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Ottawa Law Review. Volume 21, Number 2 (1989), p. 387-418.


The Knights of Labour was a powerful labour organization in late nineteenth century North America. Its principles were rooted both in religion and in the anti-capitalistic notion that wage labour was simply an unacceptable social relationship. Its dream was to create a society whose members could all act as truly sovereign individuals in the production cycle. The Knights formed an all-embracing trade union to which they were willing to admit anyone, with three notable occupational exceptions: people who had anything to do with the liquor trade (this exclusion was related to the Knights' religious origins), bankers and lawyers. They knew that capitalist law and its functionaries defended everything they hated. The Knights of Labour have gone; capitalism and its law remains.

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