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10061Re: An open letter to ALP members on Senate preferences

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  • bobgould987
    Oct 17, 2004
      A short answer to Norm, pending a longer one later

      By Bob Gould

      The situation from a socialist point of view ebbs and flows in the
      Labor Party. My polemical material on the Green Left list and
      elsewhere hasn't been directed mainly at what socialists should do in
      the ALP or the Greens. It has been directed mainly against a mindless
      exposure strategy towards the ALP and the Greens, adopted particularly
      by the DSP and the SEP, and especially towards leftists who continue
      in the ALP.

      As Norm points out, I am indeed an individual with a few associates,
      but I have been around labour movement politics for a very long time,
      I know a large number of people, and I have a loud voice.

      It's rather early days yet to talk about rebuilding a serious
      socialist grouping in the Labor Party. I have chosen to adopt the
      medium of open letters taking up arguments on key political questions,
      which isn't a bad way to proceed in the current circumstances. I
      distribute these letters very widely in ALP circles and on the web.

      The most relevant of these letters to this discussion are my comment
      on the NSW local government elections
      http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Greensletter.html two items
      in advance of the federal elections, commenting on a socialist
      approach to those elections, including preference policy,
      http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Militant.html and
      http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Electoral.html and going back
      a bit further, a description of one sort of thing I do in the Labor
      Party when there's an opportunity
      http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2002w39/msg00078.htm

      I'm open to advice as to what socialists should do in the Labor Party,
      and I'm interested that Norm now concedes that the Labor Party is a
      reasonable place to engage in socialist activity.

      On the basis of past experience of the DSP, which captured the 1971
      Socialist Left in NSW and then acquiesced in its liquidation, and
      which had some influence in a small publication called Labor Militant,
      with which myself and some associates formed a cautious united front
      in the mid-1980s, it's not my understanding that the DSP has
      historically been very patient in Labor Party work. Of course things
      can change, but a good start for the DSP would be to stop abusing
      leftist ALP members for the very act of being in the ALP.

      In relation to the Greens, socialists I know who are active in the
      Greens are cautious in their activities. They have the awful skeletons
      lying in front of them of the DSP's clamourous and disastrous
      activities in the Nuclear Disarmament Party, and in the formative
      stages of the Greens, particularly in NSW.

      In both instances, the DSP took what were incipient mass movements and
      attempted to take total organisational control of them at a very early
      stage, with a big clamour about democracy, with disastrous results.

      With those experiences in front of them and behind them, it's my
      impression that socialists in the Greens are justifiably fairly
      cautious in how they proceed.

      Obviously, all these questions are up for sensible discussion, and
      that discussion should proceed without too much rancour.
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