Friday, January 23, 2009

Slim Evans Has Been Hit By A Car

On this day, January 23, in 1944, Arthur 'Slim' Evans, a shop steward with the Amalgamated Shipwrights' Union, stepped off a streetcar at Joyce and Kingsway in Vancouver and got hit by a car. It could have been because he wasn't very steady on his legs. Slim walked with a limp because of an old bullet wound from the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, one of the bloodiest encounters of the 14-month Colorado Coal Strike.

He died three weeks later. He was 54.

Slim was born in Toronto, left school at 13, sold newspapers, drove horse teams, worked as a carpenter, and headed west to seek his fortune. He did odd jobs across the prairies, went south to America for work, gravitated towards the Industrial Workers of the World and got sentenced to three years in prison for reading the American Declaration of Independence out loud at an IWW free speech rally in Kansas City in 1911. He got released the following year after leading a prisoners' strike.

After the Colorado Coal Fields War, Slim came back to Canada where he worked in the mines in the Rocky Mountains. He was an organizer for the One Big Union and led an OBU strike at Drumheller, Alberta, where he got chucked in jail again, then got expelled from the American miners union that had gotten the certifications with the mining companies. In Vancouver, he got expelled from the American-run carpenters union because he'd joined the Communist Party.

He was chucked in jail again a few years later for leading a coal miners' strike in the Monashee Mountains, but he was out in time to play a key leadership role in the insurrectionary On-To-Ottawa Trek of 1935, when thousands of unemployed workers commandeered freight trains and headed east, towards the national capital. It was Slim that was assigned to negotiate with Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. The workers got as far as Regina, where they were attacked by riot police, and were bludgeoned and shot at. The Trek was over.

Two years later, Slim was organizing a medical fund for the 1,700 Canadian volunteers who'd joined the International Brigades in Spain. It was because Slim wasn't very steady on his legs that he worked the home front. After organizing Local 480 of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in the East Kootenay mountains, it was back to Vancouver, where he got a job at Vancouver Shipyards. That was his job the day he stepped off that streetcar.


Blogger IceClass said...

How'd we get from there to Sid Ryan?

2:25 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Why, Iceclass, do you mean to imply I had Ryan in my thoughts when I posted this?

But a tentative answer: Arthur 'Slim' Evans was a member of the proletariat. Doesn't explain everything, of course. But it helps, as does this:

10:40 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

A good piece Terry, and yes from Slim to Sid is a mind boggling degeneration.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sid Ryan has, like many trade unionist before him, showed courage and determination as he has stood up and fought for justice in spite of being badly maligned. The man has some guts. Here he bited back

12:26 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"It's coming from the targeted silencing of many people world-wide concerned about human rights violations -- myself included -- who have dared to speak out against the Israeli state's military offensive against the people of Gaza."

He's a narcissist and a liar, too.

2:11 PM  
Blogger IceClass said...

I've cracked it!
The big difference between Slim Evans and Sid Ryan (apart from 80 years and a gargantuan ego)?
A fucking TV camera!

Why is it that these days every arsehole self appointed progressive not only needs me to listen to their rubbish but would have me mount them on a pedestal as a bloody persecuted hero while thy strike the fashionable pose of the day?

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Illiterate anonymous graffiti scrawlings automatically removed.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Slim said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Illiterate anonymous graffiti scrawlings automatically removed.

11:49 AM  

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