Censorship and state repression of radical socialism during the wartime years of WWI and the emergence of Bolshevism in Russia created both new challenges and an opportunity for activists like Kingsley. The Western Clarion was banned by the Secretary of State of Canada in September of 1918, as both the Provincial and Federal governments took the opportunity to suppress sedition and dissent. While the Clarion was quickly replaced by the Red Flag to evade the censorship regulations, Eugene Kingsley took the opportunity in January of 1919 to start his own newspaper, the Labor Star.
Unfortunately, the Labor Star was not a lasting success. Plagued by what seemed to be circulation and sales problems, the newspaper ended its run shortly in March of 1919 and was Kingsley's last major publishing endeavour. The Star sought to guide an increasingly radical working class and returning soldiers towards a political end, and viewed the labor industrial action of the Vancouver and Seattle General Strikes with a large degree of skepticism. Instead, his newspaper focused on 'big picture' Socialism and world event, eager to interpret the recent Russian Revolution as an orderly and democratic affair - not unlike the political revolution he preached. But in the increasingly revolutionary climate of Western Canada, which would explode into the Winnipeg General Strike and country-wide sympathy strikes later that spring, such messages of restraint and political participation were not of the moment, and Kingsley's suspicion about organizations such as the One Big Union were largely ignored.
In February 1919, the Vancouver Sun carried reports of a 'peace conference' between city representatives, labor, socialists, and soldiers, which speaks to this shift. Intending to diffuse the "powder keg" tensions faced by the city and province as industrial action and mass protests mounted, the political elite assured Socialists that they had a place in the political life of the community so long as they kept to the ballot box and stopped inspiring sedition. But the parameters of social dissent has reached the point where the old politics of the SPC were no longer relevant to the dissent of the era. It would be many years before a distinctly political socialism would return to popularity, though Kingsley would not be alive to see it.
Next: Kingsley's Legacy