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A political conundrum: which way forward for the Australian revolutionary left?

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Here we are 2007. The ALP is on a roll that may take it across the line at the next federal poll. In fact, the election campaign is already well under way even though the poll date has not yet been penciled in. As part of the momentum the ALP has adopted a draconian version of an even more draconian industrial package embraced by the Coalition. Because of the slavish loyalties inherent in Laborism the official trade union movement has signed over the Australian workforce unconditionally to the ALP by insisting that Rudd's party is the unions' only hope.

This rather scary scenario includes the clammy embrace of a good section of the official trade union left which has gone belly up for Rudd. However there is a tentative voice of opposition to this latest version of corporate trade unionism and within this milieu,doing its darndest to have an impact by networking and trying to aggregate, is the Socialist Alliance. We can debate the SA's particular standing in that environment, its presence and weight and its tactics, but at least the SA's work in this area was indicated by the sort of intervention it fostered at the recent ALP federal conference.

With this week's bucketing of Dean Mighell,Labor seems very keen to sharply draw the industrial line almost too crudely along a class divide.

We know that in terms of industrial substance, the Greens unfortunately don't amount to much --at least at the present time. (I'd like that to be different, but it does seem to be the case).

So the question is: here we have this burgeoning but tentative divide over the issue of the right to strike unraveling well BEFORE a federal election at which industrial matters will be the key issue. This is not simply a question of participating in the poll -- we all can see that -- but larger more potent questions are raised by the prospect that what may (and I use the word "may" as it is still very early days) -- be happening is some small break from the ALP given that this time around, what the party is asking of workers is a bit too steep.

You can't then try to tell me that a discussion about the future of the Socialist Alliance( or, for that matter, the whole Australian revolutionary left) is not relevant to this particular context? Assuming,that is, if we can get out of our inner city left ghettoes!

You see, what ever opportunity breaks(and of course, IF it breaks) the Alliance is likely, hopefully, to be some sort of player. I think that's very clear because we've paid out dues these last so many years. Held the line for our class and I think we've won a bit of respect for that. And en route we've picked up a few militant trade unionists who have been inspired enough to join with us..

So the conundrum exists quite sharply and bluntly I think: what is the way forward? For the Australian revolutionary left or anyone else? There are huge issues in play if we have the courage to address them.

[This post was,what seems to be, the closing comment in a long tortuous debate on the GLW discussion list about the Socialist Alliance.It has been adapted for publication within the blogging medium]

3 Com:

Red Wombat | June 02, 2007

I'm not sure where you're going with this post, although I can probably guess after witnessing the exchanges on the GL list.

Problem is, you've essentially posed an open-ended question where it would be better to throw in a cat, and see how many pigeons take off.

And, for what it's worth, the Socialist Alliance exists well beyong the inner city left ghettoes (as you well know) - Geelong, Perth Hills, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Wollongong, Gold Coast, Lismore, Blue Mountains, Townsville, Parramatta, etc.

So the question you seem to want to pose still begs ot be asked... is regroupment with other left organisations on the cards still;or a process of picking up the dozens and scores of non-aligned individuals who can identify with SA; and is there an opportunity opening up with sections of the unions?

One might also ask abouth the role of the Greens in this whole process...

Dave Riley | June 02, 2007

Theres' no where to go with this thread on the GL list because it seems that these others don't want to take up that invitation or address that question because it includes the Alliance. They'd prefer instead to roll the project back, divorce it from the helter skelter of everyday political engagement and package it as a sort of pristine jewell like some pow wow circle under a teepee -- forgetting or ignoring the fact that the business of politics is in the street and in the workplace.

It is almost an attempt to depoliticize it by limiting it to markers that while not extraneous tend to be superficial and internal.

It also forgets the very reason why this divided left should consider the option of uniting. It should be about doing stuff shouldn't it? About registering gains for our class?

It is not about enlarging the circle in the circle spirit or renovating the bunker mentality we have so often been sentenced to. Nor is it simply about transferring paragraphs of each investing program into a collective platform in order to make a formal and holistic new thing that, inasmuch as it is allowed to do anything, struts itself before the electorate once every three years -- then breaks from the embrace the rest of the time.

Its' about, well ... it's about struggle and struggling. And theres' no way we can get away from that. Away from the defeats and the lulls and the challenges. Yes, and the mistakes!

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