Synopses & Reviews
Cheap Wage Labour is the first analysis of shore work and shoreworkers in British Columbia from the 1860s to the mid-1980s. Muszynski provides an interpretation of events that led to the creation of a cheap wage labour force of shoreworkers, their organization within the framework of the fishermen's union (UFAWU), and, as a consequence, the steady decline of their numbers until today they represent only a small portion of the labour force. She looks at factors contributing to the destruction of First Nations culture and economy, such as the displacement of aboriginal peoples from key fishing sites and work in the salmon canneries, and examines the structure and patterns of Chinese and Japanese immigration and the development of the capitalist class and the white working class. Cheap Wage Labour situates the history of B.C. shoreworkers within the much larger and more complex historical enterprise of industrialization, patriarchy, and colonialism and provides keen insights into the current fisheries crisis on the West Coast.
Using the fishing industry in British Columbia as a case study, Alicja Muszynski examines how Marx's labour theory of value can be applied to a specific industry and the creation of a specific labour force. She reworks Marx's theory in order to incorporate race and gender as principles that not only created a proletarianized labour force but also legitimized the payment of cheap wages to particular groups.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -300) and index.