Letters to the Editor

March 5, 2008


Clearly both Nigel Rogers and Kryten Walia in their respective letters (GLW #740) have some political differences with the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS). At a guess, they disagree with our support for a genuine two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But let's start with what we would all hopefully agree upon — the occupation has to end.

Right now, more than anything else, justice demands an end to the siege of Gaza and a halt to the killing. Calling for a ceasefire is not against the interests of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, this is what all but one of the Palestinian organisations are calling for. Rogers and Walia may not agree, but we think that the children of Sderot deserve the right to sleep in peace as much as do the children in Gaza. They are all innocent.

There is no point in lecturing us about the military forces being skewed in Israel's favour. We know this already. In fact there is a fair chance that the information they used to support their views was translated by our members, or provided by a like-minded group such as Gush Shalom, Peace Now or B'Tselem.

There are many issues which can and should be debated about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including how to right the wrongs of the past. Taking a bit of care with facts, though, would help. For example, the people of Sderot, who overwhelmingly hail from Morocco, are just as brown-skinned as the Palestinians across the road.

The AJDS is on the spectrum between those who make reckless statements comparing Israel's actions with those of Nazi Germany in the Second World War and those who would have us believe that any criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.

What this debate really needs is reasoned and reasonable voices looking for paths out of the present tragedy. Rogers and Walia should support our concrete proposals for lifting the Gaza siege, ending the fighting and involving Hamas in the dialogue about how the two peoples in that much troubled land can coexist.

Steve Brook & David Rothfield

AJDS, Elwood, Vic

Climate change

I continually read in your paper the term "human-induced climate change". This is a term the capitalists recently invented in an attempt to detract from the fact that climate change is solely due to the capitalist means of production, i.e., its anarchistic approach to production for short-term profit as opposed to sustainable production for all, that only socialism offers.

The phrase "human induced" is one that capitalist ideology propagates, suggesting that we are all greedy individuals and so we are all responsible for the destruction of the planet. This expression is an insult to the millions of people from the Third World who, through the imperialists, are politically excised out of using even enough of the world's resources (and hence having no footprint on the planet) to keep their kids alive to the age of five — let alone the world's working-class who have no choice but to use the world's resources for mostly unsustainable growth as dictated by the capitalists.

Clive Hamilton's book Scorcher documents how the capitalists dictate the unsustainable means of production forced on the First World through undemocratic structures and how they have been able to hide for the last 30 years how capitalism has led to the heating up the planet. The problem is not human induced, but capitalist induced.

By using the bourgeoisie's language, your paper is stepping outside a socialist discourse and is limiting your readership from being armed with the necessary information needed to organise a world-wide movement based on socialist lines that will eventually have no other choice but to appeal to everyone's sanity to finally overthrow the sick capitalist ideology that has already warmed the planet by one degree.

Howard Patterson

Lara, Vic

Political reform

More and more we read about serious problems with our system of governance, e.g., federation, the dominant two-party system, proposed power privatisation and lack of democratic representation.

The corruption and sex scandals involving NSW politicians and senior local government administrators, the debilitating fragmentation of governance in our major cities, the hospital dramas, the slow responses to climate change issues are clear symptoms of system failure.

These system debacles need not continue, e.g., why not move to a proportional representation system which delivers a diverse, representative and multi-party system? This allows a government to change without an election. It does away with the grotesque adversarial parliamentary nonsense of the two-party system.

There is an urgent need to launch focussed free internet education to provide a basic understanding of alternatives and how these can be achieved. A special website to educate the public in an unbiased, non-party political way, funded by an independent organisation, may rapidly overcome the public's lack of reliable information.

The room for improvement in Australia's political system is truly immense, but just describing how it works is not enough. We need explanations for alternatives. This is unlikely to be initiated by either of the major parties and I invite foundations and philantropists to come forward to organise this.

Klaas Woldring

Pearl Beach, NSW

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