Dismissing the East Timorese struggle: reply to Nestor on Jose

Paul.Benedek at SPAMbankerstrust.com.au Paul.Benedek at SPAMbankerstrust.com.au
Thu Sep 30 20:08:58 MDT 1999

> El 29 Sep 99 a las 0:34, Jose G. Perez nos dice(n):
        [Benedek, Paul]  Jose:
> >
> > Yes, this is PRECISELY what is behind a lot of this
> > anti-Timorese stuff: the idea that the Indonesians are
> > more "worthy" oppressors, after all, they're "third world"
> > themselves. The people of East Timor should subordinate
> > their struggle to that of the Indonesians, lest they be
> > "manipulated" by imperialism.
        [Benedek, Paul]  Nestor:
> I am not going to debate what _should_ other people do. Of
> course, no oppression is more "worthy" than another. But if
> the East Timorese suppose that they can wage their own
> revolution in isolation of an Indonesian revolution, and
> what's more, against the Indonesians through imperialist
> support, then woe for them.
        [Benedek, Paul] This is appalling. The East Timorese fight against their
oppression is just, but, if they're going to valiantly resist the Indonesian military
(backed by imperialism) then "woe for them". They are on their own. They should know
better than to expect Marxists to support their struggle for self-determination, for
crying out loud.

        The analysis by those who are basically saying - well, if you struggle outside
the Indonesian revolution, you should expect what is coming, and don't ask for any
asistance either - is incredibly  ignorant.

        The ET have NOT waged their struggle "in isolation of an Indonesian
revolution". Firstly, an indonesian revolution does not yet exist, although the
political situation is extremely interesting and one that Marxists should seek to give
as much concrete solidarity to as possible. But the East Timorese made the assessment
that they could not wait for such a revolution, as ET women were committing suicide
rather than be gang raped, and their brothers and fathers had heads paraded on sticks.

        But the ET have linked up with the pro-democracy forces and revolutionary
forces on the Indonesian left - especially the PRD. They have held joint actions. The
PRD has raised the demand of self-determination for East Timor. Xanana and others have
been won over to seeing the interconnection between the struggle for an independent ET
and the democractic struggle in Indo.

        And the ET have not "waged their revolution..against the Indonesians through
imperialist support". They have waged it WITH the Indonesian democracy forces and
AGAINST the imperialist-backed Indonesian regime, using WHATEVER MEANS AT THEIR
DISPOSAL, including the instability in Indonesia to force concessions from

        Now the Indonesian democracy movement is bouyed by another defeat to the
military (which they see correctly as a political victory won, not by imperialism, but
by the mass of East Timorese). Emboldened, they continue their struggle, while the
regime, weakened, fails to sign into law the new state security bill.

        Good work by the pro-democracy and independence forces. Woe to you Nestor.
        [Benedek, Paul]  Jose:
> >
> > Even things that would be perfectly legitimate, such as
> > using the UN's formal anticolonial position against a
> > genocidal occupying power, turn into their opposite when
> > you have the misfortune to pick the wrong enemy!
        [Benedek, Paul]  Nestor:
> Nope. The wrong protector, dear Jose, the wrong protector.
> I understand that nobody wants to be ruled by Suharto. But
> I understand that if you prefer Australians to Indonesians
> it is because your opposition to Suharto rule was
> unprincipled.
        [Benedek, Paul]  "The wrong protector" you scold. But what were the other
choices for the East Timorese? A revolutionary army to get the Indonesian
military/militia slaughterers out? Sorry, we're all out. According to Nestor, the ET
chose the wrong protector - but in a choice between the Indo military/militia, and a
UN force, they seem to have chosen well. "If you prefer Australians to
Indonesians...your opposition to Suharto rule was unpricipled". Dear oh dear. Suharto
rule was Australian rule - completely backed, supported, motivated. What is prefered
is EAST TIMORESE RULE (ie self-determination) which could, in the concrete political
circumstances, only be realised through an international force to get the military out
and disarm their militia. The alternative (that of course is not mentioned, but, by
abstaining, is implied) is a totally annilated East Timor, continued to be ruled by
the Indonesian military, with renewed backing from Aust et al. This would have been a
 victory in the eyes of the Indo
 democracy movement, I'm sure.  [Benedek, Paul]  Right now, of course, the East
Timorese do prefer "Australian" rule to the extermination of their people that was
happening in the past weeks, months and years (good on them) - but they'll continue
their struggle for self-determination, while you continue to scold.
        [Benedek, Paul]  Jose:
> >
> > Poor Timorese! They have such terrible bad luck. Imagine
> > that! Of all the colonial occupations in the past century,
> > they had to have precisely one of the very few that we
> > revolutionaries can't allow the UN to act against, because
> > the occupying power is another "third world" country!
        [Benedek, Paul]  Nestor:
> Jose, my feud is with Australian imperialism and
> imperialism as a whole. Yours seems to be with Indonesian
> imperialism. But Indonesian imperialism is _not_
> imperialism. Indonesia is not an imperialist country. Nor
> could it be. Unless we agree on this, we cannot go on with
> this debate.
> Nestor.
        [Benedek, Paul]  No, there is no Indonesian imperialism....it is Indonesian
COLONIALISM that you apologise for. You cannot understand that the East Timorese
struggle against imperialist-backed colonialism - for self-determination - is very
much a part of the struggle against imperialism, and for socialism. Do you also
dismiss the struggle for self-determination of the Basques, the Tamils, and the

        In the defence of what is ending up indefensible, comrades who oppose the UN
intervention into East Timor are starting to noticeably wane in support of the East
Timorese' right to self-determination.

More information about the Marxism mailing list