With lively, informative contributions by both scholars and activists, Bucking Conservatism highlights the individuals and groups who challenged Alberta’s conservative status quo in the 60s and 70s. Drawing on archival material, newspaper articles, police reports, and interviews, the contributors examine Alberta’s history through the eyes of Indigenous activists protesting discriminatory legislation and unfulfilled treaty obligations, women and lesbian and gay persons standing up to the heteropatriarchy, student activists arguing for a new democracy, and anti-capitalist environmentalists demanding social change.
This book recognizes the lasting influence of Alberta’s noncomformists—those who recognized the need for dissent in a province defined by wealth and right-wing politics—and leaves a set of questions, perhaps sobering ones, for contemporary activists.
Through a discussion of significant moments and important movements, such as Indigenous rights, gay rights, New Leftism, and the counterculture, Bucking Conservatism offers a thoughtful and nuanced reassessment of Alberta's history and convincingly demonstrates that progressive politics helped shape the province in important ways. This book is a must-read for those interested in understanding the complex history of politics in Alberta.
We are in a remarkable historical moment; as many Canadians and Americans turned right, Albertans turned left. The authors in this volume astutely capture the tension in Canadian history and politics as they explore how Albertans have wrestled with the inherent contradictions of what it means to be a progressive Albertan.
Bucking Conservativism puts to rest the notion that Alberta, even in the last decade of the Social Credit dynasty, should be imagined simply as a place of political and cultural conformism. Its chapters recall the ‘Long Sixties’ as a time of small, diverse eruptions, often local ones, through which Albertans asserted rights, opened day care centres, stood down a bulldozer and a freeway, experimented in painting and poetry, and articulated a contemporary ethic of conservation. For some readers, the book will retrieve stories—too easily forgotten—involving familiar people and places; and for Albertans, it will remind us that many of our most pressing issues are hardly new at all.
Bucking Conservatism is a must read for everyone interested in peering behind the stereotypes of Alberta conservatism, for a look at the grassroots rebels, radicals, queers, feminists, hippies, Indigenous activists, socialists, and environmentalists who tweaked the noses of the political elites and their business interests. This rich collection introduces us to a range of individuals who made change, defied convention, and spoke truth to power during Alberta’s "long sixties." Bucking Conservatism is a welcome chinook of revisionist social and political history that will resonate with scholars, students, and readers. Beautifully written, bristling with verve, insight and political nuance, this anthology deserves a wide audience of readers.
Leon Crane Bear is Siksika and a treaty Indian, as well as a graduate of the University of Lethbridge. Larry Hannant is a Canadian historian specializing in twentieth-century political dissent. Karissa Robyn Patton is a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan.
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