Over the course of nearly 40 years, the Greens have been transformed from a tiny environmentalist organisation into a sizeable and serious party perceived to be to the left of the ALP. This article will look at the origins of the Greens and the class basis of their politics; examine the demographics of their voters and membership, and comment on their organisational and political dimensions before looking at their current political trajectory.
The idea that Aboriginal inequality is caused by the racist attitudes of ordinary people is widespread. Yet it was not working-class attitudes to Aborigines that drove the Australian government’s 2007 intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. Instead, elements of the middle class played a crucial role.
Friedrich Engels published his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1884. He argued that women’s oppression arose with the development of classes in society. Most feminists of the 1960s and 1970s recognised Engels’ work as a key text, whether inclined to agree with or oppose him. Yet for all the debates about the book, there is very little understanding of the actual content and importance of not just Engels’, but also Marx’s contribution to establishing the basics of a fight for women’s liberation.
The need for a socialist workers’ party that could rebuild rank and file union organisation and mount sustained resistance to every ruling class attack could not be more sharply posed. This is a task that Socialist Alternative has dedicated itself to over the last fifteen years. While we are still far from being the mass party we need to be – a party that could intervene in and attempt to lead every struggle by workers and the oppressed – we have, despite the generally difficult political climate, made modest steps forward and are now the largest organisation on the revolutionary left in Australia. This article is an attempt to sum up the lessons of the debates in the International Socialist Tendency (IST) about the assessment of the political situation and perspectives for building revolutionary organisations that led to the formation of Socialist Alternative in 1995.
One of the magnificent features of the Arab revolutions is the ruthless manner in which they have exposed the dirty, duplicitous, hypocritical, blood-soaked truth about the global political establishment. As the revolutionary wave spread to envelop almost the whole of North Africa and the Middle East, Western politicians, diplomats, university heads, business executives and government bureaucrats squirmed, as evidence of their ties with the despots of the Arab world circulated across the internet.
The rise of Islamophobia in the West needs a clear and principled response from the left. Mick Armstrong takes a critical look at the traditions of "secularism" and the failure of even some in the socialist left to oppose anti-Muslim racism.
Tom Bramble, using a wealth of data, refutes arguments which claim that the Australian working class no longer has the power to challenge capitalist rule.
The Labor Party is in crisis. Its branch structures continue to fracture, its active membership continues to shrink, its working class vote continues to decline and year after year the party shifts further to the right. Can it in any sense still be regarded as some form of workers’ party? Ben Hillier argues that the answer is a qualified “yes".
The Arab revolutions continue. Sandra Bloodworth looks at the danger of counter-revolution and discusses the political questions and challenges for the left posed by these momentous events.
Rick Kuhn looks at the history of the revolutionary strategy known as the united front, which aims to draw wide layers of workers away from the influence of their reformist leaders and into revolutionary struggle. Rick’s study draws out lessons for socialists from these experiences.
Allyson Hose exposes the racist core of arguments which blame “overpopulation” for environmental crisis and exposes the population panic as based on lies. She shows that the world could support many more billions of people and lays the blame for environmental degradation on the relentless drive for profit at the heart of capitalism.
Liz Ross shows that Labor’s carbon tax is just another plank in the capitalists’ neoliberal agenda to make workers pay for their crisis. Support by environment groups and some on the left for such anti-working class policies is moving the political climate to the right. The fight to deal with climate change needs to be part of a wider struggle to defend workers’ living standards.
Tess Lee Ack takes on the common assumption that racism among workers drives government policies and shows who actually promotes it.
Corey Oakley looks at the discussions about socialist organisation that have been thrown up by unity talks on the Australian left.
Sandra Bloodworth attacks the persistent myths and misconceptions about "Leninism with an examination of Lenin's writings and activities as he struggled to build a revolutionary party.
John Percy looks at the "broad party" experience.
In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the newly formed Communist International attempted to develop a revolutionary approach to union work in the West. Mick Armstrong looks at the application of that strategy in Australia and Britain.
A response from Socialist Alliance to "What kind of organisation do socialists need?" published in the last issue of Marxist Left Review.
Diane Fieldes looks at the impact on the family of women's increased participation in the paid workforce.
Louise O’Shea analyses the position of women today. Engaging with recent feminist and Marxist discussions of women’s oppression she argues for a defence of Marxism as a theory of women’s liberation.
Allen Myers cuts through the debate on the so-called transitional method to expose how this important Marxist concept has been both used and abused by various currents on the left.
Mick Armstrong offers a critical assessment of Murray Smith’s approach to broad left parties – one of the key debates on the socialist left internationally over the last fifteen years.
Sandra Bloodworth argues that Lenin and the other great revolutionaries of the early twentieth century provide us with a theory of revolution for advanced democracies.
Sam King argues against what he sees as errors of interpretation of Lenin and analyses of imperialism by International Socialist tendency theorists and various others who have been at one time associated with that tradition.
Patrick Weiniger replies to Sam King’s article on imperialism in Marxist Left Review 8.
Mick Armstrong revisits the question of broad left parties to draw some conclusions after the experience of Syriza in Greece.
Omar Hassan analyses why the promise of a radical, democratic alternative to bourgeois parliamentary politics has evolved into a hierarchical party which has abandoned any serious pretence of fighting austerity even before being tested in government.
Mick Armstrong dismantles the romanticism surrounding Makhno in some anarchist circles today with a study of his activity during the Russian Civil War.
In the context of the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Bramble compares the history of splits and struggles in the Australian Labor Party with those of its British counterpart.
Omar Hassan confronts the myth that the Assad dynasty in Syria was ever socialist or anti-imperialist.
Rjurik Davidson, winner of the Ditmar Award, author of Unwrapped Sky, The Stars Askew and other fiction, examines Antonio Gramsci’s political practice in his early years.
Michael Karadjis answer the “comic-book view widely expressed in tabloid journals of the mainstream, left and right", that alleges the Syrian rebellion against the dictatorship of Bashar Assad is a conspiracy of incompatible forces.
Darren Roso contributes to debates about what kind of parties the revolutionary left needs and the role of Karl Kautsky, the leading theorist of the Second International before World War I.
Tom Bramble, drawing on decades of research and active involvement in the labour movement, argues that 35 years of passivity and class collaboration rather than an emphasis on militant, class struggle unionism is the core reason our unions are in crisis.
Sarah Garnham critically examines theories on the left that have emerged in response to identity politics.
Sandra Bloodworth revisits Engels’ arguments about the origin of women’s oppression.
Tom Bramble surveys the election results and puts forward an explanation for Labor's surprising defeat that rests on the party's long-term shift to the right.
Learning from disaster: The Workers' Party and the left in Brazil
Mick Armstrong critically assesses the experience of the Workers' Party, concluding that a far more independent approach was required by revolutionaries who participated.
In this fascinating lecture given just a few years before he died, the late Colin Barker makes the case for a revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeois state and for further Marxist theorising about its complex dynamics.
As an emerging American left struggles with powerful strategic challenges, Daniel Taylor argues that this new book by the publisher of Jacobin promotes a distorted vision of the history of the socialist movement, leading to fundamentally conservative conclusions.
Marxism and post-colonial theory
Sagar Sanyal argues that post-colonial theory is an inadequate theoretical and political response to the horrors of colonialism.