Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: The ALP is EVIL!!!

Expand Messages
  • dave_r_riley
    ... so! ... I suggest that Shane should attend to the question of history a bit more carefully before dismissing a claim such as this one. If Shane can name a
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 22, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "chen9692000"
      <s.hopkinson@c...> wrote:
      >> > War: Has the Labor party ever not supported a war? I don't think
      so!
      >
      > Come on, Carl. Even if you don't read Australian history as much you
      > should at least look over some of the discussion on the list. In WW1
      > the ALP split over the issue.

      I suggest that Shane should attend to the question of history a bit
      more carefully before dismissing a claim such as this one. If Shane
      can name a war that the ALP did not support in part or in whole or
      from the beginning of it -- I'll be duly humbled. To say it split
      over the issue says nothing at all relative to the claim. To say that
      it had reservations -- as in the case of Iraq -- doesn't qualify
      either --since by default it supported the war. Nor does Vietnam
      count as it had several different positions through the period of
      that conflict. Half hearted positions such as Whitlams' "withdraw to
      holding areas" is still support for the (Vietnam) war as is
      the "support our troops" line we were offered during this current
      invasion.

      As for the question primarily of conscription and WWI -- you need to
      note who was advocating the conscripting -- it wasn't a died in the
      wool Tory but a Labor man, a Labor "rat" -- Billy Hughes.

      The other tangent in Shane's supposition is that there is supposed to
      be something succinctly "un evil" in the ALP's nature that precludes
      it from supporting all imperialist wars. I'd like to know what that
      is. I've never found the ALP to be that way at all.

      I go elsewhere looking for my saints and don't expect to find it in
      the ALP.

      Is the ALP evil..? Well, the system it represents certainly is. You
      figure.

      dave riley
    • ozleft
      ... more carefully before dismissing a claim such as this one. If Shane can name a war that the ALP did not support in part or in whole or from the beginning
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 26, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        Dave Riley wrote:

        >>I suggest that Shane should attend to the question of history a bit
        more carefully before dismissing a claim such as this one. If Shane
        can name a war that the ALP did not support in part or in whole or
        from the beginning of it -- I'll be duly humbled. To say it split
        over the issue says nothing at all relative to the claim. To say that
        it had reservations -- as in the case of Iraq -- doesn't qualify
        either --since by default it supported the war. Nor does Vietnam
        count as it had several different positions through the period of that
        conflict. Half hearted positions such as Whitlams' "withdraw to
        holding areas" is still support for the (Vietnam) war as is the
        "support our troops" line we were offered during this current invasion.

        >>As for the question primarily of conscription and WWI -- you need to
        note who was advocating the conscripting -- it wasn't a died in the
        wool Tory but a Labor man, a Labor "rat" -- Billy Hughes.

        >>The other tangent in Shane's supposition is that there is supposed
        to be something succinctly "un evil" in the ALP's nature that
        precludes it from supporting all imperialist wars. I'd like to know
        what that is. I've never found the ALP to be that way at all.

        >>I go elsewhere looking for my saints and don't expect to find it in
        the ALP.

        >>Is the ALP evil..? Well, the system it represents certainly is. You
        figure.>>

        Politically speaking, Dave Riley asserts that black is white, the
        world is flat and the moon is made of green cheese

        By Bob Gould

        Responding to Carl Kenner's eccentric post carrying on about the Labor
        Party being "evil", Dave Riley has posted some opinions that are
        essentially as bizarre as Kenner's.

        Included in Riley's assorted historical falsifications is a barefaced
        distortion of the political events in Australia surrounding the Iraq war.

        Riley makes the extraordinary assertion that, in effect, Labor
        supported the Iraq war. The problem with this weird falsification is
        that everybody in Australia who reads this list is aware that the
        opposite is the case. At the time of the Iraq invasion last year,
        Labor voted unanimously in the federal parliament against sending
        troops to Iraq without UN authorisation, and stuck to that position.

        Just about every ALP member in the country, including many
        parliamentary politicians, state and federal, marched in the
        demonstrations against the war. The deputy premier of NSW and the
        current federal president of the ALP, Carmen Lawrence, were among the
        more prominent protesters.

        Since the election of the new federal leadership, Mark Latham, his
        deputy Jenny Macklin, Carmen Lawrence, and many other Labor
        politicians, have defiantly said they opposed sending the troops and
        the Australian troops will be withdrawn shortly after the election of
        a federal Labor government. Troops home by Christmas, as Latham puts it.

        It's true that the opposition of Labor to the war is couched in
        traditional Social Democratic lingo, what would you expect? But to
        assert, as Riley does in his eccentric way, that the ALP did not
        oppose the Iraq war is the kind of moralising sectarianism that
        contributes to the isolation of "Marxists" who talk like that.

        Riley insults Labor supporters who oppose the Iraq involvement. If he
        makes that kind of assertion to them face to fact, they're very likely
        to react to him as if he's a Martian for trying, in his arrogant way,
        to tell them what they really think. It's particularly insulting to
        many hundreds of Laborites who are resisting the chauvinism being
        whipped up in support of the Iraq war to be told by someone that
        they're not really opposed to the war because they don't formulate
        their opposition the same way he does.

        People normally react very badly to being accused of holding opinions
        opposite to the ones that they actually hold.

        The only people in Australia who don't believe that the Labor Party
        opposed, and still opposes, the Iraq war are a tiny minority of
        socialist sectarians such as Riley. Everyone else in the leftist half
        of Australian society -- the Labor supporters, the Greens supporters,
        the members of trade unions, etc -- know that what Riley is saying is
        wrong.

        All the opinion leaders on the right of Australian society know he's
        wrong too, because they're frantically whipping up as much hysteria as
        possible to attack Latham and Labor for allegedly "cutting and
        running" from the Iraq involvement.

        I'm writing this after Anzac Day, which this year has been the
        occasion for an even more than usually extraordinary media binge in
        which the bourgeois press have tried to use the commemoration of past
        wars to justify the Iraq involvement. Sunday's Telegraph, a Murdoch
        paper, had a long-winded, almost pleading editorial directed at Mark
        Latham, demanding peremptorily that he drop Labor's opposition to the
        Iraq involvement "in the national interest".

        Yesterday we had the repellent image of "the little digger", Prime
        Minister Howard, imitating Billy Hughes with a lightning visit to Iraq
        for the Anzac commemoration. Front page pictures everywhere of Howard
        in a flak jacket being brave, we are told.

        Despite all this media hysteria, Latham as late as Monday morning
        reasserted, again in traditional Social Democratic terms, that a
        Latham Labor government, if elected, would withdraw Australian troops
        by Christmas.

        This is in the face of all the militarist hysteria associated with
        Anzac Day and Howard's visit to Iraq.

        Despite all this, Riley continues to insist that Labor doesn't oppose
        the Iraq war. What a clown!

        Someone who goes around saying that the Labor Party is not really
        opposed to the Iraq war cuts themselves off, by that posture, from any
        means of connecting with the consciousness of the half of Australian
        society that opposes the Iraq war. All that Riley can say to the
        masses of Labor supporters who oppose the war is a sneering "you're
        not really opposed to the war".

        Riley hangs all this on the rhetoric frequently used by Latham and
        also used in a slightly different way by many antiwar protesters,
        about "supporting the troops" by bringing them back from Iraq. It's
        nonsensically sectarian to equate this position with supporting the war.

        Riley doesn't appear to have noticed the antiwar movement developing
        in the US among families of US service personnel who want their family
        members brought home. He seems to have forgotten the experience of the
        Vietnam antiwar movement, which in Australia on the left side with
        which I was associated, placed its main emphasis on "bring the troops
        home now". In constructing a mass antiwar movement it's political
        realism to avoid making crude and direct attacks on service personnel,
        who are in the final analysis put in harm's ways and sent to do bad
        things by their political masters.

        Of course Latham and other ALP right-wingers put a slightly
        conservative spin on "supporting the troops", but it's vicious and
        stupid to equate this with support for the war, if it is, as it is in
        Latham's case, associated with the proposition that "supporting the
        troops" means bringing them home.

        Dave Riley's sectarianism towards the Laborites brings him more or
        less into the position occupied by Albert Langer and other Maoists
        during the Vietnam War, who attacked us all because they said the only
        honourable policy was to support the NLF and that concern for the
        welfare of Australian troops was a betrayal.

        Riley's account of the Vietnam antiwar movement is just as mad as his
        comments on the Iraq war. In Australian conditions, the decisive
        factor that made it possible to mobilise a substantial independent
        antiwar movement in the early stages of the Vietnam war, when that war
        was very popular, was the fact that Arthur Calwell, the then Labor
        leader, took a courageous and belligerent stand in opposition to the war.

        Most independent socialist antiwar activists, many of us also in the
        ALP, threw themselves into the agitational space opened by Calwell,
        and built a mass antiwar movement comparatively rapidly.

        It's true that the new Labor leader after Calwell, Gough Whitlam, with
        the full support of the then still powerful Stalinist apparatus in the
        labour movement, watered down the withdrawal policy, but he didn't do
        it without very substantial opposition. At the NSW ALP conference in
        1967, I rallied about 40 per cent of the delegates behind a motion
        reasserting the Calwell policy of withdrawal, and defying Whitlam (for
        which impudence I was expelled from the official left caucus, the
        Steering Committee). Similarly, the leftist Victorian state executive
        also stuck to the withdrawal policy, and an independent and vigorous
        antiwar agitation, including most Labor Party members nationally,
        continued during the first 18 months of Whitlam's leadership.

        By the 1969 elections, the combined impact of the worsening of the war
        and the continued antiwar agitation caused Whitlam to reverse his
        stance and effectively revert to the withdrawal policy.

        When the mass Moratoriums were organised in 1970, the ALP in every
        state was a central part of those protests, which took place around
        the demand of immediate withdrawal.

        Taken as a whole, Riley's assertion that the ALP supported the Vietnam
        War is political nonsense.

        Riley is like a caricature of an old-style Jesuit, trying to find a
        way of saying black is white. He uses the victory of Whitlam in 1967
        in watering down the withdrawal policy of the ALP somewhat, to trying
        to make a case that Labor didn't oppose the Vietnam War. This ignores
        the mass politics of the Vietnam agitation. In the relatively short
        period from mid-1967 to mid-1969 we militants continued to put
        pressure on the Labor leadership, and by late 1969 Whitlam
        somersaulted under the pressure of the worsening military situation
        and the antiwar agitation, and in practice reverted to the withdrawal
        position.

        No one in Australia that I know, other than Riley and one or two
        others, remembers the events of the Vietnam struggle in the way that
        Riley claims to now. Everywhere I go in society at large, and in the
        workers' movement, what people remember is our relative success in
        keeping Labor honest on the Vietnam War. People remember the mass
        mobilizations against the war in which many Laborites played a leading
        role, and they also remember that the new Labor government of Whitlam
        in 1972 withdrew the last troops, released the draft resisters and
        wound up conscription.

        Riley's version is a rewrite of the events.

        When he gets back to World War I, Riley gets very Bolshie about the
        Labor rat, Hughes. The facts of that historical experience were that
        initially most Labor politicians and trade union leaders supported the
        war, but they always opposed conscription.

        When the conservative Labor prime minister, Hughes, tried to impose
        conscription, he was forced by ALP opposition to hold a referendum. He
        tried to persuade the ALP in the bigger states -- NSW, Victoria,
        Queensland and South Australia -- to support conscription, and he was
        resoundingly defeated by all those ALP state executives.

        All four of those state executives adopted a position that any Labor
        politician who supported conscription would be expelled from the ALP.
        Immediately after the first referendum, all the right-wing Labor
        politicians who supported conscription were expelled.

        This week, with much fanfare, the Labor Party is celebrating the 100th
        anniversary of the first national Labor government in the world, led
        by J.C. Watson, which lasted for about 10 weeks. In 1916, a relatively
        unsentimental Labor Party expelled Watson, along with all the other
        right-wing politicians who supported conscription.

        The defeat of the conscription referendum, by a narrow absolute
        majority, and narrowly in three of the six states, was largely a
        product of the organised opposition to conscription of the labour
        movement throughout the country, the Labor government of T.J. Ryan in
        Queensland, and the agitation of the radical Catholic bishop Daniel
        Mannix, who rallied the large Catholic population against conscription.

        Hughes tried again in a second referendum and was defeated by a wider
        margin. Despite the defection of the right wing, which amalgamated
        with the Tories, the ALP rapidly revived electorally and was elected
        to state government in NSW in 1921.

        In the conscription referendums, the two states with the strongest
        Labor political representation, NSW and Queensland, voted against
        conscription by the largest majority.

        The conscription split, the defeat of conscription in the referendums,
        and the impact of the Russian Revolution, shifted the ALP to the left
        for the next 20 years or so.

        The two forces that emerged as decisive influences in Labor politics
        for those 20 years were the Marxist left and radicalised Irish
        Catholics. It took a very long time to roll back the radicalisation of
        the Australian labour movement produced by the conscription campaigns.

        Anyone who disputes my account of these events should look at some of
        the historical material on Ozleft, which contains more detailed
        accounts of the conscription upheavals and the struggle over the
        Vietnam War.

        The DSP leadership, with which Riley is generally associated, used to
        know the history of all these events, and I find it fascinating that
        Riley can say these eccentric things on the Green Left discussion site
        and no one from the DSP leadership challenges his historical inaccuracies.

        Riley's barefaced attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq war and
        the ALP's attitude to it, not just after the event, but as it's
        happening around us, is a really strange phenomenon. One would think
        that everyone, including Marxists, can see that what he's saying is
        nonsense. He's obviously relying on the peculiar mindset of most of
        many of his associates, to try to get away with saying black is white.

        In a way this throws new light on the way Stalin's historical
        falsifications proceeded. If Riley thinks he can rely on a peculiar
        mindset among some socialists to rewrite history as it's happening, it
        gives one a hint of how much easier it must have been for Stalin and
        his red professors to rewrite the history of the Russian Revolution,
        when they had a powerful emerging bureaucracy and an increasingly
        totalitarian state apparatus behind them.

        It may seem a bit over the top to reply to Dave Riley's short comments
        so extensively, but Riley, a long-time member of the DSP, now one of
        the key ostensible independents allied with the DSP in the Socialist
        Alliance. Clearly his views on these matters have a bearing on the
        battle that is currently going on in the Socialist Alliance between
        the DSP current and a number of the small affiliates, some
        independents and the ISO on Socialist Alliance strategy running up to
        the coming federal elections. Those interested in the far-reaching
        debate now going on in the Socialist Alliance should read the recent
        discussion bulletins of the Socialist Alliance, which are available at
        http://www.socialist-alliance.org/idbpage.php
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.