November 1, 2005
My careful piece commenting on the upheavals on the Labor Party and society at large about Howard’s pernicious “anti-terror” legislation produced a flurry of political loopiness on the Green Left list.
In the face of my pointing to the internal upheaval in Labor’s ranks, one of the DSP leaders responded that the DSP hadn’t been hard enough on the Labor Party. Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad, as the saying goes.
The main effective opposition to Howard’s proposed measures has come from bourgeois liberals, lawyers, etc, and from within the Labor Party. If the laws are to be defeated, or at least the worst aspects of them removed, the defeat of Howard and the preservation of some part of our democratic rights will be a direct result of the broad agitation in society producing a reversal among the Labor politicians.
As late as this evening it seems as if Beazley is not having it all his own way on these matters by any stretch of the imagination. None of this fits the DSP leadership’s eccentric schema and curious alternative mental world in which they place themselves at the centre of all progressive developments.
The DSP leaders can’t bring themselves to have anything good to say about the progressive role played on this question by Duncan Kerr MP, Carmen Lawrence MP, ACT Chief Minister Stanhope and Daryl Melham MP, or the role played by the left union leaders from all states, including several from Victoria to whom the DSP often points, at the national left meeting, which opposed Howard’s legislation unanimously.
The weird hysteria and the abusive language directed at Ed Lewis is clearly dictated by the bankruptcy of the DSP leadership’s view of the ALP as a monolithic whole, always engaged in betrayal.
The venom, on this occasion directed at Ed Lewis’s tough head, is also clearly dictated by the increasing turmoil inside the DSP as the factional struggle between its two leadership groups, which wasn’t resolved at the DSP’s national committee meeting, heats up towards the Christmas-New Year conference.
Even allowing for the frustration obviously felt by Dixon on internal DSP questions, it’s outrageous and offensive for him to accuse Ed Lewis of supporting Beazley, which is simply not true unless you have the mad DSP leadership outlook that a failure to engage in crude abuse of Beazley every two seconds is evidence of support for Beazley. What was it Lenin said about scolding soundrels?
The nature of the developments in the Labor Party, with the sharpest conflicts developing on these questions, underlines the bankruptcy of the DSP leadership’s approach to the mass movement, as they try to artificially put themselves at the centre of events, which everyone else can see is fantasy.
Sharp criticism is one thing, slander is quite another and political sanitation suggests that Dixon, who has been around a long time and should know better, should immediately retract his slanders against Ed Lewis.
PS. Ed Lewis pointed to the discussion on Margo Kingston’s site, which was sharply critical of Beazley, as serious analysis of the events. There has been no serious analysis of the political contradictions surrounding the anti-terror laws, either in Green Left Weekly or on its discussion site, because the DSP’s crackpot obsession with denouncing the Labor Party, and placing the DSP at the centre of events, when as in this instance it clearly isn’t, is an obstacle to the DSP leadership making any serious analysis of Australian political events.
The issue of John Howard’s police state laws is still unresolved. I hope we defeat them and preserve our civil liberties, but it would be over-optimistic to say that’s inevitable. These are, however, big and serious questions and if our civil liberties are to be preserved, people like Lawrence, Stanhope, Melham and Kerr, and the many legal people who’ve protested effectively against the laws, are more reliable and effective allies than the bizarre leaders of the DSP sect (both clans) who can’t see the wood for the trees.