[Marxism] Re: Balance sheet of the struggle in the Australian DSP

Shane Hopkinson chen9692000 at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 20 05:30:30 MST 2006

  I don't wish to  rehearse the deabte in the subject line but just to reply to Bob's comments directed to me.
     From: Ozleft <Ozleft at optusnet.com.au> 
     Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 14:17:07 +1100  

> Response to Joaquin and to Shane

>I don't mean to infer that Boyle has the kind of brutal or barbaric   >mentality of Stalin, or that in the future he will kill his opponents.     I know that Bob is civilised enough to not make such a comparison but I still think its more likely to generate heat than light.      >I don't accept Shane's proposition that analogies and comparisons from   >the history of the Bolshevik movement are totally out of date and of no   >use in the current discussion.    Obviously or you wouldn't use them - my problem is that a mass working class formation like the bolsheviks were able to forge against a Czarship dictatorship in a newly industrialised cities like St Peterburg and Moscow surrounded by an ocean of peasants 100 years ago without unions or elections as we understand them under bourgeois hegemony and institutions like the mass media still seem to me to warrant very careful usage.    One of the main issues I have with the DSP/SA debate (as you do I think) is the tendency for such
 groups to put themselves at the centre of the working class movement (as Dave did in his comparison with the CPA) even if the formal wordings are OK the idea that small competing propaganda groups are in any sense “like” the Bolsheviks (even ignoring the present debate about what the Bolsheviks were like) seems to me to be part of the problem. If we were discussing the early history of the Bolsheviks – prior to the turn of the century, how they established themselves in the working class and so on then we might learn something but of course we would still have to be careful about the enormous differences that separate Czarist Russia from modern Australia.     >The reason I make the analogy is that the more interested people in   >Marxist groups know a fair bit about the history of the Russian   >Revolution, and it's certainly one of my lifelong personal preoccupations.  >This is a debate among Marxists and such analogies can illuminate.    Only if the analogies are very specific. I
 think analogies with other periods of * Australian * history are much more useful.  I think the polemical use of labelling the DSP strategy as “third period” is useful inasmuch as it should force people to be concrete – even then the analogy of a socialist propaganda group of 250 in conditions of depressed working class struggle in the early years of the 21st century with a sizeable working class formation like the CPA in a period of mass radicalisation have to be carefully drawn.      One of my main criticisms all along of the SA project has been that the objective conditions for a new party simply do not exist – and that the Hanson Rallies, anti-war stuff and even MUA dispute which the DSP relied on as the said basis turned out in retrospect to be insufficient.     I was planning to respond to Nick Fredman's more political questioning of the analogy but as you have flagged your intention to do so I'll await your more informed response.      

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