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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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Charles Thomas (Charlie) Reeve (1877–1942)

The death has occurred from pneumonia of Charles Reeves, one of the twelve men framed-up in the famous I.W.W. case during the last war.

Reeves was subsequently released by a Labor Government, as the Royal Commission which directed the release of the other men declined to do so in the case of Reeves.

Reeves could be described as a typical I.W.W. agitator in his "stump" methods. His misfortune was that he was impregnated with the non-Marxist, Anarcho-syndicalist ideology, which, in the end, has everywhere proven itself reactionary and bankrupt, in the U.S.A., in Spain, Australia, and wherever it has had a following.

Unlike J. B. King, Bob Bessant and other former I.W.W. leaders, Charles Reeves was unable to rise to the level of a Marxist-Leninist understanding, to Communism.

That is why, towards the end of his life, Reeves, was unable to take a leading part in the class struggle.

Despite his political limitations, in his prime "Charlie" Reeves did much to arouse a militant feeling among the workers.

Reeves often felt the heavy hand of capitalist persecution, in the way of gaol and victimisation.

The failure of the I.W.W. and the fact that men like Reeves were eventually left behind, as it were, by the progress of the revolutionary movement, proves once again that only the Party with a correct theory, i.e., Marxism-Leninism, can grow, along with the advance of the working class.

Such is the lesson of the life and activity of "Charlie" Reeves.

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Citation details

'Reeve, Charles Thomas (Charlie) (1877–1942)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Reeves, Charles Thomas

2 November, 1877
London, Middlesex, England


30 May, 1942 (aged 64)
Gymea Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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Political Activism