“They can’t stand the gaff!” The words failed to intimidate the coal miners. Instead, the insult contributed to their resistance, and “standing the gaff” became a rallying cry during the long 1925 strike. That strike was the culmination of the labour war in the Nova Scotia coal mines in the 1920s, an episode of class conflict in Canadian history as dramatic and consequential as the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

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