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6817How Sects view the World

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  • Gould's Book Arcade
    Jun 6, 2004
      How Sects view the World
      by Bob Gould

      In due course, I'll take up Luke Fomiati's point and write a little
      thumbnail sketch of the World Socialist Web Site public meeting I attended,
      because the way the old SLL has evolved is very instructive. In the short
      term, I'm struck forcibly as to how similar the WSWS and Green Left Weekly
      and the DSP actually are to each other and in their approach to working
      class politics. I'm not as impressed as Dennis Berrell is with Nick Beams'
      erudition, I've known Nick Beams too long for that, what struck me was the
      relatively abstract and derivative character of his presentation - his
      global wrap up on the world. He then made the easy leap to the proposition
      that all the existing mass organisations were totally bankrupt, and no
      intermediate tactics were necessary any longer, and that the only political
      task was to build the Socialist Equality Party and the WSWS. This is the
      classic statement of sectarianism in the socialist movement. The whole of
      the three presentations at the WSWS meeting focused around the cosmic
      importance of the SEP and WSWS.

      GLW and the DSP tendency are in some ways very similar to the WSWS and the
      SEP. We've just had an orgy of self-congratulation from Norm Dixon about all
      the hits Green Left Weekly gets, especially on Sundays and Mondays. Well I'm
      one of those hits, and I just surfed GLW looking for coverage of the
      major political event of the week, and the DSP comment on it, and possibly
      the DSP's comment on a major event of the previous week, the Victorian ALP's
      State Conference and its call to order on the Bracks Government's industrial
      policies. Unless I'm going blind, or didn't search properly, there is
      nothing in GLW this week about the major political event of the week -
      Bush's extraordinarily direct intervention in Australian politics about
      Iraq, and the flurry of responses from the different political forces in
      Australia. The significant response, of course, was that of Latham and the
      ALP, who have so far stuck to their guns on withdrawal of troops by
      Christmas. A (to the DSP leadership) marginal event like the Victorian trade
      union movements collision, at the ALP Conference, with the Bracks Government
      still doesn't get a mention, either. None of these issues seems to compare
      with the importance of the Canberra environmental battle about the Ridge, or
      a struggle for free speech against a local council (I don't denigrate either
      of those issues, but the mad sense of proportion displayed in not covering
      the big question of the day because they don't fit the DSP's schemas about
      working class politics is what infuriates me).

      The GLW coverage of the issue of Iraq is even wierder, considering the fact
      that the lead story in this issue of GLW is promoting a demonstration in
      three weeks time on Iraq and the occupation. This lead story succeeds in
      promoting the demonstration without discussing Bush, Howard or Latham. One
      would have thought that even at the most simple level of promoting the Iraq
      demonstration, some solidarity with Latham and the ALP in opposition to Bush
      and Howard would be a good way of building the demonstration. On the face of
      it, the only possible reason for not covering the issue in the context of
      the demonstration is the unwillingness of the DSP to grasp the contradictory
      nature of Laborism, and the present role that Latham's rhetoric is playing
      in consolidating the antiwar majority in Australia. No doubt another
      justification that will be used by the GLW editorial board for ignoring the
      major political event of the week will be the assertion that Latham's
      response to Bush on the Iraq question is tinged with nationalism. This is
      also the view of the American SWP, who regard most of the antiwar
      mobilisations in the world as being defective because they have a
      nationalist aspect. This approach is nonsensical sectarianism.

      An Australian socialist weekly newspaper that covers the world, but doesn't
      discuss the issue of Bush, Howard, Latham and Iraq, is the newspaper of a
      political sect, and has far more in common with the WSWS than is indicated
      by the literary squabble on the GLW discussion list about which socialist
      group is sectarian towards which other socialist group. The real
      sectarianism of both GLW and WSWS is their sectarianism towards the mass
      workers organisations in Australia.

      Gould's Book Arcade
      32 King St, Newtown, NSW
      Ph: 9519-8947
      Fax: 9550-5924
      Email: bob@...
      Web: www.gouldsbooks.com.au
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