The Communist Party is behind this moratorium - way behind, 1970

The Communist Party is behind this moratorium – way behind! 

While continuities can be ascertained in the landscape shift between a northern and western rural radicalism to a concretely metropolitan urban activism, discord between these activists generations were real. The conservative, anti-communist climate of the 1950s had a demobilising effect on both the main ‘Old Left’ organisations, the ALP and the CPA – creating party cultures marked by a fear of overt radicalism. The development of New Left thought – based on ideas of direct action and a new youthful culture of globalised resistance – clashed with this conservatism, with many aging left leaders unwilling to come to terms with this new youth culture, which they could easily dismiss as ‘middle class’ or ‘anarchist’. Brian Laver, Brisbane New Left leader described as either the city’s conscience or as a dangerous rabble rouser, is seen here being manhandled by Communist wharfies as he attempted to address the May 1970 Moratorium demonstration. Occurring only a year after the end of the New Left’s fraught relationship with the Communist Party – which had facilitated the youth venue Foco at Trades Hall – this image captures the discontinuities between Queensland’s activist generations. Collection of the Fryer Library, the University of Queensland

Collection of the Fryer Library, the University of Queensland

communism, politics
Date captured: 
6 December 2010
Date created: 
6 December 2010