The Communist Party of Australia, 1967-1975, and the circumstances surrounding the formation of the Socialist Party of Australia

Greg Mallory

This is an edited version of a paper presented to the Brisbane Labour History Association Conference on the Communist Party of Australia, Saturday, 19 May 2001 Paddington Workers’ Club.

In 1966, Laurie Aarons was elected General-Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).1 The election of Aarons and the subsequent influence of other leading figures such as his brother Eric, Jack Mundey and Denis Freney, produced a dramatic change in the policies and practices of the Party during the late 1960s and early I 970s.2 Eric Aarons contended that in 1966 the new leadership set about trying to break down the orthodoxy that had developed in the Party’s ‘thinking’ and ‘practice’ over many years.3 As part of this process, in April 1967 the
Communist Review was replaced by the Australian Left Review, a journal which was to allow contributions which did not necessarily follow a distinct party line.4 At the 21st Congress, held in June 1967, a series of new ideas were presented. The Congress was held at a time of great turbulence in Australian society. Australian troops had been sent to Vietnam and young Australians were being conscripted to serve there. A large protest movement was beginning to become active and this precipitated a general questioning of the whole political process. Great technological changes were occurring in the workplace and this was impacting on the workforce. Thus the new leadership of the CPA had to address the changing social and political situation.5 This article examines the changing face of the CPA from 1967 to 1974 and examine the circumstances surrounding the formation of the Socialist Party of Australia (SPA).

Philosophical Changes
On a philosophical level, Eric Aarons began an examination of the role that the CPA was playing in the ‘battle of ideas’.6In line with the New Left thinking of the time, Aarons began to analyse Marxism in humanist terms; he was influenced by the writings of the ‘Young Marx’ as well as by the ideas that were being developed by Thomas Kuhn and other philosophers of science.7 Kuhn argued that scientific knowledge develops in ‘paradigms’ and that change occurs when the existing paradigm is unable to answer all the questions based on its particular assumptions.8 A ‘revolution’ occurs and a new paradigm is created. According to Kuhn, theoretical physics moved down this path and explains the shift from Newtonian mechanics to the ‘new’ quantum physics formulated by Albert Einstein.9 When this sitUation was translated into political terms, Aarons argued that the basic assumptions of the existing ‘political paradigm’ had to be questioned. He wrote:

In a somewhat similar way Marxists have made assumptions about parties, classes, the state, democracy, forms of revolution, economic crises, war and peace, etc., that now require, and are receiving deeper consideration. Many things thought to be universal, have turned out to be particular to a given set of conditions and sometimes plain wrong.10

Aarons was concerned about initiating debate within the Party about new ideas and new forms of action. As he stated:

Marxism places great emphasis on the active, creative role of ideas, whether in theories, strategy or tactics, and the re-directive power of the action of man guided by such ideas. 11

Coalition of the Left, Trade Unions, and the Workers’ Movement
The 1967 Congress had to deal with the practical issues of the day and how the Party defined itself in the wider ‘political spectrum’. Issues such as Vietnam, conscription, Aboriginal rights, and the women’s movement had to be addressed.12 One of the most important issues the party had to consider was its relationship with the trade union movement and with other Left groups. The theme of the 1967 Congress was the ‘Coalition of the Left’. In a paper delivered at the 1967 Congress, R. Dixon argued that the nature of work was being transformed due to technological change13 and that it was necessary “to develop the consciousness of the need for democratic controls in industry, exercised by the workers”.14 In order to do this it would be necessary to bring together left-wing forces. The CPA still saw itself as a revolutionary organisation and was opposed to any reformism promoted by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) or any other groups. In attempting to resolve the conflict between a revolutionary perspective and reformism, the Congress agreed that the coalition should come together over specific issues such as Vietnam and conscription, just as workers with differing political perspectives would come together in times of strikes.15 The approval of this position led the Party to endorse the Left Action Conference held in Sydney in the first weekend of April 1969.16 This conference was an attempt to build a broad Left alliance between politically active students, academics, unionists and workers.17 Laurie Aarons and Jack Mundey were just two of the Party officials who sponsored the conference with leading figures in the stUdent movement, such as Brian Laver and Dan O’Neill.18 The theme of the Conference was the lack of democracy in Australian society and the action necessary to change this situation.19 The CPA’s informal involvement in this activity indicated that prominent officials were influencing and being influenced by the New Left activists.

However, of particular significance in this regard was the debate that took place at the 1967 Congress between General Secretary Laurie Aarons and Pat Clancy, a prominent Building Workers Industrial Union (BWIU) official. Both speakers recognised that society was undergoing massive changes in relation to technology as well as the great influx of migrants, women and white collar workers into the workforce. They both argued that communists must be more militant in their activities in the trade union movement and should be involved in political issues such as Vietnam. The solutions advanced by these speakers differed greatly, however. Clancy put his faith in legislative change and bigger unions. In his view:

Many of the demands which today’s .conditions require can be satisfied only by Parliamentary legislation and a higher level of political activity is necessary.20

and further

the kind of trade unionism that Australia needs is the development of such big industrial unions united in a single national centre.21

Aarons took up the theme of workplace unionism by arguing for democratic control of unions by rank and file activity at the workplace. He used terms I such as the ‘new unionism’ and a ‘new concept of unionism’22, a theme espoused by the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation a number of years later. He argued that unions were currently agitating for more control over the decisions that were affecting their members’ working lives. Aarons stated:

These demands are symptomatic of a new temper of workers as citizens, and should be seen as forerunners of a new, wider program for unionism, that asserts the right to exert some control over the decisions taken by management.23

In conclusion, Aarons told his comrades that “Communists in the unions are standard-bearers of this new concept of unionism, but they are not the only ones”24

Two distinct and irreconcilable positions on the question of union strategy emerged from this debate. The Clancy view contended that tRe organisational structure should be built from the top downwards by paid officials who made decisions at national and state centres. This approach would resolve industrial problems at high levels of business and government and through the Arbitration Commissions. Militant grassroots action would be opposed and the workplace would playa minor role in the change. The Aarons’ view, on the contrary, held that national trade union unity could be brought about by democratic control of the workplace and democratic control of the union. It followed that unions would not simply be concerned with wages and conditions but must develop a wider social perspective. His view was summed up in a report referring to the interests of the workers:

It sees these interests as embracing economic and industrial (wages, hours, conditions), also social (education, social services, health, retraining) and political (action for peace, democratic control of industries and economic decisions, trade union rights and civilliberties).25

Aarons proposed drastic changes to existing practices and the development of grass-roots unionism. Unions would have to develop wider perspectives and the political parties of the labour movement should develop policies and methods of actions to incorporate these changes. These ideas represented a new concept of unionism. The CPA, he argues, should become the standard bearer of this new thinking, with militant action needed to put these changes into effect.26

Prior to the 1970 Congress, these two positions became more pronounced. A letter to Laurie Aarons from Frank Purse, a CPA activist, and Aarons’ reply were published by the Party so that the two positions could be discussed publicly. Purse’s letter was written after a meeting of industrial activists held on 8-9 November at which Laurie Aarons made the opening address. Purse attacked Aarons for his support for workers’ control and his opposition to arbitration. Purse described Aarons as having Left sectarian views. Aarons’ reply went back to the ‘two views’ model, enunciated in 1967, stating that workers’ control implied democratic control. Reference was made to the ‘division’ following the Party’s condemnation of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Aarons summed up the debate in the following way:

A key issue will remain that between the two differing concepts of unionism: either a democratic movement based upon active participation of its members in workshop or organisation, its methods always based upon mass action, or a movement run from the top. committed to arbitration and legalism and thus absorbed into the system. The left still needs to develop its ideas and action program for unionism.27

At the 1970 Congress the existign trade union movement was branded as politically uninspiring and narrow. It was argued that various pressures confined the activities of the trade unions to limits set by the system:

I…confining the trade union activities to questions of wages and conditions 2…tying the trade unions to the Arbitration machinery 3…the view that trade unions should leave politics to other bodies, that politics had no place in the trade unions 4…the view of trade unions as pressure groups concerned with solely the economic demands of their members 5…there are those who in theory accept the socialist goal, but who in their activity do little or nothing to arouse the working class to challenge the system and to awaken its socialist consciousness.28

These pressures, it was said, led to the adoption of a conservaJ:ive approach by the majority of trade unions, but to combat this situation, greater democracy was needed. This concern was “expressed .in the demand for workers’ control”.29 At the 1970 Congress, unions were urged to take a leading role in changing society, particularly by entering into alliances with militant workers and students.30

The Split
The Aarons’ leadership radically altered practices and policies in the Communist Party. Attitudes towards the political questions of the day differed amongst various leaders of the Party. In 1968, a spontaneous uprising of students and workers took place in France and nearly ousted the government. The Party leadership viewed these events with considerable interest. In contrast, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia produced open opposition from a significant section of the Party. Under Alexander Dubcek’s leadership, the Czechoslovakian Communist Party instituted reforms such as “the lifting of censorship and a new freedom for political activity outside the framework of the ‘leading role of the Communist Party’.”31 This about-face was described as creating “socialism with a human face”. When the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia and overthrew Dubcek in August 1968, this aggression was condemned by the CPA. Aarons wrote in Tribune that there were four factors that led to the invasion:

1…The interests of the Soviet Union as a country have in its thinking become identical with the interests of socialism as a whole 2…Bureaucracy has developed, and with it an overconcentration of power, which the means have not been sufficiently sought for or found to combat 3…Democracy, particularly beyond certain levels has been restricted. and the pressure for it has been regarded as departure or incipient departure from the principles of socialism 4…Theory and ideology arising out of particular conditions and experiences has become rigid, taken as THE truth, and given state sanction.32

Given that the Soviet Union was prepared to use force to maintain its authority, it seemed inevitable that a major clash would occur between the CPA and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). This was reinforced by the CPA’s support for Third World independence movements, particularly the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF), as well as its support for French students and workers.33 Moscow supported the North Vietnamese government but appeared lukewarm in its endorsement of other ‘liberation’ struggles.34 Amidst these tensions, a ‘pro-Soviet’ group formed within the CPA which was opposed to the political direction of its leadership.

A National Committee meeting was held on 28-30 November 1969 to consider documents for the 22nd Congress that was to be held in 1970.35 A majority supported the principles enunciated in the documents, however a significant minority opposed them. Edgar Ross, a leader of the pro-Soviet group, criticised the documents for failing to mention Marxism-Leninism, the nationalisation of monopolies and the Soviet Union. On the question of the coalition of the left, the Party was criticised for placing the ‘Left Wing’ of the Labor Party on an equal footing with every other left group in society. A further point of criticism was that the term ‘communist’ never appeared in the document. Judah Waten, another pro-Soviet member, criticised the documents for outlawing organised activity in the Party that would lead to undermining majority decisions.

At the 1970 Congress, a number of these pro-Soviet members were not returned to the National Committee, including E. Ross, W.j. Brown. F. Brown, E.V. Elliott, R. Gibson, G. Curthoys. T. Wright, j. Waten, and j. Mitchell. The new National Committee wrote to these members on 8 June 1970 . placing on record its appreciation for their past work and asking for their co-operation in implementing Congress decisions.36 The members concerned refused this request. Ross and Watt continued to distribute a dissident newspaper entitled The Australian Socialist throughout the Party,37 and as a result they were charged with a number of offences against the Party:38 .

I…refusing to accept, attempting to frustrate, and working against decisions adopted by the 22nd Congress; 2…establishing a separate organisation within the Party around a political platform specifically rejected by Congress, and pursuing this fundamental difference on aims, methods, organisation and policy without regard for Party opinion. unity and activity.39

Ross and Watt contested the charges. Hearings were held on 21 and 28 September, 1970. Ross claimed that he was not bound by Congress decisions as Congress delegates were tricked into making these decisions by the Party leadership. He asserted that the clauses did not prohibit the formation of separate organisations within the Party. Watt defiantly stated that he was going to continue his present activities. The National Committee concluded:

It is the unanimous opinion of the Committee that the charges against Comrades Watt and Ross are valid. They have stated their intention of continuing actions which constitute a complete repudiation of party policy, flouting of the Constitution and establishment of a separate organisation which is in reality another Party with its platform, PQlicies and organisation.40

and further

their continued presence in the Party can only result in further damage to the Party in carrying out its democratic and revolutionary tasks. The committee recommends the expulsion of Comrades A. Watt and E. Ross from the Party.41

Watts and Ross were then expelled ,from the Communist Party of Australia. Their expulsion was the catalyst for a split in the CPA, but other events also contributed to the fracturing of the Party.

On I January 1971, an article appeared in New Times (Moscow) which the CPA leadership felt had the ‘blessing’ of the CPSU leadership. Tribune republished the article on January 27.42 It attacked the new CPA policies in a number of areas. Firstly, the CPA was charged with being openly critical of the policies of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. It referred to the 1970 Congress document “Aims, Methods and Organisation of the CPA”43 in which some countries were referred to as socialist-based countries and not socialist.44 New Times argued that this was a way of distancing the CPA from the problems encountered by the existing socialist countries. Secondly, the CPA was attacked for supporting “the right-opportunist ‘Dubcek line'” in Czechoslovakia and being critical of the Soviet-led invasion of August 1968. In 1969 the leadership refused to sign the document ‘Tasks at the Present Stage of the Struggle Against Imperialism and United Action of the Communist and Workers’ Parties and all Anti-Imperialist Forces”, which upheld the intervention. Thirdly, it questioned the Party’s attitude toward internationalism, accusing it of being more concerned with regional is-sues such as liberation struggles in Vietnam and New Guinea and not adopting a ‘true internationalist perspective’. Fourthly, it criticised the decisions made at the 22nd Congress in relation to the idea of a ‘coalition of the Left’. New Times argued that the ‘coalition of the Left’ weakened the concept of the Communist Party and the working class leading to the overthrow of capitalism and the setting up of a socialist society. The Party was also accused of abandoning ‘Marxism-Leninism’ as the theoretical foundation of the communist movement. Lastly the piece made critical reference to Denis Freney, a former member of a ‘Trotskyite’ organisation, who had been allowed to join the CPA and who was given a position on Tribune’s editorial board.45 This action was contrasted with the expulsion of Ross and Watts, comrades who had given long and dedicated service to the Party.46

The second issue that contributed to the ‘split’ was the involvement of Denis Freney at high levels of the Party. Freney was a schoolteacher and political activist who joined the CPA in 1970, just after the Congress. A short time after the Congress, he became a Tribune journalist. Freney had been a member of a Trotskyite’ organisation following Michel Pablo’s theories,47 and was involved in organising demonstrations against the Vietnam War, as well as forming ‘Liberation’, an anti-war youth group.48 Freney brought to the Party ideas that were current on the campuses and streets. His elevation, coupled with the expulsion of the older comrades, sent shock waves through sections of the Party.49

The third event was the ‘Ultimo’ meeting of certain Party members at the Esme Hacket Hall in Ultimo on 18 October 1970. The evening before, the same group had met at the Glebe Town Hall. The object of the meeting was to discuss recent developments with “like-minded people concerned with the sitUation in the Communist Party. of Australia”.50 Members who disagreed with this position were excluded, but a group of party members who had not received invitations attempted to enter the meeting. After some discussion, Joe Palmada, a senior member of the Party, was allowed to speak for two minutes. During this time, he tried to point out that holding “such selected and secret meetings were opposed to the spirit and letter of communist principles of organisation and the Party constitution.”51, He said that the Party” had organised many meetings over these questions and every Party member had the right to participate. He was allowed to state this fact and then was asked to leave. Those excluded from the Ultimo meeting later issued a statement in Tribune.52 They protested that the secretly organised meeting was in conflict with established principles of organisation and action and argued that the Ultimo group “has established a separate, exclusive organisation within the CPA. It was argued that the meeting organisers did not share the CPA’s aims, strategy and policies, flouted its Constitution and were contemptuous of majority opinion within the Party.”53 Some of the signatories were Jack Mundey, H. Hatfield, and Tom and Brian Hogan, all members of the NSW BLF.54 Two of the leaders of the “rebel” group were Alf Watt, a long time member of the Party, recently expelled from the Party, and Bill Brown. During the week after this meeting. two press releases were issued. arguing that the meetings were not secret and those responsible had a right to organise these meetings. Their justification was that the CPA leadership allowed other ‘factions’ (Trotskyite) to form.55 It was also reported that a “Trade Union Socialist Activities Committee” had been formed to regularise the visits of trade union officials to the Soviet Union.56 The Ultimo meeting’s decisions were:

We protest against the expulsions of Comrades Alf Watt and Edgar Ross and, in fact, refuse to recognise them. We support the appeal wholeheartedly of Socialist Publications for a $30,000 fund … The meeting decided to set up a representative Continuation Committee and raised the perspective of a national gathering which would formulate a comprehensive, up-to-date programme…57

The fourth event that contributed to the ‘split’ was the resignation of Pat Clancy. Secretary of the NSW Branch of the BWIU. He resigned from the CPA in October 1971. His resignation was the culmination of longstanding differences that had developed between Clancy and the Party leadership. Clancy argued that the Party had been taken over by ‘ultraradicals’ and ‘middle-class left intellectuals’.58 These accusations were challenged by others in the Party and a petition was organised amongst the membership in response to Clancy’s accusations.59

A year before, on 5 August, Clancy had written to Laurie Aarons advising the Party that he had resigned from the National Committee. Clancy lost his position on the National Executive at the 22nd Congress. A series of letters were exchanged between Clancy and Laurie Aarons during October and November, 1970, and published in Praxis, the Party’s official journal.60Clancy’s letters criticised the leadership’s super ‘militant’ position by not building an alliance with the ALP. particularly over Vietnam.61 He was highly critical of the CPA’s attitude to the CPSU and other established Communist Parties. claiming that the CPA was isolated internationally. The CPA’s promotion of Roger Garaudy. who had been expelled from the French Party for promoting Marxist-Christian dialogue, was damned by Clancy. He argued that a Trotskyite influence had pervaded the Party and he helped in organising a Declaration signed by 300 members opposing this Trotskyite influence.62

His second letter criticised the ‘Aarons leadership’ for bringing the Party’s membership to its lowest ebb. He considered the situation as a struggle between ‘two lines’, which would be fought out in the mass movement.63In reply, Aarons denounced Clancy for voting for various changes to policy and then publicly criticising them. Aarons criticised Clancy, who now refused to debate these issues publicly, and denied that the CPA was isolated, citing CPA involvement in the Moratorium Movement. Furthermore, Aarons claimed that the Vietnam Workers Party supported the CPA’s international policy. On the question of Czechoslovakia. Aarons noted that the Japanese and Spanish Parties has also questioned the decision to ‘invade’.64

These disputes led to the formation of the Socialist Party of Australia (SPA) in Sydney on 4-5 December 1971. Its founding resolution proclaimed that

Having considered the Australia-wide decline and disintegration of the Communist Party of Australia and its serious departure from Marxist theory and practice, we consider the immediate establishment of a political party based on scientific socialist principles, essential for the further development of die people’s struggle against monopoly capitalism, for peace and advance to socialism. Conference therefore, resolves to establish a political party to be called the Socialist Party of Australia.65

A Committee of 25 was elected and they selected an Executive of 7 comprising P. Clancy, P. Symon, W. Brown, Barbara Curthoys, J. McPhillips, J. Henderson and L. Kelton. Clancy was made Chairman and Symon became the Secretary. Clancy and Symon had extensive trade union experience; Clancy was the Secretary of the NSW Branch of the BWIU and on the ACTU Executive; Symon was the Vice President of the Port Adelaide Branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF). The Conference urged its members to organise locally. The SPA claimed to be ‘a party for working class unity – for peace, international solidarity and socialism – against monopoly and imperialism’.66

References were also made to the ownership of the means of production, exchange, communications and information and a united front for a socialist Australia. The SPA charter attempted to point out its differences with the CPA. Firstly, it emphasised the term ‘People’s Power’ as opposed to ‘Student Power’, ‘Black Power’ and ‘Pensioner Power’. Secondly, it stressed that the SPA would be guided by Marxism-Leninism and that classes would be conducted on the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin.67

The Aftermath
After the ‘split’, the CPA followed the policies adopted in previous congresses. ‘Grass-roots’ decision-making in all sections of society was emphasised. This policy embraced the trade union movement. The concept of workers’ control and self-managed interaction were promoted by some CPA trade union leaders such as Jack Mundey and Laurie Carmichael.68Both Mundey and Carmichael had experience in their respective unions with ‘on the job’ action, following the policies developed at the 1970 and 1972 Conferences. The 1972 conference argued for a change in consciousness through broad education which challenged the ideas of the ruling class:

A key question in developing the workers’ movement is the building of the anti-capitalist consciousness and culture, since it is mainly the hegemony of capitalist ideas which holds back the possibility of vigorous challenge to the system. This requires a creative challenge to the ideas and values of capitalism particularly through the development of education and cultural programs within the union movement. Shop stewards’ schools, lectures, classes and art should become a regular feature of union work directed towards the development of union expertise in fields such as organisation, awards, public speaking, negotiations, etc. together with a deeper political understanding of the fundamentals of capitalism. A real challenge to capitalist ideas and culture in every field is vital in developing working class socialist consciousness.69

The Party opened its eyes to environmental issues and sought appropriate responses.70 It believed that ad hoc decisions were adversely affecting the environment. Concern was also expressed about the level of atmospheric pollution, the misuse of energy resources, the failure to recycle, and the unplanned development of Australian cities:

The present structure of large cities under capitalism (for instance, unplanned high rise office blocks and home units) seriously affects the physical and mental health of all people, especially the poorer paid workers who live in slums or semi-slums, or in the outer reaches of the urban sprawl.71

The decisions made at these Congresses gave the NSW BLF direction in the area of the environment. It was a two-way process as the leadership of the NSW BLF also gave the Party direction in this question. Aaron’s leadership, in which Jack Mundey played an important part, considered the NSW BLF as one of the unions that would carry out ‘the new concept of unionism’. The NSW BLF became the CPA’s ideological flagship, a~d practising progressive concepts such as ‘limited tenure of office’ and ‘Green Bans’.


  1. Eric Aarons, What’s Left? Memoirs of on Australion Communist (Sydney: Penguin, 1993), p.156.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid. It would be assumed that the word ‘Communist’ was dropped in order to appeal to a wider audience.
  5. .R. Dixon, ‘Towards a Coalition of the Left’, Communist Party of Australia 21 st Congress Documents 9-12 June, 1967, p.3. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection. MLMSS 5021/1.
  6. Eric Aarons, ‘Communists and the Battle of Ideas’. Communist Party of Australia Congress Documents, 9-12 June, 1967, pp.I-II, Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/1.
  7. Ibid
  8. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970). This was originally printed in 1962.
  9. This is obviously a complex area to consider but the point that is being made here is that Eric Aarons was influenced by the concept of “paradigm shifts”.
  10. Eric Aarons, ‘Communists and the Battle of Ideas’, p.3.
  11. Ibid., p.8.
  12. L. Aarons, ‘Report of the Control Committee of the Communist Party of Australia’, delivered to the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of Australia, 9 June, 1967, pp.I-20. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection. MLMSS 5021/1.
  13. R. Dixon, ‘Towards a Coalition of The Left’, Communist Party of Australia 21 st Congress Documents 9-12 June, 1967, p.3. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/1.
  14. Ibid.. p.8.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Conference for Left Action, Left Action Conference, 4-7 April, 1969, p.2. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/1 07. Leading members were J. Mundey, L. Carmichael, Alan Hughes, A. Macdonald, Joyce Stevens. M. Taft.
  19. Conference for Left Action, Left Action Conference, Agenda and Procedur~s, 4-7 April, 1969, pp.I-2. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/107.
  20. Pat Clancy, ‘Unions and Today’s Challenge’, Communist Party of Australia 21 st Congress documents, 9-12 June, 1967, p.7. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/1.
  21. Ibid., p.9.
  22. Laurie Aarons, Report of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Australia 21st Congress Documents, 9 July, 1969, p.23. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/1.
  23. Ibid., p.23.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Ibid., p.21.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Frank Purse and Laurie Aarons. ‘Two Views on Problems of Modern Unionism’, Communist Party of Australia Pre-Congress documents, November. 1969, p.6. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/51.
  28. Pressures for Integration Into the System, Modern Unionism and the Workers’ Movement, Communist Party of Australia 22nd Congress, March 1970, pp.4-5, Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/22.
  29. Ibid., p.7.
  30. Ibid.. p.1 O.
  31. Eric Aarons, What’s Left, p.165.
  32. Eric Aarons, ‘Czechoslovakia and the USSR: WHY?’ Tribune (4 September 1968), pp.8-1 O.
  33. Ibid.
  34. The NLF were heroes to the student movement and were supported by elements of the New Left. The North Vietnamese government did not receive this support.
  35. National Committee Meeting, National Committee, Communist Party of Australia, 28-30 November, 1969, pp.4-6. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/15.
  36. Letter from Laurie Aarons to Edgar Ross, 8 june, 1970. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/17.
  37. District Officers, jack Mundey, President, N. Olive, Secretary, An Open Letter to Sydney Communists, Communist Party of Australia, Sydney District Committee, 24 july, 1970, pp.I-3. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/19.
  38. To complicate matters, another pro-Soviet member, Bill Brown, laid charges against Laurie Aarons. These were not successful, but deepened Party divisions. This is outlined in What Happened to the Communist Porty of Australia? a publication of the newly formed Socialist Party of Australia.
  39. Communist Party of Australia, ‘Report of the Committee of Investigation of Charges laid by the National Executive against Comrades A. Watt and E. Ross’, undated, p.l. Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS/25.
  40. Ibid., p.4.
  41. Ibid.
  42. ‘New Times attacks CPA policies’, Tribune (27 january 1971), p.8.
  43. The Congress took place in March 1970 and it produced a number of documents,one of the most controversial from the ‘old guard’ perspective being ‘Modern Unionism and the Workers’ Movement’.
  44. By referring to these countries, the CPA leadership was indirectly stating that countries such as the Soviet Union were not in fact socialist as they represented an authoritarian form of socialism, an attack spearheaded by the New Left.
  45. Denis Freney, A Map of Days: Life on the Left (Port Melbourne: William Heinemann, 1991), p.268.
  46. All of this discussion is contained In ‘New Times Attacks CPA policies’,
    Tribune (27 january 1971).
  47. Freney, A Map of Days, pp.152-175.
  48. Ibid., pp.237-255.
  49. Ibid., pp.275-292.
  50. Published in Praxis, journal of the Communist Party of Australia,S November, and reproduced in Tribune (21 October 1970).
  51. Ibid.
  52. Published in Praxis (5 November 1970) and reproduced from Tribune (28 October 1970), titled ‘Separate organisation'(Statement by a group of CPA members).
  53. Ibid.
  54. Ibid.
  55. Published in Praxis, reproduced from Tribune (28 October 1970), article titled ‘Squaring off for Ultimo’, p.39.
  56. Ibid., p.38.
  57. Ibid., p.38.
  58. Ray Turner, ‘CPA loses its trade union base’, Daily Mirror (15 October 1971).
  59. Laurie Aarons, Correspondence from Laurie Aarons to Comrades, Mitchell Library, Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLM5S 5021/63.
  60. Laurie Aarons and Pat Clancy, ‘Correspondence betWeen National Committee & Comrade Clancy’, Praxis (November 1970), pp.23-34. There was a difference betWeen the National Executive and National Committee, the former body meeting more regularly, the latter body meeting less frequently and having a much larger membership.
  61. Clancy’s position was to work with the ALP on a number of issues. This was the dilemma of the conservative position; they supported the Soviet Union as well as the ALP and were opposed to ‘grass-roots’ movements such as the student movement, workers’ control, and the NLF.
  62. Ibid., pp.24-28.
  63. Ibid., pp.31-2.
  64. Ibid., pp.28-30 and pp.33-4. For a further detailed criticism, see Bill Brown, ‘What Happened to the Communist Party of Australia?’, Sydney, 1971 in Mitchell Library, MLMSS 5021/63, Communist Party of Australia Collection.
  65. Socialist Party of Australia, ‘Introducing the Socialist Party of Australia’, p.2. Mitchell Library Communist Party of Australia Collection, MLMSS 5021/58.
  66. Ibid., p.3.
  67. Ibid.
  68. Neal Swancott, ‘The Communist Party plots out the future’, The Australian (31 March, 1972), p.7.
  69. ‘The Workers’ Movement, The Left Challenge for the 70s: Statement of Aims, Methods and Organisation: Communist Party of Australia’, 23rd Congress, Sydney, Communist Party of Australia, March, 1972, p.5.
  70. ‘Fight Capitalism’s Destruction of the Environment. The Left Challenge for the 70s: Statement of Aims, Methods and Organisation: Communist Party of Australia’, 23rd Congress, Sydney, Communist Party of Australia, March 1972, p.8.
  71. Ibid, p.8.