16210Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: upload your updates to (Syd.Indy) SOVEREIGNTY: The Queen vs. Kevin Buzzacot
- Apr 9, 2005Bob Gould may have some tenable views, but he is such a self-centered
windbag he has to include in the body of his post a veritable dissertation
on just about everything from the beginning of the world til now. This may
be a malaise common to bookstore clerks or ageing middle-class white males,
but someone who has Bob's ear (if such a creature exists or could exist)
needs to remind him that hobby horses are best rode in private and that
constant re-iteration is counterproductive.
----- Original Message -----
From: "bobgould987" <bobgould987@...>
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 9:11 AM
Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: upload your updates to (Syd.Indy)
SOVEREIGNTY: The Queen vs. Kevin Buzzacot
> Mike Karadjis loses his cool on Vietnam
> By Bob Gould
> Margaret A, the moderator of the GLW list, has an unenviable job and
> does well at regulating the list in sometimes difficult circumstances.
> She obviously has a mandate to defend the general interests of the
> DSP, which is not unreasonable since it's their list, but she tries to
> be sensible within this framework, mainly by only intervening when
> absolutely necessary.
> Having been dragged by some anonymous person on to Sydney Indymedia, I
> felt obliged to have a go at the people who run that list for their
> crazy toleration of incitements to violence.
> I'm also deeply disturbed by Sydney Indymedia leaving up anti-Jewish
> material, and Margaret A is very sensible to draw a hard line against
> that kind of material on the Green Left site.
> It's also quite reasonable of Margaret A to tick off the cyber-entity
> Minh for his anti-Aboriginal statements.
> I don't quite know what she should do about this new person, Pace, who
> incites violence against Minh, or about Mike Karadjis, who now says by
> clear implication that the victorious NLF and North Vietnamese forces
> in 1975 should have wiped out all their opponents (as, in fact, the
> Khmer Rouge tried to do in Cambodia).
> The protocol on any leftist list should be that direct incitements to
> violence of any sort should be excluded. The reasons for this are
> obvious: a) they're a bad substitute for serious political argument
> and b) they're a ticking time bomb in the current political climate,
> which is dripping with ostensible anti-terrorism laws imposed in
> recent times by the ruling class. Leftists need mindless appeals to
> violence of any sort like the proverbial hole in the head.
> (While she's at it, Margaret A should have a quiet word offlist with
> Nobby Tobby, and try to persuade him to drop the crazed, intemperate
> abusive language he throws around more or less at will. Tobby is a
> mature man in his thirties, who has been politically active overseas
> and in Australia and his abusive language is obviously a threatening
> political device and he ought to know better.)
> That brings me to the question of Minh and Mike Karadjis. I have much
> the same attitude to Minh as I had to Michael Berrell when he first
> appeared. I'm not entirely sure if he's a real person or a carefully
> constructed cyber-entity.
> The problem with the web, which is such a useful vehicle for serious
> argument and propaganda, is that there's little insurance against
> fantasists or provocateurs constructing elaborate cyber-entitites (or
> crude ones) as it suits them.
> Nevertheless, whether Minh is a real person or some smartarse, he has
> constructed for his entity a set of views that reflect the
> overwhelming point of view among Vietnamese Australians, and other
> Indochinese Australians, who are now nudging 400,000 of our 20 million
> In my bookshop, which has for many years been a very public place in
> which the leftist part of my stock is prominently displayed, I've had
> relatively civilised exchanges at the counter with literally hundreds
> of customers of Indochinese background.
> These people aren't mainly interested in the political material. They
> buy books on science, maths, business and general fiction, and they
> are caught up in the process of education as part of the rite of
> passage from the very bottom of Australian society into the middle layers.
> I always defend, to them, my activities against the Vietnam War, and
> they often defend the point of view of the losing side in that war.
> Such exchanges usually end up reasonably amicably. Mostly they've
> become so acclimitised to Australia that they've realised that many
> older Australian have a similar outlook to myself, as opponents of the
> Vietnam War.
> It's quite clear from where they live and from conversations I've had
> with them, that the overwhelming majority of Australian Vietnamese
> vote Labor, obviously as a result of their position as industrial
> workers at the bottom of Australian society. This is pretty important
> in class terms, but it won't of course impress the DSP leadership,
> with its artificial schema about two equivalent capitalist parties.
> Sometimes I have similar exchanges with Australian veterans of the
> war. In talking to the Vietnamese, I always stress that at the end of
> the war, while I generally supported the other to them side in that
> conflict, I recognised that it was a genuine civil war, a large number
> of people supported the losing side and as Australia had unjustifiably
> stuck its nose into Vietnam's affairs, along with the US, we had a
> moral obligation to assist those who wanted to leave.
> The attitude of Whitlam and the Australian government of the time in
> opposing Vietnamese refugees coming to Australia was repellant,
> particularly to me as a member of the Labor Party.
> My views on all these questions are very public, and are available on
> http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Vietnam.html. In addition to
> this I wrote a putative film script (see below), among 14 others I
> submitted to a Sunrise films pitching competition about four years ago.
> The viewpoint of Vietnamese Australians on the current regime in
> Vietnam hasn't been modified much by their recent experiences. These
> days, the direct flights back to Vietnam from Sydney are crammed with
> Vietnamese Australian citizens going back to take money to their
> families and to lobby for members of their families to get out under
> the family reunion program.
> Even allowing for the fact that these are people who generally
> supported the old regime, their reports have to be given some weight,
> and they uniformly talk about corruption in the government and the gap
> between the Vietnamese elite and the rest of the population.
> Another fact that Mike Karadjis also has to face is that the regime
> doesn't tolerate serious dissent very much. The fact that pretty well
> all figures from the NLF side who have expressed criticism of the
> regime and called for greater democracy, have been put under house
> arrest, speaks volumes.
> Vietnam is still a one-party state. As an anti-Stalinist Marxist, I
> believe that one-party states went out with straw hats. I share Ernest
> Mandel's view that the existence of multiple parties in a socialist
> system is necessary, as is a substantial relaxation of censorship, etc.
> Also, the absence of institutions of mass democracy that allow real
> argument and conflict, in a situation where a more-or-less super-NEP
> has been adopted (I don't object to NEP market mechanisms in
> themselves) must lead inevitably to a development like China.
> To put it another way, a combination of a rigid Stalinist one-party
> state with a more-or-less unchecked NEP leads directly to a China-type
> social development.
> As an aside, a big test for me of developments in Vietnam would be if
> the regime was capable of rehabilitation Ta Tu Thau and the other
> Vietnamese Trotskyists, even to the limited extent that the
> Trotskyists have been rehabilitated in China.
> There's no sign of that in Vietnam, unfortunately, and I'd be very
> interested if Mike Karadjis, who has been in Vietnamese for a few
> years now, could bring us up to date on some of those questions.
> Mike Karadjis says on the GLW list: "I'll say this Minh: Since you
> have revealed yourself, I'm sorry the heroic liberation armies of Vo
> Nguyen Giap from the north and Tran Van Tra from the southern NLF
> didn't deal with the whole bloody lot of you vile fascist scum in
> time-honoured fashion then and there in 1975."
> Mike Karadjis's extraordinary outburst implying his bloodthirsty
> retrospective desire for some kind of Pol Pot-like settlement of
> accounts with the losing side in Vietnam undermines his credibility
> considerably as a reporter on these matters, which saddens me greatly,
> because up to this point I've regarded him as a bit of an authority.
> His sweeping, blatant desire expressed quite clearly here for the
> repression, by implication, of the substantial majority of Vietnamese
> Australians because of their general political views has nothing to do
> with any model of socialist development, as I understand it. Happily,
> with all their warts and defects, the victorious North Vietnamese and
> NLF didn't do anything like what Karadjis now advocates. The people
> who did that were the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
> Film pitch. Vietnam Tet, 1968. (Written in 1999 for Sunrise Films
> pitch competition.)
> Possibly Australian/Vietnamese co-production. True story.
> 1997. 10000 Sydney march against Pauline Hanson. Old Vietnam
> protesters, Vietnam veterans, Vietnamese migrants, left groups, many
> others, march together. Get on surprisingly well.
> Two Vietnamese pensioners, one formerly South Vietnamese colonel,
> other formerly leader of Vietcong "Sparrow" unit, go back to
> Marrickville Vietnamese Club, continue slightly acrimonious argument
> about Tet offensive.
> Fade to Feb 1968. Saigon, whole South Vietnam in turmoil. NLF have
> thrown all reserves into military offensive and national uprising.
> Americans and South Vietnamese caught by surprise. Vietcong have
> occupied citadel in Hue, central Vietnam, many small towns all over
> country. Vietcong Sparrow unit is even inside American Embassy,
> Saigon. City is a mad-house.
> Intense bunch of Australian journalists and photographers hire jeep.
> Try to find frontline. Discover it all around them. Get nervous, as
> gun fire suddenly surrounds them. Jeep goes around corner. They are
> face to face with nervous unit of young Vietcong irregulars, who start
> shooting. Aussies are yelling in English and bad Vietnamese,
> "Journalists. Journalists." Young Vietcong mow them down anyway.
> The Aussie at the back, with long legs, has the wits to jump out and
> run for life. They shoot but he escapes. All his mates are dead.
> Camera follows Sparrow unit which runs into regular unit of Americans
> a few minutes later.
> Most of VC killed, including their leader. A few escape.
> Aussie journalist is traumatised.
> The Vietcong Army have over-reached themselves. Many of their forces
> are killed. Have called out even their most well-concealed irregulars.
> Americans and South Vietnamese reassert military control of the
> country, but Americans have to put in many more troops.
>>From the Victcong military point of view, it's a disaster.
> Nevertheless, the graphic illustration via TV satellite throughout the
> Western world, that the Vietcong have sufficient support to invade
> Saigon, main cities, the brutality used to suppress them, like awful
> TV image of the South Vietnamese Colonel shooting young prisoner in
> the head, is enormous political defeat for Americans.
> War drags on for another seven years until finally American nerve
> cracks, and Vietcong troops march into Saigon in 1975.
> New regime is, as Stalinist regimes go, fairly civilised. It's
> strongly nationalist, and brings peace, but it doesn't allow freedom
> or civil rights and rather rigorously attempts to "re-educate" its old
> opponents. Many thousands of Vietnamese escape country, mostly former
> South Vietnamese sympathisers, but also some who'd supported the
> Vietcong, and most end up in USA, Canada, Australia.
> Traumatised reporter tries to cope with rage and anger. No therapy
> works. His personal relationships disintegrate. Eventually goes to
> Vietnam to track down the Vietcong unit. After months of wrong
> turnings, he finds a Vietcong survivor. They sit in cafe. He asks,
> "Why did you shoot journalists?". The Vietcong says, "Journalists! To
> us, white men in jeeps were CIA." Aussie finds explanation reasonably
> persuasive and terrible, painful reconciliation occurs. Aussie writes
> interesting, moving book.
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