the Australian thread

Adam Rose adam at
Thu Aug 22 08:02:18 MDT 1996

Gary writes:
> There is another fascination in Adam's critique and that is  the struggle
> with the bureaucracy.  I am torn here.  I  agree totally with his assessment
> of the role of the bureaucracy but to begin with an attack on them is not to
> court unpopularity but rather to simply not be heard.  As always one  needs
> to split up the target.  Now I am not arguing for an orientation towards the
> Left bureaucracy. (Spare me puh..leese any posts about  1926 and the role of
> the left officials).

Of course, we should never BEGIN with an attack on the bureaucrats. As
you rightly point out, the result of this is that you are simply not

We have to take up, in a concrete manner, the immediate attacks from
the bosses and the government. The leaflet seemed to do this very well.
We also have to put concrete proposals to take the movement forward.
( I can't really judge any of this from this distance ).

But in doing this, we also have to point out what the barriers are
to the further development of the movement. We do ourselves and the
movement no favours if we do not address ourselves to these problems.
In general, they are the Trade Union Bureaucracy and its politics, the
politics of reformism. And we have to work in these political themes
in a concrete, not an abstract way, which of course I cannot do from

> My attitude is determined by a feeling that workers need to know and
> understand that the Left are on their side and that takes patience and not a
> "perfect" leaflet which gets a high grade from a Leninist scholar.

Well, I'm not arguing that every leaflet should be a one sheet summary
of State + Revolution, am I ? Only that the main obstacle to the further
development of the movement is discussed, and political and practical
steps to overcome this obstacle are put forward.

The precise details of how to put this argument, exactly what steps to
propose etc, are difficult to get right - but my criticism was quite sharp
not because I thought the way this had been done was wrong ( which
would be practically impossible for me to judge ) but because it
had not even been attempted. To attempt to do this and get it wrong is
a mistake. Not to attempt it, in these circumstances, is irresponsible.

And I've thought if you got it more or less right, given the record of
Labour in power and the ACTU's collaboration with them, you'd be pretty
popular. In these situations, the problem can often be that we are
to the right of the class.


Adam Rose


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