See also : Defend the Legacy of Michael Jackson! (August 8, 2009) and read between the lines.
As noted, the Socialist Alliance (SA) held its seventh annual conference in January. Immediately prior to the conference, the Democratic Socialist Perspective (formerly known as the Democratic Socialist Party nee Socialist Workers Party nee Socialist Workers League nee Socialist Youth Alliance nee Resistance) dissolved itself into SA.
At the time of its formation in 2001, SA was indeed an alliance, an electoral alliance, of several socialist parties — principally the Democratic Socialist Party and the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), but also the Freedom Socialist Party, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Democracy, Workers Power, and a handful of other, even more obscure political formations (and the DSP’s yoof wing, Resistance). Currently, the ‘Alliance’ is what used to be called the DSP (and the DSP’s yoof wing, Resistance) — the other members having either abandoned it at some stage over the last nine years and/or having themselves dissolved.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party — which split from the DSP in May 2008 to form first the Leninist Party Faction and then the RSP — is not convinced by the reported success of SA’s seventh national conference. Splitter Doug Lorimer writes (‘New period of left unity launched’?, Direct Action, No.20, March 2010):
Several weeks after the GLW article [New period of left unity and struggle launched, Kerryn Williams, January 16, 2010] appeared, the minutes of the SA conference were posted onto the SA website. These reported that 11 people were elected by the conference to the SA’s national executive, all but one of whom had only three days earlier been members of the DSP — making it clear that claims that the SA has become “a true alliance of a very broad cross-section of views that are of the historic left” are either the product of self-delusion or deliberate and shameless puffery.
SA held its Victorian state conference in February and, inter alia, Margarita Windisch was preselected to be a Senate candidate. Windisch battled Labor in the Altona State by-election last month and achieved 1.6% and a minor miracle. Elsewhere, Ben Courtice will be contesting the seat of Gellibrand at the next Federal election, while Alex Bainbridge will be contesting the seat of Perth.
In South Australia, the Communist Alliance is standing Bob Briton in the seat of Lee in the State election on March 20; in the Tasmanian State election, also on March 20, SA is fielding two candidates, Melanie Barnes in Denison and Jenny Forward in Franklin. In 2006, SA also stood two candidates: Linda Seaborn in Denison and Matthew Holloway in Franklin. The results were not good: Seaborn got 257 votes (0.4%) while Holloway received 237 (0.4%). In 2002, SA stood six candidates, who collectively won 722 votes (0.2%).
The Socialist Equality Party, meanwhile, has denounced SA, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity as ‘petit-bourgeois’. In Leninist terminology, this is almost as bad as being called anarchist (something which the DSP denounced the International Socialist Organisation — the precursor organisation to Socialist Alternative and Solidarity — as being in the 1980s).
Under these conditions the role being played by the various petty-bourgeois tendencies (Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity) is critical. They are working to boost the credentials of the AEU. According to Socialist Alternative’s Tess Lee Ack, the AEU is preparing to lead a national boycott against the next round of NAPLAN tests that are due in May. The AEU is preparing nothing of the sort. Its bogus resolution, adopted at the AEU’s national conference in January, was aimed solely at heading-off growing anger among teachers toward Labor’s plans.
Lee Ack claims: “So the scene is set for a confrontation.” And the site of this “confrontation”? “The AEU executive will meet on 12 April to decide whether the boycott will go ahead”. In the meantime, advises Socialist Alternative, teachers should “familiarise themselves with the arguments against league tables” by… visiting the AEU web site, to which it provides a link. This is a recipe for preventing independent action by teachers and subordinating them to the very union organisations that are enforcing Rudd’s agenda.
In 2007 Socialist Alternative and the entire middle class ex-left called for a Labor vote, claiming that a Rudd government would represent a “lesser evil” to the Liberals. According to the AEU, Labor’s election presented “an opportunity for a change in policy direction following more than a decade of systematic attack on public education and training”. Far from inaugurating a change in “policy direction,” Labor is enforcing a new wave of free-market reform, following on from those of the Hawke-Keating governments between 1983 and 1996. The chief role of groups like Socialist Alternative is to bolster the trade union bureaucracy and prevent a conscious political break by working people from Labor.
~ Australia: Labor’s war on public education, Laura Tiernan, wsws.org, March 8, 2010.
Across the Tasman, similar ideological failings on the part of the so-called ‘International Bolshevik Tendency’ have been detected by the ever-vigilant International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist). Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spatactist League, Hate Vajazzling. See : The BT on Haiti: Postscript to IGiocy: More Gas from the Swamp, Workers Vanguard, No.953, February 26, 2010.
Eleswhere, the Communist Workers’ Group of New Zealand/Aotearoa is committed to building a new communist international to lead workers to the revolutionary overthrow of global capitalism, and until recently was a member of the Internationalist Leninist/Trotskyist Fraction (IFLT). In an exciting new development with important implications for the construction of a new communist international to lead workers to the revolutionary overthrow of global capitalism, this month the CWG announced that it was in a Liaison Committee with the Humanist Workers for Socialist Revolution (US) (formerly known as Humanists for Revolutionary Socialism).
Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism (HWRS) is an organization composed primarily of former members of the now-defunct Workers’ Voice organization… From July 2009 until early March 2010, HWRS was affiliated with the International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction (IFLT or FLTI). In March 2010, HWRS, together with the Communist Workers Group of New Zealand (CWG-NZ) split with the IFLT and formed a liaison committee…
I’m unsure what’s become of the Communist Party of Aotearoa, and I’m also unsure if the World Socialist Party of New Zealand is still meeting monthly or holding an annual conference, but fortunately “Comrades and supporters who miss [our radio] broadcasts or are outside our transmission area are welcome to send a blank C-60 cassette to the Party with a request for broadcasts to be dubbed on to it.” Socialist Aotearoa, on the other hand, after having split from Socialist Worker New Zealand, is still busy revolutionising social relations (as of course is Socialist Worker New Zealand); the Workers Party of New Zealand is also busy working, and the International Socialist Organisation organising.
With all this activity, I must say that the future is looking very red.