Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Monday, December 13, 2004

greens, trotskyites, and the facts...

A plea to any Australian readers for information.

Today I read the Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece by Paul Sheehan in which he did a nice little number on The Greens, labelling them a Trotskyite front group. Now, I know Sheehan has all sorts of right-wing axes to grind, but I was wondering if there was any fire to go with his smokescreen.

I've been supportive of the Greens up to now, so I need to know where they really are on the political spectrum. If you don't want to make public comments on this blog, please use my email link in the right sidebar of this blog. Your emails will be treated in the strictest confidence. Any information would be most appreciated.

And while we're at it, some pointers towards understanding who Trotskyites are would also be helpful. At the end of the day I'm just a political ignoramus staggering around the political landscape trying to figure it all out.

As a complete non sequitur, I notice Gummo Trotsky has used some piss-weak excuses for not sorting his/her creative and expressive priorities out in order to keep his/her blogging relevant. Although and because I am not fit to grovel in his/her shadow, I say the man/woman is an intellectual wimp! A quitter! A wooss! You'd think that someome with an intellect of that magnitude would be able to navigate out of the Sargasso Sea they have navigated into. I'm especially pissed off because I only just started to read that blog. Damn! Damn! Damn!


Blogger the urban fox said...

Right-wingers always wheel out the "Trotskyite" insult. Don't know about the Australian Green party though, so I'm no help.

December 14, 2004 12:18 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hi fox, yes they got pretty dirty during the recent erection campaign (no spelling mistake). I know Trotskyites are communists but that in itself is not a dirty word to me. What I want to know about them is whether their Australian bretheren are something to be wary of and why. But I need sources that can point me towards the facts. Nice of you to drop in.

December 14, 2004 12:34 AM  
Blogger Dave Riley said...

The letters column in today's SMH says it all in way of this columnists total disregard for truth. But then truth wasn't one of Garrett's credentials either. Back in 1984 he cynically split the NDP rather than be party to a democratic process of decision making. En route via the exit he blaimed the SWP (later the Democratic Socialist Party) for trying to take over the NDP. This was hardly a point of fact. Garret's version of the so called split has not been shared later either by Jo Valentine (the ist NDP senator) nor Dr Michael Denborough\ (the NDP founder and still NDP leader today). Basically Garrett and his cronies destroyed the NDP. That's the historical fact. Later when the Greens option was being explored various forces including members of the DSP and the old CPA were involved in many centres throughout Australia working for the various Greens currents. In NSW for instance the Greens electoral copyright was held by Hall Greenland who was a long time adherent of one of the brands of Trotskyism (assoc with Nick Origlass one time Mayor of Leikhardt). However, when the Greens were being formatted, the core clique ensured and maneovred it so that a proscription clause was inserted in the greens constitution and in succession members of other parties were "purged" (thats' the right word) from the Greens.

The irony is that those who lead the Greens today in each state or federally boycotted the NDP experience and it was left to formations like the DSP and others to actively build it and foster the key break in Australian politics that happened in the 1984 poll.

The article in the SMH is classic red baiting which Garrett is a past master of (and which the letter writers point out). In my experience of this tact, red baiting is inevitably employed to obscure the political issues in dispute. In the NDP case it was esentially the challenge of writing a consituition and developing soem democrtaic method for a fomation that grew spontaneously nationwide.

Anyway later on the DSP and other left currents helped form the Socislit Alliance four years ago which has a very different approach to democracy and political activity than the Greens (check out the SA website). Today the DSP is a minority current in the SA which has about 1500 members nationally and is adopting measures to fast track into a multi tendency socialist party. I am a keen member of the SA as I had been of the NDP until Garret (and Jean Meltzer) worked to destroy it.

However, even if the allegations were true, what is the problem? I knew Sylvia Hale in her old Trot days --for instance -- and such credentials only proves how much this woman is committed to social change. She is worth two of PG anyday. In the NDP there are a lot of exers from various socialist orgs. It is these people who have a wealth of politcal experience that the Greens have come to rely on.

December 14, 2004 5:26 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Thanks for your input, Dave.

Four questions, Dave:

(1) In what way would Trotskyites be bad for Australia?

(2) What's driving Garret's politics/ambitions?

(3) Being a pacifist, I will not align myself with any left-wing group which condones or advoctates violence as a way of furthering their political aims. Is there a left-wing group that meets my requirements?

(4) Is socialism dead? What I mean by that is that I can see no way of transitioning from capitalism to socialism without crashing the economy. Crashing the economy would hurt everyone hugely. (It's not far from crashing anyway, but I'm talking about howone might trasnition to socialism from capitalism with minimum damage to the welfare for the people.)

December 14, 2004 7:36 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Supplementary: Yes, Dave, I read today's Letters in the SMH and I'd say they weren't very happy with Mr Sheehan's journalistic integrity. :-)

December 14, 2004 7:40 PM  
Blogger Dave Riley said...

(1) In what way would Trotskyites be bad for Australia?

Well, Troskyism has had its day. It suffered from too much circle spirit but it nonethless projected an alternative view of the Soviet Union. Now with the collapse of the Eastern Block it is now somewhat passe -- but Trotskyism was the main current to grow out of the sixties radicalisation. Bad for Australia? Thats' the same game they used to lambast "bolshevism" or "communism" throughout 20th century Australian history. Its' red baiting. I think capitalism is bad for Auistralia, and Laborism and Howardism, etc

(2) What's driving Garret's politics/ambitions?

Like anyone else ego and a sense of relevance or else. He does, by the way, belong in the ALP and I hope that is recognised by the Greens . The Greens are better off without him as the SMH letter writers noted. But the merger with Laborism is a standard process in Australia. The major acheivemnt of the Greens is that it has broken that reliance on the ALP for an alternative view to the Tories.

(3) Being a pacifist, I will not align myself with any left-wing group which condones or advoctates violence as a way of furthering their political aims. Is there a left-wing group that meets my requirements?

No left wing group here advocates violence in the sense that I think you mean. The point is often made that change will be oppressed and fought agianst by the outgoing ruling class and often their overseas backers -- and to defend revolutionary gains you need to be able to defend yourself. This is the situation with Cuba for instance. The revolution there must be defended -- as it has been by taking up arms (such as the Bay of Pigs, etc). Indeed everyone is asked to participate in the national militiaas it is considered that the US will inavde at any opportiunity offered (such as Iraq, Panama, Grenada, etc) In the same sense Iraqis have a right to defend their country against the US occupation. Some of the methods employed may be dubious (they were evn when they were employed by the French Resiatnce in WWII) but that doesn';t change the justice of their cause. Ditto for any conflict situation, eg Palestine. Sometimes force has to kick in and, unfortunately, one of the key determinaing factors in Iraq (as it was in Vietnam) is the number of filled body bags that get shifted stateside. Among the very many aspects that enthrall me about the Iraq situation is that many of the soldiers stationed there are not putting up with their military requirments and are protesting and even going AWOL. Duing Vietnam that stand took some time to kick in. Fragging seems to have settled in early in Iraq too. Here we have morale collapsing within a 15 month period of engagement. So you gotta stand by the soldiers who are tools in this war being prosecuted at the behest of Washington./London/Canberra but then you also have to note that the core reality is that they are being employed to invade, occupy and oppress the Iraqi people.

(4) Is socialism dead?

No. In fact now that the crippling burden of Stalinism is not bearing down on the scocialist movement there is the beginnings of renewal with new strategies being explored. The so called economic collapse has to be considered in context. In Vietnam the post war economic troubles are rooted in the fact that the country had to overcome the legacy of 40 years of war. In the USSR the civil war (backed up by 14 invading foregn armies)followed on from Russias devastation during WWI. Cuba's financial troubles are due to forty years of engineered boycotts and blockades - but the economy is doing Ok there and the welfare statistics are better than those in all other third world countries and rival our own here. Check out: Viotenam is slowly improving ecomically while China (and this is a ,long story) is re-intating capitalism at the behest of the CCP.

At the present time the unfolding socialistic process in Venezuela is exciting. Well worth monitoring interm sof your POV. An aspect of relevance is the fact that the ecomomy there relies on oil. Chavez (who is a dedicated Chritian by the way) is committed to change and the process is being advanced through massive mobilisations. But so many third world countries are warped by their relationship to imperialism that it is hard to restructure and broaden the productive base.

Anyway socialism is not on the agenda at this moment in time here in OZ -- but struggle is...and socialists are so often the best fighters. Thats' the primary feature of the Socialist Alliance: we don;t wait around for parliament to act or sit on our hands between elections, we campaign 52 weeks a year. So in a sense our "socialism"is the socialism of fighting now rather than simply having a future ideal or relying on a platform of proposals. The very prooces that makes up socialism is consolidated through the work we do today. I'm in the SA, of course, and I serve as part of the new partneship SA has with Green Left Weekly. In the SA there are many brands of socislistsand others who aren't consciously subscribed that way but are drawn to the SA becauise of what we do and the way we do it.

The Greens objectively have a sort of "socialist" program as many of their platform pieces are not attainable under capitalism or through parliamentary activity alone. Thats' the core difference between the SA and the Greens: we recognise that capitalism has to go. The Greens don't and want to reform it.

December 15, 2004 1:10 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Wow, Dave. Thanks for giving me your well articulated answers. It's take me a bit of time to digest them, and then I'll have more questions if you're stillup for it. I know you're away for Christmas, so they may be waiting for you wen you get back. Have a good one. :-)

December 16, 2004 11:52 AM  
Blogger Kyan gadac said...

Dave Riley writes "Garret's version of the so called split has not been shared later either by Jo Valentine (the ist NDP senator) nor Dr Michael Denborough\ (the NDP founder and still NDP leader today). Basically Garrett and his cronies destroyed the NDP. That's the historical fact."

So it's not destroyed - or is it?

This diatribe is a good example of what is wrong with the various incarnations of the Trotskyite factions in Australia. Mostly rant and full of half truths and contradictions.

I don't think the Greens are run by Trotskyites but I do think that the Greens have had to waste a lot of energy on internal politicking to deal with these middle class romantics who pretend to be revolutionaries.

Trotskyite factions have been a plague on the Australian left since the 60's. Their ideologically driven agenda provides a home for people who would otherwise become born again christians. People who need faith instead of thought.

I've yet to here a coherent original thought from this mob. They jump on whatever is the latest socially progressive conflict and claim it as their own. They are parasites who are probably secretely funded by ASIO or the CIA for the damage they inflict upon progressive causes in this country.

December 16, 2004 6:24 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kadac, I know I had emailed you for "any information as to what the Greens' true political foundation is", and I assume this is your response.

Not happy, Kadac.

You accuse one of the commenters of posting a "diatribe", yet I find his comments far from being a diatribe. Your comment, on the other hand, is qhite clearly a diatribe oozing ad-hominem.

I welcome your input but I ask that in future you
try to put forth more reasoned and measured responses.

You didn't even provide any useful information in response to my my request. I didn't on this occasion delete your comment but if you can't lift your game above name calling and mud slinging, I'll censor you in future. Understood, Kadac?

I take it you think of yourself as a revolutionary. I'd like to hear from you what the difference between a romantic and a revolutionary is and also whether you propose a peaceful revolution or whether armed combat is part of what you advocate. And you need to know that if you espouse or condone violence and/or killing, you need not bother commenting in this blog.

Only pacifists are welcome here.

December 17, 2004 12:24 PM  
Blogger Kyan gadac said...

The diatribe I was referring to was(in part) the one sided slant on the NDP/Trotskyite fight. There are two points of view on what happened and one was put here. There was nothing ad hominem in my derision of the SA/Trotskyite style of politics. Which person was I attacking?

For the record I do not think that I am a revolutionary. This is a misreading of what I wrote.

I have previously posted comments in John Quiggins blog on this topic. There, I refered to the steps that were taken by the W.A. Greens to deflect the aggressive tactics used by members of the DSP in the early eighties. The W.A. Greens specifically concentrated upon consensus decision making and improving their understanding of group dynamics to prevent the sort of tactics that were commonly employed by the DSP at the time and that were generally regarded in the west as the cause of the demise of the NDP.

While I consider myself to be 'of the left' I have never had much time for the DSP/Trotskyite factions since the early 70's. I dislike their style as much as their substance and that is the point of my criticism.

I certainly think that tarring the Greens with the Trotskyite brush is unfair at least in W.A. I would not however be surprised if the Greens in NSW were heavily infiltrated with Trots and likely to suffer the same fate of the NDP as a result, namely, irrelevance.

December 18, 2004 4:19 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Kadac, you're being very hard on David merely because his slant is different to yours. It appears to me you're as much caught up in your own ideology as those you accuse of having ideological agendae. I'm getting the impression of severe factionalism and enmity between the various factions on the left. I find none of what either of you two gentlemen have told me so far as very attractive.

I think I'll stay a left-leaning lone loner for the forseeable future. Neither of you have given me any information that would attract me to any groups so far.

And you all appear to be way too militant for my liking. Having just seen what was wrong with being a soldier for the right, I'm not about to hang out with dudes who see themselves as soldiers for the left.

I am totally committed to remaining a pacifist until the day I die. War or killing is no way to implement any form of politcs.

All I'm seeing is factional hotheads attacking other factional hotheads. Perhaps I've got it wrong. Perhaps I'm too thick to understand where you guys are coming from. I dunno...

But I will say this, Kadac: As much as Dave seems to justify "defensive" violence or war (and I can't allign myself with that) he still seems to put forth a more lucid dissertation.

But I'm getting very depressed about what I think I'm seeing of the left in Australian Politics.

I've just started to re-read (after 32 years) The Outcasts of Foolgarah by Frank Hardy, just to try to lighten up a bit about this whole left thingie...

December 18, 2004 11:45 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Oops, oops,ooops... Sorry Kyan. I apologise for calling you Kadac. My brain must be fused. Again, Kyan, I apologise. [slaps palm against forehead really hard!] :-)

December 19, 2004 12:31 AM  
Blogger Dave Riley said...

Reading Frank Hardy I see. Well, Frank was a member of the Communist Party and regardles of whatever else folk may say about the old CP, the CPA was a major force for social justice --just as Hardy's book explores. Indeed, Hardy's 'oevre' is an interesting study of the whole sweep of CP history. Read my review of his last novel here:

I fear that outfits like the Greens try to pretend that history has no examples of parties that were dedicated to social change/justice. Well, the CPA --with all its faults -- was bigger (some 23,000 members by 1947 -- the Greens boast only 7,000 today)and much more successful than the Greens have been so far...albeit not in the parliamentary sphere.

December 26, 2004 11:57 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Dave, as you know, I'm a latecomer to all of this, having been a right-wing bigot till about ten years ago. It's only when I started to see what globalised capitalism was doing to the world and the governance of so-called "free countries", that I started reading left-wing publications and authors.

As far as Hardy is concerened I've only read "Foolgarah", but I liked it lots.

I have no problems with communist thought as I see it (and I don't really know a hell of a lot about it), but I think it's too late for politically/economically "monocultural" systems like socialism, communism or capitalism.

I think a "third way" must be found, and quickly.

At this late stage (58 y.o.) I'm trying to understand all this and I notice it's an ever-changing evolution of my own thought.

So I welcome any and all input, but I will have nothing whatsoever to do with justifying the use of any violence in political action. That's not to say that I won't take on board some of the politcal ideas of those who are not so pacifist. It's just that we might about the role violence plays in attempting to defend, "sell", or implement our politics.

Also, not being university educated, my intellectualising is far less disciplined, ordered or academically acceptable. That's why I'm limited to ranting rather than putting up well argued, well reasoned, well referenced, "papers", "presentations" or "theses". Nor can I speak authoritatively or from a position of being "qualified". And I think it's way too late in my life to change drastically so I'll always be a "lightweight" in any debate.

But I think political debate and discourse at the grass-roots level is the most important thing if we're ever going to fashion some sort of democracy in this country or the larger world.

We need forums and we need lots of them. Blogging is a good medium, but things like "politics in the pub" is great too.

But best of all would be if "the left" could run low cost or free courses/seminars for ordinary, grass roots people who wish to learn more about "left" thought and ideas. Also, this would create an environment where people could be informed about all that stuff which mainstream "education" just happens to "forget" to present or discuss.

In other words, the more expensive and right-wing mainstream education becomes, the more "the left" should provide it's own free (or low cost) alternative and/or complementary education, free from government control. That's not to say it shouldn't try to get goverment funding, but never to the extent that this funding gives the goverment any say in shaping the curriculum.

December 27, 2004 12:05 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Just read your review, Dave, of But The Dead Are Many by Frank Hardy. Sounds like a must-read. Then I went to see if I could get it from dymocks, alas, no. I'll try the local library.

December 27, 2004 12:30 PM  

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