Resources, Empire and Labour

Crisis, Lessons and Alternatives

Edited by David Leadbeater  

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The interconnections of natural resources, empire and labour run through the most central and conflict-ridden crises of our times: war, environmental degradation, impoverishment and plutocracy. Crucial to understand and to change the conditions that give rise to these crises is the critical study of resource development and, more broadly, the resources question, which is the subject of this volume. Intended for researchers, students and activists, the chapters in Resources, Empire and Labour illuminate key aspects of the resources question from a variety of angles through concrete analyses and histories focused on the extractive industries (mining, oil, gas) by examining such issues as: resource-dependency at the international, country and regional levels; the neglected role of metropolitanization; environmental impacts and limits; the colonial basis of and imperial patterns in today’s globalized resource exploitation system; lessons of Indigenous and working-class resistance to corporation resource extraction; the importance of democratic control and public ownership; new avenues in shifting the debate on resources and hinterlands.

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  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  • Introduction (David Leadbeater)
  • PART ONE: The Experience of Mining-Dependent Economic Development
  • Mining and the Natural Resource Curse (Albert Berry)
  • The Staple Economy in Manitoba: Neo-Liberalism and the Challenge of Development (Fletcher Baragar and John Loxley)
  • Declining in the Periphery: Canada’s Role as a Supplier of Primary Commodities (Mathieu Dufour)
  • Metropolitanism and Hinterland Decline (David Leadbeater)
  • PART TWO: Environmental Limits, Technology and Environmental Counter-revolution
  • Shale Gas —  Energy Revolution and Environmental Counterrevolution? (Normand Mousseau)
  • Minerals, Metals, Toxicity and Substitutes (Nelson Belzile)
  • PART THREE: Indigenous Sovereignty, Resources and Corporate Power
  • No Means No: The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and the Fight for Indigenous Resource Sovereignty (David Peerla)
  • The Legacy of the Free Mining System in Quebec and Canada (Ugo Lapointe)
  • PART FOUR: Patterns of Empire
  • The British Empire and Its Mining Industry, 1899-1919: Lessons from the Century Before (Jeremy Mouat)
  • Japanese Imperialism, 1868-1945: Expansionism in Quest of Resources for Industry?  (Brian MacLean)
  • Afghanistan’s Role in the Expansion of the Empire of Capital (Anas Karzai)
  • Good Governance, Corruption and the Resource Boom: Africa and Canada in the Global Order (Pablo Idahosa)
  • PART FIVE: Working Class History Lessons
  • The Promise and Perils of Nationalization: The Case of the Mexican Oil Industry (Myrna Santiago)
  • Mining, Group Actors, and Collective Action in Guanajuato, Mexico, 1905–2010 (Elizabeth Ferry)
  • Working Class Power and the Collapse of the Domestic Steam Coal Market: Lessons from the Crowsnest Pass in the 1950s and 1960s (Tom Langford)
  • Natural Resources, Labour and Ideologies of Resistance: Examining the Past and Envisioning the Future (Jeffery Taylor)
  • PART SIX: Public Resource Ownership, Rents and Distribution
  • Natural Monopoly for Natural Resources (Hassan Bougrine)
  • Saskatchewan: Social Democracy in a Resource Hinterland (John Warnock)
  • Public Interest Ownership of the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry (Keith Newman and David Thompson)
  • PART SEVEN: Shifting the Debate on Resources and Hinterlands
  • Dreaming Joe Hill: Insurgent Communications in Contests over our Common Resources (Dorothy Kidd)
  • Making Sense of Resistance: How Mine Managers Construct Anti-Corporate Mobilization (Romy Kraemer)
  • Barriers to Effective Land-Use Planning in Shrinking Hinterland Communities (Laura Schatz)
  • Publishing Critical English-Language Books in Canada: The Colonial/Hinterland Experience (Errol Sharpe)
  • Bibliography
  • Contributors


  • David Leadbeater

    Laurentian University

    DAVID LEADBEATER is an associate professor of economics at Laurentian University.

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