United We Stand

United We Stand

Class Struggle in Colonial Australia

By Tom O'Lincoln

In the state-run prison that was early New South Wales, pockets of capitalism sprang up like sturdy weeds. with them came wage labour and class struggle. Australian workers were organising well before the gold rushes, and later a mass labour movement confronted the employers across the continent, opening the way for bitter confrontations.

Controversy surrounds the colonial labour movement because of its racism and sexism, but this book sheets home the main blame for both reactionary ideologies to the ruling class. And despite many criticism, the author renews pioneering labour historian Brian Fitzpatrick's argument that 'the effort of the organised working class.was an effort to achieve social justice'.

United We Stand provides a vivid and immensely readable account of class struggle in Australia between 1788 to 1900. It was and remains an important contribution that shows how worker organisation and resistance shaped the country and one that incorporates race and gender dimensions in a nuanced way. Tom O'Lincoln has provided us with a masterfully short book traversing a large subject. It is a fitting legacy to his longstanding efforts on behalf of working people and we are in his debt.
- Michael Quinlan, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations,
University of New South Wales

About the Author

Tom O'Lincoln has been active in left politics since 1967, in Germany, the US and Australia. He is the author of many books including Into the Mainstream: the Decline of Australian Communism; Years of Rage: Social Conflicts in the Fraser Era; Australia's Pacific War: Challenging a National Myth and 'The Expropriators are Expropriated' and Other Writings on Marxism (Interventions 2015) . His political memoirs, The Highway is for Gamblers, was published by Interventions in 2017.