Socialist Labor Party (Australia)
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The Socialist Labor Party was a socialist political party of Australia that existed from 1901 to the 1970s.
Australian Socialist League
The Australian Socialist League, a multi-tendency organisation similar to the British Socialist League, was founded in 1887. The Socialist League was largest within the state of New South Wales. The League consisted of three major groups, the "Modern Socialists", the "Scientific socialists or Communist-Anarchists", and the "libertarian and individualist anarchists" Labor historian Verity Burgmann describes the Modern Socialists as a unique historical tendency that "espoused a co-operativist strategy: it was a kind of micro-socialism in that it aimed to build socialist society in bits and pieces, by the voluntary establishment of worker-owned enterprises that would eventually form a socialist whole". Between the late 1890s and 1905, the League shifted towards the radical unionist ideas of De Leonism. The Socialist League and their ideas were influential within the 1890 Maritime strike and the 1891 Australian shearers' strike.
In March 1888 the party sought to establish a Labor Party within New South Wales with the policies of the "nationalization of land and resumption of all monopolies". The League supported the Trades & Labor Council's decision in 1891 to establish the Labor Electoral League of New South Wales, and actively campaigned and ran candidates within the party due to a belief the party would eventually establish the League's policies of state socialism. During the 1891 New South Wales election, in some regions nearly half of all the Labor candidates were League members. At its peak the League had several members elected within the Trades & Labor Council, and several elected members of parliament. The League's list of parliamentarians included Billy Hughes, William Holman, George Black, and Arthur Hill Griffith.
By the mid-1890s, the League became dissatisfied with the ability of the Labor Party in achieving its goals of socialism. The League established a newspaper in 1894 named The Socialist in an attempt to promote socialist ideas. In 1898 the League split from the Labor Party, leaving behind its affiliated Labor parliamentarians, and sought to establish their own Labor Party.
Socialist Labor Party
The party was founded by the Australian Socialist League in 1901 to contest the Australian federal election of 1901. The party nominated six candidates (known as the "Socialist Six") for the Senate seats of New South Wales: Andrew Thomson, James Moroney, Harry Holland, James Morrish, John Neil, and Thomas Melling. None of the candidates came close to winning a seat.
In January 1920, the party merged with the Industrial Socialist Labor Party, which had broken away from the Labor Party in 1919, retaining the name Socialist Labor Party. The amalgamated Socialist Labor party ran in the 1920 New South Wales state election, with one of the members Percy Brookfield winning the seat of Sturt as a Socialist candidate. Brookfield had the balance of power in the assembly following the election but was murdered the following year. Several months before his death, in February 1921, Percy and several other members split from the Socialist Labor Party and reformed the independent Industrial Labor Party, citing they were "dissatisfied with the manner in which the affairs of that party have been carried on". Michael Considine, Labor member for Barrier in the federal House of Representatives from 1917, joined the Socialist Labor Party in 1920 after his expulsion from the ALP, and unsuccessfully contested the seat of Darling for the party in 1922 as an Industrial Labor candidate.
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 newly founded Communist Party of Australia founded in the same year. Unlike many other socialist organisations, the Socialist Labor Party rejected the unity conferences which led to the Communist Party, labelling it as a "a front for capitalist spies". The party survived into the 1940s, under the leadership of E.E. Judd.
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- Farrell, Frank. "Judd, Ernest Edward Job Pullin (Ernie) (1883–1959)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- "SOCIALIST VIEW". Daily Advertiser. New South Wales, Australia. 18 August 1944. p. 2. Retrieved 5 April 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
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- "Adlib Internet Server 5 | Details". archival.sl.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- Party (Australia), Socialist Labor (1960). "The people : official organ of the Socialist Labor Party of Australia". Trove. Sydney : The Party. Retrieved 3 July 2019.