portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

human & civil rights | imperialism & war | labor

On the large Portland demonstrations (opinion)..................................

Build the movement against imperialism!
On Sunday, November 17, 6000 to7000 people marched against war on Iraq in Portland. This was only 3 weeks after the October 26 march of over 7000, thus making it the second major anti-war demonstration in Portland in less than a month. And given that the city is considerably smaller than Seattle, one has to consider these major demonstrations. (Moreover, something anti-war activists in Seattle should note: it's organizers didn't wait for A.N.S.W.E.R., N.I.O.N., or some other "recognized" national coalition's approval before calling the event.) Besides opposing war against Iraq, demonstrators also raised banners, picket signs and slogans against the war on "terrorism", fascist "Homeland Security", environmental rape, attacks on living standards of the masses of American people, and in support of the Palestinian's struggle for national self-determination (plus many others). Thus the demonstration was another blow to the bourgeois propaganda that "we" U.S. residents "are one" concerning U.S. imperialist policies.

Still, in spite of the numbers of people who have been turning out to rally and march in Portland and many other cities, the movement remains hampered by pacifism, illusions in bourgeois democracy, and illusions in the liberal politicians who foster these and other political ills. Looking a little closer at the Nov. 17 demonstration, however, we find that within the anti-war movement there already exists a trend which identifies imperialist war with capitalism, which wants militancy, and which wants to fight liberal sabotage of the movement. In fact for the first time in the Northwest in many years a radical or ANTI-IMPERIALIST CONTINGENT was organized. The latter had it's own brief rally, militantly marched several blocks to the main rally (with no permit), and then participated in the liberal and pacifist led main march. Although the contingent was fairly small (around 100 people), it could be a significant development, I.e., one representing the BEGINNING of anti-imperialist activists in the Northwest finding their way toward organized struggle against the liberal and pacifist politics we're being smothered with. In Seattle these treacherous politics were not only voiced by the liberal politicians and AFL-CIO bureaucrats invited to speak at the large events on October 6 (N.I.O.N.) and October 26 (A.N.S.W.E.R.), but we're constantly treated to them on the pages of Indymedia, and everywhere in the movement. Let's quickly review them.

As the other major party of big capital, the Democrats are imperialist to the core. Hence Kennedy and Johnson's war in Vietnam, or Clinton-Gore's making the Colombian gov't the 3rd largest recipient of U.S. military aid while waiving human rights requirements, or their 8 years of murderous sanctions against Iraq, or Clinton signing the 1998 resolution calling for a "regime change" in Iraq (not to mention his bombings of Iraq, Sudan and Serbia). But the ruling class knows that its imperialist foreign policy will be challenged at home, and that there is potential for a powerful anti-imperialist movement developing: that is, one that takes on a mass anti-imperialist and revolutionary character (like what STARTED to happen in the late 1960s). So it uses the politicians of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to work against the anti-war movement developing in this direction. How do they do it? A most obvious way is to directly call on people showing they want to get active against war by coming out to demonstrations to become starry-eyed door-bellers for Democratic Party politicians. Thus on October 26 we had Rep. McDermott calling on the crowd to get active behind Larsen's re-election campaign, and explaining how "really important" this was. But more often the liberals rely on NOW, a section of the AFL-CIO bureaucrats, various liberal church organizations, reformist anti-war coalition leaders (really misleaders) to preach the politics of writing letters to representatives (alleging they're "our" reps), signing petitions, passing paper resolutions, having "peace vigils", ad naseum. But the liberals are also crafty enough to shift with the winds. Thus we had Rep. Jim McDermott---who knows that thousands of explicitly anti-imperialist leaflets are distributed in Seattle by the Communist Voice Organization and friends, and others (I.e., he knows the ideas in these leaflets already have a certain popularity and are certain to gain more if we persist)---inferring in his October 26 speech that he too was against imperialism! Problem is that when he and other liberals mouth words "against" imperialism it is only to defend imperialism, albeit a more crafty imperialism. According to them, imperialism is only the result of Bush and the right being in power. It is not the logical product of capitalism itself, rather it's a mere policy of mistaken or evil men. (For more on liberal sabotage of the anti-war movement see the leaflets produced in Seattle and Detroit posted at  http://www.communistvoice.org.)

In the days after Nov. 17 several summations of the big demonstration were posted on Portland IMC as letters or comments. Several of them decried the dominating pacifist and liberal politics. But rather than offering any ideas on how to win ordinary demonstrators (not the case-hardened liberal and pacifist leaders) away from these views some of them just hurled mud at the demonstrators. They were allegedly all white, SUV-driving "peaceniks". (Probably these writers don't know that under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations "peacenik" was one of the favorite invectives rained down upon anti-war activists by the imperialist establishment. Thus, in a certain way, it's a badge of honor to be called this.) But the anti-imperialist contingent didn't take this attitude. Through banners, signs, and slogans, it worked to educate the larger crowd as to the source of wars like the one planned against Iraq, and the highlight of the day, in my opinion, was when the contingent marched into the main rally loudly shouting a slogan pointing out that the profit system (capitalism) is the cause of wars it was greeted by great applause and cheering. Moreover, quite a few of its members distributed literature. Me and a friend passed out 800 of a version of one of the leaflets posted at the above web site, for example... to "peaceniks", and to people on the streets. And we could have passed out a lot more had we not ran out!

Despite the enthusiasm I've expressed for the anti-imperialist contingent I think that the tendency it represented had political tendencies within it which work against development of a larger and ideologically firm anti-imperialist movement. Some examples:

The Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) sent members to march with the contingent, but they were actually official sponsors of the Nov. 17 march, along with a host of liberal groups. Do these so-called socialists (really Trotskyists) publicly warn the masses of the ways in which the liberals treacherously defend imperialism? No, their coalition building with the liberal bourgeoisie comes first. And last fall in Washington State they became a cheering squad for the Democrats in the State Legislature when it debated "anti-terrorist" legislation. You can't really be building a movement to fight imperialism while at the same time fostering illusions in the liberal imperialists and prettifying them.

Anarcho-syndicalism (represented by the IWW) raised the slogan "General strike against war" (and various anarchists support this slogan too). If this were meant as a call for a general strike against Bush's war against Iraq, or against the "war against terrorism" it would be ridiculously empty. There are not going to be general strikes against war in the U.S. for a very long time. The ideological and organizational conditions don't yet exist (and the task of revolutionaries is to work to prepare them). But if it's meant as an educative slogan I think it's wrong on two counts: (1) It focuses attention and energy toward building a grand event someday in the future while skipping over the complex of live political tasks we face at present. (2) It can give the impression that a general strike in itself would end all wars, I.e., that an insurrection to overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system is not needed.

To elaborate more on the first count: I, for example think we need to work to overthrow U.S. imperialism is a socialist revolution. But I don't favor raising "Overthrow U.S. imperialism!" or "Overthrow capitalism!" on banners at demonstrations (although I certainly support the sentiments of many activists who make such banners). The issue we face is to find ways to bring out and build on the best ideas and sentiments of the workers and youth, and to raise their political consciousness in a stepwise fashion (a real art). Hence, I think we want our main banners at demonstrations to focus on the main issue: Bush's current war-drive and the reasons for it (oil-profits and empire, or imperialism). This is meeting the best among the masses of people half way, while also undermining the politics of the Democratic Party. (Even the most liberal of the latter would have us focusing on Bush's unilateralist approach, which implies we should support multilateral imperialist wars. They don't like talk about oil-profits or imperialism being behind U.S. Iraqi policy.) This is not to say that I advocate not talking about the necessity of overthrowing the imperialist system. In fact (for example) myself, another Seattle member of the Communist Voice Organization, and friends have distributed many, many thousands of leaflets in the past year with the message that to end imperialist war after imperialist war the capitalist system has to be overthrown. But this only after presenting an analysis which logically leads to this conclusion. [In some leaflets, however, we don't directly state this conclusion, although what we say (we hope) helps the reader take some concrete step toward making this conclusion a reality. Moreover, in some of the latter leaflets we are often most concerned with the issue that for the anti-war movement to really develop workers and young people have to increasingly take matters into their own hands. But if they have illusions in the liberals or other "saviors", then they won't see the necessity of this, and may even waste their energies "getting out the vote" for some slick liberal huckster. Hence the stress in our leaflets against the anti-war posturing of the liberal Democrats. These leaflets will be successful over time. They speak truths which new activists will inevitably see with their own eyes. And when they are successful we will have the makings of a much more profound movement, one that is getting out of the control of the bourgeois political forces and rightfully hates them all, one that is becoming politically independent, and one that is eagerly looking into revolutionary theory and history. (And of course, on leaflets which do not draw the conclusion that to end imperialist war monopoly capitalism must be overthrown the CVO web site is provided for those wanting to look more into its general views on this and other subjects)]

Anarchists were also part of the anti-imperialist contingent. Like anarcho-sindicalism, as a political trend anarchism too skips over the necessity of doing careful and detailed political work in the mass movements on the issues they are coming up around. The tendency is to be satisfied with raising the slogan "Smash the state!", or "Smash capitalism!", and organizing affinity groups for direct actions which will excite others into action. (In its extreme form anarchism shares the view of the bourgeoisie that the working people are incapable of conscious political thought and action. Following from this is the idea of "stirring up" the masses through heroic actions of small handfuls of people, or even "heroic" postures.) The question of revolutionaries concentrating on bringing political light into the existing mass movements, helping the masses better see what needs to be done now, I.e., actually beginning now to raise the political army of millions needed to overthrow capitalism gets short-shrift.

*****

So what should Northwest anti-imperialists do now that Nov. 17 is over? Well, for sure attend and agitate in the N30 demonstration in Seattle (now scheduled for 1 o'clock at the Westlake Center). But I think the realities of the human-devouring imperialist system force us to want to do more, and to take the path of doing things we've never done before, I.e., building the Nov. 17 contingent was something new (in recent times, at least). One of these is to establish better communications among ourselves. (I, for example, would never have made the anti-imperialist march had not a friend looked at Portland Indymedia.) Real anti-imperialists are a small minority, even in the anti-war movement. We're branded as "ultra-leftist", "sectarian", and worse by the dominant leaders (who at the same time kiss up to the liberals, AFL-CIO bureaucrats, preachers and other "good" people). So one would think anti-imperialists would be working hard to link up to build a counter trend. But the bitter truth is there is a big problem of small groups (and all our groups are very small, mine in particular) or individuals going their own way to do their separate things, at least in Seattle (which I'm most familiar with). This is not the way to curl separate fingers into the powerful fist we need. We need to be writing each other, talking about our work, talking about the possibilities of joint efforts for more contingents, and our own joint demonstrations and actions. (We can't depend on the present anti-war leaders to keep calling demonstrations, especially when the liberals cave in to the "support our troops" campaign the bourgeoisie is sure to mount when the blood-letting begins.) It's time to begin tearing down the walls between us. Let each have her/his say on the problems confronting us is establishing a strong anti-imperialist trend.
yup, we're mired in pacifism 29.Nov.2002 18:35

happily so

If you think you can organize 10,000 kiddoes in bandanas, do it. Oct 5 and Nov 17 were rallies for Peace and Justice. Not some volksfront-front-like call to arms. Sorry other kids picked on you on the playground in elementary school, but those are your issues, deal with them, please.

Running on the Hamster Wheel 29.Nov.2002 21:56

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Those who don't understand that politics equals politics are doomed. That's what politics is; the redistribution of wealth. Seperating economics from politics is impossible.

Those protestors who are against this particular war against Iraq, yet are for capitalism, are running on a treadmill, getting nowhere.

By supporting capitalism, you are supporting a system of endless war. capitalism requires endless growth, endless expansion, and endless war in order to be successful. capitalism IS sexism and IS racism. Once the seperation of workers vs. capital is understood, the middle-class propensity towards reformism (voting/petitioning/letter-writing) will be exposed as siphoning away real dissent into never-neverland, done by professional citizen-calmers (public leeches/politicians) who are elected and re-elected by the good graces of the campaign contributors who all just happen to be corporations with vested economic interests in keeping their business profitable and the government supporting that.

So if you are a "capitalist peace-activist" please understand that you are a walking, talking, living, breathing OXYMORON. No capitalist is for peace, whether they know it or not. FACT.

Comments on unity 30.Nov.2002 08:58

Friend

I agree that the overarching need right now is for a strong movement against capitalism and its children: war, fascism, and imperialism. However, as a man once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I don't like the IAC any more than the next anti-authoritarian, and I sure as hell don't like the Democrats, but we can't be constantly demonizing each other's politics. We know that we don't see eye to eye on quite a few things, as a movement of communists, socialists, anarchists, etc., but right now we're striving for the same things: an end to war, capitalism, and imperialism. Can we not be content to fight (separately, if necessary) alongside each other until we've achieved our collective goals? We don't have to like each other's messaging; one more organizer is one more organizer. Perhaps if we stopped proselytizing each other...

By the way, far from all anarchists believe and participate in "propaganda by deed." Just because Malatesta said it doesn't mean we all believe it; we're not monolithic.

What to do? Take some initiative. 30.Nov.2002 17:20

Marat

Well, for starters, you might consider actually taking some real initiative ..something that is woefully missing among many anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist activists, who have been ceded such efforts to either national liberal-religious peace groups or NGOs with flashy websites like Medea Benjamin's United for Peace or to IAC-ANSWER, and now face the prospect of either scrambling to catch up, or reduced to complaining about being excluded or marginalized from the process.

Consider this. Not one major call from either anarchist collectives or revolutionary anti-imperialist groups has been circulated on the Net calling for a international day of direct action at the appropriate government buildings or military recruiting centers when the war starts in earnest.

Why not? All it might require to begin is some aggressive e-networking. (posting such a call to the newswires of the over hundred existing IMC sites might be a good start)

Indeed, all over the country, local groups are organizing emergency response plans for such actions on their own...and many would respond postively to any initiative or call for serious democratically developed coordination. Why be content leave it to the liberals to take advantage of this?

To paraphrase Joe Hill, 'Don't whine, organize'.

movement building versus adventurism 01.Dec.2002 02:10

John Paul Cupp

While I agree with silvis68th's revolutionary objectives, I think that their thought process is a bit narrow. no doubt political power grows out of the barrel of a gun or should I say airplane? it was the barrel of gun along with coerced endotrination that created Capitlalism from the seeds of old colonial empires and carried it on to the stage of imperialism. that being the case revolution is a prolonged process. Mass demonstrations will not by force of arms liberate the working class of palestine or portland,oregon, but they do, or at least can provide a very important venue for networking, and for influencing public opion. Sometimes such as the Wto riots property damage, even armed violence is the correct and acceptable tactic for a demonstration,but this is based on sepcific subjective and objective factors. Movement building is a lot more that occasionally blowing up a few reasearch centers or spray painting a cop car. you ar ecorrect in your harsh criticism of pacifism that it can not be acheived by nonviolent means, or that the power structure cna be persuaded thrue its inner goodness to submit to social justice on any level. the sytem will occasional cut its losses so to speak, and when this happens such reforms are good and give optimism ot the people that they can have whatever they demand, eventually the means of production. now then lok at the 60's and 70's aside form the weather underground severl groups took up arms in western nations subjectively they were fighting against oppression but objectively they were at least to some degree(some more than others) adventuristic. The infrastructuer was not in place for a fulfledged protracted people's war against the state. They lacked the number of soldiers needed or the support bases, as well as the resources. networking did not exist to the degree that it did in say cuba or algieria. THey wer e extremely vulnerable to being infultrated and lacked quality security culture. they wer unable to consolidate gains with immigrant workers, unions, native and black political moevments. this is even true to some degree fo the black liberation army, though i have the utmost respect for them and their ethic.the ability to consolidate gains,not just subjective but objective material gains is necassary. an example is when guerrillas seize land from a large latfundista owner and distribute it to the peasants of the area. more than just correct motives are needed for this, correct tactics and strategies as well as an infrastructure are essential. I am in no way suggesting that armed revolution is unnecassary, thought i am not saying it is necassary eitther. i am saying that even if it were necassrary at least for the lng term goals most fo us are working for, that the conditions are
not ripe , the cadre are too undisciplined and individualistic, romantic, etc,and most improtantly a large and detail Militant movement does not exist. also keep in mind guerrilla warfare post john brown in the united states is confined to urban warfare, which is nearly impossible in a third world country were the people are in favor of a struggle against neo-colonialist dictators,Imagine how much more difficult and ugly it will be in the usa. I think that while respect the black bloc more than most communists do
that the idea they could lead a revolution under their suggested tactics is abusrd.do not get me wrong i would do prisoner of war or political prisoner solidarity for them.
As to the specific demonstration in question did you think fo maybe going and presneting yourslef in a posiitive light to arab and latin american immigrants or to black and native rights people. not everyone without a mask is a liberal, if you know what i mean.

AMERICAN Imperialism is the Enemy 01.Dec.2002 16:24

ANTI-PATRIOT

I think the original article needs to understand and highlight the fact that it is AMERICAN Imperialism which is overwhelmingly responsible for the atrocities and crimes which you cite--not just some abstract "Imperialism" in general.

It is AMERICAN Imperialism which is beating the drums for genocide and Hi-Tech fascist carnage in Iraq.

And it is AMERICAN Imperialism which deserves to be called out as such.

YOu seem afraid to highlight this issue. Instead of trying to cover up or hide American responsibility with rhetoric against some amorphous and abstract "imperialism," tell the damn truth and call out the Imperialist American system itself.

Dear Friend 01.Dec.2002 22:17

Frank

If our conviction is that U.S. imperialism has already commited untold crimes against the people of Iraq (along with its weaker rival imperialist Saddam Hussein), and is readying itself to commit countless more, then we naturally want to give courage to our convictions by politically organizing against this nightmarish monster (represented by Bush, the bourgeois press, and Democratic Party. Yet there are numerous ideas about what imperialism is (or what it represents) among anti-war demonstrators and organizers. I think it represents capitalism in its monopoly (and last) stage, and that monopoly-capitalism is the main cause of not only the wars, but the racial discrimination, national oppression, oppression of women and sexual minorities, and environmental rape which people the world over suffer from. More, my study of history, of today's society, and my own life experiences tell me that the exploited and oppressed working class of all countries remains the grave-digger of capitalism, and the liberator of all exploited and oppressed humanity. These beliefs of mine are the framework around which I conduct political work. Others who define themselves as anti-imperialists think other things. But we all fight for our beliefs because these are political beliefs. And politics mean something. They're the concentrated expression of the interests of classes, or sections of classes. Hence behind our wanting to fight for certain political ideas, and against others, lie sentiments representing the interests of classes (or sections of classes) contending for concrete interests. This is what gives us our spunk and perseverance, it's what makes us think that we MUST proselytize everywhere. (By the latter, I hope that my original post made it clear that I don't mean preaching sterile dogmas, or r-r-revolutionary phrases devorced from the actual demands of the situation, or being boorish. No, we want to be in tune with people, and the live political issues around which the class struggle is actually being waged. And this demands a lot of listening, a lot of study of particular political situations, etc.)

So you say you don't like the Democrats and the IAC (without explaining why), then go on about "constantly demonizing each other's politics", and end with the incomplete thought "perhaps if we stopped proselytizing each other...". Yet this seems to be a formula for trailing behind the dominant leaders of the movement and their politics. But when Hell freezes over, these politics still won't have ended war, capitalism and imperialism. It's not a matter of "demonizing" these politics, but of understanding them and explaining them. My post dealt with the Democrats some, and me and the whole movement have to deal with them more---for the reasons explained: i.e., they're not just a party of big capital and imperialism in general, but their liberal wing works overtime to ideologically disarm and sabotage the anti-war movement, to turn it into nothing but a handful of pitiful pacifists "witnessing" on street corners or in front of court houses. And what about the IAC (and WWP)? They raise slogans against U.S. imperialism, sure, but slogans are cheap, it's the real political practice which counts. With the IAC this practice is to tie the movement to the coat-tails of the liberals. On Oct. 26 their speakers' platforms all over the country were lined with liberal Democrats, and Larry Holmes apparently didn't even mention the word imperialism in his entire Washington D.C. speech. (Of course if he had said he was against imperialism thirty times, the real politics of his party would be supporting imperialism; it would just be a left cover.)

I'm quite aware that the anarchist trend has different tendencies within it. Yet all of its tendencies share certain fundamental political ideas. This is what makes it a political trend. My post just briefly dealt with the question of anarchism in general skipping over the necessity of detailed political work in the mass movements on the issues they're confronting. This was not because I want to "demonize" anarchism, but because the development of the anti-imperialist movement demands such work, and by many, many more hands. The post ended with a call for anti-imperialists to begin communicating with each other more, and based on the reasons I gave, I would certainly like to hear from you and other anti-imperialists you know.

Re: comments by Anti-Patriot & John Paul Cupp 02.Dec.2002 23:56

Frank

Well, whether you call it AMERICAN imperialism, or U.S. imperialism (as the original article did) it was "called out". There was no attempt to "cover up or hide" anything. The whole content of the article is anti-U.S. imperialism (or "Anti-Patriot" if you well), as is the content of the leaflets on the link provided. But Anti-Patriot doesn't address that content. Instead s(he) concocts a slander. This has to make one wonder what's behind this. And perhaps it's a live example of the demonizing which concerns Friend.

John Paul Cupp:

You give views on quite a number of issues, several of which the original article did not raise. I'm open to discussing them with you. But one thing I would like to publicly applaud is your attitude toward mass demonstrations, I.e., that they're "a very important venue for networking and for influencing public opinion". (I would add that they're also important in that they allow us to assess the level of the movement, the strengths and influence of various trends in it, etc.) Even quite small demonstrations can play this role, and, therefore, be very successful. But from the reformist perspective the purpose of a demonstration is often simply to "pressure" Washington to make some immediate policy change. In 1990 liberal politicians like Jesse Jackson gave support to anti-war demonstrations under the banner of "talk some more" (and then launch war against Iraq). (At that time there were great worries in D.C. over just how strong the Iraqi army was, how many American casualties there would be, etc., and not just by liberals.) This support resulted in some very large demonstrations, I.e., many scores of thousands marched on the eve of the first Gulf War in Seattle. But Bush the First wasn't worried that hundreds of thousands of people were marching against war around the country because he knew that for most part they were following the lead of the liberals. And when the war came the liberals raised the banner of "Support our troops!" and gave no more support to demonstrations. In Seattle this resulted in the numbers demonstrating falling to 2000-3000. I think this is a good illustration of why we have to build a different kind of anti-war movement.

If you were familiar with myself and the political trend I'm part of you wouldn't have to worry that we thought everyone without a mask was a liberal. (In fact I think that quite a few people who wear masks actually have liberal ideas.) When me and a friend passed out 800 of the linked to Seattle leaflet on Nov. 17 (and we could have passed out 1200 easy) it was obviously not just to people with their faces covered! Further, I think the liberal-led main demonstration probably had as many anti-imperialists in it as the radical/anti-imperialist contingent. They were just scattered around in it. And at demonstrations we make every effort to reach out to the masses, in the demo and on the streets. This obviously includes Arabic and Latin American immigrants, black people and Native Americans.

Lastly, after reading your comment, I feel I should stress to IMC readers that I in no way demand that anti-imperialists should raise the banner of overthrowing capitalism. That would be taking the path of sectarianism. No, we need to work to build up the trend against imperialism. The more this becomes a mass trend the more there will be conflicting views on how the contradiction between U.S. imperialism and the masses of people should be resolved. This should suit us. Of course I have views on this and freely express them, as I would hope all do, but my concern is building the movement. Hence my efforts to link up with others for discussion leading to unity of action.

Re: comments by Anti-Patriot & J.P. Cupp 03.Dec.2002 00:03

Frank

Well, whether you call it AMERICAN imperialism, or U.S. imperialism (as the original article did) it was "called out". There was no attempt to "cover up or hide" anything. The whole content of the article is anti-U.S. imperialism (or "Anti-Patriot" if you well), as is the content of the leaflets on the link provided. But Anti-Patriot doesn't address that content. Instead s(he) concocts a slander. This has to make one wonder what's behind this. And perhaps it's a live example of the demonizing which concerns Friend.

John Paul Cupp:

You give views on quite a number of issues, several of which the original article did not raise. I'm open to discussing them with you. But one thing I would like to publicly applaud is your attitude toward mass demonstrations, I.e., that they're "a very important venue for networking and for influencing public opinion". (I would add that they're also important in that they allow us to assess the level of the movement, the strengths and influence of various trends in it, etc.) Even quite small demonstrations can play this role, and, therefore, be very successful. But from the reformist perspective the purpose of a demonstration is often simply to "pressure" Washington to make some immediate policy change. In 1990 liberal politicians like Jesse Jackson gave support to anti-war demonstrations under the banner of "talk some more" (and then launch war against Iraq). (At that time there were great worries in D.C. over just how strong the Iraqi army was, how many American casualties there would be, etc., and not just by liberals.) This support resulted in some very large demonstrations, I.e., many scores of thousands marched on the eve of the first Gulf War in Seattle. But Bush the First wasn't worried that hundreds of thousands of people were marching against war around the country because he knew that for most part they were following the lead of the liberals. And when the war came the liberals raised the banner of "Support our troops!" and gave no more support to demonstrations. In Seattle this resulted in the numbers demonstrating falling to 2000-3000. I think this is a good illustration of why we have to build a different kind of anti-war movement.

If you were familiar with myself and the political trend I'm part of you wouldn't have to worry that we thought everyone without a mask was a liberal. (In fact I think that quite a few people who wear masks actually have liberal ideas.) When me and a friend passed out 800 of the linked to Seattle leaflet on Nov. 17 (and we could have passed out 1200 easy) it was obviously not just to people with their faces covered! Further, I think the liberal-led main demonstration probably had as many anti-imperialists in it as the radical/anti-imperialist contingent. They were just scattered around in it. And at demonstrations we make every effort to reach out to the masses, in the demo and on the streets. This obviously includes Arabic and Latin American immigrants, black people and Native Americans.

Lastly, after reading your comment, I feel I should stress to IMC readers that I in no way demand that anti-imperialists should raise the banner of overthrowing capitalism. That would be taking the path of sectarianism. No, we need to work to build up the trend against imperialism. The more this becomes a mass trend the more there will be conflicting views on how the contradiction between U.S. imperialism and the masses of people should be resolved. This should suit us. Of course I have views on this and freely express them, as I would hope all do, but my concern is building the movement. Hence my efforts to link up with others for discussion leading to unity of action.