The DSP in the 1980s

[Introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: Jim Percy Selected Writings 1980-87 (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 2008)]

This is the second volume of writings and speeches by Jim Percy, one of the founders of the Democratic Socialist Perspective and its longtime central leader until his death in 1992. These seven items — reports given by Jim to conferences and leadership gatherings of the DSP (or Socialist Workers Party as it was known in this period) — span the years 1980 to 1987.

Nationalisation: a key demand in the socialist program

[This article is an edited version of a talk originally given to the Melbourne branch of the Democratic Socialist Perspective in August 2008.]

For all the misery it represents for ordinary people, there is at least one positive result of the current capitalist financial crisis. The idea of nationalisation is getting an airing again in the West, however squeamish bourgeois leaders and pundits may be about using the actual word. Of course, this is clearly a case of governments mobilising massive resources and taking drastic action to save bankers and speculators from the consequences of their greed but, nevertheless, there it is. And if nationalisation — state or public ownership — is allowable in this dubious instance, why not for far more deserving and urgent causes such as saving the planet and the lives and welfare of masses of working people?

Are livable cities just a dream?

[The following talk was presented at the Climate Change | Social Change Conference in Sydney, April 2008.]

When one sees a modern city from the air, especially at night, it is a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. What always strikes me is the immensity of the project, a testimony to the power and creativity of human beings. However, on the ground and actually living and working in this wonder, things are quite different and the social and ecological problems crowd in and fill one's view.