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Trotskyism

Australia: Towards a history of the Communist Party of Australia

[These articles were first published in Green Left Weekly in 1995 to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Australia.]

By John Percy

September 27, 1995 -- Seventy-five years ago, under the impact and inspiration of the October 1917 Russian Revolution, the Communist Party of Australia was founded. It was a modest beginning, but an historic event. The CPA formed in 1920 finally dissolved in 1991, but for most of its life it was the dominant party on the left in Australia and an important force in the workers movement.

There are many proud chapters in its history -- the numerous trade union struggles led; organising the unemployed, women, Aborigines, young people; important civil liberties fights; and solidarity with international struggles, in Spain, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa and East Timor, to name a few.
The CPA's founders had a vision of socialist revolution in Australia, and this was the goal of most of its rank-and-file members over the years. The party inspired dedication and commitment from thousands of men and women, and organised the most militant, idealistic, self-sacrificing section of the Australian working class.

But it was also a history of mistakes, of betrayals, of lost opportunities.

To mark this important anniversary, Green Left Weekly will be carrying a series of articles on the history of the CPA.

Communism in Australia

By Dave Holmes

[This talk was presented at the A Century of Struggle Laborism and the radical alternative: Lessons for today conference, held in Melbourne, Australia, on May 30, 2009. It was organised by Socialist Alliance and sponsored by Green Left Weekly, Australia’s leading socialist newspaper. To read other talks presented at the conference, click HERE.]

Available for download: Barry Sheppard's The Party: The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988: A Political Memoir -- The Sixties

Barry Sheppard, 1964, editor of the Militant newspaper. Photo by Ed Shaw.

http://www.barrysheppardbook.com/ -- Barry Sheppard was a member of the US Socialist Workers Party for 28 years, and a central leader for most of that time. This is the first of two volumes recounting his life in the party. It is a case study in the inspiration and difficulties involved in building the nucleus of a revolutionary socialist party.

This book covers from 1960 to 1973, the period of radicalisation known as "The Sixties". Walking picket lines for Black civil rights, helping to organise the anti-Vietnam War movement, interviewing Malcolm X, meeting with US soldiers in Vietnam, defending the Cuban Revolution, collaborating with socialists worldwide including in Australia, India, France and Japan -- Barry Sheppard has lived a life enriched by contact with and involvement in popular struggles around the world.

Slideshow: Stalinism -- How did the Russian Revolution degenerate and was it inevitable?

The revolutionary life and tumultuous times of Ernest Mandel

By Barry Healy

A Life for the Revolution, Documentary by Chris Den Hond, 90 minutes, 2005; A Man Called Ernest Mandel, Documentary by Frans Buyens, 40 minutes, 1972, available of two-disc DVD, available from http://www.iire.org

Ernest Mandel, said to be perhaps the most important Marxist theoretician of the second half of the 20th century, died aged 71 on July 20, 1995. These two documentaries reveal why he was so respected but also expose a great deal more.

A Life for the Revolution uses Mandel’s life as a lens to examine some of the most significant revolutionary developments of the last few generations, with stirring archival footage and interviews with participants. The 1972 “talking head” interview A Man Called Ernest Mandel, in which he explains important aspects of socialist democracy and workers’ control of the means of production, is packaged as an extra.

Baruch Hirson: The South African left and the Russian connection (1991)

Click HERE to view a CVET video production of a seminar at the
University of the Western Cape on the past, present, and future of
Marxism in South Africa, held in September 1991. It was addressed by veteran South African Trotskyist activist Baruch Hirson. Participating in the seminar were Ciraj
Rassool, Baruch Hirson, Andrew Nash, Colin Bundy, Adam Habib, Paul
Allen and Neville Alexander.  

Baruch Hirson: The South African left and the Russian connection (1991)

Marxism in South Africa - Past, Present, & Future

September 6-8, 1991

The DSP and the Fourth International

Introduction

On August 17, 1985 the National Committee of the Democratic Socialist Perpective (then named the Socialist Workers Party) voted to end the party’s affiliation to the Fourth International, the international organisation founded in 1938 by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his supporters around the world.

This decision, which was subsequently endorsed by the DSP’s 11th Congress, held in Canberra in January 1986, was the result of a process of rethinking within the DSP about many of the ideas it had shared in common with other parties adhering to the Trotskyist movement.

Some more comments on Peter Taaffe's Cuba book

[This article first appeared in the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin The Activist - Volume 10, Number 9, October 2000.]

 

By Doug Lorimer

Last year I wrote a letter to Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, responding to his request for our leadership's disagreements with the Committee for a Workers' International's view of Cuba. The letter took the form of an extended polemic against Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) general secretary Peter Taaffe's 1982 pamphlet Cuba: Analysis of the Revolution. The letter was subsequently printed in The Activist for the information of DSP members. In June this year [2000] the CWI published a book by Peter Taaffe replying to my letter to Comrade Tariq entitled Cuba: Socialism and Democracy.

The Cuban Revolution and its leadership: A criticism of Peter Taaffe's pamphlet 'Cuba: Analysis of the Revolution'

The following article was written at the request of Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, as an initial contribution to a discussion between the LPP and the DSP on the character of the leadership of the Cuban socialist state and the Communist Party of Cuba. It was published in the Volume 9, Number 4, 1999, edition of The Activist, the Democratic Socialist Party's internal discussion bulletin.

By Doug Lorimer

Peter Taaffe's pamphlet on Cuba (first published in 1978 and reprinted in 1982) consists of three articles taken from the paper of the British Militant organisation (now called the Socialist Party), of which he was, and still is, general secretary. The first article presents an analysis of the revolutionary struggle in Cuba up to the expropriation of capitalist property and the establishment of a planned economy. The second article analyses the character of the group which led the Cuban socialist revolution, the central conclusion of which is indicated by the article's title: "Power in the Hands of [a] Bureaucratic Elite". The third article is an attempt to substantiate this view in the light of the foreign and domestic policies of this leadership group.

The basic conclusion of the pamphlet is set out at the end of the third article:

The CPI (M) and stages of revolution

By Dipankar Basu

March 25, 2008 -- This article attempts to throw some light on the following two questions: (1) How does the classical Marxist tradition conceptualise the relationship between the two stages of revolution: democratic and the socialist? (2) Does the democratic revolution lead to deepening and widening capitalism? Is capitalism necessary to develop the productive capacity of a society?

South Africa: Two economies - or one system of superexploitation

By Patrick Bond
[The following is the introduction to ``Transcending two economies – renewed debates in South African political economy'', a special issue of Africanus, Journal of Development Studies (Vol. 37 No. 2 2007, ISSN 0304-615x). It is republished with permission.The full issue is available for free download at http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/files/africanus_1.pdf ]

Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution: A long and still relevant debate

By John Nebauer

Review of Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution: A Leninist critique, by Doug Lorimer, Resistance Books, Sydney, 1998, A$6.95.

John Nebauer is a member of the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia.

After Lenin, Trotsky was the foremost leader of the Russian Revolution. His contributions to the international socialist movement and to Marxism were immense. Trotsky's leadership of the Military Revolutionary Committee in November 1917 helped ensure the victory of the Bolshevik uprising. His classic History of the Russian Revolution remains the best account of the events that led to and followed the demise of the Romanov dynasty. As the founder of the Red Army, Trotsky played a vital role in defending the revolution from the forces of reaction. Later, he led the opposition to Stalinist degeneration and provided a Marxist analysis of the bureaucratic regime.

The left in Pakistan: a brief history

By Farooq Sulehria

Farooq Sulehria is a member of the Executive Committee of the Labour Party Pakistan and of the Editorial Board of Links.

The uninterrupted revolution in the Philippines

By Reihana Mohideen

Reihana Mohideen was, at the time of writing, a member of the Executive Council of the SPP and of the Links Editorial Board.

In Defence of Lenin's Marxist Policy of a Two-Stage, Uninterrupted Revolution

By Doug Lorimer

Phil Hearse's polemic against my pamphlet proceeds from a fundamentally false assumption, i.e., that it "attempts [to give] a general strategic view" of revolution in "the semi-colonial and dependent semi-industrialised countries". He alleges that my pamphlet presents Lenin's policy of carrying out the proletarian revolution in semi-feudal Russia in two stages (a bourgeois democratic and then a socialist stage) "as a general schema for the 'Third World' today". Nowhere in the pamphlet do I make such a claim.

Permanent Revolution today

By Phil Hearse

In the fight for socialist renewal, international collaboration cannot be on the basis of total agreement on theory, strategy or tactics. All or some of the members of organisations the Democratic Socialist Party seeks collaboration with hold or tend towards the permanent revolution theory. These include the sections of the Fourth International, the Scottish Socialist Party, the Pakistani Labour Party, the NSSP in Sri Lanka, Solidarity

Either A 'Socialist Revolution Or A Make-Believe Revolution': A Rejoinder to Doug Lorimer

By Phil Hearse

"The International of Crime and Treason [i.e., the counter-revolutionary coordination of imperialism—PH] has in fact been organised. On the other hand, the indigenous bourgeoisies have lost all their capacity to oppose imperialism—if they ever had it—and they have become the last card in the pack. There are no other alternatives: either a socialist revolution or a make-believe revolution."—Ernesto Che Guevara, Message to the Tricontinental 1967 (emphasis added).

"You must struggle for the socialist revolution, struggle to the end, until the complete victory of the proletariat. Long live the socialist revolution!"—V.I. Lenin, "Speech at the Finland Station" on arrival back in Russia, April 1917

The Ukraine scam, internationals and internationalism

By John Percy

CONTENTS

International Potemkin villages

Wrong conception

Actual Marxist practice

The Comintern

Trotskyist tradition

Real internationalism

Globalisation

United parties

Notes

January 2004 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Embarrassing details of an extensive scam being operated against left-wing organisations surfaced in the Ukraine in mid-2003. At least twelve, possibly up to twenty, small left groups, mainly in England and the United States, were conned by an enterprising group of Ukrainian politicos pretending to be supporters of each of these parties or their "internationals" setting up their Ukrainian "sections".

'Socialism in one country' and the Cuban Revolution

By Celia Hart

Celia Hart is the daughter of two veterans of the Cuban revolution: Haydée Santamaría, who participated in the July 26,1953, assault on the Moncada Barracks, and Armando Hart, the former minister of culture. Reprinted from Tricontinental Magazine.

 

CONTENTS

Why Trotsky?

The Cuban Revolution, paradigm of a socialist revolution

Internationalism in the development of the Cuban revolution

Social justice: the other cornerstone of the Cuban nation

Final notes

 

"Homeland is humanity."—José Martí

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