Fwd (GLW): Did the East Timor intervention kill off `Vietnam syndrome'?

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMtao.ca
Mon Jan 29 08:34:54 MST 2001

> It is *essential* for Australian leftists to unconditionally support the
> national liberation and democratic struggles happening in Australian
> capital's self-proclaimed sphere of influence.
> Nestor, if any Australian leftist held your position, they would be scabs
> and *genuine* social patriots.

Ultimately, what this breaks down to is a question of priorities. Also, do
revolutionaries have a right to "save"anybody with Imperialist armies?

Much like those who refuse to oppose sanctions against a country like Afghanistan
because their government is a bunch of "gorillas" (as Alan puts it), those who
suppose that they can tell Indonesia and East Timor how to solve this question by
taking a side with the Australian army as an "arbiter" puts Indonesia and Australia
in the same boat. It is clear they are not of the same global class. Just like
Afghanistan might be a sufficient threat to the population of Afghanistan (and
deserving of being dislodged), I can, under no circumstances, justify asking
Imperialists (like the US) to be the ones to do what we (sadly) cannot.

Using a vague (which is not to decry that *some form* is applicable here) version of
self-determination to strengthen Imperialists and their actions is a recipe for not
only selling out our politics, but ultimately it is a form of global suicide for
left-movements. Imperialism is weak no matter how strong first world capitalism may
get. American imperialism and the partners in different regions, in this case
Australia, are more than simply reactionary threats to their own populations. Their
emboldening is a threat to all workers and peasants in the region, and their is no
way that a state like Australia can get involved in a "humanitarian mission" in East
Timor without picking up strength for itself. The real threat to the existence of the
entire humanly livable planet is posed by Oz/US Imperialism. Compared to these
monsters, Indonesia is firing a pea-shooter at a passing tank.

Occupation by Imperialist armies is the antipode of the true idea of
self-determination, unless we forsake Marxist thinking and apply liberal notions of
"choices by the people", and can do the same mental gymnastics that allow us the
notion that "choices" are made with armies occupying the balloting station.

A "social patriot", I assume you know, is someone who collapsed before their
bourgeoisies' demands in the face of making an unpopular but wholly principled stand.
Given that it was (so far as I know) understood before the occupation of East Timor
that Marxists oppose Imperialist ventures *carte blanche & without looking at the
third world state at all*, it is, I hate to say such "fighting words" the DSP who has
been depressingly patriotic.

Macdonald Stainsby
Rad-Green List: Radical anti-capitalist environmental discussion.
Leninist-International: Building bridges in the tradition of V.I. Lenin.
In the contradiction lies the hope.
                                     --Bertholt Brecht

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