Following the purge of several dozen (that is, all) members of the Leninist Party Faction (LPF) from the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), and the expulsion of James Crafti from the Melbourne branch of Resistance, comes news of the expulsion of another LPF member from
the DSP’s Youth Brigade the same “independent” socialist yoof organisation, run by, for and on behalf of the yoof.
May 20, 2008
On May 18 the Resistance National Council (NC) voted to expel Melbourne Branch member James Crafti and Sydney Branch member Shua Garfield from Resistance.
This decision was not taken lightly and there have been very few, if any, cases where such disciplinary action has occurred in Resistance.
Both James Crafti and Shua Garfield have the right to submit a written appeal to the next Resistance National Conference and a report on the decision of the NC to invoke Rule 13 will be given at the Conference, as required in Rule 14, Section 6…
The statement then proceeds to outline the offences allegedly committed by the pair, the crux of which is the public expression of dissatisfaction with the DSP:
The NC reaffirmed our position of political solidarity with the DSP as outlined in the Resistance Constitution [unavailable online]. It ruled that Resistance members do not have a right to publicly and openly criticize the DSP. It was deemed that such attacks harm Resistance given that:
• Resistance supports building a revolutionary party as stated in the introduction to the Resistance Constitution.
• Resistance and the DSP have broad agreement over the main political issues.
• Resistance receives significant material support from the DSP including the use of GLW [Green Left Weekly] to publish a regular Resistance Page and the use their offices for Resistance activities.
Resistance does not deny its members their right to have criticisms of other organizations and our political perspectives. However there is a process, as outlined in the constitution, to convince other members of Resistance to alter our political positions and actions, including changing our long held position of working with and helping to build the DSP.
The Resistance National Conference will be held from Friday June 27–Sunday June 29 in Sydney, employing the slogan ‘Turn Anger into Action!’. As for the GLW, it describes itself not as the publication of either the DSP, Resistance or the Socialist Alliance, but “a proudly independent voice” which “aims to provide a much-needed forum for discussion and debate about changing the world”; GLW “is your paper. As a grassroots publication, it thrives on your input”. In reality, both Resistance, SA and GLW are strictly subordinate to the DSP.
As for Shua, aside from being a member of the LPF, their alleged crime was to send an email from the Sydney Resistance address, allegedly attacking Resistance/the DSP. The NC claims that this action constituted “a threat to the security of property of Resistance (particularly its membership lists)”, and therefore warranted their immediate expulsion. Thus:
In response to the posting to various email lists of public attacks on Resistance and the DSP by Sydney Branch member Shua Garfield, the NC voted to charge Shua Garfield with violating Article 2 of the Constitution and the Introduction to the Constitution. Shua Garfield’s actions also included accessing and using the [Sydney Resistance] email account to send a statement on the recent split in the DSP. The NC deemed that there was a threat to the security of property of Resistance (particularly its membership lists), as shown by the accessing of Resistance email accounts and lists, and therefore invoked Rule 13, Section 6 of the constitution to take immediate disciplinary action and expel Shua Garfield.
In re-asserting authority over the DSP, the leadership is certainly being thorough. The two main problems it will encounter in future will be accounting to curious members for the continued failure of SA to be anything other than a front group, and the inevitable demoralisation that such events as the expulsion of a significant minority of members from its ranks will have on those who remain loyal. As for those expelled, some may be tempted to (re-)constitute the LPF as a separate party; others, to join one of the other Leninist parties currently in existence: Socialist Alternative and Solidarity being the main contenders, Direct Action (a tiny group formed in 2006 by former members of the DSP) and the Socialist Party being others. On the other hand, some may even consider joining the Greens.