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John Passant

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July 2010



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
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Letters from Never Never Land: DLP saves Australia from communist Government

Remember the Democratic Labor Party? Evidently they saved Australia from a communist Government. Don’t believe me? Let me quote from that font of all knowledge, Angela Shanahan, a ‘journalist’ with The Australian.

‘As a reader wrote: “What comes out of this book is not to praise the ‘stay-in-and-fighters’ (sic) (as Carr does) but those who sacrificed their careers for principle and preferenced Menzies, so ensuring that from 1954-1972 a popular front government did not rule Australia.” ‘True’ adds Shanahan.

A popular front Government? What is the basis for this ridiculous assertion born of fantastical self-justification?

Mark Aarons comes from a long line of prominent Communist Party members – from its founding in 1920 to its dissolution in 1991. By the mid 30s they were Stalinists, worshipping at the altar of the new ruling class in Moscow. Aarons himself is a former union official who argued for the Labor Party to abandon its links to the unions and who was a political adviser to former New South Wales Labor premier Bob Carr.

In his book The Family File Aarons tells us that the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation – the Australian Stasi – believed two prominent ALP politicians, Arthur Gietzelt and John Wheeldon, were actually secret Communist Party members. So ASIO, that bastion of right wing reaction, who saw communists everywhere because that is their job and it justifies their existence, is the source for these allegations of Communist Party influence, even ‘control’ of the ALP. What utter crap.

This si the same mindset that saw State Special Branch – local versions of ASIO – keep hundreds of thousands of files on individuals – including most labor politicians. According to Grabowsky  in South Australia by 1977, ‘individual persons were the subject of some 28,500 index cards’, while in New South Wales by 1978, ‘the eighteen member Special Branch had compiled records on almost eighty thousand individuals or organisations’.

There is no evidence for these Gietzelt or Wheeldon allegations from the pit of reactionary lies. The idea that a party like the ALP – steeped in the politics of obsequiousness to capital from its foundation in 1891 – could be a revolutionary organisation is a fantasy.

The idea that some sections of the ALP would be influenced by a party which spoke the rhetoric of working class liberation is not at all surprising given their strength. The Communists had strong support in the industrial wing of the labour movement because they won gains for workers.

But a takeover of the ALP? Even Jim Cairns, who came within one vote of leading the Party, was a supporter of capitalism, not, as Shanahan seems to think, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse of capital.

Reaction opposes all change. Like Marxists some reformists want pro-worker change. The Shanahans of the world lump the two together because their enemy is change itself – whether it be from within or outside the system. So she includes Cairns, Rex Connor (a nationalist) and Lionel Murphy in her bizarre diatribe against communism.

The irony is that the Stalinists and the more radical reformists had a common approach  – socialism from above. The agency of change was the party – Labor or Communist – and not the working class itself. In Marx’s words the emancipation of the working class is the act of working class itself.

Based on this nonsense from the fantasy land that is ASIO the right wing commentariat have revealed a delusive ‘told you so’ elation. See, Santamaria’s campaign against the Communists in the Labor Party was correct.  He saved Australia.  Or as Shanahan puts it it was the ‘right-wing religious loonies’ who defeated the communists.

What the fervent rightists like Shanahan always fail to mention is that Santamaria’ vision was virulently anti-industrial and anti-capitalist, based on a return to an idealised Catholic feudalism. It is this return to feudalism – Italy circa 1660 – that underpins Shanahan’s further otherworldly analysis about progressives having the family as  their target.

Right wing Labor figure and former NSW premier Bob Carr, has also used Aaron’s ‘revelations’ as retrospective validation of its ‘anti-communist’ position. This has nothing to do with anti-communism and much to do with the Labor Right defeating those on the Left who actually wanted reforms for working people, not capital or who took principled positions opposing US and Australian imperialism. 

A failed Premier who gave the workers of New South Wales nothing but their bosses much, Carr’s disingenuous shock at ‘communist’ infiltration is re-writing history to save his own minor place in it.   

Shanahan at least has a broader vision. She asks what has now happened to all that communist fervour? ‘Did it just disappear into some counter-cultural Trotskyist Never Never land, where all the old ideologies end up?’

As someone in this Never Never Land  I am disappointed this hasn’t happened. But for ‘reds under the bed’ Shanahan this communist fervour ended up in feminism, the greens, the gay lobby and progressive causes – basically everyone who isn’t a religious reactionary like her. Evidently we –  I am leaving Never Never Land and joining the progressives here – are on a Long March and have as our target the family and this makes us even more dangerous than the communists.

This Long March to destroy the family will all be news to the many progressives across Australia.  Not ending war, not defending refugees, not fighting against racism and fighting for women’s rights. We are really about destroying the family. To paraphrase the old IWW,’we must inscribe upon our banner the revolutionary watchword “Abolition of the family”.’

Ah, but we are too sneaky to do that, too subtle, fluid and dangerous, to use some of Shanahan’s words.

This is an argument we cannot win not only because it is is truly from never never land. We aren’t open about our goals because we are too clever for that. It is our secret aim. That’s why you don’t hear it from us. Bingo.

It reminds me of the man in the room running around waving his arms. 

‘What are you doing?’ someone asks.

‘Keeping the elephants away’ he replies.

‘But there aren’t any elephants here’ the questioner protests.

‘See, it works’ the arm waver says.

Let me be open. I am not about the abolition of the family. I am working for the mass democratic overthrow of capitalism.

The family as a unit for the creation of the next generation of wage slaves on the cheap for capital will disappear.  It is then that real relations between people can blossom untainted by economic want and need.  But the opportunities for that are only born out of the working class overthrowing the rule of that tiny minority who live off our labour, that is by extending democracy into the workplace and organising profit to satisfy human need.

It’s the Never Never Land Trotskyists you need to fear, Angela Shanahan. Not now in our relative obscurity but when the working class begins its first tentative moves against capital, when it wakes from the thirty years of slumber and sweeps aside the ALP as its party and with it the reformists – radical or otherwise – who do the work of capital.



Comment from Marco
Time July 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Geez, this lady Shanahan discovered us, John.

How did she learn that the Yowie, the Elders of Zion, the UFO-flying Nazis that live in the Antartica, the Illuminati and us meet regularly to perform Black Magic rituals of unspeakable blasphemy, followed by endless orgies with the vampire girls of the movie Van Helsing (there IS something delightfully good about being evil!!!), while cackling madly MWAHAHA!!!

I’ll finish this by saying: BOOO!

Comment from Lee Adams
Time July 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

There are just two questions …
1. Do people like Shanahan really believe this shit?
2. Are they trying to convince others to follow their cause?

If (1), there’s not much anyone can do.
If (2), then facts are required, rather than vitriolic attacks.

Back to you, Angela. But that’s going to be pretty hard, isn’t it? Tripe always tastes like tripe, despite any sweetening.

Comment from John
Time July 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Yes Marco – the grand conspiracy of the evil left on its long march to … destroy the family of all things! She reflects her own fears and preoccupations and transfers them to her perceived enemies – the rest of the world.

And Lee I agree. I hope I presented some facts or rational analysis rather than only hurling crap back at her…

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