The 1969 Conference for Left Action: Marxist theory and practice in Australia's new left
AffiliationSchool of Social and Political Sciences
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
The 1969 Left Action Conference brought together 800 people of the Old and New Lefts to discuss revolutionary strategies, like “self-management” and “workers’ control” made popular in the French uprising of 1968. The thesis provides a snapshot of a unique period of Australian history. I examine the conference debates to understand theory and practice in 1960s Australia, after tracing the development of a new movement of Marxist radicals. Impatient for revolution, could the new left generation challenge conservative Australia and the Stalinist communist parties? The period 1967-1969 is a window on a radical experience which made a significant contribution to the overhaul of the conservative and repressive ways of 1950s Australia. Marxism revived, alongside a liberatory politics; the key element – anti-Stalinism, anti-domination, anti-manipulation, power and control inspired hope. After the conference new struggles and new debates flourished; an anti-war Moratorium movement united social forces to fight conscription and war and created a new momentum for change. Unfortunately political organisation then fragmented. The thesis draws on the experiences of the time to assess success and failure and the relevance of old and new ideas.
KeywordsAustralian new left; Marxists; 1969; Left Action; radical left
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