Subject: [Marxism] Re: Socialist Alliance DSP front well to the back.

John Tognolini j_tognolini at
Mon Mar 13 22:32:11 MST 2006

  >I write as a rank and file, unaffiliated member of the
  >Socialist Alliance in Western Australia.   The comments Greg Adler >makes below concerning DSP domination and manipulation of the >Alliance are nothing knew for him.   His resignation last year from >the National Executive of the Alliance was accompanied by the usual >poisonous diatribes against the DSP.

  >  Morale is pretty good in SA in WA, and we look forward to continuing >our campaign work in the areas we are prioritising - especially >resistance to the Federal Government's Industrial Relations laws, >which represent the most comprehensive attack on workers' rights in >living memory.                                        -  Graham Milner
  Comrades, I like many members of the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Socialist Alliance is getting rather bored with the sectarian ravings of Greg Adler. 
  One, he attacks Comrades for standing in the recent West Australian state by-election, 4000 kilometers from where he lives in Inner City Sydney.
  Two, he resigned from Socialist Alliance after Comrades decided to stand SA in the Marrickville by-election in Inner City Sydney, against the ALP’s New South Wales education minister, as a high school Teacher, Unionist and Socialist I’m very glad we stood a candidate against her and we used this as a forum to take on prime minister John Howard’s anti-union and anti-“terror” laws.
  Three, his main activity since resigning from SA is to attack the DSP and SA, even getting to the point of quoting from swiped internal DSP documents.
  Four, he implies that the DSP and SA has no weight in the Australian trade union movement, there a lot of bosses, bureaucrats and time servers waiting for their chance of ALP parliamentary career, who dream that was the case.
  Five, SA is going from strength to strength, one example of this is with the establishment of new branch of SA, where I live in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
  I feel Greg’s sectarianism comes from his misunderstanding on the nature of the ALP and its relationship with trade unions. It is a pity that he has spent so much time attacking my Comrades, that he hasn’t shown the same venom against the NSW ALP government decision to sack 5,000 state government workers and his own union’s leadership cowardly decision not to fight these attacks.
  Just another point about Greg Adler’s resignation from SA over contesting the Marrickville by-election, the ALP candidate, state education minister, Carmel Tebbut, crossed the union picket lines outside the NSW parliament house, when the ALP butchered workers compensation insurance for the benefit of the insurance companies four years ago. 
  Like many DSP and SA Comrades, I welcomed his resignation as he was nothing but a dead weight on SA, with his gutless attitude to the ALP, and his bloody minded sectarianism to the DSP.
  On the question of the ALP, I feel the following two postings I put on the Green Left Discussion List,
  1) Last Weeks Sydney Protest Against Howard
   show how Marxists deal with the Australian Labor Party and its joint attacks with the Liberals on workers rights and civil liberties. 
  2) Is My Film the Work of a Third Period Stalinist?
    1) Last Weeks Sydney Protest Against Howard
    On Thursday March 2nd, along with a 1,000 other trade unionists, I joined the Sydney protest against the $1,000 to $2,000 a head dinner to celebrate the 10th anniversary of John Howard’s prime ministership.
      The protest was organised by Unions NSW, after hearing a few speakers in nearby Martin Place, we marched opposite the hotel where the Evil Dwarf was to be feted. A Comrade and I were holding a Socialist Alliance banner against the IR Laws. We were told by Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon to put our banner at the back of the protest, our reply was,”No.”  Lennon then told a Construction Division marshal (more like a cut price bouncer) from the CFMEU, to tell us to remove our banner or he would call the police on us, my rely was, “Go and get them.” To his credit, he didn’t.
      Mark Lennon did a similar dummy spit last year at the IR Laws picnic at Homebush, ranting and raving at Comrades selling the Rosie the Riveter issue of Green Left Weekly. I’ve met a few union leaders over the years who think they own their respective trade unions, that there an official for life, but never anyone who thinks they own the whole working class before. I’m sure if we were holding an ALP banner Lennon would have praised us, but then who wants to support the leadership of the Alternative Liberal Party?
      During the three month occupation/strike of Cockatoo Island dockyard in 1989, Lennon represented Unions NSW, a fellow striker and occupier, a rigger who was involved the historic Mt. Isa Strike in the 1960’s nicknamed Lennon, Cement Head, readers can make up their own minds if it still fits.
  As I looked at people entering the dinner for Howard I thought of 
      David Ireland words from his 1983 novel The Unknown Industrial Prisoner 
  “Now take my case. I’m twenty-nine and have two brothers—one in the Liberal Party and one serving six years for rape and arson.  My sister Peg is on the streets and Dad lives off her earnings. Mum is pregnant by the boarder and because of this Dad won’t marry her. Last night I got engaged to an ex-prostitute and I wish to be fair to her: should I tell her about my brother in the Liberal Party.   
  After an hour of demonstrating, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson decided to shut the protest down. When people decided to stay, he became rather irate. He told a few of the CFMEU marshalls, pointing to the Socialist Alliance banner I was still holding, ”Their the bastards to watch out for.” He then bellowed out that Howard was in the hotel and with that the demo ended. Actually Howard was 30 minutes from arriving for his great bourgeois pig out. Robertson told us a lie, he had told us an untruth, a sham to shut the demonstration down.
      The Unions NSW leadership has been dragging their feet against Howard’s IR Laws, letting down not only unionists in this state down but also placing the Labour Movement nationally in the lurch. The campaign against the IR Laws must not become diverted into a vote ALP in the 2007 election. We need national industrial action and we need to hound Howard with protests, wherever he sticks his bigoted head in public. We don’t need ALP control freaks like Robertson and Lennon selling us short on a demo against Howard or his IR Laws. We are fighting for our lives! We need union leaders who fight, not one who want to tie our hands behind our backs.
      John/Togs Tognolini
   NSW Teachers Federation State Councilor and Life Member of the Federated Ships Painters & Dockers.   
  Is My Film the Work of a Third Period Stalinist?
    I resent the allegation made by a few conservatives, small l liberals, and anti-Socialists, that if you’re against the ALP leadership, then you are against the Labour movement. Last night on Sydney’s Channel 31, Actively Radical Television aired their new film on the November 15 IR protests, Victorian MUA secretary Kevin Bracken was openly questioning his membership of the ALP.
    Last year I received this letter by veteran stalwart of the Sydney Labour Movement and historian, Issy Wyner, after I sent him a copy of the film I made with Frances Kelly about the three month strike/occupation at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney Harbour in 1989..
    “Thank you for your film, ”The Occupation of Cockatoo Island.” and thank you for remembering me. I remember that fight and many others over my long history in the union movement. Of course I was unable to play any part in the Cockatoo sit in. I had already retired in 1983, when I was 67.
    Your video is a truly remarkable piece of journalism, touching down on many features of that great fight. Epeciously good was the Hawke-Packer highlight, [One of Australia’s richest men, who died recently.] from which the only conclusion that could be drawn was how reactionary Hawke was when it came to a choice between capitalism and workers’/union issues. 
    I am particularly bitter about him because it was his legislation , very soon after he became prime minister, which put our union out of existence, because it did not fit in with his attitude to small unions
    The video is good for me for in another aspect: it brings to life many of the Painters and Dockers and other unionists I knew in that period. You may not know how much it means to an 89-year old , but I assure you that it gladdens my heart to look at faces,
    Thank you, once more, for thinking of me and sending me a grand piece of union /history and history of The Union to which I belonged for some fifty years. May you continue to produce facets of union history which seems to be avoided by most other historians
    Issy Winer
    Former Sydney secretary of the Federated Ships Painters & Dockers and author with Banners Unfurled a history of the Ships Painters & Dockers 
    What Issy said about former ALP prime minister Hawke applies to every state ALP premier and remember it was then defense minister Beazley[federal opposition leader] who carried out the blue collar genocide at Cockatoo, 1500 workers lost their jobs in the dockyard alone, and it meant the death of ship building and repair work in Australia. 
    I think those who act as apoligists for ALP politicians and the conservative union leadership of UNIONS NSW, should ask themselves have they become conservative and right wing. I know one place where this question won’t get a posting, Bob Gould’s “OZ Left” site. 

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