DSP and the Australian Socialist Alliance

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 4 09:26:46 MDT 2002

Having read the DSP announcement that it intends to
dissolve itself into the Australian Socialist Alliance
I am left feeling more than a little sceptical.

There is certainly a possibility that the DSP honestly
wants to liquidate its revolutionary organisation into
a reformist one, but given its long history of
sectarian manouvering another option presents itself.

The Australian Socialist Alliance consists of the DSP,
the ISO, a handful of tiny organisations and a small
number of active independents. The other
reasonable-sized organisations on the Australian left
- the Progressive Labour Party, the Communist Party,
the Socialist Party and Socialist Alternative - have
refused to get involved, seeing it as little more than
a pact between the ISO and the DSP.

The DSP has not entered into discussion with its
"allies" about widening and deepening cooperation.
Instead, as Alan points out, it has made a unilateral
decision that it is going to entirely submerge itself
in the alliance.

It has made this announcement while the only other
group of any size in the alliance, the ISO, is in
disarray. Over the last few years, operating on the
basis of a wildly optimistic assessment of the
political situation handed down to it by the British
SWP, the ISO has thrown itself into all kinds of
broader movements well beyond its capacity to
maintain, while avoiding difficult arguments about
politics. The expected gains did not occur and in fact
the organisation started to decline. Now the
organisation is split in a number of different
diections, some relatively "movementist", some

The DSP, in the absence of large numbers of
independents and with a declining ISO, has been
effectively running the Socialist Alliance. By pushing
themselves even further into the alliance, while
presenting the move as a step towards non-sectarian
"regroupment", they can hope to take coplete control
of the alliance, hoover up many of the small number of
independents who actually do take part and further
exacerbate the tensions in the ISO.

The ISO is then left with the option of ceding the
Socialist Alliance to the DSP or responding similarly
and trying to fight a losing battle against a larger
and less demoralised organisation within the alliance.

Now as I said at the beginning, it is is not
impossible that the DSP are entirely sincere in their
liquidationism. Stranger things have happened and
without being on the ground, I can't tell.

On the other hand if this move really is about closer
cooperation on the left, why is the process starting
with a DSP announcement rather than a discussion
amongst the "allies"?

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill

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