Saturday, April 21, 2018

MUA - The Lockout 20 years On

Listen to an MUA song composed 20 years ago by Tim O'Brien

Listen to an MUA song composed 20 years ago by Maurie Mulheron

More than 300 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), their families and supporters gathered at the M Club in Maroubra on April 7 to mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Patrick’s dispute in 1998.

The Patrick stevedoring company had conspired with the John Howard Coalition government to send in security guards in balaclavas, dogs and scabs to force waterfront workers out and attempt to eliminate the MUA from the docks.

After one of the biggest industrial confrontations in Australian history, involving mass support from other unionists and the public, MUA members were able to march back into the Patrick terminals in ports around the country a month later, on May 7. While the employers and government were defeated in their aim of smashing the MUA, significant redundancies followed at Patricks and other stevedoring companies.

Paul McAleer, Sydney branch secretary of the MUA, told the gathering: “Our struggle continues all across the industry. They tried to de-unionise us, but we still have 100% coverage on the wharves today.

“We have maintained the traditions of the MUA since the original union’s foundation in 1872, and later generations of workers have started new ones. The MUA is strong and disciplined in our continuing struggle against the ruling class.

“MUA, here to stay! MUA, here to stay!”

ACTU secretary Sally McManus told the crowd: 

  • “The legacy of the historic Patricks dispute changed our trade union movement in a number of ways. It united the movement, helping overcome divisions on the picket line.
  • “The dispute was an iconic ideological battle designed by the Howard government and the bosses to destroy the union movement, just like Margaret Thatcher tried to do against the British miners in the 1980s. Howard and the employers failed in their aim.
  • “The Patrick dispute taught us how to campaign along with the community to defend the union movement.
  • “And, the dispute forged a generation of warriors, prepared to wage the campaign against Work Choices in later years. In a sense, John Howard helped create a stronger union movement for future battles.”

Other leaders of the MUA, veterans of the Patrick dispute, thanked MUA members and other unionists, as well as supporters, for their strong solidarity on the picket lines and in other ways. The crowd gave rousing applause and expressed their determination to continue the struggle.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monday, April 09, 2018

George Head Head and the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention

Octagonal Folly that was built by George Head Head near Rickerby
George Head Head (c.1795 – 12 December 1876) was a mayor, magistrate, banker and mine owner in Carlisle. The bank was started by his father, but was improved and rebuilt in his lifetime. He attended an important Anti-Slavery convention in 1840 where a painting records his involvement.

Under Concrete and Glass

Recording of Seamus Gill's Green Ban Song "Under Concrete And Glass"
Politics in the Pub OCTOBER 08, 2011

Saturday, April 07, 2018

William Cuffay – 70th Anniversary at Kennington Park

Celebrating Kennington Park’s historic past

In the spring of 1848, as revolution and unrest consumed Europe, Kennington was at the centre of the fight for social justice in Britain. Tens of thousands of people gathered on Kennington Common on the 10th of April, demanding the right to vote.

Chartist meeting on Kennington Common in 1848 – photo by William Edward Kilburn (1818 - 1891)
The Chartist movement was a popular campaign that saw working people come together behind the Charter’s six demands for democratic reform, at a time when only those with land and property were allowed to vote.

The story of the Chartists’ fight for justice included dedicated women’s groups, and inspirational figures such as Anne Knight, who produced what is thought to be the earliest leaflet on women’s suffrage, and the radical William Cuffay, son of an emancipated slave.

Fast forward to 2018 — when Brexit, Trump, #Metoo and Black Lives Matter are in the news, amid fears of a breakdown in democratic values — and it’s time to ask – What is the legacy of #Kennington 1848 today?

Join us in Kennington Park to mark the 170th anniversary, and to launch a series of walks, talks, workshops and events for all the community, to celebrate our local park’s dramatic place in the history of protest and democracy.

Commemoration and Project Launch: Tuesday April 10th  2018, Kennington Park

A flag bearer will walk from each of the four meeting points of the Chartists in 1848, representing the four divisions of London Chartists:

Join us in Kennington Park at 10.45 to welcome the arrival of the four flag bearers. Followed by walks at 11.30am and 2.30pm

Kennington Chartist Project,