I last updated Trot Guide over a year ago, in May 2008. So, what’s happened between now and then? Not a lot, sadly. In summary, the following groupuscules are (relatively) active:
- *1. Communist Party of Australia (CPA)
Also : Communist Alliance
*2. Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML) (Current site)
*3. Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP)
Also : Resistance // Socialist Alliance (SA)
4. Freedom Socialist Party (FSP)
Also : Radical Women // Solidarity Salon
*5. Progressive Labour Party (PLP)
6. Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)
7. Socialist Alternative (SAlt)
8. Socialist Equality Party (SEP)
9. Socialist Party (SP)
11. Spartacist League of Australia (SL)
12. Trotskyist Platform (TP)
13. Workers’ Liberty (AWL)
**13 1/2. World Socialist Party of Australia
*Leninist / Non-Trotskyist. **The PO Box in North Richmond is Marxist, but not Leninist.
As previously noted, in May 2008 the ‘Democratic Socialist Perspective’ split/a minority faction (the ‘Leninist Party Faction’) was expelled. The Faction, together with an even smaller mob variously known as Direct Action / Marxist Solidarity Network / Workers’ & Community First soon formed a new party: the ‘Revolutionary Socialist Party’. “The RSP held a very successful first national congress in Sydney June 6-8” 2009, apparently. On a spotterly note, the RSP has attracted the support of the artiste Van Thanh Rudd (PM KRudd’s nephew).
The DSP, on the other hand, continues to motor along, as does its electoral front, the Socialist Alliance. SA has participated in several electoral contests since the split. In September 2008, Julie Gray threw her red hat into the ‘North Metropolitan Region’ ring in WA and gained 576 votes (from a total of 280,235). In NSW local council elections, SA candidates also raised the red flag in Newcastle (Third Ward), in Blacktown (Third Ward) and in Marrickville Council (North Ward); the masses did not flock to its banner. Several months later, SA stood candidates in the Victorian local council elections: none of its candidates won. Finally, in March 2009, SA candidates also struggled for state power in Queensland, standing two candidates: Sam Watson and Mike Crook. Sam got 344 votes (1.36%); Mike 361 (1.33%).
Communist Party of Australia
In an extremely positive development for spotters, in January 2009 communists formed an Alliance named, appropriately enough, the ‘Communist Alliance’. It received the approval of the AEC on March 16, 2009. The Alliance was initiated by the ‘Communist Party of Australia’ (CPA). NB. Following the death of Peter Symon in December 2008, the CPA is now under the leadership of Hannah Middleton.
A small collection of ’60s radicals (Maoists), Last Superpower has gone all bloggy on Australia’s flabby capitalist arse, making for Strange Times.
Progressive Labour Party
In a blow to progressives, the AEC has refused the ‘Progressive Labour Party’ registration. Formed in November 1996, the party was recognised as a political party by the AEC during its previous registration between 1998 and 2006.
Spartacist League of Australia // Trotskyist Platform
The ‘Spartacist League of Australia’ is ace. The Autumn 2009 edition (#204) of Australasian Spartacist contains an angry denunciation of ‘Socialist Alternative: God Delusional Opportunists’. SAlt are also ‘Cheerleaders for Capitalist Counterrevolution’ according to the Winter 2008 edition (#201). I says: Defend China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba! Ignore the International Bolshevik Tendency and the renegade marriage celebrant Bill Logan!
… under the pressure of two decades of isolation and frustration, the SL itself has qualitatively degenerated into a grotesquely bureaucratic and overtly cultist group of political bandits which, despite a residual capacity for cynical “orthodox” literary posturing, has shown a consistent impulse to flinch under pressure. The “international Spartacist tendency” today is in no important sense politically superior to any of the dozen or more fake-Trotskyist “internationals” which lay claim to the mantle of the Fourth International.
‘Trotskyist Platform’ is busy kicking arse, taking names and waving red flags at its very own website, created in August 2008. Two editions of its publication — #9 (Feb-May 2008) and #10 (Sep-Oct 2008) — are available for your reading pleasure.
Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia / Communist Left Discussion Circle / Communist Party Advocate(s) / Direct Action / International Socialist Organisation / Leninist Party Faction / Marxist Solidarity Network / National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia / New Era Communist Party of Australia / October Seventh Socialist Movement / Revo Australia / Socialist Action Group / Socialist Appeal / Socialist Democracy / Socialist Labor Party of Australia / Workers’ League / Workers’ Power : all still dead or MIA.
Australian Socialist is down, but presumably not dead. Labor Tribune is up, and still eking out an existence on the margins of the ALP.
Fightback! is ‘The Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth’. Sadly, its vocal chords have been under incredible strain since January 2008. On a more positive note, the Grantists are faring much better in New Zealand/Aotearoa. Also in those beleagured Islands, the ‘Residents Action Movement’ (RAM) continues to stumble along, undeterred by its embarrassing failure in 2008.
What’s the bet that a certain Chairman Armstrong has that video in his YouTube favourites?
You missed the Search Foundation who control the assets of the old CPA, the Marxists Workers Party and the ex-Maoist ‘Australian Independent Marxists’ group – the latter publish ‘Surplus Value’.
Some of these –
Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia / Communist Left Discussion Circle / Communist Party Advocate(s) / Direct Action / International Socialist Organisation / Leninist Party Faction / Marxist Solidarity Network / National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia / / October Seventh Socialist Movement / Revo Australia / Socialist Action Group / Socialist Appeal / Socialist Democracy / Socialist Labor Party of Australia / Workers’ League / Workers’ Power : all still dead or MIA.
are part of the other formations you already mentioned. New Era Communist Party of Australia used to send a regular newsletter to my trade union office. The newsletter was put out by old veterans of the CPA who refused to accept the wind-up of the party but who for whatever reasons stuck with the Aarons’ leadership to the end. I’m told that the old bloke who put out the newsletter died a few years ago.
Not Guilty of Riot 🙂
Your Trot guides are great, though this one didn’t make me laugh like the last. Does anyone write something similar on the British groups?
“What’s the bet that a certain Chairman Armstrong has that video in his YouTube favourites?”
That, and The Seizure of State Power by M. Velli (Phoenix Press, 1979):
“Taken from the “Manual for Revolutionary Leaders” (1972, Fredy Perlman as Michael Velli, a pseudonym meant to recall Machiavelli). In the guise of presenting revolutionary leaders with advice on how to gain power, this book presents a number of scenarios in semi-fictional form showing how to prevent authoritarians from taking power in a revolutionary situation. One section, ‘The Seizure of State Power’, has been reprinted separately.”
(Seriously though… I don’t really think that SAlt is a cult, and if I did, in six months’ time I’d receive a comment from a SAlt neophyte denouncing me for being right-wing. Or petit-bourgeois. Or something.)
Ah yes. The Search Foundation: KGB gold!
The Workers’ Party? Hmmm. I can find traces online of a publication from the ’70s; Nick Origlass’ mob? Any further info is appreciated.
Surplus Value I’ve stumbled upon before, but yes: the more, the merrier!
“The PO Box in North Richmond is Marxist, but not Leninist.”
Not even a smile?
I dunno if anyone done GB. The closest thang is prolly Nick’s Leftist Parties… site, but it’s several years outta date.
Ha yea that made me smile, but nothing made me crack like the SEP comment last year “that means —— didn’t. Check yo self before yo wreck yo self.”
I’ve seen that also, cool idea really.
Ah yes… Desperately Seeking Lenin (May 26, 2008)… On cults: Cultism and the Left (June 7, 2008).
Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
12th Congress Report
The 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) was held recently. The Congress is the Party’s highest decision-making body. It elects the Central Committee as its national leading group for the period in between Congresses, and determines the main ideological, political and organizational directions of the Party.
Congress discussions were lively and animated and characterised by participants’ respect for each other’s views and contributions. On the majority of issues, clear consensus was reached. On some matters, it was decided to reserve judgement and encourage further investigation and continuing discussion amongst members of the incoming Central Committee. Importantly, only minor changes were required of the Party’s general program, testifying to the soundness of previous attempts to apply the general theories of Marxism-Leninism to the reality of the situation in Australia…
Nah , nothing to do with Nick O – a much more underground outfit. I have a series of their publications from the 70’s – last thing I seen from them was from around 2007.
Awesome. What’s the name of their zine? Also: the Communist League (Ron Poulsen) participated in the 2007 federal election.
It all puts me in mind of the Kersal Massive…
Hola @ndy… just one small point regarding your calling it “The Trot Guide”… the Communist Party of Australia and the CPA-ML aren’t “Trotskyist”. CPA is Stalinist and CPA-ML is Maoist, so not actually “Trots” 🙂
Yeah, I know. I’ve used an * to indicate which grps are not, in fact, ‘Trots’. I chose to use the phrase ‘Trot Guide’ several yrs ago, in reference to the UK publication ‘Trotwatch’, but also in recognition of the fact that, in Australia, ‘Trotskyism’ of one sort or another tends to dominate the extra-parliamentary, ‘revolutionary’ left.
…Not to mention that a ‘trot guide’ in Australia also means a harness-racing guide and is therefore funny on several levels. The laughs are non-stop.
Yeah, I laugh every time I see that in the newsagent. Hilarious.
You forgot the CL (Communist League).
I can confirm that every Friday night at about 5pm to 6pm they can be found in the underground walkway at Sydney Central Station handing out their newspaper. I think it is called “Militant”. Although I’ve never bought one.
It is quite diabolical for them to be “selling” socialist newspapers when the free MX newspapers are handed out by poor Indian students 10 feet away.
Also sometimes I see them on Saturday mornings outside Centro Bankstown, mainly being harassed by Lebs, but nonetheless they are out there doing their thing.
Cheers. I kinda forgot the CL. I was informed that a member participated in the 2007 Federal election.
Watson, NSW: Results obtained by Ronald Poulsen of the Communist League suggest that the inevitable historical transition from Capitalism to Communism is indeed dragging its heels. Ron got just 424 votes, or 0.5% of the total. Still, that’s an increase from 0.3. In which case, a majority Communist vote will surely be obtained by… a long, long time from now.
…whilst on the other hand membership of anarcho-syndicalist unions has never been higher…
Sadly, there are no anarcho-syndicalist unions in Australia, so the creation of one would indeed be an increase.
In other news, I dropped by an anarcho-syndicalist gathering in June. They was talking about creating some kinda network, but I dunno what resulted. Speaking of which, last night I read some ‘Reflections on the end of Union Solidarity and the Community Union Weekends’ by Tristan Epstein, Liz Turner and Lulu Garcia (Mutiny, No.39, June 2009). It contains the following passage, which I thought was amusing:
As for anarcho-syndicalism in Australia, unlike the 57 varieties of ‘communism’, it’s never established any real roots, having only emerged as an explicit organisational current in the 1950s and 1960s, and then being confined to tiny exile communities (Bulgarian and Spanish). In the 1970s and 1980s, the aging Bulgarians and Spaniards were joined by a younger generation of Australian-born workers. The peak achievement of this younger mob was probably the establishment of the ‘Public Transport Workers’ Association’ (PTWA), the publication of Sparks, and the tram occupation and lockout of late 1989/early 1990. Naturally, following this episode, the militants identified by the bosses (state and union) were blacklisted, and the ALP continues to successfully govern this and almost every other union fiefdom.
On a spotterly note, I will soon, hopefully, be uploading a much more complete history of the ASF.
On an historical note, ‘Anarchists Against Hitler: The Underground FAUD in the Rhineland’ is neat:
the point being that simple popularity in terms of members or votes does not validate or invalidate an idea, or set of ideas… The logic you use to score cheap points against organisations cohered around a sad, tired and old ideology works against anarchism too…
Bah humbug. You says cheap points, I says cheap humour… a tactic I enjoy applying quite liberally, as it happens, with mixed results.
o n e
Herschel, the son of Rabbi Krustovsky was a clown. He (Rabbi Krustovsky) threw him (the son) out. When Bartus came from the state in which Springfield is, [Bartus] said to him (Rabbi Krustovsky): “Hasn’t it been taught, ‘with regards to a child’s inclinations the left hand should push away and the right hand should bring close?'”1
He responded: “Yes.” He said to him: “Should we not learn from this that a person is obligated to forgive his son?” He responded: “The verse states however, ‘honor your father and mother.'”2
What did Bartus do at that moment? He said to Lisa his sister: “There is no hope,” and Lisa said, “No (there is hope) because I have some wonderful statements that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar said.” Bartus said to Rabbi Krustovsky in the sauna: “A person should always be supple as a reed and not stiff as a cedar.”3
He responded: “Joshua states: ‘You shall meditate on the Torah all day and all night.'”4
At a circumcision he said to him: “Who will bring the redemption? The jesters.”5
He said to him: “From this you bring a proof?”
Bartus’ sister Lisa became distraught, and she sent to him that which Rabbi Sammy Davis Junior said. Bartus said to him (Rabbi Krustovsky): “Didn’t a great man say, ‘Israel is a strange people. I [mean] to say that I have heard of persecution, but this is shocking. But at the end of 2,000 years that they waited and held on and struggled, they made it. End of quote.'”
He responded: “Who taught thus, Rabbi Hillel?” He responded: No. “Judah the Pious?” “No.” “Maimonides?” “No.” “The Dead Sea Scrolls?” “No, rather it was Rabbi Sammy Davis Junior, an entertainer like your son.”
He (Rabbi Krustovsky) said to him (Bartus): “The Candy Man? Perhaps I’ve been mistaken.” Immediately he forgave his son.
t w o
“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
t h r e e
“Humor is reason gone mad.” ~ Groucho Marx
Oh Grumpy. The main difference is that we’re right and they’re wrong.
I suppose I should clarify my position vis-a-vis anarchy, anarchism, Marx, Marxism, communism and socialism, left and right and the meaning of being an anarchist blogger and leftist trainspotter.
Mick Armstrong deserves all the shit he gets
To begin with, I have long been fascinated with political marginalia: ‘left’, ‘right’ or ‘centre’; ‘authoritarian’ or ‘libertarian’; and much more besides. Leftist and rightist trainspotting are hobbies which I enjoy, and while they overlap, to some extent, with more ‘serious’ and ‘scholarly’ analysis of political developments, the two should not be confused… although, for my own amusement, I sometimes do mix up the two. In other words, as far as I’m concerned, examining the ideological pronouncements and feeble actions of unidentified flying leftists and right-wing zombies makes for hours of fun for the whole family (my cat and I). And, in general, such topics are best approached with a sense of humour. My blogging sometimes includes the use of ridicule; appropriate, as many of these groups, groupuscules, parties and sects — and the claims that they make — are ridiculous.
I am well aware of the fact that ‘anarchism’ and ‘anarchists’ also occupies this (marginal) political space. How on God’s flat Earth could I not be? I’m also well aware of the fact that the fortunes of the anarchist movement-which-isn’t, with few exceptions (and still less in the Stolenwealth of Australia), have approximately as much impact on the flabby white arse of the Australian body politic as the dozens (?) of Trot groups have. Further, that processes of economic, cultural, political and social transformation are complex, and determined by factors generally well-removed from the orbit of these groups and projects.
Or, as a character in a Killdozer song once exclaimed, “I’m no goddamn dunce!”.
Beyond this, and specifically in regards to elections, the fortunes of the Socialist Alliance are of especial interest given: the nature of the project; its origins; its indebtedness to similar attempts in the UK; its inevitable degeneration.
Several years ago, in a rather rare instance, a SA/DSP member responded to my enquiries regarding the utility of SA by referring to Engels’ pronouncements on the subject of voting. I (re-)read them, and concluded, on the basis of Engels’ own argument(s), that the results obtained by SA constituted evidence of it being contrary to his (Engels’) intentions…
Sorry, but Dr. Cam has just arrived on my doorstep armed with a bag of coke and a gaggle of Israeli glamour models — I must depart.
In the meantime: “I’d rather die on my wobbly feet than live on my scuffling knees.”
Famous last words:
“…Each angry word
Every cynical put-down
Every [post] is carefully born
From a hope of something better to come
All jumbled up
Love and hate and love
Each prompted by the other:
For the cause of peace we have to go to war
Refusing to sleep
While there’s a world to win
Yet happy to dream
Dreams make the plans to change this world
Not just some future heaven
But today and every day
In our place of work
In the queue for the [bus]
A tiny spark still deep inside…”
“There are no words
For what I want to say
For what I feel
It’s a non-emotion
It’s something gray
Inside of me
You could call it anger
You could call it fear
You could call it frustration
That’s as close as you get
Now I’m waiting
There’s something racing
Inside of me
I’m waiting, I’m waiting
For a sign
Waiting for something
Got nothing but time
I said I’m waiting
Waiting for a sign
Just me and my little friend
He’s deep inside”
After a bit of lazy Sunday afternoon reading? Good news – the Trotskyist Platform website has now been updated with the current issue of the Trotskyist Platform journal. The wesbite has also been upgraded.
Two other articles written since the publication of the current issue – one on the Tamil question and one on Iran – are also now available on line in PDF format. To access them just click in the relevant photo icon boxes at the bottom of the Home page of the Trotskyist Platform site.
Please check out the upgraded site trotskyistplatform.com
Not trot, but snazzy
Look at the logo!
Even better – Adaire Hannah – ex Melbourne Spart, these days IBT – still fighting the good fight.
This week’s update –
The Trotskyist Platform statement on the racist attacks on international students in Australia is now available online.
The leaflet is titled “Build Grassroots, Anti-Racist Patrols”.
Secondly, Trotskyist Platform has begun to work on building a demonstration on November 5 in Sydney to demand more public housing.
We hope some of you will be able to support this important action. Here are some things you can do if you want to support this struggle:
1. Most importantly, make preparations to be able to attend the rally. If you need to take time off work, arrange your leave now.
2. If you are a member of a trade union or other progressive organisation, motivate your union sisters and brothers about this action. Also try and get your branch to mobilise people to attend the rally. Furthermore, try to get them to formally endorse it. Endorsement form is attached. Please however do not post this endorsement form publicly (by all means do post the rally leaflet however) or send it out to others without first checking with us – we do want some control over the endorsements (i.e. we do not want weird forces overwhelming the protest).
3. Send out the rally leaflet to others and post it on blog or left websites.
4. Do paste ups of posters for the rally. Contact us to get the posters.
5. Help distribute the leaflet at left events, working class suburbs etc. Trotskyist Platform will be doing intensive leafletting in the last 10 days before the rally in particular. So contact us is if you want to be part of this.
“…the FSP/RW are in essence Laborite refomists, pushing class-collaborationist schemas…”
“Typically, the youth group of the DSP, Resistance put forward grovelling reformist solutions to pressure the cops…”
What else can it be but ‘Australasian Spartacist’ #206, Spring 2009 hot off the press.
Kept me off the drink until late afternoon as I pondered the profundity of Trotskyist ideological permutations on the Chinese “…parasitic, nationalist bureaucratic caste [which] rests atop a collectivized economy.”
Why the Chinese commies/parasites would go to the trouble of setting up a collectivized (sic) economy has me fu**ed.
No connection but tractor driving communists
Mmmmm very, very interesting –
According to the CPA ‘Guardian’ the following two grouplets attended the 11th Congress:
1) Search Foundation, i.e. the thieving cu**s who wound up the old CPA and grabbed all the Moscow loot, premises, printing presses etc etc.
2) Revolutionary Socialist Party, i.e. DSP Mk II – different name, same program.
Links are your friend! Also — as far as I can tell, the only real difference between the DSP and the RSP is one letter and a difference of opinion on the utility of the Socialist Alliance.
(CPA 11th National Congress : The Party for the Future holds course, The Guardian, October 14, 2009.)
Hi @ndy the DSP and the RSP are heading in different directions now. The DSP are, I think, in the process of dissolving themselves in SA.
Afaik, the move by the DSP to possibly dissolve itself into SA was officially inaugurated when it changed its name from ‘Party’ to ‘Perspective’:
Outside of the question of the utility of SA (and the underlying perspectives on party-building and the role of a Leninist micro-party in contemporary Australian society which govern this argument), I’m unaware of any substantial political difference between the DSP and the RSP: both seem to be Leninist organisations which adopt a more-or-less orthodox Leninist position on most matters. If anyone is aware of any further distinctions, I’m happy to learn of them.
The CPA, straight off the back of it’s ‘love-in’ with the Search Foundation and the RSP at its 11th Congress are now endorsing a rally initiated by none other than my favourite Trotskyite grouplet – The Trotkyist Platform.
The rally in Sydney on Nov 5th @ 4pm outside Tanya Plibersek’s Office will see the Australian Khruschevite revisionists and the Spartacist splitters of TP bury the hatchet/icepick.