Beating anti-union laws: the Clarrie O’Shea strike

Katie Wood On 15 May 1969, union leader Clarrie O’Shea was jailed for refusing to allow the industrial court access to his union’s accounts. The Tramways Union had been fined under the penal powers, the coercive sections of the Arbitration Act, for taking industrial action. The penal powers had been...CONTINUE READING

Joe Hill: ‘I die like a true rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning, organise!’

Katie Wood A century ago, US authorities murdered one of the country’s most beloved working class poets and songwriters, Joe Hill. He was framed for murder in Salt Lake City, Utah, and shot by firing squad on 19 November 1915, in the midst of a nationwide campaign against the revolutionary labour org...CONTINUE READING

NTEU close but still not good enough on Palestine

Katie Wood On Saturday 5 October, the National Council of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) debated the prospect of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. A motion proposed by Socialist Alternative delegates to inform members of the campaign and enc...CONTINUE READING

Where have all the libraries gone?

Katie Wood Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I was in the library looking for a book for an assignment about the US civil rights movement when I happened across another book, located on the same shelf – Negroes with Guns. Negroes with Guns is a somewhat forgotten tract of the early civil ri...CONTINUE READING

Workers’ power on Melbourne’s trams

Katie Wood Katie Wood talks to former tram conductor Doug Jordan about a long and bitter fight to save more than a thousand jobs in Melbourne’s public transport system. “The revolution began at dawn – it was the day the workers took over the trams. It was the day the connies put the bosses to flight,...CONTINUE READING

Union activists discuss tactics in Melbourne

Katie Wood More than 170 union activists and others gathered for Socialist Alternative’s first union day school, held at Melbourne’s Trades Hall on the weekend of 15-16 November. The school opened with a large meeting “Reports from the frontline”. We were privileged to hear from John, one of the dele...CONTINUE READING

Lizzie Ahern, socialist agitator

Katie Wood Female leaders have often earned prominent places in the union and socialist movements in Australia. Lizzie Ahern was foremost among them. Her militant, iconoclastic attitude won her many supporters and not a few enemies. Her early political career stands, 100 years later, as an inspiratio...CONTINUE READING

Back to basics at Melbourne University

Katie Wood On Thursday, 26 September, workers at Melbourne University took part in more vigorous industrial action than has occurred on that campus in many years. As part of a 24-hour strike, around 100 staff, students and supporters set up picket lines at the two main entrances to the campus. The Na...CONTINUE READING

Who really rules Australia?

Katie Wood Parliament is supposed to be the key decision-making body in our society. Laws, regulations and policy are discussed and voted on there, and the media spend an inordinate amount of time covering the ins and outs of parliamentary debate. We think less often about the other decisions that af...CONTINUE READING