resistance—Roger Obonsawin & Kathy Mallett on Building Space for Indigeneity in Canadian Cities
  • “I Call It Surviving”—Lynn Jones on Fighting Racism in the Community and in the Labour Movement
  • (Un)labelled, (Un)controlled—Don Weitz on the Anti-psychiatry Movement in Toronto
  • Against Poverty—Josephine Grey on Poor People’s Struggles for Human Rights
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Index


  • Scott Neigh

    SCOTT NEIGH is a professional writer, researcher and media producer.

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