user preferences

New Events

Indonesia / Philippines / Australia

no event posted in the last week
Recent articles by Malcolm Brown
This author has not submitted any other articles.
Recent Articles about Indonesia / Philippines / Australia Workplace struggles

Australia: la necessità di un movimento di base Feb 08 15 by Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

The need for a rank and file movement Feb 03 15 by Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

Support IFF workers in Melbourne Jan 29 15 by Dmitri

Pat Mackie, 1914-2009

category indonesia / philippines / australia | workplace struggles | news report author Sunday December 06, 2009 19:18author by Malcolm Brown Report this post to the editors

A proud troublemaker

When in 1964 the Queensland government of Sir Francis Nicklin decided to call on all its powers to crush a strike by Mt Isa's miners, one man stood in their way - the union radical Pat Mackie. He led the strike, inspiring the miners to keep going, in a period when police were given carte blanche to suppress them.

When in 1964 the Queensland government of Sir Francis Nicklin decided to call on all its powers to crush a strike by Mt Isa's miners, one man stood in their way - the union radical Pat Mackie. He led the strike, inspiring the miners to keep going, in a period when police were given carte blanche to suppress them. The townspeople, in response, painted the town with swastikas by night.

The 32-week strike, which extended into 1965, resulted in a victory for the miners but Mackie was targeted by an enraged federal government, which investigated ways to deport him.

Mackie, whose father was Australian, was born in New Zealand on October 30, 1914, and according to the nationality laws in Australia at the time, he was an Australian citizen. His family name, according to the scant information available on his personal life, was Murphy.

Mackie went to sea as a teenager because he wanted to see America. In his own account of his life, he said he was a stowaway and that he complained to the captain about the unsatisfactory state of his accommodation. For 15 years, as a seaman, he travelled the world.

Mackie was attracted to the left-wing Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies). He worked with communists and nearly joined a branch of the Communist Party in Canada. Labour historian Dr Greg Mallory said Mackie did not become a communist but vigorously opposed forces that tried to drive communists from the union movement. At some stage in his life in Canada, Mallory says, Mackie was married, but there are no records of his ever having any children.

Mackie got object lessons in how the workers could control workplace situations. He became engaged in union activities and was a ''captain of picket captains'' in a lengthy New York waterfront strike in 1948, in which police used horses specially trained to rear up and kick at picketers and gangsters, acting on behalf of the agents provocateur who were infiltrating union lines. Mackie learnt a lot about union tactics in North America and the sort of mischief that could be visited on erring employers. At some point, perhaps to distance himself from his past troubles, misspellings on his names on payslips and other confusions, Mackie adopted the name Eugene Markey. That was later changed to Maurice Patrick Markey, Pat Markey and finally Pat Mackie.

Mackie got into trouble with the law and served several prison sentences overseas. That included time in several Montreal prisons on charges indirectly related to union activities. In one incident, he was to claim in his 2002 autobiography, Many Ships to Mt Isa, police loaded him with drugs. Mackie was deported to New Zealand and in 1949 he ended up in Sydney.

Mackie heard there was money to be made mining in Mt Isa. He went north and worked for a few weeks in Brisbane until another brush with the law sent him north to Bundaberg, where again he clashed with the police, for having the cheek - in police eyes - to complain about their treatment of an Aboriginal man. Mackie arrived in Mt Isa in 1950, worked for Mt Isa Mines but was quickly branded a troublemaker. He decided to move out of town to mine independently and did so for 10 years, with the aim of buying a small ketch and travelling the world. Instead, in 1961, he started again at Mt Isa Mines, operated by one of the world's largest mining companies, the American Mining and Smelting Corporation.

Mackie was initially a contract ''truckie'', then a contract mine timber worker. The strike which began in August 1964, was initially over the issue of adequate showers for men at the end of shift. It escalated into a demand for a £4 a week wage rise and better conditions. The company opposed the claims and had vigorous support from the federal and Queensland governments. Wearing a distinctive red cap, Mackie found himself leading 4000 mine workers from more than 40 countries. Publicity over the strike turned him into a household name throughout Australia.

During the strike he met Elizabeth Vassilieff and struck up a long-term relationship. Vassilieff was to write of him that he ''sees his own needs very simply, voices them fearlessly and became a phenomenally effective workers' spokesman and trade union organiser, a power to be reckoned with in the industrial world. His strength lies in his formidable combination of his magnetic personality with high abilities in three functions of leadership: in clearly analysing the workers' situations; in democratising their organisation; and in brilliant powers of oratory, enabling him to unite the rank and file and fire them with unshakable loyalty.''

The Australian Council of Trade Unions threatened a statewide 24-hour strike in Queensland, which caused the Nicklin government to call off its state of emergency. The strike ended when the Industrial Relations Commission granted most of what the unionists were striking for. Mackie said it was ''a living lesson in the constructive potential of rank-and-file working people … a triumph of the human spirit''. But the Nicklin government had a totally different view. Mackie was referred to as ''a vicious gangster''. Sir Francis said the strike was part of a ''communist strategy'' to wreck every major development in the state. The federal government liaised with ASIO on whether it was possible to deport Mackie and received advice it was not.

Loyalty to Mackie was not universal in the trade union movement. He was expelled from the right-wing Australian Workers Union. In 2002, Mackie published his autobiography. A reviewer wrote: ''When confronted as to his ideological position, he would clearly define himself as a Wobbly, working tirelessly to improve the working and living conditions of the rank and file''. Mackie's achievements were later celebrated in 2007 in a Queensland musical, Red Cap, and his legacy to Mt Isa was good working conditions and other community facilities.

Malcolm Brown


This page has not been translated into Castellano yet.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

Strike in Cachoeirinha

(Bielorrusia) ¡Libertad inmediata a nuestro compañero Mikola Dziadok!

DAF’ın Referandum Üzerine Birinci Bildirisi:

Cajamarca, Tolima: consulta popular y disputa por el territorio

Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry

Aodhan Ó Ríordáin: Playing The Big Man in America

Nós anarquistas saudamos o 8 de março: dia internacional de luta e resistência das mulheres!

Özgürlüğümüz Mücadelemizdedir

IWD 2017: Celebrating a new revolution

Solidarité avec Théo et toutes les victimes des violences policières ! Non à la loi « Sécurité Publique » !

Solidaridad y Defensa de las Comunidades Frente al Avance del Paramilitarismo en el Cauca

A Conservative Threat Offers New Opportunities for Working Class Feminism

De las colectivizaciones al 15M: 80 años de lucha por la autogestión en España

False hope, broken promises: Obama’s belligerent legacy

Primer encuentro feminista Solidaridad – Federación Comunista Libertaria

Devrimci Anarşist Tutsak Umut Fırat Süvarioğulları Açlık Grevinin 39 Gününde

The Fall of Aleppo

Italia - Ricostruire opposizione sociale organizzata dal basso. Costruire un progetto collettivo per l’alternativa libertaria.

Recordando a César Roa, luchador de la caña

Prison Sentence to Managing Editor of Anarchist Meydan Newspaper in Turkey

Liberación de la Uma Kiwe, autonomía y territorio: una mirada libertaria para la comprensión de la lucha nasa

Misunderstanding syndicalism

American Anarchist and Wobbly killed by Turkey while fighting ISIS in Rojava

Devlet Tecavüzdür

Indonesia / Philippines / Australia | Workplace struggles | News Report | en

Fri 28 Apr, 21:53

browse text browse image

b8tytbaciaajreb.jpg imageSupport IFF workers in Melbourne 16:57 Thu 29 Jan by Dmitri 0 comments

About 25-30 workers at International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) in Dandenong, Melbourne have initiated a factory occupation in january 25 2015 in response to the company trying to force a pay cut and indefinitely locking them out. SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW! It's really significant that these workers have decided to take strong industrial action at a point when workers rights are under attack more than ever.

nuwbaiadastrike.jpg imageBaiada poultry workers win agreement 15:44 Thu 24 Nov by Dmitri (republishing) 0 comments

After two weeks on strike from 9 – 22 November, poultry workers at the Baiada poultry factory in Laverton have won a 4% annual pay increase and a reduction in the exploitation of casual and contract labour.

picket2.jpg imageSupport the striking poultry workers at Baiada! 17:53 Sat 12 Nov by Dimitri (MACG) 0 comments

On Wednesday 9th of November, workers at Baiada Poultry began indefinite protected industrial action in their campaign for secure and permanent jobs. The campaign under the umbrella of the NUW began when every single worker in the largely migrant workforce at the plant has voted to strike.

swift.jpg imageCold store workers emerge victorious 09:32 Thu 13 Jan by Dmitri (editing) 0 comments

The striking cold store workers at Swift Australia have held onto the eight-hour working day and their penalty rates, after a long battle with belligerent and at times sinister management tactics.

anfswift1024x768.jpg imageCommunity assembly underway at Swift Australia 17:49 Tue 11 Jan by Dmitri (editing) 0 comments

It is crucial that all supporters go now and stand on the picket line alongside their friends in Brooklyn.

textAustralian Building and Construction Commission 18:59 Tue 27 Apr by Dmitri 0 comments

Since the introduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission in 2005, we have witnessed a massive increase in deaths and serious injuries in the construction industry.

textCurrent workers’ struggles in Australia 21:41 Thu 30 Jul by Dmitri (MACG - personal capacity) 0 comments

Current workers' struggles and industrial disputes in Australia in brief.

textDrivetrain Systems picket 17:55 Thu 26 Feb by "Los solidarios" 0 comments

On Friday (20-02-2009) 208 workers were sacked at Drivetrain Systems in Lavington. 130 workers only have jobs for another eight weeks... as management proceeds to strip the factory of an estimated $17 million in assets.

textMelbourne: Noel Washington Rally 18:07 Fri 05 Dec by Ablokeimet (MACG) 0 comments

If we're to win this struggle, it can only be through mass non co-operation, backed up by strikes if necessary, and by not holding back for the benefit of the Labor Party. It remains to be seen if the officials have the commitment they were putting on display this week.

textSomerton workers defeat AWAs 07:56 Thu 17 May by "a concerned citizen" 0 comments

Direct Action Beats AWAs In Somerton and How to get out of an AWA.

more >>

imageThe need for a rank and file movement Feb 03 by Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group 0 comments

The Campaign for a General Strike to Stop Tony Abbott is developing, but needs to go a lot further and a lot faster. Each day that goes by without an organised working class response is a day that Liberals harm working class people and democratic rights in Australia further, a day to destroy the environment, torture refugees, wage imperialist war in West Asia, stoke reactionary social forces and stack public offices with Right wing zealots. To wait till the next election is to concede Tony Abbott the right to commit any crimes, no matter how appalling. [Italiano]

imageAudit Commission Myths Aug 01 by Dmitri (republishing) 0 comments

The Workers’ Audit A document by angry workers, for angry workers to debunk some audit commission myths.

imageAs simple as ABCC Jan 17 by MACG 0 comments

Instead, we must emphasise that the defence of democratic rights is inseparable from the defence of the working class and its organisations. We have the right to organise, and no government can take it away. The Australian Building & Construction Commission must be defeated. It's as simple as ABCC.

textOur rights at work Oct 04 by MACG 0 comments

Our rights at work will be defended by grassroots workers’ struggle, or they won’t be defended at all. And in that struggle, we will build the democracy and the solidarity that embody the values of a different kind of society.

textIR Reform encourages Lockouts Oct 14 by by Takver 0 comments

Howard Government, employer initiated lockouts have grown ten fold, with few restrictions on their use.

more >>

imageMay Day 2014 May 01 Anarkismo 0 comments

No matter what gains we make in struggle, sooner or later employers and governments will try to roll them back. And no matter how much ground we give, employers and governments will only come back for more. The class war goes on, because whether we fight or we don’t, capital never stops fighting. The struggle will continue until we organise as a class, take the means of production into our own hands, and overthrow the entire capitalist system. Only workers’ revolution can end the class war and bring peace to the human race.

imageMay Day May 01 Anarkismo 0 comments

As long as capitalism endures, the world will be wracked by economic crisis and war, but there is a solution. We can unite across national borders with a global movement against capitalism and all its ills. We can build our movement with federalism and direct democracy rather than authoritarianism and hierarchy. And we can make a revolution, forging a classless global society of libertarian communism, where a free federation of workplaces and communities replaces capitalism and the State. We can establish, at last, a world of liberty, equality and solidarity and it will be done by practicing the values of the society we wish to create.

imageMelbourne Anarchist Communist Group: May Day May 01 1 of Anarkismo Editorial Group 0 comments

The only way to end the crises of capitalism is to abolish capitalism itself. And the only way to abolish capitalism is for the working class to seize the means of production which are the foundation of the power of capital. In the immortal words of Lucy Parsons, widow of one of the Haymarket Martrys and a labour activist in her own right, "Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth". In short, we must make a revolution. We will abolish the capitalist State and replace it with the free federation of workplaces and communities worldwide. We will establish libertarian communism, a classless society where the freedom and equality of each is the condition of the freedom and equality of all.

textMay Day May 01 Anarkismo 0 comments

Today, on May Day, we dedicate ourselves to this revolution, and the establishment of libertarian communism, a State-less society where each contributes according to their ability and receives according to their need.

textNoel Washington charges dropped Nov 27 Anarkismo 1 comments

The Director of Public Persecutions has dropped the charges against Noel Washinton, the CFMEU Organiser who refused to attend an interview with the ABCC. As a result, the protest rally has been cancelled, but another rally has been called to celebrate the victory.

more >>
© 2005-2017 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]