A peculiarly well-adapted parasite

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This famous description of ALP leaders, written by Zinoviev in 1916, stands up rather well I think:

[The] reactionary role of the “socialist bureaucracy” appears nowhere so ostentatiously as in Australia, that veritable Land of Promise of social reformism. The first “labor ministry” in Australia was formed in Queensland in December, 1899. And ever since then the Australian labor movement has been a constant prey of leaders on the make for careers. Upon the backs of the laboring masses there arise, one after another, little bands of aristocrats of labor, from the midst of which the future labor ministers spring forth, ready to do loyal service to the bourgeoisie. All these Hollmans, Cooks and Fishers were once workers. They act the parts of workers even now. But in reality they are only agents of the financial plutocracy in the camp of the workers. The caste of the “leaders” here appears quite openly as a unique type of job trust. The labor party as such comes to the surface only during the parliamentary elections. Once the elections are over, the party disappears again for three whole years. The party conventions are only conventions of party functionaries. They never include a trace of real representatives of the mass of labor. The party leader is elected in conference and functions as such until the next election at the succeeding conference. If he is elected to Parliament, he also becomes the leader of the parliamentary fraction. If the party gets a majority in Parliament, the leader becomes prime minister and forms a “labor ministry.” The powers of this leader are almost unlimited. It went so far that the “labor” minister of New South Wales, Hollman (a former carpenter), proposed at the party conference of 1915 that the leader be given the power to change the program of the party at his own discretion, if this should be necessary for its “salvation.” We have recently had quite a striking example of the means whereby Fisher, Hollman &co. “save” the labor party. These “leaders” have proved to be the worst sort of chauvinists.

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4 Responses to “A peculiarly well-adapted parasite”

  1. Trust me « Churls Gone Wild Says:

    […] board members of AustraliaSuper, one of the largest pension funds. They bring irresistibly to mind Zinoviev’s characterisation of Australian Labor politicians and union bureaucrats as ‘a constant prey of leaders on the […]

  2. Keeping a lid on it: maintaining political stability under austerity conditions in Australia « Churls Gone Wild Says:

    […] decades later, union officials still play the same parasitic foreman or overseer role in suppressing the political activity of employees and helping to control the production process […]

  3. A sticky end « Churls Gone Wild Says:

    […] This is the human nullity, embodiment of a cynical and time-serving social layer, created by decades of Stalinism and labourism/social democracy. […]

  4. A frightening abyss | Churls Gone Wild Says:

    […] dumped from power despite its beseeching, the Australian Labor Party played its perennial role, as sturdiest protector of ‘the institution of […]

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