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Australia

The left and UN military intervention in East Timor

By Terry Townsend

January-April 2000 -- The streets of what is left of Dili, the capital of East Timor, were packed on October 31, 1999, as tens of thousands of people joined a procession led by Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. Ostensibly to mark the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the procession was the culmination of two tumultuous months that brought the brutal 24-year-long Indonesian occupation and annexation of East Timor to an end.

Conference reaffirms Marxism in the 21st century

By Margaret Allum

"In the world, the tendency today is to bury Marxism and communism. The equation is simple: the collapse of the European socialist bloc is the end of the ideology and the theory that inspired their existence. But Marxist and communist ideas have today, perhaps more than ever, the possibility of demonstrating their viability.”

With these words Maria Luisa Fernandez, the Cuban consul-general, opened the Marxism 2000 conference in Richmond, just outside of Sydney, from January 5 to 9. Her speech followed a welcome by Colin Giles, a representative of the local Darug Aboriginal people.

Marxism 2000, initiated and organised by the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), was the second Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference; the first was held in April 1998, also in Sydney.

Far from being a collective international obituary to the ideas and practice of Marxism, Marxism 2000 was instead a vibrant reassertion of the urgent need to build an alternative to the capitalist system and a reminder that such an alternative is the only way to solve massive global inequalities.

Unfinished business: the struggle for abortion rights

By Kamala Emanuel

January, 2000 -- Why abortion rights? What is the importance of this issue? For us, it may be obvious, but it's necessary to reiterate the importance of the right to abortion because of the attacks it continues to face, and because in Australia and elsewhere a generation of women have now grown up with relatively straightforward access to abortion, who may not appreciate the significance of this right.

The role of Australian imperialism in the Asia-Pacific region

Democratic Socialist Party

This is the text of a resolution adopted by the 19th Congress of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party, held January 3-7, 2001. Except where specified otherwise, dollars in this article are Australian dollars. At the time of writing, A$1 was approximately US$0.55

Resolution on work in the Socialist Alliance

from the Democratic Socialist Party

This resolution was adopted by the Twentieth Congress of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party [DSP], held in Sydney from December 28, 2002 to January 1, 2003. For an explanation of its background, see Peter Boyle's article in this issue.

This Twentieth Congress of the Democratic Socialist Party:

Australia: Letter to Socialist Alliance National Executive

September 3, 2002

  1. State of the Socialist Alliance
  2. The international context
  3. The potential for and constraints on the Socialist Alliance
  4. Political basis for greater unity
  5. The Democratic Socialist tendency and the Socialist Alliance

Dear comrades,

I am writing to you on behalf of the National Executive of the Democratic Socialist Party to advise you that we have initiated a discussion in our party about making a radically bigger commitment towards left unity within the Socialist Alliance.

Steps toward greater left unity in Australia

By Peter Boyle

In September 2, 2002, the Democratic Socialist Party [DSP] national executive adopted the perspective of making the Socialist Alliance the party its members build by transforming the DSP into an internal tendency within the Socialist Alliance. The sole purpose of the Democratic Socialist tendency (DST), as it was to be called, would be to complete the process of left regroupment while preserving for the Socialist Alliance our main political gains (such as a popular weekly newspaper, our nationwide network of activist centres, and a politically educated cadre). Apart from carrying out this transition, the DST would not seek to be a permanent political tendency.

The national executive decided to conduct a thorough DSP membership discussion on this proposal, leading up to the party's Twentieth Congress (December 28, 2002-January 1, 2003) while arguing the case for this new step in left regroupment in the Socialist Alliance and facilitating a broader discussion in Green Left Weekly.

Australian Socialist Alliance takes a new step for left unity

By Peter Boyle and Sue Bolton

Peter Boyle is a member of the incoming Socialist Alliance national executive and a member of the DSP national executive. Sue Bolton is a member of the national trade union committee of the Socialist Alliance and a member of the DSP national executive. Conference documents are available from <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>.

CONTENTS

Reviving militant unionism

Perspectives debate

United front approach to ALP, Greens

Developing socialist policy

Tendency rights protected

Prospects for the Socialist Alliance

Engels and the theory of the labour aristocracy

By Jonathan Strauss

I. The theory of the labour aristocracy

II. Marx and Engels on the labour aristocracy in 19th century England

Notes

The theory of the labour aristocracy argues that opportunism in the working class has a material basis. The superprofits of monopoly capital support the benefits of a stratum of relatively privileged workers, whose interests in this are expressed by class-collaborationist politics. Marx and, especially, Engels, first developed this theory. It is most closely associated with Lenin, however, for whom it became "the pivot of the tactics in the labour movement that are dictated by the objective conditions of the imperialist era".1

Many revolutionaries who claim Lenin as an influence nevertheless reject the theory. They deny the character of imperialism as monopoly capitalism, the existence of the labour aristocracy or the stability of opportunism. Their method mimics the empiricism of bourgeois economics, political science and sociology rather than following Marx and Engels' injunction to study history. Their acceptance of the results of this reflects the very often dominant position of opportunism in the working-class movement.

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