DSP and the Australian Socialist Alliance

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 4 10:24:54 MDT 2002


Louis wrote:
> Just a couple of words to fill in the background on
> this. Brian is a long-standing militant of the Irish
> section of the Trotskyist Committee for
> a Workers International

I am indeed a member of the Committee for a Workers
International, although "long-standing militant" might
be pushing it a bit.

> He tends to project the political vocabulary of his
> own tradition into this initiative of the DSP. The
> term "liquidationism" is a hoary favorite in Fourth
> International circles.

"Liquidationism" is not a term much used in the CWI,
although I have heard it on occasion. I wouldn't
normally use it myself because it is unnecessarily
old-fashioned jargon, but I couldn't come up with a
better way of encapsulating a decision to turn a
self-proclaimed revolutionary organisation into a
rarely-caucusing tendency within a reformist
organisation. If you think that "liquidationism" is an
unfair way of describing this change, feel free to use
another term. My point remains unchanged by altering
the terminology.

And by the way, the CWI and its predecessors hasn't
been connected to any version of the "Fourth
International" since the 1950s, although we did
initiate discussions with pretty much all of them
about the possibilities of a principled regroupment a
few years ago.

> Instead of thinking in typical small
> proprietor "market share" terms (newspaper
> circulation, membership numbers, attendance at
> national events, etc.), activists must think in
> terms of the needs of the class as a whole.

At least there is one sentence of your analysis I can
agree with whole-heartedly.

> There is little question in my mind that an
> objective basis for Marxist unity exists in
> Australia as many of the "split questions" of the
> 1970s and 80s recede in importance. Those who can
> seize the opportunity to establish a new framework
> for revolutionary unity will be honoring the best
> traditions of Marx and Lenin, no matter what their
> petty detractors say

This has little to do with the events we are
discussing. Dissolving revolutionary organisations
into loose tendencies within a reformist organisation
is not "revolutionary unity".

More to the point, the DSP proclamation is not a move
towards "unity" of any kind. Who exactly is it
supposed to be uniting with? Who is it negotiating
with?

It is possible that this is an ill-though through but
sincere offer. It seems just as likely, though, that
this is simply a move to take sole ownership of the
Australian Socialist Alliance, split its major "ally"
and pick up a few of the independents. Which
explanation better fits DSP practice?

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill

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