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Open Letter To the Peace Movement

We Must Close Ranks Now!
Open Letter To the Peace Movement

We Must Close Ranks Now!

I could care less who is organizing the DC rally on the 26th. of Oct. I'm going. I am an anarchist who's only agenda is the saving the precious life on this planet. I am not invested in any particular group. I put my analysis out for free on Indymedia because I shy away from entrenched economic structures when it comes to my research. I am only interested in the opportunity for truth to surface,

As far as I am concerned the CIA could be organizing the rally and I would still show up. The numbers are what count not the organizers. This silence between the different groups as each of them compete to be the leadership of this movement is only counter productive if you pay attention to it. It is the cause that matters not the petty personality conflicts amongst the organizers of the movement.

My favorite paradox in America is the fact that politicians especially those on the right focus on the sanctity of the flag rather than the sanctity of the constitution, espousing freedom while shredding the great meaning of the document. As long as this movement keeps focusing on the cult of personality instead of movement we will not get the numbers out that are required to make a difference. People need to park their egos and focus on the prize, a future without war. A future where Nature is allowed her dance of life. A future devoid of the power and the glory of man but rather of all life on this beautiful gem, this Earth.

If we can not visualize our future it can not happen. To visualize our future it must be accepted that every person represents a unique view of that future. Ideas live and die as people do but the one constant is life. Life is more important than anything. There is no aspect of life that is attempting to destroy the whole in order to win the game of life. This I have the greatest faith in. This is why we will succeed. We are the balance to those who resent life as they can not control it. We who have accepted life and death as we accept the seasons can walk together without fear in the unity of protest against war.

I have no leader, I lead no one. Please, let us come together right now, over me.

homepage: homepage: http://dadapop.com

I agree 15.Oct.2002 17:55

nora

... thank you for taking the time to express so thoughtfully and succinctly a strategic paradigm I more roughly coin "WFW" (Whatever Fucking Works). That is not to imply that your worldview is as simplistic as mine.

anyway, thanx.

Cool--I hope zillions of people march on O26 15.Oct.2002 18:20

In DC, SF, and PDX

I hope tons of people show up in the main cities where Oct 26 is happening. But I also believe it is important to hold our "leadership" accountable. I want to do all I can to stop this war, but sometimes I have a hard time marching behind leadership I don't necessarily agree with. And there is much that is questionable about the IAC and ANSWER's leadership.

Anyway, I can't afford to go to San Francisco, but I will participate in whatever happens in Portland on October 26.

The Dangers of a Hijacked Anti-War Movement 15.Oct.2002 20:40

The One True b!X

The following is something I just posted at Pox Americana, which is relevant to this. Please note that although I believe the issues are important, and that there's a real danger of the anti-war movement becoming more easily-dismissable if it gets hijacked by other agendas, I am going to SF on October 26th.

Michelle Goldberg, writing for Salon (in a Premium article; if you need a copy, email me and I'll send you one), details at length the potential pitfalls of the current organizers of the nascent anti-war movement in the United States. She addresses very, very critical issues that everyone should confront, especially as we head towards the national marches on October 26th, with more depth than I have done here. But the spirit -- and her point -- is essentially the same: Unless we focus are narrowly as possible on the war itself, and not force exhibitions of mass opposition to encompass a wider anti-Bush (or anti-capitalism, or anti-police, or anti-whatever) agenda, we are (quite simply) going to lose before we even really get started.

There are organizational and philosophical linkages behind both the organizers of the upcoming October 26th marches and the organizers of the recent October 5-7 marches that would inevitably alienate much of the mainstream opposition to the war, and if mass events are turned into a mass soapbox for those other agendas and associations, the entire anti-war movement could collapse almost overnight.

Will the organizers heed these warnings, and behave like intelligent adult activists who care more about the specific cause of stopping the war than they do about exploiting mass rallies to advance their own pet issues? It doesn't look like anyone can answer that question yet.

Unfortunately, we face a rather awkward choice right now. Either we can go to DC or SF and run the risk of adding our numbers to a botched and hijacked march, which will then be covered by the press as a bunch of fanatics out of touch with mainstream America (even mainstream war opposition); or we can stay away in droves, which will lead to the press covering the marches -- and therefore war opposition in general -- as a fringe and dismissable phenomenon.

In the end, everyone is going to have decide for themselves, obviously. Either way, we will all have work to do afterwards. If we march in SF or DC and the event is rhetorically hijacked by other agendas, we will be obligated to do all we can to explain to the media -- and the people around us -- that the pet agendas which took over are not our own. If we don't march in SF or DC, and the marches are deemed a failure based upon numbers, we will be obligated to explain to the media -- and the people around us -- that this only proves that we didn't want to associate with the hijacking agenda, not that we support the war.



Well put 15.Oct.2002 20:43

Dave

I agree wholeheartedly with the original post. Let's concentrate on getting people down to San Francisco on the 26th. The Portland email address for transportation arrangements is " oneplanet4@aol.com". Maybe we can get some buses together if enough people express interest.

"WFW" might be an optimal strategy at this point in history.

this is my title 15.Oct.2002 21:04

The One True b!X

(1) Where'd that email contact come from all of a sudden? So far I've only seen a telephone number listed at the International ANSWER site.

(2) There's no question that WFW is a crucial approach. The problem -- and remember, I am indeed encouraging people to go to SF despite the rhetorical risks -- is that if the self-appointed spokespeople push too much into their own agendas, the ENTIRE MOVEMENT will get painted that way and we won't be able to bring in enough people to make it an actual MASS movement.

So I'm certainly not saying not to go; quite the opposite. I just don't think people should ignore the danger in the movement or the marches being hijacked by other agendas.

Going on the offensive (slightly ot) 15.Oct.2002 21:56

maxomai maxomai@aracnet.com

Firstly: thanks for posting the original article. We need to close ranks and quit worrying about kitchen sinking. The solution in my mind is more voices: Socialist voices, Anarchist voices, anti-proliferation voices, libertarian voices, pagan voices, and yes, right-wing voices.

And now my off topic suggestion:

In order to stop this war, we need to get on the offensive. That means dealing Bush a major political blow in November.

Two ways we can do this:

1) Contribute to anti-war Congressional candidates through MoveOn PAC:
 http://www.moveonpac.org/moveonpac/viewcandidates.phtml

2) Deal the President a personal blow by helping to defeat his Brother in the Florida campaign. Send your check (for less than $100) to:

McBride for Governor
P.O. Box 300
Tampa, FL 33601

Be sure to enclose a letter stating that you are contributing to the McBride campaign as a protest against George Bush's war mongering. Send a copy of that letter to President Bush, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC.

Defeat for the President in November, at the hands of the anti-war movement, may mean no war in Iraq *after* November.

Please pass it on.

Why limit the debate? 15.Oct.2002 22:16

Doesn't make sense

I'm not sure if I understand what you're trying to say. Are people arguing that the anti-war movement should only tackle "anti-war issues", however you want to draw that particular line in the sand? Seems like you're afraid of people providing a broader analysis. Perhaps because that would lead them to conclusions that are "too radical" for you?

Seems to me that people attending an anti-war rally should agree that they are against the particular war they are protesting as a basic point of unity, which will allow us to mobilize large numbers that can agree on "don't bomb Iraq" as a starting point to take the streets together. Beyond that, I think it is very important to explain the war in the context of an analysis of imperialism (as opposed to this or that single war) and capitalism (which provides the economic incentive for war). In critiquing capitalism we can articulate connections between the war and domestic issues (for example that fact that the schools and hospitals are underfunded but the military isn't). For example I thought it was great that someone spoke about the ILWU's labor dispute at Portland's Not In Our Name rally, because now their are 10,000 politically active folks, many of them new to activism, who are that much more inspired to support this critical labor struggle. By critiquing imperialism we can promote a global worldview (like taking into account the fact that the US is launching the war on terrorism on multiple fronts simultaneously) as well as getting people to think more long-term and commit to movement involvement beyond the current crisis (ie attacking Iraq) because they understand that wars may come and go, but stopping imperialism doesn't end until we win.

Oh and could you post the Salon article on the newswire. Information wants to be free.

one more time... 15.Oct.2002 22:33

The One True b!X

I'm not sure if I understand what you're trying to say. Are people arguing that the anti-war movement should only tackle "anti-war issues", however you want to draw that particular line in the sand? Seems like you're afraid of people providing a broader analysis. Perhaps because that would lead them to conclusions that are "too radical" for you?

Actually, it has nothing to do with what I think of the analysis or the conclusions. It has to do with what is going to be effective for growing the sheer numbers of the war opposition and what will not.

Turning every attempt at a large public rally into an opportunity to protest a broader anti-whatever litany of grievances is the fastest way to alienate the mainstream. And like it or not -- and I understand that many people don't like it at all -- war opposition will be completely ineffectual until and unless it's more generally mainstream.

There is a fairly broad opposition to the war across the country. But when it comes to showing up in person on the ground at protest events -- for which the numbers need to be as high as possible -- having, say, a string of speakers who address police brutality, corproate crime, universal health care, abortion rights, or whatever... well, that's going to alienate people we need at our side.

This is not to say that there aren't educational opportunities before us, in which we can turn to people who oppose the war but who don't at the moment subscribe to the idea that the war is merely one example of a much larger set of problems we are facing, and helpt hem see the connections

But that needs to happen as a secondary result of bringing them out to protest.

No question, there is a much wider-ranging set of dire issues to confront right now -- and there are not all even unconnected to the war. But right now, in the present moment, the single most pressing issue before us (and the one we might be able to have the most direct impact on if we play the game right) is to stop the war.

And that won't happen if we make every organized protest event into a catch-all for everyone's favorite progressive and/or radical causes.

That doesn't mean marchers shouldn't bring the signs and the slogans and the literature for their other issues. In no way am I suggested people in general refrain from showing off the range and depth of their political passions.

What I am saying is that from an organizational standpoint, and from the standpoint of being poltiically effective, we can't turn every single war protests into an everything protest.


Hey B!X, 15.Oct.2002 22:48

Puzzled

I think I know what you're saying, but I glanced at the ANSWER site, and it looked pretty straight-up anti-war. What makes you suspect that there will be competing agendas?

what makes me concerned 15.Oct.2002 22:59

The One True b!X

What makes me concerned is pretty much summed up in the Salon article I mentioned. I will go post the text to the newswire so everyone else can read it in full.

one message most can deal with is best 16.Oct.2002 01:40

agreed

Nearly everyone can agree that America as an empire is now a big threat to the U.S. Constitution. That's one of the reasons Scott Ritter is so effective as a speaker (and remember, he's a Republican).

The below was posted on SF Indymedia and it's VERY relevant here.

----------

here's the deal
by sara Saturday October 12, 2002 at 02:04 PM

 http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/10/1535794_comment.php#1536291



The thing that I find ironic is that many on the far left seem to think there must always be a purist ideological mission. Seems to me that an anarchist (or whatever) should be able to work in harmony with someone from the "reformist" left, a green, or what have you -- at least for the time being. Anarchists and others are so amazingly dogmatic.

The U.S. is out in the open with a doctrine for total global empire (being out in the open and very aggressive about it is new, as is the fact that there is no other "super power"), which abrogates the constitution in many ways (so you right-wing and center folks that read this, address that, not my so-called "peace" message; it's your constitution, civil liberties, retirement system and wasteful $1 Trillion economy of military expenditures and corporate welfare that robs you just as much as someone on the left -- and free market conservatives are supposed to be against big government, after all, and $600 billion in annual corporate welfare isn't what I call "small government").

Carl, stop wasting your time focusing on the shortcomings of reformists, greens and the like. They have a hell of a lot more in common with you than just about anyone else.

The most productive and best means for challenging those segments of our nation and international elite that seek U.S. global empire is to inspire and teach the vast middle and left-middle of the U.S., to teach those about how our constitution is being shredded, about how corruption is trashing our future, and HOW THE WAR IS BUILT ON LIES, LIKE NEARLY ALL OTHER WARS. Get down and work with the majority of the people that are reachable with a certain type of message. That message can't be revolution in full to appeal to that board target. And after reforms and evolution has come, perhaps there will be a time when revolutions come. The fact is that huge progress has been made to date in this current anti-war movement. I was in San Francisco in the early 1990s. I know what the movement against the Gulf War was like, and the current climate and level of mobilization is vastly more deep and profound, and in record time. There may very well be millions of demonstrators if the U.S. invades Iraq. They will have an impact, even with nonviolence and civil disobedience tactics that you seem to think are not effective enough.

If it were not for the fact that I know many of the anarchists and anti-capitalists are diehard idealists, I would think that all the posts and polemics I see like yours are skillful agent provocateur messages from cointel operatives. You guys are going to limit the reach of your voices by your actions. The bottom-line is that at least 30% of the entire nation is ripe -- ready and willing to be educated about how our government is lying in it's justifications for war. You don't have to be a radical to win them over, to get them supporting a position against global imperialism. Global imperialism is going to destroy America. And most of the middle class on down can easily understand that -- hell, even some of the richest people in the elite agree as well. We need to set our sights on the primary target of our actions. That's the most fundamental element to "strategic planning" (and you asked for constructive debate on strategy and tactics.......). Define the problem in the context that the broadest coalition of Americans can agree is a threat to our way of life. If you operate from a position of being a radical, calling for the total shut down of cities and the like, you will be more easily made into a caricature in the media and irrespective of the media, you will not appeal to a broad audience, to that 30% or more of America that is ripe and ready to see what is going on.

And after the U.S. gets a friendlier face with real reforms, after a retreat for the "neoconservative" doctrine of global empire, of weaponization of space and total control of the planet and on and on, you can then shoot for even bigger goals. I know that sounds counter-intuitive. The system is so fucked up right now that you can easily make the argument that now is the time for radicalism. And I can appreciate that argument, as it has very sound logical cohesiveness given how screwed up our system is. But it's also true that the system will squash you like a little bug. Revolutions are not possible in America right now. Reform is. And it's princely because many on the left (and even some on the right!) see various reform goals as things to shoot for.

I find the many people across much of Indymedia flaming the people at Global Exchange to be ideologues, incredibly short sighted, and frankly, not often really away of what the people at Global Exchange think (no, I don't work for them and I have no affiliation with them at all -- I'm just stating a patently obvious fact)

Good luck,

A reformer, not a revolutionary