DSP and East Timor

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Mon Sep 13 07:13:32 MDT 1999

>       Al this concern  about the economic and political future of such a
>tiny entity as East Timor, but not a bleat on this list about the rape of
>this place on this list.

Somebody wrote me a private note:

Louis, can't you get these otherwise excellent comrades to clean
their dirty laundry in house? The bad taste of caricatured
sniping is crowding out all the good that is coming from
remobilisation around E.Timor. There are few or no new points of
principle emerging worth learning from.

These guys still aren't saying anything in the least useful to help
us understand how the E.Timor guerrillas and strategists view their
tasks and our solidarity.

It's getting pretty depressing. You should intervene, comrade.

I told him that I thought that as long as the discussion focuses on
political questions and stayed away from personal attacks, it was not only
necessary but imperative to have it. I think that attempts to judge the
"underlying motives" of the DSP on one hand, or its critics on the other
will sour the discussion. One of the things I learned through negative
example in the American SWP is that such probing usually entails a view of
the other side in the discussion as being insincere at best, or
anti-Marxist at worst. Let's try to avoid that here.

My own relation to the DSP should make this clear. I have written several
cultural pieces for Green Left Weekly and worked with the late Jim Percy
when the Australians were trying to forge links with non-sectarian Marxists
in the USA.  I regard their synthesis of Marxism and ecology to be far in
advance of any group on the left and have quoted Green Left Weekly's
position on global warming here to Jose G. Perez's dismay.

All that being said, there are significant political differences on these
questions that have no easy resolution. I had a long talk over the phone
with Jared Israel last night who interviewed Diana Johnstone on East Timor
for his website. He will be posting some of it here shortly. She said that
she was "no expert on East Timor" but thought that diplomacy, diplomacy and
more diplomacy was needed in the area.

I think the best use for this mailing-list is to collect information about
the area, particularly with respect to the underlying economic and social
factors that are largely ignored in the urgent and understandable concern
over saving East Timorese lives. In the final analysis, the best thing that
Marxists can provide is a clearcut analysis of the forces at work so as to
make intelligent political action possible. Less attention to eggthrowing
pro and con and more attention to the discovery of oil in East Timor, for
example, is what we need.

Louis Proyect

More information about the Marxism mailing list