14 September 2010


A new magazine has just been published by Socialist Alternative called "Marxist Left Review".

Number 1 - Spring 2010 informs the reader that the contents are about "Rebuilding the left."

The International Socialists (IS) were around in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s and, as is common with many of the socialist groups, internal policy and personality differences lead to expulsions and the formation of new groups.

One such expulsion and split in the 1980s led to the formation of Socialist Action which was much more of an activist group than the IS had been because the IS was so busy "building cadres who understood Marxist theory" that they lost sight of the real world around them.

However, by the early 1990s, Socialist Action admitted that over its period of existence it was not growing and getting new membership and activists, and the decision was made that Socialist Action would disband and re-absorb itself into the IS after lengthy negotiations. The outcome was a group which was now called the International Socialist Organisation (ISO)which continued operating under that name for much of the 1990s.

As happens on a regular basis with these left groups the ISO had some factional differences develop in its "executive" and people were expelled who had expelled members in the earlier incarnation as IS.

The people who were expelled formed a new group called Socialist Alternative and this group has grown sufficiently to have gained members from the ISO which was disintegrating fairly rapidly. In the end the ISO allied itself with another socialist group and the ISO as such no longer exists.

Now back to Socialist Alternative which claims to be the largest left group in the country and growing.

Those of us who have been involved with various incarnations of these groups but are no longer members of any of them watch with fascination as the spin put out by each incarnation mirrors the previous commentaries.

So the new journal is "Rebuilding the Left".

Then one looks at the contents and the articles and the authors and the conclusion has to be that what should be on the outside cover should read "Recycling the left!"

Other than one author of one article, all the other articles have been written by - you guessed it - all those people who were members of the IS - remember them?

Where are the new writers, the new activists, the new leftists? Are they too "young???" to be publishing articles about Marxist politics? Are they still on a learning curve and so no serious student of Marxism can read their writings and learn from them?

Somewhere along the line one can't help having feelings of deja vu - or, as the French expression has it "Plus ca change........."!

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm