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35975Re: Gould's double act

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  • dave_r_riley
    Nov 20, 2006
      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "lfom5608" <lfom5608@...>

      > If not, what makes the Socialist Alliance different to any other far
      > left group? Why not say that the Socialist Party is at the heart of
      > any serious discussion about building left unity? Or Socialist
      > Alternative? Or the Communist Party?

      Primarily because its raison d'etre is one of regrouping the left.Of
      course, the key question is what left? I think it is the case -- at
      least perhaps for the time being -- that the far left groups aren't
      very interested in such a project.The door is always open to them to
      reactivate in the SA milieu -- but at present they have turned elsewhere.

      I think there is a misconception shared by a few that that question
      contains the SA -- that it's a business of bringing these outfits
      together or there is no 'unity" worth the value.

      Obviously a lot of people disgagree with that.

      In fact, I think there is a patronising bias in operation that
      considers "unity" outside the parameters of already existing
      socialist outfits to be a cheapened unity and not worthy of the effort.

      Thats' a major mistake I think and stinks of arrogance. The Alliance
      is not like these other outfits in that it is open to anyone to join--
      whereas these left groups SELECT their membership on the basis of an
      exclusive program.

      So while the SA remains an inherently open process which people are
      invited to join, network within it and format aspects of practice and
      policy-- its reach out is different from the Socialist Party or
      Socialist Alternative etc.

      I guess that the SA is much more amorphous than these outfits and
      doesn't have a strict cadre perspective as they do. Its dynamic is
      therefore different.

      I think that the SA so far has made some significant but still modest
      advances in promoting that regroupment perspective as it has drawn
      many people into a working partnership with one another -- such that
      its presence across the movements is much larger than any one of the
      small left outfits or even, in some cases, these outfits combined.

      The other related inference in your remark is that perhaps the SA is
      no different from these other outfits because it is merely the "DSP
      rebadged". The problem with generating traction with that notion is
      that the majority of the SA membership doesn't see it that way
      --despite the catcalls from the margins. It's very true that the DSP
      is a major stakeholder and plays a leading role in the Alliance --
      but primarily that's a partnering relationship otherwise the SA would
      be an empty shell and pretend front group exactly as Ozleft tries to
      paint it.

      But that leads to, what I think is, the key question:is the Socialist
      Alliance at the heart of any serious discussion about building left
      unity? And you refer to the Socialist Party in that context. Well,
      the SP has been talking about forming a real workers party for some
      time but I don't see it happening, do you? And that's primarily
      because the Alliance occupies the space that the SP's own unity
      project would hope to fill. And I guess, the same applies to any
      hope that the ISO may have of replicating RESPECT here in Australia.
      The reality is that either within or outside the SA -- the present
      audience for left unity is primarily relating nationwide to the
      Alliance and for the moment at least, the SA owns the copyright.

      As Dick Nichols said in one GLW article, "if the SA didn't exist
      today, it would have to be invented". And I think tahts' very true.

      The SA's primary challenge is to enlarge and broaden that audience --
      by seeking ways to engage with and inspire it.

      This is the ONLY left unity project on offer-- at least from what I
      know. Of course theres' also the Greens, who by default coalesce a
      radical milieu. But the Greens aren't proclaiming socialism nor are
      they so committed to extra parliamentary action. They also proscribe
      other organised currents from their ranks.

      That doesn't mean that the Alliance is the whole box and dice. It's an
      advance along a particular line of march but it's clear that other
      tactical shifts may in future be necessary as new opportunities for
      regroupment open up. But as the last two theses from our conference
      resolution state:


      [QUOTE]14. Socialist Alliance re-affirms its core objective of
      promoting left unity and regroupment. However, we recognise that the
      Socialist Alliance will have to go through a more extended period of
      united campaigning and political convergence with the broader forces
      generated by a new upturn of resistance before it can develop the
      social base and harness the leadership resources needed to take a
      significant step towards creating a new mass socialist party.

      15. Nonetheless, for first time in many years many in the working
      class look towards Socialist Alliance as a valuable step forward along
      that path. By championing the need for a broadly based anti-capitalist
      or new mass workers' party and by always helping to organise the most
      united left intervention possible in the social movements, the
      Socialist Alliance can continue to win the respect of broader layers
      of militant workers and social justice activists, and win them to its
      ranks. In this way Socialist Alliance will continue to take practical
      steps along the road to building the political force that Australia's
      workers, poor and oppressed need.[UNQUOTE]

      As I said in my original contribution: the Alliance is always going to
      be on trial before a every widening audience that now already
      transcends trhe inner urban left milieu.. Outside the polemics and
      the rhetoric and such-- the only test that will matter in the final
      instance will be whether the Socialist Alliance achieves what it sets
      out to do..

      Dave Riley
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