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The Balmain ironworkers 'strike of 1945





Th BLMN RONWORKRS 'STRK OF 1945

( sssy)


Ths two rtcls on th Blmn ronworkrs 'struggl wr publshd n Lbour Hstory n My nd Novmbr 1972. Th Mmors of Cloptr Swtfgur , wrttn n 1980, S mtur utobogrphcl pc tht hd grt nflunc, prtculrly mong fmnsts, n th 1980s. Dphn Golln, who dd fw yrs go, ws th formr wf of Robn Golln (th lbour hstorn), lovr of th lt nck Orglss (th long-lvd nd stubborn ponr ustrln Trotskyst) nd hrslf vry cpbl lbour hstorn.

Th bttls n th Blmn brnch of th ronworkrs 'Unon, nd n th ronworkrs' Unon n gnrl, hv bn rcountd vry thoroughly n Hll Grnlnd's bogrphy of nck Orglss, Rd Hot , Susnn Short's bogrphy of hr fthr, Lur Short: poltcl lf , nd Bob Murry nd Kt Wht's Th ronworkrs: Hstory of th Fdrtd ronworkrs 'ssocton of ustrl (Sydny, Hl nd rmongr, 1982). p> my McGrth, th wf of Frnk McGrth, On of th ky fgurs n th opposton n th Blmn brnch of th ronworkrs ' Unon, who ltr bcm judg, hs wrttn n ccount, clld Th Frudng of Vots , of th Blmn brnch bttl from th ngl of hr husbnd nd th lw frm tht rprsntd hm. Tom Brsln, th ky fgur n th Communst Prty fcton n th Blmn brnch, wrot n unpublshd utobogrphcl ccount of th struggl from hs Pont of vw.

n ths rtcls, Dphn Golln mks bld ssrtons suggstng drct knowldg of Communst Prty bllot rggng n svrl ronworkrs 'Unon bllots. Hr ssrtons hv consdrbl wght, s sh workd n th Unon's offc durng th Blmn ronworkrs 'struggl.

t n Octobr 1, 1994, confrnc on th grt Lbor splt n NSW, th followng thr-wy xchng, whch spks for tslf, took plc btwn Jm McClllnd, Jck McPhllps nd myslf. Th trnscrpt ws publshd n Th Grt Lbour Movmnt Splt: nsd Stors , publshd by th ustrln Socty for Lbour Hstory.

Th Frst ssson promptd mny commnts nd xchngs, som of whch - wth th prmsson of th spkrs - W prnt blow. n th followng xchng btwn Jm McClllnd, who ws on Lur Short's lgl tm from lt 1951, Jck McPhllps nd Bob Gould, th quston of bllot-rggng rsd ts hd gn.

Jm McClllnd: Lk Clyd Cmron hv nvr ovrstmtd th rol of thcs n poltcl lf. But thnk tht to go from thr to proposton tht ny mns r justfd by nds tks th mttr nto th rlm of totltrn poltcs, whch thnk vrybody hr S opposd to. Now Mr McPhhps dmttd tht vrybody hd md som rrors, so xpct tht H ncluds mong thos who md rrors th Communst Prty, to whch H blongd, nd prhps vn hmslf. Now wondr f H wll dmt tht On of thr grtst rrors ws n cookng th 1949 ronworkrs bllot. Now n cs thr S ny doubt tht T ws cookd, 'd lk to rlt lttl ncdnt tht hppnd to m n my ltr lf. Mr McPhllps, suppos you would rmmbr mn nmd Rodrck Shw. Do you, Mr McPhllps? p> Jck McPhllps: Ys.

McClllnd: Wll, Rodrck Shw ws mn who hd bn mmbr of th Communst Prty nd whom mt lt n hs lf s 'v mt lot of Othr x-Communsts, bcus x-Communsts r vry thck on th ground ths dys. nd Rod ws vry prsonbl mn; H ws good pntr mong Othr thngs. But H ws prtnr n frm of prntrs clld dwrds nd Shw. Now T ws llgd n th ronworkrs Bllot Cs tht th Unon offcls, of whom Mr McPhllps ws promnnt On, hd up thr slv n xtr 2000 bllot pprs, whch thy wr bl to rng n, votng for thmslvs, nd so dft th xprssd opnon of thr mmbrs n th bllot. don't know tht Mr McPhllps hs vr dmttd tht H ws prty to tht. p> McPhllps: H dosn't dmt T now thr. (Lughtr)

McClllnd: No, wll, Mr Rodrck Shw, who ws prntr whos frm prntd th bllot pprs for tht lcton, nd who unlk Mr McPhllps, ultmtly rcovrd from hs dhrnc to Communsm, dmttd n hs closng yrs tht hs frm prntd n xtr 2000 bllot pprs nd ddn't hnd thm to th Rturnng Offcr but hd hndd thm prsonlly to Mr McPhllps. p> McPhllps: H's lr nd so r you. (Lughtr)

McClllnd: Wll, chos to blv hm nd don't brng tht story forwrd n ordr to trduc Mr McPhllps bcus blv tht, no mttr how wrong H my hv bn, H ctd ccordng to fls vw of wht ws good for hs f...


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