This is a list of categories of political activity engaged in by workers and radical intellectuals, as described and analysed in my book The Southern Tree of Liberty. I constructed it to show the comprehensive range of those activities, to encourage students of nineteenth century radicalism to think systematically about the subject, and to counter the narrow and conservative focus of liberal historians on electoral and parliamentary politics.

FORMS OF RADICAL POLITICAL ACTION / AGITATION, IN NSW, 1840s and 50s



I. FORMS OF AGITATION:


1. Informal:

i) 'Delegates of the trades' meet as necessary, for entire period;

ii) Network of radical intellectuals meets as necessary, eg at the office of the Aust Chronicle or People’s Advocate; in Parkes' shop in Hunter Street; especially before leadership organisations emerge in 1848, and whenever organisations are dormant;


2. Organisation building:

i) Trades societies, from about 1833; always a dozen or so

ii) Benefit societies, eg Australian Union Benefit Society

iii) Leadership associations (Mutual Protection Association, Constitutional Assocn; Political Assocn; Australian League, Democratic League

iv) People's Hall and Reading Room 185

v) Election committees, 1848 and subsequently


3. Knowledge creation ('education'):

i) Press, from 1838 continuously until after 1856

ii) Lectures, eg Lang’s in 1850, 1852 etc

iii) Pamphlets, beginning with The Indefeasible Rights of Man (1842); Lang’s


4. Mobilisation:

i) Issue-based, eg master & servant; municipal rights; convicts; immigration; unemployment; small-scale land settlement; political rights; Irish freedom; defence of 'Friends' (Macdermott; Lang); goldfields regulation

ii) Electoral [NB elections as opportunity for demonstration of popular power, not just voting power], beginning in 1842 City Council elections, then Cooper’s campaign 1843, Lowe’s in 1848, Lang’s in 1851, & by-elections



5. Spontaneous crowds, rioting:

i) Against police (often after police respond to bonneting etc of 'black hats' by working-class Cabbage Tree Mob), beginning in 1841

ii) Against crowds supporting ruling-class candidates in elections

iii) Working class meetings as occasions for political tumult (clamour and subsequent marches, demonstrations, etc)

iv) Against figures of authority (Governor, Police Chief, soldiers etc)

v) ‘Revolt on the Turon’ (by goldminers) against state authorities


6. Industrial:

i) Informal disputes at work

ii) Publicity, and lobbying govt, about work, eg printers in 1840

iii) Negotiations with employers, eg shop assistants in mid-1840s

iv) Strikes, eg: several in 1840s; printers on Empire, 1854

v) Eight Hour Campaign, 1854-5



II. SPATIAL DIMENSION OF AGITATION:


1.Central activities:

i) Public meetings in halls, theatres, pubs etc; beginning in 1833, but regularly from 1840

ii) Open-air meetings, during issue-based campaigns and during elections on nomination days

iii) Processions, eg of unemployed 1844; after anti-transportation mtg 1849; from ‘the rooms’ in King Street to the anti-transportation mtg in York Street 1852;

iv) Radical precinct in King Street, 1844-1855 (Mutual Protection Association office; People’s Advocate office; ‘the rooms’; People’s Reading Room; Driver’s pub)


2. Local activities:

i) Ward meetings

ii) Canvassing and signature gathering

iii) Crowd pressure at voting booths, in 1843, 1848, 1851


3. Regional:

i) Goldfields, 1852-53



III. CLASS BASES OF AGITATION, AND LANGUAGES OF CLASS:


i) The Working Classes ('working men'; 'operatives') from 1840

ii) 'The Working and Middle Classes' in 1843-45

iii) Coalitions with middle class organisations on specific issues (anti-transportation from 1848; constitutional reform from 1851, and NSW Constitution Committee 1853)



IV. DISCURSIVE FOUNDATIONS OF RADICALISM:


i) Constitutional radicalism

ii) Civic radicalism

iii) Plebeian radicalism