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Our Unswerving Loyalty

Our Unswerving Loyalty: A documentary survey of relations between the Communist Party of Australia and Moscow, 1920-1940 OPEN ACCESS

David W. Lovell
Kevin Windle
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hcfj
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  • Book Info
    Our Unswerving Loyalty
    Book Description:

    The story of the Communist Party of Australia has been told in various ways. Until now, however, archival collections that have borne on this story have been relatively inaccessible to the ordinary, interested reader. This book begins to redress that deficiency by bringing together 85 key documents from the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History (RGASPI), selected from a collection of thousands of documents concerning the relations between the Communist International and the Communist Party of Australia. The selection focuses on the relationship between the CPA and the Comintern because the activities of the CPA are essentially incomprehensible without understanding the international communist context within which the CPA operated. That context was dominated by the newly-created Soviet state and its decision to authorize and utilize a network of communist parties throughout the world. The documents in this work suggest three major propositions about the relationship between the CPA and the Comintern. First, that the Comintern was crucial in the formation of the CPA, via its emissaries, instructions and authority. Second, that the Comintern played a major role in directing the policies of the CPA in domestic matters (not to mention in international matters, where the Comintern's decisions were supreme). And third, that the leadership of the CPA was, from 1929 onwards, shaped, trained and authorized by the Comintern. With access to the documents, readers now have a chance not just to hear the voices of the times, but to make their own judgements about the relationship between the CPA and Moscow. The book also includes two extended introductory essays that outline the development of the Comintern and its relations with the CPA, as well as supporting materials that provide information on individuals, organizations and tactics mentioned within the documents themselves.

    eISBN: 978-1-921313-96-7
    Subjects: Political Science, History
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  1. David W. Lovell

    The story of the Communist Party of Australia can be, and has been, told in various ways: official, personal, polemical and scholarly. Until now, archival collections that have borne on this story have been relatively inaccessible to the ordinary, interested reader. This book begins to redress that deficiency by making available a selection of documents from a larger collection, now publicly available. The selection focuses on the relationship between the CPA and the Communist International because the activities of the CPA are essentially incomprehensible without understanding the international communist context within which the CPA operated. That context was dominated by...

  2. David W. Lovell

    The documentary material presented in this book, some of it previously unavailable, and most of it not widely available, adds a vital dimension to the story of the pre-Second World War CPA. The main lines of this period are well known to scholars who work in this field, but this book is significant because it shows that the Comintern exercised a very important, and at some points a decisive, sway over the CPA. The book’s title itself may need some explanation. The Party throughout the period 1920–1940 was ‘unswervingly loyal’ to the Comintern and the Soviet Union—that was...

  3. This book is a documentary survey of the relationship between the Communist International and the Communist Party of Australia from the latter’s origins until 1940, when the CPA was declared an illegal organization by the Australian government. It is intended to provide an insight into one very important aspect of the story of the CPA. It is not a history of the CPA. The various campaigns, conferences, personalities, and travails of the CPA during this period can be followed in their details elsewhere (notably in Davidson (1969) and Macintyre (1998)), though there are inevitably echoes of these dimensions here. This...

  4. The documents in this section cover the period from April 1920 to late 1923, that is, from before the inaugural conference of Australian communists to a time when the CPA had emerged as the Australian section of the Comintern, but was still dealing with issues of unity, and was coming to terms with the realities of being a section of a world revolutionary party. The main theme of this section is organizational unity, because that is what the Australian communists and their Comintern colleagues saw as the chief priority. As the ECCI wrote to the feuding Australian communists in June...

  5. The documents in this section cover the period from early in 1924 to the end of 1928, that is, from before the Fifth Congress of the Comintern until just after the Sixth. The Sixth Congress marked Stalin’s victory within the RCP over Bukharin (though the latter remained—briefly—President of the Comintern), and its principal doctrinal outcome was to declare that the world had entered the ‘Third Period’, characterized by increasing capitalist crises, imperialist wars, and threats against the Soviet Union. The policy outcomes of the Sixth Congress were highly significant, but they would take another year to impact fully...

  6. The documents in this section cover the period from February 1929 until early 1937, with most of them being concentrated in the earlier years of this period in line with the general distribution of documents in the CAAL. This period marks an important shift in the history of relations between the CPA and the Comintern for two main reasons. First, because the Comintern became a direct player in the leadership struggles within the Party in 1929 (the main catalyst for which, not surprisingly, was the CPA’s long-troubled approach to the issue of the ALP). And second, because it sent an...

  7. The documents in this section take the story of the relationship between the CPA and Moscow to a convenient terminus: the declaration by the Australian government on 15 June 1940 that the CPA was an illegal organization. But though it may be the end-point for these documents, it was not the end of the CPA: the Party continued many of its activities despite the government’s prohibition, its legality was re-established at the end of 1942, and it emerged after the Second World War—for a short time—with an enhanced reputation and membership (Davidson 1969, 82, 93). As the Cold...