19013Re: Here's the basis for a united front: REFUGEE GROUPS CALL FOR LAURIE FERGUSON
- Jun 21, 2005By Bob Gould
Norm Dixon can't help himself in his desire to dismiss the ALP as a
more or less undifferentiated reactionary mass.
Dixon jumps in, taking as good coin Laurie Ferguson's spin on the
predicament he has created for himself. Ferguson has dug himself into
a deep hole with his reactionary statements about Peter Qasim.
If it were true, as Dixon and Ferguson both claim, that the only
protesting voice in caucus was Julia Irwin, how is it possible that
the debate went on for an hour, according to the media reports?
Also, why was it necessary for Beazley to say that Ferguson had
changed his view?
Dixon's sectarian blindness prevents him from having any clue about
real political processes in mass organisations. His years in the DSP
seem to have eroded his political faculties in that respect. He
probably had a clearer political understanding of such matters when he
was a member of Young Labor.
Dixon refuses to even consider the pressure that's building up all
over the country to dump Ferguson from the immigration role.
That pressure is coming from the refugee movement in general and
particularly from refugee supporters in the Labor Party, including
Dixon demands to know exact details of how Labor for Refugees is
proceeding, and if he was given those details he'd probably put a
provocative spin on it, thereby playing into Ferguson's hands.
It's really quite extraordinary for Dixon to take Ferguson's defensive
story as good coin. He dismisses contemptuously the wide distribution
without comment of the Rintoul document in Labor for Refugees circles,
but that only shows Dixon's fundamental contempt for Labor for
Those emails, which are sent out by Labor for Refugees activists in
NSW and Victoria and Jack Smit of Projectsafe.com in WA, get to
thousands of labour movement activists all over the country.
Incidentally, that network gets to a far wider audience in the labour
movement than Green Left Weekly does, despite its considerable web
Dixon refuses to see a broad struggle going on in the ALP and the
labour movement when it's right before his eyes. He instinctively
falls back to treating the ALP and the broad labour movement as one
reactionary mass when considerable evidence to the contrary is staring
him in the face.
Dixon's rhetoric is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about
the DSP's belligerent Third Period posture towards Labor.
I recommend that he go away and read, and perhaps even have a little
class among the DSP full-timers, on Ian Rintoul's press release, which
is a very useful example of how to concretely apply the united front
as a strategy. It appeals to the ranks of the labour movement to
campaign for the disciplining of Ferguson on this matter and assumes
that it may well get a response from the ranks of the labour movement.
Contrast Rintoul's approach with the dead-endism of Dixon and the DSP
leadership in condemning the whole of the labour movement and
presuming the battle on the immediate question of Ferguson's role is
already lost when it has really only just begun.
For Dixon's information, Julia Irwin, the main caucus critic of
Ferguson, is an important figure in the NSW Centre Unity faction, and
she is well-known for her forthright defence of the right of the
Palestinians to national self-determination, which often brings her
into conflict with the likes of Michael Danby, the Victorian
right-winger who often takes an ultra-Zionist stance.
A bit of sensible comment on Julia Irwin's courageous role, rather
than taking as good coin Ferguson's contemptuous spin on her
intervention, would be more appropriate than Dixon's visceral
Dixon makes a throwaway remark that Bob Gould should confine himself
to ALP affairs rather than attacking the left outside the ALP. This is
another example of the DSP leadership's delusions of its own royal status.
Of late I've argued with the DSP leadership on these strategic
questions. Many others on the left outside the ALP, such as Ian
Rintoul, take a far more rational stand on these questions, so I don't
argue with them.
It's a bit rich of Dixon to talk about not attacking the left outside
the ALP when the DSP leadership has just been engaged in a protracted
period of trench warfare against almost every other group on the left
outside the ALP.
When Dixon implies that his group IS the left outside the ALP, that's
just an extension of the DSP's royal delusions of grandeur, and it's
really an extension of its attack in recent times on other left groups
outside the ALP.
The DSP leadership regards the other groups as insignificant. As the
self-appointed leadership of the non-ALP left, the DSP leadership is
the only force that matters in its eyes, and by definition like the
king in olden times, it shouldn't be attacked or argued with.
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