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Abstract

Class and the very concept of class struggle seem almost quaint today. They speak, it is sometimes assumed, to different times. Yet in the battle around WorkChoices, in the struggle for public education and the public sphere generally, class is ever present. Paradoxically, participants on both sides of the culture and history wars have tended to slide past class, elevating instead gender, race and sexuality, on the one hand, or national pride and economic progress, on the other. Terry Irving brings class back to life in his new book The Southern Tree of Liberty: the democratic movement in New South Wales before 1856. The book is no simple historical curiosity. It has much contemporary resonance. Unity is pleased to be able to publish a talk, based on his book, given by Terry to the South Coast branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History earlier this year. The book is also reviewed in this issue.

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