reply to Gary MacLennan (re East Timor)

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon May 28 22:28:23 MDT 2001

Andy Gianniotis wrote:
> >  So, we (DSP) weren't asking Aussie troops to
> 'fight' another Vietnam, we were asking to help the Timorese improve their
> situation (and not just any situation, freedom from a scroched earth
> policy). Which they did.

Several points have been made over and over again on this general topic
since the first German & U.S. intrusion into Yugoslavia many years ago:
What "the left" does will not _in any way_ affect the decisions of the
imperialist powers, including Australia. Australia was obviously going
to interfere in East Timor (for better or worse) _regardless_ of what
the DSP did. So the only _practical_ effect of the DSP yammering was to
provide left cover for what was going to happen anyhow.

There is a marvelous incident in Samuel Johnson's _Rasselas_. The
central characters visit a famous astronomer, and at the end of their
conversation he offers to pass on to them when he dies a crucial task he
is performing: his predictions cause the sun to rise each morning, and
he fears that when he dies there will be no one to cause the sun to

The DSP reminds me very much of that astronomer. And in pretending that
they are making a difference, that they are 'causing' or influencing in
any way Australia's interference in East Timor, they are making a
mockery of the left in general.

I suspect that is part at least of what Gary can not forgive. I couldn't
forgive it either if I were in his position.


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