Theory & History

Issue 41 - February-March 2013

By Max Lane

Rosa Luxemburg wrote the booklet Social Reform or Revolution in response to the writings of Eduard Bernstein. Bernstein was advocating an “evolutionary” path to socialism, counter-posed to revolution. “Reform or revolution?” became a fundamental question for the socialist and labour movements at the beginning of the 20th century.

Issue 40 - November-December 2012

By Nick Everett

Today the global capitalist economy faces its greatest crisis in 80 years. First there was the credit crunch beginning in August 2007, when governments around the world stepped in to bail out the banks. Then, in September 2008, there was the collapse of Lehman Brothers, precipitating the greatest financial crash since 1929.

By John Percy

Jim Percy, the founder of the Democratic Socialist Party and for two decades its national secretary, died from cancer on October 12, 1992, 20 years ago, at the age of 43.

Issue 39 - May-July 2012

By John Percy

[This is the text of a talk to a forum organised by the People’s Liberation Party in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, on April 7.]

The central feature of the international political situation today is the extremely stark contradictions of capitalism internationally, combined with the severe limitations of working class leadership in nearly every country.

By Allen Myers

Since the outbreak of the international financial and economic crisis, “austerity” has become the proclaimed goal of governments over most of the developed capitalist world. Governments have been sticking to this goal even when it leads to their own demise, as in Greece and France.

Reviewed By Doug Lorimer

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, volume I: The Sixties, A Political Memoir, by Barry Sheppard, Sydney: Resistance Books, 2005, 354 pages including index, with a rich collection of photographs.

Issue 38 - February-April 2012

By Allen Myers

Immediately after the outbreak of the financial-economic crisis in 2008, there was a flurry of speculation in the media (and even in the ALP) that governments (that is, the ruling class) were going to junk neoliberalism and revert to some form of the Keynesian economics that was fairly standard from the end of World War II until the early 1970s.

Issue 37 - December-January 2012

By Allen Myers

An idea that has been raised and argued for at the Occupy Sydney general assemblies was that “you leave your affiliations at the door when you participate in Occupy”, as a motion put it.

By Doug Lorimer

Across the developed capitalist world, the Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired similar protests by thousands of people angered at the government bailouts of the banks and big corporations while the rest of us are forced to endure attacks on our living standards through government-imposed austerity. It has also attracted some weird hangers-on.

Issue 36 - October-November 2011

By Allen Myers

Yes, eventually, we need a Leninist party, members of the Revolutionary Socialist Party are often told. But it’s just not possible to do it now. Later on, maybe, but right now we have to be more realistic. For now, all we can do is build a left wing in the ALP or a “broad” left party.

Issue 35 - September 2011

By Doug Lorimer

In September 2010 the UN General Assembly was devoted to a discussion on ending global poverty, to the fulfilment of the so-called Millennium Goals first adopted in 2000.

By Allen Myers

Warren Buffett, listed by Forbes magazine as the world’s third wealthiest person, created a minor stir in early August by writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times calling for himself and other US millionaires and billionaires to be taxed at a higher rate.

Issue 31 - April 2011

By Hamish Chitts

Anzac Day has long been less about remembrance of the people slaughtered in wars for Australia’s capitalist class and their foreign friends and more about creating a culture of blind nationalism and militarism.

By Allen Myers

If someone approached you and offered you $1 million to let him kill you, would you accept? What if the price was $2 million? $5 million?

Most people would probably say that there is no price at which they would sell their life. But that doesn’t prevent businesses and governments from setting a dollar value on our lives.

Issue 30 - March 2011

By Zoe Kenny

The story of women in Indonesia is inseparable from the development of the Indonesian nation itself. Indonesia was swept up in the global wave of anti-colonial national liberation movements in the mid-20th century, declaring its independence in 1945 after almost 350 years of Dutch colonial rule.

Issue 28 - November-December 2010

By Allen Myers

Official interest rates in the United States have been held almost to zero for nearly two years. In mainstream economic theory, low interest is a “stimulus” measure. The idea is that businesses are more willing to borrow and expand their operations when interest rates are low.

Reviewed by Jon Lamb

The People’s Train
By Tom Keneally
Vintage 2009

By Doug Lorimer

[The following is an abridged version of a talk presented to a Sydney Direct Action forum on November 6. Doug Lorimer is a member of the national executive of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.]

Issue 27 - October 2010

By John Percy

“A Victory for all humanity” was how the cover of Direct Action welcomed the liberation of Saigon and final unification of Vietnam on April 30, 1975, and that was the theme of a series of seminars in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane organised in September by Direct Action and the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

By Hamish Chitts

[This article is based on talks presented to Brisbane and Sydney seminars on Vietnam on September 18 and 25. Chitts is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and a founder of Stand Fast, the organisation of military veterans campaigning against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.]

Issue 26 - September 2010

Reviewed by Chris Atkinson

The 30 Year War: Memoirs of War
The Gioi Publishers, Hanoi, 2009. 709pp.
Available from all Direct Action offices for $20.

By Allen Myers

Socialism, someone said to me recently, may be a fine idea, but unfortunately human nature would prevent it from operating as intended; by nature, people are too individualistic or competitive or greedy to live in a system of planned cooperation and solidarity. Is this the case?

By Jon Lamb

Sixty years ago, on September 1, 1950, Frank Hardy published Power Without Glory, one of the most influential and provocative pieces of working-class literature ever written in Australia. It met with wide acclaim and respect from workers through to intellectuals, while being ridiculed and condemned by conservativesand reactionaries of the day.

By Hamish Chitts

Zionism, the belief that all Jews throughout the world constitute a nation that requires its own homeland, is a relatively recent ideology.

By John Percy

Vietnam won its independence 65 years ago. On September 2, 1945, in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square, hundreds of thousands of people heard President Ho Chi Minh, on behalf of the provisional government, read out the Declaration of Independence.