Re: `Left-wing' Laurie Ferguson's betrayal of Nauru detainees
- Hi Jennifer,
Where is the ``derision'' you refer to. If it came across that way, it
was unintended. As I said clearly, I think it is terrific if such a
campaign is continuing to take place and think it should be publicised
on this list and in GLW.
I'm only asking for details of the current state of this campaign
within the ALP. Did it stop after the 2004 federal conference? If it
did stop, why? I can find little evidence that it has continued since
then, so I am asking Bob Gould and anybody else active in the ALP for
The consistent record of Socialist Alliance comrades, including DSP
comrades, in building a mass the refugees' rights campaign over many
years and in many states is very well known and respected. I'm sure
you're not suggesting that we have not played a major role, along with
many others including L4R and Rural Australians for Refugees, in
changing public opinion on this and raising and keeping alive
opposition to the government's treatment of refugees. Every issue of
GLW, including the current issue, gives very prominent coverage to the
struggle of refugees and their supporters. GLW also gave positive
coverage to Labor for Refugees.
I'm sure that, as you say, ``many many ALP members are disappointed
that all that effort was made, the policy was adopted, and we now have
a Spokesperson who doesn't follow that policy. The people who were
involved in that effort put up with a lot of bullying, shouting and
harassment by factional heavies inside the ALP.'' But what are their
next steps in the campaign?
Surely this does raise questions about whether continued reliance on
internal ALP politics is the best and most effective way of organising
for left activists today?
And yes, part of my post was to (again) press Bob Gould to outline his
efforts to build a fighting left within the ALP. Because he continues
to argue that that is the way forward for socialist activists in
Australia, counterposing that activity to that of building the
Socialist Alliance and a genuine left alternative. So a balance sheet
of the L4R experience and of other genuine left campaigns within the
ALP would provide a useful gauge of the validity of his position.
All the best,
--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Jennifer Haines"
> It must be so easy sitting in the smug comfort of a group like theDSP, looking at the ALP and deriding those who struggle on a day by
day basis to bring the ALP around to a more humane policy and practice
on refugees. There are many many people inside the ALP who are very
dismayed and upset by the utterings of Laurie Ferguson on immigration
and refugee matters. But the solution is not to just sit there and be
upset, but to take action. I'm impressed to hear that there are 100
motions that have been passed. To me, that indicates that there is
healthy debate taking place at least at rank and file level in the
ALP. Is there a healthy debate going on inside the DSP on refugee
policy? What exactly has the DSP achieved in terms of changing the
policy of the ALP, or for that matter the Liberals, on refugee policy?
>amendments at the National Conference of the ALP in 2004 was enormous,
> The effort that went into presenting the Labor for Refugees
and again many many ALP members are disappointed that all that effort
was made, the policy was adopted, and we now have a Spokesperson who
doesn't follow that policy. The people who were involved in that
effort put up with a lot of bullying, shouting and harassment by
factional heavies inside the ALP. They were courageous in standing up
to it, because the change in refugee policy was so essential. These
people need support from fellow left wingers, not derision.
>betrayal of Nauru detainees
> Jenny Haines
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: glparramatta
> To: GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2005 6:47 PM
> Subject: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: `Left-wing' Laurie Ferguson's
> --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "glparramatta"
> <glparramatta@g...> wrote:
> > but why should I know about this campaign within the
> > ALP? It's the first time you've reported on it here that I can
> > remember. And I have looked in vain for evidence of it on your
> > website, or much else about your struggles within the ALP to build a
> > genuine socialist pole (as opposed to every twist and turn of your
> > ongoing debates with the DSP).
> > I think it is terrific that such a struggle is taking place. But why
> > keep it so well hidden? Go public! Keep us in the loop. Tell us
> > this campaign's successes on the list more often. Write anarticle or
> > letter about it for Green Left Weekly. Tell us when actions orforums
> > are being organised and we'll help publicise them. We are happy to------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > cooperate with those who prepared to build a genuine uncompromising
> > fighting left in the ALP.
> > Norm
> Further to this, since posting the above I have searched the web in
> vain for any evidence of this ``vigorous'' campaign by Labor for
> Refugees and others within the ALP against the sell-out Labor ``left''
> Ferguson. I've heard some ISO comrades say 100 motions have been
> passed. When were they passed, where have they gone to and where have
> they been debated. What are the plans after these motions have been
> discussed, passed or rejected?
> Labor for Refugees' web site comes to a screaming halt in February
> 2004 with this:
> ``Labor for Refugees: where to now? 01 February, 2004
> ``Following the close defeat of the Labor for Refugees amendment at
> the ALP's National Conference, supporters are invited to put forward
> ideas on the path ahead.''
> Nobody posted any ideas and the site has lay dorment ever since.
> Please Bob, give us more details of this camapign and just how much
> life there is to it.
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- If Pham doesn't agree with abolishing immigration controls, then I say deport him to Vietnam and see how he likes it, and send the whinging right-wing whities back to Europe while you're at it.People don't die because of "lax" immigration "controls", people die because of the fascist crackdown freaks and their barbaric restrictions which mean that people take risks trying to get around security - for instance that people spend longer at sea to take long routes around naval interceptors. Thousands die attempting crossings to Europe because of the appalling conditions WHICH RESULT FROM CRACKDOWNS - for instance, suffocating in lorries because they can't cross openly and drowning when attempting to flee patrol boats. And hundreds die crossing dangerous American deserts from Mexico because all the easier routes have been cut off.Immigration crackdown freaks are murderers. And most of them are the same bigots who support the capitalist exploitative policies and resource plundering and the subsidising of dictatorships such as the Diem and Thieu regime and the flooding of low-lying countries because of emissions from SUVs, and so are to blame for international migration in the first place.
- I don't understand why Margaret is trying to keep discussions of moderation issues offlist. This is clearly undemocratic. At the very least, the question of what counts as a justified reason to boot someone should be established democratically within DSP, if not among list members in general. Otherwise, decisions are simply a matter of individual whim.It is obviously damaging to any political organisation to be seen as acting arbitrarily, even if the appearance is misleading. It's therefore important that issues be discussed openly and not hidden away in private correspondence. I'm sure most people would agree if the issue was, for instance, the dismissal of a Labour Party MP, and the party leadership was refusing to publicly disclose reasons for dismissal or to discuss accusations or proposals of what valid grounds might or might not be. I'm sure DSP would accuse Labour of acting undemocratically and arbitrarily in such a situation, and would call for openness and accountability. For all anyone knows, Pham might be a troll who is deliberately treading the borderline of getting booted so he can then condemn this list, and maybe the DSP, as undemocratic, arbitrary, etc.It should also be noted that certain DSP members have protested furiously at attempts to ban them on other lists (i.e. the whole Smygo situation), and that they would no doubt have been very aggrieved had they been told to take their concerns offlist.While the potential of the Internet for productive debate is great, at present it is being hamstrung by a combination of the prevalence of trolling and the arbitrariness of list moderation. It is important to take a stance in favour of openness and the insistance that any limits in particular forums be clearly defined and discussed among users, and against the petty-bourgeois myth than discussion spaces are personal possessions of particular individuals.AndyPS I know I'm not very active here, but in addition to having strong views on this issue, I've also had a lot of experiences from both sides of the fence, both as a victim of purges and purge attempts, and as a moderator on groups with troll infestations.
- By Bob Gould
A note to Norm Dixon, who demagogically demands of me, from time to
time, a detailed description of what left-wingers are doing in the
First of all my argument with the DSP is not directed at suggested
that the DSP should enter the Labor Party wholesale, or the Greens for
that matter. The DSP has obviously chosen for the moment to engage in
My argument is directed at trying to persuade the members of the DSP
to adopt a more realistic united front attitude towards members of the
Labor Party and the Greens, rather than bombarding them with offensive
ultimatums about what they should do, particularly when these
ultimatums are linked to an exposition by the DSP of the unscientific
and inaccurate two-equal-parties-of-capitalism theory on which they
base their approach, both to the Labor Party and to individual Labor
Much the same principle ought to apply to the DSP's approach to
socialist activists in the Greens.
In my experience, socialist activity in the Labor Party, or in the
Greens, isn't something that can be turned on and off like a tap, on
the basis of some insulting, slightly demagogic, ultimatum from the
We are just coming out of a period of quiescence for socialist
activity in the Labor Party, and in society at large.
If past upsurges of socialist militancy in the Labor Party are any
guide, and they are, initiatives for renewed socialist activity in the
Labor Party must be based on something real.
As it happens, I have a few bright ideas for renewed socialist and
leftist activity in the Labor Party that may have some reality in the
current conditions, but it's not use for Bob Gould to belt out a few
bright ideas, no matter how smart they may be, as an isolated initiative.
All around the country there are socialists and militants who hold
Labor Party tickets, including most of the militant trade union
current to which the DSP orients.
I put to you very seriously, Norm, that perhaps Green Left Weekly
could open up a serious discussion on what socialists who are in the
Labor Party, or in the Greens for that matter, might do in the
You might interview, in this context, people such as Hughie Williams
of the Transport Workers Union, the young leaders of Labor for
Refugees in Queensland, the assistant secretary of the Maritime Union
in WA, and perhaps even Kevin Reynolds in WA, maybe the young leaders
of the Labor left and Labor for Refugees in the ACT, maybe a
representative group of Labor for Refugees activists in NSW, and maybe
people like Michele O'Neil, Martin Kingham, Kevin Bracken (MUA Vic)
and Robyn Rothfield and Lev Lafayette from Labor for Refugees in Victoria.
In the context of a serious discussion like that about immediate
perspectives for the Labor left, I'd be more than willing to toss in
my views. In the absence of a serious initiative like that, I'll
continue to ignore the slightly self-interested sniping from the DSP
leadership. I generally make it a practice not to respond in politics
to the "when did you stop beating your wife" kind of question.