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Re: Australian Socialist Alliance lurches dramatically to the Right

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  • ozleft
    A response to Peter Boyle, Nobby Tobby, Karen F and Dr Ben Reid on the question of preferencing Clover Moore ahead of Labor By Bob Gould These responses are
    Message 1 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
      A response to Peter Boyle, Nobby Tobby, Karen F and Dr Ben Reid on
      the question of preferencing Clover Moore ahead of Labor

      By Bob Gould

      These responses are cynical, a bit surreal and rather dishonest by
      way of omission and by way of complete failure to indicate where any
      of these people stand on the preference question, other than by
      inference.

      Peter Boyle and Dr Reid shelter behind quoting from The Guardian, the
      organ of the Stalinist group that helped evict us all, the DSP and
      myself included, from the broad antiwar committee that formed against
      the Iraq war. Even more significant, politically, is that The
      Guardian is the organ of an unrepentant Stalinist organisation that
      routinely lies about enormous historical questions such as the Moscow
      Trials.

      A few months ago The Guardian published a lengthy article defending
      the witchcraft trials in Moscow in the 1930s. This article caused me
      to send an open letter about the Moscow Trials to The Guardian
      demanding a debate, which they ignored.

      If the Guardian Stalinists continue to defend the exploded lies about
      the Moscow Trials in the year 2003, it's a comparatively small thing
      for them to lie about the role of Clover Moore, which they do by
      omission in the article Peter Boyle and Dr Reid have posted.

      The Guardian article mentions progressive things supported by Moore
      and the other independents, but it omits the fact that they kept the
      Greiner Liberal government in office and to the end voted for its
      reactionary, anti-union, industrial legislation. Some progressives!

      The Guardian article also doesn't address the vexed, immediate
      question of contracting out council workers' jobs, against which, as
      recently as last night at the debate in Sydney Town Hall, Clover
      Moore was not willing to commit herself. Again, some progressive!

      In matters of truth and the interests of the working class,
      internationally or in Australia, the Stalinists of The Guardian are a
      very tainted source to rely on for arguments.

      The really cynical aspect of this matter is the failure of anyone
      from the DSP leadership to express their point of view on this
      question of preferences to Clover Moore.

      Boyle accuses me of being a disrupter because I assert that a number
      of DSP leaders are saying that they disagree with the decision, but
      that it was the rank and file in the Sydney branch and the ISO
      leadership who pressed for the preferences to Clover Moore.

      At last Sunday's antiwar demonstration, I spoke to about six people
      in the DSP, including a number of leaders, and about half of them,
      including some leaders, said they disagreed with preferencing Moore
      before Labor.

      I actually had a conversation with Boyle in which he said he had
      initially disagreed with the decision, but it might be necessary to
      look again at questions of the trajectory of movement, etc.

      I'm now accused of attacking the Socialist Alliance unreasonably for
      trying to bring the question of preferences into one arena of
      possible public debate about it, the Green Left Weekly discussion
      site. If it can't be discussed frankly on this site, where can it be
      discussed?

      This explosion of innuendo from the four people above underlines the
      political problem of the kind of structure that is the DSP. Obviously
      some kind of decision has been taken at leadership level in the DSP
      not to have a frank, public discussion of the issues involved in
      preferencing Clover Moore, on the GLW site.

      This is demonstrated by the failure of those members of the DSP and
      its leadership who told me they disagreed with the decision to
      preference Moore, to express that point of view publicly.

      They obviously feel bound by some notion of DSP discipline not to
      express their point of view publicly on the GLW discussion site.

      It was possible in the Bolshevik Party, as I point out in my article
      on reclaiming Lenin from "Leninists" and "Leninism", for Bolsheviks
      to disagree publicly about questions such as Lenin's April Theses in
      1917, but it doesn't seem possible in the DSP to have a public
      discussion on a question such as preferences to Clover Moore or Labor.

      It's also striking that none of the four people from the DSP who've
      posted on this question actually take up my arguments. They just
      ignore my arguments and abuse me and/or the Laborites.

      I've lived a long time, politically, and I have the benefit, or
      perhaps the curse, of a long memory, and I'll just repeat a little
      anecdote. The issue that blasted me out of the orbit of the old
      Stalinist Communist Party in 1956 was the lies and dishonesty of the
      CPA leadership about Khrushchev's secret speech. I was present at a
      packed meeting of CPA activists in East Sydney, chaired by Bernie
      Rosen, who is now a member of the Socialist Alliance and can confirm
      the authenticity of this story.

      The CPA leadership, in Tribune, had denied the authenticity of
      Khrushchev's report (as published in the New York Times) and said it
      was a CIA fabrication. A number of oppositionists in the Wollomooloo
      branch of the CPA, with whom I was associated, knew it was a genuine
      document, and that this had been reported to the CPA Political
      Committee by Harold Silverstone, a leading member of the New Zealand
      CP, who had heard the speech read out at the British CP congress,
      which he had attended on behalf of his party, with a watching brief
      from the CPA.

      Silverstone had met one of the members of the Wollomooloo branch in
      Sydney on his way back to New Zealand, and said that the CPA
      leadership was lying because he had reported to them on the
      authenticity of the document, but he swore the CPA branch member to
      secrecy about having told him, for reasons of party discipline.

      The cadre meeting on the crisis was addressed by the very
      accomplished Stalinist demagogue, Jack (J.R.) Hughes. The man from
      the Wollomooloo branch bravely asked Hughes at the meeting whether
      the report was genuine, and the party leadership was lying, but he
      was hamstrung by not being able to name his informant.

      Hughes, who was one of the great Stalinist orators, didn't answer the
      question directly. He just went on for about 20 minutes about
      the "filthy New York Times, which lies about the workers all the
      time, how can you believe anything it says" etc, etc, at great length.

      Eventually, he had about 100 CPA members eating out of his hand and
      looking at us oppositionists as if we were vermin. That was the last
      CPA meeting I attended as any kind of supporter of the CP.

      Regarding Peter Boyle's cynical demagogy, I'm in very much the same
      position as the man from Wollomooloo was about Harold Silverstone.
      Two significant DSP leaders told me they opposed the decision to
      preference Moore over Labor, but I'm not going to name them publicly.

      This situation underlines the similarity of the DSP's conception of
      discipline to that of the old Stalinists.

      My purpose in raising this question was to initiate a responsible and
      serious discussion of preference policy. Some people might not agree
      with my position, but I've put forward some substantial arguments.
      I'd dearly like to see a response to them so we can have something
      approaching a discussion.

      Ben Reid demands to know what my associates on Ozleft think on this
      question, because the Greens are preferencing Moore. I know a lot of
      Greens, including my associates on Ozleft, and I know quite a few in
      the Sydney council area who disagree with the decision to preference
      Moore, but that doesn't matter too much in the Greens or among the
      Ozleft collaborators because it's possible in both those environments
      to have public disagreements. I would imagine that my colleagues at
      Ozleft will express their point of view in due course if they
      disagree with me. That's no big deal.

      We should cut through the extraneous issues and actually try to have
      a serious discussion on who it's appropriate for socialists to
      preference in the Sydney council, and a good way to start would be
      for anyone who disagrees with my point of view to try to refute my
      position in detail, rather than with generalities and abuse.
    • farooq sulehria
      Comrades, Recently there was an article,,and some comments, about recent happening in Pakistan in order to arrest soem al Qaida members.There have been runours
      Message 2 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004

        Comrades,

        Recently there was an article,,and some comments, about recent happening in Pakistan in order to arrest soem al Qaida members.There have been runours of arresting Al Zawahri.I am posting an article that I wrote on the situation.

        This is available alos at LPP (Labour party Pkaistan)website 

        Farooq Sulehria

        memeber LPP

         

         

        OSAMA GETTING EXPENSIVE AS AL ZAWAHRI RISKS ARREST

        Pakistan. All eyes on Tribal Areas. Speculations abound: Osama is under arrest. Rumours going around: Al-Zawahri is to be arrested soon. These rumours going around Pakistan have been echoed by world press as well. Speculations are not baseless. General Musharraf, the self appointed military president of Pakistan, spin the rumours on March 18 in an interview with CNN. Musharraf told CNN: "We feel that there may be a high-value target. I can’t say who." Asked whether there was heavy fighting, President Musharraf said, "Yes, the resistance that is being put up by the people there has made us feel that there may be a high-value target. I can’t say who." He is right while talking about the resistence.

        Pakistan military is using gunship helicopters. A reporter, according to Daily Times Lahore, claims to have seen 15 helicopters in the area. Brig (r) Shah said, "Paramilitary troops backed by the army and attack helicopters are taking part in the operation. We are using heavy weapons because they are also using heavy weapons against our forces," he said. However, he said the use of warplanes could not be ruled out if the situation warranted. The resistence to protect 'high value target' turned serious on March 16 when a shoot out between Pakistani troops and so-called Al Qaida members left 39 dead. Repotedly, 12 Pakistani troops while 27 Al-Qaida members were killed in the shootout. By the time, this report is filed more reports of casulities are pouring in. Musharraf claims that there are possibly 600 Al Qaida members hiding in Tribal Areas.

        The region called Tribal Areas, is administrated by Pakistan. But in many ways, Tribal Areas have kind of autonomous status, since British Days. This region is a kind of buffer zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Wana, a small town in Tribal Areas, is the battle ground for current fights between Pakistan military and Al-Qaida fighters. Musharraf revealed the big presence of Al Qaida members in Tribal Areas for the first time while addressing a gathering on March 15. Few days before his interview with CNN. At the same function, he also publicaly accused for the first time, Al-Qaida for carrying out suicide attacks against him on Dec24 last year. It was a Libyan Al-Qaida member, he said who had masterminded the attacks. The presence of US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Pakistan capital Islamabad, while Musharraf was announcing the encirclement of a 'high value target' further strengthens the speculations. US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a one-day visit to Pakistan capital announced that the United States would designate Pakistan a "major non-NATO ally" status. But it is not yet clear who this 'high value ' person is.

        According to CNN coresspondent, Brown and his sources, which include Pakistani intelligence, it is believed that al Zawahri was among 200 well-equipped Al Qaeda fighters cornered near the Afghan border. Most of teh Pakistani newspapers are pointing out Al-Zawahri as the 'high value' person. Osama cannot be ruled out either. RUMOURS STARTED END-FEB: The rumour-mills were set in motion by Iran Radio by end Feb. On Feb 27, Iran Radio in its Pashto service, aimed at Pashto speaking Pakistan region and Afghanistan, claimed that Osama bin Laden has been arrested. Next day, both Pakistan and United States were quick to deny the reports. Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency's Pashtun language services had reported that Osama was arrested in Pakistan's tribal regions. The report, which could not be independently verified, said the alleged arrest took place "some time ago" but gave no further details. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri told reporters next day at a press conference that he could not confirm reports carried by "international media" that Osama had been arrested in Pakistan. Same day, in Washington, a senior US defence official denied the report, telling Reuters it was "another piece of stray voltage that's passing around outthere."

        According to AFP, the Iranian correspondent responsible for the report told Reuters that the radio had also reported Osama's capture a year ago. But said a new source had told him on Friday the Al Qaeda leader had been seized "a long time ago". Following these denials, very next day on Feb 29, US media reported that Osama Bin Laden crossed into Pakistan on Feb 27 and is closely guarded by Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters disguised as a Pakistani tribesman. The reports said Bin Laden "is currently hiding" in a remote area in South Waziristan near the Afghan border. Wana is located in Waziristan. DIRTY DEAL: Robert Fisk while addressing a seminar here in Stockholm last year had remarked in a light vein that Osama would be arrested before US elections in November 2004. It seems what he said was taken seriously by Texas (cow)boy. US administration is well aware that no one knows about Al-Qaida network in Afghanistan better than Pakistan military. It will be perhaps not possible to arrest Osama without a helping hand lent by Musharraf. It was perhaps in this background that few weeks ago when Nuclear scandal hit Pakistan, USA was keeping a mum. Also, USA needs Pakistan troops to engage them in countries where is it falling short of troops. Musharraf on the other hand, is now clearly faced with life or death situation with regard to fundamentalists. At the time, he came to power, and particularly after S11, he was trying to please US administration by taking some cosmetic steps against fundamentalsits. However, his support for fundamentalists remained intact. It could not go on any more in changed world situation where imperialism and funmentalists, two old buddies, are realy in contardiction.

        Following suicide attacks on his life, Musharraf was faced with a situation where he should eliminate 'frenkenstien' created by Pakistan military in colaboration with CIA, or get eliminated by the frenkenstien. Also, the economy is doing bad. The Pakistan economy has always been dependent upon foreign aid. Following the end of Afghan war, particularly with the collapse of former Soviet Union, Pakistan lost its strategic importance for US imperialism. A country that used to get most US aid after Israel in 1980s was now facing US sanctions on running its nuclear programme. But Afghanistan perhaps is the trump card that never fails military generals in Pakistan. Military dictator General Zia would not have prolonged his tyrnical rule for 11 years had Afghan war not started in 1979. Again, September 11 provided military generals in Pkaistan to prolong their unpopular rule in Pkaistan. September 11would never have been celebrated so enthusiasticaaly as at GHQ ( military headquarters). US now needed the services of Pakistani generals in Afghanistan to get rid of Taliban. They are always happy to offer services. New York Magazine lifts the veil. It carried a report by end-February: 'The United States has struck a deal with Pakistan to allow US troops to hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden this spring in an area of Pakistan where he is believed to be operating' Thousands of US troops will be deployed in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan in return for Washington's support of President Pervez Musharraf's pardon of the Pakistani scientist who this month admitted leaking nuclear arms secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. "It's a quid pro quo," according to a former senior intelligence official. "We're going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan." Musharraf has also offered other help in the hunt for Osama, accused of masterminding the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, according to the article. "Musharraf told us, 'We've got guys inside. Th e people who provide fresh fruits and vegetables and herd the goats' for Osama and his Al Qaeda followers," the intelligence official added.

        Both USA and Pakistan have recently denied presenvce of US forces in Pkaistan. But the major non-NATO status being awarded to Pkaistan is not offered for nothing. In teh words of Traiq Ali,'imperialism always acts in its own interest'. As a major non -NATO ally, Pakistan will join an elite group of nations, including Japan, Australia, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, South Korea, Argentina, Thailand, New Zealand and the Philippines, which are granted significant benefits in the area of foreign aid and defence cooperation. Major non-NATO allies of the United States are eligible for priority delivery of defence material and the purchase, for instance, of depleted uranium anti-tank rounds. They can stockpile US military hardware, participate in defense research and development programmes, and benefit from a US government loan guarantee programme, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. The designation would help Pakistan buy weapons and other security-related equipment from US companies and help train defence personnel in the US. Well, as a matter of fact, this new status will help Musharraf strengthen his support base inside military.More military deals will bring more kickbacks for some genrals. They will be able to stash more money into overseas accounts. Most probably in Switzerland. Masses will have to pay more tax for the arms to be imported under new status.

        The US is also extending $3 billion to Pakistan in five years which will help the country in education, basic healthcare and access to clean drinking water. They are also providing $1.5 billion in debt relief.. IF OSAMA IS ARRESTED A humourist put it this way: , As for what to do with Osama bin Laden: Killing him will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release. Therefore, I suggest we do neither. Let the Special Forces, Seals or whatever covertly capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex change operation. Then we return her to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban. It remains to besee if Osma's arrrest or AlZawari's arrest will help boast Bush poplartity before election.But it will cost Musharraf a lot. Musharraf will expose himself to more suicide bombers. .He will be more insecure. Already on March 18, threats have been passed by Al-Qaida. Daily Dawn reports: A statement attributed to Al Qaeda has threatened Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries it described as "America's lackeys", with attacks similar to those in Madrid last week. The other countries named in the statement were Britain, Japan, Italy and Australia, an Arab daily reported in its Thursday edition. "To America's lackeys we say: a lackey of America has destroyed his future by allying himself with the tyrant of the century," said the text, signed by Abu Hafs al Masri/Al Qaeda Brigades received by Al Qods Al Arabi newspaper.

        "Learn your lesson, you lackeys of America, the brigades of death are at your gates," it warned. "We will strike you with an iron fist, at the appropriate place and time," said the statement, condemning "Arab and Muslim lackeys like (President Pervez) Musharraf and the Al Saud" family, which rules Saudi Arabia. His own house ,military that is to say, is not in order. Tariq Ali puts the support for fundamentalists inside military very high. He thinks fundamentalists enjoy the support and sympthy of 33 per cent inside military. The Muslim masses will feel annoyed and helpless. The helplessness will generate desperation and perhaps may translate to desperate actions expressing through acts of individual terrorism. In Pakistan, the fundamentalists, at present are fats getting unpopular. Their unholy alliance with Musharraf and their 'inactive' support to launch military action in Tribal Areas has exposed their hypocritical role. Some militant splits in the MMA (major fundamentalist alliance currently running governmnets in two provinces) cannot be ruled out. This will lay the new basis for acts of terrorism in Pakistan. By the way; Osama is becoming more expensive meantime. According to a March 19 AFP report: The House of Representatives voted unanimously on Thursday to double the reward for Osama Bin Laden’s capture to $50 million.

         


         


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      • Pip, Peter & Zoe
        Gould s Book Arcade wrote: This unprincipled opportunism in the Socialist Alliance is causing a considerable upheaval in that organisation, as we speak. A
        Message 3 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
          Gould's Book Arcade wrote:
           This unprincipled opportunism in the Socialist Alliance is causing a
          considerable upheaval in that organisation, as we speak. A number of the
          smaller affiliates are, quite rightly, demanding a call to order on this
          question and it will be interesting to see how the argument proceeds about
          preferencing conservative populist Clover Moore and her team over the
          Laborites.
          I understand that the national convenors of the Socialist Alliance have as yet received no such call fom any affiliates. In any case local Socialist Alliance branches have the power to decide on preference flows.

          Is this another demonstration of Bob Gould's amazing predictive/anticipatory powers?

          Or is Gould calling on some small affiliates to make such a call?

          Or does this loyal ALP member imagine's he has a little operation in the Socialist Alliance. I wonder what will other Socialist Alliance members think of such a call given Gould's role in all this?

          Peter Boyle

        • Pip, Peter & Zoe
          If the DSP practiced the rigid control over its members that Bob Gould constantly alleges, then: 1. There would not be differences between DSP members on this
          Message 4 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
            If the DSP practiced the rigid control over its members that Bob Gould
            constantly alleges, then:

            1. There would not be differences between DSP members on this question
            in the Socialist Alliance.

            2. Various DSP members would not have expressed different views on this
            matter to Gould.

            3. I would not have admitted on this list yesterday that there was a
            discussion within SA, including within the DSP and ISO about this
            question.

            The real situation is above. As I wrote in an earlier post today, the
            Socialist Alliance is capable of having such a debate, calmly,
            democratically and without fear of any "lurch to the right". However,
            can you really blame anyone in the Socialist Alliance (DSP, ISO or not)
            for thinking to themselves: why the hell should they account to Gould
            who is clearly out to smash the biggest step towards socialist unity
            seen in years?

            The discussion around this question of how socialists should relate to
            community independents like Clover Moore (who in this age of
            ALP-Coalition neo-liberal government have far more public credibility
            than the ALP) is an interesting one. I think this is a broader phenomena
            and how socialists should relate to them does depend on their political
            trajectory.

            Let's discuss this. But I don't buy the argument that the ALP has to be
            supported because it is a workers' party. It really doesn't deserve any
            more support than that offered by the rope to the handed man.

            Peter Boyle
          • les evenchick
            ... A question?: All the press writes about is Al Qaida . What ever happened to the Isamic Jihad of Afghanistan which I thought was the dominant terrorist
            Message 5 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
              --- farooq sulehria <mfsulehria@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Comrades,
              >
              > Recently there was an article,,and some
              > comments, about recent happening in Pakistan in
              > order to arrest soem al Qaida members.

              A question?:

              All the press writes about is "Al Qaida".

              What ever happened to the Isamic Jihad of
              Afghanistan which I thought was the dominant
              "terrorist" group based in Pakistan.

              They used to have a website where they advocated
              military actions in war zones(areas occupied by
              foreign troops) only and claimed credit for
              actions in Afghanistan that the US has called Al
              Qaida actions.

              Are these 2 different organizations and if so why
              is the US ignoring the differences and who is
              really fighting Karzai and the US?

              Now the press says they never had any evidence
              that any AL Qaida officials were even in the area
              attacked, so what is really going on?

              Les
            • Marcus Ström
              Saw the following article in the SMH and wondered how this would affect Socialist Alliance tactics in the forthcoming federal election: I d be interested to
              Message 6 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                Saw the following article in the SMH and wondered how this would affect
                Socialist Alliance tactics in the forthcoming federal election:

                I'd be interested to hear what people think.

                "We'll bring troops home," says Latham

                http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939647048.html
              • Luke Fomiatti
                It seems Labor has decided to preference the Liberals over the Greens and anyone else in Leichardt.
                Message 7 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                  It seems Labor has decided to preference the Liberals over the Greens
                  and anyone else in Leichardt.

                  http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939646933.html

                  LF

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                • farooq sulehria
                  Comrade, To be honest, there are dozens of groups.One cannot even count. There is no such organised resistence in Afghanistan.Al Qaida however is on the run
                  Message 8 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                    Comrade,
                     
                    To be honest, there are dozens of groups.One cannot even count. There is no such organised resistence in Afghanistan.Al Qaida however is on the run and is not that active in Afghanistan.Taliban are pretty active again but mainly for economic reasons. All afghan militias and war lords have nothing political except to control , snatch or defend a particulat area , region in order to loot the people there and collect the tax. The only econimy Afghanistan has is 'war economy'. The only job available to Afghan youth is that offered by some militia.
                     
                    Islamic Jihad of late it seems has not been that active.But not al Qaida either.
                     
                    Farooq

                    les evenchick <piratefish@...> wrote:

                    --- farooq sulehria <mfsulehria@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Comrades,
                    >
                    > Recently there was an article,,and some
                    > comments, about recent happening in Pakistan in
                    > order to arrest soem al Qaida members.

                    A question?:

                    All the press writes about is "Al Qaida".

                    What ever happened to the Isamic Jihad of
                    Afghanistan which I thought was the dominant
                    "terrorist" group based in Pakistan.

                    They used to have a website where they advocated
                    military actions in war zones(areas occupied by
                    foreign troops) only and claimed credit for
                    actions in Afghanistan that the US has called Al
                    Qaida actions.

                    Are these 2 different organizations and if so why
                    is the US ignoring the differences and who is
                    really fighting Karzai and the US?

                    Now the press says they never had any evidence
                    that any AL Qaida officials were even in the area
                    attacked, so what is really going on?

                                               Les


                    Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au


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                  • br3068
                    Yes I m sure there are differences amongst your collaborators on the question of preferences in this election. I m just wondering if the greens who are already
                    Message 9 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                      Yes I'm sure there are differences amongst your collaborators on the
                      question of preferences in this election. I'm just wondering if the
                      greens who are already directing preferences to Moore (including the
                      socialists within the Greens) have also "lurched to the right" too?
                      Why single out SA?

                      BTW, the very fact that people from both SA and the DSP have
                      expressed disagreement publicly contradicts your rather
                      sanctimonious claims about the great freedoms that Ozleft likes to
                      pretend it has a monopoly over.

                      I don't know a great deal about local politics in Sydney, but people
                      I've asked about this issue have all said they would preference
                      Moore over the ALP any time. Some of Bob's criticisms of the limits
                      of Moore's politics are quite right: BUT THE ALL APLY AS MUCH IF NOT
                      MORE TO THE ALP!

                      If Bob wants to have a rational debate about this stuff let's start
                      by dropping the hysterical claims (lurches to the right) and all too
                      typical caricatures.

                      Ben Reid


                      >
                      > Ben Reid demands to know what my associates on Ozleft think on
                      this
                      > question, because the Greens are preferencing Moore. I know a lot
                      of
                      > Greens, including my associates on Ozleft, and I know quite a few
                      in
                      > the Sydney council area who disagree with the decision to
                      preference
                      > Moore, but that doesn't matter too much in the Greens or among the
                      > Ozleft collaborators because it's possible in both those
                      environments
                      > to have public disagreements. I would imagine that my colleagues
                      at
                      > Ozleft will express their point of view in due course if they
                      > disagree with me. That's no big deal.
                    • alanb1000
                      ... I can t see any reason why it would affect the SA s tactics at all. But then, I m a member of the Greens... Alan Bradley
                      Message 10 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                        Marcus Ström wrote:
                        > Saw the following article in the SMH and wondered how this would
                        > affect Socialist Alliance tactics in the forthcoming federal
                        > election:

                        I can't see any reason why it would affect the SA's tactics at all.

                        But then, I'm a member of the Greens...

                        Alan Bradley
                      • Peter Boyle
                        Todays Sydney Morning Herald records a significant victory for the anti-war movement in Australia. We ll bring troops home, says Latham
                        Message 11 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                          Today’s Sydney Morning Herald records a significant victory for the anti-war movement in Australia.

                          We'll bring troops home, says Latham

                          <http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939647048.html>

                          The anti-war movement and the left should welcome this commitment from the ALP federal opposition leader and take advantage of the public expectations it raises to mobilise more of its large reserve army on the streets around the demand to get the troops out now! Israel’s escalation of terror in the Middle East makes this more urgent and many more people will realise that it is time to get into the streets in large numbers to end the spiral to more war.

                          In cities where the more conservative wing of the anti-war movement has split off or has been running dead (or even sabotaging) protests such as those around last year’s Bush visit and the recent March 20 actions, the “Troops out” wing should call on them to re-unite in a massive show of force before June 30.

                          What should we make politically of this development? Is this an ALP “lurch to the left”, as we might expect a certain person on this list to claim? I don’t think so. It is a simple calculation on Latham’s part that he can surf the Howard-Downer foot-in-mouth terrorism shambles. The Newspoll that found 65% of voters believed Iraq increased the risk of terrorist attack in Australia and only 30% believed Howard’s desperate denial, in the wake of the Spanish election, of this obvious link was probably a clincher.

                          But ALP internal polls were probably showing that the 12,500 people who marched on March 20 Troops Out demos were only the tip of an anti-war iceberg.

                          Peter Boyle

                          P.S. Bob Gould's lurch analysis would have tha ALP lurching simultaneously to the right and left. As Luke notes the SMH article on how the ALP is directing its preferences in the NSW local elections.


                          In Leichhardt, the ALP has enraged local party stalwarts such as the former federal minister Tom Uren by deciding to direct preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens.

                          "They want to examine their mentality because in a coalition of forces the Greens are next to the Labor Party," Mr Uren said.

                          "There seems to be a singularly sectarian position of stupidity."

                          <http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939646933.html>

                        • Kim B
                          Bob, you just don’t get it do you!! The Central branch of Socialist Alliance democratically voted for such a preference selection. Whether or not individual
                          Message 12 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004

                            Bob, you just don�t get it do you!!

                            The Central branch of Socialist Alliance democratically voted for such a preference selection. Whether or not individual members of the DSP may agree or disagree with this is totally irrelevant.

                            What is relevant is that a democratic discussion and vote took place in a SA branch and that DSP members, like all DSP members, will abide by the democratic vote taken by the SA branch as a whole.

                            Yes, Bob � THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE ..... (something the ALP hardly ever practices, instead preferring, as is well documented, to engage in branch stacking and other such activities to achieve the "democratic" outcomes they desire in their branches).

                            It is not up to the DSP to have a "public" debate about a SA branch decision. To do so would be totally undemocratic and would undermine the decisions made by the SA.

                            The main problem here, Bob, is that you and your co-horts at Ozleft refuse to accept is that the SA is not a "DSP front". It is an organisation which has a life of its own and makes its own democratic decisions.  Not every decision taken by the SA will necessarily co-incide with a position the DSP may or may not take.  This is because the SA is NOT the DSP.  Yes, the DSP obviously has input into the Alliance because we are members of it, but the SA is not a DSP doppleganger as you would have everyone believe and the sooner that you accept this fact, the better.

                            Kim B

                            Do you Yahoo!?
                            Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.

                          • Peter Boyle
                            Below is the actual transcript of Latham s radio interview (thanks to Damien Lawson of Greens Senator Kerry Nettle s office). Peter Boyle *** Radio Interview
                            Message 13 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                              Below is the actual transcript of Latham's radio interview (thanks to
                              Damien Lawson of Greens Senator Kerry Nettle's office).

                              Peter Boyle

                              ***

                              Radio Interview with Mike Carlton
                              Transcript - Radio 2UE - 23 March 2004
                              CARLTON: You don't like Alexander Downer a lot do you?

                              LATHAM: Well I don't like what he had to say about the Federal Police
                              Commissioner Mick Keelty, because he said that he Keelty is just
                              expressing a view which reflects a lot of the propaganda we are getting
                              from Al Qaeda and that's an outrageous thing to say and its an improper
                              thing to say. And that Mick Keelty is someone who has dedicated his
                              working life to protecting Australians against Al Qaeda. He was the main
                              man in terms of the investigation that followed the Bali bombing he is a
                              fine police officer he is a fine person who doesn't need to be
                              associated with propaganda from Al Qaeda, it's an outrageous thing for
                              the Foreign Minister to say and I thought Mick Keelty had been hard done
                              by and I went into fight for him, fight as hard as I could in the
                              Parliament ...to force the Government to retract those comments.

                              CARLTON: Well the Government fought back from that. They spent the rest
                              of last week saying he was the best thing since sliced bread though
                              didn't they?

                              LATHAM: Well Alexander Downer hasn't withdrawn those comments from the
                              public record or apologised for them and he had a 15 minute speech in
                              the Parliament yesterday where he danced around them. I think it's just
                              wrong to detract from the record of Mick Keelty and the work of the
                              Australian Federal Police in such a partisan way and to associate the
                              Commissioner with the propaganda we are getting from Al-Qaeda is
                              absolutely outrageous, it's an outrageous thing to say and in our robust
                              parliamentary debate that's the point I was making.

                              CARLTON: Do you find Alexander Downer a hard man to like?

                              LATHAM: He's not my cup of tea. I've got to say that, and I don't really
                              know him that well but when he says those things about a good person, a
                              good public servant in Mick Keelty, I'll always go into bat for someone
                              who has been hard done by. And I'll fight as hard as I can and use the
                              forums of the Parliament to get my point across.

                              CARLTON: But when you use language like you are a disgrace, a rotten,
                              lousy disgrace, is that the right sort of language to be coming from the
                              alternative Prime Minister?

                              LATHAM: I think the comments are a disgrace, the comments that were
                              levelled at Mr Keelty are a disgrace and in the parliament I thought
                              they were a good description of Mr Downer's position.

                              CARLTON: But you said Downer himself was a rotten lousy disgrace, not
                              his position.

                              LATHAM: Well for saying those things it is a disgrace, it is a disgrace
                              to try and associate Mick Keelty, a man who is spending so much of his
                              time to protect Australia from the terrorist threat in Al Qaeda to try
                              and associate him with their propaganda. It is a disgraceful thing for
                              the Foreign Minister to say and it is indicative of the way in which the
                              Howard Government has handled this issue. And played politics with our
                              national security.

                              CARLTON: You didn't lose your cool a bit? Because that is the charge the
                              Government is levelling at you, that you lost your cool that you cannot
                              be trusted, that you are unstable, explosive?

                              LATHAM: I think the unstable things are the things Mr Downer says about
                              Mr Keelty. That is the thing that is unstable. It is just plain wrong
                              and in the Parliament you have the right to stand up and express
                              yourself to right the wrong, to try and correct the record and force the
                              Government into retraction. I was very upset with those comments and in
                              the Censure Motion, which is one of the toughest forms of debate in the
                              Parliament it is a spontaneous thing and the place was roaring and I was
                              trying to get my point across. I didn't feel like I had lost my cool. I
                              was making my debating points as best I could and trying to stand up for
                              a good man, Mick Keelty against the attack that had been levelled
                              against him by the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

                              CARLTON: Why did they make that attack, do you think? It is acknowledged
                              that Keelty, eventually he said it, that Keelty is a devoted police
                              officer, a dedicated Australian. Why did they make that attack what was
                              the justification for this sudden onslaught on Keelty?

                              LATHAM: I think really a Government of control freaks. Mr Keelty said
                              something that most Australians would agree with. There is an opinion
                              poll today that says that two thirds of Australians take the view that
                              we were a target at the time of September 11 but the folly of Iraq has
                              made the situation worse since then. So that is a fairly common view in
                              the Australian community. Mr Keelty said words to that effect in
                              relation to the bombing in Madrid and the Government tried to jump on
                              him for political reasons. Not in the national interest or for our
                              national security but because they thought they had a political problem
                              and the independent Police Commissioner was saying something different
                              to the Liberal Party line. Well that is no way to run the Government, no
                              way to run the country and no way to jump on the Federal Police
                              Commissioner and then try and attack his good reputation in the community.

                              CARLTON: To use an American phrase, was the Government indulging a
                              little ass covering?

                              LATHAM: I think that is a good description. And it is a good guide to
                              the way in which the Howard Government operates. We have seen it so many
                              times, they are very loose with the truth and when it doesn't suit their
                              political purposes there is always manipulation of the processes behind
                              the scenes. We found out about this case with Mr Keelty and it is just
                              plain wrong to play politics with Australia's national security.

                              CARLTON: Has our part in the Iraq war made us less safe, put us more at
                              risk of terrorist attack?

                              LATHAM: I think it has made the situation worse, it hasn't made the
                              world a safer place. This was a conflict that was designed to identify
                              and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. They haven't been found since
                              and when you send Australians to war for a purpose that wasn't true.
                              This purpose of weapons of mass destruction then obviously it has been a
                              distraction. I think the really damaging thing about Iraq is that it has
                              distracted resources, diverted attention from the real task, which is to
                              target the terrorists, break up their networks, use our best
                              intelligence to clean out the terrorists rather than wage war against
                              nation states. So that act of folly, that error that was made in terms
                              of policy, has diverted us from the real task that would have added so
                              much more to Australia's national security.

                              CARLTON: I just want to hear you say that again if you would, and make
                              sure we are talking about the same thing. You believe the Howard
                              Government's act in sending Australian troops to Iraq was an act of folly?

                              LATHAM: Yes I think it was a mistake. By their own record, the Prime
                              Minister is on the public record saying that it wasn't about regime
                              change, it was about eliminating weapons of mass destruction. They
                              haven't been found since and all the resources and effort that was put
                              into Iraq, if we put that effort into targeting the terrorists and using
                              our best intelligence to track them down and eliminate them, then I
                              think we would have had a better outcome than all the resources and
                              attention that went into Iraq. It really was a side alley that didn't
                              need to be the front line in the war against terror.

                              CARLTON: So again then, has Al Qaeda and that Iraq war made us less
                              safe, more at risk from terrorists?

                              LATHAM: Yes I think it has made the situation worse. We were a target at
                              the time of September 11, but the errors that were made in participating
                              in the Iraq war have obviously made the situation worse since. That is a
                              common view in the community and it is something that Tony Abbott
                              himself said prior to the war in Iraq and the Deputy Defence Secretary
                              in the US said it just last week. So it is not an uncommon view even
                              from the conservative side of politics.

                              CARLTON: Should we then bring our troops home?

                              LATHAM: Well we should. When they finish their responsibilities for the
                              post war reconstruction.

                              CARLTON: But that may be ten years away. How long do they stay?

                              LATHAM: We believe we have a responsibility to rebuild that country and
                              as soon as that responsibility is discharged they should be back here.
                              Hopefully that will be before the end of the year. Under a Labor
                              Government our strategy is to get them back as soon as that
                              responsibility is discharged, and you have got a sovereign hand over to
                              a new Iraq Government.

                              CARLTON: Well theoretically there is going to be a handover in June.

                              LATHAM: Yes that is theoretically but we have to look at the timetable,
                              things can go wrong and it might be delayed. I am hoping that by the end
                              of the year the Australian troops will be back here for the defence of
                              Australia, having discharged their international responsibilities and
                              back on Australian soil for the good protection of our country.

                              CARLTON: But how do you decide? You are being a bit wishy washy there
                              leaving us a lot of room to move, how do you decide when they have
                              discharged their responsibilities and bring them back?

                              LATHAM: Well at the point of sovereign hand over to a new Iraq
                              Government. As you say there is a time table a very tentative timetable
                              for the middle of the year. Things can go wrong things can get pushed
                              back a while, but our intention is to ensure that once the
                              responsibility is discharged and that is at the time of the hand over to
                              the new sovereign Government in Iraq then Australian troops will come
                              back under a Labor Government.

                              CARLTON: And you would hope they would be home by Christmas?

                              LATHAM: Yes well if that timetable of mid year is adhered to then that
                              would be the case. If a federal election is held this year, say the
                              election was in September and there was a change in Government, we would
                              be hoping to have them back by Christmas certainly.

                              CARLTON: What if the Americans put the arm on you and say no, it is the
                              ANZAS treaty and we want them there, we need them there and you have got
                              to stay?

                              LATHAM: The war has not been fought under the ANZAS Treaty.

                              CARLTON: The Prime Minister thought it was. He invoked it after
                              September 11.

                              LATHAM: Well I don't think the Iraq conflict is relevant to the detail
                              of ANZAS. What you have got is Australian troops, the decision needs to
                              be made by the Australian Government. And it is not as if our troops
                              have done nothing, they have been there since the conflict finished,
                              well they were there when the conflict started and they have been part
                              of the post war reconstruction and in the time since then. So Australia
                              has met its responsibility and at the time of a sovereign hand over of
                              Government and that is the right and proper thing. I mean nobody is
                              forecasting we would stay there forever, they need to come back at some
                              point and you need to do the fair thing of saying that when the
                              responsibility for rebuilding Iraq is completed and Iraq has got a new
                              sovereign Government then that is the appropriate time to bring the
                              Australian troops back.

                              CARLTON: On the question of who would make the better Prime Minister,
                              Howard 43%, Latham 42%. I haven't heard of it ever being that close. Are
                              you pleased with that?

                              LATHAM: Well it is encouraging of course, but the best encouragement I
                              get is when the Parliament is not sitting to be out there in the
                              community and travelling around the country talking face to face with
                              the Australian people. They have given some good feedback some good
                              ideas about what we need to do in Labor policy and that is the thing I
                              find most encouraging. These polls have always got a margin of error,
                              they always bounce around and you take them with a grain of salt. But
                              yes, sure it is better to be moving in a positive direction than in a
                              negative.

                              CARLTON: And the ALP on 55% after preferences, the Coalition on 45% that
                              would have you very comfortably ensconced in the Lodge if not Kirribilli
                              House.

                              LATHAM: Well the election is not today. We are up against a Government
                              that is pretty desperate and they will say and do anything. They are
                              spending a lot of money, the Prime Minister is using any opportunity to
                              create a political issue. He has even gone to the extent of jumping on
                              the independent Police Commissioner because he said something that
                              wasn't in line with Liberal Party politics. So Mr Howard is a very tough
                              and wiley competitor he will say and do anything and we wouldn't take
                              anything for granted in the course of this election year.

                              CARLTON: Thanks very much for your time.

                              LATHAM: It was a pleasure, thanks Mike

                              CARLTON: We will talk again.

                              Ends. E & OE
                            • ozleft
                              The Sydney Morning Herald article posted by Luke Fomiati sums up the situation in the NSW local government elections quite accurately, as far as it goes. Labor
                              Message 14 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                                The Sydney Morning Herald article posted by Luke Fomiati sums up the
                                situation in the NSW local government elections quite accurately, as
                                far as it goes.

                                Labor is on the nose in local government because, as the state
                                government, it has failed to follow through its urban consolidation
                                policies with:

                                1. transport and other infrastructure to support the very large
                                developments that have resulted from its policies.

                                2. stringent building codes, and strict enforcement, to ensure that
                                large developments are not simply future slums.

                                3. reform of the Land and Environment Court, which gives every
                                appearance of being dominated by real estate interests, and routinely
                                overturns local (including local council) opposition to inappropriate
                                local development.

                                As a result of this, residents all over Sydney, and particularly in
                                the inner areas, are facing large, poor-quality developments with
                                inadequate infrastructure, the main immediate consequences of which
                                are more cars on already near-gridlocked roads, and major problems
                                with overshadowing, poor design and general overdevelopment. This is
                                leading to support for independent candidates in local government,
                                and a strong anti-party sentiment in many councils.

                                My experience campaigning for the Greens is that even we are being
                                caught in the backlash against any parties in local government. There
                                is no doubt that Labor is extremely unpopular and surrounded by
                                suspicions that it benefits from large developers' slush funds. The
                                research produced by Lee Rhianon's office adds to these suspicions,
                                although everyone has to be careful of the legal implications of
                                explicit corruption allegations.

                                Even so, Labor's residual support and skill at manipulating
                                preferences, particularly through key figures in ethnic communities,
                                will ensure it of strong continuing representation in most councils.

                                There is no doubt that urban consolidation is a sensible policy for
                                the Sydney basin. Fringe sprawl cannot continue indefinitely, if only
                                because the physical limits of the Sydney basin are being reached.
                                Further development along the Hawkesbury watershed adds to the
                                environmental disaster that has already overtaken that river. Anyone
                                accidentally cutting themselves in the lower Hawkesbury, or
                                swallowing the water, risks a life-threatening illness.

                                Now, because of the near-collapse of its urban consolidation
                                policies, the Carr government has been forced to swing back to the
                                sprawl option, with an announcement in the last few days of another
                                city the size of Canberra in the Sydney basin, with no plan for
                                transport or other infrastructure.

                                The Carr Government's urban consolidation policies are failing
                                largely because they have resulted in construction of an over-supply
                                of substandard, excessively expensive flats in the inner-city.

                                Clover Moore picks up on some of these questions with sensible
                                observations based on studying progressive urban development
                                internationally, and as a result is quite popular despite her
                                reactionary record in supporting the Greiner government.

                                It's also clear that Moore picked up the support of most of the right-
                                wing, anti-Labor forces, particularly in the media, once the forced
                                amalgamation of Sydney and South Sydney councils made a Labor victory
                                all but certain in the merged council. It would be interesting to
                                know what was said between Moore and the Liberal Party after it
                                became clear Kathryn Greiner couldn't win.

                                There's little doubt that Moore will be indebted to some very
                                unsavoury forces if she wins, which no doubt accounts for her
                                evasiveness on specific policy in the election campaign.

                                On the other hand, she has done a preference swap with the Greens,
                                who are strongly opposed to overdevelopment, so she will have a
                                difficult balancing act. In this context, the Greens' preference swap
                                is a useful source of pressure.

                                My experience is that the Greens often have nowhere to go with
                                preferences in local government. Labor won't exchange in most cases
                                because they exchange with their own, often ethnic, dummy candidates,
                                the Liberals are out of the question, and many genuine independents
                                won't preference any party.

                                In other cases, exchanging with Labor is out of the question for the
                                Greens, because of Labor's pro-development policies. This is
                                certainly the case in the St George area, where Labor is the main
                                force pushing the massive Cooks Cove development on the
                                environmentally important Cooks River-Botany Bay remnant wetlands.

                                This post probably won't please Ben Reid (who in any case appears not
                                to be interested in serious discussion, but is merely baiting) or Bob
                                Gould, who I think makes some strong arguments against preferencing
                                Moore, which is a useful contribution.

                                One final observation to Ben Reid: don't get too excited about
                                disagreements between myself and Bob. We disagree often, but our
                                collaboration on the Ozleft project will continue.

                                Ed Lewis
                              • br3068
                                Ed, you sum up the arguments around the Moore issue quite well and most SA members would pobably agree with you on these points re why she should receive
                                Message 15 of 30 , Mar 23, 2004
                                  Ed, you sum up the arguments around the Moore issue quite well and
                                  most SA members would pobably agree with you on these points re why
                                  she should receive prefernces above the ALP.
                                  Good news that you and Bob remain such good mates, despite that in
                                  Bob's eyes you too have obviously "lurch to the right..." and now
                                  practice "non-class populist" politics... and you say it is me who
                                  not interested in serious discussion (sic).

                                  Ben Reid


                                  >
                                  > This post probably won't please Ben Reid (who in any case appears
                                  not
                                  > to be interested in serious discussion, but is merely baiting) or
                                  Bob
                                  > Gould, who I think makes some strong arguments against
                                  preferencing
                                  > Moore, which is a useful contribution.
                                  >
                                  > One final observation to Ben Reid: don't get too excited about
                                  > disagreements between myself and Bob. We disagree often, but our
                                  > collaboration on the Ozleft project will continue.
                                  >
                                  > Ed Lewis
                                • farooq sulehria
                                  Comrades, This announcement by ALP must be welcomed.But let me put it another way:is it as a victory for Al Qaida as well besides a victory for anti war
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                    Comrades,
                                     
                                    This announcement by ALP must be welcomed.But let me put it another way:is it as a victory for Al Qaida as well besides a victory for anti war movement?
                                     
                                    Had PSOE made same commitment ahd Madrid not happened? Other European governmnets are getting confused.The day Madrid met this tragedy, Danish and Polish press was raising questions next day.Jack Straw was confused at a EU meeting defending that by sending troops to Iraq, Blair govt has not engendered its people.Polish prime minister (or preseident perhaps)has stated taht Poland was misinformed about Iraq.
                                     
                                    Following Spanish elections, a Swedish newspaper had a headline:Al Qaida wins Spanish elections.
                                     
                                    I think to some extent that was true.
                                     
                                    I think we must analyse this way as well.ALP ,PSOE or POland are not acting under pressure from anti war movement only.
                                    Farooq
                                    Peter Boyle <peterb@...> wrote:
                                    Today’s Sydney Morning Herald records a significant victory for the anti-war movement in Australia.

                                    We'll bring troops home, says Latham

                                    <http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939647048.html>

                                    The anti-war movement and the left should welcome this commitment from the ALP federal opposition leader and take advantage of the public expectations it raises to mobilise more of its large reserve army on the streets around the demand to get the troops out now! Israel’s escalation of terror in the Middle East makes this more urgent and many more people will realise that it is time to get into the streets in large numbers to end the spiral to more war.

                                    In cities where the more conservative wing of the anti-war movement has split off or has been running dead (or even sabotaging) protests such as those around last year’s Bush visit and the recent March 20 actions, the “Troops out” wing should call on them to re-unite in a massive show of force before June 30.

                                    What should we make politically of this development? Is this an ALP “lurch to the left”, as we might expect a certain person on this list to claim? I don’t think so. It is a simple calculation on Latham’s part that he can surf the Howard-Downer foot-in-mouth terrorism shambles. The Newspoll that found 65% of voters believed Iraq increased the risk of terrorist attack in Australia and only 30% believed Howard’s desperate denial, in the wake of the Spanish election, of this obvious link was probably a clincher.

                                    But ALP internal polls were probably showing that the 12,500 people who marched on March 20 Troops Out demos were only the tip of an anti-war iceberg.

                                    Peter Boyle

                                    P.S. Bob Gould's lurch analysis would have tha ALP lurching simultaneously to the right and left. As Luke notes the SMH article on how the ALP is directing its preferences in the NSW local elections.


                                    In Leichhardt, the ALP has enraged local party stalwarts such as the former federal minister Tom Uren by deciding to direct preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens.

                                    "They want to examine their mentality because in a coalition of forces the Greens are next to the Labor Party," Mr Uren said.

                                    "There seems to be a singularly sectarian position of stupidity."

                                    <http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939646933.html>



                                    Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au


                                    Yahoo! Messenger - Communicate instantly..."Ping" your friends today! Download Messenger Now

                                  • Pip, Peter & Zoe
                                    ... Hi Farooq Good to see you on the list! What is the movement like in Sweden? Almost any victory for the anti-war movement in the imperialist countries today
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                      farooq sulehria wrote:

                                      > Comrades, This announcement by ALP must be welcomed.But let me put it
                                      > another way:is it as a victory for Al Qaida as well besides a victory
                                      > for anti war movement?

                                      Hi Farooq

                                      Good to see you on the list! What is the movement like in Sweden?

                                      Almost any victory for the anti-war movement in the imperialist
                                      countries today will also reflect an element of mass fear of terrorist
                                      attack. Hence, the ALP opposition is orienting as much to the mass
                                      desire to do anything to reduce the threat of terrorist attack as it is
                                      to sentiments of soldarity with the victims of imperialism. But that is
                                      always a component of mass anti-war movements. Consciousness develops
                                      unevenly, but every victory of a popular mass movement helps that
                                      development.

                                      Peter Boyle
                                    • les evenchick
                                      Thanks for your comments. Les Evenchick New orleans
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                        Thanks for your comments.

                                        Les Evenchick
                                        New orleans

                                        --- farooq sulehria <mfsulehria@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        > Comrade,
                                        >
                                        > To be honest, there are dozens of groups.One
                                        > cannot even count.
                                      • farooq sulehria
                                        Well, anti war movement here is pretty week.Demos on March 20 were not big success anywhere.Last year on Feb 15, we had historic demos here. I agree with what
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                          Well, anti war movement here is pretty week.Demos on March 20 were not big success anywhere.Last year on Feb 15, we had historic demos here.
                                           
                                          I agree with what Peter says but at the same time, we must not forget the fact that it would be perhaps seen deiffrently in Muslim world. The al Qaida method may attract more youth to them considering this method as a success.I do not mean that imperialist powers should not pull out troops.But it is complicated in Muslim world.Recent statements by fundamnetalists show that the are portraying Spain as success.
                                           
                                          Also, one importnat thing was: the reaction in Muslim world to Madrid was different from S 11. If comrades here are interested , I can post a small piece I wrote on that.This time, there were no 'celebrations' instead it was sympathy for victims.
                                           
                                          I think we face the task, particularly in Muslim world, to show that al Qaida is wrong and troops pull out is also a result of mass movemnets. Unfortunately, the anti war movement is week in Muslim world.but its coming up.More actios like March 20 will help build that.Hope so.Farooq 

                                          "Pip, Peter & Zoe" <ppz@...> wrote:


                                          farooq sulehria wrote:

                                          >  Comrades, This announcement by ALP must be welcomed.But let me put it
                                          > another way:is it as a victory for Al Qaida as well besides a victory
                                          > for anti war movement?

                                          Hi Farooq

                                          Good to see you on the list! What is the movement like in Sweden?

                                          Almost any victory for the anti-war movement in the imperialist
                                          countries today will also reflect an element of mass fear of terrorist
                                          attack. Hence, the ALP opposition is orienting as much to the mass
                                          desire to do anything to reduce the threat of terrorist attack as it is
                                          to sentiments of soldarity with the victims of imperialism. But that is
                                          always a component of mass anti-war movements. Consciousness develops
                                          unevenly, but every victory of a popular mass movement helps that
                                          development.

                                          Peter Boyle



                                          Visit http://www.greenleft.org.au



                                          Yahoo! Messenger - Communicate instantly..."Ping" your friends today! Download Messenger Now

                                        • Pip, Peter & Zoe
                                          ... I d be interested. Peter
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                            farooq sulehria wrote:

                                            > Also, one importnat thing was: the reaction in Muslim world to Madrid
                                            > was different from S 11. If comrades here are interested , I can post
                                            > a small piece I wrote on that.This time, there were no 'celebrations'
                                            > instead it was sympathy for victims.

                                            I'd be interested.

                                            Peter
                                          • ozleft
                                            SA lurch to the right: more on the question of Sydney City Council preferences By Bob Gould I m not too worried by the offensive tone routinely adopted towards
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                              SA lurch to the right: more on the question of Sydney City Council
                                              preferences

                                              By Bob Gould

                                              I'm not too worried by the offensive tone routinely adopted towards
                                              me by DSP leadership supporters. As Alan Bradley points out, I have
                                              been around for a long time, and I'm used to it. I would point out,
                                              however, that I'm pretty sharp with institutions and structures, but
                                              I'm generally careful not to imply personal ill will or bad faith to
                                              individuals.

                                              The tone adopted towards me, however, constantly implies some sort of
                                              bad faith on my part, and that, in fact, is the only level of some
                                              DSP leadership supporters' contributions.

                                              That kind of attack on me is par for the course, but I would point
                                              out that its constant use in that way is an indication of political
                                              bankruptcy on the part of the people who do it. No one, so far, on
                                              that side of the argument has even attempted to address the
                                              substantial arguments about the weight of structures, etc, and the
                                              class issues that are built into the argument about preferences.

                                              All you get is a stupid mantra: "Bob Gould supports the ALP".

                                              Paul Benedek lets the cat out of the bag by quoting Clover Moore's
                                              website, on which she praises herself for being the only person to
                                              vote against the Carr government's most recent workers' compensation
                                              legislation. It's clear from this that DSP leadership supporters have
                                              combed Moore's website for anything they can use to pretty her up as
                                              essentially a progressive figure.

                                              The fact that on broader political questions that is all they could
                                              find speaks volumes. Where did Moore stand on the Iraq war? Did she
                                              speak or march against the war? A big slice of the ALP in NSW did
                                              speak and march, including the deputy premier, and the leader of
                                              Labor's parliamentary wing has just announced, in a guarded way, a
                                              policy of withdrawing troops from Iraq, and the Liberals are
                                              attacking him for daring to do so.

                                              Where was Clover on Iraq?

                                              Two of the aldermanic candidates for the ALP in the City of Sydney,
                                              the two women who are in winnable positions are both relatively
                                              active members of Labor for Refugees. Where has Clover been over the
                                              past two or three years on the bitter and vexed question of refugees?
                                              And so it goes.

                                              It's not necessary in this situation to try to prettify the
                                              shambling, contradictory mass organisation that I describe as the ALP-
                                              trade union continuum. Prettifying it wouldn't work anyway, and it's
                                              not the point.

                                              The point in deciding preferences in this situation is what class
                                              forces are in play? Benedek asserts that the Laborites are on the
                                              nose with Green Left Weekly readers he meets. Well, that's a bit of a
                                              tautology, knowing Brother Benedek, they'd have difficulty getting a
                                              word in edgewise before he had told them how bad the Laborites were,
                                              and it would be a bold GLW reader who would disagree with him.

                                              Another way of looking at the class forces at work will emerge when
                                              the votes are counted on Sunday. The Labor team is the underdog, and
                                              it may well lose, but the social pattern of the voting, which will be
                                              relatively easy to unravel, will tell us volumes.

                                              In Sydney, the highest Labor vote will be in booths in the poorer,
                                              more blue-collar areas, such as the housing commission flats in Surry
                                              Hills and Redfern, and even further out in Beaconsfield, the still-
                                              proletarian parts of Alexandria, etc, etc. There will also be a
                                              particularly high Labor vote in the Glebe Estate public housing area.

                                              The more affluent other end of Glebe will be a hotspot for Moore and
                                              the Liberals. The Potts Point/Kings Cross area will also vote
                                              strongly for Moore and the Liberals. The pattern of higher or lower
                                              Labor or Moore votes will follow the income divides in the City of
                                              Sydney, and it will quite possible to discern the pattern. It always
                                              is for those who have eyes to see.

                                              The different social composition of the votes is a pretty important
                                              factor in where one should direct socialist preferences.

                                              HOW THE DSP, THE ISO AND THE SOCIALIST ALLIANCE ACTUALLY WORK

                                              In my recent long piece on Leninism and Zinovievism I tried to
                                              describe in some detail how public disagreement on even minor matters
                                              is strangled in Zinovievist political groups. This issue of
                                              preferences is a striking example of how that works.

                                              Peter Boyle now concedes that a number of DSP and ISO leaders and/or
                                              members opposed the preference decision. That's well and good, but
                                              the striking thing is that not one of them so far has felt
                                              sufficiently free to express that point of view even on the Green
                                              Left Weekly discussion list, or in the Socialist Alliance internal
                                              bulletins.

                                              One member of the ISO, who has been vocal on this question told me in
                                              conversation that initially he opposed the Clover Moore preference
                                              decision, but the ISO caucus met and decided in favour of it, and
                                              therefore he changed his position and played a substantial role in
                                              persuading the Central branch of the Alliance to preference Clover
                                              Moore. Presumably, something analogous took place in the DSP.

                                              At no point in the Socialist Alliance, apparently, has a horizontal
                                              discussion taken place outside the framework of the strict discipline
                                              of the two major Alliance components. In that kind of circumstance,
                                              obviously what happens is a kind of negotiation for a treaty between
                                              the leaders of the two groups.

                                              My overview of how the two groups work might be changed if there was
                                              some kind of public discussion of this modest issue, but on form so
                                              far that's unlikely to happen.

                                              It's all very well for Keiran to say the decision on preference
                                              doesn't lead to a sectarian attitude towards the ALP, but that's
                                              hopeful rubbish. Taking such a preference decision has the very
                                              practical effect of isolating the groups that do it, thoroughly, in
                                              the broader labour movement.

                                              Laborites tend to react very viscerally against people who give their
                                              preferences to politicians who most Laborites regard as essentially
                                              conservative. It's particularly ironic of Peter Boyle and the DSP
                                              leadership to be quite properly pointing to the progressive aspects
                                              of Latham's public announcement today on withdrawing troops from Iraq
                                              at the same time as the Socialist Alliance is deliberately isolating
                                              itself from the possibility of influencing Laborites in the city of
                                              Sydney, by this preference decision.
                                            • Carl Kenner
                                              If I might lurch into the debate on preferences, I will share some thoughts on preferences generally rather than specific minor elections interstate. In part 1
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004
                                                If I might lurch into the debate on preferences, I will share some thoughts
                                                on preferences generally rather than specific minor elections interstate. In
                                                part 1 I will talk about Australia's unique preferential voting system and
                                                what it means, and in part 2 I will talk about how I think Socialist
                                                Alliance should preference.

                                                Part 1
                                                ======

                                                Firstly, did you know that Australia is the only country in the world to
                                                have preferential voting? Ok, technically Sri Lanka could be said to have
                                                preferential voting since you are required to specify first and second
                                                preferences on your ballot paper so that if everyone's first preference
                                                doesn't get an outright majority (more than 50%) of votes then everyone's
                                                second preference is used instead. But this is really just a variation on
                                                the idea of having a second round of elections if the first one does not
                                                give a majority.

                                                It is a basic democratic principle that the chosen government should have
                                                the backing of an absolute majority of the population. The United States
                                                completely ignores this principle and uses a "first past the post" system
                                                which means that when the majority of the population hate George Bush he can
                                                still get elected if people are split on whether the Greens or the Democrats
                                                should be the alternative. This is impossible in more civilised countries
                                                like Australia (and pretty much anywhere else in the world). For this reason
                                                I think it is dangerous to compare election strategy in the United States
                                                with election strategy in Australia, because they will be very different.
                                                For example in the United States it is very wrong for Socialist parties to
                                                run against other progressive parties like the Greens. But in Australia it
                                                is no problem. The "anyone but Bush" strategy is actually not as bad as the
                                                "anyone but Howard" one. Voting for the Labor party in Australia will NOT
                                                help you defeat Howard. You can defeat Howard just as easily by voting
                                                Socialist Alliance, or Greens (or Democrats if you number every box below
                                                the line) as long as you put the Liberal party down near the bottom where
                                                they belong. This is not true in the United States.

                                                Other countries use either proportional representation (like the Senate but
                                                without preferences) or a second run-off election with the top two
                                                candidates if the first election doesn't get an absolute majority, or a
                                                weird system like in Scotland of extra "list" seats to compensate for the
                                                problem with first past the post. The run-off election system has its own
                                                problems, as was seen in France, when the vote is split so much that the top
                                                two candidates only get a minority of the vote and the run-off election does
                                                not include anyone even vaguely left-wing, despite the majority of voters
                                                being leftish.

                                                I definitely favour preferential voting since rather than giving you the
                                                government that is loved most, it gives you the government which is hated
                                                least. This always gives a more left-wing result than first-past-the-post.

                                                Australian Federal elections use compulsory preferential voting for both
                                                houses of parliament. The South Australian state government is based on the
                                                Federal government, and uses an identical system in every way. Other states
                                                do not use this system though for state elections. Some states have a system
                                                of "optional preferential voting". This is a bad system, since it allows
                                                parties to get elected with a minority of support. How it works is: If
                                                someone has an absolute majority after preferences are distributed then they
                                                win democratically, otherwise everything is counted again as a
                                                first-past-the-post election based on first preferences and someone wins
                                                with a minority of votes. The Labor party managed to exploit this in
                                                Queensland during the election before last, by getting people to only vote
                                                one, thus splitting the right wing vote (Liberal, National, One Nation,
                                                etc.) that actually had the majority (The ALP prefers cheating rather than
                                                actually trying to convince people not to be racist).

                                                One thing more I will mention about voting systems is compulsory voting.
                                                Compulsory voting is extremely important since it gets the people who don't
                                                like the government to actually vote against them, rather than getting
                                                completely demoralised and not bothering.

                                                Part 2
                                                ======
                                                How I think Socialist Alliance should preference:

                                                We should definitely use all the available preferences rather than just
                                                voting one, for the reasons mentioned above.

                                                I am strongly opposed to any and all preference deals!! People in the
                                                Socialist Alliance often talk about preference deals with say the Greens,
                                                but this is very wrong! Preference deals are completely anti-democratic. All
                                                the other parties do preference deals because they are into the corrupt
                                                wheeling and dealing to get into parliament, and have no respect for their
                                                voters. For democratic parties like us, all preferences should be set
                                                honestly according to who we think is the best to run the country. If we do
                                                a preference deal with the Greens, that means we tell the Greens that if
                                                they don't preference us we won't preference them. This is crazy! Would we
                                                really preference the Labor party ahead of the Greens just because they did
                                                that to us? I certainly hope not. This is the kind of thing we do in student
                                                elections all the time and I think it is disgusting. So let's have some
                                                integrity instead of doing preference deals.

                                                Obviously our first preference goes to Socialist Alliance anywhere that they
                                                are running. But let's start from the bottom...

                                                The various neo-NAZI parties should go last. This obviously includes parties
                                                like One Nation. I also include all the crazy religious parties down near
                                                the bottom (although we might make an exception for Islamic crazies if they
                                                decide to run). Any Zionist parties go down the bottom too (unless they
                                                support both the Palestinians and Israel in which case I don't know where to
                                                put them). Parties like the CEC go down here too. More controversially I
                                                include Euthanasia parties in the NAZI category, since this is an evil NAZI
                                                policy and definitely not a progressive one (as a disabled person I think
                                                this is important).

                                                Just before the NAZIs should come the coalition. It is getting hard to tell
                                                whether they actually belong in the NAZI category I just mentioned or not,
                                                but I'll give them a separate paragraph. I don't know whether the National
                                                Party is better or worse than the Liberal Party. On the one hand the
                                                National Party has been slightly better on issues like privatisation, but on
                                                the other hand they seem a bit closer to the NAZI category in many ways.

                                                Then come the various middling parties. These are the parties that try to
                                                find a middle ground between Labor and Liberal. Obviously there is little
                                                middle ground between them so there aren't a lot of these. I'm not sure if
                                                we should put the Democrats here or not. This is where the Democrats try and
                                                put themselves, but I hate the Labor party so it is hard for me to accept
                                                the ALP could be better than the Democrats. Both the Labor party and the
                                                Democrats seem to sell out to the Liberal party whenever they can. I have
                                                never put the Democrats after Labor before, but this time I think we should.
                                                It is time to crush the Democrats. The Democrats ARE responsible for
                                                everything Meg Lees does, since she is occupying a seat won by the
                                                Democrats. The Liberals have a minority in the Senate, so every reactionary
                                                piece of legislation they have given us was either supported by the
                                                Democrats or Labor. The majority of the time I think it is the Democrats.
                                                There is a big difference between the Democrats who protest on the street
                                                with us and the ones who get parliamentary seats. The ones in parliament
                                                won't even allow others to protest George Bush let alone protesting him
                                                themselves. I think the Democrats may even have a worse position on Iraq
                                                than the Labor party. I also tend to put the single issue drug parties in
                                                the middling position sometimes, since I'm really not sure whether they are
                                                good or evil.

                                                Before the Democrats comes the EVIL Labor party. The Labor party is not
                                                progressive, it is very, very evil, and it's politicians deserve to go to
                                                gaol for a very long time. The Labor party is a party of big business, and
                                                has all the racism, repression and exploitation required to serve big
                                                business. Next time you are protesting injustice and the police are trying
                                                to smash your head in or trample you to death, just remember that the police
                                                are the armed wing of the Labor party loyally following the state Labor
                                                party's orders. I am amazed there are any parties worse than the Labor
                                                party, but believe it or not, the coalition and the other parties I
                                                mentioned are actually worse.

                                                Before the Labor party come other parties that are not quite so evil. They
                                                don't necessarily have to be progressive to be better than the labor party,
                                                so there may be slightly conservative parties before the ALP. Except for the
                                                democrats, who have really pissed me off, I would include any anti-racism
                                                parties here, even the stupid ones that don't know the difference between
                                                left and right.

                                                Just before them and after Socialist Alliance come any of the progressive
                                                parties or progressive independents that we work with. This may include some
                                                of the saner socialist groups. Parties like the Greens are good here. The
                                                Socialist Alliance definitely did the right thing by putting the greens
                                                before Labor in all our other elections. I think we would be a laughing
                                                stock if we hadn't. The greens are not as progressive as we like to believe
                                                they are, and they have many conservative elements and a long conservative
                                                history. But they still make good second-place material.

                                                And first place is of course us, and we should have the confidence to know
                                                we belong here and can win someday.

                                                This only leaves the question of where to put the other socialist groups who
                                                may not be sane. This includes the evil Stalinists and the completely loopy
                                                ultralefts. I'm half inclined to put them last with the NAZIs, given that
                                                they support genocide and some of the most evil people in history. But I may
                                                just be sectarian.


                                                Carl


                                                PS. For the benefit of Bob who started this discussion by sneakily posting
                                                under another name to get past my filter:
                                                The Democratic Socialist Perspective is a democratic organisation. The views
                                                put forward by its leaders are those of the majority of its members. In fact
                                                the views put forward publicly by any of its members should be those of the
                                                majority. There is no real difference between its leaders and others except
                                                for workload. The perspective is a voluntary organisation. Members are not
                                                forced to be part of a group they disagree with by the dictatorial rulers of
                                                your imagination. They do not believe in Stalinist discipline as you claim,
                                                which you can easily tell by them not executing people or exiling them to
                                                Siberia. You may not think that a Socialist party should keep its debates
                                                internal, but neither do they or they wouldn't be dissolving into the
                                                Socialist Alliance. So quit attacking them to justify the fact that you
                                                never get out and do anything except attack the left.
                                              • Kim B
                                                Bob writes: Laborites tend to react very viscerally against people who give their preferences to politicians who most Laborites regard as essentially
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Mar 24, 2004

                                                  Bob writes:

                                                  "Laborites tend to react very viscerally against people who give their preferences to politicians who most Laborites regard as essentially conservative. It's particularly ironic of Peter Boyle and the DSP leadership to be quite properly pointing to the progressive aspects of Latham's public announcement today on withdrawing troops from Iraq at the same time as the Socialist Alliance is deliberately isolating itself from the possibility of influencing Laborites in the city of Sydney, by this preference decision".

                                                  Kim writes:

                                                  Tell me Bob, how do Laborites react when their own party engage in rabid sectarianism and do preference deals with conservatives such as the Liberals and One Nation? 

                                                  Not only have the ALP done a deal with the Liberals for preferences in Leichhardt, they have also preferenced One Nation members in Bankstown and Campbelltown (as well as in other electorates throughout NSW) over the Greens, Socialist Alliance and any other progressive candidates (see article from SMH below).

                                                  Bob, are you going to demand a "public" debate by the ALP to explain all of this (and if you do, good luck with getting one... but don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen).

                                                  Alan Bradley wrote:

                                                  "Frankly, from where I'm sitting, it looks like the SA have handled this exactly correctly. The people who had the responsibility for making this decision have made it, after appropriate political discussion. What's the problem?

                                                  Funnily enough, Bob is actually implying that the DSP should be crunching the numbers in a factional manner, in order to overturn this democratic decision!"

                                                  Kim writes:

                                                  Exactly!!  In Bob's world, the DSP is damned if the do and damned if they don't.  For the last year, Bob and friends have consistently trotted out the booggy that the SA is a "DSP front", but then when it become evident that this is not the case and  SA makes a democratic decision that he does not happen to agree with, he starts lobbying the DSP to start a factional fight to try and overturn the decision.  That maybe how they do it in the ALP Bob, but thats not how things are done in the SA.

                                                  Kim B

                                                  **************************

                                                  http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/24/1079939718892.html

                                                  Liberals, One Nation to swap preferences

                                                  By Paola Totaro and Claire O'Rourke
                                                  March 25, 2004

                                                  Pauline Hanson's One Nation is fielding candidates in at least five municipalities in Saturday's local council elections, but most are running as independents without declaring their affiliation.

                                                  According to a how-to-vote card in Bankstown, Sydney's most populous municipality, the Liberal Party and a One Nation-affiliated candidate have thrashed out a direct swap of preferences despite a pledge by the NSW Liberals that there would be no such deals.

                                                  The move comes as the Liberals push further into local government - the party will run endorsed candidates in 27 local government areas across the state. One of the party's recognised birthplaces, Albury, will have Liberal candidates standing for the first time, as will Ashfield, Gosford and Hawkesbury.

                                                  Endorsed candidate Shayne Mallard will run in the City of Sydney after the collapse of Kathryn Greiner's Sydney Alliance group.

                                                  Arthur Frauenfelder, lead candidate on the Liberal ticket in Albury, said he joined the party when approached by other Liberals who wanted him in their group. "Let's face it, [the Liberals] have got a state and federal member on both sides of the border . . . basically we have got a fairly staunch Liberal conservative approach from people," he said.

                                                  The Liberals would run together but would not caucus on council decisions if elected.

                                                  Albury would act as a test case and determine whether the party endorsed future candidates in rural council areas, said Jeff Egan, retiring Liberal councillor in the Blue Mountains City Council.

                                                  The Liberals were also focusing on traditional Labor councils such as Rockdale, Parramatta and Randwick, he said. "It's going to [mean] a significant increase in votes for those candidates who move from being independents to being party endorsed."

                                                  In Bankstown, Bob Vinnicombe is running as an independent, but is also listed as a branch delegate and branch executive in Pauline Hanson party's north-west region. This is listed on the One Nation website. He has swapped preferences with a Liberal candidate, Les Osmond.

                                                  The state director of the NSW Liberal Party, Scott Morrison, said yesterday he knew nothing about Mr Vinnicombe's One Nation affiliation but insisted the Liberals would not do deals with One Nation.

                                                  "Bob Vinnicombe ran in the Auburn byelection in 2000. He is an independent," he said. "I don't know anything about the website. We don't give One Nation our preferences."

                                                  Other former One Nation and affiliated candidates are running in the elections, but list themselves as independents. They include a mayoral candidate in Lake Macquarie, Brian Burston, who is a former friend and staffer of One Nation MP David Oldfield. The two fell out dramatically last year.

                                                  In Bankstown, Cr Lindsay Abrahams is running as an independent but remains on the One Nation website, as does Bob Thompson in Campbelltown and Tom Kennedy in Broken Hill. Both of them are running as independents.

                                                  The list has outraged Waverley councillor and Jewish Labor forum member, George Newhouse, and upper house MP and One Nation Watch member, Henry Tsang, who described the tactics as "disgraceful". "It is time the Liberal Party stopped saying one thing at party headquarters and doing another at the polling booth. . ." Mr Newhouse said.

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                                                • farooq sulehria
                                                  Below I am posting a piece I wrote for a weekly here, Peter wanted me to post it here.Doing that but bit of late.Sorry for that.Farooq March 11 leaves Muslim
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Mar 26, 2004
                                                    Below I am posting a piece I wrote for a weekly here, Peter wanted me to post it here.Doing that but bit of late.Sorry for that.Farooq
                                                     
                                                    March 11 leaves Muslim world in shock

                                                    By Farooq Sulehria

                                                    Shock, sympathy for the victims and sorrow. This has been the general
                                                    reaction in Muslim world to Madrid tragedy. The reaction to March 11 was
                                                    different than that of September 11.

                                                    Following the September 11 attacks, there were public celebrations in
                                                    Latin America. The CNN, ignoring Latin America, deemed it fit to air a
                                                    film showing Palestinians congratulating and cheering. The film later on
                                                    proved fake. Though there were no public festivities in the Muslim world
                                                    yet a sense of triumphalism prevailed supreme. Farooq Tariq, secretary
                                                    Labour Party Pakistan, sent a report that summed up the mood in Muslim
                                                    world. In his report ‘Six days after:How ordinary Pakistani feels?’
                                                    Farooq observed:

                                                    “I am writing this article from Toba Tek Singh, my home town, 300
                                                    kilometers away from Lahore, situated in the central Punjab. It is
                                                    mainly a peasant dominated area. In the Seventies, It was once a hub of
                                                    peasant movement led by the Stalinist Left. On 23rd march 1970, over
                                                    500,000 attended a peasant conference in the town.

                                                    “Now the town is in the grip of religious fundamentalists. On the main
                                                    center of the town, we see the paintings of the ‘martyrs’ (those youth
                                                    who have been killed during the ‘holy’ war of Kashmir in last few
                                                    years). Many religious madrasas (schools) can be found at every street
                                                    corner.

                                                    “I was in Lahore for four days after the Tuesday terrorist attack on
                                                    American cities. At Lahore, the mood among many workers and ordinary
                                                    citizens were of joy and happiness that the Americans have been taught
                                                    the lessons at last.

                                                    “But there was also a sympathy for those been killed in the terrorist
                                                    attack. It was not a mood of fanaticism of all out support for the
                                                    religious fundamentalist.

                                                    “But at Toba Tek Singh, the mood was of fanaticism. As I arrived here
                                                    after six hours of driving from Lahore to see my aging father, I was
                                                    bombarded with questions by him.

                                                    “When I condemned the attacks and also told what could happen to the
                                                    Talban government in future, and that the act has endangered the lives
                                                    of the Muslims across the globe, he was untouched and told me that you
                                                    could be the only one talking this in the town

                                                    “One villager told me that the incident of America is like this that if
                                                    a peasant gets up in a village and fight against the feudal lord with no
                                                    weapons. No one in the village ever thought of fighting against the
                                                    feudal before. Then this peasant win the fight, the whole village
                                                    peasants will be very happy. So is America, a big feudal lord of the
                                                    world who have lost the fight at the hands of some one without any
                                                    resources, we must celebrate. Whenever I raised the issue of innocent
                                                    American loosing the lives, the normal reaction was, yes we sympathies,
                                                    but what about those millions of Palestinians, Sudanese, Vietnamese and
                                                    others who have lost the lives at their hand. Who support Israel? is
                                                    another questions raised immediately by every one.”

                                                    (Full report is available at www.laborpakistan.org)


                                                    The colonial history, the imperialist exploitation, the US role in
                                                    destroying democratic and popular movements in Muslim world, all that
                                                    have contributed to a complicated consciousness towards West in the
                                                    Muslim world. This has got even complicated in post-Cold War period.

                                                    The French opposition to US war plans in Iraq, made Chirac the most
                                                    popular personality in the Muslim world. The historic demonstrations on
                                                    Feb 15 still are fresh in mass mind across Muslim world.

                                                    This has helped Muslim masses see the difference between the governments
                                                    in different countries. Also, the large peace demonstrations in London
                                                    have driven home the fact that it is Blair that supports Bush plans and
                                                    not the British masses.

                                                    Al-Qaida by claiming, or by executing if that is the case, Madrid
                                                    bombings has isolated itself, it seems. These terrorist groups, no
                                                    matter how popular the act of September 11 was, are not the sole
                                                    representatives of the Muslim world. On the contrary, in most of the
                                                    Muslim countries such groups will find themselves pretty isolated.

                                                    This is how some of the newspapers from Muslim world have reacted to the
                                                    Madrid bombing:

                                                    “Seen against the background of the US-led war on terror in the
                                                    aftermath of 9/11, ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems to have become the bugbear
                                                    of some western governments and sections of the media. However, as the
                                                    Spanish tragedy shows, it would be folly to discover the hand of
                                                    Islamists behind every act of terrorism.” – Pakistan's Dawn

                                                    “A mass demonstration was staged in the streets of Madrid in protest
                                                    against these attacks. However, it reflected the resentment against the
                                                    Spanish government's policy in supporting the war on Iraq... It is hoped
                                                    that the Madrid bombings will open the eyes of the coalition, led by the
                                                    US... so that it can look into its mistakes and find a way to rectify
                                                    them.” -- London Al-Quds Al-Arabi

                                                    “Terrorist acts everywhere, the latest being two days ago in Spain,
                                                    prove that containment, not confrontation, will stop bloodshed in this
                                                    world... the crazy policies being applied in many places world wide
                                                    bring more losses, destruction and disaster.” -- Saudi Arabia’s Ukaz

                                                    “Whether the bombings were carried out by ETA or al-Qaeda, the reality
                                                    is that terrorism today is a deadly threat to all human beings...” --
                                                    Egypt's Al-Ahram


                                                    Unlike Feb 15, March 20 witnessed an increased activity of anti war demonstrators. In Pkaista, there wer protests in 63 town, though small in number.Bengla Desh's capital Daaca  and Egyptian capital Cairo also had demonstrations with few thousand participating.
                                                     
                                                    The phenomenon of fundamentalism will not go on forever. It will see its downfall but not until there is an alterative, a radical anti imperialist alternative.
                                                    "Pip, Peter & Zoe" <ppz@...> wrote:


                                                    farooq sulehria wrote:

                                                    > Also, one importnat thing was: the reaction in Muslim world to Madrid
                                                    > was different from S 11. If comrades here are interested , I can post
                                                    > a small piece I wrote on that.This time, there were no 'celebrations'
                                                    > instead it was sympathy for victims.

                                                    I'd be interested.

                                                    Peter



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