Re: Labor History - Bob Gould's response to Peter Boyle about my critique of Jim McIlroy's pamphlet 'Australia's First Socialists'
- Academics: A response to Nick Fredman and Alan Bradley
By Bob Gould
Nick Fredman wrote:
>>in his last blast Bob Gould was very dismissive of the evidenceprovided by article numbers via web searches.>>
I wasn't being dismissive of web searches. I've found them very
useful. My slightly dismissive tone was really directed at the way
some people use a bit of a web search to divert attention from the
main thrust of an argument.
I also didn't compare Green Left Weekly with Socialist Worker. From a
practical point of view, GLW is the only game in town these days, as
far as serious socialist newspapers are concerned. The other papers,
including Socialist Worker, don't appear regularly enough to matter
much, which is one of the reasons why I take the DSP deadly
seriously, and argue with it so much.
Nevertheless, Nick Fredman's web search's result of 40 references to
labour history over 13 years confirms my general point about the
DSP's cavalier attitude to labour history, in spades. Over 13 years,
that amounts to about three references a year, in which there are
usually about 45 issues of GLW. That's one reference every 15 issues.
As to Alan Bradley's proposition that the DSP has a tendency to
heroism because it discourages academic careerism in its members, I
have no way of knowing if that's true or not. What I do know is that
we all live in capitalist society and that teaching in capitalist
society, either in schools or universities, is a key way of
disseminating ideas to the next generation. It was very much the
tradition of the old CPA to encourage likely student types to get
staff jobs in universities, particularly in the social sciences, to
influence the next generation in the direction of socialism.
Having staff jobs in universities in the social sciences both solves
the problem of needing to earn a living under capitalism, and has a
considerable ideological utility. To reduce it to the question of
possible careerism is narrow-minded, peurile and politically very
short-sighted. Careerism can be a problem for socialists in most
spheres of life, but it's not particularly pronounced in the social
sciences in academe these days, compared with the private sector and
the big end of town. Alan Bradley and Peter Boyle may just have
noticed the fierce ideological offensive by the right wing of the
bourgeoisie, on the universities, particularly on the social
sciences, which focuses on the very point that academics in the
social sciences come under a kind of general fatwa from the right
wing in society ideologically, for allegedly corrupting the youth by
teaching them anti-capitalist ideas.
Despite my well-known polemical assaults on the ephemeral post-
modernist ideological fashion in universities, I don't believe that
the most pressing danger is Boyle's fantasy of "petit-bourgeois
intellectuals" corrupting the Marxist movement.
- Some new material on Ozleft relevant to recent discussions about
labour history on this list.
Humphrey McQueen's afterword to the 1986 edition of A New Britannia,
in which he revises his original thesis on the working class in late
19th and early 20th century Australia
Humphrey McQueen's Laborism and Socialism (1971), in which he
outlines his original A New Britannia thesis
A couple of articles on method in labour history:
The right wing won't write by Greg Patmore
Comparative Labour History: Australia and Canada, by Greg Patmore and
Gregory S. Kealey http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Canada.html