Write on: letters to the editor

November 23, 1994


As Brandon Astor Jones says (GLW #166) we should be worried by the rise of the fanatical right, epitomized by the armed anti-abortionists. We should also begin more searchingly to ask the question "Why?".

Can we see parallels closer to home? On the left we don't usually shoot those we feel threatened by, but sometimes we produce t-shirts with their faces in gunsights (e.g. Naomi Wolf).

We don't stick blindly to the social norms of the past or a simple-minded interpretation of the Bible, but some of us insist on increasingly restrictive concepts of "political correctness" which make a healthy questioning debate of our fundamental beliefs next to impossible. We don't call our critics satanists as an alternative to rational debate, but the terms "racist" and "sexist", accurate as they may be, often serve the same purpose. (A person who is secure in their beliefs points out the biases of their opponents and answers all of their questions and debates all of the points they raise.)

We must ask ourselves, are we becoming fundamentalists. In our desperation, have we "become what we beheld".

What we are seeing is an increasing polarisation, with the "radical" left on one end and the right-wing fundamentalists on the other. The more extreme and stubborn we become, the more extreme and stubborn they become.

What is needed is a reconciliation. Each of us wants to believe we are "on the side of the angels" while we deny our own dark side. This dishonesty on our part only serves to justify their parallel dishonesty.

I believe that Jeremy Griffith, in his book, Beyond the Human Condition, has provided the understanding necessary for such self-confrontation and reconciliation. He also envisions an end to patriarchy and capitalism, but only when we understand, as he does, their true meaning and purpose will we be able to convince our opponents that these once necessary evils are necessary no longer. We must continue to fight the symptoms of the human condition, such as sexism, racism and the destruction of the environment, but we cannot afford to ignore the cure that Griffith's work provides.
David Munn
South Brighton SA
[Edited for length.]

East Timor

The East Timor protests in Jakarta and Dili have prompted Gareth Evans to say that "Nobody pretends all is well in East Timor. There is still tension and volatility". What an incredible load of appeasement bilge!

In World War I Australia lost 60,000 soldiers who are still remembered 76 years later. East Timor lost a third of its population (200,000) to Indonesian invaders just 19 years ago. Does Gareth Evans expect the Timorese to forget their dead and snuggle up to the very people who are still butchering their loved ones?
Gareth W.R. Smith


A tale of two cities

I was fascinated to read Lisa MacDonald and Pip Hinman's comments on the Sydney Reclaim the Night March (Green Left #165). They're right: we must throw off the collective victim mentality.

It is necessary that women break the silence and speak out about the sexual abuse and domestic violence we have endured. But it can't stop there. Like one in four women, I experienced incest; I was repeatedly raped by my father. That experience helped me make me the woman I am today. I identify as neither a victim nor a survivor. I am a Marxist feminist, a revolutionary, and a political organizer.

I took part in the Melbourne Reclaim the Night and was inspired. Inspired by the stimulating multiracial platform, inspired by the strong lesbian speakers and excited by the broad definition of systematic violence against women and others which we were marching to eradicate — permanently.

I marched with my Radical Women comrades and our popular chant "7, 8, 9, 10 — our allies are working men" was taken up by others marching nearby.

The Melbourne march was powerful because of the ideas it promulgated. When we took to the streets we were not a bunch of individuals seeking personal solutions but a movement demanding real change.

Pip and Lisa's critique of the Sydney march makes me value the political clarity of the Melbourne Reclaim the Night even more.
Alison Thorne
West Brunswick Vic

Print handicapped

Further to your leader "The Spirit of Struggle" (9/12/94). Green Left should be available to people who are print handicapped. Perhaps Radio Print Handicapped may be approached to run articles to air; perhaps the National Federation of Blind Citizens of Australia (NFBCA) may be approached to make voice tape or Braille transcriptions available to members; perhaps Disability Information Resource Centres (DIRC) may be able to direct members to such transcriptions.

It seems such a waste that social activists who become blind need to feel that they have been cut off from the fora of political debate. Blindness didn't stop Helen Keller from her political activism in the 1920s and 1930s. Blindness doesn't stop Yami Lester now.

My own limited readings of the struggles from within the disability movements for this post-humanist lacuna in world politics gives me to understand that these are critical times for disabled people. The Arthur Tunstalls thrive despite the choruses of righteous indignation. And so the struggle continues: in the teeth of disability; because of disability. All those who are able to should read Jenny Morris, Pride Against Prejudice (UK 1990).
Hec Kavanagh
Semaphore SA

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