Peter Boyle, the labour aristocracy and the united front

Kim Bullimore k_bullimore at
Sat Nov 9 19:43:59 MST 2002

Over the last couple of months, I have been quite content to follow the
debates on Marx Mail between Peter Boyle and  Bob Gould on the Labor Party
and Socialist Alliance without contributing, however, I would like to
respond to Bob's latest attack on not only the DSP leadership but also the
membership of the DSP.

Bob writes in his diatribe against Boyle that "Boyle has become too used to
playing his chief committee-man and "team leader" role in the DSP, where he
gives hour-plus lectures at conferences, and few members are confident
enough to challenge him. That's, in fact, one of the chief characteristics
of the internal life of the DSP. It's a rather homogeneous outfit, inside
which you have to be pretty game to challenge the leaders, on any major
question. This intimidating internal homogeneity of the DSP is one of the
reasons why my contributions get around so widely these days"

What a load of baloney!!  As a member of the DSP, I not only find this
comment insulting but incrediably arrogant.   While Bob may be an "expert"
on the internal life of ALP, his merely an outsider looking in when it comes
to the internal life of the DSP.  Most of what he know about our internal
life comes from gossip from ex-members (some more recent, but also from
others who left years ago and who would have absolutely no clue about what
is really happening in the DSP internally at the moment).   Yes, we may be a
"rather homogenous outfit" but the DSP membership is not made up of scared
little mouses who are to afraid to "challenge the leaders on any major
question".  To argue this is an insult to not only the ability and
intelligence of the DSP membership, but also their integrity.

I can safely say that as a DSP member, who by the way is not on any of our
national leadership bodies (ie. the National Committee, the National
Executive or the Political Committee) that neither my self  and vast majotiy
of DSP comrades feel "intimidated" by either our national leadership
generally or our by the members of our political committeee specifically
(and as for Peter Boyle, there is nothing initimidating about him - Peter
would have to be one of the most approachable and affable person I have ever
met as are many of the other members of our political committee).

Comrades are quite happy to express differences and challenge the opinions
of national leadership comrades and they do so quite regularly in branch
meetings, congresses etc.  Just because we don't broad cast to the world any
differnces that may occur,, for the benefit of Bob Gould, does not mean DSP
members are not confident enough to challenge national committee or
political committee members if they have a difference of opinion with them.

While there may be many examples of "leaders" in the ALP who see themselves
as separate from and above
the rank and file membership of the ALP, comrades in the DSP do not put the
national leadership of the party on any false pedstal - these comrades are
seen as and are treated as no being different from any other comrade in the

As for our internal documents: no we have not published all of Gould's "shit
sheets" and nor should we in my opinion.  Not only, as Bob  points out, are
there far too many of them, the Activist is for the internal political
discussion of DSP MEMBERS, not political commentators from the ALP.
However,  if comrades want to read anything Bob has written lately,  they
are quite aware that they can access quite freely and easily on Marx Mail.

It should also be pointed out that a whole a range of information which is
often not printed in the Activists is exchanged amongst comrades via email
and other internal documents.  So just because something may not appear in
the Activists does not mean that comrades don't know necessarily about it.
Unfortunately Bob, as much as you like there to be, there is no sinster plot
to stop comrades viewing the works of critics such as yourself or  anyone

Bob in my opinion needs to put his own ego in check.  If he thinks that
comrades in the DSP have nothing better to do than read all of his
contributions, all of the time, then he is in for a rude shock.  While I do
endeavour occassionly to read what are usually Bob's very very long
articles, on the whole I don't have the time to indulge in read them all
(and neither do many other comrades).  In my  particular case, not only is
my time taken up with actual activist activity doing pasteups, contacting,
stalls, organising rallies, going to collective meetings and other everyday
activist work, I also have to find time to go to occassionally go to work,
and having decided to go back to uni a little while back to do some post-
graduate study, I also need to find time to occassionaly dedicate to
completing my post-graduate thesis.  So while Bob's work may be of interest
occassionally, I am afraid that they are not always on the top of my list of
reading priorities.

Kim Bullimore

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