Answering Jose was Re: Replying to Brian was Re: Referendum DownUnder

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri Nov 12 04:07:04 MST 1999

Hi Ken,

lovely to see your name again.  One day we will meet and have a chat about
the Liga Communista.  Now I won't go to the barricades over this.  Let's
just agree to differ.  But let me demur from your statement that it is easy
to write the workers off as ignorant on the Left. The abiding sin on the
Left is workerism - the uncritical adulation of the working class.
Something Marx did not suffer from. though I would admit that my
edxperience of the ISO has me somewhat embittered here.

Fond regards


At 07:35  12/11/99 +1100, you wrote:
>As an unrepetant lurker on this list who at times feels moved to consider
>letting forth with some words, only to find my long ago comrade Gary has got
>there before me and put in much clearer form the trails I had started sdin my
>mind to embark upon, it is with great shock and horror that I find I cannot
>agree with him in respect to the significance of the republic referendum and
>some of the conclusions he has drawn, i.e. the ignorance of the working
>Prior to the referendum polls were showing over 70% of people wanted a
>republic. Yet only 49 or so % voted for it. Why?
>I live in rural Victoria and work with people who both are farmers and work
>to make ends meet, and are in our union too.The microcosm of our little neck
>of the woods and the discussions that took place pre referendum were very
>mixed,but not of the type of any allegiance to the monachy.For the life of
>the campaign before the referendum very little was spoken about, but on the
>friday before the vote we did start discussing it and by far the prevalent
>feeling was yes to a republic but not the politicians one.
>I think that this can be gereralised across a lot of the working class and
>indicates to me not a level of ignorance but a level of political
>sophistication, I think this is also exemplified when it was the rural
>working class that basically dumpted the Kennet Government in Victoria in
>the recent state elections.
>It concerns me greatly when all too easily from the left workers are written
>off as ignorant.It seems to me that this feeds into the basis of
>secterianism that has characterised the left and led to its marginalisation,
>i.e. workers are ignorant and don't know whats in their own best interests,
>we of the vanguard are not ignorant and all the workers have to do is be
>educated and follow us down the yellow brick road of salvation.
>Faced with immense cynicism and distrust of politicians of all hues,the
>disintergration of the organised labour movement and the very real crisis of
>consciousness in politics the vote against the politicians republic was a
>progressive move and not one to be lamented. Not because it keeps betty
>winsor as a super rich symbol feudal or otherwise but rather because i think
>the majority of the " working class" couldn't give a rats ass. In the end it
>was not a vote about the monarchy but rather in many workers minds it was a
>vote against the politicians and what they stand for. And this level of
>consciousness is the one the left has not a clue how to tap into. It is also
>one that, as the phenomena of Hanson showed is a very real danger as whilst
>Hanson has subsidded the emotiveness has not and could easily be reurected
>by a more competent populist. The space for developing the alternatives is

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