34312Re: "Howard's land policies like Hitler's"
- Oct 3, 2006Dave Riley's hypermanic episode and what it reveals politically
Last Saturday evening, out of the blue, Dave Riley posted an
eccentric, frothing-at-the-mouth attack on me
followed it up with another equally hysterical piece
These attacks on me have a subjective aspect. Riley has probably been
brooding over my balance sheet of the Queensland elections, in which I
pointed out that in all his idealist and moralistic alleged analysis
there was no rational perspective at all, but simply a kind of attack
on the masses in Queensland for not having the brains to vote for the
It's worth noting that Saturday evenings and long weekends are well
known to nurses, psychiatric care staff and police as times of psychic
implosion and danger for the disturbed. For instance, crime statistics
show that a much higher proportion of unpremeditated murders happen
during long weekends. The unhappy and disturbed often reach a peak of
mania on a long weekend.
Another aspect of Riley's outburst suggests strongly to me that the
internal conflict in the DSP is reaching a very tense point and the
mind boggles at what the atmosphere must be like in the Brisbane DSP,
where the leaders of the minority are fairly careful, mild-mannered
people, and the majority is led by the extravagant Riley and Paul
Benedek. My political antennae suggest to me that Riley's outburst,
while it clearly takes the form of rather raw hostility to me, is
probably driven by the internal crisis in his own outfit.
On the matters of substance, Riley is politically bankrupt. He lashes
out at Labor Party members in general, at Greens in general, and at
Peter Beattie and myself in particular. He introduces a fully fledged
Third Period Stalinist amalgam when he clearly implies that Beattie is
like Adolf Hitler, and that I'd support Hitler if he was in the Labor
Party. That formulation is straight out of the Third Period Stalinist
gutter. In this case it is used for a definite political purpose: to
equate all Labor Party members with fascism.
Riley has the hide to try to claim the mantle of George Georges, who
spent most of his life fighting as a leftist in the Labor Party, had a
good go as a leftist independent after being expelled from Labor on a
point of principle, and when his independent electoral perspective
didn't work, rejoined Labor, which in the circumstances was a
realistic thing to do. Riley has learned nothing from the kind of mass
socialist politics practised by George Georges.
Despite Riley suddenly reducing the whole world of politics to the
indigenous question, people in the labour movement do things for a
wide variety of reasons. Many Labor leftists, including myself, fight
hard on behalf of indigenous rights, for instance. Riley might have a
look at my two major articles on Ozleft supporting indigenous rights,
one rebutting Windschuttle
http://www.gouldsbooks.com.au/ozleft/windschuttleblack.html , and the
other raising programmatic questions
It must be pointed out again, and again, and again, that the vast
majority of indigenous Australians, 80 per cent or more, vote for the
Labor Party, even on Palm Island. Also, importantly, very many active
indigenous community leaders are involved in Labor politics.
In Queensland, many non-indigenous leftists and unionists are involved
in Labor politics, such as the ETU secretary, and Hughie Williams the
secretary of the Transport Workers Union. When Riley pours his
exaggerated and bizarre abuse all over me, he has a definite political
purpose. His aim is to insulate his very small number of supporters
from interaction with the much larger numbers of Labor and Green
activists in the workers' movement and the indigenous movement.
Riley has the hide to accuse me of becoming a latter-day Freneyite.
He wheels out his own personal experience as a Stalinist hack way back
when, with the likes of Bernie Taft, Laurie Carmichael, etc. I might
point out to Riley, that a close personal friend of mine who has been
a member of the ALP since the middle 1970s, was the secretary of the
NSW nurses' union, and the only elected union official who voted
against the Prices and Incomes Accord at the ACTU special conference
that adopted it. The same person is still active on the left of the
Labor Party, still a branch official in her union, and the leader of
the opposition so to speak in the nurses' union, and a very energetic
agitator in a number of spheres.
She is one of thousands of similar people who hold a Labor Party ticket.
To summarise, the science and art of Marxist politics is to struggle
for an independent leadership in the labour movement. In order to do
that, however, in any meaningful way, it's necessary to have a
presence in all sections of the labour movement, which in current
Australian conditions means the trade union movement, the Labor Party,
the Greens, the indigenous movement, and other movements.
Crackpot sectarianism such as Riley's, which demands that activists in
all those movements have to join his sect in more or less total
opposition to the mass organisations of the labour and social
movements, is a caricature of the kind of perspective that's required.
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg and James Connolly would turn
in their graves at the sectarian antics of Riley and the DSP leadership.
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