34401Re: "Howard's land policies like Hitler's"
- Oct 5, 2006Inflammatory language creates the potential for violence on the far left
By Bob Gould
On the basis of the evidence presented, I'm not certain whether the
Spartacists are telling the truth about a bit of an incident recently
in Melbourne. I'm aware over many years of the Spartacists' capacity
to whip up small things into big things, and they themselves use
inflammatory language against their opponents, including in this
I don't intend to join the Spartacist campaign on this question
because I'm not sure what happened, but I would point out that the
Spartacists solicited support, and they even mailed me a document to
which they attached a statement by an ostensible non-aligned
bystander, who signed his name. This person claimed that he didn't
know either of the groups involved before the event, and he saw the
male thump the woman.
If it's true that he's a mere bystander, that's significant evidence,
but I don't know enough about the incident, or about who this bloke
is, to form a firm conclusion.
Over 50 years of activity I've seen a few pieces of marginal violence
and I've been thumped a couple of times myself by political opponents
on the left. I've made a bit of a verbal scandal about it, but I've
never made a public hullabaloo, not wanting to draw the media or the
right wing into the affairs of the left.
A bit of a fuss and the embarrassment of there being witnesses is
usually enough to calm down the people doing the thumping, and that's
the best way to proceed. I was present at a famous May Day booze-up at
which some proletarian Stalinists thumped Denis Freney, and I made
myself scarce, not wanting to be the next victim. Some may regard that
as cowardice. (I've was also roughed up by coppers quite a few times
in the Vietnam period.)
I also remember the atmosphere when the Maoists in Melbourne used to
thump members of the DSP. Happily that stopped, and some the DSP and
some of those Maoists are now friends, while others of those Maoists
have become cheerleaders for Bush's Iraq war and the ruling class.
I'm a bit irritated, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, that the
DSP leadership is willing to only listen to one side in an ugly brawl
in the Socialist Party in Scotland, when they can have no direct
knowledge of the events. I tend to be more agnostic about that
dispute, except to say I'm repelled by people who hand over tapes to
the Murdoch press containing alleged comments by Sheridan. I just hope
there are no outbreaks of that kind of viciousness in Australia.
The Spartacists are a minor irritant, but they should never be thumped
or otherwise physically responded to, and whatever the DSP member did,
it should be made quite clear to him that he shouldn't do anything
like that ever again. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that the
present leadership of the DSP will give the bloke the necessary
serious talking to.
In the last few days, Norm Dixon and Dave Riley have thrown about very
powerful epithets such as scab in relation to Peter Beattie and by
inference in relation to anyone who doesn't take their line on recent
events in Queensland.
Riley equated Beattie with Adolf Hitler, and then said that Gould
would support Hitler if he was a member of the Labor Party. The
carefully crafted cyber-entity Roger Raven, who is wheeled out to do
the real dirty work, has on two occasions classified Gould as an agent
provocateur. Well, we all know the proper approach in the workers
movement to scabs, Nazis and agents provocateur.
The Dixons and Rileys are creating a climate in which those who hold
different opinions are scabs, Nazis and agents provocateur. It seems
to me they're deliberately creating a very dangerous climate. This
must all be seen in the context of the current hysteria of the
right-wing media and the ruling class, which are lashing out at
Laborites, Greens, trade unionists and the alleged "leftist
On the left we need mad rhetoric of the sort I've just described like
the proverbial hole in the head.
Although it's kind of flattering to be the ostensible object of all
this craziness, I can't believe that my modest journalistic agitation
is the proximate cause of this hysteria in DSP leadership circles. It
seems to me that this hysteria of the DSP leadership is directly
related to the buildup of internal tensions in the DSP.
On this occasion I hope I'm wrong, but it seems likely the split in
the DSP, when it comes, will be a pretty nasty business.
PS. One of the DSP full-timers in Sydney came to light to say she had
met this cyber-entity Raven, who lives in Perth and is a former member
of the Socialist Alliance. I'm not entirely convinced by this slightly
awkward formulation. If the man lives in Perth and is not a
cyber-entity (and of course I could be wrong in my speculation) how
come he's so convinced I'm an agent provocateur? Entity Raven is a
nasty, rather clumsy construct. I haven't been called an agent
provocateur for almost 40 years, when it was routine abuse for myself
and others who challenged Communist Party hegemony on the left.
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