Tuesday, April 01, 2003
World Socialist Web Site has a hissy fit at Simon Crean.
Formally, the ALP disapproves of a war without United Nations endorsement. As the war was launched, the party supported motions in parliament calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Australian military from the Persian Gulf. Just days later, however, Crean indicated that this “opposition” would remain a purely token affair. [...]
Crean baldly insisted that there had been “no change” in Labor policy. But, when asked by the Greens to support a motion in the Senate calling for the immediate withdrawal of Australian troops from the Middle East, Labor Senators insisted the word “immediate” be changed to “safe”. And in a revealing indication of where the Greens are heading, the party agreed to the change.
This semantic manoeuvre had nothing to do with the well-being of the young men and women sent to invade Iraq—the safest thing for them would be to leave the war zone straight away. It was a signal to the government and its allies in the Bush Administration that Labor, while retaining certain “criticisms,” would not actively press for an end to Australian military involvement. As far Labor is concerned, the troops will only come home when Washington has achieved its aims. [...]
The only thing that worries Crean’s critics within the Labor caucus is that he has not achieved the “bounce” in the opinion polls that they believe he could have, if only he had maintained his “antiwar” rhetoric a little longer. Labor is so despised by the majority of working people that Howard is still far ahead of Crean in the polls as preferred prime minister.
The hostility to Crean, however, is bound up with deeper processes. After years of presiding over job destruction, cuts in health, education and other social services at the state and federal level, the Laborites have totally exhausted their political credibility. The war has simply demonstrated, yet again, that the Labor Party does not represent the interests of working people in any shape or form.
And to precisely whom is this supposed to be a revelation?