"If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything."
There is an intellectual and programmatic vacuum at the heart of the labour movement. The collapse of 'official' communism and the disappearance of traditional social democracy means that electoral pragmatism is the only vision driving the ALP. What Labor stands for is no longer so important, whether or not we are elected is all that seems to matter.
Focus groups, opinion polls and small-target policies dominate. Politics based on conviction and principle has been jettisoned. More than at any time in its past, the ALP is dominated by the politics of managing capital, not of liberty for labour.
However, this parliamentary cretinism leaves the labour movement in a situation where it has been in industrial decline and without any vision of an alternative to the market, the US alliance and globalised capitalism.
Social democracy is in crisis throughout the western world. Neoliberal capitalism has shown it has no intention of granting further concessions to labour. Of late, there has been a rash contributions suggesting that a third way beyond right and left is possible. These are based on superficial analyses of the relative affluence of Australian society or on the muddleheaded notion that we need to claim traditional conservative values as our own.
All such notions are based on the idea that capitalism is the end of human history and the market is the only possible way to organise society.
Labor Tribune rejects such pessimism.
Capitalism has a beginning and it will have an end. There is nothing 'natural' about the market. By turning human beings and our labour power into a mere commodity, its operation rips the democratic heart out of modern society.
The task of the labour movement is to champion democracy throughout society: not just in parliament, but in the economy, social life and in the labour movement itself. Society must be based on the democratic self-organisation of the working people on a global scale. Only then can we leave behind the barbarism of war, alienation and social isolation.
Labor Tribune aims to contribute to a renewal of socialist thought and practice in the labour movement. It is a resource for news, opinion, discussion and debate in the progressive and labour movements. While supporters of Labor Tribune are mainly members of the Austalian Labor Party, its website, forums and publications are open to views from across the working-class movement and the left.
- Labor Tribune promotes analysis from a Marxist perspective. The experiences of the 20th century show us that socialism without democracy becomes its opposite. This is the case for Stalin's Soviet Union as much as it is the case for social democracy.
- Labor Tribune is for the political independence of the working class. Our class is the only consistently democratic class. The struggle for workers' liberty is a political, rather than a purely economic, struggle. The workers' must champion the democratic struggles of all oppressed and exploited sections of society.
- Labor Tribune is for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Australian, US and British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Labor Tribune is for the unity of workers in a single party committed to the transformation of capitalist society and the establishment of socialism - the democratic rule of the working class.
- Labor Tribune combats all manifestations of opportunism in the labour movement. The tendency for our leaders, parliamentarians, officials and even some sections of our class to accommodate with, or capitulate to, the interests of capital is the greatest barrier preventing our class uniting around a consistently democratic and socialist program.
- Labor Tribune stands in opposition to the proliferation of sects and confessional societies that litter the fringes of the workers' movement. Derivative of Trotskyism, though by no means exclusive to it, the semi-religious, scholastic and cultish methods of such groups are a barrier to our class unity.
- The ALP is a contradictory class formation. While it has never been socialist, it is a party whose leaders pursue pro-capitalist policies on the foundation of the organised labour movement. The role of Marxists is to overcome that contradiction positively by building a political centre in the labour movement that not only analyses the world, but attemtps to change it. Marxists campaign for working class politics in all areas of the labour movement and society.
- The ALP is riven with factionalism. With the demise of the Cold War and the collapse of the Communist Party, the ideological divisions between left and right have almost disappeared. The factions remain as cabals and fiefdoms, mere machinery to divide power between aspirant apparatchiks in the labour movement.
Labor Tribune promotes republicanism, socialism and internationalism. The democratic republic is the social form under capitalism by which the working class gains the greatest political space to fight for socialism. Socialism is international and democratic, or it is nothing.