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25505Re: DSP conference

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  • Dave Riley
    Jan 20, 2006
      Louise Walker has an interesting and considered post on Marxmail (Snippets BELOW] about some of these issues I referred to in my earlier post in this thread

      Now I think such requests as listed here by Louise are a  bit late as I fear that the left groups she refers to are determined to remain on their present set course.

      Although I'd love to be proved wrong.

      Essentially they(whether they're in the SA or not) have worked very hard over the past three years to develop a  culture of a DSP centric Alliance while ignoring all the other bells and whistles  of the Alliance and its achievements. It served to reify -- theres' that word again -- the actual political trajectory and make it hostage to  gratuitous debates.

      The non aligned phenomenon in the SA was basically a product of that destructive factional game because it arose to combat it and facilitate primarily the organisational  progression of the SA by shepherding the integration of the DSP into the Alliance.

      Now that the main registered SA detrators have decided -- by some strange cognitive process -- that the SA is moribund -- the name game is to blame the DSP for its demise. Since they opposed the SA from Day One their sudden interest in political  forensics is most strange.

      But as this preoccupation with the results of the recent DSP conference has proved, the future of the Socialist Alliance is dependent on   the ongoing commitment of the DSP to the project. And just like in Britain it is difficult to imagine any regroupment project without the British SWP, (although I'm not discounting the potential role of the Socialist Party there) the DSP is the only force on the Australin left that can deliver the coalesced energy to drive this process forward.

      The DSP has made it quite clear -- in its conference resolution on the SA which can be studied by anyone who has  a mind to --  that it's not interested in the SA being a "rebadged DSP" and while this epithet has been bandied around by its opponents, the core problem is that while the DSP is so actively committed to the project  most other forces are not. --at least when it comes to the responsibilities of leadership.

      But the conundrum that everyone has to face up to is that the project has legs.If it didn't then the minority would have triumphed at the  recent DSP conference. (But  I've dwelled on that irony before so I won't repeat the argumentation again).

      I get the impression in this exchange that for some the penny is beginning to drop. That despite any number of biases some people may share about the Alliance or its component parts,  without a Socialist Alliance kicking over we enter the core struggles facing us in 2006  very weak indeed because essentially, the Alliance is the best shot that the socialist left has to relate to or help generate any fighback.

      That's a fact. Challenge it please if you think I am wrong.

      We can lament how weak it is, if we want,  and point to its many faults, problems  and failings, but given what exists in our collective arsenal  this is our best shot.

      Obviously the Alliance has certain resources and its own networks. It has and activated committed core and some well respected activist/leaders. We also have Green Left Weekly as a major reach out tool...

      This also means that we can employ the Alliance as a fulcrum for a much broader fightback which extends into the Greens and the ALP. As soon as we pass though  all this either/or debate  the sooner we can address the main items on that united front agenda.

      dave riley



      Louise WALKER wrote::
      I think that the various far-left propaganda groups have had as their central aim the building of an explicitly revolutionary party. That is certainly very different from starting with the aim of rebuilding the socialist movement in this country. I think we need to rebuild the socialist movement before we can expect to have any serious influence on the class struggle, and I think that it is within a much healthier broad socialist movement that revolutionary politics could flourish.

      I have had a friend in Socialist Alternative try to tell me on several occasions over the last 4 years that socialists in Australia CAN'T rebuild the socialist movement. I don't know if this is a widespread notion in SAlt, but my reasoning is: if you can't achieve that relatively modest aim,
      how on earth do you think you can build a *revolutionary* workers party? But he's got that covered too: we have to wait until 'the upturn in class struggle', and in the meantime all we can do is 'preserve revolutionary socialist ideas'. Many of his comrades in SAlt probably wouldn't agree
      with him, and they can speak for themselves on this list.

      Of course, the aim of building a particular brand of revolutionary politics is more widely presented as the basis for such organisations, and in itself it is supposed to be sufficient grounds for being in a separate organisation. The problems with it, in my view, include that the thinking behind it is circular, and it is very negative political thinking that will continue to
      relegate socialists to the margins of Australian political life. Surely, if attempts at left unity in Socialist Alliance have proved difficult over the last five years (and the Alliance has very serious problems indeed), what does that say about attempts to build revolutionary socialist politics, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is at its weakest in Australia now than it has been for more than 100 years?

      As far as I'm concerned the only 'conditions' that are required for 'a united socialist party' to be the formation/model we all try to work with are 1) capitalist social relations with a bourgeois democracy, and 2) some socialists willing to have a go at being organisationally united. On the
      latter requirement, time is rapidly running out for us to capitalise on that considerable, but divided, layer of socialists who were radicalised in the '60s. (Sorry, comrades, but we're all getting older.)

      The main socialist groups in Australia have no significant differences between them on the important domestic political questions of the day. Whatever joint organisational formation they should be in, they should not be in separate organisations. It just isn't warranted. (I'm for a
      genuine united multi-tendency socialist party.) When it comes to rallies, protests and meetings, the literature of these little separate socialist groups all has the same basic message. Meanwhile, many people who are in the process of being politicised leftward and come across the
      broad array of groups are bewildered by why they are separate, and, quite reasonably in my view, read it as a reason to stay away. And many, like myself, who have been through such groups, but still see themselves as socialists and remain politically active, would never rejoin. This is a
      tremendous waste, especially when it is most conceivable that a united party formation would provide a platform for revolutionary as well as social-democratic and other streams of socialist politics. More than a waste, I think our organisational divisions continue to leave the political field open to other left alternatives such as the Greens and Labor, and worse, our political opponents and their class. Whether conscious or not, that is an abdication of our responsibility.


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