25326Re: the left in the Labor Party
- Jan 16, 2006Mike has said many of the things I was going to say. Ed Lewis may not
be aware that there is a major anti-war protest planned for Sydney on
March 18 (see below), and I daresay how to respond to Beazley's call
for the diversion of Australian troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and SE
Asia will be the topic of some discussion in the joint organising
committee, which involves the the Stop the War Coalition, in which the
Socialist Alliance and other leftists are most active, and the more
ALP-friendly Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition (the ones who split
the anti-war movement previously over their refusal to accept an
unconditional ``No War'' demand because the ALP leadership found it
I would hope that opposition to the Australian government's escalation
of the war in Afghanistan will also be relected in the rally's
demands, but we'll see.
So we can all agree with Ed, such united political cooperation is a
key task for us all. That has always been the approach of the DSP.
That is not a debate. It is dishonest to imply otherwise.
March 18 will be an important opportunity for all those who have a
principled anti-war, anti-imperialist stance, whether they are members
of the ALP, Greens, Socialist Alliance, DSP or a member of none, to
work together politically. The rally itself too will be a good avenue
for the socialist left to encourage ordinary ALP and Greens members
who oppose the war to get involved in activity in a common campaign
with the far left. For socialists, it will also be a great opportunity
to explain why capitalism, US imperialism, needs to be opposed.
But Ed misses the point I was trying to make in my original post. All
that should be taken as a given. Ed Lewis is a *socialist* active in
the Greens. Many people on this list are *socialists*, whether in the
Greens, the DSP, the Socialist Alliance and the ALP or as individuals.
We are not just anti-war or anti-racist or trade union activists
alone, and don't limit our activity to those arenas. As Linda S.
stated, we seek ``to join the dots''. Socialists seek to not only win
ther immediate political campaigns and win people over to a more
leftwing stance issue by issue, we also seek to build and promote the
idea that *socialism* -- the overthrow of capitalism -- is the only
long-term answer to the fundamental problems we all face -- war,
racism, women's oppression and the denial of workers' rights ... And
we also always on the look out for better strategies and tactics to
organise *as socialists* to bring that about. We don't just talk about
socialism, we organise to bring it about, to convince the overwhelming
majority of working people that that is what is necessary. Inevitibly,
we must first convince the most politically advanced activists. We
can't postpone the task of winning people over to socialist ideas and
So I would be very interested in how Ed Lewis and other socialists he
works with in the Greens raise socialist ideas, and organises with
other left Greens to win them to socialism. Do you think the Greens as
a party will be sufficient to bring about socialism in this country,
or will socialists eventually need to organise together to help lead
it. At what point should that process of socialist cooperation begin?
These were the earlier questions I posed: ``I actually believe we
should attempt have a good discussion on the topics of 1) Should the
socialist left organise together as socialists, and how? 2) Is there a
``left'' in the ALP (or Greens) and should socialists organise within
inside the ALP (or Greens) and how? 3) Or are socialists' relatively
meagre resources better utilised outside the ALP (or Greens) 4) What
is the assessment of the ALP (and Greens) politics these days, how do
we characterise ALP governments and their attacks.
I ended with: At the same time, while we can and should continue this
debate in a comradely fashion, we also need to explore what we can do
together despite our differences. I should have clearly indicated that
I meant we should explore what we can do together *as socialists*, not
simply as activists.
NEXT STOP THE WAR PLANNING MEETING: 7pm, MONDAY JANUARY 16, 2006,
ROOM 4.06, Tower Building 2, Uni of Technology, Broadway
INFO, DIRECTIONS: 0410 772 110, 0421 986 860
Come and help plan for our big 3rd-Anniversary-of-the-Invasion Rally
in March 2006! (We know it's early in the year, but while the war
don't stop, Stop the War won't Stop!)
SYDNEY PEACE & JUSTICE COALITION AND STOP THE WAR COALITION TO BE
JOINT ORGANISERS OF MARCH 18 2006 RALLY!
3 YEARS OF OCCUPATION - 100,000-PLUS DEAD. TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ!
RALLY MARCH 18, 2006 @ HYDE PARK SYDNEY (details tbc)
--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Karadjis"
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ed Lewis" <ozleft@o...>
> To: <GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com>
> Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 9:29 PM
> Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: the left in the Labor Party
> > For example, when Kim Beasley calls for the troops to come home from
> > Iraq, how about saying, yes that's a great idea, how about we get
> > together with some Greens and Labor Party members, pacifist Christians
> > and whoever else will come on board and organise some activity in
> > support of it?
> Ah, excuse me Ed, but taking part in coaltions, including with plenty of
> ALP and greens members, to demand troops out of Iraq, has been a
> long-term DSP activity. Of course when some ALP 'lefts' lead a split in
> the movement, that's hardly the DSP's fault, as even Bob Gould can tell
> > How about a carefully worded statement of 200 or so
> > prominent people in support of Beasley's call for withdrawal
> > (carefully worded, of course, to avoid supporting the unacceptable
> > aspects of his statement), including a call to some form of action?
> > We know Beasley also says he wants to send the troops somewhere else,
> > but he'll have difficulty doing that if we can bring the them out of
> > Iraq. In any case, we can criticise that aspect of his statement as a
> > secondary tactic. Meanwhile, let's not let him get away with empty
> > rhetoric, if that's what he's up to, make him deliver on his rhetoric.
> > This is not a novel idea, Norm. The Socialist Workers League, the
> > first organisation I joined in the socialist movement took that
> > approach as a matter of course, and did it with some success.
> OK Ed, can you tell me what is so wromg and so sectarian about the
> following articles from GLW in 2004 in relation to Latham's sudden
> conversion to a troops out position. You'll notice a couple of things:
> Latham's call is welcomed, organiising mass demonstrations was put
> forward as the way to make sure Latham keeps that promise, and to defend
> Latham;s stated position against others in the ALP opposed to it, Latham
> was defended against attacks by US leaders, ALP leaders who spoke
> against the war at rallies, like Carmen Lawrence, were reported on
> without any comment, an ALP election victory was called for, and such a
> victory was declared to be a victory for the anti-war movement, while
> insisting that only continued concerted mass pressure could guarantee an
> ALP govt would stick to its guns etc etc. Once again, perhaps you and
> Bob are confusing the political comments people might make regarding
> Beazley's real, well-known, politics (especially on war!) on an email
> list of socialists, with the front cover of GLW, or often I think you
> might be confusing it with the 6.30 nightly news.
> In the end, all the stuff about this great ultraleft sectarian stance of
> the DSP towards the ALP seems to me a furphy, basically
> indistinguishable in practice from 'sharp political criticism of the
> The following articles with some excerpts:
> Editorial: Troops out now!
> In late March, senior Labor figures reacted angrily to ALP leader Mark
> Latham's pledge to withdraw Australia's 850 troops from Iraq by
> Christmas, claiming their concern was about Latham taking "unilateral"
> decisions without consulting the front bench.
> However, despite remaining vague on the detail on the policy, Latham
> seems determined to stick to a "bring them home soonish" position.
> Latham's stance, the growing dissent within the Liberal Party, coupled
> with the accelerating crisis on the ground in Iraq, have opened up more
> space for the anti-war movement to further push its demand for "troops
> out now!"
> There is also a growing possibility that the Howard government will be
> defeated at the next election, which would be a clear victory for the
> anti-war movement.
> Further mobilisations now will have an impact. The movement needs to
> hold the ALP to its "troops out" position, and to pressure it to adopt
> the movement's clear position of troops out now - not by Christmas nor
> at the handover to mostly US-appointed "Iraqi'" administration.
> Thousands march for `Troops out of Iraq'
> Pip Hinman
> The Spanish election results had clearly given anti-war activists a
> renewed sense of purpose, and they put PM John Howard on notice to pull
> the troops out. ALP opposition leader Mark Latham was urged to make a
> clear commitment to do the same if the ALP wins the next federal
> ALP national president Carmen Lawrence stressed at the Brisbane protest
> that "the Iraq war was, and still is, illegal under international law".
> IRAQ: Bush bullies Latham
> Pip Hinman
> The anti-war movement in Australia urgently needs to respond in a
> similar way to Washington's campaign to get Latham to back down on his
> troop withdrawal promise. A demonstration of people's power is needed to
> counter US pressure because, while Latham says he's sticking to his
> promise, there are worrying signals coming from the ALP shadow cabinet.
> Shadow foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd, recently in Washington to
> smooth ruffled feathers, has been at pains to stress Labor's continued
> support for the Australian-US military alliance and Labor's support for
> the US-led occupation of Iraq.
> Latham's statement, which was widely interpreted as a pledge to remove
> all the ADF troops from Iraq, was welcomed by the anti-war movement and
> appears to have helped boost voter support for the ALP.
> Iraq is shaping up to be a major election issue. The torture scandal,
> the strength of the Iraqi resistance, and the high number of occupation
> troops and their Iraqi collaborators who are being killed are having a
> big impact on global public opinion. The polls indicate that more than
> half the Australian electorate is opposed to an Australian military
> presence in Iraq.
> In the June 10 local council elections in England and Wales, British
> Prime Minister Tony Blair's governing Labour Party was resoundingly
> punished by voters for its pro-occupation stand. The federal election in
> Australia is also shaping up as a referendum on the Iraq occupation. If
> the warmakers in Canberra win this "referendum", they will be emboldened
> to escalate their support for the US war in Iraq.
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