By non-authoritarian left, I mean any group that pursues social justice that does not seek to exert control over its
membership, but rather seeks to create an empowering and participatory structure.
a group can honestly and actively address problems of power imbalance in its structure, it is well on its way to empowering
its membership for the long term- and changing society in the process. There are only a few group in Australia's history that
have done this. I am hoping to learn about their histories.
Builders Labourers Federation
The Womens movement (1970's)
Friends of the Earth Australia
When there is denial of such power
imbalances, authoritarianism, in-groups or personality cults can result. I think that authoritarianism is a tragic part of
the Left's history in Australia. It continues to manifest most obviously in the behaviour of Marxist-Leninist groups, such
as the DSP, SA and the ISO, and to a lesser extent, Solidarity. It also is manifest in both elements of the split of the Australian
Communist Party (although oddly enough, the pro-ALP split is more controlling than the pro-Stalinist split). The Australian
Labor Party (perhaps due to their strict party line) and in some anarchist subcultures (where the authoritarian dynamic is
enforced through peer pressure and unacknowledged assumptions rather than an explicit method of control).
you can see, it seems that authoritarianism is well and truly entrenched in the Australian political system.
I am interested in the ways it has been overcome.
of the reasons I am so heavily involved in environmental movements is because I believe that their methodologies are generally
less coercive than other groups.