[Marxism] unity on the left in Australia

Nick Fredman nick.fredman at optusnet.com.au
Wed Feb 6 01:10:30 MST 2013

On 6/02/13 2:02 PM, "Michael Fisher" <michaelfisherx at gmail.com> wrote:

> The case against state cap is straightforward and conclusive. So doing
> it again wouldn't take much time.
> And it would help put the theory to rest at long last.

Well good luck with that.

Knock yourselves out if you want and you're allowed to, but I wouldn't be
into a chest-beating keyboard shouting match that that can't lead to
anything, as such a discussion would be here (I don't mean all discussion
here are like that, just this would be). I'd be more interested in a written
or real life discussion in the context of a unity process in which there's
no expectation that there has to be an agreed line. This could serve some
educational purpose.

A few years ago we had a very good discussion in the Lismore branch of
Socialist Alliance in which I presented what I think were fair and objective
accounts of the different socialist theories of the USSR, and in which DSP
members, several people with a background in the old CPA, new people and
even a Workers Liberty member we happened to have up there debated the
issues seriously without any pressure of having to indoctrinate anyone into
a particular line.

More importantly though anyway is working out a platform statement that says
what it would be good to be clear on about Stalinism, more generally the
pressures any revolution is under, and socialist democracy, without having
to adhere to a specific theory. Socialist Alternative has adopted a new
platform which is in this regard an unhappy amalgam that doesn't really
explain anything. It seems to result from surgically reforming references to
state capitalism and inserting a bit from the Transitional Program via the
DSP/RSP program about Stalinism being politically pretty much like fascism,

> Stalinism is not socialism. We agree with Trotsky¹s characterisation of Stalin
> as the ³gravedigger² of the Russian Revolution. The political character of the
> regime established by the Stalinist bureaucracy in Russia most closely
> resembled that placed in power in capitalist countries by victorious fascist
> movements ­ an atomised population ruled over by a ruthless bureaucratic
> dictatorship masquerading behind social demagogy.

I'd submit that much better at being explanatory and being what we should be
able to agree on is what's in the Socialist Alliance platform, at

(note other parts of this platform were changed significantly from what's
still online, at our recent conference)

> The Problem of Bureaucracy

> Apologists for capitalism have long devoted enormous efforts to arguing
> against socialism. They argue that it is a completely utopian exercise that
> flies in the face of human nature. They say that it will never work or that it
> will always lead to bureaucratic dictatorship.
> It is true that some revolutionary governments have degenerated into
> bureaucratic regimes, leading eventually to the restoration of capitalism.
> This highlights the importance of the struggle for democracy as a part of the
> struggle to build a new society.
> But it is also necessary to understand the objective conditions that
> contributed to such degenerations. Most revolutions in the twentieth century
> took place in poor countries devastated by war. They faced constant attacks
> from the imperialist powers that used war, terrorism and economic sabotage to
> undermine them. This created conditions favourable to the growth of
> bureaucracy.
> If these countries had received support and aid from richer countries, rather
> than hostility and aggression, things may have turned out completely
> differently. Thus, socialist revolutions in rich countries are important, not
> only for their own people but also for those of the poorer countries.

More information about the Marxism mailing list