Direct Action Gets the Goods
A Graphic History of the Strike in Canada
By Graphic History Collective
Paperback / softback, 64 pages, $14.95
Published January 2019
Between the Lines
Art has always played a significant role in the history of the labour movement. Songs, stories, poems, pamphlets, and comics, have inspired workers to take action against greedy bosses and helped shape ideas of a more equal world. They also help fan the flames of discontent. Radical social change doesn’t come without radical art. It would be impossible to think about labour unrest without its iconic songs like “Solidarity Forever” or its cartoons like Ernest Riebe’s creation, Mr. Block.
In this vein, The Graphic History Collective has created an illustrated chronicle of the strike—the organized withdrawal of labour power—in Canada. For centuries, workers in Canada—Indigenous and non-Indigenous, union and non-union, men and women—have used the strike as a powerful tool, not just for better wages, but also for growing working-class power. This lively comic book will inspire new generations to learn more about labour and working-class history and the power of solidarity.
Althea Balmes is a multidisciplinary visual storyteller and arts educator interested in collaborative creative expression. Her work is informed by Filipino culture, her diasporic experience, and her background in anthropology, international development, and interest in decolonial aesthetics. She takes a self-reflexive, intersectional, and constructivist approach to arts-education to help build and bridge communities.
Sean Carleton is a member of the Graphic History Collective and a co-author of May Day: A Graphic History of Protest, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle, and Direct Actions Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike. His scholarly research examines the history of colonialism, capitalism, and education in Canada. He has written about comics and critical pedagogy for academic and popular audiences. Sean lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Treaty 7.
Robin Folvik is a member of the Graphic History Collective and a co-author of May Day: A Graphic History of Protest, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle, and Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike. She has a background in history and women’s studies, with a focus on feminist histories and British Columbia’s working people, labour struggles, and social movements. Robin has worked on films, public history events, workshops, curriculum development, walking tours, and public history installations. She works at the Cumberland Museum and Archives and lives and works on unceded K’ómoks territory.
Gord Hill is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation on the Northwest Coast. Writer, artist, and militant, Gord has been involved in Indigenous resistance, anti-colonial, and anti-capitalist movements for many years, often using the pseudonym Zig Zag.
Orion Keresztesi is an artist and activist inspired by the history of working people’s struggles—how they have shaped the world we live in and how they can help us to do the same today. He works as a research and policy analyst for the Nova Scotia NDP caucus. He is a member of SEIU Local 2.
David Lester is the guitarist in the underground rock due Mecca Normal. The duo has been cited as an influence on the social movement known as Riot Grrrl. His poster of anti-war protester Malachi Ritscher was exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Hi is author/illustrator of The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism and the graphic novel The Listener. He designed the labour movement’s weekly newspaper Solidarity Times during the general strike of 1983 in British Columbia. He is currently working on a graphic biography of Emma Goldman. Davidlesterartmusicdesign.wordpress.com
Kara Sievewright is an artist, writer, and graphic designer who creates comics. She is a member of the Graphic History Collective and has helped to create the Remember | Resist | Redraw poster project and Direct Actions Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike. She lives in Daajing Giids, Haida Gwaii as a settler on unceded Haida territory. See more of her work at http://makerofnets.ca.
Julia Smith is a member of the Graphic History Collective and co-author of Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle and Direct Action Gets the Goods: A Graphic History of the Strike. Her research interests include labour and working-class history, gender and women’s studies, and political economy. She has published articles on women, work, and union organizing, particularly in the service, office, and retail sectors. She lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Treaty 7.
The Graphic History Collective is a group of activists, artists, writers, and researchers interested in comics, history, and social change. We produce people’s histories in an accessible format to help people understand the historical roots of contemporary social issues. Our comics show that you don’t need a cape and a pair of tights to change the world. www.graphichistorycollective.com.