A compelling study of the global dimensions and local particularities of political activism in Sixties Montreal.
How did a First World urban population come to imagine itself as part of a global anti-colonial movement? The Empire Within tackles this and other paradoxes created by the surprising power and influence of Third World decolonization on political activism in 1960s Montreal. In a brilliant history of a turbulent time and place, Mills pulls back the curtain on the decade's activists and intellectuals, showing their engagement both with each other and with people from around the world. He demonstrates how activists of different backgrounds and with different political aims drew on ideas of decolonization to rethink the meanings attached to the politics of sex, race, and class and to imagine themselves as part of a broad transnational movement of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist resistance. The temporary unity forged around ideas of decolonization came undone in the 1970s, however, as many were forced to come to terms with the contradictions and ambiguities of applying ideas of decolonization in Quebec. From linguistic debates to labour unions, and from the political activities of citizens in the city's poorest neighbourhoods to its Caribbean intellectuals, The Empire Within is a political tour of Montreal that reconsiders the meaning and legacy of the city's dissident traditions. It is also a fascinating chapter in the history of postcolonial thought.