Working-Class Anti-Colonialism in the Twentieth Century
Padraic Gibson, Sophie Loy-Wilson, Jon Piccini, and Evan Smith

Socialist Settlers on a Capitalist Frontier: The Contradictions of New Australia, Paraguay
Freg J. Stokes

This article assesses the socialist colony of New Australia, founded in Paraguay in 1893, in its wider historical and environmental context. Drawing on archival research, the article contends that New Australia was founded as part of a broader settler colonial deforestation frontier in the southern Atlantic Rainforest. Despite the utopian socialist ideology of its founders, New Australia’s establishment was made possible by Paraguay’s violent integration into the capitalist world-system in the late nineteenth century. This integration had previously been obstructed by centuries of resistance by Indigenous Guaraní and Guaraní-descendant peoples to colonisation. Nevertheless, New Australia’s subsequent failure as a settler colony also ensured that its impact on the Atlantic Rainforest was relatively minimal, with the colony’s inhabitants themselves becoming integrated into Paraguay’s rural Guaraní-speaking population.

Communists and the 1933 Campaign That Ended Frontier Massacres in Australia
Padraic Gibson

In August and September of 1933, agitation by the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) led trade unions and unemployed workers’ organisations to join a national campaign for Aboriginal rights for the first time in history. Police in the Northern Territory were publicly planning a “punitive expedition” to kill Yolngu people, in response to the spearing death of an officer. Public mobilisation stopped the expedition, effectively ending the practice of frontier massacres that had long characterised the colonisation of Australia. Existing histories have emphasised the leading role of missionaries and other middle and upper-class intellectuals, who led humanitarian organisations playing an increasingly influential role in Aboriginal affairs. While acknowledging the significance of these efforts, this article makes a new argument about the central role of communist agitation and the participation of working-class organisations in forcing a complete police retreat. Animating this initiative was a Marxist anti-imperialist politics that appealed to anti-war traditions within the workers’ movement.

Solidarity and Dilemmas: Tranby, Indenture and the Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific Campaigns, 1980s
Heather Goodall

The 1983 call by the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) campaign to end imperialism built strong alliances between disempowered Indigenous peoples and descendants of the unfree, indentured labourers who had been moved between colonies. The colonies and new nations of the Pacific, including Australia, had been left with populations which included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous (formerly indentured) people, all damaged in different ways by colonialism. There were unresolved tensions between these two groups, particularly in Fiji where the NFIP campaign was established. This paper traces responses in Tranby, an organisation which demonstrated the dilemmas of these tensions for Australian Indigenous people. Tranby, the Aboriginal-led Adult Education Co-operative took a strong anti-colonial position in the 1980s, advocating Land Rights as well as endorsing the NFIP campaign. Yet Tranby’s support wavered over the tensions between Indigenous people and those displaced by colonialism through indenture. Tranby’s history demonstrates how its links had continued with colonised peoples damaged in both ways across the Indian and Pacific Oceans, suggesting why it reshaped its support for the NFIP campaign after the 1987 Fiji coups.

“A Bloody Migrant Who Thinks He Can Run a Union”: The Case of Jerzy Bielski, a Migrant Trade Unionist in 1950s Australia
Ebony Nilsson and Jayne Persian

Jerzy Bielski, a Polish displaced person (DP) who resettled in Australia in 1949, was the first post-war migrant to work for an Australian trade union. He was recruited in 1951 by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) as a migrant unionist and some years later established his own migrant trade union: the New Citizens Council. The Council faced heavy criticism from within the trade union movement, including by right-wing DPs who, acting as Cold War warriors, were instrumental in the Labor Party split in the mid-1950s. Ultimately, this paper argues that migrant trade union activism has a longer post-war history than is commonly acknowledged.

Democracy for Its Progenitors: The CRDG, YSA and Anti-Fascism in the “Long 1960s”
James Hogg

Studies of post-war antifascism in Australia have recently generated new insights into the continuities and transformations of post-war fascist and antifascist organisations. However, despite this upsurge in scholarship, the 1960s remain neglected. This article revises this absence through a case study of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Greece (CRDG), the Yugoslav Settlers’ Organisation (YSA), and its successor The Committee for Democracy in Australia (CDA). It draws on press reports, left-wing publications, and security files to suggest the antifascisms of Melbourne in the 1960s were influenced by a parallel politics of anti-imperialism. It shows how both organisations were influenced by the historical experience of resisting fascism, particularly the concept of a “United Front” that facilitated a pan-left struggle against fascism and wider systems of oppression and domination. In doing so, this article contributes to the growing historiography on varieties of antifascism and their overlap with related emancipation movements.

The 1973 Migrant Workers’ Conference and Histories of Multiculturalism
Alexandra Dellios

Nowhere is the alliance between leftist organisations, trade unions, migrant workers’ clubs, and ethnic welfare societies better represented than in the Migrant Workers’ Conferences held in 1973 and 1975. This paper argues for the historic importance of these overlooked moments in the history of twentieth-century labour migration. It explores the inter-ethnic and social justice aims of grassroots multiculturalism in Australia – a model that has been lost in subsequent official renderings of multiculturalism. What was the social and political position of non-Anglo migrant labourers and the migrant rights activists representing their interests? How did they engage with the labour movement and the Far Left? What political alliances formed around this question of migrant labour and migrant welfare for ethnic minority workers? And what were the outcomes of these conferences? This article will explore the improbable alliances and tensions that formed the migrant rights movement in the early 1970s; track its fracturing after the mid-1970s, when economic crises rendered its more ambitious redistributive aims unachievable; and examine how the ideological direction of state-endorsed multiculturalism diverted its inter-ethnic social justice agenda.

Solidarity for the Indonesian Revolution
Adrian Vickers

During the Indonesian Revolution of 1945 to 1949, Australian unions and activist groups organised black bans on Dutch Shipping from Australian ports to hamper Dutch attempts at recolonisation. Indonesian and Dutch-language sources demonstrate the importance of unions and communist organisations in these actions. These sources show that links between left-wing groups in Australia and Indonesia were significant in building relationships between the countries, even though such links were severed by anti-communist massacres in Indonesia in 1948 and 1965.

Anti-Imperialism and International Solidarity in Central Australia 1980–2000
Bob Boughton and Deborah Durnan

This article provides an account of the activities of the peace movement in Central Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, combining the authors’ recollections of their experiences in this movement with material from a range of archival and secondary sources. Our aim is to highlight the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist dimension of campaigns against Pine Gap and other US bases in the Asia Pacific region and the solidarity which this movement sought to build with Indigenous and colonised peoples in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

The Radical Left and the Movement in Australia against the First Gulf War, 1990–91: Anti-Imperialism at the End of the Cold War
Evan Smith

The Gulf War in 1990–91 came at the end of the Cold War and at a time when the Left across the globe was reassessing itself as the Soviet Bloc collapsed. In this period of flux, the Australian Radical Left had also experienced a series of debates about its configuration, with several different attempts at unity, as well as reconsiderations about the relationship between the extra-parliamentary Left, the trade unions and the Australian Labor Party. After Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and several Western powers, led by the USA and Britain, sought to intervene, Bob Hawke’s Labor government supported the coalition against Iraq. A movement against Western intervention in the Gulf and Australia’s involvement in the coalition was built, including sections of the Labor Left, the trade unions, the peace movement, students and the organisations of the Far Left. Most looked back to the decade long movement against the Vietnam War for the framework for the anti-war campaign, but the Left, in all its guises, had faded in influence since the 1970s. This paper will look at how the movement against the First Gulf War developed between August 1990 and March 1991 and how it reflected a fractured and weakened Left in Australia in the dying days of the Cold War.