Building a revolutionary Marxist party based on the working class is central to the political outlook of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, and it’s at the core of the DSP’s program:
Debates in the DSP 2005-2007
Recently I was glancing through Jim Percy’s copy of Leon Trotsky “The challenge of the Left Opposition (1923-1925)”, and happened to notice the sections that he had marked in the margin. This book by Pathfinder contains Trotsky’s “The New Course”, and it was from this text that Jim had quoted Trotsky in his October 1982 NC report, “Preparing the party to meet the crisis”, that I requoted in my party-building counter-report to the May 2006 NC.
The proposal that the Socialist Alliance can in any way start along the path towards becoming a real mass-based class struggle party is wrong. The objective conditions, i.e. a radicalisation producing new partners for such a project, do not exist. Deciding to become purely an internal tendency in the SA was wrong and is even more wrong today. We have dissolved the public political presence of the DSP for a project that has no basis.
Comrades, the main task for this DSP congress is to correct the mistaken line we began to implement in 2002-03 and formally adopted at our last congress two years ago. The clear choice before us is – to maintain or abandon that false perspective.
When we first embarked on our Socialist Alliance tactic in early 2001 we weren’t all too clear on what it might achieve, or where it would go. Following a number of mass mobilisations in the previous few years – MUA defence in 1998, big demonstrations for East Timor, antiracist mobilisations against Pauline Hanson etc – we were optimistic.
The key task for the coming DSP congress – and pre-congress discussion – is to correct the mistaken line we adopted at our last congress two years ago. What was the essence of our mistake that we have to roll back? Essentially, it was our decision to integrate the DSP into the Socialist Alliance, because we had decided that the SA was “the party we’rebuilding”.
Was I too harsh in criticising Comrade Alison D for describing the last Sydney Central-Marrickville Socialist Alliance meeting as “an extremely good” meeting? Certainly I shouldn’t have just singled her out. (The Activist Vol. 15, No. 14) We’ve all been guilty of SA-hype until recently, putting a good gloss on any SA event, propping it up with DSP cadres, for too long substituting our hopes for the reality.
The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela led by Hugo Chavez has been an important and inspiring event, the “first revolution of the 21st century”, not just shaking up Latin America, but giving hope to socialists around the world.
I sat in the DSP Sydney branch conference on October 29 flabbergasted. I looked around at other comrades who had been at that same Socialist Alliance meeting, wondering were they as incredulous as me?
Sydney branch secretary Alison D had just described the amalgamation meeting of Sydney Central SA and Marrickville SA on Tuesday October 25 as “an extremely good SA meeting”!
This report (and discussion) has to be a DSP party-building report and discussion. Comrade Peter Boyle’s report is not, even if his first half is about DSP organisational tasks, it’s still in the framework that we can build the Socialist Alliance as the “New Party”. Even if he puts building “two parties” in inverted commas, or says building two parties, but two “different types of parties”, or describes it as “two organisations”, or ambiguously interprets the phrase “new party project”, switching back and forth between interpreting it as our long term goal, perspective, (for the last two decades) of working to find ways to build a mass workers’ party, and on the other hand treating the SA as that new party we’re building.