The Canadian passive revolution, 1840-1950

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Author: Ian G. McKay
Date: Oct. 2010
From: Capital & Class(Vol. 34, Issue 3)
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd. (UK)
Document Type: Report
Length: 11,028 words
Lexile Measure: 1680L

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Abstract :

'Passive revolution', understood here as a specific moment of global capitalism, provides an indispensable key to Canadian history, especially that unfolding from the 1840s (when seigneurs, Tories, agrarian radicals and democrats were forcibly unified through a top-down, British-orchestrated administrative revolution) to the 1940s (when plutocrats, Liberals and Conservatives, trade unionists and social democrats were forcibly unified through the imposition of a top-down, Ottawa-orchestrated Fordist compromise). The 'long Confederation' of Canada, from 1841 to 1949, was in Marxist terms a social revolution, entailing the subordination of non-capitalist and proto-capitalist formations, through which northern North America was liberalised; yet this 'active' achievement of a liberal order was also 'passive' insofar as it constituted a strengthening of Britain's imperial power; subdued, transformed and incorporated subaltern movements; and culminated in a new socioeconomic order that integrated Canadian producers into continental and global circuits of capital while denying them any de facto sovereignty over 'their' state. Keywords Canada, Confederation, liberal order, compromise, passive revolution

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A242380409