||Issue No. 147||09 August 2002|
A Call to Action
Interview: Save Our Souls
Unions: Rats With Wings
Bad Boss: If The Boot Fits
History: Political Bower Birds
International: No More Business as Usual
Corporate: The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism
Review: Prepare To Bend
Satire: Bush Boosts Sharemarket Confidence: Shares his Cocaine Stash
Ten Click Walker 'Unfit for Work'
Casino Workers Overtime Jackpot
Abbott’s Task Force “Rank Hypocrisy”
Shipping Policy Blamed for Reef Damage
Combet Pushes Consultative Vehicle
Maternity Leave for Pacific Workers
Magistrate Endorses Health and Safety Rights
Contracts a Thorn in Workers' Side
Fringe Success for Workers’ Pick
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Labor Council of NSW
Political Bower Birds
Consumers of the mainstream media could be forgiven for thinking that Australian political history is simply concerned with the personalities and politics of the two major political parties, the personal lives of some of their members, and more recently the undergraduate posturings of the Democrats.
Those who care to dig a little deeper will find much more is going on. For example inside and outside Australian universities there is a thriving research industry devoted to the history of the left wing of the Australian labour movement, specifically that part involved with, and influenced by, communism.
In 1994 academics Beverley Symons, Andrew Wells, and Stuart Macintyre, produced the resource bibliography Communism In Australia. Published by the National Library of Australia the 282 page tome detailed over 3000 significant documents, publications, and archival material relating to the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and its allied and breakaway movements, from the Party's foundation in 1920 to its dissolution in 1991.
This book sold out, and quickly became recognized as a valuable research tool. It was followed in 1998 by The Reds (Allen & Unwin), an award winning history of the CPA from its beginning until the start of World War 2, written by Professor Macintyre of the University of Melbourne. A second volume completing the story is being prepared.
A major point established by Macintyre's history was the profound social, political, and cultural impacts the CPA had on Australian life generally.
Recently the Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has published Communism In Australia: A Supplementary Resource Bibliography. The result of the patient endeavours of Beverley Symons, the book lists and details nearly 800 items, including manuscripts, oral history collections, books, chapters, articles and theses, that have been generated since 1994 in the subject area.
While primarily aimed at researchers, the book can be read as something other than a research tool. In particular the detailed descriptions of library and archival holdings generated by individuals and organizations, highlight the human and political richness and diversity of the Australian labour movement.
The depth and inclusiveness of much of the archival material suggests there is a bower bird dimension to many Australian labour movement people, who live out and work through their lives with an eye to history, and with the awareness that they are part of something grand and worthwhile beyond themselves, and in a sense, beyond time.
Copies of the supplementary bibliography are available from the Sydney Branch ASSLH, PO Box 1027, Newtown, NSW, 2042; cost $14.95 each (plus $2 postage each).
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