Industrial Socialist Labor Party

The Industrial Socialist Labor Party and the Independent Labor Party were short lived socialist political parties in Australia in 1919 and the early 1920s. The Industrial Socialist Labor Party was founded by radical socialist members of the industrial wing of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), at a time when the ALP's socialist ideology was a matter of intra-party dispute. It was closely aligned with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the One Big Union (OBE) movement.

The party was formally founded at a conference in August 1919, with Arthur Rae becoming Secretary and Albert Willis President of the party.[1] The party subsequently announced that it would run candidates for the seats of Illawarra and Cook in the 1919 federal election (George Burns and William McCristal).[2][3] These candidates were opposed by endorsed ALP candidates and received less than 10% of the primary vote.

In January 1920, the party merged with the Socialist Labor Party, taking the name of the Socialist Labor Party.[4][5]

Subsequently, one of the breakaway members Percy Brookfield won the seat of Sturt as an Independent Labor candidate.[6] Brookfield had the balance of power in the assembly following the election but was murdered the following year.

Michael Considine, Labor member for Barrier in the federal House of Representatives from 1917, joined the Independent Labor Party in 1920 after his expulsion from the ALP, and unsuccessfully contested the seat of Darling for the party in 1922. Donald Grant, one of 12 Australian IWW members gaoled in 1916, contested Sturt at the 1922 general election but received only 2.8% of the primary vote. He later became a member of parliament for the Labor Party. Other members of the party who later became prominent in the ALP were Jock Garden and Jack Baddeley.

Support for the party rapidly diminished after the ALP adopted the Socialist Objective in 1921, with many members returning to the ALP and others joining the Australian Communist Party.

References

  1. "New Socialist Group". The Herald (13,577). Victoria, Australia. 13 August 1919. p. 5. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  2. ""INDUSTRIAL SOCIALIST LABOR". Daily Herald. X, (2984). South Australia. 13 October 1919. p. 4. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  3. "SOCIALIST-LABOR OPPONENT FOR MR. CATTS". The Age (20,165). Victoria, Australia. 13 November 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  4. "SOCIALIST PARTIES". The Northern Star. 44. New South Wales, Australia. 7 January 1920. p. 5. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "SOCIALIST LABOR PARTY". Daily Observer. X, (12). New South Wales, Australia. 15 January 1920. p. 1. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "LATE MR. PERCY BROOKFIELD". The Observer. LXXVIII, (5852). South Australia. 26 March 1921. p. 13. Retrieved 5 April 2018 via National Library of Australia.
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