Crassmas Trots

Temporarily unable to cast myself down the mine of information that is the Leftist Trainspotters list, I haven’t really been doing much to keep the Trot Guide in shape. Nevertheless, I’m pretty excited — tho’ also disappointed — to discover that the revolutionary artiste formerly known as the Democratic Socialist Perspective nee Democratic Socialist Party nee Socialist Workers Party has finally bitten the bullet and officially announced its dissolution into the Socialist Alliance.


IX. What will become of the DSP after January 2010

The DSP national executive is proposing that we convert the DSP into a non-caucusing tendency of opinion with the same aims and objectives as in the current constitution. It would be a tendency committed to furthering those objectives, to promoting the political ideas and traditions of the DSP as a contribution to socialist education and praxis in Socialist Alliance. But its members would be organising within the structures of Socialist Alliance and under the day-to-day leadership of Socialist Alliance bodies.

Our objective is to forge a new collectivity within SA but, at this stage, the national executive believes we still have to allow for the possibility of resuscitating the DSP as a disciplined, regularly caucusing and dues-collecting organisation at some later stage, only if it becomes necessary…

So. As of January 2010, the DSP will become a “non-caucusing tendency of opinion with the same aims and objectives as in the current constitution”. That is, a group of people with similar opinions within SA which doesn’t formally meet… but which may be called upon to resurrect itself, as a caucusing tendency, at some point in the future, “if necessary”.

I see.

Beyond this, according to Peter Boyle, only “minds hopelessly blinded by factionalism” refuse to acknowledge that, by going through this bizarre process, the DSP has not abandoned its commitment to revolutionary socialism. “And the sad truth is that those who slander us most loudly as “liquidationists” are themselves in practice liquidating revolutionary socialist politics by retreating ever more into sectarian dogmatism, sterile debating games and abstention from the real struggles of the working class.”


Presumably, this barb is directed at the splitters! belonging to the RSP: the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Which, as it happens, is having a conference in Sydney in January. By some strange coincidence, so is SA. Both parties draw their main ideological inspiration from Leninism and in particular its contemporary manifestations in the Bolivarian Revolutions in South America, especially under Uncle Hugo.

Anyways, some bloke called Allen Myers laments ‘The sad end of the DSP’ in the latest edition of the RSP’s zine Direct Action (December 2009).

What else?

Oh yeah: the funky mofos @ the Freedom Socialist Party site have whipped their site into shape; I dunno what’s happening @ Solidarity (the iSt Down Under), but one thing leads to another leads to the news that Jim Casey has been elected State Secretary of the NSW branch of the FBEU!

Finally, in the NSW ALP, a handful of remaining leftists have a whinge:

ALP members: we’ve lost faith
Brian Robins
The Sydney Morning Herald
December 14, 2009

THE Premier and Labor Party bosses have attempted to brush off ”disgusted and outraged” rank and file members who say they have ”besmirched” the party name. At a weekend meeting of 150 mostly left-wing ALP members representing more than 50 branches, a resolution was passed that ”the rank and file has lost faith in the parliamentary leadership of the NSW branch of the party”…

Apparently, “fair dinkum, ordinary, concerned and aggrieved members of the NSW Branch” of the ALP have threatened to remain very cross with the party leadership and to continue to hold meetings and to pass resolutions condemning the fact that their resolutions are being ignored by the party leadership.


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 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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8 Responses to Crassmas Trots

  1. Intl. Union of Pastry Chefs, Jazz Dancers, and Nuclear Technicians says:

    “non-caucusing tendency”. Love it. Gotta be the Leninist euphemism of the year. Australia needs folk like the Communist Party of Great Britain whose Weekly Worker is mostly full of gossip about rival parties. Usually the SWP. They leaked some internal SWP memo with fabulous slogans like “Our democracy: a fist is stronger than five fingers”. That should be on a t-shirt. You could shift a thousand of those at rallies. Or buy a six month subscription to Socialist Worker and get a free “Leninism is the answer to our current woes” hoodie.

  2. Wombo says:

    Ah but @ndy, Jim Casey was booted from Solidarity – apparently in a disagreement over his candidacy. The brave new leadership apparently didn’t want him to run.

    The mouthful of theoretical spaghetti that is a “non-caucusing tendency of opinion with the same aims and objectives as in the current constitution” means that the DSP will technically still exist, in a formal sense, for a couple of years. But it won’t do anything, not unless the Socialist Alliance goes belly-up in the next coupla years, in which case it serves as a back door for the DSP to reconstitute itself.

    The dig at “sectarian dogmatism, sterile debating games and abstention” is as much a go (if not more) at Solidarity and SAlt as it is at the RSP, who the DSP regard as basically irrelevant.

    Also, you’re wrong in saying of the Socialist Alliance that they:

    “draw their main ideological inspiration from Leninism and in particular its contemporary manifestations in the Bolivarian Revolutions in South America, especially under Uncle Hugo.”

    Firstly, neither the Socialist Alliance nor the Bolivarian Revolution are particularly Leninist (or indeed, Marxist, for that matter, at least formally).

    Secondly, the political inspiration of the SA lies at least as much in things like the SSP in Scotland and the NPA in France as it does in Venezuela.

  3. @ndy says:

    Intl. Union of Pastry Chefs, Jazz Dancers, and Nuclear Technicians:

    I agree. A regular gossip column of the kind that the CPGB’s WW provides would be ace. As for the clenched fist: I still gots some agitprop lying around in which the fist is titled 45 degrees and is alleged to be the symbol of the ‘International Spectacular Orgasm’. I think the poster in question was produced by local adherents to Groucho-Marxism…


    On Jim: fair enuff. I only paid attn ’cause I remember mtg Jim some yrs ago; seemed like a nice enuff fella. And 9? 8? 7? yrs later, there he was…

    On the DSP: yeah. A bet each-way it seems. After all the to-and-fro, reading the headline, I thought, ‘Uh-huh!’, but no… It also seems that the rhetorical device of a “non-caucusing tendency” — leaving aside its merits as a political project — could pose a number of ‘technical’ problems for the DSP (?) in future. That is, if one does not caucus, how does one retain a distinct presence? Who is a member, and who is not? What positions, if any, do they retain? Absent a formal decision-making structure, how might decisions be made? And with what degree of accountability? Perhaps the rhetoric is inaccurate, but if so, it would seem that the DSP, in whatever form it actually takes, leaves itself rather open to accusations of operating in bad faith.

    Re digging holes for ideological opponents to fall into: OK. My immediate thought, given the organisational proximity between the two, was the RSP. Not being, and never having been, a member of any of the grps in question, and knowing few, if any, of the current memberships, I’m not very attuned to the nature of the current debates between them. But yes, insofar as there exists a shared tradition — some form of Leninism — I suppose that the q of strategy is one which is also shared. Fingers crossed, the next edition of Australasian Spartacist will carry a stirring denunciation of all the grps in q, as well as providing a comparative analysis of the degree to which each departs from the one true path to 1917.

    Re being wrogn about SA: I should’ve been clearer; I was referring to the DSP. However, yes, SA is not ‘Leninist’, at least not formally, and not by any standard definition. As for the Bolivarian Revolution… I feel that this is slightly less clear-cut. That is, it seems to me that, while what’s going on in those parts of the world is not in any direct fashion the implementation of a ‘Leninist’ political program, it does seem that Leninist ideology — broadly understood — plays no small role in determining the political composition of those involved in many of its leading formations and projects. Finally, yeah: SA in Australia owes a clear debt to SA and Respect in the UK, the SSP in Scotland and the NPA in France (tho’ of course SA and Respect in the UK and — to a much lesser extent — the SSP in Scotland appear to have crashed and burned). Also worth taking note of in this context is the efforts of the SP in the UK (and even Australia).

    On a much more serious note: Luke Ball. Will his recruitment provide the necessary boost the Pies need to capture the flag in 2010?

  4. Wombo says:

    re. Jim. He’s still a nice enough bloke. Despite the years of hooplah, I’ve always gotten on well with him.

    re. the DSP. The proposal is to set up some kind of a small DSP executive body, whose job it will be to decide who’s in or out (and little else), and the whole thing will be reviewed in 2 years, or whenever the membership decide they need a congress for reason of the whole project going to Belgium in a handbasket.

    All the buildings, etc, will be fully handed over to the SA, though, which will make backing out kinda hard… Basically, for all intents and purposes, the only life the DSP will have will be a more or less shared set of politics between certain members of the Socialist Alliance.

    re. leninism. Fair enough. The sentence was, well, unclear, and I suspected you might have meant the DSP, but … well … etc … blah … english major … (You could have mentioned Cannon. That would have made it clearer).

    “Perhaps the rhetoric is inaccurate, but if so, it would seem that the DSP, in whatever form it actually takes, leaves itself rather open to accusations of operating in bad faith.”

    Which is a shame really. Having been part of the SA nearly from the outset, and having watched the far left for a few years before that, I’d say that one of the biggest problems was that some people failed to trust the DSP. They tended to do pretty much what they said they would, and went to great lengths to compromise. Anyway…

    Talking of councilors, yes, I’ve been following the work of the CWI in its various permutations and incarnations – and so have other SA members. There are some good lessons to be learned from what Steve’s doing in Yarra, and I think we’re starting to learn them. The problem with the SPA and SPEW is that they’re still fighting the old Trotskyist franchise war – KFC vs Nandos vs Red Rooster vs Clems vs Oporto vs Charcoal Chicken. The punters are spoilt for nuggety choice, but what they really want is a kebab.

    re. political jerseys more broadly. Well, the Bolivarian process is a bit of an all-star cast – think International Rules – rather than a regular club side.

    I predict a double whammy: Pies for the Flag and Socialist Alliance for the glorious socialist victory in 2010. After all, Collingwood gets Ball, we get a councilor. The Sparts or SEP would see a pattern (no, conspiracy) in that, surely?

    Well, I’m sure Luke will try, and so will we… I’m just a little worried we don’t have a decent ruckman…

  5. Jamie-R says:

    the revolutionary artiste

    That’s me!

    Oi, I had a mate send me one of the most awesome Victorian rants in a long…no evah! Sure he’s talking about Croydon, but he’s a Collingwood supporter for sure. I mean how many Collingwood supporters can afford to live in Collingwood anyhow? I decided it should go into my latest Global Report and that I should sit there (obviously) loving it like Michael Jackson in that cinema during Thriller.

  6. Paul Justo says:

    What’s happened to the websites of Albert Langer, Kerry Langer and Barry York… the nutty ex-maoist supporters of the US war in Iraq.

    They had a blog site at one stage but it seems to have disappeared.

  7. @ndy says: Looks like someone forgot to renew. A glitch in the matrix.

  8. @ndy says:

    …aaand they’re back.

    Of note: Frances Widdowson and Noel Pearson, December 1, 2009. Links to Developments in Australian aboriginal policy, Offended by Offence, November 30, 2009:

    What needs to be investigated are the various attempts to integrate groups with primitive cultural characteristics into more developed societies. One success story is the case of Cuba. After the Cuban revolution, there were many problems in trying to improve the educational levels and heath conditions of the peasantry. By sending hundreds of thousands of teachers and doctors into the countryside, dramatic improvements were made in literacy and health conditions. This was done, not by transferring billions of dollars to various aboriginal organizations, which is what has occurred in Canada, and presumably Australia. Because these funds are siphoned off by non-aboriginal lawyers and consultants instead of being provided to educational and health services, the terrible problems in aboriginal communities remain.

    Otherwise, the usual stuff: don’t eat yr greens, the weather’s fine, progress is good, we’re off to the moon.

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