The following link is to the first of a series of three articles that were published in the Australian newspaper 'Green Left Weekly' late last year: 'Socialists and How the Vote Was Won'. It has proven impossible to have the comments I wrote about this article published in any 'Green Left Weekly' or Socialist Alliance (the sponsors of 'GLW") publication or weblist. Hence I am looking to alternative avenues for publication of my opinions about this particular article.
Is this series supposed to be some kind of joke? What is the point of propagating these primitive, parliamentary-reformist notions in a context where the international proletariat urgently requires the organisation and construction of a revolutionary-Marxist International?
Are you seriously suggesting that the paean of praise to the dominant reformist politics of the Second International contained in this dismal article can possibly offer any sort of alternative to the revolutionary-socialist perspectives of Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky? Last year marked the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War One; of the general crisis of global capitalism, and of the collapse of the Second International. The Great Imperialist Slaughter of World War One was brought to an end by revolutions in Russia and Germany. The parliamentary-reformist perspectives of social democracy were superseded among the advanced strata of the international labour movement by the Leninist politics of the Communist International, founded in 1919 and informed by the experiences of Russian Bolshevism and of the 1917 revolutions in Russia.
The 'GLW' article in question is breathtaking in its almost total departure from classical Marxist and Leninist notions in the area of political strategy. The Socialist Alliance in Australia, the organisation that sponsors 'GLW', has for many years circulated the idea on the left in this country and internationally that it is committed to 'Leninism', and at the same time distinguishes its programme from 'Stalinism' and 'Trotskyism'.
In my opinion the presentation in the above article of the history and evolution of the 19th century labour and socialist movements is wildly-distorted and inaccurate. Hardly anywhere in this article can be found any references to the work and guiding influence of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels on the European left, from the Chartists in the earlier 19th century to the mass parties of the Second International in the 1890s.
Although Marx's strictures against the German Social Democratic Party (SPD)'s Gotha programme are referred to briefly, there is no discussion at all of the contributions of the leaders of the revolutionary left in the SPD before World War One broke out: for example Rosa Luxemburg's booklet 'Reform or Revolution' - a trenchant critique of Bernstein's attempted theoretical assault on the revolutionary programme of Marxism.
The heritage of Leninism is ignored completely in this article. Where are the obviously-required references to 'The State and Revolution' by Lenin, fleshing out as that text does the Marxist theory of the state, and a withering attack on reformist ideology? Where is there any discussion in this article of Lenin's annihilating demolition in 'The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky' of the abandonment of revolutionary Marxism by that latter, former leader of international socialism, written after the Russian October Revolution and in the heat of the Civil War that followed it?