One hundred years after the Red flag Riots, Jim McIlroy looks at the polarisation after World War I, in which far-right aggression was incited by governments and “respectable” political forces.
Communist Party of Australia (CPA)
Last September, while campaigning for the position of Lord Mayor of Newcastle and a ward councillor, I bumped into an NSW Labor Party officer at a coffee shop.
“Comrade”, he said, “You’ve got some great policies”. “Feel free to borrow any of them,” I relied cheekily. “Our housing policy, for example, is based on Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton's work in Moreland, Victoria.”
The next day the local papers reported that ALP candidates were talking up “affordable housing”.
Growing up in northern Queensland in a family of unionists, I learnt the bare facts of the region’s radical history as part of the local folklore — Townsville had elected Communists to the local council, and Bowen twice sent a Communist, Fred Paterson, to state parliament.