Important revolutionary unity in Australia

(Email sent to the international friends and contacts of the RSP)

Dear comrades,

I’m writing to keep you updated on the important and inspiring project of revolutionary unity that is leading to the merger of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Socialist Alternative. The SA conference on December 15-17 voted overwhelmingly in favour of the unity.

Two traditions

Our two organisations come from two different traditions, but are united in our determination to build a revolutionary party openly presenting and implementing the ideas of Marxism.

Socialist Alternative is now the largest revolutionary Marxist organisation in Australia. It began in 1995 with a small number of leading comrades expelled from the International Socialist Organisation, and now gathers the most important activists from that tradition. But it’s primarily a young organisation, having recruited the best revolutionary youth from the campuses over the past 15 years.

The RSP is also the result of expulsions in 2008 of many of the long term political leaders of the Democratic Socialist Party following three years of political debate.

The DSP majority dissolved the DSP in 2010 into the Socialist Alliance, abandoning the DSP’s revolutionary program. The RSP continued the program, and represents the healthy elements of the tradition of the DSP and Socialist Workers Party before it.

The new party will be something new, representing the best of our two revolutionary Marxist traditions. There are still important political differences, but it’s clear we will have solid agreement on building a revolutionary party and responding to the challenges and struggles we face in Australia today.

Comradely atmosphere

As the larger organisation and the initiator of the unity process, Socialist Alternative had shown remarkable foresight and revolutionary leadership. They have demonstrated a very open and comradely approach. Coming from a different tradition, RSP members have not been asked to give up their political views, and will be able to continue any of the political activities and campaigns they are currently engaged in. We look forward to a very open and democratic framework for our united political endeavours.

Former RSP members do not intend maintaining themselves as an organised tendency inside Socialist Alternative, and will loyally build the united organisation to the best of their abilities.

RSP members are already functioning within the structure of SA, attending all the meetings, caucuses and activities. In the last few months RSP members or former members were invited to present talks or participate on panels for forums organised by SA.

Inspiring process

Already we’re seeing the benefits of the unity process, and the attractive power of a united organisation.

The dynamic of the unity has already attracted many new members to SA. Some of them are former members of SA and the ISO who have been reinspired into activity, some of them are former members of the DSP and RSP, some are comrades who had been hesitating about joining, and some are new members attracted by the enthusiasm that has been built up.

It has also attracted new and former members to the RSP, and some revolutionary activists have said they will join the united organisation as soon as the merger takes place.

Some activists have noted that they don’t agree with the SA on every political issue, and neither do they agree with the RSP on everything, but if this unity process means that comrades from these two organisations will be functioning together in one organisation in a comradely and constructive way, then perhaps there’s room for them in this new organisation as well!

Already there have been some healthy and constructive discussions. The merger will lead to more useful and educational discussions, building a strong and dynamic Marxist organisation different to any previous efforts.

The unity process has also attracted the attention of the Socialist Alliance, the organisation of former DSP members that expelled the RSP. They have now also approached Socialist Alternative for discussions on unity, claiming to be interested in revolutionary unity as well, although their rationale for existence as Socialist Alliance had been to build a broad left party. No doubt these two conflicting directions will find expression in different sections of their membership.

Culminating at Marxism 2013

The unity process will culminate at Marxism 2013, the conference organised by SA at Easter in Melbourne. These conferences had already become the largest revolutionary Marxist gatherings in Australia, with 930 attending Marxism 2012. Marxism 2013 is shaping up as even larger, with the excitement and enthusiasm generated by the unity process.

As well as SA and RSP speakers and prominent Australian left activists, there will be many international guest speakers, including many from revolutionary Marxist parties in the Asian region.

The RSP will formally decide on unity at its final conference on March 28, the Thursday before Easter. All members are enthusiastic; no opposition to the merger has been expressed, so the Marxism 2013 conference will open with an enthusiastic announcement of revolutionary unity.

I urge international collaborators of the RSP to send messages of support to this unity project, and to the Marxism 2013 conference; we look forward to continuing our collaboration and seeing you at this or future Marxism conferences in Australia.

This is a very important step forward for revolutionary Marxism in Australia. It helps overcome a pattern of splits and expulsions, which have been all too frequent on the left. We hope it will be an inspiration and encouragement to revolutionary Marxist parties internationally as well.

Comradely greetings,
John Percy
National Secretary RSP