[Marxism] Book on building workers' struggles in Australia

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Mar 21 01:01:23 MST 2004

Liz Ross's book on building workers in Australia will be available from
30 April.

I've reproduced an ad for the Melbourne launch below. Or you can go to
the website:



Book launch!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win
Builders Labourers Fight Deregistration 1981-1994
By Liz Ross

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! If one phrase can sum up the militant
Builders Labourers Federation it was this. Because they believed this,
and backed it with action on the job - the courts and governments of the
1980s declared the BLF had to go.

Conservative governments took the first steps, but it was Labor - backed
by leading members of the ACTU and union movement - which finished the
job. Subject to a Royal Commission, accusations of corruption against
union secretary Norm Gallagher, trials, Arbitration Commission hearings
and coordinated federal and state legislation the BLF was under siege
for years. Then in 1986 the full force of governments and their police
fell on the union when it was formally deregistered.

But this is not a story of defeat and despair. It is a story of
resistance, much of it told in the words of the most important actors in
this drama - rank and file workers. Builders Labourers and their
supporters in other unions and the community waged a long struggle for
union rights and militancy that has important lessons for today.
While highlighting the rank and file struggle, Liz Ross pulls together
all the threads in this complex story and provides a left-wing analysis
of the role of the employers, ALP and union leaders, and the historic
ALP-ACTU Accord.
Here is the full story for the first time. The book is meticulously
researched, with extensive use of archives, original union material and
fify-seven interviews with participants. The author was also directly
involved in many of the events she describes.

Liz Ross is a long-standing left wing activist in Melbourne. She was a
union delegate in the Department of Social Security for ten years during
the Hawke years. She has been a campaigner for women's and gay
liberation from 1972, a member of socialist organisations from the late
1970s, and active in solidarity with union struggles. Her history of the
1986 Victorian Nurses' strike is included in the book Rebel Women in
Australian Working Class History.  Liz is a member of Socialist

Melbourne launch: Friday 30 April, 6 pm, Trades Hall (New Ballroom,
upstairs near the bar).
Canberra launch: Wednesday 5 May 5 at 5.30pm, Noel Butlin Archives, 12
Balmain Crescent, ANU.

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