Video: Mark Leier talks Robert Gosden (Revolutionary, Mystic, Labour Spy)
Watch Mark Leier's talk entitled "The Life and Times of Robert Gosden: Revolutionary, Mystic, Labour Spy." The lecture was part of the SFU Department of History's lecture series, Heroes and Villains: Rethinking Good and Evil in History.
In BC's rough and tumble resource economy before World War One, labour relations were marked by terrible working conditions, lengthy lockouts, imprisonment, even murder at the hands of company gun thugs. Robert Gosden was a fiery radical who advocated in response strikes, sabotage, and, he hinted darkly, assassination, from Prince Rupert to Vancouver Island to San Diego. But by 1919, Gosden had become a labour spy for the RCMP, urging the police to "disappear" his former comrades during the strike wave of that year. Using songs and poetry and Gosden's own writings, Mark Leier examines Gosden's life to explore our history and see what lessons it may hold for us today.