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

Nick Fredman sra at scu.edu.au
Sun Feb 15 16:29:11 MST 2004

Bob Gould

>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.

More a sensible person with little time on Friday night but a few 
more minutes now. To go back a bit, I posed two replies from 
Socialist Alliance members active in the NTEU to Michael Thompson's 
resignation, not because I agreed with them to the letter (though I 
do largely), but because I felt they were a useful counterpoint to 
Michael's claims, and I was more immediately concerned with their 
counter-evidence to Michael's rosy-coloured view of the current 
situation of the NTEU, as one of them put it, than about GLW. I don't 
exactly agree with Austin Whitten's characterisation of GLW's past, 
as it's always been fairly clear that the DSP has played the major 
role in it, but there have also always been significant differences 
with traditional party-line papers as well. And I agree much less 
with Bob's claim that the DSP always tried to keep it's role in the 
paper a state secret and convince others of this. For many years it 
said quite clearly on page 2 what GLW was, that is was "initiated by 
the DSP and Resistance" etc. By-lines and ads etc also made it pretty 
clear. In the first "Common Cause" column in GLW, stating the paper's 
new trial relationship with Socialist Alliance, John van der Velden 
was probably more accurate than Austin when he stated "GLW already 
represents a successful 12-year broad-left project initiated and led 
by members of Resistance and the DSP".

The main point now however is the current trajectory of GLW, which is 
why I had hoped to make my point succinctly by mentioning Brian 
Webb's article, which would have been an unthinkable thing 10 years 
ago. It's obviously early days, but one could also point to a number 
of articles by ISO and Workers Liberty members about struggles 
they're involved in, and an extensive discussion about a year ago 
around the future of Socialist Alliance. If Bob agrees that GLW is 
the last left paper still standing, then the obvious corollary is 
that the significant readership and infrastrucure around GLW will be 
a vital part of building a bigger and broader paper. Perhaps then the 
creation of a Socialist Alliance appointed editorial board to oversee 
GLW is a genuine attempt to develop the paper and not a sneaky trick 
by the DSP to force all their leftist opponents to drop all their 
political positions by writing in the same paper. Perhaps Austin and 
other members of the non-DSP majority of this board aren't such such 
stupid fellow-travellers as Bob seems to think they are, but are 
quite capable of asserting what they think GLW should be.

>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.

Believe it or not Bob, GLW staff or DSP members shouldn't really be 
expected to immediately answer all your fairly frequent demands for 
comment, analysis and justifications for our existence. IMO the 
topics mentioned for discussion are probably good ones for GLW or 
maybe the upcoming Socialist Alliance magazine. The actual format, 
timing etc of discussions would probably depend on a whole lot of 
political and practical factors. In any case all the proposalss for 
Socialist Alliance publications have been clear that a regular SA 
paper would have space for discussion and debate. Maybe you should 
send your suggestions to the GLW editorial board. Maybe you'd have 
more chance of them considering and adopting your suggestions if you 
joined Socialist Alliance :)


Nick Fredman
Student Rights Advocate
Southern Cross University (Lismore)
Student Representative Council

Shop 9 Plaza, SCU Lismore

Ph: 6620 3044
Email: sra at src.scu.edu.au
web: http://www.lismoresrc.org.au/


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