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Through studying the lessons of the past, Radical Tradition works for the creation of social and political structures which allow all people equal decision making power and equal access to society's wealth.
Last Updated:
21 October 2014

21 October 2014 - Anarres Books (1992-2008) is no more so I have transferred Six essays on collective organisation to Radical Tradition.

28 Jan 2009 - Time for a memorial to commemorate Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner and the Indigenous Resistance in early Melbourne history.

16 April 2007 - Archived from Takver's Soapbox: photos of Melbourne's 2003 anti-war protests against the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

9 April 2007 - A bio of Harvey Buttonshaw, who lived for many years in Victoria and who fought alongside George Orwell in the Spanish Civil War and social revolution.

1 December 2004 - Dr Joe Toscano articulates in a conference paper the similarity of the methods used by those involved in Eureka and the anarchist movement". Lantern maker and Eureka Dawn Walk organiser, Graeme Dunstan, and Joe Toscano ask Why an Apology? Eureka and the Victorian Police. See the radical events marking the 150th Anniversary of the massacre of the Eureka Stockade on December 3.

30 July 2004 - During the mid 1970s Friends of the Earth (FoE) organised the Rides against Uranium, which were pivotal events in the campaign against uranium mining and also in cycle touring. In Remembering the FoE Rides against Uranium John Englart details the rides in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982, the Ride to Roxby in 1984, the Atom Free Embassy, and the role music played in the movement, along with an assessment of the historical impact of the Rides against Uranium.

15 May 2004 - New pages on the Eureka 2004 150th anniversary coming up on 3rd December, as well reports of the Eureka 2003 anniversary and the Eureka Story page.

Obituary on Jim Cairns (1914 - 2003) and an article called 'Cairns On revolution'. New material by Dick Curlewis (1917-2002) on the 1989 Pilots dispute.

Anarchist gatherings site reports from Anarchist Teaparty National Symposium in Aotearoa in December 2003, and Anarcon 4 held in Perth in January 2004.

1 May 2004 - My Union Right or Wrong. A History of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union 1900 to 1932. By Issy Wyner. This history brings alive the spirit of radical democracy and mateship in the trade union movement in the first decades of the twentieth century. A valuable resource to present and future historians of the labour movement and radicalism in Australia.

30 May 2003 - Make MABO DAY - 3 June - an Australian Public Holiday seeks to recognise the historic achievement of Eddie Mabo in overturning the fiction of 'Terra Nullius'. Thirty years ago, in 1973, Gay Liberation took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities in demonstrations of Gay Pride.

18 May 2003 - Karen Walters (1959-2003) traces the life and tragic early death of a melbourne anarchist and feminist.

15 May 2003 - May Days in Brisbane - Official and unofficial May Day marches. While the ferals and anarchists reclaimed the streets on May 1st, the union movement marched in large numbers on the Labour Day Public Holiday the following monday. The Reclaim the Streets on May 1st was one of a number of events associated with Anarchy for Life..... Brisbane Anarchist & Autonomist Conference.

9 May 2003 - Updated: The Radical Tradition website archive with the National Library of Australia in their Pandora archive of electronic publications. It is indexed under the History category at:

9 December 2002 - In 2004 the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion will be celebrated. Read Dr Joe Toscano's commentary each week on this page or the full Eureka Rebellion story.

2 November 2002 - The 16th of November marks the 60th anniversary of the murder of Italian Anarchist and anti-fascist, Fransesco Fantin, by fascists in the Loveday Internment Camp in 1942.

Celebrate the radical spirit
of the Eureka Rebellion
December 3, 2004
4am to 4pm

Eureka Monument at Dawn
Eureka 2004 | Eureka 2003 | Eureka Story

Featured Articles: Make Mabo Day a Public Holiday

Make MABO DAY - 3 June -
an Australian Public Holiday

Take a holiday on June 3rd to celebrate a great Australian, Eddie Mabo, who overturned the two century fiction of Terra Nullius in a ten year campaign through the courts ending in the historic High Court Mabo Judgement.

June the 3rd marks the anniversary of Mabo Day, a day that has important ramifications for Australian Society. Mabo Day is a day that is virtually unknown and ignored by most Australians.

On the third of June 1992 the High Court of Australia rejected the ridiculous notion of "Terra Nullius", that this land was not occupied before European colonisation. Eddie Mabo a Torres Strait man born on Mer in the Torres Strait and living in Townsville in Queensland conducted a ten year battle through the courts that led to this historic judgement. The Mabo Judgement states in law that indigenous Australians have by prior occupation, ownership of land where native title has not been extinguished.

Last year on the tenth anniversary, Eddie Mabo's widow, Bonita Mabo, called for a national public holiday on the anniversary of the High Court's decision. Mrs Mabo said Eddie Mabo would be singing and dancing in delight over the progress made. "He would be dancing and singing - I can see him doing it," she said. "It's going to be a long time but at least we're starting to get somewhere which is great. Since '92 there was nothing like this around and you know people couldn't say, 'oh this is my land, this is my country, I'm a traditional owner', which makes them so proud of who they are." Mrs Mabo said a national holiday would be the most appropriate way of celebrating Mr Mabo's efforts. "You know we don't have to have the Queen's birthday weekend."

Show respect. Take a holiday on June 3rd to celebrate a great Australian. Why not organise a picnic of your family, your friends, your relatives, your colleagues. Take the day off work and celebrate the achievements of Eddie Koiki Mabo in overturning 'Terra Nullius'. There is still a long way to travel with regards to Native Title, but Eddie showed that individuals can successfully change the course of history.

For the full story....and what you can do

Eddie Mabo, photographed in the late 1970s, superimposed on the Torres Strait Islander Flag
Image: Photo of Eddie Mabo, superimposed
on the Torres Strait Islander flag
(in use since 29 May 1992)

Mutualism & Benefit Societies
In Recovering Our Roots: Mutualism, Mutuals and the ALP Dr Race Mathews argues for the Australian Labor Party to look to its roots and adopt policies friendly to Mutualism. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of State Socialism, this is part of a reappraisal of socialist and social democratic vision taking into account libertarian currents such as Mutualism overshadowed by Marxism/ Leninism. In Mutuality Dr Bob James gives a a brief history lesson on the origin of Friendly Societies and Trade Unions, and presents a critique of the demutualisation debate. See also:

Famous quotes:
Malcolm Fraser on history: "One of the hardest things for non-indigenous Australians to understand, especially the older generation, is that the history - if we were taught any history about early settlement days in the early centuries in this country - was not particularly accurate. The history we were taught, that we were led to believe, is not what happened."
Malcolm Fraser, Former Prime Minister 1975-1983
From History Dictates that we say sorry - The Age 04-05-2000

Julie McCrossin (Australian Radio & TV presenter/journalist) "Historical perspective is essential for anyone interested in social change. You need a sense of yourself as part of a tradition of dissent and agitation in order to develop a realistic set of expectations."

Oceania MAP: Select a region
Australia Aotearoa

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Older items:

2 October 2002 - Short biography of Marie Pitt (1869-1948), a poet, socialist, early feminist, ecologist and anarchist.
Against Terrorism, Against War is an index of articles that document the peace movement in Melbourne after the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001.

18 August 2002 - The successful Free Speech campaign in Brisbane during 1982 and 1983 is well documented by Ciaron O'Reilly.

9 August 2002 - John Englart continues the story of Anarchism in Sydney in documenting the split in the Jura Books Collective during 1982, then details Anarchism in Sydney 1982-2002, the story of the two anarchist bookshops, Jura Books and Blackrose. This year Jura Books has been going for 25 years and Black Rose for 20 years. In Rebel Worker and Accountability John Englart examines the 20 year history of Rebel Worker, initially the paper of the Australian IWW, then of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, and presently of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Network.

New in the biography section: Richard Curlewis, a life long advocate for workers' control.

New on the anarchist gatherings site: a report of the 1966 Australia and New Zealand Anarchist Conference, a flyer for the Community Action - Self Management Conference in Melbourne in 1972, and a report of the 1999 anarcho-syndicalist conference in Melbourne.

1 August 2002 - Historical Overview of Anarchism in Melbourne pulls together many of the stories and people involved in the anarchist movement in Melbourne over the last 110 years. The Melbourne Anarchist Archives: Drafts and Documents 1966-1973 provides substantial information on the theoretical development of anarchism in Melbourne for the Melbourne/La Trobe current, as well as current issues and debates at the time including: Conscription, Maoism, Anti-war, support for the NLF, student protest, May Day, Workers' Control, the Moratorium movement, Czechoslovakia, Student action for Education. The other major anarchist current in Melbourne 1970 to 1975 was what was loosely termed 'carnival anarchism', which includes the stories of the Collingwood Freestore and Australia's first free Legal Aid Service.

23 June 2002 - Picket Line Despatches from the Joy Mining Machinery Dispute, 2000 by Rowan Cahill is an important chronicle of this dispute, which highlighted the neo-liberal agenda for attacking workers, their conditions, and union organisation.

New pages have also been added on the Libertarian Socialist Alliance for Self Managed Energy Systems: 1978-1979 and the 1998 Jabiluka Blockade and protests, particularly the Jabiluka Ploughshares action.

Online Books and featured pamphlets have moved to their own index page.

20 June 2002 - Julian Ripley & the 1971 Labour & National Service Bombing in Perth tells how easy it is to get verballed and railroaded to prison for something you didn't do. Did the present WA Minister for Health, Bob Kucera, frame Julian 30 years ago?

11 June 2002 - The Bibliography of Anarchism & Syndicalism in Australia and Aotearoa / New Zealand by Michael Vaux is a useful resource for researchers in this area.

10 June 2002 - Revised edition of Craft, Trade or Mystery by Dr Bob James released. An important work on the origins of Trade Unions as part of a broader movement of benefit societies.

5 June 2002 - In 1916 two Australian wobblies were executed for the murder of a police constable. The Tottenham Tragedy is their story. Another IWW member, Pat Mackie, played a pivotal role in the Mount ISA Dispute of 1964/65.

9 May 2002 - The Radical Tradition website is now archived by the National Library of Australia in their Pandora archive of electronic publications. It is indexed under the History category at:

From Resurgence to Insurgence - Sydney Anarchist & Autonomist Conference to be held 27-28 April 2002. A resurgence of anarchism is also occurring across the Tasman in Aotearoa, see 2001: An Anarchist Odyssey, an anarchist conference held in Christchurch October 2001.

Two people added to the biography section include Antonio Jimenez (1935-1990), a Spanish emigrant to Australia who became an Anarchist; and John Flaus - radio, stage and screen actor, film critic, academic, journalist and....philosophical anarchist.

In Origins of the Hunter Labour Movement Dr Bob James presents local labour history of Newcastle and the Hunter River in an exciting and varied format, which "allows the movement to grow out of working people's lives, as it did in practice".

Sydney's Libertarian Push has had an extraordinary impact on Australian culture and society. A diverse range of people passed through the parties, pubs and meetings. Darcy Waters "was an icon of freedom and rebellion for Sydney's weekend warriors, people who couldn't or wouldn't embrace a life of permanent protest." Germaine Greer is perhaps the most famous Australian anarchist, although she is better known for her radical feminism and counterculturalism. Jack 'the Anarchist' Grancharoff has been a fixture around the anarchist scene in Sydney since the 1950s.

Federal election 2001; compulsory voting; a choice between tweedledum and tweedledee. The Direct Democracy not Parliamentary Rule Index presents some of the history and arguments against voting and parliamentary democracy from a libertarian/anarchist perspective. Read about the Anarchist anti-election campaign - 1998 or how in 1987 a voter took direct action. A strong anti- political stance was adopted by the direct actionist Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.). Two articles are featured by veteran Wobbly, Monty Miller, who articulated Politics and Parliament and The Passing of Parliament.

A biography of Bernard O'Dowd, who saw grave problems in Federation and wrote a clause by clause critique of the draft Federal Bill.

Conference reports on the 1998 Direct Action Jamboree, plus Conferences and gatherings during 2001 in Melbourne (April), Sydney (July), and Wollongong (August).

Art's Alternative Tradition is a virtual tour that deals with society's aspirations and discontents as perceived by artists such as Noel Counihan and admired counterparts inluding Goya, Charlet, Daumier and Kollwitz. Virtual tour put together by art historian, Robert Smith.

John Olday was a council communist, cartoonist and artist who contributed to the anarchist movement in Germany, England and Australia through a range of strategies and his talents as a graphic artist and cartoonist. John Olday in Europe portrays his early and later life. John Olday in Australia contains his memoirs of nearly 20 years in Australia.

Harry Hooton (1908-1961) was a poet and philosopher ahead of his time. He was part of the Libertarian Push in Sydney during the post WW II years, with connections to Angela "Annie" Westbrook of the IWW and many of the poets and writers active in Australian Literature of the time. The anarchist philosophy he developed was anarcho-technocracy and The Politics of Things, which are prescient pieces of writing on anarchism, technics and society, still relevant today.

Latter Day Witches is the first chapter of Dr Bob James 1986 book, Anarchism and State Violence in Sydney and Melbourne 1886-1896 on the formation of the Melbourne Anarchist Club on May Day 1886 and the impact of the Haymarket Tragedy on anarchism in Australia. Dr Joe Toscano descibes the origins of Mayday in Australia

Freemasons, Friendly Societies and Trade Unions is a new index containing links to Dr Bob James research on the history and importance of benefit societies and mutual aid. Included are a major new study and two new essays:

In Recovering Our Roots: Mutualism, Mutuals and the ALP Dr Race Mathews argues for the Australian Labor Party to look to its roots and adopt policies friendly to Mutualism. See Featured Articles for more...

Australian Draft Resistance and the Vietnam War - statements by Michael Matteson and Geoff Mullen
Much has been written about the Vietnam anti-war movement in Australia, but there has been little acknowledgement of the role of individual anarchists or anarchist groups in the anti-war and conscription debates. The pamphlet, 1945: The Saigon Insurrection, reports on the suppression and murder of radical dissidents by the Vietminh Committee, and the reactionary politics of nationalism.

Protests against World Economic Forum at Melbourne Crown Casino September 11 - 13, 2000
Two eyewitness reports of the protests in Melbourne against Corporate globalisation and neo-liberalism. Includes a link to the Barret Report which examines the media buildup and reporting of the event.

Vince Englart and Kevin Englart were brothers subjected to political blacklisting because of their radical political activity in the middle of the twentieth century.

Melbourne Support for a Free East Timor - September 1999
Popular protests for East Timor Independence, against the Indonesian military rampage.

Raised a Radical - the Englarts in Brisbane 1920-1939
Vince Englart's childhood recollections of growing up in a communist family in Brisbane during the 1920's and 30's. Interspersed with working class humor and social observation.

Brisbane 1946 - Workers' Control on the wharf
More detail on wharfies taking direct action in Brisbane in 1946 by unloading fresh fruit from the SS Murada, in defiance of a lockout by the stevedoring employers.

This site seeks to rectify the exclusion of anarchists from Labour History by featuring articles such as: Garry Hill on an Industrial struggle at Chrysler Factory at Tonsley Park (Adelaide) 1976-1978, John Englart's Anarchism in Sydney 1975-1981, and Dick Curlewis on The Melbourne Tram Dispute and Lockout of 1990.

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European Socialism

European Socialism and the Russian Revolution...Anarchism/Syndicalism.....Bob James
This is the text of a lecture written and given by Bob James at the University of Newcastle, Australia, around 1995. It is important as it gives some detailed background into the origins of the socialist movement, and the development of statist and libertarian forms of socialism.

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Historiography - Articles about the study of History

  • Writing on Anarchism - Chapter Two of Dr Bob James 1986 book, Anarchism and State Violence in Sydney and Melbourne 1886-1896, in which he takes to task existing histories of the Australian labor movement and Labor Historians for the neglect of important aspects of the historical record. As Bob asserts: "Australian political historians give the impression of being politically illiterate and historically blind."

  • The Tragedy of Labour History in Australia.....Bob James
    Anarres Books in Melbourne organised for Bob James to present this talk at the New International Co-Operative Bookshop. Bob presents some provocative facts to challenge the Labour History orthodoxy. Further research into hidden labour history is continuing...

  • Questioning assumptions - Anarchism and Historiography....Bob James
    Bob James argues that in historical research the evidence should lead. That history is made by people, often contradictory and rarely consistent. The job of historian is the work of a detective: to ask the right questions and examine motivations as much as rely on what is said by people.

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History - some personal motivations and comments

This Web Page is an attempt to explore some of my family history and the history of working-class people in Australia. Although much of this material has an academic style, this webpage is intended for all people interested in exploring the people and events that shape a radical tradition in Australia. Much of it is historical recollections experienced and documents written by ordinary folk.

History, as a subject in school, is increasingly being neglected and relegated as unimportant. But if we do not know where we are from, and how we came to be in our present predicament, the mistakes of the past will come to haunt us again. Meanwhile, those with the power and wealth will continue to define our actions and even our thoughts. George Orwell's dystopian vision in 1984 is already amoung us....

The radical tradition in Australia is diverse and complex. An essential part of this tradition, and my own family tradition, has been the formation, growth, and finally dissolution of the Communist Party of Australia (C.P.A.). As an anarchist, I do not condone the organisational practices and vanguardist policies of the Communist Party of Australia or other Marxist groups. But I do recognise the revolutionary ideals that inspired these organisations and their contribution to a radical social tradition and culture in Australia.

These articles do not pretend to be unbiased. They very much speak out for socialism, social justice, and workers' control. They speak out against the ever growing gap between the rich and the poor in Australian society. Please visit Takver's Soapbox site to read my comments and links on current events.

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Contact Takver with questions or comments about this web site.

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