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More Greens "sectarianism"

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  • Nick Fredman
    Re my last post, Bob Brown may correctly state he is not so much a communist as a progressed Presbyterian (though I m not entirely sure what that is), but
    Message 1 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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      Re my last post, Bob Brown may correctly state he is not so much a
      communist as a "progressed Presbyterian" (though I'm not entirely
      sure what that is), but yesterday he put forward a pretty good left
      attack on Latham's shoulder-to-shoulder with Howard tax policy - so
      no doubt this list's Bob will think it demented expose-Labor
      sectarianism. This is exactly the sort of thing though around which
      Socialist Alliance, the Greens and the better ALPers can unite - but
      they can't do this without speaking truth to rotten pro-capitalist
      policies.

      Also re "commie" Greens I'm not sure what Causeley and the other
      local rednecks think they will achieve by highlighting the Greens
      supposed "free ecstasy on demand" policy - they'll only get more
      young people to vote for the Greens.

      http://www.greens.org.au/07094

      More Public Services, Not Tax Cuts for the Rich - Brown

      7th September 2004

      "Labor's tax policy is more of the same - tax cuts for the already
      wealthy, which means less money for public health, public education
      and the environment," Senator Bob Brown said in Canberra today.

      Speaking to reporters following Labor's announcement that it will
      increase the top tax rate to $85,000, Senator Brown said the plan
      puts at risk future investment in public services and protection of
      the environment.

      "The ALP has joined the tax cut auction - meeting and raising the
      Howard government's $14.7 billion tax cuts in the May budget,"
      Senator Brown said.

      "The $3.5 billion allocated to Labor's plan could substantially
      improve public transport in our cities and regional centres, or allow
      us to abolish HECS and improve university and TAFE funding, or
      improve public health services, including for Indigenous Australians.
      "High income earners will benefit substantially from Labor's package,
      through lifting the top marginal income tax rate threshold.

      "People on less than average weekly earnings get a small sum that
      will soon be chewed up through higher medical, education and
      transport fees.

      "Neither Labor nor the Liberals seem to understand the overwhelming
      public support for investing more of our national wealth in public
      services.

      "The Greens will be running strongly on this issue during the
      election campaign. We will be releasing a television advertisement
      later this week which will remind voters that each time the major
      parties promise a tax cut they undermine our capacity to improve our
      public services."

      While welcoming Labor's commitment to simplifying the family tax
      system and ending the debt trap the Howard Government has created for
      low income families, Senator Brown said Labor's plan has delivered
      nothing for people who rely on income support to get by.

      --
    • chen9692000
      Nick et al Its strange isn t it? I have several pointless exchanges with Duncan on the issue of Bob s posts - Peter makes the allegation that Bob said at the
      Message 2 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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        Nick et al

        Its strange isn't it? I have several pointless exchanges with Duncan
        on the issue of Bob's posts - Peter makes the allegation that Bob said
        at the ISO conference that the Greens were sectarian to the ALP and
        challenges him to repeat it and in your post this is continued by
        attributing to Bob the view that this press release will "no doubt" be
        read by "demented" Bob as "expose labour sectarianism". I don't know
        what Bob has said but these debates are hard enough without
        attributing views to people and debating with straw people.

        For the record the Greens do not favour the legalisation of ecstacy -
        they have a harm minimisation policy that decriminalises users and
        directs them to treatment which may involve controlled usage instead
        of criminalising them.

        Cheers
        Shane

        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fredman <sra@s...>
        wrote:
        > Re my last post, Bob Brown may correctly state he is not so much a
        > communist as a "progressed Presbyterian" (though I'm not entirely
        > sure what that is), but yesterday he put forward a pretty good left
        > attack on Latham's shoulder-to-shoulder with Howard tax policy - so
        > no doubt this list's Bob will think it demented expose-Labor
        > sectarianism. This is exactly the sort of thing though around which
        > Socialist Alliance, the Greens and the better ALPers can unite - but
        > they can't do this without speaking truth to rotten pro-capitalist
        > policies.
        >
        > Also re "commie" Greens I'm not sure what Causeley and the other
        > local rednecks think they will achieve by highlighting the Greens
        > supposed "free ecstasy on demand" policy - they'll only get more
        > young people to vote for the Greens.
        >
        > http://www.greens.org.au/07094
        >
        > More Public Services, Not Tax Cuts for the Rich - Brown
        >
        > 7th September 2004
        >
        > "Labor's tax policy is more of the same - tax cuts for the already
        > wealthy, which means less money for public health, public education
        > and the environment," Senator Bob Brown said in Canberra today.
        >
        > Speaking to reporters following Labor's announcement that it will
        > increase the top tax rate to $85,000, Senator Brown said the plan
        > puts at risk future investment in public services and protection of
        > the environment.
        >
        > "The ALP has joined the tax cut auction - meeting and raising the
        > Howard government's $14.7 billion tax cuts in the May budget,"
        > Senator Brown said.
        >
        > "The $3.5 billion allocated to Labor's plan could substantially
        > improve public transport in our cities and regional centres, or allow
        > us to abolish HECS and improve university and TAFE funding, or
        > improve public health services, including for Indigenous Australians.
        > "High income earners will benefit substantially from Labor's package,
        > through lifting the top marginal income tax rate threshold.
        >
        > "People on less than average weekly earnings get a small sum that
        > will soon be chewed up through higher medical, education and
        > transport fees.
        >
        > "Neither Labor nor the Liberals seem to understand the overwhelming
        > public support for investing more of our national wealth in public
        > services.
        >
        > "The Greens will be running strongly on this issue during the
        > election campaign. We will be releasing a television advertisement
        > later this week which will remind voters that each time the major
        > parties promise a tax cut they undermine our capacity to improve our
        > public services."
        >
        > While welcoming Labor's commitment to simplifying the family tax
        > system and ending the debt trap the Howard Government has created for
        > low income families, Senator Brown said Labor's plan has delivered
        > nothing for people who rely on income support to get by.
        >
        > --
      • Brisbane Activist Centre
        ... Good idea. That would be better than the usual whines the Cubans get from those with a sectarian attitude to the revolution. If Dave s comments piqued your
        Message 3 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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          dave_r_riley wrote:

          >observers should note that given the level of table service being
          >offered the various meals during filming, the Cuban tourist industry
          >has moved comfortably up to five star. maybe we should look to
          >sending a selection of Australian wines to Cuba as a solidarity
          >gesture!
          >
          >
          Good idea. That would be better than the usual whines the Cubans get
          from those with a sectarian attitude to the revolution.

          If Dave's comments piqued your appetite, come and see this movie for
          yourself on the bigscreen at the Brisbane Activist centre this Saturday
          night- ph 3831 2644.

          Marce Cameron.
        • Peter Boyle
          ... Really Shane, what is strange about it? Bob Gould repeatedly brands Green Left Weekly for being sectarian against the ALP for telling the truth about that
          Message 4 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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            --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "chen9692000"
            <chen9692000@y...> wrote:
            > Its strange isn't it? I have several pointless exchanges with Duncan
            > on the issue of Bob's posts - Peter makes the allegation that Bob said
            > at the ISO conference that the Greens were sectarian to the ALP and
            > challenges him to repeat it and in your post this is continued by
            > attributing to Bob the view that this press release will "no doubt" be
            > read by "demented" Bob as "expose labour sectarianism".

            Really Shane, what is strange about it? Bob Gould repeatedly brands
            Green Left Weekly for being sectarian against the ALP for telling the
            truth about that parties consistently pro-capitalist politics. When
            the Greens are running an election campaign that hits every backward
            step Latham makes, surely they are equally guilty of "sectarianism to
            the ALP" in Bob Gould's political universe (wherever that it). I have
            been posting Greens media releases in the hope that he might finally
            make the obvious comment. Which he did at a small workshop at Marxism.
            So I challenge him to repeat it on this list.

            What is really strange is you seem to take Bob's Gould's posture
            (that's all it is an obvious posture to deride the Socialist Alliance)
            about some broader left unity project in Australia today as a serious
            proposal. I know you live in an isolated place but really Shane you
            cannot be that gullible?

            When I said Bob Gould was pathetic I wasn't abusing him but making a
            political assessment of his politics. It is pathetic. The guy pursues
            a style of sectarian practice that even the Sparts seemed to have
            tired off (at least in Australia). People who have visited Sydney and
            encountered him at the doors of some meeting organised by other
            people, handing out his photocopied diatribes about the DSP, have
            quickly worked the sad little niche in politics he occupies. The
            internet has given him a bigger forum but he soon looses his audience.
            He is ignored on Marxism List and the Leftist_trainspotters list. But
            you must have your reasons for appointing himself his lawyer on this
            list.

            Peter Boyle

            P.S. And don't call me intolerant for thinking that some people are
            pathetic. That's my view and I have a right to it.
          • Nick Fredman
            ... Yes point taken, I will attempt to contain my comments to the verifiable views of persons. Bob Gould is free to confirm or deny what he really thinks of
            Message 5 of 28 , Sep 7, 2004
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              Shane said:

              >these debates are hard enough without
              >attributing views to people and debating with straw people.

              Yes point taken, I will attempt to contain my comments to the
              verifiable views of persons. Bob Gould is free to confirm or deny
              what he really thinks of the Greens, re the ALP or anything else.
              However my main point in a few posts has been that Greens approach to
              the ALP doesn't seem much different to the Socialist Alliance
              approach, so I've mainly been commenting on Greens media releases.

              >For the record the Greens do not favour the legalisation of ecstacy -
              >they have a harm minimisation policy that decriminalises users and
              >directs them to treatment which may involve controlled usage instead
              >of criminalising them.

              The Greens policy on drugs is good, and it's wrong as the dumb
              red-neck Nationals are to take the liberalising aspect out of context
              of health, education, research aspects etc, but I don't think it's
              necessarily right to say "the Greens do not favour the legalisation
              of ecstacy [sic]". What you describe sounds like the Greens policy
              for heroin trials:

              "3.17 pilot programs to test the effectiveness of controlled
              availability of heroin to registered users from specifically licensed
              clinics"

              rather than for ecstasy, which sounds a lot more liberal, looking
              into simply regulating supply and outlets, and not users:

              "3.25 investigations of options for the regulated supply of social
              drugs such as ecstasy in controlled environments, where information
              will be available about health and other effects of drug use".

              http://www.greens.org.au/policies/society/drugssubstanceabuseandaddiction

              Also, I think technically both of these are actually forms of
              legalisation, as opposed to decriminalisation, which as I understand
              it is a very weak policy of simply not jailing or giving criminal
              convictions to users caught with small amounts (i.e. in some versions
              of decriminalisation users can still be fined). People think
              "legalisation" means an open-slather free market, even though this is
              obviously not the case for often highly regulated, but legal,
              prescription drugs.

              --
            • Luke Fomiatti
              ... I m sure Bob can speak for himself, but I think his answer would be that he holds GLW (as a Marxist organ) and the Greens (as a bourgeois parliamentarist
              Message 6 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                > Bob Gould repeatedly brands
                > Green Left Weekly for being sectarian against the ALP for telling
                > the
                > truth about that parties consistently pro-capitalist politics. When
                > the Greens are running an election campaign that hits every
                > backward
                > step Latham makes, surely they are equally guilty of "sectarianism
                > to
                > the ALP" in Bob Gould's political universe (wherever that it).

                I'm sure Bob can speak for himself, but I think his answer would be
                that he holds GLW (as a Marxist organ) and the Greens (as a bourgeois
                parliamentarist party) to different standards. Petty jostling between
                the left parties (ALP and Greens) who are competing for votes is to
                be expected, but that the role of Marxists to provide a serious
                analysis and not to buy into this.

                My criticism of this approach I have outlined before. That is, it
                treats 'Marxism' as some podium from on which to criticise social
                forces and against which to measure them. Can't socialists learn
                anything from anyone in the Greens? Or even maybe the ALP?

                If we judge the Greens as an organisation to be an equal partner,
                rather than just a 'centrist formation' then we should hold ourselves
                to the same standard as we hold them. For this reason I don't see any
                problem of principle with GLW or SA's 'sectarianism' towards the ALP,
                as this is not (as Bob possibly maintains) just squabling between
                organisations that are more or less on the same side of politics, but
                is based on a real programmatic difference, and more importantly on
                the fact that they are the expression of different social forces.

                On the other hand, I would make the critique that the Greens
                especially do not focus enough on defeating the Liberals as a step to

                building the left. Some Greens at times seem to put Liberal and Labor
                in the same box and just call for a vote to the Greens, which I think
                misreads the situation a lot. The vast majority of Greens hate Howard
                and will preference the ALP and will see a Liberal loss as an
                inspiration that >50% of people are rejecting the 'Howard agenda'.



                > When I said Bob Gould was pathetic I wasn't abusing him but making
                > a
                > political assessment of his politics. It is pathetic.
                Maybe so, and maybe it is "your right" to say so. However, I've
                noticed that Shane has never once called you pathetic (or me or
                anyone else on this list). He has on the other hand made constructive
                political arguments and the list has been a better and more
                interesting place for it.


                Luke




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              • ozleft
                I don t see how Peter Boyle s comment: You are truly a pathetic person, Bob Gould , can be interpreted as anything other than apolitical abuse. There s
                Message 7 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                  I don't see how Peter Boyle's comment: "You are truly a pathetic
                  person, Bob Gould", can be interpreted as anything other than
                  apolitical abuse. There's nothing political about it.

                  Boyle should apologise if he now thinks he made a mistake, but
                  there's no point trying to rewrite history.

                  If Boyle had written, "your politics are truly pathetic", that would
                  be a political comment, but that's not what he wrote.

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GreenLeft_discussion/message/8717

                  Robert Allen
                • ozleft
                  By Bob Gould I feel a bit like Goldstein must have felt in 1984. I ve become a kind of supra-historical villain. It s flattering, but extremely bizarre. When I
                  Message 8 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                    By Bob Gould

                    I feel a bit like Goldstein must have felt in 1984. I've become a
                    kind of supra-historical villain. It's flattering, but extremely
                    bizarre.

                    When I post something to the Green left list I'm abused for doing so,
                    and when I don't post it's implied that there's something strange
                    behind that.

                    If Shane Hopkinson makes a plea for civility in debate, and points
                    out the abusive character of some DSP posts, he's darkly imputed to
                    have some sinister agenda. Wow!

                    It's even more eccentric when you consider that the seminar at
                    Marxism where I'm alleged to have said something was about the same
                    size as the one attended by Peter Boyle the next day.

                    The primitive red-baiting involved in Boyle's, Meerding's and
                    Benedek's posts is worth a bit of examination.

                    John Percy, the general secretary, attends a small meeting of the
                    Socialist Party (about 18 people) with his Green Lefts and his
                    package of leaflets for about six events, and he gets a hysterical
                    wildly disproportionate and quite wrong response from Dave Murray.

                    I do pretty well the same thing with my little bag of tricks, which
                    these days mainly consists of the website flier, and I cop hysterical
                    abuse from the DSP, saying I'm like the Sparts.

                    Apparently it's okay for the DSP, but it's not okay for anyone having
                    an argument with the DSP to do the same thing. It's called agitation,
                    comrades, and I've been doing it all my life. I don't intend to stop
                    now, just because it upsets the DSP leadership.

                    I'm a fair age, in reasonable health and I've got broad shoulders,
                    and in fact political argument helps to keep me young. I can't stop
                    the political abuse from the DSP leadership, but I demand that they
                    stop lying about my political position.

                    I frequently attack occasional Green sectarianism, and more frequent
                    Labor sectarianism against the Greens, and I argue in favour of the
                    united front. I've had a little bit of success in that, although of
                    course that's hard to measure. But political necessity and the need
                    to remove Howard is forcing a more reasonable position on both the
                    Greens and Labor.

                    I never talk about Green or Labor sectarianism without criticising
                    both, and that's certainly what I said at the small seminar. I
                    certainly said that the DSP leadership was much more primitive than
                    the Greens in their abuse of the Laborites, which the DSP leaders
                    pass of as telling the necessary truth.

                    Anyone who doesn't believe me about my general political position on
                    these matters can go to my "Open Letter to Fellow Members of the ALP
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Greensletter.html, arguing
                    against ALP sectarianism, and my article on "Socialists and the
                    Coming Federal Elections"
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Militant.html

                    I continuously emphasise the need for a united front and a sense of
                    proportion between the Laborites, the Greens and the far left, 40 per
                    cent of which is represented by the Socialist Alliance, after recent
                    departures and defections.

                    Back in the early 1920s, Lenin issued a document, with all his
                    prestige, directed at the British Communist Party, insisting that
                    they don't stint labour, propaganda resources or money in working to
                    get the Labour Party elected to government. It would be interesting
                    to study British CP documents from those elections. I'll bet they
                    don't have the objectionable slogan: "Dump the Tories but trust
                    neither".

                    Taking up Luke's point, presented considerably more civilly than the
                    DSP leadership points, I don't regard Marxism as some static entity
                    that requires lecturing the working class from a great height. That's
                    in fact what the DSP leadership does in this politically crazy
                    headline.

                    If part of your political audience is the organised working class,
                    migrants, etc, who are still quite vigorously supporting Laborism, a
                    much saner slogan from a Socialist Alliance point of view, if you
                    cared about a working class audience and if the DSP weren't such
                    inveterate sectarians, might be something like" "Throw out Howard,
                    vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor 3, elect a Labor
                    government and campaign to get progressive outcomes from this Labor
                    government".

                    Such a set of slogans might correspond to the deep groundswell among
                    both Labor supporters and the Greens for the removal of Howard.

                    The DSP leadership seems unable to come to terms with enormous
                    electoral cement truck of the Greens and Labor that they're on a
                    collision course with. As Anne P, of the ISO, pointed out in language
                    even more colourful than mine at the Marxism seminar in question (a
                    flea and and elephant, is what she actually said), the whole
                    Socialist Alliance electoral project is likely to have minimal
                    results, which is why Humphrey McQueen tried to sound a note of
                    warning about their ill-prepared electoral activities.

                    Like me, he has been around a bit and seen a lot. I'll take up his
                    formulation about the ALP and country parties in some other context.

                    It's worth noting that when McQueen says something similar to me
                    (about the Socialist Alliance electoral activity being problematic),
                    he gets a genial slap on the wrist, but I get abused.

                    I return to a point I made in an earlier post about the 15 unions
                    quite rightly agitating for the release of Craig Johnson. They're all
                    firmly in the ALP, and all campaigning vigorously for the election of
                    a Latham Labor government. When they do such a thing it's acceptable,
                    when I do it, I'm a Goldstein figure. That's life.

                    The real nitty gritty in Boyle's hysteria is revealed in his curious
                    comment about Leftist Transpotters and Marxmail, and his assertion
                    that everyone internationally ignores me. That's just his shorthand
                    for the fact that I don't agree with the DSP leadership.

                    The real thing the DSP leadership is cranky about is the efficient
                    way Ozleft has drawn attention to the crisis in the DSP/Socialist
                    Alliance, indicated by the documents that burst out on Melbourne
                    Indymedia last week.

                    After the documents had been on Indymedia for a few days, we put up
                    my comments on Ozleft, with links to those documents, and we've had
                    about 450 hits on those comments in less than a week.

                    My educated guess is that about half the hits are local, because many
                    locals would already have seen the material on Indymedia, and about
                    half would be from the pointers we put on Marxmail and Trainspotters.

                    Incidentally, serious articles about the Australian Socialist
                    Alliance and the far left get a very good readership on Ozleft, such
                    as Ian Rintoul's analysis of the Socialist Alliance
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lookingclass.html, Michael
                    Thomson's letter of resignation from the Socialist Alliance
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Mthomson.html, the recent
                    resignation letter of the Socialist Alternative dissidents
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Saltresignation.html
                    resignation letter and my lengthy articles on Leninism
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lenin1.html and
                    http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LeninII.html .

                    We're only two weeks into the election campaign and there are four or
                    five more GLWs to go in the campaign. One shudders to think what
                    pearls of sectarianism the DSP leadership will dream up to cap this
                    week's headline.

                    PS Boyle and the DSP leadership should be a bit careful in their
                    hubris about the coverage they get in the Financial Review, the main
                    financial paper of the ruling class. It clearly doesn't want a Latham
                    Labor government, so it suit it to highlight the Socialist Alliance's
                    hostility to Latham and Laborism.

                    The DSP/Socialist Alliance is hardly going to recruit from the
                    Financial Review and so far Green Left Weekly's sizeable hit rate on
                    its website, which is an interesting phenomenon, doesn't appear to
                    have produced any significant increase in the political influence of
                    the DSP. Rather, the graph of political influence of the DSP appears
                    to be pointing the other way.
                  • stuartmunckton
                    I ll bet they ... I fail to see what is objectionable about this slogan. Unless Gould thinks we should trust the neo-liberal leaders of the ALP that will form
                    Message 9 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                      I'll bet they
                      > don't have the objectionable slogan: "Dump the Tories but trust
                      > neither".

                      I fail to see what is objectionable about this slogan. Unless Gould
                      thinks we should trust the neo-liberal leaders of the ALP that will
                      form government if they win the election. I doubt we are actually
                      telling too many people anything new.

                      Perhaps we should tell people to trust the ALP. That no doubt would
                      stop Gould attacking us. But I doubt too many people would actually
                      believe us.

                      That's
                      > in fact what the DSP leadership does in this politically crazy
                      > headline.

                      It seems for Gould that stating an obvious fact (that the ALP can not
                      be trusted by the working class) is politically crazy.


                      One shudders to think what
                      > pearls of sectarianism the DSP leadership will dream up to cap this
                      > week's headline.

                      You never know. We may engage in serous self crticisim next week and
                      run a headline lime "ALP really the workers friend! Put your trust in
                      Latham!"


                      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "ozleft" <ozleft@y...> wrote:
                      > By Bob Gould
                      >
                      > I feel a bit like Goldstein must have felt in 1984. I've become a
                      > kind of supra-historical villain. It's flattering, but extremely
                      > bizarre.
                      >
                      > When I post something to the Green left list I'm abused for doing so,
                      > and when I don't post it's implied that there's something strange
                      > behind that.
                      >
                      > If Shane Hopkinson makes a plea for civility in debate, and points
                      > out the abusive character of some DSP posts, he's darkly imputed to
                      > have some sinister agenda. Wow!
                      >
                      > It's even more eccentric when you consider that the seminar at
                      > Marxism where I'm alleged to have said something was about the same
                      > size as the one attended by Peter Boyle the next day.
                      >
                      > The primitive red-baiting involved in Boyle's, Meerding's and
                      > Benedek's posts is worth a bit of examination.
                      >
                      > John Percy, the general secretary, attends a small meeting of the
                      > Socialist Party (about 18 people) with his Green Lefts and his
                      > package of leaflets for about six events, and he gets a hysterical
                      > wildly disproportionate and quite wrong response from Dave Murray.
                      >
                      > I do pretty well the same thing with my little bag of tricks, which
                      > these days mainly consists of the website flier, and I cop hysterical
                      > abuse from the DSP, saying I'm like the Sparts.
                      >
                      > Apparently it's okay for the DSP, but it's not okay for anyone having
                      > an argument with the DSP to do the same thing. It's called agitation,
                      > comrades, and I've been doing it all my life. I don't intend to stop
                      > now, just because it upsets the DSP leadership.
                      >
                      > I'm a fair age, in reasonable health and I've got broad shoulders,
                      > and in fact political argument helps to keep me young. I can't stop
                      > the political abuse from the DSP leadership, but I demand that they
                      > stop lying about my political position.
                      >
                      > I frequently attack occasional Green sectarianism, and more frequent
                      > Labor sectarianism against the Greens, and I argue in favour of the
                      > united front. I've had a little bit of success in that, although of
                      > course that's hard to measure. But political necessity and the need
                      > to remove Howard is forcing a more reasonable position on both the
                      > Greens and Labor.
                      >
                      > I never talk about Green or Labor sectarianism without criticising
                      > both, and that's certainly what I said at the small seminar. I
                      > certainly said that the DSP leadership was much more primitive than
                      > the Greens in their abuse of the Laborites, which the DSP leaders
                      > pass of as telling the necessary truth.
                      >
                      > Anyone who doesn't believe me about my general political position on
                      > these matters can go to my "Open Letter to Fellow Members of the ALP
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Greensletter.html, arguing
                      > against ALP sectarianism, and my article on "Socialists and the
                      > Coming Federal Elections"
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Militant.html
                      >
                      > I continuously emphasise the need for a united front and a sense of
                      > proportion between the Laborites, the Greens and the far left, 40 per
                      > cent of which is represented by the Socialist Alliance, after recent
                      > departures and defections.
                      >
                      > Back in the early 1920s, Lenin issued a document, with all his
                      > prestige, directed at the British Communist Party, insisting that
                      > they don't stint labour, propaganda resources or money in working to
                      > get the Labour Party elected to government. It would be interesting
                      > to study British CP documents from those elections. I'll bet they
                      > don't have the objectionable slogan: "Dump the Tories but trust
                      > neither".
                      >
                      > Taking up Luke's point, presented considerably more civilly than the
                      > DSP leadership points, I don't regard Marxism as some static entity
                      > that requires lecturing the working class from a great height. That's
                      > in fact what the DSP leadership does in this politically crazy
                      > headline.
                      >
                      > If part of your political audience is the organised working class,
                      > migrants, etc, who are still quite vigorously supporting Laborism, a
                      > much saner slogan from a Socialist Alliance point of view, if you
                      > cared about a working class audience and if the DSP weren't such
                      > inveterate sectarians, might be something like" "Throw out Howard,
                      > vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor 3, elect a Labor
                      > government and campaign to get progressive outcomes from this Labor
                      > government".
                      >
                      > Such a set of slogans might correspond to the deep groundswell among
                      > both Labor supporters and the Greens for the removal of Howard.
                      >
                      > The DSP leadership seems unable to come to terms with enormous
                      > electoral cement truck of the Greens and Labor that they're on a
                      > collision course with. As Anne P, of the ISO, pointed out in language
                      > even more colourful than mine at the Marxism seminar in question (a
                      > flea and and elephant, is what she actually said), the whole
                      > Socialist Alliance electoral project is likely to have minimal
                      > results, which is why Humphrey McQueen tried to sound a note of
                      > warning about their ill-prepared electoral activities.
                      >
                      > Like me, he has been around a bit and seen a lot. I'll take up his
                      > formulation about the ALP and country parties in some other context.
                      >
                      > It's worth noting that when McQueen says something similar to me
                      > (about the Socialist Alliance electoral activity being problematic),
                      > he gets a genial slap on the wrist, but I get abused.
                      >
                      > I return to a point I made in an earlier post about the 15 unions
                      > quite rightly agitating for the release of Craig Johnson. They're all
                      > firmly in the ALP, and all campaigning vigorously for the election of
                      > a Latham Labor government. When they do such a thing it's acceptable,
                      > when I do it, I'm a Goldstein figure. That's life.
                      >
                      > The real nitty gritty in Boyle's hysteria is revealed in his curious
                      > comment about Leftist Transpotters and Marxmail, and his assertion
                      > that everyone internationally ignores me. That's just his shorthand
                      > for the fact that I don't agree with the DSP leadership.
                      >
                      > The real thing the DSP leadership is cranky about is the efficient
                      > way Ozleft has drawn attention to the crisis in the DSP/Socialist
                      > Alliance, indicated by the documents that burst out on Melbourne
                      > Indymedia last week.
                      >
                      > After the documents had been on Indymedia for a few days, we put up
                      > my comments on Ozleft, with links to those documents, and we've had
                      > about 450 hits on those comments in less than a week.
                      >
                      > My educated guess is that about half the hits are local, because many
                      > locals would already have seen the material on Indymedia, and about
                      > half would be from the pointers we put on Marxmail and Trainspotters.
                      >
                      > Incidentally, serious articles about the Australian Socialist
                      > Alliance and the far left get a very good readership on Ozleft, such
                      > as Ian Rintoul's analysis of the Socialist Alliance
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lookingclass.html, Michael
                      > Thomson's letter of resignation from the Socialist Alliance
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Mthomson.html, the recent
                      > resignation letter of the Socialist Alternative dissidents
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Saltresignation.html
                      > resignation letter and my lengthy articles on Leninism
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lenin1.html and
                      > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LeninII.html .
                      >
                      > We're only two weeks into the election campaign and there are four or
                      > five more GLWs to go in the campaign. One shudders to think what
                      > pearls of sectarianism the DSP leadership will dream up to cap this
                      > week's headline.
                      >
                      > PS Boyle and the DSP leadership should be a bit careful in their
                      > hubris about the coverage they get in the Financial Review, the main
                      > financial paper of the ruling class. It clearly doesn't want a Latham
                      > Labor government, so it suit it to highlight the Socialist Alliance's
                      > hostility to Latham and Laborism.
                      >
                      > The DSP/Socialist Alliance is hardly going to recruit from the
                      > Financial Review and so far Green Left Weekly's sizeable hit rate on
                      > its website, which is an interesting phenomenon, doesn't appear to
                      > have produced any significant increase in the political influence of
                      > the DSP. Rather, the graph of political influence of the DSP appears
                      > to be pointing the other way.
                    • chen9692000
                      ... Duncan ... said ... and ... doubt be ... On this list unfortunately there s nothing strange about attributing views to someone and then attacking what
                      Message 10 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Boyle" <ppz@t...>
                        wrote:
                        > --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "chen9692000"
                        > <chen9692000@y...> wrote:
                        > > Its strange isn't it? I have several pointless exchanges with
                        Duncan
                        > > on the issue of Bob's posts - Peter makes the allegation that Bob
                        said
                        > > at the ISO conference that the Greens were sectarian to the ALP
                        and
                        > > challenges him to repeat it and in your post this is continued by
                        > > attributing to Bob the view that this press release will "no
                        doubt" be
                        > > read by "demented" Bob as "expose labour sectarianism".
                        >
                        > Really Shane, what is strange about it?

                        On this list unfortunately there's nothing strange about attributing
                        views to someone and then attacking what they were supposed to have
                        said or, attacking them personally. That's my point

                        >Bob Gould's political universe (wherever that it).

                        QED

                        > been posting Greens media releases in the hope that he might finally
                        > make the obvious comment. Which he did at a small workshop at
                        >Marxism.So I challenge him to repeat it on this list.

                        That's fine and now he has we can take it from there. I was just
                        objecting to a "debate" based on what X was supposed to have said

                        > What is really strange is you seem to take Bob's Gould's posture
                        > (that's all it is an obvious posture to deride the Socialist
                        >Alliance)about some broader left unity project in Australia today as
                        >a serious proposal. I know you live in an isolated place but really
                        >Shane you cannot be that gullible?

                        You see what I mean? To take someone's argument seriously and say that
                        we should debate what is actually said, makes me gullible since
                        people who disagree with you must surely just be posturing.

                        > When I said Bob Gould was pathetic I wasn't abusing him but making a
                        > political assessment of his politics. It is pathetic.

                        Well you said "You are truly a pitiful person, Bob Gould" and
                        a "pitiful, sectarian windbag". I'm not sure what to make of the
                        idea that one's politics can be "capable of arousing sympathetic
                        sadness and compassion." There's not very much sympathy in any of
                        this. Apparently Bob is like a `Spart', there are mysterious "people
                        who have visited Sydney" (from where I should wonder? Other DSP
                        branchs I guess) and they have realised (apparently quite
                        independently of Peter) that Bob is pathetic too. In addition
                        apparently no-one listens to him on other lists as well. I guess the
                        evidence is now overwhelming that Bob is a loony – the only mystery
                        that remains is why I am so gullible and seek to defend the idea that
                        we should debate things. I'll have to go away and think about it.

                        >But you must have your reasons for appointing himself his lawyer on
                        >this list.

                        But wait… of course this wasn't really a question – its meant to
                        smear me with the same brush. So I guess I've lost that argument too.

                        > P.S. And don't call me intolerant for thinking that some people are
                        > pathetic. That's my view and I have a right to it.

                        This assertion of bourgeois individualism is beneath you Peter. Just
                        admit you had a hard day, that Bob pisses you off for some good and
                        some bad reasons, and let's move on.

                        Shane
                      • chen9692000
                        ... Indeed - thanks for that. ... Yes and now Bob has replied we can consider the point. ... Indeed. I guess they are playing to the choir the way they do up
                        Message 11 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                          --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fredman <sra@s...>
                          wrote:
                          > Shane said:
                          >
                          > >these debates are hard enough without
                          > >attributing views to people and debating with straw people.
                          >
                          > Yes point taken, I will attempt to contain my comments to the
                          > verifiable views of persons. Bob Gould is free to confirm or deny
                          > what he really thinks of the Greens, re the ALP or anything else.

                          Indeed - thanks for that.

                          > However my main point in a few posts has been that Greens approach
                          > the ALP doesn't seem much different to the Socialist Alliance
                          > approach, so I've mainly been commenting on Greens media releases.

                          Yes and now Bob has replied we can consider the point.

                          > The Greens policy on drugs is good, and it's wrong as the dumb
                          > red-neck Nationals are to take the liberalising aspect out of
                          > context

                          Indeed. I guess they are playing to the choir the way they do up
                          here. The local member here is DeAnne Kelly and her recent liftout in
                          the papers condemns the ALP's cutting of the diesel fuel rebate as
                          destructive to industry but made worse by the fact that they want to
                          use the money to pay for their "socialist" education policies. I
                          wonder has anyone told the ALP that that's still on the books.

                          Thanks for the comments on the drugs policy too.

                          Shane
                        • chen9692000
                          Dear Luke There are some interesting comments here and I hope I am reading you right - its 4 in the morning so here goes... ... bourgeois ... between ... I m
                          Message 12 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                            Dear Luke

                            There are some interesting comments here and I hope I am reading you
                            right - its 4 in the morning so here goes...

                            > I'm sure Bob can speak for himself, but I think his answer would be
                            > that he holds GLW (as a Marxist organ) and the Greens (as a
                            bourgeois
                            > parliamentarist party) to different standards. Petty jostling
                            between
                            > the left parties (ALP and Greens) who are competing for votes is to
                            > be expected, but that the role of Marxists to provide a serious
                            > analysis and not to buy into this.
                            >
                            > My criticism of this approach I have outlined before.

                            I'm not clear what you mean by "this approach" you mean of denoucing
                            one or the other bourgeois party.

                            >That is, it
                            > treats 'Marxism' as some podium from on which to criticise social
                            > forces and against which to measure them. Can't socialists learn
                            > anything from anyone in the Greens? Or even maybe the ALP?

                            Good question. The answer - I'm sure you know - is "of course we
                            can". The Greens have built themselves into a serious 3rd force in
                            politics while socialists have not and I'd love to be clearer about
                            why union militants stay in the ALP - what do they see as the pros
                            and cons, the way forward and so on. Bob claims that the NSW Labour
                            Councils website is one of the most leftwing - this is a worry but if
                            that assessment is right then it shows where the political spectrum
                            lies.

                            > If we judge the Greens as an organisation to be an equal partner,
                            > rather than just a 'centrist formation'

                            I know what you are getting at I think but I just don't think that
                            the SA and Greens are "equal partners". I have asked Alex (who may
                            be busy with parenting duties) to spell out what he sees as SA
                            significance because electorally there's no comparision.

                            > I don't see any problem of principle with GLW or
                            >SA's 'sectarianism' towards the ALP,as this is not (as Bob possibly
                            >maintains) just squabbling between organisations that are more or
                            >less on the same side of politics,

                            This is a key question. Of course the ALP is firmly in the hands of
                            the right and dominated by neoliberal philosophy. But are all its
                            members - including most of the unions signing up to defend Craig
                            Johnston - on the opposite side.

                            >but is based on a real programmatic difference,

                            I'm not sure what "real" adds to this - they have programmatic
                            differences.

                            >and more importantly on the fact that they are the expression of
                            >different social forces.

                            This is fundamental, however, I just can't see the SA as the
                            expression of any social forces. They are a propaganda group of
                            students and ex-students for the most part younger radical activists.

                            The Greens are the expression of the environment movement (in our
                            terms of the contradiction between capitals need to grow and its
                            material base in the natural environment). There program is anti-
                            neolliberal and pro-peace supported electorally by a million votes
                            of predominantly white collar workers in state and service
                            industries.

                            > On the other hand, I would make the critique that the Greens
                            > especially do not focus enough on defeating the Liberals as a step
                            >to building the left.

                            The general line is howard has to go - but Latham is not a real
                            alternative like the Greens.

                            >Some Greens at times seem to put Liberal and Labor
                            > in the same box and just call for a vote to the Greens, which I
                            >think misreads the situation a lot.

                            Some members (like others on this list oddly) don't see any
                            difference between the major parties - but then there focus is
                            usually just on environmental questions.

                            >The vast majority of Greens hate Howard
                            > and will preference the ALP and will see a Liberal loss as an
                            > inspiration that 50% of people are rejecting the 'Howard agenda'.

                            Indeed. So what do you think revolutionary socialists should do about
                            that?

                            Thanks for your kind words as well.

                            Shane
                          • chen9692000
                            ... Perhaps Bob might like to comment but I am fairly sure that he doesn t trust the leaders of the ALP. And I m fairly sure that many ALP supporters also are
                            Message 13 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                              --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "stuartmunckton"
                              <stuartmunckton@y...> wrote:
                              > I'll bet they
                              > > don't have the objectionable slogan: "Dump the Tories but trust
                              > > neither".
                              >
                              > I fail to see what is objectionable about this slogan. Unless Gould
                              > thinks we should trust the neo-liberal leaders of the ALP that will
                              > form government if they win the election. I doubt we are actually
                              > telling too many people anything new.

                              Perhaps Bob might like to comment but I am fairly sure that he
                              doesn't trust the leaders of the ALP. And I'm fairly sure that many
                              ALP supporters also are aware that the ALP might run up a different
                              flag in office - so the point is what do *they* make of you stating
                              the obvious as a headline. Either you are preaching to them in a
                              patronising way (ie by seeming to assume you ARE telling them
                              something they don't know) or you are conflating Howard and Latham as
                              equally untrustworthy (which is NOT true in the minds of most
                              people).

                              > Perhaps we should tell people to trust the ALP.
                              >That no doubt would stop Gould attacking us.

                              Why? Do you think that that would stop Bob attacking you? YOu think
                              that's what Bob is aiming at - to defend the ALP from the SA? I think
                              he'd demand that you go and re-do the classes on the united front but
                              for the opposite reason.

                              >But I doubt too many people would actually believe us.

                              No that's right - but then that's not the only 2 options is it?

                              > It seems for Gould that stating an obvious fact (that the ALP can
                              > not be trusted by the working class) is politically crazy.

                              I think in the minds of most people the slogan is not "obvious" - if
                              it were then you wouldn't need to say it - because it seems to
                              conflate the arch-enemy and the man most likely to defeat him.

                              > You never know. We may engage in serous self crticism next week

                              No danger of that Stuart - no danger of that.

                              > run a headline lime "ALP really the workers friend! Put your trust
                              >in Latham!"

                              This is what being sectarian means Stuart. Anyone who criticises you
                              can only be the enemy so if he says this headline is sectarian to teh
                              ALP it can only mean he wants you to be a cheerleader for the ALP.
                              Now they are not the only options are they? In fact no self-criticism
                              is required since you are free to critque what Bob has actually
                              said! : "Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor
                              3, elect a Labor government and campaign to get progressive outcomes
                              from this Labor government".

                              Now that's a bit wordy but you get the idea. What's wrong with his
                              proposal? I see even the Greens get 2nd place ahead of the ALP - what
                              craziness is this from a diehard ALPer. :-)

                              Cheers

                              Shane







                              > > Such a set of slogans might correspond to the deep groundswell
                              among
                              > > both Labor supporters and the Greens for the removal of Howard.
                              > >
                              > > The DSP leadership seems unable to come to terms with enormous
                              > > electoral cement truck of the Greens and Labor that they're on a
                              > > collision course with. As Anne P, of the ISO, pointed out in
                              language
                              > > even more colourful than mine at the Marxism seminar in question
                              (a
                              > > flea and and elephant, is what she actually said), the whole
                              > > Socialist Alliance electoral project is likely to have minimal
                              > > results, which is why Humphrey McQueen tried to sound a note of
                              > > warning about their ill-prepared electoral activities.
                              > >
                              > > Like me, he has been around a bit and seen a lot. I'll take up
                              his
                              > > formulation about the ALP and country parties in some other
                              context.
                              > >
                              > > It's worth noting that when McQueen says something similar to me
                              > > (about the Socialist Alliance electoral activity being
                              problematic),
                              > > he gets a genial slap on the wrist, but I get abused.
                              > >
                              > > I return to a point I made in an earlier post about the 15 unions
                              > > quite rightly agitating for the release of Craig Johnson. They're
                              all
                              > > firmly in the ALP, and all campaigning vigorously for the
                              election of
                              > > a Latham Labor government. When they do such a thing it's
                              acceptable,
                              > > when I do it, I'm a Goldstein figure. That's life.
                              > >
                              > > The real nitty gritty in Boyle's hysteria is revealed in his
                              curious
                              > > comment about Leftist Transpotters and Marxmail, and his
                              assertion
                              > > that everyone internationally ignores me. That's just his
                              shorthand
                              > > for the fact that I don't agree with the DSP leadership.
                              > >
                              > > The real thing the DSP leadership is cranky about is the
                              efficient
                              > > way Ozleft has drawn attention to the crisis in the DSP/Socialist
                              > > Alliance, indicated by the documents that burst out on Melbourne
                              > > Indymedia last week.
                              > >
                              > > After the documents had been on Indymedia for a few days, we put
                              up
                              > > my comments on Ozleft, with links to those documents, and we've
                              had
                              > > about 450 hits on those comments in less than a week.
                              > >
                              > > My educated guess is that about half the hits are local, because
                              many
                              > > locals would already have seen the material on Indymedia, and
                              about
                              > > half would be from the pointers we put on Marxmail and
                              Trainspotters.
                              > >
                              > > Incidentally, serious articles about the Australian Socialist
                              > > Alliance and the far left get a very good readership on Ozleft,
                              such
                              > > as Ian Rintoul's analysis of the Socialist Alliance
                              > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lookingclass.html,
                              Michael
                              > > Thomson's letter of resignation from the Socialist Alliance
                              > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Mthomson.html, the
                              recent
                              > > resignation letter of the Socialist Alternative dissidents
                              > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Saltresignation.html
                              > > resignation letter and my lengthy articles on Leninism
                              > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lenin1.html and
                              > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LeninII.html .
                              > >
                              > > We're only two weeks into the election campaign and there are
                              four or
                              > > five more GLWs to go in the campaign. One shudders to think what
                              > > pearls of sectarianism the DSP leadership will dream up to cap
                              this
                              > > week's headline.
                              > >
                              > > PS Boyle and the DSP leadership should be a bit careful in their
                              > > hubris about the coverage they get in the Financial Review, the
                              main
                              > > financial paper of the ruling class. It clearly doesn't want a
                              Latham
                              > > Labor government, so it suit it to highlight the Socialist
                              Alliance's
                              > > hostility to Latham and Laborism.
                              > >
                              > > The DSP/Socialist Alliance is hardly going to recruit from the
                              > > Financial Review and so far Green Left Weekly's sizeable hit rate
                              on
                              > > its website, which is an interesting phenomenon, doesn't appear
                              to
                              > > have produced any significant increase in the political influence
                              of
                              > > the DSP. Rather, the graph of political influence of the DSP
                              appears
                              > > to be pointing the other way.
                            • Luke Fomiatti
                              ... No, the approach of seeing yourself as having all the answers (or at least having qualitatively more answers than anyone else) by virtue of
                              Message 14 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
                              • 0 Attachment
                                > > I'm sure Bob can speak for himself, but I think his answer would
                                > be
                                > > that he holds GLW (as a Marxist organ) and the Greens (as a
                                > bourgeois
                                > > parliamentarist party) to different standards. Petty jostling
                                > between
                                > > the left parties (ALP and Greens) who are competing for votes is
                                > to
                                > > be expected, but that the role of Marxists to provide a serious
                                > > analysis and not to buy into this.
                                > >
                                > > My criticism of this approach I have outlined before.
                                >
                                > I'm not clear what you mean by "this approach" you mean of
                                > denoucing
                                > one or the other bourgeois party.

                                No, the approach of seeing yourself as having all the answers (or at
                                least having qualitatively more answers than anyone else) by virtue
                                of self-identification as a Marxist.

                                The problem is not so much the arrogance of this (although that could
                                mean that people don't learn anything) but the view that comes of
                                this that anyone outside your own project is the enemy / is
                                destructive / is stupid. It breads a sectarian mentality which is
                                very harmful.

                                (Not that I'm saying Bob has this outlook necessarily, just that I
                                see that as a potential problem with his starting point.)




                                > I know what you are getting at I think but I just don't think that
                                > the SA and Greens are "equal partners". I have asked Alex (who may
                                > be busy with parenting duties) to spell out what he sees as SA
                                > significance because electorally there's no comparision.

                                Yes, but that wasn't my point. The problem is not that Greens members
                                don't see socialists as real leftists because they don't get many
                                votes, the problem is that socialists often don't see Greens members
                                as real leftists (or at least not to the extent that they see
                                themselves). They tend to view the Greens as "the last organised
                                hesitation before socialism" or something like that. I think this is
                                a problem.

                                So my 'equal partners' comment was directed more at the realm of
                                ideas than at the size or support of particular political formations.
                                But maybe your criticism extends here too, maybe socialists should in
                                fact see that they have a great deal to learn from the Greens, rather
                                than vise versa.



                                > >but is based on a real programmatic difference,
                                >
                                > I'm not sure what "real" adds to this - they have programmatic
                                > differences.
                                Yes but all parties have programmatic differences, they would be in
                                the same organisation otherwise wouldn't they? My point is that the
                                programme of the ALP is different from the that of the Greens in a
                                far more material way than the Greens' programme is with say the
                                Socialist Alliance.

                                Of course, this wasn't my main point, which was...


                                > >and more importantly on the fact that they are the expression of
                                > >different social forces.
                                >
                                > This is fundamental, however, I just can't see the SA as the
                                > expression of any social forces.

                                Sure, but I wasn't talking about SA, but about the Greens and the
                                ALP. The Greens are a political expression of a massive growth of
                                left dissatisfaction with neoliberalism, they are new and still
                                linked to their supporters. The ALP is significantly more ossified
                                (both in its structure and its support base), there is a much sharper
                                distinction between it and its supporters, and to the extent that it
                                is moving politically, it is to the right.

                                I agree that SA is not the expression of any social forces. However,
                                nor was the Greens when it first started. It was a conscious effort
                                by particular individuals, it didn't arise spontaniously out of the
                                environment movement. There isn't necessarily a contradiction between
                                being and not being the expression of a social force. These things
                                change over time.

                                The real question is whether or not the SA can ever become such an
                                expression. Or, as well, whether it has the intention of doing so.




                                > > On the other hand, I would make the critique that the Greens
                                > > especially do not focus enough on defeating the Liberals as a
                                > step
                                > >to building the left.
                                >
                                > The general line is howard has to go - but Latham is not a real
                                > alternative like the Greens.

                                Not to dispute that this is the general line, but this has not been
                                my experience. My experience has been that the Greens say there are a
                                whole heap of parties swirling around and that they are simply the
                                best of them. Do you have any examples of media releases or such
                                showing how the Greens are calling for Howard to go?


                                > Indeed. So what do you think revolutionary socialists should do
                                > about
                                > that?

                                Well thats the question isn't it? To be honest I really don't know.

                                I think the End the Lies demos are a good initiative. I've been doing
                                general 'anti-liberal' campaigning on UWS that's been focused on
                                getting people involved rather than on voting and I'll be campaigning
                                for the SA this time round. But on the bigger questions of whether
                                socialists should run, how they should run, etc. I'm pretty undecided
                                at the moment.

                                Luke




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                              • stuartmunckton
                                ... Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor ... That is our position. But it hardly makes for a good slogan on the cover of the paper. I
                                Message 15 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "chen9692000"
                                  <chen9692000@y...> wrote:
                                  > --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "stuartmunckton"
                                  > <stuartmunckton@y...> wrote:
                                  > > I'll bet they
                                  > > > don't have the objectionable slogan: "Dump the Tories but trust
                                  > > > neither".
                                  > >
                                  > > I fail to see what is objectionable about this slogan. Unless Gould
                                  > > thinks we should trust the neo-liberal leaders of the ALP that will
                                  > > form government if they win the election. I doubt we are actually
                                  > > telling too many people anything new.
                                  >
                                  > Perhaps Bob might like to comment but I am fairly sure that he
                                  > doesn't trust the leaders of the ALP. And I'm fairly sure that many
                                  > ALP supporters also are aware that the ALP might run up a different
                                  > flag in office - so the point is what do *they* make of you stating
                                  > the obvious as a headline. Either you are preaching to them in a
                                  > patronising way (ie by seeming to assume you ARE telling them
                                  > something they don't know) or you are conflating Howard and Latham as
                                  > equally untrustworthy (which is NOT true in the minds of most
                                  > people).
                                  >
                                  > > Perhaps we should tell people to trust the ALP.
                                  > >That no doubt would stop Gould attacking us.
                                  >
                                  > Why? Do you think that that would stop Bob attacking you? YOu think
                                  > that's what Bob is aiming at - to defend the ALP from the SA? I think
                                  > he'd demand that you go and re-do the classes on the united front but
                                  > for the opposite reason.
                                  >
                                  > >But I doubt too many people would actually believe us.
                                  >
                                  > No that's right - but then that's not the only 2 options is it?
                                  >
                                  > > It seems for Gould that stating an obvious fact (that the ALP can
                                  > > not be trusted by the working class) is politically crazy.
                                  >
                                  > I think in the minds of most people the slogan is not "obvious" - if
                                  > it were then you wouldn't need to say it - because it seems to
                                  > conflate the arch-enemy and the man most likely to defeat him.
                                  >
                                  > > You never know. We may engage in serous self crticism next week
                                  >
                                  > No danger of that Stuart - no danger of that.
                                  "Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor
                                  > 3, elect a Labor government and campaign to get progressive outcomes
                                  > from this Labor government".
                                  >
                                  > Now that's a bit wordy but you get the idea. What's wrong with his
                                  > proposal?

                                  That is our position. But it hardly makes for a good slogan on the
                                  cover of the paper. I really don't see what the fuss is about. If you
                                  say you can not trust the ALP, then the implication is obviously that
                                  if you want progressive outcomes you will have to "campaign" to get
                                  them them.


                                  >
                                  > > run a headline lime "ALP really the workers friend! Put your trust
                                  > >in Latham!"
                                  >
                                  > This is what being sectarian means Stuart. Anyone who criticises you
                                  > can only be the enemy so if he says this headline is sectarian to teh
                                  > ALP it can only mean he wants you to be a cheerleader for the ALP.
                                  > Now they are not the only options are they? In fact no self-criticism
                                  > is required since you are free to critque what Bob has actually
                                  > said! : "Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor
                                  > 3, elect a Labor government and campaign to get progressive outcomes
                                  > from this Labor government".
                                  >
                                  > Now that's a bit wordy but you get the idea. What's wrong with his
                                  > proposal? I see even the Greens get 2nd place ahead of the ALP - what
                                  > craziness is this from a diehard ALPer. :-)
                                  >
                                  > Cheers
                                  >
                                  > Shane
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > > > Such a set of slogans might correspond to the deep groundswell
                                  > among
                                  > > > both Labor supporters and the Greens for the removal of Howard.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > The DSP leadership seems unable to come to terms with enormous
                                  > > > electoral cement truck of the Greens and Labor that they're on a
                                  > > > collision course with. As Anne P, of the ISO, pointed out in
                                  > language
                                  > > > even more colourful than mine at the Marxism seminar in question
                                  > (a
                                  > > > flea and and elephant, is what she actually said), the whole
                                  > > > Socialist Alliance electoral project is likely to have minimal
                                  > > > results, which is why Humphrey McQueen tried to sound a note of
                                  > > > warning about their ill-prepared electoral activities.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Like me, he has been around a bit and seen a lot. I'll take up
                                  > his
                                  > > > formulation about the ALP and country parties in some other
                                  > context.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > It's worth noting that when McQueen says something similar to me
                                  > > > (about the Socialist Alliance electoral activity being
                                  > problematic),
                                  > > > he gets a genial slap on the wrist, but I get abused.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I return to a point I made in an earlier post about the 15 unions
                                  > > > quite rightly agitating for the release of Craig Johnson. They're
                                  > all
                                  > > > firmly in the ALP, and all campaigning vigorously for the
                                  > election of
                                  > > > a Latham Labor government. When they do such a thing it's
                                  > acceptable,
                                  > > > when I do it, I'm a Goldstein figure. That's life.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > The real nitty gritty in Boyle's hysteria is revealed in his
                                  > curious
                                  > > > comment about Leftist Transpotters and Marxmail, and his
                                  > assertion
                                  > > > that everyone internationally ignores me. That's just his
                                  > shorthand
                                  > > > for the fact that I don't agree with the DSP leadership.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > The real thing the DSP leadership is cranky about is the
                                  > efficient
                                  > > > way Ozleft has drawn attention to the crisis in the DSP/Socialist
                                  > > > Alliance, indicated by the documents that burst out on Melbourne
                                  > > > Indymedia last week.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > After the documents had been on Indymedia for a few days, we put
                                  > up
                                  > > > my comments on Ozleft, with links to those documents, and we've
                                  > had
                                  > > > about 450 hits on those comments in less than a week.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > My educated guess is that about half the hits are local, because
                                  > many
                                  > > > locals would already have seen the material on Indymedia, and
                                  > about
                                  > > > half would be from the pointers we put on Marxmail and
                                  > Trainspotters.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Incidentally, serious articles about the Australian Socialist
                                  > > > Alliance and the far left get a very good readership on Ozleft,
                                  > such
                                  > > > as Ian Rintoul's analysis of the Socialist Alliance
                                  > > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lookingclass.html,
                                  > Michael
                                  > > > Thomson's letter of resignation from the Socialist Alliance
                                  > > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Mthomson.html, the
                                  > recent
                                  > > > resignation letter of the Socialist Alternative dissidents
                                  > > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Saltresignation.html
                                  > > > resignation letter and my lengthy articles on Leninism
                                  > > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lenin1.html and
                                  > > > http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/LeninII.html .
                                  > > >
                                  > > > We're only two weeks into the election campaign and there are
                                  > four or
                                  > > > five more GLWs to go in the campaign. One shudders to think what
                                  > > > pearls of sectarianism the DSP leadership will dream up to cap
                                  > this
                                  > > > week's headline.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > PS Boyle and the DSP leadership should be a bit careful in their
                                  > > > hubris about the coverage they get in the Financial Review, the
                                  > main
                                  > > > financial paper of the ruling class. It clearly doesn't want a
                                  > Latham
                                  > > > Labor government, so it suit it to highlight the Socialist
                                  > Alliance's
                                  > > > hostility to Latham and Laborism.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > The DSP/Socialist Alliance is hardly going to recruit from the
                                  > > > Financial Review and so far Green Left Weekly's sizeable hit rate
                                  > on
                                  > > > its website, which is an interesting phenomenon, doesn't appear
                                  > to
                                  > > > have produced any significant increase in the political influence
                                  > of
                                  > > > the DSP. Rather, the graph of political influence of the DSP
                                  > appears
                                  > > > to be pointing the other way.
                                • chen9692000
                                  Chen 96920000 wrote ... YOur reply ... Fair enough then it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. If you agree with Bob s basic united front strategy what
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                                    Chen 96920000 wrote

                                    > > Now that's a bit wordy but you get the idea. What's wrong with his
                                    > > proposal?

                                    YOur reply

                                    > That is our position. But it hardly makes for a good slogan on the
                                    > cover of the paper. I really don't see what the fuss is about. If you
                                    > say you can not trust the ALP, then the implication is obviously that
                                    > if you want progressive outcomes you will have to "campaign" to get
                                    > them them.

                                    Fair enough then it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. If you
                                    agree with Bob's basic united front strategy what are you all fighting
                                    about? Its just a distinction without a difference.

                                    Cheers

                                    Shane
                                  • simongb2
                                    While there has been a bit of superficial discussion about how the Socialist Alliance doesn t yet represent any substantial social forces in Australian
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                                      While there has been a bit of superficial discussion about how the
                                      Socialist Alliance doesn't yet represent any substantial social
                                      forces in Australian politics perhaps we need to give more
                                      consideration to what social forces the very, very small handful of
                                      (admittedly voluminous) commentators on this list represent as
                                      well!?!

                                      So what do Bob Gould, Shane Hopkinson QC and the OZleft crowd
                                      represent? Are they merely reflecting a widespread debate throughout
                                      the Australian left about the best way to relate to the ALP. Are
                                      Bob's proposals for SA election slogans or a united front between the
                                      SA, Greens and ALP to be taken seriously. Are the ALP trade unionists
                                      uniting with the SA in the trade union movement similarly concerned
                                      about "SA sectarianism" towards themselves. Hardly.

                                      Unfortuately its not a real debate... the serious underlying
                                      political errors underlining all of Bob Gould's criticisms of the SA
                                      are the same he has persisted in doggedly for 40years or more. He has
                                      an ideological conviction that Socialists should not organise outside
                                      of the ALP. He is not simply hostile to specific SA or DSP politics
                                      or tacitical decisions. He opposes socialists trying to build
                                      socialist parties, politically independent of the ALP. That is the
                                      basis for his criticisms - all of them.

                                      I think Shane (and probably most of the OZLEFTers) are in a different
                                      catergory. They do not agree with Bob's political strategy at all
                                      (thats why most of them are Greens supporters or members and not in
                                      the ALP). But they are willing to paper over their differences with
                                      Bob on these very important issues to join in the fun - or at least
                                      appoint themselves as adjudicators "above the debate" so they can
                                      castigate reply's to Bob as stepping out of the bounds of civil
                                      debate. So there IS a kind of very small "united front" going on but
                                      I question the principled political basis for this 'joint
                                      collaboration'. In any case it doesn't have any reality outside this
                                      email list. And neither is it the kind of united front work that
                                      Trotsky would have advocated for Marxists to engage in - but perhaps
                                      Shane has gleaned something more from his recent re-reading of
                                      Trotsky on the United Front. Do I need to go back for a second look?

                                      Cheers
                                      Simon b
                                    • Nick Fredman
                                      ... Word up, Shane! That s a very good question. Gould s suggestion: Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1, Greens 2, Labor 3, elect a Labor government
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Sep 8, 2004
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                                        >Fair enough then it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. If you
                                        >agree with Bob's basic united front strategy what are you all fighting
                                        >about?

                                        Word up, Shane! That's a very good question.

                                        Gould's suggestion: "Throw out Howard, vote Socialist Alliance 1,
                                        Greens 2, Labor 3, elect a Labor
                                        government and campaign to get progressive outcomes from this Labor
                                        government".

                                        Socialist Alliance main slogan: "Troops our, Howard out, vote socialist".

                                        On the SA postcard being delivered to 200 000 homes: "Put people
                                        before profit. Howard must go. Make your vote count this election.
                                        Put Socialist Alliance 1, then Greens followed by Labor. Maximise the
                                        opposition".

                                        From the main GL article this week on the elections: "Only a strong
                                        left vote can force Labor to be better than Howard. Without that
                                        pressure from the left, a Latham government will be just like the
                                        Hawke and Keating governments. The more a Labor government depends on
                                        Green and Socialist Alliance preferences to get elected, the more
                                        likely it is to deliver a few reforms and the more nervous it will be
                                        about attacking our rights".

                                        Of course there's difference in tone, and of how directly the SA
                                        campaigns to "elect a Labor government". But along with Bob's
                                        repetitive and unnecessary sermons about the united front, the
                                        differences are constantly exaggerated and distorted by him. The only
                                        explanation I can think for all this exaggeration and distortion is
                                        that his preferred version of the united front contains a bare
                                        minimum, if any at all, criticism of the ALP, lest the obviously
                                        thin-skinned and precious ALP members be terminally pissed off.

                                        One thing he always fails to answer is this: if the SA approach is so
                                        disastrously wrong, if it puts ALP members off so much, why then are
                                        the ALP union leaders and militants he mentions on the whole very
                                        friendly and collaborative with SA? Maybe the better ALP members
                                        aren't so thin-skinned and actually agree with a lot of the
                                        criticism, and at least understand and respect what they don't
                                        currently agree with, e.g. organising an open socialist alternative
                                        to Labor.
                                        --
                                      • chen9692000
                                        ... I see, very true. ... Yes and we have had many good examples of this in the last few days. ... Or of the other Marxists on the list who do this. ... Yes.
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Sep 9, 2004
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                                          --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Luke Fomiatti
                                          <lfom5608@y...> wrote:

                                          > No, the approach of seeing yourself as having all the answers (or at
                                          > least having qualitatively more answers than anyone else) by virtue
                                          > of self-identification as a Marxist.

                                          I see, very true.

                                          > problem is not so much the arrogance of this (although that could
                                          > mean that people don't learn anything) but the view that comes of
                                          > this that anyone outside your own project is the enemy / is
                                          > destructive / is stupid. It breads a sectarian mentality which is
                                          > very harmful.

                                          Yes and we have had many good examples of this in the last
                                          few days.

                                          > (Not that I'm saying Bob has this outlook necessarily, just that I
                                          > see that as a potential problem with his starting point.)

                                          Or of the other Marxists on the list who do this.

                                          > Yes, but that wasn't my point. The problem is not that Greens
                                          > members don't see socialists as real leftists because they don't get
                                          > many votes,

                                          Yes.

                                          >the problem is that socialists often don't see Greens members
                                          > as real leftists (or at least not to the extent that they see
                                          > themselves). They tend to view the Greens as "the last organised
                                          > hesitation before socialism" or something like that.

                                          Nicely put.

                                          > So my 'equal partners' comment was directed more at the realm of
                                          > ideas than at the size or support of particular political
                                          >formations. But maybe your criticism extends here too, maybe
                                          >socialists should in fact see that they have a great deal to learn
                                          >from the Greens, rather than vice versa.

                                          Yes – and of course some socialists have responded and are trying
                                          to rethink their ideas, including Marxists on this list – though at
                                          the level of ideas this has happened rather late and often takes the
                                          form as it does in Bellamy –Foster for instance of trying to shoehorn
                                          the discussion into a materialist vs idealist framework with a kind of
                                          "we told you so" Marx knew all this before you said it attitude. In
                                          fact it is quite extraordinary what Marx did say about ecology but it
                                          took the rise of the Green movement for Marxists to begin noticing
                                          that. That in itself is not surprising or a problem what's annoying is
                                          when Marxists then adopt the "we told you so" kind of attitude, which
                                          ends up looking like we are latecomers trying to prove we are out in
                                          front.

                                          > The real question is whether or not the SA can ever become such an
                                          > expression. Or, as well, whether it has the intention of doing so.

                                          Agreed

                                          > Not to dispute that this is the general line, but this has not been
                                          > my experience. My experience has been that the Greens say there are
                                          > whole heap of parties swirling around and that they are simply the
                                          > best of them. Do you have any examples of media releases or such
                                          > showing how the Greens are calling for Howard to go?

                                          > > Indeed. So what do you think revolutionary socialists should do
                                          > > about that?

                                          > Well that's the question isn't it? To be honest I really don't know.

                                          The reality is the no-one does – but at least from that starting point
                                          we can begin to figure things out rather than assuming in advance
                                          that we have all the answers. So where so you want to start?

                                          Comradely

                                          Shane
                                        • chen9692000
                                          ... You miss the point what is needed want is for the voluminous commentary to be directed at how to build a socialist alternative. To do that we need to
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Sep 9, 2004
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                                            > -- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "simongb2"
                                            <simongb2@y...> wrote:

                                            > While there has been a bit of superficial discussion about how the
                                            > Socialist Alliance doesn't yet represent any substantial social
                                            > forces in Australian politics perhaps we need to give more
                                            > consideration to what social forces the very, very small handful of
                                            > (admittedly voluminous) commentators on this list represent as
                                            > well!?!

                                            You miss the point what is needed want is for the voluminous
                                            commentary to be directed at how to build a socialist alternative. To
                                            do that we need to analyse Australian Society and the social forces in
                                            motion and how to get a hearing from them for socialist ideas. That
                                            SA doesn't represent a social force is not an insult it's a statement
                                            of the problem. What we are (supposed to be) debating is how (or if)
                                            it can become so.

                                            > So what do Bob Gould, Shane Hopkinson QC and the OZleft crowd
                                            > represent?

                                            I'll let the "QC" bullshit go and answer the question. Ozleft
                                            represents a group of socialists concerned about how best to
                                            rebuild the socialist project in Australia who are organised around
                                            a website as a means of exchanging ideas, learning a bit of
                                            history and keeping up to date with current events on the left.
                                            Political practices vary – I'm in the Greens, some are in the ALP
                                            and so on.

                                            >Are they merely reflecting a widespread debate throughout
                                            > the Australian left about the best way to relate to the ALP.

                                            No I don't think so because most of the Left are involved in
                                            either campaigning for the ALP or the Greens. It's a bit of a
                                            debate for the far left and always had been brought into focus by the
                                            election.

                                            > Bob's proposals for SA election slogans or a united front between
                                            > the SA, Greens and ALP to be taken seriously.

                                            I would assume so. It seems that Stuart now agrees not only that it
                                            be taken seriously but in fact we agreed all along.

                                            > Are the ALP trade unionists
                                            > uniting with the SA in the trade union movement similarly concerned
                                            > about "SA sectarianism" towards themselves. Hardly.

                                            How many Trade Unionists does this represent? There is a Campaign to
                                            free Craig Johnston (who is an SA member) and backed by a large number
                                            of ALP aligned union militants. Militant trade unionists are not
                                            concerned about SA sectarianism because they are not concerned about
                                            the SA - there's no reason for them to be since it is not part of
                                            their political practice. Again that's the problem.

                                            > Unfortunately its not a real debate...

                                            You can say that again.

                                            > the serious underlying
                                            > political errors underlining all of Bob Gould's criticisms of the SA
                                            > are the same he has persisted in doggedly for 40years or more.

                                            Here we go again - instead of proceeding to analysis we get back to
                                            Bob's "errors". That would be the same political error that Tommy
                                            Sheridan persisted in until 1985 when he was expelled from the labour
                                            party. Right? We could debates the merits of entrism if you like but
                                            since no-one is advocating that (incl Bob) then it would seem pointless.

                                            >He has an ideological conviction that Socialists should not
                                            >organise outside of the ALP.

                                            Maybe he does but can you show me where he says that?

                                            I stumbled across an old reply that Bob made to me on Marxmail
                                            http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2002w48/msg00001.htm

                                            "It's a question of what strategic orientation Marxists should adopt
                                            towards mass workers' organisations or formations and that kind of
                                            strategic question isn't primarily about the leaderships of those
                                            organisations, or even what socialists might do inside them."

                                            And later in the same piece he says that in the light of the general
                                            crisis of the whole left in the 1990s

                                            "I went to conferences and meetings of the far left, posing sharply
                                            the need for a discussion with two central axes: what a strategy and
                                            policy for the transition to socialism would look like, on the basis
                                            of the lessons of Stalinism in the 20th century; and the appropriate
                                            strategy and tactics for Marxists in the labour movement"

                                            There's nothing about not organising outside the ALP but a lot of
                                            questions and criticisms in the rest of his analysis that I think are
                                            worth debating. So what "strategic orientation" should Marxists have
                                            have to the mass workers organisations? What is SA's strategic
                                            perspective? It is to try and build a revolutionary party. This has
                                            been the far left's perspective for 20 years. What is it in the
                                            current poltical situation that makes you think its more likely to
                                            succeed? I would like to see someone else on this list (apart from Bob
                                            who has done so) draw a rough balance sheet of the Aust. political
                                            situation and what that means for socialist strategy and the way
                                            forward. Who do you think the audience for socialist ideas is? Where
                                            are they and how do you reach them? Is "building the revn party" or
                                            the revn "perspective" the best way forward for the socialist project?
                                            Maybe it is but people want to be convinced based on some analysis.

                                            > I think Shane (and probably most of the OZLEFTers) are in a
                                            >different category. They do not agree with Bob's political strategy
                                            >(thats why most of them are Greens supporters or members and not in
                                            > the ALP). But they are willing to paper over their differences with
                                            > Bob on these very important issues to join in the fun -

                                            Its not that we paper over differences we just accept them as normal.
                                            I don't think working in the ALP as a member is very useful but I
                                            don't think people who do are the enemy either. I want to see an end
                                            to capitalism and I don't think we have very much of an idea of how to
                                            do that. The socialist project is completely marginalised and for
                                            most people it is dead. We have to accept that and work out how to
                                            move forward. It's more like Russia 1895 than 1917 if you like. The
                                            main problem I think on this list is that people do not have a sense
                                            of how deep the crisis is. SA is important but its NOT the centre of
                                            what's happening in Australian politics. We need to devise a strategy
                                            that can create a new audience for anti- capitalist ideas. That's
                                            what I think Bob's proposals are aimed at and so I agree with him on
                                            that. If you don't that's fine but if you think a "party building"
                                            strategy is the best way to move the socialist project forward then
                                            well we are going to disagree. That's fine but it would help if you
                                            didn't treat those who won't sign up to your project as the enemy.

                                            I am in the Greens because they represent a real social force opposed
                                            to neoliberalism and are where people are actually moving against
                                            the system as it presently exists. Its not very exciting most of the
                                            time but for me if an anti-capitalist movement is going to take form
                                            then this is the place to be. For others it's the ALP. Frankly I
                                            don't always get it but genuine people make their choices and we need
                                            to connect with them. And we socialists need to connect with them far
                                            more than they need to connect with us. Some humility is called
                                            for.

                                            I think part of re-building the socialist project mean a better
                                            understanding of Australian history (so perhaps above I should have
                                            said that its more like Aust. 1890 than Russia) and there's some of
                                            that on the Ozleft site but I learn a bit from Bob about labour
                                            history or at least where to start looking and his shop is a valuable
                                            resource on that score. I am writing a summary of the early years of
                                            Trotskyism in Oz the first part based on Laurie Shorts bio to appear soon.

                                            >So there IS a kind of very small "united front" going on but
                                            > I question the principled political basis for this 'joint
                                            > collaboration'. In any case it doesn't have any reality outside this
                                            > email list.

                                            Our political practice as I said is varied. The only reason you think
                                            its not principled is because you think you are the only ones with
                                            principles. Having spent 10 years in the DSP, my guess is you think
                                            that we are united around being against you – in fact Peter confirms
                                            this in his recent post. The fact is that it is the reverse – that's
                                            what sectarian mindset amounts - seeing things as if you are in the
                                            centre as in the SEP stuff about revolutionary prospects. I hasten to
                                            add that you are NOTHING LIKE that but the seed of seeing what SA does
                                            as the focus is the problem. What unites you is not a serious
                                            analysis of the Aust political situation (and I have asked a couple of
                                            times to see this) and the best way to build socialism based on that
                                            but a strategy to build *yourself* that's why everyone outside is the
                                            enemy or at best, as Luke put it "the last organised hesitation"
                                            before socialism.

                                            My political practice is virtually unaffected by SA as is most peoples
                                            in Australia. I use this list as a discussion point for ideas about
                                            how we might move the socialist project forward since it is a place in
                                            which I know serious revolutionaries meet to discuss matters. While it
                                            is getting a bit tiring of conscious of the debating tactics as work
                                            that consistently divert the list from a discussion of the real issues.

                                            > And neither is it the kind of united front work that
                                            > Trotsky would have advocated for Marxists to engage in - but perhaps

                                            Email lists don't constitute united front work whether or not Trotsky
                                            said it. I don't think Trotsky said much about working within Green
                                            parties either. Strange that.

                                            > Shane has gleaned something more from his recent re-reading of
                                            > Trotsky on the United Front. Do I need to go back for a second look?

                                            Maybe you should have a look at "Revn Strategy and Tactics in the
                                            Trade Unions" which Doug wrote which is based on Trotsky's ideas
                                            about the United Front and I understand that Bob is in full agreement
                                            with. Perhaps with Stuart we might discover that we have been in
                                            agreeance all along.

                                            Shane
                                          • chen9692000
                                            ... I think you re right that Bob does polemise too much and exaggerates but exaggeration and distortion occur on both sides. Progress is made in the struggle
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Sep 9, 2004
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                                              --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fredman <sra@s...>
                                              wrote:

                                              > Of course there's difference in tone, and of how directly the SA
                                              > campaigns to "elect a Labor government". But along with Bob's
                                              > repetitive and unnecessary sermons about the united front, the
                                              > differences are constantly exaggerated and distorted by him.

                                              I think you're right that Bob does polemise too much and
                                              exaggerates but exaggeration and distortion occur on both sides.
                                              Progress is made in the struggle between opposites leading to a
                                              new synthesis that's what we need to achieve not a declaration of
                                              the winner.

                                              >The only explanation I can think for all this exaggeration and
                                              >distortion is that his preferred version of the united front contains
                                              >a bare minimum, if any at all, criticism of the ALP,

                                              Now this is the crux of the issue. If you and Bob differ the ONLY
                                              explanation can be that he wants you to tail-end the ALP? Now that's
                                              possible it could be that Bob supports a popular front strategy but
                                              that seems unlikely. It could be that he is in fact unwittingly a
                                              pro-capitalist, that's possible but not very plausible. You could
                                              both be misunderstanding each other or it could also be that you are
                                              committed to the SA project and because of your political training you
                                              are taught to respond to differences and criticisms as threats.

                                              > lest the obviously thin-skinned and precious ALP members be
                                              >terminally pissed off.

                                              The sarcasm here is important. We need to find an audience for
                                              socialist ideas – now this comment implies that the attitude of ALP
                                              members doesn't matter but if you consider them an potential audience
                                              for your ideas then their attitude does matter a lot. Of course if
                                              you don't then it doesn't matter. In any case it's not about them
                                              being thin skinned – its about winning them politically to the idea of
                                              building an openly socialist party – do you think based on an
                                              assessment of the Australian political situation that this is likely
                                              or is it really that you have a party-building strategy because the
                                              needs of your organisation require it?

                                              > One thing he always fails to answer is this: if the SA approach is
                                              >so disastrously wrong, if it puts ALP members off so much, why then
                                              >are the ALP union leaders and militants he mentions on the whole very
                                              > friendly and collaborative with SA?

                                              Well I suppose it's because the ALP union leaders and militants are
                                              not sectarian and appreciate support from whatever quarter they can
                                              get it. They may even sympathise with socialist ideas but the question
                                              is whether a party-building strategy is most appropriate because these
                                              people are not gonna join SA.

                                              > Maybe the better ALP members aren't so thin-skinned and actually
                                              >agree with a lot of the criticism,

                                              That's right so they don't need a bunch of student radicals to tell
                                              them. I'm sure they respect you – it's a question of whether the
                                              strategy is viable.

                                              Shane
                                            • Sue B.
                                              The interesting thing Shane is that all around the country, and not only in Melbourne, Socialist Alliance is getting large numbers of unionists joining SA who
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Sep 9, 2004
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                                                The interesting thing Shane is that all around the country, and not only in Melbourne, Socialist Alliance is getting large numbers of unionists joining SA who hadn't considered joining the Greens. These are unionists who haven't been members of left parties before. They are finding something in SA which is lacking in the Greens. There are more and more comments being made that SA is more an more filling the vacuum left by the dissolution of the old CPA.

                                                For the unionists who are joining, for some they are inspired by the fact that SA is uniting the left. Others are joining SA, never having come in contact with left parties before. And now we have left migrant groups affiliating, who are impressed that we are starting to develop deeper roots in the trade union movement.

                                                Sure, it is early days, but this is the first time in 20 years that so many unionists have been looking towards the socialist movement.. And the unionists who are still in the ALP but support  Socialist Alliance, it is a genuine alliance, with two-way support for each other. There are people from this milieu joining SA, especially after the jailing of Craig Johnston. and the role of the ALP, the bosses, the ACTU and the AMWU national office in his jailing.
                                                Sue Bolton


                                                chen9692000 wrote:
                                                --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fredman <sra@s...>
                                                wrote:
                                                
                                                  
                                                One thing he always fails to answer is this: if the SA approach is
                                                so disastrously wrong, if it puts ALP members off so much, why then
                                                are the ALP union leaders and militants he mentions on the whole very 
                                                friendly and collaborative with SA? 
                                                    
                                                Well I suppose it's because the ALP union leaders and militants are
                                                not sectarian and appreciate support from whatever quarter they can
                                                get it. They may even sympathise with socialist ideas but the question
                                                is whether a party-building strategy is most appropriate because these
                                                people are not gonna join SA.
                                                
                                                  
                                                Maybe the better ALP members aren't so thin-skinned and actually 
                                                agree with a lot of the criticism, 
                                                    
                                                Shane 
                                                
                                                  

                                              • chen9692000
                                                ... Dear Sue I m not sure what you expect my reaction to be. I think this is great news for SA. If its drawing in a layer of union militants and drawing
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Sep 9, 2004
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                                                  --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Sue B." <sueb@d...> wrote:

                                                  Dear Sue

                                                  I'm not sure what you expect my reaction to be. I think this is great
                                                  news for SA. If its drawing in a layer of union militants and drawing
                                                  others into political activity around socialist ideas that's great too.

                                                  I'm not sure that there's really a vacuum left by the old CPA but I'll
                                                  have to think about that. I acccept your implicit criticism of the
                                                  Greens - not enough is being done to forge links with union militants.
                                                  The old issue of jobs vs the environment is one that is hard to
                                                  address in relation to a lot of blue collar militants. Here the coal
                                                  industry just got a big boost - the local unions were really positive
                                                  - and it will mean more work for struggling workers. Its an
                                                  environmental disaster of course but global warming takes a poor
                                                  second to food on the table. The big local issue here - greens wise-
                                                  is the development on East Point. Environmentally bad - but mosst of
                                                  the local unionists just see jobs - even short term ones.

                                                  That said the local branch in Gladstone did support workers on strike
                                                  there and Kerry Nettle's office condemned the High Court decision,
                                                  referring to the fact that it would stifle Green bans.

                                                  I would be interested to know if you think that what they find lacking
                                                  in the Greens has anything to do with the program. Its a clear
                                                  anti-neoliberal position- what do these workers find attractive about SA?

                                                  Comradely

                                                  Shane
                                                • Michael Karadjis
                                                  ... Shane: That s right so they don t need a bunch of student radicals to tell them. Me: Shane I appreciate your attempts to de-flame the discussion, but the
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Sep 10, 2004
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                                                    Nick:

                                                    > Maybe the better ALP members aren't so thin-skinned and actually
                                                    >agree with a lot of the criticism,

                                                    Shane:

                                                    That's right so they don't need a bunch of student radicals to tell
                                                    them.

                                                    Me:

                                                    Shane I appreciate your attempts to de-flame the discussion, but the
                                                    description of the entire SA membership as "a bunch of student radicals"
                                                    simply shows that even the 'holier-than-thous' are not immune from a bit of
                                                    their own flaming. As you well know, the membership of SA consists of a
                                                    pretty broad range of people in terms of current occupations, past
                                                    occupations and class/social backgrounds. "Student radicals" are relativelly
                                                    few and far between, but hopefully there are also students joining, as with
                                                    other parties. If there is a greater predominance of 'new social layers' (ie
                                                    ex-students now in white collar or professional areas) than blue-collar
                                                    workers, that is a problem well recognised but it is no different to the
                                                    Greens, except that SA would also have more members and links among active
                                                    unionists than the Greens. While the ALP obviously has mass voting support
                                                    from blue-collar workers, which is after all a key problem, we should not
                                                    forget that the bulk of the ALP leadership are also originally from these
                                                    same "new social layers", the difference being that they are the upper crust
                                                    and most upwardly mobile sector of it, they are the section of it who have
                                                    long ago decided that capitalism is all the go and strive to represent their
                                                    own layer within capitalism, evidenced by Latham's tax cuts for the
                                                    35-85,000 group together with actual dramatic income cuts for workers on
                                                    under 35,000 and unemployed.

                                                    The changing nature of the ALP's membership base (as opposed to voting base)
                                                    has been widely commented on, and while that in and of itself may not decide
                                                    an entirely new range of tactics, it is worthwile remembering when we get
                                                    into this kind of rhetoric about "student radicals" etc. My own experiecne
                                                    suggests the cahnge started some time ago. I was a member of Leichhardt ALP
                                                    in the late 1970s, when the working class sector of the branch membership
                                                    were the over 50 year olds, and all the younger members were nothing but the
                                                    "new social layers", labour lawyers, aspiring politicians, people going
                                                    direct to union officialdom without a day on the job and various Albanese
                                                    look-a-likes. I was thankfully expelled by the right-wing. I don't know if
                                                    Bob Gould or anyone has done a thorough survey of ALP branches in recent
                                                    times to determine whether there is any clear change in this long-changed
                                                    nature of the AKLP membership, whether there has been any influx of working
                                                    class membership, whether my experience was exceptional (no doubt in some
                                                    regional areas where the ALP is the only thing going it may well attract the
                                                    odd working class militant), but the evidence i know of from recent ALP
                                                    surveys suggests its membership has been in a state of paralysis if not
                                                    crisis for soem time.
                                                  • Michael Karadjis
                                                    ... But let me ask in all non-sectarian honesty, is it also an issue that is ahrd to address in relation to a lot of non-working class Greens members? I mean I
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Sep 10, 2004
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                                                      Shane:

                                                      >The old issue of jobs vs the environment is one that is hard to
                                                      >address in relation to a lot of blue collar militants.

                                                      But let me ask in all non-sectarian honesty, is it also an issue that is
                                                      ahrd to address in relation to a lot of non-working class Greens members? I
                                                      mean I am well aware that the Greens are far from the tree-hugging 'who
                                                      cares about jobs' stereotype invented both by the media and greens
                                                      fundamentalists themsleves, but maybe Shane could explain just what the
                                                      Greens do say in response to concrete problems like the following:

                                                      >Here the coal
                                                      >industry just got a big boost - the local unions were really positive
                                                      >- and it will mean more work for struggling workers. Its an
                                                      >environmental disaster of course but global warming takes a poor
                                                      >second to food on the table. The big local issue here - greens wise-
                                                      >is the development on East Point. Environmentally bad - but most of
                                                      >the local unionists just see jobs - even short term ones.

                                                      What did the Greens say to the workers? What kind of jobs did you suggest to
                                                      replace these jobs you don't approve of to allow them to put food on their
                                                      table? Do you say that no-one should be unemployed whatever the case, that
                                                      society is wealthy enough to provide everyone one of those coalminers with
                                                      jobs if the industry had to close down (is that the only alternative?), and
                                                      if no jobs are immediately in the offering they should be paid 100% of their
                                                      former wages until such a time as jobs can be found for them etc? And the
                                                      problem is that even if we do say all that, workers may be unlikely to
                                                      believe us when we are only small, so do the Greens demand an immediate end
                                                      to the industry at this point etc? I'm really quite interested to know as I
                                                      think in the past just as many enviromentalists actively put off working
                                                      class communities concerned with their jobs as trade-unionists played the
                                                      anti-green card.
                                                    • Alex Bainbridge
                                                      Shane said: In fact it is quite extraordinary what Marx did say about ecology but it took the rise of the Green movement for Marxists to begin noticing that.
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Sep 10, 2004
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                                                        Shane said: "In
                                                        fact it is quite extraordinary what Marx did say about ecology but it
                                                        took the rise of the Green movement for Marxists to begin noticing
                                                        that."

                                                        Not entirely a fair comment.

                                                        As we've noted many times, right from the very first issue of Direct Action
                                                        (precursor to GLW) which came out in 1971 or 72 from memory, there were
                                                        articles against pollution and other environmental issues and a
                                                        (semi-regular?) column "capitalism fouls things up". This was of course
                                                        after the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and so you could say
                                                        at some level the environmental movement had already begun, but of course
                                                        there were not yet any "Green parties" in Australia or anywhere else at that
                                                        time. Since this was the beginnings of the tendency that is now the DSP it
                                                        is not unreasonable for socialists from this tendency to assert that we have
                                                        something to say about ecology (without in any way claiming we know it all
                                                        or worked it out first).

                                                        More remarkable is the extraordinary work of Soviet scientists ("Marxist
                                                        ecologists") in the 1920s. (The word "biosphere" was coined by the Soviets
                                                        during this period for instance.) This was of course way (!) before the
                                                        modern environmental movement had begun.

                                                        Alex B

                                                        (Plenty more I'd like to say about the strategy questions in this discussion
                                                        but no time now, so have to be later.)
                                                      • chen9692000
                                                        ... Fair enough and the old SWP wrote about what became known as the beauty myth well before Naomi Wolf but for most of the old left environmental issues
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Sep 10, 2004
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                                                          --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Alex Bainbridge"
                                                          <alexb@d...> wrote:
                                                          > Shane said: "In
                                                          > fact it is quite extraordinary what Marx did say about ecology but
                                                          > took the rise of the Green movement for Marxists to begin noticing
                                                          > that."
                                                          >
                                                          > Not entirely a fair comment.

                                                          Fair enough and the old SWP wrote about what became known as
                                                          the "beauty myth" well before Naomi Wolf but for most of the old left
                                                          environmental issues were marginal concerns - even today some
                                                          Marxists see "green" issues as petty bourgeois. I was thinking of the
                                                          mainstream Marxist movement which by and large focused its efforts on
                                                          proletarian bread and butter issues. Nothing wrong with that of
                                                          course but "green-global" consciousness emerged as did modern
                                                          feminism out the 60s radicalisation. There's no problem with this,
                                                          social movements emerge and then change the values and Marxists
                                                          respond by re-reading their tradition and renovating it and re-
                                                          discovering the things you mentioned. What annoys me about it (I
                                                          don't mean you are doing this) is that this "re-reading" is cast in a
                                                          triumphalist "we told you so" way. AS you say we certainly do have
                                                          something VERY important to say to these issues (after all if we
                                                          didn't then we would be a movement without any future). I tend to
                                                          think of my views as "ecosocialist" to remind myself of the
                                                          importance of the contradiction between labour and capital as well as
                                                          the contradiction between nature and capital as the two fundamental
                                                          axes.

                                                          Look forward to your other comments when you have time.

                                                          Cheers
                                                          Shane
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