Update (January 2023) : Trot Guide January 2023 Update.
Update (February 2022) : Trot Guide February 2022 Update.
Update (May 2020) : Trot Guide May 2020 Update.
Update (April 2019) : The Far Left ~versus~ 2019 Australian federal election (April 2019 Trot Guide Update).
Update (September 2018) : Trot Guide September 2018 Update.
Update (April 2016) : #TrotGuide 2016.
Update (April 2012) : 2012 Trot Guide available here.
slackbastard’s Trot Guide is an overview of the current state-of-play on the Australian far left. Thus it includes groupuscules that consider themselves Trotskyist (‘Trots’) as well as those who do not.
The Guide was last updated on December 21, 2009 — and prior to that, on July 11, 2009 — at which point, sadly, there had been a number of late scratchings. Thus, in May 2008 there were approximately 30 or so ‘leftist’ (Marxist) groups / parties in existence (although truth be told some were little more than some bloke and his dog, neither of whom were in particularly good health). This represented a further decline in numbers from a previous survey conducted in August 2006.
A near-as-complete-as-I-can-make-it list includes:
*1) Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia. Status : possible urban myth, likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Still dead.
*2) Communist Left Discussion Circle. Status : likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.
3) Communist League (CL). Status : Alive and very unwell. December 21, 2009: Undead.
*4) Communist Party Advocate(s). Status : deceased; resurrected as Labor Tribune.
5) Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Status : alive. Still. Unlike Stalin.
6) Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML). Status : alive — just — and still barracking for Mao.
7) Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP). Status : alive, but seemingly proceeding downhill at a rapid rate, both ideologically and organisationally. May 2008: The DSP has expelled a minority faction named, with considerable imagination, the ‘Leninist Party Faction’ (see below). December 21, 2009: As of January 2010, the DSP has announced it will dissolve into SA.
*8) Direct Action. Status : A splinter from the DSP, formed in July 2006. Formerly known as the MSN (see below). Also ‘Community & Workers’ First’. Now dissolved into the RSP (see below).
9) Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). Status : alive, but basically stagnant, and with only a tiny number of members, almost all located in Melbourne.
*10) International Socialist Organisation (ISO). Status : alive, but in serious — and possibly even terminal — decline. May 2008: In December 2007, the ISO announced its intention to merge with two other Leninist parties, and to abandon the name ‘ISO’ for a new one: ‘Solidarity’. December 21, 2009: Dead.
*11) Leninist Party Faction (LPF). Status : The newest kid on the Leninist bloc, formed as a result of the expulsion of a minority of members from the DSP. Now merged with DA to form the RSP (see below).
12) Marxist Initiative. Status : alive, but seemingly little more than a publishing project of the PLP. May 2008: Dead link… dead initiative? No! MI carries on publishing its views via the Australian Socialist. December 21, 2009: Dead. Again.
*13) Marxist Solidarity Network. Status : another groupuscule, formed in June/July 2006, and comprised of a handful of former members of the DSP. May 2008: At some point in the intervening period, the MSN renamed itself ‘Direct Action’ (see above). Which then merged into the RSP (see below).
*14) National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia. Status : another possible urban myth, likely deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.
*15) New Era Communist Party of Australia. Status : (almost certainly) deceased (that is, if it was ever truly alive). December 21, 2009: Dead.
16) October Seventh Socialist Movement. Status : alive, in extremely poor health, and — given it consists of a handful of geriatric Stalinists — with a dire prognosis. December 21, 2009: Dead.
17) Progressive Labour Party (PLP). Status : alive. December 21, 2009: Still.
18) Revo Australia (Revo). Status : Revo formed following the dissolution of WP (see below). Competes with a collection of others for the title of Tiniest Vanguard Down Under. December 21, 2009: Dead.
19) Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Status : NEW! Formed in May 2008 as a result of the fusion of DA and the LPF.
*20) Socialist Action Group (SAG). Status : formed in 2004 as a split in the Brisbane branch of SocAlt, it is yet to leave home. May 2008: SAG has merged with the ISO and Solidarity. December 21, 2009: Dead.
21) Socialist Alliance (SA). Status : alive, but with a very poor prognosis; obituary notices are already in preparation.
22) Socialist Alternative (SAlt). Status : alive and well and busy recruiting University students.
23) Socialist Appeal. Status : likely deceased, but still capable of sending occasional messages from beyond the grave… and re-launched via the Fightback website! December 21, 2009: Dead. Again.
*24) Socialist Democracy (SD). Status : deceased, December 2005. December 21, 2009: Still dead.
25) Socialist Equality Party (SEP). Status : alive… just. The SEP essentially functions as a spectacularly unsuccessful electoral front for a handful of Sydney members of the Australian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
*26) Socialist Labor Party of Australia (SLP). Status : (almost certainly) deceased. December 21, 2009: Dead.
27) Socialist Party (SP). Status : alive, and in reasonably good health in Melbourne.
28) Solidarity. Status : uncertain; formed in 2003 following Ian Rintoul’s departure from the ISO, the group (?) has not updated its website since November 2005. May 2008: Reports of the death of Solidarity have proven to be exaggerated, with two other Trotskyist groupuscules (the ISO and SAG) joining it to form a new! improved! Solidarity.
29) Spartacist League of Australia (SL). Status : alive, in very poor health, and living in Melbourne and Sydney.
29 1/2) Trotskyist Platform (TP). Status : TP formed in 2006 when no less a person than the editor of the Australasian Spartacist made like a banana… and split. May 2008: He must be hunting wabbits, as he is keeping vewy vewy quiet. December 21, 2009: It’s alive!
*30) Workers’ League. Status : if a single statement on the war in Iraq published in February 2003 constitutes life, then the Workers’ League is in exceedingly good health. December 21, 2009: Dead.
31) Workers’ Liberty (AWL). Status : alive and unwell and living in Sydney.
*32) Workers’ Power (WP). Status : deceased, July 2006. May 2008:
Unconfirmed reports suggest that one or possibly even two splinter groups may have formed upon the dissolution of WP (see Revo, above). December 21, 2009: Dead. Still. WP/League for the Fifth International continues to eke out an existence, principally in GB.
33) World Socialist Party of Australia. Status : probably alive… if only via the maintenance of a PO Box in Melbourne.
For more detail :
- The Original Trot Guide
Mao More Than Ever / Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’
All posts in the category Trot Guide
Finally, an honorary mention must be made of Lastsuperpower.net: “A bunch of decayed Marxists and Stalinists in search of a home…” — well, that’s what some pommy bastard called Harry reckons. Then again, describing Albert Langer as a decayed Marxist isn’t all that amiss; tho’ he’s no Stalinist — from all accounts, Mao still floats his boat… more than ever.
Omar is a shameless liar. There was no Solidarity “campaign” to disaffiliate SAlt at Melbourne Uni. SAlt’s own campaign of harassment, bullying and intimidation of Soli members and members of the Refugee group came to the attention of university security on a number of occasions. It is this behaviour that has been discussed in this very thread that led to their possible disaffiliation. Solidarity is not in cahoots with the Liberals, and we did not initiate the process. We were not at any “Clubs and Societies” meetings. I am not sure who initiated it.
There is a short article in “Farrago”, the Student Union’s magazine that mentions the reasons given for the disaffiliation:
I’ve heard that ******* *** of soli has repeatedly threatened to call the cops on SAlt members.
I’m no fan of trots generally, but…
While I make no special claim to special knowledge, I would say that only in activistyleftyworld could people harassing people further harass someone (while discrediting their complaints about harassment) by saying that the person being harassed threatened to call the police.
Other people might consider that someone in a group such as the one concerned – i.e. it is fair to say someone who is ideologically disinclined to rely on the repressive arm of the state in managing everyday interactions – as a rule would have to have been pushed pretty far before they respond to harassment by throwing out at their harasser the possibility of calling the police, in hopes that this will stop the harassment…
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Here’s the anarcho version;
Barricade Books: The last semi-effective project in Melbourne, long deceased.
Ahouse: long deceased.
Apress: left to rust, deceased.
ASF: More congresses than members; the turnover from this organisation makes the average Trot group look like a model of stability. Recruiting the working class one Rudolf Rocker reader at a time.
IWW: Historical remembrance society with union cards; its own literature says that the original organisation should have been left dead if subject to repression as it would only become a magnet for demagogues and ideologues. Pretty much what happened.
Melbourne Anarchist Club: On life support, which is to say one guy who works full time and lives on the other side of town does all the work.
Collective Action, Melbourne: Changed name from Anarchist Affinity and then stopped doing anything.
Black Swan group, Adelaide: moribund.
Jura Books: Still going, keeping the crust punk scene alive virtually single handed.
Black Rose, Sydney; deceased.
Say what you will about Trots, but at least they can get organised enough to produce the newspapers for the pyramid sales scheme.
2020, what’s going on
Last update was APR 2019 — https://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=45005 — which celebrated the launch of the Australian Communist Party (ACP), a split from the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). In other news, the Socialist Party has rebranded (OCT 2019) as Socialist Action, the Communist Workers Party of Australia gotta website, & the Stalin Society opened a branch in AUS.