DSP leadership purges minority faction

On May 10, 2008, the national leadership of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (formerly the Democratic Socialist Party) decided to purge all of the members of a minority faction – the Leninist Party Faction – from the DSP.

The LPF was formed at the end of the DSP’s 22nd congress in January 2006. Its platform was supported by a bit less than one-fifth of the DSP membership in the election of delegates to the 23rd DSP congress (held in January 2008).

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The Political and Organisational Degeneration of the DSP

On May 10, 2008, a subcommittee of the national executive of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP – formerly Democratic Socialist Party) announced a predetermined decision to expel all of the members of a minority faction of that organisation. Those expelled represented a bit less than a fifth of the DSP's total members, and around one-third of its active members. They included a broad cross-section of the organisation, from relatively young and new recruits to revolutionary politics, to comrades with more than three decades devoted to the DSP, including founding members of Resistance and the Socialist Workers League (predecessor of the DSP) – party full-timers, union militants, students, blue collar and white collar workers, unemployed.

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Direct Action Perspectives in Relation to the DSP and the Leninist Party Faction

Direct Action left the DSP because we considered the opportunist and sectarian turn it had taken after its 22nd Congress in January 2006 could not be reversed through waging an internal factional debate.

In essence, our analysis put greater emphasis than the Leninist Party Faction on the significance of the left's retreat since the late 1980s. We estimated that much of the cadre of the DSP – who were mostly recruited in this period of retreat – would not respond well to a written debate about Leninism. Our view was that only by practical example, or more likely by a major change in the course of the movement, would these comrades open themselves to the debate.

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Response to the Melbourne Branch Expulsion Report

On May 18, James Crafti, a member of Resistance, the youth organisation led by DSP members, was expelled from Resistance by the organisation’s national council for having organised a Palestine solidarity club at La Trobe University.

Below we reproduce Comrade Crafti’s response to the report by the Melbourne Resistance branch executive’s report recommending his expulsion.

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The charges brought against the LPF and the accusations upon which the charges were brought.

Subject: To all LPF members: NE notification of charges
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2008 23:56:34 +1000

To: All members of the Leninist Party Faction
From: DSP National Executive

Dear comrades,

We are writing to inform you that the following charges were laid on March 7, 2008, by DSP NE member Comrade Alex Bainbridge:

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The LPF’s statement responding to the charges (To DSP NE investigation commission)

To DSP NE investigation commission

Statement by the LPF National Steering Committee on disciplinary charges against five LPD members and ‘the LPF as a whole’ (adopted April 20)

Dear Comrades,

On April 7, DSP National Executive member Alex Bainbridge brought charges against the “LPF as a whole” (i.e., all of its members) of having violated the following constitutionally specified obligations of DSP membership (Article 4, Paragraph 2):

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The DSP’s purge committee report (PDF)

On March 10, 2008, following its receipt of reports from a number of branch secretaries and members assigned to the DSP national office that documented actions by members of the LPF that were considered to be undemocratic and/or disloyal (Appendices 1 and 2), the DSP National Executive (NE) passed the following motion:

“That in the light of recent events, a subcommittee of National Committee members, comprising Lisa M, Dave H and Susan P, be appointed to investigate whether or not the Leninist Party Faction [LPF] is operating within the democratic and constitutional framework of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, in particular with respect to the constitutional duty of all DSP members to be loyal to the DSP's aims and organisation and to place all of their political activity under the direction of the DSP. The committee is also charged with making recommendations for appropriate action. After receipt of the committee of inquiry's report, the National Executive will convene a meeting of the National Committee to consider the report and decide on any consequent action.”

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