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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Politics »

Jeff Sparrow describes the importance of the Ford Motor Company strike for multicultural ideas

Mara Moustafine and Jeff Sparrow.



Date Added:

15 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

3.3 MB




It’s interesting that some of the impetus for the adoption of multiculturalism within the Labor Party and the trade union movement happens in Melbourne, I mean, I think one of the crucial moments is the industrial disputes in the Ford Broadmeadows plant where it becomes really clear to the union bureaucrats that they have these Italian and Greek workers who feel completely alienated from the society and from their point of view are completely out of control, you know that they – Laurie Carmichael and a bunch of union officials go out there and try to end a strike and the workers simply refuse to listen to them, say, “You don’t speak our language, you don’t know what’s going on here, we don’t want to hear from you, go away.”
And I think after that there was a consciousness, amongst union officialdom that if they wanted to keep on doing –playing the kind of role that they had, they had to get some sort of – some sort of bridge into these constituencies and I think the way – part of the way that they  saw multiculturalism is connected to that, that you know, that you can bring these people on board by making connections with their leadership.