Does this mark a change in Bob Gould? Is the old bolshey getting soft with age? It may be all a bit pompous and patronising for contemporary tastes but I'm sure we can forgive him as the quality of the argument is here so coherent and salient.
I won't even attempt a summary of the treatise he offers the registered leftist; but I will rework the poem by Bertolt Brecht so that it attains the form Comrade Gould prefers to allude to as a summary of the recent NSW poll:
After the uprising of the 17th JuneAnyone who ever thought a Labor state government(and today there are plenty of those) or indeed an impending federal one -- were in some shape or form the enemy of so much in which you may believe, is herein put to right by Comrade Gould. It seems that today you must be cruel to be kind -- even a touch masochistic -- and whatever you may think of the ways and means these institutions of governance get up to, always remember that being left, I mean a real state of left beingness, isn't about the politics you strive for or the campaigns you enlist in. Being really left is about supporting the ALP unconditionally and -- probably at times, when required, like at such times as these, supporting it uncritically.
The Secretary of the Writer's Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
If that's too much for your stomach to digest, being left can also be about supporting the Greens --at least so that they can be assured a means of helping Labor across the line where being registered left really matters: on polling day.
Fortunately, comrades and friends, Bertolt Brecht also had a favorite saying which I think applies to our current conjuncture admirably and touches on an aspect maybe BG forgot to mention in his earnestness and celebration. With Labor ruling in every state and with Capital Hill soon to fall to the Rudd juggernaut, the "will of the people" will sooner or later need to confront the fact (even if Bob Gould cannot) that "the proof of the pudding is always in the eating."