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Friday, August 24, 2007

Fisking Drs Hirst and Harrison

My profile of "Trotskyist" AUT Journalism lecturer Martin Hirst has provoked responses from the good doctor himself and his former colleague and co-author, Dr John Harrison of the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland.

Both raised some interesting points that I would like to comment on.

Dr Hirst

I for one don't think North Korea's socialist, but you guys would have just glazed over that part of my piece in today's Press because it means I don't fit your stupid stereotype of what a communist should be.

As for Orwell, you should read John Newsinger's great book "Orwell's Socialism" and also what he himself wrote about politics until his death.

He was a socialist till the day he died.

The fact that the Stalinists in Spain wanted him dead and that he supported the Marxist POUM organisation while he was there and that he writes in 1984, "if there's any hope at all it lies with the proles" should give even the thickest of you a brief insight.

Stop trying to claim Orwell as an anti-communist and as one of your own, people like you made Orwell sick, in fact he would have despised the lot of you, you can't win that one.

New Zeal Its hard to take you seriously Dr Hirst, when your sentences are peppered with abusive terms.

George Orwell was indeed a socialist, but there is no doubt that in his latter years he was a staunch anti-communist. He has been condemned by many on the left for supplying the British government with the names of those he considered would be security risks in the event of an outbreak of war with the Soviet Union.

Dr Harrison

As a person who knows Martin Hirst well, and who has worked with him in higher education, over a number of years, I find your portrayal of him as a wicked Trot set to bring NZ to its knees, quite incredible. That is, lacking in credibity.

New Zeal When did I say any such thing?

That a Member of Parliament would use their position to make an ad hominem attack on an academic who is held in high esteem, is nothing short of a disgrace.

New Zeal I'm not, nor have been, or claimed to have been an MP. An easily checkable fact I would have thought.

Talk about a gratuitous insult!

Dr Hirst is well known in this country (Australia) for his thoughtful and forthright contributions to the debate about journalism, its ethics, its standards, and its future, and is published by leading publishers such as Oxford University Press. He is also a caring, compassionate and considerate human being, who makes higher education a transformative experience for his students.

New Zeal That's wonderful. It is Dr Hirst's warped political ideas and journalistic philosophy that are at issue, not his teaching ability or personal qualities. Please stay on topic.

I look forward to some genuine debate on the issues, not personal vitriol poured the petrol can of anonymity. Indeed, I would challenge the owner of this blog to only post replies from those with the courage to identify themselves.

And for the record, I'm not a Marxist, Trot, Maoist, or fellow traveller, but a hard nosed Presbyterian Calvinist from rural Queensland.

New Zeal You have also written a history of the extreme left wing Uniting Church of Australia. Care to elaborate on that fact?

A basic inability to check facts and groundless accusations of "ad hominenism" hardly inspire confidence in your abilities as a journalism lecturer, or as a character witness for Dr Hirst, Dr Harrison.

Dr Hirst

Comrades, this has gone on long enough. Most of you are not prepared to identify yourselves - I'm assuming that Mr Louden is in fact the only one infesting this thread and that he's reposting his own comments anonymously to keep the thread alive and improve his "hit" count.

New Zeal Not true, Dr Hirst-a little "ad hominen" don't you think? Would you approve of your students making untrue accusations about those they disagree with?

I am not technically a "Trotksyist", though I'm sure the finer points of socialist theory are lost on most of you blinkered nubbins. I do, however, subscribe to a number of trotskyite positions. For example the concept of permanent revolution (which you should look up in a reputable source before frothing at the mouth).

New Zeal A little disingenuous Dr Harrison. While the tendency you support is no longer completely Trotskyist, it did spring from that tradition. You allegedly claim to have been the only Trotskyist working in the Australian Parliamentary press gallery.

When did you stop being a "technical" Trotskyist and became whatever variety of Marxist you are now?

Permanent Revolution is the idea that revolutionaries should not hesitate to fan insurrection on a global scale. Maoists and Stalinists believe in consolidating socialism in one country before moving onto the next.

Trotskyist want to spread revolution accross the globe as quickly as possible.

Glad to hear you're so moderate Dr Hirst.

I am a supporter of the international socialist tendency (though not a member of any grouping - again this is for the record so you gumnuts don't get in a lather about it).

New Zeal This confirms my thesis that you are aligned with, though not necessarily a member of, the Australian International Socialists, the British Socialist Workers Party and NZ's own Socialist Worker.

Thanks for that.

What does this mean? It means I dont now and never have supported the state capitalist regimes in the former USSR, Hungary, Albania, North Korea, China, Cuba etc. So you can stop right now insulting my intelligence and historical fact by making out that I'm some kind of Stalinist monster.

New Zeal I never said you were Dr Hirst. However, sections of the the IST, particularly NZ Socialist Worker are highly supportive of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution, which in turn is very close to the tyrannies of Cuba, Iran, Belorussia and even Zimbabwe.

Your friends friends are not very savoury Dr Hirst.

I also note that in recent years the British SWP has moved closer to the traditional communist movement-sending delegates to the French Communist Party's L'Humanite festival for example.

I also note that the SWP and other IST comrades have close ties to the Islamo-Marxist Muslim Brotherhood. Again nice friends your friends have, Dr Hirst.

I subscribe to the theory of "socialism from below". That is I do not believe in the imposition of political orthodoxy on anyone - not even foolish drubbers who don't know any better. It also means that, unlike those who claim to be "libertarian" and in favour of "liberty", I actually believe in the ultimate freedom of individuals to pursue a life of happiness, health and liberty.

New Zeal No doubt you do Dr Hirst. Like most socialists you're probably very well meaning.

That, unfortunately doesn't stop your ideas from being highly destructive and dangerous to your fellow human beings, however.

I'm sure other socialists lke Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Castro and Pol Pot were nice blokes before they gained power, too.

the power of the working class, not a small bunch of hardcore "revolutionaries" will ultimately determine the fate of the world. That is if we can stop your heroes, such as George Bush, from destroying it first with their oil wars and nukiller devices.

New Zeal Bit of an assumption about my correspondents love of George Bush there. Would you approve or students making such lazy assumptions?

I believe in freedom of association and freedom of religion, though, yes, I am an aetheist and think that belief in any form of "god" is plainly stupid.

I'm also disappointed that Mr Louden failed to uncover my alleged anti-semitism. And no, I'm not an anti-semite, but I am an anti-imperialist and therefore against the state of Israel - I am an anti-Zionist. Zionism is the political expression of Israeli expansionism and military power in the middle east.

Oh and before you go off chasing more rabbits down burrows, I do not support terrorism, particularly state terrorism.

New Zeal Thanks for that, Dr Hirst

I believe in the overthrow of capitalism through the conscious political organisation of the working class. With armed force if necessary.

This does not mean that I rush off to the Waikato to do small arms training each weekend. Though regular readers of this particular blog may well be "survivalist" anti-government types I want to make it clear WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON.
I'll leave you to your dribblings now. I have better things to do.

New Zeal Finally the truth-"with armed force if necessary". With that admission, you would be denied entry to the USA, Dr Hirst.

I wonder how many readers think that that admission should bar you from entry to this country?

To be blunt-I do.

Nothing personal, Dr Hirst, you're probably a nice bloke and a competent teacher-perhaps too competent.

The trouble is that I don't want to pay you to teach New Zealand journalists how to to their job.

I don't want a Marxist who believes in violent revolution and using journalism to effect social change-and who does not believe in the concept of journalistic objectivity-teaching in a New Zealand (or any other) university.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned.

You believe that it permissible, even desirable to forcibly overthrow the state that pays your salary. I seriously question the ethics of that position.

Drs Hirst and Harrison, If you think I have misrepresented your positions in any way, or would like to clarify or dispute any points you may have the right of reply.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't missing the comments on the first Hirst piece in this blog (below).

1:20 PM  

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