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Lang and socialism : a study in the great depression

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Lang and socialism : a study in the great depression
Author(s): Cooksey, Robert John
Date published: 1971
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
The Great Depression is a significant but neglected period in Australian history. This book describes the formation within the New South Wales Labor Party of a mass- organised ginger group, known as the Socialisation Units, which tried to convert the Party to 'socialism in our time'. The group became so strong that it was in effect a party within the Party. At the 1931 Easter Conference it succeeded in committing the Labor Party to a positive policy of socialism. Although the decision was later revised, it remains unique in the history of Australian Labor Parties. Throughout the period of the Socialisation Units, J.T. Lang presided over the New South Wales Labor Party as charismatic leader and machine boss. We read of his Inner Group's effort to contain the Units through Party management, of the defeat of the Socialisation Units after a struggle for power within the Party, and of the subsequent loss to the Labor Party of many young idealists who had been attracted by the Units. For those interested in Australian history and politics in the twentieth century this book will colour in a period so far only dimly sketched, and a political leader still seen as a hero or villain of the Great Depression.


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