Democratic Socialist Perspective

The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) was an Australian Marxist political group, which operated as the largest component of a broad-left socialist formation, the Socialist Alliance. In 2010, the DSP voted to merge into the Socialist Alliance.

Democratic Socialist Perspective
LeaderPeter Boyle
Founded1972
Dissolved2010
Merged intoSocialist Alliance
HeadquartersSydney
IdeologySocialism,
Marxism,
Anti-capitalism
International affiliationFourth International
Website
http://www.dsp.org.au/

History

Formation

The DSP started as the orthodox Trotskyist Socialist Workers League, founded in 1972 by members of the radical Socialist Youth Alliance (previously, and also currently, called Resistance) which grew out of the student radicalisation surrounding the Vietnam War. The SWL affiliated to the reunified Fourth International, under the influence of the American section, the Socialist Workers Party. It was also undoubtedly due to this influence that the SWL itself took the name Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

Abandonment of Trotskyism

In 1986 the SWP broke with orthodox Trotskyism and disaffiliated from the Fourth International. While maintaining Leon Trotsky's critique of the USSR, the party replaced Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution with the view that socialist revolution in Third World countries (countries in which, according to Marxist theory, the development of capitalism has been distorted by colonialism and imperialism) will take place in two connected stages. In the early 1990s it was renamed the Democratic Socialist Party. It contested the 1998 federal election as part of the Democratic Socialist Electoral League.

Socialist Alliance

In 2001, the DSP, along with several other socialist parties including the International Socialist Organisation, formed the Socialist Alliance, initially an electoral vehicle. In 2002 the DSP championed the idea of turning Socialist Alliance into more of a party formation, although at first it had to withdraw this proposal as the ISO's opposition threatened to destroy the alliance.[1] In 2003 the DSP became the first (and so far only) Socialist Alliance affiliate to become an internal tendency within the Alliance, changing its name to the Democratic Socialist Perspective, in line with its view that SA should become a "Multi-Tendency Socialist Party", a view that the May 2003 National Conference of the Socialist Alliance subsequently adopted.[2]

Each of these changes of name and tactics has been accompanied, like in many far-left groups, with a turnover of members. While the SWP and DSP recruited many activists from the radical student movement of the 1970s and from various social movements since, it failed to retain most of them for long as the sixties and seventies radicalisation wave has receded. Nonetheless, the DSP has retained a core membership drawn from each upsurge of political struggle, some of whom are founding members of the party back in 1972. The SWP, and then DSP, was led by Jim Percy as National Secretary from 1972 until his death in 1992.

The Socialist Alliance had been created in alliance with other forces in the hopes of using joint electoral work amongst Australian socialists to increase trust and collaboration between socialists, and in the process making socialist organisation a more attractive option to the left. But although it contested the 2001 federal election and the 2004 federal election, as well as several state elections, it has failed to attract significant support. The Socialist Alliance has had two electoral successes, electing Sam Wainwright to Fremantle City Council in 2009[3][4] and Sue Bolton to Moreland City Council in 2012 [5][6]

A debate broke out in the DSP in 2005 about its Socialist Alliance orientation but the minority viewpoint that opposed continuing with the Alliance orientation was soundly defeated at the DSP's January 2008 congress. This caused a split, after the opposition was expelled subsequently forming a new organisation the same year, the Revolutionary Socialist Party.[7]

In October 2009, the DSP National Committee proposed that the organisation merge itself into the Socialist Alliance. At the DSP National Congress in January 2010, the membership voted to go ahead with the merger.

References

  1. ^ Democratic Socialist Party 20th Congress "Resolution on work in the Socialist Alliance". Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, December 2002.
  2. ^ Socialist Alliance takes a new step for left unity, Peter Boyle, Green Left Weekly, 14 May 2003
  3. ^ "Victory for Sam by 100 votes". samforhilton.blogspot.com. 18 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 August 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  4. ^ Doug Thompson (2010). "Meet your elected members". City of Fremantle Official website. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Cr Sue Bolton - North East Ward". Moreland.vic.gov.au. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Sue's Moreland Report: News & opinion from Sue Bolton, Moreland's socialist councillor". Suesmorelandreport.org. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  7. ^ Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) launched, Revolutionary Socialist Party, 28 May 2008. Archived 4 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Further reading

  • Percy, John.(2005) Resistance: A History of the Democratic Socialist Party and Resistance: 1965–72. Resistance Books, Australia.
  • The Program of the DSP
Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism. The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times, places and cultures. Modern capitalist societies—marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a consistently large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, and a capitalist class which owns the means of production—developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Over time, capitalist countries have experienced consistent economic growth and an increase in the standard of living.

Critics of capitalism argue that it establishes power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of the majority working class and their labor; prioritizes profit over social good, natural resources and the environment; and is an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instabilities. Supporters argue that it provides better products and innovation through competition, disperses wealth to all productive people, promotes pluralism and decentralization of power, creates strong economic growth, and yields productivity and prosperity that greatly benefit society.

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Maintaining close ties to the Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly's 20th anniversary issue was published in February 2011, and in March 2014, had its 1,000th edition issued, making the newspaper the longest running explicitly left-wing publication in the country.

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Revolutionary Socialist Party (Australia)

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The party also places a large emphasis on international socialist solidarity. It is actively involved in supporting many left-wing movements around the world, such as those relating to Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution in Latin America, Palestinian resistance, Kurdish self-determination in North Syria, as well as social-justice and pro-democracy ones in South-East Asia, particularly in West Papua.Socialist Alliance also opposed U.S. and Australian military interventions such as in Afghanistan and Iraq, and played a leading role in founding the Stop the War Coalition in a number of cities.

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Though one of Socialist Alternative's stated aims is to contribute towards building a revolutionary party that can intervene in – and lead – mass working-class struggles, they do not consider themselves a political party at their current size and influence. Originating in the political tradition of the International Socialist Tendency, Socialist Alternative defend the position that a socialist revolution can only come about through "workers taking control of their workplaces, dismantling existing state institutions (parliaments, courts, the armed forces and police) and replacing them with an entirely new state based on genuinely democratic control by the working class".In March 2013, Socialist Alternative merged with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) on the basis of agreement around a common revolutionary perspective outlined in an updated Statement of Principles which makes no reference to the theory of "State Capitalism" or other historical and theoretical differences that had previously prevented the two tendencies from uniting around their common revolutionary perspective.

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Most had been members of the Socialist Workers Party. After the SWP's National Committee split that party from the International after its 1985 World Congress, supporters of the International found themselves outside the SWP. They formed Socialist Democracy, which was recognised as a sympathising section by the International's 1962 World Congress.Reflecting the International's encouragement for regroupment, Socialist Democracy supported and joined the Socialist Alliance.The group's initial experience of the Alliance was positive. It became the principal collective activity of group members. However, the success of the Alliance strained relations between the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) and the International Socialist Organisation came to a head in 2002. The DSP intended to dissolve into the Alliance, a move which Socialist Democracy warned would lead to a terminal crisis in the Alliance.Socialist Democracy finally disbanded in December 2005.

Socialist Labour Group

The Socialist Labour Group was a Trotskyist group in Britain between 1979 and 1989.

Socialist Resistance

Socialist Resistance (SR) is an ecosocialist, feminist and revolutionary organisation in Britain, which publishes a Marxist periodical of the same name. In July 2009 the International Socialist Group (ISG) merged into it, making SR the British Section of the Fourth International.

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