re socialist alternative unity proposal

NIBS nibs at
Wed Nov 27 21:37:28 MST 2002

Peter Boyle wrote:
It is not clear how serious the Socialist Alternative call for unity with
the International Socialist Organisation really is but if by some chance it
is taken up by the ISO (which has its national conference over the weekend
of December 7-8) perhaps those wings of the socialist movement in
Australia, in comnination, would feel more confident to participate in an
open-ended experiment in broader left regroupment within the Socialist

Jeff writes:
It's not clear how seriously Peter Boyle expects to be taken when he begins
messages with these quite unnecessary sneers (why should our calls for
unity be any less genuine than his?) but since he's felt moved to share his
thoughts in triplicate, perhaps it's appropriate to send one brief reply.
Fairly obviously, the decisions made by the Socialist Alliance do nothing
to address the concerns we've expressed on a number of occasions -- that
the Alliance involves neither a genuine political reorientation of the
component organisations, nor any influx of new forces, and as such will
simply provide a new (and more insular) arena for the conflicts between the
various tendencies to play themselves out in ever smaller circles.
Peter asks why, if we think the differences between SA and the ISO could be
discussed within a unified group, we don't join the Alliance. I would have
thought document I posted makes our position fairly clear. We think
that  --- while serious disagreements exist between the ISO and SA --- our
agreement with the ISO on most questions of principle provides a framework
in which differences might potentially be resolved. We could be wrong about
this of course, but it's a possibility worth exploring.
By contrast, the DSP agrees with us neither on tactics (as certain leaked
documents recently confirm) nor principles (the organisation's support of
Australian intervention in East Timor forms only one point in a trajectory
evident as long ago as, say, the 1991Gulf War, where the DSP argued for the
use of UN troops to protect the Kurds).
We regularly work alongside the DSP and the ISO in a comradely fashion in
campaigns, demonstrations and so on. We will continue to do so. At the same
time, we see no reason to seek an organisational unity which papers over
genuine political differences.


Jeff Sparrow

"Comrades, cling to your principles! Be men and women! We are fighting for
freedom; why should we falter?"
J.W.Fleming, 1889

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