Did the East Timor intervention kill off `Vietnam syndrome'?

Andy Gianniotis politicsfool at SPAMcrosswinds.net
Tue Jan 30 06:09:11 MST 2001

comrades,   >>> but whether the DSP can be relied upon to spearhead an antiwar
movement when it is so compromised on the question of principle.   I'm quite
disheartened to hear the above comment because it confirms my belief that any
sort of ideology (consistent set of beliefs) that cannot provide a BETTER
solution to a crisis situation than the actual existing crisis, is *not worth
anything*. Ie there is Marxism and there is Dogmatism. Here's the argument in as
few words as I can get:   Why wouldn't any Leftist (ie those opposed to
oppression stemming from capitalism) support the smashing of the existing state
in East Timor in 1999 ?? The existing state was:   1) one that had a 'scorched
earth' policy before and after the independence referendum that meant the *real*
(as opposed to arm-chair) threat of the extinction of the oppressed in East
Timor, especially the leaders of the independence movement.
2) not a liberal democratic-capitalist regime OR a worker's state but a military
dictatorship.   The question then is: do you   a) allow aspect number one to
continue (bye bye East Timorese).
b) allow aspect number two to play itself out (hello capitalism and the struggle
against it).   If your (Marxist) ideology can't provide a better solution to an
existing problem then I ask, in a comradely fashion, what is the point ?? Isn't
Marxism supposed to provide a method of ending oppression ??   We've heard the
craziest positions on this question - they all end up saying the East Timorese
would be better off dead than in a liberal democratic-capitalist regime. We're
really very sorry (and I take it the East Timorese are as well) for all of the
negative ramifications (eg the general who led the troops was made Australian of
the Year, increased military spending, whatever.)   It is SO MUCH EASIER to
simply read the principles and then come up with a position. But Marxism doesn't
have set positions, its a method (at least that's what I've been trained to
believe). I'm quite fond of saying on the street: What's more important, people
or profits ?? On this list, it seems that I should say: what's more important,
people or principles/positions/formulas??   The argument, if there is one, is on
how real the threat of extinction was. If there was no evidence of the threat of
extinction, then the DSP stuffed up big time. If anyone would like the evidence,
you know where to contact us.   Andy Gianniotis, DSP.   PS - I've just read the
first few replies to the GLW article, and I'm quite depressed. It's bad enough
that people are losing their humanity due to alienation under capitalism, but do
those who profess to redress this problem have to add to it as well ??? ie
forgetting the point of being a Marxist ??? Save me please !!!   PPS - some of
the nuttier Australian Marxists even wondered 'which direction' the Australian
guns would be pointing at (ie the East Timorese instead of the Indonesian
military / militias) as if the 'democratic facade' that mystifies the real
nature of capitalism isn't really necessary at all and that once in ET, the
Aussie troops would turn into the animals that they are (because after all they
are *imperialist* troops sent to improve( imperialism) and get away with it. I
wish I could have placed a wager with some of them and given them good odds - I
would have cleaned up !!!   PPPS - Again, I offer the following resource for any
interested. Reply to me (not the list) and I will forward in the file format of
your choice.   Index   1.  Sept 8 1999 -  East Timor: what role for
2.  Sept 15, 1999 - East Timor's people uprooted
3.  Sept 15, 1999 - Why Howard refuses to send troops to stop genocide
4.  Sept 15, 1999 - 'Left-wing' dogmatism and the East Timor crisis**
5.  Sept 22, 1999 - How the government's hand was forced on East Timor
6.  Sept 22, 1999 - ISO argument apologises for colonialism**
7.  Sept 22, 1999 - What is the United Nations really doing in East Timor
8.  Sept 22, 1999 - United Nations: a sorry record on East Timor
9.  Sept 29, 1999 - Why socialists called for troops to Timor**
10. Sept 29, 1999 - Troops for Timor debated**
11. Nov 17, 1999 - East Timor: defeat or victory for the left?**

More information about the Marxism mailing list