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

Lesley Hall was fierce!

Liz Ross “Lesley was fierce!” Playwright and Melbourne Workers’ Theatre member Patricia Cornelius punched out the words in her tribute to hundreds gathered at the Northcote Town Hall on Tuesday, 29 October. A fierce fighter for the rights of disabled people to control their own lives. A fierce figh...CONTINUE READING

Keynes’ grandchildren need Marx

Sandra Bloodworth In 1930, British economist John Maynard Keynes published an essay titled “Economic possibilities for our grandchildren”. In it he predicted that in a hundred years capitalism would produce machines capable of doing most of society’s work. We’d happily be working only three hours a day or a...CONTINUE READING

Sweatshop rebels

Sandra Bloodworth In December 1981, 300 migrant women at the Kortex textile mill in Brunswick, Melbourne, were on strike for 10 days. They had to fight cops using batons and wearing guns; some were arrested. Men we called “the company goons” were employed by the bosses to bully them into submission. Their u...CONTINUE READING

Norman Geras: an obituary

Rjurik Davidson The only time I briefly met Norman Geras was at the Marxism 2000 conference, held in Amherst, Massachusetts. Geras was one of three keynote speakers. Angela Davis spoke on the prison-industrial complex, with typical charisma; Gayatri Spivak packed the hall and gave a paper that was intermi...CONTINUE READING

How can people’s ideas change?

Kim Doyle The dominant ideas in society are the ideas of the ruling class. They train us to value individual success, to view greed as natural, to believe that fundamental social change is either impossible or too dangerous to attempt. Most of the time people accept such ideas because they fit with...CONTINUE READING

A history of abortion rights struggles

Liz Ross Writing in the Communist (UK) in 1922, activist and sometimes socialist Stella Browne insisted that birth control “is no less essential than workshop control and determination of the conditions of labour … Birth control is woman’s crucial effort at self determination and at control of her...CONTINUE READING

Larissa Reisner: poet’s soul, fighter’s rage

Vashti Kenway “An uprising passes by without trace in big cities. A revolution has to be great and victorious if the traces of havoc, its heroic abrasions and white bullet-scars on walls pock-marked by machine-gun fire are to be preserved on stone and iron if only for a few years..” Larissa Reisner’s ac...CONTINUE READING

Chinese women workers

Liam Ward In Australian labour history, the words “Chinese labour” and “cheap” are run together frequently and repeated uncritically. They conjure an image of passive pliant dupes at best, or at worst people who were outright scabs. But the stereotype is a racist lie. In this series, Red Flag uncove...CONTINUE READING