This essay argues that periodicals of protest can be crucial in helping us to understand the tangled history of the welfare state in Canada, and it contends that the Communist periodical The Woman Worker (1926-1929) is one important site for undertaking this work. The forms of citizen participation that are evident in early- and mid-twentieth century periodicals of protest have not played much part in shaping narratives of the development of the welfare state in Canada. More invisible still is the role of women, and particularly working-class women, in this ephemeral history of political activism. Furthermore, if labour historians have mined periodicals of protest for their political content, little work has been done to analyze the cultural material in these publications, such as short fiction and poetry. This frequently devalued material plays a crucial role in the summoning of state reform that one finds in the pages of The Woman Worker.
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