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1215Bob Gould on Green Left Weekly

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  • Nick Fredman
    May 5, 2003
      1. Workers Online

      Bob Gould tries to prove prove the DSP's rampant anti-ALP
      sectarianism by quoting the criticism a non-DSP member, Peter
      Perkins, had of an article in Workers Online, web organ of the NSW
      Labor Council, and then asserting that Green Left Weekly has the same
      relentless sectarianism that Peter supposedly has towards WO. As so
      often he makes a polemical mountain out of a factual molehill.

      I did a search of the GL back issues web page for "Workers Online"
      and found mentions in 16 separate pieces.

      * 5 were credited reprints from WO, including the announcement of the
      launch of the site (others on issues including unions and refugees,
      exploitation of Big Issue distributors and why the Labor Council
      should have supported global justice protests on May 1, 2001, by
      CFMEU organier Phil Davey).

      * 6 were simply crediting WO as a source.

      * 1 mentioned WO and Labor Council support for a "corporate scumbag
      tour" preceding global justice protests May 1, 2001.

      * 1 was an article critical of WO editorial attacks on protests on
      May 1, 2002 (alongside a reprint of the editorial).

      * 1 was an article critical of the Labor Council's inclusion of cop
      "union" representatives in negotiations with the state gov't on
      workers comp (after cops had attacked workers protesting about the
      issue) and of WO's refusal to publish a letter along similar lines.

      * 2 were letters critical of WO editorial content, one by a DSP
      member (Peter Boyle, on attacks by the Labor Council on Books not
      Bombs protests), one not (John Passant, on non-union member levies).

      Therefore far from unrelenting sectarian attacks GL has had a
      measured engagement with WO and its discussions, either promoting its
      utility as a source or critisising some of its content around issues
      which are undoubtably contentious - though since it is an important
      site 16 mentions in around 3 years is maybe a bit light.

      2. Industrial coverage in general

      I can't do any real analysis here apart from suggesting it's quite
      ridiculous and meaningless to compare the industrial coverage of GL
      to the organ of either the peak body of the labour movement in NSW,
      with 100 of 1000s of members, or to that of the Communist Party when
      it had, what, 10 000 members? and bases in dozens of unions.

      3. International news and historical/theoretical articles

      Bob *may* have a point in the lack of utility of a numerous long
      international items in a socialist weekly. Many people now have ready
      access to a range of international news and analysis from a left
      perspective, and although coverage like GL's comes in a convenient
      package, with a much higher resolution and more user friendly
      interface than your computer screen, this is probably one reason that
      GL's sales rate is generally less now than a decade ago.

      He certainly has a point in that a socialist weekly should have
      historical/theoretical pieces. GL has had somewhat more in the past,
      but few recently, and in fact one decision of the last DSP congress
      was to have a regular historical feature. The need to respond to a
      frantic present seems to have got in the way, but I hope this aspect
      can be addressed in future, both in GL and any Socialist Alliance
      publication which incorporates it.
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