Alan Bradley alanb at
Fri Sep 17 16:47:13 MDT 1999

This post is a fragment of a much larger one that I have abandoned trying
to write.  It deals with some aspects of the relationship the Left in
places like Australia should have to the Timorese resistence, a question
that I feel is important in the current situation.

Funnily enough, read by itself, this fragment is relatively
pro-interventionist.  I abandoned the larger post while working on the
anti-interventionist argument.

The question of supporting the Timorese resistance is quite interesting.
There have historically been many cases, particularly in the Trotskyist
tradition, of parties attempting to "second-guess" the forces involved in
struggles, and criticising them for not following the preferred model of
the second-guessers.  I suspect Louis could provide us with some examples -
what was the attitude of the US SWP to the Vietnamese revolutionaries in
the 60s, or the FSLN in the 70s?  There has been something of a backlash
against this practice, in some circles at least, which is possibly one of
the factors in the 'Left interventionism' which has appeared recently.
That is, sections of the Left are supporting the Timorese resistance
because they are, after all, the _Timorese_ resistance, that is, they are
the leaders of the struggle on the ground, and just possibly might have a
better knowledge of the issue than outsiders, and in any case, the Timorese
need to work out their own strategies and tactics, and why should they
listen to posturing grouplets anyway?

So the Timorese demand for UN troops gets supported.  The trouble is not
that 'the Timorese resistance are wrong' - that may be the case, but who
knows?  Maybe they're fighting one enemy at a time.  I dunno.  They will
have to deal with imperialism in the long run, but maybe that would be
easier if they are not actually under the Indonesian thumb at the time.
And some sections of the resistance _won't_ be opposing imperialism - there
are plenty of social democratic wannabes, and others who are loyal to the
Catholic church, and so on.  This is a swamp I don't have much inclination
to swim in.  I'll keep an eye on the Timorese Socialist Party though.

Alan Bradley
alanb at

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