Topic: Unions

Does the Australian working class have the power to change society?

Tom Bramble, using a wealth of data, refutes arguments which claim that the Australian working class no longer has the power to challenge capitalist rule.

The ALP: what class of party?

The Labor Party is in crisis. Its branch structures continue to fracture, its active membership continues to shrink, its working class vote continues to decline and year after year the party shifts further to the right. Can it in any sense still be regarded as some form of workers’ party? Ben Hillier argues that the answer is a qualified “yes".

Is there a labour aristocracy in Australia?

Tom Bramble debunks the theory that there is an aristocracy of labour in Australia.

Disturbing the peace: riots and the working class

Mick Armstrong argues that socialists should recognise riots as an important part of working class struggle and shows the role they have often played in Australia.

Still fighting for equal pay

Cecilia Judge and Adam Bottomley outline how Australian Services Union members won what has been described as the most significant victory for gender pay equity since the 1970s.

Fighting anti-union laws: the Clarrie O'Shea strikes

Katie Wood looks at the 1969 Clarrie O'Shea strike.

Socialist trade union strategy in the Bolshevik era

In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the newly formed Communist International  attempted to develop a revolutionary approach to union work in the West. Mick Armstrong looks at the application of that strategy in Australia and Britain.

The impact of women's changing role in the workplace

Diane Fieldes looks at the impact on the family of women's increased participation in the paid workforce.

Indonesia: trade unions and the regeneration of radical politics

Max Lane provides an overview of the "rebirth" of a powerful working class movement and the challenges posed for emerging forces of the Indonesian Marxist left.

Defying the stereotypes: women textile workers in Bangladesh

Liz Ross shows that, in spite of brutal exploitation, women textile and garment workers from the industrial revolution in nineteenth century Britain to Bangladesh today have defied the stereotype of passive victims.

Student unions: a history of attacks and resistance

Rebecca Barrigos looks at the frequent government attacks on student unions since the 1970s.

'The Southern Tree of Liberty' explained

Terry Irving’s book The Southern Tree of Liberty celebrates working people, their grievances, their organisations and the struggle for democracy before 1856 as revealed by working class newspapers, many never consulted by historians before.

How World War One led to class war

World War I began with only tiny numbers opposing Australia’s involvement, but by 1916 a mass anti-conscription campaign split the Labor party. By Mick Armstrong.

Australian unions and the fight for equal pay for women

Katie Wood draws together a rich history of working class struggle for equal pay for women. Unlike some historians who present equal pay as a "feminist" issue won by women's mobilisations against men's resistance, she shows that it has been a union issue since the nineteenth century.

Radical Chinese labour in Australian history

Liam Ward has assembled a remarkable history of struggle by Chinese workers in Australia which has mostly been ignored or misrepresented.

Our unions in crisis: how did it come to this?

Tom Bramble, drawing on decades of research and active involvement in the labour movement, argues that 35 years of passivity and class collaboration rather than an emphasis on militant, class struggle unionism is the core reason our unions are in crisis.

Why Queensland is different

Rebecca Barrigos digs into the history of economic development, ruling class strategies and the labour movement of Queensland to explain why the state has its own distinct political traditions.

Review: 'On New Terrain', by Kim Moody

Kyla Cassells reviews an important new book by American Marxist Kim Moody which details both the substantial restructuring of capital andlabour through the neoliberal era, and the opportunities available for a new generation of socialist and union activists to rebuild a working class left.

Review: The making of the Australian working class

Diane Fieldes reviews a fascinating new work that documents the early formation of working class consciousness in Australia.