Re: Moderator's note on "political violence"
- A response to the moderator, Norm Dixon and Mike Karadjis
By Bob Gould
Responding to the protest about the heading of Alex Miller's post
about the Glasgow kiss, the moderator of the Green Left list issues a
stern warning to me and others that if we continue to say that this
heading is an incitement to violence we'll be thrown off the list.
The moderator justifies this by saying that Miller's heading is
Mike Karadjis makes a similar assertion and makes matters worse by
listing a further six "metaphorical" headers that could be used, all
of which also contain an element of "metaphorical" violence.
Is the moderator claiming that all this "metaphorical" violence is
good coin and reasonable on the Green Left list and that anyone who
protests against such "metaphors" will be thrown off the list?
Is this kind of "metaphorical" violent language to become par for the
course on the Green Left list?
I put to the moderator that any problems that might arise from these
"metaphors" don't arise from myself and others pointing to them. They
arise from the "metaphors" themselves.
In the final analysis, as the moderator asserts, she is the list
owner, presumably on behalf of Green Left, and she can do anything she
likes, but I appeal to her to consider the political implications,
particularly in the current political climate, of taking such a position.
Obviously, I will try to meet whatever requirements the moderator
imposes, but I reserve the right to draw attention to the poor
political judgement involved in taking the position that seems
implicit in her ruling and I'd point out that I've raised this kind of
question on the Green Left list several times in the past.
It seems to me that, in this instance, the moderator, who in my
experience is quite a pleasant, serious person, is behaving
politically like the speaker in either house of federal parliament,
tending to stick up for their side of politics regardless of the
rights and wrongs of any issue or point of order that is raised.
On the secondary question of the content of Ozleft, Norm Dixon is
being a bit cute. It's true that for the past month or two the front
page of the website has been dominated by arguments with the DSP.
Doesn't Norm ever get beyond the front page and look at the other
subdirectories or the site map? Is he only interested in material on
Only a small proportion of the content of the website has any
reference to the DSP.
>The dishonest mantra of the DSP is that political openness -"You're got the shibboleth", "no you've got the shibboleth, nah
>discussion in front of the working class - is some sort of
>shibboleth. Codswallop. This evades the fact that it is actually the
>DSP's practice of consipiratorial methods of internal organisation
>that is the shibboleth.
nah!". Dear oh dear. I'll try and avoid thunderous polemics and argue
briefly that the idea of "openess about every single discussion at
all times", is an incorrect approach for a serious socialist
political organisation, and to repeat this refrain when discussing
virtually any issue, as the CPGB tends to do, often misses the
essential points entirely.
For one I'm not sure when one this lofty aim, even if it was
desirable, has ever been achieved or could be. The CPBG in fact don't
publish all their discussions, do they Marcus? They publish an edited
extract in their newspaper, which is fine and dandy for them if they
want to, but I can't see from their site any comprehensive list of
all their bulletins and discussions (SA actually seems much more
comprehensive on this score).
In fact this question is obviously a tactical rather than a
principled one, as there's times when it's not at all advisable to be
open about everything. Ed Lewis' real name. The affiliations of DSP
members in unions with particularly nasty and spiteful leaderships
(this is a real issue). Planning an insurrection. Stuff like that are
Yes this happens in my union branch executive - they are technically
open meetings but at times discuss tactics that we wouldn't want
leaked to the management, or, on occasion, the branch of the CPSU,
which I'm not shy about saying plays an often rotten role on
campuses. About this Greg Adler
forward a "when did you start beating your partner" kind of
statement, (must be a clever lawyer trick they teach at Lawyer
School), when he states:
>>The point, of course, is that if Fredman's union leadership wasThat is, he's implying something's proven when it hasn't been at all.
>>discussing internally how to undermine other unions and to maintain
>>a regime of misinformation to its own membership - that is, if it
>>were acting like the DSP's internal bulletins reveals it was in the
>>SA - I would think there was an obligation to reveal it, <<
There's no evidence Adler has or can point to that the DSP has
misinformed SA members about anything. Please show us, Greg, in
documents and verifiable incidents (rather than what some person
supposedly said to you, or one person's opinion in a wide-ranging
discussion), where *the DSP* has done this. The DSP does, like
everyone else, have a right to a frank discussion about other
tendencies it considers are playing a negative role. Just like my
NTEU branch exec has a right to discuss, in camera, the rotten
tactics of the CPSU branch, e.g. campaigning for a non-union
agreement, and in that sense BTW, discuss how to undermine (counter
the tactics of) another union.
Marcus can no doubt say well if it's a changeable tactic, the DSP
seems pretty inflexible about it. He may have a point there, and the
fact that the right to private discussion maybe a bit moot when
there's people about who get very excited about receiving such
naughty illicit things and ther means to disseminate them are easily
Even if there *was* a case for the DSP to be supposedly more "open",
and stick all bulletins on its website, or sell them door to door for
the whole working class to see, there's a practical question of what
help this would currently be. All this stuff about "debates in front
of the class" is pretentious hooey for small propaganda groups, the
main practical result of easier access to DSP discussion would be to
make it more convenient for Strom, Adler and Gould to make their
polemical lectures from the sidelines. This probably isn't the end of
the world but you'll have to excuse me for thinking it doesn't
particularly advance the class struggle either.
SA has problems and the DSP has problems putting as much effort into
SA as it has. There's some big objective problems that has affected
all of the left, and errors made by sections of SA itself - I think
mainly by the other affiliates, maybe the DSP has made some mistakes
too. The DSP has a right to discuss what it should be doing at the
moment, and SA members have a right to participate in an ongoing
discussion about what SA is doing, which includes an honest statement
from all groups about what their collective positions are. Having the
DSP discussion more open is going to do pretty much jack shit for
both organisation working out the best path, which is why banging on
about this question, as opposed to the perspectives and tactics for
socialists today, is a useless shibboleth.