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25317Re: [GreenLeft_discussion] A response to Dale Mills and Norm Dixon

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  • Michael Karadjis
    Jan 15, 2006
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "bobgould987" <bobgould987@...>
      To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 10:37 PM
      Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] A response to Dale Mills and Norm Dixon


      > Then we get to Norm Dixon. After a few days of one of his Third Period
      > sectarian orgies, yelling scab, scab, scab at a large number of
      > leaders of the labour movement,
      >
      > My short-term journalistic aim over the next week or two, however, is
      > to (speaking metaphorically and politically) drive a stake through the
      > heart of the Third Period sectarianism of the new Boylite leadership
      > of the DSP, towards Labor Party members and Greens, which Norm has
      > expressed so colourfully over the past few days.

      Now whether Norm was calling "a large number of leaders of the labour
      movement scabs" or not people can decide by reading Norm's posts. But
      since we have been, in the last couple of days, on the question of
      language, and of trying to calm down the discussion and make it more
      political, I think Bob ought to have a look at a coiple of things above.

      Firstly, "third period sectarian orgies." Now you very strongly object
      to Norm's metaphorical use of the word "scab" to describe a *unanimous*
      decision of the Young Labour leadership to reintroduce *conscription*, a
      move that, if not literally "scabbing", then to put it mildly is
      'ratting' on the entire anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, a
      movement which included a large number of ALP and Young Labour people.
      Fair enough. While I think Norm was being metaphorical, trying to make a
      rather harsh political point, and I think many other people have used
      the word 'scabbing' before to refer to less, I would say that for the
      sake of keeping discussion comradely, since you object so harshly, we
      should avoid the term.

      But I'm also aware of just how harshly you treat Stalinism. I've seen it
      from your posts here and on Maxmail, where you absolutely go wild, and
      perhaps to an extent rightly so, at some of the 'Stalin wasn't so bad'
      stuff you get, especially on Marxmail. The 'Third period', as you well
      know, facilitated the coming to power of Hitler, one of Stalin's
      greatest crimes. The Stalinists at that time were told to see the Social
      Democrats as 'Social Fascists' who were as bad, if not worse, than
      actual fascists. If my old reading serves me well, they actually blocked
      with fascists at times against the Social Democrats. The DSP today
      adopts a harsh political position to the ALP, justifiably in my view.
      However, not only does the DSP not support fascists against the ALP, it
      doesn't even support Tories against them, or even put an equals sign
      there. You are using the term Third period Stalinist, who supported
      fascists against Social Democrats, to describe the DSP, which in every
      federal and state election in its existence has preferenced the ALP
      ahead of the Tories. Given that, and given your extreme hostility to
      Stalin's legacy, is calling the DSP 'third period Stalinists' any less
      slanderous than calling right-wing social democrats who advocate
      conscription scabs?

      Then you assert your aim is "to (speaking metaphorically and
      politically) drive a stake through the heart of the Third Period
      sectarianism of the new Boylite leadership".

      Now a few weeks ago we had the farce of you and Ed pretending to be so
      outraged by the term use of the metaphorical term 'Glasgow Kiss' which
      Alex Miller used to criticise Greg Adler's views. When I and others
      pointed out that delivering a 'glasgow kiss' was being used
      metaphorically by Miller in the same way people use terms such as
      delivering a 'knockout blow' to someone's argument, Ed rejected that
      comparison, while you accepted it and said that I had made things worse
      by advocating that such language become normal. Thus, we need to be
      extremely pure and watch our language because you, from now on, were
      going to take every such metaphorical term literally. Well "driving a
      stake throught the heart" of someone's politics sounds a hell of a lot
      more violent and gruesome than a mere glasgow kiss. Probably you should
      simply admit you overreacted to Miller and were wrong.
      >
      > But the posture he adopts towards Labor and the Greens, with constant
      > infantile denunciation, not just of the leaders but of the ranks, is
      > what I object to.

      While I disagree that Norm or the DSP adopts such a position towards the
      ALP, that is obviously a longer debate. But 'the Greens' is simply
      thrown in to make the charge sound more impressive. The idea that the
      DSP is or has been 'sectarian' towards the Greens, or engages in
      'green-bashing', is based on nothing. Specifically re above, what were
      Norm's "constant infantile denunciations" against the Greens? On this
      list recently, there was some political discussion about a dispute
      between greenpeace and some other mob, with the other mob taking an
      anti-indigenous stand, so that seems to me a relevant political issue to
      discuss, not 'green baiting', then there was the political issue of
      whether green preferences in SA were going to go to Family First. Excuse
      me, were is the 'baiting' and 'sectarianism'?

      Of course the DSP, which in every election preferences the Greens ahead
      of the ALP, and the ALP ahead of the Tories, and the only times it has
      not preferenced the Greens, but instrad directly preferenced the ALP,
      has been when the Greens have divided their own preferences between the
      ALP and the Tories, is accused by members here of the ALP and Greens of
      being 'sectarian' towards those two parties!

      A final point. While the issue of the ALP is obviously going to be
      discussed more, maybe we should bring this entire circle back to where
      it started from: Young Labour's call to reintroduce conscription. By
      picking on Norm's language, you managed to make the issue the DSP rather
      than the ALP.

      But surely, since your point has long been that there is a viable
      struggle going on wthin the ALP against the neo-liberal leadership, and
      socialists must relate to it etc, the fact that Young Labour's call was
      *unanimous*, by 400 (I think) delegates, creates a bit of a problem,
      doesn't it? The call was not passed after a furious struggle within
      Young Labour, great polkitical resistance at the conference, the left in
      Young Labour fighting the right, a struggle socialists should certainly
      relate to, was it? How did it happen that a unanimous decison was
      reached, and what does it imply regarding the struggle in the ALP, at
      least for the next generation of leaders?

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