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18994Re: Here's the basis for a united front: REFUGEE GROUPS CALL FOR LAURIE FERGUSON

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  • bobgould987
    Jun 21, 2005
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      The DSP, Norm Dixon and the united front

      By Bob Gould

      How easily the DSP leadership snaps back into its juvenile Third
      Period ultraleftism concerning the Labor Party.

      A few hours, even, can be a long time in politics, and the last few
      hours have been very unkind to Dixon and the DSP leadership.

      Firstly, why should Laurie Ferguson's reactionary statement on
      migration matters throw into question the united front strategy
      towards Labor?

      That broad strategy is dictacted by the whole field of politics and
      the working class base of Laborism, and the division in Australian
      society between the organised working class, the overwhelming majority
      of recent migrants, the liberal section of the middle class, who
      overwhelmingly support Labor or the Greens, on the one hand, and the
      ruling class on the other who try to mobilise all the reactionary
      forces behind the Liberal-National coalition.

      Before Norm Dixon points to a Laurie Ferguson he should read what
      Trotsky wrote in the 1930s about the united front and consider his
      point, replying to Stalinist ultralefts who pointed to the reactionary
      Social Democratic police chief in Berlin who was instrumental in the
      murder of Rosa Luxemburg. Trotsky pointed out that even that
      reactionary figure was likely to be attacked by the Nazis and
      imprisoned, as he indeed was.

      Trotsky said it was infantile not to distinguish between the mass
      working class social base of Social Democracy and the reactionary
      social base of the Nazis.

      While many of the circumstances are different, the same broad
      principles apply in Australia today.

      The whole of the trade union movement, which is the base of the Labor
      Party, is coming under attack from the threatened Liberal industrial
      legislation, and that creates conditions for a united front by
      socialists directed at Laborism.

      It was these basic political facts of life in Australia that Craig
      Johnson and the other militant trade union leaders drew forcibly to
      the attention of the DSP leadership at the Fightback conference, but
      despite all that it's oh so easy for Dixon to fall back into a piece
      of dopey demagogy against Bob Gould, attacking the whole idea of a
      united front with Labor.

      When that comes apart on him in the middle of the day, Dixon blurts
      out another demand: that Labor for Refugees issue some kind of public
      statement attacking Ferguson.

      Dixon hasn't got a clue in these matters. The Labor for Refugees
      activists are in close contact with the refugee organisations, and L4R
      activists all over the country have been widely circulating Ian
      Rintoul's statement to the thousands of activists on various email trees.

      Within a short space of time today there was a spirited revolt against
      Ferguson in the Labor federal caucus, and by tonight Kim Beazley was
      asserting forcefully that Ferguson had changed his view.

      One might have thought that Norm would celebrate this day of modest
      agitation, which forced a retreat on Ferguson and demonstrated the
      lively character of the current in the Labor Party and the unions in
      support of refugees.

      Instead, Dixon is scratching around for anything to prop up the DSP's
      strategy of ritual denunciation of Labor, and sitting in Chippendale
      issuing media statements (or in this case demanding that someone else
      issue one). What an indictment today's events have been of the blind
      moralising sectarianism of Dixon and the DSP leadership.

      You might note, Norm, that Ian Rintoul's statement embodied his
      political line on the refugee movement, which is quite different to,
      far saner, and much more effective, than the DSP's position.

      Rintoul, who more than any other individual has helped to keep the
      refugee movement alive, appeals clearly and in a non-sectarian way to
      the deep groundswell in the ALP and the unions in support of refugees.

      Clearly, Rintoul's agitation is infinitely more effective than the
      DSP's demagogy, and that is demonstrated by the retreat forced on
      Laurie Ferguson tonight.
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