Bob Gould, 2006

The alternative political universe of sectarianism

Source: Green Left Weekly discussion list, October 18, 2006
Proofreading, editing, mark-up: Steve Painter

A few days is a long time in politics. A week or so ago a friend described to me the NSW conference of the Socialist Alliance, held at the DSP headquarters, which seats comfortably maybe 50 people in its meeting room. It was an all-in conference, all members of the Socialist Alliance were invited, and all present could vote.

According to my informant almost everyone who attended was a member of the DSP. The exceptions were one member of the ISO and a couple of independents. The vote to select the ticket for the state elections involved 27 people.

The event is reported in the October 10 Green Left Weekly under the headline: “Socialist Alliance challenges pro-business Labor”. Judging by the headline and the content of the article, the DSP’s only enemy is the Labor Party. There's no mention of any element of contradiction for the DSP leadership.

There’s not even much mention of the reactionary Liberal government, and certainly no evidence of any united front approach, as might be expressed in a slogan such as: “Vote for the Socialist Alliance but keep the Liberals out.” Just the politically myopic emphasis of the 27 members of the Socialist Alliance (for practical purposes read DSP) challenging pro-business Labor.

This is all in the broad political context where it is obvious from the bourgeois media that the large majority of the assorted factions and committees of the ruling class want to remove the state Labor government as part of the drive to crush the trade unions nationally.

The past few days haven’t been very kind to the DSP leadership on these matters. The reactionary Tory coalition in NSW is in deep internal strife because of a ferocious drive by reactionary, right-wing Christians (Opus Dei and others) to turn the Liberal Party into a something like the extreme right-wing Christian evangelical-dominated Republican Party in the US.

None of these developments seem to interest the DSP because they don’t fit in with exposing the Labor Party.

To make matters even worse, from the point of view of the Boyleites’ inveterate sectarianism towards Labor, in the federal parliament this week, bitter political war has broken out, with the Labor front bench belligerently reasserting Labor’s pledge to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and the Tory government desperately defending the Iraq war.

In addition, a few days ago, Tony Burke, the newish Labor shadow minister for immigration, publicly announced that he has achieved the necessary agreement of ALP committees to proclaim the abolition of temporary protection visas for refugees as Labor policy, a very progressive step indeed.

None of these developments warrant any mention from the DSP leadership because obviously they don’t fit the DSP leadership’s sectarian construct. Glwparramatta still trawls the web for anything he can find to cast the Labor Party in a bad light, but he doesn’t say a word about any useful steps the Labor Party takes.

The DSP leadership has no intention of prosecuting any careful united front tactic towards Labor. Crazy, rabid exposure is the only note in its increasingly eccentric political repertoire.