[Marxism] A forum on 68

gary.maclennan at gmail.com gary.maclennan at gmail.com
Sun Jun 1 23:26:03 MDT 2008

Recently there was a forum on 68 at Ahimsa House Brisbane.  The panel
featured some of the greats of the Brisbane Left - Dan O'Neill, Brian Laver,
Jimmy Prentice and Drew Hutton the leader of the States' Greens. I too was
asked to speak.

I have clashed with Drew in the past over what I perceived as his move to
right in his electoral alliance with the ultra-conservative National Party
in 1996, an alliance (perhaps accommodation would be more accurate) that
contributed to the defeat of the Goss Labor govt.  I criticised Drew heavily
for 3 years over that but with the defeat of the Tories in 1999 and the
subsequent founding of a new Labor dynasty, it seemed a good time to bury
the old feud.  I voted for Drew's party in the recent state and local
elections and was genuinely disappointed when he himself failed to get
elected in the recent local govt elections.

So it was bury the hatchet time when Drew got up to speak about 68.  But
this was a remarkable speech in that it consisted of homage to three of
Drew's "heroes" from 68- Tom Hayden, Joscha Fischer, & Adam Michnik.  I have
to admit that these are not the three that come first to my mind when I
think of 68.

Incidentally Lou has just turned out an excellent article in Swans on Abbie
Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Renny Davis and the latter two certainly represent
a sellout but they pale surely in comparison with Fischer and Michnik. I am
prepared to cut Haydon some slack because of his opposition to the Iraq
war.  However Fischer & Michnik belong to the pro-American cheer leader
squad that has emerged from the libertarian residue of the 68 impulse.

 Michnik rails about totalitarianism and uses this as a cover to support
American Imperialism.  He had this to say in response to criticism of his

"Today, however, the primary threat is terrorism by Islamist
fundamentalists. War has been declared against the democratic world. It is
this world, whose sins and mistakes we know all too well, that we want to

These are the reasons behind our absolute war on the terrorist, corrupt,
intolerant regime of the despot from Baghdad. One cannot perceive
totalitarian threats in George W. Bush's policies and at the same time
defend Saddam Hussein. There are limits to absurdity, which should not be
exceeded recklessly."

This is really a mixture of the stupid and the self-serving. The so-called
democratic world has long been in a relationship with the Islamic world and
the same democratic world has done all in its power to destroy and slaughter
every single vestige of secularism in the Islamic world.  The West's role in
the rise of the Taliban and Hamas are ample proof of that assertion.

But now it is time to wipe out the old Islamic fundamentalist ally and of
course it is being done in the name of democracy, freedom and civilization.
In this case  have more respect for people like Niall Ferguson who is openly
pro-imperialist while Michnik and Fischer claim to be pro-democracy.  But
empire it is and the main business is as Tacitus put  *"To plunder, to
slaughter, to steal... and where they make a wilderness, they call it


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