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.
• 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.