- “The activity of the soviet represented the organization of anarchy. Its existence and its subsequent development marked the consolidation of anarchy.” ~ Leon Trotsky
Awesome! In a stunning rejoinder to the followers of Juan Posadas, the Socialist Equality Party in Australia held its founding congress in Sydney on January 21-25, 2010 — almost fourteen years after it was formed.
What explains this historical anomaly? As Sherlock Holmes remarked in Sign of the Four (1890), “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.” Having considered, and then eliminated, all the other factors, the only reasonable conclusion I can arrive at is this: The Marxist scienticians at the SEP have invented a Time Machine!
Not content with having achieved the extremely difficult — some suggest impossible — task of travelling [backwards] in time, the party makes an even more ambitious boast: of being “indisputably” the only Trotskyist party in Australia. Socialist Equality Party (Australia) holds founding Congress, wsws.org, February 24, 2010:
Most essentially, Beams said, the past 25 years had clarified the role of the Pabloite opportunists who once claimed to represent genuine Trotskyism. In Australia, as in France, they were now seeking to establish “broad anti-capitalist parties” with non-revolutionary tendencies and had entirely repudiated Trotsky and the Fourth International. Unlike the previous period of mass radicalisation from 1968 to 1975, the SEP was now indisputably the sole Trotskyist party.
The Freedom Socialist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party, Solidarity and Trotskyist Platform would surely beg to disagree.
Speaking of Trotsky, as already indicated, Robert Service’s new biography has really upset his contemporary followers. Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (UK), refutes attacks on Leon Trotsky at one of the sessions of the Socialist Party’s ‘Socialism 2009’ conference:
In The great anti-poll tax victory (February 26, 2010), Taafe also has a crack at the anarchists who “occasionally latched onto and viciously attacked the organised anti-poll tax movement”. According to Taafe, “It remains an incontestable historical fact that it was neither the official leadership of the labour movement nor small left groups – without a feel for the real pulse and movement of the working class – that provided the leadership for the decisive poll tax victory. It was, instead, the vilified and persecuted forces of genuine Marxism gathered around the newspaper ‘Militant’ which played the crucial role.” Further, “Ultra-left sectarians and anarchists [following the London anti-Poll Tax rally of March 31, 1990]… accused Militant supporters of “collaborating with the police”. This was totally false. Tommy Sheridan and the other leaders were overwhelmingly re-elected to head the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation.”
Taafe’s account may be usefully contrasted with Danny Burns’ Poll Tax Rebellion (AK Press/Attack International, 1992). After noting, inter alia, the fact that the gutter press joined police efforts to identify alleged rioters, Burns quotes Socialist Party nee Militant member and Secretary of the All Britain Anti Poll Tax Federation Steve Nally as stating that “We are going to hold our own internal inquiry which will go public and if necessary name names” (p.105). (Note that a similar campaign against protesters was mounted in Australia following the G20 protests in November 2006, the role of the gutter press this time being played by Fairfax and The Age.) The task of defending the accused was eventually taken up by an independent group, the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign, formed over and against the wishes of the leadership of the Federation.
Communist Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has issued a statement on the apparent split in rival international the International Marxist Tendency (IMT): Open letter to the members and former members of the IMT (March 2, 2010). The ideological leader of the IMT (which, sadly, has no section in Australia but, oddly enough, does in Aotearoa/New Zealand) is Alan Woods.
In Defence of Marxism An Attack Upon
Bakunin Anarchism, Or: A Case of The Woods Seeing The Tree.
- Marx versus Bakunin – Part One
Marx versus Bakunin – Part Two
Marx versus Bakunin – Part Three
Marx versus Bakunin – Part Four
Woods provides a fairly orthodox Marxist / Leninist / Trotskyist critique of Bakunin, who is invested with the same status within the anarchist tradition as Marx is within Marxism. Wrong, but also routine.
Greece Braces for Deeper Spending Cuts
The New York Times (AP)
March 3, 2010
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece will announce painful new spending cuts Wednesday to lift the country out of a major financial crisis, a day after Prime Minister George Papandreou said the country was in a “‘state of war” and was fighting for national survival…
Portraying the Poor, BBC4, February 28, 2010. “Paul Mason explores the image of poverty and the working class that has been created by writers. From Friedrich Engels’s reports on the Salford slums in the 1840s through to Raphael Selbourne’s story of a young Bangladeshi woman in present-day Wolverhampton, by way of George Orwell’s expeditions to Wigan and the hop fields of Kent, our picture of the poor has been painted by members of the middle class. Paul Mason asks if this outsider’s view gives us a full and fair account, or if it says more about the attitudes of the literary class than about the poor themselves. Interviewees include Orwell’s biographer DJ Taylor, Polly Toynbee (author of Hard Work: Life In Low-Pay Britain); Michael Collins (author of The Likes Of Us: A Biography Of The White Working Class) and Raphael Selbourne (author of Beauty).”