The active chorus : Victorian participation in the mass strike of 1917

Bollard, Robert (2004) The active chorus : Victorian participation in the mass strike of 1917. Honours thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


In 1917, eastern Australia was in the grip of a mass strike. Of the 97,000 workers who struck for varying periods between August and December 1917, thirteen per cent (over 14,000) were Victorian. This thesis will attempt to redress the historiographical neglect of these Victorian strikes. It will do so by focusing on the conflict between the rank and file of the unions involved and their officials. It will draw upon Rosa Luxemburg's analysis of the phenomenon of the mass strike as well as upon a tradition of Marxist analysis stretching from Luxemburg herself, through Antonio Gramsci to Tony Cliff, which stresses the role of the trade union bureaucracy as a principle buttress of reformism. Seen in this light, any rank and file revolt is a positive development. Indeed, one on the scale of 1917 in eastern Australia is clearly of immense significance. The fact that the strike was disorganised and had no clear strategic direction, while regrettable, does not alter this.

Additional Information

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Item type Thesis (Honours thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > FOR Classification > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords strikes, industrial action, industrial relations, Victoria
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