25453Re: Louis Proyect comment on the DSP
- Jan 19, 2006Peter. Congratulations on your election to national secretary.
You say my brief letter to the Weekly Worker (reprinted below) was distorted and
calculated to insinuate a high likelihood of splitting. How was it distorted?
First, it's bound to be partial. I wasn't there. I only briefly spoke to a couple of attendees
on the Sunday evening that it finished. (And that was a coincidence.. I bumped into people
at the pub after the conference.) But it was pretty accurate from what I have read on this
list and in the DSP statement - and John Percy's contribution to the DSP national
committee in October (which I have seen for the first time tonight).
Second, my letter said that it was healthy that a split isn't immediately on the cards. My
assessment is that you won't split. And I think that is a good thing - I have placed that
opinion on this list.
Apart from the programmatic differences I have with the DSP, which are significant and of
public knowledge, my main concerns regard the method of your organisation - a method
the Leninist minority (sic) and Social Democratic (sic ;) majority share. A thrashing out of
politics and perspectives in private; behind the back of the class. (Of course, program and
organisational method are intimately linked. Organisational method flows from political
I have not seen a single internal bulletin. I don't spend my time harrassing DSP members
But I have just read this
... I hadn't seen it before tonight, but it looks genuine.
I genuinely don't understand why you are in a mindset to have these debates in private,
other than a religious adherence to Cannon. Sure, in John's contribution there are things
you may have wanted to keep private, such as your discussion of CJ and CC (Craig and
Chris, I presume); and on specific member numbers and so on. Despite what Nick Fredman
says, I have never said *everything* should be open slather in public. Of course elements
of discussion should be private (especially when they may breach confidences or reveal
tactical nuances or jeapordise security); but the general politics are perfectly fine to be
You wouldn't have such security breaches if your method (and program) were different.
My letter to WW
John Percy has been ousted as national secretary of Democratic Socialist Perspective, the
mainstay of Australia's beleaguered Socialist Alliance.
At its recent conference, debate centred on the DSP's attitude to what remains of the SA.
Readers of my previous contributions will know that two main perspectives were proffered.
Percy, the incumbent national secretary and co-founder of the DSP, favoured cutting the
DSP's losses. The SA has been a failure as a vehicle to cohere the socialist left in Australia.
While it has dealt various blows to the DSP's factional rivals in the SA, particularly the
International Socialist Organisation, it has not prospered as the DSP genuinely would have
liked. Percy wanted to face this reality and rebuild the DSP.
Percy held a minority position on the national committee in the lead-up to the conference.
The majority around Peter Boyle favoured continuing the fiction of the SA. No doubt Percy
regards this position as liquidationist. The DSP has had to foot the bill for the SA while at
the same time seeing levels of discipline and politics among its cadre base wither.
Numbers have also fallen, as have finances.
The DSP has not issued any statement on the conference as yet. However, I understand
that the first day of the three-day conference ran hours over time amid fairly heated
exchanges. It ended slightly earlier than expected on January 8.
The fallout, as expected, is a victory for Boyle's grouping over the John Percy and Doug
Lorimer position. Percy has been replaced as national secretary by Peter Boyle and kicked
upstairs to the position of national president.
While there is a degree of healthiness in the fact that John Percy has been voted out of his
position without an immediate split, it will serve to merely paper over the increasingly
acrimonious divisions in the DSP. Given that the DSP favours the cultish methods of James
P Cannon, I expect very little light to emerge from the conference beyond bland majority
statements. As ever, in such grouplets the minority is gagged from public expression.
What this means is that the DSP will continue to use the SA as its main public face for
campaigns and electoral work. No-one in Australia is in any doubt that whatever is left of
the SA is merely a front for the DSP.
> The distorted accounts of the recent DSP congress by Marcus Strom and
> Bob Gould are calculated to insinuate that the DSP is in some terrible
> crisis and facing a high likelihood of splitting.
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