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Palmer, Bryan D.

Vancouver, New Star Books. 1987. 120pp, paper. ISBN 0-919573-64-9 (cloth) $13.95, 0-919573-65-7 (paper) $6.95.CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by John D. Crawford

Volume 15 Number 4
1987 July

This is an interesting survey of the growth of Operation Solidarity in reaction to the Social Credit policies of the last Bill Bennett administration. This opposition came to a climax in 1983 when, for a brief period, it appeared that Solidarity could become a permanent fixture on the political landscape of British Columbia. In fact, the movement was to wither away, and in analysing its demise. Bryan Palmer points the finger at the leadership as being the chief cause of the demise.

This essay places Solidarity in historical context through a brief outline of recent British Columbia and Canadian legislation and through mention of such events as the Brilish General Strike of 1926. A scattering of references to Marx, Lenin, and Troisky suggests that the author sees the situation in terms of the need for revolutionary improvements in the political situation in British Columbia, where polarization seems to be resulting from the deep divisions between the political representatives of opposing interest groups.

This book is indispensable for anyone interested in Operation Solidarity. While the political perspective of the author limits the objectivity, the attention to detail provides the reader with sufficient information with which to come to conclusions. Like all good stories, the tale of Solidarity as presented by the author starts at the beginning and finishes at the end. and as a straightforward piece of narrative history the essay is a success. Mr. Palmer's thesis attributing blame to the leadership of Solidarity has some merit, but may be considered by some as an exhortation to go down with a sinking ship.

The book is well written and has an intensity that indicates the feeling held by the author for his subject. An index is not necessary, and fifteen pages of notes attest to copious research. This very interesting examination of Operation Solidarity provides the reader with the facts and the flavour of a brief period of recent British Columbia history when voices once again cried in the wilderness.

John D. Crawford, Blanshard School, Victoria, B.C.
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