the Australian thread

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Thu Aug 22 01:19:39 MDT 1996


This has turned out to be a very interesting thread.  I enjoyed reading
Adam's comments on Jeff's leaflet, though I would have much less critical.
But then I tend to think that leftists are like scholastic philosopher and
every leaflet has to get everything in. Nit pickers the lot of them and Adam
is one of the best if nicest...! Jeff's leaflet would have done me.  Nick
did however give some suggestions which I think are very useful.

There was a note though about "build your party" in one of the
contributions.  There is *no* left party here just tiny groups and it is
nonsense IMHO to see the task as one of building the sect up.  But then as
the cheerful Hugh once said I am a "broadie" and think that the fascination
with party building has actually weakened the Left in Australia and elsewhere.

There is another fascination in Adam's critique and that is  the struggle
with the bureaucracy.  I am torn here.  I  agree totally with his assessment
of the role of the bureaucracy but to begin with an attack on them is not to
court unpopularity but rather to simply not be heard.  As always one  needs
to split up the target.  Now I am not arguing for an orientation towards the
Left bureaucracy. (Spare me puh..leese any posts about  1926 and the role of
the left officials).

My attitude is determined by a feeling that workers need to know and
understand that the Left are on their side and that takes patience and not a
"perfect" leaflet which gets a high grade from a Leninist scholar.  after
all the whole process is supposed to be one of self -emancipation is it not?
If we approach the workers with the left's equivalent of the white man's
burden i.e. our perfect grasp of Marxist theory we are more than likely not
to be listened to. Then where is one's perfect leaflet??

I would  like to  conclude my giving some thoughts as to  where we are now.
Tony and Jeff have made very sensible comments about the difference between
France and Australia.  The struggle here is very low. The Left is
unbelievably weak.  But there  is militancy growing.  The Aborigines in
particular have played a superb role but there strength is tiny. Nor do they
have an orientation towards the working class. they either collaborate with
the state or mix such collaboration with dreams of a 4th world strategy
modelled on the Fiji coup.

There has not been one Australian voice raised in defense of the workers'
riot.  the exception is  that of the USA Socialist Party Presidential
candidate who is here on a visit.  His name is Harris(?)  and he was
interviewed on Radio national and he was very good.  Moderate but still
stuck to his guns in saying that the riot was a reaction to  anti-democratic
practices of the Howard Government.

The worst section of  the media  has been the ABC.  The national
broadcaster.  They have been targeted for cuts and the response of the
political commentators  was to scramble over each other to condemn the
workers.  Gutless middle class shits.

the focus is now on the students.  What will they do?  Will they maintain
their militancy or will they retreat in front of the media barrage.  I think
they will retreat but then I would wouldn't I?

Whatever the case we are certainly much further ahead than we have been in
years.

Regards

Gary




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