Conscription for war and profit: classes, nation-market-states and empires
Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Canberra Branch,
Seminar, Saturday, 29 October 2016: ‘The defeat of conscription: a centennial retrospective’.
‘Here and today, a new epoch in the history of the world has begun.’ So said Johann Wolfgang Goethe to the Prussian commanders on the night after their defeat at Valmy on 20 September 1792. French volunteers had charged the invaders’ guns shouting ‘Vive la Nation!’ and singing ‘Ca ira’ – ‘It goes well, It goes well, It goes well.’ ‘A new epoch’ indeed, for, on the following day, the Convention abolished the monarchy. Within two years, the lyrics of ‘Ca ira’ had been rewritten to include ‘Les aristocrates a la lanterne!’
Conscription: The Sequel*
Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Canberra Region Branch
This paper will briefly examine the aftermath of the failed attempts to introduce conscription for overseas service into the Australian military forces during World War I. It will discuss the inter-war years; the constraints imposed by anti-conscription sentiments on recruitment for World War II, and the subsequent, successful, but again controversial, introduction of two conscription schemes for military service in the 1950s and 1960s. The situation at the present time will then be reviewed. Continue reading
Although we are more than half way through our May Day dinner, it is never too late to say grace: ‘For the food and drinks that we are enjoying, we thank the working classes’. We have already expressed our thanks to the catering staff who know that the good things have come from further afield than their kitchen. Hence, we thank farmers and fruit-pickers; the factory hands who built the tractors and trucks; the navvies who laid the expressways and rail tracks; the building workers who constructed the processing plants and warehouses; the packers and delivery drivers; the clerks in offices and supermarkets. It is to them, and many more, that we owe the food we put on our tables three times a day. Hence, we owe all our meals to the entirety of the working people, to a social continuum of human creativity around the globe. We should have the grace to thank them.
Article headed Down Under Brunuel by Humphrey McQueen
Published by Meanjin Quarterly Vol 35/2 June 1976
Describes chaotic scenes at an ANU event attended by then Governor-General Sir John Kerr.
Kerr at Bruce Hall 1976