Macdonald Stainsby on DSP

Paul.Benedek at Paul.Benedek at
Mon Nov 22 16:44:14 MST 1999

>Macdonald Stainsby:
>GLW paper:
>     The DSP opposed NATO's military intervention in the Balkans, i.e.,
>its bombing  campaign against Serbia and its military occupation of
>Kosova, not because the NATO armies are imperialist armed forces, but
>because their war against Serbia was a continuation of NATO's policy of
>opposing the Kosova Albanians' democratic right to national
>I can not believe that any party, in the name of Marxism, would declare
>that opposition shouldn't be based on the fact that it is Imperialist,
>but that it violates some 14 points-type right. Wow!

Macdonald implies that Marxists should rigidly oppose every imperialist act because
they are imperialists. Such dogmatism would support calls like:
Abolish social security!, Down with Public Health!, Smash the World Health

Wow indeed.

Sound a little crazy? Perhaps a tad like the infantile disorder of ultraleftism? Yet
it flows directly from the position that Macdonald implies - that is, that Marxists
don't analyse the specific conditions and the forces behind the positions imperialists
take (and indeed that some may be defensive measure, concessions to the working
class); REAL Marxists just condemn imperialism - OUTRIGHT, right?

Wrong. East Timor is the easiest case in point. The DSP was amongst the staunchest
opposition to the imperialist policy of decades long support for the Indonesian regime
and its occupation of East Timor. Through the combination of East Timorese struggle,
the Indonesian uprising and international solidarity, a referendum was granted,
autonomy was rejected and independence demanded. Yet a mass slaughter and destruction
campaign began, with the aim of destroying the East Timorese people.

Taking Macdonald's view, we could do nothing... There exists no revolutionary army
that could assist the frantic calls for armed support. And we certainly couldn't call
on the terrible imperialist army - because they're imperialist, remember?

Yet, luckily, we (and many others) didn't take Macdonald's view - we used the
situation, and the contradictions it exposed in the Australian Government and the UN
(ie nominally supporting East Timor self-determination, then refusing to implement the
results) to demand that the imperialist forces heed the calls of the East Timorese,
and go to their assistance. This has seen the removal of all Indonesian troops, the
formal Indonesian relinquishing of East Timor, and the transition toward independence.

Marxists do not oppose every imperialist act, without thought. If we did, we'd be in
the laughable position of opposing the governments refusal to grant free education,
and then, when a mass movement forces the victory of free education, we'd OPPOSE FREE
EDUCATION, cause it's an imperialist act!!!!

If every imperialist act is always bad, then the working class is powerless to push
imperialism for concessions. Thus Macdonald's ultraleft position show's its real
flipside - the conservative liberalism that denies the working class' power in
effecting, and at times turning back, the onslaught of imperialist capitalism.

>Now what happened with DSP politics in East Timor makes a lot more
>sense. I realise, from the words of comrades that I trust, that the DSP
>has done some really good organisational work in Australia.
>Additionally, any radical Marxist party that sees fit to
>prioritize "green" politics should be commended for that act,
>ecological crises got me into Marxism in the first place. It needs far
>more attention.
>   This kind of "Marxism", however, is way too much. I sincerely hope
>the membership can fight the good fight within the party. These kinds
>of statements remind me of Bernsteinian notions of "civilizing"
>the "savages". There is more Rousseau and less Marx in this. When NATO
>finally leaves KosovO and finishes installing the mighty KLA into the
>new power, will then the DSP state: "We actually didn't foresee how
>much more immediate the Nato strategy would pay-off, or that Nato
>really did want the independance of Kosova. Our mistake, thank you very
>much Nato"?
>I'm sorry to beat a dead horse here, but by now facts should have won
>out. Unfortunately parties of this type don't climb down from positions

*This was NOT attached by the Tao collective*

Looking for radically new approaches to your internet?
Check out the Tao "ten point platform":

Computing the revolution.

Macdonald Stainsby

More information about the Marxism mailing list