Labor, Marxists and Gould and Painter's distortions

Richard Fidler rfidler at
Wed Sep 25 09:37:10 MDT 2002

Nick Fredman:

>> The point is that seeing the ALP as a bourgeois party doesn't at all stop
proposals for joint activity, working closely with ALP people in particular
circumstances  (my closest ally in my union branch exec is the only ALP
member  there), trying to get a hearing, yada yada yada, but it does make
the  strategic line of march a lot clearer. The above-mentioned activities
are of course quite modest, but they should make clear that the SA as  an
organisation, despite differnences, has a stance of united front
campaigning with ALP activists, union officals and MPs etc where
appropriate, while criticising the ALP's pro-capitalist policies and
actions (as an aside while modest such activity of the oprganised  promotion
of socialist politics in the labour movement is far beyond  the capacities
of any grouping in the Greens or the ALP left). What  on Earth else, or
additionally, are Gould and Painter advocating that  Marxists actually say
and do? Not criticise the ALP at all? Surely  part of a united front is an
honest debate. And surely educating  people about the nature of social
democracy is a vital part of  building a Marxist organisation in a country
like Australia. Surely  as well as engaging with broader layers one *must*
actually build a  Marxist current, and I can't see Gould doing that in the
ALP or  Painter doing that in the Greens. <<

Brief comment:

Well put! This really is the central point of this very interesting
discussion on labour parties. While the ALP is "bourgeois", the
revolutionary left must adopt a united front stance toward it, engage its
militants in debate as well as common activity where possible. This we would
not think of doing in regard to a "classic" bourgeois party such as the
Liberals (Australia) or National Party (New Zealand). That is because the
ALP is a bourgeois party of a peculiar type: it operates specifically within
the workers movement (as well as in Parliament), through its special links
with the trade unions and the broader labour movement. Our overriding
objective in all of this is to build the Marxist current, just as in the
unions we work to build the class-struggle current.

More later....


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