Russel Reminder 1, Keith Locke and the DSP

Several Green Party figures have dealings, with the Austalian, Marxist-Leninist group, the Democratic Socialist Party (or “Perspective” as it is now known).

The Green Party’s probable future co-leader, Russel Norman, was a member of the DSP, in Brisbane, at least until 1991. He contributed several articles to the DSP’s newspaper, Green Left Weekly, from 1994 up till at least 1999, but claims not to be aware of his Green colleague’s involvement with the DSP. To jog Russel’s memory I’ll revisit Keith Locke’s and Jeanette Fitzsimon’s DSP connection’s.

The first documented connection between Green MP, Keith Locke and the DSP is this articles“>article which appeared in Green Left Weekly in 1991.

However there is evidence that Locke’s links with leaders of the DSP, or as it was formerly known, Socialist Workers Party go back to the ’70s. When DSP leader Jim Percy, died of cancer in 1992, Locke, Matt Robson, Petronella Townsend, Paul Piesse and Lew Stribling, sent this message of condolence to Green Left Weekly No 80 (November 1992).

“We have known Jim since 1970. Since that time we have shared the same socialist vision and supported the same struggles against oppression. Through two decades we kept in contact with Jim and benefited from sharing political ideas and experiences…Jim was with us in our early political development as members of the Socialist Action League in NZ. He was also alongside us when we formed the New Labour Party. He contributed his political ideas and experience to the NLP in a comradely and supportive way. He saw the NLP as a progressive development which could revitalise socialism in NZ and have a positive effect in Australia…We cannot be with you at the funeral of our comrade. However it is a maori tradition to sing at a funeral. We therefore request that when the Internationale is sung that it be recognised that the voices of Jim’s comrades in NZ have also been raised as a final tribute to a respected fighter of the people”

Interestingly, the SWP/DSP had links with two groups in NZ. Firstly they had fraternal links with their Trotskyite sister party in NZ, the Socialist Action League. Both parties were also fellow members of the Brussels based “Fourth International”. After the mid ’80s, the SWP left the Fourth International and the above comrades left the Socialist Action League.

In the late ’80s, the SWP formed close ties to a formerly Maoist group in NZ called the Workers Communist League. Keith Locke was very close to the WCL and fronted their organisation, the Philippines Solidarity Network. In 1990, when Keith Locke stood for parliament for the NLP, WCL members (under their new name “Left Currents”) campaigned for him. It was Keith Locke’s ex SAL friends and the WCL that formed the leadership of the NLP when it was formed in 1989.

The entire WCL joined the NLP, but some later left to join the Greens. The most notable example being current Green MP, Sue Bradford.

I believe the NLP and its 1991 “merger” with the Greens, Democrats and Mana Motuhake to form the Alliance Party, was modeled on the Brazilian “Workers Party” (now in power) which was formed in 1980. The Workers Party was a coalition of Greens, socialists, black activists and leftist Christians built around a Trotskyite/Communist core. The DSP had until recent years, very close ties to the Workers Party, though things have cooled lately. They still adore Venezuela’s Chavez government however, which has extremely close ties to “Lula’s” Workers Party.

In the early ’90s, Keith Locke was listed as a NZ correspondent for Green Left Weekly. In 1993 he was a guest speaker a DSP forum “Unity in Action” in Australia. He spoke on his experiences with the newly formed Alliance Party.

At Easter 1994 the DSP hosted a huge “Green Left” conference in Sydney to launch their new international journal “Links”. Delegates attended from the Brazilian Workers Party, the Italian Party of Communist Refoundation, the US Committees of Correspondence (a breakaway from the Communist Party USA), several Filipino Marxist organisations, the Sri Lankan Trotskyite Nava Sama Samaj Party, the Indonesian Peoples Committee, the Fourth International and the British Marxist group Militant. Dr Nguyen Khac Kinh, deputy director of Vietnams National Environment Agency was present as was NZ Alliance Foreign Affairs spokesman Keith Locke.

Locke contributed an article to the second edition of “Links”, again, on the development of the Alliance Party. The last sentence read “the growth of the Alliance might seem odd to socialists used to seeing parties formed by unions, or as ideological projects, but it is working”.

The last documented Locke/DSP link I can find, was an article he wrote in Green Left Weekly in 1999, well after he had defected to the Green Party.

I find it extremely hard to believe that Russel Norman, would have no idea that Keith Locke, a close colleague, was writing for the same Marxist-Leninist paper the he was.

I also find it hard to believe, that Russel Norman would not be aware that Keith Locke, was a long time associate of the leader of a Marxist-Leninist party that Norman had himself once belonged to,

Does anyone else find this less than credible?

Perhaps Russel Norman could re-visit the issue for us?


Author: Admin

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