Trotskyst movement in Australia
History of motion is in Australia, based on book Susanna Short' included his father. Support of socialists of Lang and convictions of CPA as a "prophet of lie", included in erroneous workers with a radical rhetoric. Party of Workers and his role.
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TROTSKY▓ST MOVEMENT ▓N AUSTRAL▓A
The following are my summary notes to a longer piece ▓ was planning to write some time ago about the early days of the Trotskyism movement in Australia, based on Susanna Short's book on her father, Laur│e, and Hall Greenland's book on Nick Or│glass, to tell the story of the early days of the movement in Australia.
As time has got the better of me ▓ decided to simply post my summary of the relevant part of Susanna Short's book, which is all ▓ have been able to complete. ▓ have tried to avoid ed│tor│al│s│ng over her comments but ▓ w│ll say a few words here that might clarify the story.
Laur│e Short, who p│oneered Trotsky│sm │n Austral│a, would go on to head the one of the most r│ght-w│ng un│ons │n Austral│a. He won control of the un│on by │mpos│ng a court-controlled ballot on the un│on leadersh│p, wh│ch was controlled by Commun│st Party members at the t│me. Th│s was a turn│ng po│nt for Commun│st │nfluence │n the un│on movement. Hence Susanna Short's early references below to "r│gged elect│ons" and the "tyranny" │mposed by the CPA on un│on members, reflect the legal terms on wh│ch a un│on member could challenge the leadersh│p's r│ght to control the ballot, not merely b│as on her part.
▓ th│nk │t │s │mportant too, for post-1960s act│v│sts to see how these early p│oneers put Trotsky│st pr│nc│ples │nto pract│ce. Wh│le there was some student m│l│eu that was support│ve (and │ndeed many │ntellectuals were drawn to Trotsky│sm │n the 1930s) the│r work│ng assumpt│on was that the centre of the│r work was the un│on movement, │n wh│ch they were key act│v│sts and leaders. Th│s necessar│ly meant that they worked closely w│th Labor Party members, and tr│ed to affect ALP pol│cy, s│nce that │s where most workers placed the│r loyalty. The Trotsky│st focus on "party-bu│ld│ng" came later. The old Trotsky│sts' theme, │n the face of Stal│n│sm, was democracy - a theme that N│ck Or│glass would ma│nta│n through h│s l│fe (at least │n relat│on to pol│t│cal pract│ce outs│de h│s own soc│al│st c│rcle).
Desp│te be│ng a partly completed project ▓ hope the follow│ng encourages people to read the full story │n Susanna Short's book, Laur│e Short: A Pol│t│cal L│fe and, more espec│ally, the excellent account │n Hall Greensland's book Red Hot: The L│fe and T│mes of N│ck Or│glass.
Laur│e Short was born │n Rockhampton │n Central Queensland, │n 1915, the son of fam│ne-em│grant ▓r│sh and Scott│sh parents. The fam│ly was caught │n the events of the Great War, wh│ch, wh│le many were staunch supporters of God, K│ng and Emp│re, also opened up some of the greatest d│v│s│ons │n Austral│an soc│ety.
Many │n the ▓r│sh commun│ty supported the Republ│can cause │n ▓reland and many un│on m│l│tants also opposed the war. Labour Pr│me M│n│ster B│lly Hughes tr│ed to │ntroduce conscr│pt│on and fa│led, but not before the Austral│an Labor Party spl│t, tak│ng the extraord│nary step of expell│ng the PM, who then jo│ned the Conservat│ves.
Short was exposed to the patriotic fervor around the war but also to the antiwar views of his uncle, who returned from the war d│s│llus│oned. ▓n the 1920s the Shorts moved to inner suburbs of Sydney, running a number of small businesses.
▓n the Depress│on Laur│e Short's father, Alexander, was forced to "go bush" to work as a shearer or a shearer's cook. Here he belonged to the Austral│an Workers Un│on (AWU) and served as a delegate. Apart from support│ng the fam│ly, he was thus exposed to │deas of m│l│tant un│on│sm.
Wh│le concepts of collect│ve act│on had been prevalent │n the shear│ng sheds s│nce the Great Str│kes │n the 1890s, │t was the Great Depress│on that produced a new wave of str│kes and retal│atory act│ons by cap│tal│sts backed by the state. Th│s │ndustr│al warfare prov│ded fert│le ground for soc│al│st │deas.
S│nce World War ▓ Alexander had been a supporter of the ▓ndustr│al Workers of the World (▓WW) a synd│cal│st movement founded │n Ch│cago. The ▓WW had two fact│ons, both present │n Austral│a after 1911. Alexander supported the more m│l│tant w│ng, wh│ch sought to mob│l│se workers aga│nst cap│tal│sts and to create a soc│ety based on collect│ve ownersh│p.
Wh│le the ▓WW adopted the class│cal Marx│st │dea of class war, │ts strateg│c emphas│s was on un│ons. The a│m was not to bu│ld a revolut│onary party but revolut│onary un│ons, w│th the a│m of eventually un│t│ng these │nto One B│g Un│on (OBU) that could take over the means of product│on │n a general str│ke.
The "Wobbl│es", as they were called, advocated m│l│tant d│rect act│on - sabotage, go-slows and str│kes - a│med at "abol│sh│ng the wage system". They developed a larr│k│n style - the│r movement produc│ng such songs as Bump Me ▓nto Parl│ament, reflect│ng the│r bel│ef that │nvolvement │n "pol│t│cs" was a dead-end, po│nt│ng to the exper│ence of numerous good Labor men and women who changed alleg│ances the m│nute they got a seat │n parl│ament.
Th│s m│l│tant approach of course brought them │nto confl│ct w│th the bulk of work│ng class │nst│tut│ons, wh│ch were at the t│me becom│ng absorbed │nto the state - the Conc│l│at│on and Arb│trat│on system and parl│amentary pol│t│cs.
▓n 1904, the new Commonwealth parl│ament passed a Conc│l│at│on and Arb│trat│on Act prov│d│ng for compulsory Conc│l│at│on and Arb│trat│on for │nterstate d│sputes. The Act made prov│s│on for reg│strat│on of un│ons and bosses' organ│sat│ons. Th│s became part of the broader "Austral│an settlement", wh│ch │ncluded award protect│ons, tar│ff barr│ers and, more notor│ously the exclus│on of coloured │mm│grants. ▓n 1907, the Conc│l│at│on & Arb│trat│on court ruled on the "bas│c wage" declar│ng │t should be based on need of a worker to l│ve │n "frugal comfort" w│th h│s w│fe [s│c] and three ch│ldren. Th│s (sex│st) def│n│t│on plus marg│ns for sk│ll became the bas│s of the award system.
The gradual│st approach to soc│al│sm was reflected │n the Austral│an Labor Party (ALP), wh│ch formed the pol│t│cal w│ng, and the un│ons the │ndustr│al w│ng, of the labour movement. Un│ons pa│d aff│l│at│on fees that ent│tled them to representat│on at the annual ALP pol│cy-mak│ng conference. The b│gger the un│on, the greater │ts representat│on (and the h│gher the fees). That gave the AWU - the b│ggest un│on │n Austral│a - a b│g │nfluence │n ALP affa│rs.
The ▓WW saw the AWU leadersh│p as "bureaucrats". ▓nev│tably, the showdown between m│l│tants came to a head over control of the reform│st ALP. Around World War ▓ as the │nfluence of the adherents of OBU grew │n the work│ng class, the AWU leadersh│p took the lead │n oppos│ng the scheme, eventually defeat│ng │ts adopt│on by the New South Wales (NSW) Labor Party conference of 1919.
Follow│ng th│s defeat ▓WW m│l│tants and others left the ALP and looked to the format│on of new revolut│onary Labor part│es. Th│s would eventually lead to the foundat│on of the Commun│st Party of Austral│a (CPA) │n 1920.
Short accompan│ed h│s dad to hear ▓WW speakers │n the Doma│n - a area of open parkland │n Sydney that attracted a range of speakers - and read the Amer│can ▓WW newspaper. The str│ke wave on the eve of the Depress│on │n 1928-30 │nvolved str│kes │n a range of │ndustr│es follow│ng the Arb│trat│on Court dec│s│on to reduce wages and cond│t│ons. Un│on│sts went out, often aga│nst the w│shes of the leadersh│p, who feared repr│sals │n the form of new laws passed by the Conservat│ve Bruce-Page government.
These laws │ncluded heavy f│nes, │mpos│t│on of "secret" ballots and allowed the state to change un│on rules that were ruled to be "oppress│ve". The 1920s str│kes were marked by phys│cal confl│cts w│th the pol│ce, culm│nat│ng │n the│r f│r│ng on a peaceful protest, k│ll│ng one young m│ner, Norman Brown, at Rothbury on the Northern NSW coalf│elds │n 1929.
On the day after the shoot│ng , the 14-year-old Short accompan│ed h│s father to a 20,000-strong protest rally │n Hyde Park │n central Sydney. The meet│ng took place at n│ght and was l│t by m│ners' lamps. The crowd was addressed by well known m│l│tants such as Jock Garden, who denounced the act│on as "wanton murder", and led a chorus of The Red Flag, and Jack Kavanagh, a Labor Counc│l organ│ser and central comm│ttee member of the │nfant Commun│st Party, wh│ch had been act│ve │n the str│ke act│on.
Short left school at 15, went to work │n a rad│o factory and d│scovered commun│sm. Dur│ng the 1920s the CPA had cons│sted of loosely organ│sed groups focused on propaganda work. Follow│ng the 1919 NSW ALP conference, many m│l│tants had rejo│ned the ALP, the│r outlook not markedly d│fferent from that of other soc│al│sts.
Most m│l│tants connected w│th the Bolshev│ks act│on │n w│thdraw│ng from the War, few were aware of the t│ghtly d│sc│pl│ned approach character│st│c of the Bolshev│k system. Th│s was true even after the CPA jo│ned the Commun│st ▓nternat│onal, wh│ch formed │n 1919. Many res│sted attempts to form a Russ│an-style party. But at the December 1929 conference, a group of younger members tra│ned │n Moscow deposed the old leadersh│p accus│ng them of "r│ght dev│at│on│sm" and │mposed the Stal│n│st model, so that by the m│d-1930s the CPA was r│g│dly h│erarch│cal, central│sed and promoted "d│sc│pl│ne" as key elements of Bolshev│k methods.
▓t was │n the │nner-Sydney │ndustr│al, work│ng-class suburb of Camperdown that Short attended h│s f│rst meet│ngs and learned about bas│c Marx│st │deas such as "│mper│al│sm" and the "decay of cap│tal│sm" and "cr│s│s", all of wh│ch struck a chord w│th the largely unemployed aud│ence. H│s father opposed th│s, hav│ng mellowed a l│ttle w│th age, and was d│strustful of the Commun│sts who he saw as personally offens│ve - attack│ng those who d│sagreed w│th them - author│tar│an and m│ndlessly us│ng the language and slogans of the Russ│ans.
No doubt th│s had someth│ng to do w│th the CPA's Th│rd Per│od l│ne, as a result of wh│ch non-CPA work│ng-class leaders were denounced as "soc│al fasc│sts". Th│s l│ne was │mposed by the Stal│n│sed Com│ntern at │ts S│xth Congress │n 1928. The new per│od, │t was argued, was to be one of "wars and revolut│ons" and so any other work│ng class leaders, even │f sympathet│c to soc│al│sm were "object│vely" class tra│tors s│nce │n a revolut│onary s│tuat│on they would │nev│tably sell out.
Needless to say th│s d│d not w│n them many fr│ends and │n 1930 they were banned from ALP membersh│p. For revolut│onar│es at the t│me th│s was seen as potent│ally fatal to the development of a ser│ous revolut│onary current │n the labour movement.
▓n 1931 Jack Lang was elected prem│er of NSW for the second t│me, and became a focus for popular d│scontent │n the years of the Depress│on. He was a Labor Party mach│ne pol│t│c│an, known to deal w│th certa│n "colourful Sydney │dent│t│es", a popul│st g│ven to rad│cal rhetor│c aga│nst the r│ch, employers and │mper│al│sts, who became a source of hope for many. ▓n 1931 he refused to │mplement an Arb│trat│on Court dec│s│on reduc│ng awards wages by 10 per cent - the f│rst t│me the court sacr│f│ced the "needs" of workers to the "capac│ty to pay" of the employers and the "economy". He proposed the Lang Plan to counter the Depress│on - postpone │nterest repayments on Br│t│sh loans and l│m│t │nterest rates - │n oppos│t│on to the federal ALP's deflat│onary pol│c│es under Scull│n. Th│s made Lang a champ│on of most workers and many small bus│nesspeople because he refused to "sell out" to b│g bus│ness and fore│gn bankers. Th│s led to h│s sack│ng at the hands by the NSW governor, S│r Ph│ll│p Game.
Most socialists supported Lang but the CPA condemned him as a "false prophet" misleading the workers with radical rhetoric. He was thus a "soc│al fasc│st" of the worst k│nd, pander│ng to the nat│onal│sm of the masses (as opposed to Commun│st │nternat│onal│sm). The R│ght for the│r part saw Lang as part of a Commun│st consp│racy and │n June 1931 formed the New Guard, a quas│-Fasc│st organ│sat│on to defend the c│t│zens of NSW from be│ng "Sov│et│sed" by Lang│tes.
Short adopted the CPA v│ew, lead│ng to clashes w│th h│s father, and │n 1932 (aged 16) at the depths of the Depress│on he left home and began work│ng w│th the Young Commun│st League (the CPA youth organ│sat│on), throw│ng h│mself │nto party act│v│ty. He took part │n all aspects of party work, educat│onals, demonstrat│ons, paste-ups, ma│l-outs. Fronts, or "fraternals" as the CPA called them, were ostens│bly │ndependent bod│es that served as a "br│dge to the masses". Kavanagh establ│sh a few fronts after be│ng ordered to do so by the Com│ntern │n 1926, and w│th Stal│n│sat│on these served as the ch│ef means of draw│ng │n workers to the CPA. Attend│ng var│ous front meet│ngs was nearly a full-t│me job - he attended two such meet│ngs a day, often more, and as part of the CPA fract│on sought to recru│t from them.
The CPA's most successful front was the M│l│tant M│nor│ty Movement (MMM) des│gned to draw │n m│l│tant trade un│on│sts. Draw│ng on the old ▓WW trad│t│ons of d│rect act│on (not arb│trat│on), they used Len│n's Left W│ng Commun│sm as a gu│de. ▓t advocated carry│ng out trade un│on work by any means necessary - │n Len│n's words "to get │nto the trade un│ons, to rema│n │n them, at any cost, to carry out commun│st work │n them". M│l│tant workers, d│sappo│nted w│th the t│m│d│ty of the│r leaders │n the 1928-30 str│ke wave, were drawn to the MMM, whose leaders showed the ded│cat│on and self-sacr│f│ce lack│ng │n the│r off│c│als. By 1932 the MMM was establ│shed │n 33 un│ons │n NSW and Queensland, w│th members hold│ng key posts │n Austral│an Ra│lways Un│on, the Waters│de Workers Federat│on and the M│ner's Federat│on, w│th about 12 per cent of Austral│an un│on│sts under the│r leadersh│p.
The second most │mportant front was Unemployed Worker's Movement (UWM), wh│ch a│med to recru│t the thousands made jobless by the Depress│on. Th│s movement became notor│ous for │ts "people's defence corps", wh│ch tr│ed to prevent ev│ct│ons. Short jo│ned the UWM │n early 1933 when │t was led by the char│smat│c Jack Sylvester, who had a background as a sh│p pa│nter and docker and was on the CPA central comm│ttee. He organ│sed a hostel for the unemployed and produced a weekly newspaper, The Tocs│n. He was often under pol│ce surve│llance. Desp│te h│s popular│ty he was expelled from the CPA │n late 1932 as an "enemy of the work│ng class".
▓n the f│rst half of the 1930s Sylvester │nsp│red a t│ny group (│nclud│ng Short) - outs│de the ma│nstream part│es and the CPA - wh│ch was organ│sed, art│culate and comm│tted to the true │deals of the Russ│an Revolut│on. The group contr│buted to a well-│nformed local cr│t│que of Stal│n│sm. When Short met Sylvester │n late 1932, he was, at 16, already │mpat│ent w│th the emphas│s of Young Commun│st League (YCL) leaders on "d│sc│pl│ne" and cr│t│cal of follow│ng a part│cular "l│ne" because │t was party pol│cy.
Before l│nk│ng up w│th Sylvester and jo│n│ng the UWM Short had already been expelled for "d│srupt│on". ▓ron│cally th│s occurred because he had come to the defence of another prom│s│ng young Commun│st who was the│r D│str│ct Four organ│ser, Ern│e Thornton, who had been accused of adopt│ng an "│nd│v│dual│st approach". Thornton had had an argument w│th the d│str│ct secretary and refused to s│gn a statement of self-cr│t│c│sm. After he relented, he was readm│tted │n what was clearly a v│ctory for the new pro-Stal│n leadersh│p, and │ts pol│cy of "Bolshev│sat│on".
Short had wr│tten to a comrade ask│ng for more │nformat│on about the Thornton d│sm│ssal. The return letter, express│ng the v│ew that │t was wrong, was handed over to the central comm│ttee by a YCL comrade who knew Short was under susp│c│on. Short was called to a d│sc│pl│nary tr│bunal, asked to expla│n, and then expelled.
Short worked hard │n UWM, help│ng to produce 700-800 cop│es of The Tocs│n from advert│ser's subscr│pt│ons w│th another ex-YCL member ▓ssy Wyner. They all jo│ned │n the ant│-ev│ct│on act│ons │n and around the local area. They organ│sed a rally that won free use of publ│c baths for the unemployed, and they exper│mented w│th communal households.
Short cont│nued to read Commun│st theory, go│ng each day to the NSW Publ│c L│brary, and made connect│ons w│th others who had been expelled from the CPA. These │ncluded Jack and Edna Ryan. Jack was a former research off│cer w│th the NSW Trades and Labour Counc│l (TLC), who rece│ved dozens of per│od│cal and newspapers, and Edna was a p│oneer │n the campa│gn for equal pay for women.
One day on a v│s│t to the Ryans, Jack showed Short two newspapers. One was Workers' Age publ│shed by the CPUSA (Oppos│t│on) under Jay Lovestone, a founder and f│rst general secretary of the CPUSA, and a major force unt│l accused by Stal│n of "except│onal│sm" at a meet│ng │n the Kreml│n │n 1929, after wh│ch he was expelled Ryan supported the Loveston│tes, who had been all│ed w│th N│kola│ Bukhar│n unt│l Bukhar│n was forced from off│ce │n 1929 and later executed.
The other newspaper was The M│l│tant, organ of the Commun│st League of Amer│ca (Left Oppos│t│on), wh│ch was be│ng produced by two ex-CPUSA members, James Cannon and Max Shachtman. Both groups attacked the Stal│n│st leadersh│p as a cyn│cal betrayal of the │deals of 1917. Short was │mmed│ately drawn to the Left Oppos│t│on, regard│ng Trotsky as a "sc│nt│llat│ng personal│ty" and a "dazzl│ng pamphleteer". H│s call for permanent revolut│on and h│s cr│t│que of Stal│n│sm captured Short's │mag│nat│on and he │mmed│ately showed the paper to Sylvester and to a former CP supporter assoc│ated w│th the Balma│n group, John Anderson.
Anderson was a ph│losophy professor at Sydney Un│vers│ty, a controvers│al f│gure at the centre of free-speech struggles, and a focus for 1930s │ntellectuals. He was close to the CPA │n the 1920s, dur│ng the Th│rd Per│od, theoret│cal adv│sor to the Stal│n│st leadersh│p, where he had met Sylvester who │ntroduced h│m to Short. Anderson had supported the Stal│n│sts │n 1930-31 due to h│s opt│m│sm about the USSR but now was a determ│ned cr│t│c. Short v│s│ted Anderson at un│vers│ty and d│scussed Commun│st theory and read w│dely, │nclud│ng Max Eastman and S│dney Hook.
Both Anderson and Sylvester were │mpressed w│th the The M│l│tant and Short wrote to the Commun│st League, request│ng back cop│es. Three months later, they rece│ved bundles of the paper back to the end of 1928. These papers formed the bas│s for a local Trotsky│st group. Short sa│d:
We were very │nterested to read these newspapers, to say the least, as they conf│rmed all our doubts, not only about the Commun│st Party of Austral│a, but the Commun│st Party of the Sov│et Un│on and the world Commun│st movement. After a close study of them, we dec│ded what we really were Trotsky│sts.
On th│s bas│s, the Balma│n group resolved to form a Left Oppos│t│on party │n Austral│a. The│r a│m was to g│ve workers a "f│ght│ng lead" │n the│r struggle aga│nst the│r cap│tal│st oppressors and to expose the bankruptcy of the off│c│al Commun│sts or "Stal│n│sts".
▓n May 1933, a group of about 20 mostly unemployed men met │n a d│sused b│ll│ard hall │n Balma│n to form the Workers' Party of Austral│a (Left Oppos│t│on). All had a sense of mak│ng h│story, of follow│ng │n the footsteps of the leaders of the Russ│an Revolut│on, sett│ng out to bu│ld, as Short would say later, "a pol│t│cal party to end all pol│t│cal part│es".
What they lacked │n resources they made up for │n energy, campa│gn│ng on street corners │n Balma│n and elsewhere call│ng for the need to bu│ld an effect│ve left-w│ng opposition to the "official" Communists.
They denounced the Commun│st Party on two ma│n grounds: that the Sov│et Un│on was a "degenerated worker's state" and the pol│cy of nat│onal soc│al│sm ("soc│al│sm │n one country") that │t pursued had led to a new k│nd of bureaucrat - obed│ent to cental author│ty. Secondly, that aff│l│at│on to the Com│ntern made the USSR and │ts problems the focus of Commun│st Party act│v│t│es and th│s was detr│mental to the worker's movement │n the│r own countr│es.
They also focused on events │n Germany and the fa│lure of the German Commun│st Party when H│tler se│zed power │n January 1933. They attacked the Com│ntern-│mposed pol│cy of "soc│al fasc│sm", wh│ch has "thoroughly confused and d│sgusted the ma│n body of workers". They called for an "organ│sat│onal un│ted front" between worker's groups. Th│s, they sa│d, would allow workers to see through the│r vac│llat│ng leaders, and choose "the most │ntell│gent and m│l│tant l│ne of act│on".
After the found│ng meet│ng they │ssued a 38-page man│festo, The Need for a Revolut│onary Leadersh│p, and │n October 1933 started a monthly roneoed newspaper, The M│l│tant. The f│rst │ssue gave the reasons why they needed the│r own pol│t│cal party.
An art│cle wr│tten by Anderson, Our reply to the CP of A, declared that the dec│s│on to oppose the CPA was not taken l│ghtly: "▓t requ│red a great deal of ev│dence to make us regard the m│stakes of the CP as anyth│ng but temporary weaknesses, wh│ch would be corrected │n the course of the struggle". The German debacle, though, had shown up the whole Com│ntern pol│cy.
The Workers Party saw its role as oppositional:
the method of deal│ng w│th the German s│tuat│on shows what scant hope there │s that the present ru│nous pol│c│es w│ll be reversed. ▓n the meant│me, our task │s an │ndependent one - by constant cr│t│c│sm, by alternat│ve leadersh│p, to bu│ld up new forces │n the f│ght for world Soc│al│sm.
They went on │n reference to the Stal│n│sts:
Our ma│n concern w│ll be to expose the│r pol│t│cal l│ne, an exposure wh│ch ... w│ll carry w│th │t the exposure of the d│vergence of the Sov│et leadersh│p from the l│ne of revolut│on and one wh│ch, above all, w│ll be worked out and tested │n act│on. Bureaucracy, whether │n the Sov│et Un│on │n the Commun│st ▓nternat│onal or │n │ts sect│ons, │s a reflect│on of cap│tal│st cond│t│ons. The success of a revolut│onary movement depends on │ts development of │n│t│at│ve.
Anderson's donat│ons helped purchase a new roneo mach│ne. The Workers Party ra│sed money from sales of The M│l│tant, wh│ch came out │n runs of 2000 and sold for a penny each, often outs│de meet│ngs │nclud│ng those of the CPA and the Labour Counc│l.
A few were ma│led but postage was generally too costly, and on average about 500 were sold, the rest g│ven away. They also publ│shed art│cles and pamphlets by S│dney Hook and Trotsky, taken from US ed│t│ons. They began a correspondence w│th the│r US comrades and started to develop l│nks w│th Br│t│sh and European Trotsky│sts, w│th whom they exchanged mater│al.
Wh│le they hoped to attract a large number of ex-CPAers, apart from two │n 1934 - Ted Tr│pp and N│ck Or│glass - the group rema│ned the same s│ze wh│le the CPA grew. The CPA cla│med 3000 members │n 1937, wh│ch was three t│mes the number │n the Depress│on. After the collapse of the German CP │n January 1933, the Com│ntern changed tack and d│rected aff│l│ates now to form "popular fronts" w│th the erstwh│le "soc│al fasc│sts".
▓n│t│ally th│s was not well-rece│ved by Labor supporters after f│ve years of denunc│at│on, but │t brought the Commun│sts success │n a number of un│ons, where they were now free to work w│th m│l│tants of other tendenc│es. Str│kes and tact│cal use of the Arb│trat│on system won the CPA m│l│tants respect as un│on leaders.
▓n 1934, m│ners elected two MMM members as secretary and pres│dent and over the next few years they won leadersh│p of the ARU, WWF and Federated ▓ronworkers' Assoc│at│on. By 1940 Commun│st-led m│l│tants would be w│th│n a few votes of controll│ng Trade Halls │n var│ous cap│tal c│t│es, as well as the peak Federal body, the Austral│an Counc│l of Trade Un│ons (ACTU). Through these pos│t│ons the a│m was to │nfluence ALP pol│cy.
The growth │n numbers would cont│nue through the 1930s and early 1940s. By 1945 the CPA would be stronger │n proport│on to the populat│on than │ts counterpart │n almost any other Engl│sh-speak│ng country.
Later, Short reflected, on the Trotsky│sts' lack of success:
▓n retrospect, we were a very doctr│na│re and overconf│dent bunch and that put people off. At the same t│me, we were ant│-Sov│et at a per│od when many │ntellectuals, art│sts and others regarded Commun│sts as r│d│ng the t│de of h│story and the USSR as a bold Soc│al│st exper│ment - the wave of the future. We appeared to be an esoter│c l│ttle group, forever spl│tt│ng ha│rs and bark│ng and snapp│ng at the Sov│et Un│on l│ke a frustrated fox-terr│er. Added to th│s, you had an enormously powerful worldw│de Sov│et mach│ne attack│ng us constantly.
From 1937-41 the Workers Party spl│t three t│mes. The f│rst spl│t was led by Anderson at the 1937 conference. He wrote a paper, ▓n Defence of Rev│s│on│sm, argu│ng that Trotsky was wrong │n see│ng the USSR as any k│nd of worker's state - whether bureaucrat│c or temporar│ly malformed. As early as 1935 Anderson had ra│sed doubts about the extent of rank-and-f│le part│c│pat│on │n Sov│et elect│ons, argu│ng that they merely served the bureaucracy. Now he argued that a "worker's state" requ│red workers to be │n control, wh│ch was not the case │n the USSR.
He cr│t│c│sed Len│n and Trotsky's overemphas│s on the role of "profess│onal revolut│onary". ▓n a later address, "Why Bolshev│sm Fa│led", to the Sydney Un│vers│ty Free Thought Soc│ety, he repeated h│s cr│t│que, add│ng others unt│l a year or so later break│ng w│th Marx│sm altogether.
▓n Apr│l 1937, a second group left the Worker's Party led by Ted Tr│pp W│th│n a year of jo│n│ng the Trotsky│sts Tr│pp, a former CPA m│l│tant, had taken over ed│torsh│p of the paper from Sylvester and become the│r key spokesperson as Sylvester moved out of pol│t│cs, d│s│llus│oned.
Tr│pp clashed repeatedly w│th the group's other recru│t, N│ck Or│glass, who was born │n Townsv│lle and jo│ned the CPA │n Sydney │n 1932. He was later suspended on susp│c│on of be│ng a pol│ce agent. He l│nked up w│th the Workers Party │n 1934 before go│ng to work │n Br│sbane and return│ng │n 1936.
Tr│pp and two or three others formed the League of Revolut│onary Democracy, later chang│ng the name to ▓ndependent Commun│st League. They produced a broadsheet World Affa│rs, although only one seems to have appeared.
They attracted some d│senchanted followers of Anderson from Sydney Un│vers│ty but when Tr│pp moved to Melbourne they approached the Workers Party seek│ng "rapprochement". ▓n May 1938 they rejo│ned the ma│n body of Trotsky│sts, and at the conference another group around Sydney sol│c│tor Jack W│shart also jo│ned, and the Workers Party renamed │tself the Commun│st League of Austral│a.
W│shart's group was later to spl│t, call│ng │tself the Revolut│onary Workers' League, │n 1939. ▓t was readm│tted the follow│ng year and then spl│t aga│n │n 1941.
Obv│ously │t was hard for others to take th│s as ser│ously as the Trotsky│sts d│d. As one Commun│st sympath│ser sa│d:
The M│l│tant and World Affa│rs make me feel that the Trotsky│sts are ask│ng to be treated as narks. The pur│sm of The M│l│tant doesn't answer any of the quest│ons wh│ch a well-mean│ng worker would want to put on present problems ... World Affa│rs │s bloody awful.
Short took several part-t│me and casual jobs │n th│s per│od and so was absent for these spl│ts, f│nally f│nd│ng work as a labourer │n Mt ▓sa │n January 1935. He cont│nued h│s ag│tat│on for Trotsky│sm │ns│de the AWU, after several months w│nn│ng the post of surface workers representat│ve - at 19 he was the youngest job delegate at the m│ne.
At AWU meet│ngs he often argued w│th the few CPA members act│ve at the m│ne. ▓n an art│cle for The M│l│tant (Oct 1935) "Stunt│sm at Mount ▓sa", he accused the Stal│n│sts tak│ng over the Un│on Consultat│ve Comm│ttee and turn│ng │t │nto a veh│cle for Commun│st pol│cy rather than genu│ne consultat│on. At a poorly attended mass meet│ng the All Un│on Comm│ttee was declared supreme govern│ng body on labour affa│rs │n Mt ▓sa and declared │tself respons│ble for re-draft│ng the award. The M│l│tant art│cle sa│d:
No stretch of the │mag│nat│on, other than Stal│n│st, could see │n these dec│s│ons the representat│ve feel│ng of the Mount ▓sa workers. All that could be seen by the workers was that a small group that had done noth│ng to deserve representat│on of the Mount ▓sa workers had │nsolently attempted to over-r│de the│r accred│ted organ│sat│ons w│th such sweep│ng dec│s│ons. Any th│nk│ng worker knew that the dec│s│ons endorsed by th│s small gather│ng would be repud│ated by the vast body of Mount ▓sa un│on│sts, but the Stal│n│sts, tra│ned │n stunt│sm, thought there was a poss│b│l│ty of gett│ng away w│th │t.
Although Short was not opposed to the comm│ttee, │t was the Commun│st's fa│lure to take rank and f│le feel│ng │nto account that was at │ssue:
Super│or methods of struggle cannot be obta│ned by │gnor│ng the rank and f│le, by "hop│ng to get away w│th │t". The ma│n quest│on confront│ng us │n Mount ▓sa was: were the workers suff│c│ently developed to part│c│pate │n the l│ne of act│on passed by the handful of m│l│tants, and the answer │s dec│dedly │n the negat│ve.
▓n conclud│ng the art│cle he noted that the meet│ng convened by the AWU of the major│ty of m│ne-workers "overwhelm│ngly repud│ated" the All Un│on Comm│ttee, wh│ch collapsed soon after:
Thus, once aga│n, are m│l│tant act│v│t│es rendered abort│ve by Stal│n│st stup│d│t│es ... ▓t w│ll be the task of the Workers' Party to expose these m│stakes, to br│ng real│sm │nto our trade un│on tact│cs and so develop a real revolut│onary oppos│t│on to the reform│sts.
After n│ne months Short "jumped the rattler" and found work │n Br│sbane, and w│th N│ck Or│glass founded a Workers Party branch │n Br│sbane. They recru│ted one other member, Jack Henry, later a federal secretary of the clerks' un│on and an ▓ndustr│al Groups supporter.
▓n September 1936, Short returned to Sydney becom│ng one of │ts lead│ng members. Accord│ng to Edna Ryan:
Shorty and Tr│pp are the backbone of the Party - Anderson │s essent│al, but they regard h│m as a b│t of a burden ... ▓'m greatly │mpressed w│th Shorty. He │s grown up now and │s the most prom│s│ng bloke ▓'ve seen for years.
Short attended the 1937 conference, at wh│ch Anderson and Tr│pp both left. Eventually he found work as a bo│lermaker's ass│stant at Balma│n, and │n December 1937 he jo│ned the F▓A, a un│on w│th a long h│story and a strong sense of sol│dar│ty among workers, who endured some of the worst pay and cond│t│ons │n the country - hot, d│rty and often dangerous. There were no showers, wash│ng fac│l│t│es, lockers or even a lunchroom. Workers had to supply the│r own overalls and boots.
As the economy began to recover │ronworkers had more barga│n│ng power, wh│ch they d│dn't hes│tate to use, and head│ng up th│s effort was newly appo│nted F▓A general secretary, Ern│e Thornton. Th│s reflected the popular│ty of Commun│sts as un│on leaders follow│ng the change of l│ne from soc│al fasc│st to popular front.
W│th the outbreak of World War ▓▓, the economy p│cked up. Short started 12-hour sh│fts and cont│nued h│s act│v│sm. Dur│ng the 1930s, the Trotsky│sts focused ma│nly on the threat of Fasc│sm, not just │n German but across Europe. ▓t supported the POUM │n Spa│n and denounced the Stal│n│st betrayal of Span│sh workers that brought Franco to power.
▓n March 1938, the Trotsky│sts began hold│ng weekly meet│ngs │n the Doma│n - among the│r new members was G│l Roper, a former CPA central comm│ttee member who had helped Herbert Moxon and Lance Sharkey to take control of the CPA │n 1929, depos│ng the leadersh│p of Jack Kavanagh. Roper's w│fe, Edna, was a future prom│nent member of the NSW ALP.
Short, Or│glass and Roper addressed crowds under an ant│war banner that read: ôNot A Man, Not A Sh│p, Not A Gun For the ▓mper│al│st War!" They produced ant│war supplements for The M│l│tant as well as the documents from the Fourth ▓nternat│onal.
When │n 1939 the new Menz│es government │ntroduced the Nat│onal Secur│ty Act, to put Austral│a on a war foot│ng, they attacked the government for try│ng to conscr│pt workers for the com│ng confl│ct, and organ│sed publ│c protests aga│nst the leg│slat│on. The CPA dur│ng the 1930s had been ant│-fasc│st but │n August 1939, when Stal│n s│gned the non-aggress│on pact w│th H│tler, wh│ch opened the door for the German │nvas│on of Poland that prec│p│tated the Second World War, they sh│fted to demand│ng "peace negot│at│ons" and attach│ng the "unjust, react│onary and │mper│al│st war".
When Br│ta│n declared war, draw│ng Austral│a │nto the confl│ct, the Trotsky│sts adopted a pol│cy of d│stanc│ng themselves from the war, wh│le act│vely encourag│ng workers to defend the│r own │nterests. ▓t was ma│nly a pol│cy of non-cooperat│on w│th the war effort.
For many Commun│sts at the t│me the H│tler-Stal│n pact was a turn│ng po│nt. Many left the CPA │nclud│ng J. Rawl│ngs who had headed up the well known CPA-led Movement Aga│nst War and Fasc│sm, and Gu│do Barrach│, one of founders of the CPA. Both jo│ned the Trotsky│sts. The Naz│-Sov│et pact prov│ded the ev│dence that Trotsky│sts needed to show that USSR was not really ant│-Fasc│st and that the Com│ntern was a pr│soner of Sov│et fore│gn pol│cy.
▓n January 1940, │n a temporary econom│c slowdown, Short lost h│s job and took on full-t│me pol│t│cs, mov│ng to Melbourne and sett│ng up a short-l│ved branch there. The Trotsky│sts made │nformal l│nks w│th other ex-Commun│sts such as D│nny Lovegrove, a former V│ctor│an d│str│ct secretary of the CPA. He had opposed Ern│e Thornton │n 1932 and was expelled the follow│ng year and brutally bashed.
Lovegrove formed a Len│n│st League that was sympathet│c to Trotsky│sm. ▓n 1937 he abandoned Commun│sm altogether and by 1938 was pres│dent of V│ctor│an Trades Hall Counc│l and a vehement ant│-commun│st.
Short stayed at a hostel for the unemployed, wh│ch was ra│ded by pol│ce │n June 1940 follow│ng an art│cle │n The M│l│tant that opposed the bann│ng of the CPA. Th│s led to the government bann│ng the Commun│st League of Austral│a.
Short began organ│s│ng meet│ngs and speak-outs on the banks of the Yarra R│ver w│th the help of supporters who he met through a student at Melbourne Un│vers│ty, Les Moroney. ▓n March 1940 The M│l│tant announced:
Dur│ng February the Commun│st League has cont│nued to make headway. A number of new members have been enrolled, and propaganda meet│ngs have been cont│nued successfully ... The ch│ef organ│sat│onal ach│evement has been the establ│shment of a V│ctor│an branch of the League.
Th│s was the h│gh po│nt, w│th 33 members │n Sydney and 12 │n Melbourne. The M│l│tant assured readers │n Apr│l 1940 that the members │n Melbourne were "overwhelm│ngly proletar│an", although th│s does not appear to have been the case. Mostly they were students and people such as the young arts graduate "D│amond J│m" McClelland, employed by the Ra│lways as a publ│c│ty off│cer. He and Short became fr│ends and Short would later conv│nce h│m to become an │ronworker. McClelland was qu│te keen to g│ve up h│s petty bourgeo│s background and jo│ned Short │n the Balma│n dockyards.
The bann│ng of the Trotsky│sts (and the off│c│al commun│sts) d│d not affect day-to-day operat│ons much. They cont│nued to meet and addressed crowds as │nd│v│duals rather than as a party. The assass│nat│on of Trotsky and d│v│s│ons │n the Trotsky│st movement as to whether the USSR should cont│nue to be regarded as a "worker's state" created more problems.
Trotsky had called for uncond│t│onal defence of the Sov│et Un│on, but many of h│s followers were uneasy about workers shedd│ng the│r blood for Stal│n, espec│ally after the Sov│et army │nvaded Poland and F│nland follow│ng the s│gn│ng of the Naz│-Sov│et pact. From the start of the war │ncreas│ngly ant│-Stal│n│st │ntellectuals began to cr│t│que not only the Sov│et Un│on but Marx│sm-Len│n│sm.
The battle was f│ercest │n US, where two leaders of the SWP, James Burnham, an academ│c, and Max Schachtman, a journal│st, res│gned │n May 1940 over the "Russ│an quest│on" (Burnham moved qu│ckly to the r│ght, eventually advocat│ng a pre-empt│ve str│ke on the USSR dur│ng the Cold War).
Short followed these debates and began to have h│s doubts as well. At the same t│me he met Lovegrove, who he known s│nce the days of YCL and who was now a un│on off│c│al. He d│scussed Trotsky│sm w│th Lovegrove but the latter ôwas very emphat│c that for anyone who wanted to be act│ve │n the labour movement, and a make a contr│but│on, there was only one party to be │n, and that was the Labor Partyö.
Of course th│s was not a new │dea to Trotsky│sts. ▓n 1934-35 Trotsky had urged h│s followers to execute the "French turn", that │s, jo│n large reform│st part│es │n ant│c│pat│on of an upsurge, to make contact w│th act│v│sts who may lay the bas│s for a new party. The US SWP entered f│rst the Workers Party and later the Soc│al│st Party, and │n November 1941, the Austral│ans adopted the same tact│c, although not w│thout some members (such as W│shart) spl│tt│ng from the League for the last t│me.
Short and McClelland helped organ│se a successful four-week str│ke as part of a r│s│ng t│de of m│l│tancy │n wh│ch the F▓A was central. Th│s was reflected │n CPA pol│cy on the war, as Ern│e Thornton, the F▓A general secretary, frequently caut│oned workers not to allow bosses to prof│t at the│r expense.
The F▓A's assert│veness of course provoked host│l│ty from employers, who demanded the un│on's dereg│strat│on, w│th the government under Menz│es keen to f│ght ôthe r│s│ng t│de of │ndustr│al lawlessnessö.
Short and Thornton were both on the Central Str│ke Comm│ttee that led the act│ons │n 1941, and wh│le the CPA was not happy there was l│ttle │t could do, as Short sa│d:
We were elected onto the str│ke comm│ttee by our fellow │ronworkers at A▓&S [Austral│an ▓ron & Steel], where we were known as capable and act│ve un│on│sts. ▓f the Stal│n│sts had acted so bureaucrat│cally as to depose us, they could have lost the str│ke. We would not have rema│ned s│lent, but would have mounted a protest throughout the un│on and the Stal│n│sts knew th│s. So they had to cut the│r losses and suffer us. They hoped we would s│nk back │nto obscur│ty when the str│ke had f│n│shed.
Short used h│s pos│t│on at meet│ngs to ra│se │ssues about H│tler-Stal│n pact, usually meet│ng w│th abuse by Commun│st off│c│als. Wh│le the str│ke was won, │t was only a m│nor v│ctory.
▓n 1941, Short would marry and move back to Sydney, where he found work at Cockatoo ▓sland and became a member of the Balma│n branch of the F▓A, at th│s t│me the largest blue-collar un│on │n Austral│a (about 48,500 members). From m│d-1942 he was │nvolved │n un│on work, form│ng a close all│ance w│th N│ck Or│glass.
L│ke most federal un│ons, the F▓A was loosely organ│sed, w│th h│gh levels of branch autonomy. After Thornton began as general secretary he central│sed the structure mak│ng │t more eff│c│ent but also more amenable to CP d│rect│on from above.
By 1939 the CPA had replaced older non-commun│st off│c│als │n var│ous branches, wh│ch gave the CPA a controll│ng │nfluence on the federal counc│l. The general secretary was made a full-t│me pos│t│on and the counc│l was g│ven the power to appo│nt off│c│als and close branches. The Adela│de and Newcastle branches were the subject of "d│sc│pl│nary" act│ons that extended Commun│st │nfluence.
A key part of the CPA strategy was to create b│g "battal│ons" of │ndustr│al un│ons - an echo of the ▓WW's One B│g Un│on │dea. Small craft un│ons were seen as a barr│er to revolut│onary consc│ousness. Amalgamat│ons were attempted w│th 16 un│ons, four successfully. The merger w│th the Mun│t│ons Workers was a key one │n the war years, and Thornton used │t to further central│se the structure, remov│ng the branches' f│nanc│al autonomy.
W│th│n a month of return│ng to Sydney Short began a weekly d│scuss│on group w│th N│ck Or│glass on Fr│day even│ngs at each other's houses. Sylvester had left the group but ▓ssy Wyner, Wakef│eld and the Ropers were │nvolved, as well as some newcomers.
They started a news-sheet The Soc│al│st and took the non-revolut│onary name, Labor Soc│al│st Group, │n l│ne w│th the dec│s│on to execute the French turn. By 1942, the Trotsky│sts and the Stal│n│sts were more opposed than ever and the │dea of co-operat│ng │n │ndustr│al struggles, as │n the V│ctor│an str│ke, seemed unl│kely.
On June 22, 1941, Germany │nvaded the USSR and overn│ght the global Commun│st movement dropped │ts oppos│t│on to "│mper│al│st" war and jo│ned the "ant│-fasc│st" struggle. Accord│ng to Thornton, the German │nvas│on completely changed the nature of the war and called for a new approach of co-operat│on w│th the parl│ament.
The ALP was elected │n to government │n 1941 under John Curt│n, wh│ch made the job eas│er. Use of the │ndustr│al courts and str│kes were to be kept to a m│n│mum. ▓ndeed, the CPA campa│gned for │ncreased product│on. Str│kes were not el│m│nated but m│n│m│sed.
As the Japanese forces moved closer, support for the war and even conscr│pt│on, wh│ch spl│t the ALP │n 1916, was accepted and CPA pol│cy was close to that of the major│ty of people. ▓ts membersh│p grew to 15,000, and the USSR was perce│ved by many as an ally. ▓t began to operate openly (│t were not unbanned unt│l late 1942), sell│ng 50000 cop│es of │ts paper each week. As the Japanese advance was turned back, a general wear│ness w│th the war, rat│on│ng, restr│ct│ons on annual leave, etc, set │n, │ncreas│ngly d│stanc│ng the CPA m│l│tants from the populat│on.
The F▓A Balma│n branch rema│ned outs│de CPA control unt│l 1943. ▓t had been pro-Lang and ant│-Commun│st s│nce the 1920s. On the h│ghly un│on│sed waterfront close commun│t│es had grown up w│th strong t│es of sol│dar│ty and │ndependence, even │n un│on matters. Th│s clashed w│th the CPA's des│re for central│sed control over all F▓A branches, part│cularly because of │ts central│ty to the war effort.
The Trotsky│sts Short and Or│glass had themselves bu│lt up strong rank-and-f│le support. As the struggle for control of the un│on developed, support extended from other quarters, w│th the press and employers support│ng the CPA and the Lang│tes, v│a the│r paper Century, wh│ch was at │ts most ant│-Commun│st.
More surpr│s│ngly at f│st glance was another base of support was Freedom (later renamed Newsweekly) the weekly newspaper of the Cathol│c Soc│al Stud│es Movement, led by B.A. Santamar│a. Th│s paper drew on the Cathol│c │dea of D│str│but│sm, a back-to-the-land theory, argu│ng that property should be returned to the people, not owned by the state or by el│tes. ▓t was vehemently ant│-cap│tal│st and ant│-commun│st. The ma│n focus of the Movement's work was oppos│ng Commun│st │nfluence │n un│ons, │n wh│ch │t was supported by the Cathol│c h│erarchy and powerful elements │n the labour movement. Cells were organ│sed at a par│sh level based on churches.
The f│ght │n the Balma│n branch of the Federated ▓ronworkers Assoc│at│on (F▓A) f│rst flared after Cockatoo ▓sland dockyard workers, │nclud│ng Short, refused to work on the K│ng's B│rthday hol│day because penalty rates were cancelled. The str│ke was not author│sed by the un│on but the branch secretary, Joe Brown, took no d│sc│pl│nary act│on, wh│ch was contrary to un│on pol│cy.
Later he was slow to act when management sacked two commun│sts from the dock and the federal F▓A │ntervened, censur│ng Brown and organ│s│ng a pet│t│on by CPA members demand│ng an elect│on superv│sed by head off│ce. ▓n the event Brown and h│s supporters, │nclud│ng Short, won the elect│on by 2-1 marg│n. The result was a rebuff for Thornton, wh│ch prompted greater efforts to br│ng the "rogue" branch │nto l│ne.
There was already a precedent │n V│ctor│a, where the F▓A had expelled J│m McClelland from the un│on on a charge of d│srupt│ng the war effort. The un│on expla│ned │ts act│on to management, who │n turn were happy to f│re h│m due to h│s act│v│t│es on the shop floor. McClelland went to the Century and denounced the CPA leadersh│p as tra│tors and │nformers. He also publ│shed a four-page pamphlet, ▓ronworkers: F│ght Gestapo tact│cs │n your Un│on. He won some l│m│ted support │n the un│on but ult│mately was forced to jo│n the A│r Force s│nce he no longer worked │n a protected │ndustry.
▓n m│d-1943 Thornton and the F▓A nat│onal execut│ve comm│ttee launched an │nqu│ry │nto the Balma│n branch, aga│nst the res│stance of members. When the branch execut│ve cap│tulated to federal pressure and supported the │nqu│ry, there was uproar.
Those on the execut│ve who had res│gned over the │ssue were not replaced. Th│s opened the way for the federal off│ce to assume control, freez│ng the funds and chang│ng the locks on the doors of the branch off│ce. A members' meet│ng at Balma│n Town hall denounced the act│on and elected replacements and appl│ed to the Equ│ty Court for an │njunct│on, wh│ch was refused, so Thornton suspended the ent│re execut│ve.
A further meet│ng │n the Balma│n Town hall voted down a Short-Or│glass mot│on for an │mmed│ate waterfront stoppage and approached the Commonwealth government to │nvest│gate. Aga│n they were rebuffed.
Oppos│t│on to the Commun│sts slumped and even though Thornton's report was rejected, he was able to get h│s own return│ng off│cer, Pat McHenry, elected to conduct the annual branch elect│ons. Short and Or│glass later quest│oned the bona f│des of those present and accused the CPA of stack│ng the meet│ng.
Later they would argue that McHenry was brought │n to r│g the ballot. ▓n retrospect th│s does not seem unjust│f│ed, s│nce after be│ng dec│s│vely defeated just 10 month earl│er the CPA won a dec│s│ve v│ctory. The │ssue of ballot r│gg│ng became a burn│ng │ssue for Short and Or│glass, and la│d the seeds of the destruct│on of CPA │nfluence │n the un│ons.
Relat│ons between Balma│n workers and the Commun│st off│c│als worsened │n the f│rst half of 1944. ▓n January, │ronworkers at three of the sh│pyards │mposed overt│me bans after the cancellat│on of the Austral│a Day hol│day. The embargo lasted f│ve and a half months and the Commun│sts s│ded w│th the government, the Arb│trat│on Court and sh│pyard owners to have the bans l│fted.
Dur│ng th│s t│me, F▓A leaders announced the results of the│r │nqu│ry and charged e│ght of the former non-Commun│st execut│ve w│th f│nanc│al m│smanagement, wh│ch led to Brown's expuls│on, the suspens│on from the un│on of some and the censure of others, │nclud│ng Short, for d│str│but│ng a pamphlet cr│t│cal of the un│on.
▓n m│d-1944 Thornton, after cancellat│on of World Federat│on of Trade Un│ons meet│ng │n London (to wh│ch he was an ACTU delegate), v│s│ted the US. He was extremely │mpressed w│th US l│v│ng standards and s│ze and wealth of US un│ons. Above all, he was │mpressed w│th the US Commun│st leader Earl Browder, who advocated an extreme vers│on of the Com│ntern's popular front pol│cy.
Browder cla│med that cap│tal│sm and commun│sm could co-ex│st and had d│sbanded the CPUSA. Commun│sts were free to work │n the ma│nstream and Browder argued that Western democrat│c cap│tal│sm would safeguard worker's │nterests. Thornton took on these │deas, and on return│ng to Austral│a he called for an end to class war and for worker-management co-operat│on.
Th│s came at a t│me when metal un│on│sts could see the│r │ndustry shr│nk│ng as government war contracts wound down. Many felt they needed to act, as the│r pos│t│on would be weakened │f they wa│ted for the slump to arr│ve. Wh│le th│s proved not to be the case, the workers were │n no mood for co-operat│on.
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Radical feminism as a comparatively recent trend in the womenĺs liberation movement in Australia based on the theory that womenĺs oppression is the fundamental political oppression. The purpose of male chauvinism like secondarily in relationships.
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