Forwarded from Alan Bradley

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Feb 4 20:00:58 MST 2003

From: "DMS"
 > Excellent point about East Timor. Interestingly enough, Cuba, if
 > memory serves me also endorsed that venture.

The point about "that venture" was that it worked in the interests of
the (still incomplete) national liberation struggle in East Timor by
removing the pro-Indonesian death squads.

Apparently, of course, at least some elements of the death squads are
still around, although they appear to be rather ineffectual. Elements of
the imperialist forces are still present too. Most seriously, however,
the police force set up in East Timor seems to have been recruited from
former pro-Indonesian forces, with Falantil's former guerillas largely
excluded. Guess which country is going to have another civil war in a
few years' time?

Frankly, I think Cuba was correct to support the intervention in East
Timor. There was no satisfactory alternative, given that the Indonesian
military would have moved against the Timorese if they had managed to
present an effective resistance to the counter-revolutionary gangs.
As far as the impact on Australia goes: I am not convinced that the East
Timorese exercise has had any considerable impact on the current state
of affairs.

Howard would still be hellbent on supporting the US in the present
situation. There would still be the mass opposition that presently
exists to the war. Nothing, substantially, would change.
It's important not to underestimate the degree of opposition to the war
that exists in Australia. Remarkable things are happening.

Two examples:

On the 26th of January, the US ambassador to Australia visited the towns
of Goondiwindi and Texas, on the border between Queensland and New South
Wales. In Goondiwindi, he was met by an antiwar demo - the first of its
kind since at least World War I! In Texas, the locals didn't
demonstrate, but the Australian newspaper - a national daily - was
compelled to report the following day that the locals weren't exactly
brimming with pro-war enthusiasm. (I attended the Goondiwindi protest.)
On the 27th, Toowoomba (where I live) had its largest antiwar demo since
the campaigns against the Vietnam war. Over 400 people (possibly up to
500) attended. I've seen smaller antiwar demos in Brisbane, which has 15
times the population...

To suggest that the edge has been taken off antiwar sentiment in
Australia is absurd. To suggest that East Timor is responsible is doubly
so, IMHO.


A sadder note: unfortunately, the antiwar committee in Toowoomba has
subsequently been jumped by a bunch of mainly Catholic liberals, who
have started trying to organise meetings during working hours, ensuring
that future antiwar actions will be tiny. They were able to do this
because the organising meetings are _also_ held in working hours,
ensuring that most local activists (including me, of course) can't

This will be corrected shortly, I _assure_ you. Either that, or I will
initiate a new committee.

Alan Bradley

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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