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4615Re: Bob's Reply to Nick Fredman, 10 "Verbals" in 5 paragraphs

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  • ozleft
    Feb 18, 2004
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      By Bob Gould

      The DSP leadership loyalist whose email address identifies
      him/herself as BR, but who doesn't provide any other identification,
      tries to heat up the political atmosphere as much as possible. In an
      almost occult way, he/she claims acquaintanceship with company CEOs
      who support Mark Latham and Labor in the coming elections as a useful
      second party of capitalism.

      I don't move in the same exalted circles as CEOs, plugged into the
      wisdom of the ruling class as BR does, I just have to operate on
      basis of my general political understanding and observations. It may
      be true that after an uninspiring diet of Crean and Beazley some
      working journalists are a bit excited about Latham.

      Rather than the views of a couple of CEOs, a better guide to the mood
      of the bourgeoisie is the editorial line of the major capitalist
      newspapers. Their general line is that the Liberals had better
      smarten up their game or Labor might beat them, which is presented
      generally as a danger.

      The Murdoch press and most of its stable of right-wing columnists,
      such as Piers Ackerman, are mightily hostile to Labor. I repeat what
      I said earlier: as a general rule, from the viewpoint of most of the
      bourgeoisie, while they can live with Labor governments from time to
      time, their general preferred option is the Liberals and Nationals,
      and most of the ruling class doesn't like transitions to Labor
      governments because such governments often unleash aspirations on the
      part of the masses.

      Different estimates of these questions are not, however, the main
      issue. BR's extremely violent reaction to my careful critique of the
      GLW school of "discussion" is at the centre of this argument.

      I continue to assert a fairly simple proposition: discussion articles
      are not carefully edited and angled items such as the Sue Bolton and
      Kerryn Williams pieces. These two articles are presented as some kind
      of discussion when they are actually, reasonably clearly, what people
      who know about Marxist newspapers call "line" articles.

      The quotes of people who have tactical disagreements with the DSP are
      usually carefully edited and buried under other quotes that express
      the political point of view of the DSP leadership. Such articles are
      slightly deceptive, but quite effective, propaganda. The one thing
      they are not, however, is serious discussion.

      Serious discussion requires that people with divergent points of view
      express and develop their points of view in interaction with each
      other, and that doesn't happen when the editorial hand converts
      interviews into line articles. The fact that these articles are
      signed by individuals such as Sue Bolton and Kerryn Williams is quite
      incidental to this point.

      Once again, I make this extremely simple proposal to the DSP
      leadership: for the moment put aside my proposal for nine topics of
      discussion and just try a pilot project of one such genuine
      discussion supplement, in which you give five or six representative
      people on the left of the ALP-trade union continuum the chance to
      express their point of view as to why they're in the ALP and what
      their perspectives are for the coming federal elections and after,
      and get five or six Socialist Alliance members to express their point
      of view, in some real interaction between the points of view, with
      minimal editorial intervention other than, perhaps, asking the
      original questions and tidying up for coherence and syntax.

      What could be clearer than this modest proposal? BR directs a lot of
      personal abuse of me, but even he might deign to consider my
      suggestion on its merits, and the GLW editorial board might put aside
      any views they might have about me and consider this proposal on its
      merits. What's wrong with conducting a discussion in such a way in a
      socialist newspaper that desires to be accepted as a vehicle for
      broad left discussion?
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