Twelve members of the IWW were arrested on September 23, 1916, and charged with arson and treason, the latter charge under the archaic Treason Felony Act of 1848. At the time, Prime Minister William Morris Hughes was campaigning to introduce conscription for World War I and the IWW was central to the oppositon to conscription. Seven of the 12 (John Hamilton, William Beattie, Joseph Fagin, Donald Grant, William Teen, Tom Glynn and Donald McPherson) were sentenced to 15 years in prison; four (Thomas Moore, Bob Besant, Peter Larkin and Charles Reeve) were sentenced to 10 years; and Benjamin King was sentenced to five years. The 12 were jailed until the Labor government of Premier John Storey was elected on March 20, 1920. It appointed Judge N.K. Ewing to inquire into the trial and sentencing, and 10 of the 12 were released in August 1920.
Fascist attack. For a description of this incident, see Trotskyism in Australia: Notes from a talk with Ted Tripp, 1976 by Peter Beilharz.
Herbert Moxon, who deposed Jack Kavanagh as CPA general secretary at Christmas 1929, expelled in 1931 after being displaced from the top post by Comintern representative Harry Wicks. Lance Sharkey, an ally of Moxon in 1929, became general secretary in the late 1940s.
Jack Kavanagh (1879-1964) was born in Ireland and fought for the British in the Boer War before emigrating to Canada in 1907, where he joined the Socialist Party of Canada. In 1918 he was President of British Columbia Federation of Labour, and a One Big Union organiser. Expelled from SP in 1919, by 1922 he was an executive committee member of the Communist Party and editor of its newspaper. He emigrated to Australia in 1925, and became a leader of the Communist Party of Australia, which was at a low ebb. Kavanagh preferred the old-style socialist leadership to the new democratic centralism demanded by the Comintern, and as general secretary he resisted attempts in the late 1920s to declare the NSW Labour Council and the Australian Labor Party “social fascist”. He allowed relatively open discussion in the pages of Workers Weekly, including publication of a statement by prominent trade union leader Jock Garden when he and his supporters left the CPA in 1926. Herbert Moxon and Lance Sharkey received Comintern support to oust Kavanagh as general secretary, which they did in 1929. Kavanagh was expelled in 1934 and later joined the Trotskyists. Jack Ryan was an official of the NSW Labour Council and a close collaborator with Kavanagh, he was expelled from the CPA in 1930.
James Scullin, Prime Minister in a federal Labor government from 1929-31, and leader of the federal Labor Party until 1935.
J.B. Miles, general secretary of the CPA from 1931 to the late 1940s.
Joseph Lyons, elected to federal parliament for the Labor Party, split from Labor in 1931 and formed the right-wing United Australia Party, for which he was prime minister from 1932-39.
Jack Beasley was a member of the House of Representatives 1928–46 for West Sydney, most of that time for the Labor Party, except in 1931–36 when he was a member of the Lang Labor Party and 1940–41 when he was a member of the Anti-Communist Labor Party.
Defeat the Lyons Government Fund.
The Trades Hall industrialists were a group of union leaders who at this stage were left opponents of Lang in the NSW Labor Party, and formes a loose bloc with the Communist Party.
William Forgan Smith, Labor premier of Queensland, 1932-42.
Jack Lang, NSW Labor premier from 1925–27 and 1930–32 and an independent member of the federal House of Representatives from 1946-49. He led a generally left-wing breakaway from the Labor Party in the 1930s, often referred to as Lang Labor. Jock Garden was a leader of the Trades Hall Reds, a group of unionists central in the formation of the Communist Party. He and his supported drifted away from the CPA around 1926, and joined the Labor Party. Garden later became a central adviser to Jack Lang. Jock Kilburn was a long-time left-wing unionist who was prominent in the Socialisation Units that arose in the Labor Party during the depression.
Ossip Piatnitsky, a central figure in the Comintern.
Giorgi Dimitrov, Bulgarian Communist unsuccessfully prosecuted in 1933 by the German Nazis over the Reichstag fire, general secretary of the Comintern 1935-43, president of Bulgaria after World War II.
Richard Dixon, CPA central committee member.
Fred Paterson in 1944 became the only CPA candidate elected to an Australian parliament, the Queensland parliament, representing the seat of Bowen.
Andrei Bubnov, old Bolshevik, made a leader of the Red Army by Stalin in 1924, removed from his position in 1934, arrested in 1937 and died in prison in 1940.
Maxim Litvinov, an old Bolshevik who was made Commissar for Foreign Affairs in 1930 and was later an ambassador to the US.