Warts & all

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Thu Sep 16 20:04:33 MDT 1999

At 07:56 16/09/99 -0400, you wrote:

>There's nothing ominous about it at all. Norm Dixon has explained it
>frequently to me privately and once or twice publicly on the list. It flows
>from being too busy with "real political work" to mess around with a
>"feeding the chooks" type mailing list. It also is connected to their
>belief that the articles in Green Left Weekly speak for themselves.
>The other thing, more importantly for us, is that I am not sure what the
>point would be with a debate with orthodox democratic-centralists. Although
>the DSP'ers are much more likable as a group than the sorts we used to rub
>shoulders with on the grandparents of this list, you still are dealing with
>a very real problem in terms of discussion. They simply CAN NOT admit that
>they are wrong even if we persuade them of that during a debate. This
>admission can only occur within the party at the appropriate time and
>place, such as the next meeting of their political committee or national
>convention. This is the rules of the game as set down at the 1924
>"Bolshevization" Comintern conference and if you don't adhere to them
>strictly, all sorts of terrible things will happen. You will get warts on
>your buttocks and hair will start growing out of your ears.
>I think there's nothing wrong with changing your mind. I do it frequently
>when logic and facts persuade me that I've been wrong. For example, when I
>first encountered Henry Liu, I would lob missive after missive making the
>claim that China had already become capitalist. But a combination of
>information that he presented, plus the conflict reported on the bourgeois
>press recently around a range of issues (WTO, embassy bombing, Taiwan,
>etc.) persuaded me that I was mistaken. Guess what. No warts. I do have
>hair growing out of my ears, but I think that's more of a function of being
>54 years old.
>Louis Proyect
I hear what you are saying, Lou. But I still stick with the ominous,
because a number of us hoped for greater things from the DSP.  But the turn
of events strikes me most of all as proof that they are not as different as
they promised they would be.  Now of course they ignore us, but the reality
is that the prestige of the DSP among the Australian Left has suffered
badly and will suffer more.  For instance I used to think that it was
wonderful that the PRD in Indonesia had such close links with the DSP, but
after this like Joao, I am far from sure.

Now the current status on the Left of the DSP is exactly the sticking point
between Alan and Ambrose and myself.  They will sort of go along with the
critique of DSP support for Australian military intervention. Though it is
worth pointing out that Alan has muted his criticism here precisely when it
needs to be loudest.

But above all Alan wishes to defend DSP from any criticism of its method of
forming policy.  However you have hit the nail on the head exactly.  It has
made a mistake and cannot correct it.  The leadership will have to find a
way to climb down without losing face and threatening their positions as
leaders.  That is  the reality of the DSP and other Zinoviest
organizations. Only zealots will deny it.

But like you I change my mind not gladly of course but when I need to.  For
instance my stance on the Timor question was greatly influenced by your
initial post.  It clarified things for me.  I am not ashamed to admit that
I was teetering on the edge of supporting Australian troops going in.  Also
Jared, Joao, Nestor, Philip and Macdonald have made me re-think as well.
What I want to see is a party which functions in a similar way.



PS Don't be too complacent about those warts! Never tempt fate. You never

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