‘A Species of Treason?’: Deportation and Nation-Building
in the Case of Tomo Čačić, 1931–1934, by
Dennis G. Molinaro, appeared in
Volume 91, Number 1 / Febuary 2010 of the
Canadian Historical Review. For those without a
subscription or university library access, the article is
available online until July 30.
Deportation was used to remove political radicals from Canada during the early 1930s, as well as immigrants receiving poverty or unemployment relief. Studies of deportation in North America are limited and have rarely focused on ideas of ‘the nation’ as a primary focus of debates over deportation; and they have seldom dwelt upon the local efforts of those resisting deportation. Arguably the most influential works in this area are Barbara Roberts’s Whence They Came: Deportation in Canada 1900–1935 and Anthony Rasporich’s ‘Tomo Čačić: Rebel without a Country.’ This paper builds on the work of both authors by explaining not only the mechanisms, but also the ideological moorings, of Depression-era deportation policies, through the revealing case study of Tomo Čačić, a transnational radical who thought globally and acted locally. The power to deport provided the state with a powerful nation-shaping tool. Deportation of political radicals served a dual purpose: it both isolated and removed those identified as political enemies of the political order and, conversely, demonstrated by implication the qualities of those who were qualified to figure as citizens within the emerging Canadian nation.