Childe Unbound

By Rowan Cahill What follows is in part a review, but also a commentary, and it benefits from the perspective of an insider. As Terry Irving notes in his Acknowledgements to The Fatal Lure of Politics: The Life and Thought of Vere Gordon Childe (2020), I encouraged his “political intentions for the book” and read... Continue Reading →

WHAT CAN BE DONE? A RUMINATION*

By Rowan Cahill The report that God is on the side of the Big Battalions is propaganda put out by the Big Battalion commanders. They hope thereby to spread alarm and despondency among the smaller forces.-Claud Cockburn As I engage with my seventh decade, I am variously approached by researchers and others for details of,... Continue Reading →

EDITING MATTERS, 1969-73

By Rowan Cahill From 1969 to 1973, I was a member of the Editorial Board, later Editorial Collective, of Australian Left Review (ALR), the Marxist journal of cultural and political comment and discussion published bi-monthly by the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). ALR commenced publication in 1966, its precursor the Communist Review. At the time I... Continue Reading →

YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW

By Rowan Cahill* A review of Michael Quinlan, The Origins of Worker Mobilisation: Australia 1788-1850 (Routledge: NY and Oxon, 2018).   In the tradition of E. P. Thompson, redolent of the work of Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, Michael Quinlan’s The Origins of Worker Mobilisation: Australia 1788-1850 is magisterial and exhaustive. ‘Magisterial’ because it is... Continue Reading →

VINTAGE RED

by Rowan Cahill There is a vast amount of material, published and otherwise, relating to the history of the Communist Party of Australia/CPA (1920-1991). Examination of the footnotes to Stuart Macintyre’s first volume of the history of the CPA, The Reds (1998), attests to this, as does familiarity with the two resource bibliographies of CPA... Continue Reading →

END OF PARAGRAPH

by Rowan Cahill Back in the 1980s, the autodidact bookseller Bob Gould pressed a book into my hands, as was his way whenever I visited the Aladdin’s Cave rabbit warrens of his Sydney bookshop. “Comrade, you’ve got to read this”, usually his way of recommending the latest or neglected anti-Stalinist publication. This time it was... Continue Reading →

North on Cusack

By Rowan Cahill When Yarn Spinners was initially published in 2001 by University of Queensland Press, it was lengthily titled Yarn Spinners. A Story in Letters: Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin. Marilla North was credited as ‘Editor’.  The title partially explained the contents of the book, but did not do justice to the nature... Continue Reading →

A SHELF OF REDS by Rowan Cahill and Terry Irving

A selection of some of the books by Australian radical historians that have meant a lot to us as scholars and activists writing and exploring radical history for ten years together, and for much longer separately. The books selected have either never made it into the academic history canon or, if they did, are now neglected. by Rowan... Continue Reading →

Radical History: Thinking, Writing and Engagement

By Terry Irving and Rowan Cahill   Kicking away the props In recent years, in various places and on our blog “Radical Sydney/Radical History”, we have written about radical history. As radical historians we seek out, explore, and celebrate the diversities of alternatives and oppositions, arguing there is a basic tension between radical history and... Continue Reading →

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