Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
vfl
afl
phil on...
politics
people
history
travel
music
literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : Politics Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY - WHAT'S THAT?

A TRIAL TO RIVAL MR STALIN'S?

Eight months after the invasion of Iraq the bitterness of the debate in Australia shows no signs of abating. From one time Maoist, Barry York, (Age - letters to the editor - Tuesday 16 December) to Gerard Henderson (Opinion Page) the demonising of opponents of the war goes on ad nauseam. Although I read Mao and Marx at the same University as York in the 1970s I couldn't bring myself to join the Maoist ranks. Having endured the Catholic Catechism at school my aversion to the doctrinal obsession of the earnest Maoists on campus was a fait accompli.

Thirty years on York has lost none of his moral and doctrinal rigidity. A self-proclaimed member of the 'real left', York childishly labels as 'pseudo left' those who won't subscribe to his form of logic. Unfortunately, this sinner can find no convenient slogan from Mao's Little Red Book by which to support George W Bush.

Rather than appreciate Marxism for its polemical and dialectical strengths, so many so-called Maoists were addicted to ideology, rigidity of thought and sloganeering. How instructive that York now lampoons those who refuse to support the very 'running dogs of US imperialism' he condemned in the radical days. Yes, we know the logic of Maoist support for the US invasion. From Albert Langer to York the cry of 'the enemy of our enemy is our friend' has guided the 'real left', while the phoney left has sipped coffee in its 'comfort zone'.

Does York or Langer seriously think that those people who opposed the invasion haven't considered that possibility? Do they seriously think that the so-called 'pseudo-left' have turned a blind eye to Saddam Hussein? In line with the position of conservative commentator Gerard Henderson, York refuses to express a semlance of doubt about what has happened in Iraq. Similarly, neither will entertain the possibility that this war was not and will not emerge as a war of liberation.

How easy is it for leftists such as York to celebrate when thousands of innocent Iraqis are grieving at the loss of their loved ones? To argue that this suffering and loss is the necessary prelude to 'bourgeois democracy' shows how easily real life can be lost amidst the whirl of dogma. The mechanical application of rules only turns the discussion of the tragedy of Iraq into an academic exercise.

What the point of 'democray' when it allows the undemocratic election of George W Bush and the violation of bourgeois law in Guantanamo Bay. What's the value of bourgeois democracy when it acts with duplicity and hypocrisy, singling out with blinding contradiction whoever it wants as the enemy and violating international law whenever it feels so inclined? Drawing on the war against Nazi Germany and one reading of the slogans of Chairman Mao to defend the invasion of Iraq is so self serving as to be laughable.

I'll be surprised if any member of the so called 'pseudo left' expresses moral outrage in the event of Saddam Hussein being sentenced to death. What really matters is whether Hussein receives a fair trial and that the real story of how various bourgeois democracies previously turned a blind eye to his alleged war crimes, is told. Equally what matters is how aspiring political leaders such as Mark Latham and political commentators interpret the trial of Saddam Hussein.

It's churlish for Gerard Henderson to criticise Greens leader Bob Brown for arguing that Hussein should face trial in The Hague. Does Henderson seriously think that Hussein will receive a fair trial in Iraq? And what is Henderson's justification for this position? That a group of hand picked journalists cheered and revelled when US spokesman Paul Bremer told them they'd 'got him'?

There's no point arguing for the rule of law and the triumph of civilisation over barbarism if you then assume the identity of the barbarian. The parading of a bedraggled and humiliated Saddam Hussein before the world was what every bully does to his quarry. Almost simultaneous with the parading of Hussein a documentary on Nelson Mandela was screening on ABC TV. After twenty seven years in a South African gaol, and after all that had been done to his people, Mandela remains wedded to reconciliation. It's hard to believe that the former South African president, even if he'd supported the war, would have allowed Hussein to be publicly humiliated.

If the US had entered Iraq without a history that including waging an unjust war in Vietnam, being implicated in the terror squads in Chile and supporting dictators in the Middle East, and had acted like Mandela when it offered the image of Hussein to the world, how different it might be. But nothing about the US government's actions there or in Guantanamo Bay convince me that this is a war of liberation. Mao or no Mao I'm still with Mandela.

 


Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
[home]   [vfl]   [afl]   [world sport]   [politics]   [people]   [history]   [travel]   [music]   [literature]

© 2000 Phil Cleary Holdings
site by five