Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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April 8 - 23, 1937
The Oshawa Strike: 4,000 auto workers go on strike against General Motors in Oshawa, Ontario. Their demands are an eight-hour day, better working conditions and wages, and recognition of their newly formed union, the United Auto Workers (UAW). The company and Mitch Hepburn’s Ontario government are both determined to prevent the UAW, an affiliate of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), from gaining a foothold in Ontario. The company refuses to negotiate, and the Ontario government hires ‘special police’ (armed thugs) to intimidate the workers. The workers hold firm, and on April 23, the company, afraid of losing market share to rival automobile companies, agrees to accept most of the workers’ demands.
The workers’ victory is due in part to acts of solidarity from supporters, including the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the Communist Party, working people in Oshawa and other communities, and even from two cabinet ministers, David Croll and Arthur Roebuck, who resign from Hepburn’s cabinet in protest against his anti-union actions.
Related Topics: Labour HistoryStrikes: Canadian
April 8, 1999  
Several thousand unarmed indigenous Tzotzil people take back the municipal council buildings in San Andres a day after it has been seized by Mexican government forces. Men, women, and children, supporters of the Zapatista movement, walk into town from different directions and surround police contingents and ask them to leave. The police decide to leave and the people re-occupy the municipal buildings. In a statement they say “The indigenous peoples who are conscious and who are willing to struggle are not going to be discouraged or surrender because of threats, and even less by the taking away of a building or by invading a piece of space; because their just struggle is not enclosed by four walls, nor does it have borders, because their cause is justice, liberty, democracy, and peace with justice and liberty.”

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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: