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25507[Marxism] What conditions are required for a more united socialistparty in Ausr

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  • chen9692000
    Jan 20, 2006
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      --- Shane Hopkinson <chen9692000@...> wrote:
      > One of my main criticisms all along of the SA project has been that
      the objective conditions for
      > a new party simply do not exist – and that the Hanson Rallies,
      anti-war stuff and even MUA
      > dispute which the DSP relied on as the said basis turned out in
      retrospect to be insufficient.

      I really feel that this idea needs to be discussed thoroughly, because
      its this reference to such
      supposedly scientific 'objective circumstances' that has been used by
      various organisations to
      justify their organisational separateness from one another for years.
      I disagree with both Shane,
      *and* with the DSP/ISO original reference to 'objective conditions in
      Australia' as a sound basis
      for starting a united left project like the Alliance. The big question
      for the left in Australia
      is the fight for greater unity in resisting constant neo-liberal attacks.

      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.

      And this is what really frustrates me about the nonsense that goes on
      between the DSP and Bob
      Gould, as well as others, when discussing what socialists should be
      doing. While at times I have
      been an ally to the DSP within SA, I disagree with the DSP leadership
      on a lot of things. I was
      one of the non-affiliated people who at the last National Conference
      opposed their remodelling of
      the leadership bodies to remove automatic representation of affiliates
      at national level. But many
      of the attacks that Bob and some others launch against the DSP both
      within and outside the
      Alliance are a smokescreen, used to try to avoid having to deal with
      the elephant in the Left
      room. How do we achieve organisational unity with political diversity
      to more effectively fight
      the greatest attack against the Australian working class in our lives?
      Is organisational
      separateness /really/ an option?

      I could say much more, but I would like us to I'd like to hear from
      others on this, and am happy
      to correct factual errors.

      Louise
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