Guillaume Tremblay-Boily holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Analysis from Concordia University in Montréal. His main research areas are Québec history, labour history and the sociology of social movements. His thesis dissertation was about the 1970s Marxist turn to the working-class, when thousands of student activists across the world decided to become factory workers for political purposes. He currently works for the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS).
I am currently working towards publishing a book based on my PhD dissertation. My doctoral research project explored the attempt by 1970s Québec communist activists (most of them students) to reach the working class by becoming factory workers themselves. Describing themselves as marxist-leninists, they were part of an international “turn to the working class” that started in the late 1960s and extended to the late 1970s (and even later in some cases). This movement grew out of the perceived limits of New Left activism and the largely held belief among activists that connecting with industrial workers was the key to revolution. Relying on oral history interviews and on archival research, I sought to understand the relationships these activists developed with the other workers, and to analyse their contribution to labour struggles, including fights to prevent factory closures or to mitigate their impacts.