Leftwrites recently revealed the existence of what at first appeared to be a NEW! IMPROVED! far left groupuscule: the cheekily and highly-inappropriately named ‘Direct Action’. Only I now discover two things:
1) The six former DSP members who (very, very briefly) constituted the ‘Marxist Solidarity Network’ have since warped into ‘Workers & Community First’, an electoral platform for ‘Jorge Jorquera : Socialist Candidate in Derrimut’ and;
2) ‘Direct Action’ turns out to be… the ‘Marxist Solidarity Network’, re-branded.
Grrr. How can a slack bastard like me keep up? Should I add ‘Direct Action’ to the Trot Guide? Or wait a couple of months in anticipation of another re-branding? ‘Solidarity’ has already been taken, so maybe… ‘Self-Management’? Hmmm… Actually, ‘Solidarity’ doesn’t appear to be all that well at the moment — it’s been almost twelve months since they updated their site — so maybe if ‘Direct Action’ hangs around long enough, they can still claim the title ‘Solidarity’. After all, I enjoy a game of ‘pass the parcel’ as much as the next anarchist, and, as the ‘Militant Socialist Organisation’ waited patiently for the opportunity to claim the title ‘Socialist Party’ (after its abandonment by the ‘Socialist Party of Australia’ in 1996 — which, in turn, abandoned ship for the far more alluring title of ‘Communist Party of Australia’ after a twenty-five year wait — which, in turn, abandoned Eurocommunism for… the ALP) so too ‘Direct Action’ can wait at least another three months before re-branding themselves… can’t they?
Jeez. While the early 80s split in the CPA led Bernie Taft and co into the ALP, the liquidation of the CPA was NOT simply a collapse into the ALP. It was just as dull but more complicated…and I’m sure is described in better terms elsewhere on your site, IIRC.
For all intents and purposes, the CPA was a dead duck by the mid- to late- 70s, and sealed its fate by its endorsement of the Accord in 1982/3, making its formal dissolution in the early 90s a mere formality.
Hey Andy, hmm i think it is a mistake to write off the CPA in the early 80s. It was a pretty diverse and large organisation – hence the importance of making it endorse the accord – this was neccessary to ensure an element of class peace.
Yeah: CPA membership dwindled rapidly post-60s; it simply failed to recruit the student left in anything like the large numbers necessary in order to establish anything more than a foothold among that milieu. It still retained influence in a number of key unions however, while those who left/were pushed moved into all sorts of different — but still relatively ‘progressive’ — directions and projects. So um, I agree that the CPA (ie, its leadership) was still important in the early 80s, and, in fact, played a critical role in ensuring that industrial labour signed on to the Accord / that the corporatist/neoliberal approach of the Hawke-Keating ALP met with little resistance… and, when it did, that such workers’ struggles could be successfully isolated from the rest of the labour movement, and then crushed.
Basically, on my reading, the CPA was one of the key agents — in conjunction with the ALP Right — responsible for gutting the trade union movement in the 80s; a blow from which the movement is still attempting to recover…
Well well from stories i have heard from old comrades in Wollongong the CPA was pretty torn in the lead up to the Accord and sections — such as the Wollongong Unemployed Branch — were very left and militant. Also they were pretty strong in Womens and Peace movement circles…
Cool. I wouldn’t want to detract from the good work that some CPA members have done — but I’d still maintain that the overall trajectory of the party as a whole was pretty disastrous for the labour movement. In fact, in many parts of the world, ‘the left’ were the ones what were responsible, from the late 70s/early 80s onwards, for the initial implementation of neoliberal ‘reforms’, and this history helps explain why some elements of ‘the (radical, far) right’ — esp in Europe — can claim to be more authentically working in the interests of ‘the (right, white) people’ than many leftist incumbents… but I’m attempting to summarise far too much, so I’ll stop now. Point being, I guess, that those elements of the CPA what done good work did so in opposition to the party’s leadership; a leadership fully, even enthusiastically, implicated in the corporatist approach to IR.