The radical history of Queensland is not well known to most Australians. Reactionaries and racists like Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Pauline Hanson more readily come to mind. But the state has another history, one of stormy class struggles and radical politics.
Jim McIlroy’s pamphlet focuses on three such periods: the great shearers’ strikes of the 1890s; the Brisbane ‘Red Flag Riots’ of 1919; and the ‘Red North’ of the 1930s and 1940s when north Queensland became the strongest single base of the Communist Party.
Only by learning the lessons of the past can radical and progressive forces effectively prepare for the big struggles looming up as we slide inexorably towards ever-deeper austerity, environmental, social and political crisis.