An open letter to the DSP and the RSP

Dear DSP and RSP, I observed with alarm the split in the DSP [Democratic Socialist Perspective] last year, and the creation of another party, the RSP [Revolutionary Socialist Party], a minority faction which now competes with the DSP’s Green Left Weekly through a rival paper, Direct Action. I am not a member of either group, but more sectarianism is hardly what the Australian left needs.

The main difference appears to be over the continued support for the Socialist Alliance, which collapsed into mainly a DSP project after the withdrawal of the old ISO [International Socialist Organisation]. Despite its failures, the idea of a socialist alliance, reaching out to create a broader grouping, always seemed like a good idea. Participation of the now defunct ISO was never much of an advantage. Currently represented by squabbling groups (Socialist Alternative and Solidarity) they were an even more fracture-prone group which has never supported the socialist intiatives in Latin America, as those processes did not match the ISO’s idealist views.

Now the RSP attempts to recruit new people through a greater emphasis on solidarity with the processes in Venezuela and Cuba; but what is the point of supporting those processes if we do not learn from them? The Cubans have long told anyone who cares to listen that central to their socialism has been “unity and culture”. They abhor sectarianism, as they know that this weakens progressive forces, and that the big powers always take advantage of divisions.

One obvious sign of this new weakness is the current competition over Latin American “solidarity” events. They have become small and fragmented, with this reversion to the worst aspects of Trotskyist “build the party” logic. What is wrong with doing joint events? No new exercise in “party building” is going to help the Australian left. There has to be significant collaboration and coalition building, if we are to go anywhere and present any sort of alternative.

Best wishes,
Tim Anderson,