Australian Left Review


Roger Coates


However political life is defined, in a parliamentary political system, parliament and parliamentary institutions occupy a central place . Under parliamentary governments in many countries, but especially those of Western Europe and those that have developed within the former British imperial system, working people have sought to advance their ideals and pursue their needs by passing laws through parliament.1 Even where workers have established viable trade unions, they have commonly sought to use an existing parliamentary political system to achieve some of their immediate and long term goals. This approach has periodically been challenged by a belief in various forms of direct action. Workers' organisations, however, have continued to exert pressure on parliament, and the rest of the state system, side-by-side with taking direct action. Moreover, when non - parliamentary movements based on direct public action have formed, a part — often a considerable part — of their impact has been felt at the parliamentary level. People's movements and parliamentary life have been closely bound together.



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