By J. Peter Campbell
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Additional resources for Canadian Marxists and the Search for a Third Way
This argument entirely dismisses the importance in May and June 1919 of the idea of the One Big Union, which aimed at the linking of socialist theory and trade union protest. The threat, of course, was real, and the recent attempts of Canadian historians to deny this linkage merely reflects the fact that state officials in this country take the power of ideas more seriously than do many academic historians. 97 What must be understood, however, is that there was a conscious and coherent basis to the OBU, the attempt by Marxian socialists to create a class union by uniting the functions of the trade union and the party.
They defended the Russian Revolution as historically necessary but were sceptical that it could lead to socialism. "108 Since Robin made this key observation, however, the debate has tended to go in the wrong direction by even further accentuating the split between the "parliamentary socialism" of the SPC and the "syndicalism" of the OBU. 109 Describing the OBU as syndicalist serves to disguise the overwhelming Marxist orientation of the leading theoreticians in the organization. 110 The editor who replaced him, Frank Woodward, was also a Marxist theorist and member of the SPC.
That contradiction is the measure of the man, and a key to understanding Marxists of the third way. Ernest Edward Winch was born in Harlow, Essex, England, on 2,2, March 1879, the youngest of seven children. 2 The Winch home, a former Catholic charity building, was large and imposing. Pictures from the period indicate a welldressed, well-cared-for family. Winch's later correspondence shows that he was close to his mother, brothers, and sister Carrie. 4 Ernest went to a Church of England school, where he got a good basic education.