Australian Labor Party

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Fri Sep 13 22:20:26 MDT 2002


Ben:
> In the early 1920s, Lenin suggested that communists should call for a vote
> for Labour, when the majority of the working class had illusions in it, in
> order better to expose it and win a hearing from its supporters. He never
> elevated this into a permanent principle based on some mystical "proletarian"
> quality of Labour. Indeed, his comment on the ALP should be more widely
> remembered: he called it a "liberal bourgeois party".


Yes, and the number one policy plank of the ALP when it was founded was
to fight for a White Australia.

Funny how Lenin's view of the ALP, plus stuff about what it originally
stood for, gets swept under the carpet all the time by both the orthodox
Trotskyists and the sections of Stalinism which called for support for
the ALP.

In Ann Curthoys and Andrew Markus (eds), 'Who Are Our Enemies?  racism
and the Australian working class', there is a paper on the foundation of
the ALP which shows that even most of the 'workers' involved in its
founding were actually not workers but petty-bourgeois.

Lenin once wrote that there are a lot of leftists who have rote-learned
certain slogans without ever having learned the *criteria* for those
slogans.  In other words, if the criteria change, then the slogans are
not longer applicable.  Nowhere, it seems to me, is this more the case
than in the rote-learned slogans we hear again and again re the Labour parties.

The simple fact is that if we consider the  criteria Lenin used to
advocate supporting Labour like a rope supports a hanged man, virtually
none of these criteria are true of the LPs today.  Moreover,
contemporary far left support for Labour tends to be 'critical support'
rather than the throttle-the-bastards-to-death 'support' which Lenin suggested.

Philip Ferguson

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