Jim Mitchell 1913-2003
Papers (preliminary listing)
Jim Mitchell joined the Communist Party in 1930 at the age of 17, and maintained his membership for 72 years until his death in 2003. Mitchell’s suffragette mother (Eva) was active in the British Labour Movement played an important role in shaping his political philosophy. Mitchell first worked as a cub reporter on the Melbourne Herald and later transferred to the Party newspaper Workers Voice. He served in the Australian Army during the war, but was later expelled from the RSL.
The Party asked Jim to transfer to South Australia to set up and become Editor of The Tribune. During the Menzies Government’s attempts to shut down the Waterside Workers Federation and the Seamen's Union of Australia, the Party decided that Mitchell should become a wharfie in Port Adelaide where his leadership and ability to organise were soon noticed. Jim served on the State Committee of the CPA and SPA, the Central Committee of SPA, the State Executive of Soviet Friendship Society and the National Committee of the Soviet Friendship Society. He was a delegate to party and trade union conferences, served on the policy committees and was an honoured guest at Socialist Party Conferences in Europe. In Australia Jim was active on many committees - including the Vietnam Moratorium, the Soviet Friendship Society, Cuban Friendship Society, Anti-Apartheid Movement, Trades and Labor Council Delegate for MUA, Czechoslovakian Friendship Society, Committee for 1967 Aboriginal Referendum and the establishment of TAFE in Port Adelaide.
These papers were donated by Sally Mitchell in October 2003. They have been largely arranged as received, and grouped into the following categories:
Series 1: Communist Party of Australia ca 1959-1999
National and state publications and documents (many annotated by Mitchell), including individual journal issues eg Target (Eureka Youth League of Australia), Clarity, Information Service issues etc; flyers, leaflets, circulars, conference proceedings and resolutions etc, 75th anniversary celebrations, mss notes, publications of the Maritime Unionists Socialist Activities Association, draft policies etc, newspaper clippings, outlines of history, correspondence, lectures and speeches etc. With separate files of elections leaflets etc and Tribune issues
Series 2: Socialist Party of Australia ca 1973-1996
Flyers, conference papers (including the Foundation Congress in Sydney 1972 and the 1st SA State Conference 1973, draft programs and constitutions, statements; issues of Clarity, Maritime Bulletin and Industry Bulletin; correspondence, newspaper clippings, newsletters, election flyers, draft policy statements. Also selected papers of the Young Socialist League of Australia, including issues of Youth Voice and other publications
Series 3: Association for Communist Unity ca 1984-1993
Documents and publications, including conference papers, mss notes, typescript statements, newsletters, circulars, correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, issues of Left Unity News etc
Series 4: Broad Left ca 1983-92
Flyers, circulars, publications (including issues of The Comet, New Left Party National Bulletin, Left Connection Newsletter etc), discussion documents, draft proposals, conference papers (including The Broad Left Conferences 1985-6, and papers from the launching conference for a new Left Party 1989), mss notes, newspaper clippings, statements, some correspondence, 1991 prospectus for a Broad Left Weekly. Also papers from the Left Action Conference 1969.
Series 5: Other pamphlets, flyers etc
Including papers on conscription, women’s liberation etc
Issues of Socialism Today, Changing World and The New Left Party Newsletter and selected pamphlets have been separately catalogued for the Rare Book Collections. Issues of Peoples Cause, Praxis, Discussion Journal and The Socialist have been added to existing holdings.