Vol 35 (1995)
Articles

Under a Watchful Eye: A Case Study of Police Surveillance During the 1930s

Michael Lonardo
Memorial University
Published January 1, 1995
How to Cite
Lonardo, M. (1995). Under a Watchful Eye: A Case Study of Police Surveillance During the 1930s. Labour / Le Travail, 35, 11-40. Retrieved from http://www.lltjournal.ca/index.php/llt/article/view/4959

Abstract

During the 1930s the Communist Party of Canada organized and promoted the working-class struggle against conditions resulting from the Depression. And while some have argued that the state's intelligence community paid little attention to the efforts of the communists between the wars, the evidence reveals a major operation on the part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to watch and suppress Communist Party activities. By tracing the involvement of World War I veteran and Communist Party activist, Stewart O'Neil, in four radical movements — the Workers Ex-Servicemen's League, the On-to-Ottawa trek, the workers' theatre movement, and the Spanish Civil War— this paper demonstrates the extent of, and the tactics used by the RCMP in its surveillance and suppression of these radical movements. Résumés Durent la décennie 1930, le Parti Communiste a organisé et a encouragé la lutte ouvrière contre les conditions résultant de la Dépression. Selon certains, les services de renseignements de l'État auraient prêté peu d'attention à ces efforts. Cependant, des faits attestent de la forte implication de la Gendarmerie Royale du Canada dans la surveillance et la répression des activités du Parti Communiste. Ce texte va démontrer l'étendue et les tactiques utilisées par la Gendarmerie Royale du Canada dans ce but, en analysant la participation de Stewart O'Neil, vétéran de la Première guerre mondiale et militant du Parti Communiste, dans quatre mouvements radicaux: la Workers Ex-Servicemen's League, la Marche des chômeurs sur Ottawa, le Workers' Theatre movement, et la Guerre civile espagnole.