Weasel Watch: Erin Weir & The Steelworker’s Marxist Roots!

Erin Weir- Weasel of the week!

A couple weeks ago I got into the start of a conversation about the Steelworker’s union and it’s Marxist roots with two of Canada’s most prominent union Economists- what a delight! It all began when I made a response to an article written by Jim Stanford on the Progressive Economics Forum.

Jim was writing about “Energy McCarthyism” in response to an NDP propaganda video against Conservative MP Randy Hoback speaking with Erin Weir. I wrote my own response to this video titled Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been A Member Of The NDP? In this article I discussed how it was okay for Hoback to be asking Weir his political affiliations because certain shades of the NDP & the Steelworker’s have Marxist tendencies and believe in nationalization of mines (and the conversation was about foreign ownership of mining.)

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Rather than get into a genuine conversation about this, Jim decided to pull the McCarthy card once more- it is a trick used as commonly as when Zionists pull the Holocaust card:

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So, I wrote back to Jim, asking him if he’d actually read my article- there was a lot of evidence inside it bout the Steelworker’s Marxist connections. Jim never responded (what’s up with that Jim?)- but, I was surprised with a response from Erin Weir:

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I’ve been a bit too busy the past couple of weeks to write a detailed response to Weir’s denial- so, it is time for me to catch-up on this today. First, let’s approach Weir’s denial of the USW’s association with the Communist Party and the Waffle. This is a blatant manipulation of the facts, and ignores the history of their foundation.

One of the founders of the United Steelworkers was Gus Hall, a man who has served as leader and chairman of the US Communist Party. Gus was convicted under the Smith Act and was sentenced to eight years in prison because of his communist allegiance. According to the WorldWide Socialist Website, he was an operative for Josef Stalin.

So, at best, Weir is being a bit of a weasel by saying USW’s history is as a strongly anti-communist union. Well, he also goes the weasel route talking about the Waffle- because he is only telling half the the story on that too…

Mel Watkins: Co-founder of the Waffle

The Steelworker’s problem with the Waffle wasn’t their socialist/Marxist leanings, nor was it their will to nationalize mines and industry- quite the opposite. Their problem with the Waffle was that they wanted to Canadianise all unions- similar to how the Canadian Auto Workers separated from the UAW. According to Mel Watkins (founder of the Waffle) this is what probably sealed their fate.

What was really happening here was a battle between the rank & file union members, and the executives who lead them. Just as I mentioned in my article Weir commented on, most union’s leadership are not working in the interests of the rank & file as much as they are their own.

Well, it seems that some of the Rank & File actually prevailed, and the Waffle still has connections to the Steelworker’s union today. For example, Carolyn Egan, President of the Toronto Area Steelworkers is also a member of the International Socialists (IS). And, if you read my first article about the Waffle, you will know that the waffle was the foundation for the IS.

Carolyn Egan's Bio From the Marxism 2012 conference


Regardless, none of this is relevant to my statement about the Waffle- Erin Weir was mincing my words when he tried to deflect a connection to them. What I said was that the USW “came the table with an agenda that was set back in the days of the Waffle”, not that they were a member of the Waffle. I was referring to their agenda about nationalizing mines. I said this in relation to Weir’s article saying that privatization of potash mining was a mistake. So, I stand by my words- because, Weir’s position today is the same as the Waffle’s was at the time of their foundation, and the IS’s position today.

Each of these parties believe that mines should be nationalized. Egan’s IS are marching through the streets with banners calling for that to this day:

Socialists marching for the Waffle!

One has to wonder why a man with as much esteem and education as Erin Weir would have been such a weasel in his response to me.  And, why was he so reluctant to tell Randy Hoback his political tendencies? What is he trying to hide?

Next week I’ll dig into the CAW, Jim Stanford, and their connections to efforts to encourage a native uprising in Canada! Until then, I’ll leave you with the Steelworker’s anthem!


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Permanent link to this article: https://www.genuinewitty.com/2012/06/17/weasel-watch-erin-weir-the-steelworkers-marxist-roots/


  1. Hi Greg –
    The following is my cross-posted reply to Jim Stanford’s article on the attacks heaped on Thomas Mulcair for his tar sands position:
    Comment from Alan Blanes
    Time: June 20, 2012, 10:19 pm

    I completely concur with your views on the validity of Mulcair’s observations, Jim and Lorne, Erin and Darwin et al. I was amazed at the parody-like attack from Rex Murphy when he asserted that Mulcair was “against” the western provinces, merely because he is supporting full cost accounting on a resource that must be managed with maturity.

    Greg Renouf’s assertions about Marxism appear to me to be questionable in the extreme. I would challenge Mr. Renouf to provide some detail on precisely what is wrong with Marx’s general point that capital tends to alienate labour from the value of its production, and tends to push this alienation to an intolerable level when capital is given free reign to act with increasing monopoly, and ruthless undercutting of labour in the economic transaction. I fail to see anything qualitatively different in Marx’s description of the depersonalization of labour when all control is hoarded by capital, and the Papal encyclical on the priority and dignity of labour.

    In my view, as someone who joined the Conservative party during the 1974 election, and am paid up until 2015, I feel that the financial elite has delegitimated its right to exclusive control of the mechanics of the economy by the institutionalized deceptive practices that lead to the 2008 financial collapse, and labour needs to organize a complete overhaul that will enable community economic development [CED], and economic democracy for everyone in a genuine social economy.

    • Heather Martin on January 30, 2013 at 09:57
    • Reply

    Alan.. I think you stated the problem yourself when you said you had no problem with Marx and his ideas ‘generally’. No one generally has a problem with radically different ideas from what is the social norm.. But when individuals put their slant to it.. Adding their selfish agenda’s.. The problems become specific. I’m sure like most people you support a social conscience.. But if you are a true conservative then you also would agree with what MLK Jr had so say about Christian communists. We need a dialogue on the specifics of socialism in this country and to look seriously at the political alternatives to Harper and support those who question those alternatives. Having lived in Saskatchewan for the last 20 years I can tell you that most of it was under NDP leadership who were guilty of mismanaging public money and financial scandal that was handled with indifference and ineptitude. Today Saskatchewan is booming and people are happier living in the endless winters because they feel more like the rest of the country and not like their being made to sit at the kiddies table. So long as money exists in the world Marxism will remain a corruptible concept. Allow free market access to it by the individual and a person has got at least a fighting chance.

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