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Red StrainsMusic and Communism Outside the Communist Bloc$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265390

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265390.001.0001

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Music, the Political Score, and Communism in Australia: 1945–1968

Music, the Political Score, and Communism in Australia: 1945–1968

(p.133) 11 Music, the Political Score, and Communism in Australia: 1945–1968
Red Strains

Anthony Ashbolt

Glenn Mitchell

British Academy

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and into the 1960s decade of rebellion, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) developed significant relationships with cultural and artistic movements. The youth wing of the CPA, The Eureka Youth League (EYL), played a particularly important role in the attempt to forge an alliance between musicians and communism. First through jazz, and then through two folk music revivals, the EYL sought to use music to recruit members and to foster its ideological and political struggles. In the end, the EYL's and CPA's relationship with both jazz and folk was tenuous. Yet along the way, the music itself flourished. This, then, is a story of tensions between and paradoxes surrounding the Party and musicians sympathetic to it. Yet it is also a story about how the cultural life of Australia was greatly enriched by the EYL's attempt to use music as a political tool.

Keywords:   Australia, communism, CPA, Eureka Youth League, Graham Bell, Don Henderson, jazz, folk music

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