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 argues that Marxism offers the only satisfactory theory and strategy for 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.
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.
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.
Sagar Sanyal argues that post-colonial theory is an inadequate theoretical and political response to the horrors of colonialism.
Sandra Bloodworth draws on the French experience to refute reformist calls for a revival of Popular Front strategies.
Nick Everett re-examines the Jesse Jackson experience, in the process casting light on debates regarding the candidature of Bernie Sanders.
Sarah Garnham assesses the new climate movement and makes a case for a revolutionary perspective.
Catarina Da Silva looks at the economic roots of Australia's bipartisan support for the fossil fuels industry, arguing that a timely transition is impossible within capitalism.
In this important piece, Sandra Bloodworth critiques feminist theories of women's oppression, focusing
Tom Bramble assesses and rejects the argument that the end of 'fordism' means the end of working class power.
Tom O'Lincoln examines the politics of an influential Latin American revolutionary, Jose Mariátegui.
Anne Picot debunks the commonly held idea that the USSR was an example of a planned economy.
David Glanz responds critically to Tom O'Lincoln's piece on Mariategui in the previous edition of the Socialist Review.
Tom O'Lincoln surveys the history of Australian imperialism, arguing that Australia has independent reasons for maintaining the US alliance, which it uses to dominate and exploit peoples across our region.
In an important article later republished as a pamphlet, Tess Lee Ack outlines a Marxist theory of women's oppression and a strategy for liberation
Jordan Humphreys argues that the neoliberal model is history, based on the dramatic policies implemented by governments across the world in response to the health and economic crises triggered by the pandemic.
In this groundbreaking piece, Sandra Bloodworth critiques bourgeois feminist approaches to understanding and combating rape and sexual violence.
Marxist historian Robert Bollard surveys a range of responses to Mikhail Gorbachev on the broad left, and finds them wanting.
Tom O'Lincoln recounts the rise and fall of Australia's last reforming government, finding that the myths of Whitlam's radical policies do not reflect the more pragmatic reality.
Darren Roso reviews a new biography of Werner Scholem, a leading figure in the ultra-left faction of the German Communist Party during the tumultuous Weimar republic.
Omar Hassan analyses the economic, political and social dynamics unleashed by the pandemic.
Mick Armstrong surveys the many debates that emerged during the founding of the CPA, drawing out lessons for contemporary revolutionaries.
Jordan Humphreys offers a Marxist explanation of Indigenous oppression today.
Sarah Garnham presents a wide-ranging critique of identity politics and its toxic impact on the fight against oppression.
Luca Tavan reexamines the revolutionary upsurge in Italy following WW1, drawing out strategic errors made by Gramsci and the leadership of the Italian Communist Party.
Sergio García and Mariano Rosa of the Workers’ Socialist Movement (MST) in Argentina analyse the electoral success of the Left Front (FIT-Unidad), and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Mick Armstrong critiques Proudhon's anarchism, and shows how his political weaknesses continue to shape anarchist ideas.
Duncan Hart critiques a new book that attempts to vindicate Kautskyism as a revolutionary theory.
US socialist Joel Geier recounts how a debate on soviet imperialism and the Hitler-Stalin pact led to a crisis in Trotskyism and the birth of the International Socialist tradition.
Rick Kuhn critically reviews the economic strategies promoted by the left in Australia, in particular the left nationalist ideas popular in the 1970s and ’80s. He argues that such reformist strategies offer no threat to capitalism and no way forward for the working class.
Vashti Fox explains how Stalinism enabled and at times collaborated with fascist movements and states during the 1930s and ’40s, while the Stalinised Communist Parties undermined revolutionary working-class anti-fascism – a history that has important lessons for fighting the far right today.
Duncan Hart examines the concept of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” in its historical context, and argues that Hal Draper was wrong to argue that Lenin’s interpretation was an anti-democratic departure from that of Marx and Engels.
Luca Tavan revisits the explosive period of working-class struggle in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and critiques the autonomist ideas that led to the defeat of the movement, and continue to shape the left today.
Mick Armstrong traces the development of Trotskyism in the context of the far left in Australia.