New LINKS magazine now online: Challenges in uniting the left

Ben C benj at
Sat May 31 07:41:49 MDT 2003

Articles available at <>
Here I've reproduced the introduction (summary of articles) and the list 
of contents..
Ben C

Previous issues of /Links/ have frequently discussed internationalism 
and internationals, or the question of how socialists should collaborate 
on an international scale. This issue is devoted to the closely related 
matter of left regroupment, or how socialists can collaborate at the 
national level. It discusses the challenges of left regroupment through 
concrete experiences in Australia, England, Scotland, France and Brazil.

In Australia in 2002, the Socialist Alliance, grouping nearly all the 
far-left organisations, was able to overcome difficult electoral 
registration requirements in several states and attract as new members a 
significant number of activists who were not members of any of the 
component groups. In September, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), 
the largest member organisation of the Alliance, proposed to spur the 
process of left regroupment by becoming an internal tendency within the 
Alliance and carrying out all its public political activity through the 
Socialist Alliance.

In the following pages, we present two articles and two documents 
relating to the Socialist Alliance and the DSP's proposal. Peter Boyle's 
"Steps toward greater left unity in Australia" presents the background 
and rationale of the DSP proposal and the response to it within the 
Socialist Alliance and the Australian left more generally.

"What we proposed", Boyle stressed, "was not an abandonment of Leninism 
but a tactic to build a bigger revolutionary vanguard in this country … 
The current political situation is creating new openings to collect a 
bigger revolutionary vanguard in Australia, and the proposal is a 
response to new conditions." Accompanying the article are the DSP's 
proposal, as contained in a letter to the Socialist Alliance National 
Executive, and a resolution on further steps adopted by the congress of 
the DSP in January 2003.

John Percy, the National Secretary of the DSP, then examines the history 
of the party in order to extract some of the key lessons it has learned 
and which the DSP relied on in its proposal to strengthen the Socialist 
Alliance and the process of left regroupment. He concludes that "our 
Leninist party perspective will still guide us, whether in the DSP, or 
as a Democratic Socialist Tendency, or as a strengthened Socialist 
Alliance party, or as a United Socialist Party. We have to be able to 
withstand bourgeois pressures, swim against the stream, to be critical 
and creative, but not reject the methodology and strengths that got us 
to where we are."

Five other articles in this issue constitute a discussion about the 
forms and content of regroupment between members of the Socialist 
Workers Party and the International Socialist Movement in the Scottish 
Socialist Party.

The first of these articles, by Murray Smith of the ISM, examines the 
evolution of the SWP's attitude to left regroupment, welcoming what he 
regards as important changes, but calling on the SWP "to question some 
of its assumptions and deepen its analysis, on the Labour Party and 
above all on what kind of parties we need to build in the coming period".

Alex Callinicos of the SWP then outlines his party's view of the 
question, situating it in an analysis of the rise of the 
anti-globalisation movement and the war drive of US imperialism. He 
debates the idea of the "bourgeoisification of social democracy" as used 
by Smith and the ISM, and argues that "The future of left regroupment 
depends heavily on how well revolutionaries address [the] tricky task" 
of "know[ing] how to work with forces to their right without 
capitulating to them".

Next, Nick McKerrell of the ISM takes issue with the SWP's use of the 
term "united front" in regards to formations such as the Socialist 
Alliance in England and with its characterisation of the Scottish 
Socialist Party.

This draws a rejoinder from the SWP's John Rees, and Murray Smith in 
turn replies to Rees. We trust readers will find it useful to have these 
contributions to an ongoing discussion all within the pages of a single 

This /Links/ concludes with two more experiences that bear on questions 
of left regroupment. Francois Duval of the Ligue Communiste 
Révolutionnaire describes the LCR's campaign in the French presidential 
election, after an unsuccessful attempt to form a united far-left 
ticket. And Ben Reid examines the Brazilian Workers Party's 
implementation of one aspect of its program, the "participatory budget" 
in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.


    * Steps toward greater left unity in Australia
      /by Peter Boyle
    * Letter to Socialist Alliance National Executive
      /from the Democratic Socialist Party <>./
    * Resolution on work in the Socialist Alliance
      /from the Democratic Socialist Party <>./
    * Looking backward, looking forward: Pointers to building a
      revolutionary party
      /by John Percy
    * Where is the SWP going?
      /by Murray Smith
    * Regroupment and the socialist left today
      /by Alex Callinicos
    * The united front today
      /by Nick McKerrell
    * The broad party, the revolutionary party and the united front [1]
      /by John Rees <>/
    * The broad party, the revolutionary party and the united front [2]
      /by Murray Smith
    * French revolutionary left on the front line
      /by Francois Duval
    * The Brazilian Workers Party and the participatory budget in Rio
      Grande do Sul <>
      /by Ben Reid <>/

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