[Marxism] Desperate times in the Socialist Alliance

steve heeren tzsche at shaw.ca
Sat May 1 23:19:05 MDT 2004

In light of this submission is there any way that Louis Proyect could
establish a special discussion on marxmail called "sects in australia"?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "DAVID MURRAY" <dmurray at studentmail.newcastle.edu.au>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 9:49 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Desperate times in the Socialist Alliance

A study of the debates for the Socialist Alliance conference.
The fourth year and third conference is even more contentious than either of
the first two,
with the DSP going ahead with its organisational maneuvre and becoming the
This year, the DSP is even less satisfied and wants Green left weekly,
a long term paper of the DSP to become the official paper of the Socialist
Alliance. Although
this is the next logical step for the DSP, its desperation is even more
Dave Riley's comment in issue 7 of the 'Alliance Voices' (or 'Abercrombie St
Orders') is
particularly revealing, "I think it needs to be emphasized that the sign-on
statement that has been circulated within the SA by the International
Socialist Organisation advocating “a paper of the Alliance for the Alliance”
hides within its rhetoric a simple fact: that rather than continue with the
Green Left Weekly trial, the ISO wants the Socialist Alliance to have no
newspaper vehicle at all.". This is not the biggest affront to reality
however(mote: the ISO calls for an Alliance paper to be inserted into the
official affiliates papers.
The biggest affronts however have come from a so-called independent Austen
Whitten. He made his marxmail debut in a posting by Bob Gould
claiming that the GLW
has never been a DSP paper! Bob Gould in his usual fashion shot him down
with even greater wit
than whitten ever had, "Well, that paragraph can be described as a 'black is
white', 'the moon is
made of green cheese', 'the earth is flat' paragraph. No one in Australia,
or anywhere else for that matter, who reads Green Left Weekly and who
accepts the evidence of their senses is likely to believe this. The DSP
leadership, loyal DSP members, and loyal supporters, like Austin Whitten,
say this everywhere that they go in public. Internally in the DSP, however,
particularly at the leadership level, but also among the rank-and-file,
Green Left Weekly is proudly claimed as the DSP's paper."
       With Whitten, no one is spared from a hammering (or to put it
rightly, being savaged by a dead sheep), from what he describes as,
"dogmatic opposition to the overall will of the members". This is an affront
to reality as well, the 'will of the members' has not been asked, it was
decided at a high level without real debate, despite the dishonesty of
Graham Matthews, (whose task by the DSP is the principle maneuvrer in
Victoria, when he is not taking part in "Toady" from "Neighbours" lookalike
competitions), claim that a Melbourne branch chose not to have a meeting
with him, having decided to vote with an ISO sponsored motion unanimously,
which is something the DSP wants as Dick Nicholls says in an article
supporting the so-called Non-Alligned caucus motion, "decision-making
(hopefully unanimous or by large majorities)". He even hurls abuse at a
member from his own platform, complaining that there is 'resistance coming
from strange quarters'. Although it seems that the
DSP don't want to give the impression that they are runing the campaign to
have GLW as SA newspaper, why get this goose to write your arguments. At
least the comments by Kim Bullimore have some scientific basis.
      The non-aligned caucus is the strangest phenomenon in the Socialist
Alliance, it supports the
DSP and is highly organised, hardly non-aligned (most of its members being
ex-DSP) and a complete oxymoron to boot. Although the caucus is a highly
dishonest formation, one can only say that Mr Whitten is quite honest when
he says the following, "I have heard our role, that of the
unaligned, within the alliance described as being the 'glue' that
binds us together". For the non-aligned caucus, the DSP has found them very
maleable and sticky.
      The other major debate in the alliace for the upcoming conference is
the new executive bodies.
In the proposal there are five levels of leadership, (state, national exec,
national conveners, national council and national conference). All of these
bodies have a mandatory allocation of independents. However this will not
work as there is a non-aligned caucus which pretends to be independent and
effectively acts as an affiliate. Anyone who has any doubts should know that
these allocations will disadvantage genuine independents and will not
improve their ability to serve on
national bodies. Also the idea that the DSP are under-represented on
executive bodies is laughable, they have their own two members on the
national executive, plus a member of their youth front group Resistance, as
well as some ex-members and slavish supporters masquerading as independents.
      Fact is, this was always going to happen. The Socialist Alliance was
not formed in the heat of battle or anything that dramatic, but from an
secret meeting between the DSP and ISO. From the start it was
over-centralised, much like the Brittish Socialist Alliance experience later
became. It therfore can only find limited support.
      Whats needed now is not more multi-tendency socialist poppycock, but a
real discussion on
how to build the workers and students movement in a time of a dying and
desperate Howard government
and a resurgent (albeit in a right populist way) by the ALP. Unfotunately
the Socialist Alliance can not do this, and lives in a world of its own as
evidenced by its idiotic view that the GLW is seen as a DSP paper (despite
its articles being mostly written by DSP members, its published by the DSP
office, and it has a history of writing of events and people from the
political perspective of the DSP).
       But the fun starts here, and there may well be some shift towards
sanity in the Socialist Alliance. The way forward however is a move towards
a broad workers party, inclusive of the working class, a broad church with
genuine democracy.


PS; All socialist alliance members who have read the discussion between the
SP and the SA Melbourne branch, one should not believe the Stalinist lies of
Jody Bietzen.  We do not believe that 'seats should be allocated to
particular socialist groups', we argued that the Socialist Alliance should
be a federal formation along the lines of the s11 groups in Melbourne and
Sydney. Not a centralised body like the current SA, which as we have said
before and again is unviable. ALso, we published the letter on various
e-lists for people to witness the intimidatory behvaiour by the Socialist
Alliance in Melbourne. Although Beitzen claims the SP to be a small party
(which is true) she does not mention the fact that the pre-selection meeting
for the SA Melbourne central branch was reportedly attended by less than ten

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