About 150 unionists and supporters gathered for the launch of Sam Wallman's graphic novel Our Members Be Unlimited at the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) office on August 26.
Wallman is a talented comics-journalist and artist who channelled his experiences as an Amazon warehouse stock picker, union delegate and organiser into his first book.
MUA Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith told the launch the book's title is taken from the first rule of the early British working-class movement: “that the number of our members be unlimited” and said Wallman uses “art as a tool of class struggle”.
Wallman gave an entertaining presentation, showing some of his early comics and talking about how his thinking about work has developed. He said that at first, union membership seemed to him like a “Netflix subscription”, but he then came to realise that “unionism is a verb”. He told the launch that for a union to really have an impact, it must be truly driven by its members taking an active role.
Wallman said he wants his book to be a resource and hopes it might be picked up by a young worker searching for answers in their first job.
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union members volunteered their time selling copies of the book, which were snapped up in brisk trade.