Publicising left events

by

Bob Gould

The repsonses to my comments on the lack use of useful publicity in Green Left Weekly about planned actions against the electricity privatisation have been useful.

At least I now know that for some time Green Left‘s what’s on listings have only been included in the print edition, and not put online.

In raising the matter I mean no disrespect for Rohan Pearce, who I’m sure like most volunteers does a lot of work, in this case, it appears, mainly technical work on Green Left.

Without taking the matter too far into the realms of fully blown conspiracy theory, which I agree can be exaggerated, it seems to me even this practical division of labour has a political side to it.

Someone associated with Green Left makes the decision about what to publicise and how, and I would have thought that whether or not to make what’s on available online would be some sort of political decision, possibly made on the run by the DSP leadership.

Peter Boyle, for the record, points to a mention of the Parliament House protest in Green Left, but that’s not the point I’m making.

Way back in the 1960s, when we were building up the Vietnam Action Committee in the face of the latent hostility of the Communist Party bureaucracy, getting publicity for our events in an effective way in the CPA newspaper, Tribune, was often a kind of cat and mouse game. The CPA bureaucrats had to balance the relative popularity of our actions with the CPA rank and file against the political necessity, for them, of limiting the impact and size of our protests.

In those days, the circulation of Tribune was very substantial, far more so than either the print or online Green Left Weekly is now, and it became a bit of an art form to force the CPA bureaucracy to effectively publicise our protests in the vital issue the week before the protest.

The CPA bureaucracy of the time had its own art form of trying to find excuses not to publicise our actions in an effective way.

I’ve been through this kind of experience before, and the second time around it’s a big farce.

Boyle, in particular, doesn’t seem very different to the old CPA bureaucrats in mentioning upcoming events for the record but I’m reasonably certain, taking the necessary steps, from his point of view, to see that that the minimum effective publicity is given to building the Labor Party rank and file rally at the Trades Hall against electricity privatisation next Saturday.

It seems to me that this flows from the Boyleites’ deep-rooted political animosity to doing anything that could promote rank and file agitation in the Labor Party.

Alan Bradley’s contribution is more useful politically, and more constructive.

He does the obligatory dump on me, but he makes the sound political point that the DSP should be using these events to try to break out of its isolation.

Bradley is a bit misinformed about the actual circumstances of the Labor Party rally, however. As an initiative within the Labor Party the organising meetings have been confined to Labor Party members, which is entirely normal political practice, but the forum itself is open to all, and if the DSP leadership were at all serious in a united front approach, which they often claim to practice at the same time as they attack it, they would have given the forum as much publicity as their modest means would allow.

I don’t believe for a second that the reason for ignoring the Labor Party rank and file forum at the Trades Hall next Saturday is a technical error of some sort.

The indefatigable Norm Dixon restlessly surfs the bourgeois media and the web for bits and pieces he can use to promote the DSP leadership and to dismiss any idea that it’s at all possible to conduct any useful socialist activity within the Labor Party, the broad labour movement or the Greens, unless from his point of view such activity includes an element of the vital leadership of the Socialist Alliance.

I don’t believe that Dixon and the DSP leadership aren’t aware of the planned forum.

Some discussion here.

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2 Responses to “Publicising left events”

  1. Wombo Says:

    It’s not so easily reducible to a question of their not being aware. It’s largely a question of it getting into the GLW calendar email inbox or not.

  2. Ozleft Says:

    Ozleft has added a coming events calendar intended for public events on the left. It has a facility to post events, and we will put up images that are emailed to us for appropriate events. Ozleft’s resources are limited, and if the listing proves unmanageable we may not be able to sustain it or we may have to modify it. We’ll see how it goes.

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