Trot Guide September 2018 Update

It’s been a while eh — over two years, in fact (see : #TrotGuide 2016, April 21, 2016). That said, while there’s been some interesting developments on The Far Left : Down Under Edition, for the most part things are continuing to remain fairly calm and capitalism remains really really really late.

Still having a crack :
1. Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL);
2. Communist League (CL);
2 1/2. Communist Left (of Australia);
3. Communist Party of Australia (CPA);
4. Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA M-L);
4 1/2. Communist Workers Party of Australia;
5. Freedom Socialist Party (FSP);
6. Progressive Labour Party (PLP);
7. Socialist Alliance (SA);
8. Socialist Alternative (SAlt);
9. Socialist Equality Party (SEP);
10. Socialist Party (SP);
11. Solidarity;
12. Spartacist League of Australia;
13. Trotskyist Platform (TP).

Scratched :
1. ML Group (MLG) — see : Workers League;
2. Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
Tired and emotional :
1. Resistance;
2. The Socialist.

NEW!
1. Left Unity;
2. Stalin Society of Australia;
3. Victorian Socialists;
4. Workers League.

The Far Left in Australia since 1945

To begin with, The Far Left in Australia since 1945 (Routledge, 2018), edited by Jon Piccini, Evan Smith & Matthew Worley, contains a number of essays of relevance to spotters, especially ‘The current of Maoism in the Australian Far Left’ by Drew Cottle and Angela Keys, which details the activities of Maoists in Australia in the 1960s and ’70s and inter alia the sometimes rather hostile relationship between Maoists and Trots.

The mutual hatred of the Trotskyists and Maoists for each other was not simply over ideological differences. The Maoists were seen by Trotskyists as ignorant, dogmatic Stalinist thugs, prone to violence and lost to the quest of reactionary nationalism. Maoists denounced Trotskyists as police agents, full of talk about the need to build the international socialist revolution, wreckers or cowards. In a 1970 Vanguard article, Trotskyism was condemned as an apolitical diversion in its promotion of drug-taking, sex-obsession, homosexuality and pop culture.

Maoist students were known to resort to physical rviolence against ‘Trotskyites’ in demonstrations and on campus. At Flinders University in 1972 Maoists bashed Trotskyist paper-sellers. Maoist activists at the gates of car plants in Adelaide and Melbourne jostled and punched Trotskyist speakers and paper-sellers. A Trotskyist activist was beaten unconscious by a student Maoist after a rowdy meeting at La Trobe University in 1977. In 1978, Maoist students threw another Trotskyist student through a plate glass window at La Trobe University. Maoists often attacked Trotskyist activists at union rallies. Maoist demonstrations often involved violent confrontations with the police. Maoists destroyed the Nazi Party headquarters in Carlton after a mass rally at the Yarra River in Melbourne was called to protest their activities. Trotskyists condemned this act of ‘people’s violence against fascism’. The Maoists were arguably the most divisive grouping of the Australian Far Left in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sadly, the essay fails to take note that ‘the first organised public debate in Australia between leading proponents of Maoism and Trotskyism took place at Latrobe University on 12 October’ 1978 (Maoist “in the service of peanut king Carter”: Spartacist League debates Albert Langer, Australasian Spartacist, November 1978). Langer, now known as Arthur Dent, is still fulla opinions, which you can read on Barry York’s blog C21st Left. York’s 1989 book STUDENT REVOLT! La Trobe University 1967-73 (Nicholas Press), along with Dan Robins’ 2005 thesis ‘Melbourne’s Maoists: The Rise of the Monash University Labor Club, 1965-1967’ are also relevant. See also : Bold thinking, revolutionary democracy and ‘the children of Karl Marx and Coca Cola’, C21st Left, October 20, 2017 | La Trobe Three revisit university 45 years after being locked up for protesting on campus, Josie Taylor, ABC 7.30 Report, February 24, 2017 | Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) @ Reason in Revolt Archive.

Everybody’s favourite Trot group, the Spartacist League, also get a guernsey in Isobelle Barrett Meyering’s essay ‘Changing consciousness, changing lifestyles: Australian women’s liberation, the left and the politics of ‘personal solutions”:

… women’s liberation saw itself as rejecting ‘male left’ politics and demanded that it be recognised as an ‘autonomous’ movement. For those who maintained their connections to the organised left, this proved to be a point of ongoing friction. As women’s liberation expanded, some self-described ‘political women’ within the movement complained that they were treated as suspect due to their allegiances to socialist groups. These debates reached their apogee with proposals to expel Spartacist League members from women’s liberation in Melbourne in 1973 and Sydney in 1977, prompted by complaints that they were ‘disruptive’ and not genuinely committed to women’s liberation. The proposals were the subject of significant controversy, with only the Melbourne motion succeeding.

The proposal to expel the Sparts is denounced by them in “Radical” feminism going nowhere: Fight women’s oppression through class struggle! (Australasian Spartacist, March 1977), Red-baiting in women’s movement: Stop anti-Trotskyist purge! (April, 1977), Sydney Women’s Liberation: Feminist purge defeated … (May, 1977) and no doubt in subsequent issues. See : Australasian Spartacist.

But anyway:

Maoists.

Sadly, the CPA (M-L) ceased the print publication of its zine Vanguard back in 2014, but you can continue to read the online version here. The CPA (M-L) also has an online forum of sorts called ‘Australian Communist Discussion Site’ which inter alia contains a discussion from November 2017 indicating the CPA M-L’s participation in a NEW! (to me) project in Adelaide called ‘Left Unity’; indeed, ‘our people were among the founding members of a group called Left Unity, a loose alliance of Socialist Alliance, CPA, anarchists and individuals’. You can read more about Left Unity here. And speaking of Left Unity …

See also : Anti-Revisionism in Australia, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.

Victorian Socialists

Like Left Unity, Victorian Socialists are a NEW! project on the left, an electoral campaign which has received the support of a number of socialist groupings including Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

Who are the Victorian Socialists?

Our political system is broken. The Liberals rule for their corporate mates. Labor is little better, tailing the political right and selling out its working class supporters to big money and developers.

It’s time for a genuine left alternative.

In the November 2018 state election, left wingers are uniting as the Victorian Socialists to get Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly elected to the upper house for the Northern Metropolitan Region.

We are for the poor against the rich, for workers against their bosses, for the powerless against the powerful.

The Victorian Socialists brings together socialist groups including Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Alliance, and individual activists, unionists and community organisers.

While Stephen Jolly will head the campaign, the ticket will also include Colleen Bolger from Socialist Alternative, and Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton …

Whether or not Jolly will be able to win a seat would seem to depend upon: a) getting a reasonable amount of first preferences and; b) the flow of preferences from other parties. At this stage, it seems likely Labor will preference him behind Fiona Patten (Reason Party), an eventuality which would make it more difficult for Jolly to win. Still, stranger things have happened, amirite? In any event, you can read an interview with the Victorian Socialists by Riki Lane of Workers’ Liberty Australia — Vote Victorian Socialists! Put a socialist in parliament for Northern Melbourne — here.

Oh, and the Victorian Socialists will also be contesting the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate in the November state election.

Still, not everybody’s on-board, and that includes the leadership of the world socialist movement AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International AKA The Socialist Equality Party, what reckons that this ‘latest opportunist manoeuvre by the pseudo-left is a calculated response to immense disaffection within the working class towards the Labor Party, which holds government in Victoria, and to the breakup of the longstanding two-party-dominated political system. Its aim is try to capture some of the social and political discontent and channel it into new parliamentary illusions.’ The electoral vehicle is subject to further excoriation by Patrick O’Connor in Australia: The pseudo-left Victorian Socialists and its pro-capitalist election manifesto (wsws.org, September 12, 2018).

See also : The Immodest Victorian Socialists, Ivan Mitchell and Daniel Lopez, Jacobin, September 8, 2018.

Speaking of the leadership of the world socialist movement, I also recently stumbledupon a NEW! (to me) site called classconscious.org, which exists in order to ‘promote the unity of the international working class in the struggle for socialist revolution.’ The site, which began publication in March 2017, has a small number of articles on it, many concerning Julian Assange (for example: The I.C.F.I must expose the petit-bourgeois and far-right forces who have co-opted the campaign for Julian Assange: An appeal to ICFI members and supporters, September 9, 2018), and while ‘This blog has no relationship with the World Socialist Website or the ICFI, its publishers … it is from this organisation that we have gained our education in Marxism and upon which we base our perspective.’ So there you go.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

*I’m happy to announce that at some point between now and April 2016, the COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY OF AUSTRALIA announced its existence on Facebook AND it has a website!

**Futilitarian has kindly reminded me of the existence of a ‘Communist Left’ (of Australia) in Sydney (not to be confused with the seemingly quite short-lived ‘Communist Left Discussion Circle’). They (?) publish a zine called Red which you can read here. (The latest available issue is numbered 118 and dated March 2017.) A statement published in late 2000 describes the groupuscule’s history:

Communist Left was formed in June 1976 by Owen Gager. It was formed in continuity with the record of New Zealand Spartacist League (which became Red Federation), Owen Gager’s struggle within that grouping against Spartacist League US supporters B. Logan and A. Hannah (backed by the majority of Wellington Branch). Gager had the support of Auckland comrades, notably Bruce Jesson. Jesson was expelled for building the Republican Movement at the expense of Red Federation. It supported the 1970 Programme of the NZSL and Owen Gager’s political record in Australia, mainly on East Timor and the 1976 Australian Constitutional crisis (the Kerr Coup). The first members were Bill Keats and Terry Millar who remained CPA members. Terry Millar was a member of NZSL and a comrade of O.Gager in New Zealand. A glazier, Paul Azzopardi joined shortly after.

The programme of the Communist Left, written in 1977 and published in 1978, firmly established the group’s political basis. Key points include full support for Trotsky’s founding of the fourth International but recognition that Fourth International was dead and none of the proclaimed continuers or reformers of it maintained in any way the continuity of the tradition as established by Trotsky. This includes the Mandelite United Secretariat, the Healyite International Committee, those in solidarity with the Socialist Workers Party (of the US), the Morenoite and Posadasite variants and the International Spartacist Tendency. As communism is by definition internationalist, there is an urgent need for a fifth international.

Communist Left made many important interventions on the Australian left. Gager and Azzopardi intervened within the Labor Party. Keats and Millar within the Communist Party of Australia. There were also key political interventions on such issues as the colonial nature of Australian capitalism combined with its mini-imperialist domination of parts of SE Asia and the South Pacific, the crisis of manufacturing and subsequent unemployment, the nationalist crisis of Stalinism internationally leading to the third Indochina war (and the ostensible Trotskyist sell out to Stalinism). CL made practical interventions on issues such as unemployment and housing.

Communist Left supports the founding document of the Fourth International – The Transitional Programme. The aim of the Programme of the Communist Left is not to replace Trotsky’s programme but to relate its method to a new period – the post-war boom, the expansion of Stalinism, the degeneration of Trotskyism. The document sets out international principles and applies them to Australia.

Internationally CL/A was in solidarity with the NZSL which was re-established in 1978. This group became CLNZ in 1983. Discussions were also held with the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain.

CL/A grew in size as a result of practical work in unemployment and housing (squatting). CL/A was party to a major squatting of the Glebe estate area of Sydney (October 1984) involving hundreds of people. This however led to the expulsion of founder leader Owen Gager due to his indiscipline. Gager refused to argue for tactics previously agreed to by Glebe squatters and declared war on the majority when they insisted he did so. He then pretended that he was CL and that the majority had “stolen” the organisation off him. He then constituted himself as Communist Left (Leninist) and now is actively part of the Melbourne Anarchist movement.

Until the end of 1987 CL did some important work in unemployment and housing. A bulletin Communist was published. Interventions were made on a political level on issues such as the Hawke Government’s Prices and Incomes Accord (the Accord) and the left responses such as Broad Left and Fightback. We remained involved in housing and unemployment as members of the Union of the Unemployed, the Squatters and Tenants (UUST).

Communist Left Australia spit into fragments at the end of 1987. The majority supporting calling the police against their former comrades, giving the police names and addresses, totally unacceptable placing them outside the workers’ movement. Communist Tendency was established to maintain continuity of the CL tradition. CL was re-established when two former members including Paul Azzopardi rejoined. Red has been published consistently as a quarterly since March 1988. The issue currently in preparation will be the fiftieth issue. Leaflets have also been issued. Communist Left has also published an unemployed bulletin called Unemployed Action.

Communist Left broke off relations with Communist Left New Zealand when that grouping affiliated with the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (LRCI) whose leading section is the British group called Workers Power. We intervened to show that this was fundamentally an economist tendency, whose strategy was extending the trade union struggle into a general strike “posing the question of power”. We pointed out that the question of power must not only be posed but resolved – through a revolutionary programme confronting the totality of state power. This LRCI consistently avoided. We also pointed out the consequence of this was adaptation to the existing political consciousness of the working class – their reformist chauvinist consciousness. We pointed out Workers Power attacked Benn primarily not as a chauvinist but because of his inconsistency in mobilising the rank and file. This blocs with workers who whilst being critical on a trade union outlook share his fundamental political perspective – a reformist chauvinist one. Workers Power pointed to many heart felt examples of organising against chauvinism. However these are not of strategic consequence to them in drawing class lines. Workers Power lines of struggle are organising workers on the shop floor against the bureaucracy and extending militancy. It is not drawing class lines which involve fighting for an interest independent of capitalist social relations – the capitalist state.

In New Zealand sections of the Workers Power leadership who were also leaders of the Communist Left of New Zealand split with other militants internationally to form the Liason Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International [1995–2004]. This did not constitute a fundamental break from Workers Power but argued, correctly that the current leadership were adapting to imperialist pressures. Whilst we agree with their criticisms, the totality of LRCI, from the beginning must be addressed. Since they haven’t done so we can not reconsider re-establishing solidarity.

See also : Contemporary Trotskyism: Parties, Sects and Social Movements in Britain, John Kelly (Routledge, 2018).

…Aotearoa/New Zealand

Oh yeah — I haven’t looked at Teh Left in NZ for … six years? In Good News for spotters, the —

1) Communist League;
2) Communist Workers’ Group of Aotearoa/New Zealand;
3) International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT);
4) International Socialist Organisation (Aotearoa/New Zealand);
5) Socialist Aotearoa (SA) and;
6) Socialist Appeal

— are all still kickin’, though Socialist Worker (Aotearoa) — which possibly survives as the Eco-Socialist Network? or maybe not — and the Workers’ Party of New Zealand (WPNZ) have undergone some ch-ch-changes. theicebloc blog has published a neat0 spotters’ guide to the extra-parliamentary left here, which includes Canterbury Socialist Society, Fightback, Organise Aotearoa, Redline, ☭Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (A/NZ)☭, Socialist Equality Group – New Zealand and finally Socialist Voice – Aotearoa/New Zealand. Anarchist groups and projects include Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement, Black Star Books, The Freedom Shop, Rebel Press and Tāmaki Makaurau Anarchists.

Q. Did Trotsky ‘invent’ the term ‘racist’ in 1927?

Over the last few months, Shermon Burgess — a/k/a ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ — has begun to increasingly indulge in the perpetuation of a range of radical right-wing memes, not only about Islam and the left but multiculturalism, the United Nations (Agenda 21) and allied topics. One of my favourite memes is the one about Trotsky inventing the term ‘racist’.

GAPTrotsky

Short answer:

No.

Long answer:

[Source : The ‘Trotsky Invented The Concept Of Racism’ Myth, One Million United, January 1, 2010.]

The Myth

Nick Griffin [BNP leader]: No it’s because people like the BBC have demonised the word racist and have set about demonising us.
Gavin Esler: Demonised the word racist? There is somehow a good side to racism is there?
Nick Griffin: Ah, it’s a canned term. There’s no good side to racism. If you mean hating people, you’re doing it now. You’re not letting me explain for a start. Racism was a concept invented by Leon Trotsky, a Communist mass-murderer to demonise his opponents and stop people talking about certain issues.

Nick Griffin on BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ 25th May 2007.

The Truth

The concept of scientific racial supremacy was invented by Gobineau before Trotsky was born. Trotsky used the term racism to describe it, but racism only became an epithet to describe racial prejudice after he died.

This is a very popular myth with neo-Nazis and other White Nationalists, who especially enjoy pointing out that Trotsky was born into a Jewish family. According to them a Judeo-Communist conspiracy is trying to destroy Western civilization and the white race, etc, etc, etc and invented that word to silence people… yawn. Funny that Nick Griffin should use a staple argument used by anti-Semites isn’t it? It can be found all over the Internet and Griffin was obviously defending his right to be racist by the looks of things. His argument, which is the general one, is that the concept of racism was invented by a Communist to stifle opposition and freedom of speech. But where did Trotsky use the word? There are two alleged sources, the first one is ‘What Is National Socialism?’, published on June 10th 1933.

The theory of race, specially created, it seems, for some pretentious self-educated individual seeking a universal key to all the secrets of life, appears particularly melancholy in the light of the history of ideas. In order to create the religion of pure German blood, Hitler was obliged to borrow at second hand the ideas of racism from a Frenchman, Count Gobineau, a diplomat and a literary dilettante. Hitler found the political methodology ready-made in Italy, where Mussolini had borrowed largely from the Marxist theory of the class struggle. Marxism itself is the fruit of union among German philosophy, French history, and British economics. To investigate retrospectively the genealogy of ideas, even those most reactionary and muddleheaded, is to leave not a trace of racism standing.

On the plane of politics, racism is a vapid and bombastic variety of chauvinism in alliance with phrenology. As the ruined nobility sought solace in the gentility of its blood, so the pauperized petty bourgeoisie befuddles itself with fairy tales concerning the special superiorities of its race. Worthy of attention is the fact that the leaders of National Socialism are not native Germans but interlopers from Austria, like Hitler himself, from the former Baltic provinces of the Czar’s empire, like Rosenberg; and from colonial countries, like Hess, who is Hitler’s present alternate for the party leadership. A barbarous din of nationalisms on the frontiers of civilization was required in order to instill into its ‘leaders’ those ideas which later found response in the hearts of the most barbarous classes in Germany.

… In the sphere of modern economy, international in its ties and anonymous in its methods, the principle of race seems unearthed from a medieval graveyard. The Nazis set out with concessions beforehand; the purity of race, which must be certified in the kingdom of the spirit by a passport must be demonstrated in the sphere of economy chiefly by efficiency. Under contemporary conditions this means competitive capacity. Through the back door, racism returns to economic liberalism, freed from political liberties.

The second reference is from The History of the Russian Revolution, written in 1930 and translated and published in 1932. In here the word ‘racism’ does not appear, but ‘racist’ does.

Slavophilism, the messianism of backwardness, has based its philosophy upon the assumption that the Russian people and their church are democratic through and through, whereas official Russia is a German bureaucracy imposed upon them by Peter the Great. Marx remarked upon this theme: ‘In the same way the Teutonic jackasses blamed the despotism of Frederick the Second upon the French, as though backward slaves were not always in need of civilised slaves to train them.’ This brief comment completely finishes off not only the old philosophy of the Slavophiles, but also the latest revelations of the ‘Racists’.

So what did Trotsky mean by racism and racist? In the first quotation Trotsky says, “In order to create the religion of pure German blood, Hitler was obliged to borrow at second hand the ideas of from a Frenchman, Count Gobineau”. Who was Gobineau and what were his ideas? Arthur de Gobineau (1816 – 1882) wrote a book entitled An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races in which he proposes that the ‘white race’ is superior and that the Aryan branch of it in Northern Europe was the ‘Master Race’. He also believed race-mixing led to chaos. I bet you thought the Nazis invented all that didn’t you? Anyway, so Trotsky said Hitler created a ideology based on a pure German race and nicked ideas from Gobineau… err, well he did! Trotsky said the Nazis were practising an ideology based on race, which goes without saying is true. He was not trying to stop the Nazis talking about certain issues, he was criticising the concept of their race-based ideology. So if Griffin disagrees with Trotsky presumably he believes the Nazis didn’t have a racial ideology, or Trotsky was wrong to even mention it.

In the second quotation Trotsky says the Slavophiles believe Russians to be inherently democratic, an idea that he rubbishes. He says that also finishes off the claims of the racists. But again he is attacking the idea of racial differences not accusing the Slavophiles of saying racist things.

In both cases Trotsky is commenting on an existing ideology of racial superiority/difference, so he therefore did not invent the concept of racism. No more than the person who invented the word ‘cat’ was the inventor of cats!

Therefore what was the context Trotsky was using those words in, if he only is attacking the idea of inherent racial differences? In the 1930s the word ‘racism’ meant according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “[t]he theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race”. Which sounds exactly like the way Trotsky was using it. No doubt that applies to his earlier usage of ‘racist’ too.

In fact in the 1930s, also according to the OED, the word ‘racialism’ (dating from 1907) meant “belief in the superiority of a particular race; prejudice based on this”.

The current meaning of racism, that of prejudice, has only been attached to it since World War II. Prior to World War II it meant the difference between races. Conversely, ‘racialism’ no longer means racial superiority or prejudice. By the 1960s it had been made redundant as ‘racism’ had replaced it, but William Du Bois redefined it to mean the belief that differences exist between human races. In other words what ‘racism’ meant before World War II when Trotsky was using the word in his writing. A complete reversal.

Therefore the current accusations of racism directed at the Far Right do not mean the same thing as racism did in Trotsky’s writings. The concept of racial superiority itself goes back before Trotsky was even born and he didn’t coin ‘racialism’, which meant in the 1930s what ‘racism’ does today. Just as if Trotsky mentioned ‘gay’ in his writings he’d have meant happy or colourful, not a homosexual.

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism was founded as the The League Against Pogroms in 1927, [it] later became the International League against Anti-Semitism and in 1932 it acquired its present name. Magnus Hirschfeld wrote his book Racism in 1933 (trans. into English in 1938) and is generally credited with inventing the word itself. As he was a gay Jew he isn’t too popular with the Far Right either. So there is doubt as to whether Trotsky did originate the word, but even if he did he was using it to describe something that no-one would dispute: that Nazi Germany had an ideology based on the racial differences between Germans and others.

Trotsky did not invent the concept of racism, it was Gobineau the grandfather of Nazi racial politics!

One last little thought: why would people like the BNP, who aren’t apparently racist, object to the very existence of the word? If they weren’t racist and neo-Nazis, why would they say the word has no legitimacy because a Communist invented it? If you did away with the words ‘racist’ and ‘racism’ that would significantly reduce the stigma of such behaviour. So why would the BNP want that if they aren’t racist? Presumably for the same reasons they want to abolish the Race Discrimination Act: they want to be able to be as racist as they like, with no legal or moral impediments.

See also : The Ugly, Fascinating History Of The Word ‘Racism’, Gene Demby, NPR, January 6, 2014 | “Race suicide” (January 1, 2011) | Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe (March 9, 2012).

2013 : Year of the Trot?

Straya

OK, so The Chinese may reckon that 2013 is The Year of The Snake but I reckon it may be The Year of The Trot. Want evidence? See the following:

Yes that’s right: the leader of the God Delusional Opportunists (aka Socialist Alternative) and the leader of the Parliamentary Cretinists (also known as Socialist Alliance) are here seen conspiring to prevent the International Communist League from realising their dream: building an internationalist revolutionary workers party modelled on the Bolshevik party of Lenin and Trotsky, which led the working class to power in the 1917 Russian Revolution. Nationalist views are widely imbibed by the Laborite reformist left in this country, including the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) — which also sent a delegation to SA’s ninth annual conference in Geelong (January 18–20).

Reforge the Fourth International!

Speaking of the ICL, the latest issue of Australasian Spartacist makes reference to Louise O’Shea’s controversial attack upon the Jill Meagher mobilisation. Thus:

… the anti-communist Socialist Alternative have cause a a stir amongst the reformist left [with O’Shea’s article] … Seeking to distance SAlt from bourgeois feminism but lacking the necessary Marxist program to do so, O’Shea’s article is peppered with rhetoric against class collaboration. This takes some chutzpah given that SAlt is immersed in class-collaborationist politics, from entrenching itself in cross-class anti-war coalitions to calling for a vote to the capitalist Greens in numerous parliamentary elections.

~ ‘ALP Government: Enemy of Workers and Oppressed’, Australasian Spartacist, No.218, Summer 2012/13, p.5.

Meanwhile, Trotskyist Platform (“Splitters!”) has made the latest issue of its journal (#15) available online here. And hey! Kids! “Massively Increase Public Housing! Socialistic China is Doing That So Let’s Fight for the Same Here!” (Or so the Fawning Conciliator of the Social-Imperialist Left would have us believe.)

As for the “leadership of the world socialist movement”, it rightly denounces the AWL, SA and SAlt in its coverage of ‘The Australian pseudo-left and the NSW public sector union’ (Peter Symonds, wsws.org, January 19, 2013).

Further afield, SAlt’s British great-uncle, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), is currently in a state of ‘crisis’ (according to some), as they seek to address allegations of rape by a central committee member. The process instituted by the party to deal with these allegations has been the subject of much criticism, as has been the party leadership’s response to critics. A handful of prominent SWP members (China Miéville, Richard Seymour) have complained loudly and publicly about the affair and their discovery that the SWP may be moar ‘centralism’ than it is democratic. Unlike a handful of other dissenters, these two intellectuals can haz too much social status to simply be told to fuck off by the party leadership. They may even be in a position to mount some kinda challenge to the incumbents — who knows? The Weekly Worker, that’s who. (FWIW, my money’s on the son of John Alexander Callinicos and Hon. Ædgyth Bertha Milburg Mary Antonia Frances Lyon-Dalberg-Acton remaining on top; some SWP sympathisers have recently signed an open letter declaring that they’re not. happy. with the party leadership and will henceforth no longer be accepting invitations to be published by or speak on party platforms.)

Aotearoa/New Zealand

In other news, the (IMT) socialist fightback in the North and South Islands has suffered a setback with the appropriation of the Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth by a so-called “anarchist” group. Seriously. Note that fightback.org.au — originally the property of a Sydney wEirD0 and Cronulla fan, then the Marxist Voice of Labour and Youth Down Under — is now under the sinister control of the Socialist Party (SP). Incidentally, the SP’s views on left unity malarkey may be found here.

See also : Trot Guide 2012 (April 10, 2012).

Trot Guide November 2012 Update

SA & SP

I’m excited!

In a breakthrough for the pseudo-socialist Socialist Alliance (SA), Sue Bolton has been elected to Moreland Council! Sue becomes SA’s second local councillor, joining Sam Wainwright in Fremantle.

In Yarra Council, the Labor-loyal reformist left Socialist Party (SP) fared well in terms of votes, but unfortunately their share of the preciousss was nevertheless reduced by one with the departure of Anthony Main, leaving Steve Jolly to once again fly the red flag alone.

(There are close to 600 local councils in Australia, and many thousands of councillors, so long march through the (local) institutions will be long march.)

RSP & SAlt & Solidarity

Those God Delusional Cheerleaders for Capitalist Counterevolution Socialist Alternative (SAlt) have begun issuing a series of statements from current and former members of the Anti-Communist Opportunists of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) describing their reasons for joining SAlt. The most recent such statement comes from Van Thanh Rudd. For his part, veteran socialist and RSP member Max Lane has some Reflections on starting ‘anew’: some experiences from the Australian left (October 14, 2012).

On a less positive note, SAlt is also in some trouble in its heartland, the University of Melbourne. Thus “Solidarity at Melbourne Uni are in a campaign with the Liberal-dominated Clubs and Societies committee to disaffiliate us and sabotage the Marxism 2013 conference. Our agreement on the Russia question is relatively irrelevant; their rabidly sectarian shenanigans are the dominant barrier to unity and cooperation. Meanwhile the RSP (and the Alliance for that matter) are happy to discuss unity and have long worked with us in a comradely way.” In other words, a petition to disaffiliate the SAlt student club from the student union is in the works; members of SAlt blame their arch-rivals in Solidarity for the petition, but Some Guy reckons that’s bollocks.

At the other end of the scale, Australia’s best Trotskyist group has issued a stirring call-to-arms in defence of the beleagured Health Services Union: Police, Courts Hands Off the HSU!.

In political opposition to the pro-capitalist union tops, workers need a class-struggle leadership determined to take on the bosses and win. Such a leadership, linked to a revolutionary party would fight for nothing less than the overthrow of the whole rotting capitalist system through workers revolution. We demand: State out of the unions! Police, courts hands off the HSU!

As for the AWL, CL, CPA, CPA(ML), FSP, PLP, SEP and TP, more news as it comes to hand! In the meantime:

CPA(ML), ’13th Congress Resolution on the Working Class’, Vanguard, November 2012:

Based on our analyses of classes and class contradictions in Australia, the CPA (M-L) is of the view that the principal contradiction in Australia’s class struggle is between US economic and political domination and the overwhelming majority of the people, with the working class as the leading class in the anti-imperialist struggle for an independent, democratic and socialist Australia.

LATE BREAKING NEWS!

Damn.

I’ve only just discovered that the Communist League stood a candidate in the NSW local council elections in September. Joanne Kuniansky stood for Mayor of Canterbury and got 518 votes (0.79%) for her troubles.

Labor Lefty Lindsay Tanner Socialist Alliance Alternative Anarchy Situations

0. A slightly random assortment of links and lamentations partly prompted by Landeryou labelling this blog as lefty inre Gerry Hand (and Lindsay Tanner).

1. “[Lindsay Tanner’s] predecessor in the federal seat of Melbourne, Gerry Hand, spent decades denouncing Indonesia for the unpleasantness perpetrated against East Timor. Shortly after he left ministerial service, he was involved in creating a casino with an Indonesian billionaire with very close ties to Indonesian generals and the Presidential family. Lefty websites claim he was also involved in – shock, horror – coal mining.”

The shock, horror is compounded in this case by archive.org, which explains of http://www.greatearthltd.com: Hrm. Wayback Machine doesn’t have that page archived. Of course, Lindsay’s revelation that a big legged woman Modern Labor ain’t got no soul ain’t all that newsy.

2. Strike a light! No sooner had I discovered that the Revolutionary Socialist Party is madly flirting with Socialist Alternative than a jealous rival for SAlt’s affections emerges: Socialist Alliance.

Dear Comrades

We are writing on behalf of the Socialist Alliance national executive to request discussions with your leadership to explore possibilities for closer cooperation and unity. Our national executive met on September 14 and agreed on sending this letter…

Blah blah blah.

It’s been an interesting decade for the remnants of the Fourth International’s followers in Australia but by avoiding, if not initially, the electoral trap set by the DSP for the ISO in 2001, SAlt has emerged a decade later in a much stronger position than its chief ideological rival Solidarity, and much better able to recruit yoof, especially on campus, than SA’s yoof wing Resistance.

See also : Bad News for Spotters : RSP and SAlt to merge? (September 18, 2012) | (On SWP/DSP history) In Reply to Peter Boyle, by Barry Sheppard, SWP History: 1960-1988, August 26, 2012.

3. How these people propose to run a factory, work a railway or steer a ship without having in the last resort one deciding will, without a unified direction, they do not indeed tell us.

4. Finally, Comrade Hayes has reminded me of the Situationists. To be precise, he’s got a blog and has armed himself with a critique of McKenzie Wark’s recent title about the adventures of Those Crazy Europeans in a rather too-brief period of Time. Speaking of which, PM Press is gonna be re-publishing the Belgian d00d’s 1967 book soon too.

It’s a text no working family can afford to miss!