Pinochet and the List

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Mon Dec 20 13:38:27 MST 1999

Louis wrote:
>Only last month Phil drew a line in the sand and said that all Marxists
>belonged on his side with respect to East Timor. JosÈ demurely declined the
>invitation. Now on a completely different question, they see completely eye
>to eye with each other. That's the kind of culture we are trying to create,
>where people are not afraid to think for themselves.

Hold on there a wee minute, mate!  I agree with the point you are making; I
just  don't think I quite said all Marxists belonged on my side on the
question.  I still regard the DSP, for instance, as a Marxist organisation
even though I don't think their position of calling for Aussie troops to be
sent in was in the slightest bit Marxist.

And at the time I strongly disagreed with Jose on Timor (although I thought
his position was not so bad as the DSP one) I was impressed by some of his
other postings and invited him to write some stuff on the stock market for

The point for me, and I think you already made it in the above email I've
quoted from, is simply that we can't extrapolate from one position and make
an entire political characterisation of an organisation as 'menshevik' or
'centrist' etc from that.

The fact that people can disagree on this list and then find themselves in
agreement on some other question is certainly a healthy sign and no-one
freaks out and thinks they can't have position A, because someone they
disagreed with yesterday has that position.

In the period we are living through today, we need to have that flexibility
and open-mindedness.  There are a whole load of new questions - or new
forms of old questions, often - being thrown up and the kind of divisions
that characterised the left before 1990 are really not all that relevant


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