Semen Mozak Mozak من عند Pavlivka, Luhans'ka oblast, أوكرانيا
This book is also the story of the hero and spokesman for the miners, James B. McLachlan, a miner blacklisted for union activities in Scotland and in Cape Breton as well. He was a union organizer and secretary-treasurer of the United Mine-workers of Nova Scotia and its successors, a Communist Party member for a while in the twenties and later a supporter of the CCF. His is the only human story that emerges from the book. If you think Cape Breton is a depressed area now, you must read this description of it in the first thirty years of this century. The coal miners toiled for fourteen-hour days, for a pittance in wages, lived in company-owned houses, were members of a company-controlled union, studied in company-financed schools, walked on company-built streets, used company-controlled water and electricity, called on the services of company-paid doctors, and shopped on credit at the company store. The cost of all these services was deducted from their weekly pay envelope, so they were always in debt to the company. And the company, from BESCO to DOSCO, did not love its workers. This was no paternalistic, community-based corporation dedicated to small profits and the well-being of the people it employed; this was a multinational corporation, headquartered in Montreal, profiteering during World War I and demanding their employees take pay cuts in the 1920s. There were seven strikes between 1904 and 1925, none of which won any notable concessions and most of which were ended by a combination of goon squads, a weak and company-influenced provincial government, a biased judicial system, a treacherous union (the United Mineworkers of America, led by John L. Lewis), a cold Cape Breton winter, destitution, privation, and starvation.