Wednesday, October 3


A stranded platoon, surrounded and outnumbered by enemy forces, needs to exaggerate its size. So each man runs back and forth, firing from behind every tree. From a distance, the enemy will sense each shot as a sign of a unique beating heart. But, if they are brave enough to get close, the enemy would discover a tiny band of resisters, winded, low on ammunition and ready to surrender. Applying the same principle, the radical left of Australia fires as many shots as it can: attending every political event, pasting posters on every wall, publishing newspapers and setting up webs of front organizations as complex as corporate tax shelters. By making sure to fire a shot from behind every available tree, even the tiniest sect can seem like part of the national political conversation. Yet in reality, by the mid-1990s, the radical left of Australia—bundling all the Trotskyites, Maoists, anarchists and Leninists together—numbered no more than 2000 lost souls.

The fall of the Berlin Wall had thinned the herd. Though, out of at least a dozen parties on the hard-left, only one, the flagship Communist Party of Australia, collapsed entirely. Affronted and perplexed by the complete failure of soviet communism, the CPA packed up its toys and went home, voluntarily disbanding in 1991. Everyone else soldiered on. Most had a ready excuse to hand. The Soviet Union abandoned ‘true socialism’ decades ago, they would say. Some were secretly relieved. Finally, they would no longer hear the refrain: Why don’t you move to Russia?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable. I think you should serialize this novel on yr blog Dan, seriously!!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Steve Peterson said...

And the refrain "why don't you move to Santa Cruz" just doesn't have the same sting.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A powerful army, occupying important beachheads in strategic positions, still refuses to march forward even though it is supported by the majority of the population, which has totally lost faith in the corrupt, murderous government. Thus the American Democrats, holding a majority in the House cower behind the figleaf of the Senate, refusing to withhold the budget for Bush’s illigitimate war.

From the sidelines ex-radicals, paralysed by their distain for the possibility of a mass movement of the oppressed (such as the undocumented workers’ marches of not so long ago) maintain their fixated gaze upon the posteria of the ruling class. The American Greens provide their services to their Democrat friends, crippling hopes of unifying a broad progressive base.

In Australia the Labor Party is clearly going to sweep to power in the next couple of months. To prepare for power they have already betrayed nearly every promise that they once made to workers. Howard the arch reactionary will depart and Rudd, the Howard-lite, will govern in the manner of Tony Blair.

And those pesky “trots”, who insist on saying that being marginalised isn’t a curse and who perservere, week in and week out peddling their papers, recruiting those one of two precious cadre every now and again, forever pricking the conscience, give the lie to the structures of power.

I look forward to reviewing your novel for the Green Left Weekly, when it’s published. And I’m sure you’ll be greatly amused to read the review!


8:27 PM  
Blogger dan said...

You'd give your own nephew a bad review!

Gotta finish it (give me another 2 years) and then get it published first. We'll see if that ever happens.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said that I'd give you a bad review? I'm expecting you to write the first great novel of the 21st Century, the perfect complement to Hugo Chavez' Socialism of the 21st Century!

Hugo is coming to Australia next, by the way. I'm going to save up to take the whole family over to see him (I have no hopes that he'll be coming to Perth). It'll be wonderful for the kids to be able to say that they've seen him with their own eyes.

10:40 PM  
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9:19 PM  

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