Reply to Jose

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Fri Oct 1 20:30:17 MDT 1999

Philip writes:

>You are talking about people in an imperialist country, calling on their
>own government to take action.  (In any case, my view is that the workers
>would be much better defending themselves in all the cases you mention
>However, this is a different situation from people in an imperialist
>country calling on their government to take action by sending their army
>into a Third World country.

Even in a couple of the cases I cited, the situation is not as
straightforward as "people in an imperialist country" calling on their own
government to take action. It had to do with Black communities asking for
federal intervention against local authorities or against gangs tolerated &
encouraged by them. Even here, I think it is the wrong stance for
revolutionaries to put forward as their OWN demand, or as the demand of the
working class as a whole, that troops be sent. I think, however,  the
workers can, under certain circumstances, support the demand of the Black
community for troops.

Similarly, in the case of East Timor, I think revolutionaries CAN support
the demand of the national liberation movement for a "peacekeeping"
intervention; moreover, I do not think the differentiation between the
"civilian" UN operation and the "military" one is justified in this case. It
is all part of a single political intervention or project.

Ted Grant -- I think that's his name -- was consistent in his position in
the article that was posted to the group. He said in essence he could not
support the Timorese demand for troops because the Timorese leaders had
embarked on a course that represented an abandonment of the Timorese
national struggle. I do not agree with him but at least he was consistent
and his position is based on an evaluation of the actual political forces

I do not believe the campaign the DSP has carried out is correct. The axis
of all our activity should be the right of the people of East Timor to
self-determination and independence.  Australia has no "right" to go into
East Timor, the only legitimacy the UN force has is that its presence has
been requested by the Timorese National movement. If the Timorese has asked
for guns to be sent instead of troops  The more I think about it, the more I
think our central demand should have been from the time of the vote that the
UN and all countries recognize East Timor as an independent state, but I
can't see opposing the Timorese request for a peacekeeping force under these

For me a decisive element is the existence of a Timorese national liberation
movement that has been fighting for decades and that is speaking with one
voice on this issue.



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