Trot Guide 2008 : Introducing the Leninist Party Faction

More blah : Paul Norton, Are you obsessed with sects?, Larvatus Prodeo | Zounds! DSP National Executive statement on LPF split (wave of kaffiyeh to Ed Lewis): “On Tuesday May 13, the DSP National Executive recognized that this split had already taken place and therefore expelled all 39 members of the LPF remaining in the DSP in order to protect the security of the DSP. The LPF’s split actions left the DSP no other real choice.” Splitters!

On May 10, 2008, the national leadership of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (formerly the Democratic Socialist Party) decided to purge all of the members of a minority faction – the Leninist Party Faction – from the DSP. The LPF was formed at the end of the DSP’s 22nd congress in January 2006. Its platform was supported by a bit less than one-fifth of the DSP membership in the election of delegates to the 23rd DSP congress (held in January 2008).

According to Bob Gould (Australian DSP divides: Dysfunctional marriage is finally dissolved by the expulsion of the minority, Ozleft, May 12, 2008) “The LPF has about 50 members in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and some members at large overseas. The DSP majority has about 150 members, although it claims more, and quite a few of those 150 are not active.” On the surface, the split has been provoked by irreconcilable differences over the future of the Socialist Alliance. The LPF apparently believe this dog has had its day; the majority, led by Peter Boyle, that’s there’s life in the old girl yet. Allen Myers, a member of the LPF, goes into some detail regarding the recent history of the DSP, its entanglement with the SA, and subsequent split in ‘The Political and Organisational Degeneration of the DSP’.

So much for the good news; the bad news is that the ‘Marxist Solidarity Network’ — consisting of six Melbourne-based former members of the DSP — appears to be no more. Well, online anyway. Marcus Strom wrote at the time:

While “Trots split” is hardly earth-shattering news, to merely dismiss it as an irrelevance is a philistine error. The split reveals a lot that is awful about the ‘revolutionary’ left. It shows that all is not well in the DSP, its sectoid method of organisation and the state of the left in general.

Unfortunately it shows that the only modes of organisation that the far left knows is high-pressure sectoid madness or “liquidationist” merger with the ‘mass movement’. The crisis of the far left points to the urgent need for the Marxist left to develop a coherent and authoritative political centre in the labour movement, devoid of a sectist culture, yet committed to developing theory and practice at the highest possible level.

The MSN group includes Jorge and Roberto Jorquera, longstanding DSP members. Jorge has been a leading cadre of the organisation for at least 20 years. The six were members of the “Leninist Party Faction” led by ousted national secretary John Percy and ideology hatchet-man Doug Lorimer.

The LPF – I trust you’re keeping up up with the acronyms – formed after the DSP’s last congress, which reaffirmed its commitment to build the Socialist Alliance as a “multi-tendency socialist party”. Percy and Lorimer had argued that the SA had served its purpose (to do over the International Socialist Organisation, [basically)] and that it was best to close it down and rebuild the DSP as a public socialist organisation.

Previously on DSP Blues:

If anyone thought that my take on the DSP’s role in the SA was too cynical, measure it against the words of DSP national secretary, John Percy: “Remember what was the actual initiating event that prompted us to think about this tactic? The decision by the British Socialist Workers Party to contemplate election work after two decades of abstaining totally from it. We thought, ‘Here’s an opportunity to make an approach to the local International Socialist Organisation, for joint work, joint election campaigns and a regrouping of the left.’ They either had to respond positively, or suffer a political blow and organisational losses.

“In that respect, our tactic worked: they’re certainly a lot weaker than they were in 2001, suffering splits and attrition. And at their Marxism conference in September, they had half the attendance of recent years, with just 40 at their final session. We’ve suffered also, but not as much as them” (J Percy, ‘Party-building report to October 2005 DSP national committee on behalf of national executive minority’, The Activist, Vol.15, No.12, October 2005).

The “tactic” of setting up the SA was successful because of damage to the ISO. Now I leave it to the ISO to say what they think about whether they are as damaged as Percy says, but, whatever the reality, that is the perception that Percy is so self-congratulatory about…

On the ISO, see Further Adventures in Trotville (May 4, 2008).

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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23 Responses to Trot Guide 2008 : Introducing the Leninist Party Faction

  1. grumpy cat says:

    Finally happened hey? The charges that the DSP make against the LPF are pretty flattering of the latter. Let’s hope they go on to better things.

    rebel love

  2. @ndy says:

    Haven’t read the charges yet, but the minority appears to be what it says on the label: a Leninist Party Faction. I think some may drift towards Solidarity…

  3. juancastro says:

    Fucking DSP.

    The way it goes on and on about China and Cuba… what garbage. The sooner it dies the better.

  4. @ndy says:

    It goes on about China? Hmmm, haven’t noticed really. As for Cuba, that’s been dropped in favour of Venezuela: ¡todos somos Chavistas!

  5. grumpy cat says:

    MSN is now CLASS, a Latin/South America solidarity group.

  6. @ndy says:


    “Centre for Latin America Solidarity & Studies”!

    They gotta bookshop and everything!

  7. Redpixel says:

    The Centre for Latin America Solidarity & Studies is not another name for Marxist Solidarity Network (which then became Direct Action, hence the end of the MSN website).

    It’s a broader group which is what it says it is, and involves the MSN/DA people, but also includes non-affiliated activists and members of the DSP and CPA.

  8. @ndy says:

    Thanx for the clarification Redpixel.

  9. redsojourner says:

    A couple of clarificatons –

    MSN became Direct Action. As Redpixel points out CLASS and DA are not one and the same. CLASS is a broad grouping which involves DA members, CP members and independents.

    Juan Castro seems to be confused about the DSP’s position on the class nature of the Chinese state. It clearly states on their website that the DSP does not view China as being socialist/communist. Instead, there has been a conscious restoration of capital.

    In 1997, the DSP National Committee adopted a report that stated: “While the process of capitalist restoration is not yet completed in China, there is sufficient evidence for us to conclude that this is the conscious orientation of those who hold political power in China, and that therefore China, like Russia and the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe, is a capitalist state”.

    As for Cuba, the DSP (and LPF) still support Cuba.

  10. Soviet Man says:

    Paul Norton … that name brings me back. Is he still tangled up with the Griffith Uni SRC these days?

    Hard to make sense of the LPF situation. Perhaps there is scope for them and the new Solidarity to join forces.

  11. @ndy says:

    redsojourner: MSN did indeed become DA, but along the way it was W&CF (Workers’ & Community First).

    Soviet Man: Paul is an academic at Griffith, but I don’t know what his r/ship with the SRC is. I also think that there may be some scope for the LPF in Solidarity, but it may take some time.

  12. Dr. Cam says:

    But what does the Stalinist League think about all this?

  13. @ndy says:

    No! Bad Doctor, Bad!

  14. Dr. Cam says:

    Does that mean you want me to post it?

    Statement of the Stalinist League of Australia on the crisis in the Socialist Alliance.

    In the last week, we have seen the split in the Democratic Socialist Perspective over the issue of Socialist Alliance. The SLA supports the Leninist Party Fraction against the dictatorship at the DSP.

    The Stalinist League has left the Socialist Alliance over the issue of revisionism and support of reactionary policies that are backwards and counter productive for the working class movement.

    The League denounces the DSP leadership for kicking the Marxist-Leninists out of the group. This is an attack on democracy in the left movement in Australia.

    The League will be seeking closer ties with Peter Symon’s Communist Party of Australia and it’s newspaper the Guardian.

    Progressive regards,

    Peter Watson.

    General Secretary of the
    Stalinist League of Australia.

  15. @ndy says:

    That’s sure to get tongues flapping.

  16. Dr. Cam says:

    Don’t pretend you don’t love it.

  17. @ndy says:

    Addendum: According to AA, CLASS was formerly known as the Melbourne Bolivarian Circle.

  18. Liam says:

    Hi all,

    A few days ago, someone posted to this list [?] an email about the new website of the “Leninist Party Faction”. In the email the LPF is dishonestly claiming they were “purged” from the Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia’s largest Marxist organisation which, like Resistance, is affiliated to the Socialist Alliance).

    The reality is that the LPF decided to set up a new group after they found that they could not convince the large majority of DSP members (80%) to abandon the perspective of attempting to build a stronger, united left through the Socialist Alliance.

    The LPF has left the DSP in a way that they think will cause maximum damage to the DSP and the Socialist Alliance. Their website admits that they wanted to create as much “odium” as possible for the DSP. I think that the posting to this list is an example of this approach.

    This unfortunate and destructive approach is one reason that the formation of the LPF (as yet another small socialist group) is a step backwards for the socialist movement in Australia. If you check out their website, you can see for yourself that they are more interested in attacking other socialists than in attempting to chart a way forward for the socialist movement as a whole.

    The DSP has written a statement that explains their position on this issue. If you want to know more about this, then I’d encourage you to check it out [here].

    Also, if you want to chat about this you can contact me at […].

    I tell you, i get about a million Res emails a day. If they spent as much time actually “doing the revolution”, they’d have broke’d the chains of capitalism.

  19. Liam says:

    BTW, if that last comment wasn’t clear enough, it was a quote from an email resistance sent me, i’m in no way affiliated any more with those chumps.

  20. Redpixel says:

    Yep. Totally new charges were thrown at LPF members in the report recommending their expulsion – and the report still recommended expelling the entire Leninist Party Faction immediately without allowing those comrades to defend themselves against this new and 3rd-hand info – entirely violating the DSP Constitution – but it wasn’t a “purge”.

    Some of the charges put forward were put forward by the same ‘neutral’ comrades who assessed those charges and the ‘evidence’ for them – but it wasn’t a purge.

    And the fact that the LPF predicted that they would be punished for remaining activists, and for having the temerity to continue to hold different points of view from the leadership, rather than being crushed into ideological agreement or inactivity, means that the LPF were definitely disloyal and shouldn’t have prepared a website. (And the fact that the LPF continued to support the DSP Program and never argued against it, while some supporters of the NE majority did publicly argue against it, also definitely means the LPF were a disloyal minority and needed to be got rid of – no, that’s right, they were the ones on the “split trajectory”.) Go figure …

  21. liz says:

    for everyone else’s enjoyment:

    “The impotence of the revolutionary group”, Sam Moss

  22. Lumpen says:

    Am I the only one who gets an Alien Vs Predator vibe from the DSP / LPF split?

  23. @ndy says:

    Wrestling in jelly, maybe, yes.

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