The early 1990s, after the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, were a time of capitalist triumphalism. Capital’s academic hirelings proclaimed ‘the end of history’, an absurdity nevertheless repeated in popular media. Really existing capitalism had been proven to be all that was possible, declared those who benefited from it. Socialism, along with the Soviet Union, was dead.
Broad Left Party & Socialist Alliance
There have been “broad parties” aplenty in the past claiming to represent workers, or broader classes, or “progress” in general – parties that are sometimes mass, mostly with electoral ambitions, but with programs that are social democratic, or left liberal, sometimes “all-inclusive”, but non-Leninist and non-Marxist. Such parties are not able to bring about fundamental social change; they cannot break the state power of the capitalist class. For that we need a revolution. We know a revolutionary party is necessary to carry that out, a Leninist party.
Comrades, on June 7 this year the DSP National Committee unanimously adopted a report given by Peter Boyle which proposed that it was “time for the DSP to make a decisive turn towards building the Socialist Alliance as our new party”. Right from this first sentence of his report, Boyle began his usual obfuscation. The DSP made the decision to build the SA as its “new party” in December 2003, ceasing to function as a public party and becoming the Democratic Socialist Perspective, defined as a “Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance”. What Boyle’s report really proposed is that the DSP dissolve into the SA., or as he preferred to describe it, “merge” with or “integrate” into the SA.
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.
The following is a slightly expanded version of the 7.5 minute LPF opening presentation to the November 20 Sydney Central branch oral PCD on trade union work. A motion to grant the LPF equal time for its opening presentation was rejected by the branch meeting.
In her report on Australian politics to the September NC plenum, Comrade Sue Bolton stated in regard to the fight against the Work Choices laws:
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:
In his PCD article “Are we really in 1954?” (Activist Vol 17. #10), Comrade Graham Matthews takes issue with my PCD article “On Comrade Dave Holmes’ ‘transitional approach to party building’“ (Activist Vol. 17, #9), stating that I poured “particular scorn on Dave’s argument wherein he drew a parallel to the situation in the US in 1938 and the situation we face in Australia today. Doug argues that, in fact, the situation we face is ‘a much more ‘striking parallel’ with 1954 in the US – a situation that he describes as a ‘slowdown in the class struggle’.
Comrade Dave Holmes’ October 2006 discussion article The transitional approach to party building (printed in Activist Vol. 16, #7) attempted to provide some theoretical grounding for the DSP majority leadership’s political line of building the Socialist Alliance as our “new party”. He did this by drawing a comparison between this line and the post-1938 policy of the US Socialist Workers Party of advocating that the US workers form their own political party based on their existing mass organisations, the trade unions-a “labour party”.
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.