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.

It has to be recognised that GLW is a valuable institution for the left as a whole whether or not one agrees with the politics of the Socialist Alliance, the organisation that underpins GLW.

As socialists we disagree on many things, yet most of the content of a typical 24-page edition of GLW is stuff we probably all agree on, or largely agree on.

If space is made available to express a variety of viewpoints and facilitate constructive debate among those opposed to capitalism, GLW can be both Socialist Alliance’s paper and something more: a publication of, by and for the socialist movement as a whole.

We’re not members of the Socialist Alliance and we don’t intend to join. The Socialist Alliance isn’t the kind of party we want to build. Yet we recognise the value of GLW to all of us.

With the class struggle at such a low ebb in Australia it’s very difficult to build radical left parties. “The battle of ideas” in a more pure form than the traditional party/paper combination, and non-party forms of socialist collaboration, assume greater importance.

Radical left publications, especially those with an attractive online presence, can be one form of such collaboration.

GLW could be an institutional bridge of continuity between the small and splintered socialist movement and a new, future wave of anti-capitalist radicalisation in Australia precipitated by the unfolding of capitalism’s multiple systemic crises.

In a deep crisis of capitalist rule the need for revolutionary organisation would be posed as an objective necessity and real steps could be taken towards a mass revolutionary socialist party.

In the meantime, GLW could and should be more of a collaborative project in the inclusive spirit of the introduction on the paper’s website: “Green Left Weekly aims to provide a much-needed forum for discussion and debate about changing the world ... by sharing a wide range of views.”

[See the discussion beneath the article at http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48776.]