According to the recently launched website Internationalist Standpoint:
The main problem faced by the working masses internationally, today, is the lack of organization and leadership – the crisis of the system is reflected into a crisis of the working-class organizations, political and trade union. The Trotskyist Space, which ideologically and politically is well positioned to provide answers and perspectives in the present conjuncture, is also in deep crisis.
Leaving aside the fact that capitalism is (the) crisis, I’m uncertain if Space Force Bronstein really is in big trouble. On the one hand: ‘The revolutionary socialist left internationally is going through dramatic changes, as evidenced by the crises of the PO, the ISO, and the CWI, among others’; on the other hand, ‘No one can convincingly explain why Leon Trotsky has so many French followers or why they are divided into so many factions’. Of the relevant Trotskyist organisations listed below, however, most — apart perhaps from Socialist Alternative — would appear to be in relatively poor health, with the Spartacist League of Australia even facing possible extinction. (The collapse of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) may be a ‘tragic necessity’, who knows?)
Outside of Trotskyist circles, there are of course the Maoist and Stalinist influenced groupuscules — ACP, CPA, CPA (M-L) and CWPA — who, while fewer in number than their Trotskyist rivals, nonetheless remain active. Happily enough, boomer Maoists and Stalinists do seem to have begun to successfully lower the demographic, and their ranks now include some smol number of teenage Tankies. Sadly, so-called Australia has yet to produce a version of Maoism-Third Worldism, Gonzalo Thought is barely recognised (see below), and the task of building a Strong and Prosperous Nation is also horribly neglected.
Apart from ISA (Australia: see below), another NEW! vehicle on the revolutionary road is the Revolutionary Communist Organisation (RCO), the existence of which I was alerted to by a Conrad just a few weeks ago. The RCO joins the Internationalist Communists Oceania (ICO) as one of several communist groups that have sprung up lately (but which also suffer from a tendency to fall over shortly thereafter). In which context, I should probably note that there’s been a minor resurgence of interest in anarchist communism in the last few years, with collectives emerging in/as Anarchist Communists Meanjin, Sydney Anarcho-Communists [Facebook] and Geelong Anarchists. Further, Mutiny has been revived as a publication of Black Flag Sydney, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group continues to motor along, but Collective Action (2013–) is deaded.
Still, a minor uptick in interest in communism must be balanced against an explosion in the number of cookers taking to the streets. Indeed, Cooked Units have assembled in their tens of thousands over the course of the pandemic, and in Melbourne even taken the opportunity to attack that bastion of working class militancy, the CFMEU.
Still having a crack :
1. (Alliance for) Workers’ Liberty
These workers are still struggling for freedom in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney. Their last newsletter was published in late 2019.
2. Australian Communist Party
Since splitting from the CPA in 2019, the ACP has continued to trod along a ‘new path in the movement for socialism in Australia’. The ACP also plays a critical role in the Community Union Defence League, a kinda Food Not Bombs for local Leninists.
These fellas popped up as a NEW! entry last time ’round but, almost two years later, I dunno how their efforts to create their own Marxist nucleus (‘a dedicated core of professional revolutionaries educated in Marxism physically concentrated in a city’) is going. Hopefully, one day soon they’ll bump into some other IRL urban Marxists, and together create some meme magic.
3 1/2. Class Conscious
As far as I can tell, CC is more of a blog/website than a groupuscule, one armed with a political perspective which closely mirrors that of the International Committee of the Fourth International (SEP).
4. Communist League
Since Nov. 15, 1928, the Militant has been “a socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people,” as its masthead says. It reflects the program, perspectives and activities of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States. The SWP also claims supporters in Canada, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia. Bob Aiken was the Communist League candidate for the Hurstville ward of the Georges River Council in the NSW 2021 local elections. Bob got 17 votes (0.12%) for his troubles.
5. Communist Party of Australia
The CPA will hold its 14th National Congress later this month. Otherwise, it still appears to be recovering from the ACP split.
6. Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
The CPA (M-L)’s Political Report of the Central Committee to the 15th Party Congress in June 2019 concluded ‘our Party is in a good place, but we need to make it even better’. I dunno how much betterer it’s become since, but last year the party noted with some concern attacks upon its previous stronghold in the CFMEU and lamented the sorry state the union now finds itself in. See also : Warmly welcome the Centenary of the Communist Movement in Australia (January 1, 2020).
7. Communist Workers Party of Australia
Last time around it was: ‘Newspaper coming soon!’. So, in February 2022, I’m delighted to inform the reader that, for the edification of Communist Workers, five editions of The Agitator have now been published.
8. Freedom Socialist Party
The FSP continues to trundle along. Of late, it’s called for a united self-defence against the far-right “freedom” movement. See also : PUSH! Organising and Educating to build a United Front against Fascism.
9. ISA Australia
#fuckyeah a NEW! groupuscule! Announcing its existence in early 2021, International Socialist Alternative Australia is a split from/successor to SA.
9 1/2. Progressive Labour Party
In December 2021, the PLP ‘united and joined with the Australian Progressives as a combined and strong political force’. Whether or not the PLP persists into the future, or simply forms a subsidiary fraction of the Progressives, is of course unknown.
10. Revolutionary Communist Organisation
The aim of the RCO is the formation of a communist cadre for the purposes of proletarian revolution, the establishment of a workers republic, and the triumph of communism. Would you like to know more?
11. Socialist Alliance
Delegates and members across Australia took part in the 16th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance on January 15-16. It will be running candidates for Corio, Leichhardt and Wills at the federal election and also contesting Senate seats in NSW, QLD and VIC.
12. Socialist Alternative
SAlt remains the largest (neo-)Trotskyist political formation/’ostensibly revolutionary organization’ in Australia, and if there’ve been significant developments in the period since the last update I’m unaware of them.
13. Socialist Equality Party
While the SEP campaigned in order to Defeat bipartisan drive in Australia to de-register political parties!, on September 2, 2021, the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Act 2021 (Party Registration Act) received Royal Assent, meaning that inter alia, for a non-Parliamentary political party to attain and maintain registration in the Register of Political Parties, it will be required to have ‘at least 1,500 members’ (increased from ‘at least 500 members’), a requirement which may pose difficulties for the SEP along with a range of other minor parties, as it’s currently one of ten the AEC is considering deregistering.
14. Socialist Action
The action group formerly known as the Socialist Party. Previously a member of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) — which underwent a split in 2019 — SA was briefly a member of ‘International Socialist Alternative’, which one side in the split created in February 2020. Last Thursday, however, they decided to instead join Internationalist Standpoint. According to Wikipedia:
In October 2019, the Socialist Party renamed itself Socialist Action. In 2020, new allegations of rape appeared against the same member accused in 2016. In 2021, their international organisation, International Socialist Alternative (ISA), objected to an alleged 18 month-long pattern of harassment of his alleged victim and their supporters within the party, and also objected to a large financial payment from Socialist Action to the man accused after he resigned working for the party. In response to these objections, Socialist Action formally split from ISA. They announced a plan to collaborate with Taiwanese group International Socialist Forward. They have since been inactive. Those members who opposed Socialist Action’s stance on sexual assault remained members of the ISA and founded a new section of ISA in Australia in April 2021.
See also : Committee for a Workers’ International / International Socialist Alternative.
Solidarity is still here. Note that in December last year, the home of prominent Sydney member Paddy Gibson was attacked by boneheads. See also : International Socialist Tendency.
16. Spartacist League of Australia
Status : Threatened. The difficulties being experienced by the League are shared by other sections of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), which has been enduring some turbulence since the death of its lvl boss, James Roberston (1928–2019). While the party press stalled following Robertson’s departure, the ICL (FI) did manage to publish a text in April last year decrying lockdowns, and recently some members in Canada were spotted distributing propaganda to cookers in Ottawa.
See also : International Bolshevik Tendency / Bolshevik Tendency.
17. Trotskyist Platform
TP emerged as a split from the Spartacists, but remains staunch. The group’s latest missive (January 22, 2022) is boldly titled WHY TROTSKYISM IS THE LIGHT SHINING THE PATH OF SOCIALIST REVOLUTION.
18. Victorian Socialists
Like ICO, VS was introduced in the last edition of the Guide. Since then, after a few wobbles, it’s obtained a councillor (Jorge Jorquera in Maribyrnong) and will be contesting 11 lower house seats at the next federal election. While highly unlikely to win, it’ll be interesting to see if the number of ‘class-conscious’ votes the party generates is greater or lesser than last time around.
19. Workers League
Coronavirus is a hoax / communism is Good.
See also : Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On Line (ETOL) / Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line / Communist and Workers’ Parties / Radical online collections and archives (Evan Smith).
• According to the Committee to Defend Chairman Gonzalo – Australia, ‘The people of Australia are largely unfamiliar with Chairman Gonzalo, what he represents and his importance’, but the crank/s populating the committee hope/s to remedy that tragic situation. The Committee would also seem to enjoy friendly relations with another blog called ‘Red Eureka Journal’ (not to be confused with the Red Eureka Movement of the late ’70s), the perspective of which has been criticised by the author of another blog, ‘mostly edge, mostly no point’, a ‘counter-cultural auspol communist blog run by a jackass who can’t get to sleep before three in the morning’ — but who has nonetheless published a video tribute to The Dole Army.
• Red Ant is for anti-imperialist Marxism and the ‘outlook of articles published to Red Ant is inspired by the politics of the Democratic Socialist Party (1972-2005) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (2007-2013)’ if you’re into that sort of thing.
Hi Andy, are you leaving out Stephen Jolly’s ‘Socialists’/’The Socialists’ or would you consider them defunct as a group? Jolly led them out of the Socialist Party in the 2016 split and then, after his 2018 Victorian Socialists’ state election candidacy, he subsequently led them out of VS too in 2019. They’d presumably include him and Bridgid O’Brien, his fellow socialist Yarra Councillor.
There is also here in Sydney the Anarcho-Trotskyist Crypto-Bordigist Proletarian Insurgency (Futilito-Stalinist Tendency), an organisation that I founded last week and which is already proving most attractive to local working stiffs.
We distinguish ourselves by our perspicacious exposures of the fraudulent and opportunistic organisations listed above whose only purpose is to befuddle the working class and deflect it from its inexorable course of action towards class liberation.
The only organisation with which we hold much in common is Ablokeimet’s MACG. We thus invite the MACG to commence talks with us in relation to the establishment of an inter-state united front that will foster the formation of a system of revolutionary workers’ guerilla action units.
‘The Socialist’ was the name adopted by Jolly & Co after the resigned the SP in FEB 2016. AFAIK the grouping is defunct (tho’ I’m happy to be corrected).
ISA Australia doesn’t have a website yet beyond the ISA website at internationalsocialist.net (which hosts articles from ISA Australia), but the facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/australiaISA
Cheers. I do provide a link to the FB pg in the post.
If Gerry Healy were active on the Melbourne Left, he’d be right at home in Socialist Action.
Futilitarian seems to have kept up his obsession with me. It’s a bit flattering, really. The MACG is devoted to demonstrating that Anarchism is not a futile exercise, so if he thinks it’s necessary to have a go at us, it means we’re hitting a nerve in an ex-Anarchist who has elevated cynicism to a principle.
Ablokeimet, my intention was not to flatter you and I apologise if this has occurred. I’m surprised in fact that a seasoned revolutionist such as yourself would be susceptible to such base emotion. May I remind you that a revolutionist must keep a cool head, free of distraction, free of mental defilement, in order to better calculate opportunities for the advancement of the struggle. This is the secret of my success.
And I’m well aware that the MACG is not involved in anything remotely resembling futile activity. This is well evidenced by the many vibrant discussions about revolutionary theory and strategy that are a constant feature of the MACG’s website.
Well, as touched on by Comrade X the behaviour of the two previous leading lights of what has emerged from a series of splits and schisms as Socialist Action were indeed incredibly Healyite. One now attempting to shine on through another Calling, the other looking very similar to the man who sang the song that forms my name.
Lygon Street Limbo, Shirl’s Neighbourhood should’ve gone the way of the ISO and dissolved itself.
I tried to make a family tree of all trot groups from the first 4th intl to today.
Spent hours before I realised what an undertaking it’d be.
A v worthwhile endeavour in my view, & something I’m sure Leftist Trainspotters would be happy to help with.
Sydney’s Communist Left, which began life in the 1970s as a breakaway from the Spartacist tendency, quite possibly still exists. I’m basing this on the assumption that Bill K., who not so long ago was the last person left in the C.L, still keeps the venerable organisation going. When I run into him next I’ll ask if he’s still issuing the C.L.’s propaganda organ, Red, and if so I’ll take that as proof that the C.L. is still a viable revolutionary force. Membership numbers alone are immaterial in determining the revolutionary bona fides of an organisation. The salient factor is its ability to propagate revolutionary wisdom to the toiling masses via its organ. I’m sure Ablokeimet would concur with me on this point.
Legend has it that the founder of the C.L., a New Zealander by the name of Owen Gager, upon being expelled from the C.L., eventually made his way down to Melbourne and converted to some version or other of the anarchist faith. Some who are reading this may have encountered him.
Yes, I have seen Owen Gager. He was an Anarchist &, for a time, was in the Melbourne Anarchist Club. In recent years he has appeared at the Anarchist observance of May Day (at the 8 Hour Monument at noon on 1 May) with a bookstall on a blanket. The books are a curious selection, but I have never asked the basis on which he chooses them, because I don’t speak to him at all. I’ve never met anyone so filled with hatred & bile as Owen. He’s a destructive force in any organisation he joins. The fact that he is intellectually brilliant and often puts important positions forward before others do only makes him more destructive. If he was a better person, he’d be an asset to the movement. But he’s not, so he isn’t.
Is he still an Anarchist? I don’t know. I haven’t seen him since the start of the pandemic.
Interesting, Ablokeimet. I’ll let Bill know that his former comrade from 40-odd years ago was still around until at least pre-pandemic. Gager must be getting on a bit. 80-ish maybe. The ‘destructive force’ factor that you mention is very common among elements of the ultra-left, anarchist and otherwise. Hatred and bile is an integral part of the class analysis. It’s a good thing the ultra-left rarely gets close to exercising real power, beyond ragtag meetings in dingy rooms, because that’s when they get to unleash the really destructive forces. The ultra-left functions best as a perpetual opposition. Give ’em real social power and you’ve got trouble.