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.

#TrotGuide : Socialist Party (CWI) resignations

Update (February 25, 2016) : The SP has issued a statement in response to the below : Statement from Socialist Party National Committee (February 24, 2016).

Yesterday 14 Socialist Party members, including City of Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly, tendered their resignations from the party.

See : Stephen Jolly leads mass resignation from Socialist Party over allegations of abuse cover-up, Benjamin Preiss, The Age, February 23, 2016.

I expect these resignations may well signal the end of the SP as a functioning franchise of the CWI Down Under.

See also : Comrades at war: the decline and fall of the Socialist Workers Party, New Statesman, May 30, 2014.

22/02/2016

This is an announcement of resignation from the Socialist Party, Australian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

We, the undersigned, refuse to be party to the cover-up of allegations of violence against women and will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse.

Over recent months we have watched the organisation we built be torn apart by attacks on a woman comrade for coming forward with serious allegations of abuse by a leading male member. We believe such allegations should always be investigated with seriousness and sensitivity, while open to scrutiny and democratic oversight. Instead, we have witnessed an attempted cover-up, defence of the alleged perpetrator and disgraceful treatment of the alleged victim.

As committed socialists and Marxists, we consider this an unforgivable breach between theory and practice. We have a proud history of fighting to end the oppression of women in society. We have published important material on the many ways women are oppressed by capitalist society and have expressed solidarity with the many movements throughout history that have fought and challenged this oppression. However, this important work will amount to nothing if we tolerate the silencing of women within our own ranks.

We are entering a new period of history where self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are inspiring people into political action and shaking up the capitalist system. A whole new generation is discovering the ideas of democratic socialism. Socialists should welcome them with open arms. But this can only be done on the basis of taking a principled stand against all forms of oppression.

The struggle for a socialist society – a society that puts the interests of people before profit – must be founded on the understanding that we cannot challenge capitalism while condoning violence against women within our movement. We must oppose all forms of oppression on the basis of class, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexuality.

We have a world to win through struggle, solidarity and socialism. We intend to fight for it.

Signed:

Stephen J
Mel G
Chris D
Emma L
Aish R
Emma Da.
Toby D
Sue M
Matt M
Tess K
Emma Du.
Kyal R
Bridgid O’B
Steven M

*In other spotterly news, The Communists are back, baby! (Kinda. Sorta.) See : The Communist Party of Australia plans to fly the red flag at the federal election, news.com.au, February 18, 2016.

SP v SB

From a disco on Facebook…

To recapitulate:

R, you made some comments about state repression of anarchists under the Bolsheviks, the status of the death penalty, and recommended Serge (‘The Bolsheviks’ pet anarchist’) on Kronstadt. I pointed out that the first major Cheka action against anarchists took place in April 1918: that is, prior to the re-introduction of the death penalty. I also noted that I’d read Serge on Kronstadt (‘Exchange of Views on Kronstadt’ (pp.124–141) in Kronstadt, V.I. Lenin & Leon Trotsky, Monad Press, 1979), and quoted him on the Cheka.

On a point of clarification: the Cheka did not, apparently, murder 40 anarchists during the raids, but this is the number est to have been killed OR wounded (hundreds more were arrested) by Avrich. Further, while Avrich provides a v brief description of the context (which I quoted), Maximoff (The Guillotine At Work, Vol 1: The Leninist Counter-Revolution, Cienfuegos Press, 1979 (1940), p.57) writes:

On the night of April 12 [1918], an armed force, acting upon government orders, smashed the Anarchist organizations of Moscow. Against those organizations the government forces threw in action not only rifles and machine guns, but also cannons. This “military expedition” resulted, according to M. Y. Latzis, “in 30 casualties–killed and wounded–on our part–12″[.] All that was done under the slogan of fighting “banditry in the Anarchist ranks”, but the real cause lies elsewhere. It was laid open by Lenin in his, “A letter to the Comrades” (issued September, 1917) in which he wrote that: “All agree in characterizing the prevailing mood of the masses of people as one nearing despair and as one giving rise to the generally acknowledged fact of growing Anarchist influence”.

In addition to the eighteen killed and wounded Anarchists, it is rather difficult to ascertain the exact number, the Che-Ka killed the arrested Anarchist Khodounov, during an alleged “attempt to escape”. From that time on persecutions of Anarchists continued at an ever growing rate and by the use of all kinds of means and methods.

In any event, there’s a long disco on my blog on the subject of the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution here.

More broadly, the question is (or was): are anarchists socialists? The title of the meeting implies not. However, you wrote that, in a broad sense, yes, anarchists might be considered socialists; a position Vincent Kolo maintains in his essay on anarchism–an important document if only in the sense that it appears to constitute the fullest expression of the CWI’s position as a whole. As noted, according to Kolo: “Anarchism represents a pre-socialist ideology”, a “fundamentally middle-class perspective with the individual rather than the position of social classes as its focus.”

So, @R:

Inre yr questions and comments:

1. By definition, anarchism is not ‘petit-bourgeois’, terrorist, unorganised or undemocratic. This is not to suggest that some anarchists have such social origins (that is, the lower-middle class), have not engaged in political violence (they have), are ‘unorganised’ or hostile to ‘democracy’.

As I see it, the argument being advanced by Kolo et al (it’s quite common among Marxists, of var hues) with regards anarchism being a petit-bourgeois ideology has to do with Marx and Engel’s understanding of ideology as being a reflection of class interests (cf. ‘The German Ideology’: 1845). Thus, while anarchism represents the interests of a 19th C social strata (the artisans or skilled, semi-independent workers), Marxism, it is argued, is, or should be properly considered as being, the ideology of the industrial working class (proletariat). This idea is also closely-related to the status of Marxism as a science as opposed to an ideology, one taken up w great gusto by Engels in, eg, ‘Socialism: Utopian and Scientific’ (1880).

2. A recent survey of the movement in Britain is Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms by Benjamin Franks (2006). John Quail’s The Slow Burning Fuse: The lost history of the British Anarchists (1978) is a good source on the movement’s origins in the mid- to late-19th C.

3. Bakunin’s role in the IWMA is hotly-contested. Paul Thomas’s Karl Marx and the Anarchists (1980) is worthwhile reading.

4. Anarchism has had a presence in the working class of many countries in addition to Spain. Eg: Argentina, Brazil, China, Cuba, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Russia. On the origins of Spanish anarchism, George Esenwein’s Anarchist Ideology and the Working Class Movement in Spain (1989) is good.

5. Afaik, I’ve not made any ref to the CNT.

6. I’m aware of the distinction b/w the early (EPM) and later Marx; there are many debates regard this supposed ‘epistemological break’ (cf. Althusser).

7. EH Carr’s 1937 bio of Bakunin is one of a number of (English language) bios: its status as an accurate portrayal is also hotly-contested by (among others) Mark Leier in Bakunin: The Creative Passion (2006).

8. The activities of anarchists and others on demos in the UK is another story, and I don’t feel obliged to defend the perspectives of ‘UK Uncut’. Note that this is not to suggest that these aren’t worthy of disco; rather that it departs from the focus of our own.

@D:

1. I understand yr point (I think) about Lenin not being in full control of events, and it therefore being unreasonable to assume he personally was responsible for all of the actions carried out by or in the name of the Bolshevik regime while he was leader. I also agree that the newly-formed Russian state evolved over time, and its policies and constitution were the subject (which is to say outcome) of multiple forces, both internal and external. In other words, the subject should be approached in the critical spirit with which any history should.

That said:

1. Part of this history (the history of the Russian Revolution) is the history of the Russian Social Democrats, which requires an understanding of its internal structure, as well as its policies, including the ones which Lenin advocated. I maintain that this structure was highly-authoritarian, and consciously so. Partly, this is (or was) a product of the circumstances of Tsarist Russia, and the brutality w which the regime acted against its political opponents. It was under these circumstances that the doctrine of ‘democratic centralism’ developed.

2. No, Lenin didn’t hold absolute power. But he did hold a good deal of power and authority as head of state, and moreover did a good deal to help construct a totalitarian political system, one which Stalin inherited from him. That Lenin engaged in furious polemics during the period 1917–1924 (in fact for his entire adult life) does not detract from these facts.

3. You write that you support the actions of the Bolshevik regime in suppressing the Left-SRs in July 1918. Supposedly, their revolt was triggered by the signing of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. However, repression of the SRs began prior to this revolt. In May their eighth conference in Moscow was dispersed and in June both they and Menshevik delegates were expelled from the ‘All-Russian Executive Committee of the Soviets’ (Maximoff, pp.73–74). I’m not esp familiar with this event (the assassination or revolt) or those surrounding it, but this essay offers some insight: Lutz Hafner, ‘The Assassination of Count Mirbach and the “July Uprising” of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries in Moscow, 1918’, Russian Review, Vol.50, No.3 (July, 1991), pp. 324–344 [PDF]. It casts some doubt on the official line.

4. The r/ship of the SP to the Bolsheviks is another matter, but it may be placed in a particular context, which is the dev of post-WWII Trotskyism, esp in the UK, the history of the Revolutionary Socialist League/Militant Tendency and Ted Grant. How precisely the contemporary SP in Australia could be “mapped onto” the Bolshevik/Communist Party during the period 1917–1921 is a question I’ll leave it up to you to answer.

5. That Lenin and the Bolshevik regime made mistakes is an uncontroversial proposition. It’s also not one that’s in dispute. In other words, what is really at issue, I think, is not this or that policy but Bolshevik doctrine as a whole. Rightly or wrognly, the Bolsheviks actively suppressed their opposition, and in doing so created a one-party state (“the ones that took political power in the soviets, and tried to construct a state capable of defending the revolution”). You and the SP “don’t regard [‘Stalinism’] as a natural extension of Bolshevism” whereas I do. The ‘excesses’ of the Cheka, for example, were not ‘excesses’ or extra-ordinary but routine and systematic.

Regarding the ‘degeneration’ of the regime, as suggested, I think Aufheben provides a useful summary of the var debates regarding the nature of the Soviet Union.

And oh yeah:

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