[Marxism] Australian amoebaism

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 16 03:02:53 MST 2013

Hi Greg,

I do not know if you have ever met Mick Armstrong - Australia's Jack
Barnes.  It is impossible to stick anything to him.  Trust me on this.  I
read your letter to an old friend John Boyd who is seriously ill and he and
I got a good laugh out of the idea that anything we said would flash on
Armstrong.  I am quite sure he does not remember me at all. And even if he
did nothing I said would make any impression on him.

For what it is worth I am quite fond of the idea of Mick.  I recall two
stories of Mick.  One was how Andrew Milner got up at a conference and
denounced Mick
as an inveterate entrist, wrecker and splitter who could build nothing.
Armstrong said nothing and sat quietly smiling throughout the speech and
then did Andrew with the numbers.  I voted with Mick then.  When my own
turn came, Mick, god bless him was the same silent and smiling assassin.

As Michael Corleone said:  "It's not personal, Sonny.  It's strictly

The second story was told to me by Tom O'Lincoln.  It was of how he went to
Athens with Mick and had to insist that Mick left his hotel room to look at
the Parthenon.  Tom believed that Mick needed to have some idea of the
wonderful achievements of humanity if he was going to be a leader in the
Australian revolution. Somehow the sheer nihilism that Mick displayed is
quite endearing.  As far as I know, he has never worked a day in his life
and has always been a "professional revolutionary leader".

And now he thinks that you can have nothing to do with people who do not
believe in the necessity of a mass insurrection of the Australian working

Lou is quite right about all this, and I want to acknowledge here what he
has taught me over the years about "Leninism".

What surprises me though is that the Socialist Alliance would have anything
to do with Socialist Alternative. For me that organisation exists only to
draw in and spew out the idealistic young. It is the most audacious
hypocrisy of Socialist Alternative to complain that Socialist Alliance do
not consult their members: this from a hyper Leninist bureaucracy.

I venture to say that if the membership of the Socialist Alliance were
polled they would be totally opposed to any discussions with the Socialist
Alternative. I know I am because even if unity with the Socialist
Alternative were to be achieved it would signal the death knell of the
dream of a mass organization on the Left..  We would join Mick in muttering
the sacred mantra, "From little things big things grow" and we would go on
muttering that until the crack of doom.



On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:40 PM, Gregory Adler <gregadler502 at gmail.com>wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> The correspondence between Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Alliance
> and the posts from comrades Alan and Gary
> seem to me to show what is wrong with the organised socialist movement in
> Australia now.
> On S Alt part there seems to be a worry about revolutionary purity when a
> real push for action on the left would be most appropriate right now. On
> the part of S All the desire to stay away from public discussion and to
> restrict things to the national leadership seems a sad throwback to past
> practices.
> All sides also seem to have a desire to ensure that any blame to be had
> falls on some one else. If socialists are not up to pulling together in the
> current world situation and that which applies in Australia I think we can
> be assured that there will be plenty of blame to share in down the track
> but by then it will all be a little too late-but at least we will have
> really stuck it to Mick Armstrong.
> Greg Adler
> On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 8:47 PM, Gary MacLennan
> <gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com>wrote:
> > ======================================================================
> > Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> > ======================================================================
> >
> >
> > Comrade Armstrong is very much like the Bourbons were supposed to be.  He
> > forgets nothing and he learns nothing. He is the original hardliner and
> to
> > put him in charge of "unity" talks is actually a joke. He sees the world
> in
> > a lens made up of fantasies that could be described as Bolshevik
> dreaming.
> > To talk of 'mass insurrection' of the working class as being the
> touchstone
> > to define differences between the organizations borders on the insane
> given
> > the conditions we are in here in Australia.
> >
> > I never believed that the Socialist Alternative were serious about these
> > talks and Armstrong's letter convinces me I was correct.  I suspect that
> > what this so called unity push is about is mopping up rivals on the
> > far-Left.  At the end of it there will be fewer people committed to
> radical
> > politics.
> >
> > Ah well. Somewhere, sometime, something will break for us, but the likes
> of
> > Mick Armstrong won't lead it.
> >
> > comradely
> >
> > Gary
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> >
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