Forwarded from Anthony Brain

Ben Courtice benj at
Sun Mar 9 02:53:24 MST 2003

Anthony wrote:

> I agree with those who have argued that the support of Semi-Colonies
> fighting against Imperialism is unconditional, and who opposed UN
> intervention in East Timor due to its Imperialist character. Imperialism
> was weakened in 1975 with the East Timor struggle for independence, and
> conived with the Indonesian Bourgeoisie to salvage Imperialist interests by
> the Indonesian Bourgeois army invading.

This is very confused. The East Timorese liberation movement fought for
a UN-organised referendum, and with the success of that referendum were
expecting a UN-supervised transition to independent government. The "UN
intervention" came with the invitation of all factions of the
resistance/national liberation movement. The left were not large enough
or the working class strong enough to force any more radical solution.
The alternatives on offer were: continued occupation by Indonesia, or a
UN-supervised transition to independence. If we accept that the
murderous occupation by Indonesia had to end, then the choice was
whether the UN sent it's forces in immediately, putting a stop to the
TNI-orchestrated massacres of resistance cadres; or do we wait until all
the resistance movement (left and opportunist right) are killed. I think
the latter situation would have much better suited the Australian
imperialists. There would probably not have been the recent riots and
protests, for example.

Anthony writes:

> Australian Imperilaism wanted to get hold of the massive Oil and Gas
> resources East Timor had. In the fall of 2000 I read from Bourgeois news
> sources that Austrialan Gas companies were making plans to drill so many
> billion cubic feet of gas in East Timor.

Australian imperialism (the Labor government) had signed a deal to
develop the Timor Gap oil fields with Suharto in the early 1990s. Having
to re-negotiate this with a newly independent East Timor was a pain in
the arse for the Australian bourgeoisie. That's why they in no uncertain
terms recommended to the East Timorese to NOT vote for independence in
the UN referendum, and the Australian elite knew exactly what the
Indonesian army were planning to do in the event of a vote for independence.

> It was correct to critically support FRELINTIL

Is that FRETILIN or FALINTIL? (Was that a typographical error, do you
actually know anything about the East Timorese liberation struggle?)
FRETILIN was the main pro-independence party and the government in 1975.
FALINTIL was the guerrilla forces of the CNRT -- the national resistance
umbrella group which included all the parties. There was/is no FRELINTIL
that I know of.

Armand Diego wrote:

> In East Timor ... well, enough had been said in the
> list already!

I'm not sure exactly what Armand's position is because he doesn't state
it. But I think Bob Gould pointed out the substantial change: since the
departure of the TNI (Indonesian army, that is): the East Timorese -- UN
protectorate notwithstanding -- now actually have the space in which to
organise unions, political parties, class struggle in fact, not simply a
desperate guerilla and popular resistance to a extremely violent
military occupation.

In all their concerns for what advantages imperialism may or may not
receive from the changed situation many comrades here seem to miss the
point that independence, even neocolonial, is a massive step forward for
the East Timorese workers' struggle and indeed for the small forces of
socialism on that island.

I think Armand's amusing characterisation of Anthony's position as
"geometry" not dialectics just about sums up the
pro-Milosevic/Yugoslavia position on Kosova. Remember, the enemy of our
enemy is not necessarily a friend. Opposing NATO in Yugoslavia doesn't
automatically mean opposing the KLA or Kosova self-determination.
Opposing imperialism's ambitions in East Timor doesn't mean we have to
condemn the East Timorese liberation movement for it's inevitable
compromises with the UN. Either/or dichotomies, black and white
analysis, aren't good enough, and yes, they are closer to geometry than

Ben Courtice
PS: In regard to my allegations of various allegations allegedly made by
other members of this list regarding the politics of the DSP on the East
Timor question being across the class divide, etc: I take note of the
responses that state that the only allegation is that the DSP only made
a mistake and didn't cross the rubicon, and I apologise for my earlier
allegations. I'll try to stick to more productive lines of argument in

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