With the 2019 Australian federal election less than two weeks away, now seems like a good time to update Trot Guide (which I last updated seven months ago, in September 2018). The most exciting news is the emergence of a NEW! Communist party. But first, a handful of left parties are contesting the election: the AWP, SA, SEP and VS. While none are expected to make much of a dent in the state apparatus or cause much upset in the bourgeois parliament, the fact that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament is too good an opportunity not to take advantage of, amirite?
1) Australian Workers Party
The AWP is a new-ish formation which, rather like the Progressive Labour Party, appears to be of the social democratic left but which also, unlike the PLP, is actually standing several candidates: Ed Caruana in Lynne (NSW) and Senate teams in NSW, QLD and VIC.
2) Socialist Alliance
The SA is running Senate candidates in NSW (Susan Price and Joel McAlear) and WA (Petrina Harley and Alex Salmon) along with Sam Wainwright in Fremantle (WA), Kamala Emanuel in Brisbane (QLD) and Mike Crook in Lilley (NSW). In 2016 the party ran candidates for the Senate in NSW, WA and VIC and four seats in the House of Representatives. This fact would appear to confirm the long, slow decline of the party (2001–) as a whole.
3) Socialist Equality Party
The SEP is standing Senate teams in NSW and VIC and running candidates in the House of Representatives’ electorates of Parramatta in Sydney, Calwell in Melbourne, Hunter in Newcastle and Oxley in Brisbane. (In 2016, the world leadership of the socialist movement ran for the Senate in QLD too.)
4) Victorian Socialists
The Victorian Socialists are running three candidates: Jerome Small in Calwell, Kath Larkin in Cooper and Sue Bolton in Wills. For last year’s Victorian state election, VS ran candidates in every Upper House region and 18 (of 88) seats in the Lower House, but most of their energies were focused upon the Northern Metropolitan region, where Steve Jolly was lead candidate. The party fared reasonably well in the region, scoring more votes (4.2%) than all other contestants apart from Labor (42.58%), The Greens (16.76%) and The Liberals (16.48%). Given that Calwell, Cooper and Wills are also in the northern metropolitan region, VS is presumably hoping that their vote may be a little higher than would otherwise be expected of socialist candidates in these seats. Calwell is also being contested by the SEP in the shape of Peter Byrne, who had a previous crack at the seat in 2010 (gaining 1,181 votes/1.3%).
*VS was denounced by the Spartacist League of Australia as ‘just another form of parliamentarist left Laborism, with an appeal to the petty-bourgeois liberal fringe around the Greens’, which was pretty mean. In other sad news, the ICL lvl boss, Jim Robertson, died recently, as has the US-based International Socialist Organization (ISO). The ICL picks over the ISO’s bones here, while official statements regarding the group’s demise are available on its website. (Note that in Australia Solidarity remains within the iSt, as does Socialist Aotearoa in NZ.) Oh, also having a crack at VS is SEP (AKA WSWS). See : Victorian Socialists’ fake-left election campaign, Patrick O’Connor, May 2, 2019.
NB. There are several liberal and progressive parties running, including the Australian Democrats, Australian Progressives, the bizarr0 “Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians!” party (ex-Online Direct Democracy), Pirate Party and others. But most of the micro-party field would appear to be already occupied by racist, reactionary, religious and right-wing formations, and what progressive sentiment there is at the ballot box looks likely to be absorbed by either Labor or the Greens.
Australian Communist Party
The ACP is a NEW! party, forming as a split from the Communist Party of Australia, seemingly as a result of differences of opinion regarding strategy and the resignation of its general secretary, Bob Briton. According to the ACP:
… unresolved issues regarding the Party’s work in the trade unions and with the Australian Labor Party eventually resurfaced and combined with lax recruitment practices and general ill-discipline to produce an unworkable environment for committed Communists. It was these regrettable circumstances that led the founders of the Australian Communist Party to re-establish a Marxist-Leninist party in Australia.
As for the CPA, see the Central Committee Statement, The Guardian, No.1865 (April 17, 2019).
Finally, note that the SEARCH Foundation — one of the remnants of the OG CPA (1920–1991) — has published a Federal Election Statement which urges its supporters to join the ‘campaign to defeat the Coalition government as a matter of urgency and priority in the remaining days to 18 May’.
As for the other NEW! (as of September 2018) entries to the Guide, the Stalin Society of Australia is still keeping busy pursuing its dream of ‘rehabilitating the memory of Joseph Stalin by distributing accurate information about him to the working class of Australia’, while Left Unity SA appears to have been resting since March 2018. On the bright side, the Communist Workers Party of Australia is still workering, and you can follow the continuing adventures of the Workers League by way of redfireonline dot com.
*Oh, and for the #lulz, here’s what Rise Up Australia Party/Catch The Fire Ministries/Reformation Harvest Fire Ministries has to say about, ah, ‘Communism’: Currently in the West we are witnessing a revival of Communism combined with Islamism. Obama, who was elected on behalf of a netter social justice has defected on promises to keep the American Heritage by upholding the Christian faith, and in reality appears to be a Cultural Marxist Statesman, allied with Islam if not an Islamist himself. So there you have it!
Judging by the logo they use and the key people involved, the Australian Workers Party are the same group who previously tried to Leyonhjelm their way into the senate by running with the name “The Labour Coalition” a few years back. They’re “sensible progressive” types who are pretty far from trot and fit much better into your centrist liberal grouping. They’re probably most notable for complaining in any and every facebook group they could about the senate voting reforms and how the Greens support for them made them secretly right wing, mostly because they’d already paid a bunch of money to Glenn Druery to get them some sick preference flows from hard right parties.
I was saddened to see that Ron Poulsen of the Communist League has seemingly decided not to run this time around. He usually appears in the Ungrouped column in NSW and attracts a good two or three dozen votes.
On the upside, the ACP is an interesting development.
@bags: Yeah, same mob AFAIK. So no, not Trot, but insofar as ‘left + outside Labor’ / ‘far left’ goes, they fit the bill for this particular post.
@Futilitarian: I know right? End of an era, sadly.
A few more deets about the demise of the ISO in the USA:
Letter to the ISO membership
ISO Steering Committee
March 15, 2019
The International Socialist Organization’s Steering Committee sent this letter to members about a deep crisis in the ISO. We are sharing it publicly here on SW. We have edited it slightly to be published on a public website and have added updated information.
Why I voted to dissolve the ISO
March 31, 2019
Marxist Center Delegates Council Statement on the Dissolution of the International Socialist Organization (ISO)
March 31, 2019
Factional provocation, middle-class hysteria, and the collapse of the International Socialist Organization
Political Committee of the Socialist Equality Party (US)
April 2, 2019
Revisiting “Feminism and the crisis in the British SWP”
Freedom Socialist Party
April 3, 2019
Notes on the Dissolution of the ISO
April 4, 2019
… The ISO, which is the largest group in the USA that defines itself as “Leninist”, has just voted to dissolve itself …
The Crisis and Collapse of the International Socialist Organization
April 7, 2019
The remnants of the International Socialist Organization have voted to dissolve after weeks of debate and an ever intensifying crisis. It marks the end of an organization with more than 40 years of history and which was the most significant force on the far left in the United States since its rapid growth throughout the 1990’s.
Few thoughts on ISO
April 11, 2019
Who funded the ISO? An analysis of the financial basis of pseudo-left politics
April 15, 2019
… The ISO was, historically, the product of an opportunist fusion of Pabloites and Shachtmanites in the aftermath of the breakdown of the anti-war and protest politics of the 1960s and 1970s. In the course of several decades, following the trajectory of middle-class politics, the ISO moved ever further to the right. Its political line combined support for the AFL-CIO bureaucracy, a general orientation to the Democratic Party, and support for human rights imperialism. The increasingly dominant theoretical influence on the ISO was exerted by various forms of identity politics, which developed into an obsessive, bordering on psychopathic, preoccupation with issues related to race and gender …
On the dissolution of the ISO
April 23, 2019
The US-based International Socialist Organization (ISO) has recently voted to dissolve itself. The rs21 Steering Group has collectively compiled the following piece in response.
What was the purpose of the ISO?
April 24, 2019
so anarchist to support leninist genocide denying extremists
prolly why i don’t eh