Socialist Alliance: We'real good revolutionaries here...but some are more revolutionary than others

dave riley dhell at
Wed Nov 20 01:36:16 MST 2002

I sympathise with those among us who have to work or sleep or do an exam  on
the morrow, but can't deal with their addiction to this discussion...

My guess is that a major hesitancy to left unity is a dogged coda to the
effect  that while my group is  revolutionary, your's is not.  Am I wrong?
How then can we explain this determined separation unless there was some
extraordinary factor sustaining it. Surely this absolutely proves one group
right/the other wrong -- or one very much "more right" than the other.
Since no one
has actually lead a revolution recently, the answer is a hard one to call
except in the head (in the head!)  of those who are so afflicted.  Proof of
a group's certifiable revolutionary credentials isn't easy to come by. Being
"non Stalinist "won't do anymore. That's passé.  Belief in "the permanent
revolution" may excite some but its hardly a concrete element that can aid
our quest. Knowing a revolution when you see one isn't a bad call but it's
an offshore thing. Even the bourgeoisie can work that one out and they're no
longer interested in being revolutionary.

So drawing a confident  and unequivocal line in the sand isn't easy. It
takes arrogance, real arrogance.  Of course, I could be wrong. No one would
dare say it, would they ?-- that such and such a group  isn't revolutionary?
Surely not.  Not today. If they did, what would they base their judgement

But such judgements do exist primarily over questions of method. Among the
left groups in Australia differences  in method have been inflated  to build
Chinese walls between one outfit  and the other on pseudo revolutionary
grounds.  It's a question of means . On programmatic questions -- the good
and bad things in the world as we know it -- divisions have been established
by long historical processes and pumped up internationals  at some distance
from the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or whatever. But day to day
it's primarily methods that seem to get in the way.

On the big local questions, division isn't so obvious.  Whether you do it
or outside the Labor Party has been resolved. That you do it outside the
is almost a  given. The role that elections can play in getting the word out
is generally accepted by all except one or two.  Indeed, on all the main
campaigns these groups are overwhelmingly  on the same side  of the line.
But still
they doggedly adhere to their separate agendas while living in parallel
political universes as they each advance separately against the bourgeois

Unfortunately there are some that concede that maybe this division could be
overcome if we discuss out  these differences over an indeterminate period
of time. Chat first. Then we  get together..maybe. Primarily this proposal
wants "agreement over differences" (an odd amalgam that) established as a
precondition to regroupment.  How they think this can be done isn't
suggested.  What's this to be,a swap meet!  How can you trade differences
or, simply , talk them out?  As a means to an end it assumes "progress" (if
I can call it that) depends on  narrowing what separates rather than
expanding what unites the groups involved.  There's a big gap between these
two processes.

Ultimately and actually it's only practice that can decide any of these
questions. Only by dealing with concrete day to day questions, who should
differ and who should agree is formally resolved.

Dave Riley
dhell at

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