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18504Re: socialist unity with the living dead

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  • bobgould987
    Jun 5, 2005
      By Bob Gould

      Joaquin Bustelo makes a sweeping attack on all the revolutionary
      socialist organisations for not immediately going out of business.

      I've read all the Marx-Engels material that Bustelo refers to, and my
      understanding of it is quite different.

      Marx and Engels, and later Lenin and Trotsky, favoured Marxists
      building organisations, and spent a lot of their time trying to do so.
      They were polemicising against the tendency of small socialist groups
      to turn themselves into sects and to neglect the possibility of
      building mass workers' movements or integrating themselves in an
      organised way in such proletarian movements as began to develop, such
      as the Henry George movement in the United States.

      Bustelo presents Marx and Engels as opposed to independent Marxist
      organisation, which is total rubbish. The problem is not the existence
      of such groups, but their often quite sectarian behaviour towards each
      other, and more importantly towards mass proletarian movements and
      organisations.

      Ben Courtice, who reposted Bustelo's post to the Green Left list, is
      repois still a member of the Australian DSP, so I assume he's either
      playing a devil's advocate role or maybe he's a little more cynical
      than that, and he's implying that all the other socialist groups
      except the DSP should go out of business.

      If that's his line of argument, it's spurious, given the now rather
      desperate attempts of the DSP to present a group that they essentially
      control, the Socialist Alliance, as some kind of non-sectarian
      formation, despite the fact that in the Socialist Alliance the DSP is
      at constant war with just about all the other affiliates and perhaps a
      majority of the independents.

      The immediate problem for the revolutionary socialist movement is to
      start some kind of realistic and non-sectarian political debate and
      discussion between the members of all the groups and independent
      individuals on the left of society, rather than Bustelo's pompous and
      dopey proposition that they should all go out of business forthwith.

      In Bustelo's case, is he saying that Solidarity in the US should go
      out of business?

      I've been engaged for the past couple of years in a sustained critique
      of what a number of people choose to call Zinovievism (which we now
      discover from Barry Sheppard is also Dobbsism) but that's directed at
      bringing the inhabitants of some of the sects down to earth and trying
      to initiate, if at all possible, some kind of serious debate on a
      number of major historical and current questions, across factional
      boundaries.

      It's pretty arrogant of Comrade Bustelo to demand that they all go out
      of business because the constructs of the different groups don't fit
      his eclectic schemas.

      To promote debate, on Ozleft we've been trawling through the history
      and pre-history of the Australian and international Marxist left and
      putting up a respectable collection of material.

      Proclamations about Marxists groups going out of business are quite
      irrelevant, because such groups aren't about to go out of business.
      What's clearly required is serious political discussion, rather than
      strutting ultimatums.

      I ask both Bustelo and Courtice, what do they think the activities of
      future socialist organisation should consist of if the existing ones
      were to go out of business?

      These are big questions and should be discussed in a calmer and less
      arrogant way than Bustelo does.
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