[Marxism] Socialist Alliance: DSP front well to the back.

Graham M. gkmilner at v-app.com.au
Sun Mar 12 15:34:47 MST 2006

Dear Friends,
                    I write as a rank and file, unaffiliated member of the
Socialist Alliance in Western Australia.   The comments Greg Adler makes
below concerning DSP domination and manipulation of the Alliance are nothing
knew for him.   His resignation last year from the National Executive of the
Alliance was accompanied by the usual poisonous diatribes against the DSP.

   I participated in the Victoria Park by-election as a rank and file member
of Perth branch of SA, and letterboxed a section of the electorate and
worked on an SA stall all day on polling day.   My impression was that SA
succeeded in rasing its profile in the area, with our very fine candidate
John Tattersall, an active trade unionist who lives in the electorate, and
with policies which related directly to working people in the area who are
affected by unemployment, casualisation, and the federal government's new,
draconian industrial relations laws.   The activitites of labour-hire
companies in the area received attention from the campaign.

   The small figure reached by SA in the vote does not validate Adler's
claims.   Western Australian electoral regulations require that a party, to
be named on the ballot paper, have at least 500 members.   SA membership in
WA is much less than that.   Hence voters may have been sympathetic to the
SA candidate without making the connection between his name and the party's
name when in the polling booth.

   Morale is pretty good in SA in WA, and we look forward to continuing our
campaign work in the areas we are prioritising - especially resistance to
the Federal Government's Industrial Relations laws, which represent the most
comprehensive attack on workers' rights in living memory.

                                        -  Graham Milner
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Ggregray at aol.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2006 6:54 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Socialist Alliance: DSP front well to the back.

> The Socialist Alliance was set up in Australia as an attempt to develop
> unity for campaigns and electoral work. I understand how that is working
> is a matter of interest for some on this list.
> The Democratic Socialist Party/Perspective and the International Socialist
> Organisation were the major groups in the SA along with a number of
smaller left
> gtoups and ungrouped leftists/socialists.
> When I say that SA was set up as an attempt at left unity that was
> what I understood. I also accepted that all the groups and individuals who
> were involved had that view and wanted to do their best to implement it
> still being aware of the great difficulties involved in that.
> The reality was however that the DSP had a different view all along. As
> recently discarded 40 year leader John Percy wrote last October in the
> internal discussion a large part of the DSP's motivation for getting
involved in
> the SA was as a means of delivering a blow to the ISO and that tactic
> he boasted.
> But the reality of the DSP's approach to the SA was clear well before
> It worked to make the SA in effect a front for the DSP pushing through its
> politically bizarre position  of transforming the SA into a multi-tendency
> socialist party (mtsp) and effectively establishing its newspaper Green
Left Weekly
> as the organ of the SA.
> This went along with the DSP positioning the SA more and more to reflect
> own sectarian positon on the rest of the left and the labour movement
> with increasingly grandiose claims of SA influence in the broader movement
> divorced from all reality.
> In recent times the leading DSP figures who triumphed in the internal
> struggle and who want to maintain the SA as ongoing working front for the
DSP rather
> than a mothballed one brought out for special reasons have been talking up
> claimed strength of the SA.An example of this is a contribution by leading
> DSPer Lisa MacDonald in the mostrecent of the SA's internal discussion
> Voices vol 6 no.1. the title of this piece gives its flavour ;" A moribund
> Socialist Alliance? Let the facts speak." She writes of various campaign,
> activities and particularly the work planned in a number of SA branches.
>  These are the facts that are to be taken to speak of the non-moribund
> of the SA. she gives as a particular example the following:
> " Perth branch has just launched an ambitious campaign in the Victoria
> by-election standing unaffiliated Socialist Alliance member and union
> John Tattersal as our candidate."
> In the same volume of the AV Chris Latham on behalf of the SA Perth Branch
> announced that the decision to stand in the by-election had been made on 6
> February . The by-election was held on Saturday 11 March. The announcement
by the
> Perth branch set out an impressive programme of work and campaigning
leading up
> to election day. I have no idea whether this work was actually carried out
> the way that was planned. I however have no reason to believe that the SA
> members in Perth did other than their best to run the campaign as planned.
> don't know John Tattersal  but as a union activist and unaffiliated member
of the
> SA he seems to have been a good candidate.
> The by-election took place in the midst of a frenzy of news stories about
> internal factional wars in the labor Party nationally. As well a leading
> of the federal Liberal Government  was revealed to have called for even
> stronger anti-trade union laws and attacks on workers conditions than have
> been introduced.
> At a by-election the WA Labor Government could not be defeated. As a swing
> more than 16% was required to defeat the Labor candidate there was no real
> prospect of Labor losing the seat- and of course under the preferential
> of voting a vote for the SA candidate could pass on to the Labor candidate
if a
> voter wanted to do so.
> All of this meant that there was a very favourable situation for the SA to
> get a reasonable vote if it was any position to attract support.
> Now it's time to let the facts speak. In a field of 11 the SA came in at 9
> with 0.81 percent of the vote. It was beaten by a variety of right wing
> candidates from minor parties and independents. Labor won just under 50%
of the
> primary vote.The greens got just over 8%.The Daylight Saving Party (a
different DSP)
> got 1.04%. Even informal ie those who either couldn't or couldn't be
> to vote validly came in at more than 4 times the SA vote.
> I am not electorally obsessed. In fact one of my last acts in the SA was
> oppose the move by the DSP to stand in a local New South Wales
by-election. But
> these are facts.
> Plainly the claims of well functioning branches with significant support
> amongst those disaffected with Labor and looking for leadership in ther
> struggles is completely dissonant with this pathetic electoral result.
> The reality-or the the fact that speaks out loud-in fact it screams from
> roof tops -is that the SA is on the nose. Its sectarianism dictated by the
> and its clear operation as a front for the DSP defeats whatever good
> intentions and efforts some who remain in it may have and carry out.I do
concede to
> Lisa MacDonald that the SA is still alive and will remain so as long as
the DSP
> thinks some use can be squeezed from it.
> The  unionists and Labor supporters and others who want to join in a
> against attacks on workers' rights, anti-union legislation, continued
> maltreatment of indigenous people, the Australian role on the war in Iraq
and many
> other issues showed clearly in their boycott of the SA in Victoria Park
> they have no confidence whatsoever in the SA to provide leadership in such
> campaign.
> The facts have spoken.
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