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Re: socialist unity with the living dead

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  • bobgould987
    By Bob Gould Joaquin Bustelo makes a sweeping attack on all the revolutionary socialist organisations for not immediately going out of business. I ve read all
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 5, 2005
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      By Bob Gould

      Joaquin Bustelo makes a sweeping attack on all the revolutionary
      socialist organisations for not immediately going out of business.

      I've read all the Marx-Engels material that Bustelo refers to, and my
      understanding of it is quite different.

      Marx and Engels, and later Lenin and Trotsky, favoured Marxists
      building organisations, and spent a lot of their time trying to do so.
      They were polemicising against the tendency of small socialist groups
      to turn themselves into sects and to neglect the possibility of
      building mass workers' movements or integrating themselves in an
      organised way in such proletarian movements as began to develop, such
      as the Henry George movement in the United States.

      Bustelo presents Marx and Engels as opposed to independent Marxist
      organisation, which is total rubbish. The problem is not the existence
      of such groups, but their often quite sectarian behaviour towards each
      other, and more importantly towards mass proletarian movements and
      organisations.

      Ben Courtice, who reposted Bustelo's post to the Green Left list, is
      repois still a member of the Australian DSP, so I assume he's either
      playing a devil's advocate role or maybe he's a little more cynical
      than that, and he's implying that all the other socialist groups
      except the DSP should go out of business.

      If that's his line of argument, it's spurious, given the now rather
      desperate attempts of the DSP to present a group that they essentially
      control, the Socialist Alliance, as some kind of non-sectarian
      formation, despite the fact that in the Socialist Alliance the DSP is
      at constant war with just about all the other affiliates and perhaps a
      majority of the independents.

      The immediate problem for the revolutionary socialist movement is to
      start some kind of realistic and non-sectarian political debate and
      discussion between the members of all the groups and independent
      individuals on the left of society, rather than Bustelo's pompous and
      dopey proposition that they should all go out of business forthwith.

      In Bustelo's case, is he saying that Solidarity in the US should go
      out of business?

      I've been engaged for the past couple of years in a sustained critique
      of what a number of people choose to call Zinovievism (which we now
      discover from Barry Sheppard is also Dobbsism) but that's directed at
      bringing the inhabitants of some of the sects down to earth and trying
      to initiate, if at all possible, some kind of serious debate on a
      number of major historical and current questions, across factional
      boundaries.

      It's pretty arrogant of Comrade Bustelo to demand that they all go out
      of business because the constructs of the different groups don't fit
      his eclectic schemas.

      To promote debate, on Ozleft we've been trawling through the history
      and pre-history of the Australian and international Marxist left and
      putting up a respectable collection of material.

      Proclamations about Marxists groups going out of business are quite
      irrelevant, because such groups aren't about to go out of business.
      What's clearly required is serious political discussion, rather than
      strutting ultimatums.

      I ask both Bustelo and Courtice, what do they think the activities of
      future socialist organisation should consist of if the existing ones
      were to go out of business?

      These are big questions and should be discussed in a calmer and less
      arrogant way than Bustelo does.
    • dave_r_riley
      ... one ... generation ... While I can relate to this sentiment Joaquin is a touch ahistorical as he exaggerates the root cause of these consequences --
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 5, 2005
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        > end the nightmare, Joaquin provocatively suggests "Our generation
        > especially --the generation of the 60's and 70's-- have, I believe,
        one
        > more great historic service we could perform for the working class
        > movement. And that is to kill off OUR left... We're a dead
        generation
        > that is still living. It is time to end this nightmare of the living
        > dead: either live for today, in today's world, or die."

        While I can relate to this sentiment Joaquin is a touch ahistorical as
        he exaggerates the root cause of these consequences -- inferring, I
        feel, that they are totally subjective.

        I disagree.

        Now I've been adamantly into this question for some time now and have
        penned warnings similar to Joaquin's. But the key question is not that
        these observations can be made but that so often the target for them
        is incapable of listening. I mean truly incapable of comprehending
        this message.

        The problem then is to also recognise that the laws of history also
        have a dustbin and thats' where the old new left that Joaquin attacks
        is heading(assumning it isn't already there)

        I have no doubt of that whatsoever. All these groupuscules who seek to
        remain groupuscules are now entering a terminal stage of their
        existence. Give them another few years and they will be history.
        Footnotes.

        That doesn't mean that suddenly the more enlightened among us are
        assured of building a evolutionay better form of politics --
        unfortunately there are no such guarantees. But the form, the old new
        left form imbued with the programatic fetishes of Trotskyism is pretty
        much a Dodo. The sooner it does a quiet death off in its bunkers or
        where the wagons are circled, the better off we''ll all be because the
        distractions and shibboleths will die with it.

        The paper distractions will no longer obscure, what Lenin correctly
        referred to, what needs to be done.

        It's done its duty. It has held the line for the past forty years or
        so -- now its use-by date has already kicked in.

        Transcending this is very much a problem of subjectivity and Joaquin
        rightly marks that as the key challenge. You gotta "see the light" not
        because it's an idea too long in coming but because the same
        methodology you wish to employ to analyse the world also applies to
        yourselves. Miss that, and you miss the whole point of your political
        activity.

        You cannot employ one rule for yourself -- primarily one that is
        overwhelmingly idealistic --and another for your political
        environment. At some stage there has to be a integration, an
        accomodation with the burgeoning promise there, or you simply drop by
        the wayside and wither away, regardles of the frenzy you invest in
        your death throes.

        Essentially that's the issue facing the small affiliates in the SA --
        not that they want to address it or even see it. The ISO especially
        is being pummeled by this very question. Its hitting them hard both
        subjectively and concretely as it no doubt seems to be their mother
        org in the UK. To some degree you have to understand what is happening
        otherwise you simply get carried along with it any which way.

        The baggage of the post 40 years is this: they have forgotten what the
        main game is. Instead they have displaced any comprehension of it
        with schematic dregs sucked from too much programatic intent. It is
        essentially Marxism for dreamers rather than doers --and that is not
        Marxism.


        The problem Joaquin doesn;t address is how does 54 year old radicals
        engineer such a turn and kill off the left they created? Look at the
        MARXMAILERS -- they want a left that signs on without "Zinovieviest"
        colours --so they essentially say the remaking MUST have an exclusion
        clause. But 54 year old radicals no matter how keen cannot energize
        such a remake. They're too old. Too has been. Too spent. Too alone.
        Yes, and perhaps too comfortable in a lot of cases.

        So if they don;'t do it or can't --where does this remaking come from?
        The "Zinovievists" can't help apparently, they're not allowed to.

        So aside from tut tutting about the pallous state of the left "you"
        created --what do you do? Most of the time, what i see from many
        people in Joaquin's shoes is simply more tut tutting.

        I mean at some stage there has to be real projects OR the best option
        going or, to make a key point, 'the only show in town.' Otherwise it
        all becomes a bit of wank.

        So knowing what's wrong and doing something about it aren't the same
        things. The key element isn't an approach that seeks to throw the old
        new left baby out with the bath water but maintain a continuity so
        that you stand upon its shoulders. Joaquin seems not to be able to see
        that.

        And this is the problem not addressed by various "non aligners' in the
        SA here. No one re-invents the wheel in politics. The old new left
        had very clear attibutes and a very definite political context. Today
        its not the same break, not the same newness in regard to a way
        forward. Sure, there has to be a conscious break and awareness that
        this is needed -- but thats' not the same thing as doing it. And while
        the sixties radicals made it up en route --today it warrants certain
        political maturity that depends so much on the lessons wrenched from
        the past, by actually experiencing the pastand seeking to continue the
        bst of it.

        Junk that and you start living a lie becuase you fail to
        recognise "left" originated.

        So while it is one thing to polemicise against the mores of the
        sixties left, it is another thing altogether to reject it out of hand
        and pretend its DIY once again by starting over.

        No thank you, Joaquin, if thats' what you mean. I know too much/have
        learnt too much to piss it away on a fool's errand.



        dave riley
      • bobgould987
        By Bob Gould Dave Riley this morning on the Green Left list makes a pretty well incomprehensible contribution that takes up Joaquin Bustelo s contribution in
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 5, 2005
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          By Bob Gould

          Dave Riley this morning on the Green Left list makes a pretty well
          incomprehensible contribution that takes up Joaquin Bustelo's
          contribution in the inimitible way convenient to the Australian DSP
          leadership.

          Riley expresses some sympathy with Bustelo but qualifies that and
          asserts that all the groups in Australia that came from the old and
          new "new left", which by implication seems to be everyone but the DSP,
          should go out of business.

          Riley echoes a similarly incoherent ramble by Jamie Doughney in Seeing
          Red. Doughney, who occupies a similar position to Riley as a kind of
          loyal DSP non-party Bolshevik, asserts that the youth shouldn't trust
          anyone over 50 (it's not entirely clear how this squares with his own
          age and the over-50 age bracket of much of the DSP leadership).

          This is an echo of the kind of anti-theoretical bullshit that the more
          stupid ultralefts used to blurt out in the 1960s and 1970s. It's a
          long way from the basic ideas of Lenin and Trotsky on Marxist
          organisation.

          They were constantly concerned with the question of generations in
          Marxist organisations and believed that organisations needed the
          capacity of youth to storm heaven and party veterans with the
          experience and knowledge they had accumulated. Both elements were
          necessary in the construction of Marxist organisations.

          In reality, the Australian DSP leadership are the most tough-minded
          factionalists of them all and rhetoric from their orbit attacking
          everyone else but themselves as sects will convince no one, at least
          in Australia, except themselves.

          The DSP leadership's approach to all political questions is always
          qualified by a tactical element of what's in it for the DSP.

          This is particularly clear in the DSP's internal literature. Sermons
          from Riley and Doughney about all the other groups going out of
          business and the youth rejecting everyone over 50 are hardly worth the
          paper they're written on because no one will take the slightest bit of
          notice.

          The real problem is to crack the hard shell surrounding most of the
          groups and precipitate a serious cross-factional political discussion.
          That's more and more important because the germ of truth amid
          Bustelo's arrogant posturing is the fact that most of the far left is
          hopelessly isolated because of its sectarianism, including its
          inablity to conduct a civilised discussion with other leftists across
          political traditions.

          The ironical thing is that this kind of us-perfect,
          everyone-else-a-sect view has a long history in the revolutionary
          socialist movement. The old Militant Tendency in Ted Grant's time used
          to ignore all the other groups, referring to them as "the sects".
          Gerry Healy behaved in much the same way. The US SWP clearly adopts
          that kind of rhetoric.

          Repeated by the allies of the Australian DSP leadership, this view is
          total farce.

          I don't quite understand the aim of Bustelo's outburst in the US
          context. Is he just scoring off all the groups, or does he have some
          kind of alternative strategy? I don't mean a complete bluebrint, a few
          glimmerings will do.
        • dave_r_riley
          Bob Gould is predictable. Such that he has been promulgating the very same line for two years and a half on this list at least -- its his mantra. I have too,
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 5, 2005
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            Bob Gould is predictable. Such that he has been promulgating the
            very same line for two years and a half on this list at least --
            its his mantra.

            I have too, come to think of it, as I have returned often to the
            theme of defending the Socialist Alliance project and commenting on
            its nuances and potentials. And anytime I make a comment that may
            touch upon his patented attributes, Gould wants to fit me up with
            his own indigenous brand of McCarthyism.

            As for my ageism -- well I pass Joaquin by two years, with two kids
            of my own and at 56 with chronic disability I know my political
            limitations when it comes to street heat and sundries. I also know
            who I have co-existed with on the socialist left flank these past
            36 years. I know my onions, I'd hope.

            But since he drags in a seeming extraneous example -- that of Jamie
            Doughney's recent article in Seeing Red I thought I'd share it with
            the list (BELOW)as Bob seems incapable of rising above the level of
            caricaturing it.

            Now I admit to being discursive as i often try to explore a
            particular point such as the one I thought Joaquin failed to
            address --one that undercut the relevance of his polemic. That I
            dared to mention "Zinoviev" in this context was surely a red rag to
            a raging Gould (as Bob wants to claim the exclusive anti-Zinoviev
            franchise there in down town Sydney). I sure pushed his abuse
            buttons!

            Jamie Doughney, independent of me, basically is trying to deal with
            the same issue, I'd guess, without referencing the "Z" word.

            But while I know my limitations (and frankly I regret them, all of
            them )I also suffer from a gross unwillngness to simply go quietly
            into the night and join the living dead. Thats' not one of my
            limitations apparently. I can say that because, unlike Bob, I've
            signed on with Peter Pan and simply refuse to grow up and away from
            activist perspective I embraced so many years back..and it seems
            that Jamie Doughney feels the same way too. Bully for him.

            Jamie's apparent mistake which earnt Bob's wrath was to
            insist "Tough times are ahead, to be sure, but hope thrives in an
            activist perspective unsullied by the ALP."

            That, according to Bob Gould, is a crime worthy of any number of
            verbal punishments. That in the face of his maligning we should
            simply wither away in shame or fear and not bother obstructing his
            desire to get a good kick at the Socialist Alliance.

            dave riley

            ____________________

            Rambling reflections on the state of Australian politics
            BY JAMIE DOUGHNEY
            "Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No.
            Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice, and
            from it alone …"
            —Mao Zedong 1963

            Hitherto I would have rather poked out my eye with a burnt stick
            than open an article with a Mao quote. Where did the idea come from?
            I have no idea. It just came to mind when I began to question
            Australian politics four months after Labor's Waterloo. Perhaps,
            despite its discomfiting source, it symbolises a pre-emptive
            response: "Do. Don't think! … Do. Act. Don't think!"

            I should confess that I have just juxtaposed Mao and John Kennedy.
            Not John F but the legendary Hawthorn coach. For those unfamiliar
            with Australian football, in the 1975 grand final Kennedy gave a
            rousing half-time speech to his team, who were then trailing North
            Melbourne by 20 points. Kennedy was an educator, and he knew his
            classics. His speech is now legendary, as is the quote he derived
            from Horace: Don't think, just do!

            Of course, I offer this only half-seriously. After all, Hawthorn
            went on to lose. Thinking is important. Computer manuals, Barbara
            Cartland, Dan Brown, comics, thinly veiled fundamentalist science
            fiction, L. Ron Hubbard, pornography, Tony Parkinson, creationism,
            the Murdoch press and pathological reading obsessions aside, one can
            never read too much. That applies even—perhaps especially—to tracts
            with which we disagree.
            My point is that we cannot make sense of Australian politics today
            by contemplation alone. We need engaged contemplation: the sort that
            accompanies practical social activism. Iraq. Refugees. Razor wire.
            Bush triumphant. Mendacity. Howard. Corporate greed. Mutual
            obligation. Do I need go on? None of these have changed. Do and
            think! Think and do! Do, think and read!

            Please forgive this hectoring. It is just that, in the four months
            since the election, there have been hundreds of analytical articles,
            and 99 per cent of them fail to take an involved perspective. It
            becomes very frustrating. Even the best of the analyses, many by
            insightful and well-meaning writers, turn in on themselves. They
            become maudlin, even morose. By the end of the article you, too,
            begin to lose hope. You wonder why you ever started to read it.

            I think there are two reasons why such analyses self digest.
            However, before I suggest what they might be, it will be useful to
            give an example. The example is Robert Manne, who has been an
            exemplary critic of Australian government policy and in The Age of
            20 December 2004 presented his final column for last year.
            Titled "Howard the Pied Piper triumphant", it concluded:

            I have been aware for the past several years that the issues in
            Australian politics that have preoccupied me—Aboriginal
            reconciliation, refugees, truth in government, the blind loyalty to
            American foreign policy—have little traction in an electorate
            overwhelmingly concerned with personal and family security. This
            year the thought sharpened. If Labor were to embrace the views of
            those who think as I do, its electoral stocks would almost certainly
            be harmed …

            While economic conditions remain buoyant, Coalition rule seems
            likely to continue. When economic circumstances deteriorate … Labor
            must be able to present a credible, economically responsible and
            moderate alternative, which will neither frighten mortgage holders
            nor arouse the ire of the Murdoch press. The political needs of
            Labor and the human rights or foreign policy or environmental agenda
            of the left-leaning intelligentsia cannot at present be reconciled.

            Conscious of ending on such a wrist-slashing note, Manne said: "Let
            me not end on this note". Two short paragraphs followed. He
            reaffirmed his faith in Australia and thanked "those who have not
            lost faith in the struggle" to make it better. As my friend at early
            morning coffee said, these additions read as if someone had
            pleaded: "Robert, you can't end it like that!"

            However, "like that" is precisely how many progressively minded
            people in Australia feel today. The wave of social progress has
            broken, and they feel powerless to stop its retreat. That dispirited
            feeling, the ebb tide of hope, is itself a political factor with
            which to reckon.

            Before my friend arrived and jolted me out of my Manne-induced
            misery words of T. S. Eliot's were competing with Mao's for space in
            my brain: "… burnt out ends of smoky days'. I remembered them from
            school, more than 35 years ago. Yet the surrounding words were
            vague. Later in my office I consulted Google and searched: . What
            did I get? Google gave me little Eliot but a lot of Andrew Lloyd
            Webber, Marina Pryor, Barry bloody

            Manilow and Cats!

            Much has happened in the past 35 years. A web search in the late
            1960s—a thought experiment, of course—would have given pure Eliot.
            Much has changed. The irritating 99 per cent of post-election
            articles will tell you this, too. Yet they are right.

            We do live in a different time, and the difference is more than one
            of mere economic buoyancy. While the "it's the economy, stupid!"
            argument has traction as part of any electoral explanation, it is
            equally true that economic growth will hit its limits. Economic
            uncertainty, at whatever level of GDP per capita, will deliver
            political instability.

            But this is not the main difference. That has to do with changes in
            the texture of contemporary capitalism—the types of work we do, our
            interests, concerns and desires and the ways we live. It is partly
            about the erosion of a "sense of class affiliation".

            This is a controversial statement. However, it is not a post-modern
            lurch; nor does it question the underlying socio-economics of class.
            Take it rather as being partly an empirical statement about the
            enlivened state of false consciousness. Take that any way you like,
            but take it nonetheless, because it is a contemporary truth. It is
            reflected in the falling level of unionisation, and it means
            something for what I will say about the Labor Party below.

            What other main political conclusion do the serious analysts draw?
            Here they make an illicit conflation, and it is palpable in the
            quote from Robert Manne. This is that the Australian people have
            conservatised, turned inwards, become more right wing and become
            even more mean-spirited. The illicit conflation is to confuse the
            politics of the government with the sentiments of the people.

            Doubtless there is a strong degree of coincidence. One Nation's vote
            fell, and it went to Howard. Government (and Opposition) policies,
            statements and postures are influential. They help to shape how
            people feel and think. They help to cultivate the mood of the times.
            We have to recognise, therefore, that there is some truth in what
            the analysts say. Show me someone on the left who did not think,
            mumble or shout that "bloody Australians have got the government
            they deserve!" and I will show you a pretender.

            The trouble is that the analysts exaggerate. I suspect that many are
            not too comfortable among people in the outer metropolitan working
            class seats that were collected by the Liberals this time round. At
            best they have sparse knowledge of them. It is not that
            the "intelligentsia", such as it is, looks down its inner city nose
            towards the outer suburbs—let us not tumble into the "elites" trap.
            There is, however, a widening social disconnect. Unfamiliarity
            breeds apprehension.

            Here I am reminded of an essay I read recently written by a friend
            of Robert Manne, the philosopher Raimond Gaita. His approach, in the
            Quarterly Essay (2004, 16) lead article "XXXXX", is different. Gaita
            burrows deeper than does Manne and other analysts into the psyche of
            voters in the shape of "people we know". He finds most,
            unsurprisingly, to be honest and fair-minded people. When, in
            Socratic mode, Gaita interrogates would-be Howard voters on
            refugees, Aboriginal issues and so on he exposes an underlying set
            of decent and compassionate beliefs.
            But let's not get carried away by this line of thought. All I am
            saying is that "the people" are not as bad as all that. There is
            hope. We know that in our left-wing bones when we talk to friends,
            family and workmates. We love them, share lives with them and learn
            from them: that in itself says something. As my son told me today,
            he sells Green Left Weekly in Parramatta to 25-35 year olds who
            think Howard is a lying rodent, are disgusted by Australia's refugee
            policy, want genuine reconciliation but are worried about their
            mortgages. They reluctantly—foolishly—voted Liberal.

            For what it is worth, both Raimond Gaita and I think it is
            reasonable to be worried about mortgages and interest rates. If I
            had one, I might be worried. I would worry nonetheless if my
            children had them. One can be decent, compassionate, green, fooled
            by the Coalition, uninspired by the Coalition, chilled by Howard,
            worried about mortgages, and put off by the Labor Party all at once.
            These are common patterns of sentiment. So, too, are the sentiments
            of "rusted on" Labor voters who are decent, compassionate, green,
            fooled by the Coalition, uninspired by the Coalition, chilled by
            Howard, worried about mortgages, and put off by the Labor Party.
            Reasonable people often make a pig's ear of politics.

            Now we are getting close to the nub of the problem. Why are the
            analysts' perspectives so bleak? Why overstate the shift to the
            right? Why whistle a cowardly retreat for the ALP from its already
            cold and miserable trench?
            One irreducible explanation is the ebb tide of hope. However, two
            practical reasons transport many to this sad emotional state. The
            first is—don't laugh, I'm serious—age.

            Those of us on the worst side of 50 feel desperate to preserve
            whatever scraps of true progress we can from the sky-blue shirted,
            bone-panted and brown-R.M. Williams-booted barbarians. (For those
            mystified by this last reference, please observe Liberal men and
            women distributing how-to-vote cards the next time you vote. The
            women will have their collars turned up. Their hairdos will defy a
            force-10 gale. The men will have navy crew-neck sweaters draped over
            their shoulders.)

            Most analysts are of an age to settle for what they can get. "It
            might not be much, but at least there will be some progress during
            my lifetime!" It is all about death. If it means that we must clutch
            at Labor, and if Labor will have to be more conservative, so be it.

            Never trust anyone older than 50. The inexorability of death has a
            way of shrinking perspective. Even older revolutionaries are
            insidious. Keep us around to tell stories or just for our good
            looks, but find a way of wresting leadership from us.

            The other reason for the ebb tide of hope is the Labor Party. Why?
            The answer is that most analysts see Australian politics through the
            Labor prism. The ALP has been The Opposition during their lifetimes.
            Its fortunes are confused with progress.

            The bleakness of the Labor Party explains the bleakness of
            perspective. They should try to recall what Paul told the
            Corinthians: "Guys, talk about looking through the glass, darkly!"

            Paul was right. The ALP is a shadow: a chimera, an illusion. It is
            Banquo's ghost at the table. Vote for it ahead of the Coalition.
            However, look elsewhere for social progress. The absence of a vote
            for the ALP is not necessarily a vote against progress. Looking back
            on the 1980s and 1990s now it is easy to see that, in the context of
            a changing social economy, Labor governments did irreparable harm to
            the level of working class affiliation to the ALP.

            Whatever the ALP might have been in people's minds before, new
            generations experienced it as it was. These are the under-50s. Most
            do not even have nominal affiliation via their unions. To talk to
            them about the historical roots of the ALP in the unions and the
            working class just doesn't resonate, is, indeed, a sheer waste of
            breath. Those days are gone. What people see is what they see.

            They see a party of cheap double-breasted suits, floral shoulder
            pads, bad ties and smudged lipstick (politically speaking, that is).
            Its factions are a nasty mob of small minded but clumsy white-collar
            villains led by ambitious nobodies. Really, does anyone expect to be
            inspired by Stephen Conroy? Martin or Laurie (!) Ferguson? Kim Carr?
            Only their mothers could love them. What do they stand for? All I
            can think of is branch-stacking, numbers, seats and the shines on
            the bums of their creased pin-stripes and Fletcher Jones twin sets.

            I am serious. Challenge me. Test me out. Write in and tell me what
            these losers stand for. I dare you.

            They are losers, but they are not the worst of it. The worst are the
            greys: the back-room dullards who devise the strategies. These
            hapless, sapless shadow "intellectuals", fixers, marketers, PR
            people and pollsters who cannot even do treachery well. Whatever
            they touch turns pallid: policy, presentation and people. I have to
            say feel sorry for Mark Latham. After they acid-washed him the most
            endearing thing I can recall is that he once tackled a taxi-driver.

            Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention the state Labor politicians.
            Funny that! Peter Beattie is smart in a Queensland sort of way, Bob
            Carr matches Howard for rodentiality, Steve Bracks looks half
            reasonable in a wet suit, Claire Martin lives in Darwin, Mike what's-
            his-name must be something and Geoff Gallup has a reasonable pair of
            glasses. Yet what is it that they are actually doing? From even the
            limited perspective of progress, what is the point of their being?

            Whatever they might think they are doing is irrelevant. Alas I fear
            that, at best, the main thing the state Labor governments are doing
            is to keep the seats warm for the sky-blue shirts.

            "Jamie, don't end on that note!" Of course, I will not. Tough times
            are ahead, to be sure, but hope thrives in an activist perspective
            unsullied by the ALP. That sounds very trite, but it is no less true
            for its limp expression.

            Jamie Doughney is a Seeing Red editorial board member.
          • Ben C
            Bob Gould wrote ”Ben Courtice, who reposted Bustelo s post to the Green Left list, is repois still a member of the Australian DSP, so I assume he s either
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 6, 2005
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              Bob Gould wrote
              ”Ben Courtice, who reposted Bustelo's post to the Green Left list, is
              repois still a member of the Australian DSP, so I assume he's either
              playing a devil's advocate role or maybe he's a little more cynical
              than that, and he's implying that all the other socialist groups
              except the DSP should go out of business.”

              Not so much devil’s advocate as sincere expression of my hopes.

              I am not cynically excepting the DSP from the prescription. The DSP should “go
              out of business” like all the others; in fact that is the DSP’s policy – to
              build the Socialist Alliance into a new party that will replace the
              pre-existing left groups, including itself.

              Bob seems so engrossed in reading factional conspiracies in his tea-leaves
              that this obvious point has apparently escaped him.

              “I ask both Bustelo and Courtice, what do they think the activities of
              future socialist organisation should consist of if the existing ones
              were to go out of business?”

              Joaquin Bustelo can answer for himself if he chooses. It’s a very big question
              – and I don’t feel particularly obligated to answer here and now, because (as
              many people have to date already pointed out) Bob Gould really says next to
              nothing on the topic himself.

              And it’s not actually a question of “going out of business” (although I
              suspect many if not all will end up doing that if they don’t seize the
              opportunity that unity presents). If we really need the corporate analogy,
              think of a corporate merger perhaps.

              Ben C
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