Trot Guide

Update (April 2012) : 2012 Trot Guide available here.

Racing!

slackbastard’s Trot Guide is an overview of the current state-of-play on the Australian far left. Thus it includes groupuscules that consider themselves Trotskyist (‘Trots’) as well as those who do not.

The Guide was last updated on December 21, 2009 — and prior to that, on July 11, 2009 — at which point, sadly, there had been a number of late scratchings. Thus, in May 2008 there were approximately 30 or so ‘leftist’ (Marxist) groups / parties in existence (although truth be told some were little more than some bloke and his dog, neither of whom were in particularly good health). This represented a further decline in numbers from a previous survey conducted in August 2006.

A near-as-complete-as-I-can-make-it list includes:

*1) Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia. Status : possible urban myth, likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Still dead.

*2) Communist Left Discussion Circle. Status : likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.

3) Communist League (CL). Status : Alive and very unwell. December 21, 2009: Undead.

*4) Communist Party Advocate(s). Status : deceased; resurrected as Labor Tribune.

5) Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Status : alive. Still. Unlike Stalin.

6) Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML). Status : alive — just — and still barracking for Mao.

7) Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP). Status : alive, but seemingly proceeding downhill at a rapid rate, both ideologically and organisationally. May 2008: The DSP has expelled a minority faction named, with considerable imagination, the ‘Leninist Party Faction’ (see below). December 21, 2009: As of January 2010, the DSP has announced it will dissolve into SA.

*8) Direct Action. Status : A splinter from the DSP, formed in July 2006. Formerly known as the MSN (see below). Also ‘Community & Workers’ First’. Now dissolved into the RSP (see below).

9) Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). Status : alive, but basically stagnant, and with only a tiny number of members, almost all located in Melbourne.

*10) International Socialist Organisation (ISO). Status : alive, but in serious — and possibly even terminal — decline. May 2008: In December 2007, the ISO announced its intention to merge with two other Leninist parties, and to abandon the name ‘ISO’ for a new one: ‘Solidarity’. December 21, 2009: Dead.

*11) Leninist Party Faction (LPF). Status : The newest kid on the Leninist bloc, formed as a result of the expulsion of a minority of members from the DSP. Now merged with DA to form the RSP (see below).

12) Marxist Initiative. Status : alive, but seemingly little more than a publishing project of the PLP. May 2008: Dead link… dead initiative? No! MI carries on publishing its views via the Australian Socialist. December 21, 2009: Dead. Again.

*13) Marxist Solidarity Network. Status : another groupuscule, formed in June/July 2006, and comprised of a handful of former members of the DSP. May 2008: At some point in the intervening period, the MSN renamed itself ‘Direct Action’ (see above). Which then merged into the RSP (see below).

*14) National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia. Status : another possible urban myth, likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.

*15) New Era Communist Party of Australia. Status : (almost certainly) deceased (that is, if it was ever truly alive). December 21, 2009: Dead.

16) October Seventh Socialist Movement. Status : alive, in extremely poor health, and — given it consists of a handful of geriatric Stalinists — with a dire prognosis. December 21, 2009: Dead.

17) Progressive Labour Party (PLP). Status : alive. December 21, 2009: Still.

18) Revo Australia (Revo). Status : Revo formed following the dissolution of WP (see below). Competes with a collection of others for the title of Tiniest Vanguard Down Under. December 21, 2009: Dead.

19) Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Status : NEW! Formed in May 2008 as a result of the fusion of DA and the LPF.

*20) Socialist Action Group (SAG). Status : formed in 2004 as a split in the Brisbane branch of SocAlt, it is yet to leave home. May 2008: SAG has merged with the ISO and Solidarity. December 21, 2009: Dead.

21) Socialist Alliance (SA). Status : alive, but with a very poor prognosis; obituary notices are already in preparation.

22) Socialist Alternative (SAlt). Status : alive and well and busy recruiting University students.

23) Socialist Appeal. Status : likely deceased, but still capable of sending occasional messages from beyond the grave… and re-launched via the Fightback website! December 21, 2009: Dead. Again.

*24) Socialist Democracy (SD). Status : deceased, December 2005. December 21, 2009: Still dead.

25) Socialist Equality Party (SEP). Status : alive… just. The SEP essentially functions as a spectacularly unsuccessful electoral front for a handful of Sydney members of the Australian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

*26) Socialist Labor Party of Australia (SLP). Status : (almost certainly) deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.

27) Socialist Party (SP). Status : alive, and in reasonably good health in Melbourne.

28) Solidarity. Status : uncertain; formed in 2003 following Ian Rintoul’s departure from the ISO, the group (?) has not updated its website since November 2005. May 2008: Reports of the death of Solidarity have proven to be exaggerated, with two other Trotskyist groupuscules (the ISO and SAG) joining it to form a new! improved! Solidarity.

29) Spartacist League of Australia (SL). Status : alive, in very poor health, and living in Melbourne and Sydney.

29 1/2) Trotskyist Platform (TP). Status : TP formed in 2006 when no less a person than the editor of the Australasian Spartacist made like a banana… and split. May 2008: He must be hunting wabbits, as he is keeping vewy vewy quiet. December 21, 2009: It’s alive!

*30) Workers’ League. Status : if a single statement on the war in Iraq published in February 2003 constitutes life, then the Workers’ League is in exceedingly good health. December 21, 2009: Dead.

31) Workers’ Liberty (AWL). Status : alive and unwell and living in Sydney.

*32) Workers’ Power (WP). Status : deceased, July 2006. May 2008: Unconfirmed reports suggest that one or possibly even two splinter groups may have formed upon the dissolution of WP (see Revo, above). December 21, 2009: Dead. Still. WP/League for the Fifth International continues to eke out an existence, principally in GB.

33) World Socialist Party of Australia. Status : probably alive… if only via the maintenance of a PO Box in Melbourne.

For more detail :

Finally, an honorary mention must be made of Lastsuperpower.net: “A bunch of decayed Marxists and Stalinists in search of a home…” — well, that’s what some pommy bastard called Harry reckons. Then again, describing Albert Langer as a decayed Marxist isn’t all that amiss; tho’ he’s no Stalinist — from all accounts, Mao still floats his boat… more than ever.

53 Responses to Trot Guide

  1. P Justo says:

    Must be time for an update?

    You’re still missing out on one or two grouplets btw. slack indeed

  2. P Justo says:

    and we’re waiting for the NSBM post

  3. @ndy says:

    Wait.

    Who’s missing?

    As for NSBM… Christ.

    I mean, Anti-Christ.

    Actually, I’m just finishing a long post which touches on the subject, but really, a dedicated local metalhead should write it — or at least, correct my mistakes.

  4. Paul Justo says:

    Yep. They’re called the ‘Internationalist Communist Affiliate Network’. ICAN – has to be the ultimate ultra-leftist acronym. The anarchists must be kicking themselves they didn’t grab that name first.

  5. @ndy says:

    Nah. Must try harder (to be included).

    Also: AWSM.

  6. Paul Justo says:

    ICAN is at least four people. New Era Communist Party was one old ex-CPA guy in Hervey Bay and some of the Maoist grouplets you’ve mentioned were just one or two people.

    By the standard of Gang of Four supporting Aussie Maoism – ICAN is a mass party of the Australian proletariat.

    AWSM doesn’t count – unless as part of Australia’s lebensraum.

  7. Dr. Cam says:

    @ndy!

    Somebody told me there is an Australian Juche Institute! They study Juche things! Or something? Do you know more?

  8. Timothy Scriven says:

    In NSW at least Socialist Alliance are v. healthy. I also know for a fact that they have branches in every state except Tas, and may be about to rectify that. They actually strike me as being more robust than most groups.

  9. @ndy says:

    Healthy enough to be Federally registered, certainly, along with The Communists, Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated, Australian Protectionist and Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Parties — along with many other, equally obscure groupings.

    Beyond that, the health of a political party is often measured in terms of electoral clout; in the case of the SA, its ambitions in this regard have been much reduced since its founding in 2001. Further, it underwent a split a few years ago, seemingly for reasons closely related to the change in course this represented for the DSP…

    In any event, you may be right. But outside of largely anecdotal evidence and in the absence of some other independent measure than, say, elections, it’s somewhat difficult to gauge the relative fortunes of the various micro-parties of the left.

    Apart from the Spartacists, that is. They are always winning!

  10. One more anon says:

    Hi,

    Will there be an update to the trot guide this year?

  11. @ndy says:

    I’d like to think so… but there’s really not a lot going on as far as I can tell, and the horses seem fairly settled atm. Fingers xed there’ll be a split or a merger or a scandal of some sort to pique interest.

  12. @ndy says:

    Australia can has guild socialism?

  13. Lumpen says:

    I can confirm Solidarity is alive and well, having met one of their glorious leaders recently. I believe they have a substantial presence at Sydney Uni. There has also been a ruckus between them and their politically-identical-mortal-enemy, Socialist Alternative. Solidarity are trying to establish a presence at that bastion of the working class, Melbourne University. This actually came to fisticuffs at a refugee rally (I shit you not), with women from both sides exchanging blows over who carries the real mantle of Lenin. I also hear reports (one that I can confirm with video evidence!) of ongoing harassment by SAlt of Solidarity members. This has lead to SAlt issuing a letter that, to this bemused and apathetic anarchist, seems to be riddled with obvious lies and exaggerations. A copy of this letter landed on the correspondence desk of Lumpen Industries Inc, which I will have my secretary reproduce for you below along with some of my own commentary.

    Fuck yeah leftist trainspotting! Toot toot!
    ===============

    To Solidarity,

    We are writing to you to protest in the strongest terms possible about your behaviour towards our organisation.

    Your inexcusable disruption of the RAC speak out on Tuesday 7 February in Melbourne, which prompted this letter, is but the latest example of your disgraceful activities. At this event, several of your members spent the whole time loudly abusing, pushing, shoving and even punching Socialist Alternative members.

    In particular, the behaviour of Tom Orsag was so appalling – constantly and loudly abusing our members – that he was repeatedly asked by activists (not SA members) to stop it and show some respect for the scheduled speakers, who he was drowning out. When the crowd were chanting “Free Ismail”, and “No deportations” Orsag tried to get a chant going against Socialist Alternative. All of this is particularly reprehensible [w]hen put in the context of Solidarity member Chris Breen’s admission that Orsag had only come to the speak out in order to harass Socialist Alternative members.

    One of our women members was repeatedly pushed, shoved and punched by three Solidarity members – Chris Breen, Lucy Honan and Jasmine Ali (Ali being the one who punched her). David Glanz went out of his way to approach Mick Armstrong to abuse and harangue him, adding to the disruption to the speak out. To make matters even worse, Jasmine Ali repeatedly threatened to call the cops if any of our members spoke to her – as she had done earlier in the day at Melbourne Uni when some of our members argued with her and Jimmy Yan. She went around taking photos of Socialist Alternative members which she said she would use to show police – incredible harassment by a socialist of other activists. For a member of a socialist group to be threatening to call the police on anyone on the left, when nothing but a verbal argument (lasting about 10 mins only according to Jimmy Yan’s own account) has occurred beggars belief. [Yes, it really does beggar belief, doesn't it?]

    This extreme response to a couple of arguments cannot go without protest. For several years now Socialist Alternative has tried to remain laid back and to avoid confrontation in the face of your relentless attacks and the lies you try to spread among activists. We know that you routinely ring around or meet up with activists in campaigns in which our members are active, trying to prejudice them against us with slanderous accusations which if openly debated would be shown to be the lies they are.

    Instead of trying to build your organisation and contribute to the number of people convinced of socialist ideas as other groups on the left do, you have for years been fixated on harassing, disrupting and undermining Socialist Alternative. Your members systematically target anyone who begins to come to our meetings and talk to our members, telling them lies about our organisation – for example, that we are bureaucratic and undemocratic – to try to prevent them joining or staying involved. Even when these people make it clear that they do not want to speak to members of Solidarity, the harassment not only continues, but often increases, as your members try to demoralise them and drive them out of politics. This has reached extraordinary heights at times. One young woman last year was harassed with constant phone calls for two months after she asked Jasmine Ali to stop calling her. This is common practice by your members, especially at Melbourne Uni over the last year. Recently one of our new members received over 60 phone calls in a 48 hour period. [If only there was a way of producing evidence for this.]

    No other group on the left – except the Spartacists – behave in anything remotely approaching this manner. [Oh snap! I can't believe they just went there.] We have political disagreements with the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Party, and at times we compete for new members and argue out our political disagreements. The difference is, these groups do go out and try to build independently. Their central focus is not trying to smash up Socialist Alternative and driving new people out of left wing politics.

    Socialist Alternative works closely with Socialist Alliance members in RAC, we were able to give support for and work with Steve Jolly’s election campaign in Yarra last year. We work with a wide range of organisations in the campaign in solidarity with the Palestinians, including Muslim and Arab groups as we do in the Equal Marriage campaign. Solidarity, on the other hand, are virtually impossible to work positively with in campaigns. In Occupy Melbourne, other groups and independent activists worked together to form a left caucus. Solidarity was notable for their refusal to work with us all unless they could impose their agenda on what the caucus did.

    For years Socialist Alternative has repeatedly offered to discuss the possibility of unity with Solidarity, because our basic politics are the same. We have refrained from making formal complaints about your parasitical harassment of our new members and contacts or your sniping and lying to campaign activists. But we cannot stay silent any longer if this continues.

    National Executive, Socialist Alternative

  14. @ndy says:

    Strewth Ruth.

    I heard that there’d been some argy-bargy between the two… Will unimelb be bathed in communist blood? Can Armstrong defeat Glanz in less than 12 rounds? Whose ideological cuisine will reign supreme Lumpen?
    ===============

    To Socialist Alternative:

    Dear Comrades,

    Your National Executive has sent us (and the Melbourne Refugee Action Collective) a letter outlining their version of events at the refugee rally in Melbourne on 7 February.

    It would seem that your National Executive seems to have completely lost touch with reality. Socialist Alternative’s letter is an attempt to rewrite the history of the event on the basis of fabrications and bizarre allegations.

    But facts are stubborn things. No independent person at the rally supports the NE’s version of the rally events. Members of other groups have signed a letter to Socialist Alternative expressing their concern at Socialist Alternative’s orchestrated disruption of the refugee rally.

    Despite the public protestations from your NE, most of you will know that Socialist Alternative members in Melbourne have embarked on a deliberate campaign of harassment of Solidarity members in that city.

    It is also well known that Socialist Alternative members were responsible for the attack on Solidarity members at the Refugee Action Collective rally in Melbourne on 7 February.

    The contempt of the leadership for the refugee campaign and the rest of the left was on display at the rally when leading Socialist Alternative members refused appeals from Socialist Alliance, Solidarity and Refugee Action Collective members to restrain other Socialist Alternative members doing the attacking.

    Sadly, leading members have continued to play a direct role in the harassment campaign. Although Corey Oakley has admitted to Socialist Alliance that he thought there was a problem with the harassment of Solidarity members at the rally, he has revealed himself to be a serial offender – threatening Jimmy at Saturday’s RAN meeting and then joining the childish gang of Socialist Alternative members yelling at Solidarity members attending the branch meeting at Trades Hall on Tuesday night.

    You can judge for yourself who is responsible for the harassment –take a look at Daniel Lopez’s shameful behaviour on Tuesday night outside Trades Hall ([http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GAEt2whrzE -- since removed for TOS violations]), and ask yourself who is doing the harassing? Daniel’s behaviour truly is something from the Spartacist school of political polemic but it is typical of the behaviour encouraged by the NE.

    If the NE is unable to see its folly and unwilling to end its campaign, it is beholden on the members to do so. Socialist Alternative already has a reputation around the left. Any continuation of the harassment will only further discredit and isolate Socialist Alternative.

    There is a pattern emerging: the inability of the leadership to address the mistaken attack on the Labor for Refugees speaker at the refugee rally at the national Labor conference in Sydney; the fantastic internal mobilisation taken to respond to Jimmy’s criticisms and subsequent expulsion; the attempts to concoct a narrative of Socialist Alternative being placed under siege by Solidarity. Attempts to cohere members on the basis of finding internal heretics or imagined enemies have historically been an unfortunate characteristic of other internalised groups on the left.

    And then there is the absurd suggestion that anyone from Solidarity would call anyone 60 times in 48 hours. Did the NE really think anyone could take that seriously?

    In previous letters, we have raised our concerns regarding Socialist Alternative practices of interrupting conversations, and harassing Solidarity stalls and members. It is not a surprise that you never responded to that issue.

    A Daniel Lopez email (25 August 2011) to other Socialist Alternative members at Melbourne university reveals something of the concerted manoeuvres by Socialist Alternative to harass Solidarity as well as the dismissive attitude towards the refugee campaign:

    “So if you ask her [ie Jasmine] to do shit, either a) she will have to explain why she can’t (most likely) or b) she’ll take them. If she takes them and does them, fine. If she takes them and doesn’t do them, it’s possible to subtly discredit her as a result. And finally, she is just human, and she does a lot of wonderful movement work… so a little more might just stress her out!

    Anyway, they are my thoughts. –D p.s. none of this should be taken to indicate that I have now seen the light of RAC! I’ll believe in it when I can see that we can recruit people from it that are both worth recruiting and that we couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.”

    Socialist Alternative’s approach to Solidarity has now become even more exaggerated and puts the lie to any idea that Socialist Alternative was ever genuinely concerned with unity with Solidarity.

    We remain confident that there are comrades within Socialist Alternative who can see that nothing useful can come out of the destructive path that the NE has embarked upon – nothing for Socialist Alternative, nothing for the left in general and nothing for building campaigns or movements.

    We appeal to those comrades to begin the discussion needed to transform the group. The energy being put into harassing Solidarity would be so much better directed to fighting Gillard and Abbott.

    Solidarity is actively building our branches on and off campus in union activity and through our involvement in the refugee, climate and anti-Intervention campaigns among others. It is in the struggle – in the unions and social movements – where we all learn how to fight to change the world.

    Comradely yours,

    Solidarity National Committee 17/2/2012

  15. Lumpen says:

    I’ve got a copy of the video that was taken down, if you want it. It is very Spart-esque though not terribly interesting… unless you find angry kids with posh accents trying to act threatening “interesting” (I did!). It is the only tangible evidence supporting either position, I guess.

    Word on the grapevine is that SAlt members paid a couple of home visits to Solidarity members and threw eggs and paint, although it’s difficult to see how any hard evidence for SAlt being responsible could be produced, outside a confession. I’ve put this under the “plausible rumour” column in my Melbourne Trot Scene spreadsheet.

    TOOT TOOT!

  16. @ndy says:

    Call me a sectarian old fool, but I’m still rooting for the Sparts.

    All aboard!

  17. Grumpy Cat says:

    Whilst this might be all fun and games, Solidarity and SAlt are not equivalents. SAlt is as nasty and sectarian and irrelevant as your average Melbourne anarchist that is for sure, whilst Solidarity members are pretty hard working movement types. They often talk soft just left of labour politics on the ground – therefore better than your average anarchist – but are open minded and comradely in discussion.
    cheers
    Dave

  18. @ndy says:

    Maybe.

    Maybe not.

    That is, leaving aside the question of the (political) equivalence of SAlt and Solidarity (I would suggest that they espouse a very similar ideology), I rarely encounter members of either group. And while I’m not sure if I’m an average Melbourne anarchist, on the rare occasions that I do meet with their membership, I don’t think it’s especially sectarian to politely refuse to purchase a paper, and I’m generally more than happy to engage in discussion. Beyond this, as far as I’m aware, only a handful of SAlt members have ever commented on my blog, and only one currently. Further, while s/he may disagree (or perhaps not), I think I’ve been polite and my comments entirely relevant to our conversation. So too in my brief exchange with members of the SP.

    Readers, as ever, are free to make up their own minds.

    *shrugs*

  19. Intrigued Observer says:

    Lumpen, could you possibly put the video up somehow? I belong to neither of these groups of the far-left, but am intrigued by the ongoing feud between them as a politically-engaged student at Melbourne Uni.

  20. @ndy says:

    We shall await with bated breath.

    In the meantime, I give you the International Bolshevik Tendency and I ask: why is there not one person in Australia willing to put their hand up and become its Australian section?

    Capitalist Crisis & Revolutionary Opportunity: Sixth International Conference of the IBT
    1917
    No.34 (2012)

  21. Paul Justo says:

    The IBT are the Sparts without NAMBLA, Michael Jackson, P Diddy and all the other oh so wonderfully mad stuff. The alternative sane Spart franchise has been taken by TP in this country in the same way as Jan Norden has the gig in the US with the IBT to a lesser extent.

    Defend Bill Logan!

  22. Comrade Ubu says:

    The Trotsky/Stalin Reconciliation League wishes to inform the petit-bourgeois betrayer of the working class, @ndy, that it will be taking very stern political measures against him as a result of being left off of the above list.

  23. @ndy says:

    The Trotsky/Stalin Reconciliation League is a paper tiger. (One which I would be happy to subscribe to.)

  24. Comrade Ubu, General Secretary, T/SRL says:

    The Trotsky/Stalin Reconciliation League adopts all that’s best in the praxis of comrades Trotsky and Stalin — i.e., forced labour for shirkers, summary execution of political opponents, and relieving the working class of the burdens of responsibility for making decisions.

    As General-Secretary of the League, and thereby the wisest of my comrades, I am able to dialectically ascertain that the petit-bourgeois inhabitant of the anarchist swamp, @ndy, is a traitor to the toiling masses and must therefore be dealt with severely, but fairly, upon the League’s accession to state power.

    This is an official communique.

  25. @ndy says:

    Petit-bourgeois?

    I ain’t that short!

    In other news…

    Sam Bullock in Brisbane has penned a letter announcing their ‘Resignation from the Red Eureka Tendency (RET)’ of the Socialist Alliance and has urged Adam Baker to dissolve the Tendency. The Tendency’s platform is published here. Apparently, some within the party are resisting its adoption of ‘ecosocialism’.

    In the Queensland state election, SA candidates in Dalrymple, Sandgate and South Brisbane seem likely to get between 1 and 2% of the vote.

  26. Lumpen says:

    @Grumpy Cat: Interestingly enough, the general consensus around the SAlt v. Solidarity at Trades Hall in Melbourne seems to be firmly on the side of SAlt, with Solidarity been seen to have tread on many toes by trying to aggressively poach SAlt’s members. I find it pretty strange, but there you go.

    According to my sources, there are a large number of more mundane factors at play, with unsubstantiated claims of poor personal conduct driving many people’s negative assessment of Solidarity in Melbourne. Other sources claim that Solidarity’s participation in these ‘movement’ activities have been more problematic than SAlt’s – again, I find it hard to believe but that is what I am told. Some of these sources are mutual acquaintances, btw, so you could investigate for yourself.

    I also have an open letter from SAlt in 2010 to Solidarity, claiming that they do, in fact, have virtually identical politics (though not strategy) and suggesting a merger.

    The existence of two competing organisations that stand in the tradition of international socialism weakens both our organisations and the socialist left more generally in Australia. For this reason alone a serious exploration of the possibility of forming a unified organisation makes sense…

    Significant differences between our two organisations have existed and continue to exist over questions of perspectives and party building and around a range of tactical and organisational issues.

    And note that I have ignored your jibes at Melbourne’s average anarchists and refuse to respond with personal observations about the isolation of your own weirdo politics and choice of hairstyle.

  27. @ndy says:

    Shirt-and-tie? Puh-lease.

  28. Grumpy Cat says:

    Lumpen – I am not sure where that consensus comes from – but it’s rubbish. SAlt freaked out when one competent Solidarity member started getting involved in stuff at Melbourne Uni and expelled a member for being a secret Solidarity plant for making the argument that perhaps SAlt should stop acting like dicks.
    cheers
    Dave

  29. Grumpy Cat says:

    That said, I do get the impression that Solidarity has a very different style in each city.
    Thanks for not making cracks about my haircut- very kind- but political isolation is not a problem I am facing.
    cheers
    Dave

  30. Lumpen says:

    From what I have observed, the hatred between the two groups has a bit more to it than what you describe, but no less petty IMHO. My (genuine) concern is that SAlt are convincing themselves that Solidarity are deserving of great violence, of the kind the pious will dish out to the heretic but not the heathen. SAlt seem to be getting crazier – if what I’m told around their interactions with Solidarity and reports of a few internal emails going about is true. (I think the spy rumor may have been a bit accurate!)

    TICKETS PLEASE! TOOT TOOT!

  31. Jeffrey says:

    Hi Slackbastard,

    I enjoy your blog. I’m a factory worker in the NUW and have been on picket lines at Baiada and Sigma recently in Melbourne. Just thought I’d add my two cents on the Socialist Alternative v Solidarity debate.

    I’m not a member of either, but I’ve found Socialist Alternative to be highly constructive members of the left in this country. Their support for my union and its workers at Baiada and Sigma (as well i understand at Visy last year) was excellent. Plenty of my co-workers agree, and while i don’t think i’ll join because i don’t have it in me for ongoing activism i have enjoyed working with them.

    I’d never heard of Solidarity until recently when one of their members came to Baiada and spent the better half of thirty minutes attacking Socialist Alternative… seemed pretty stupid to me.

    Keep up the great blog mate,

    Jeff.

  32. “…The IBT are the Sparts without NAMBLA…”

    That’s as maybe, but they still back “Abolish All Age of Consent Laws”. It is widely believed that [snip] has enabled men accused of child molestation to escape NZ justice, and I’ve heard recordings of IBT meetings where he and his cothinkers argue that “forcing a child to have sex is no worse than forcing them to eat rice pudding”.

    Perhaps wiser to say that the IBT is the Sparts before they went totally loopy.

  33. @ndy says:

    Before, or after?

  34. @ndy says:

    This poisonous climate of “decency” has led to an increase in censorship and outright persecution of so-called “deviants/’ particularly homosexuals. On July 11, two members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) were arrested in long Island, charged with sodomy and sexual abuse. Others have been arrested in New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire-more have been “questioned.” NAMBLA supports the sexual rights of gays and children but in Reagan’s America that’s a crime: in a vicious state witch hunt, the cops accuse NAMBLA of operating a “sex ring.” Government out of the bedroom! Drop the charges against NAMBLA!

    We say people have the right to write, paint and film what they want, read and watch what they want, and sleep with whomever and whatever they want, provided the other one(s) agree. Free abortion and birth control on demand! No censorship or pornography laws! Abolish all age-of-consent laws!

    ~ ‘Is there sex after Reagan?’, Young Spartacus, No.94, October 1981, reprinted in Women & Revolution, No.23, Winter 1981–1982 [PDF].

    The support of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) for NAMBLA is noted in various other, much more recent articles, such as ‘Sinister Conviction of Boston Priest’, Workers Vanguard, No.843, March 4, 2005:

    “NAMBLA’s name is perennially dragged through the plentiful Boston mud, having been pounded for over 20 years by media smears and witchhunting prosecutions. We in the Spartacist League have repeatedly defended this tiny beleaguered group as an elementary act of proletarian decency. We oppose criminalizing their advocacy of the eminently reasonable proposition that youth who have sexual feelings be allowed to express them. NAMBLA simply advocates the decriminalization of consensual sex between men and boys.”

    ‘Hands off Roman Polanski’, Workers Hammer, No.209, Winter 2009–2010:

    “The government has recently seized on the spurious crusade against “sex trafficking” to introduce draconian new legislation criminalising men who “pay for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force”, a move which marks a significant shift towards outlawing prostitution altogether by penalising customers. We Marxists oppose not only reactionary “age of consent” and “statutory rape” laws, but also other laws against “crimes without victims”, such as gambling, prostitution, drug abuse and pornography. Our defence of Polanski, like our longstanding defence of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association, which advocates the decriminalisation of consensual sex between men and boys), is based on our Marxist programme for women’s liberation through socialist revolution. Government out of the bedroom! Hands off Roman Polanski! Drop the charges!”

  35. Soli member says:

    Hi,

    I’ve seen this blog from time to time and have even been recommended it by a colleague at work.

    The “factory worker” for the NUW (you must mean Union Organiser) at Baiada has a pretty strange account of Solidarity’s involvement with the picket. 3 Solidarity members invited Baiada delegate Gabrielle to speak at NTEU Melb Uni, St Albans Secondary School union meeting (many high school students have parents that are working or have worked at the factory) and Sensis AMWU meeting – passing motions of support and taking donations at all events.

    It’s true that Solidarity is new in Melbourne and does have a responsibility to explain why there are two different organisations that share the same formal politics – but it’s sad that explaining these differences has been construed as a “political attack” on Socialist Alternative [SAlt]. This kind of approach I would argue only undermines debate and a culture of discussion.

    The latest confrontations stem from the event in December when a SAlt member of four years developed a critique of SAlt and was expelled in February.

    Apparently for SAlt it is an expellable offence for SAlt members to talk to Solidarity members, an organisation which it claims unity with. This is a very strange condition to put on the membership of any political organisation – conversations and debate should happen within the left and is something to be encouraged.

    SAlt would like to pretend the expulsion never happened and attempt to intimidate their former member out of politics through harassment – much like a cult does to members who have left. SAlt’s willingness to ruin movement events to settle its vendetta with their expelled member is seriously unbecoming for the left.

    The notion that Solidarity members are deserving of nutty abuse from SAlt, apparently conferred by the “consensus at Trades Hall” (whoever that is), is also very sad. Solidarity members passed motions in their unions defending Max Brenner 19 – which are all SAlt members, despite disagreements about the nature of [Students for Palestine]. Defending activists, regardless of their political background, against state intimidations is more important than the differences within the left.

    I wish the same thing could of been said about the SAlt response to the G20… In any case I appreciate being able to write my views about this issue on this blog and the forum for discussion.

    From a solidarity member.

  36. Lumpen says:

    Just to clarify my “consensus at Trades Hall” statement – I was being facetious. It is, of course, an intentionally silly statement. What I meant was the (very) few people I asked seemed to range from apathetic to hostile toward Solidarity. Like I said, that does seem strange and could be down to my very small sample of not-disinterested people.

    Grumpy Cat’s position was more what I would’ve expected but, despite SAlt’s long history and deeply antagonistic (and cultish, oftentimes bizarre) strategy, Solidarity seems to have few friends in Melbourne. Being personally hostile to the organisation of both groups means I take some pleasure in this, but my more trainspotterly tendency is curious as to how that came to be the case… or if it is the case at all.

    The treatment of Solidarity does seem to be unfair, but then again… SO WAS KRONSTADT.

  37. Grumpy Cat says:

    Jeez, I know that some of the members of SAlt and Solidarity are old but I didn’t realise any of them were actually at Kronstadt! That is amazing. Old Trots never die hey? (They just get picked off one by one?)

  38. Lumpen says:

    I think Mick Armstrong might’ve been there.

  39. @ndy says:

    Kids,

    MAKHNO IS A LOT COOLER THAN MICK ARMSTRONG!!!

  40. A Soli member says:

    It’s probably true to say that Solidarity’s strategy for building campaigns (especially the campaign to stop the NT Intervention, MAIC) probably did upset the business-as-usual of the “Trades Hall consensus”.

    There were two very big debates in the campaign concerning campaign democracy/decision-making, relationship to broader/reformist organisations/individuals and on the tactical question of the nature of a demo at a trade union officials’ International Women’s Day function with Jenny Macklin. (In sum, we were for widening the political support and relationships for the campaign, and having a protest rather than a picket at the union officials’ IWD event.)

    Generally we have argued for widening the political support of the campaign beyond the far left groupings and involving broader forces, but also maintaining a critical view of the limits of these organisations’ views and actions in the NT Intervention campaign.

    This kind of strategy in general isn’t particularly popular amongst the far left in Melbourne – so it’s not surprising that the “consensus” are unhappy with debates that are for trying to build this idea in campaigns.

    I’m not sure whether there would be any common ground on these questions of this approach with the authors/contributors to this blog but discussions on such questions are a good thing, even if we don’t share the same position.

    I’d hate to think Krondstadt is a reason to not work with socialist groups of today, one can only hope. But Kronstandt aside, if you would like to see the sort of thing Solidarity has helped initiate and develop check out the campaign in Sydney (STICS, http://www.stoptheintervention.org/).

    Attempts to build a similar campaign in Melbourne were a source of political debate, but some good events happened nonetheless in the short and special time a campaign did exist. Hopefully in the future a campaign in Melbourne could start up again, especially with the extension of NT Intervention laws for 10 years, and expansion of income management into Shepparton, Bankstown etc, one needs to be built.

    Best of luck with the blog!

    In unity,

    A Melbourne Solidarity member.

  41. @ndy says:

    A coupla things.

    1. Lumpen stated that he was being facetious/silly re TH consensus.
    2. I’m aware of MAIC but have only heard vague accts of strategic debates.
    3. I wrote some http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=3319 stuff http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=3490 a coupla years ago.
    4. I remember SP councillor Anthony Main got into trouble w TH over the Macklin thing.
    5. On the extension of income management, there’s more stuff here http://assemblyfordignity.wordpress.com/, and last year I i/viewed a guy about it for the SUWA show.
    6. Also, #ShepLife.

    NB. Weird thing about this vid: the director’s brother is a well-known local neo-Nazi propagandist. What a strange world…

  42. Pingback: Trot Guide 2012 | slackbastard

  43. Harry Krisna says:

    Trot Groups and their corresponding Christian church.

    DSP/Socialist Alliance = Anglicans, not quite Catholic and doing outreach to others.
    Revolutionary Socialist Party = Catholics, lots of iconography and a bureaucratic leadership structure.
    ISO/Solidarity = Mormons, Tony Cliff’s book about state capitalism is their book of Mormon.
    Socialist Alternative = Hillsong, flash, expensive, upper-middle class.
    Socialist Party/Militant = Methodists, sectarian, small and no fun at all.
    Spartacists = Jesus Christians, wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t have to donate a kidney in this sect.

  44. a says:

    “23) Socialist Appeal. Status : likely deceased, but still capable of sending occasional messages from beyond the grave… and re-launched via the Fightback website! December 21, 2009: Dead. Again.”

    fightback has nothing to do with soc appeal…

  45. @ndy says:

    Yes… and no. The website fightback.org.au did/has. That is, ownership of the domain name has changed on a number of occasions; at one point it belonged to local supporters of the IMT. Of course, that’s no longer the case.

  46. @ndy says:

    Oh my.

    Omar writes (October 6, 2012):

    An example closer to home, Solidarity at Melbourne Uni are in a campaign with
    the Liberal-dominated Clubs and Societies committee to disaffiliate us and
    sabotage the Marxism 2013 conference. Our agreement on the Russia question is
    relatively irrelevant; their rabidly sectarian shenanigans are the dominant
    barrier to unity and cooperation. Meanwhile the RSP (and the Alliance for that
    matter) are happy to discuss unity and have long worked with us in a comradely
    way.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GreenLeft_discussion/message/79663

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