Spartacist English edition No. 66

Spring 2020


Correction: On the Spartacist League/Australia and the 1991 New South Wales General Strike

The main conference resolution adopted at the 1992 Second International Conference of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), reprinted in Spartacist (English edition) No. 47-48 (Winter 1992-93), stated the following about the intervention by our Australian section into the 1991 New South Wales general strike:

“Repeated and often hard-fought strikes throughout 1991 offered numerous opportunities for an aggressive class-struggle intervention by our party. These culminated in the powerful October 1991 24-hour general strike in New South Wales which, despite the treacherous union misleadership, united the state’s multiracial working class in opposition to draconian anti-union laws.

“In part due to its extreme isolation from the rest of the International, comrades of the Spartacist League of Australia (SL/A) were particularly vulnerable to the bourgeois lie that ‘communism is dead.’ This political demoralization led to an egregious betrayal of the elementary union principle of ‘One out, all out!’ during the October general strike and to tailing the most backward elements of the union bureaucracy.”

In 2015, the SL/A Central Committee (CC) organized a review and discussion of these events. It concluded, as codified in a September 2015 CC motion, that there was in fact no breach of principle by the section or by any disciplined supporter. While one supporter went to work during the strike, there was no union at the worksite and no picket line; our supporter did not replace the work of a striking worker. Thus, the assertion in the International Conference resolution that there was an “egregious betrayal” of union principle had no basis in material reality. The SL/A CC’s corrective motion was subsequently endorsed by the International Secretariat.