Comment & Analysis

'New period of left unity launched'?

The first issue of the Socialist Alliance’s Green Left Weekly for this year, dated January 20, carried an article headlined “New period of left unity and struggle launched”. The article quoted SA member Dave Kerin as saying that the seventh national conference of the SA, held January 2-5, with some 220 participants, signified that “the Socialist Alliance becoming a true alliance of a very broad cross-section of views that are of the historic left”.

The sad end of the DSP

“Socialist Alliance structures remain too loose and weak to win, educate and train new socialist activists and the Socialist Alliance caucuses and working groups have only partially begun to organise united interventions into the movements.” This statement was made in a resolution adopted by the 22nd congress of Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), held in January 2006. Since the end of 2003, the DSP, formerly the Democratic Socialist Party, has described itself as a “Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance”. The SA is no stronger today than four years ago; indeed, in many respects it is weaker, but the DSP leadership has decided that from the next DSP congress, to be held on January 2, the DSP will “merge” into the SA, thus handing to the SA the tasks of winning, educating and training new socialist activists. What has changed? Only the DSP leadership’s perception of how best to keep reality at bay.

Charles Darwin: The reluctant revolutionary

By Rebekah Ward

A century and a half has passed since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, yet this book is still surrounded with controversy. It would not be an overstatement to say that the ideas of Charles Darwin on evolution sparked a revolution in human thought. But like most revolutionary ideas, Darwinism was, and still is, contested.

Vietnam: How 'state capitalism' misleads Australian socialists

By Allen Myers

In the current international economic crisis, we can expect both attacks on the living standards of workers in the imperialist West and increased economic exploitation of the countries of the Third World by the imperialist powers, as the richest of the capitalists try to solve their problems at working peoples’ expense. A fight-back needs to be waged in both areas. In particular, it is necessary for socialists in the West to provide whatever support we can to those in the Third World who are resisting imperialist exploitation.

The Indonesian left and Green Left Weekly

By Max Lane

For 17 years, from 1990 through to 2007, I regularly contributed articles on Indonesian politics to Green Left Weekly, a newspaper published by the Democratic Socialist Party (Democratic Socialist Perspective since 2005). During this period, GLW played a key role in building solidarity with the anti-dictatorship movement in Indonesia, and in particular, with its radical vanguard, Students in Solidarity with Democracy (SMID) and later the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PRD).

Is Chavez's project 'socialism from above'?

By Marcus Pabian

Some revolutionary socialists remain convinced that no revolution has taken place and that the government of President Hugo Chavez is substituting ‘socialism from above’ in place of grassroots working-class struggle. However, the many gains made for workers and the poor in recent years — including improved living standards, increased control over some key workplaces and increased political power — would not have occurred without the massive struggles by workers and the poor against the capitalist class.

France: The New Anti-capitalist Party, a promising birth

By Guillaume Liegard

[The following is an abridged version of an article that first appeared in the April edition of International Viewpoint, the monthly English-language journal of the Fourth International (FI), the largest international association of Trotskyist parties. The author was a member of the Political Bureau of the (now-dissolved) Revolutionary Communist Party (LCR), the French affiliate of the FI, and was elected to the National Political Council of the NPA at its founding congress. He remains a member of the FI’s International Committee.]

'Now more than ever the dilemma is socialism or barbarism'

By Luisa Maria Gonzalez Garcia

2009 started off badly. The international economic crisis is top priority of governments, companies, international organisations and individuals whose worries have become having a roof to sleep under and food on the table. The situation has taken many nations by surprise, but not so much Cuba. Almost a decade ago, Fidel Castro warned that the conditions existed for the outbreak of a crisis of enormous dimensions. Osvaldo Martinez, director of the Research Centre for World Economy and president of the Cuban National Assembly’s economic affairs commission, had also mentioned the subject on several occasions. Looking back, the economics PhD says, “they criticised us heavily, they called us catastrophists, but finally the crisis is here”.

What has happened to Socialist Alliance? An open letter to DSP members

[This open letter to members of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) concerns the Socialist Alliance (SA), an organisation controlled by the DSP which it promotes as Australia’s largest socialist group.]

Dear Comrades,

Almost a year ago, your national executive voted to expel all the members of the Leninist Party Faction (LPF), which had been been formed to advocate a change in the DSP’s position on the Socialist Alliance. We who were in the minority believed that events had long before shown the DSP’s course regarding the SA to be mistaken. Your leaders, on the other hand, argued that the political line of building the SA had not really been tested yet. Since then, the DSP has had nearly 12 months to carry out that line without internal opposition. What does the experience show?

Papernas leaders sow illusions of radical change through the ballot box

By Zely Ariane

[The following article was written in response to an article by Kelik Ismunanto, a leader of Papernas (National Liberation Unity Party) titled “Indonesia: Tracing a path towards parliament” that was published in the December 3 issue of Green Left Weekly. Papernas was formed in July 2006 by the radical left People’s Democratic Party (PRD) to present a radical anti-neoliberal platform in this year’s Indonesian parliamentary elections. Zely Ariane is a former PRD secretary-general and now a leading member of the Political Committee for the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD). This party was formed in November 2007 by members of the PRD-Papernas expelled for disagreeing with a Papernas leadership decision to enter into an electoral coalition with one of the existing parliamentary parties. The article has been translated by James Balowski.]