Issue 13

Socialists in the Australian women's liberation movement

By Margaret Allan

To understand the development of feminism in Australia, it is useful to briefly recap the political situation that gave rise not only to the women's liberation movement, but to the whole range of social movements that sprang up in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

During the Second World War, women were drawn into many non-traditional areas of work, such as making ammunition and ships. These were much higher paid jobs than women were used to, and many women who did not previously work for pay experienced life as working mothers for the first time. There was some public child-care provision, and the ideology that women were incapable of metal work and similar trades conveniently disappeared as everyone was urged to “do their bit for the war effort and the boys at the front”.

When men began returning from the war in large numbers in 1945, women were forced to give up these jobs. It was the start of the “baby boom”: women were encouraged to have babies to repopulate. This was also the start of the economic boom of the 1950s.

International workers' movement news

Marxism 2000 conference planned

“Marxism 2000” is the theme of the Asia Pacific Solidarity and Education Conference, called in Sydney on January 5–9 by the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) and Resistance.

Featured speakers will include left journalist and film-maker John Pilger, us Latin America analyst James Petras and Francisco Nemenzo, professor of political science at the University of the Philippines.

Other special guests include the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)

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.

Marxism or Bauerite nationalism?

By Doug Lorimer

Fatherland or Mother Earth? Essays on the National Question is a collection of essays written over the last 24 years by Michael Löwy, director of research in sociology at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. The book was published under the auspices of the Amsterdam-based International Institute for Research and Education, founded by Ernest Mandel and other leaders of the Trotskyist Fourth International.

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.

Program of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Philippines

The Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Philippines (RPM-P)—the Revolutionary Workers' Party-Philippines—is one of the organisations emerging from splits in the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines in 1993-4. It was based primarily on cadres in Visayas and Mindanao. The RPM-P held its first congress on May 1-10, 1998, approving a new party constitution and other documents. Reprinted here is an English translation of the RPM-P's program.

Palestine and Israel after the elections

By Adam Hanieh

Introduction

To many the Israeli elections in May represented a battle between those who supported peace and those opposed to it. Election advertisements by incumbent Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu re-ran scenes of bombings in Jerusalem, to portray the message that Israelis are safe only under the leadership of the right-wing Likud party. The Labour Party, under Ehud Barak, responded with the image of Barak as ``Israel's most decorated soldier''.

In the West Bank, however, the situation continued as normal throughout the election period. The average Palestinian on the street paid little attention to what was going on just a few kilometres to the east. In contrast, the Palestinian leadership urged Palestinians inside Israel to ``vote for peace'', a thinly veiled call for a vote for Barak.

This gap between the street and the leadership is perhaps the most striking feature of life in Palestine today. The street cares little for what happens on an official level, while on a daily basis land is confiscated, houses are demolished, and Palestinians are imprisoned and tortured.

National oppression and the collapse of Yugoslavia

By Michael Karadjis

Michael Karadjis is a member of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective. He recently completed an MA thesis on the break-up of Yugoslavia..

Irish nationalism and the peace process

Interview with Bernadette McAliskey

This interview appeared in the May 1999 German-language Irland Almanach, edited by Jürgen Schneider. It was conducted on April 6, 1999, in Coalisland, County Tyrone, by Ralf Sotscheck, Irish and British correspondent for the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung. Bernadette McAliskey, a leader of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement of the 1960s, was a Westminster MP in the early 1970s and is a long-time human rights activist.

You stated some time ago that the peace process cannot and will not lead to the achievement of the just and democratic ideals to which people gave their liberty and their lives. Do you reject the peace process, or what's your position now?

I still have exactly the same analysis of the peace process. I think that over the period of time in which it has been played out, the analysis has proved to be correct. I do not take any great joy in that.

Marx, Engels and Lenin on the national question

By Norm Dixon

Norm Dixon is a member of the National Committee of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party and a journalist for the newspaper Green Left Weekly.

Links 13: Editor's introduction

Socialism and nationalism

Over the last year, events have provided almost daily reminders of the persistence of nationalism and the national question as topics of central importance for socialists and, indeed, for all political forces. Around the world, national liberation struggles and national conflicts pose sharp questions for the working-class movement.

This issue explores the national question in a range of countries and a number of different aspects. Norm

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