Today the students, tomorrow the workers! : radical student politics and the Australian labour movement 1960-1972

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
1999
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This thesis provides a national overview of Australian student politics between 1960 and 1972. It explores firstly the ways in which student movements have been understood theoretically, especially the idea of student protest as an early "new social movement". To establish context, I discuss structural and cultural changes in the tertiary education system during the 19508 and 1960s and some relevant aspects of the politics of the postwar boom. Several chapters are then devoted to an analytical narrative chronicling the rise of student protest from 1960 onwards. They explore the rise of student protest in opposition to racism in the early 1960s and the politics of the groups involved; then the particular role of students in the development of the anti-Vietnam war movement and other social movements which arose in this period. The growth of student radicalism over particular on-eampus issues is also canvassed. The second part of the thesis focuses particularly on the relationship between the student movement and the labour movement. The course and nature of the interaction between radical students and the Labor Party and Communist Party is analysed. The politics of radical students is then discussed, in relation especially to Maoism, Trotskyism, Humanism, Self-Management and the New Left, with particular emphasis on ideas about the relationship between students and the working class. Some key episodes of student/worker cooperation are then examined, and the final chapter outlines the rise of a new, more militant trade union movement over the course of this period. The conclusion discusses the implications of this thesis for social movement theory and how the "sixties" is remembered today.
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