Bob Gould, 2005

Defending the indefensible

Source: Ozleft, December 9-11, 2005
Proofreading, editing, mark-up: Steve Painter

Green Left Weekly discussion list, December 9, 2005

Greg Adler’s article, DSP Split Over Future, published in the online Weekly Worker in Britain, caused considerable discussion on the Green Left Weekly list, including a suggesting that Ozleft should post Simon Miller’s response to Greg Adler. Bob Gould and Ed Lewis responded as follows:

We considered putting a link to Alex Miller’s post as a contribution to discussion, but we decided not to for the following reasons:

The heading referring to a Glasgow kiss, even if it is passed off, as Boyle and others in his faction often do, as a joke, is an incitement to political violence against opponents on the left. This kind of thing is wrong in principle, and is very dangerous in the current, reactionary political climate.

All members of the DSP and everyone on the left should repudiate the Boyle faction’s indirect but clear appeal for political violence against its opponents on the left.

If this was some sort of joke, it’s a poisonous one and is reminiscent of the “jokes” that more backward Maoist Stalinists used to make about icepicks. On a few occasions this sort of attitude led to violence against others on the left.

This kind of thing is of considerable significance to both of us, as we have long memories and have personally been subjected to threats of violence and actual violence at times in the past.

The irresponsible use of so-called jokes about violence is a damning indication of the political degeneracy of the leadership of the Boyle faction.

Bob Gould
Ed Lewis

PS. The moderator of the Green Left discussion site should carefully consider references to the Glasgow kiss in posts on the site.

Defending the indefensible

Green Left Weekly discussion list, December 11, 2005

Norm Dixon, who is, or at least was, in normal day-to-day discourse, a rather mild-mannered bloke, has morphed into a noisy cyberspace factional warrior in the interests of the rather irresponsible Boyle faction of the DSP leadership.

Dixon tries to defend the indefensible, passing off the clearly violent undertone in the heading of Alex Miller’s post as a matter of little consequence.

He tries to reinforce this with a when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife line of argument, making Gould and Lewis, and by implication anyone else in the labour movement who doesn’t adopt the Boyle group’s Third Period rhetoric, responsible for all the reactionary policies of some Labor Party leaders.

Dixon is particularly abusive about the Labor lefts who publicly stated their opposition to the anti-terror laws but were then obliged to vote for them because of ALP caucus discipline.

The Dixon-Boyle argument seems to be that everyone in the labour movement should decide their tactics on instruction from the Boyle faction of the DSP leadership. That’s an obvious absurdity, as Doug Lorimer gently points out to the Boyle supporters who doggedly hang on to the false notion that an alternative mass workers party, or something like it, can be conjured out of the earth, mainly by abusive propaganda.

Like Lorimer, we’ll accept that such a perspective may have some legs when courageous militants such as Martin Kingham and Kevin Reynolds cease to be entrenched in the Labor Party.

As Lorimer said: best of luck, mate.

We at Ozleft dug in our heels against the violent implication in the heading of Alex Miller’s post because that violent implication is clearly directed at Greg Adler and ourselves, and it also may have implications for the current, sharp dispute in the DSP.

We have no intention of publishing on Ozleft anything that incites violence in the labour movement.

On a secondary point, Norm and the other Boyle supporters are completely off their tree about the content of Ozleft. Only about 10 per cent of the material has any connection with the DSP.

Norm and the Boyle supporters can only think that it has more if they have a mindset that anything on any topic that isn’t expressed in DSP-talk is by implication some kind of attack on the DSP.

Concerning politics in the wider world the Boyle faction is delusional.


Response to the Green Left list moderator

December 11, 2005

Responding to the protest about the heading of Alex Miller’s post about the Glasgow kiss, the moderator of the Green Left list issues a stern warning to me and others that if we continue to say that this heading is an incitement to violence we’ll be thrown off the list.

The moderator justifies this by saying that Miller’s heading is obviously metaphorical. Mike Karadjis makes a similar assertion and makes matters worse by listing a further six “metaphorical” headers that could be used, all of which also contain an element of “metaphorical” violence.

Is the moderator claiming that all this “metaphorical” violence is good coin and reasonable on the Green Left list and that anyone who protests against such “metaphors” will be thrown off the list?

Is this kind of “metaphorical” violent language to become par for the course on the Green Left list?

I put to the moderator that any problems that might arise from these “metaphors” don’t arise from myself and others pointing to them. They arise from the “metaphors” themselves.

In the final analysis, as the moderator asserts, she is the list owner, presumably on behalf of Green Left, and she can do anything she likes, but I appeal to her to consider the political implications, particularly in the current political climate, of taking such a position.

Obviously, I will try to meet whatever requirements the modrator imposes, but I reserve the right to draw attention to the poor political judgment involved in taking the position that seems implicit in her ruling and I’d point out that I’ve raised this kind of question on the Green Left list several times in the past.

It seems to me that, in this instance, the moderator, who in my experience is quite a pleasant, serious person, is behaving politically like the speaker in either house of federal parliament, tending to stick up for their side of politics regardless of the rights and wrongs of any issue or point of order that is raised.

On the secondary question of the content of Ozleft, Norm Dixon is being a bit cute. It’s true that for the past month or two the front page of the website has been dominated by arguments with the DSP.

Doesn’t Dixon ever get beyond the front page and look at the other subdirectories or the site map? Is he only interested in material on the DSP?

Only a small proportion of the content of the website has any reference to the DSP.