Re: NSW Council election results (and Bob's geography)
- DSP leadership drops Marxist analysis in preferencing Clover Moore
By Bob Gould
Ben Reid adopts a slightly calmer tone than usual towards my recent
contributions on the local government elections in NSW, but he can't
resist the abusive assertion at the end of his piece:
"For all his baleful insinuations about how nasty and authoritarian
the DSP and the ISO are and how all the members are zombies etc etc,
it is Bob who is the one meekly still follows his party's leadership
(and the class interests it serves?) (sic).
"The machinations of power in the ALP - for all the formal "freedoms"
its members have - are 100 times worse than the worst excesses of any
Leninist party. The worst form of how this power operates is how
activists within inevitably internalise its values."
Dr Reid has a real talent for insulting slander. He spelt my name
right, but everything else in these rather revealing paragraphs is
I hold a Labor Party ticket and I work for the ALP in elections,
which is part of the political arrangement if you hold a Labor Party
ticket. I've spent a large part of my political life fighting against
right-wing policies of assorted Labor leaderships, right and left
(while supporting progressive actions of these leaderships), as Dr
Reid well knows.
My assorted agitations on socialist issues within and without the
Labor Party are on the public record for the past 50 years. In
working for the election of Labor governments I'm like many other
socialists who choose to conduct their struggles, at the political
level, partly within the ALP; people such as Martin Kingham, Michelle
O'Neil, Harry Quick, Carmen Lawrence and many others.
I'm small potatoes in that company, but I've been doing what I do for
a very long time, and it doesn't include internalising adaptation to
Labor leaderships. It's fair to say this also applies to most of the
6000-7000 people who voted for Carmen Lawrence in last year's ALP
federal leadership ballot.
The decision of the DSP and ISO leaderships to pressure the members
of the Sydney branch of the Socialist Alliance to reverse their
original decision, and preference Clover Moore over Labor, has a very
right-wing aspect because more than half the Labor candidates in
winnable positions on the Labor ticket were left-wingers, and the two
women have been vocal on the left in the ALP on the two major
questions of significance in recent times: the Iraq war and refugee
It has just been announced today that the final wash-up in the Sydney
Council is four Clover Moore candidates, three Labor, one Greens and
one Liberal. Two of the three Labor councilors, Verity Firth and Tony
Pooley, are on the left of the ALP. The last elected Clover Moore
candidate and Tony Pooley beat the second Green for the last two
positions, and it's not unreasonable to point out that a too-
uncritical attitude to Clover Moore may have contributed to the
fourth Moore candidate beating the second Green, which is unfortunate.
Even on the point that Dr Reid chooses to make primary: his
proposition that the program of the Clover Moore Community
Independents was to the left of the Labor program, he's wrong.
The local Laborites, mainly from the old South Sydney council area,
are considerably more left wing, on municipal, state and federal
issues, than Clover Moore's team. In addition to that, internally in
the ALP, even while it's considerably reduced on the past, there is
considerable argument and debate on policy.
The combination of a generally leftist ALP membership in the inner-
city, and the institutional influence of the trade unions,
contributes to making the stance of the ALP in the inner city
considerably more left wing than that of the Clover Moore group.
The conservative, populist electoral machine that surrounds Clover
Moore is in no sense a membership organisation, in which anybody
outside people hand-picked by the charismatic leaders has any input.
The idea that socialists or left-wingers can have much input into
Clover Moore's machine is delusional.
Pressure from the residents, and electoral considerations, will
possibly keep the Clover Moore councillors honest on matters of
overdevelopment, but that's about as far as it goes. The problem of
outsourcing council services is ongoing because of the conservative
social base of the Moore group, which has no inbuilt input from
unions, for instance, to exert pressure Clover Moore on the
Dr Reid is talking sociological rubbish when he says the Community
Independents are part of the "labour aristocracy": both the vote, as
I've demonstrated despite Reid's so-whats, and the team of activists
around Clover Moore are located, sociologically, well up in the
stratosphere, above any considerations of "labour aristocracies".
This fact, and the fact that Dr Reid can repeatedly assert "so what"
about my careful sociological analysis of elections underlines the
voodoo, metaphysical, theological function of the Reid-Boyle
confusionism about "labour aristocracies". Their "labour aristocracy"
rhetoric only has a convoluted theological objective. They try to
prove, with little evidence, that the ALP political movement was a
direct product of their artificial, retrospectively constructed,
allegedly hegemonic "labour aristocracy" in the 19th century, and
that this alleged origin is still the major determining factor about
This crudification and falsification of Lenin is, for them, a kind of
voodoo. They're like Christians who've discovered a kind of original
sin of Laborism. When, however, they are confronted with any serious
sociological investigation and analysis of current politics, they
drop this aspect, muttering out of the side of their mouths that, of
course, the "labour aristocracy" theory only applies to the origins
of Laborism, and the current sociology of social movements is
unimportant. All that matters is the "trajectory of movement".
Dr Reid asserts this in the crudest way possible. For him, in this
post, who blue collar workers support is unimportant. The motor force
of social change is the Clover Moore forces down there in Elizabeth
Bay. He actually says this, indirectly. That approach is a very
considerable distance from any class-based Marxism.
Peter Boyle is right on one thing: this kind of question is going to
come up again, and possibly in other states. The DSP leadership,
Peter Boyle and Dr Reid have an explicit perspective of permanent
exposure of Laborism, which is in their cosmology the second party of
To that end, they will support almost anyone who isn't a Laborite or
a Liberal if they can possibly rustle up some half-baked argument for
Reid and I obviously move in totally different worlds. He says he
knows no activists who don't loathe the Laborites. Well, I meet a
wide range of people on the left side of Australian society -- all
kinds of people. At the moment, possibly a majority of these people
generally support the Greens as a first preference, although a lot
Nevertheless, even the most cursory conversation with anyone on the
left side of society reveals their main preoccupation at the moment
is getting rid of the Howard Government. Almost everyone on the left,
other than the obsessed DSP leadership, takes the view that getting
rid of Howard involves the exchange of electoral preferences between
Labor and the Greens, and hopes for an outcome that involves the
election of a Latham Labor government combined with dramatically
increased representation for the Greens in the Senate.
From this very concrete circumstance flows the need for a strategic
united front around the slogan: "throw out Howard". As well as being
wrong in principle, preferencing the conservative populist Clover
Moore cuts sharply across this strategic necessity of ousting Howard.
Everyone on the left I know, other than the DSP leadership
obsessives, including a large number of Greens, are enthusiastic and
encouraged by the vigorous way Latham and the other Laborites have
stood up to the Howard and media barrage, and asserted that Labor
would stand by its policy of withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq.
The only exception to that on the left, that I'm aware of, is the
extraordinary Peter Boyle, who yapped along at Howard's heels on
Monday, enthusiastically quoting the Lateline bloke who thought he'd
discovered a chink in Latham's armour when questioning Labor's
foreign affairs spokesman, Rudd.
The main political drama this week has been Latham confronting Howard
on Iraq and all Boyle can do is join the conservative attacking
Latham on this question. Some Marxist!
The DSP leadership is so obsessed with its false construct about
the "two capitalist parties" that it can't see the wood for the trees
in labour movement and working-class mass politics.
The dismal result for the Socialist Alliance candidates in the NSW
local government elections underlines the total bankruptcy of the DSP
leadership's false political perspective, which was expressed so
clearly in the perspectives document adopted by the last DSP
conference. The DSP leadership has a perspective of building, in the
medium term, an alternative electoral organisation to labour and the
Despite the crisis of leadership in the labour movement -- the ALP-
trade-union continuum -- and in the major leftist electoral formation
in Australian society, the Green electoral party, building an
alternative electoral formation in the way the DSP leadership, Boyle
and Reid sketch out is obviously impossible in the short or medium
Despite all the spin Boyle and Reid try to put on political events,
the crisis of leadership for the foreseeable future will proceed
through political differentiation within Laborism and within the
Greens. Marxists with any kind of realism are forced by the weight of
these objective circumstances to have an orientation to these two
It's from this set of objective circumstances that the united front
slogan necessarily flows. Even small groups of Marxists who choose to
orient themselves to these two mass currents, without adapting to the
weaknesses of their leaderships, have the prospect of getting a mass
Sectarian Marxists who spend all their time abusing these mass
formations can't see the wood for the trees, and condemn themselves
Reid also makes the obviously false proposition that the DSP is
infinitely more democratic than the creaking mass Social Democracy.
If you believe that, you believe in fairies.
The Zinovievist structure of the DSP has produced the situation that
several DSP leaders say privately they disagree with preferencing
Moore but they don't open their mouths publicly on the question,
either on the GLW discussion list or in the Socialist Alliance
People rarely get booted out of the ALP for standing up doggedly
against leaders on political questions (although they sometimes do
get thrown out) but it's clearly the case that those in the DSP who
disagree with preferencing Clover Moore prefer to shut up rather than
test the discipline of the DSP about any sort of public disagreement.
I repeat my challenge to Boyle, Dr Reid, or anyone else from the DSP:
why not have a public debate on this question of preferencing Moore
and the associated question of strategy for socialists in the coming
federal elections? I'm willing to debate Peter Boyle and Dr Reid on
these matters in any forum that they choose.
PS. I'm waiting with bated breath for a serious analysis from Dr
Reid, who one presumes knows something about sociology, and Peter
Boyle, of what actually happened in the NSW local government
elections. What social forces voted for which parties, and
particularly an analysis of the vote of the Socialist Alliance.
1. There has been public debate on this list.
2. There has been reasonable level of "sociological" discussion
about the social bases of Moore and the ALP.
4. Your argument equating Marxism with the position that because
a "large portion of blue collar workers still support labor so
should we" is absurd. No one is disputing your numbers: we just
disagree with where the tactical emphasis of socialist should be.
3. Your laughable defence of the ALP as super democratic in
comprarison to the DSP clearly contradicts your earlier assertion
that you are just a small player fighting the bureacracy in a big
soup: such assertion are hyper-internalisations of the fake
democracy of the ALP.
They speak volumes about the basis of so much of your ramblings
about "Leninism" that stem from the pre 1914 model of social
democracy. Honestly just look at the way ALP decisions get rammed
down the throat of rank and file members!
Give us a break Bob
(BTW I wonder what Dr Karl Marx would have made of your idiotic
baiting of me?)
--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "ozleft" <ozleft@y...>
> DSP leadership drops Marxist analysis in preferencing Clover Moorerecent
> By Bob Gould
> Ben Reid adopts a slightly calmer tone than usual towards my
> contributions on the local government elections in NSW, but hecan't
> resist the abusive assertion at the end of his piece:authoritarian
> "For all his baleful insinuations about how nasty and
> the DSP and the ISO are and how all the members are zombies etcetc,
> it is Bob who is the one meekly still follows his party'sleadership
> (and the class interests it serves?) (sic).formal "freedoms"
> "The machinations of power in the ALP - for all the
> its members have - are 100 times worse than the worst excesses ofany
> Leninist party. The worst form of how this power operates is how
> activists within inevitably internalise its values."
- --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "ozleft" <ozleft@y...>
> The decision of the DSP and ISO leaderships to pressure the membersbob, the builder, or fabricator of lies... you totally get it upside
> of the Sydney branch of the Socialist Alliance to reverse their
> original decision, and preference Clover Moore over Labor [..]
down: we always had almost anonymously decided to put clover moore's
independents ahead of the forced-almagamations-and-other-forced-
agendas-NSW-ALP. noone pressured us to reverse... yeah what? quite
the opposite, i got dragged into discussions about rethinking our
crystal-clear decision to de-preference the NSW ALP machine, which by
the way, preferenced all conservatives except the liberal (who
preferenced the ALP, ha!). the leichhardt ALP directly preferenced
the liberals. doesn't that speak VOLUMES, Bob??? they rightly got
punished, ie their former voters must have preferred clover moore,
too, don't you think so, bob?
your whole "argumentation" is based on these 100% wrong "facts".
it's really useless to get further bothered by this... rubbish!
in socialism, Nobby (SA Sydney Central branch committee).
- By Bob Gould
Nobby Tobby accuses me of being a "fabricator of lies". Wow. I don't
much like being accused of lying by someone who shelters behind a
pseudonym but then half identifies himself as a member of the Sydney
branch executive committee of the Socialist Alliance.
As a matter of broad political policy, I don't lie about political
events and matters of fact, or anything else for that matter. I
sometimes get things wrong, but I don't lie. Nobby Tobby's weird,
unpleasant and convoluted post confirms me in my view that I didn't
get anything wrong about the sequence of events in the Sydney
Socialist Alliance branch.
In his very strange post, Nobby Tobby says a decision had been
made "anonymously" to preference Clover Moore over the Laborites. It
must have been very "anonymous", because my informants told me there
was a meeting of the Sydney branch of the Alliance at which, in
particular, two members of the ISO spoke strongly in favour of
preferencing Labor over Clover Moore and that the understanding at
the end of that meeting was that preferencing Labor was the position
of the Sydney branch of the Alliance.
My further understanding is that there was then a caucus of the ISO,
at which the ISO leaders persuaded a majority to support preferencing
Clover Moore. After that, one of the ISO people who originally
support preferencing Labor, but not both, changed their position.
Another meeting of the Sydney branch of the Alliance was then held,
which decided to preference Clover Moore, with the ISO member who
still favoured preferencing Labor, dissenting.
The story gets even more complicated and obscure in this way: at the
relatively successful antiwar rally two weeks ago, several leading
members of the DSP said to me in private conversation that they
opposed the decision to preference Moore.
Even Peter Boyle, in discussion, said he had initially favoured
preferencing Labor but the trajectory of movement now persuaded him
the correct decision was to preference Moore.
Nobby Tobby now says it was all unanimous (or "anonymous") all
through, and he accuses me, in this spirit, of being a "fabricator of
Brother Nobby Tobby seems to be a pretty nasty piece of work,
throwing around accusations of fabrication and lying far too easily.
If he believes I got it wrong, the obvious way to make his case is to
give a frank and honest account of the sequence of events and the
alternative lines of argument in the Alliance, the DSP and the ISO.
Obviously, Zinovievist organisational arrangements don't allow him to
engage in a frank discussion of the events, so he falls back on
crude, offensive and inaccurate accusations that I'm lying. If I've
got it so wrong, tell us the actual sequence of events that supports
your argument, Nobby Tobby.
- ozleft wrote:
>By Bob GouldSo how is 'sheltering behind a pseudonym' relevant? If you're not
>Nobby Tobby accuses me of being a "fabricator of lies". Wow. I don't
>much like being accused of lying by someone who shelters behind a
>pseudonym but then half identifies himself as a member of the Sydney
>branch executive committee of the Socialist Alliance.
planning to sue your accusor, or engage in a duel at dawn, then it
doesn't matter who it is, as long as its a consistent identity, which it
You clearly do not enjoy being called a 'fabricator of lies'. Would it
be more correct to say that you are not averse to making something up,
if you don't know the real story?
>Obviously, Zinovievist organisational arrangements don't allow him to'If i've got it wrong'.... also known as 'if I've just *made something
>engage in a frank discussion of the events, so he falls back on
>crude, offensive and inaccurate accusations that I'm lying. If I've
>got it so wrong, tell us the actual sequence of events that supports
>your argument, Nobby Tobby.
up*, for purposes of provocation, then the onus is on you to correct
me,' (but calling me a liar is out of line).
I can make whatever outlandish statements I like on the basis of nothing
but my own deeply held prejudices, and its not a lie, its an 'educated'
guess... And its their fault anyway for not giving me all the details
of their internal discussions (can't imagine why...).
LPO Box 8274 ANU Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
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- By Ed Lewis
Ambrose Andrews wrote:
>>I can make whatever outlandish statements I like on the basis ofnothing but my own deeply held prejudices, and its not a lie, its
an 'educated' guess... And its their fault anyway for not giving me
all the details of their internal discussions (can't imagine
The problem, for you Ambrose, is that Bob Gould's statements don't
appear to be outlandish at all. In fact, his intelligence sources
seem to be pretty good, including leading members of the DSP.
There's no need for Mr Tobby, Peter Boyle or others to give "all the
details", since they're pretty much out in the open in an
organisation like the Socialist Alliance, despite Zinovievist
attempts to keep it all under wraps.
A question for Mr Tobby: how can a contested decision be "anonymous"
(presumably you mean unanimous)?
Perhaps it time you got of your high horse and stop obsessing about the DSP and Socialist Alliance.
Firstly, Nobby is his actual name - it is diminutive of his actual name and yes it the name everyone knows him by in both the DSP and Socialist Alliance but even if it wasn't so what? (I understand Ed Lewis is a non de plume for Stever Painter - if I am wrong then apologies to Steve and Ed, but if it so what, who cares really, just as so what if someone wants to use a psuedonym when challenge Bob's version of the world).
Secondly, English is not Nobby's first language (and like many people who come from a NESB back ground, no matter how good their english is, they still sometimes get words mixed up). I am guessing he meant to say unanimously rather then anonymously.
Thirdly, perhaps you should remember the old adage that "people in glass houses should not throw stones". You seem to delight in casting around names, half truths, unsubstantiated allegations and suppositions (in my previous life as an academic, if any of my students did this in an essay, I would have failed them outright!!!) but should anyone challenge you then suddenly you�re the wounded one.
If anyone is obsessed about an organisation, Bob it is you. You are obsessed about the DSP (and now by default the Socialist Alliance) and your obsessiveness is leading to you to come up with bizarre conspiracy theories to fit your agenda. According to a previous post, supposedly DSP and ISO leaderships pressured the comrades in the SA central branch into preferencing Clover Moore over Labor.
Now if the ISO had a caucus of their own comrades to decide what position they wanted to take into the meeting, well then that is entirely their right. However, this does not mean that they somehow pressured non-aligned comrades into voting for Clover Moore, all it means is that they simply put their position up for discussion in the branch meeting, where it would have been discussed and then democratically voted on.
I also find it the height of pure arrogance that you feel that some how you can place demands on both the DSP and the SA about our internal discussion and somehow we should all jump to attention and do what you demand. I have no problem with us discussing you theory about zinovisim and other such stuff but to demand that a SA branch lay out its inner workings regarding a discussion which took place democratically in a branch meeting and which was democratically voted on its beyond the pale.
You demand that a public debate take place about a democratic discussion and vote in a particular branch, but Bob, I am yet to see or hear you make the same demands about your own party, the ALP. I am yet to see you demand that the ALP and its membership have a public debate on their rotten sectarian and opportunist position to preference the Liberals in Leichhardt
Now, perhaps when you jump up and down about numerous betrayals of class by your supposed working class party, the ALP, in the same manner you jump and down about anything the SA or DSP does that does not fit with you little schemas, then perhaps members of the DSP and SA might feel compelled to answer your every demand, but until that happens, why the hell should we?
The long and short of it, however, Bob, is I do not ever recall voting in a DSP meeting or a SA meeting on a motion that says we have to either run everything we do past you or that we are ulitmately answerable to you. Until we do, I feel absolutely under no obligation to answer to you, as I am sure is the case with many of our other members of the DSP or the SA.
Secondly, the reason, why most comrades can not be bothered having a debate with you has nothing to do with supposed authoritarianism, its because they are either to busy and judge that they have better things to do with their time and/or just can�t plain be bothered answering windbaggery every two minutes.
I could say more, but I have already wasted 20 minutes of my time which I will never get back but Bob, humility is a great thing and perhaps you should actually learn some occassionally and accept that you are not god, you are not always right and that we all do not have to answer to you.
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- To start with, i am a bit pissed off at the nature of
As Bob often does, he has taken a few anecdotes and
extrapolated way too far.
And as usual, certain people reply to what I see as
Bob's timeless application of somewhat sound theory (i
obviosly disagree with much, but not all, of what he
say;s) with equally timeless and sectarian
denunciations of labor.
Am I wrong in thinking no one is really engaging with
the theoretical questions at hand ?
First to clear up a few facts.
I was initially against the preferencing of Moore over
The reasons for this initial position was based on our
future audience. People who vote Labor or who are in
the party are more likely to end up in the Socialist
Alliance than those in Moore's camp.
This still, in my mind, was a very good reason for
considering the preference in Lees.
On the other hand, it could be argued that the key
campaigns we were involved in had better chance of
getting a reception under a Moore mayoralship.
It could also be argued that the ALP needed to be
punished for its recent shenanigans.
Furthermore, whilst Moore was set to get a better vote
in richer areas, there was a degree of anecdotal
evidence that she would pick up significant votes in
depressed areas on a left wing basis.
For example, while leafleting in redfern a group of
older pensioners in the large public housing estates
all said that they were voting for Moore because she
listened to them and because she would defend public
housing from the developers.
Now, the ALP did do better than Moore in these areas,
but even in south redfern and Waterloo Moore got alot
of votes- near or over 35% of the primary vote (more
than the 25% that Bob thought she would get).
Clearly, the decision was not an easy one to make.
Those who seem to fall too easily on one side seem to
me to be not engaging with the issues.
Anyway, back to the facts.
The first meeting of the Alliance to decide on the
topic voted overwhelmingly to preference Moore.
I argued against this proposal, arguing for an SA,
Greens, then ALP preference run.
The meeting did, however, empower the branch executive
to be able to revisit the question on the grounds of
new evidence- for example, if we found out that Moore
had some anti-union plan up her sleeve.
After the meeting, i discussed the issue with a number
of people, including in the DSP.
At this stage, I was still very hard in favour of the
ALP ocer Moore.
By the time of the next executive meeting, some people
had swung closer to my position.
We discussed the issues, amd decided to get more
evidence about Moore. To this end Susan Price
contacted Moore and the ASU to discuss the issues.
As the issue was now quite a contentious one, and as a
member of the ISO, I raised this issue with other
members of the Newtown branch of the ISO, to try and
get a better feel for the issue. I have also talked to
people in the ALP and even Jack Mundey about the issue
(who is hard in favour of Moore.)
At that meeting of the ISO, there was a strong view in
favour of preferencing Moore over the ALP.
I am a comitted member of the ISO, and respect other
members ideas and views. By the end of that meeting, i
still thought we needed better discussion, and was not
clear either way- however, i was not going to advocate
a position which was contrary to the ISO caucus.
At the next Alliance meeting, we discussed the issue,
where most people advocated preferencing Moore.
This was on the basis of evidence that Moore had
supported unions against Carr's attack on workers
compensation, was against contracting out services and
supported the last teachers pay claim.
One ISO member, who was not at the previouse ISO
meeting, strongly opposed the majority decision.
I abstained, as i felt the ISO needed to have a better
discussion of the issue before we made a formal
I stand by the Alliance's decision. Some time down the
track we may think it was the wrong thing to do,
maybey not- but we were operating on a limited time
frame and had to make a decision.
I do think we need to discuss this issue further, but
to be honest, the current debate has been
characterised by too much misinformation, too many
attempts to create scandals and too much defenciveness
So Bob, argue your case, but give up on trying to look
for "Zinoviest conspiracies"
And everyone else, give up the timeless "denounce the
ALP" and engage with the issues.
Lastly, to put my case on class- I think it is still
right to see the ALP as a capitalist workers party-
By this, I mean that it attempts to make workers lives
a little better under capitalism, and to this end
But it is also a party of the class, in that most
workers still vote ALP.
If we want to build a party of socialist workers, the
socialists (i.e. us) need to be in some way with those
workers in order to relate to them.
Not tailing them, but also not a million miles away
from them either.
So when the workers cheer Latham's victory, we cheer
to, but we also need to criticise the ALP and point to
a better alternative.
Now, with this theory, we should be looking at how
workers, particularily the most advanced sections,
view Moore's victory.
If they think it is a step backwards, then maybe we
did do the wrong thing.
The proof will really be in the pudding though.
After a full term of Moore's mayoralship, lets see
what she has done and how those same workers view her.
Comradely, Kieran Latty.
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- Have a read of this on how to relate to the mainstream
Don't duck the politics
Alex Callinicos draws lessons from the far left's
performance in France's regional elections
THE HEADLINE news in France's regional elections was
that there was a big swing away from the ruling right
to the parties of the "plural left"-the Socialists,
Communists, and Greens. But, for the revolutionary
left, the story was a different one.
The coalition of Lutte Ouvriere (LO) and the Ligue
Communiste Revolutionnaire (LCR) won 4.95 percent of
the vote in the first round of the elections the
weekend before last. This was too low a vote for the
slate to go into the second round last Sunday. It's
important to get this in proportion. As a share of the
national vote, 5 percent isn't bad for open
But two years ago, in the first round of the last
presidential elections, the far left candidates won 10
percent. Arlette Laguiller of LO and Olivier
Besancenot of the LCR each won a higher share of the
vote than the candidate of the Communist Party (PCF).
This was a historic result given how the PCF has
dominated the organised working class in France since
the 1930s. This time, however, the PCF won 7.6 percent
of the vote. Yet France last May and June was swept by
a massive strike wave against the government's attack
on pensions. LCR and LO militants played a leading
role in the strikes.
The reformist left seems to be benefiting from popular
bitterness against the right. Of course, parliamentary
elections aren't revolutionaries' natural terrain.
Activists can lead mass movements but find themselves
cut down to size on polling day.
Moreover, in April 2002 the official left were in
government, implementing neo-liberal policies. The far
left-and the Nazi National Front-were able to give a
voice to the resulting disillusionment. But, once out
of office, the Socialist Party and the PCF have been
able to rebuild a degree of credibility. There is an
important lesson here.
LO and, to a lesser extent, the LCR tend to portray
the official left as no different from the right. They
did not call on their voters to switch to the
Socialists and Communists in the second round of the
elections. This stance reflects a failure to recognise
the enduring hold of reformism on the workers'
Even a party as corrupt and discredited as the French
Socialists can, by tacking left rhetorically, act as a
vehicle for working class discontent. By putting the
parties of the plural left in the same bag as the
ruling right, LO and the LCR may have isolated
themselves from voters traditionally loyal to the
Communists or Socialists. Moreover, the far left
campaign focused almost exclusively on economic issues
and more particularly the high level of unemployment.
Of course, unemployment is hugely important, but
revolutionary candidates have to address political
questions as well.
Opposition to corporate globalisation, imperialism,
and war brought huge numbers of young people to the
anti-capitalist festival at Larzac last August and the
European Social Forum in Paris in November. There are
also less positive issues.
President Jacques Chirac and his prime minister,
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, drove through, with the support
of the plural left, the notorious law banning Muslim
young women from wearing headscarves in state schools.
Seethes Scandalously, LO has supported expelling
Muslim school students for wearing headscarves. The
LCR is split.
Chirac has used the issue to divide the far left and
push them onto the defensive. As a result, they have
cut themselves off from the largest Muslim population
in Europe, which seethes with anger over official
racism and the "war on terrorism".
I don't make these criticisms with any enthusiasm, for
two reasons. First, some of them are also being made
by a right wing minority within the LCR. They oppose
building a revolutionary alternative to the official
left. Instead of a slate with LO, this minority wanted
to cosy up with fragments of the reformist parties.
Even before the first round had taken place, they
started a media campaign calling on the LCR to support
the plural left in the second round. There is a real
danger that the Ligue will now implode into
faction-fighting. Secondly, I can't avoid a feeling of
"There but for the grace of god go us." In June
Respect will face its own great test in the European
and Greater London elections.
But to succeed we need to learn from others'
successes-and failures. The main morals I draw from
the French regional elections are not to underestimate
reformism and not to duck the great political
questions of the day.
* Alex Callinicos is the author of The New Mandarins
of American Power (£13.99) and The Revolutionary Ideas
of Karl Marx
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- By Ed Lewis
Kim Bullimore may be correct -- or not -- about my name. She is
correct that Ed Lewis is a pseudonym.
I use a pseudonym because I have a job in the private sector. I'd
prefer that my real name not be picked up by my employer, or possible
future employers, in a Google search. This may not be such a problem
for people working in universities or the public service, but I don't
Who I am is no mystery to many members of this list, nor is it
intended to be.
This is not the first time I've been outed on this list. As far as I
can remember, no members of the DSP have been treated in this way.
Could that be because non-DSP participants in this list are a bit
more principled, sensible and respectful about their methods of
I'd appreciate it if you and others would respect my right to use a
- Thanks Kieran, for clearing the air a bit, by attempting to give a more or
less comprehensive account of the sequence of events in the Sydney Branch of
the Socialist Alliance. I accept your account of events, and will correct
any future comment I make on this issue accordingly, using your account of
the events as the definitive one in the absence of anyone else's account of
the events being as complete and comprehensive as your own. Quite obviously
Nobby's account is completely incorrect, by way of omission.
I'd still make the following couple of points. Jack Mundey is a courageous
fighter on pretty well all class questions and also on many environmental
matters. His opinions, however, on such matters as preferencing Moore,
however, shouldn't be taken as the last word. Over a very long period of
time, Jack has had a very soft spot for Clover Moore, based on common
environmental interests, and he doesn't give as much weight as I would, to
the very concrete fact that she kept the Greiner Government in power for a
number of years with her vote. On the question of outsourcing, Moore has
refused to make any direct statement against outsourcing. You say that
someone consulted the ASU, but you didn't tell us what response they got
from the ASU (MEU). All officials I have spoken to from the ASU (MEU) were
strongly in favor of preferencing Lee over Moore, because of Moore's refusal
to be explicit about the outsourcing issue.
When I spoke to DSP members and leaders at the antiwar demonstration two
weeks ago, they were very anxious to point the bone at the ISO as the source
of preferencing Clover Moore, and several significant DSPers said to me and
others privately that they were opposed to preferencing Moore over Lee,
which is why I raise the question of what I call Zinovievism. There is
obviously, from your account of events, argument in both the DSP and the ISO
on the question. But both groups are obviously bound, in reality, in the
Socialist Alliance by the decision made by the leadership of the groups.
This gives the decision to preference Clover Moore unstoppable weight inside
the Socialist Alliance once the leadership of each group has pronounced in
favor. This situation seems to me an almost classic example of Zinovievist
arrangements in small socialist groups.
Gould's Book Arcade
32 King St, Newtown, NSW
- ozleft [Ed Lewis] wrote:
>I use a pseudonym because I have a job in the private sector. I'dThats quite reasonable. Under most circumstances, I am not in favour of
>prefer that my real name not be picked up by my employer, or possible
>future employers, in a Google search. This may not be such a problem
>for people working in universities or the public service, but I don't
'outing' list members. (including current circumstances). It is an
issue of democratic rights, as Ed has pointed out. It's also an issue
of a mode of discussion. If someone on the list exhibits lunacy in their
arguments, then that will become obvious to list members over a period
of time, whether or not the person in question has a prior history of
lunacy in another context.
It also tends to distract from the actual debate. Bob (why am i always
going on about Bob?) can hardly resist putting a little potted bio, or
speculative comment about a list contributor before addressing their
comments, such as his odd characterisation of Carl Kenner as a 'DSP
supporter' on an occasion when it suited him. I mean it's not a big
deal, and its a matter of style, but it can be used to muddy the waters.
>This is not the first time I've been outed on this list. As far as II think this is a strange argument.
>can remember, no members of the DSP have been treated in this way.
>Could that be because non-DSP participants in this list are a bit
>more principled, sensible and respectful about their methods of
Bob Gould in his inimitable fashion, 'outed' Chris Kerr as being Peter
Boyle. The twist in that instance is that it wasn't technically
'outing' because it wasn't correct... it wasn't true. It was one of
Bob's ahhh... educated stabs in the dark.
In my view this 'principled, sensible and respectful' behaviour from a
non-DSP member doesn't accord with your musings.
Blanket characterisations of DSP members and non-DSP members as the two
fundamental categories of matter are unlikely to hold up against reality.
But yes, I agree with Ed apart from this little twist at the end.
LPO Box 8274 ANU Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
CE38 8B79 C0A7 DF4A 4F54 E352 2647 19A1 DB3B F823
- By Bob Gould
Ambrose Andrews wrote:
>>Bob Gould in his inimitable fashion, 'outed' Chris Kerr as beingPeter Boyle. The twist in that instance is that it wasn't
technically 'outing' because it wasn't correct... it wasn't true. It
was one of Bob's ahhh... educated stabs in the dark.>>
Ambrose Andrews alleges that I outed Chris Kerr on this list. As
comrade Ambrose ought to know, that's just not true. I've never outed
anyone on any list.
I did ask some pointed questions about whether Dennis Berrell and
Michael Berrell were the same person, but I gathered that one of
those identities was the man's real name. Dennis Michael Berrell
clarified that to my satisfaction. It's hardly outing anyone to try
to keep track of their real name or dual personalities.
I didn't out Chris Kerr either. I genuinely thought, on the basis of
stylistic similarities in the rather lame satire used by Kerrvert and
Peter Boyle that Kerrvert was a pseudonym for Peter Boyle.
As a result of this confusion on my part, one of Chris Kerr's fellow
DSP members outed him, and I can hardly be blamed for that.
I've never outed anyone, I've just commented wryly a few times on the
barbed way people hiding behind pseudonyms have put the boot into me,
which is a reasonable response.
I hope Ambrose Andrews will withdraw the claim that I outed Chris
- --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "ozleft" <ozleft@y...>
> Nobby Tobby accuses me of being a "fabricator of lies". Wow.my apologies, bob, i didn't know that you have that bad sources
> I don't much like being accused of lying by someone who shelters
> behind a pseudonym but then half identifies himself as a member
> of the Sydney branch executive committee of the Socialist Alliance.
of information, resp. that lack of ability to put your pieces
together. so "liar" was a tiny little bit too much accusation.
as for the allged "pseudonym" - no it isn't, but for reasons
similar though different to ed lewis' i prefer to be just Nobby.
> Nobby Tobby's weird, unpleasant and convoluted post confirmsand in a later post you wrote
> me in my view that I didn't get anything wrong about the
> sequence of events in the Sydney Socialist Alliance branch.
> Quite obviously Nobby's account is completely incorrect,sigh... well, now that kieran "outed" himself - that's why it
> by way of omission.
was only ALMOST unanimous (and not anymous - although i made
jokes about others making this error, these two words are
phetically much too similar to not type in the wrong one, and
typing is something that you do without much concentration...).
(why do others conclude straight away, that i meant unanimous,
but not you, bob? i though you have an army of "informants" on
the ground ;-)
[note: they are just informants for you, not comrades?]
> there was a meeting of the Sydney branch of the Alliance atno. just one.
> which, in particular, two members of the ISO spoke strongly
> in favour of preferencing Labor over Clover Moore
> and that the understanding at the end of that meeting was thatso does your ALP branch discussions end with "understandings"?
> preferencing Labor was the position of the Sydney branch of the
we take votes - or at least straw polls. but then, democracy is
not one of your strengths...
AND YOU ARE DEAD WRONG ON THIS ONE. i told you so, a vote was
taken, and it was almost unanimously against the ALP machine,
reflecting the discussion.
> My further understanding is that there was then a caucus of theso what does an ISO meeting have to do with the SA branch?
> ISO, at which the ISO leaders persuaded a majority to support
> preferencing Clover Moore.
is this ISO meeting, of which you seem to have quite much
information about, your only proof of leadership pressure
to change <whose?> opinions in favour of clover moore, which
is where the opinions have been anyway?
> Another meeting of the Sydney branch of the Alliance was then held,not "still" - it was (from the accounts of this list) obviously
> which decided to preference Clover Moore, with the ISO member who
> still favoured preferencing Labor, dissenting.
her first meeting and discussion on this question. you are wrong
in almost every sentence of your account, bob, i hope you realise
that. did you say earlier on "completely incorrect" to my account?
well, i tell you: i was dead right, as i do check my facts before
posting them, and also, i was right in the heart of that decision-
making process, unlike you!
> Nobby Tobby now says it was all unanimous (or "anonymous") allwell, despite my apologies above, i have to flip back: you ARE
> through, and he accuses me, in this spirit, of being a "fabricator
> of lies".
quite obviously a B.liar: "unanimous (or "anonymous") all through"?
well, (1) so you did realise that i meant unanimous - now, i even
call you dishonest! and (2) i clearly said ALMOST unanimous, so
how comes you conclude "all through"? BOB, this is the way your
argumentations work: always deviate a little bit from the truth
to serve you own political interest and die-hard positions - and
that for decades...
> Brother Nobby Tobby seems to be a pretty nasty piece of work,thanks for that - doesn't bother me, if it comes from you.
i'm not your brother, i am a rank & file socialist, and you are
just a piece in the ALP machine, self-assigend to keep the left
flank (the real socialists) busy with your rantings...
not with me bob, my aim with this is, to once (and for all, when
it comes to me) reveal your methods, and i WILL leave you alone
with that. there's work to be done out there, in the real world.
as others have mentioned before: people prefer to not waste their
time with your crude pieces of mail.
> throwing around accusations of fabrication and lying far tooalright, this time i spent more time - read: made it harder for
me - before reconfirming my analysis.
> If he believes I got it wrong, the obvious way to make his case isto
> give a frank and honest account of the sequence of events and thecan't be bothered. (1) you got the accounts, and (2) i am not
> alternative lines of argument in the Alliance, the DSP and the ISO.
answerable to someone who is hostile to hard-working socialists.
ha! are you seriously demanding all the lines of argument in all
those 3 organisations? i am not even a member of ALL of them...
well, you will even get another one, and you can read it even
online later on - let's see if you know, where you can find the
appropriate source. a hint: it's part of SA's open democracy.
> Obviously, Zinovievist organisational arrangements don't allow himdead wrong again here, though not with the latter 3 words.
> to engage in a frank discussion of the events, so he falls back on
> crude, offensive and inaccurate accusations that I'm lying.
> But both groups are obviously bound, in reality, in the Socialist??? WE are the Sydney Central branch of SA, and WE are the ones,
> Alliance by the decision made by the leadership of the groups.
who analyse and discuss our local politics. this again is a classic
example of - you guessed it - DEMOCRACY!
and hard to comprehend for you, i know...
- ozleft wrote:
> By Bob GouldVery good. I absolve you.
> Ambrose Andrews wrote:
>>> Bob Gould in his inimitable fashion, 'outed' Chris Kerr as being
> Peter Boyle. The twist in that instance is that it wasn't technically
> 'outing' because it wasn't correct... it wasn't true. It was one of
> Bob's ahhh... educated stabs in the dark.>>
> Ambrose Andrews alleges that I outed Chris Kerr on this list. As
> comrade Ambrose ought to know, that's just not true. I've never outed
> anyone on any list.
> I did ask some pointed questions about whether Dennis Berrell and
> Michael Berrell were the same person, but I gathered that one of those
> identities was the man's real name. Dennis Michael Berrell clarified
> that to my satisfaction. It's hardly outing anyone to try to keep
> track of their real name or dual personalities.
> I didn't out Chris Kerr either. I genuinely thought, on the basis ofIndeed. This genuine belief turned out to have been a mistaken genuine
> stylistic similarities in the rather lame satire used by Kerrvert and
> Peter Boyle that Kerrvert was a pseudonym for Peter Boyle.
> As a result of this confusion on my part, one of Chris Kerr's fellowI don't think saying 'Chris Kerr is a real person' qualifies as outing.
> DSP members outed him, and I can hardly be blamed for that.
> I've never outed anyone, I've just commented wryly a few times on theNobby is not a pseudonym.
> barbed way people hiding behind pseudonyms have put the boot into me,
> which is a reasonable response.
> I hope Ambrose Andrews will withdraw the claim that I outed Chris Kerr.I hereby assert that you failed to 'out' Chris Kerr solely by virtue of
the fact that your genuine belief that he was a pseudonym for Peter
Boyle turned out to be a mistaken belief. Had your belief been
well-founded and correct, you would logically have outed him.
Owing to the fact that he was immune / un-outable / 'in', I can happily
assert that you are not guilty of outing Chris Kerr.
Release the prisoner!
LPO Box 8274 ANU Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
CE38 8B79 C0A7 DF4A 4F54 E352 2647 19A1 DB3B F823
The claim of Zinovievism is unfounded, particularily in this case.
There is no formal ISO position on the Moore issue.
Whilst we did discuss the issue, of those ISO members present, 2 voted for Moore, I Abstained.
Individual members were free, and did, express their views on this issue at the meeting of the Alliance.
They are also free to discuss these issues openly, as I have.
However, I do agree with the concept of democratic centralism- if we did have a full discussion and came to a formal decision I would expect other members of the ISO to abide by that decision.
They should still, of course, be allowed to raise disagreements with the aim of changing that position.
Now, i think there are exceptions to this rule.
If the ISO took a completely mad decision, I would have to consider arguing and voting against it openly.
I do not in any way think the Moore decision falls into that catagorie.
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