DSP, Socialist Alliance, USFI, SSP, SWP ...

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Mon Sep 9 07:12:20 MDT 2002

>>On the other hand, the DSP's letter does not indicate
that they are "dissolving" or "liquidating" their
organization.  They merely wrote that they are
thinking about operating as a faction or platform
inside SA.  In other words, they want to end the
agreement betwen organizations - that is the Alliance
-and launch a "broad party."<<

I think the DSP's proposal goes further than this. If I read it right, it
goes to tearing down the organizational walls between the DSPers and other
forces also moving in a revolutionary direction. Thus I think their
aspiration would be for a real organizational fusion, moving towards an
elimination of the old organizational frontiers, not just reducing them to
the border between factions in a common grouping. I believe the proposal is
*organizationally* liquidationist, and the leadership comrades hope it will
be possible to carry this out quite thoroughly, to where the current of
former DSP memebers and supporters wouldn't have any significant
organizational structure within the alliance at all, and the alliance itself
would inherit/develop/transform a much stronger political center and
apparatus than it now has. As for factions, I, for one, would hope that to
the degree there is a need to caucus, that would take place increasingly
along the lines of current and immediate issues before the alliance, as
opposed to old organizational borders.

The other side of the proposal, the main side, as I see it, is the
*building* of new organizational walls and structures. It is a complicated
thing, for they propose to take this wall and that staircase of the house
they have built for themselves as the DSP and move them over to form
constituent parts of the new SA house. Getting all the pieces to fit right,
and on the SA foundation that has already been laid, is going to be

This obviously doesn't mean the DSP abandoning its politics. On the
contrary, it is precisely political considerations that motivate it. It is a
maneuver, not in the vulgar sense of a swindle or trick, but in the stricter
military sense of a restructuring and redeployment of forces guided by a
strategic conception of the road ahead.

But, of course, being determines consciousness, and if something like this
works, I would expect many of the former DSP'ers who in a year or two will
view themselves primarily as SA cadre to have a different perspective on a
number of political issues -- not necessarily at all different formal
positions, but a richer understanding derived from having to discuss them
through with other comrades who may reach the same final conclusion, but get
there by a different road.

And this relates to Louis's polemic against Cannonism and for Cochranism as
applied to this. There is a limit to what can be gained by rehashing the old
experiences and formulations and more to be gained from trying to grapple
with the new one. Certainly, it is valid and useful and helps advance
understanding to say, these x, y and z things you are doing are what I had
in mind. But there's no sense insisting the Australian cdes. now formally
renounce Cannonism and Zinovievism and so on to demonstrate their probity in
making this proposal. The exact nautre, character and limits of what they
propose will be probed and tested in the discussion and in practice around
current issues and problems.

>From my point of view, if this is what the DSP cdes. mean by party building,
then I would say I have broader agreement with this Leninism, at least in
the main outlines of how to approach practical work right now --which is all
that can be judged from afar--, than certainly I suspected.

And perhaps it is an illustration of what I mean when I say cdes. will have
a different perspective on the positions they hold. It will give us both
food for thought if it turns out that the DSP cdes. view this as an
excellent illustration of what they mean by party building while people like
me welcome it as a break from some of the problems we see with the approach
I call "Zinovievism."

And thinking back now on the old fights, this should not surprise us, after
all, currents like the Cochran current did, in fact, arise as a response by
a layer of the "Cannonists" to changed political circumstances. And once
that fight was over, a few months later, the SWP did change policy, going in
the direction of that the Cochranites wanted. Had the majority put forward
those proposals six months before the split rather than after, it may well
have been avoided. And I think it would have been far, far preferable for
the cochranites and cannonites to have stayed together in the same
organization. It would have meant, I think, a looser party, but that was
inevitable under the circumstanes, and the Cannon majority was not being
realistic in denying the political situation required that approach.


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