Replying to the DSP

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Sun Sep 12 22:42:13 MDT 1999

This is a considered statement and I simply do not have time to answer it
fully because I am organising a protest here on campus. But let me take up
the point about the 'sectarian left'.  Who are these peoeople?  Does Norm
mean Lou Proyect?  His criticism of the DSP line has been in the best
traditions of Marxist thought.

Does Norm mean myself?  If so he had better retract it. I have worked
closely with the DSP here in Brisbane. I have spoken at functions the DSP
has organised.  I have called for votes for their candidates in elections
in my column.  I have attended and addressed their rallies.  I also buy and
read the GLW every week.  I advertise GLW in my lectures and have been
criticised by rightwingers for doing so. I do not take out a subscription
because I like to buy it from my good friend Jim McIlroy on Saturday
mornings, after which we meet and 'talk a little treason' over a pot of
Irish Breakfast tea.

I might also point out that I am organising the campus protest in
conjunction with two young DSP comrades and I have scrupulously avoided the
whole question of sending in Australian troops.  I have no wish to put
these sincere young people under pressure.  I have also asked them to make
sure that some of the leading DSP cadre are at our rally and that they have
a stall with their literature on it.

So 'blah blah' won't do it, nor will talk of armchairs and slumbers. I am a
committed revolutionary and I am non-sectarian - totally.  I belong to no
party and I seek to build none.  I work for the broad left movement.

>The sectarian left has howled about the DSP's ``betrayal'' in calling
>for an armed force to be sent to East Timor immediately to stop the
>slaughter of the independence movement. That this ``sows illusions'' in
>imperialism ... blah ... blah...
>These armchair (more accurately these days, computer chair) theorists of
>world revolution overlook two key points.
>1) The Indonesian military and its proxy death squads (militia's) are
>systematically exterminating the pro-independence East Timorese NOW. The
>existance of the Timorese liberation movement is at stake. The urgency
>of situation is that a key component of the revolutionay movement in the
>region is in danger of physical annihlation and that could be achieved
>in the space of weeks.
>To not call for an immediate UN intervention is to accept the slaughter
>as a fait accompli. To campaign against the force is to be complicit
>with imperialism's desire to stand back and allow the slaughter to take
>its course.

This again is the broad sweep of slander.  I have not been silent about the
killings.  But the killings are being carried out by those trained by the
Australian military.  How can we call for the teachers of the butchers to
go in and stop the butchery?  Now the DSP comrade says that the illusions
are there.  They did not sow them.  Well let us take out the verb 'sow' and
put in 'reinforce'.  The sentence now reads

*The DSP's call to SEND IN THE TROOPS has reinforced illusions that the
Australian Army is a neutral force which somehow can be used to aid the
people of East Timor.

I would like Norm to try and answer that specifically.

Now the second point, that by not calling for Australian troops to go in I
and others like me are somehow aiding and abetting the killings is a
vicious slander.  The killings would stop immediately if the Australian
government did or even threatened to

a]send arms and medical supplies to the Timorese resistance
b]freeze the assets of the Indonesian generals
c]swear out indictments for war crimes against Habibie, Wiranto, and Alitas
d]broke all defence ties with the Indonesian military.

The DSP  is, and I sincerely regret this, a small organisation.  However
that does not mean that its line is unimportant.  I repeat: the DSP is
Australian Marxism. That brings a special responsibility, while our numbers
are small, to clarify matters for those who turn up at the rallies.  We
need to distinguish ourselves from the liberals at every opportunity.  My
charge against the DSP is that it has failed to do so.  And I might point
out that Norm has fudged this point with the usual tactics of the Zinoviest
under pressure. Those who criticis are sectarian or ultraleft.

The final part of Norm's reply is a reprise of Alan Bradley's attack on me.
 Alan has come in useful it seems.



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