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16210Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: upload your updates to (Syd.Indy) SOVEREIGNTY: The Queen vs. Kevin Buzzacot

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  • Louis R Godena
    Apr 9, 2005
      Bob 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.

      Louis Godena
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "bobgould987" <bobgould987@...>
      To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
      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
      > population.
      > 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
      > Ozleft,
      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Multiculturalism.html,
      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Migrationdebate.html,
      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Racism.html,
      > 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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