Revolutionary Socialist Party (Australia)

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Revolutionary Socialist Party
Leader John Percy
Founded 2008
Dissolved 2013
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Ideology Revolutionary socialism,
Marxism,
Leninism,
Marxism–Leninism
Website
rsp.org.au
Politics of Australia
Political parties
Elections

The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) was a small socialist organisation in Australia, formed in 2008 by a split from the former Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP). Members of the split were expelled from the DSP over debates about the organisation's participation in the Socialist Alliance.[1] While the RSP saw the project of the Alliance as liquidationist, it still maintained the basic politics of the DSP.[2] Van Thanh Rudd, the nephew of former Labor Party (ALP) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was a member and unsuccessfully ran against ALP Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the Victorian seat of Lalor in the 2010 federal election.[3] The RSP eventually dissolved and joined former rival organisation Socialist Alternative (SA) in March 2013,[4] after lengthy unity discussions.[5]

History[edit]

On 13 May 2008, The DSP National Executive expelled 39 members of the Leninist Party Faction (LPF) of whom went on to form the RSP.[2] They claimed to have established branches in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.[6] Due to slow growth, six members left the party in September 2011 and called for broad left support instead behind Green Left Weekly—a journal which supports the Alliance.[7] Other members went on to join SA from September 2012,[8][9][10] which was later followed by the party's formal dissolution in March 2013, where the remaining RSP members joined SA.[4]

Politics[edit]

The RSP claimed to stand against greed, exploitation, war, oppression and environmental destruction and for a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism based on the ideas of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and other socialists. They supported what they called "the Bolivarian socialist revolution now unfolding in Venezuela."[11] Like the former DSP who broke with Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution in the 1980s, the RSP were advocates of the two stage theory, as Doug Lorimer of the RSP outlined in In Defence of Lenin's Marxist Policy of a Two-Stage, Uninterrupted Revolution:

"A state power which organises the working class, in alliance with the peasantry as a whole [...] to carry to completion a democratic revolution would also be a form of proletarian dictatorship, of working-class state power. But it would not yet be a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat [...] It would be a special form of proletarian state power in a bourgeois-democratic revolution, a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry." [12]

Other Australian socialist organisations have labelled this theory "Stalinist" and in contrast with classical Marxism. The Socialist Party, affiliated with the Committee for a Workers' International claims the theory is "a policy of deception, consistent misquotation, [and] half quotations of Trotsky’s ideas and innuendo".[13] SA, who follows the core politics of (but not formally affiliated with) the International Socialist Tendency has claimed of the same theory "[a] capitalist hell-hole by any other name is just as shit, surely!"[14]

Campaigns[edit]

On Australia Day 2010, RSP members, Van Thanh Rudd and Sam King, dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits holding signs "Racism - Made in Australia", outside the Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open to protest what they said was the refusal of the Australian Government "to acknowledge that attacks on Indians were racist and that locking up asylum seekers was wrong."[15] Rudd and King were arrested within 10 minutes and charged with inciting a riot.[16] Rudd also told the Indian weekly newsmagazine Outlook that the "dominant culture in Australia is a racist culture."[17]

Elections[edit]

Although the split within the former DSP and the later expelled RSP members was due to the electoral project of the Alliance,[2] the RSP still ran candidates in the 2010 federal election.[18] However, as both candidates, Van Thanh Rudd contesting the Victorian seat of Lalor against Julia Gillard[19] and Hamish Chitts contesting the Queensland seat of Griffith against Kevin Rudd,[20] were not registered with the Australian Electoral Commission as RSP candidates signifies the RSP's failure, unlike the Alliance,[21] to generate the 500-member minimum required to register as an official political party.[22] Both candidates polled very poorly. Rudd garnered a total of 516 votes, scoring 0.50% of the overall vote, with a +0.50% swing, placing him as the second least preferred candidate, ahead of regional tourism developer, Marc Aussie-Stone, compared to Gillard as first preference, who garnered 66,060 votes, scoring 64.26% of the overall vote, with a +4.37% swing.[19] Chitts garnered a total of 600 votes, scoring 0.75% of the overall vote, with a +0.75% swing, also placing him as the second least preferred candidate, ahead of far-right Citizens Electoral Council candidate, Jan Pukallus, compared to Kevin Rudd as first preference, who garnered 35,286 votes, scoring 44.06% of the overall vote, with a -9.03% swing.[20]

Dissolution[edit]

The RSP decided unanimously at its third congress on 29–30 September 2012, that they would "step up exploring a merger with (former rival organisation) SA as the logical next step towards building a fighting, interventionist party that can also effectively publicly defend the ideas of revolutionary Marxism."[5] In March the following year, the party congress unanimously voted to dissolve the RSP and join SA.[4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DSP National Executive statement on LPF split , Democratic Socialist Perspective, 13 May 2008. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) launched, Revolutionary Socialist Party, 28 May 2008. Accessed: 6 March 2010.
  3. ^ Our New Selection, Australian Story, 16 August 2010. Accessed: 22 August 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Marxism 2013 conference the biggest to date, Socialist Alternative, 1 April 2013. Accessed: 4 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b Conference votes to push forward with uniting revolutionary left, Socialist Alternative, 15 December 2012. Accessed: 3 April 2013.
  6. ^ Contact us, Revolutionary Socialist Party. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  7. ^ Let’s unite behind Green Left Weekly, Green Left Weekly. Accessed: 15 September 2012
  8. ^ Why I am joining Socialist Alternative Socialist Alternative. 12 September 2012. Accessed: 15 September 2012
  9. ^ Roberto Jorquera: Why I am joining Socialist Alternative Socialist Alternative. 15 October 2012. Accessed: 30 October 2012.
  10. ^ ….On joining Socialist Alternative. Van Thanh Rudd. 29 October 2012. Accessed: 30 October 2012.
  11. ^ About the RSP, Revolutionary Socialist Party. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  12. ^ November 1999: In Defence of Lenin's Marxist Policy of a Two-Stage, Uninterrupted Revolution, Revolutionary Socialist Party, (First published by the DSP) November 1999. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  13. ^ The Permanent Revolution today, Socialist Party, 23 February 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  14. ^ Is Vietnam socialist? Socialist Alternative, 26 July 2009. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  15. ^ PM's nephew marks 'Invasion Day' with anti-racism protest, The Age, 26 January 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  16. ^ Rudd's nephew fined for 'inciting riot', ABC News, 26 January 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  17. ^ The Dominant Culture In Australia Is A Racist Culture, Outlook India, 8 February 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010
  18. ^ Putting revolutionary socialism on the map, Direct Action, August 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  19. ^ a b House of Representatives: VIC Division - Lalor, Australian Electoral Commission, 7 September 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  20. ^ a b House of Representatives: QLD Division - Griffith, Australian Electoral Commission, 7 September 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  21. ^ Socialist Alliance, Australian Electoral Commission, 27 July 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.
  22. ^ Party Registration Guide, Australian Electoral Commission, April 2010. Accessed: 8 September 2010.