[Marxism] Volume 2 John Percy's History of the Australian Socialist Workers Party

Nick Fredman nick.j.fredman at gmail.com
Mon Dec 18 23:41:53 MST 2017


There’s an egregious error from the first volume of John’s memoir (from
2005), which I pointed out at some point but too late before printing (this
was released a bit before the DSP faction fight and split made rational
political discussion with John sadly impossible).

The incident was well before my time but related to one of my research
interest, Australian independent music. John mentions a curious appearance
of the SWP in popular culture was a recording, sometime in the 70s, of Sol
Solbe heartily crying out “Direct Action, twenty cents!” at the start of
the song “The boy who lost his jocks at Flinders St Station”. However, John
wrongly attributed the song to Weddings, Parties, Anything, when it was
actually by another seminal Melbourne band, Painters and Dockers, on their
1984 release Love Planet.

They were named after a fairly notorious union both due to their
tongue-in-cheek punk provocativeness but also a genuine leftism. They broke
into the top 40 for a while in the early 90s. I don’t know why they had a
recording of Sol’s sales pitch but presumably recording urban soundscapes
was the sort of thing young artsy punks did in the 70s.

Another curious affinity between this band and the SWP/DSP is that singer
Paul Stewart has had a special concern for East Timor liberation struggle
since his older brother along with four other Australian journalists was
executed by Indonesian troops there in 1975, and his later band the Dili
All Stars gets back together occasionally for benefits. So there you go.

On Tue, 19 Dec 2017 at 4:25 pm, Gary MacLennan via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> I wonder if there is any reference to the internal document that described
> me as "an ultra left lunatic'? I remember being very proud of that.
>
> comradely
>
> Gary
>
> On Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 1:30 PM, David Fagan <dfag999 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Hi Gary,
> >
> > I have just noticed that sneaky ole Gwynnyth gets more than one mention
> in
> > the index:  several as G. Farr and then as Evans.  Strangely even though
> I
> > am indexed you are not, despite our appearance in the same paragraph --
> go
> > figure!
> >
> > D
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Gary MacLennan [mailto:gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com]
> > Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 11:36
> > To: David Fagan <dfag999 at gmail.com>; Activists and scholars in Marxist
> > tradition <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> > Subject: Re: [Marxism] Volume 2 John Percy's History of the Australian
> > Socialist Workers Party
> >
> > Hi David
> >
> > That is a blast from the past. The fusion! It was of course a cynical
> > takeover but that is so long ago now.
> >
> > Am hoping for great things from the UK when the Tory government finally
> > falls.
> >
> > As ever
> >
> > Gary
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Sent from my iPad
> >
> > > On 19 Dec 2017, at 8:23 am, David Fagan via Marxism
> > <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
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> > > #2 This mail-list, like most, is publicly & permanently archived.
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> > >
> > > Hi Gary,
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > I have only just managed to get a copy of this volume.  We are both
> > > mentioned in the same para as opposing the Socialist Workers
> > > League/Communist League fusion, along with Gwynnyth.  Percy (or
> > > Meyers) misspelled Gwynnyth's first name though I am sure that are
> > > guilty of many more serious crimes than that in their quest to "build
> > > the revolutionary party."  No pictures unfortunately.
> > >
> > > Dave Fagan
> > >
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> >
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