[Marxism] What kind of party do we need?

Shane Hopkinson swhopkinson at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 20:21:25 MST 2012

And in the Australian context too. A lot of the debates on the left would
be helped along if we argued about what would we do if we were in Syria or
Venezuela - what would our real options be etc rather than arguing about
what principles should be applied to these situations.

In using electoral politics I was trying to sketch out some of real forces
- what can we learn from such polls, the size of orgs etc. I might have
been useful to add numbers about the decline of union
numbers too, we need to be concrete. Its true that 'objective' forces are
running against us for some time but then we have to ask about our
'subjective' response and how appropriate it has been. Of course history
can help here but again concretely as an example of what's been tried etc.
For e,g, the Communist Party (whatever its faults) had very little
electoral success except locally even when it controlled major unions, what
can we learn about their relations with the Labor Party etc in a concrete

The problem with so many of these debates is lack of context and
concreteness. With time I'd have added stuff about the reality (or lack
thereof) of various social movements in Australia. Small groups
concentrated in major cities (and campuses) have done important work in gay
marriage and refugee rights (despite the tendency to claim ownership of
them), Green Left Weekly (and much of their publishing work) is important
too and the electoral breakthroughs at the local level need to be
generalised rather than claimed as being the result of the politics of
whatever group the person is a member of).

Let's hope some of the regroupment moves of late can create a platform for
people to work (and think) together about the future of the anti-capitalist
movement without getting bogged down in the politics of Moscow 1921.

Happy new year to you all.


Mark Lause wrote:

In an American context, the ideas are important and those looking to
the abolition of capitalism obviously need to have mechanisms for
associate and discuss. However, the notion that the sui generis
exclusive clusterings of the believers in their dozens (or less) can
do anything to advance a serious anti-capitalist agenda seems

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