Wasps, vipers, fire ants and Bourbon kings

Peter Boyle peterb at dsp.org.au
Tue Nov 19 16:50:38 MST 2002

Bob Gould wrote:

>>Boyle's post amounts to the same assertion, which can be summarised as returning to the proposition that a general regroupment should take place on the basis of common work, without serious emphasis on resolving the tactical differences between the groups and individuals. But it is exactly this DSP approach to regroupment, without serious discussion, that has been specifically rejected by most of the other groups, particularly the ISO. They insist it is impossible to have a regroupment without serious political discussion beforehand. In this sense, Peter Boyle and Nick Fredman are like the Bourbon kings, who learned nothing and forgot nothing.>>

Peter Boyle replies:

Wasps, vipers (oops, I think that was Jeff Sparrow or David
Murray), fire ants and Bourbon kings... I think you have
outdone my bad mannered joke about your "agitator's stutter"
once upon a time. I enjoy cascading metaphores when they are
wielded by a novelist like Salman Rushdie but an over-use of
metaphores in political polemic is often a cover for
distortions and weak or specious arguments.

The funny thing is that despite your plea for "serious
political discussion" what on earth do you think has opened
up on the Sydney left (and on this list too), sparked
precisely by the DSP's proposals for socialist regroupment
through the Socialist Alliance? Judy McVey, one of the
national leaders of the ISO described it as the "best
discussion in the left in years" in a phone hook up we had
with the ISO leadership over their ultimatum. She has been
echoed by many on the left on this.

The basis of this discussion is NOT the miraculous
conversion of "irrelevant sectarians" to need to open up the
"closed caucuses of the left", thanks to the epistles of Bob
Gould but because a section of the revolutionary left has
*worked together* for some 20 months in the Socialist
Alliance. And Bob, it is just beginning! It will get better
and bigger *if* there is the will to continue and expand
this modest collaboration in the Socialist Alliance.

This is the most inclusive and sustained discussion seen on
the left for years, as even Gould the avid left watcher and
critic should admit.

If the Socialist Alliance breaks up this will be a real set
back for the left in Australia.

There will be no big serious discussion on the left around
the Bob Gould-Steve Painter league. There will be no coming
together of the lefts in the Greens, the lefts in the ALP
and the revolutionary left. That is a Bob Gould fantasy, a
cynical polemical posture to deride the real left unity
process or both.

Peter Boyle
peterb at dsp.org.au

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