[Marxism] Re: Green Left Weekly, the Democratic Socialist Party and the Socialist Alliance

Ozleft ozleft at optushome.com.au
Sat Feb 14 05:03:38 MST 2004

Nick Fredman, who is a careful controversialist, tries to defend the
interests of the DSP leadership against the points made in Michael
Thomson's letter of resignation from the Socialist Alliance, by posting
pieces by two Alliance "independents", without initially making any
comments of his own.

I responded on one part of the issues in dispute with a sustained,
detailed and comprehensive argument against Austin Whitten's internally
contradictory proposition that Green Left Weekly had always been a "broad
left" paper, and anyway was going to become one now.

I assembled chapter and verse, a comprehensive case that GLW had always
been the newspaper of the DSP, which is a highly centralised organisation,
in which discussion is kept internal, and even a lot of the time internal
to the leadership of the DSP, and that GLW was produced in that framework.

Being a sensible man with an almost impossible case to argue, Nick wisely
doesn't take up the general thrust of my argument, but singles out one
small example of the very new regime in which Brian Webb of the ISO had an
article in GLW about the ALP national conference.

The fact that Nick Fredman quotes such a recent event as evidence
underlines my general point that on matters of controversy "line" articles
are almost invariably written in the general spirit of the DSP's current
political orientation.

Even the very new phenomenon of an article by Brian Webb in GLW
illustrates my basic point. It's true that the ISO has had a different
attitude to developments in the Labor Party than the DSP leadership. Brian
Webb's article, however, mainly focuses on the major defeat suffered by
the left at the ALP conference: the defeat on the refugee question. It
takes a pessimistic view of prospects for the left in the ALP and doesn't
address in any detail the important areas in which a militant policy was
successful, such as industrial relations.

It's quite a convenient article for the DSP leadership, and fits into
political orientation of the DSP leadership well enough for its purposes.
There has been no article in GLW that put forthrightly the proposition,
which happens to be a truthful one, that there were a number of
progressive outcomes at the ALP national conference.

Martin Kingham and Michelle O'Neil are grudgingly allowed to say that
there were progressive decisions about industrial relations, in an
"interview" that downgrades the importance of what they are saying and
puts their comments about the progressive nature of the industrial
relations decisions in an article that's carefully edited to draw the
reader towards the conclusion that the ALP conference was an unmitigated
defeat for progressive policies.

In trying to use the one, unconvincing, example of an article by Brian
Webb to defend the proposition that GLW is some kind of broad left paper,
rather than the political organ of the DSP leadership, Nick Fredman is
being too cute by half and presuming a lot about the credulity of his

I notice that neither he nor anyone from the staff of GLW or the DSP
leadership have even deigned to comment on my very serious list of six
possible topics for discussion, with divergent points of view, in future
issues of GLW.

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