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

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Tue Jan 30 01:44:17 MST 2001

> From: "Macdonald Stainsby"
> > 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.

Well, solidarity with the movements against one of Australian capital's
closest allies tends to be a bit of a priority.

And "priorities" is a fine excuse for ducking issues.

> 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.

The patriots are those that sided with Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and
Howard in arguing that East Timor was "unviable" etc.  They were the ones
who formed a bloc with Australian capital.

The rest of us were the ones who took the unpopular but principled stand
for all these years, *and* maintained that stand when impressionistic
leftists chose to flip-flop.  The flip-flopping, paradoxically, was a
consequence, in part, of the success of the original stance.

Yes, there were difficult choices to make, but we made them.  We may have
actually made the wrong choices.  But we made them on a principled basis.

Moreover, we are still engaged in struggle in support of the Timorese, in
the new context of the transition to an independent neo-colony.  (Yes,
that's an oxymoron, I know.)

When that state is established, we will still support the progressive
elements of East Timorese society, because we understand that the
establishment of such a state does not constitute the liberation of the
Timorese masses.

And yes, we would advocate that East Timor follow the lead of Indonesia if
that country were to have a revolution.  This might entail the surrender of
some of the sovereign rights of the East Timorese state (necessarily a
socialist state, for this to occur) - but such a surrender would be

Alan Bradley
alanb at elf.brisnet.org.au

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