Monday, September 17, 2012

Greg & Tony Do Monash 2

"Abbott is a man with mentors. Most were old men with embattled beliefs: true believers; relics of lost causes; men with a high view of their life and mission; men who believed in the magic of the crown, the church and old institutions. The chance to ride out with them to confront the zeitgeist touched something deep in young Tony. He was a kid with a powerful wish to serve. To stand for old ideas and old authority in the late 1970s took courage of a kind, and deep faith in faith. He believed the path Santamaria was inviting him to take was essentially religious... The tactics [however] were not so lofty. The Democratic Clubs were small and their membership carefully controlled. The correct line was strictly enforced. They used tactics Santamaria developed to fight Reds in the unions: provocative campaigning, ceaseless leafletting and infiltrating rival organisations. They called themselves moderates but their position was extreme: as far to the right as the Maoists and Trotskyists on campus were to the left. They were accused of rough-house tactics and wrecking what they couldn't control. The student newspaper Honi Soit reported: 'This organisation has a long history of politically motivated violence - whether as vigilantes for vice-regals, smoke-bombers for Saigon, poster pullers for political reaction, or bullies for by-elections.' " (Quarterly Essay: Political Animal - The Making of Tony Abbott, David Marr, pp 9-10)

Ever since David Marr's Quarterly Essay on Tony Abbott lifted the lid on the antics of the Democratic Labor Party's shock troops on university campuses in the late 70s, Bob Santamaria's children, holed up in the News Limited bunker, have been unable to come up with a coherent counter-narrative. I mean, just look at this mob, they're all over the shop:

On the one hand we've got right-wing Catholic Zionist and Australian foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan adamant that Marr's got it all wrong:

"Marr makes a series of judgments about campus politics that have no relationship to the facts and represent either historical amnesia or historical distortion. He states, for example, that those whom he describes as Democratic Labor Party activists were as extreme as the communists and Trotskyist groups they opposed... The DLP had no presence on the campuses in the 70s... Abbott and I were both members of the Sydney University Democratic Club, which was affiliated with BA Santamaria's National Civic Council. The NCC and the DLP were related because Santamaria was influential in both. But they were separate organisations with different internal dynamics and cultures. Marr's inaccuracies in basic matters of which organisation was which mirror his larger distortions." (Selective Cold War memories, Greg Sheridan, 15/9/12)

And on the other we've got right-wing Catholic Zionist* and Australian columnist Angela Shanahan saying just the opposite:

"So for what it is worth, I think Marr's basic assessment of Abbott's Democratic Labor Party ideological background in university politics is pretty sound. As for that wall-hitting incident, well, who knows, or cares?" (Ideology-free is how a campus should be, Angela Shanahan, 15/9/12) 

[*Elsewhere in her column Shanahan referred to the "Australian Union of Students with its various mad obsessions (particularly a trenchant** and irrelevant opposition to Israel)." Last year, she wrote: "When I first read of the boycotts of the Max Brenner chocolate shops, I was mentally transported to the good old days of my misspent youth sitting on the lawn in front of the library of the University of NSW, flirting, eating finger buns and vociferously booing while some Trotskyite who never seemed to finish any degree droned on about the evils of the state of Israel." (Nothing sweet in the silence surrounding anti-Israel boycotts, The Australian, 17/9/11)

What is it with this lot? No listening, no reading, no thinking, just booing, heckling and denial. They entered university with their minds made up and nothing's changed since.]

[**Synonyms for trenchant: incisive, effective, penetrating. So Shanahan was impressed but booed anyway? I rest my case.]

What a rabble! Rupert, please sort this lot out NOW!


Anonymous said...

Was it just the Trotskyite left opposed to the Bandit State in the nineteen seventies?

I can recall a number of books in left wing bookshops around Sydney, in both the nineteen sixties and seventies, extolling the virtues of Israel in general and the Kibbutz movement in particular as the perfect example of socialism in theory and practice.

I can also recall that the Vatican did not even recognize the Bandit State until they were hoodwinked by the false words and promises generated by the Oslo and Madrid so called 'peace talks'.

Perhaps the Vatican had concerns for the fate of Palestinian Christians and the confiscation and deliberate destruction of church property. Hello Vatican, it hasn't gone away, time for another look.

I am fascinated by Catholic politicians who are enchanted by the Holy Writ of every Vatican policy, hanging of every word - except one.

Likewise, politicians extolling 'our values', including the Geneva Conventions, but suddenly developing acute myopia in the face of overwhelming evidence of a gross pattern of crimes against humanity.

A triumph of self interest over universal values.

MERC said...

Thanks for that. Just for the record would you care to name those leftist bookshops in the 60s/70s you referred to?

Anonymous said...

The late Bob Goulds Third World Bookshop, when it was in Goulburn Street, springs immediately to mind,as does his earlier incarnation SCREW [Society for the Cultivation of Revolution Everywhere]. I remember having conversations with Bob on the issue. Bob refused any pro-Palestinian literature-even though it was free. Bob later made some sort of amends by turning up at a number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations, "provided they are not anti-Semitic". That Palestinians are the 'other' Semites was lost on poor old Bob.

The A.I.C.D.[they ran the Moratorium Marches] and the C.N.D. were anti-war groups with an office and book store also in Goulburn Street, just up the road from Trades Hall, had a number of pro-Zionist books and pamphlets on the shelves. Just what Zionist propaganda had to do with the anti-Viet-Nam-war movement was a question I asked myself at the time.

The C.P.A. bookshop in William Street Kings Cross specialized in this kind of Zionist propaganda.
Could it be the powerful influence of the Aarons family over the Communist Party? I remember any number of books and pamphlets including one that, last time I looked on the Internet, still has legs "The Myth of Soviet Anti-Semitism", What ever happened to my priceless copy?

Do we count the Adyar Bookshop of the Theosophical Society or the Humanists or even the Rationalists as left wing? Plenty of hand wringing about Israel and those poor [Jewish] refugees in those circles.I attended meetings and saw the bookshelves.

The notable exceptions were the Sydney Anarchists and Libertarians together with the old Sydney Push. They, in the main, would laugh at anyone pushing Zionism, unlike some so called 'anarchists' today.They did not ,in typical anarchist fashion, have a bookshop as such.All states dictate...except one.

Vale Bill Dwyer, anarchist thinker, Sydney Domain orator and all round good bloke, ah those parties.

The East Wind Bookshop in Pitt Street did take and display a number of booklets and pamphlets I supplied from various Palestinian sources to their eternal credit.

MERC said...

Thanks again. It just goes to show that in the West (the East was never so deceived) no cause has suffered from quite as many blind spots as that of Palestine.