May 28, 2012

Howes’ historical revision on life as a ‘young teenage Trot’

Union kingpin Paul Howes has made no secret of his heroic past organising for Trotskyite youth agitators Resistance during the 1990s. But one incident in particular might require a bit of historical revision.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Union kingpin Paul Howes has made no secret of his heroic past organising for Trotskyite youth agitators Resistance during the 1990s. But, according to new pictorial evidence obtained by Crikey, one incident in particular might require a bit of historical revision.

Crikey readers may recall that last year in the middle of a Tory scare campaign over Lee Rhiannon’s socialism before her ascension to the Senate, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph quoted Howes rubbishing Rhiannon’s claim that he had occupied the NSW Treasury during a 1997 protest over a Bob Carr law-and-order crackdown.

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24 thoughts on “Howes’ historical revision on life as a ‘young teenage Trot’

  1. bluepoppy

    Was Paul Howes only 15 years old in 1997. Wow. Just a pup.

    LOL at claims he did not remember the sit-in. Even if you were involved in numerous sit-ins or protests you would remember wouldn’t you – unless perhaps illegal substances were involved.

    However, this is such a beat-up. Visualising kindergartens and sandpits.

    Do any adults still identify with their teenage self. People do change and develop their worldviews. Does it matter if Howes was a Trotskyist or Lee was a Communist, or even if their views still lean to those dogmas.

  2. Edward James

    Visualising kindergartens and sandpits, I think they have just upscaled to local councils and parliaments!

  3. PK93

    ““The difference is I’m not a Communist now, but she still is,” he spat at Rhiannon.”

    Jounalistic ethics 101 : class 34: describing speech

    Journalists are free to use any “describing speech word” when quoting in an article, particularly if the aim of the article is to skew perceptions towards the party or parties you favour, and most particularly when covering some enmity between public figures.

    When the describing speech word selected is of a metaphoric nature, say, a vulgar action like spitting, feel free to further imply that the action was directed at the favoured party e.g. “{quote unfavoured party}” he spat at {insert favoured party}

  4. JamesK

    Thanks, PK93, I cringed when I read that.

  5. Frank Campbell

    Trots are notable for their high degree of churn…young and rabid, they almost always morph into their opposites by their early/mid 20s. From then on it all depends on career: they’re just as rabid defending the interests of their new masters, whether corporate or political. The Hitchens brothers (Christopher and Peter) are two examples. Both ended up as apologists for the far Right (though God was optional).

    The distinguishing feature is fierce absolutism, utter certainty and constant harangue. The Messianic fervour is simply redirected like a fire-hose at each career change.

    Expect Howes, when the conveyor belt arrives in Canberra, to transform into a Lib-banging militant apologist for corporatist Labour. Later still, he’ll be a plump Minister in a pin-stripe suit. Finally, he’ll be a plump Prime Minister with an avuncular manner and an iron grip on the numbers. Don’t get in the way.

  6. Edward James

    I doubt Paul Howes will live long enough to be friendly or helpful to anyone as Labor Prime Minister of Australia. After all Labor nationally is just no dam good for Australians paying our tax in pursuit of elusive good governance. Edward James

  7. Michael de Angelos

    what’s wrong with being a communist?

  8. Janet A

    Howes’s finger must be getting very weathered from the amount of times he uses it to see which way the wind is blowing.

  9. Edward James

    Yes his finger like the fingers of so many dodgy politicians on both sides of our government must be getting weathered from trying to read which way the wind is blowing. Edawrd James

  10. goldsztajn

    I ran into Paul Howes a couple of times in the 1990s, I remember him as very keen and interested in politics, if naive (but were any of us who still involved in politics any different at that age?)…I imagine he actually probably has good memories of his time as an activist, but due to the myopia of contempory politics he’s forced to be self-depricating about the period. I always thought he’d grow out of the DSP (as most of the people I respected did). I may disagree with his public statements about the non-Labor left, but then, again, I imagine this is more for dealing with the Australian press dominated as it is by the Tories and coporate interests.

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