DSP on Palestine - Oh God, here we go again

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Tue Nov 21 14:42:20 MST 2000


You are a remarkable person and I have a great deal of respect for you, but
you know some of this is abusive.  I did not expect you to doubt my
sympathy for the Palestinian people at any level.  Moreover my criticisms
are based on principles and not dogmas.  We have gone over this ground
before on the East Timor question and not even a tsunami would budge you
then and of course not now either.  But I won't pour shit on you and I do
not expect you to think I will take that either.  Let us have a comradely
disagreement.  So no more weird caricatures.

Now the issue I want to take up is this what slogans should the Left
advance, what position or line should it adapt?  Important to me is the
whole question of who is listening to us. Who do we really want to
influence/attract?  Basically I would argue that our audience is those who
could be won over to a left/communist position.  we are not addressing Kofi
Anan.  we have no illusions in him or his likes. Nor are we addressing the
inmate of the White House, whoever that will eventually be,.  We have no
illusions in him or his likes.

Our real audience in these times consists of those who might support
revolutionary politics.  these very same people are of course subjected to
a bombardment of political messages.  we do not want to advance the kind of
demands that Channel 9 or Murdoch would because our aims are actually
different from those of 9 or Murdoch.  they do not really want to see a
revolutionary movement.  We do though.

So we use our limited resources to raise questions which 9 and Murdoch will
not address.  we do not get up in the park in Sydney and scream like Max
Lane of the DSP did "Send in the troops".  Because we know that channel 9
will screen that very same scream and that lots of people will become
confused about the differences between the Left and  channel 9.

Similarly as Leftists we share the criticisms of the most advanced sections
of the Palestinians of Arafat and the "Tunisians".  We do not want to build
or reinforce Arafat's position in any way.  why not?  Because we support
the emancipation of the Palestinians people and as leftists rather than
liberals we know that Arafat does not.

So we will not help Arafat for to help his is to not help the Palestinian
people.  Nor will we call upon Kofi Anan to do something for the
Palestinians because we know that he is a tool of American imperialism and
his whole life's work is to support that.  We remember Bosnia, Serbia and
the UN campaign.

Above all we know that although the powerful pretend to ignore us they are
quite prepared to use us.  We know of the classic instance of the Maoist
"Two Nations" theory and how this was used by Conor Cruise O'Brien to
support British Imperialism in Ireland.  O'Brien would not piss on a
leftist if he were on fire yet in this instance he happily raided the Left
for an idea.  We also know of how in Australia the right wing defence
correspondent, Peter Charlton of the Murdoch press, could not repress a
laugh about how the Left were now supporting the Australian Army going into
East Timor. He also looked forward to the new freedom this increased
acceptance of Australian militarism would give the Army.

So our line and our slogans are important even though our forces are tiny
at present.  Resolute opposition to imperialism may be mocked at.
forthright criticism of traitors may similarly be mocked. But none of that
makes in wrong or unnecessary.



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