A comment on Bob Gould and the ALP

Steve Painter and Rose McCann spainter at optushome.com.au
Tue Sep 17 16:43:27 MDT 2002

Jose Perez wrote:

>>Leaving aside whether Gould has succeeded in capturing every nuance of the
DSP's tactics towards the ALP and its supporters, which I doubt, as well as
a discussion of whatever the correct tactics might be for *combatting* the
ALP in a given situation, I would think all *revolutionary* socialists would
agree that the ALP is, all bullshit aside, a pliant tool of the Australian
bourgeoisie, and with whatever combination of weapons from our armory, its
influence among working people MUST BE FOUGHT.>>

Bob Gould has written some analysis of the electoral grip of the Labor Party
in the Australian working class, and the implications of that for Marxists
and other anti-capitalist fighters. It takes the form of a review of a
publication of the NSW Parliament, "The People's Choice".

He concludes:

On the conservative side of politics, and in the media, there is a
pronounced bias towards neglect of serious empirical sociology, in
commentary on electoral politics. The same sort of stupidity is repeated by
some on the far left, who grasp at straws, to attempt to buttress electoral
pretensions that, empirically speaking, have no future at all.

>From a Marxist point of view, my primary objection to this myopic
independent socialist electoral strategy, is that it is a powerful obstacle
to Marxists engaging in their main tasks, which ought to be, exerting direct
influence in the labour movement, the working class and amongst the leftward
leaning section of the "new social layers".

The ferocious "exposure" rhetoric, directed both at the leadership and
supporters of the two major electoral representatives of the progressive
side of Australian society, Labor and the Greens, which flows from the
desire to achieve the Sisyphean task of carving out an electoral space in
opposition to Labor and the Greens, has become a powerful obstacle to those
"Marxists" exercising any influence at all on Labor and the Greens.

The groups in the Socialist Alliance have used their smallish but quite
effective machine, and their very considerable energy, to become the only
far left group registered for the NSW state elections. It is possible to
predict, with reasonable certainty, the electoral result of those efforts.
They will get a vote in the region of the result achieved by the Democratic
Socialist Electoral Alliance, the only far left group registered in the
Upper House in 1995, 0.25%, maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

The three volumes of the "People's Choice" are rather expensive, but they
are well worth the money, for anyone with an interest in electoral politics
in Australia, from any point of view really, but particularly for socialists
who take electoral politics seriously, as one of the major indicators of the
forces at work in society.

Full: http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Ozleft.html

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