|Issue No 47||24 March 2000|
One Big Nation
Introduced by Neale Towart
In the 1920's rural Australia was arguing for its share of the national wealth through The Bush Workers Propaganda Group.
The Bush, Regional Australia and Rural Australia, those mystic entities, have been getting lots of attention form the media and the government lately, as the Feds try to shore up the vote for the National Party.
Bush workers have been concerned about their plight before, only the methods of dealing with the problem differed. Neither the National Party nor its predecessors were not looked to, nor were the equivalents of One Nation. Instead, those curiously old fashioned ideas of solidarity and class struggle were used as organising and agitating methods, as the following from the Bush Workers' Propaganda Group shows. Communications technologies and methods were part of their concerns too!
1. To unite all the militant elements toiling in the Australian Bush, to enable them to act in an organized method in acquiring and spreading among their fellow workers a true knowledge of the class struggle.
2. To establish a system of travelling libraries of books and pamphlets of an elementary character for the mutual education of all concerned.
3. From time to time to issue leaflets on all important questions affecting the Bush Workers, and, where deemed necessary, to take the initiative in dealing with such matters.
4. To expose and fight against corruption and opportunism in the Industrial Movement.
5. To distribute among the Bush Workers the world's best literature on the principles of class struggle.
6. To establish in suitable centres libraries of working-class literature for propaganda purposes.
7. To assist in the establishment of similar groups in other centres when practicable, and generally to act in conjunction with kindred bodies for the furtherance of these aims, consistent with the maintenance of our own autonomy.
What the pamphleteers were seeking was the establishment of the One Big Union (O.B.U.) and to attack what they saw as the hopelessly compromised leadership of the AWU. They proposed a complete overhaul of the AWU constitution to ban parliamentary members from holding office in the union, delegates at conferences to be drawn from real live workers in real industries, paid organisers not to be delegates at annual conference, no MPs to have any role in any newspaper of the union, membership to be open to all regardless of race, colour or creed.
The AWU annual conference in 1922 had voted in favour of the AWU but the AWU executive was bitterly opposed to the whole idea and the executive retained its positions.
Signatories were Arthur Rae, J.R. Sullivan and Sidney T. Smith The Manifesto was issued on May Day 1922.
Rae was an early organiser for the AWU and was General Secretary in 1897-98. He was denied AWU membership in 1920 after he refused to pledge his undivided loyalty to the prevailing union leadership. He later became an ALP Senator.
Interview: Telstra Troubleshooter
Andrew Hillard first blew the whistle on Mal Colstonï¿½s expenses rorts; now heï¿½s taking on Telstra over its tactics to drive down wages and conditions.
Unions: A Christmas (Recruitment) Story
Staff at the Illawarra Mutual Building Society organised their own Christmas present - and, with the help of a little e-mail, delivered 80 new members to the ASU's Clerical and Administrative Branch.
International: A Move to the Left?
John Passant lookï¿½s at ï¿½Red Kenï¿½ Livingstoneï¿½s tilt at Mayor of London and what it means for the Radical Left.
Legal: Going Broke: What Workers Should Do
A no nonsense guide to protecting your entitlements when the boss goes bust.
Politics: "I Can't Believe It's Not Peter Reith":
The NSW Labor Government is waging a dirty campaign against the NSW Teachers Federation in order to gain the upper hand in the long running award dispute.
History: One Big Nation
In the 1920ï¿½s rural Australia was arguing for its share of the national wealth through The Bush Workers Propaganda Group.
Satire: Toddler Death Fallout: BMW Releases New Oven
The Victorian Government has turned up the heat on the gambling and car industries following a spate of children being locked inside cars.
Review: The Stranger from Hobart
In his controversial new book, Peter Botsman lifts the lid on the unsung hero of federation, Andrew Inglis Clark
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005