Abstract: This doctoral dissertation seeks to investigate the reasons that lay behind the rise, success and decline of the Italian-run migrant workers' organisation FILEF during the 1970s in Melbourne by reviewing and discussing some significant historical events. It does so in light of the existing literature, archival data and a string of oral accounts gathered from former and current key FILEF members and collaborators. It is hereby offering a better understanding of an otherwise poorly researched area of the Italian-Australian left-wing grassroots organisations in post-war Australia. The thesis has been divided into two parts, including introduction and conclusion. Part One (Chapters 1-5) reviews the historical and political background (in both Italy and Australia) that favoured the establishment of FILEF in Australia, including Melbourne, in the early 1970s; Part Two (Chapters 6-9) presents an analysis of the historical development and socio-political role of FILEF Melbourne between 1972 and 1980.Chapter One reviews the theoretical context, the representation of the history of FILEF in previous publications, primary and secondary sources, the research strategy and methodology. Chapters Two and Three anchor the history of FILEF Melbourne to their respective background in Italy and Australia. That is, Chapter Two examines the post-war Italian emigration and its politicising by the Italian left; Chapter Three focuses on the post-war emigration of Italians to Australia and outlines a profile of the Italian-Australian community. Chapter Four maps the route of the Italian-Australian Left in the 1950s and 1960s, that is from Italia Libera to the Lega Italo-Australiana. Chapter Five reviews the circumstances that led [to] the establishment of the PCI in Australia respectively. Chapter Six examines the origins and grassroots activism of FILEF in Melbourne in the 1970s, especially by looking at three areas of activity: migrant press, migrant welfare and migrant politics. Chapter Seven researches the vulnerability of FILEF to the pressures of conservative quarters by recounting the "Italian communist move in" (1975) and the federal funding cut (1976) episodes. Chapter Eight, thoroughly revisits the Salemi case (1977), while Chapter Nine explores the effects of the case and Salemi's deportation on FILEF towards the end of the 1970s.
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment for the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, [to the] School of European and Historical Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria.
Originally part of the Australasian Digital Theses (ADT) database.
Thesis (Ph.D.) - La Trobe University, 2004.
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