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ALP:marxist analysis


John Dolva
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Jim McIlroy

Published by Resistance Books

2004, 60pp, ISBN 1876646497, Pamphlet

$5.95

''The Australian Labor Party is the single biggest block to the development of the socialist movement in this country. It has held the great majority of the working class in the straitjacket of parliamentarist reformism for the last 100 years — although today this hold is increasingly being called into question.

Under the slogan "Socialism In Our Time", radical and socialist elements played an important role in the initial push for a Labor Party, but were defeated by a combination of the parliamentarians and the trade union bureaucracy.

By the early 20th century the ALP had become entrenched as a reformist, parliamentarist party, accurately described by Lenin in 1913 as a "liberal capitalist party" — a political agency of the capitalist class within the labour movement.

Yet despite the clear record of the past century and the ALP's ever-more rightward trajectory today, some sections of the left continue to mistakenly regard Labor as some sort of workers' party, albeit with a procapitalist leadership.

Jim McIlroy's Marxist analysis of the ALP's formation shines a bright light on the party's real nature and helps illuminate the way forward for the socialist movement.''

http://www.resistanc...?products_id=35

http://books.google....epage&q&f=false

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Jim McIlroy

Published by Resistance Books

2004, 60pp, ISBN 1876646497, Pamphlet

$5.95

''The Australian Labor Party is the single biggest block to the development of the socialist movement in this country. It has held the great majority of the working class in the straitjacket of parliamentarist reformism for the last 100 years — although today this hold is increasingly being called into question.

Under the slogan "Socialism In Our Time", radical and socialist elements played an important role in the initial push for a Labor Party, but were defeated by a combination of the parliamentarians and the trade union bureaucracy.

By the early 20th century the ALP had become entrenched as a reformist, parliamentarist party, accurately described by Lenin in 1913 as a "liberal capitalist party" — a political agency of the capitalist class within the labour movement.

Yet despite the clear record of the past century and the ALP's ever-more rightward trajectory today, some sections of the left continue to mistakenly regard Labor as some sort of workers' party, albeit with a procapitalist leadership.

Jim McIlroy's Marxist analysis of the ALP's formation shines a bright light on the party's real nature and helps illuminate the way forward for the socialist movement.''

http://www.resistanc...?products_id=35

http://books.google....epage&q&f=false

The same is true of the UK. In opposition they are left of centre but once in power they become extremely right-wing.

What about your new PM? My newspaper claims she is a left-winger and that her great hero is Aneurin Bevan. He kept to the left and the main figure behind the NHS. He even resigned over the introduction of prescription charges.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUbevan.htm

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John, personally, I think it is a bit early to say.

Naturally everyone here has comments. I tend to wait till the dust settles.

One thing of interest is that a federal election is coming. Whenever the ALP shows signs of some progressiveness it really boils down to how the Media manipulates news presentation. The new PM has a tough job ahead, but maybe not as tough as some might have it.

At the moment, keeping Abbott and the Coalition out of power is probably the most pressing concern. I dearly hope at least she can do that.

Then comes some three odd years when we'll see her mettle.

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''Havana. July 1, 2010

''Globalized injustice

José Saramago

JUNE 4, 2010. I will begin by telling you in extremely brief words about a notable event in rural life that occurred in a village on the outskirts of Florence more than 400 years ago. Allow me to ask for your full attention on this significant historic event because, in contrast to the norm, you will not have to wait for the end of the story to extract the moral; it won’t be long before it jumps out at you.

The inhabitants were in their homes or cultivating their crops, each one of them devoted to their daily doings and cares when suddenly, they heard the church bell ringing. In those pious time (we are talking about something that happened in the 16th century), the bells rang various times throughout the day and, from that point of view, there was no motive for surprise, but that bell sounded melancholically to death, and that was certainly surprising, given that there were no reports of anyone in the village being on their deathbeds. So the women went out onto the streets, their children joined them, the men left their work and other activities and, in a very short time, they were all congregated in the vestibule of the church, awaiting to be told for whom they should weep. The bell continued to sound for a few minutes more and finally fell silent. A few minutes later, the door opened and a campesino appeared on the threshold.

But, as this man was not the one normally in charge of ringing the bell, the neighbors asked him where was the bell ringer and who was the dead person. "The bell ringer isn’t here, I’m the one who made the bell sound," was the campesino’s reply. "But then, is nobody dead?" retorted the villagers, and the campesino responded: "No one who has the name and shape of a person has died; I tolled the bell for the death of Justice, because Justice is dead."

What had happened? It so happened that, for some time, the rich lord of the place (some unscrupulous count or marquis) had been moving the boundary stones on the edges of his land and putting them in the campesino’s small parcel of land which, with every advance, grew smaller and smaller. The victim began by protesting and complaining, then implored compassion, and finally resolved to make a complaint to the authorities and avail himself of the protection of justice.

All to no avail; the plundering continued. So, in desperation, he decided to announce urbi et orbi (a village is the same size as the world for those who have lived there all their lives), the death of Justice. Perhaps he believed that his gesture of impassioned indignation would succeed in inducing pity and make all the bells in the universe sound, without difference of race, creed and customs; that all of them, without exception, would accompany him in the knell for the death of Justice and would not fall silent until it was resurrected. Such a clamor that it would fly from home to home, city to city, leaping over borders, casting sonorous bridges across rivers and oceans, perforce would waken the sleeping world… I don’t know what happened next; I don’t know if the people came to the aid of the campesino and helped him to put the boundary stones back in their rightful place or if, once Justice had been pronounced dead, they returned resigned, their heads bowed and their souls surrendered, to the sad life of every day.

It is definitely true that History never tells us everything.

I suppose that this has been the only time, in any part of the world, in which a bell, a lifeless bronze bell, after having been tolled so many times for the death of human beings, wept for the death of Justice. Never again was that funereal sound heard again in that village in Florence, but Justice went on and is still dying every day. Right now, in this instant in which we are speaking, far away or right here, next to the door of our home, someone is killing it.

Every time that it dies it is as if, at the end, it had never existed for those who had trusted in it, for those who expected of it what all of us have the right to expect from Justice: justice, simply justice. Not the kind that envelopes itself in theatrical attire and confuses us with flowers of vain, judicial rhetoric; not that which allows its eyes to be blindfolded and the weights of the scales to be corrupted; not that of the sword which always cuts one side deeper than the other; but a prosaic justice, a justice that is the day-to-day partner of human beings, a justice for which the just would be most exactly and rigorously synonymous with the ethical; a justice that would become so indispensable for the happiness of the spirit as the nourishment of the body is indispensable for life.

A justice exercised by the courts, without doubt, whenever they decide on the law, but also and above all, a justice that is the spontaneous emanation of society itself in action, a justice in which is manifested, as an inescapable moral imperative, respect for the right to be that of every human being. But fortunately, the bells did not only toll to weep for those who were dying. They also tolled to note the hours of the day and night, to call believers to celebrate or to devotion, and there was a time, in this case not so distant, when they sounded the alarm in order to call the people to come running in the face of catastrophe, floods and fires, disasters, or any kind of danger threatening the community.

Today, the social role of the bells is limited to fulfilling ritual obligations and the enlightened gesture of the campesino in Florence would be viewed as the work of a raving lunatic or, worse still, as a simple police case.

Other and different are the bells that today are defending and affirming, at last, the possibility of implanting in the world that comradely justice of humanity, that justice which is the condition for the happiness of the spirit and even, as surprising as it may seem to us, the condition for the very nourishing of the body. If that justice existed, not one more human being would die of hunger or of the many diseases that are curable for some but not for others. If that justice existed, for more than half of humanity, existence would not be the terrible condemnation that objectively it has been.

Those new bells, whose voice is extending, constantly more strongly, throughout the world, are the multiple movements of resistance and social action that are striving for the establishment of a new distributive and commutative justice which all human beings can come to recognize as intrinsically theirs; a justice protected by freedom and the law, not by any of their negations.

I have said that for that justice, we already have at our disposal a code of practical application within the reach of any comprehension, and that that code was laid down 62 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, containing those 30 basic and essential rights, which are only mentioned vaguely today, when they are not systematically silenced, more discredited and besmirched today than were the property and liberty of the Florentine campesino 400 years ago.

And I have also said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, exactly as it was drafted and without the need to alter even one single comma, could substitute with flying colors – insofar as it respects the rectitude of principles and the clarity of objectives – the programs of all the political parties in the world, expressly those of the so-called left, stagnated in outdated formulas, distant from or impotent in terms of facing up to the brutal reality of the current world, who are closing their eyes to the already evident and fearful threats that the future is preparing against that rational and sentient dignity that we imagined was the supreme aspiration of human beings.

I will add that the same reasons that lead me to refer in these terms to political parties in general, I equally apply to national trade unions and, consequently, to the international trade union movement as a whole. Either consciously or unconsciously, the meek and bureaucratized trade unionism that we are left with today is, to a large extent, responsible for the resultant social drowsiness of the economic globalization process underway. It pains me to say it, but I cannot remain silent. And also, if you permit me to add something from my own particular harvest to the fables of La Fontaine, I will then say that, if we do not intervene in time – that is to say, now – the mouse of human rights will end up implacably devoured by the cat of economic globalization.

And democracy, that millenary invention of certain ingenuous Athenians for whom it meant, in the concrete social and political circumstances of the time, and according to the sacred expression: "A government of the people, by the people and for the people?" I often hear sincere people, of proven good faith, reasoning, as well as those whose interests lie in simulating that appearance of goodness who, despite the irrefutable evidence of the disastrous situation faced by the majority of people on the planet, that it will be precisely within the framework of a general democratic system that we will have the most prospects for reaching the full or at least satisfactory attainment of human rights. Nothing closer to the truth, but on the condition that the system of government and the conduct of society in what we currently call democracy, is effectively democratic. And it is not.

It is true that we can vote; it is true that we can, by delegation of the speck of sovereignty that acknowledges us as citizens with a vote – normally via a party – choose our representatives to Parliament; it is true, all in all, that the numeric relevance of such representations and the political combinations imposed by the need for a majority, will always result in a government. All of this is true, but it is equally true that the possibility of democratic action begins and ends there. Electors can remove from power a government that they do not like and vote in another in its place, but their votes have not, do not and will never have any visible effect on the sole real force that governs the world and, thus, their country and their person. I am referring, obviously, to economic power – in particular to that part of it, always on the rise, ruled by multinational companies in line with strategies of domination that have nothing to do with that common good to which, by definition, democracy aspires.

We all know that, even so, via a species of verbal and mental automatism which does not allow us to see the crude nakedness of facts, we continue to speak of democracy as if it were something alive and functioning, when all that remains of it is little more than a combination of ritualized forms, innocuous steps and gestures of a kind of secular mass. And we do not realize – as if we did not have eyes to see – that our governments, those which, for better or worse, we have elected, and thus for whom we are primarily responsible, are increasingly being transformed into mere political commissioners of economic power, with the objective mission of producing the laws that suit that power, in order to subsequently, sweetly enveloped in pertinent official and private publicity, introduce them into the social market without raising too many protests, save those of certain well-known and eternally discontented minorities.

What to do? From literature to ecology, from Star Wars to the greenhouse effect, from waste disposal to traffic congestion, we argue over everything in this world of ours.

But the democratic system, as if it were a definitively acquired fact, untouchable by nature until the end of time, is something that cannot be argued over. But if I am not mistaken, if I am not incapable of adding two and two together, then, among so many other necessary or indispensable arguments, it is a matter of urgency, before it is too late for us, to promote a global debate on democracy and the causes of its decadence, on citizens’ intervention in political and social life, on the relations between states and global economic and financial power, on that which affirms and that which denies democracy, on the right to happiness and a dignified existence, on the poverty and hopes of humanity or, speaking with less rhetoric, of the simple human beings who comprise it, one by one and all together.

There is no worse deception than that of self-deception. And that is how we are living. I have nothing more to say. Or yes, just one word to ask for a moment of silence. The Florentine campesino has just climbed up the church tower once again, the bell is going to sound. Let us hear it, please. (Taken from Other News)''

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/news-i/1julio-26injusticia.html

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''Perth socialist conference discusses fighting for change in Gillard's Australia

Saturday, July 3, 2010 By Ben Peterson, Perth

richarddowns26-6-10byalexbainbridge-email.jpg

Alyawarr spokesperson Richard Downs addressing the conference.

Eighty people gathered at the State School Teachers Union offices in Perth for the Socialist Ideas Conference over the weekend of June 26-27. Speakers included Jeyakumar Devaraj, Socialist Party of Malaysia MP, and Richard Downs, spokesperson for the Alyawarr People's Walk-off in the Northern Territory.

Julia Gillard becoming Australia's first female prime minister days before the conference set the tone for much of the discussion. A session on "Feminism Today" had a new context, although it concluded that demands such as equal pay, abortion rights and the right to give birth at home births will need to be fought for regardless of the PM's gender.

A plenary session called "Fighting for Change in Gillard's Australia" was addressed by Alison Xamon from the Greens, who discussed building a parliamentary alternative to the two-party system. Other speakers were Phil Chilton from the Refugee Rights Action Network and Alex Bainbridge, the Socialist Alliance's federal election candidate for Perth.

Other plenary sessions included speakers such as: Marianne Mackay from the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Gemma Weedall, who attended the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Kiraz Janicke from the Green Left Weekly Venezuela bureau.

Workshops covered a range of topics such as radical history, civil liberties, socialism and human nature, and socialist perspectives on Palestine.

It was a highly successful and exciting event. All those who attended left better informed and enthused for the next steps in the struggle.

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From GLW issue 843 ''

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Edited by John Dolva
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  • 8 months later...

I think the following though a condensed version is an important part of understanding the ALP

''

How socialism can be won

Saturday, March 5, 2011

capitalism-bound.jpg

To win socialism — a society democratically owned and run by and for the majority of people — we have to get rid of the capitalist system that stands in our way.

But who is going to do this? The capitalists aren’t going to give up their privileges.

It's those who are exploited and oppressed by the system that have an interest in changing it.

Capitalism can't permanently satisfy the needs of the majority — the working class, farmers, women, ethnic and racial minorities and so on.

The working class, the producing class, has the power to stop production and distribution. As the collective producer, the working class also has the capacity to establish a new, non-exploitative system of production — an economy that works for people, not profits.

Every morning, millions of workers go to work in the banks, factories, hospitals, schools and shops of Australia. Yet every evening, workers leave behind the things they just produced for the capitalists to keep.

Then, after work, they go to the store and pay outrageous prices for the goods they made. There's no way in the world that the capitalists could force workers to do that if the workers united against them.

Consider the recent examples in Venezuela. When workers rose up against price increases in 1989, the government had them massacred. But this didn't stop the poor from organising, and in 1998 they elected a president, Hugo Chavez, who defied the interests of the ruling class.

When the big capitalists and privileged bureaucrats tried to overthrow his government in a military coup in April 2002, the workers and rank-and-file soldiers rose up and stopped them.

Then the capitalists tried to shut down the economy to starve the workers and their elected government into submission, but the workers responded by taking over factories, and even entire industries, and running them themselves!

In Australia, the ruling class has developed a huge propaganda machine devoted to selling the illusion that we all have a stake in the system. What's good for business is good for everyone. They say we have to curb our wages to make "our" companies more competitive.

It works to some extent. But people don't always believe the lies. Have you ever heard anyone say: "We had to cut my wages" or "We had to sack me"?

That's why there are often struggles going on: strikes in factories and workplaces.

Capitalism tells people they have to "work within the system": talk to the boss if you want a wage rise, or simply vote for change. But to win anything, people have always had to step outside the bounds of the system.

Australia pulled out of the Vietnam War because hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets not just once, but over and over again, until the ideas of the anti-war movement penetrated all sections of society, including the army.

The growing realisation that the war was fundamentally against their interests started to make working people question the whole nature of society. The Australian ruling class wasn't taking any chances. They cut their losses and ran from Vietnam rather than lose control over their own population.

Capitalism fears the power of the oppressed. When it's necessary and when it can get away with it, the system will smash any struggle that threatens its profits and power. Trade unions are made illegal or protesters arrested.

But often capitalists have to make some concessions.

However, under capitalism, no rights are guaranteed. In Australia, Labor and Liberal take turns at eroding people's rights. In stable and prosperous times, the ruling class tends to back the Liberals over other parties because the Liberals' policies tend to be the purest reflection of their interests.

They are seen as less likely to be responsive to pressure from the working class, small farmers or other sectors. However, in times of economic crisis, the ruling class often prefers Labor.

Labor has the advantage of controlling the trade union bureaucracy. With the union leadership's compliance, a Labor government can cut wages and living standards with minimum social protest and maximum efficiency.

Labor has perfected giving with one hand while taking with the other. To survive in recession, capitalists have to lower their costs. So in every recession, every economic crisis, working people stand to lose.

Because every reform can be reversed, the struggle for reform as an end in itself is insufficient. Socialists fight for reforms in order to make a revolution.

Every time working people win reforms, they get a glimpse of their power to change society. Every time they occupy an office or factory, they know they don't need a boss to run it.

[This article is abridged from the magazine What Resistance Stands For.]''

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From GLW issue 871

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More resign from ALP, back Socialist Alliance

Sunday, March 13, 2011

kristina-keneally.jpg

"This government, under Kristina Keneally and the right-wing powerbrokers that have destroyed our party, has been marked by its ever-increasing drive to sell-off what rightfully belongs to the people." Below is the resignation letter of two former members of the Labor party in NSW, Jairo Quintero and Edgar Pena (both formerly of the ALP Parramatta branch). This follows the February 17 resignations of Luis Ernesto Almario and Rosendo Duran.

They have decided to support the Socialist Alliance in the March 26 NSW election.

***

Attn: Kristina Keneally, NSW state premier

CC: Michael Lee, NSW ALP president, Sam Dastyari, NSW ALP general Secretary, Pierre Esber, ALP candidate for the seat of Parramatta

March 8, 2011

Dear comrades,

After much consideration and thought, we have decided to follow the path of other fellow branch members, and many more ALP members across New South Wales, and have decided to resign from the party.

We have taken this decision because we no longer believe that the ALP represents the interests of ordinary working-class people. Instead, the NSW government, run by the ALP, has worked systematically to undermine all those things that the party once stood for.

This government, under Kristina Keneally and the right-wing powerbrokers that have destroyed our party, has been marked by its ever-increasing drive to sell-off what rightfully belongs to the people, to run down services such as public transport, and wipe out community consultation on issues that directly affect them.

With its determination to the sell-off our electricity retailers to corporate interests, the current leadership of the ALP has demonstrated that it would rather commit political suicide than stand up for the interests of working people — the ones who will pay the costs in higher bills and poorer services.

Such anti-worker policies have been accompanied by a sustained attack on internal party democracy, such as that which occurred in our local branch where, against the wishes of local members, Keneally imposed her own candidate.

We feel that the ALP leadership has made clear that there is no room for dissent. Those that have tried to oppose the current right wing, pro-corporate, anti-worker course of the party have been ferociously attacked, knifed in the back and discarded as worthless, despite years of dedication and commitment towards the party.

All of this means that the working people of NSW will most likely face a Liberal government after March 26 that we know will only be even worse.

We want to make one thing clear: any possible Liberal government will be the direct responsibility of the rotten, corrupt, anti-working class policies of the current leadership of the ALP. It is you, not the voters who are sick of your government, who are responsible for what will inevitably come next for the people of NSW.

However, unlike the ALP leaders and parliamentarians, who like rats on a sinking ship are scurrying away towards the comfort of their cushy parliamentary pensions and jobs in the corporations that they so loyally supported in government, we will continue to fight for justice and workers rights.

It is for this reason, like many others, we have decided to support the Socialist Alliance, which represents a working-class and progressive alternative in these elections.

Regards,

Jairo Quintero, Parramatta

Edgar Pena , Parramatta

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From GLW issue 872

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