Though little discussed today, Australian communism was a movement that changed the lives of its members — and the course of national history.
Jon Piccini is a lecturer in history at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane. He writes on social movements, transnationalism, and other aspects of contemporary Australian history, and co-hosts the Australian radical podcast Living the Dream.
At its high point, the Communist Party of Australia united thousands of working-class militants in a struggle to transform the world around them. These everyday communists were brave, flawed, and sometimes heroic.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Australian labor movement was considered the most successful in the world, but notions of “White Australia” have always haunted and undermined its internationalism.