Reply to Paul Benedek on ET, DSP and bad analogies

Paul.Benedek at Paul.Benedek at
Tue Nov 23 22:51:49 MST 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Philip L Ferguson [mailto:PLF13 at]
Sent: Wednesday,24 November 1999 15:15
To: marxism at
Subject: Reply to Paul Benedek on ET, DSP and bad analogies

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.

Now, let's not forget that it was you who wanted to get into analogies. Phillip wrote
>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.
>Now apply that correct insight of yours above to East Timor!

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. 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???), 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.

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.

Indeed, context is everything, as is reality - not only do your analogies fall flat,
but reality is showing up your position on East Timor to be ridiculous. Let's hear it
once and for all - you believe that the East Timorese are worse off now (ie having
their 'balls cut off') compared to when under the Indo military/militias???


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