[Marxism] Re: Dave Riley, evil and the Australian Labor Party

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Mon Apr 26 22:40:10 MDT 2004

Bob, factually your post looks pretty accurate to me. Certainly it's a
useful contribution. Not having seen all of Dave Riley's, I can't be sure
about him. But the trouble, it seems to me, is that both sides of the
argument can point to real facts.

In the recent Iraq war, Labor did oppose the war; but it also supported it.
Simon Crean spoke at an anti-war rally, but his speech was such he was
boo'd off the platform as I recall.  Labor opposed a unilateral American
strike, but would have supported it with a UN figleaf. Then the ALP
"supported the troops in Iraq" and still does -- viz Latham's refusal to
criticise Howard for visiting the troops on Anzac Day.

What this shows is that Labor is contradictory. At one level, the
contradiction is between its bourgeois politics and its working class base.
But that contradiction was much more obvious during World War I than it is
now. We would be very unlikely to see a 1917-style split in the ALP today.
We are watching the slow but steady (and well-advanced) erosion of the
original phenomenon of Laborism.

But one thing is as vital as ever. Labor's traditional solution to the
contradiction is nationalism. In the case of the Iraq war, this took the
seeminly incongruous guise of multi-lateralism (we'd support the war if the
 Europeans and the UN were involved). That sounds internationalist, but
basically its appeal was to that section of bourgeois and
bourgois-influenced politics that didn't want the American rulers to rule
the world unchallenged. While also appealing to the working class, but on a
populist rather than class basis. In other words, it was essentially

The nationalism continues now with Latham arguing to bring back the troops
so they can be used for imperialist purposes closer to home.

It may be that Dave Riley asserts that black is white -- I can't tell from
the fragments in Bob's post. But Bob, your picture is all "black and
white". And the reality is blotchy.

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