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Australia: How and why the Gough Whitlam government's far-reaching reforms were won

By Jim McIlroy

November 1, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The passing of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at the age of 98 on October 21 provoked a wave of emotion from the community, both young and old. At a time when the federal government is trying to smash the remnants of the progressive reforms initiated during Whitlam's Australian Labor Party (ALP) government — in office from December 1972 to November 1975 — the Whitlam era seems like a period from another political universe.

A letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on October 23, 2014, summed up the mood: "The death of Gough Whitlam not only provided an opportunity for political midgets such as [present ALP federal leader] Bill Shorten and [Liberal Party-National Party coalition Prime Minister] Tony Abbott to become authorities on giants ... It also showed how these two agree on almost everything else. The contrast with the Whitlam era is complete.”

How we can use the Transitional Program today: a response to Socialist Alternative

 "Allen Myers denies the possibility of using the Transitional Program as a tool to advance the class struggle in Australia today. He devotes a lot of effort in arguing that nationalisation is not a transitional demand in current circumstances."

For more on the transitional method, click HERE

By Chris Slee

February 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Allen Myers, a member of the Australian party Socialist Alternative, has written an article in that organisation’s magazine Marxist Left Review entitled “Trotsky’s Transitional Program: its uses and abuses”.[1] Myers is also a former leading member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, some of whose members have joined Socialist Alternative.

In memory of Doug Lorimer

The photo above (Sydney, c 1975) shows (from left): Joy Ecclestone, Dave Holmes, Doug Lorimer, (obscured unknown) and Geoff Payne.

[For more by or about Doug Lorimer, click HERE.]

By Dave Holmes

[These brief remarks were delivered at a memorial meeting for Doug Lorimer in Melbourne on October 25, 2013, organised by Socialist Alternative.]

October 25, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Arguing for Socialism -- The July 27, 2013, Green Left Weekly carried an obituary for Doug Lorimer written by Pat Brewer. For comrades interested in the basic details of Doug's political CV I would recommend it.

I first met Doug in February 1971 in Adelaide. John Percy, myself and Dave Riley went over as a national investigating commission of the Socialist Youth Alliance (SYA). Two members of the local SYA branch were or had become Maoists and were causing us some political embarrassment. Doug Jordan was the branch organiser.

The role of the united-front tactic

Australian protest against the US war on Vietnam. Socialists argued for the movement to have as its central demand the call for the immediate withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Vietnam.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This talk was presented by Peter Boyle representing the then Democratic Socialist Party (since merged with the Socialist Alliance) to a workshop with comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia in 2000. It was based on a talk by Doug Lorimer to a Resistance leadership training school in Sydney on April 24-25, 1995. It was published in The Activist, volume 5, number 6, 1995. Doug Lorimer passed away on July 21, 2013. Read more of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.]

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A Marxist’s place is in the feminist movement

[See also "Why socialists need feminism". For more discussion of feminism, click HERE.]

By Karen Fletcher

August 6, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Tony Cliff was characteristically blunt when he set out what was to become the International Socialist Tendency’s (IST) position on “the feminist movement” in his 1984 book, Class Struggle and Women's Liberation:

Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, 1953-2013

Read some of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.

By Pat Brewer

July 27, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, died on July 21 in Sydney after a year of fighting deteriorating ill health and long-term hospitalisation.

Lorimer was born April 17, 1953 in Dundee in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents Connie and Bill when he was four years old to settle in the South Australian steel town of Whyalla.

Lorimer radicalised as a high school student. He first became involved in left politics through the Australian movement against the imperialist war in Vietnam, when he and his mother joined the moratorium marches in Adelaide in 1970.

Lorimer was recruited to the Socialist Youth Alliance — which later became the youth organisation Resistance — aged 16 in late 1971 in his final year in high school. He then went on to enrol in a science degree majoring in physics at Flinders University.

He dropped out of the degree during his first year as his commitment to building a revolutionary party grew. However, his interest in science never waned.

Australia: Revolutionary unity to meet the capitalist crisis -- Socialist Alliance responds to Socialist Alternative

Socialist Alliance national convenor Peter Boyle speaks at Socialist Alternative's Marxism 2013.

[A response from Socialist Alliance to "What kind of organisation do socialists need?", published in the Summer 2013 issue of Socialist Alternative's Marxist Left Review. This article first appeared in Marxist Left Review, Winter 2013 and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By Nick Fredman, Pip Hinman and Susan Price

Lessons of the Australian Prices and Incomes Accord

Former ACTU heads Bill Kelty (left) and Simon Crean (right), and former Labor PM Bob Hawke attend the Prices and Income Accord 30-year anniversary. Photo by Renee Nowytarger. Source: The Australian.

June 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --The 30th anniversary of the Prices and Incomes Accord, signed by the Australian Labor Party federal government and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has just been celebrated by the former employers, union officials and ALP politicians of the period. At the time, and again today, this class-collaborationist "social contract" was lauded as a tremendous step forward for workers and "the economy". The reality for Australian workers was the opposite and the lessons should never be forgotten.

Below is a talk presented to the political school of the South African Municipal Workers Union -- in Durban in 2001 -- by Norm Dixon, at the time editor of Green Left Weekly and a national executive member of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (since merged into the Socialist Alliance). It is excerpted from the SAMWU Political Education Book, 2002-03.

Australia: Socialist Alliance wins seat in Melbourne municipal council

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

By Chris Slee and Selena Black, Melbourne

November 3, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Socialist Alliance candidate Sue Bolton (pictured above) was elected to Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in the October 27 municipal government elections. Bolton received 9.5% of the first-preference votes in the council’s north-east ward, which covers Coburg, Fawkner and part of Brunswick. Twenty-four candidates contested the four available positions in the ward.

Bolton came third on primary votes, behind Greens candidate Lenka Thompson with 14.37% and Australian Labor Party (ALP) member Michael Teti with 10.42%. Bolton came in ahead of Liberal Party member Rob Thompson, who mangaed 9.39%, despite spending up big on his campaign.

Although the ALP candidates generally exchanged preferences, a large number of people who gave their first preference to an ALP candidate disregarded the how-to-vote cards and gave their second preference to Bolton. Bolton clearly campaigned as a Socialist Alliance candidate.

The debate about the nature of the former Soviet Union: Who was right?

Moscow 2008.

[For more discussion on the nature of the Soviet Union click HERE. See also the related discussion on Stalinism HERE.]

By Chris Slee

July 30, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The nature of the former Soviet Union was an issue which divided the left for many decades. Now that the Soviet Union no longer exists, differing analyses of its class nature should no longer be a reason for maintaining separate socialist organisations.

Nevertheless, this historical debate has relevance to current politics, since the theories developed to explain the nature of the Soviet Union were subsequently applied to other countries, including Cuba. In particular, the theory of state capitalism, of which British Socialist Workers Party leader Tony Cliff was a leading exponent, is applied to Cuba by many groups today, including Solidarity and Socialist Alternative in Australia.

John Riddell on the US SWP: Part 2, causes of a socialist collapse (1976–83)

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

Part 2 of a two-part article. Part 1 is available here.

John Riddell on the US SWP: Part 1, SWP attempts an outward turn (1976–83)

In 1976, the campaign of SWP presidential candidate Peter Camejo won unprecedentedly wide support from left currents.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

Part 1 of a two-part article. Part 2 is available here.

Who or what killed the US SWP?

Barry Sheppard (right, holding banner pole with Sylvia Weinstein) at an anti-war march in New York in 1966.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.

The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.

[For more discussion of the US SWP, click HERE.]

Review by Peter Boyle

Doug Lorimer's introduction to 'Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism'

Introduction by Doug Lorimer

I. Lenin's aims in writing this work

The term "imperialism" came into common usage in England in the 1890s as a development of the older term "empire" by the advocates of a major effort to extend the British Empire in opposition to the policy of concentrating on national economic development, the supporters of which the advocates of imperialism dismissed as "Little Englanders". The term was rapidly taken into other languages to describe the contest between rival European states to secure colonies and spheres of influence in Africa and Asia, a contest that dominated international politics from the mid-1880s to 1914, and caused this period to be named the "age of imperialism".

The first systematic critique of imperialism was made by the English bourgeois social-reformist economist John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940) in his 1902 book Imperialism: A Study, which, as Lenin observes at the beginning of his own book on the subject, "gives a very good and comprehensive description of the principal specific economic and political features of imperialism" (see below, p. 33).

Lenin had long been familiar with Hobson's book. Indeed, in a letter written from Geneva to his mother in St. Petersburg on August 29, 1904, Lenin stated that he had just "received Hobson's book on imperialism and have begun translating it" into Russian.(1)

The class nature of the Chinese state

By Doug Lorimer

[The general line of this report was adopted by the 18th DSP Congress, January 5-10, 1999. This text is taken from The Activist, volume 9, number 1, 1999.]

The purpose of this report is to motivate the adoption by the party of the "Theses on the Class Nature of the People's Republic of China" approved by the National Committee at its October plenum last year.

Since 1993 our party has held the position that the ruling Chinese bureaucracy has been presiding over the restoration of capitalism in China. However, our policy toward China has been ambigious: while taking an oppositional stance in our public press toward the ruling bureaucracy's restorationist course, we have left it unclear as to whether we continued to believe that China is still a bureaucratically ruled socialist state.

The collapse of 'communism' in the USSR: Its causes and significance

By Doug Lorimer

Doug Lorimer is a member of the National Executive of the DSP. This article is based on a report adopted by the 14th National Conference of the DSP, held in Sydney, January 2-6, 1992.

©Resistance Books 1997; first published 1992, second (revised) edition 1997

Contents

Stalinism in the Soviet Union

On the Australian left: 'Let’s unite behind Green Left Weekly'

September 8, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- For many years we were regular contributors to Green Left Weekly and proud supporters of the paper. We’ve now decided to resume writing for GLW and we urge other former contributors to consider doing the same.

In May 2008, we and about 50 other former members of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) launched the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the monthly paper Direct Action (DA) following a bitter internal dispute in the DSP that centred on the Socialist Alliance.

In August 2010, we and six other members of the Sydney branch of the RSP left the organisation as a group, having concluded that the RSP was not viable as a Marxist party because it lacks both a critical mass of activists and realistic possibilities for recruitment.

We were unable to establish enough of a readership and support base for DA to justify the effort that goes into the paper.

GLW, on the other hand, has established itself over the past two decades as a socialist publication with a relatively high profile, readership and support base.

It’s the only such publication that comes out weekly and its website is among the ten most visited Australian political websites.

Excerpts from 'Environment, Capitalism and Socialism': Sources of modern environmentalism; Currents in ecological thought

The following are excerpts from Environment, Capitalism and Socialism, drafted for the  Democratic Socialist Party of Australia by Dick Nichols,and  published by Resistance Books in 1999. The book can be purchased from Resistance Books' website. The extensive footnotes are only available in the hard copy. (The DSP merged with the Socialist Alliance in January 2010.) Despite its age and inevitable flaws, this book was ahead of its time in many respects and was among the first serious attempts by a revolutionary party to apply a Marxist analysis to the environment question. It remains an essential document for socialists and ecologists alike.
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Australia: How Socialist Alternative misrepresents Socialist Alliance on Libya

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

March 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most interested observers of the public statements and activity of the Australian organisations Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and Socialist Alliance in regard to Libya would surely conclude that the two groups are in concord: a similar analysis of the pro-imperialist nature of the regime and enthusiastic support for the struggle of the workers and oppressed against dictatorship. Which makes it quite disappointing that Corey Oakley of SAlt has launched a swingeing polemic against Socialist Alliance about Libya[1]. [See Appendix 1 below]

Australia: 'Green Left Weekly' celebrates 20 years!

One of the despairs of our time is a corporate media that speaks for authority and power, rarely for its readers and viewers. One of the excitements of our time is the means by which we can now circumvent the old gatekeepers. WikiLeaks is a new creation, but Green Left Weekly has been a pathfinder for 20 years, no less. Congratulations!

John Pilger, renowned journalist and filmmaker.

Over the course of the past 20 years, Green Left Weekly has emerged as a focal point of the world green left movement, its leading weekly guide to theory and practice. Long may its flag fly!

John Bellamy Foster, editor, Monthly Review.

What better birthday present could Green Left Weekly have asked for than the Egyptian people’s taste of freedom? Congratulations to all at GLW. Onward!

Raj Patel, independent journalist, author and activist.

More Greetings to Green Left Weekly from around Australia.

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