Australian History, Victorian Labour College. 1917.

Victorian Labour College.

by L.F. Wilson & B. Davies.

Source: "Reason in Revolt", Source documents of Australian Radicalism.
Published: Labour Call, Melbourne, 1917.
Transcription/HTML: Kevin Goins.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The Victorian Labour College proceeds upon the assumption that Society is at present divided into two classes, whose economic interests are antagonistic.  It recognises the necessity of creating a set of educational institutions in which the class conflict will be as clearly admitted as it is already in the political and industrial fields.  The workers no longer look to the benevolent action of Liberal-Conservative political parties, or of such bodies as the Stock Exchange and Chamber of Commerce for help in attaining Labour’s objective, the emancipation of the workers from wage slavery.  Neither must they look to the educational institutions of the master class for a supply of the knowledge and ideas which are the necessary aids to a clear understanding of the present position, and of the means of ending it.  But at present they have nowhere else to turn.  The Victorian Labour College aims at supplying this need.  Just as middle class schools and colleges have as their ultimate aim the strengthening of that class in the retention of their privileges, so a Labout College must aim at strengthening the workers in asserting the rights and ideals of their class.  In other words, the working class, having already begun to organise independently in the political and industrial spheres, must now organise independently in the educational sphere.  The educational wing of the Labour movement us no less important than the other two.  It is not enough to desire a change in social conditions, or even to organise; we must know clearly what our objective is, and by what means it is to be obtained.

The course of studies in the College consists of such subjects as are of vital importance to the Labour movement, and the teaching of these subjects will be governed throughout by reference to the needs of the movement.  The Classes, which meet at the Trades Hall, Melbourne, are:

  1. Literature (every Monday evening at 8p.m.).
  2. Industrial History (every Tuesday evening at 8 p.m.).
  3. Economics (every Wednesday evening at 8 p.m.).

Other subjects will be added to the course as the occasion arises.  Classes will be so arranged that students may attend one or more as they wish.  In teaching, the tutorial system, which provides for question and discussion, will be adopted, and opportunity will be given to students for practice in speaking and writing.  All classes will be open to both men and women.

The Victorian Labour College neither asks nor expects the monetary support of the privileged classes.  It appeals for support to the Trade Unions, believing that the wage-earners must take into their own hands all available means of emancipating themselves and their children from wage slavery.  This appeal it makes with confidence, in the belief that no movement can afford to neglect its educational activities, and that the mischevious results of the false ideas spread by the enemies of Labour can only be combated by the spread of true education.

L.F. WILSON, President.
B. DAVIES, Secretary.

[This pamphlet was marked with a stamp entitled: “Union Label” and noted: “Labour Call, Print, Melbourne.”]