8420Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: Liberals as the main enemy etc
- Aug 17, 2004
Dave, I think you might have got some wires crossed.
The ISO is definately for preferenceing the greens ahead of labor. The editorials of SW have consistently argued that we need Howard out but it matters how he goes.
The larger the left vote (SA and Greens) the less Latham can claim a a mandate for his right wing policies. It will also boost the confidence of people to continue to fight under a labor government.
On the issue of Clover, I was initially quite hostile to the idea of preferencing her first, because i was concerned that those around the left of the ALP are more of a strategic audience than the overwhelmingly middle class elements in clovers camp.
When i raised these concerns I got a mixed response, some in the DSP shared them, but most thought that the ALP was the greater evil. When it came to the vote, everyone voted for Clover except for two ISO comrades who voted to preference the ALP. So I can't see how the ISO pushed to get clover preferenced.
The supposed contradiction of being anti-labor in the council elections and pro-labor in the federal elections just doesn't exist.
Now, on the greens, reformism, anti-capitalism, and revolution debate, the first thing to say is that I would be wary of being a bit schematic about these things.
The absolute starting point is that you you cant build a mass socialist party without leading struggles and being relevant to working peoples lives. That means lots of members, and real connections in unions and communities.
In Australia we are placed in a contradictory situation- the ALP is losing its grip on working people but at the same time the revolutionary left is weak- both in terms of size and in the general acceptance of the idea of socialism as a way forward within society.
In countries like France, where the idea of revolution is not so marginal- the left of the socialist party is almost equally composed of the reformist communist party and the revolutionary parties.
In Australia, the hard left is not in a position to cohere such a huge chunk of the left of labor space around an explicitly revolutionary program.
That is why the Alliance makes sence- as a broader organisation it can cohere layers of people who want more than whats on offer but are not yet prepared to be part of a revolutionary organisation, whilst still allowing revolutionaries the right to argue their views within the organisation and try and win people to their perspective.
In essence, there are two criterias for "Alliances" to be usefull- firstly that they are are able to relate to broader layers and help break them from the centre, and secondly, that the revolutionary left is free to argue their points and win people to our perspective within such organisations.
(on this measure I think Respect makes perfect sense- the revolutionary left is not marginalised within it, but it has also brought much wider layers on board)
Now, at some point the Alliance may well morph into a revolutionary party, or it may split into revolutionary and reformist poles, or it may for a long time yet remain neither. So long as the process has helped build the socialist left it will have been worthwhile.
So I am not saying that I want the Alliance to remain "reformist" (I dont think it is reformist- it is an anti-capitalist party) forever - I just think we should keep it as broad as possible until we think the revolutionary left in Australia is strong enough to relate to mass layers in its own right.
If we find ourselves in five years time with 5,000 members and a real presence in the working class, and most of those members argee with revolutionary politics, then i think it would be silly not to try and turn that agreement into a revolutionary program.
(We might want that 5000 to a faction of a red-green coalition or a "workers party of australia" which is far broader.)
However we are not yet representative of the broader socialist and anti-capitalist left. Until we are, I think we should be wary of keeping the door open to our future potential membership.
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