23rd Congress of the DSP to be held January 3-6, Sydney
The 23rd Congress of the Democratic Socialist Perspective will be held January 3-6 in Sydney. The congress is open to all DSP members and guests invited by branch or national leadership bodies.
The congress will set the political course of the DSP and elect a new national leadership body and national office bearers.
Delegates were recently elected by local branches on the basis of support for political platforms (see below) submitted for consideration at the congress. This followed a period of pre-congress discussion in branches facilitated by the publication of written pre-congress discussion in 13 issues of the DSP's internal discussion bulletin.
The following three counterposed political platforms were presented for consideration by the congress:DSP National Executive majority platform: Draft party-building resolution
[On November 21, the DSP National Executive put forward as a platform for congress delegate elections the general line of the draft party building resolution (below). An earlier draft had been discussed and adopted at the September 2007 DSP National Committee meeting.]
1. As the reputation of the Venezuelan Revolution, the first socialist revolution of the 21st century, has spread around the world, socialist ideas are once again commanding the attention of millions. Challenging retreatism, sectarianism and dogmatism in the left, this new advance will create new openings for international socialist renewal and regroupment.
2. This new revolutionary advance takes place while the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned into hopeless quagmires, there is rising instability in the world capitalist economy (even though it is in an expansionary phase) and capitalism proves unable to deal with multiple environmental crises, most of all the global warming crisis. The leadership demonstrated by the revolutionary governments of Venezuela and Cuba on all these critical issues has made deep impressions on millions, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, but increasingly across the Third World and now within the imperialist heartlands. Working closely with revolutionary Cuba, the Venezuelan revolutionary government has begun to develop concrete challenges to the neo-liberal agenda on a regional scale, giving a boost to all anti-imperialist struggles and helping reverse the decline of socialist influence in these.
3. As a result of the impact of the Venezuelan revolution, even though the class struggle has only begun to shift in favour of the working class in a few countries in Latin America, there is now a greater opportunity to advance the socialist cause even in a wealthy imperialist country like Australia. Taken in conjunction with its three and a half decades of promoting socialist ideas, left regroupment and independent mass action in the social movements, the DSP’s initiatives and leadership in building awareness of, and solidarity with, the Venezuelan Revolution place us in a good position to advance socialist consciousness among broader layers of people (including Greens and ALP members). This dynamic should be consciously promoted by involving these layers in concrete Venezuela solidarity work (building the Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network, Venezuela brigades, speaking tours and other educational campaigns).
4. Green Left Weekly should continue to report on and champion the new revolutionary processes in Venezuela and elsewhere and reflect the debates they are generating, building upon the strong reputation this publication has won in Australia and around the world. Green Left Weekly is also well placed to play a major leadership role promoting debate about answers to the urgent challenge of global warming. Green Left Weekly remains our greatest political weapon and so the writing for, production and distribution of Green Left Weekly is a top priority for the DSP. Green Left Weekly’s formation and continued success depends on the existence of a strong and united DSP.
5. In anticipation of a new wave of youth radicalization being spurred the Venezuelan revolution and broader anti-imperialist struggles and the rising environmental struggle, the DSP prioritises its work among radicalizing youth through the independent socialist youth organization, Resistance. The DSP will help Resistance build upon its successful initiatives in the youth and student movements through consistent and close political collaboration and practical assistance. The DSP needs to be united in its solidarity with and support for Resistance, and its activities, and it is a duty of all DSP members to assist, encourage and promote Resistance.
6. The DSP will work to expose militant workers in Australia to the advancing Venezuelan Revolution and the experiences of workers’ control and popular power that are part of that revolution. However, socialist consciousness will not be spread in the Australian working class only through propagating socialist theory and by building solidarity with revolutionary advances overseas. Socialists also need to have the maximum possible engagement in the class struggles in Australia and demonstrate leadership in those struggles.
7. The Australian ruling class is attempting to reverse rights to organize that working class has won through a century of struggle and the ALP continues to move to the right, leaving it increasingly exposed before all who want to resist the capitalist attacks. The sweeping defeat of the Howard government and the election of Rudd Labor in November 2007 brought in another government that is anti-union and conservative. After promises made by Labor after mass mobilisations against the attacks by the Howard Coalition government, in particular Work Choices, most workers expect the new Labor government to reverse the Howard government’s policies. However, Rudd’s announcement that a Labor government would keep the sections of Work Choices which severely limit industrial action and the right of unions to enter worksites, means that there needs to be a new stage in the fight for these fundamental rights. The challenge will be for socialists to engage with other militants in the trade union movement and activists in other movements to build an extra-parliamentary struggle fight for workers’ rights, and against attacks on welfare recipients and indigenous communities, for serious action to stop global warming and to withdraw all Australian troops from the wars that they are engaged in under the imperialist alliance with the US plus a refusal to support future US military plans.
8. While the Greens still occupy most of the opening electoral space to the left of the ALP, the Greens have not filled the political space opened up by the crisis of leadership in the trade unions and the broader labour movement. The Greens also remain torn between the anti-capitalist direction of their stated aims of “ecological sustainability, social and economic justice, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy” and strong tendencies to opportunism and parliamentarism.
9. Since the dissolution of the old Communist Party of Australia in 1991, and the retreat of much of the old social movement leaderships associated with and influenced by that party, the DSP has become the biggest socialist organization in Australia. While the DSP was then and remains today far too small to fill the political vacuum left by that retreat, it has consistently offered leadership and initiative in the movements. While this places a strain on the small revolutionary cadre core accumulated in our tendency, we can not escape this responsibility until we grow significantly.
10. The DSP recognizes that it is not enough for the DSP to hold up its revolutionary political program and call for the support for this program. Rather, our challenge is to unite with the actual leaders of the working-class resistance and win them to our revolutionary politics while fighting alongside them in a common struggle against the capitalist ruling class and its allies in government, the ALP and the trade union bureaucracy. This has been a longstanding party-building approach of our tendency to the challenge which this 23rd Congress of the DSP reaffirms.
11. In the late 1990s, a new militant current emerged in the trade union movement in Victoria. Its influence has begun to spread to other states. This current has supported several important political struggles, including the 1998 maritime struggle and the anti-corporate globalization campaigns. It has persistently sought collaboration with the DSP and other socialist groups.
12. The DSP has responded to this opening, recognizing our major challenge to root our party in the working class. In this context, the DSP will place particular emphasis on further developing the implantation and organisation of its working members in politically useful work, particularly work that makes it possible to advance an all-round socialist intervention in the workplace and the trade union movement. It will encourage Resistance to pursue a similar goal.
13. After seven years of life the Socialist Alliance represents a modest but definite step towards the emergence of a broadly based anti-capitalist party in Australia. It is identified by advanced elements of the working class as the political pole of militant initiatives on the trade union movement (particularly in initiating a mass campaign against the anti-worker “Work Choices” laws) and for more general leadership in other progressive social movements, including the anti-war, anti-racist, environment and democratic rights movements. The continued membership in the Socialist Alliance of significant mass leaders and hundreds of other individuals not belonging to the DSP or any other left group is evidence of this. By championing the need for a broadly based anti-capitalist party and by organizing the most united left intervention possible in the social movements, the Socialist Alliance can continue to win the respect of and recruit broader layers of militant workers to its ranks and in this way take practical steps along the road to such a party. This is a specific opening that needs to be further tested out and developed with strong and united leadership from the DSP.
14. Therefore, the DSP should continue to (a) project and build the Socialist Alliance as a step along the road to a new party, (b) make available resources to the Socialist Alliance and (c) promote the Socialist Alliance through Green Left Weekly. DSP members will also continue to politically organise together with other Socialist Alliance members through branches, caucuses, committees and working groups, wherever effective, in order to build the most united left political intervention possible and to build the Socialist Alliance.
15. The DSP sees the struggle to build a broadly based anti-capitalist party as an important tactic in the struggle for a mass revolutionary party in this country. The creation of a serious anti-capitalist alternative, whatever its particular form of presentation (“red-green”, “real people’s party” etc) but founded on a complete break with class-collaborationism, can open the way to working class and broader social movement victories in the struggle against the capitalist imperative to make working people bear the costs of the system’s survival. The tactic is necessary in order to develop the forces needed to challenge the domination of the Australian labour movement by the ALP and the trade union bureaucracy as well as other bureaucracies within the social and environmental movements. While such a party begins with a class struggle platform of social, economic and environmental reforms and a broad socialist objective (i.e. does not have an explicitly revolutionary program), in the course of united engagement in mass struggles, it will steadily and democratically develop its program in a more explicitly revolutionary direction as struggles develop. This requires that revolutionaries provide it with serious and patient leadership.
16. If there is a new rise in the class struggle, new partners will be drawn into the project for a new party and the Socialist Alliance may have to become part of or be transformed into or be supplanted by new structures for organising the strongest and most effective political voice for anti-neo-liberal struggle.
17. While it builds the Socialist Alliance as a broad, class struggle socialist party project, the DSP should continue to maintain its own structures and to build a highly united and disciplined revolutionary cadre core. Revolutionary cadre, systematically educated in Marxism and experienced in struggle, are indispensable in this and any other tactical stage we go through to build a mass revolutionary party. We need to continue to recruit strongly to the DSP from within and outside the Socialist Alliance and, primarily through Resistance, win, educate and develop a new generation of revolutionary youth cadre. The DSP will openly seek to win others in the Socialist Alliance and the general public to its revolutionary politics.
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Leninist Party Faction platform:
[The platform for the election of delegates being presented by the LPF consists of agreement with the general line of the following “Draft resolution on party-building”.]
Imperialist decline and socialist renewal
1. The dream of the US rulers of a “New American Century” has faltered in the cities and towns of Iraq, where US imperialism is bogged down in an unwinnable counterinsurgency war. This has made it politically extremely difficult for Washington to use its war machine to carry out pro-imperialist regime change anywhere else in the world.
2. The most radical political and ideological challenge to imperialism is the socialist revolution in Venezuela, the first socialist revolution since the end of the Cold War. Politically it’s a very healthy revolution, led by revolutionary socialists in close collaboration with Cuba’s outstanding Marxist leadership team. Despite many difficulties and some setbacks, the revolution continues to advance and consolidate. The creation of a mass vanguard party of the revolution, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, will be a further critical step forward.
3. Venezuela is giving besieged socialist Cuba much-needed moral and material reinforcement as Cuba struggles to emerge from the Special Period. Cuba is a powerful example, and Cuba’s role in the social “missions” has been critical in consolidating support for the Bolivarian revolution. The Venezuela-Cuba axis of socialist renewal is showing with deeds – sharing the oil wealth, wiping out curable blindness on an entire continent – what socialist collaboration on the scale of whole peoples can achieve if the working people have state power. Cuba is taking its “battle of ideas” to the Asia-Pacific region, building East Timor’s public health system almost from scratch and sending doctors to PNG, the Solomons and Kiribati.
Working class retreat
4. Australia continues to be one of the most politically stable imperialist countries. Australia’s direct involvement in the imperialist occupation of Iraq is minimal, and there are no new revolutionary upheavals in the Asia-Pacific region. Australian capitalism is enjoying its longest period of uninterrupted expansion, driven by a mining boom sustained by China’s thirst for raw materials and propped up by ever-higher levels of household debt. While millions are feeling the pinch from higher mortgage interest rates and rising rent, food and petrol costs and the rural drought, a decade and a half of relative prosperity has softened the impact of neoliberal counter-reforms aimed at shoring up capitalist profitability.
5. While corporate profits soar, strikes have fallen to historically low levels. The trade unions are dominated by a privileged bureaucracy utterly subservient to capitalist rule, whether “left” or “right” in ALP factional terms. With the complicity or capitulation of the trade union bureaucracy, the capitalist class has been able to make deep inroads into working class consciousness and organisation. Enterprise bargaining and individual contracts, backed up by some of the harshest anti-union laws of any imperialist country, have further stratified and fragmented the working class, eroding traditions of struggle and solidarity.
6. While the trade union movement has not been smashed, the enactment of the Howard government’s Work Choices legislation is a significant defeat for the working class whose full impact is yet to be felt. While militant unionists in Victoria and WA were able to exert some pressure on the union bureaucracy to take action, the militant current was too small and too isolated to compel the ACTU to launch a campaign of crippling national strikes that could have forced the Howard government to retreat. Instead, the Laborite trade union bureaucracy channelled the opposition to Work Choices into a campaign to re-elect the ALP.
7. The dissolution of Workers First as a militant caucus in the Victorian AMWU to secure an electoral pact with Doug Cameron’s National “Left” faction, and the changed composition of the leadership in the Victorian branch of the CFMEU Construction Division leave the militant (ie. class-struggle reformist) current in the trade unions much weaker nationally.
8. The class struggle in Australia is still dominated by the ongoing retreat of the working class in the face of the capitalist neoliberal offensive. Defeat after defeat without a real test of the contending forces is punctuated by only sporadic outbursts of active dissent and dispersed defensive struggles. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the ruling class launched a new ideological offensive aimed at undermining working class solidarity by stoking racism and xenophobia and clamping down on dissent in the name of national security, sending a chill through the progressive dissenting constituency.
9. Against this backdrop of continuing working class retreat, from 1998 to 2003 there was a rise of active dissent and resistance: the 1998 Maritime Union of Australia dispute and the subsequent revitalization of militant trade unionism in Victoria and WA; the upsurge of solidarity with East Timor’s liberation struggle in the critical hour; the September 11, 2000, mass blockade of the World Economic Forum in Melbourne; the rise of the refugee rights movement; and the spectacular outpouring of dissent against the impending imperialist invasion of Iraq. This relative upturn ebbed with the invasion of Iraq, the jailing of former Victorian Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Craig Johnston and the re-election of the Howard Coalition government in November 2004.
10. From its formation in May 2001 until early 2003, the Socialist Alliance achieved modest success in facilitating greater practical collaboration and constructive dialogue among its revolutionary socialist affiliates and its unaffiliated membership. Trade union leaders such as Craig Johnston and WA MUA secretary Chris Cain were attracted to SA because of its left unity dynamic. As the face of socialist unity, SA both reflected and reinforced a strong desire among most of the unaffiliated members and sympathisers for steps towards greater left unity, a desire shared by the DSP.
11. However, our decision to begin building SA as our new party in formation from early 2003 – formalised in the December 2003 change of name to Democratic Socialist Perspective – was a mistake. The attempt coincided with the retreat of the anti-war movement and the ebb of the post-1998 resurgence of militant trade unionism, leading to a sharp contraction of the active layer of unaffiliated SA members. We proceeded with the SA party-building turn despite opposition from all but one of the other SA affiliates.
12. While the ebb of the social movements since 2003 would have made it very difficult to sustain SA as an alliance of socialists, we killed it off by hiding the DSP behind the mask of SA with a shrinking pool of active SA partners. Since 2003 the trajectory of SA has been a progressive decline while the left unity dynamic has dissipated. Given the formal or de facto abandonment of SA by all the other affiliates, and given the small number of unaffiliated SA activists, SA is no longer a genuine alliance, much less a broad left party in formation. The “Socialist Alliance” today is little more than the public face of the DSP.
13. The DSP must publicly acknowledge that our unilateral attempt to build SA as a new broad-left party in formation was a mistake, a sectarian error and a setback for socialist collaboration. Until today’s conditions of continuing working class retreat change, a broad left party of anti-neoliberal resistance is simply not on the agenda. The necessary partners for such a party, substantial new class-struggle forces and leaders, do not yet exist and will not come into existence until there is a sustained mass upsurge of working class resistance.
14. In the absence of such a critical mass of willing partners, our unilateral declaration that the DSP plus a handful of our supporters is such a party, or party-in-formation, is just clowning. We must resume building the DSP as our public party and seek support for retaining SA’s electoral registration as an electoral vehicle for presenting revolutionary socialist politics in a popular way.
15. The only practical steps we can take towards the eventual creation of a genuinely broad party of anti-neoliberal resistance are rebuilding our Marxist party, the Democratic Socialist Party; DSP propaganda advocating the need for such a broad left party in the future when the tide of the class struggle really does begin to turn; and our participation, as a publicly functioning Marxist party, in various ad-hoc and more ongoing united front-type organizations.
16. The DSP’s public interventions should be guided by the Marxist conception of the united front tactic, the essence of which is to “march separately but strike together.” The dual purpose of this tactic is to seek to bring together the broadest possible forces for effective action while allowing the Marxist forces to demonstrate in practice the superiority of Marxist strategy and tactics. A resurfaced DSP would seek agreement for joint action with other forces as an openly Marxist party, not as SA.
17. As we recognised in our resolution The Election of the Howard Government and the Perspectives of the DSP adopted by our January 1997 DSP congress,
“While we are too small to directly alter the objective political situation by calling into being mass struggles, this does not mean that our role is limited to commenting on events from the side-lines. We can initiate modest-sized actions that can set an example of how to struggle to broader forces. Where these actions raise issues and demands that connect with the concerns and sentiments of the broad masses, such actions can have an impact on the class struggle by forcing the labour bureaucracy, the capitalist media and the bourgeois parties to address these issues and concerns.”
18. Our 1997 resolution says that strengthening our organised nucleus of Marxist cadres “has been the central task facing us since the founding of our party [in 1972]…our main tactical orientation is to directly recruit to our tendency newly radicalising youth and to transform them, through education in Marxist theory and practical experience in the mass movement, into professional revolutionary propagandists, agitators and organisers.” While our goal is to build a mass revolutionary workers’ party,
“We recognise that we are not such a mass party or anything approaching it. We are the propaganda nucleus of such a party. This means that all our activities are propagandistic in their goals, that is, aimed at reaching out to radicalising workers and students with our [revolutionary Marxist] ideas and winning them to our ranks. It means that we put priority in our activity, including in the mass movement, on explaining and popularising our ideas through…seeking to win the widest readership that we can for our most effective propaganda tool, Green Left Weekly.”
The above points remain true today.
19. At the level of mass struggle, the Australian working class is overwhelmingly passive, atomized and politically inert. While cynicism towards bourgeois politicians and institutions is widespread, particularly among young people, bourgeois electoralism remains all-pervasive. However, a minority of the working class is relatively open to radical ideas and explanations. This “search for answers” is fueled by the ever-more glaring contradictions of imperialism in decline and alarm at the looming ecological apocalypse, as seen in the popularity and impact of progressive documentaries such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Sicko” and of the work of radical authors and commentators such as John Pilger and Tariq Ali. The explosive growth of the internet over the past decade has made a much wider range of information, including the full spectrum of radical critiques, readily accessible and more easily shared.
20. Individuals continue to radicalize in a very atomised way. This tenuous, fragile radicalization is disconnected from the clarity and empowerment that can come from direct participation in mass struggles, and it bubbles away in the absence of any widely held conviction of the possibility of a socialist alternative to capitalism. The challenge for us is how to engage most effectively this dispersed radicalizing constituency in what Comrade Fidel Castro calls “the battle of ideas”, i.e. to gain a bigger audience for Marxist ideas and explanations and to recruit, educate and train Marxist cadres through building an openly Marxist party. The moral and ideological weakness of the ruling class and its gradual exposure are the real opening for revolutionaries in Australia today.
21. The Venezuela-Cuba axis of solidarity and socialist renewal is inspiring millions of people on every continent as the real story gets out and more people, especially young people, are able to experience these revolutions first-hand. This socialist resurgence is political gold, a gift that must not be squandered. The over-arching and unifying campaign priority for a resurfaced DSP and Resistance must be to lead the building of a broad-based solidarity campaign with the Venezuela-Cuba axis. Firstly, it’s our revolutionary duty; secondly, there’s nothing like a living revolution in all its concrete richness, contradiction and emotional appeal to inspire youth to become dedicated lifelong revolutionaries and to absorb Marxism into their bones.
22. To really make this solidarity work our number one priority, Resistance needs to throw itself enthusiastically into building the AVSN, especially on campus; many more comrades, including leading comrades, need to be assigned to Latin America solidarity work nationally and in the branches; this work must be carried systematically into every arena of DSP and Resistance public intervention; we need more frequent, in-depth educational discussions in the branches given by a wider range of comrades; and far more effort needs to go into the preparation, organization and follow-up of our own comrades’ participation in the Venezuela solidarity brigades.
23. The core task of our Venezuela solidarity work is to establish the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network as a broad national network with a life of its own, capable of nurturing a cadre of committed solidarity activists, from which we can recruit to Resistance and a resurfaced DSP.
Rebuilding the Democratic Socialist Party
24. These are very difficult times for revolutionary party-building in this rich, stable imperialist country. We know that in the long-term historical sense, a deep-going crisis of capitalist rule is inevitable, but we cannot know when, or how, such a revolutionary crisis will unfold in Australia, or when the long tide of working class retreat will come to an end. This tide of retreat bears down on us with unrelenting intensity, and there’s a strong temptation to look for a shortcut, an easier road to gaining mass influence.
25. Five years of us persisting with a mistaken party-building perspective have weakened the DSP politically and organizationally, whether measured in absolute terms – the decline over this period in membership, Resistance and Green Left Weekly distribution, the closure of DSP branches (Darwin, Lismore) and offices, recurring financial crises, suspending publication of Links magazine, the publication of fewer books and pamphlets, the loss of so many experienced DSP comrades – or in relation to some other left forces, to which we have ceded initiative or which have grown in size and/or influence at our expense.
26. Partially arresting the decline in our national Green Left Weekly distribution and DSP finances was made possible by the abandonment, since May 2005, of any serious attempt to implement the party-building perspective of the DSP congress majority: to build SA as our new party in formation, but in slow motion. In reality since May 2005 we’ve been building SA almost exclusively as the public face of the DSP, which has freed up some DSP cadres at the branch level.
27. Not only has the DSP itself all but disappeared from public view, but the public presentation of our Marxist ideas, explanations and political line has largely given way to the left-reformist politics of SA. This liquidation of the public presentation of the DSP’s Marxist politics has had a corrosive effect on our revolutionary consciousness and morale.
28. Throughout the 1990s, Green Left Weekly played a dual role as both a left regroupment tool – establishing its unique authority as a broad left publication – and at the same time a de facto party paper, profiling our revolutionary tendency and our Marxist political line. We need to return to this dual conception of the role of Green Left Weekly. In line with the restoration of the DSP as a public party, the content of the paper needs to be adjusted to present our Marxist ideas and explanations more systematically and explicitly; and to profile once more the DSP’s political line, its leaders and activities without compromising the paper’s broad appeal.
29. DSP branches need to schedule regular, at least monthly, Green Left Weekly public forums. Each forum should have at least one DSP speaker who can present the DSP’s Marxist analysis on the topic in question to facilitate a more regular dialogue with our supporters and to “out” the Marxist party behind the paper.
30. Under the strain of our forced march to try to build SA into a new party, there was a drift away from our leadership principle, which is that the most conscious, committed and self-sacrificing comrades are organized through the DSP’s leadership bodies to “lift up” the consciousness and commitment of the membership as a whole through political motivation and persuasion, systematic attention to education and training, striving to raise the political level of the party and, above all, leadership by example. This principle of inclusive leadership underpins the creation of a revolutionary cadre with a high level of political agreement, comradely relations of mutual confidence and the development of every comrade’s leadership abilities. We need to return to a more conscious and consistent application of this leadership principle, and give more attention to the development of women leaders in particular.
31. Reviving and strengthening our DSP fractions and committees are vital, since these working bodies are our basic cadre-building machinery. A resurfaced DSP will need DSP fractions to organize our various public interventions.
32. Having drifted into emphasizing the “party of action” over the “collective thinking machine”, we need to correct this imbalance. Our cadre education and training need to be systematic and intensive and aim to involve all DSP members, not just provisional members. More leadership attention and resources must be dedicated at the national level and in the branches so that a rich and varied program of DSP classes, seminars, workshops, camps and educational discussion in branch meetings can become a true pillar of re-cadreisation.
33. The urgent challenge facing the DSP is to replenish our aging and depleted cadre core. The revolutionary continuity and vitality of the DSP have rested, above all, on our ability to renew our cadre, primarily through Resistance. The priority of the DSP must be to rebuild Resistance, which is smaller and weaker today than at any time in the past three decades. Resistance leading the building of a broad-based solidarity campaign with the peoples of Venezuela and Cuba is an essential complement to our efforts to stir up active youth dissent against the ruling class at home. With the facts, arguments and inspiration of these revolutions behind us, we can begin to push back our left competitors on the campuses.
34. We must strive to cultivate the spirit of revolutionary comradeship in the DSP and Resistance. We need a party spirit that can sustain us through the ups and downs of the struggle, that takes from each of us all that we are capable of giving and that gives each of us, in return, something infinitely precious and beautiful – a tiny glimpse of the communist future of humanity.
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Beyond the Socialist Alliance platform:
[The following platform was presented by CM a member of Perth branch.]
The Socialist Alliance is not a step on the road to a workers party. It is a step in the wrong direction.
The Democratic Socialist Party made a mistake when we decided to rename our organisation the Democratic Socialist Perspective. We made a mistake when we decided to cease operating as a public party and instead became an internal tendency within the Socialist Alliance.
The Socialist Alliance is not, nor will it ever be, a mass workers party or the embryo of a mass workers party.
A new workers party will only become a genuine possibility when there is a significant increase in class consciousness and class struggle.
The DSP should therefore inform Socialist Alliance members that it no longer intends to take part in that organisation.
The DSP should be renamed the Democratic Socialist Party and the party and its members should operate publicly as such.
The DSP has been severely disoriented by its involvement in the Socialist Alliance. We have operated within the SA framework for the better part of seven years and so the transition will be complicated.
This discussion cannot take place in a party divided about which party it is building. Only once we have withdrawn from the Socialist Alliance can we begin to discuss an alternative way forward.
Therefore, the 23rd Congress of the DSP should deal only with this question. Once we have decided to withdraw from the Socialist Alliance we should amend the constitution to reflect this change, elect a new National Committee and call for the 24th Congress to be held in June 2008, after six months of internal discussion about the tasks and perspectives of a reformed Democratic Socialist Party. Until this June Congress, campaign priorities should be decided on by branches.The Democratic Socialist Party should not replace Socialist Alliance with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, however, nor any other front group or “revolutionary half-way house”.
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