Containment & Rollback"

Ray Fulcher rayfulcher2002 at
Fri Nov 22 07:08:51 MST 2002

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Jeff Sparrow makes a meal of "containment & rollback" which, as others on this
list have indicated, will occur so long as there are competing groups all
trying to out do each other for the new recruit or to defend what they see as
their turf.

Jeff seems to be on a kind of moral high ground Nirvana over these words. But
they are after all just that - words.

If Jeff wants to experience what real "containment & rollback" is like I
suggest he take a short trip down the road to Melbourne University where
Socialist Alternative have their base. Just put on a mask & pretend you are
from any other left group. Then walk up to a newer Socialist Alternative
member or any 'non-aligned' person at say the anti-war collective meeting and
engage them in some innocent conversation. Across the room you will see some
very agitated and worried looking experienced Socialist Alternative members
eyeing you nervously. What will follow is a very crude attempt to separate you
from the person you are talking to as 1, 2 or 3 of those experienced Socialist
Alternative members descend on you and the person you have engaged. Either
these Socialist Alternative members will try to dominate the conversation,
taking it in turns to prevent you getting a word in, or slowly surround the
person & block you out. Or they will try to spirit the person away with some
 adfully important paste up or other that just can't wait. Now this doesn't
 usually work on me as I have a few decades experience & know how to hold my
 own. But it certainly is "containment & rollback" in the crudest and most
 physical form. So before lecturing others about what is after all normal on
 the left - assessing the strengths and weaknesses of competing organisations
 and how best to position yourself to win people to your ideas and away from
 what you see as the other's erroneous ideas (in a political way of cours) - I
 suggest you get down to Melbourne University & talk to your comrades about
 the evils of "containment & rollback" - or at least give them some tips on
 being a little more subtle about it.


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