The Left

Three big disputes

Author: 

Bob Carnegie

The most important industrial disputes that I’ve been involved in were the 1985 SEQEB (South East Queensland Electricity Board) dispute; the maritime dispute of 1998; and the 63-day Queensland Children’s Hospital construction workers’ dispute of 2012, after which I had a long battle against both criminal charges and litigation for civil damages.

An interview with Bob Carnegie in 2015 about the most important industrial disputes he was involved in, the 1985 South East Queensland Electricity Board dispute; the maritime dispute of 1998; and the 63-day Queensland Children’s Hospital construction workers’ dispute of 2012.

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The political journey to Trotskyism

Author: 

Bob Carnegie

I always had a strong underlying humanist bias. I tended not to view things not just from an ideological viewpoint, as was the rule in the SPA [Socialist Party of Australia, a “hardline” pro-USSR split-off from the Communist Party of Australia]. My moral break from authoritarian state-capitalism, or Stalinism, which still infects the Australian left and the Australian trade union movement to a much larger degree than people realise, took a long time. I would say it took from 1979, when I joined the SPA, to the final break in about 1994.

Bob Carnegie described his political itinerary, from young cadre of the Stalinist movement through Maritime Union official to anti-Stalinist revolutionary, in an interview with Workers’ Liberty in October 1999.

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Early years in the movement

An interview with Bob Carnegie about his early years in the labour movement

Looking back, the watershed moment of the modern Australian labour movement was really 1975. The Governor-General sacked the reforming Labor government and put in the conservatives under Malcolm Fraser to govern instead. Workers organised a huge surge of strikes and demonstrations in response; but the union leaders limited and deflected the movement. After that, the left-wing ferment of Australia’s early 1970s subsided quite fast, thought the trade union movement remained strong. You would have been in your early teens then. Do you remember what you made of it?

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Turkish workers against the military

This is the second in a three part series – read part one: From dictatorship to liberal capitalism

There were many large student demonstrations against the Democratic Party (DP) government in its last days of DP rule (after 1950). This was the background for the 27 May 1960 military coup in which ex-Prime Minister Menderes and two of his prominent ministers were summarily tried and hanged.

The second part of an account of capitalist development and working-class struggle in Turkey, by Marksist Tutum.

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Why is the left in disarray?

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

The introduction from the book The Left in Disarray, published June 2017.


“Tell the truth and shame the devil”

“To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one’s programme on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives — these are the rules.” Leon Trotsky

The introduction from a new book about the left by Sean Matgamna.

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A discussion on Rojava politics

Author: 

Riki Lane

Like many leftists (and liberals) around the world, I drew great inspiration from the struggle against Daesh in Kobane, Northern Syria, by Kurdish forces of the YPG/YPJ associated with the PYD. Iconic images of women fighters defeating Islamist fundamentalists carried a strong message of the power of collective organisation by working people. Many leftists, including Australia’s Socialist Alliance (SA), laud them as a beacon of hope. However, I am still critical of the claims that the PYD/PKK etc. represent a genuine working class alternative.

A report from the Rojava Revolution conference in Melbourne.

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France: unions must reject consensus with Macron

The French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale comments on the second round of France’s legislative elections, 18 June: "Abstentions: 57.4%. Watch out! This major fact must not be interpreted only as a “civic strike”, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon puts it. That is true for many, and for the majority of the 10% of blanked or spoiled ballots or ballots where the two candidates in the run-off were both more or less for Macron. But to see it only that way is to ignore the defeat suffered by the working class on 23 April [in the first round of the Presidential poll].

French socialist newsletter Arguments pour la lutte sociale comments on the second round of France’s legislative elections.

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Macron: a landslide with 15%?

The socialist newsletter Arguments pour la Lutte Sociale reports on the first round of France’s legislative elections (11 June).


The dominant feature of the first round is not the triumph of Macron, but the majority [51%] abstention, for the first time in a legislative ballot in France.It looks like the lowest-income groups and the youth have massively abstained.

The socialist newsletter Arguments pour la Lutte Sociale reports on the first round of France’s legislative elections.

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Brazil’s crisis of hegemony

Author: 

Alfredo Saad-Filho and Armando Boito

Brazil seems stuck in a permanent political crisis. After three years of agony, President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT) was impeached last August. Now her traitorous vice president Michel Temer’s administration is disintegrating under a cloud of scandal, not to mention its mind-boggling incompetence.

A worsening economic slowdown, followed by political crisis, has engulfed Brazil since 2011. This economic degradation and the Rousseff administration’s repeated political mistakes encouraged a convergence of revolts that would eventually include the media, finance, industrial capital, the upper middle class, most of the government’s base in Congress, and virtually the entire judiciary.

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The waning of Chavismo?

Author: 

Pablo Velasco

For the last seven weeks Venezuela has experienced violent opposition protests intent on toppling the elected Maduro government. Since the beginning of April, over 50 people have been killed during demonstrations orchestrated by the right-wing Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD – Democratic Unity Table).

Venezuela was never a socialist alternative and the unravelling of its modest reforms has punctured its radical and “anti-imperialist” pretensions.

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