Reply to Paul

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Wed Nov 24 18:01:41 MST 1999

>Paul writes:
>>Let's say, Phillip, that I see you being beaten up by several thugs in an
>>alley way, one of whom pulls a knife. I'm not strong enough to defend you
>>myself, but I do see a cop down the street.
>>Do I see the urgency of the situation, and call on the cop (tool of the
>>bourgeois state and all) to stop the beating and arrest the perpetrators?
>>Or do I recognise that as a 'pure Marxist', I can not call on the cop as a
>>part of the bourgoise state, to do anything - and thus I scream and sweat
>>in your defence, but am ultimately sidelined, and you are beaten to a pulp
>>or perhaps killed.
>Phillip writes:
>Does this mean that the DSP is falling for the bourgeoisie's moral panic on
>crime and knife-wielding thugs as well as for their humanitarian
>Moreover, if you want to get into analogies using the police, try this
>scenario on for size:  what if we were in the Deep South of the USA in the
>Jim Crow era and the assailants were black and you knew that if the cops
>came the black assailants would have their balls cut off and then be
>lynched.  Would you still call the cops?
>Context is everything, Paul.
>Unfortunately, you and the DSP want to rip events in East Timor out of the
>context of *imperialist* interests and policy and make the oppressing Third
>World regime (Jakarta) the only bad guy.
>Going downhill a little, Phillip. Your first sentence is absurd - you
>don't or can't answer the question. To answer it for you - If I saw you
>being beaten up (and yes, while the bourgoisie may themselves 'beat up'
>occurence of crime, I do believe things like this happen), I WOULD call on
>the cop down the road to come to your assistance. I still don't know what
>your position would be.

Paul, the problem here is that you set up a particular scenario - I am
being assaulted and should you call the cops.  But using this method, one
scenario is as good as the next.  So I set up another scenario - one in
which you wouldn't (or hopefully wouldn't) call the cops.  My point was
that anyone can set up a scenario that backs up their existing position.

>Now, let's not forget that it was you who wanted to get into analogies.
>Phillip wrote previously:
>>Indeed, and this is why Marxists are equally opposed to cops as the
>>front-line of the state apparatus.  We are equally opposed to them
>>regardless of whether they are 'unarmed' bobbies 'of yore' or tooled up
>>cops of today.

Wrong again, Paul.  It was your paper, GLW, which started into the
analogies with the Nambia/Timor one, which as people like Lou and myself
have shown, just *does not work*.

By the way, the piece by me which you quote above is *not* an analogy.  In
the quoted passage which you claim is me making an analogy, I am just
saying that cops are cops.  No analogy involved at all.  It is you who
started into the (bad) analogy game with your cops scenario.

>Again a straw person is raised, with the false analogy you give. In East
>Timor, it >was under INDONESIAN rule that people were having their "balls
>cut off" literally, >not to mention other atrocities on a mammoth scale.

If you read my scenario again, you will appreciate that the assailants are
comparable to the Indonesians, ie imperialism is cutting the balls off

>Under the UN TRANSITION (which you CONTINUALLY fail to mention - will you
>go on >record saying that you believe the UN will never leave and East
>Timor will never >have self-goverment, or will you acknowledge that it is
>a TRANSITIONAL UN rule???),

Paul, no-one has ever suggested that the UN apparatus will stay permanently
in East Timor.  You don't need an imperialist apparatus on the ground in a
neo-colony.  That's part of what makes a place a neo-colony.  It is
formally 'independent'.

I remain amused, however, by the way you continually use the term 'UN' for
Austrlaian imperialist troops.  I assume this is because you hope that a
lot of us will be more ambivalent in relation to the UN - ie think that the
UN might be not quite so bad - whereas fewer people are likely to be
ambivalent about Australian imperialism.

What we have in East Timor is Australian and New Zealand imperialism.  Why
not call a spade a spade Paul and say Australian troops instead of hiding
behind the UN all the time?  Especially since the DSP made a specific call
for Australian troops.  So, don't be coy!

>the atrocities have massively been reduced - indeed, like Namibia, it is
>only in >places that the UN forces can not reach that the atrocities
>continue - this is why >FRETILIN, the solidarity movement etc criticised
>the pathetic slowness of the UN >deployment.

Well, it will be interesting to see when the dust clears just how many
people were murdered by the anti-independence elements.  I somehow think it
will be less than the numbers being claimed - just like the actual number
of people in Kosovo killed by the Serbs has proven to be only a fraction of
that suggested by left currents like the DSP.

The really big massacres were in the early days of Indonesian rule, when
imperialism supported Jakarta.

>The UN troops are not ABLE to "cut the balls off" the East Timorese due to
>the mass >movement that has been built in support of the East Timorese'
>right to >self-determination. The neglect of this - that is, the role and
>power of the masses >- leads to your domaticism. You've (correctly) seen
>imperialism, through the UN, in >many circumstances, screw over and murder
>the oppressed - so you decide this will >happen, in all circumstances -
>you deny the ability of the working class to effect >and win concessions
>from imperialism.

This is the kind of fantasy world stuff that is necessary to sustain the
DSP argument that imperilaism going on the offensive is really a defeat for

If the Australian working class is so militant and mobilised and can force
the Australian ruling class to do things it doesn't want to do in relation
to foreign policy, it is a bit strange that the Australian working class
hasn't managed to force the ruling class to repeal a few anti-trade union
laws, bring in free, legal abortion, give justice to the Aboriginals etc

The idea that the Australian masses have forced their ruling class to act
is just plain nuts.  Moreover, in NZ *there were no big demos*, repeat *not
one demo of any size at all* and yet the NZ government has more troops in
East Timor than it did in Vietnam.  The reason Canberra and Wellington are
in East Timor is because it is in their interests to be there.

In any case, like the last round of discussion on this subject a few months
back, we are now just going round in circles again, with the same arguments
just dressed up in different analogies and so on.  I'm happy to leave off
the discussion and we could come back to it in the New Year when actual
events in East Timor might give us some developments to evakuate in the
light of what we have argued before.


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