- - The Balmain ironworkers' strike of 1945

The Balmain ironworkers' strike of 1945




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).

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?

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.

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.

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 fllow humn bngs. H ctd fntclly nd h would hv blvd, thnk, tht th nd (tht s, wht h would hv clld progrssv cnddts, mnng mmbrs of th Communst Prty rmnng n offc n th ronworkrs Unon) justfd th us of frudulnt bllot pprs. So don't sy tht's blot on Mr McPhllps. thnk t's totlly n ccordnc wth hs poltcl phlosophy. But tht phlosophy s on tht hop would nvr tk root n ths country nd tht's why thnk tht th contst wgd by th ndustrl Groups to oust th Communsts from control of th unon movmnt n ustrl ws, dspt som mstks md by th Grouprs, progrssv thng for th hstory of ustrl. ftr tht, th formton of th Dmocrtc Lbor Prty, thnk, ws dsstr nd , of cours, hd nothng to do wth th Dmocrtc Lbor Prty. But thnk tht th vlfcton of th ndustrl Groups tht w'v hrd hr tody from Mr McPhllps s totlly unjustfd n th lght of ustrln poltcl hstory.

Bob Gould: blong to th Jm Mckn fcton n ths mttrs. On tht mttr, lso blv tht th bllot n th ronworkrs n 1949 ws rggd on th bss of th vdnc n th Court nd th ndnttons on th bllot pprs. But hd dscusson wth Rod Shw fw months bfor h dd whn h cm nto my shop nd skd hm pont blnk dd h, s th prntr, know nythng bout t nd h dnd t, so thnk you hv to b crful bout blok who's dd... scrbng thngs to hm. My xprnc of skng hm drct qustons bout th busnss - Rod Shw dnd t. don't know whthr h sd dffrnt thngs to McClllnd but h crtnly dnd t to m. thnk tht th crcumstntl vdnc s tht t ws rggd but Rod Shw crtnly dnd t n my xprnc.

Ths xchng spks for tslf bout th 1949 ronworkr's bllot. W r unlkly vr to know much mor bout wht Rod Shw sd to Jm McCllnd, s Jm McClllnd hs now lso pst wy.

Nw nformton hs now, howvr poppd out of th woodwork bout th rggng of th bllot n th Blmn brnch of th ronworkrs unon durng th wr prod. grt survvor of lftsm nd modrnsm n ustrln rt, th ccomplshd, ffbl nd knowldgbl Brnrd Smth, rcntly publshd th scond volum of hs utobogrphy, Pvn for nothr tm1 (McMlln, ustrl, 2002). Brnrd Smth ws n th 1940s nd 1950s mmbr of th Communst Prty, nd gnrlly looks bck on tht xprnc fvourbly n hs two volums of utobogrphy. Nvrthlss, on pg 93 of th rcnt scond volum, h wrts:

t ws bout ths tm tht th Dstrct Commtt of th Prty dcdd to bolsh occuptonl brnchs such s thos for tchrs nd journlsts, nstd drctng thr mmbrs to suburbn brnchs. ndvduls n th sm fmly wr oftn told to nrol n dffrnt brnchs, spclly f thy wr consdrd by th Prty burucrts to b "bourgos ntllctuls". So Kt ws trnsfrrd to th Kngs Cross brnch nd to th North Shor brnch. rsntd ths. t mnt must tk th trolly bus to Town Hll Stton, thn th trn to North Shor to ttnd. Th only popl knw n th brnch wr Bob nd Dphn Golln. Shortly ftr, Bob jond th r Forc. Splt up n ths wy, my poltcl rdour bgn to cool. Th Tchrs' Brnch hd bn knd of socl club for m ftr th solton of Murrguldr, frndly group of ctvsts dmrd. But now w both bgn to fl lttl of th hvy hnd of th Prty burucrcy. Shortly ftrwrds Kt cm bck from th Kngs Cross brnch n hghly dsturbd stt of mnd. "Wll," sh sd, "you cn sty n th Prty, Pch, f you wnt to, but 'm fnshd". t pprs tht on of th brnch mmbrs hd com to th mtng rmd wth vcnt votng tckts for currnt ronworkrs' Unon lcton. On of th ctvts of th mtng ws to mrk up th crds h brought wth hm n fvour of rn Thornton, th communst scrtry of th ronworkrs' Unon. Thornton's poston ws undr thrt from th rght-wng ld by Lur Short. Th Kngs Cross brnch ws pprntly hlpng to fk th lcton. hd no problm wth Kt's dcson to lv th prty. n th crcumstncs t ws th only thng to do. dy or so ltr wnt up nd sw J. B. Mls, th Prty Scrtry; nd told hm wht hd occurrd. H rpld to th ffct tht h knw tht knd of thng hppnd, nd lft t t tht. hd dmrd Mls nd rluctntly ccptd th fct tht thr wr problms n ll poltcl prts, but bgn to rls tht th CP ws mor prgmtc thn most prts whn t cm to justfyng mns to nds.

Ths xtrct from Brnrd Smth's utobogrphy s prtty powrful drct vdnc. Th Gollns nd th Smths wr clos prsonl frnds; thy styd wth ch othr n Brtn nd ustrl, thy trvlld togthr to Brtn by shp, nd t's prtty clr to m tht on of th sourcs for Dphn Golln's ssrtons tht ronworkrs lctons wr rggd ws Kt Smth. Th truth oftn coms out n th wsh, vn f 45 yrs ltr. knw both Dphn Golln nd Nck Orglss. Dphn ws fsty, ntllgnt nd courgous womn nd hr lt-n-lf lov ffr wth Nck Orglss, on of th mn protgonsts n ll thos bttls, ws wrm, humn sdlght on both thr lvs nd tms. Thy'r both now dd. Both thr funrls nd wks wr lrg dvrs gthrngs of mny popl, mnly of th lft, who hd known thm nd bn nfluncd by thm. W put ths rtcls up on Ozlft s trbut to Dphn nd Nck.

W my nvr s thr lk gn.


1. Pvn: sttly dnc populr n urop n th 16th cntury.

Th Blmn ronworkrs' strk of 1945

Prt 1. Th fctons mrg, l942-43

By Dphn Golln

n 1945 n unprcdntd strk of rnk nd fl ronworkrs gnst thr unon ldrs took plc on th Blmn wtrfront n Sydny. Th bttrnss of th dsput nd th stubbornnss wth whch both sds dfndd thr postons rflctd n ntgonsm whch sprng from totlly opposd poltcl nd orgnstonl prspctvs. Whthr sn prmrly s collson btwn rnk nd fl dmocrcy nd th uthortrnsm of cntrlsng unon ldrshp, or s rvolt gnst th clss collborton of th wr polcy of th Communst Prty, or gn, s n upsurg of poltcl bckwrdnss gnst progrssv ldrshp, th Blmn strk of 1945 s on of th most poltcl nd, ndd, dologclly chrgd dsputs n th hstory of ustrln trd unons.

Why dd th Communst-ld xcutv of th Blmn brnch of th Fdrtd ronworkrs' ssocton, whch normlly commndd mjorty t brnch mtngs, fnd t ncssry to try to slnc rnk nd fl opposton n on of th lrgst wtrfront shops? Why dd th Ntonl Councl ntrvn rrvocbly n support of th brnch xcutv's suspnson of th shop dlgt, Orglss? Ws t thought tht by rmovng Orglss from poston of mss nflunc t Mort's Dock, dscontnt mong th rnk nd fl wth th unon's polcy nd orgnstonl chngs would b slncd? Why dd th unon ldrshp fl thrtnd by mn who occupd poston t th lowst lvl of th unon hrrchy, hd no voc n th unon prss nd could not wn substntl support mong thos who usully ttndd brnch mtngs? How mportnt ws t for Communst unonsts to stmp out Trotskyst nflunc mong wtrfront workrs? To nswr ths qustons on must look t vnts n th yrs bfor 1945.

Whn wr brok out n urop n 1939 nd ustrl's Prm Mnstr, R. G. Mnzs, nnouncd th consqunt nvolvmnt of th ustrln popl by th sd of th Brtsh, spoksmn of th trd unons pldgd th support of th lbour movmnt for th govrnmnt's wr ffort. Snc thr ws lrg rsrvor of unmployd th mjor concrn of th govrnmnt n rgrd to lbour ws not to consrv th vlbl supply of mnpowr but to mk th bst us of th lmtd numbrs of sklld mn. Th slow dvlopmnt of lnd fghtng mnt tht th srvcs' dmnd ws mnly for sklld trdsmn. t ws 18 months bfor th pool of unsklld nd sm-sklld lbour drd up, nd th quston of ndustrl conscrpton dd not bcom mjor on untl th wr movd clos to ustrl's shors lt n 1941. Th mn concrn of th trd unons whn wr bgn ws wth th rs n unmploymnt du to dsrupton of mrkts. Thr ws no quston but tht th lbour movmnt ntndd to dfnd ts norml ntrsts, ncludng th rght to strk. govrnmnt ttmpt to st up trd unon dvsory pnl ws mt wth suspcon, nd rfusl by th ustrlsn Councl of Trd Unons to b rprsntd on th pnl whn t cm nto xstnc n July 1940. Th govrnmnt, howvr, dd procd wth th crton of mchnry for th rgulton of lbour nd th Dprtmnt of Lbour nd Ntonl Srvc ws stblshd n Octobr 1940, rsponsbl for sttng up n mploymnt srvc nd for ndustrl trnng nd dluton nd rstrcton of comptton for sourcs of lbour. n 1941 Mnpowr Prorts Bord ws crtd, whch ws succdd n 1942 by th Mnpowr Drctort wth powr to conscrpt nd drct lbour. lthough lmost ll th powrs nd dmnstrtv mchnry to control th llocton of rsourcs nd mnpowr wr stblshd n th frst two yrs of th wr t ws not untl th ntry of Jpn opnd up thtr of wr n th Pcfc tht ths controls wr brought nto full oprton.

Whl th gnrl tttud of ustrlns ws on of support for th govrnmnt's wr ffort, tht support untl th mddl of 1941 ws qulfd by strong dsnclnton to s dsturbnc to norml lf. t ws ssumd tht snc th mn thtr of th wr would b n urop, ustrl's rol would b smlr to wht t hd bn n 1914-18, tht of supplyng troops nd rw mtrls to fr-off plcs. But th Scond World Wr, to bgn wth, n no wy followd th brsk nd bloody pc of th frst. Th months of th "phony" wr followd by th fll of Frnc, th mmoblston of Brtn, nd th pprntly nconsquntl but costly fghtng on th prmtr of urop ll gv rs to uncrtnty bout th drcton nd purpos of th dstnt conflct wthout dong nythng to shk th d tht t ws busnss s usul n ustrl, t lst for th tm bng.

Th grtr prt of th lbour movmnt shrd th gnrl tttud to th wr. ts lft wng, howvr, n prtculr th Communst-ld trd unons, opposd ustrl's prtcpton n th wr. Th Communst Prty ftr som wks' confuson hd dclrd t to b conflct btwn mprlst powrs n whch nthr sd could h supportd by th workrs. n My 1940 th prty ws md llgl nd ts prss closd down. Snc t took som tm for n undrground prss to functon ffctvly, th lgl journls of th Communst-ld unons nd th rdcl brkwy NSW Stt Lbor Prty wr th only wdly crcultd publctons to put forwrd vwpont on th wr whch chllngd tht of th govrnmnt nd dly prss. Nthr th Fdrtd ronworkrs' ssocton nor ny othr of th Communst-ld unons vr doptd poston of opn opposton to th wr, whch would hv nvolvd th rsk of punshmnt nd closur of thr prss nd, s wll, of solton from gnrl workng-clss flng. Thy dd put thmslvs forwrd s ctv dfndrs of workng-clss ntrsts gnst th ttmpts of govrnmnt nd mployrs to us th wr s n xcus to brk down condtons. Thr nrgtc rjcton of ncrochmnts upon trd unon rghts nd thr dmnds for wg ncrss found rspons n th mny ustrln workrs whos flngs towrds th wr wr too skptcl or mbvlnt for thm to lstn kndly to clls for scrfc n th nm of ptrotsm. s lt s Jun 1941 strongly wordd ronworkrs' rsoluton ws doptd by th CTU Congrss, ssrtng ntr l tht th most mportnt dmocrtc rghts of th workng clss wr th rghts to orgns, brgn collctvly nd to strk, nd tht n wrtm, mor thn ny othr prod, th rght to strk hd to b prsrvd n ordr to dfnd th workng clss gnst mployrs' cton to smsh trd unon stndrds nd orgnston.1

By 1941 th F ws bnftng n mmbrshp nd ncom from ncrsd mploymnt nd th xpnson of ndustry du to th wr. Th drv of th gnrl scrtry, rnst Thornton, to buld strong, cntrlsd orgnston hd bn ccompnd by mor ffcnt offc mngmnt, nd th publcton, from Octobr 1939, of monthly ll-unon journl, Th ronworkr. ftr chng n ruls hd gvn th Fdrl Commtt of Mngmnt powr to clos brnchs nd offcs numbr of brnchs hd bn rorgnsd nd brought nto ctvty. Th most drstc rmodllng hd bn vstd on th Nwcstl brnch, whch hd suffrd for yrs from fcton fghts. ts offc hd bn occupd by th gnrl scrtry, ts commtt of mngmnt suspndd by th Fdrl Councl nd nw xcutv lctd undr th suprvson of th gnrl scrtry. ll brnchs, by 1941, wth on xcpton, wr ld by Communsts. Th xcpton ws Blmn.

Wth th Grmn nvson of th USSR on Jun 22, 1941, Communst opposton to th mprlst wr chngd bruptly nto wholhrtd support for th "nt-fscst" struggl. Howvr, dp hostlty to th Mnzs Govrnmnt contnud nd th Communst trd unon ldrs clld for th "Chmbrlns" to b dscrdd. n ltrntv, Lbor, govrnmnt ws ndd to crry out th lft's nw objctv of wnnng th full bckng of th workrs for th wr ffort, tht s, of gttng thm to work hrdr, produc mor nd rfrn from stoppgs. Ths cm bout n Octobr 1941 whn th Curtn Lbor dmnstrton took offc.

Th Grmn nvson of th Sovt Unon mrkd th crtcl chng n th ntur of th wr for Communsts (th turnng pont of th world s th Brtsh Communst, Plm Dutt, dscrbd t n wll-known rtcl). Fv months ltr th Jpns ttck on Prl Hrbour provdd th justfcton for th Untd Stts to ntr th wr nd now th struggls n urop, frc, Chn nd th Pcfc wr sn s lnkd n on globl conflct - th struggl of progrssv mnknd gnst fscsm. For Communsts th bttlflds of urop, whr th USSR ws dfndng ts vry xstnc, ovrrod n mportnc ll othr thtrs of wr. s soon s th Russn cll for scond front n Wstrn urop ws md, prssur for ths bcm th most urgnt poltcl cmpgn undrtkn by th Communsts nd crrd on wth unflggng nrgy. For most ustrlns, howvr, wht ws much mor mportnt n chngng n unsy nvolvmnt nto nrgtc support of th Lbor Govrnmnt's ovrll wr plns ws th rpd unchckd dvnc of th Jpns n th drcton of ustrl n th frst hlf of 1942.

Th Communst Prty swtch vokd crtcsm or cyncl commnt from thos who dntfd th wr ffort th Communsts supportd s tht of th Sovt Unon, but n th thrtnng dys of 1942 th by no mns dntcl tttuds of th Communst Prty nd th mjorty of ustrln workrs convrgd n mssv bckng of th Lbor Govrnmnt. Whn by 1943 wht hd bn sn s n mmnnt thrt of nvson ws rmovd, th stmulus of fr n th wr ffort dspprd nd ll tht ly hd ws, for th troops, long hrd trl from slnd to slnd northwrd n th wk of th mrcns, nd for cvlns, n ncrsd dmnd for th producton of suppls for lld troops n th Pcfc, wth ccptnc of food nd clothng rtonng n ddton to ptrol rtonng (n oprton snc Octobr 1940). Th movmnt of th rn of wr wy from ustrl nturlly brought lssnng of tnson, th bgnnng of wr wrnss, rsntmnt t rstrctons nd controls nd th r-mrgnc of sctonl ntrsts to b dfndd. But for th Communst Prty th nd for unstntng ffort n th proscuton of th wr nd for mxmum producton ws grtr thn vr n 1943, bcus th scond front hd not yt bn opnd to lft th prssur from th Russns. t ws n 1943 tht th dvrgng tttuds to th wr of Communsts nd most othr ustrln workrs bcm pprnt nd rsultd n th solton of Communsts from th rnk nd fl n som rs of wr ndustry. nd t ws not only th Communsts n ldng postons but lso thos on th job who suffrd.

n th ronworkrs' Unon th consquncs of totl support for th wr, dclrd by th Fdrl Commtt of Mngmnt n Octobr 1941, ws for th unon to ccpt ts shr of rsponsblty for ncrsng producton nd by ll possbl mns to prvnt ntrruptons to producton cusd by stoppgs of work. Th pldg of support for th Lbor Govrnmnt lso nvolvd ccptnc of th govrnmnt's mrgncy msurs nforcng drcton of lbour, wg pggng, compulsory ovrtm nd cncllton of som publc holdys s pd dys of lsur. Th contrst tht ths polcy prsntd wth tht followd n th frst 20 months of th wr ws not lost on th unon ldrs. Thy prsntd n loqunt cs for th chngd ntur of th wr, but n th nd ll rgumnts hd to ssrt or mply tht totl support of th lld wr ffort to nsur th dft of fscsm ws th prcondton of th dfnc of workng-clss ntrsts. Th corollry of ths proposton, nmly, tht dfnc of workng-clss ntrsts ws th prcondton of succssful struggl gnst fscsm (prtculrly f t ws rcognsd tht th m of mployrs t ll tms ws to combn proft-mkng wth proscuton of th wr) prsntd dffcults, bcus t rsd th crucl quston of th plc of th clss struggl n untd front ntonl struggl. n Fbrury 1942 Th ronworkr ssurd ts rdrs tht th unon ws not bndonng th clss struggl, but n mplct contrdcton of ths, sttd tht th unon's tttud to producton nd strks ws dtrmnd by ts tttud to th wr, nd furthr, "Our polcy... dmnds of us th us of vry mns to vod stoppgs. Our bost s not tht w mntn pc n ndustry, but tht w furthr th fght gnst fscsm nd for soclsm, nd thus srv th bst ntrsts of th workrs."

Th qutng of th fght gnst fscsm - whch for mny ndustrl mploys mnt hrd work, long hours nd pggd wgs - wth th bst ntrsts of th workrs ws not slf-vdnt truth to th vrg workr, but rthr dpndd for crdnc t th vry lst upon vgorous dy-to-dy dfnc of condtons on th job nd confronttons wth th mployrs. But t soon bcm clr tht n ny conflct btwn th dmnds for mxmum nd contnuous producton nd th dfnc of workng-clss condtons, th unon movmnt ws undr svr prssur from th stt s wll s mployrs to put producton frst. Th unons wr nrrowly lmtd by mrgncy rgultons n th rs n whch thy could brgn, nd thr mmbrs cm undr thrt of punshmnt f thy rsortd to drct cton. nd for poltclly mndd Communst trd unonsts furthr fctor nhbtng dsruptv ndustrl cton ws th blf tht th survvl of th Sovt Unon could dpnd upon th ssstnc t rcvd from ts Wstrn lls.

n Jnury 1942 Thornton ws rgung tht thr should b n ll-round ncrs of 10 shllngs n th bsc wg nd ths dmnd ws rptd n My. (Th wg pggng rgultons llowd for wg rss n th cs of pplctons brought bfor th rbtrton Court bfor Fbrury 1942) On My 29, howvr, Mr Justc O'Mr, fnlsng Mtl Trds wrd judgmnt, rjctd th ronworkrs' pplcton for n ll-round ncrs of 3/ - n mrgns. Thornton, who blvd tht th unon hd strong cs, wrot n ndgnnt rtcl on th dcson nd n th cours of t md sgnfcnt dmsson. " blv tht not on of th rsons gvn for rfusng n ncrs s th rl on. blv tht th rl on s tht our clm s just, but f grntd would hv rsultd n som rprcussons from unons whch cnnot s byond th py nvlop.

"Our unon, on th othr hnd, hs shown tht t puts th fght gnst fscsm bov ll othr qustons. So t ws, pprntly, but qut wrongly, consdrd sfr to wp us off thn dl wth th othrs. "2

H wnt on to sy tht prhps th unon would hv to dvrt som of ts forcs from th mn offnsv to dl wth th snprs n th rr, but thr ws slnc thrftr on th O'Mr wrd. Th unon's commtmnt to th nt-fscst cus, tkng th form of collborton wth stt nsttutons, md t dffcult for t to ttck wht n rlr dys would hv bn dnouncd s nt-workng-clss dscrmnton.

t mtng of th Fdrl Councl n Jun 1942, whch rvwd th progrss of th wr nd th fortuns of th unon snc th dopton of th nw wr polcy, Thornton gv pctur of rpdly growng orgnston, njoyng th confdnc of th govrnmnt nd n poston of ldrshp wthn th trd unon movmnt. Th mn tsk for th unon ws tht of gttng th workrs to ccpt thr prt n ncrsng producton. H dmttd tht thr wr dffcults n ths but quckly rtrtd, lvng th problm unrsolvd. H sd tht to gt th utmost nthussm for th wr th unon would hv to mprov workrs' condtons, but, on th othr hnd, "w cnnot dmnd concssons for our orgnston tht wll rsult n wknng of th wr ffort". H flyd workrs rsponsbl for th hgh rt of bsntsm nd dclrd tht th unon ws "no funk hol for shrkrs of mltry srvc". H sw th nswr to th producton problm ssntlly n bttr undrstndng by th rnk nd fl of th unon's polcy.3

Th Councl pssd rsoluton cllng for th utmost dscpln from unon mmbrs n supportng th polcy of th unon nd lso dmndng tht brnchs tk dscplnry cton to prvnt unuthorsd nd rrsponsbl strks nd to rduc th hgh prcntg of bsntsm.4 Thornton pontd out t ths mtng tht of ll th ndustrs n th unon, th dffcults of gttng unon polcy put nto ffct wr grtst on th wtrfront, nd n prtculr n th r covrd by th Blmn brnch. H obsrvd tht rpr work on th wtrfront stnk nd tht mn nd mployrs "wr mutully n on of th bggst rckts possbl for nyon to mgn".5

Blmn hd bn th unon's foundng brnch t th turn of th cntury. t covrd mnly wtrfront ndustrs, prtculrly shp buldng nd rpr. Th r ws on of old workng-clss suburbs clos to, but soltd from, th cty. lrg numbr of th brnch mmbrs lvd nd workd n Blmn or nghbourng suburbs. Durng th Scond World Wr Blmn bcm th lrgst shp-rprng cntr n ustrl. Cocktoo slnd Dockyrd nd Mort's Dock mployd rspctvly lmost 3000 nd 2000 mn t th hght of wrtm ctvty. Mort's Dock, foundd by T. S. Mort n 1854, hd hd ts cpcty grtly nlrgd rly n th 20th cntury nd furthr xtnsons nd ddtons wr md n th 1930s, but som of th workshops wr stll ntqutd, whl th gnrl lyout of th dock complx dd not lnd tslf to ffcnt producton. Th grt ncrs n th numbrs mployd durng th wr ws not mtchd by mprovmnts n fclts. Thr ws not only no cntn t th dock but for mny of th workrs nowhr to t but on th job. Chngng, wshng, tolt fclts vrd from ndqut to vry bd nd wr th sourc of constnt complnts from th mploys.

Som of th dffcults ncountrd n dscplnng wtrfront lbour sprng from th trdtons of th ndustry. Th lbour forc hd long hstory of drct cton, of stoppng frst nd nformng thr offcls ltr. Ths ws contrry to unon polcy, whch now ws to mk th fullst us of conclton to sttl ndustrl dsputs. n Mrch 1942, n rport notbly lckng n prsonl commtmnt, Jo Brown, th Blmn scrtry, hd nformd brnch dlgts tht Fdrl Councl nstructons wr tht no strk or stopwork mtng ws to b hld wthout th brnch offc bng notfd bforhnd.6 Lnkd wth th long-stblshd prctc of dcdng cton on th job ws nothr ftur of ndustrl orgnston n th wtrfront shops, tht of co-oprton nd jont cton btwn mmbrs of dffrnt unons, prtculrly ronworkrs nd bolrmkrs. dsput nvolvng bolrmkrs would, f contnud, frquntly brng n ronworkrs nd mmbrs of othr mtl trds unons. t Mort's Dock ths rltons wr rflctd n th xstnc of bolrshop commtt (of ronworkrs nd bolrmkrs) nd mtl trds commtt, s wll s combnd shop commtt.

n ordr to gt unon polcy ccptd by lss thn nthusstc mmbrshp th Fdrl ldrs sw t s ssntl to hv ddctd brnch offcls, nd hr gn Blmn stood out. Wth not on Communst mongst thm, th strongly Lngt, nd to som xtnt Msonc, old Blmnrs* hd consstnt rcord of opposton to ny ncrochmnts on brnch uthorty nd clms to cntrlsd ldrshp by th Fdrl Councl. n 1940 thr hd bn numbr of clshs, wth Blmn chllngng th rght of th Fdrl Councl to ncrs contrbutons wthout submttng th proposl to rfrndum,7 gnorng th Fdrl Councl rsoluton tht ll ngottons wth Commonwlth mnstrs wr to b conductd through th Fdrl Offc,8 nd wthdrwng ts dlgts to th CTU Congrss n Sydny n protst gnst th Fdrl Scrtry's "dcttorl tttud" n nstructng brnch dlgts on th wy thy should vot.9

Whl th 1942 Commtt of Mngmnt dd not hv ny objcton n prncpl to support of th wr, ts mmbrs wr notcbly rluctnt to nforc ny spct of polcy ld down by th Communst-domntd Fdrl Councl whch provd to b unpopulr wth th rnk nd fl. t th tm of th Jun 1942 mtng mn t Cocktoo hd dcdd to rfus to work on Kng's Brthdy bcus thy wr not to rcv doubl tm for shft work, prt of whch ws workd on th holdy. Th rfusl to work ws rnk nd fl dcson nd unuthorsd. n ddton, s Thornton obsrvd dsgustdly, t hd bn mpossbl to convnc th Blmn xcutv tht t should do nythng but support th mn on th job.10

Thornton's pproch to th Blmn brnch t th Jun mtng ws hlf thrt nd hlf ppl, skng for mor conscous ccptnc of unon polcy by th brnch.

Whl 1942 ws yr of hgh producton nd rltvly fw workng dys lost, vn by th turbulnt col mnrs nd thr wr no mjor stoppgs on th wtrfront, th Blmn mn showd no sgn of bndonng thr hbts of drct cton nd bypssng of unon uthorty. gnorng th ngottng fforts of thr unons th ngnrs nd ronworkrs t Cocktoo struck n Jun-July whn thr clms for pymnt of pnlty rts for shft work prformd on holdys wr rfusd.

Th dsstsfcton of th Fdrl offcls wth th Blmn scrtry grw n Sptmbr whn thr wr dsmssls t Cocktoo of mploys, ncludng two Communsts, Brsln nd Lynch. Snc mn nxous to gt clrnc from th dock wr pssd ovr, th dsmssls suggstd vctmston. Brown ws slow n tkng up th complnts of th dsmssd mn nd Brsln dmndd n nvstgton by th Fdrl Commtt of Mngmnt. Ths ws md nd, s wll s rcommndng tht th brnch s to t tht th dsmssd mn wr th frst to b r-mployd whn work offrd, th FCOM lso cnsurd Brown for mkng rrsponsbl nd dsruptv sttmnts bout th Fdrl offcrs, whch wr untru nd unjustfd.11

n Dcmbr 1942 thr ws complnt to th Fdrl Councl tht th Blmn brnch bllot hd not bn conductd ccordng to th ruls. Th councl nvstgtd, found tht rrgulrts hd occurrd, dclrd th bllot null nd vod nd ordrd nw on to b hld by th sm rturnng offcr undr th suprvson of th Gnrl Prsdnt, Pt McHnry. t lso rsolvd tht th Gnrl Prsdnt or Gnrl Scrtry nd th Fdrl Counclor, J. Lhy, mmbr of th Blmn brnch, should ttnd ll mtngs of th brnch nd xcutv to nsur th propr conduct of th ffrs of th brnch.12

Whl th Fdrl Councl dcson to hv ts offcls t Blmn mtngs formd prt of th rsoluton on th brnch bllot, t s clr from Thornton's spch to th councl tht h ws prmrly concrnd wth th Blmn offcls' contnud flur to co-oprt n crryng out unon polcy. H sw th stt of th shpbuldng nd rpr ndustry s stll unstsfctory nd stoppgs s too frqunt. H spok of th problms of convncng th workrs tht, hvng ccptd unon polcy thy hd to pply t to thmslvs. Wth obvous rfrnc to Blmn h spok of th oblgton of rsponsbl brnch offcrs to put th polcy nto ffct, not mrly n words nd not wth rsrvtons nd qulfctons prfctly obvous to workrs. H wnt on to ndct how h thought dmocrtc cntrlsm n th unon should work, tht s to sy, onc polcy ws ld down by th councl nd ndorsd by th brnchs, t thn bcm th polcy of vry offcr, who ws rsponsbl for crryng t out wth nthussm.13

Th old Blmnrs wr now on th dfnsv, undr constnt snpng ttcks from th Communst fcton wthn th brnch nd prodc hvy bombrdmnt from th FCOM nd Fdrl Councl. Gnrl nt-communsm nd brnch prtculrsm md Brown nd th xcutv strong dfndrs of Blmn rghts gnst th ntrusons of th Communst cntrl ldrshp but dd not provd thm wth ny clr ltrntv polcy. Brown ws n unusully ncohrnt spkr nd t ws not dffcult to dft or rdcul hm n rgumnt. But h lookd t thngs n th wy th rnk nd fl dd, h ws on of thm, rflctng tttuds common n tht nvronmnt nd tm. nd so h rtnd th loylty of consdrbl mjorty of th rnk nd fl.

n th brnch lctons for 1943, hld t th bgnnng of tht yr, th communst fcton ld by Brsln rn full tckt, but th sttng offcls undr Brown won ll plcs by n lmost two-to-on mjorty. Th Communsts vgorously dfndd ll ctons of th Fdrl ldrshp nd wr hghly crtcl of th conduct of brnch ffrs. Thy hd com nto th brnch n som strngth durng th wr nd found thr mn support n th smll shops nd lnd shops. t Cocktoo nd Mort's thr followng ws smll.

Th conflct n th Blmn brnch, howvr, ws not smpl powr struggl btwn th ncumbnt old Blmnrs nd th Communst chllngrs. n rtcult opposton to Communst strtgy nd tctcs bsd on prncp1 nd polcy hd bgun to mrg by th nd of 1942. ts orntton ws Trotskyst nd ts prncpl spoksmn N. Orglss t Morts Dock, nd ltr L. Short t Cocktoo.

vn bfor Jun 1941 whn th Communst Prty nd th Trotskysts hd opposd th wr, thr rsons hd n no wy bn dntcl. ftr ntlly chrctrsng th wr s struggl gnst fscsm nd supportng th Wstrn dmocrcs n Sptmbr 1939, th ustrln prty hd thn, wth promptng from th Comntrn, concludd tht th wr ws conflct btwn mprlst powrs nd tht th workng clsss owd no llgnc to thr rspctv govrnmnts. But snc th mn proccupton of Communsts ws, nd hd long bn, dfnc of th Sovt Unon, prty polcy s long s th Grmn-Sovt non-ggrsson pct lstd ws quvocl n ts nt-fscsm nd ssntlly drctd towrds contnng th wr n ordr to prvnt dvrson of th Grmn ttck gnst th Sovt Unon. Th Trotskysts, who hd hld consstntly nt-fscst poston throughout th 1930s, mntnd thr nt-fscsm durng th wr, but rgrdd th lttr s conflct brought bout by rvlrs btwn th dclnng mprlst powrs, Brtn nd Frnc, nd prdtory nwcomrs ld by Grmny. Th knd of rgm found ncssry for th cptlst clss n ny country ros from th prtculr condtons thr, nd, whthr t ws bourgos dmocrtc or fscst, ts ssntlly mprlst chrctr rmnd unchngd. Thus thy sw no cs for dfndng th dmocrcs gnst th ssults of Grmn fscsm, nor dd thy dmt tht th wr ms of th dmocrcs wr nt-fscst. Thy ssrtd tht th fundmntl struggl of th proltrt ws gnst wr nd mprlsm, gvng rs to th prncpls tht th chf nmy ws n on's own country, nd n wr th dft of on's own mprlst govrnmnt ws th lssr vl.

On th quston of ntonl dfnc, th progrm of trnstonl dmnds of th congrss of th Fourth ntrntonl of 1938 sttd tht dfnc of th fthrlnd could b ccptd "only f w frst bnd our own cptlsts hnd nd foot nd hndr thm from ttckng forgn fthrlnds; f th workrs nd th frmrs of our country bcom ts rl mstrs; f th wlth of th country b trnsfrrd from th hnds of tny mnorty to th hnds of th popl; f th rmy bcoms wpon of th xplotd nstd of th xplotrs".14

Whn both groups wr n opposton to th wr, crtn tctcs of non-co-oprton wth th govrnmnt n th form of rsstnc to conscrpton nd mntnnc of th rght to strk wr not wdly dvrgnt, yt th mthods of puttng ths nto ffct wr ntrly dffrnt. Th Trotskysts t ll tms trd to drw ssntl ndustrl dcsons nto th hnds of mss mtngs n th workshops nd out of th hnds of unon offcls nd commtts. Thy, of cours, opposd th cntrlsng tndncs of th ronworkrs' ldrs s burucrtc nd undmocrtc. n xmpl of th Trotskyst pproch to th quston of mss control ovr ndustrl cton pprd n Fbrury 1941 n on of Orglss's frst rcordd ntrvntons n th brnch mnuts. bolrmkrs' nd ronworkrs' bn on ovrtm of mor thn 16 hours wk ws bout to b lftd by th xcutvs of th Sydny brnchs of th two unons nd th Blmn brnch ws followng sut, rluctntly, n vw of th dcson of rcnt mss mtng of ronworkrs nd bolrmkrs, whch hd bn to contnu th bn. Orglss's mndmnt to th moton lftng th bn ws tht "w cll on th Bolrmkrs' nd Cty ronworkrs ' Unons to honour th prncpl undrstood by th rnk nd fl, tht s: wht combnd mss mtng puts on, only combnd mss mtng cn tk off".15 t ws ruld out of ordr.

Whn th Communst Prty ln chngd, th Trotskysts dd not s th mprlst chrctr of th wr s ltrd. dmttng th nd to dfnd th USSR, thy nvrthlss dd not blv tht th proltrt of n mprlst country could do ths through ts own govrnmnt. n tmporry nd unstbl llnc btwn th USSR nd cptlst dmocrcs, th workrs n th lttr countrs rmnd n clss opposton to thr own govrnmnts nd supportd th non-mprlst lly n thr own wy, tht s, through th ntrntonl clss struggl. Furthrmor thy dd not dntfy thmslvs n ny wy wth th "Thrmdorn burucrcy" tht ruld th USSR.16

ftr Jun 22, 1941, th polcs of th Trotskysts nd Communsts dvrgd compltly, th Trotskysts contnung to clm th nd to crry on dfnc of th clss ntrsts of th workrs n opposton to mployrs, govrnmnt nd th Communst Prty. Th totlly opposd pproch of th two groups cn b sn n th mttr of th dsmssls of Brsln nd othrs from Cocktoo. Th Communst-sponsord moton t th brnch mtng n Sptmbr 1942, n mpld cnsur of Brown, ws tht th FCOM b skd to nvstgt th crcumstncs of th dsmssls. n ddndum ws movd tht th FCOM b rqurd to go nto ll css of dsmssls undr mnpowr rgultons nd tht nomls b tkn up wth th Mnstr of Lbour. Orglss movd tht bcus of th nt-workng-clss ntur of th rgultons th FCOM ltr ts polcy so tht t opposd th rgultons. Not surprsngly, ths ws ruld out of ordr.17

By 1942, Orglss, mployd t Mort's Dock snc 1940, ws suffcntly wll stblshd to b lctd s unon dlgt for th bolrshop, whr most of th ronworkrs t th dock wr mployd. H nd th smll group round hm bgn to ssu ronod sht, Th Soclst, n Jun, whch clld for ntonlston of mjor ndustrs undr workrs' control, n nd to th stuntng of consumr ndustry cusd by dprvng t of lbour n th ntrsts of wr producton, crton of popl's mlt nd opposton to th xtnson of conscrpton for ovrss srvc to th Ctzn Mltry Forcs. Ths progrm ws lnkd wth vgorous ttcks upon th Communst Prty for ctng s n gnt of th cptlst clss nd th Curtn Govrnmnt. Th uthors of Th Soclst, wthout drctly opposng th wr, ttmptd to put forwrd trnstonl progrm, whch would ld th workrs, wthn th contxt of th wr, to dfnd thr own ntrsts n confrontton wth mployrs nd th govrnmnt. Ntonlston undr workrs' control nd th rmng nd trnng of workrs to form dfnsv mlt srvc, whch would b combnd wth work n cvln producton, ws polcy for ssrtng workrs' nttv, whch rn ntrly countr to th Communst Prty's support of th wr. Ths t tms vrgd on uncondtonl ccptnc of th wr ffort of th govrnmnt nd mployrs, s, for xmpl, whn th prty droppd th slogn of ntonlston s ultrlftst n prod whn t blvd t to b ssntl to wn th co-oprton of th cptlst clss.

Thornton, frcly compllng workng-clss ortor, who t th hght of th untd struggl gnst fscsm oftn xprssd n forcful nd ungurdd lngug sntmnts tht othr Communsts forbor to voc, summd up n sngl sntnc th blnkt justfcton for th chng n th prty ln. Pldgng support t th Fdrl Councl mtng n Dcmbr 1942 for th govrnmnt's proposl to xtnd th r of srvc for th mlt nto th Pcfc, h dlt wth th chrg tht untl Jun 1941 th Communst Prty hd workd ctvly n nt-conscrpton commtts nd hd opposd ny proposls for conscrpton for ovrss srvc. H sd smply, "n supportng ths wr, t s s f on stoppd nd nothr strtd, thr r dffrnt sghts, dffrnt combtnts nd dffrnt ssus nvolvd. "18

Th workshop shts publshd by Communst Prty brnchs n th wtrfront shops (th most mportnt bng th Rvt, ltr Dock Nws t Mort's nd Codock Nws t Cocktoo, both bgnnng n 1942) mt dffrnt nd from tht of Th Soclst. Mjor poltcl qustons for prty mmbrs wr dlt wth n th Trbun nd th Communst Rvw. Th workshop bulltns contnd job prs bout bd workng condtons nd crtcsms of producton nffcncs, togthr wth rports of fghtng on th Russn front, gnrl support for th wr ffort, nws of dock footbll tms nd rsults of rffls. n th rly ssus thr ws sldom ny ttmpt to nswr Trotskyst rgumnts, lthough Th Rvt publshd n rtcl obvously n rply to Th Soclst, on ntonlston of ndustry, whch sd tht th cll ws ll-tmd. 19 By 1943, howvr, thr wr shrp ttcks on th Trotskysts s sboturs nd bogus mltnts.

n th tmosphr of th ntns poltcl pssons of thos yrs, mmbrs of th Communst Prty rgrdd Trotskysm s snstr combnton of nt-Sovt trson nd nrchsm, whl for th Trotskysts th "Stlnsts" hd commttd th worst countr-rvolutonry crms of btryng th clss ntrsts of th workrs nd of colludng wth th cptlst clss, nd, n ddton, thr mthods of work fthfully rflctd th burucrtc dgnrton nd nt-dmocrtc prctcs of Stln's Sovt Unon.

1943 bgn wth wdsprd 24-hour stoppg by mtlworkrs n th Sydny r. Th Commonwlth Govrnmnt, usng th Ntonl Scurty Rgultons, hd cnclld Nw Yr's Dy s publc holdy on th grounds tht holdy on Mondy, Dcmbr 28, hd bn ddd to th Chrstms brk n lu of Nw Yr's Dy. But workrs rgud tht snc Boxng Dy hd flln on Sturdy, th Mondy holdy should b rgrdd s bng n lu of Boxng Dy. Thr wr dmnds on th job for ssurncs tht doubl tm would b pd for workng on Nw Yr's Dy. Whn ths ws rfusd mny mtl trds workrs nnouncd thr ntnton of tkng th dy off n spt of thr unons' offcl polcy of workng th dy nd tryng to gt ssurncs from th govrnmnt tht thr would b consultton wth th trd unons bfor ny mor publc holdys wr cnclld s pd dys of lsur. Dlgt Orglss notfd th Blmn brnch scrtry on Dcmbr 21 tht ronworkrs nd bolrmkrs t Mort's bolrshop hd dcdd not to work on Nw Yr's Dy f thy wr not to b pd doubl tm. 20

Th Fdrl offcrs' vw of th unoffcl stoppg ws vgorously sttd n th Fbrury ronworkr.21 n n rtcl hdlnd Nw Yr Strkrs Dfd Unon. Why Stoppg Ws Wrong. nswrng thr own quston wht hd bn chvd by th strk, thy rpld, "Som workrs hv qut unncssrly lost dy's py, no strngth hs bn ddd to our clm for vrton of th wrd, dy's producton hs bn lost nd th trd unon movmnt hs bn hld up to rdcul for lck of dscpln. No gn of ny form whtsovr wll flow from ths stoppg."

Th rtcl wnt on to rpt tht th dft of fscsm ws th most mportnt tsk fcng th workng clss nd tht th stoppg hd shown lck of unon dscpln nd flur to undrstnd th srousnss of ths tsk.

Th FCOM cm out wth shrply wordd rsoluton sttng tht t could not tolrt th poston whr shop commtts dcdd to cs work n opposton to unon polcy nd t nstructd brnchs to prvnt such occurrncs n futur. t drctd brnchs to nsur tht offc-brrs crrd out unon polcy nd whn dffcult stutons dvlopd, spcl brnch or spcl xcutv mtngs wr to b convnd nd onc thy hd rrvd t dcson, ll mmbrs wthout xcpton wr to bd by t. 21

n spt of th dmnd for obsrvnc of unon polcy on strks, th Nw Yr stoppg ws followd by othrs. t ws th frst of numbr of dsputs cusd by th govrnmnt's cncllton of publc holdys nd by th prsnc of nomls n th Mtl Trds wrd provsons for pymnt of publc holdys. Th stoppg ws symptom of wr wrnss mong workrs, prtculrly thos nggd n som forms of wr producton. Long workng hours n jobs to whch thy wr td brd dsr for lsur. Tm off ws vlud ll th mor snc th ffct of rtonng, shortg of goods nd ncrsd txton ws to rduc th vlu of wgs. But Communsts sw no possblty of rlxng th drv for mxmum producton. lthough ustrlns wr nvolvd only on th prphry of th worldwd conflct nd nthr thr troops nor thr wr producton gv drct ssstnc to th Russns, Communst support for n nrgtc proscuton of th wr ws lnkd wth, nd usd to, rnforc contnuous poltcl prssur for th opnng of scond front n Wstrn urop for th cmntng of rltons btwn th lls. Ths vson ws fr rmovd from tht of th vrg workr, whos rsponss to th wr wr nfluncd by th gnrl mprovmnt n th lls' poston both n th Pcfc nd n urop. By 1943, uncsng xhorttons to mntn producton nd to rfrn from drct cton xcpt s lst rsort wr bng gnord whr thy wr not dply rsntd on th wtrfront. Th msntrprtton nd gnorng by Communsts n th ronworkrs' Unon of th sgnfcnc of th workrs' lck of rspons wdnd th gp btwn thm.

Th holdy ssu cm up gn t str 1943. Ths tm nzc Dy nd str Sundy fll on th sm dy. No xtr holdy ws grntd n lu of nzc Dy. Th ronworkrs hd ppld n th rbtrton Court for vrton of th Mtl Trds wrd to provd tht whnvr pd publc holdy fll on non-workng dy nd no othr dy ws provdd n lu, th holdy would b obsrvd on th nxt workng dy. But th court rjctd th pplcton for compnston for th loss of nzc Dy. Th ronworkr rportd tht th court's dcson ws th lst strw, cusng th unon to cll mss mtng of ll Sydny nd Blmn mmbrs t th Lchhrdt Stdum on prl 21, whch rsolvd to support dcson by confrnc of mtl trds unons tht ll workshops undr th Mtl Trds wrd should tk dy's holdy n lu of nzc Dy nd tht ndustrl cton would b tkn to prvnt pnlsng of mmbrs nvolvd n th stoppg.22

Th offcl on-dy stoppg whch took plc on My 3, lk th unoffcl on on Nw Yr's Dy, ws cton n dfnc of th court nd th govrnmnt, nd lso lost th workrs dy's py. Prt of th rson for th unon's sponsorng of n cton n My tht thy hd condmnd n Jnury my b found n commnt n th Trbun. "Th unon xcutvs concrnd wr fcd wth th prospcts of n unorgnsd, nrchstc outbrk fomntd nd nsprd by th sbotgng lmnts, Lngts, Trotskyts nd th lk. t ws bttr, n th ntrsts of th wr ffort, tht on-dy stoppg, ld by th unons, should tk plc, from ths stndpont, thn srs of unorgnsd strks lstng much longr. "23

Th ndustrl xprnc of th unon ldrs mght hv bn xpctd to hv hlpd thm to rcogns symptoms of mls n th obvous xsprton of th workrs ovr th dnl of holdys. Wrtm full mploymnt mposd svr strns on th workforc. Rgulton of wgs nd ndustrl conscrpton lrgly nutrlsd th brgnng powr gvn by shortg of lbour. Conscrpton of mnpowr prvntd fr flow of mploys out of thos ssntl ndustrs whr workng condtons wr unplsnt or hours vry long. On th wtrfront condtons vrd consdrbly btwn frms but n gnrl t ws th lrg ntrprss whch wr th toughst n nforcng wrtm rgultons.

Th Trbun, whch could not hv bn unwr of th mportnc ttchd by th workrs to holdys, nvrthlss xplnd th ndustrl cton tkn n th sm trms (of workrs bng msld by groups wth ultror motvs) s thos usully mployd by spoksmn of th mployrs.

Th dvrgnc btwn th proccupton of Communsts n ndustry nd th Blmn rnk nd fl ws rvld n numbr of wys n 1943. t Mort's Dock thr ws u ncdnt whch ld to th bnnng of th prty bulltn. On Fbrury 10 Th Rvt publshd n rtcl On th Producton Front n whch young lbourr ssstng n ldrly trdsmn complnd of hs slownss nd suggstd tht mor cr b tkn n th llotmnt of lbour to nbl bttr producton to h mntnd.

Th rcton on th job ws so ngry tht t mss mtng t ws dcdd to boycott th ppr nd hlt th collcton of mony for ts publcton. Ths cton ws rgrdd s suffcntly srous for Shrky, th prty's gnrl prsdnt, to publsh lflt dsvowng th rtcl. Shrky dnd tht t rprsntd prty polcy, whch, h sd, lwys md t nsurng scurty of mploymnt for workrs. t ws n cllng for vgorous struggl gnst th "fscst monstrs" tht th prty supportd grtr producton of th ncssry wpons of wr nd suppls for th troops.24 Shrky xplnd Th Rvt's lps s bng du to publcton by th prty of hundrds of smlr bulltns nd to t not bng possbl for ll of thm to b suprvsd by prty xcutvs.

Th Rvt wnt out of xstnc nd n Jun rpprd s Dock Nws. Th frst ssu rprntd sttmnt from th Trbun whch blmd dsruptv ctvts of mployrs for ndustrl stoppgs nd ssrtd th rght to strk but lso pnpontd sourcs of dsrupton wthn th lbour movmnt s Lngts, Trotskysts nd bogus mltnts. Dock Nws xprssd ts support for th wr ffort n somwht mor mutd trms thn Th Rvt nd mor spc ws dvotd to rports of condtons on th job.

Th Trotskysts, s th ncrsng ttcks on thm by th Communsts ndctd, wr gnng nflunc on th Blmn wtrfront n 1943. Whl thr rcn vws on th ntur of th wr, gvng rs to proposls for workrs' control of ntonlsd ndustry nd rmng of th proltrt would hv bn shrd by fw workrs, thr constnt dfnc of clss poston stood n clr contrst wth tht of th Communst Prty. Thy md consdrbl cptl of Th Rvt ncdnt, rprntng th offndng rtcl n Th Soclst, togthr wth n ccount of th bnnng of th bulltn.

But frcton btwn Communsts nd othr mmbrs of th unon n Blmn ws not confnd to th job. 1943 sw volnt collson btwn th Fdrl ldrshp nd th Blmn brnch xcutv nd brnch mmbrs. Th unon, whch hd bgun th protrctd procss of mlgmton wth th Munton Workrs' Unon, hd st up Ntonl xcutv Councl to ct s commtt of mngmnt for th combnd unons. t th NC mtng of My 11-12 t whch Brown nd Stl (Brnch Prsdnt) nd Lhy (Fdrl Counclor from Blmn) wr prsnt by nvtton, th Gnrl Prsdnt McHnry submttd rport on bhlf of Lhy nd hmslf on th workng of th brnch nd proposd tht ntonl offcr contnu to ttnd mtngs for th nxt thr months.25 mprovmnt n th work of th brnch ws notd n dscusson, but t th NC on July 7 McHnry ws complnng tht vnts t rcnt brnch mtng hd cusd hm concrn nd ndctd n unstsfctory stt of ffrs. Brown, Stl nd Hrold Johnson (th ssstnt Scrtry) wr nvtd to ttnd th mtng on th nxt dy nd wr qustond. Th nswrs clrly dd not stsfy th councl bcus t concludd tht th rport on Blmn showd unstsfctory fturs, but n ordr to gt mor nformton bout th brnch nd ts workng th councl would conduct n nqury.26 Ths would b crrd out by N offcrs nd th brnch ws nvtd to lct four rprsnttvs t th nxt gnrl mtng to tk prt n th nqury. t s dffcult to fnd out wht wr th xct ponts of McHnry's crtcsm. Th councl mnuts r qut unnformtv. ltr ccount of th dsput n Lbor Nws (formrly Th ronworkr) clmd tht thr hd bn ntrfrnc by brnch offcls wth th rghts of mmbrs to lct thr own shop stwrds nd lso tht Stl s brnch prsdnt hd not chrd mtngs mprtlly.27 Th quston of fnncl mlprctc, whch fgurd so lrgly n th rtrospctv chrgs gnst th Blmn offcrs ftr thr dposton, dos not sm to hv bn rsd. Th mnuts of th brnch mtng tht hd cusd McHnry's concrn rvl th mrkd unwllngnss of brnch ldrs to ccpt thr Fdrl offc drctvs (on how dlgts to th LP confrnc wr to vot), or dvc (on n ndustrl clm md by Orglss on bhlf of mn t Mort's).28

Th brnch xcutv mtng followng th thrtnd Fdrl ntrvnton hd to dl wth th ctons of th ntrctbl Bro. Orglss. Orglss, who hd bn lctd s n ltrnt dlgt from th brnch to th NSW Lbor Councl, hd urgd t th councl (n opposton to th Sydny brnch moton) n xtnson of th Duly nd Hnsford strk n ordr, h clmd, to brng t to succssful concluson. t ws ths polcy of clss confrontton whch, consstnt s t ws wth th Trotskyst vw of th ntur of th wr, ws clcultd to confrm th Communsts' dpst convctons tht th Trotskysts wr th most cunnng nd dngrous dsruptrs nd sboturs n th lbour movmnt. Th Duly nd Hnsford strk hd brokn out ovr th rfusl of 11 workrs (mong thm th wf of Cssdy, K. C) t th frm's munton nnx to jon th ronworkrs' Unon. Th rst of th 800 workrs, mny of thm womn, blongng to vrous unons, rfusd to work wth non-unonsts nd bttr 10-wks' strk bgn. Fturs of th strk wr th lmnts of provocton n ts orgns nd th vlfcton of th ronworkrs' Unon n th dly prss, prtculrly th Sydny Dly Tlgrph, but, n ddton, thr ws th unxpctd soldrty of th consstntly undr-rtd womn unonsts. n supportng th strk th unon ws torn btwn ts rluctnc to s ny ntrrupton to wr producton nd th nscpbl nd to dfnd th prncpl of th closd shop whr th workrs wr soldly n support of drct cton. Th mlvolnc (or prspccty) of th prss n mountng grt ttck on th "Communst dcttorshp" n th unon, whl gnorng Communst srvcs to th wr ffort, lso ld th unon ldrs to wsh th strk to b ndd s quckly s possbl. Whtvr tctcl dvntgs thr mght hv bn n Orglss's proposl, ts ntnton of xtndng th stoppg ws uttrly opposd to th polcy of th unon.

Th Blmn xcutv hrd Bro Orglss's dfnc nd mldly concludd tht h hd bn wrong n opposng th rsoluton of th Sydny brnch. Undr ttck tslf from th Fdrl ldrs t ws n no mood to cstgt consstnt opponnt of Communst Prty polcs.29

t spcl mtng of th Blmn brnch on July 27, summond md consdrbl dsordr, th frst of th opn clshs btwn th Fdrl offc nd th brnch xcutv occurrd. n th dscusson on th mnuts of th NC, whch hd xprssd dsstsfcton wth th brnch offcls, th lttr vhmntly dfndd thmslvs. rsoluton ws crrd by 83 to 69 sttng tht th brnch dmttd no jursdcton from th NC, rfusd to llow th councl to conduct n nqury nto th ffrs of th brnch, rfusd to lct four rprsnttvs to tk prt n th nqury nd dcdd to rsst ny ttmpt to hold such n nqury.30

Wdly dffrng ccounts of th mtng wr gvn by protgonsts of th opposng sds. Th two Fdrl offcrs, McPhllps nd McHnry, n rportng to th FCOM chrgd th chrmn wth bng bltntly prtl, nd brnch offcrs wth flng to dfnd th NC or th Fdrl Councl gnst unjustfd nd dshonst crtcsm.31

n Th Soclst th Trotskysts clmd tht th Blmn brnch hd struck blow for lbrty n rvoltng gnst th dcttorshp of th Communst Prty clqu whch controlld th NC. Bcus th Communsts hd fld to gt nyon lctd to offc thy hd dcdd to conduct n nvstgton nto th brnch, nd, Orglss prophsd, thy would brng clown hostl rport nd nstll Blmn quslng. Th brnch offcrs, n rlyng on lgl rdrss, tht s, on chllngng th lgl stndng of th NC, could not wn. Thy would hv to mobls th mmbrshp to fght for ndpndnc from dcttorl control.32

mmdtly ftr th mtng of July 27 th xcutv dcdd to rfus to tk nstructons from th NC nd to sk lgl dvc.33 But t th followng xcutv mtng on ugust 3, Jo Brown bndond th fght. n spt of th undoubtd rnk nd fl support h commndd h pprntly blvd tht thr ws no futur for hm n th unon, snc th Fdrl ldrs wr dtrmnd to gt rd of hm bcus hs polcs dd not sut thm. So h rsgnd from th scrtryshp, wth ffct from ugust 13.34 Th orgnsng scrtry, Burt Johnston, lso rsgnd.

Th rmnng mmbrs of th xcutv wr summond bfor th FCOM on ugust 17 nd qustond bout vnts n th brnch, whthr th scrtry hd n fct rsgnd, whthr thy supportd th vws n Th Soclst, whch ws hld to b dvoctng brkwy, nd bout th conduct of th mtng of July 27. Thy wr nformd tht thr would b n nqury nto th ffrs of th brnch, whthr th xcutv co-oprtd or not.35 Wltng undr ths ttck th xcutv thn dcdd by svn vots to sx tht n nvstgton by Fdrl offcr would h wlcomd so long s two brnch mmbrs chosn by th xcutv wr ppontd wth hm.36

But t th nxt gnrl mtng, on ugust 24, upror grtd th cptultng brnch ldrs nd thr frst rcommndton, tht Hrold Johnson b ppontd ctng scrtry, ws rjctd by 144 to l22).37 Th brnch prsdnt thn closd th mtng wthout ttmptng to hv ny mor ctng offcls lctd. Th flur to gt ctng offcrs lctd by th gnrl mtng opnd th wy mmdtly for th FCOM to tk ovr th runnng of th brnch on th grounds tht thr hd bn no lcton of offcrs nd th ntrsts of mmbrs wr suffrng from th dsrupton. Th FCOM dcdd tht McHnry would b th offcr n chrg of brnch ffrs nd would prsd t ll mtngs, tht Hrold Johnson ws ppontd offcr to ssst th gnrl prsdnt nd, fnlly, tht n nqury nto th rsons for th rsgnton of brnch offcrs would b hld.38

Th brnch xcutv mt on ugust 25, wth th gnrl prsdnt s most unwlcom ttndr. t nstructd th brnch prsdnt nd Hrold Johnson to oppos th dcson of th FCOM by lgl nd othr cton. Th gnrl prsdnt ruld ths out of ordr nd rtrd. spcl mtng of th brnch ws clld by th xcutv for Sundy, ugust 29, t th Blmn Town Hll, nstd of stopwork mtng proposd for Thursdy, ugust 26.39

Th mtng took plc n spt of fforts by Fdrl offcrs to cncl t. t ths pont th dsput cm nto th dly prss. ccordng to th nwspprs, 600-700 mn wr prsnt, who shoutd down th gnrl prsdnt nd thn lctd offcrs to rplc th scrtry nd ssstnt scrtry. Th mtng lso crrd rsolutons whch pprovd th cton of th brnch xcutv n pplyng for court njuncton to rstrn th Fdrl body from tkng control of th brnch, skd th Commonwlth Govrnmnt to nqur nto th Fdrl dmnstrton of th ronworkrs' Unon, nd, fnlly, xprssd full confdnc n th xcutv.40

Th nxt dy th quty Court rfusd th njuncton on th grounds tht th dsput ws n ntr-unon on, whch dd not ndngr unon funds. Th FCOM scurd ts poston by movng nto th Blmn offc, chngng th locks nd ppontng ts own mn, Brsln, to ssst th gnrl prsdnt n th plc of Hrold Johnson who hd frst bn ppontd but hd rsgnd. Th FCOM lso suspndd ll mmbrs of th brnch xcutv.41 Th Fdrl offc ws now scurly n posssson of th Blmn offc nd ts ssts.

Th dspossssd xcutv clld nothr gnrl mtng n th Blmn Town Hll for th followng Sundy, Sptmbr 5. Thr ws gn lrg ttndnc, of 400 or so, nd th mtng dcdd to ppl to th Commonwlth ttorny-Gnrl nd th Mnstr for Supply nd Shppng for n nqury nto th ffrs of th unon nd th ncrochmnt of th Communst Prty nto th unon.

dputton sw th two mnstrs on Sptmbr 9 nd wr grtd wth proms nd thrt - proms tht thr complnts of ncrsng Communst domnton would b consdrd, nd thrt tht thr ws to b no stopwork mtng untl th chrgs wr nvstgtd. Tht ws s fr s th Commonwlth Govrnmnt's ntrvnton wnt, prt from bhnd th scns prssur on Thornton by th ttorny-Gnrl.

Th xcutv ws now comng to th nd of wys of opposton short of drct cton. Ths spctr, of mss wtrfront stoppg hd, of cours, bn rsd by th Trotskysts t th Town Hll mtng on Sptmbr 9, but hd bn dcsvly rjctd on show of hnds. Th xcutv nxt turnd to th rbtrton Court, pplyng for dsllownc of crtn ruls of th unon. Ths chllng ws lso unsuccssful.

Th Trotskyst group ws vry ctv, ssung srs of lflts undr th nm of th Blmn Mmbrs' Rghts Dfnc Commtt, whch provdd runnng commntry on vnts nd ttmptd to rlly th rnk nd fl gnst th Fdrl ldrs. Th Trotskysts rptdly pontd out th wknss of lgl cton nd clld for gnrl strk of ronworkrs to dmnd th hndng bck of brnch ffrs to th xcutv. Thy rgud tht dcsv cton ws ncssry bcus mmbrs would not go on ttndng Sundy mtngs ndfntly f som progrss wr not md, nd n ny cs th busnss of th brnch hd to b crrd on.

t th ordnry gnrl brnch mtng on Sptmbr 28, Thornton prsntd rport on th rsult of th FCOM nvstgton of th brnch's ffrs. Th rport ws curous on, n tht t dlt t lngth wth th unstsfctory fnncl dlngs of th brnch nd nffcncs n ts mngmnt. Th whol burdn, howvr, of th rptd ccustons gnst Blmn n th pst hd bn tht ts offcrs dd not crry out unon polcy. Th ght months' suprvson by th Fdrl offcrs mght hv bn xpctd to uncovr nd rmdy som t lst of th msmngmnt wth whch th xcutv ws now chrgd. Thornton's rport, wth ts mphss on prcs nstncs of fnncl mlprctc, sms lk n x post fcto justfcton of th ntrvnton. summry of th scton on th fnncl ffrs ws crcultd to ll brnch mmbrs ftr th mtng. Most of th tm hd bn occupd wth Thornton's spch nd no vot hd bn tkn, but th sns of th mtng hd clrly bn gnst th gnrl scrtry.42 t th djournd mtng on Octobr 5, ftr htd dscusson, th rport ws rjctd by 169 to 130.43

Th mmbrs' rjcton of th rport dd not ffct th control of th brnch by th Fdrl offcrs, s n rtcl n Lbor Nws pontd out. n ny cs t th nxt brnch mtng on Octobr 20, spcl mtng clld to lct rturnng offcr for th nnul lctons, th supportrs of th FCOM t lst won mjorty. By 188 to 154 McHnry ws lctd rturnng offcr.44 Ths mtng ws th sxth n lss thn two months to whch Blmn ronworkrs hd bn summond. Th xcutv n tht tm hd rcordd no vctors thr n ts lgl ctons or n ts ttmpts to gt th Commonwlth Govrnmnt to ntrvn nd hd drwn bck from xtndng th dsput to job cton. Th Fdrl offcrs wr n posssson of th offc nd hd nstlld thr nomns s ctng offcls. sns of th futlty of rsstnc ld to pthy mong th mjorty who supportd th xcutv nd thy stoppd comng to mtngs. t th sm tm mssv orgnsng boostd th numbr of Communst Prty supportrs to 188, thr hghst fgur to dt. Th Blmn ronworkrs' Mmbrs' Rghts Dfnc Commtt qustond th bon fds of som of th 188, obsrvng tht th doorkprs hd blongd to th Communst fcton.45 Ths mtng, of Octobr 20, mrkd th nd of ffctv rsstnc from th old Blmnrs. From now on, prt front Hrold Johnson, th only on of th old Blmn ldrs to rmn ctv, opposton t mtngs ws confnd mnly to Orglss nd Short, supportd by Lynn, Currn nd Burntt.

Th nmty btwn brnch nd Fdrl offc supportrs ws ntns on th job. t on of th brnch mtngs Orglss hd bn rushd by numbr of hs opponnts nd knockd down. Whn Brsln, ctng s brnch orgnsr, ltr md lunch-hour vst to Mort's, Orglss nqurd f h flt s gm now s h hd don wth gng. Brsln rmovd hs cot nd fls tth. Th contndrs movd to pddock outsd th gts oppost th Forth nd Clyd Hotl. Th fght lstd untl th strt-work whstl nd ws dclrd no-dcson bout.

n th bllot t th nd of 1943 thr wr two fctons. Th opposton hd untd to prsnt sngl tckt of old Blmnrs nd Trotskysts - for Prsdnt Stl, Vc-Prsdnt Orglss, Scrtry Hrold Johnson, Mnut Scrtry Currn, Mngmnt Commtt Burntt, Lockhrt, Ppps, Short, Whttkr nd McKnz. Th poll ws smllr on thn n th prvous yr, bout 1600 votng. Th Communst tckt md cln swp, wnnng ll postons, on n vrg by bout 200 vots.46

For th vctory of th Fdrl offc supportrs to hv bn gnunly won, lrg-scl orgnsng ffort by th Communst fcton would not hv bn nough. Thr would lso hv hd to hv bn dcsv swng n opnon mongst th rnk nd fl gnst th old Blmnrs. But th ntr progrss of th dsput from July to Octobr ndctd tht th mbttld xcutv hd th brnch mmbrs bhnd t. Th lrgr th mtngs wr, th lrgr ts mjorts. n th Town Hll mss mtngs th supportrs of th Fdrl offc pprd to b outnumbrd by t lst two to on.

wn by th old Blmnrs n th brnch bllot would hv bn rsoundng rpudton of Fdrl offc ntrvnton nd n mpld rjcton of th unon's wr polcy. thoroughly hostl brnch xcutv (now ncludng th two dngrous Trotskysts) could only hv mnt ncrsd frcton wth th Fdrl ldrshp nd mor frqunt work stoppgs. On my conclud tht ths ws n lcton th Fdrl offc hd no ntnton of losng. wr of th ptnss of Tnnock's47 phorsm n thr cs ( fcton tht hs th rturnng offcr nd cn't wn n lcton, dosn't dsrv to), th supportrs of th Fdrl offc orgnsd to th utmost of thr blty nd th rsults my wll hv bn clos, but n th oppost (drcton to tht ndctd by th publshd fgurs).

Th mn sourcs usd n th wrtng of ths rtcl hv bn th rcords of th Fdrtd ronworkrs' ssocton housd n th ustrln Ntonl Unvrsty rchvs nd mtrl from th collcton of pprs, lttrs nd documnts blongng to ldrmn N. Orglss, prsntly Myor of Lchhrdt.

t ws only through drstc ntrvnton n th ffrs of th Blmn brnch by th ronworkrs' Fdrl Commtt of Mngmnt tht th long-stblshd brnch offcls wr dslodgd nd rplcd wth mn whos polcs nd tttuds wr ccptbl to th unon's ntonl ldrs. t th Fdrl Councl mtng n Jnury 1944 Thornton justfd th drstc stps tkn, dclrng tht "th whol unon ws fcd wth th poston n Blmn whr t hd to fght collcton of th worst nd most dngrous popl vr collctd togthr n th Lbor movmnt n ths country".1 Fdrl Councl rsttd th polcy of co-oprton wth th govrnmnt, support for th wr ffort nd mnmsng of strks.

Th nw xcutv, wth Brsln s scrtry, K. McKon s ssstnt scrtry nd W. Olvr s prsdnt, took offc dtrmnd to mk t clr tht t could run th brnch wth polcy mor n ccord wth th ntrsts of mmbrs thn tht of ts dsplcd rvls. n nrgtc progrm of cton on nfrngmnts of ndustrl wrds by mployrs, prompt ttnton to compnston css, prssur n conjuncton wth th Fctory Wlfr Bord on mployrs to mprov cntns nd othr fclts, nd ffcnt offc mngmnt wr ll dsgnd to show tht th nw brnch ldrs could conduct th unon's ffrs much bttr thn th old ons hd don. But drlcton n th crryng out of dy-to-dy unon busnss hd not bn th rson for bundlng out th old Blmnrs. Th rl sourc of conflct hd bn md clr onc gn by Thornton n hs spch n Jnury 1944, whn dscrbng Jo Brown, "whos hbt ws to go on to job whr dffcult stuton xstd nd sy ' hv got to crry out my duty to th Fdrl Councl nd tll you Fdrl Councl polcy s tht you must not com out on strk, but hv my own opnon nd f you do com out wll b wth you'".2

Th crdnl sns of th old Blmnrs hd bn, n th frst plc, tht thy hd not bn prprd to try to nforc tht prt of unon polcy concrnd wth mxmum producton nd vodnc of strks, whch ws unpopulr on th wtrfront. n th scond plc thy hd crrd on thr ssntlly prochl dfnc of brnch ndpndnc n trms of rsstnc to "dcttorl" communst control. Thornton profssd to s n Brown's sbotg of unon drctvs n nt-workng-clss tttud nd mlvolnc towrds th unon ldrshp, but wht ws lso rflctd n Brown's tttud wr th rsrvtons th workrs on th job hd towrds th unon's wr polcy s t ppld to thm. Thus th nw xcutv, hvng won powr by borrowng vots, ws lodd wth th tsk of crryng out polcy on strks nd producton whch ws unpopulr nd bcomng mor so th longr th wr lstd. But f t ws not to b fcd wth th ncssty of furthr borrowng n th nxt lcton t hd lso to mk tslf suffcntly hghly rgrdd to wn gnun mjorty. n ntrmttnt prcpton of th contrdctory poston tht ths plcd th xcutv n cn b dtctd n th muffld lngug of th brnch nd xcutv mnuts. Th wy out n 1944, s ws strssd gn nd gn n th mnuts, ws sn s lyng n sustnd ffort to convnc th mn wth nflunc on th job, th unon dlgts, of th vldty of unon polcy. Thr mtngs for dlgts wr hld durng th yr.

Th frst brnch mtng on Jnury 11 ws spcl mtng, t whch th drft ruls of th mlgmtd ronworkrs' nd munton workrs' unon wr dscussd. Orglss spok of th powr th proposd Ntonl Councl (th succssor of th old FCOM) would hv n dscplnng mmbrs, whch h consdrd not to b n thr ntrst. Brsln dfndd th rght of th Ntonl Councl to dscpln rnk nd fl nd offcrs. Th ruls wr doptd by 64 to sx.3

Thr ws rcognton of hostlty on th job. Brsln mntond th dstrbuton of lflts ttckng brnch offcls. t th gnrl mtng on Jnury 25, 1944, ssstnt scrtry McKon's rport on shops vstd nd dsputs hndld drw cclmton,4 but th cntrl problm of rnk-nd-fl rsstnc to th polcy of vodng producton dlys rmnd. t Chrstms th Commonwlth Govrnmnt hd followd th rcommndton of th trd unons n rqurng only th most urgnt work to b crrd on, but for nnvrsry Dy hd ordrd ll shp rpr stblshmnts to work. Mny workrs styd wy nd wr pnlsd wth forftur of th dy's py. n rply, ronworkrs, bolrmkrs nd blcksmths t Mort's, Cocktoo nd dld Stmshp Compny plcd n mbrgo on ovrtm nd shft work untl thy wr pd for th holdy. Lbor Nws n Mrch ccusd th Govrnmnt of bunglng n mposng th blnkt ordr to work but lso crtcsd th workrs for rfusng to rport for work nd for mposng th mbrgo.

Th Mtl Trds Fdrton, hvng tkn up th dsput nd obtnd n ssurnc from th Govrnmnt tht futur holdys would not cus troubl, rqustd workrs n th Blmn stblshmnts to lft th mbrgo. But whl th Fdrton flt confdnt tht thr would b no furthr cncllng of publc holdys s dys of lsur, ll t could sy on th quston of pymnt for nnvrsry Dy ws tht t would contnu to prss th Govrnmnt to s tht workrs who wr bsnt on th holdy wr pd. Th ronworkrs' xcutv trd hrd to gt th mmbrs to lft th bn. t dlgts' mtng on Fbrury 8, 1944, thos prsnt wr urgd to support th lftng of th bn nd to lv ngottons to th MTF.5 mjorty t spcl mtng of th brnch on Fbrury 29 ndorsd th MTF rqust,6 but whn ths ws put to mss mtng of mtl trds unonsts t Cocktoo, whr most ovrtm ws workd, by n mposng rry of offcls of th unons nvolvd, ncludng th ronworkrs' ssstnt Ntonl Scrtry, L. J. McPhllps, th mn rfusd to lft th mbrgo nd compoundd th nsult by lctng commtt of sx to co-oprt wth th Mort's Dock mn n crryng on th fght.7

Thr ws lrg ttndnc t th nxt brnch mtng on Mrch 28, 1944, n ntcpton tht chrgs gnst mmbrs of th xcutv would b dlt wth. n th vnt ths wr dfrrd, snc th fndngs wr not complt. But th ovrtm bn ws dscussd nd th moton for th dopton of th xcutv mnuts n whch th dvlopmnt of "brkwy movmnt" t Cocktoo nd Mort's ws dplord nd th commtt st up to tk cton "ndpndntly of th unons" rpudtd, ws crrd by only on vot (81-80) 8. Th mbrgo on ovrtm nd shft work, whch ws rgrdd s bng nstgtd by Trotskysts n numbr of th wtrfront unons, ws not lftd untl th mddl of July, hvng lstd fv-nd--hlf months.

Whn th chrgs gnst ght of th prvous offc holdrs wr fnlly drwn up, thy wr concrnd xclusvly wth fnncl nd orgnstonl msmngmnt. Jo Brown ws xplld, two othrs suspndd nd th rst svrly rprmndd. Four othr brnch mmbrs, ncludng Short, wr lso svrly rprmndd for hvng crcultd lflts ttckng th unon offcls.9

Clshs btwn Communsts nd Trotskysts bcm mor frqunt durng 1944. t dlgts' mtng on Jun 13, 1944, whr t ws rportd tht Brsln hd hd hs rght of ntry to jobs rvokd by th rbtrton Court, McKon movd tht f mngmnts rfusd to llow Brsln rght of ntry, mmbrs should b clld upon to ttnd mtngs outsd th gts. Orglss's mndmnt ws tht flng stsfctory sttlmnt, th ngnrng unons b pprochd for co-oprton n wthdrwng lbour from shops rfusng Brsln rght of ntry. t ws lost 37-8.10

t confrnc n Jun on shp rprs nd stblston of th shp-buldng ndustry orgnsd by th Mtl Trds Fdrton th mn rsoluton clld for workrs to crry out thr work wth th utmost xpdton nd ffcncy. Orglss's mndmnt, whch rcvd som support n dscusson, lthough lost on th vot, ws to dlt ths clus nd rplc t wth rcommndton to th Commonwlth Govrnmnt to ntonls th shpbuldng ndustry undr workrs' control.11

Whl Orglss ws bng dftd n th brnch nd n dlgts' mtngs h ws buldng up support t Mort's Dock, prtculrly n th bolrshop n hs cpcty s ronworkrs dlgt nd s scrtry of th Bolrshop Commtt nd of th Mtl Trds Commtt (of dlgts of svn unons). Th Mtl Trds Commtt, togthr wth dlgts from non-mtl unons, took up vrous job complnts wth th mngmnt, prssd for mprovd fclts nd rqustd th Commonwlth Govrnmnt to rls ncrsd suppls of br for th Dry Dock Hotl, nd to ncrs th tobcco ssu to th dock. wdr cmpgn whch sought th support of th locl ML nd Muncpl Councl ws wgd to hv n mbulnc stton r-stblshd t Blmn. n th cours of ths cmpgn numbr of lttrs wr wrttn by Orglss sgnng hmslf scrtry of "combnd unons commtt". H ws ttckd n Dock Nws (Sptmbr 26, 1944) for xcdng hs uthorty n dsgntng hmslf scrtry of combnd unons' commtt nd th shop commtt t Chpmns rfusd to rcv corrspondnc from hm for th sm rson.

n lflt whch bgn: "Th dshonour of crcultng th vlst nt-workng-clss propgnd rsts squrly wth th Communst Prty", Orglss brfly rcountd wht h consdrd to b th nt-workng-clss rcord of th prty t Mort's, n prtculr ts support of spd-up, nd gv th hstory of th combnd unons' commtt.12 Th Mort's Dock Mtl Trds Commtt pssd strongly wordd moton of confdnc n Orglss.

n Novmbr mss mtng of Mort's Dock mtl trds workrs pssd rsoluton submttd by Orglss cllng for th Commonwlth Govrnmnt to unpg wgs, rs th bsc wg n ccordnc wth th rl cost of lvng nd ntroduc th 40-hour wk mmdtly. t lso clld on unon offcls to convn wtrfront stopwork mtng to dcd on cton to scur ths dmnds.13

Ths mltnt cll for mmdt stsfcton of ndustrl dmnds n contrvnton of th Ntonl Scurty rgultons ws convyd to th brnch xcutv whch, ccordng to th mnuts, contntd tslf wth rfrrng t to th Mtl Trds Fdrton.14 Thr ws no mnton of th mtng or rsoluton n Lbor Nws.

By th nd of 1944 th xcutv stll commndd mjorty t brnch mtngs nd hd scurd th lcton of ts nomn s rturnng offcr. But t Mort's Dock t hd vry lttl stndng. Hr th nmy, Orglss, ws cknowldgd ldr nd spoksmn of th ronworkrs.

Th xcutv hd lso lost ground t Cocktoo. Th bd flng btwn offcls nd mn cusd by th ovrtm mbrgo hd bn xcrbtd by n brsv ncdnt ovr fn nmposd on n ronworkr, Gorg Lng. Lng, n tst cs for 127 bolrmkrs, lctrcns nd ronworkrs, hd bn fnd 5 wth 5.13.0 costs for rfusng to work ovrtm whl th bn hd bn n oprton. t th xcutv mtng of Dcmbr 11, 1944, Wlkns, who workd t Cocktoo, movd tht th Fdrl Offc b skd to py th fn. Brsln movd n mndmnt, whch ws crrd, tht mmbrs of th unon on th job b skd to tk up collcton to py for t. t th sm mtng, n rvwng th dffcults of th yr just pst, mmbrs hd notd th sprt of comrdshp n th xcutv nd congrtultd t on bng th most hrd-workng th brnch hd vr hd.15

But t Cocktoo th rbuff to Lng ws grtd wth ngr, snc t hd bn rgrdd thr s undrstood tht th fn would b pd by th unon. ndd, n th blf tht th unon would tk rsponsblty, Lng hd wthdrwn lgl ppl h hd bgun n th mttr.

Rtrbuton ws quck n comng to Wlkns, who ws dftd n th dlgt lctons t Cocktoo n Jnury 1945. H hd bn ronworkrs' dlgt from th bolrshop for nn yrs.communsts n svrl unons lost thr postons n ths lctons. Th nw ronworkrs' dlgt from th shpyrd ws Short, of whom n 1943 Codock Nws hd quppd tht n ny lcton n th shpyrd h could dpnd on gttng t lst fv vots ncludng hs own.16

Th xpndng nflunc of th Trotskysts durng 1944 hd bn mrkd by th sttng up of th Blmn Workrs' Socl Club by Orglss nd hs supportrs. Th sttd purpos of th club ws "to promot socl, ductonl nd rcrtonl ctvts, nd th ntrsts of th workng popl gnrlly". Clubrooms wr found nd vrty of socl ctvts crrd on. t th nd of Novmbr ronod sht, Rsng Td, bgn publcton, pprng bout onc fortnght. Togthr wth poltcl pcs of th sort whch hd bn wrttn for Th Soclst nd nws of socl vnts, t contnd rports on ndustrl qustons from vwpont opposd to tht of Lbor Nws. Th club ttrctd lrg mmbrshp. Th formng of socl commtt by th unon brnch n ugust pprs to hv bn n ordr to countr th club's populrty.

Th concluson cnnot b vodd tht th Blmn xcutv lost furthr support durng 1944 t th two mn shops. ctvty on wlfr nd ffcncy n routn unon busnss my hv mprovd ts poston n th smllr shops. But t Mort's nd Cocktoo thr ws growng mptnc wth th Govrnmnt's polcy on wgs nd hours nd nxty bout mploymnt prospcts ftr th wr. Th frozn stnc of th trd unons on ths mttrs, whch would lst s long s th wr dd, rousd rsntmnt. Thornton, n ddton, hd bn dply nfluncd n 1943 nd 1944 by th ds of th mrcn Communst ldr, rl Browdr, on th possblty of collborton btwn mployrs nd workrs ftr th wr. lthough hs frnkly xprssd nthussm for Browdr's vws ws somwht mutd by th tm t rchd th rnk nd fl, t ws suffcntly wll known to b ttckd by th Trotskysts s furthr xprsson of clss collborton.

n ddton, th hrssmnt of Orglss t Mort's nd th frcton wth th Cocktoo workrs ovr th ovrtm bn must hv contrbutd to th worsnng of rltons btwn offcls nd mmbrs t th two lrgst shops. Th rsults of th nnul brnch lctons nnouncd n Jnury 1945 showd tht th xcutv, gn opposd by untd opposton tckt, ws rturnd n ts ntrty wth n mprovd vot, pproxmtly 60 pr cnt to 40 pr cnt, wth btwn 1500 nd 1600 votng.17 Ths rsults sm vn lss probbl thn thos of 1943. Th only ndcton of possbl bllot fkng obsrvd by th opposton's scrutnrs ws tht thr hd bn n unusully lrg numbr of bllot pprs postd t th sm tm on on dy t th Glb Post Offc, whch could hv suggstd th fllng n of numbr of pprs by on prson.18 Th dscussons of th xcutv n Jnury do not rd t ll lk th dlbrtons of popl rturnd to offc by n ncrsd mjorty n th fc of strong opposton. comprhnsv rport by McPhllps on th work of th unon nd dlng wth such mttrs s th mlgmton wth th munton workrs, womn's uxlrs, youth orgnstons nd socl nd sportng commtts ws dscussd t spcl mtng on Jnury 30. McKon, ctng scrtry n th bsnc of Brsln, who hd bn scondd tmporrly to Port Kmbl, pontd out tht th xcutv hd hd tryng tm n th pst 12 months, but durng th comng yr grt fforts would hv to b md to brng unon polcy to mmbrs. Svrl spkrs nlrgd on th nd for th qulty of dlgts' work to b mprovd. Th stblshmnt of good rltons btwn ldrshp nd th rnk nd fl ws stll sn s bng chvd by convncng th mmbrs through th dlgts of th corrctnss of unon polcy. 19 t sms to hv bn rcognsd tht Lbor Nws, lthough n unusully wll-wrttn unon ppr, ws not wll rcvd by Blmn ronworkrs.

By th bgnnng of 1945 t hd pprntly lso bn dcdd tht th cntr of opposton t Mort's Dock would hv to b tckld. Two confronttons wth Orglss occurrd n Fbrury. t th frst, on Fbrury 20, th xcutv consdrd clm by Orglss for hlf dy's py for ttndng Lbor Councl Dsputs Commtt mtng on mttr nvolvng th Shp Jonrs' Socty, n orgnston rgrdd by othr wtrfront unons s bogus. t ws dcdd tht th clm should not b mt nd tht Orglss should b notfd tht dlgts would not b pd for tm lost unlss th unon xcutv or offcls wr notfd nd pprovl gvn. 20

Th scond ssu ld drctly to Orglss's rmovl from hs poston s unon dlgt. t bgn on Wdnsdy, Fbrury 21, wth th suspnson by th dock mngmnt of th svn mmbrs (bolrmkrs nd ronworkrs) of th Mort's bolrshop commtt for mtng n workng hours wthout prmsson. Th bolrshop mploys thrupon struck. Ths drct cton brought bout ntrvnton by th mnpowr uthorts nd th lftng of th suspnsons. t ws grd to rcommnd rturn to work. ttmpts wr md to nform th mn by prss nd rdo mssgs, but fwr hlf of thm pprd for work on th nxt dy, whch ws Frdy. Thy wr ddrssd by McKon, who urgd n mmdt rsumpton, nd Orglss, who rcommndd tht thr should b gnrl rturn to work on Mondy, Fbrury 26, snc rturn by mnorty would hv bd ffct on job orgnston nd soldrty. Ths ws ccptd by th mn prsnt n th mornng nd by lrgr mtng n th ftrnoon. McKon thn ccusd Orglss of hvng brokn th grmnt md, whch hd bn to rsum work on Frdy. On Tusdy, Fbrury 27, t spcl brnch mtng, t ws rsolvd to ct th dlgts t Mort's Dock to ppr bfor th xcutv to xpln th tttud thy hd doptd durng th dsput. Orglss ws on of thos summond on Mrch 21 nd ws chrgd undr Rul 17 of th brnch ruls wth ctng contrry to th bst ntrsts of th unon on two counts, th frst, of not notfyng th unon offcrs of dsput untl ftr th mn csd work nd th scond, tht hvng bn prty to ccptng trms of sttlmnt of dsput whch ncludd rsumpton of work t crtn tm, h movd t mtng to dfr th rsumpton. Th scond chrg, lso undr Rul 17, ws tht h hd dvulgd dcson on mttr of xpnss to commtt consstng of prsons othr thn unon mmbrs.21

Th scond chrg ros from th xcutv's rfusl of pymnt for lost tm to Orglss for ttndng th mtng on th shp jonrs' dsput. Orglss hd rportd ths rfusl to th Mtl Trds Commtt ftr th blcksmths' dlgt who hd ccompnd hm hd rportd no dffculty n bng pd by hs unon.

Of th svn mn summond wth Orglss on vrty of chrgs, thr, lk hm, wr ccusd of not notfyng th brnch offcrs of dsput untl ftr th mn hd stoppd work. Th svn wr rprmndd cutond, xonrtd or fnd. But Orglss ws found gulty on ll counts nd "n vw of hs sttmnt tht h s opposd to th polcy whch s supportd by th mjorty of th mmbrshp nd hs consstnt floutng of dcsons rsng from tht polcy", t ws dcdd tht h should no longr b rcognsd s n offcl dlgt of th unon.22

Th pnlty of rmovl from th poston of dlgt ws drstc nd unjustfd snc Orglss hd strong dfnc n th frst chrg, nd th scond chrg ws trvl. Th substnc of hs offnc ws, of cours, contnd n th xcutv's sttmnt tht h opposd th unon's polcy nd floutd ts dcsons.

ddd wght my b gvn to th supposton tht th mov gnst Orglss ws dsgnd to dstroy hs stndng nd nflunc n th unon by th fct tht h ws nformd by lttr of hs suspnson only on th mornng of th nxt brnch mtng, on Mrch 27, whch gv hm no tm to rlly supportrs to ttnd t. t tht mtng, by 109 to 15, th moton ndorsng th xcutv's cton ws crrd.23

Th nws of th rmovl of thr dlgt ws rcvd wth ngr nd surprs by th ronworkrs t Mort's bolrshop. On prl 9 Orglss's co-dlgts, Dlly nd McGuckn, rsgnd n sympthy. Th nxt dy McKon ddrssd mtng of workrs t th bolrshop convnd to gt dlgts lctd. Orglss ws nomntd nd hs nomnton rfusd, nd McKon told th mn tht Orglss ws out "for th trm of hs nturl lf". No othr nomntons wr md. On prl 12 th xcutv ppontd thr mn, Grffths, Goldsmth nd Pmphln, s dlgts for thr months, wth th poston thn to b rvwd. Th dy ftr tht, mtng of th mn t th bolrshop rfusd to ccpt th ppontd dlgts nd gv thm untl Mondy, prl 16, to rsgn thr postons. f thy dd not do ths, th mn would rfus to work wth thm. McKon nformd th mn on th Mondy tht thr mtng ws unoffcl nd ts rsolutons wthout bndng ffct. H nstructd th mn to go to work. Svntn obyd nd th rst of th 250 or so ronworkrs n th bolrshop struck. Bolrmkrs nd crndrvrs rfusd to work wth th ronworkrs who obyd th unon's nstructons to work nd wr suspndd by th mngmnt, whch brought ll bolrmkrs nd crndrvrs out. Th nxt dy, prl 17, th strkrs wr jond by lmost ll th rst of th ronworkrs t Mort's.

bout 600 mn ttndd th nxt brnch mtng, on prl 24. t 8.30 th brnch prsdnt, J. Lhy, closd th mtng bcus, h sd, th upror ws too grt to llow hm to conduct t proprly.24 Ths ws ltr rjctd s vld rson by Mr Justc O'Mr, whn th mttr ltr cm bfor th rbtrton Court. Th judg obsrvd tht th supportrs of Orglss, n mjorty t th mtng, would hv bn ntrstd n hvng hs rmovl dscussd nd th xcutv's rulng ovrturnd. "Th chrmn lft th hll, followd by bout 100 supportrs of th brnch offcls. Th rmnng 500 rsolvd unnmously to orgns job mtngs for th purpos of strkng mmdtly wth th dmnd tht th xcutv should cll spcl stopwork mtng t Lchhrdt Stdum to dl wth th Mort's Dock ssu.25

Th chrmn's closng of th mtng n ordr to prvnt th dscusson nd rvrsl of Orglss's rmovl prcpttd th cton of th rnk nd fl to xtnd th dsput. Th quston nxt ws whthr th strk would b jond by workrs not drctly nvolvd n th stoppg t Mort's. dcson whch turnd out to b cruclly mportnt n xtndng th stoppg ws tht of th Cocktoo workrs, who on prl 26 hld stopwork mtng on th slnd to dscuss th ssu, thn crrd moton to djourn to th mnlnd, whr thy dcdd to strk. Onc Cocktoo stoppd, Pool nd Stl nd othr wtrfront shops followd. By th nd of prl lmost 3000 mn wr on strk.

Th brnch commtt's dcson to dpos Orglss, dlbrtly md, procdd both from sns of ts own solton nd th knowldg tht th unon ruls could b usd to crush opposton. yr n offc, fr from strngthnng th support njoyd by th brnch ldrs, thy hd wknd t n th two lrgst workplcs nd ncrsd th nflunc of thr mn opponnt. Thy workd undr th hndcp of hvng to dfnd th unpopulr cntrlsng polcy of th Ntonl Councl, whch hd ncrsd ts powrs ovr th brnchs undr th nw ruls of th mlgmtd unon. Thy workd lso wth polcy of producton nd ndustrl cton whch dvrgd ncrsngly from th mood nd wshs of th rnk nd fl. Crtnly, by 1945 th rgumnts for support of th wr took ccount of workrs' wr wrnss nd ws couchd n trms of fnshng off th Jpns quckly, lbrtng th prsonrs of wr nd brngng th boys bck hom s soon s possbl. Th strongly collbortonst tttud of th unon ldrs to th Lbour Govrnmnt hd bn rnforcd by som ccptnc of th Browdr ds of ndustrl pc wth th mployrs ftr th wr. lthough Browdr's opn nflunc ws short-lvd #&151; nthm ws pronouncd on hm by th ntrntonl Communst movmnt n My 1945 #&151; hs thors dd ffct ronworkr polcy sttmnts n 1944. By ths tm, howvr, mny workrs wr lookng for polcy of mltnt ndustrl dmnds. Stll nothr brrr btwn ronworkr offcls nd th rnk nd fl ws crtd by th rrognc nd ltsm of th ldrs' tttuds. Ths mptnt mn, fond of th xrcs of powr, pprochd th mmbrs wth mxtur of condscnson nd dstrust, whch sly ld thm to th us of stndovr tctcs. xtrm prsonl vndctvnss nd chrctr ssssnton mrkd thr rltons wth thr poltcl opponnts.

For communsts th polcy of ovrll support for th wr ws not opn to quston or rgumnt. t ws rcognsd tht thr wr dffcults n gttng t ccptd, dffcults mgnfd n Blmn by th prtculrsm nd trdton of ndpndnt cton of th workforc nd by th ntur of th wtrfront ndustry tslf. Trotskysm, n spt of th smll numbr of Trotskysts, ws undrstood to b dngrous bcus of th chllng ts lftsm prsntd to th clss collbortonst polcs of th Communst Prty. But tht thr mght b cs for r-xmnng polcy n th lght of th Trotskyst crtqu ws not to b contmpltd. To b Trotskyst ws to b nt-Sovt, whch ws to b nt-workng clss. Orglss's ttcks on th tctcs whch flowd from clss collborton nd hs chllng to th bss of th polcy tslf wr nvr nswrd wth prncpld dfnc by ronworkr offcls but rthr wth smpl rfrnc to th vrtu of supportng th wr, t low lvl of rson nd hgh lvl of motv ppl.

f unon polcy ws not ccptbl to th mmbrs, ths ws du to th bckwrdnss of th rnk nd fl, th ndqut fforts of th poltclly conscous, nd th subvrson of th Trotskyst nmy wthn th workng clss tslf. n othr words, th obstcls to ccptnc wr sn n th form of th flngs of popl rthr thn possbl nvldty of polcy. Th wy to ovrcom th obstcls ws for th nlghtnd to strv hrdr to rch nd convnc th msss nd to xpos nd dscrdt th nmy. Polcy ws ld down, th tsk ws to xpound t, wn ovr th mjorty nd dstroy th mnorty. Th clssc Stlnst pproch.

Orglss dd not ppr t frst sght to b th knd of fgur who mght ply th cntrl rol n mss rvolt of Blmn ronworkrs gnst thr own unon. H dd not ft nto th pttrn of th trdtonl ndgnous workr wth whom mmbrs of th brnch could sly dntfy thmslvs, s thy hd wth Jo Brown. H ws n outsdr, Qunslndr wth n tln fthr, n outlndsh nm nd th pprnc of Hthclff n s of mn whos forfthrs hd com from th Brtsh sls. H hd jond th brnch only n 1939 nd lvd n th Blmn dstrct only snc 1942. Hs sotrc rvolutonry phlosophy would brly b undrstood, lt lon supportd by th mjorty of thos wth whom h workd. vn n th dy-to-dy ssus whch h dlt wth n th workrs' dom, drct nd flunt, th wy forwrd tht h pontd to lwys splt struggl, ffort nd thought, lot to sk of mn t work. H ws mn to whom poltcl struggl cm s nturlly s brthng. Hs tmprmntl nd poltcl ntrnsgnc ws such tht nthr ttcks nor solton nor stbcks could rduc hm to quscnc.

Th uncompromsng mnnr wth whch h dfndd hs vws nd ttckd th ldrshp mrkd hm out for punshmnt from bov. Tht h should b dfndd by mss cton from vctmston by th unon ws not so obvously undrstndbl. Crtnly hs srvc s dlgt, n whch poston h combnd ffcncy wth mltnt dfnc of workrs' ntrsts on th job, countd for much wth th mn h workd wth. Togthr wth ths thr ws gnrl rsntmnt gnst th communst ldrs whch bold nto opn rbllon whn thy ntrvnd n drctly dcttorl fshon n th workrs' orgnston on th job, n ordr to punsh rspctd dlgt. Fnlly, thr ws th cpcty of th rnk nd fl to ct for thmslvs. Orglss's yrs of dvoctng tht polcy should rst n th hnds of th workrs on th job hd mt wth lttl rspons t brnch mtngs. But onc ssus of grt mportnc cm up for rsoluton n th workshop, th workrs dd show thmslvs undr crtn condtons to b cpbl of dtrmnd nd untd cton.

t n rly stg of th dsput Orglss spok of th mn who hd com out gnst thr own unon offcls.

Nnty-fv pr cnt of th workng mmbrshp of th Blmn ronworkrs' Unon r on strk. Th bulk of ths mmbrshp conssts of oldr mn who hv fcd th vcsstuds of lf, wth ll ts trls, dsppontmnts nd vnqushd hops #&151; mn who crtnly r not movd to drstc nd slf-scrfcng cton unlss th grvty of th ttck on thr stblshd rghts s such s to mk ncton nsuffrbl.26

Th brnch mtng of prl 24 mrkd turnng pont for th offcls s wll s for thr opposton. Fcd wth mssv dmonstrton tht thr ntrvnton n th ffrs of th mn on th job hd rousd much grtr ngr thn thy hd xpctd, thy wr nvrthlss commttd to th ttmpt to dstroy Orglss's nflunc fnlly. Thus thy would nthr ccpt mss vot of no-confdnc n thmslvs, nor lft th sntnc. But th only wy n whch th wll of th brnch mmbrs could b ovrrddn ws by nvokng th powrs of th ntonl orgnston. ftr th mtng th mmbrs of th xcutv dcdd tht bcus th dsput hd bcom chllng to th uthorty of th lctd brnch offcls nd to th polcy of th unon, thy would rport th fcts to th Ntonl Councl for ts consdrton nd ny cton t dmd ft.27 Thus th conduct of th dsput ws opnly turnd ovr to thos who wr lrdy covrtly drctng t: tht s, th unon's ntonl offcrs, n prtculr L. J. McPhllps, t tht tm ctng Ntonl Scrtry.

On prl 29 mtng of mor thn 400 dlgts of th two Sydny brnchs nd Blmn, supportd by th Ntonl Councl, clld unnmously for n mmdt rturn to work t Blmn nd for ll mmbrs nd offcrs to bd by th ruls. bdng by th ruls mnt, n th cs of Orglss, tht h should xrcs hs mmbrshp rght of pplng to th Ntonl Councl nd Ntonl Confrnc gnst th brnch dcson. But s th Ntonl Councl md clr whn t consdrd th dsput, Orglss's rnsttmnt ws dpndnt upon hs gvng ssurncs tht h ws prprd to co-oprt wth th offcrs of th unon nd to xcut th polcy doptd by th Councl or Ntonl Confrnc.28 Thr ws quston of prncpl nvolvd hr, n th dffrng concpts of th rol of unon dlgt hld by Orglss nd hs supportrs on th on hnd, nd th unon offcls on th othr. Th strkrs stood for th rght of th mn on th job to lct thr own thr own dlgt, who ws rgrdd s th rprsnttv of thr ntrsts not only n thr rltons wth th mployrs but lso wth th unon nd ts offcrs. For th offcls th dlgt ws rprsnttv of th unon ntrustd wth th crryng out of unon polcy. Thornton put ths pont of vw to th Ntonl Confrnc n Jun:

Orglss, lthough rprsnttv of th unon, rfusd n th most pont blnk wy to crry out th polcy of th unon or bd by th ruls whl h ws dlgt. Th unon supports th wr, ms to gt shps rprd n th shortst possbl tm. ftr ths polcy hs bn dcdd by th Ntonl Confrnc nd ndorsd by vry brnch nd vry workshop mtng, Orglss clms th rght, not s n ndvdul, mnd you, but s rprsnttv of th unon, to crry out polcy bsolutly opposd to th unon polcy. Wht ls could th brnch do but rmov hm from hs poston s dlgt? Thr ws no ltrntv.29

t ws ths monolthc vw of polcy tht ws rjctd by Orglss, who rgud tht th trd unons, n whch mmbrshp ws vrtully compulsory, but whos mmbrs hld mny dffrng vws, wr not nttld, unlk poltcl prts, to dmnd dhrnc to prtculr polcy from nyon mrly by vrtu of bng mmbr of unon.

Th rply of th Blmn ronworkrs to th ndorsmnt of th unon offcls' ctons by th dlgts of th Sydny brnchs cm n th form of srs of mss mtngs. On prl 30, ronworkrs cnsurd th brnch offcls nd pldgd soldrty wth th Mort's Dock mn, whl mtng of strkrs from ll th unons nvolvd votd to xtnd th stoppg to ll shops on th Blmn wtrfront. On My 3, by 1500 to 194, ronworkrs grd to rturn to work on condton tht th ppontd dlgts wr wthdrwn, th rght to lct dlgts ws concdd nd unon rghts wr rstord to Orglss.30

t furthr mtngs on My 7 nd 14, wth ovrwhlmng mjorts, ronworkrs supportd th strk nd clld for bllot to dtrmn whthr th xcutv rtnd th confdnc of th mmbrs.31

t ws not untl th nxt monthly brnch mtng, on My 22, tht th ssus wr wdnd from thos of rnsttmnt nd th quston of confdnc n th xcutv to thos of th rnk nd fl dposng thr offcls nd tkng control of th brnch. gn, ths ws prcpttd by th cton of th chrmn n rfusng to ccpt Orglss's moton of suspnson of stndng ordrs to dl wth th strk. Whn dssnt from th chrmn's rulng ws crrd, Lhy wthdrw wth 100-150 supportrs. Th rmnng 800 or so dclrd ll brnch postons vcnt nd lctd tmporry commtt.32 Tht nght th nw mn ttmptd to complt thr vctory by tkng posssson of th unon offc, but t ws wll dfndd nd ftr bttl, thy dcdd to lv th quston of posssson to lgl cton.33. On My 25, th suspnsons wr confrmd nd nw commtt of mngmnt lctd. Thn mss mtng of ll th strkrs votd to nd th stoppg.34 Work ws rsumd on My 28. Th strk hd lstd sx wks nd hd chvd rthr mor thn th Ntonl Offc ws prprd to rcogns n ts prss sttmnt:

By thr strk [th mn] hv ccomplshd nothng, xcpt to hold up wrtm shp rpr work for sx wks, nd to los sx wks' wgs.

Thy hv mrly bn th vctms of clqu of poltcl dvnturrs nd would-b brkwys.35

Th mn hd n fct not only rnsttd thr dlgt but lso tkn control of thr brnch. Thr wr now two xcutvs, ch clmng to b vldly lctd, nd n ffct two brnch orgnstons.

Th nxt two nd hlf yrs sw bttr struggl n whch th Ntonl Councl trd to rgn control n Blmn. But n spt of nvolvd procdngs n th rbtrton Court, chllngs nd ltrtons to th unon ruls, th ttmptd closng of th Blmn brnch nd th xpulson of th rbl ldrs, th "brkwy" brnch survvd, lwys rtnng th support of clr mjorty of Blmn ronworkrs. n Octobr 1947 th xpulsons wr lftd nd th brnch ws rdmttd to th unon s th wtrfront sub-brnch of th Sydny Mtropoltn Brnch.

From lt 1945 to 1947 th chrctr of th struggl chngd, th dsprt lmnts tht formd th opposton to th communst ldrshp of th ldrshp tndd to brk up nd th orgnl lft-wng tndncy bcm ovrld by rght-wng nt-communsm. t ws ths rght-wng opposton, n turn, whch ultmtly bcm strong nough to ovrthrow th communst ldrshp of th ntr unon. But ll tht, nd Orglss's ltr bttls gnst mployrs nd unon offcls n th lst dys of th old Mort's Dock, s nothr story.


1. Rport to Fdrl Councl Mtng, Jnury 25, 1944, p.16, n Gnrl Scrtry's Rports.

2. bd, p.10.

3. Blmn Mnut Book, p.632.

4. bd, p.637.

5. bd, p.639.

6. bd, p.646-647.

7. bd, p.648.

8. bd, p.657.

9. bd, pp.666-667, 671

10. bd, p.676.

11. Mtl Trds Fdrton. Confrnc r shp rprs, Jun 1944. pp.10-11. Orglss collcton.

12. Lflt, Octobr 3, 1944. Orglss collcton.

13. Lflt, Novmbr 10, 1944. Orglss collcton.

14. Blmn Mnut Book, p.709.

5. bd, pp.715-716.

16. Codock Nws, Sptmbr 22, 1943. Orglss collcton.

17. Lbor Nws, Jnury 1945.

8.. G. Cumpston, Whl th ron ws Hot. Drft of thss, p.57.

19. Blmn Mnut Book, pp.728-729.

20. bd, p.734.

21. bd, p.742.

22. bd, p.742.

23. bd, p.746.

24. bd, p.755.

25. Mort's Dock Strk Commtt. Lflt. Orglss collcton.

26. Sydny Mornng Hrld. prl 30, 1945.

27. Blmn Mnut Book, pp.752-753.

28. Lbor Nws. My 1945.

29. Rport to th Ntonl Confrnc, Jun 4, 1945. p.15. n Gnrl Scrtry's Rports.

30. SMH, My 4, 1945.

31. SMH My 8, 1945; My 15, 1945.

32. Mnuts wrttn from rough mnuts tkn of th whol procdngs of mtng of My 22, 1945 by F. R. McGrth. Orglss collcton.

33. SMH, My 23, 1945.

34. SMH, My 26, 1945.

35. Dly Tlgrph, My 26, 1945.

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