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The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) increasingly adopted ideas of universal rights throughout the 1960s. Responding to changes in the Soviet Union and the party's increasing irrelevancy at home, leading members of the CPA theorised a universal notion of rights—one that applied equally either side of the Iron Curtain—to critique Soviet actions on a variety of questions. In a local setting, the party aired for the first- time significant critiques of its history and practices, particularly rethinking its fraught relationship with Australian democratic freedom and rights, and recasting itself as a defender and extender rather than an ideological opponent of such ideas. Though brief, this engagement with these previously apostate ideas tells us much about the nature of the Australian party during this turbulent period and adds to our understanding of the transnational evolution of activist rights rhetoric and ideas.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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