February 29, 2008
Brother Berrell, now that we’ve got each other’s attention, I would raise a number of important questions with you.
You say it’s unfair of me to lump you with the twilight zoners of the WSWS despite the fact that you constantly tout their website on the Green Left discussion list. You say you have some serious differences with the WSWS and you cite a disagreement about Fretilin.
What I attacked the WSWS about wasn’t Fretilin, as you well know. I discussed at length the WSWS’s increasingly right-wing standpoint on the organised workers movement.
In particular, do you disagree with the WSWS’s now longstanding proposition that workers should leave the trade unions and that the unions are now reactionary institutions?
Do you disagree with the WSWS’s proposition that Labor, the Liberals and the Greens are all equal instruments of the bourgeoisie and therefore it is appropriate to advocate an equal distribution of preferences to these parties? In my view that involves crossing the class line to support the Liberals.
Do you disagree with the WSWS’s proposition, in the right-wing leaflet that they distributed at the mass protest against privatisation, that privatisation will inevitably be victorious on this occasion?
Do you disagree with the WSWS’s constant, and unexplained, proposition that all the forces struggling against the privatisation are in some mysterious way actually doing Costa’s work to sell the privatisation?
Do you agree that the union officials who mobilised their members and organised buses to bring them to the protest actually doing that to support the privatisation, as the twilight zone right-wing cranks say?
To put it another way, do you agree with the twilight zone website that everyone in the labour movement, including union officials who oppose the privatisation, the ranks of the Labor Party, socialist independents like myself, and the whole of the far left (including both factions of the DSP), are all really in a conspiracy to sell the privatisation?
You would clarify a lot if you would indicate your standpoint on these questions. Failing an explanation, it’s difficult to avoid regarding your learned demagogy about labour movement affairs as anything other than a rather mischievous diversion.
You also object to me making an amalgam between you and Mr Aarons, who in an essay in Robert Manne’s book and on television last night, peddled a central plank of the program of the Rudd-era right wing in the workers movement, which is to push the unions out of the Labor Party or at least dramatically reduce their influence.
I made this amalgam between you and Mr Aarons deliberately, because your longstanding touting of the twilight zone website suggests that basically you agree with Mr Aarons on this point. If you don’t and this is also one of your disagreements with the twilight zoners, you should say so.
The above are burning tactical questions of the day in the workers movement and you could clear up a lot of things by explaining your point of view on these matters, rather than giving us your learned dissertations about labour movement history, which in my view are often inaccurate, like your other learned dissertations on Fretilin.
As an aside, Norm Dixon’s, waspish little response to my mate’s post on the Green Left list drawing attention to the Sydney Morning Herald article this morning doesn’t seem to bode well for positions he might take on these current battles, which I’ve just raised with Brother Berrell.
He should careful about using “Green” Laborite as a form of abuse in the current context, in which the Greens, the bulk of the trade union movement, the ranks of the Labor Party, and some Labor parliamentarians, are playing a very creditable role in the struggle against electricity privatisation.
Concerning your use of the word troll, are we now to conclude that anyone who disagrees with you on the Green Left list or Marxmail is a troll? That seems to be an extravagantly narrow view of working class politics, even for you.