Postcard from Santo Domingo

Wednesday, April 24, 1996

By Stephen Marks

Communists in the Dominican Republic have won respect for being incorruptible in a society where politics and principles are bought and sold.

This respect is shown in the most surprising ways. We were on our way to the closing rally when our minibus was caught at a narrow and busy intersection. One of the hosts for the international delegates momentarily left the bus to speak to a nearby police officer. The officer immediately stopped the traffic and waved us through. What did you say to him, we all asked. "I told him that I had a bus load of distinguished international communists, of course!"

The conference attracted considerable attention. A film crew from Catholic TV, run by a progressive section of the church, was interviewing delegates at the start of one of the sessions.

The reporter, a priest, said to me, "You must be the representative of the DSP".

"That's right", I replied.

"Well Steve, could you tell us how you struggle for Marxism in Australia?"

"Well father, it's like this", I said, momentarily taken aback. "If progressives in Australia could follow the example of unity achieved by your comrades in the Dominican Republic, it would be a big step forward for all of us." The answer pleased him.