Reply to Phil, Gary, Carrol, Jonathan and others

Green Left Parramatta glparramatta at
Sun Sep 26 03:09:42 MDT 1999

Jonathan Flanders wrote:
> Has Jose actually called for the use of Australian troops? He seems to be
> defending the right of the people of East Timor to call for help from the
> UN. I personally don't question their right to do that. But it is one thing
> to have the "right" to do that, and quite another matter to actually do it,
> given that countries like Cuba don't run the organization.
> The problem is that the in  Australia, calling for UN intervention *is* in
> reality calling for Australian troops. What the DSP and its friends should
> have done is to call for cutting off all military aid to Indonesia. Allan
> Nairn and others have said that if that had happened immediately after the
> referendum, the orgy of killing in Dili never would have happened.

Phil, Gary, Carrol, Jonathan and others seem to be prepared to fight
imperialism to the last drop the East Timorese peoples blood! The simple
plain fact (which you all seem to not want to accept -- please say so if
you do) is that the East Timorese people did not have the luxury of
sitting back and pondering like our superrevolutionaries on this list,
they were being slaughtered in an ambush prepared by Indonesia and its
western allies!

They appealed to the international solidarity movement to force
intervention by the UN which had promised it would ensure that the
result of the referenedum was respected. Had the Australian solidarity
movement and the DSP -- and tens of thousands of ordinary working people
-- refused to back their call with all the means at our disposal and
said ``Righto chaps, we respect your right to call for troops but we
cannot sully ourselves by supporting your call'', the Indonesian regime
and military and their western backers would have achieved their goal of
crushing the East Timorese liberation movement and destroying any chance
of an independent East Timor this side of 2024.

Get this through your thick skulls: Counterposing arms cut-offs, trade
union bans, IMF loan freezes, the end to military aid etc. would not
have *immediately* stopped the slaughter. It would have given the
Indonesian military the time it needed to finish its dirty work. In the
dire emergency the East Timorese movement faced, only an armed force
could prevent the utter obliteration of the liberation movement. Some on
this list would say, ``such is life''. The DSP didn't.

The fact that the trade union bans that were imposed were directly aimed
at forced the Australian government to support an intervention force
proves that those who counterposed bans to intervention were in reality
proposing to do nothing to stop the slaughter.

That's why those in Australia, led by the International Socialists,
with people like Gary tagging along--for all the rhetoric expended on
this list and in other exclusively left forums--refuse to be true to
their positions and campaign now out in the open for ``UN out of
Timor''. They know that it is a call for the slaughter to resume. They
also know nobody will follow them because that is how sensible people
will interpret the call. But Hell! Get out there and do it if you think
you are right!

Did the mobilisation of more than 100,000 people in Australia, in the
space of a week, outraged at Canberra's 24-year policy of refusing to
support the East Timor's people's right to independence and demanding
that it act to support and defend the exercise of that right make it
easier or harder for Howard to renege on independence for East Timor?
Does it make it easier or harder for the solidarity movement to mobilise
those people again when Howard again sides with Indonesia against the

Gary may be right and Australian leftists will have to fight a little
harder now as Howard attempts to salvage something from seeing his
government's foreign policy on Indonesia defeated. But is that a too
high a price to pay for the survival of the revolutionary forces in East
Timor from extermination and allowing them the space to return to the
struggle instead of the certainty of having their forces destroyed. Is
our struggle in Australia weakened or strengthened by the survival of
the liberation movement in East Timor? I think it strebgthens us. I know
I am confident that the DSP can whether any little storm (only likely to
be bit of a willy-willy IMHO) that results.

I suggest comrades put their pointscoring and word games on hold for a
while and take a look at developments in Indonesia. Has the radical
democracy movement been weakened by recent developments around East
Timor? Just Friday, the radical student-led demonstrations, in which the
Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) played a prominant role, won a terrific
victory when it forced Habibie to ``postpone'' signing into law
draconian security laws pushed through parliament at the behest of

The defeat of the Indonesian military over East Timor, and the
undermining of the Australian government's alliance with the military,
under mass pressure from the people of Australia, has weakened the
military and made the prospects greater for democratic revolution in
Indonesia. Will that weaken or strengthen the movement in Australia?

The DSP and the vast majority of the solidarity movement will continue
(as we did before and during the emergency campaign) to campaign for an
end to all military ties with Indonesia, for the recognition of East
Timor's independence, for the Timorese people to be only ones able to
determine how long the UN force remains, for all those responsible for
the crimes against humanity in east Timor -- direct and indirect (this
include all Australian Prime ministers from Whitlam on) -- to be put on
trial, and for the Australian government and big business to pay
reparations to East Timor. We will continue to expose the sordid role of
imperialist governments in the oppression of the Timorese and warn that
the movement must be vigiliant and continue to mobilise if East Timor is
to be free.

Norm. (ASIET's web address has changed:, don't
forget to visit the for all relevent
documenta, statements and articles.)

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